Tending To The Home Fire

I often find myself searching through websites and articles online, looking for something.  Listening to new song after new song.  Hoping the melody, words, or something sparks back memories of feelings that have gone missing.  Trying to remember what I’ve forgotten.  What I’ve hidden away in an effort to protect those tender parts of me.

I can’t stand any of the numbness in me anymore.

My hope is that others who still remember those things in themselves that I’ve forgotten, have found the strength and courage to share those things open-heartedly.

I know immediately when I’ve come across one of those pieces, whether it’s a single sentence, idea, or a haunting melody.  I feel an immediate relief in my tightened stomach and a very short, but cathartic cry.  Intense, humbling gratefulness.  The whole of my awareness pulses out Thank You.

It’s how we keep the Divine Fire alive here.

You’ve been hurt . . . you’ve forgotten a part of yourself.  It will be okay, I still remember this piece.  Let me soul sing it back to you until you remember again for yourself.

Whenever I’m walking my path through the dark, I can feel in very still moments, the heart songs of those in the Light.  Letting me know that they are holding the memories of who I really am in safekeeping, so that I won’t be lost forever.  That I am not forgotten.

I’ve been going through a lot internally as of late.  I became scared because everywhere I turned, I saw that people had gone into the dark.  I recognize the look in their eyes.  I recognize the look of being lost.  Of trying to pretend like everything’s okay.  Of not wanting to admit where they are.

I’m used to being the only one going through the dark, and nobody else understanding where I am.  I finally find and claw my way out, and then everyone else goes in?  Why am I always standing by myself no matter where I go?

I had to become very still and quiet in myself so that I could hear my heart again.

The thing about having spent my life in the dark, is that I’m not so scared there anymore.  No matter where I go, whether anxiety, rage, paranoia, terror, or even full out insanity . . . I consciously know where I am.  I know how to go in and out of those places.  I understand them intimately.

This helped me further open my eyes and see what’s taking place in my life and the opportunity it holds for my growth.

My feeling of being alone comes from shielding or protecting my heart.  I was feeling like I would have to do that while everyone else is in the dark so that they don’t pull me back into the dark with them.  People in the dark act very similar to drowning victims by nearly taking out the person trying to help them, in their panic to be helped.

But I know the dark for what it really is.  I know that I have no reason to be afraid while I’m in it.  But I’m usually alone in those feelings.  Listening to the other divas in the dark, they’d have me believe that I really should be afraid.  If I believe their intense fear over my heart, then the lights go out for me too.

This has happened to me so many times, that I’ve even come to know that place.  I’ve brought in an interior decorator to fix the place up because it’s been my home for so long, I figured I might as well make it comfy.

I know I’m not here by accident.  I wasn’t put in the dark to be punished.  In fact, knowing me, I most likely enthusiastically volunteered because I’m crazy like that.

So what if . . . instead of standing on the sidelines where it’s safe and yelling obscene inspirational quotes into the darkness . . . what if I was one of the ones who made the choice to go wholly into the darkness?  Go in and learn everything about it until I saw it for what it really was, ultimately losing my fear of it.

What happens when we lose our fear?  Our hearts open.

What happens when our hearts open?  The Light comes in.

What cannot survive the Light?  The Dark.

I can do that.  If it means not being alone anymore.  If it means giving others a spark of hope in the dark.  Then I can do that.

Dancy Quan

The Caring Circus

A new understanding is forming for myself in regards to my life.  Ha.  I initially wrote “lie” instead of “life”.  My typing fingers think they’re hilarious.

I’m still feeling out the details, but for now the main energies that seem involved in this new understanding for myself, belong to the Leo and Virgo variety.  Which makes sense, since transiting Jupiter is currently in Leo and the Sun is currently in Virgo.

There are persons, places, and things (henceforth I will refer to as ‘nouns’) and events (henceforth I will refer to as ‘verbs’) in my life that will take something small and rather unimportant in the big scheme of things, and make it into a 3-ring-circus.

While other nouns and verbs will take things that are actually earth-shattering, and make them into small unimportant no-things.  Suffering alone in silence.

The nouns and verbs that take the small pebbles and blow them up to mountain-size, pull a lot of attention and focus to them.  Let’s face it, it takes a lot of energy and focus to build mountains with grains of sand.  This feels like a Leo energy to me.  A flair for the dramatic made fit for the stage.

The nouns and verbs that hide the mountains and pretend they’re tiny grains of sand, feels like the Virgo energy to me.  On the healthy side of Virgo, is the energy that goes around taking care of the day-to-day routine things in life that makes everything run smoother, but all of the love and care that they put into everything they do, often go unnoticed by others.  On the unhealthy side, or under duress, it can become obsessive compulsive about needing the routine in order to feel okay or being a slave to the routine vs. doing the routine out of open-hearted care, love, and nurturing.

The Leo-ine variety of nouns and verbs can be so caught up in the scene, that they become it.  They are very dedicated to their roles.  The show must go on after all.  It takes over their lives and the lives of anyone who gets assigned a role by them.  “You!  Yes, you over there.  You shall be . . . [insert generic title that is lesser than the Leo-ine role].”

I don’t know if you’ve ever been caught in the headlights of a Leo-ine type, but the warmth of their attention is no nice, so cozy, so heart-warming.  Especially if you’ve been more of the Virgo variety and have for the most part gone unnoticed.

But what the Virgo nouns and verbs seem to miss (as they focus on the details), is that the Leo Nouns and Verbs are in the middle of a scene.  Breaking character is frowned upon or ignored.  You either play it the way they have it scripted, or they don’t want to play with you at all.  The Virgo variety will want to help, soothe, heal what ails the Lion.  But the scene doesn’t end until the Lion is done with the role he is in the middle of playing, regardless of what anyone does (as long as others are paying attention to him).

Because the dramatic nouns and verbs are so caught up in the scene, they become incapable of seeing outside of themselves and the reality they’ve concocted.  They are unaware of how living their lives in the way they do and making the choices they make, affect others.  They are unaware of how it is them that is perpetuating it.  They are unaware of how much their antics take so much away from other’s lives, including something as simple as allowing others to choose what they’d really like to be doing with their lives, rather than spending it putting out all the crisis fires that the Leo is compulsively and obliviously setting to the scenery.

This is more along the lines of how I understand being ‘self-absorbed’ to truly mean.  Not as I’ve heard others understand it, where they think that simply talking about yourself means you’re self-absorbed.  When the unhealthy Leo nouns and verbs are in this state of self-absorption, they are rendered incapable of giving of themselves because they are unaware of a world outside of them.  Even in their attempts to help or give to others, it’s still really about them.  It’s still about drawing focus or attention to them.  It’s the perpetual “me” show.

Because Leo is the sign of the actor, they can be really good at looking & believing the part they are trying to play.  Leo is also the sign of play and pretend.  They really believe with all their heart that they are this role they are playing.  So much so, they won’t listen to any talk of it being otherwise.  This leads to the other unhealthy Leo issue, which is pride.  Their pride won’t let them admit that maybe all of the stuff they’ve been making a big t0-do about, isn’t really as big of a deal after all.  How do you gracefully back down and come back from all of the dramatic proclamations and declarations you’ve made over the years without completely losing face and the respect of everyone you know (including yourself)?

I do not envy the Leo nouns and verbs.

Leo is about being playful, loving you.  There is a healthy focus of self.  There *is* a need for attention and affection that Leo is so well known for.  They’re just great big, fluffy kitties who can play a little too rough sometimes, but don’t *really* mean any harm.  They’re just playing after all.  It’s just their show is so good and seems so for real (even to them), that none of us would DARE call the Leo out on his stuff in the middle of the show unless you wanted to become a shredded and bloody cat toy that was shunned and labeled as heartless.  (The irony of Leo ruling the heart).

So we give them what they want, all of our attention.  Because if we don’t, they may ratchet up the ante to life and death scenarios.  Yes, Pluto & Scorpio is involved in the Leo nouns and verbs in my life, but besides that, Leo is the sign of the creative Life Force.  Life is one big dramatic show, which involves things such as Life and the Lack of Life.  So it’s only fair that Leo have the same range to work with.

What follows Leo in the zodiac is Virgo.  Virgo is the next step in the process of the progression of life in which we go from kids who are playing and pretending and who don’t have a care in the world, to learning how to start taking care of things.  Brushing your teeth, getting regular rest.  Paying the bills.  Dusting the furniture.  To Leo, that’s the equivalent of being a stick in the mud.  That’s the opposite of the definition of fun.  To some, it’s the equivalent of death.  A life of routine and taking care of shit?  No.  I’d rather BE DEAD!

lol, oh Leo . . . always so dramatic.

Many people learn at some point in their teens that all of the drama llama isn’t worth it.  Some people never learn it.  Some are attempting to learn it dramatically, and some just get their own reality show.  LOL.  Reality.

Virgo.  Virgo can be such a tender, gentle, soothing, caring, cuddle energy.  Virgo cares.  Really, really cares in ways that some people will never comprehend.  They don’t do what they do for the glory, they do what they do for the sake of love.  Well, that’s the aim of Virgo anyways.  Once they get past their hypochondriac, obsessive compulsive, can’t see the forest for the trees phase.  They see a wounded animal, they want to tend to it.  They see a sad face, they want to comfort it.  In Virgo, we find healing.

Among the Virgo nouns and verbs are many, many unsung heroes.  A Virgo who is in their grace, will easily go unnoticed by all the Leo nouns and verbs who are still caught up in the “fun” show.  The Virgo variety, when healthy themselves and grounded, will care and heal those around them without drawing attention to themselves or expecting anything in return.  They may carry huge burdens within themselves and never speak of the pain they’ve known and witnessed, maybe even thinking they have nothing to complain about.  They don’t want to be a bother or a burden to others, (which itself seems to be some leftover drama from Leos-ville)  They see the Leo nouns and verbs carrying on like their hair is always on fire and they think to themselves, “Oh . . . no, my thing isn’t that bad.  Best give them the attention, I’ll be okay.”

Which sets it up so that the ones who really do need the care and attention of others, are the very ones who would never call attention to themselves.  And the very ones who are getting all of the attention, are the ones who could stand to be taken down a notch or two.

To the Virgo nouns and verbs, you need to quit trying to save every little wounded thing that wanders into your path.  Trying to heal or save someone or something that has no wish to be saved or healed, is a total waste of your time.  There are many, many out there who are less showy about their struggles and who could truly use the healing and nurturing energy that you have to give.  If you spend your whole life on the one or two people who don’t really wish to leave their wounded story behind, then you miss out on the hundreds who really could’ve used your help and would have only needed a fraction of your time and attention.  The ones who truly want or need help, are also not going to want to impose or be a burden and are able to make do with very, very little assistance.

Virgo, you have to learn how to let go of those who aren’t really interested in what you have to offer and who aren’t going to appreciate you.  You also need to learn how to speak up a little louder about your own needs.  It doesn’t actually do you any good to let others take and take from you without giving in return (at least without a fight).  All it does is drain you of life, take from others who do need, and allows the other person to continue being a spoiled child (gimme your attention).  Nobody really wins in that scenario.

To the Leo nouns and verbs, you need to get out of your own way.  You need to recognize that as awesome as you are, there is a world and life full of other realities that exist separate from you.  That there are many, many people who are suffering just as much, if not more than you, but don’t make a big show about it.  That just because others appear to have it more together than you, doesn’t mean they do.  Often times you don’t hear from them, because they’re busy being focused on actually doing something to improve their shithole life instead of focusing on making a big production out of it.

Leo, things can’t always be about having fun or about you.  Fun without structure or responsibility is the recipe for a spoiled, self-absorbed brat.  I don’t care how sweet and nice of a human you are or if that hurts your feelings.  If you are being self-absorbed and obliviously creating situations that basically forces others to give you attention repeatedly and for extensive lengths of time, instead of them getting to focus on living the lives they were meant to, you are being a spoiled brat.  If you were to grow up and take actual responsibility for yourself, you would prevent about 99.9% of your life’s drama, and maybe even understand what true happiness really feels like.  (Hint:  Happiness shouldn’t result in hangovers.)

I have been both the Leo & Virgo nouns and verbs, as well as been surrounded by both the Leo & Virgo nouns and verbs.  I believe we all have the tendency, some more pronounced than others.  All, and I do mean all, are very lovable and cuddly creatures underneath the drama and hurts and pains.

I’m just trying to do my Sun *job*, being a Gemini Sun/Jupiter conjunct, and reconcile duality and paradoxes.  Stick little Gemini labels on them.  Use my words to communicate and share what I’ve found or learned through personal experience, and make it available to anyone who may be searching for exactly that information to help grow or improve their lives, which in turn will automatically help improve the lives of others.

Also, my Saturn in Leo in the 5th is coming into play.  Jupiter transited my natal Saturn last Wednesday.  The taskmaster Saturn has been teaching me my whole life via the school of hard knocks how to be a grown up Leo.  Which is hilarious because my sun/Jupiter in Gemini, along with the Leo emphasis means that I’m basically a great big kid.  A great big, grown up kid who is all responsible and shit.  Who has gone through a life of drama llama, but still came out the other end with an open heart.

I may talk a lot about myself, but I am not self absorbed.  I do what I do consciously for both myself and for others.  I love me, and I love you.

 Extreme Caring

Living Large

We did it.  We finished moving.  After two months of planning, packing, moving, and cleaning, I finally got to turn in the keys to my old apartment on Saturday afternoon.

This has been a mega project that has absorbed much of my focus and attention, along with a new job that I started at the same time.  I was at that apartment complex for a total of 5 years and I was at my previous job for 5 1/2 years.  Within a two month period, a great deal of my life has completely changed.

It’s not easy making changes that big.  It disrupts routine.  It rocks me out of ruts and pushes me to deal with things I didn’t even know I was avoiding.  I used it as an opportunity to go through E V E R Y T H I N G and purge, purge, purge.  I came across things I had all but forgotten about.  It brought long forgotten memories, dreams . . . even nightmares . . . back to the surface to be seen and dealt with.

I had forgotten I had been married until I came across the divorce papers.  That was back in 1996.  18 years ago.  I’ve been divorced for 18 years.  Wow.  That was so many lifetimes ago for me.

Sometimes when I have moments like that, where I’m suddenly transported to a much younger version of me, I find myself wanting to reach out to the younger me and give her a hug.  Knowing the path that lie before her, I feel like it’s what she could use most.  In that hug I am saying, “You’re going to make it.  It’s going to be okay.  Just keep believing and don’t give up on yourself.”

Not in a “cheer up kid” kind of way, but in a very deep heartfelt sorrowful “I’m sorry that I can’t tell you that it’s going to be easy, but it’s how it needs to happen” kind of way.

I remember one time, not long after my divorce, when I had been renting a room out of a home that was running a daycare in it.  (I don’t care how good the deal sounds, don’t EVER rent a room from a house running a daycare. Run.  Run as far away from it as possible.)  I made too much money to qualify for any state assistance (something like $50/month too much), but I most certainly did NOT make enough money to pay for childcare, rent, food, gas, car payment/insurance, etc.  I basically worked, so that I could afford to go to work.

I was at a very low point in my life.  A nonstop series of traumatic events kept hitting me like tsunamis, each one becoming harder and harder to recover from.  I was exhausted, under-fed, and under-nourished.  I didn’t have a support network or any friends to go to.  I couldn’t think clearly.  I always felt weak.  But I had a young toddler who was looking to me for care and love.  So I kept pushing myself forward.

On this particular day, I was at the end of my ever-loving rope.  I had $5 to my name.  We were out of food.  My son was unhappily in a stroller.  I walked slowly up and down the aisles of the grocery store, starving.  I was trying to decide what would be the best way to spend that $5.  What would give us the most food that would last the longest, but also make us feel full.

I was so exhausted I could barely put one foot in front of the other.  My son was squirming and starting to get vocal in his stroller.  There was another woman with a kid somewhere else in the store, and that child was having an outright temper tantrum.  My raw nerves couldn’t handle the screaming.   I stopped.  I thought to myself, “I can’t do this.”  I just stood there silent in the bread aisle staring straight ahead.  Something in me gave out.

My vision began to get blurry as huge crocodile tears poured down my face.  I wasn’t making any facial expression, I wasn’t crying in any way that I understood crying to be.  My facial expression, in fact my entire body, was absolutely still except for the tears coming down.

I gave up trying.  I couldn’t see the point of this existence or of fighting this hard just to barely survive from moment to moment.  I didn’t have any answers, any solutions.  My body, mind, and soul had been pushed to the limits for far too long.  I didn’t know what was going to happen, I didn’t know how this was going to solve my problems.  All I knew, is that I didn’t have anything left in me to give.  Not one more step.

I also didn’t care anymore what happened.  I didn’t care if they hauled me away to a mental ward.  I didn’t care what anyone or anything threatened me with, I didn’t have anything left in me to move or care about anything.  I was willing to accept the consequences of whatever happened by me deciding never to move again.  Being absolutely still, was all I could do.  The tears were acting on their own, I simply didn’t have the energy to stop them.

So there I stood for many minutes, feeling like I was on the best vacation from life I had ever happened upon, when something incredible occurred.  A woman who seemed to me like she had appeared from nowhere, gently placed her hand on my shoulder and told me in the most loving and kindest of tones that she had once been where I was, and she wanted me to know that things would be okay, even if it didn’t feel that way right now.

That gesture of such a real and true kindness from a stranger, clicked something back on in me.  I felt myself come back into life.  I looked around.  Suddenly feeling more life in me than I had in awhile, I quickly walked up and down the empty (and now quiet) aisles trying to find the woman to say thank you, but I never did find her.  I was openly crying now, facial expressions and all.  I didn’t care what anyone thought, I was just so grateful for what had been given to me.

I suddenly knew exactly how I needed to spend the $5, and I did so confidently.  I had renewed faith in life and in my ability to overcome.  This was all just temporary.  This wasn’t the whole of my existence.  I had overcome far worse in my life before and I could do it again.  I’ve always found a way through life’s challenges, and I would continue to do so because I wasn’t going to let hard times get the best of me.  There is always, always a way out, around, or through obstacles.  Always.  I would not give up.  I would not let myself or my son down in life.

That woman saved my life.  It didn’t take money or anything of a material nature.  She didn’t do it by lecturing or judging me for being such a young mom (which I got plenty of on a daily basis from all kinds of supposed loving, church-going people . . . which is exhausting and not helpful at all).

What this woman had done that was different from all of the well-intentioned mouthpieces that go around parroting loving and inspirational phrases, was that she offered the words she said to me with a truly open and unguarded heart.  She selflessly gave of her heart to an absolute stranger standing frozen in the middle of a bread aisle.  She had nothing to gain from it.  She said it with absolutely no ego involved.

That’s all I had needed.  Something real.  Something true.  That stranger showed me in that one moment, more true heart and care than I had been able to find in all of the people in my life at that time.  That’s how starved I was for it, and how little it took for me to be willing to give life another try.  To continue to give of my own heart to others again.

With this move and new job, I’ve again been having my limits challenged.  There’s something about being pushed beyond my limits that helps me reset my priorities again.  Helps me regain proper perspective on life.  I go back to that moment in the bread aisle.  I am reminded of how rarely people truly give of their heart.  How even in their “lovingness” they are just as closed off and isolated from one another as the “cold-hearted” of us.  Simply saying loving things, doesn’t make you loving.  Simply going through the motions of being a “good” person, doesn’t mean you’re “good”.

We’ve been conditioned since childhood to see the world through the lens of certain behaviors and actions dictating whether you are a good person or a bad person.  If you ignore someone you are bad.  If you bring them pumpkin bread when they’re sick, you’re good.  Those are all superficial things.  Just because you can put a good show on the outside, doesn’t mean you’re a good person.  Just because you can’t hide the hurt in you and you act out, doesn’t mean you’re a bad person.

We’ve got it all wrong.  All of that is superficial judgment.  It’s both more simple and more complex than that.

It’s more simple in that, anything done with an open heart . . . is “good”.  Anything done with a closed heart is “bad”.  That’s only if you’re needing or wishing to slap labels on things such as good or bad.

It’s more complex in that, it means you can’t judge someone or a situation based on what is being shown or by a set list of characteristics of what it means to be good or bad.  The only way you’re actually able to know or discern the difference between whether the actions of a person is of one persuasion or the other, is when your own heart is open.  Until then, you will struggle to see clearly who is truly in the right and wrong.  You will more easily be persuaded by those who have the gift of gab and can spin a good story, and/or you won’t be able to see past your own projection onto others.

The irony is that when you’re truly coming from an open heart, you realize how absolutely pointless and futile judging others truly is.  That it’s when you can see things for what they really are, that you no longer feel the want or need to judge others.

Speaking for myself personally, when I hit those moments where my heart truly opens and my guard is completely dropped, that what comes forward in me is an incredible love and sorrow.

When a person can see through everyone’s mask, how could they feel anything but incredible love and sorrow?

When you can see how they hurt inside.  That life has broken their heart in some way and they are just trying to make the best of it that they can.  When you can see how alone they feel.  The loneliness and heartbreak I see hiding in people’s eyes as they go about their day, pretending like they’re fine . . . is heartbreaking and painful to see in another.  I feel overwhelmingly heartbreaking sorrow and actual physical pain in my heart.  The things we argue over and fight about are so pointless and miniscule in the big scheme of things.  So trivial and meaningless in the face of real love.

But it doesn’t bring me to my knees in helplessness, hopelessness, and powerlessness.  I don’t feel anger, anymore, about how unfair and unnecessary it is for the world to suffer in the way that it does.

Instead, I feel a great weight fall away from me.  My guard, my defense, my mask.  I feel my pride disintegrate.  I feel my judgment and need to be in the right dissipate.  Something bigger than me, unfolds and expands from deep within, a feeling that I refer to as ‘opening my big momma heart’.  All of these feelings combined, I refer to as “forgiveness” and “letting go”.  I stop feeling the need to try and make anyone or anything be or do anything other than what they are.  I let them be, because I need all of my own attention to be focused on being who I am.

When everything that isn’t real has fallen away from me, I feel the overwhelming need to sing the heartbreaking love I feel for every human.  For the collective, yes, but more than that.  I feel it for every single human being as an individual.  This intense force of energy that barrels through me like a bull charging a red flag.  The passionate and sorrowful heartbreak that comes from witnessing a child needlessly suffering and hurting, but that there’s nothing you can do personally about it because it’s their life and their choice.

But you want to at least let them know that they’re not alone.  Soothe them with heartfelt sorrowful songs . . loving lullabies, that sing of their heartbreak and pain.  Letting them know that you’re there, that you are a witness to their pain and suffering.

And the love.  The endless open love I feel pouring through me.  It’s nothing to do with whether someone is deemed worthy of love or not based on whether they are following social protocol, simply existing is reason enough to be worthy of love.  Every being, every individual, is worthy of love.

People do things and act in ways that are not like themselves when they are hurt or in pain.  Have you ever seen how a mistreated or abused dog will lash out or try to bite when they become scared?  Has the dog become evil?  Does the dog no longer deserve to be given love?  Or is love, care, and patience what he needs more than ever?

It’s no different for people.

To judge anyone as “bad” is to cut yourself off from love and if it is severe and persistent enough, you will become the “bad” you are judging.  The more you try to recoil, shield, and protect yourself from the bad, the more you push yourself into the darkness.  The further into the darkness you go, the less light or consciousness you have.  The less light or consciousness you have, the more you go into denial and ignorance about what is really happening.  The more you go into denial and ignorance about what is really happening, the less control and power you feel you have over your life circumstances.  The less control and power you feel you have over your life and circumstances, the more you become either a victim or aggressor.  Being locked in either role of victim or aggressor, is to be locked in a perpetual prison of suffering and miserableness.

When you can see that victim and aggressor are both sides of the same coin, when you can see that neither one is the way out of your suffering . . . and you’ve actually reached a point of truly being done with suffering . . . only then can you begin the path towards true freedom.  It is a path of humbleness and true forgiveness.  A path of getting out of your own way.  Of letting go of pettiness.  Of uncovering who you really are versus what you’ve become in an effort to survive the moment your heart broke when you were a child and your innocence was lost.

The path to truly learning how to love again.

big duck