keep on keeping on

June has been pretty much the worst. A situation returned that I never thought I could survive again, and I’ve been crumbling under the stress and self doubt brought on by this major disaster. I was doing a horrible job at coping. I stopped smiling at people. I was mean to my mom. I started binge watching shows, just to avoid reality, because I felt like I couldn’t deal with it. I couldn’t handle this, not again.

I was drowning in my depression and shame and self doubt. I was too embarrassed to really tell anyone what was going on, or ask for help. I felt completely hopeless and wished a mountain lion would eat me or just not wake up the next morning. I know that sounds like a lot, but it seemed like literally the only way out. I was so stuck. A few days I woke up feeling like my normal self, but most mornings as soon as I opened my eyes all the pain and suffering came rushing back in, and I didn’t have the strength to stop it.

After feeling bad for myself, and trying to blame anyone else I could think of, I was running out of options. I tried to listen to my dreams, hike, meditate, get a massage.. all the things that normally help me find some balance again. Nothing seemed to work at all. It totally sucked that I was in that much pain, but felt like I had no one to confide in. Nobody that had my back.

The universe was always there though. Sending me birds, kind strangers, and a million other signs that I was too angry and dismissive to see, or let myself believe in. They felt like a cruel joke. Telling me to keep going when they knew there was nothing but more suffering ahead. Everywhere I turned and prayed and pleaded for a sign, I would see something saying to keep going, that things were getting better, but it didn’t feel like that at all.

Monday I went to the park and had a picnic with myself. I decided to just sit down and listen to whatever came. I brought a book I’m reading (Deepak Chopra’s The Path to Love) and my new journal. I started reading and came to a chapter about letting go.

Have you ever had one of those moments where it’s like you’re reading something written by someone else, but you swear it was written only for you? Like how could they see so deep into your soul? That’s what happened. Every word pierced through the heaviness surrounding me and little bits of light started streaming in.

Sitting on the grass I was suddenly surrounded by so much beauty that I hadn’t noticed was there. The tall trees, birds singing their funny song, butterflies darting around me. I finally dropped my guard enough to let the world in, and waves of peace washed over me.

I probably looked a little silly crying all alone on my blanket in the park at 2pm, but I didn’t care anymore. I wasn’t aware of how much weight I had been carrying, until it began lifting off my shoulders and out of my heart.

And then the voice I had been seeking, but unable to hear in so long, started talking to me again. She reminded me of my strength, and that just like I did before, I could get through this again. She whispered of love and hope and change coming my way. She hadn’t forgotten me.

I realized that whatever the difficult situation is that you are going through, that isn’t the important part. Yes, it’s important to address it and do your best to create a reality you are more comfortable with, but each of these challenges comes to teach us something. To help us grow. The most important thing is how you handle it. Are you closed off and resisting? Or are you able to stay open and soft?

Believe me, I know that sometimes you need to close and be angry, your survival can depend on it. But, when you are ready, something beautiful and amazing is there and ready to help carry you into the future. No matter how alone you feel, it is always there, loving and guiding you. Simply relax into the moment and open your heart, my love.

Your power is held in surrender. When you are rigid you limit your choices and constrict yourself. Enmeshing yourself further and deeper into that which you are trying to escape. By letting go into the flow, your trust opens the magical doorways that were created for you to flow through.

back at it

This past week was r o u g h. You know those weeks when everything goes wrong? When it feels like you took 20 steps backward and you’re stuck all the way at the bottom again? That was how I was feeling. I hated everything. I was angry. I was afraid. I wanted to hurt everyone, because I was hurting so bad.

Instead of telling myself to snap out of it, I just sat in all the shit. It was messy and uncomfortable and made me crazy… but then I woke up today and it was gone.

What I’ve been realizing lately is that even if I want to give up, I can’t. Even when I feel like I just can’t do it one more day… somehow the day goes by and I’m still here.

The thing I liked the best about not trying to be “positive” or feel better or change my mood, was that I totally experienced all of it. The dirty depths. And now I’m ready to move on. Too many times, I try to fix everything too quickly, and I think that’s how I end up in the same mess again. I never actually let myself do the work and go through what I need to. I’m trying too hard to find peace and comfort again.

I think we all do that.

Being uncomfortable sucks. But unfortunately, that’s how we grow. And once we choose that path, there is no going back. No matter how much we kick and scream and protest. We can’t unchoose.

So today, I’m choosing again. And my choice is to find peace in what is. To stop blaming myself and condemning myself as a failure. To see my bloss as a work in progress. To remember the power and complexity inside of me. To allow myself to be human.

I hope you can give yourself that blessing too

photo by Russell Alboroto for Loom

disappearing act

I was just thinking about something… I’m really bad at endings. I can usually sense when something is over, or coming to an end, and know it’s time to move on. I’m the worst at communicating that though. Most of the time I just disappear. I hate having those conversations about why I’m leaving or whatever the thing is that isn’t working out for me anymore. So, instead of being honest about my feelings, I leave and never look back. It comes back to bite me in the ass though.

I don’t know where or how I learned that stealing away like a thief in the night is less painful for both parties than telling them why you have to go. I think part of it is that I hate having to explain why. Because there’s never a good answer. I just know it’s time to go. And they’re never satisfied with that.

Maybe I’m a lot like my Dad in that sense. At my last count he has almost 20 children… and he’s left most of them behind. I don’t know if he told my mom he was leaving or why, but I do know it was when she was only a few months pregnant. I think she said the only thing he ever bought her was a box of tea.

It’s extremely hard not to take someone leaving personally. Of course it had to be something you did (or didn’t do), or maybe said. But the truth is, someone leaving can never be about you. It’s always, entirely, about them. That’s crazy to think about because of all the people and situations I left and then realizing that people leaving me is the same thing. It’s never been about me, always them. And the crazy stories or theories I came up with to cope could never match the probably very simple reasons they left.

Maybe my Dad just didn’t want the responsibility of another child. I mean obviously it couldn’t be personal… I wasn’t even born yet! But it still feels like a very personal betrayal and rejection. Maybe I’ve left so many people so that I wouldn’t be the one getting left behind. Kind of like a preemptive strike thing. Or maybe I had to leave so many people and situations to realize that leaving isn’t a personal thing and to learn to stop taking it so seriously.

Anyways, it’s a pattern I’ve been noticing. One that I’m trying to unravel and transcend. How can I muster up the courage to talk through my reasons without feeling obligated to stay? I don’t know, I guess I have to try it first and see.

Nothing is personal. Everything is just a story we tell ourselves in order to cope with what we perceive as rejection. But how can we be cut off and rejected when we’re all so deeply intertwined?

I went to my special spot on my birthday feeling lonely and let down, so I thought I would go up there for my very own pity party. My expectations weren’t lining up with reality and I was feeling very woe is me. But when I stopped to listen, all I heard around me were reminders that I wasn’t alone. The river gurgling by, the birds singing, the wind in the trees. Everything was alive and living and breathing just like I was.

No matter how hard I may try to cut myself off… the Universe and all of it’s love and support is there to hold me. The greatest lie we’ve come to believe is that we are separate. But we’re all connected. So all of our fears of rejection are pointless.

What we can do better is to allow ourselves the freedom to follow our path. There is a path each one of us must walk alone, and where it leads only we know. It’s our special mission to figure out what we came here to do.

There are cycles of beginnings and endings that we must honor. Trying to force anything will never end up well. So maybe my disappearing act isn’t a failure, but an opening to the possibility of accepting the cycles of change with grace. I love that within every shadow there is light. Within every trial is the seed of success. Life is like a spiral upwards… it’s always the same you’re just being tested on a harder and higher level of understanding. Maybe that’s what Karr meant he said, “plus ça change, plus c’est la meme chose (the more it changes, the more it is the same).”

complicated

When did being yourself get so complicated? At what age did we first start changing ourselves because we realized that by doing it we made others happy? And we could get our needs for attention or whatever else it was met. When I think about this it makes me really sad, because I wish I could go back in time and find out who I was before I started to make everyone else happy. I understand that this was necessary, in many ways, for survival and all of that, but why is it still necessary now?

Have you ever noticed how much of yourself you hide from certain people (even the ones you love and trust the most), or what behaviors you change to make others comfortable. I’m all for creating spaces of harmony and respect but I don’t want to live by some script created that says is it’s the only way for me to get what I want: a paycheck, relationship, whatever it is. People are complicated. We’re like chameleons, constantly shifting to match our surroundings… but when does that start to drown out who we really are and what we really want?

The thing is, people don’t want you to tell the the truth about who you are. They can’t handle it. They want to put you in a cute little box and know exactly how you will behave in each situation. It’s scary to be unpredictable. They can’t protect themselves from possible hurt if they don’t know how you are going to behave. But god, everyone takes everything so seriously. And I mean don’t get me wrong, I do too, but I’ve been realizing more and more that every single thing each person (myself included) does is completely about them. And I’m tired of being responsible for other people’s emotions – that’s not my job.

I do my best to be honest and kind, but sometimes we activate old wounds in each other. And that’s good! Because how could we ever hope to heal them if we don’t bring them up to the surface for a good inspection. Healing is a painful process.

I guess my whole point of rambling this much is that I just want to live my life! I’m trying my very best to be sensitive and kind to others, but I feel so weighed down by their expectations of who and what they think I should be and the emotional labor they expect me to do for them. I have my own wounds I need to heal. I can’t tiptoe around everyone else.

And I also need to work on my gratitude. It’s so easy to forget how much you have and to always live in a state of scarcity. It’s crazy how when I have the least amount of material things I am always the happiest, because I am grateful for every. little. thing. The bird I just saw fly by, the buds forming on the trees, that my car has enough gas to get where I need to go! It’s taken a long time to learn, but I’m slowly figuring out that abundance really is a state you can live in, no matter your material possessions. The more material possessions I acquire the more scarcity I see. I guess I’m scared of losing it all. But when you don’t have much to lose (materially) you start to realize just how full of beauty and love and support the world is.

The past few months have been really rough financially for me. I haven’t paid my phone bill, car payment, car insurance, credit card payment… you get it. And today I was almost out of gas… so I woke up this morning and started catastrophizing and going deeper and deeper into all of the fears I have about money and never having enough and how will I feed us or take my son to school… imagining the worst of the worst happening. But then I realized those were all just stories I was telling myself. None of it had actually happened, and might never. So I did a quick 5,4,3,2,1 and decided to meditate and clear my mind.

I remembered all of the incredible things I have to be grateful for: I woke up today, my sweet little boy is safe and healthy, I have food in my kitchen to eat, I slept in my warm comfy bed in my wonderful house, my good health, the birds chirping outside my window, the beautiful mountains… and the list goes on. I am SO lucky! And maybe I’m not rolling in the monies, but I have so many things that are worth living for. And guess what… a few hours later I got an email from my agency about a surprise check 🙂

So as alone and misunderstood and out of control and lost and forgotten I’ve been feeling, I know that is all a facade. I really believe that everything happens for a reason and the Universe has a much better plan than I could ever design in store for me. And it’s my job to go with the flow… and I’ll end up somewhere better than I could have ever dreamed alone!

Anyways, back to my original point: I am releasing my need to be what other people expect of me. I am the same Phobewhether I’m sleeping on the street or in a mansion. Whatever material things surround me don’t define who I am. And whether I have all the monies or none of them, I am going to live and love the life I have. I’m letting go of all the responsibility I’ve been carrying around for other people and all the healing I’ve been trying to do for them. That’s their job!

I want to be around people who are committed to growth and taking responsibility for themselves. Who encourage me to change and grow and not live by the rules, but to create my own. People who live their dreams at any cost and push me into doing more than I ever thought I could. I want to be one of those people too… so I’m practicing humility and self awareness and taking responsibility for all of me.

fear

I don’t know how to start this post… because I REALLY don’t want to make it, but I think I have to…

In 2015 I moved into a really nice “luxury” apartment in Sugarhouse. I was so excited to be living there and fought so hard to make it happen. But the truth was, I couldn’t afford it. 

Every month I would cry and wonder how I was going to make rent. Something usually worked out, but honestly I don’t even know how. When my lease ended last Fall, I decided to move out to California. 

That was a total bust. Not only did they penalize me for not giving 30 days notice, even though my lease was up, California was a complete disaster. My relationship with my family fell apart and so I came back to SLC in December to try and rebuild my life. 

My son’s dad said he could stay with him for a few months while I got settled, so I rented a room and started working at a flower shop and getting back into modeling. 

It went well for a few weeks until the drama started, so I asked my friend if I my son and I could stay with him until I found a permanent place, and that was in February! 

I’ve been looking at old places, new places, EVERY place and still haven’t found anything. I went to check out an apartment last week and there were 15 other people waiting to check it out. One girl said she could pay 6 months up front. An hour later, I got an email saying it had been rented. 

I don’t know how I’m supposed to compete in a rental market like this. I don’t have 6 months rent up front lol. 

The most frustrating thing is not having a place of my own to go home to. I feel like I haven’t been able to completely relax since I moved out of my apartment in October. It’s always awkward being in someone else’s space and feeling totally in the way all the time. Like everything you do is taking up too much room. 

I’ve prayed/begged/pleaded that this could be over but it’s still not. I’ve been trying to find the lesson and even though I thought I had (several times) I still haven’t found a place. I’m not even fighting for a place anymore. Maybe out of surrender or pure exhaustion I’ve decided that when the time is right, the place will come to me. 

But until then how do I make it through another day of facing this fear? How do I stay calm and not succumb to the panic I feel constantly rising in the back of my mind? 

Yesterday, I was feeling especially down about the situation, and decided to read some books to see if they had any insight. I opened the book at random to a chapter about trusting life even though it is beyond our control and having the courage to follow your personal path which is terrifying but the only way to unlocking your genius. Scary stuff! 

The root of all my fear is unworthiness. For so long I believed I wasn’t worthy of anything: love, a career I was passionate about, a beautiful home, loving family…

It’s always this same fear showing up in different costumes and here it is, whispering I somehow don’t deserve to get my own place again. That it will never happen and I’ll be stuck here forever, or at least until my friend gets tired of me. 

The book says that this is “…the path through fear. Whatever your deepest fear is, you will meet it and you will transcend it.”I’ve been fighting the fear of unworthiness all of my life, I know how to do that. 

But knowing that I’ll overcome it is the scariest part, because what comes next? 

reflecting 

Isn’t life interesting? 

Watching The School of Life video about Infidelity. Reading Alain de Botton’s The Course of Love. Remembering how my psychic said I would have multiple partners in the future. Becoming super interested and feeling connected to Goddess mythology. This whole situation with that guy (yes, HIM). 

So many things manifesting into my life all at once to help me break through living my life half heartedly. 

I’ve been blind for so long. I’m finally waking up and living my life fully committed to following the path of my heart. 

It’s scary! People don’t like it at all. But the more I do it, the happier I am. I’m finally beginning to understand how my past was always leading me to this moment. I’m beyond grateful for the experiences & knowledge entering my life right now. 

Oh life, I love you! 

growth. 

I went on the most beautiful hike this morning. I don’t remember the mountains ever being such a vibrant green! 

I love climbing to the peak and looking down on the city below. Whenever I’m stuck or searching for perspective I come to the mountains for guidance. They always feel like home.  

Today everything was covered in bright green grass, trees, purple and yellow flowers, and birds singing everywhere. I felt overwhelmed by the natural beauty and so grateful that this experience is only a few minutes from my house whenever I need to rejuvenate. 

When you’re stuck in a situation it’s hard to see how far you’ve come and how close you are to success. I just finished this great book (Owning Your Own Shadow by Robert A. Johnson) which talks about the power of sitting in the middle of an uncomfortable opposition and learning to find the higher way out, which doesn’t submit to either side but rather transcends. 

So today on the mountaintop I wondered to myself how to practice this in my own life. How can I use this current period of crisis to go beyond myself, into a connection with something higher? 

In the Owning Your Own Shadow (pg 93-94), Robert Johnson quotes Dr. Marie-Louise bon Franz who perfectly explains this experience:

“Jung has said that to be in a situation where there is now way out, or to be in a conflict where there is no solution, is the classical beginning of the process of individuation. It is meant to be a situation without solution: the unconscious wants the hopeless conflict in order to put ego-consciousness up against the wall, so that man has to realize that whatever he does is wrong, whichever way he decides will be wrong. This is meant to knock out the superiority of the ego, which always acts from the illusion that it has the responsibility of decision. Naturally, if a man says, “Oh well, then I shall just let everything go and make no decision, but just protract and wriggle out of [it],” the whole thing is equally wrong, for them naturally nothing happens. But if he is ethical enough to suffer to the core of his personality, then generally…the Self manifests. In religious language you could say that the situation without issue is meant to force the man to rely on an act of God. In psychological language the situation without issue, which the anima arranges with great skill in a man’s life, is meant to drive him into a condition in which he is capable of experiencing the Self. When thinking of the anima as the soul guide, we are apt to think of Beatrice leading Dante up to Paradise, but we should not forget that he experienced that only after he had gone through Hell. Normally, the anima does not take a man by the hand and lead him right up to Paradise; she puts him first in a hot cauldron where he is nicely roasted for a while.”

Hopefully being conscious that I’m currently being roasted in a hot cauldron is the first step lol. 

purpose. 

Since the end of February I’ve been going to the gym (getting those gains!) and have loved returning to that rhythm. I feel stronger, more attractive, and definitely more confident. I didn’t want to get stuck in the same routine, so I decided to add some yoga classes. I practiced yoga religiously a few years ago and still have a gentle daily practice, but haven’t been to a class in a while. 

My ego was feeling pretty inflated and I was beyond confident that I had it in the bag. I mean I go to the gym 5x a week, trail run, and get in some quick workouts throughout the day. So I signed up for a class that combined cardio and strength training… and it kicked my ass! Sweat was literally pouring down my face, I couldn’t see, and even more humbling there was a pregnant woman next to me breezing through the class. 

After I left that class I was reminded of two things. 

1. if I’m always stopping and starting I’ll never be as good as taking small, consistent steps toward my goals (have you read The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy?) and 2. stop comparing my journey to others. I don’t know how long it took them to get there, and that doesn’t really matter because their path is completely different from mine. 

So I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching and noticed that although I regularly have “aha” moments… they never stick. I’ll be in a space of incredible clarity and knowing and then forget and lose my way again. My number one question right now is: how do I keep those moments alive? How can I remind myself to continue living my purpose when life happens and gets in the way? How do I stay connected? 

I’ve been listening to an awesome webinar hosted by Dustin Urban all about tuning into and living your purpose all this week. Today the guest was Jonathan Gustin who made a comment that really stuck out to me. He was talking about how finding and keeping your soul purpose alive requires an ongoing relationship. You can’t watch one webinar, take notes, and then never look at them again. Every day you have to allow your purpose to be front and center. 

Even though it seems like I take three steps forward and two back, at least I’m making that one step! I’m excited to currently be at at a place where I am conscious of these patterns of resistance, which make it difficult to constantly embody my purpose. Instead of trying to get rid of them completely, I’ve decided to start listening and giving them space. Hopefully then I will be making consistent progress… and no more of all this stopping and starting over.