What is safe to care about?

I think of how protective we are of Pluto, the outpouring of emotion we saw last week and it gives me hope. But loving Pluto is safe. We have so much of our own emotional work to do.

Remember this. When you look at how much care we can put into a tiny dwarf planet and then you get mad at all the sweet babies and children starving and dying on our own planet or the sanctity of our own planet and try to reconcile that, don’t let it embitter you towards humanity. Just remember that Pluto is safe to love and to protect. And then explore why that might not be the case for things you feel really should count for a lot more than they actually seem to. Remember this when you get angry at people for caring about the “wrong things”.

Nota bene

I restarted graduate school this fall in order to finish my MA this year, so that’s why there haven’t been any recent posts. I have far too many ideas — upwards of 50 partially-researched or half-written essays and articles — and suddenly I have school to focus on as well, which is currently taking up about 85-95% of my time as I find my footing. So my efforts for now are geared toward striking that ephemeral balance between writing and parenting and academics.

In the meantime, here is an abbreviated list of the posts I am particularly fond of:

Love and Loneliness: The Importance of Connection

Coming full circle: Christianity

Being more human when dealing with another’s grief

The Nuances of Racism

Doctor Who and the Eternal Now

The Other Zombie Apocalypse

I came across the following quote today:

“You don’t have to think very hard to realize that our dread of both relationships and loneliness … has to do with angst about death, the recognition that I’m going to die, and die very much alone, and the rest of the world is going to go merrily on without me.”

It’s from David Foster Wallace on writing, death, and redemption, and I sat there staring at it in disbelief. I vehemently disagree with this quote, as it is written. And now I will write an essay in reaction to how it is written without actually looking at the rest of the article. Without giving it context.

Dread of relationships and loneliness have very little to do with the understanding that we’re going to die. What we’re afraid of, though, is never fully living. We’re afraid of being the walking dead — dead before we die. Rotting from the inside out because we’re not getting the connection from others.

THAT IS WHAT WE’RE AFRAID OF.

Continue reading

An Annoying Epiphany

Skimming through Caroline Myss’s Sacred Contracts, I came across this underlined statement: “…choice is your greatest power. It is an even greater power than love, because you must first choose to be a loving person.” p. 17

The night before my recent birthday, I had planned on going out to an event. It had been in my calendar for weeks and I was very much looking forward to it. It was to be an early birthday present to myself. However, by the time I needed to really start getting ready to leave for this event, I had concluded that the series of unfortunate events and miscommunications of that day and the day before had robbed me of any ability to do anything other than lie down and cry myself to sleep. I was completely devastated at missing out on seeing friends and participating in something that I knew would have fed my starving soul. I napped for two hours and came up to have some dinner. I spoke with my partner and discussed what had transpired from my perspective. He gave me his perspective. While I was no longer faulting him, I was still deeply angry that it all happened the way it did, causing me to miss out on something so important to me.

When I awoke the next morning, my birthday, I was still in that state of anger. By this point, I was deliberately using my mood to cast a shadow over everyone who came near me, and I project my emotional state with sublime expertise. I have no poker face. After awhile, I started asking myself if I really wanted to stay angry on my birthday. That would be a lousy birthday present to myself, and that’s when things started to crumble. I thought to myself: Continue reading

Start Small

So many people buy into the Go Big or Go Home approach that starting anything can be intimidating if it’s out of your daily routine, daily habit, or general comfort zone.

My very awesome reiki instructor, Paul Lara of QiBelly, is starting a video series. Here’s his first, where he addresses trust, fear, love, and daily habits in under two minutes.

Taking Your Meditation to the Streets (Part 1)

 

In a recent email to a friend of mine, I asked if she meditated. The pace of our lives often feels so haywire that it’s hard to keep up with the daily insanity. It’s easy to feel like we’re running on autopilot while the days slip by and it can feel like we don’t even have the power to change anything at all. I told my friend to steal 5 minutes from her morning to just sit and breathe. Just sit and follow her breath. Set the timer on her phone and sit and breathe.

It’s a way to carve out a time to be in your body. Life happens in the present moment and so often we’re somewhere else. Sitting and being in our body helps bring us back to the present moment. It is only in the present moment that change can take place. Be where your body is, as the saying goes.

5 minutes.

You can do it.

I hereby give you permission to start small.

Love and Loneliness: The Importance of Connection

 

Photo Credit: Ashley Bliss

Photo Credit: Ashley Bliss

A friend of mine sent me this link a while ago: When Loneliness During Parenting Feels Like Too Much. I’ve been struggling with loneliness for the past 6 years, since the birth of my first child. The life of a stay-at-home-parent of a high-needs/special-needs kid is intense. Add to that the lack of a strong in-person support network and no extra cash for things like hiring a babysitter and the intensity of the isolation skyrockets. It wasn’t until this past year that I realized how astoundingly lonely I’ve been all these years, and it wasn’t until I began writing this that I realized that I’ve been struggling with loneliness for most of my life.

I recently read an article entitled The Lethality of Loneliness, by Judith Shulevitz, and it really moved me. Yes, there were parts I didn’t entirely agree with — I have some issues with how the author handled part of the section about motherhood, and her comment on autism was flippant and misplaced. But the core of the article is sound.

Continue reading

We always have a choice: love vs fear

Little reminders like this are always timely:

Morcheeba – Fear And Love – Big Calm (1998)

We always have a choice
Or at least I think we do
We can always use our voice
I thought this to be true
We can live in fear
Or extend our selves to love
We can fall below
Or lift our selves above
Fear can stop you loving
Love can stop your fear
Fear can stop you loving
But it’s not always that clear
I always try so hard
To share my self around
But now I’m closing up again
Drilling through the ground
Fear can stop you loving
Love can stop your fear
Fear can stop you loving
But it’s not always that clear
I’d love to give my self away
But I find it hard to trust
I’ve got no map to find my way
Amongst these clouds of dust
Fear can stop you loving
Love can stop your fear
Fear can stop you loving
Love can stop your fear
Fear can stop you loving
Love can stop your fear
Fear can stop you loving
But it’s not always that clear X4

Learning how to scare people in one simple but not easy lesson

Sitting on the patio, the sun has warmed my hair. It has been far too cold this Canadian June and I yearn to head south for the warmth of climate, family and friends I’ve been missing for far too long.

I’ve been reading Love 2.0 and am learning that, on a biological level, face time with people we care about is as important as we believe it to be. I’ve been working on synthesizing some of the material in this book along with several articles that all seem to play off each other, but it’s been slow-going because I keep finding more information in this book that I want to share with everyone. I feel like it’s totally ground-breaking, as far as how we need to shift our perspective on the L-word.

Incorporating this new information into my own life, I’m learning that we hold ourselves back so frequently. Between what I’m learning in this book and really taking to heart the quote from Don Miguel Ruiz: “There is a huge amount of freedom that comes to you when you take nothing personally,” I’m learning to throw caution to the wind and be direct and forward with what I want out of life.

It scares the shit out of people.

Me Phobia

 

 

I’m learning not to be afraid of myself and the effects I have on people. In my journey of becoming more of who I am, as well as in my journey of learning how to heal (both myself and others), not being afraid of my innate power is vital.

We ALL deal with Me Phobia… haha, I should clarify that by saying we’re all afraid of ourselves, not that all y’all are afraid of ME. (though maybe you should be! *steeples fingers* Muahahahahahahaaa!!!)

And not only are we afraid of ourselves but many times, we can be afraid of others who are actively overcoming their own fear of self. Like I mentioned up screen, it scares people. A friend of mine told me a story a few weeks ago about how an acquaintance of hers told her she just couldn’t hang out with her anymore because her light was so bright. For real. I barely knew what to say because it was the first time I’d heard of anyone actually owning up to being afraid and subsequently letting that stop them from continuing to be around a particular person because the person was too comfortable with themselves and therefore too blindingly awesome. Astounding. Truly. I am shocked at all the ways we let fear limit our too-short experience of life on this planet.

The graphic above really reminds me of the Marianne Williamson quote:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Playing small does not serve the world, neither does it serve me or you. I used to be so much more neurotic and anxious than I am now and I find I like myself better now than I did then. I don’t fret nearly as much as I used to, which is not to say I don’t still make mountains out of molehills, just that I do it far less frequently.

We are liberated when we allow ourselves the freedom of taking nothing personally. When we realize that it’s them, not us (for the most part, within reason — if you’re being a racist asshole or a victim-blaming, rape culture sympathizer, etc., then it’s you, not them) — but if you’re being a generally stand-up person sticking to your integrity and life-affirming, accepting ethics, and someone is put off by you, then that’s them, not you. We can all learn to respect one another, even if we’re not in accordance with each other. We all dance to the beat of a different drum and one of the most amazing things about life here is that we can sync up with each other occasionally and have amazing times together. And other times, the syncopation of another’s beat to our own provides us opportunities to stretch ourselves and grow.

When I realize that my directness, even if tactful, heartfelt and honest, can be seriously off-putting for some, that means not that I need to stop being that way, but that I need to be patient. I can soften the harsher edges of my communication style if I want, but I don’t need to bend over backwards just to get them to like me or not be put off by me. If they’re able to meet me where I am, then we can have a hell of a lot of fun together. If they’re not ready for me, then that’s the path they need to walk. It does not mean I need to play small to suit their needs. If I spend my life conforming to others, I lose the beauty of who I am.

This is partly where face time can come into play. All too often, I’ve had the experience of trying to reconnect with people I haven’t seen in a very very long time (thanks, Facebook!) and while I’m very similar to who I used to be, in many ways, I’m very different. And without all of the benefits that live, visual interaction can give, with vocal nuances, facial expressions, and eye contact, when it’s just text on screen, it’s really damned difficult to show all those things that help animate that text and situate it more appropriately. Soften it, in my case, or give it an edge or emphasis it otherwise lacks without face time.

That said, people are either going to gel with me or they’re not. And sometimes face time isn’t really necessary to feel like you get where the person is coming from. This is how authors can create characters we fall in love with or despise. This is how we make friends online. Life is so full of ways we can connect with each other and I’m learning that what that connection is is love. Love is connection. This is what Fredrickson has discovered and has written about in Love 2.0. Love is connection.

And this is an ongoing exploration of why we are so threatened by connecting with who we are and connecting with other people in real, honest, and direct ways.

We are always evolving and life is a journey of learning who we are. When we are able to be at peace with the journey of ourselves, so many opportunities for real connections with others open up and life becomes a series of joyful moments strung together by a sense of security in who we are.

Few of us are really there, but it’s a place I catch glimpses of every now and again. It feels real and fulfilling, and so I keep striving to learn how to stay longer. To learn how to quiet the ego’s incessant and droning chant of inadequacy.

This is not to say that life will never be hard or troubling or upsetting. No. What it means in learning to connect with ourselves and really love ourselves — love who we are — is that we are more able to take things as they come with the added perspective of being comfortable in our own skin, in the relationship we each have with ourselves, and a detachment from taking things personally. We’re more able to understand that others are on their own path and there is far less judgment of others in understanding that simple fact. And with less judgment, there is automatically more compassion.

Becoming comfortable with who you are allows for greater compassion for others.

Connecting with who you are allows for more potent connections with others.

Loving who you are allows you to love others more freely and honestly.

 

Why does this scare us?

 

It scares us because we conflate love with commitment. It scares us because we listen to our ego-based intellect more than we listen to our body-based heart. It scares us because we let ourselves be limited and let fear diminish our perspective in this world.

 

So how do we scare people in one simple but not easy lesson? Get over our fear of ourselves. When you let your light shine, you will nourish many and blind some who are not yet ready to bask in the awesomeness of you. Ain’t your fault, so don’t take it on.

You gorgeous thing, go love yourself up, now, k?

Love vs Trust

Firstly, a comment: y’know that feeling when you’re writing a thing with other people in mind and then, a couple of days after posting it, you realize you unknowingly wrote it for you? Yeah. That. So I’ve been mulling some things over.

Also! Yay! I picked up Barbara Fredrickson’s Love 2.0 from the library today.

I. Am. Riveted.

I’m so excited about it! I want everyone everyone everyone all over the world to read it! Yay! Yaaaaaaay!

So the first chapter led me to have the following conversation with myself:

Me: If you love someone, there’s an innate trust. If you love someone, you trust them. Right?
Me: What? NO! Let’s back this up. You have kids, right? Do you trust them? Do you trust a tiny baby?
Me: Trust them to do what?!
Me: Exactly. What about if your mother is senile or you have a kindly but only quasi-functional alcoholic father? Do you trust them?
Me: No. Ok, it depends. But generally, no.
Me: Can you still love them?
Me: Of course!

[time passes]

Me: What about the other way around? Do you automatically love someone if you trust them?
Me: No, not necessarily.
Me: *eyes narrow* Oh, really?
Me: Ok, alright. I’m still working this out.

And I am. There’s a lot to unpack about our societal expectations surrounding the interplay of love and all those other emotions that get folded in.

What is trust? Trust is expectation. Or, rather, the anticipation of your expectation(s) being met. I trust that the sun will rise tomorrow. I trust that that red light will change to green. I trust that my mail will get delivered each weekday. Is there love inherent in these things? I can definitely say that I love that the sun comes up each morning, that I love all the sun does for life here on Earth. I love that we have ways of mitigating traffic confusion and that traffic lights exist and, generally speaking, function pretty reliably. I love, on a poetic level, that stop is only temporary, that go is only temporary, that there are periods of rest and periods of activity and forward momentum and plenty of caution, yielding, and slowing down in the process. I love that there is communication between people, even if it’s a bill for services rendered. I love that there are people who assist in delivering these communications from one place to another. I consider them part of my tribe. They are messengers; my name means messenger, and I identify very strongly with my name.

So there is definitely love intertwined within that trust, but is there a direct correlation?

What happens when trust is broken in a relationship? Does that completely destroy it? It really depends on the people involved, the severity, and the habituation of the infraction. It can destroy a relationship but it doesn’t have to. There have been several articles written about this very thing. This one is about infidelity, which is typically considered the biggest breach of trust in a romantic relationship. When trust is broken in any relationship, the only way to bring it back is through introspection and honest communication.

I want to return to whether there is a direct correlation trust and love, whether trust begets love or whether we can’t trust without love, and whether we’re talking about our standard socio-cultural definition or whether we’re talking about the upgraded Love 2.0 version. That’s another post for another day, though. Consider this a stub. 😉

Whole unto Ourselves

White Bleeding Hearts  ©Angela Warner

I had an epiphany earlier today.

What I realised is that part of the reason we cling so desperately to the idea of soul mate (and twin flame, for those of you familiar with that term, regardless of how you may want to distinguish it from soul mate) is because of Separation Consciousness: We feel so keenly the separation from the Divine when we incarnate on Earth, and this feeling of separation engenders an unmatched desperation for reunification with the Divine Love Source from which we emanate.

We need to know we’re not alone in this world.

A grand part of our journey on this Earth, however, is to learn how to feel the Divine within us so that we know with immovable certainty that we’re whole unto ourselves. That there is nothing wrong with being single — you’re not half a person when you don’t have a partner. That’s like saying there’s no difference between being alone and being lonely, when those two states of being are worlds apart from each other. You can be lonely in a crowd and be completely satisfied and at peace whilst alone. The entire notion of ‘our other half’ is as much an illusion as this feeling of separation we’re immersed in. It is all part of the Maya that the Buddha spoke of. It is Illusion. And a really damned convincing one, at that.

This, of course, in no way means the idea that having a partner or partners to share it all with is not desirable. For the most part, we humans are communal creatures. My point is more that we need to take a look at ourselves and realise that we don’t need completion — we are already complete. And if we’re constantly seeking somebody to complete us, it’s not going to work out the way we’d like. Looking outside of ourselves for what we need to discover within us will always leave us wanting more.

So the next step would appear to be a move from feeling separated, lonely, and broken to feeling whole and perfect just as we are. How does one bridge that gap? Like everybody else, I’m working on it, but some things that come to mind as really, really having a positive impact would be the following:

 

Body Positivity.
Realising that your body is perfect no matter what it looks like, no matter what it can or can’t do is, I believe, the first core step towards recognizing your wholeness. Your body is perfect because it allows you to exist on this planet. Give it the love, appreciation and gratitude it deserves.

And for this, I’m giving a much-needed shout out to all the beautiful fat women in the world who have internet connections and are posting amazing articles and blog entries, writing books, making fantastic videos, and taking gorgeous photos celebrating their journey towards self-love and self-acceptance in the face of so much outright societal hatred. All y’all are amazingly inspiring and you have my sincere and heartfelt gratitude for putting yourselves out there like that. You do humanity proud. I have benefited hugely from all the fat-positive, body-positive everythings I’ve come across. Thank you.

Adding to this link love is the best NSFW body-positive blog I’ve ever come across: Diversexity. The owner of the blog writes, “People are amazingly diverse and within that diversity is more beauty than any ideal could possibly bring.” And she shows that with her collection of images, pages and pages of humanity in all our sex-positive, body-positive glory.

And lastly, Olympian athletes. If you really want a range of peak-performance ability and associated body type, take a look. We all have different abilities and appearances.

You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.
C.S. Lewis

 

Creative Expression.
Once you start to get the idea that your body is fucking awesome and can do all sorts of amazing things, you may have an easier time understanding that using it to create more awesomeness is a necessity for the sanctity and sanity of the soul.

This is one of the primary things we are designed to do. We are designed to create. It is fundamental to being human. I have more to say on this in a later post.

There is no one in this world who can do the things you do. There is no one in this world who can draw, sing, or dance the way you draw, sing, and dance. Write, drum, make music. Build buildings that no one thought to design. Learn how to tattoo. Develop recipes and variations on themes. Create the most fascinating Rube-Goldberg device ever. Go forth and express the wholeness of who you are because it will unleash within you the joy you are made of and that will flow out into the world, enriching and inspiring us all.

 

Celebrating Mistakes.
So… I have to talk about this one because I know so many profoundly creative people who contend with mental illnesses of all sorts, along with mild to severe anxiety. I don’t feel like I can paint with such broad brushstrokes without addressing the realness of how we mentally perceive ourselves and the world around us.  Even if it’s a completely inadequate nod, such as this one. I’ve struggled with depression myself, so I know whereof I speak. It’s like this.

I’m linking creativity and mental illness with the idea of making mistakes. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen how often the artist suffers for her art and how it’s all rubbish if it’s not perfect.

Making mistakes is part of being human. How we feel about those mistakes will tell us how far we have to go in our journey. There is no judgment here, by the way. This is not a more-evolved-than-thou tack I’m taking because my journey is not yours. There is no better way or worthier way to get from point A to point B; it’s completely individual. Progress is sometimes direct and sometimes meandering across lifetimes. It’s. All. Okay. Ooohhh… there is so much here to unpack and untangle. Eventually, I’ll write about it all. Muahahahaha!

This idea of owning our mistakes and not letting them own us is, in part, inspired by a blog I came across the other day called Fumblr. It’s a celebration of academic failures in the humanities (as opposed to the sciences, where they write it all up already and publish it in journals so that people can learn from their mistakes).

This article, as well, really helped me realize the importance of recognizing the humanity in making mistakes, forgiving those mistakes, how we hold people accountable, and whether the implementation thereof needs to shift a bit: The Mistakes We Don’t Forgive (But Maybe Should)

 

When we come more fully into the understanding that we are not mistakes, that our bodies are not wrong, that we all miss the mark and that expressing that which is within us is fundamental to being human, we move ever closer to embodying the notion that we truly are whole unto ourselves.

 

You are not a drop in the ocean.
You are the entire ocean in a drop.
Rumi