My Learnings – 2010s

I get emails from Marie Forleo because I signed up for her B-School program back in 2015. She is fun and passionate and teaches valuable stuff to entrepreneurs.

At the end of 2019, she had a series of videos about reflecting on the past decade: what you’re proud of and why, what you learned and why those lessons are important, and what you want your future self to know.

The exercises serve as a reflection on how far we’ve come and can guide us into the next decade with clarity.

I enjoyed reflecting and I felt empowered, encouraged, and enlivened because this exercise met my needs for appreciation, understanding, growth, and celebration. I’d like to share my “lessons learned” part of the exercise.

Everything happens FOR me
This idea resonated deeply with me when I first heard it, maybe around 2014 or so. It’s a reminder that even when “undesirable” things happen, it’s because I’m going to learn from that experience in some way, I’m going to grow from it, and expand my perspective through the process. Even the physical pain I’ve experienced on a monthly basis in the past, I believe happened FOR me so that I could really understand and embody what it means to take care of myself, to set boundaries, to accept what is, to relax into a challenging/uncomfortable situation and be with it, to have patience, to reflect and go within, to reach out and ask for help, and to value my body and its abilities even more when it’s not in pain. I have learned so much through the experience of the past monthly physical pain–even though it was so hard to be in it at times and I had to miss out on doing things I wanted to do. There are lessons even from that.

A definition of suffering = voluntary participation in events, situations, and circumstances that disempower you
Again, when I first heard this (from Iyanla Vanzant via Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations podcast, just this past August) it hit me hard as an empowering reminder that I can choose something else. I can choose not to participate, I do not have to stand there and be disempowered and suffer. Maybe it is more about emotional suffering than physical suffering, though emotions do create a physical response in the body. I went through a lot of emotional suffering in the past because I allowed myself to participate in disempowering situations, to give my power all away to someone else.

I am responsible for how I feel; I let everyone else off the hook
Another reminder (from Abraham via Esther Hicks) that I can choose, that I have a choice of feeling bad or feeling something else, that I have a choice to allow myself to stay in a bad feeling state or situation or choose to shift towards a better feeling state. This is a challenge sometimes and it’s a continual practice that I consciously engage in. It’s not easy but I believe it’s worth it in order to show up for myself and align my vibration with who I really am.

Listening to, honoring, and acknowledging my body; self-care in many forms
Without the freedom to move in my body, my world becomes much more limited, contracted, and it’s hard to keep a hopeful outlook on life. I know this feeling so well. Because of it, I have deeply embodied the learning and practice of checking in with my body to really listen to it and honor it and understand it. Creating some space for dialogue and language to support myself in this. And acceptance and self-empathy for when I’m not able to do what I want to do. This is a continual practice because I still find that I push myself too hard sometimes–my will wants to drag my body along behind it. But I ask it, “What can I do to help?” “How are you feeling?” “What do you need?” And I acknowledge it when I know I’ve pushed it a bit–or even when I haven’t. When I feel good, I acknowledge and thank it for the good feeling: “Yay, we did it! Thank you for supporting me in this.”

Be curious
This is so helpful in learning and to ask questions without the fear of being seen as “stupid” or thinking that we need to know everything or to be “right,” which the mind chatter has a way of scaring us into thinking. Curiosity is so important in the process of expanding yourself, to see what you’re capable of, to see what works and what doesn’t, to move forward with less fear. And it’s fun to be curious. 🙂

Have fun, be joyful
Life is supposed to be fun! Another teaching by Abraham. We are here for who knows how long or for what purpose, but doesn’t it feel good to enjoy yourself and have fun while we ARE here? The fact that we ARE here is a miracle and we get to be in our body which we can move, think, have freedom and independence, and to taste, touch, hear, see, smell is such a privilege. I am so grateful for all of my senses because they allow me to experience the world and my life fully.

Savor what feels good; celebrate
Again with the fun and joy. My teacher, David Ross formerly of the World School and currently at Andrew University, ingrains this into his students–and it’s a fun practice. Savor what feels good because it feels good to savor! And to be able to remember that good feeling in my body for a longer period of time, to be able to create and maintain that good feeling again whenever I want. Celebrate even the smallest victory. It’s a way to enjoy life even more.

I am taking these lessons into my next decade of life, continuously and consciously practicing them, and I’m sure I’ll learn even more along the way. Life is a continual process of growth and evolution, if we allow it to be. And I am allowing it! 🙂

Run Away, Run

“we will drive until the moon balloons
to just past perfect for a night like this”

– From “God and When My Mother Passes” by Denise Benavides

In silver armor we step on the gas
pedal through universes,
for the special occasion when soul mates
with soul, entwining, finding
crevices to fill, the emptiness
so long suffered through.

The tarnished I/us that was, the polished me/we now who will be, future more perfect than past.

For a night like this the moon fulfills dreams,
moon beams lift us up to black sky beyond
stars blanketing an abyss,
millions and billions, we surpass them
all, shine brighter in each other’s arms where we fit,
no longer dry husks, empty, but supple bladders, full
to swollen, balloons are our red hearts
drifting side by side, red to bursting as fluids
mingle, life created, cell by cell, multiplying
like our prospects, our hopes and joys, despair
subsides, a submarine of loneliness sinks to the bottom of the sea,
like blood that is more leaden than water.

The ocean knows and carries us
across miles towards our new life together,
the one we almost ran from once,
too scared to fail, to hurt again
always again,
to be destroyed and damaged as so many times before
we set eyes on each other.

This night, we shed our silver armor, expose
our luminous love-woven skin, and speed in
to battle our debts together, settle into each other’s losses.

Start with…

Written on July 18, 2016

Even after all this, I still believe–at least, I feel like–I have all the time in the world.

This feeling comes from the freedom of being untethered, floating around like a balloon and going in whatever direction the wind takes me. No ties, no binds, no man, no children, the freedom in that is expansive. Yet feeling lost and lonely within that expanse becomes easy…

Inflates to a sort of nothingness where feeling alone, like being single will never end, no end in sight, reverberates and repeats, creating a hall of mirrors where you’re looking at yourself standing alone, all around you, you’re standing alone to infinity. And beyond.

The silence fills your ears, stuffs them with cotton and you’re under water in your aloneness. Your aloneness echoes all around you, the sound of nothing deafens you and you continue your stance, alone. In solitude, the silence thunders.

The twitters of birds outside your window become snatches of the only conversation you overhear, the gossip between people who have hung out too long or often with each other so that all they can talk about is other people’s lives. The cars passing by, their tires’ friction against the asphalt are whispers to you, muttered under one’s breath, that you just couldn’t catch.

Then suddenly–finally?–you are not alone any longer. You are part of a twosome. Bliss fills every moment for you, for a while, but the bliss eventually recedes and you are left with real life. Mundane, real life as part of a twosome. Problems to solve as part of a twosome, boredom to overcome, fights to resolve, conflicts, compromises, sometimes even sacrifice. And don’t say it: resentment. Deep despair as part of a twosome.

With whom are you willing to struggle? With whom are you willing to fight and make up? With whom are you willing to cry, to be ugly, to be fat, to deteriorate, to be at your worst, to be scared, to fail? To love and support and carry to safety.

To be with someone else means all this and worse–if it is at all worth it.

We have a dream of our soulmate and everything is perfect. But we wake up before real life appears because it’s the easier thing to do. Leave when it is perfect. That’s fear, cowardice. Stay even when it gets hard because you want it to get better. That’s love. Wanting to work through a challenge. That’s love. When you stop wanting to work, that’s no longer love. That’s giving up.

Wanting to stay is the most important thing. Feeling that it’s worth it to stay despite the cruelness of life. But both people must feel this way, not just one. One won’t work.

Sometimes staying isn’t glamorous or perfect, but it has to be right for both people. And love must still be present. Don’t leave because you feel too vulnerable. Leave if it’s not the right fit, though.

But to want to be in a relationship you have to embrace the ugliness of relationships. The mundane aspects along with the beautiful, blissful pieces. You have to be ready to fight and still want to be on the same team with each other.

When we think about love and relationships, we usually don’t think about the mundane aspects of them. We think about the excitement and electricity of those first pulsating feelings throbbing through the heat of our bodies when we are near the object of our desire.

We don’t think about the eventual laundry we’ll do together, the dishes, the cleaning, cooking, changing the sheets every three weeks. And maybe we shouldn’t think about all that right away, and rightfully so. But as mature adults, we must consider all of this, keep it in mind, maybe even imagine ourselves doing those things with the object of our current desire or infatuation.

This is mostly a reminder for myself and for anyone who has been told that maybe they’re “too picky.”

Where is home for you?

Written on May 19, 2016

Writing prompt: Where is home for you?
From Old Friend from Far Away by Natalie Goldberg

My home is in the arms of someone who loves me, my co-creator in life, holding me in a backwards hug, with my back pressed against his chest, his arms tight around me, his mouth by my ear, speaking softly to me as his breath moves the little wisps of my hair so that they tickle my temple.

I feel so secure there. I feel safe. The one place where you must absolutely feel safe is Home. He is my home, so wherever he is, I am home.

He is my home, so wherever he is, I am home.

He makes a home with me, or maybe I make a home with him. There’s a difference between the two and the difference is in how we work with each other to do this, who settles into whom more, flowing into every little crevice available to fill, sealing the fissures of each other’s hearts where they have been ruptured by previous heartbreaks, cracks in the soul (if a soul can have cracks?) where dreams have failed or were lost, where poor decisions have been made, where you have been lost yourself and now you are found, your feet on solid ground beneath you because of him who grounds you, places you, at home. In your home of him.

It’s ironic that he with whom you find home has broken down your walls. He wrecked something destitute, dark, drafty, cracked, and falling over in order to give you something stronger, solid, whole, warm, bright, and full.

My home is tucked inside the chambers of his heart.

This is where home is for me. My home is tucked inside the chambers of his heart.