Aries For Life

I’ve had to use great control in the last couple of days to not come here and completely delete my whole site.  Or go start a new site with a completely anonymous name and not tell a single soul about it, just for the sheer pleasure of getting to write “publicly” whatever I wanted.  I still might do that.

But then I read a couple of my old blog posts and started to feel inspiration flitter back into me.  {Why thank you Jenn . . . you’re most welcome Jenn}

I looked back in my comments history to when other bloggers linked to my posts from their own sites and the things they said about my site and I thought . . . (well, one was a bastard and threw me under the bus to make themselves look good to a bunch in a discussion board, so eff them) but I thought, maybe . . . maybe I’m not done here.

I’ve worked so hard over the years to even be capable of writing on a blog without hyperventilating and fainting, and yes I’m frustrated that I am still too scared to really *really* express myself . . . but I’m not ready to throw in the towel just yet.

And really (and this is truly in Jenn Fashion) before I go and do something dramatic like delete my whole site and all of the writing I’ve done here over the years, how about first I just go for it and go down in a flame of glory?  What do I have to lose at this point?  If I made a complete disaster of it, then <boom> delete the site.

Do you know that that is how I convinced myself to not try taking my life when I was a teenager?  I was absolutely at wits end.  It wasn’t typical spoiled teenager teen angst.  There was some truly, truly shitty things going on in my life at the time, which I can now say with confidence and the perspective of someone who has been off gallivanting in adulthood for a good many years.  I was in very dire circumstances and had been for awhile and I had absolutely nobody to turn to or who I could trust.  I had no out, and I couldn’t stand the feeling in my body anymore.

I started to let go of trying to make it in this life.  I let myself give up.  I let go of the feeling of guilt, of feeling like a disappointment, of being a burden.  And I started to settle into a feeling of deep peace as I contemplated the ways in which to *delete* my existence.  It felt like such a relief, that feeling of relaxation in my body, that I was momentarily able to feel through and around my pain.

I remember vividly the very moment it happened.  I was laying there in the dark in my bed and staring out my window, and I thought . . . “but wait . . . Jenn . . . you’re still a virgin.  You don’t want to die before you get to try sex, I mean c’mon!  You have to at least give that a try.  THEN, if everything still feels this shitty, then you can kill yourself.”

That became my new game in life.  Anytime I am in a situation that I have no control over and I start feeling like I want to die, I think of something that I haven’t tried yet that I would really like to give a go before I left this planet, and I make it my mission to do that thing before I check out.  Because why not?  What do I have to lose?  If I were going to end it anyways, what does it matter if I took a risk or chance in doing something that I’m so scared of?

This is one of my secrets to how I find my will to live over and over again.  I reach a point of being ready to let it all go . . . all of it . . . I’m willing to surrender absolutely everything in my life . . . but I pause long enough to feel out what I would miss most once I was on the other side or what I would be pissed about when I was back in soul form and no longer in a physical body and being able to run and laugh and play while on this Earth plane . . . and always . . . always something comes surging through and then with kiddy-like glee I go racing off to my next mission and challenge to take this life by the horns and ride it all the way through to the end.

 like-a-boss

 

 

 

 

Death And Rebirth In Mid-Swing

Nearly two weeks ago (June 10, 2015 to be exact), I received some news that has forever altered my life.

But first let me back up to the week before that.  June 2 I celebrated my 38th birthday.  It was a great birthday.  I was at work, but a coworker had scooted away around lunch time (which is nothing unusual), but returned along with half of the office, singing happy birthday with a great big cake for me.  It was all done with such warmth and sincerity that it was easily one of my best birthdays.  I had people calling and texting me that I hadn’t heard from in awhile.  It filled me with such a feeling of being loved and cared about.

This was a welcomed change of pace after an incredibly challenging year both professionally as well as personally.  My girl kitty dying, starting a new job after nearly 6 years, moving a month after starting the new job, a series of events that led to me kicking my beloved 19 year old son out of the house and he went to go live with my mom, one of my step dads dying (which hit me harder than I would’ve previously imagined), finding out my dad’s colon cancer had returned, and then having to work triply hard so as to not lose my job right around the Christmas holidays.

Which I did manage to keep, but I paid a steep price for it with my health.  After months of dragging my knuckles on the ground I finally went into the doctors and found that I had middle ear infections and was immediately put on round 1 of antibiotics and loaded up with all kinds of other things.  I was told that it was probably going to take a 2nd round and that it may take awhile to get better and to just be patient with the process.

I hadn’t taken an actual vacation in over two years, and it was around this time that I realized I was in dire need of some time off.  I started to feel very strongly that I wanted . . . needed to take off 2 weeks in June to go see Jay in The Netherlands.  It’s been over 3 years since we first met, and my god have we been through some shit together.  We weren’t even on speaking terms with each other when I first felt the desire to go see him for a couple of weeks.

I was so worn down by life at this point, that I was able to actually start seeing beyond my own bullshit to my real and true feelings.  I had let unimportant things get in the way of our relationship.  I wanted to try again.  Luckily, he felt the same.  I booked the trip and was scheduled to leave June 5th for two weeks.  After which, I would have a week at my current job assignment and then scheduled to begin a new assignment on July 1, which I’m very excited about.

This was my life as I knew it leading up to June 10th, in which I found myself sitting next to Jay on the couch when I received the fateful news.  And thank god I was, because heaven help me if I had been sitting by myself in my apartment in the Seattle area upon hearing what I did.

I was alerted to the fact that *something* had happened but wasn’t given any details surrounding it.  Due to the time difference and the fact that I hadn’t told everyone I was traveling internationally, I woke up to frantic “Are you okay?!” messages from my brother and a missed call from my mother.  Initially I remained calm and speculated on what the problem could be, with Jay.  But the more I thought about it, the more I began to panic because it was all highly unusual and made no sense.

Right as I was getting ready to wake up all of North America in order to find out what in blue blazes was going on, I received a text from my mother that simply read, “I tried to call.  Look up komo news Bjorn Anderson.”

Can I just stop here for a moment and say that these are the absolute last kind of words that a mother ever wants to see?

Something bad had happened to my baby.  My boy.  I didn’t yet know what, but I did know that it wasn’t going to be happy news such as, “19 year old wins Powerball lottery!”

I imagined a number of horrible things, including a terrible car accident.  I was already falling apart, my entire body shaking like a tree in a hurricane, crying and saying no, no, no, no, no not my boy, not my baby . . . Jay grabbing ahold of me and trying to hold me still, letting me know I didn’t have to look yet if I didn’t want to . . . but I had to.  I had to know my son’s fate.  I had to know if he still lived or if I had lost him.

In the days that followed, I was most haunted by the scene I first saw in the news clip, unable to comprehend it.  Watching people on the news I don’t even know, talking about my son.  This boy I had given birth to.  This young man that I love with all of my heart and that I had spent the last 19 years of my life dedicated to caring for and raising until last September . . . was now being paraded before me in handcuffs and a prison uniform . . . for the attempted murder of my mother.

I’ll leave it up to you to look up the details of their story if you so choose.

The rest of my vacation was spent calling everything in my life into question.  Grieving.  Processing.  Integrating.  Taking stock of my life, gaining clarity.  Decisions were made.

I’ve returned to the States, and today I return to work . . . but this will be my final year here.

I’ve lived the majority of my life on my own.  Soldiering through crisis after crisis with no one to depend on but myself.  But this absolutely crossed a line with me.  If it wasn’t for the care, love, patience, and support given to me by Jay and his family . . . I wouldn’t still be here.  Maybe in body . . . but me . . . the soul and spirit inside of me, would no longer be in this world.

It was made very clear to me that my new home is there and where I belong now.  I’ve returned only to start wrapping my life up here and to give time for us to make all of the necessary arrangements and planning.

My main reason for sharing what’s happened in this way is because I’d rather get it all out in the open for everyone to see.  I want my friends, coworkers, and family to all be aware of this huge transition that I am in because I don’t want to be isolated by it.  I don’t want to feel like I have to hide this big secret from everyone and be alone in it.

I don’t want to be isolated from any of you due to my sorrow and grief, which allows me to also openly share with you my joy and happiness of my upcoming wedding and move overseas.  These things have always gone hand in hand in my life.  A paradox of simultaneous deep grief and unbridled joy.

There’s no reason for me to hide any of it, as they are both a part of life.  I wish to share both with you, so that no part of me has to hide in the darkness anymore and feel lonely.

Although, much of that loneliness has already been alleviated by my soon to be husband, Jay.  We’ve begun to move in sync with each other, switching my worldview to one centered in *us* instead of *I*.  This is brand new for me.  I’ve never known this feeling before.  I feel that it really suits me.  I feel like it’s something that I’ve been longing for and missing all along.

In the coming days, weeks, months I wish to openly share this transition.  This bittersweet goodbye to an old life and hello to a new life.  A death and rebirth in mid-swing.

Love

Ways You Can Deny Your True Self

I often take notes on scraps of paper which then often get shoved into some random book, only to have them fall out at some point in the future, exactly when I need them most.  I’ve always felt like it was past me passing notes to future me.  “I saw this and knew you were going to need it most riiiight now.”

Unfortunately, past me isn’t always in the mood to list the source of the material, which is the case with the scrap of paper I stumbled across a couple of days ago that I wanted to share with you.  I have no idea if it was from a book, a handout, a website . . . no clue.

So just know, this is not mine.  I’ll update this post with the source if I ever find it, but until then I thought it was too valuable to withhold.  This is pretty powerful information if it’s something you don’t know.

It’s titled (on my 1/4 sheet of torn paper that I scribbled this on):

Ways You Can Deny Your True Self and Weaken Your Emotional Boundaries

  • Pretending to agree when you disagree.
  • Concealing your true feelings.
  • Going along with an activity that you really don’t want to do & never stating your preference.
  • Declining to join an activity you really want to do.
  • Pushing yourself beyond your limits.
  • Working too hard for too long.
  • Doing too much for others.
  • Not resting when you are tired.
  • Ignoring your needs.
  • Not eating regular and healthy meals.
  • Insufficient sleep.
  • Too little or too much time alone.
  • Too much or too little exercise.
  • Insufficient contact with people who truly care about you.
  • Insufficient or too many leisure activities.
  • Using chemicals to avoid yourself; drugs/alcohol.
  • Using compulsions to avoid yourself; eating, starving, exercise, work, shopping, spending money, TV, sex, games, sports, etc. that are done to excess.

This was (and still is) mind blowing to me because looking at this list, I’m like . . . I don’t know anyone who isn’t all over the place in extremes in at least a few of these things.  It’s not just that, it’s the accepted way of life.  It is extraordinarily hard to extricate and untangle yourself from these behaviors when there is so much momentum set in keeping it in place.

Anyways – that tis all!  (Btw, with Mars just moving into Gemini & Mercury being there too . . . I suspect there are going to be more posts from me than usual.  Share. Share. Share. 🙂 )

cat-car

Completely Unrelated.

What Believing In Self Means To Me

I’ve zeroed in on the moment it happens.  The moment in which I’m interacting with someone and I lose myself.  I need to anchor this in myself so that I can be more aware and lessen how often I do it.

When I am centered and in balance with myself, and I say something to someone from a sincere and open place, and their response sounds like I offended them in some way (here’s that moment) instead of staying solid in what I was actually meaning, feeling, and experiencing when I said whatever I did . . . I instead try to right the misunderstanding.

Which means . . . I end up focusing on their perception of what I meant regarding what I said, instead of what I actually meant.  It only takes me a few moments of trying to do this, trying to explain or understand where the disconnect happened between me and another person, before I lose sight myself of what I had really meant.

After an extended period of time, I’m so focused on how what I say may be mistook by that person or persons, that I am no longer centered in myself and balanced.  I’m actually thinking the way that they think for longer periods of time in an attempt to avoid conflict and hurt.  I start to adopt their attitude and view of life.

It weaves such a tangled and confusing web in my life that I am forced to work through in order to find myself again.  Always swearing with a fierceness and a vengeance that if I ever find my way back to myself again, that I will never, ever, ever do that to myself again.  I get so furious at myself for being such a ding-a-ling.

I’m not thinking that it’s their own darkened perception that they projected onto my words, I’m not thinking that in order for them to see what I actually meant, means they’d have to admit they were wrong as well as own their darkened perception . . . I’m not thinking any of that.  All I’m thinking is, “Oh noes!  That’s not what I meant, I’m so sorry you took it that way (as if I had any control over that) and I’ll do better in the future to communicate myself more clearly!”

I’d say that is a pretty fair example of what it means to be naïve.

What I must integrate and better understand about myself, is to stay in myself with how I know I feel and experience something.  If I said something from a pure place, and I know within myself whether I’m truly doing that or not, there’s no use in lying to myself, then I need to stay strong in that no matter how someone else responds or sees it.

I can’t let other people decide for me what it is that I meant by what I did or said.  I also cannot focus on the distorted way they saw me without risking becoming that distortion.

That more clearly illustrates what it means to me when I say, “I believe in myself.”  It means I’m not believing in other’s distortion or projections of me.  I believe in what I know to be true about me.

I’m reading through this and I can see how it seems a little one sided, like I’m always the innocent one being wronged by others.  That is not true.  I see myself in these other things too.  I started off by saying “When I am centered and in balance with myself”.  The post is describing the moment where I stray, where I lose myself.

Once I’ve gone off the rails, I then fall into the bucket of “other”.  I begin doing those less than desirable things myself.  I would say that the single hardest moment in the healing process, is the moment when you realize that to some degree, at some level . . . you yourself have done the very things that others did that hurt you.

It won’t look the same on the outside at all.  But it’s the realization that the same mechanisms are at play within yourself as well.  It is the most humbling and yet liberating thing I have ever experienced.  The truth really does set you free.

So no, I’m not blind to how these things play out in me as well, but my focus at this time is in being smarter about not going off of the rails in the first place.  The rest of it becomes irrelevant if I stay centered and balanced within myself to begin with.  (I needed to say all of that to balance the energy in the post and in my head.)

Not My Circus

Trying To Process Events Going On In The World As Well As In Myself

I did this video last night, but I’m just now posting it.  It’s not my favorite video.  I restarted it 3 times and had to fight throughout to not just completely give up on the video, and then it’s long on top of it.  (Jenn, you’re such a great salesperson, how could I not watch it with such a great endorsement).  I’m trying to make sense of things for myself at the moment regarding things going on both in the greater world as well as myself personally.

I say nonsensical things like, “It’s like bridge under water.”  When I’m in this ‘trying to figure it out’ phases, I say a lot of things in an effort to try and connect things to see what is really trying to be shown or said by something bigger than me.  So some of the things I say are fleeting and not necessarily *true*, but just fluffing up all of the pieces that seemed to be involved to see what goes together.  I am feeling out how things feel when saying them to distinguish whether it belongs in the equation or not.  This is a process I go through looking for the bread crumbs that relate together to show me the direction I should be going.

This is me in flux, in extreme flexibility.  I’m not actually judging people and events, I’m just feeling them out.  I hear myself constantly trying to clarify what I mean when I say anything that may suggest that I am being unfair about something I say about other people (such as coworkers) in my life.  I don’t want the things I say to be taken out of context, I don’t want to hurt other’s feelings, and no I don’t want to be unfair to other people because I’ve been on the receiving end of that far too much.  But at the same time, it totally throws off my flow about what I’m trying to say because whatever I’m saying about them isn’t the point that I’m trying to get to.

I definitely halt my expression by trying to be too sensitive about what I say about others in my life, like I don’t get to have my own perspective or opinion about how I am experiencing my own life.  I think that plays into me feeling like I don’t get to have my own feelings.  I do tend to get attacked when I try to express how situations are making me feel that involve other people.  I’m sure it’s something to do with the way I go about doing it, my presentation or perhaps the people I’ve surrounded myself with in the past.  Some people will attack me for trying to say my side, and when I get upset about it, they’ll tell me to not take it so personally . . . and then my feelings really get hurt because it seems like them attacking me for having my own feelings, was them taking it personally.

I struggled in this video by not letting myself stop it or give up and by attempting to say what I’m really feeling even if it gets misinterpreted or misunderstood and so it’s a very uncomfortable video for me and it was even harder to make myself publish it and now post it.  I did keep filtering myself and trying to be “fair” to everyone and so there’s moments where I start to break through that and just say what I’m really feeling and then moments where I go back to restricting myself or feeling ashamed of what I’m saying.  This is all really good for me.  This is further helping me get past worrying about other’s responses or reactions to me.

It helps every time I get a favorable or supportive response, because it starts to rewrite in me what usually happens when I express myself.  It will eventually reach a point where I won’t be able to say that people respond to me unfavorably because it will no longer be true for me.  While I could get to a place of not caring about what other’s say on my own, I don’t have to fight quite so hard to do it when I start receiving different responses from others than what I’m used to.  My audience tends to be very silent and for the most part I’ve come to peace with that, but I’m seeing how much better and easier it is for me to push through when someone does respond in a more supportive way such as a recent commenter, Supreet, has been doing.  He says things in a more open, Aries-like way, and not so judgmental or closed and I can’t say how much I appreciate it.  His sharing his thoughts that people normally keep to themselves, does help give me courage to keep trying.  It does help me feel like I’m less alone in my fight and struggle to find my true voice and express it without fear.

It helps me see that it’s a two way street.  I’ve always taken responsibility for all my relationships failing because I didn’t know that the other person was suppose to contribute more to the relationship.  Whenever someone starts to contribute or share from their side, I feel such a burden come off of my shoulders, like it’s not ALL up to me.  I don’t have to do all of the work for things to happen or work out.  Having that contrast from what I normally experience with others, shines such a light on what I’ve been really dealing with.  Others don’t show up for life or for their relationship with me.  They are checked out and so yes I am left alone.  It’s not all my fault.

At any rate, here’s the video, and when I get more time I’ll come back to give a couple of links for the earthquake that I spoke about in the video.

Edit to add:  Here’s a link to the video where the man walks through the town right after the earthquake has happened.

And here’s another one with the view over the rooftops.  Since then, they’ve added a lot of annoying boxes making it hard to see the actual video, but I just wanted to point to this one specifically since I spoke about it in my video.

And one more with a compilation of 3 different videos.  The 3rd video, is one where I dreamt of an identical street and thoroughfare about a year or so ago.

The Magical Place Called Healed: A Tale of the Journey to the Land of True and Lasting Joy and the Treacherous Path That Leads The Way


True healing takes discipline.  It takes dedication, sincerity, and courage.  Strength.  Similar to exercise, you only get out of it what you put into it.

I am referring to mental, emotional, psychological healing, although I imagine that extreme physical rehabilitation, such as learning how to walk again, is a very similar journey.

From my teens into my late twenties I struggled with severe depression and anxiety.  I also had Complex PTSD (C-PTSD), which is not an official recognized mental disorder according to the American Psychiatric Association, but I feel that is to do with technicalities in definition and nothing to do with whether it exists or not.  As I tried to figure out what was wrong with me that made it nearly impossible to function as a contributing member of society, I also ran into suggestions from specialists of being on the autistic spectrum, being a highly sensitive person, potentially bi-polar, and I was officially diagnosed with ADD.

I had my first nervous breakdown at 19.  I was already a divorced single mom.  My son’s dad (ex-husband) was already gone by then, and never did return despite the joint-custody agreement, and so in my mind I didn’t have the luxury of falling apart.  My son was still just a baby and needed me.  I truly believe that I still exist in this world today due to him, because he gave me a solid reason to not give up.  Through the years, no matter how shattered I was in pain, no matter how desperate my situation . . . and there were many of those . . . never did I reach a state where I could abandon my son to this world and leave him alone.

But I lived in hell within myself.  Daily I was tortured.  There were years where I was just trying to survive from minute to minute.  Breathe Jenn . . . take another breath.  Now do it again.  Again.

In my late twenties, as I hit my Saturn Return, it felt like my entire physical, mental, & emotional being hit a brick wall (which is very Capricorn/Saturn-like).  It was triggered when my son, who was just turning 12 at the time, spent a week in the hospital for suicide watch.  (I also had Pluto transiting my MC/Midheaven.)

I had only thought I suffered before that.  What followed next had me begging for the days I knew before.

I had thought that I had worked hard enough, suffered, and sacrificed myself enough, to spare my son the same pain that I lived in.  But I was given a wake up call and shown just how very wrong I was as I sat there in shock signing papers to admit him into the hospital.  Everything I thought I knew and understood about life got flipped upside down that night.

I had barely been making it, but as long as my son was doing well and thriving, I could handle it.  But he wasn’t doing so well, was he?  Now what?  I had no guidance or manual for what to do.  I had done everything I knew to get this far . . . where did I go from there?

We had just gotten new kittens the week before . . . Raven and Gir.  They were from a shelter and they were both temporarily on antibiotics that I had to give.  I remember when first returning home after they admitted my son, trying to pull myself together enough to make sure the kittens got their medicine.  I couldn’t handle anymore bad news, anymore feelings of loss, or being out of control and so it felt like at least with this I had control of something.

So I put into them, focused on them the care and love and kindness I was needing myself.  They became my focal point, my anchor, to keep my shit together while I tried to make sense of my newly shattered world.  To those of you who are regular readers, you’ll remember that it was this time last year almost to the day . . . that I got that fateful call from the vet to hear that my Raven girl was in stage 4 renal (kidney) failure and died shortly afterwards on May 5th.  Cinco de Mayo.  Perhaps it makes a little more sense now why that was so devastating to me.  She came into my life the week before everything I knew fell to pieces and was the glue that held me together through the next 7 years.

But what she did was start the process of removing that same focus from my son, and helped me transition from using him as an anchor and reason for living . . . to finding that anchor and reason for living within myself so that my son would be free to go live his own life without me falling apart or losing my reason to live.  This last year since her death is the first year without my training wheels.  My first year of trying to live for my own sake and not the sake of my mother, or my son, or any substitute outside of me  And it’s been hard.

That first night that I came home after admitting my son into the hospital for the first time, I remember being in a daze.  I also remember calling my consciousness to me so that I didn’t black out.  I had already gone through so much discipline trying to pull myself together to be the best mom I could despite being so broken inside.  I had already learned to not run from the pain, to not run from whatever situation was unfolding in front of me.  I had enough faith in myself and the universe to know that this was all happening for a good reason, even if I didn’t understand what that reason was.  I knew instinctively that this was a blessing in disguise, and so I took a deep breath and with eyes wide open . . . I walked straight into my pain to see what message waited for me there.

And as I said, it was like walking into a brick wall.  In a flash I saw visuals of images from throughout my life, I heard all of the things said in my childhood that never quite made any sense, I felt the repressed and suppressed (one is done consciously, one is not) feelings and emotions that had led me to that moment right there.  I was in a flurry of scenes, sounds, and feelings and all of the connections between them that summed up the root causes of my pain and suffering.  Including a therapist who my mom had taken me to when I was 8 years old and was so frustrated with me because I refused to cooperate and take his questions seriously (I honestly had no idea what he was trying to get me to talk about), told me that if I didn’t deal with the things I had been through then one day when I was about 30 it was all going to come out at once and I’d have to deal with it then.  Which I thought, and may have even said, that’s good . . . I’ll deal with it then.

So there I was, around age 30, and all of this stuff suddenly unlocked in me.  I then knew why it had to be like that, why it had to wait until I was older.  All of these things were too much for a young girl to handle and process.  They were beyond little girl me.  I had to build enough life experience, as well as build enough emotional strength and discipline just to reach the point of being able to handle knowing and remembering what little girl me went through.

Only then could the real healing process begin.  I cracked wide open.  I went through the “My whole life has been a lie” period where the very foundation of your life gets ripped from underneath you and you don’t have anything solid to anchor or orient your life to.  And it’s not that my life had been a lie necessarily, but little girl me was incredibly creative and resourceful and so she painted my life in the way that she needed to in order to survive until she was strong enough to face it and heal from it.

The next couple of years were the hardest of my life.  It felt like I had acid burning and running through my veins 24/7.  I felt like someone had peeled my skin off of my body and my nerves were completely exposed to the elements.  I was in overwhelming, excruciating physical pain.  The diagnosis being batted around at that time were things like Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  I reached a point of not being able to walk.  I had to use a cane for a little while.  Mentally I was pushed into moments of true insanity from the toll of everything.

I used to be concerned with my sensitivities, such as seeing visuals and hearing things, etc. that I might be crazy.  But I am VERY clear now that there is a big difference between true insanity and being sensitive (or psychic if you wish), although there is a thin line between the two if you are not on top of your shit.  I cannot emphasize enough how foolish it is to try and force that state for recreational purposes without some sort of discipline, or training, guidance, and a healthy dose of respect for what you are doing.  I never needed drugs to have those experiences, and during the periods where I temporarily lost those abilities, I can understand why people do use drugs to reach it . . . there’s a kind of desperate feeling of being disconnected from Sprit.  It’s horrible.  In my current understanding of things, it is the root cause of all addictions.  Trying to regain connection with Spirit.  Whether drugs, sex, alcohol, etc.  It temporarily opens you back up in your body and allows that connection to take place, and it feels so good because that is more of our natural state.

When you become overwhelmed with hurt and pain (guilt, shame . . . choose your poison), that connection starts to dim and gets covered up and you start to never feel good.  So then you start to use artificial things to try and help you feel good such as food, shopping, reading, partying, drinking, etc.  But it never sticks . . . it never stays.  Why?  Because you’re trying to shortcut straight through your pain and hurt without actually dealing with the issues.  Which brings me back to:  True healing takes discipline.  It takes dedication, sincerity, and courage.

Do you want to continue depending solely on temporary fixes for fleeting moments of feeling good, or are you willing to put in the hard work and dedication needed to make the feeling permanent and long lasting?  Because I’m here to tell you, I don’t care what label or diagnoses has been laid at your feet, I don’t care how bleak or hopeless you think your cause is . . . it can be overcome.  I have overcome many supposedly impossible things.  I have personally walked this road.  There is a way through.  You are not doomed to your diagnosis.  You are not doomed to suffer the rest of your life.  You have a choice.  It’s not easy, and not everyone is at a stage in their life where they have the strength to take this journey.  But knowing the universe like I do based on observations and personal experience, if you’ve found your way into my life . . . to my words . . . then you are at that stage.  You have what it takes to find your way through.

In every generation, there are the pioneers and those that lead the way to something new.  Like the pioneers who went west in the early US.  Their life was hard.  Many died trying to make the journey.  They suffered and paid a great price just for the opportunity for a better life.  With those first few, came a few more.  Then railroads, roadways, airplanes.  Now how hard is it to reach the West?  How much does a person have to sacrifice and suffer to access it?

This is the same.  It is the unknown, and so it seems dark and scary.  We make a bigger monster out of it as a whole, because it scares us.  What current average person isn’t scared of a Psycho or Socio Path?  Who doesn’t cringe and start backing away slowly from Schizophrenia and Bi-Polar?  Who doesn’t look at Autism as being a shame and in some form tragic?  How many look down upon addicts or mental patients?  Do you see our learned attitude about these things?  Yes psychology has made great leaps in mental/emotional health, but it is still not being seen for what it truly is and so the solution is equally difficult to see.

We hurt and we suffer because something is out of balance or not right.  When it’s something that is out of balance or not right in the culture or society as a whole, it emerges as mental disorders and diseases.  If it is increasing each year, a false belief or something not aligned with natural law, is spreading or worsening.  And for as long as the group insists on running from the truth instead of actually dealing with the things they should be dealing with in the way they should be dealing with it, openly and honestly, instead of being distracted by nonsense and bullshit . . . it will continue to worsen before it gets better.

It worsens and spreads until there isn’t a single person that isn’t affected by it in some way.  Until people can no longer say, “Everything is fine.”  Until people are suffering from it so much, and after trying everything they can currently think of that is allowed within the current paradigm of thinking, it eventually leads them to a place where they’d do anything in order to make it alright again.  Including praying, maybe for the first time in their life.  Swallowing their pride.  Being humbled.  Realizing maybe they don’t know everything, maybe they don’t have as much control over things as they thought.  In those moments a person either opens their heart or they snap completely.  Have you noticed the increase in people losing their shit in recent years?  We are at that breaking point both as a collective and as individuals.

We are in uncharted territories.  We cannot currently rely on outer authority to help truly navigate these waters because the authorities aren’t *out there* yet . . . they are just now coming into being.  They are being shaped, formed, and refined as we speak, by the very horrors our world is being forced to live through.  These are not individual sins we are dealing with, they are collective sins.  Things that over generations of time, individuals let get so out of hand instead of dealing with them, that they are now all of our problems.  But at the same time it’s all we’ve ever known and so we’re blind to them.

We are the modern day pioneers, and our unknown territory is the human psyche.  To be a true pioneer, you must have a warrior heart.  You must find the strength and courage to walk alone.  You must be an adventurer, you must be curious.  You must be sincere.  You must do it for something bigger than you.  It can’t just be for you alone, or you won’t find the needed strength and motivation to get through the darkest nights.  You have to take calculated risks and chances.  You have to be willing to keep going and trying no matter how many of your ideas fail or don’t work out.  You have to risk looking a fool and being made fun of.

You have to be willing to let yourself crack open and fall apart.  You have to be willing to let go of everything you believed to be true up until that point.  And not in an endless mindless woe is me way, but consciously.  What do I mean by that?

Imagine you have before you a path of burning coals, and you just happened to be barefoot.  The bed of coals before you is only about 10 feet in length.  It’s too far for you to jump, and suddenly there’s a wall behind you and two walls alongside you and the path.  You must walk barefoot over the path.  This is very much what it’s like when having to face down one of your inner demons which are like the gatekeepers that test you to see if you’re allowed to pass through or if you need to repeat some lessons.  Your choices are to stand there for eternity making the same mistakes, or start learning how to walk on fire and burn the darkness out of you that clouds and weighs you down with burden.  When I say consciously, I mean you purposefully and intentionally step onto those burning coals and you let whatever sensation you feel, come through you without trying to fight it or make it stop.  Let it happen.

You do not close your eyes, you do not try to pretend you are somewhere else, you do not run.  It is a decision, a resolve deep inside that you will do whatever it takes to make your way through.  And as you take each step, and you initially feel that excruciating burn, you use the only resource you have at your disposal and that is your internal guidance.  You must stay aware and breathing and open in order to know what needs to be done.  If you panic, if you let yourself freak out about your situation in any way, you make it that much worse for yourself.  That much more painful.  You have to walk the coals anyways, so you might as well figure out a way to endure it.

Because something happens in a human when they are tested to this degree and they are not so rigid that they break.  A transformation takes place.  Blocks, things that are stuck, worn out beliefs, things that are not true . . . are forced from the person’s being.  In that situation, you have no room or time for ANY bullshit because you need everything you have to focus on what’s happening in that moment.  When you refuse to run and you refuse to black out or lose consciousness or awareness, you give the darkness no choice but to flee because that’s where the burning and pain comes from.  It forces it to leave, and then you are left with only what is real and pure . . . You.  And I promise you, when the last of what isn’t true leaves you, the pain and suffering within you will cease.  You will have learned the firewalker’s secret for walking over burning coals without being harmed.

It can happen quickly, within moments.  It could happen slowly over years.  It depends on a number of things, but mostly on how resistant you are to let go of what you think you know and what you believe to be true that isn’t actually true.  How stubborn, how prideful are you?  How open are you to learning?  How much does it mean to you that what you believe is right be right?  And suffering for years walking over the burning coals does not earn you extra brownie points.  It should not be considered a badge of honor.  “Yeah, I’ve suffered 20 years longer than you, so I am probably wiser than you about these things.”  Uh.  No.  That’s not how it works.  If you haven’t started to find your way out, if you haven’t continued to get closer to that state of peace and happiness in you for longer periods of time through (what seems like) superhero efforts, then you’re doing something greatly in error and you’re the last person I or anyone should be taking advice from unless we wish to learn how to be perpetually stuck.  It’s not something to be ashamed of either, because this is a fluffing hard ass path to take . . . but it takes more than just walking it to truly understand where you are and what’s going on.

To get more out of this path, you have to walk slowly, purposefully, and consciously.  The point is not to simply get past it and then recover, because it is not the only fire pit that you will be facing on this journey.  And it’s also not the point of the fire pits.  When you’ve truly learned through personal experience the point of them, and you put in the hard work it takes to slowly, consciously, and open-heartedly walk across them to the point that you not only stop fearing them, but look forward to them . . . then you will have begun to reach the place I call Healed.  Being whole within yourself.

It is a state of grace.  It is when a human is re-centered properly in themselves and they are able to hold open and stay in connection with their Spirit, Soul, as well as the Divine . . . at all times.  It is a life without fear, a life without addiction, and no longer being a slave to your senses or ego.  From that state you live and know the Truth and nature of things.  Your eyes and ears are wide open, your heart is wide open and you are fully protected and safe.  You know in the deepest depths of your being that you are okay . . . you are safe.  It’s beyond faith, beyond knowing you are safe and protected, beyond praying, hoping, and wishing you are protected . . . you are in the active state of always being safe and protected.  It’s not even a topic of discussion or a question in your mind.  It would be like asking if there is still oxygen in the air for your lungs . . . it gets to that level of silly.

The world, the physical world around you, literally shimmers as golden light.  And when you zoom your focus in on it, you see . . . you feel . . . you know . . . it’s conscious light.  You understand creation at a whole new level that you cannot see, cannot experience, and cannot know while you insist on staying small, hurt, and broken.

So if you haven’t reached that place, if you haven’t experienced that state of being while conscious and awake in your human body . . . then you are not done yet.  You have not reached the place you seek and you must keep going.  Keep trying, keep growing, keep learning.  Learn about love, learn about truth, learn about who you really are inside and not what you’ve been led to believe.  You are not doomed to suffer your whole life, not if you truly, genuinely, and sincerely are done with it.  You are not cursed and you are not fated to be miserable because of any set of circumstances that have or will happen in your life.  You can overcome.  You will have restrictions, you will have challenges, but they are there to strengthen your weaknesses that are needed in order to successfully navigate this journey . . . not to punish you.

There is so much more to life than what we’ve been taught . . . in fact Life doesn’t truly begin until you reach that place.  It’s worth all of the hard work and frustration.  Not only is it worth it, it’s what is needed most right now.  The more people who make this journey and reach the desired destination, the easier it will be for others to reach it as well.  The more people who reach it, the more support we all have, the stronger we become, and then the easier it will be for others to make the journey when their time comes.  Before you know it, people will be able to fly airplanes there.  😀

Can you imagine such a world, such a future?  Where we are healed and whole both as individuals and as a species?  What could humanity accomplish in such a world?

What if all you were asked to do in this life to play a part in bringing that future about, was to find the courage, strength, and faith to truly heal yourself.  To overcome your circumstances and to rise from the ashes?  To find it in you to overcome, to do what they said couldn’t be done.  To become a firewalker?

Velveteen Rabbit

The Art Of Being Self

I stayed up waaaay too late last night.  I found a TV series on Netflix that has me completely enraptured.  I kept saying to myself, “Okay one more, but then I have to go to bed.”  I said that three times.  So, I finally listened to myself at 3:30am and went to bed.  My first alarm goes off at 5am.  (Yaaaay!)

It made for strange dreams and a little bit of a disorienting morning, but sometimes I need that to shake off the sludge that can collect and buildup on me.

Ever since Venus moved out of Aries and into Taurus (March 17), my feelings have turned to that of “art”.  Venus rules both Taurus and Libra.  They are both love feel good signs.  They rule throat and kidneys respectively.  If the pathway between the two are blocked or restricted in any way, it becomes more difficult for a person to “feel good”.  It becomes more difficult to have patience or to love or be open.  Think about how *loving* you feel when you’re in the middle of a horrible cold or flu, and you’ll get the idea.

Venus also rules the arts.  On March 31, Mars also moved into Taurus.  My feelings have moved even more solidly into the general topic of art.  The connection between feeling good, feeling love, and how much more naturally I wish to do something artistic the more I feel those things.

With my natal chart setup how it is, it has been suggested that I would be an excellent dancer (I adore dancing, but only when I’m alone).  I have many artistic inclinations.  However I also have a fear of doing anything personal or artistic or creative when there is an audience.  But with hard work, I can move so much into the art form that I’m doing, that I no longer care or worry about whether there is an audience because I find too much joy in doing the art itself to care what anyone else thinks about it.

With the current transits (where the planets currently are in the sky), I began to think of art in a different way.  I felt all of the creative and artistic energy that I give so little opportunity to be expressed in the world.  It’s like I hold it’s head under water trying to drown it.  Trying to make it go away so that I’m not forced to face my fears, my insecurities.

But this was exactly when the new understanding of art began to emerge from my thoughts.  Creativity.  Creativity is the act of birthing something new into the world.  Taking something that was in the ethers, in the unseen, and expressing it in some form in this world.  Making something out of seemingly nothing.

I often think of creativity and art as being an established form, such as visual arts, writing, dance . . . you know,  the arts.  I have spent a lot of time learning about and discerning the different energies I sense and then using that information to follow it further to see connections between things that I haven’t seen before.  So I used that learned ability to feel the energy simply known as ‘art’ inside of me and then opened up a space within to see what new information or connection it had to show or share with me.

You know how hard it can be to forgive someone who has hurt you or wronged you in some way?  How hard it can be to move past it or let go?  The work that goes into it?  The very act of doing that . . . that is creativity, that is art.  It is the same energy, exertion, and discipline used that a well received artist employs.

Have you ever seen the feet of a professional ballerina?  The fingers of an expert violinist?  It’s something personal inside that drives them to reach these levels and we see it physically in the beauty and refinement they bring into the world for both their own and other’s enjoyment.

Moving from a place of hurt or pain, into one of true forgiveness and letting go, is bringing something out of seemingly nothing.  Moving from a place of fear or terror in a situation, into one of peace and acceptance . . . that is an act of creation.  It is an art form.  The result of that hard work is seen in the character and personality of a person, and the beauty and refinement that person brings into the world that wasn’t there before.

Which brings me to this morning’s thoughts about art.

I was writing in my journal and reminding myself to settle down into my body and just be happy being me.  Not someone special, not someone who has to put on a show, not someone who has to know the answers or lecture . . . but just the art of being myself at all times with no pretenses.  It hit me only as I wrote it, just how true that statement is.  Learning to be myself has been in itself a lifelong art form.

I’ve seen my past as suffering and something I had to endure.  I’ve seen it as tragic and painful.  I’ve seen all of the immense and intense hard work I’ve put into myself in the past decade as healing.  But what I have not seen, is what it truly has been . . . a refining of self.

Adversity, struggle, pain, suffering, fear . . . these things teach us.  They make us stronger.  They remove what isn’t real or true about us.  When you survive something you didn’t think you could survive . . . when you heal from something that you thought would kill you . . . you become so much more than you were before.  When you start to learn how to bend in life, instead of break . . . that is when you truly start to live.

My physical body and incarnation at this time on Earth, is like an instrument that my soul and spirit are learning how to play and master.  Just like when I first learned how to play the flute, I would practice the 12 major scales and arpeggios over and over for hours.  The chromatic scale as many octaves as I could handle over and over.  Working out the weaknesses, the kinks.  Strengthening my embouchure.  Making my fingers more quick and nimble.  Increasing my capacity for breath and control.  Over years, coming together for longer sustained periods of what I can only describe as a state of grace . . . when the instrument, music, and my spirit merged into a single flow of being . . . and I was at peace with myself and the world.  I only knew warmth and love and expression of that love through my flute.

I am learning how to do that as a human.  How to master being who I really am as a soul while in human form . . . and the motivation being for the love and joy of the art itself when it all comes together into a state of grace and being.  The sum of my life . . . the sum of all I’ve been through and the sum of how I choose to use those experiences to become a more true expression of my soul while incarnated . . . that is my artistic expression.  It doesn’t matter where I’m at or what I’m doing . . . I can practice my art in all things and in all ways.  I don’t have to find the right occupation that will bring me happiness . . . I can learn how to be me and at peace with myself and life in whatever I do because that is the more true objective in my life.

I’m learning how to be in a state of being regardless of circumstances, not how to stop the circumstances from being.

Being a Cat

My Little Furry Care Provider

I was having a really silly dream right before I woke up this morning.  I was sleeping in bed (suspiciously in the same position I was sleeping in for real) when a butler came into my room with my breakfast.  (I think I’ve watched too much Downton Abbey in my life).  My breakfast was a bowl of sugar pops cereal, which I can’t even remember the last time I ate cereal, let alone sugar pops.

I was trying to wake myself up enough so that he knew he could leave, but I wasn’t fooling anyone.  I started talking about some joke that included me teaching French.  I don’t actually know French so my joke was being done in English with a French accent.  Realizing that I wasn’t actually speaking French, the conversation shifted into how much funnier it would be if I taught a class in how to speak French accented English.

I thought I was being a riot.  I could not figure out how the butler was keeping a straight face and patiently waiting for me to actually sit up to eat breakfast, with all of my shenanigans.  So finally I sat up, he handed me my bowl of sugar pops, which I was wondering how he kept them from getting all soggy in the milk and whether the next person the butler was going to, was going to have soggy cereal because of me taking so long to get up.

At this point I started to wake up for real, because I had a little black Gir kitty walking into my room meowing at me.  I was just as reluctant to wake up as in my dream.  At first I thought his motivation was him wanting food.  I knew his wet food dish was empty because I had given him chicken from the day before instead of his usual canned food.  But this cat has never been motivated by food, so I wasn’t completely convinced that that was the situation.

I’ve been slowly recovering from both of my ears and deeper sinuses being blocked for quite some time.  I don’t know how long it’s been going on, but it must have been for awhile.  All I know is that it was reaching a point where I was barely able to get any oxygen into myself.  I began the long process of reversing all of it.  It took a long time to get to that point and so it’s taking a long time to recover from it too.

Each step that I take helps remove a deeper layer.  This has been a process of weeks and weeks.  It’s been like chiseling away concrete using a needle, but I have made some incredible progress.  It’s getting easier to breathe, which in turn is making it easier for me to sleep at night, which in turn makes it easier for me to get through a day before I start hitting anxiety, which in turn puts me in a more overall pleasant mood.

With where I’m at in the process, a good portion of my body that has been basically frozen in survival mode, is starting to relax.  More feeling is starting to come back into me, and with that I’m noticing just how exhausted my body has been from all of this.  So I feel relief, I relax, and then I’m like holy shit I am tired!  I had absolutely no idea, how over time, my body had started to fight more and more for the little bit of oxygen I was letting into myself.  It’s that stupid conditioning thing, where something happens slowly and subtly enough over time, that you don’t realize it’s happening.

So this morning I was almost in a drunk state of relief and exhaustion.  “Omg it feels so good to be able to relax {slobber} I don’t want to get up ever again.”

That’s the state I was in when Mr. Gir came sauntering into my room.  I was too crashed to even get mad at all his racket.  I was able to just stay there in my body, all comfy, not really giving a fluff.  It felt so nice to not become unhinged by what he was doing and my temper coming out.  I laid there comfortably watching what he was doing.

He was putting a paw onto my bed (I’m on the floor), walking himself into my outstretched hand.  Talking and going on and rolling on the floor and knocking everything over.  He was being adorable.  I could see an earnest want or need for me to get up.  This cat was on a mission.

So finally I was ready to get up and I started my morning routine, which Gir knows so well he leads the way.  Into the living room, open the blinds.  Plug in the internet.  Off to the bathroom.  Into the kitchen.  As I willingly cooperated with Gir’s monumental efforts to get his human moving, I noticed a whole change in his demeanor.  He got a little bit of a bounce in his step.  He started to purr so loudly.  He looked so happy.

In my half asleep (but very relaxed) stupor, it hit me what was playing out.  He has found a way to contribute to his family unit.  He has found something that he is good at, and that is useful and helpful.  It’s not just humans that like to feel needed and useful.  It’s not just humans that need a purpose in life.  As all of this went through me, I looked at him with new eyes and became as clear as day.  It was written all over his little kitty face and in his expression.  “Look mommy, look I helped!”

It’s something that I was incapable of noticing before my health started to return to me.

When I got him his breakfast (and mine) and went to sit down in the living room, he came and chilled in the living room as well, looking all extra pleased with himself.  His motivation had not, in fact, been about his food.  He was just doing his self assigned job.  In his own little kitty way, he has shown me more care than many humans are capable of showing anymore.

The little dude cares whether I get out of bed or not.  It may be for his own reasons (which are the best reasons for doing something), and it may not be a conscious thought . . . but it doesn’t matter to me.  I know care when I experience it, and he’s providing genuine love and care.

As for my dream, I can see how the more my health returns to me, so does my humor and joking.  I stop being so super serious about everything . . . I become more playful.  I, in fact, do wake up out of bed saying stupid things that I think are hilarious even if nobody else thinks they are.  And the sugar pops cereal was obviously a reference to being a kid.  My inner child returning.

And no wonder the butler wasn’t laughing at my hilarious french jokes . . . I mean, he’s a cat for crying out loud.  It had nothing to do with how funny my jokes were.  😀

Gir

My House My Rules

Hey you know what?  I remembered something very important to me today.  So like if I say something that is true for me in a state of centeredness or true deep joy, and someone shows up in my sphere of existence and is in a very unhealthy self absorbed way and mistakes what I was actually saying . . . like there’s not a fluffing thing I can do about it.  There’s what I was actually experiencing and feeling, and then there’s the unhealthy person’s projection on me.  No matter how self conscious or responsible I try to be in what I say, people are going to take the most innocent things and warp and twist that shit into something it’s not and try to hand it to me as “truth”.

There are so many complexities that are not being taken into consideration when they do that.  There is how something feels and is experienced when your heart is opened, and then there’s the darker and heavier version of someone who is shut down or collapsed into themselves.  You can’t take someone’s open hearted flow of words and apply closed heart logic to it and call it truth or fair.  If you’re closed, whether you wish to admit it or not, you are not going to understand what I’m really meaning or saying so you can just shut the hell up and get off my site.  I have this many –> 0 fucks to give you.

I’ve done said that if you think your shit don’t stink then you can GTFO and I mean it.  I’ve had it with you narcisstic self absorbed, NO INTEREST in actually getting your life and shit together, endless excuse it’s never my fault, irresponsible for your own self and choices, I’m just interested on looking like I know what I’m talking about, false humility mother fuckers.  Fuck you.

You make it hard for people to tell the difference between genuine people and people who are just fronting.  You confuse the youth from understanding the difference between going through the motions and actually feeling and living it.  You spread falseness like a disease.  You waste people’s time, energy, and resources with your bullshit.  Good people.  People who are genuine and don’t deserve that kind of treatment.  Shame on you!

Wanting everything to be “fair”.  Wanting your bullshit to be treated as fair and equal as someone else’s genuineness?  How about no.  When you’re standing in genuineness, bullshit is pretty damn obvious . . . but when you’re standing in bullshit, you think everyone is standing in bullshit and not anymore “right” than you and therefore you’re equal.  Well, it’s not!  No matter how much you want to be in the right and don’t want to let the truth into your fractured and distorted reality, it doesn’t mean that it gets to be right and forced as a truth.

But Jenn, what makes you think you’re not doing that right now?  Because I know what both sides look like because I DID the real and hard work of taking an honest look at myself.  That shit has taken over a decade of hiding myself away from the world and moving through excruciating self honesty and not letting myself get away with ANY bullshit and taking responsibility for myself and everything going on in my life, even when it wasn’t actually my fault.

I didn’t sit there proclaiming to the world around me how I was taking care of myself and doing right by me and how I don’t need no man and the million of things people say trying to convince themselves that they’re actually taking action for their lives when they’re not.  Because when you really are doing what needs to happen to pull your life together, you don’t have time, energy, or even a fuck to give about how other people see you or what they’re thinking about you.  You are heads down and actually taking care of shit, not talking about it.

If this is something that you really have done in your life, then you are not going to have a single issue with me or what I say.  You aren’t going to have a need to “call me out”.  You are going to have compassion and understanding of others and not be so quick to judge.  You give people chances even if they don’t deserve it.  You actually care, not by meaningless words but by an energy that emits from you that people who are closed up and blind can’t feel or detect even if their life fucking depended on it.

If you haven’t done this work, you could stand to shut up and listen to those of us who have.  You might actually learn something.

 Scratchy Bleedy

A Life Worth Living

Feeling love within myself is my number one priority in life because when I am in love, everything else falls magically into place.

I am naturally in a feeling of love when I am just being myself. Being true to me.

My biggest challenge in life has been to learn how to just be myself when I’m around others. I am so sensitive and empathic, that anytime I am around another human being, I feel the things they are feeling as if they are my own. There is almost zero distinction between what I feel from others and my own feelings.

The others in my life tend to be strong personalities. Just their presence seems to erase my own feelings and identity. I imagine it must be what a hard drive feels like when a strong magnet comes too close to it. It is a feeling of “losing” myself. It is a form of dying over and over again. It puts me into instinctive fight or flight or freeze because the *I* in me feels this erasing of identity as a threat to my existence.

The only way I knew how to protect myself was to cut myself and my heart off from others. I had to isolate myself for years just to understand who I even was separate from other people. What are MY feelings? What are MY thoughts? Who am I outside of social conditioning and the dysfunction that I grew up with?

I challenged myself several years ago to learn how to stay open hearted and be myself even while around other strong personalities. It feels a bit like trying to stay strong against a series of hellish tsunamis coming straight for you. I felt very ill prepared for it, but the only way I knew I was going to master this was by constantly testing myself by interacting with others on a regular basis. Which means no hiding out in isolation. (Sweet, sweet isolation.)

I’ve had to completely relearn how to live. Start back at square one. In each moment, in each now, I’ve had to check in with myself and consciously choose another way. I’ve had to learn how to catch myself before I move into fight or flight and pause that moment. Talk to myself. Open up and breathe. Relax. Put things back into perspective.

If I couldn’t move myself out of animal instinct mind (aka deer caught in headlights) enough to feel my own feelings, then I trained myself to at least go off of memory of my feelings and how I would most likely respond if I had been able to access them. Fake it until you make it. At least when I do that, I avert an even bigger disaster that I’d have to clean up and fix later. The less disasters I have to go back and clean up, the more time I have to just enjoy life.

The more I have practiced this, the more I have realized that I am simply learning how to stay consciously present with myself. To quit abandoning myself during my time of need. Just like a wounded animal, I didn’t know who was just hurting me more or who was trying to help me, because both are painful to me. I’ve been looking to understand who I can trust to help me because I really hurt, but I can’t show that hurt because in the wild, the weak and vulnerable are taken down by predators.

I cannot know other’s true intents. Too frequently people do not even know themselves. I have rarely run into anyone who does. Which tells me, at least from my perspective and understanding, that nobody really knows what they are doing or what is going on. The worst thing I could do for myself is to make them an authority over me and my life.

This opened up my world to the understanding that I get to work this out for myself. Throw out what I’ve been raised to believe, what I’m told to believe, popular belief, and assumptions. A clean slate. Operation: Just because others tell me this is how it is, doesn’t mean it’s true and it doesn’t mean that I have to continue living in that way.

My goal has been to keep reminding myself of me after every interaction with another human being. Round and round in my head I start repeating, “What are my feelings? What do I personally feel about this?” If I found that what I felt was contrary to something I agreed to do, then I pushed myself to find a way to correct that immediately. Don’t avoid the person or the situation, go back and face it and correct it. Learn what it feels like to stand strong in myself.

I have to stay so vigilant and aware. I have to be so brutally honest with myself and others. I have had to embarrass and humiliate myself I don’t know how many times in my efforts to learn how to try and do something different in the now. It’s like trying to do comedy skits on live TV. When you do something that doesn’t work or you flat out screw up, everyone sees it. There’s nowhere to run and hide. And no matter how embarrassed I am, I must keep showing up for life. I must keep making things right for myself.

All of this hard work is starting to pay off.

I am depended on. I am looked to for assistance, comfort, and guidance. I have many reasons I have to get out of bed everyday. Those things become a source of stress and sorrow and anxiety about being able to continue handling all of those things when I’m living in survival mode.

But when I’m living from this new space of being present with myself and open to life in a very conscious and purposeful way, those same responsibilities become a source of extreme happiness and satisfaction.

My self confidence goes up because I trust more and more that I can handle whatever comes my way. I become less afraid of how others are going to respond or even what they are thinking, because I only need to be clear with what I feel and what I need and a willingness to speak my feelings and my needs. I’ll let others speak for their own feelings and needs. In fact, I insist on it. I want others to feel self-empowered and like it’s okay to be whoever they are when they’re around me.

I need to be a part of other’s lives and I need others in my life. It gives my life meaning. When I’m isolated, cut-off, and trying to avoid people and life in order to not get thrown all over the place emotionally . . . my existence seems trivial. I don’t understand what the meaning or point of life is. It becomes a life centered on sheer survival.

But a life of open-heartedness and healthy relationships with others from all walks of life . . . if I were to disappear tomorrow, people would notice. Do you know how good that feels? I may not like attention, but just knowing that my presence would be missed if I were suddenly to be gone . . . that *means* something to me. It means that I did something right. It means I had some sort of impact on my environment and that things are different in the world because I existed.

If I were to live my life all scared and hiding away focused solely on trying to protect myself from the great big world, then nobody would even remember that I even existed, and that feels incredibly lonely and sad to me. I don’t want to be the center of attention, but I do want to live my life in such a way that the absence of my presence would be noticed.

So I’ll put in all of the hard work of changing myself, and power through my fears, and suffer through the awkwardness and humiliation, because it’s worth it. It makes life worth living.

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