Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

Wow, I cannot believe how fast this past year has just flown by!!! 2013 has been an amazing year. I suspect there will come a day when I look back on this year and think, "2013 was the first year of the rest of my life." I will also think of 2013 as "The year of Love," because that's what it has been for me.

Now, when I say "Love," I'm not talking about being swept off my feet by Mr. Wonderful....although I wish I was, haha! I guess no matter how old we get, there's still that little girl living deep down inside who still believes in happily ever after....

What I'm referring to is Love as an action word. That state of being, that awareness, that way of relating to life, the world, and other beings (human or otherwise), that is about kindness, compassion, empathy, acceptance, and forgiveness. The kind of Love that every Spiritual Master has attempted to convey, but is sadly lost on so many who are too culturally conditioned to really "get it."

You see, what passes for "Love" in today's world is too often an expression of Fear, not Love. We've been taught that feeling we have when we are attracted to someone is Love. And we are taught that when we are threatened with the loss of that person; those feelings of jealousy and insecurity confirm just how much we love them. Not true. Those feelings are about power and control, not Love. Love doesn't grasp and cling, Love releases and frees. Love wants the other to be happy...even when it means we can't have them for ourselves. Love invites them to stay, but it doesn't attempt to trap, force, or manipulate them into staying.

When we see someone flirting with our partner and feel those icky feelings that make us want to destroy the competition; that isn't an expression of our Love for our partner. That's an expression of our fear of loss, fear of not being in control, fear of change. Love trusts our partner and releases them to make their own choices, Love doesn't attempt to control them by removing them from all possible temptations. And Love does not load them down with guilt in an attempt to control them back into line, either. That's all about power and control; which are expressions of Fear. Love says, "You are free to go, but I hope you'll stay." Fear says, "You can't do that because you promised, and I'm going to hold you to it no matter what, or else!!!"

Another common misunderstanding in our culture is that Love is a martyr. I think back to those years I spent feeling trapped in a relationship that was so bad it was nearly intolerable, and at times; life-threatening, and yet I stayed because I would have felt guilty if I'd left. Guilt is not Love. And being a Martyr to a promise is not Love either. Guilt and martyrdom are again, expressions of Fear. Fear of failure, Fear of recriminations and consequences, Fear of being judged. Fear of change.

Some even try to package martyrdom as "Honor," believing that being honorable enough to stay is an act of Love....but it is only a love of self. A person who decides to stay because they are an honorable person is gifting themselves, not their partner. They gift themselves with the status of honor while their partner sleeps beside someone who'd really rather not be there.

Love stays to nurture, to support, to protect, to actively create an environment where one's partner can thrive and express their innermost self in safety....without any expectations of pay-off. Love never has strings. When both partners love this way, something beautiful and amazing is born. Something that is far stronger than a relationship held together by Fear.

All of these things apply to other types of relationships as well; parent to child, friend to friend, neighbor to neighbor. Fear controls, Love liberates.

It is ironic that Fear is so intent on holding onto Love that it drives people apart, while the Love that frees and liberates draws people together. After all, why would anyone ever leave someone who Loves them just the way they are, no matter what?

Anyway, getting back to why I feel I will remember 2013 as "The Year of Love"......

A decade ago I made a conscious choice to change the way I was relating to life and the world in general. I cast off all my conditioned beliefs about Love and the programmed responses that went with them, and decided to express Love as I believe Love should be expressed. I was going to be my genuine, authentic self and live from the heart. No more making choices based on what was expected of me, and no more suppressing myself for fear of upsetting someone else. I was going to act from a place of unconditional Love to the best of my ability and I was going to also Love myself by expressing my innermost self openly, honestly, and fearlessly.

It hasn't been easy. In fact, it's been downright difficult. Not only was I faced with the often vicious reactions of others who were convinced I was out to get them, had an agenda, or just plain needed to be taught a lesson in how to be "socially acceptable," (they were not loving in their efforts), but I just plain needed to figure out who my genuine, authentic self actually IS....because it turns out that my previous understanding of Love wasn't the only part of myself that was programmed into me by outside influences.

So, I have stumbled along, often falling on my face, and frequently questioning my own sanity, and gradually I have peeled away the layers of conditioning to find my true self. I have asked myself a hundred times a day, "What would Love do now?" and made choices based on what I thought the answer might be, and I have pissed-off a lot of people along the way because I was violating all the rules of conduct established by Fear-love.

But in 2013 something happened. In 2013 I was shaken out of my reverie by an influx of real, unconditional Love coming toward me instead of only radiating out of me, and I was stunned. The comical part about it was that I never even saw it coming. I'd been so intent on my own efforts to express Love that I hadn't even thought about myself RECEIVING Love, so when it showed up from multiple sources all at once, I was bowled over.

For the first time in my life I know how it feels to be loved......just for being me.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Life Paths....

As some of you know, a few months ago I wrote and published my life story. The completion of that project had some unexpected outcomes....

When I undertook the project I was merely listening to that little voice in my head that no one wants to believe exists. That voice said, "It's time to write your life story." I said, "Okay," and did it. At the time, I didn't understand why now was the time. I just trusted my inner guidance system and spent my entire summer staring at a computer monitor, pouring out some of the most private and difficult, and yet educational, moments of my life. I know now that the time was right because I was ready to heal old wounds.

It was a painful journey, but it was also an enlightening journey. Writing about your own life forces you to step back and adopt a level of objectivity you've never exercised before. When you are writing about events that involve other people, you know you had better get it right, or else.

I started the story with my earliest childhood memory and then wrote whatever came to mind, in the order it came to mind, and the words flowed easily until I reached a chapter of my life that had been confusing me for a very long time. The flow of words stopped. Gone was the easy reiteration of life events as familiar as the back of my hand; because this part of my life was a giant unanswered question, a puzzle, an unresolved nightmare that held me in a choke-hold I'd been powerless to break.

For days I struggled against writer's block. Turning the memories over in my mind, like a giant Rubix cube with thousands of possible combinations, searching for the "correct" arrangement that would most accurately, and truthfully, portray the reality. While I waited for the words to come, I reread what I had already written; correcting punctuation and sentence structure to the best of my ability, until I was reminded that I am a dreamer. Many of my most enlightening epiphanies have come to me in dreams. So, I asked God to guide me in a dream, to help me find my way through this most difficult part of my story, and then I went to bed with trust in my heart....

Around 2 a.m. I awoke. Sorta. Words banged around in my head in a chaos of piercing noise that didn't make sense, yet I felt compelled to write them down. So, I stumbled out to my desk and began typing, and I didn't stop for nearly 6 hours, and then I returned to bed....still every bit as groggy as I'd been when I'd begun. When I awoke again, I didn't have a clue what I had written and it would be weeks before I could find the courage to read it, but when I finally did...it was perfect. I left those chapters of my book unaltered....unedited....unchanged.... It was right exactly as it was.

I continued to write and the words flowed easily again, completing the project just in time to return to work. My entire summer was gone and I hadn't done any of the projects I'd originally had planned. I'd had a long list of fun activities planned for my summer, but instead I had scarcely left my house; except to get groceries or walk my dogs. Knowing it would be months before I had another chance to look at the book, I published it as it was; taking a giant, and terrifying, leap of faith.

In the weeks that followed my world changed. It was a tangible sensation; as if I could feel the energy of my world rearranging itself in preparation for a new beginning. It was as if I'd wrapped up the wounds of my past and sent them out to the Universe for healing.....and liberated myself in the process.

If not for the profound sensation of inner peace and joy, I might have been very upset as I watched people who had been a part of my life for decades, leave my life abruptly, as if to make room for those yet to come. A work situation that had been troubling me deeply, seemed to magically resolve itself in the most efficient manner imaginable. And Love seemed to flow into my life from unexpected places with such intensity I was overwhelmed and amazed. Like chess pieces on the game board of my life, players came and went with such efficiency it was easy to sit back and just go with the flow, waiting for the final arrangement with a zest for life I had not felt in a very, very long time.

Gradually, I became accustomed to the ebb and flow of changes occurring in my life; long time friends leaving, lost friends returning, my work situations reorganizing in beneficial ways. Even total strangers approaching to offer positive reinforcement and affirmation of changes I'd been making in myself, for myself.

And now I feel posed on the brink of a new beginning. Prepped and ready for something as yet unidentified, but I know it's going to be something good. It's a challenge at times, to wait patiently, because I am excited to start the new life I can sense just around the corner. But I will be patient and let myself be guided to my right place when the time is right, because my life's journey has taught me that God is always with me....no matter what.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Just Rip the Band-aid Off!!!

I've been thinking about something a friend said to me quite some time ago. He said "you'll end up wondering why you waited so long." That very wise observation inspires this post:

When I was young I drove my parents crazy with my tendency to just "Leap without looking". Time and again they would lecture me about being "impulsive" or "inconsiderate" or "foolish" or "selfish". They would point out how my actions affected others and "created difficulties for myself and other people".

Long suffering and not always patient with me, they would remind me over and over that I should, at those moments in my life, "step back and count to three". I should think about what I was about to do and consider the long-term repercussions. I should consider how it might impact my future; jobs, relationships, reputation, etc... and how my actions would affect others, and I should try to make things as painless as possible for them. I should wait for the "best time" or the "right time" or the "easiest time".

Of course, their opinion was based on their assumption that I was in fact, selfish, impulsive, and inconsiderate. But I wasn't. In fact, I was doing what I felt was the most humane for everyone involved. Nor was I as foolish as they believed; having grown up as the "class scapegoat", I had already figured out that those who would judge me, are not people I want in my life anyway. Let them talk. Small minds have small thoughts. Why should I arrange my life around their opinions?

For me, doing something difficult or painful is like removing a bandaide....

Put two bandaides on the hairy part of your arm. Okay, got them stuck on there good? Now, very carefully start peeling one of the bandaides off, one hair at a time. Take your time and be really, really careful to try to minimize the pain. Are you having fun yet? Are you enjoying holding your breath and anticipating the inevitable pain? Are your eyes watering? Do you find yourself pausing between each hair, catching your breath and waiting for your heart to stop pounding before tackling the next one? Is it tempting to just leave it on there and wait for it to fall off on it's own, like maybe 50 years from now?

Okay, now the other bandaide...grab the edge and just rip that sucker off as fast as you can. Hurt like hell, didn't it? But only for a few moments. Sharp, agonizing pain that lasts maybe 30 seconds and then you start to feel relief. Not like the other one where the agony was prolonged, where every hair was a fresh torture session.

Yes, at various points in my life I was faced with difficult decisions that I KNEW were going to be painful; both for myself and others. And I always opted for the "rip the bandaide off" option. It just made more sense to me. Rip it off, get it over with, start healing, move forward.

The thought of "waiting for it to fall off by itself" was just too ambiguous for me. I don't like the idea of waiting indefinitely for something to happen that I know needs to happen, that is GOING TO HAPPEN ANYWAY. Why postpone the inevitable? Why not just get it overwith?

My parents never agreed with my philosophy and they were quite vocal about it. So much so, that the last time I was faced with one of those difficult situations; ending a relationship, I decided to try to do it "their way". I tried to "think it through". I tried to minimize the disruption for others. I tried to "plan ahead to make the transition as smooth as possible". I tried to make "financial plans". And so on. And guess what? My parents were WRONG.

Doing things their way only prolonged the agony for us both, it made the transition more difficult financially, it caused us both to pass up opportunities we would have preferred to accept, and by the time it was over we were both completely drained and exhausted. And the outcome is the same: we are not together and everything that would have happened if I'd just "ripped the bandaide off," happened anyway. It was just turned into a torturously long and painful 2 year process filled with "analysis paralysis", instead of a major upheaval that would have lasted a few weeks and then settled down quickly once the dust settled.

I like my way better. If there's something you know is going to happen eventually anyway, just do it. Let 'er rip. Go for it. Get it overwith.

When you peel the bandaide off one hair at a time, people get a little hurt....for a very long time. They sense it. They get tense. They fret and worry. They wonder what's happening, they wonder what, if anything, they should do. That's exhausting. Everybody's balanced on a high-wire wondering which way they're going to fall. It's like picking at a wound and not letting it heal. It's like; about the time they recover from the sting of peeling off that one hair, you peel off another one. It just goes on and on.

But if you just "rip the bandaide off", it hurts like hell and everyone scurries around in a panic for awhile, trying to figure out what they're supposed to do....and then they start healing. Really healing. They can heal because you're not picking at the wound, not peeling off another hair. There's no doubt about what has happened. Everyone can take steps to recover, heal, and move forward. And one other thing I noticed: when you just "rip the bandaide off", there's a flurry of friends who come to help you through it. When you peel it off slowly, you're on your own. No one comes to help.

My friend was right. I did end up wondering why I waited so long. Not because there was ever any doubt about what needed to happen. That part I was certain about. The handwriting was on the wall. I'm smart enough to recognize when the connection is irreparably broken. I'd spent most of my adult life working very hard at a relationship that was never quite "right" to begin with, and I had a hard time accepting the idea that I'd been wasting my time; that it wasn't "fixable", it felt like failure and I have a hard time with that. But once I accepted it, that was it for me.

Let's face it, anyone who's ever been faced with the decision to stay or go, has already tried everything they can think of to "fix it". And if you're still standing there wondering about it....well, the question is the answer. A person who wants to stay, doesn't think about going....What I wonder about is why I ever doubted my own instincts in the first place? But I guess that's a subject for a different post.

I think I'll go back to just "ripping the bandaid off".  In the long run, it's the more compassionate choice. Life is too short to waste it looking for the "right time", the "best time", or the "easiest time". There is no such thing.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

My Very Best Friend....

Last night I laughed almost non-stop for four and a half hours. I laughed so hard and for so long, I woke up in pain this morning. The muscles around my ribs, neck, and shoulders felt like I had taken a beating. But it was worth it. I needed a good gut-busting laugh-fest. It's been too long.

I was talking to my very best friend. His name is Owen and we've been "best buds" for over 20 years. Although we haven't seen each other face to face in 10 years, we still talk on the phone and it's always the same....we end up laughing until we cry. I've learned to grab a box of Kleenex whenever I see his name on the caller ID because I know I'm going to need them.

What makes this friendship so unique is the absolute honesty and transparency. We openly discuss everything. There isn't any subject that is taboo. If one of us touches on a subject that the other isn't ready to talk about, that's okay. We just say so, knowing it will come up later at a better time. And it always does. But that doesn't happen very often. Most of the time we "just let it all hang out" and say those things we wouldn't dare say to others because we know we're safe; we won't be judged, there won't be any recriminations, and nothing will ever be held against us down the road or used as a weapon to hurt us later. It's all received with compassion and unconditional Love and respect for one another. We can trust each other with our innermost self, safe in the knowledge the response we receive will come from a place of kinship, honesty, and love.

It isn't that we always "see eye to eye".....we don't. In fact, we have disagreed about many things over the years, quite vehemently. But our friendship was always more important than "being right" so it was easy to "agree to disagree" and step past it without any hard feelings. It is as natural as breathing to us. The disagreement isn't a sore spot, it's just something that shows us who the other person is or where they stand on a particular issue. That's all. Nothing more. Not a big deal. It isn't important enough to lose a friend over.

Many times over the years I've thought "that's how it should be in a love relationship as well," and I've always wondered why it isn't....or couldn't be. Maybe it is, for some people. I've just never had that experience myself. Although I would sure like to.

Since Owen is recently widowed, I know a lot of people are surprised we haven't "hooked up." They think it's an obvious match. But we both know it wouldn't be a good match so it isn't even an issue to us. We just laugh and agree that as a couple...we would end up living in a cardboard box under some bridge where we would sit and have a never-ending deep philosophical discussion about how we ended up homeless and broke. In other words, we know we would ultimately be very bad for each other. We're too much alike. We need partners who are grounded, not partners who will fly off into the cosmos with us. Besides, we've just never felt "it" for each other "that way." It isn't our destiny and we know it.

We're just two people who share an insatiable curiosity about strange and unusual things that we love to discuss, and the same somewhat warped and twisted sense of humor. We can almost hear each other's thoughts and crack-up laughing at the littlest things because we're simply on the same wave-length. That's all. And the fact the romantic or sexual attraction doesn't exist between us, actually makes it better...because we never have to worry about the other misunderstanding anything or taking something we say "the wrong way". Our friendship is so completely safe, it's liberating. We can just say whatever we want and "let the chips fall where they may." It's a risk-free friendship and it is priceless.

So, last night he entertained me with tales of his return to the world of dating after 42 years of marriage. He shared about first dates and blind dates and online dating and his new-found empathy for the stallions locked in stalls in his barn; denied access to the mares. His stories were so funny I thought I would pass out from oxygen deprivation because I just couldn't stop laughing.

I was happy to learn I'm not the only one who thinks today's dating world is a scary place. I also learned a LOT about "the male point of view." I must say, it is not surprising men and women misjudge each other so much. I'm sure glad I have a best friend who will fearlessly "tell me how it is" without any kind of self-serving agenda attached. I think he felt the same way as I explained why women are reacting badly to what he thought was his best "good guy presentation."

Ultimately, this friendship is without a doubt the greatest friendship I have experienced in this life. The only friendship that could possibly top it would be to share the same kinship with a Love-match.

I can hope, right?

I like to believe this friendship has taught me valuable skills that can be applied to creating that relationship....I just need to find that one guy who wants it as well. After all, I've already learned the hard way that if your partner doesn't share that desire, or is too stuck in controlling patterns to be able to open up to it, you're not going to make it happen by yourself. It takes a courageous person to set aside their fears and be completely transparent with another. But it is so worth it when that other honors and respects the gift you're offering when you do.

I hope all of you have at least one friendship like this. It is a truly amazing experience....

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Dressing for the life I want.....

There's an old saying that you need to dress for the job you want, not the job you have. It's meant to hint to people that if you have aspirations for a promotion, you need to conduct yourself as if you already have that promotion. I've recently adapted that sentiment to suit my own goals.

I am dressing for the life I want, instead of the life I have.

Only a handful of people currently know this, but I have been writing my life story. It's a project many have suggested I undertake over the years, and somewhere in the back of my mind I've always known I would....it was just never the right time. I would sit down to write, but the words would not come. I wasn't ready.

It appears that now, with a 2 month break between jobs; the time is right and I am ready, because when I sit down to write, the words flow easily. Shockingly easily. And the process is proving to be a very healing and enlightening journey. I'm recovering memories that have been blocked out for decades and understanding myself in new ways. And I am finding the wounded pieces of myself that were lost in the chaos of my life.

One really big piece of myself that was lost decades ago in the midst of my struggle for survival; was my femininity. That part of myself was soft and vulnerable and easily wounded; there was no room for her in my reality. While others were thinking a struggle for survival meant working extra hours to pay for satellite TV........for me it meant bathing my children in an irrigation ditch and then shooting a squirrel so they could have dinner. There was no room for frills and lace and pretty dresses in that life. And being sensitive was only opening myself up to pain. I have a tender heart.

So I put a protective shield around my heart and set aside my feminine side to enable myself to survive in a harsh world. Having grown up as a tom-boy and "Daddy's girl", it was not difficult for me to take on a masculine role in my own life. In many ways, it was easier, and I probably would not have survived if I hadn't  had that ability.

But I'm not living in that world anymore, and it's time for a change.

So I am dressing for the life I want, and the life I want has room for my feminine side. I've grown my hair long and added some pretty dresses and feminine tops to my wardrobe. I'm creating jewelry that suits my own unique sense of style and expressing my inner self through my attire.

For the first time in years, I feel like "myself" and no one is mistakenly calling me "Sir" or "Young man" anymore. Men are opening doors for me and calling me "Ma'am" and trying to flirt with me at the grocery store. I've even been whistled at a few times. And I'm letting myself enjoy it....cautiously. Especially the mystery man on the motorcycle who twisted around so far on his bike to stare at me in a dress, that I thought he might crash. Without even knowing his identity, he made me feel beautiful.

I've also set my sights on yet another career change. I enjoy my work as a truck driver and snow-plow operator, but not for the same reasons men enjoy that kind of work. Men seem to get a feeling of macho empowerment from operating heavy equipment. I just like being alone with my thoughts and the radio, while I travel from one point to the next. It's peaceful to me. But there is little room in that life for my feminine self, my true self, so I am working toward a new goal and when it starts to pay, I will put away my CDL and move on......

To the life I am dressing for......

Sunday, March 10, 2013

How do you like your eggs?

There is a way a person asks a question in which the listener knows they don't really expect an answer. It's just rhetorical. Something a person says that doesn't really mean anything and doesn't really require an answer. Often times, it's just meant jokingly or wryly or sarcastically.

But I think when a person tosses out a rhetorical question like that, sometimes it's a message from somewhere else, a something a person needs to hear to trigger a thought process that will take them where they need to go in their mind. My Chiropractor recently asked a question like that, and it triggered a line of thought followed by a vivid dream that ultimately resulted in an important insight for me.

But let me digress for a moment first, for quite some time now I've felt "stuck", unable to move forward, unable to "go back", not wanting to be "where I am in life right now", but feeling powerless and at times, blocked; from moving into the next chapter of my life. My friend Becky recently called it "the invisible herd of elephants I keep bumping into". I think that's a fair summation of how it felt. Like everytime I made a Herculean effort to step forward the Universe would violently slap me back into place, and I kept saying "there's something I'm missing and the Universe isn't going to let me move on until I figure out what it is."

So, I was at the Chiropractor's office getting an adjustment, and as usual we were chatting about life in general, and I shared that I had surprised myself that week by spontaneously purchasing two very feminine dresses and had *almost* bought a house, and my Chiropractor blurted, "What is going on with you??? You've let your hair get long, you're buying dresses, and you even considered buying a house!!!"

I knew he didn't mean anything by it, that he was only teasing me because everyone who knows me well also knows that I'm not known for my femininity, nor do I have any desire to "put down roots" in a town that has been consistently unwelcoming and completely lacks certain features that are necessary for me to want to make a long-term residential committment; such as mountains and a certain type of community I would prefer to surround myself with. I have no reason to be here, I just don't have a reason to be anywhere else, either.

The question stuck with me and I contemplated it for the rest of the day. What IS going on with me? I found no answers and eventually moved on to other things: like how to convince a bunch of men who have never had to work with a woman before to just treat me like a co-worker and forget the fact that I'm a GIRL. (GASP! The horror of it!) They are trying hard, but I'm seriously considering moving on just to spare myself the stress of dealing with their growing pains. I'm tired of being a mirror for people and their hang-ups.

Anyway, it was no longer at the top of my mind when I went to bed that night, but I had a dream that answered the question anyway. I dreamed the movie "Runaway Bride" with Julia Roberts and Richard Gere. I hadn't watched that movie in many years, possibly even a decade, and yet there it was; as vivid in my dream as if I had popped it into the VCR and was watching it. Except that I was watching it from the *inside*, like I was following the characters around and reading their thoughts, feeling their feelings, understanding them at a deeper level than I ever had before....until Maggie ran away from Ike. In my dream I kept circling that part over and over, trying to understand why she had run away from a man she so clearly loved and who also seemed to love her? Around and around I went, watching it over and over again until I woke up....and then it hit me.

Maggie ran away from Ike because deep down she believed Ike didn't know the real her; because SHE didn't even know who she *really* was. She feared that the woman Ike loved was only a construct; a version of herself that existed in relation to all the people who had been influential (domineering) in her life. She was being who she was expected to be, the people pleaser and the capable, can-do person she *had* to be to survive, and she didn't believe any of the people who loved her really loved her because how could they? They didn't even know her. The *real* Maggie was buried deep down, safely hidden away underneath the version of herself that existed for the sole purpose of pleasing and serving and "taking care of" others, and until she brought her real "self" to the surface; it would be wrong for her to marry Ike, or any other man, because those men didn't know the real Maggie....and how could they truly love HER when they had never even MET the *real* her? Even Maggie wasn't sure who she *really* was, she'd been too busy being who everyone else needed her to be.

I remember having a moment many years ago when a man I'd known for years expressed interest in me and the very first thought that popped into my head was "How can you possibly want me when you don't even KNOW me?" I should have listened to what I was saying to myself right then. It was a clue.

I "clicked" with that movie from the very first time I ever saw it. Especially the part about Maggie figuring out "how she likes her eggs". That aspect of the movie had stuck with me all this time and I'd thought of it often over the years, but had never really applied it to myself or to my own life, at least not on a really deep level, even though I did recognize in myself that tendency to be a chameleon who works very hard to "fit in" and "be acceptable".....because I'd been conditioned to believe that my real self was completely unacceptable....and unlovable.  But after I dreamed it, it all seemed to just "fall into place".

You see, I married men I never actually wanted to marry because of outside influences, and then worked very hard to "make it work" against all odds. First as a rebellion against being controlled, then from "Christian guilt" about having a child out of wedlock (a child I had refused to abort just so my family could "save face", but who was then used against me to force me into an abusive marriage), and the third time I literally walked down the aisle and said "I do" because when I was standing in my bedroom just before the ceremony, dress on, hair curled, shaking in terror and convinced I needed to "call it off," I sent my Maid of Honor to find my Dad so I could tell him. But when he came into the room all emotional and told me how proud of me he was and how pleased he was to FINALLY "get to walk one of his daughters down the aisle", I just couldn't do it. I couldn't disappoint him. I couldn't tell him that I'd agreed to the marriage partly because he and Mom were so convincing that this guy was a keeper and "I was a fool if I didn't marry the best thing that would ever happen to me", and partly because I just plain didn't want to be homeless AGAIN. So I drew on my considerable strength of will, marched down the aisle and stood there in front of the Preacher with a frozen smile glued to my face and choked out the words I was expected to recite and embarked on yet another nightmare marriage that should have never happened.

I wish I had been smart like Maggie and had just run away.

Anyway, that's the invisible herd of elephants I've been bumping into. That's the reason I've been overcome by inexplicable paralysis these past few years every time ANY man has "shown interest" in me. That's the real reason I've self-sabotaged and backed away even when I wanted to say "yes" (and then made a big mess when I thought I may have just made a huge mistake in a moment of cowardice triggered by guilt and fear and social conditioning about what's "right and wrong"). That's the reason I've bounced through so many life changes. That's the reason I'm "stuck" here in limbo land; clueless about what I'm supposed to be DOING.....

How can I possibly figure out what to DO when I still haven't even figured out how to be who I AM?

Growing my hair out and buying dresses and making the kind of jewelry that *I* like....that's me figuring out "how I like my eggs". It's the real, true, innermost me struggling to the surface. In my mind's eye, I've always had long hair and worn pretty dresses and unique jewelry. I remember seeing myself that way even as a very young girl. But life hasn't let me be that woman. I've been too busy to be myself. I've been too busy struggling for survival to even think about what I *want*; it's been far more important to focus on what I *need* and "what can I do to get *them* off my case?" I did what I had to do and I did it so well I even managed to convince myself it's "who I am". And in the process, I lost touch with my true self.

And then the herd of elephants surrounded me so I couldn't just blast ahead into another mistake in my usual bull-headed "Just pick something and go do it just because I can" style. One way or another, it was time for me to take a "time out", shed a lifetime of conditioning and indoctrination and irrational guilt and "survival skills" that were really only serving to kill my inner self. And now that I can see it, I can see just how necessary this time has been for me. It's been painful, but healing.

For once in my life I have utterly failed to please anyone at all.....and that's actually a good thing. But, I have finally been alone with myself long enough to start figuring out how I like my eggs, without anyone around to tell me how I *should* like my eggs.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Well, here it is again...that annual tradition of celebrating the return of our planet to it's imaginary "starting point" in it's orbit around the sun. Hm, I wonder how that starting point was chosen?

December 21st came and went uneventfully, although I regret that night was overcast; so I was unable to admire the Great Rift of the Milky Way Galaxy at the moment of the Galactic Alignment as I had intended.

2012 has been a full and eventful year. I learned alot about life, people, and myself this year.

I tried very hard to put a peaceful end to a very painful chapter of my life, and while my efforts to offer kindness and uncensored truth were blocked, I did find what I think is likely to be the closest thing to "closure" I'm going to achieve. So that's a good thing.

Once again I learned that my body is far more durable than I ever would have guessed, but I think I'm really tired of discovering that.

A year ago I set an employment goal for myself and I did achieve it. But now that I have it, I find my mind drifting away to thoughts of school yet again. I've even caught myself researching academic programs a few times.

What AM I thinking???

There's still no one "special" in my life. That was another one of those New Year's resolutions I set for 2012: to open up to the possibility. Which I did. More or less. And the second I cracked open the door of possibilities; in rushed a stampede of jerks, losers, and perverts. I congratulate myself for FINALLY being able to recognize and reject them quickly and efficiently, instead of my usual overly-kind tendency to "give 'em a chance".....On the upside, I have a renewed appreciation for the peaceful predictability of my aloneness.

2012 is the year I shut the father of my children permanently out of my life. I had been maintaining what I *thought* was a polite friendship based on a lifetime of "history" together that made it seem like "the right thing to do". But this year I discovered that even from a distance...he's bad for me. We now have zero contact, and for once, I don't feel sad about it.

It is not unusual for me to endlessly ponder the cosmos, divinity, philosophy, and life in general. In fact, the meanderings of my mind have provided ample self-entertainment for most of my life. But in 2012 I found myself torn between becoming my own version of a "social activist" and "just setting it all permanently aside" as a futile and useless activity.

I became far more interested in the political scene than I've ever been in the past. I made it a personal goal to not only actively look for opportunities to extend random acts of kindness; but to also inspire others to do the same. I feel there's an urgent need for people in our society to "wake up" from the materialistic lie they've been living.

Yet, at the same time, I find myself much quicker to withdraw from people, instead of my usual tendency to "hang in there with them until we can sort it out". There's a part of me that feels compelled to help people "see with different eyes".....while another part of me just wants to hole up in a secluded cabin and live out my days quietly disconnected.

Those who know me well, know I'm a big believer in "the inner voice of the soul". I've made many major life decisions based on the urgings of that inner voice. But in 2012 that voice has been more of a whisper than a shout, and I find myself unclear about what I'm supposed to be doing with my life. I feel that my own hesitation caused me to miss an important turn on the road of life and instead I detoured off into the realm of limbo.

Perhaps I will find my way again in 2013.....