Friday, July 31, 2015

Follow Your Rage - Own Your Place in this World

I've recently realized that following your passion can leave you bewildered and overwhelmed when you have so many. The heart pounds with passion but it also pounds with fury. I'm going to follow my anger - my passionate anger. What pisses me off the most? What do I want to change more than anything? Knowing the answer to those questions makes my direction clearer than any of the 'love and light', 'what are your gifts and talents?', 'what types of things show up in sessions', and all the other warm and fuzzy suggestions I've received from well-intended individuals. Sometimes love is fierce and fueled by a deep anger that has been growing as you observe your own and other people's complacency, denial and avoidance. Today is the day to say 'NO MORE'.

When I hear women complain about a patriarchal society (or anything else that appears patriarchal) I can't help but think of how many ways women accept roles that encourage patriarchy and then they complain about men having trouble committing or being "man enough"... whatever that means. If patriarchy makes you angry then stop trying to assume the roles of men! That does NOT make a woman equal, it makes her a conformist. If you don't want to be in a patriarchal relationship then don't expect a man to "take care of you" as though you are beneath him, financially, emotionally, psychology or any of the other "_______ly's". Gender equality is about an equal exchange of support, love and appreciation. You take care of one another equally.

 I will never settle for any relationship where I am not held accountable. To be my best possible me I need people in my life that call me on my sh*t. THAT is what shows me they love me, they don't want to be "above" me or "below" me, they want to work WITH me. Relationships that are symbiotic and beneficial for both parties with healthy boundaries and clear communication are for me.

A woman's contributions to society have the privilege of morphing significantly depending on her age, whether or not she has had children and how she wants to show up in the world. As the wonderful article I posted below reminds us, women of a certain age need to be more nurturing as they raise children but how can we use any dissatisfaction in our lives at any age to fuel us and remind loving nurturers? It is possible!

STOP neglecting yourself under the guise of having to take care of other people first. Practice what you preach, show people what it means to be empowered by taking care of yourself. Martyrdom based on self-neglect and perpetuating your own victimhood has no place in anyone's life anymore. See the healer in everyone, including your children and help others learn how to heal themselves. STOP basing your self-worth on other people's pain and drama. SHOW them the light they struggle to find, hold it for them when they are tired but don't ever, EVER take it from them or assume you are the only person that can help them with their light. Allow others to embrace what pains them, makes them angry and show them how to channel that into something powerful. And please, do not allow anything outside of yourself make you question your value. Accept challenges and allow them to peel away more layers of unnecessary fears.

Now is the time for me to crack myself open without fear and surround myself with people who are willing to do the same. Now is the time to love the things that piss me off because those are the things that show me where I can make a difference. I feel that part of my value is based on my ability to love myself and others and when I'm angry it's because I see where love is lacking, either for self or others.

Complacency, denial, victimhood, complaining, avoidance and unhealthy relationships, thoughts and behaviors are all unhealthy fear based patterns that hold us back and are cowardly excuses to not step up and make a difference. Are your desires based on what things piss you off and what you KNOW you can do to change it? Or are your desires based on avoiding truly connecting with yourself or others creating faux relationships and feeding addictive patterns? I believe anyone who is honest about the answer already knows their worth and doesn't need me to say anymore.

If you want to feel as fired up as I do, read: Rising Into The Storm: Women Who Burst Open with Age.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Sins of a Mother - What Instagram Doesn't Show You - *Nudity
The article on Elephant Journal, Motherhood Uncensored: What We Don't See on Instagram had me thinking about my time as a young mother and as I looked at the uncensored, artistic and raw photos of Elinor Carucci and her family I felt remorse, guilt and even some shame for a number of reasons. I will share two.

First - I was reminded of a discussion that took place on Facebook regarding women being allowed to have the same right to go shirtless as men. I was not part of this discussion, it was actually something my partner had showed me when he decided to defend his friend for her beliefs. His friend is currently a breastfeeding mother who has other children to take care of, (from my understanding anyway). This woman was attacked by many who claim to be religious, god-loving people who would preach about not judging others in one sentence as they judged her for her beliefs and very honest and raw feelings as a mother. My partner reminded those people that the only reason this is even an issue is because our culture has overly sexualized women's breasts and their value as something erotic has surpassed their value as life sustaining and nurturing gifts that only women have the privilege of choosing to experience - or not (in so many words anyway). I immediately imagined a woman having an orgasm strictly through nipple stimulation eons ago and she was meant to feel shamed for it and it quickly became something shameful for a woman while it simultaneously became, for a man preaching wholesomeness and purity, something to secretly long to experience; kind of like early day porn. Of course, this is all just me and my overactive imagination but still, you have to wonder.

If boobies make you uncomfortable, if realness of life in it's purest and rawest forms makes you uncomfortable or if you fear you may twist these images into something sexual, then please save everyone the trouble and don't view them. Read the Elephant Journal version to feel safe. If you want to experience a glimpse into the realness of motherhood and can observe without offense or judgement - including observing your own reaction physically, psychologically, spiritually or emotionally - then click and learn.

Second - As you may have surmised from the first point, society in general (including myself) made me feel remorse, guilt and some shame. Then those feelings hit closer to home as I viewed images of frustration and exhaustion in the mother's face. I only had one son and I have regretted my role as a mother almost his entire life. This is not fair to him or to me but I find myself reflecting often on how unprepared I was to be a mother at such a young age. I had not known life, I did not know how to be married and I especially didn't know how to be ME. I am often flooded with memories of moments that where wrapped in opportunity to connect with my son more, to learn how to be interested in his interests, to help him feel like he mattered to me as much as he really did.

It's so hard to remove one's self from the personal drama and connect with your children when anything in your life is riddled with the bullets of poverty, abuse, trauma, neglect or everyday stresses we bring home creating trauma, and then you realize that your inability to know how to change it only delivers the same toxic bullets to your children. Even now that he's a young man, whenever I see him I can FEEL my old feelings when I was with his father and he was so young and I have to consciously remind myself to be present; present in time and present in mindfulness with my son. I look at these images and the time I have with my son now as an opportunity to not change what's done but to start a new chapter and make new and healthier memories.

Social Media doesn't always share the realness of life, more the idyllic version of life, almost like an online vision board whose reality we feel close to reaching with every post.

What about you? Anything you feel compelled to express when reading the article or viewing the images?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Clarity of Purpose

This quote makes me think about purpose a lot. How much time does any one of us spend trying to figure out our purpose or connect with what we believe our purpose may be? I found myself in conversation with a stranger when I took myself out for breakfast one morning. It was one of those synchronistic moments with someone you don't know and will probably never see again that offers exactly what you need at the perfect moment. After a few kind questions he simply stated "You're a Renaissance Woman. What a gift!" Funny, I had never looked at myself that way. I have spent my life seeing how heady I get about everything and how I need to learn as much as possible about every topic that piques my interest before I get bored and want to move on to the next topic. I thought something was wrong with me!

Clarity of purpose continues to elude me. Sure I can see how my existence offers value in different aspects of life for people in general or those closest to me but having a clear purpose, to me means that it can be stated simply and directly. Like Einstein said, "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it enough."

Here's what I do know though; life has taught me that when you are on the right track with something, anything the less you have to talk about it. For example, when I had to talk about my marriage or any relationship thereafter with friends to "process", "vent", or get clarity I was really avoiding what I knew to be true for whatever reason. When I became aligned with what I knew to be true, accepted it and became willing to allow it to unfold in the best way possible for everyone involved then everything would fall into place. It was like I was watching my life happen around me. My actions were visceral and yet in harmony with everything and everyone around me. Even if others didn't know, understand or like my choices or actions, I knew I wasn't doing anything to intentionally hurt anyone. To let go of controlling the outcome, to let go of pain, anger, the need for my idea of justice or vengeance freed me from the control of others and the chains of my own thoughts and behaviors that had gotten me in those situations in the first place.

When we are stepping into purpose, whether it's your purpose in someone's life or your life purpose you will begin to recognize the moments when you feel despair, judgement of self or others, confusion or any other unsettling emotion and you will recognize the moments when you know something to be true. When you are quiet you can hear it, feel it viscerally, see it in your mind and if you aren't living it you will know that too. Notice what it is you hear yourself saying to others when processing or what it is you're writing over and over when processing. The key to what you are avoiding is in there.

When you realize what it is that needs to be done, when you don't need any feedback or input from anyone else, when you are tired of hearing yourself think or talk about the same thing over and over again, everything shifts. I have known this moment and it is life changing - maybe that's why we avoid it - fear of change? fear of the unknown? fear of success and/or failure? - The latter doesn't resonate with me because when you know something that deeply you don't even worry about success or failure, that isn't relevant. Now I am witnessing the man I love stepping into his purpose with bravery and confidence. And honestly, I don't think he would ever talk about the possibilities of success or failure either. He knows he is on this planet to make sure every human being has equal access to the food that they need. He doesn't question this, ask for anyone's opinion on it, he just lives it and the more and more he lives it the more people flock to him to support him, offer business advice, mentoring and anything else he may need to reach more and more people. He only has to have a new awareness about what is needed to get to the next level and within days (or less) it happens. He doesn't focus on manifesting, he doesn't worry, he doesn't get all stressed out about anything, he just plays his part in the symphony he's writing adding new instruments as he goes along.

That's the way it is when we are still, we are aware, we are clear, we know what we need to get to the next level, people who are meant to help us along the way just seem to be there right when you need them. No matter how deep this may feel in the moment or however many people help you there is never a doubt "am I doing the right thing?" it all just flows, even the rough spots are easier to get through. I may not be as clear on my purpose as my man is on his but I am clear on my purpose for each day and for now that's enough. When I stop writing about purpose I suppose that's when I've realized it. :) I imagine it will be like this little girl that gets to see life in a clearer way for the first time. It reminds me of when I was in optical for years and how I was moved to tears every time a child could see the world with clarity for the first time; especially when I would put contacts on their eyes for the first time and they would cry with their parents. Nothing in my secular life was ever more fulfilling.