surely silence can sometimes be the most eloquent reply

gossipFor the past few weeks, I have been surrounded by negativity and hurtful words towards others. I wish I could say that I have been disengaged, but sadly, I have been participating in the madness.

I feel ashamed in myself for participating in such conversations. Such menial conversations. It’s unkind and it makes me look bad. But worst, it makes me feel horrible.

What is the purpose of gossip? What does it serve? I understand feeling frustrated with a situation or a person and needing to vent about said frustration. But there’s a huge difference between venting for a few minutes and purposefully degrading someone. When you talk badly about others, it makes me think lowly of you, not them. And right now I think lowly of myself.

So I am taking responsibility for my actions. I plan to speak kind, honest words. If something is bothering me and I am frustrated by the actions/words of another person, I will speak confidentially with said person. And I will do so as tactfully and genuinely as I can, without attack. If I need to vent, I’ll give myself a few minutes to vent it out, and then I’ll leave it at that (without bashing anyone, of course). If I find myself surrounded by gossip and/or hurtful words, I’m walking away. There’s no sense in joining their conversation and creating bad karma.

So lets be kind to one another. All of us are neighbors on this beautiful planet and we’re each just trying to live our lives. Respect one another and have compassion. There’s always a deep reason for why people do the things they do; especially the hurtful things. Have patience and try to put yourself in other people’s shoes from time to time to gain a new perspective. I think these things will make for a little more peace. And I don’t know about you, but I am always striving for more peace in my life.

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my greatest love is named Stone Boy…

and he likes blue m&m’s. We met in the dark, surrounded by hot stones, water and my soul family. I was drenched in sweat, my heart beating in time with the drums playing around me. I found my voice singing words I’d never heard before, my lungs working overtime from the steam coming from the stones. My eyes seemed to be playing tricks on me, sparks of light igniting every few minutes. Now and then I would lay my hand on the ground below me to remind myself of where I was: my first Inipi. Home.

I had prayed to meet my soul family for years and there I was, praying with them. My mind was at peace, my heart happy. And then Stone Boy spoke, and I felt a love that is so encompassing and unconditional, yet simple. I had met my greatest teacher to date: a beautiful spirit who loves to laugh, dance and sing with us.

I am at my most vulnerable each time I’m in lodge (aka, Inipi). It’s a spiritual ceremony that brings me both peace and chaos. I’ve never had anyone call me on my shit as much as Stone Boy has. And I’ve never known anyone to show me as much acceptance and support and love, either.

I’ve had such an odd life thus far. I’ve experienced things that many people my age have not experienced. And I’ve yet to experience things that many people my age have experienced. It’s hard finding folks whom I feel get me. I want to say it’s hard finding folks that I fully trust as well, but it’s hitting me how selfish that sounds– how victimizing it sounds. It’s easy to make yourself a victim when you’ve been hurt. It’s easy to focus on yourself and neglect to remember that everyone has been hurt, that everyone has a heart that can be broken. This realization hit me hard yesterday.

This year has found me on a path riddled with healing, lessons and lots of forgiveness. My learnings this year have been immense and I’ve felt so overwhelmed by the copious amounts of change, that I often turn to my bed for reprieve.

The spiritual path isn’t an easy one. I admit that I’ve taken many “breaks” from my relationship with spirit lately, exhausted from the lessons being thrown at me so rapidly. Exhausted from all the ties I’ve had to cut that were detrimental to my well-being. I haven’t been to lodge in a few weeks and I’ve become so cerebral that I’m unaware of the reality of my surroundings half the time. The world got a little too loud for me and I reverted back to old behaviors and disappeared into a little cocoon.

Meditation is what’s kept me sane. It brings me back to reality and helps me breathe better. There’s just something about sitting quietly and getting centered that brings about all sorts of wonderful knowledge and awareness. Lodge does this for me as well, but in a more direct way.

Something Stone Boy brought up in the last lodge I attended is weaved into my mind. He spoke about change and how it’s important to grow and change now. He then asked for the person who didn’t quite grasp what he meant, to say so, and that it was okay to not understand. Of course, I was that person, but I was too afraid of being judged that I held back from speaking. Change what?

Later, one of my sisters spoke about an instant in lodge where she had been too afraid to share a thought, in fear of being judged. It’d been eating at her heart and she just had to share it then. And I felt a connection. I then spoke up and shared how I didn’t understand what Stone Boy meant, but that I trusted I would understand at the right time. And now, I believe, is the right time.

quoteIt hit me during meditation this morning, that I’m still playing victim. I’m still living in the past. I label myself (despite the fact that I claim to despise labels) as being a runner, a self-sabotage extraordinaire, a loner. I negate the healing and growth I’ve done in the past few years by continuing to identify with these words. Rather than seeing what’s presently in front of me, my eyes are trained on a rearview mirror. My mind is saying I’m still all of those things, but my heart and soul are saying I’ve moved on. It’s as if my soul has grown and matured, but my mind is still playing catchup.

And what part of me relates to those words? The victim, aka, the past, aka, fear. I’ve stumbled upon this particular quote from Marianne Williamson many times the last few years, but its significance hasn’t fully sunk in until now:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

That’s all it comes down to. And so this is one of the things I need to change. Now. I use to tell myself I was too broken and fucked up to be worthy of feeling anything other than alone and powerless. I led a secluded life until my path intersected with the paths of my life confidants; Stone Boy being the tour guide. I’m not alone anymore. I’m not a victim. I’m like a bamboo stick who’s resiliency knows no bounds. I’m not all together yet, but I’m getting there.

you don’t need someone else’s attention to validate your self-worth.

As I was journaling this morning, the wonderful sentence in the title went through my mind. It hit me that I still struggle to feel worthy of love and friendship. I seek attention from others in order to feel good about myself. And if I don’t get the attention I crave, then I feel horrible and unloved. And it makes completely no sense!

As I peel back the layers of myself in order to know myself better and heal, I’m always amazed by how much I blame outside sources on my pain. I’m constantly finding that the true source of my different issues always derive from something lacking in myself. The ironic thing about that is, I wouldn’t learn the things I learn, without the involvement of those around me. Each and every person who come into our lives have the gift of teaching us, especially the ones who hurt us. This fact really hit me hard today, when I realized that a recent struggle with a friend and some family, brought me to the latest lessons I’ve learned. I’m so grateful to everyone who has helped me to continually grow and evolve.

I tend to be an introvert. I genuinely love having my own space and time to myself. I also tend to keep a certain amount of distance between other people and myself. I can be the greatest friend you could ever have, on one hand and the worst friend you could ever have, on another. I’m really just a mess. I say the worst friend, because I’ve been known to disappear. If I think someone is getting too close, I become Houdini and escape unfound. But also like an act Houdini was known for, I’m burying myself alive. The older I get, the more I’m seeing the importance of relationships. I wouldn’t be who I am right now, without other people’s influence. Yes, I like to be by myself, but I’m learning that there has to be balance. In the past, I would hold people at a distance in a form of self-defense. If they weren’t too close, they couldn’t hurt me, right? But by doing this, I hurt myself more.

In other words, I seek attention from others in order in validate my self-worth, yet I keep people at a distance and push them away if they get too close. And people wonder why I’m still single… 😉

I still have issues that need to be addressed and fixed. I’m learning to be forgiving and patient with myself though. I’m constantly going through lesson after lesson. And after each lesson, is test upon test. It’s like the universe doesn’t yet believe I’ve learned and is throwing things in my way to prove itself right (or perhaps, prove itself wrong). And during some tests, I find myself reverting back to old behavior. Usually when this happens, I tell myself I’m still the fucked up girl I’ve always been. And I think I’ll never heal. As if the more I try to heal, the more I discover how broken I really am. So then, what’s the point?

And then I tell myself to breathe. That it’s okay to fall, so long as I continue to get back up and trudge forward.

My latest lesson has taught me that it’s a waste of time to seek validation and approval from outside sources. I realize that I’m blind to the love that the world has to offer me, if I’m not first, loving myself. I understand the importance of having healthy and balanced relationships with other people and how selfish it is to keep others at a distance. I’m not perfect. I don’t always say the right thing or do the right thing. I often get off track and need the same lesson thrown at me a dozen times before I grasp what I’m suppose to learn from it. I’m learning, albeit, a little slower than I wish at times, but I’m learning all the same.

“Conquering any difficulty always gives one a secret joy, for it means pushing back a boundary-line and adding to one’s liberty.”Henri Frederic Amiel