Archive | April, 2015

This Week in Sports.

This isn’t actually about sports. (Sorry.)
But it is a run-down of my weekly stats.
And the deep, dark stuff I’ve been batting at.

So, this week I spent not a few hours conversing about this post on Facebook. People had other ideas, opinions, and clarifications- which was awesome. There were comments from people I upset. (I have made some updates to the post based on the conversations I had.)

But as I looked at my feed, I realized I had been talking about having a tough week, personally and professionally- and that the ‘professional’ part looked like I was talking about That Post.

I wasn’t.

That Post was a good conversation and clarification, but it wasn’t the dark, difficult part of my week.

No, this week I floated down to the bottom of myself.
Like a weight on a fishing line.
Dropping down.
Into dark depths.

About my work.

I came to rest in a deep place that questions everything I do.
About business.
And how much money I (don’t) make.

It’s a nasty place, honestly. It’s where some of my most vehement, painful, judgmental, cruel internal voices and stories live.

[When people say, “My shit came up,” this is what they mean.]

 

Truths That Hurt

For me it was a story about when I was very young and told the truth (at age 5, to my mother: “You’re fat.”) and learned that when you tell the truth you don’t get what you want and people leave the room in tears.

As a service-provider who tells clients the truth, you can see how having this story play in my subconscious might interrupt the cash flow.

This was also a very painful story to remember. It hurt to revisit it in my mind. I cried and felt grief for that little girl part of me, for how it affects me now, and for my mother’s own wounds.

 

Lies That Won’t Stop (And Might Be True)

My shit is also voices that say, “You know absolutely nothing about business. Just quit.” “You’re no good at marketing.” “You don’t understand services like other people do.” And many other equally pleasant things.

These voices and stories make me feel like total shit. Because they are assessments that relate to facts. (‘Relate to’ is important. They aren’t ‘based in.’ Small but important difference.)

These voices also spiral quickly into judgments that I am not worthy of having my dream. “You don’t deserve this,” they say.

 

Untangling Crossed Wires

My shit was also realizing that I have connected my value as a person to the amount of money I make.

My entire life I have lived and worked for good grades. And I have, in my own head, set up the income of my business as a grade about who I am as a person. If I don’t ‘get a good grade’ (i.e. make some ca$h) then I suck.

 

Uh, it’s pretty painful to have all that floating around in your head.
Wondering if any of it is true.
Believing that probably some of it is.

Fuck.

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We shine the light in, we see the mess.

 

Practicing The Truth (Or, At Least Better Stories)

I know, from years of exploration and practice, what to do with the old story. It needs validation and acceptance, and probably some crying and grief. (Actually, I did do a lot of crying about it.)

The nasty voices also have their medicine. Listening helps. Asking if they need something helps. Offering them patience and kindness turns the sound way down.

But disentangling the notion about my worth from my income…that is taking some time.

There are so many levels at which this message is conveyed and supported in our culture.
Think about all the ways we demean, alienate, and reduce resources for people who don’t ‘produce.’ (Homeless people, people with different abilities, older people, poor people, etc.)

 

What does it mean to separate basic human worth from income?

I don’t know exactly. I am still looking into this for myself.

What I do know is that I need to separate them (and I think pretty much all of U.S. society needs to separate them, too).

I think about them being two Tinker Toys on a table. They are joined, stuck together.
And when I take them apart and put them on the table separately, things change.

Each piece has its own shape, color, and way to interact.
I am figuring out that when I put these two pieces together, shit doesn’t work so well.
In life or business.

 

I am starting to feel, and imagine/play with, what it is like to separate my own worth from the number that is my income.

That yes, in fact, I am worthy of basic good and resources just because I exist.

And that ‘what I do for money’ is a completely separate thing.

This is tough because ‘what I do’ – to a great extent – is also who I am.
I offer services from the best of who I am and what I have learned.
It makes the separation harder.

Right now I am still playing with it and trying on the various facets of separation.
This sounds like, “Okay, today I am going to think about work as ‘something I do for money,’ and noticing what happens during the day.

Other moments it is sitting, meditative-like, in the feeling of being inherently worthy (whether I bring in money or have hair or am female or use too many resources).

I don’t have answers. I only have exploration.
But that is enough for now.
Exploration will lead to discovery.

And when I discover, I will report back to you.

– – – – – – – – – – – –

I will get back to some happier posts in the next few days. This week has been tough, but there is plenty on satisfaction and sensuality that is waiting in the wings.

 

 

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Reminders :: Soul Mates + Soul Work

I was reminded of the nature of soul mates with these two info-graphics last week. Soul mates are just, and only, that: the help-mate of our soul. It sounds rather medieval, help-mate. But it is the exact proper word. That ‘other’ which helps us grow into our true self, which helps reveal who we really are. (It is not always pretty or sexy or smoochy.)

Jeff Brown says it better:

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the idealist also does a god job.

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I have had many soul mates in my life. They have always smacked me awake.
(If you want to know more about the ‘one, true love’ stuff- check out the phrase ‘twin flame’ on Google.)

Make no mistake, your soul’s purpose is with you. Always.
And it will use whatever means it has to help you awaken.

In my experience, first it taps you lightly on the shoulder.
“Try this,” it says, gently but with that cool punch in the gut.

Then it pokes me in the shoulder. Hard.
“Pay attention, now.”

Then my soul pushes against me, knocking me off balance.
“This is getting real,” it warns me. “Do something.”

And then, the coup de gras, the proverbial smack across the forehead.
With a 2×4.
I am knocked flat on my ass (physical, emotional, spiritual- any will do).

I have also learned that your soul will use whatever it can to teach the lesson.
Love. Joy.
Hope. Pain.
Fear. Yes, so often fear.
People. Children. Teachers. Lovers. Partners.
Places. Sometimes just a moment walking through, you’re changed.
Animals.
Things: their loss, their gain.
Experiences. Experiences are our patterns. And pattern is the playground of the soul.

It has the whole universe for its bag of tricks.

The consequences of not listening are simple: you will die a slow, boring death.
Gradually your soul will wither.
And with it, all your life blood.

You will no longer really be alive.
Just a shell.
And you will know it.
Which is the worst regret of all.

So, listen to your soul mate(s).
They want you to live.
And to live brilliantly.

– – – – – – – – – – – –

On a personal note, I will say, very few of my soul mates have come with joy. My husband and children (mostly, children are complex little soul-developers), a few experiences abroad, some special places.

For the most part, my soul mates have been painful pairings. In part because I wait too long to listen to their call. I have been hit by the 2×4 so many times.

But I also listen better and deeper when I am smacked so righteously.

I take action then.

I fight.
(Don’t we all, when smacked?)

I have learned not to fight the soul, though.
I fight myself.
Because that is the only thing that has ever really stood in my way.

Old stories. Old perceptions. Old understandings.

I am at the precipice of another lesson, and it hurts  like hell.
It is forcing me to listen to old stories and cry, cry, cry.

Even though I feel healed enough, there is -sometimes- still work to do.
Work that, if undone, will hurt me more.

I know this now.
So I do the work.

My soul mates are many.
And I am glad to know them.
I want to be awake.

 

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What Sensuality Does

Sensuality does not wear a watch but she always gets to the essential places on time. She is adventurous and not particularly quiet. She was reprimanded in grade school because she couldn’t sit still all day long. She needs to move. She thinks with her body. Even when she goes out to the library to read Emily Dickinson or Emily Bronte, she starts reading out loud and swaying with the words, and before she can figure out what is happening, she is asked to leave. As you might expect, she is a disaster at office jobs.

Sensuality has exquisite skin and she appreciates it in others as well. There are other people whose skin is soft and clear and healthy but something about Sensuality’s skin announces that she is alive. When the sun bursts forth in May, Sensuality likes to take off her shirt and feel the sweet warmth of the sun’s rays brush across her shoulder. This is not intended as a provocative gesture but other people are, as usual, upset. Sensuality does not understand why everyone else is so disturbed by her. As a young girl she was often scolded for going barefoot.

springflowers

Sensuality likes to make love at the border where time and space change places. When she is considering a potential lover, she takes him to the ocean and watches. Does he dance with the waves? Does he tell her about the time he slept on the beach when he was seventeen and woke up in the middle of the night to look at the moon? Does he laugh and cry and notice how big the sky is?

It is spring now, and Sensuality is very much in love these days. Her new friend is very sweet. Climbing into bed for the first time, he confessed he was a little intimidated about making love with her. Sensuality just laughed and said, “But we’ve been making love for days.”

– J. Ruth Gendler, The Book of Qualities

[All of this is a true story.]

 

 

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Come and give me all that you are.

And the Great Mother said:

Come and give me all that you are.
I am not afraid of your strength and darkness,
of your fear and pain.

Give me your tears.
They will be my rushing rivers and roaring oceans.

Give me your rage.
It will erupt into my molten volcanoes and rolling thunder.

Give me your tired spirit.
I will lay it to rest in my soft meadows.

Give me your hopes and dreams.
I will plant a field of sunflowers and arch rainbows in the sky.

You are not too much for me.

My arms and heart welcome your true fullness.
There is room in my world for all of you,
all that you are.

I will cradle you in the boughs of my ancient redwoods
and the valleys of my gentle rolling hills.
My soft wind will sing you lullabies
and soothe your burdened heart.

Release your deep pain.
You are not alone and you have never been alone.

– Linda Reuther

 

 

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I am healed enough now.

For many years now I have done this:

Sat inside the vastness of myself,
squarely in the middle of my depth
and discovered that something is wrong with me.

I yelled at my husband too much.
I hated parenting.
I needed a way to connect with god, but not through Jesus.
I wanted to find good work.
I was so mad at my co-worker (and my boss).
I could not forgive my mother.

All of these things, and more, crawled into my awareness.
They felt broken.
Dark.
Painful, some very deeply.

And while I believe that we are all essentially good- when our actions, reactions, and perceptions get in the way of the life we want, we have to look at that. We cannot change others, we can only change ourselves. Some things inside us do need healing.

And so, I rowed my little boat away from my center
(but, also towards it– such is the way of spiritual healing)
and over to whatever was broken.

I knew, from other travels, that if I didn’t go look, the brokenness would haunt me.
It would seek help in other, less obvious but more destructive, ways.
Our soul wants to heal, and it will- whatever way it can.

Like a dock or port in a new land,
I made my way
and set my anchor down.

I looked at what felt wrong.
In what ways was this place broken?
What had happened in each port?
Fear?
Anger?
Loss of voice?
Confusion?
Ignorance?

Each port had it’s own kind of brokenness.
And also, it’s own medicine.

What I needed to learn in order to heal,
was always there.

First it was self-care.
Then self-compassion.
My own sexism and racism.
Then the grief. Feeling the grief.
Then it was feeling all the emotions.
My desire, how I feared and loved it.
One time I needed to learn meditation (that was what was broken- who knew?).
And then, to trust myself and my intuition.
To love with no object.
To enjoy pleasure.
To accept what is.
To do what Life was asking of me (fuckfuckfuck).
To surrender.

Each new harbor has given me something to see about myself.
Each new harbor had its own tantrum, in all honesty.
Whatever called to be healed was worth exploring, though.
The brokenness we all possess: I have it, too.
This is what makes us equal.

My brokenness has also given me so much compassion for the brokenness of others.
We are in this together, my friends.

a boat with no rower moored on a dirt shore

For fifteen years, I travelled back and forth.
Between my center, feeling ever more healed and confident, and then…
back to the broken places again.

It was a dance I learned very, very well.

So well, in fact, that ‘Fix the Broken’ is now my go-to way of behaving when I want to move ahead in my life.

Until about six weeks ago.

Somewhere around my 40th birthday, I started to feel differently.

It wasn’t that I was tired of hearing the broken places and going to fix them (because, I have been through that a mazillion times, I know what ‘being so damn tired of fixing’ sounds like).

This was different.
It was an statement from a deeper place.
Calm, cool, and collected.

And it said: you’re okay now.
You have done enough healing.
You really, really have.

It was a surprising thing to hear, within myself.
There was no more clanging of bells and crashing of broken plates – that’s how the broken calls to me.

The statement felt really true.
And really good.

I am healed enough now.

Yes, there are things I need to work on still (my black-and-white thinking, still with the racism and sexism and New Englandism, and parenting will always be there). But I know how to deal with brokenness now. It is a tool I can use whenever I need it.

Right now I don’t need it so much.

It finally feels as though I have rowed myself back into my center.
My boat is full of wisdom and tools.
And now I want to build up.

Yes, I want to stand on all that I am now.
Based on all my brokenness,
And all my goodness,
All my suffering and wisdom.

I want to build up.
I am ready to learn this now.

 

 

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