Sunday, September 6, 2015

The Goddess in You

Micah - Goddess Photoshoot by SeguraPhotos
Today is September 6, 2015, the day that Venus begins to go direct (it will remain in shadow until October 9th) and coincidentally it's also World Goddess Day. I'm not sure how seriously I would normally take this but today I feel as if someone is screaming at me and I can't hear them. Is it my Higher Self? Is it God? I believe we have aspects of all of these archetypes within us. I relate more to the Goddess archetypes so I created this blog as a sort of exercise for others; a way to step outside of ourselves as observers without attachment to see how we would interpret our current situations, feelings, relationships and goals and what perspective we would offer ourselves through each unique filter.

These are four that help, hinder and haunt me. What they have taught me so far is at the end. If you try this exercise, please share any insights in the comments!

Venus of Urbino by Titian - 1538
Aphrodite (Roman name: Venus) - Goddess of Love, Beauty and Regeneration - protector of sailors. Her and I have had a love / hate relationship for a very long time. As Venus was retrograde many relationships were challenged and a lot of people ended relationships or did things in order to explore love and where they fit in the universal dance that they never imagined themselves doing. The greater the surprises were the more disconnected we were from recognizing how we have been showing up in our relationships, how our love expressions may have been off balance and how open we are to having healthy relationships (in general) with healthy boundaries with like-minded individuals. Whatever we have been avoiding, we have been forced to face. Now what do we do with that?

I have a love / hate relationship with this goddess because on one hand it feels wonderful and powerful to embrace our beauty (internally and externally), to have it recognized, valued, appreciated. It also feels wonderful to be in love but the act of love - doing love - can become a challenge. Words and actions can fail to match up. Expectations increase as do disappointments and resentments. The longing to be accepted for who you are and for exactly where you happen to be, all while being emotionally and spiritually encouraged and supported as you strive to be a better you becomes more and more elusive. It seems the more elusive a thing is the greater the desire for it and the further we push it away.

Athena statue at Parthenos

Athena (Roman name: Minerva) who for years I related to most. Goddess of Wisdom she was skilled in the art of war and negotiation. She was just and always sought peace. She was also Zeus' favorite.

Athena was with me when I did the goddess photoshoot the day after my Grandmother passed away. I felt the strength of this woman who had always faced every perceivable tragedy with a wisdom and soft giggle that could quickly ease the greatest of fears. Athena has been with me as I struggled to find a home to live in, I committed to being the first person in my family to complete a degree against all odds and as I fell in love again after a painful marriage. The shadow was probably becoming overly focused on survival and just getting through each day to the point of closing myself off from my true self, those I loved and others.

Athena and her wisdom are part of who I am but I lose myself and my ability to connect with others when I become overly ruled by my head and my ideals. In her wisdom I believe she is inviting me to connect with the other goddesses now in order to become my own version of a goddess.

Hestia (Roman name: Vesta) - The gentlest of the gods she was the goddess of the hearth. Without realizing it I have longed to embody this goddess the most since I was a little girl. In the book, The Alchemist it is referred to as a "Personal Legend". This quiet and gentle goddess finds the greatest value in a warm fireplace that loved ones can gather around and warm their bodies, hearts, minds and spirits. Embodying being-ness and healthy connectedness, this is who I have most longed to be deep down but my excitable nature begins to get distracted by the gifts of the other goddesses instead of embodying all of them simultaneously. This is why the archetype of Hestia continues to elude me.

Hera campana
Hera (Roman name: Juno) - Goddess of Marriage and Queen of the Gods with a serious jealous streak. I have known this archetype. I have known justified jealousy but have known great restraint in these moments (thank you, Athena). I was far from a goddess when married. I did not honor myself and therefore could not honor my household.

Micah - Goddess Shoot by Segura Photos
There are more goddesses and I encourage you to look them up to research them as archetypes, possibly meditate on the ones that resonate with you the most; even use them when creating visualizations or scripts for healing sessions. Here's what I have taken away from my meditations on these four women that have ruled my life with and without my awareness:

1. When you forget your Personal Legend (The Alchemist), that one thing you knew you were put on earth for since your earliest recollection, that one thing that makes you feel whole, you forget yourself. It becomes buried in fear and excuses and digging it out can mean countless loss the more piled up these fears and excuses become.

2. A goddess can show up in many ways without you realizing it. For me, I wanted Hestia to show up a certain way. Each time I get a little closer to realizing that hope it slips further away from my grasp. So redefining that image in your mind can help you feel complete. For me, my home is warm by my own fire. I can invite as few or as many people into my home and make them feel as warm, loved and accepted as possible each time, as little or as often as I'd like without compromising myself.

3. Venus loves love and so do I. Sometimes the love that is most demonstrated for us is by people we least expect it from. What a powerful lesson in detachment from expectations from those we say we love most! Why do the greatest loves come with the greatest expectations? Love ought not be heavy. Love is restorative and regenerates. It may not always look like you hope it could but the less you hang on to that particular expectation the more abundant varieties of love come pouring in. Virtuous, compassionate and accepting love.

4. Only when you can truly commit to yourself, what it is you know you need to be doing and making your well-being a priority, only then will others who treat themselves with the same dignity want to spend time with you. 

5. Be courageous. Risk losing what you fear losing the most. Release attachment to your ideas of how things "should" be or look and celebrate what they are. When you embody all of your archetypal, goddess-like strengths you will be and feel unstoppable and any set backs will feel that much more temporary.


Become your own god damn goddess!!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Pursuit of Self-Acceptance

"When I accept myself, I am freed of the burden of needing you to accept me." 
~ Dr. Steve Maraboli

When we journey into ourselves for whatever reason, to improve our health, wellness, spirituality or for greater understanding and empathy for ourselves and others we begin to reference a lot of interactions with other people as mirroring. It can help us learn and grow when we ponder people or circumstances that seem to make us feel something extreme. The idea that if we see what is being reflected at us that makes us feel triggered in some way, (regardless of whether we perceive it as "good" or "bad"), often causes us to believe or feel that we can find resolution around something within our selves that we may be suppressing, denying, battling, or even allowing to control us (patterns). Often times this also comes up when we feel a deep connection or resonance with someone else and what intrigues us about them is quite possibly something we want to delve deeper into within ourselves so we choose to invest in this other person on some level because we see them almost as a means to our own greater and deeper wisdom and quite possibly a deeper sense of self-acceptance. It can be easy to forget that something familiar in someone else doesn't necessarily equate to a healthy relationship, regardless of the type of relationship. Sometimes familiar is an unhealthy pattern we can relate to and have related back to us. Two unhealthy patterns joining rarely grow into healthier patterns.

The process of self-discovery is a seductive one and we can become so enamored with it that it becomes more of a cycle and less of what its original intention was when we decided to begin the journey. In one of my Cranial Sacral therapy classes a couple of my instructors would remind us, almost as a way of preparing and cautioning us, that people can become addicted to their own process. This is profoundly real. We can strive so hard and develop such an intense longing to accept ourselves that we pursue anything that reflects something in us that we want to explore no matter how much awareness we already have around it. We become seduced by our reflection in others and begin to rely so heavily on what we see in someone else's eyes - even spirit or sense of self - that we begin to lose ourselves in them (if only for a moment or long-term). This, I believe, is the 'burden' stated in the quote above. The burden is simply the amount of importance and value we place on others to reflect what we want to see (or feel), light or dark, good or bad, so we can explore ourselves from a safe distance and not really ever have to BE with ourselves. Instead we avoid our true selves further, distancing ourselves from our own ability to accept who we are without the attachment to defining this "thing" or experience as "good" or "bad", light or shadow; becoming distracted by the attachment of longing to define ourselves and find validation outside ourselves. Remaining a victim to the self-perpetuated cycle and drama of the ongoing search, ignoring what we already have.

To me, it's radical self-acceptance to see those reflections, feel those connections, notice the triggers and BE with them without becoming seduced, entranced and distracted by them because those moments are when we can be the least accepting of ourselves. It also means that we can see our desirable traits and our less desirable ones, our light and shadow, talents and challenges and witness them as they show up and dance with one another in our everyday life. We can sit as observers and at the end of each day we can note what things we want to enhance within ourselves and what opportunities we were shown to help us there. Then we can wake up each morning with a fresh intention and a rebirth, accepting ourselves free from the burden of wondering who we want (perceived need) to find to help us accept who we are as well as becoming free of the fear of what happens when we meet someone that intrigues or triggers us in a powerful way.

These interactions do have value but it's how desperate our longing to attach meaning (our identity) to them and how consumed we become by them that becomes more defining and even defeating as opposed to love and acceptance of self. Time invested in exploring ourselves through others compared to time alone - comfortable, without the need for distractions, entertainment or another person speaks volumes on your level of self-acceptance. No one else can give that to you. We don't need anyone's permission to accept who we are except permission from our selves. Do you give yourself permission to accept who you are today, right now in this moment? Are you willing to look in the proverbial mirror reflected in your interactions with others free of attachment to any specific outcome but merely as a witness, reflecting on what you observe when you make time to be alone at the end of the day?

What if we replaced the word "happiness" in the following quote to "self-acceptance"?

"Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder..." ~ Henry David Thoreau

Then perhaps you won't be one of the people Thoreau references when he says, "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation."