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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Facing our Fears

Lately a lot of good people that I know have been getting pinned to the mat of life by some heavy trials. I’m stunned by the number of friends who are struggling in so many areas of their lives. Usually life will hit you in the wallet, or the heart, or your health. But it seems that these friends are being hit hard in multiple areas of their lives causing some to become really discouraged.

We all know that life has a cyclic rhythm, and that one day we may be sitting high on a mountain top while the next day we may find ourselves at the bottom of a very dark hole tossing ashes on our heads and cursing the day that we were born. When we’re in a dark hole we forget how amazing the mountain top was and visa versa.

I just came out of a very intense trial, where I found it hard to remember my truth. Everything seemed drained of color; being tainted with fear and hopelessness. When I was in it I couldn’t imagine being out of it. It’s like lying on the beach in July and trying to imagine a snow storm.

One of the things that I learned from this recent wrestling match with life was that the truth is always there for me to grab on to…as long as I don’t have my hands full of other stuff. This other stuff is usually fear. Fear is centered on loss and is our most formidable foe because it has the power to trigger so many emotional responses; responses like rage, jealousy, greed, pride, and even murder and suicide.

We’ve all read the headlines where some famous person, who seemed to have it all, embezzles money, screws up a great marriage, or dies in a roach infested hotel of a drug overdose, leaving us all left to wonder why. How could somebody, who seemingly had so much, come so undone? Somewhere in this person’s life they began listening to the lies of fear, telling them that who they were just wasn’t enough.

Fear likes to paralyze us so that we cease from being fruitful. It undermines our confidence and makes us doubt our gifts. You see our gifts are our weapons of love. We need them to fulfill our purpose on this earth. They enrich our lives with meaning and inspire the lives of others, lifting us high above this weary world so that we can see eternity.

I had one friend say that she felt like a fraud in her job because she felt so out of control in her own life. She said, “I’m supposed to have it all together. How can I possibly help others?” Oh really? Who has it all together? Nobody. If we had to wait to do anything until we had it all together we’d all be sitting around self-obsessing over our screwed up lives and nothing would ever get done.

I guess what I’m trying to say is this: If life has sent a renegade sumo wrestler, in need of a breath mint, and a diaper change, to kick your weary ass…don’t you dare run! It’s times like these that are known to precede the greatest victories of all. Open your hands and let go of your fears, surrender your expectations for certain outcomes and trust that the absolute best result is coming your way.

Try living one moment at a time and trust that wisdom will speak to you when important decisions need to be made. Anything more than this is delusional: a mere attempt at controlling the universe, which by the way already has a director.

You’re being here is no accident. There is a loving plan and purpose. Trust in this and your life will improve. Oh, and then pour some wine, blast some good music, and dance till you drop! What? That always helps me;)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Freak Flag Flying!

One week in from quitting my job and I’ve resumed working on my new novel, renovated a closet, and worn make-up only twice. Once to go to the mall and the other time I put it on simply out of habit. I’m going to save a fortune on make-up and perfume, not to mention hair cuts. I’m now sporting a disgruntled afro and I’m torn between letting it grow out into its former unmanageable lion’s mane, complete with Pepe Le Pew streaking, or cracking the whip and taming it down to a sophisticated Judi Dench razor cut.

Actually, if I didn’t have to walk the dog in the morning I’d probably forget to brush my hair, and I’d stay in my PJ’s around the clock. Okay, that’s a bit extreme, but it amazes me how quickly I can let go of all the frilly garnishes of life; those little extras that swallow up hours of my time and money.

My husband isn’t complaining. He’s so thrilled with having me around again, to scratch his back and listen to his stories, that I could tattoo earthworms on my face and speak pig Latin with a lisp and he’d overlook it. Ours is a spiritual union.

I know that writing is a sedentary activity, so I’ve committed myself to going to the gym three times a week. I do this in order to keep myself from morphing into a giant marshmallow; although I still feel totally intimidated by all the high tech equipment (mine is a state of the art gym) and the pushy personal trainers who all but call me fatty. “I could have you down to a size three in six weeks,” they boast. Yeah, for only fifty bucks a session and a gallon of my blood. Yikes! I stay to myself, plugged into my music, and count the minutes until I can leave.

Seriously, I am extremely grateful to have this time for creativity. It’s a gift that I’d been yearning for for years, and now that it’s here I can’t imagine ever living without it. I promise not to ignore showers, waxings, and oral hygiene, but otherwise I intend to enjoy this freedom and let my freak flag fly!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Okay, I'm Awake!

I had the sensation of a house falling, jolting me from my dream, and then realizing that I was safely at home.

I believe that I have just gone through one of the most agonizingly beautiful times in my recent life. I can add the word beautiful now because…well, I’m safely at home and all the scary stuff seems to be under control. But, in all sincerity, the last year has been an epic journey of crossroads and discoveries, leading me back to a simple place called home.

I can usually adjust to most of life’s changes and upsets, by talking to myself, walking, or listening to music, but none of that stuff seemed to help. I was stuck and life was in my face showing no signs of backing down.

You see, I had been telling myself some stories about what I needed in order to be happy; unconsciously turning many important things around me into enemies. What I didn’t realize was that I was the enemy. I was the one perpetrating a coup; trying to overthrow my own life, and supplant my own leadership. I know…it sounds nuts, but believe me it’s not all that uncommon. We usually are our own worse enemies.

Having become dissatisfied with the way my life was going I tried taking a short cut to getting unstuck and finding happiness. I was going to create some happiness if it killed me! Basically I was trying to live a life that really didn’t exist. I became a woman without a country, placing myself in a refugee camp, waiting to be claimed by an honorable, yet distant, relative.

Oh how anxious we become when our lives are under construction and things turn dodgy. We blindly run ahead of ourselves, grasping any tool in sight, and then we busy our hands with building babbling towers and high walls. We pry open doors that were meant to remain closed and put locks on doors that should be flung open. We doubt our truth, our minds, our paths…we may even momentarily forget who we are.

I spun out of control like a rumor on loose lips until I collided with the solid walls of reality and life knocked me on my frantic ass. And there I sat…dazed, as a circle of cartoon stars orbited my dizzy head. It was at this point that I surrendered…and waited for wisdom.

How many times have I allowed fear to take the lead?
Hmmm…too many to mention.
Will I ever learn?
I’ve learned already.

This round goes to Leah. Although I took some pretty tough punches to the head and the heart, but I got back up, trusted in myself and the divine order of things. Is the match over? Nah, it will continue as long as I have breath. I’ll become fearful, run, exhaust myself, surrender, and then find my wisdom all over again.
Are there any short cuts?
Probably not, as all along I thought I was doing pretty well; I was stunned to find myself so utterly lost.

On the bright side, I do believe that each time this happens I become more enlightened than before, and that I am that much closer to learning how to authentically live my life. I’m also looking toward a time when I can peacefully flow in that river of tranquility that all those swamis and yogis are always yapping about and finally reach perfection ;)
Of course I’m going to need life to cooperate with me on this!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Risky? You Betcha!

I woke up this morning with a charged expectancy…the promise of a new beginning! I’m a little nervous, having spent the last five years with certain employment. A regular paycheck is not to be undervalued in this economy. But, when the trade off becomes too much to bear, then it’s time to take the leap and reach for something more.

I’ve spent the last three of these five years living away from home much like a soldier in the Army. This has provided me with some valuable space for reflection, creativity (I wrote Cosette’s Tribe!) and appreciation for my family. Having stepped away from my regular life I’ve seen from a distance what that life looks like, and I miss it. I miss my husband’s steady companionship and my little dog, who after three years of me being gone still greets me at the door with squeals and twirls, thinking that I’m home to stay. She’s going to very happy.

It’s the ordinary things that pad my life with meaning and it’s the routine of living side by side with my family that I crave. Existing away from these simple pleasures has made them sparkle with an enticing newness.

I have some plans for myself; some new stuff to do. Sure, I still have to make money, and I have a plan for that too, but I also have a novel to get published and another to complete. I have some new friends to make, and exciting places to go. Although my plan is a little sketchy right now, my heart is eager for this new beginning.

These days there’s been a shift in our economy…and the old ways of making a living. Gone are the days when companies provide excellent benefit packages, long-term employment, and stock incentives. Americans are finding that they must provide for themselves a security package. This package includes faith in our abilities and gifts, the boldness to strike out and pursue a dream, and the stamina to see the thing through.

So…it’s closing time. I’m packing up my belongings and saying my goodbyes. The sun has set on this chapter of my life and is rising in determined optimism on the next. Is it risky? You betcha! But the risk of missing out on that dream is far more frightening than the risk of failure. I can always get a job in my field but I may never have another chance at making my dreams come true.

“And the day came when the risk it took to stay tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” Anais Nin

Sunday, September 11, 2011

My Moody Muse

My muse stares from her holy perch, brooding, and fluttering; signaling me in her urgent, yet hushed way. “Yes, I’m here’” I say; meeting her where the elastic tension of my life expands and experience and emotion collide.

With those gypsy eyes of hers, I knew that we would be doing the tango and not the waltz. But her smile shines so white with sacred purpose, and the endless sea of passion that is her heart, makes it impossible for me to resist her. I love her, and have become accustom to her smoldering mood swings and reflective silences.

She’s a romantic philosopher, an ageless poet, considering the stars, and the scars, creating a sonnet of all that’s trite and true. She speaks with an honesty that’s often embarrassing, but I write it all down anyways, in fear of offending her and chasing her off to search for another channel with which to stir the world’s soul.

She’s collected the precious stones of my journey and examined each one. Fascinated with her discoveries, she gently excavates the underside of my soul…that hidden place where love and fear spoon in conflicted comfort, and my smoky dreams rise like incense in search of her blessing.

We dance in intimate darkness, and in graceful secrecy we conceive our unorthodox and brilliant children, casting them far away from ourselves forever.

We have become one, my moody muse and I, as surely as this moment is one with eternity and creativity is one with God.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Conversing With Scarecrows.

Sometimes life’s familiar road unexpectedly forks, leaving one to converse with scarecrows on which direction to go. Both roads appear to be identical…equally strange, having never walked down either of these paths before, so choosing one is often as random as an impulse…I’ll go right because I’m right handed.

When you don’t know where you’re headed any road will take you there. I don’t believe it’s the road that matters so much, (when you’re traveling without a map) it's the attitude that you have about the journey that counts.

Life likes to keep secrets, rationing out clues a little bit at a time, as we reluctantly participate in the great mystery of our existence. Our direction often seems as imperceptible as our souls, as we trek along, through mountains and jungles, preoccupied with the distractions of biting insects, blistered feet, and rattle snakes.

What drives us on? I believe that it’s the innate belief that we have a purpose for being here, although we’re not always certain what it is. It seems that we tend to look outside of ourselves for hints…when in all actuality we are the purpose. Our living is our doing, and our doing is our purpose, when living a life that flows from the heart of who we truly are.

Sometimes we lose our way, pretending to be something that we’re not, following anothers’ path because we’re fearful of pushing off on our own, or we’re just plain lost. Even in these cases life is generous, using our prodigal wanderings to lead us back home to our authentic selves.

Life’s greatest questions are often answered in spite of ourselves. We stumble and grumble, unaware of the progress that we are making, and then, as if by magic, we are seated on high, receiving heaven’s revelations, toasting our successes, and bragging about the hell we had to go through to get there.

It ain’t over till it’s over, but be warned…time passes quickly. So, be bold, push forward, and be kind to yourself. Oh, and try not to forget who you are! *grin

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Tumbling out of Heaven

Reaching into the darkness,
Through the fragile unknown spaces,
Between seraphim and cherubim,
Locking eyes with deity,
And tumbling out of heaven.

In reaching I’ve been revived.
In wanting I’ve been repelled.
In speaking I’ve been silenced.

This is what it feels like to speak to the wind.
Blown away.
This is what it tastes like to kiss the rain.
This is what it sounds like to be cut off.

This path is killing me with its blood stained pages.
This path is stunning with its desperate beauty.

Living at the edge of the world,
I’ll take my chances, and live some more.
Until I see the breath of silver;
That smoldering old soul,
I’ll keep my heart open.

I found Truth in the morning clouds.
She asked me for a ride.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

You're Kidding Me. Right?

Sometimes I step outside of my comfort zone, like a brave explorer, and go some place totally different, and then halfway through the journey I freak out. Everything seems foreign…and frightening!

I have the sensation of one walking through a lonely desert. My tongue is parched and bleeding, I’m on my hands and knees…and I’m convinced that I’m going to die. Staring into the wavy haze, I see an oasis in the distance. I’m saved! With renewed purpose I push forward through the blistering heat, fueled by the promise of water, and blessed shade. (This is where you hear the needle drag across the record.) Huh? A freaken mirage? You’re kidding me. Right?

So it is. So it is. Stupid, stupid, me. I should have known to bring my own water, besides I have no business wandering around in the wilderness in the first place. I’ve overshot my abilities, wandered way too far out of bounds. I thought I knew the way, had been here before. Where are the palm trees, and pool of deep blue water? Of course I’ve never been here. This is definitely not the same place. Out here I’m on my own, there are no signs, or landmarks, everything looks ... sandy.

Finding my way back is impossible because the impatient wind has erased my footprints. My only choice is to keep moving and pray that I don’t go in circles, or crazy. I’ll follow the sun, that relentless and unforgiving guide, and pray that it leads me out of this wasteland.

With crinkled lesson book in hand I inch onward. Using my favorite red pen I scribble down some words: Note to Self: A lemonade stand would do well out here.