Archive | October, 2018

Happy New Year’s Eve!

It’s Halloween, or Samhain (please, say “sow-in”- that’s how it’s pronounced in the original Gaelic), and it marks the end of the year for pagans.

I haven’t danced much this year in the new house, I realized today as I was struck by a song on the radio and stood there, still and calm. It was “Breathe (2 AM)” by Anna Nalick and I closed my eyes as I listened. The sun came out and I turned towards it and felt the heat on my face and how it looks like your eye lids are all lit up when the sun comes through them while your eyes are closed. I was not dancing, but it was magic nonetheless.

When the song was done, I went to meditate. I lit the candles and got the sage smoking (that’s not a euphemism) and prayed to my ancestors. Both sets of great grandparents, now long dead. My Papa, who died a few years ago, but it still feels like I saw him last week. And to a newly dead great uncle- a very loving man who raised very loving sons and made the world a better place with his smile and corny jokes. The veil being thin this time of year, I thanked them for how their lives brought me forth and for the ways in which their spirits guide me every day.

I thought about the year past. Mostly it was difficult things I thought of. How I felt ridiculous and immature and incapable and not ready for so many things that happened. But also how I felt glad that I’d taken risks and been stupid and learned things about myself and my life and what I want to be and become.

That is probably what I like best about this ‘end of year’ versus the traditional New Year’s Eve: we recognize and celebrate the darkness in ourselves. We let it out to play. The part of us that might murder, the vengeful place inside our hearts, the seductress, the cruel one, the clown, the dead parts of ourselves- they all come out as Halloween costumes and we celebrate them. We reward them with candy, even! I think it’s incredibly valuable to recognize these parts of ourselves during this celebration and love them up, because magic doesn’t come from being good, it comes from being whole.

So, I sat at my altar and felt all the things: how feeling ridiculous is exactly like when I hit my funny bone in my elbow, but spread throughout my whole body. How I’d given bits of myself away and began calling them back. How it felt to remember things from long ago- painful things- and letting my heart hurt again. Regret. Regret sits like a mask atop my eyes but also drops down into my heart. I’m glad to have regret instead of wondering, even if it does feel like a weight. The various other feelings that needed space to be recognized and felt stopped by, too. It was sort of an ego death* parade.

I also took a few moments to send good wishes to those who had helped me in some way this past year- helped me learn, grow, understand. Even those who helped me feel regret or ridiculous- because they helped me know myself better.

And then I asked my ancestors to speak to me. The veil between the worlds is thin today and the next few days, so I believe their energy and messages come through to us living folks more easily, if we are open to them.

After it was all done, I took a very long, very hot shower. Not as a means of cleansing, but as a way of stewing in all of those things I felt. Today isn’t the day for getting all pretty and clean and free- it’s the day to recognize how dirty and broken and deliciously fucked up we are, and celebrate it anyway.

It turned out that the song I listened to was exactly right for today. “Just breathe,” she sings. Whatever comes, we accept it. And we breathe. Today I let all the ugly come up, watched the year march through me, and accepted all of it. Tonight I will celebrate it.

Much love to you, fellow travelers. I hope your Halloween is full of fright and fun- and I hope you get to be yourself, your whole self.

Joanna :: xoxo

 

Photo by Kento Iemoto on Unsplash

 

* Ego death is not what Jason Silva talks about on Facebook. Ego death is when we realize that something we’ve been attached to or believed strongly in (usually something that defines us) is either not true (as in, it’s actually a lie) or is no longer true for us. Examples:

  • I am a good person.
  • My marriage is safe.
  • There is a heaven.
  • I can have what I want.
  • I’m not broken.
  • I have a long life ahead of me.
  • God is only masculine.
  • If I am good, I will get what I want.

When we have an ego death, it’s a usually a horrible surprise: something we didn’t expect to be true, is. And it shocks us into a new reality. A reality where what we wanted or needed to believe is clearly no longer true. The part of our ego that was attached to that, that really, really wanted it to be true, has to die in that moment of understanding. So, ego death is the shock that opens us up to greater truth (even, probably especially, when we don’t like it or want it). It’s an incredibly valuable process. It’s better to seek it out than avoid it, if you ask me.

 

 

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A Lifetime of Love.

1997 :: 1996 :: 2014 :: 2017

 

Today we have been married for 21 years. If we had a kid the day we were married, that kid would be able to legally drink today. It’s an entire lifetime. And I want four more with him, this time around. And then I want four other lifetimes with him after this one has ended.

This has been a year of serious growth for me and my beloved and we are reaping all the benefits of our hard work, dedication, and love. I am incredibly happy with me, us, and where we are together. Like, fantastically happy. Contentedly happy.

I’ve been thinking about what it takes to be in a long-term relationship; I often do around this time of year. And I realized this year that there comes a point when you have to decide what kind of relationship you want to be in, long term. Because there are several different options to choose from. You can be in a relationship that never changes and stick with it, if that’s what both people want. He always mows the lawn, she always does the holiday decorating; nothing ever changes. You can be in a relationship with someone for a very long time and not care about them or the relationship. It’s horrible, but plenty of people do it. You can be in a growth-oriented relationship. You can be in a relationship that only grows during hardship or difficulty like a sickness or a family issue. There are many options.

For me, though, there is only one kind of relationship: growth-oriented.

Because I’m deeply interested in my own healing and growth, I am also interested in healing and growth in my most intimate relationships.

All of the times we have decided to make a shift in our relationship have been about growth. Our growths as individuals and our growth as a couple. For growth-oriented couples, the growth is their strength. At least, it has been for us.

It took us probably 5-7 years to figure out that we were growth-oriented. And then it took us another 4-5 years to understand our particular pattern of growth. Exploring this and understanding it is how we’ve been so wildly successful, why we still like and love each other, why we still have great sex (although, that is not the be all-end all of a relationship).

We tell the truth. We made a pact, at one point, to tell the truth, even if it hurt the other person. Because telling the truth leaves no room for doubt. Yes, we need to clarify sometimes, but we always tell the truth. Because how else are we supposed to fully understand another human if we don’t?

We work through the hurt. When one of us feels hurt, we work through it. One of our big issues (that it took years to fully work through) was money. We both grew up in families with weird money issues and what was ‘normal’ to me felt oppressive to him and vice versa. When I felt hurt by some of his actions with money we learned to work through it, even if there was pain. He stopped his behaviors. I looked at why they were so frustrating to me (I had to do my own healing so that we could heal). We both looked at what was our responsibility in this fight. Mine was to heal some old stories about money. His responsibility was to deal with some old patterns from his family of origin. It wasn’t fun. It took years. It bounced around a lot. And we had to deal with a fair amount of personal pain and create new habits. But we always work through the hurt until no one hurts anymore and until each of us feels loved and heard.

We really like the other person and want to be with them. Even when some of our habits annoy the the fuck out of other person. Even when we don’t look as sexy as we did 20 years ago. Even when we didn’t have sex very often (there are times when someone is sick or in pain and you can’t, and that may last for a while). Even when we are both bogged down with work, kids, and the daily grind. We still really dig each other as people and we know we want to be together.

We support each other’s dreams. He wrote two books. I am writing one. He wanted to study in England. I wanted to live in a particular house. He got his PhD and is a full professor. I wanted kids and did my Master’s. I needed more sex. He delivered. We both love to travel. We support each other in big and small dreams. And that draws us together as a team. And inside ‘being a team’ we practice loving each other.

I still think my husband is a really cool person I want to spend time with. And, for us, that happens because we grow as individuals and as a couple.

That’s not how it works for everyone, obviously. There are lots of ways to have long term relationships. And lots of ways to be happy in long term relationships. You just have to make sure you’re in the kind of relationship that suits you best, and so is your partner.

Feels like I’ve written this before; I probably have. Oh, well.

Happy Anniversary to my beloved. May we have many more ahead of us.

Joanna :: xoxo

::: ::: ::: :::

[FYI:because I keep getting articles about “letting go” on social media. Letting go of someone we loved or cared for (or still do) is some of the hardest work of being a human. It’s something we have to do, but you can have compassion for yourself as you go through it. It took me a long time to learn that. And I don’t particularly subscribe to the idea of soul mates or twin flames, but there are people who teach our souls things. Some teach us how we don’t want to be treated. Some teach us how we do want to be treated. These are soul lessons. But no one that loves you will treat you like shit. That’s not what love is. That’s not what love does. Love can cause us pain (see above), but real love also takes care of us and helps us heal.]

 

 

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Believe Us

 

A bloody, red background with the words "believe women, believe brown people, believe black people, believe poor people, believe disabled people' across it

[Did you really think I would not say anything about the news this last week?]

 

And for all the white men who read this, particularly you mediocre motherfuckers:

You have the least prohibitions on you.
You are not fettered or hurdled by the things the folks listed above are.
You have very few forms of systemic oppression limiting you and your choices.

Your life is 99% your own.

If you don’t like where you’re at: that is on you.

No one is your savior.
No one is your excuse.
No one is your reason.
Not me, not anyone.

Where you are is a result of your choices.

You choose to be influenced? That is on you.
You choose to behave poorly? That is on you.
You choose to listen or not listen? That is on you.
You choose to be a coward? That is on you.
You choose to blame others? That is on you.
You choose to be an asshole? That is on you.
You made a life you don’t like? That is on you.
And so are all the consequences and outcomes.

Everything is a choice. Everything.
[You are free to choose to do or not do anything, including breathe. There are consequences for choices, including falling unconscious and having your vital systems force you to breathe. But you choose everything. Everything.]

So if you don’t like what you have, that is not my problem or anyone else’s.
You are your own damn problem.
And you have the most freedom to change.

STFU and change if you don’t like where you’re at.
I am tired of white men’s bullshit, especially you mediocre motherfuckers.
And I have no time for it anymore.

Believe women.
Believe brown people.
Believe black people.
Believe poor people.
Believe disabled people.
Believe LGBTQIA people.

 

 

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