The Train

We’re a solid footstep into the week. And I can’t say how its going for you. I don’t know the obstacles riddling your path. This week may be one with little hindrance, or it may be one where you’re pushed to the edge. It’s like that for all of us, dear reader. Its part of the process, the dichotomy. If all were good all of the time, we would never grow. But there is something that makes the process easier: Learning to pivot.

Your mind is the filter through which you see the world. Often, your mind guides your feet. Yet, you do not have to be led down a path of ceaseless judgements, and fear-based what if’s. However, stopping the mind  when its going full steam takes near Herculean strength. It’s much better to catch ourselves before we jump onboard.

There is always a gap. And in that gap we choose how we react. The size of the gap depends on how fast we are racing through life. For some, the gap is so small one would be hard pressed to recognize it exists. For those who have developed observing their life more than reacting to it, its wider. Narrow or wide, the gap allows us to pause. From there, pivot and think something better.

People are walking around with chests so tight they can barely breathe. Will my dreams come true? Will I forever be alone? Will I have enough to pay my bills? Will I ever find peace? Will I ever laugh again? These are questions one whispers alone or to a trusted friend. They are real. They are valid. And they have the ability to take one’s breath away.

Please hear me when I say: What will become of you is largely dependent upon what you do now. You hold the power to those questions. And you wield your power by what you do – now. Now always impacts what’s next. Always. You can answer those questions one of two ways, you can answer toward the positive or you can answer toward the negative.

Dear reader, if you have something pressing upon you at the moment, and you can feel your chest tighten and your body temperature rise and tears push against the back of your eyes, pivot. If you can feel your mind race, picking up negative thoughts that pierce you to the core, pivot. If you find yourself thinking or acting in a way that doesn’t honor you or the you you want to be, pivot. Pivot your thought. Think the best thought you can think. Give Source the direction it needs. What you think is how you guide your life forward. Life mirrors your thoughts and actions. Like mile markers, life will keep throwing chances your way that will cause you to use your Free Will and Personal Power to dictate what you truly believe and how you want your life to unfold.

I believe in fate, and how it dictates the larger issues that happen in our life, agreed to by me, on a soul level, well before my birth. But everything else, that is up to us. When your mind begins to go in a direction that does not feel good – pivot. Bring it back. Think something better. Don’t jump too far or your mind will scoff and tell you that you’re a fool. And when in those delicate emotional spots, we often believe whatever damning thing our ego says about us. So take it slow. Remember, fear is like a fast-moving train. It can and will take you exactly where you don’t want to go. All it takes is a few thoughts and before we know it we are swept away. And when we finally do jump off, we’re miles down the road, fair from where we want to be.

So let’s take a collective deep breath. We don’t have to know how things will work out before believing that they will. Our job is to believe. Start there. That is the pivot point. That is what sets the wheels in motion. Those thoughts of belief have to occur within you before any of what you want can arrive.

Dig your heels in deep, if you must. Then pivot your thought. “I don’t know how this will work. But it will.”  Controlling one’s thoughts is the most important thing we can do for ourself. It sounds simple. It’s not. But it gets easier. Like picking up a heavy weight. The weight doesn’t change over time. You do. You get stronger. The train is at every mile marker. You don’t have to get on. Step back. Pivot. The train isn’t going where you want to go. It never has.

Sane

Sex and Bad Candy

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Humans are social creatures. Due to such, I have to bet you’d like to have your life’s love sitting next to you right now. If so, do this – look in the mirror.

You can never see in another what you can not see within yourself.  You can not recognize outwardly what you have not already experienced within. And you can not maintain with another what you can not maintain within yourself.

Do you unconditionally love and accept the person looking back at you? If not, that is okay. Admitting the truth is one of the first empowering actions one can take. Just remember, your soul loves you. And if the desire is within you to be unified with a partner that will love and accept and understand you – then you must first do those things within yourself.

I want this from them, you say. Let’s get this straight. They aren’t your mother, and they aren’t your father. They are your partner. You can’t play the victim and expect your partner to coddle you. That isn’t their job. They are meant to be your equal. Equal. How can they be your equal if what you want from them isn’t already possessed within you? Of what are they the equivalent?

Dear reader, did you know that someone could love you to the moon and back, but you wouldn’t be able to allow it in if you didn’t already know the feeling within yourself. Also, you can’t give what you don’t have. It’s impossible.

Even without being cognizant of it, people react to energy. They feel it. It enters their being. Ask yourself what kind of energy you are offering. What is it you are giving this person? What is it you are giving yourself?

I know this struggle well. I did not like the person who met me in the mirror. I used to question how anyone could love the mess that was me. I didn’t love the mess. So why should they. Those were probably the most pivotal words spoken at the onset of my spiritual journey.

As I grew to hear Spirit, it shared with me something that changed my life. I am not my experiences. I am not my mistakes. I am not my successes.  I am not what has been done to me. I am not the judgments or opinions of others. I am what I believe.

And I believe in me. So look in that mirror, dear reader, and love everything you see. Love the you who ran when you should’ve stood. Love the you who doesn’t feel good enough. Love the you who got it right and love the you who got it wrong. Love yourself and – you become enough.

I’ve never met the person with whom I hope to spend the rest of my life. But I love them enough to bring them my best self; baggage light, clutter cleaned, demons understood. They deserve that. I deserve that. I had to divorce two men and marry myself before I discovered that truth. I had to fall in love with me. I wanted to feel whole, and that doesn’t come by way of a perfect other half. It comes by way of filling one’s self. Then resting in one’s wholeness for awhile. Knowing yourself. That is what I will present my future love.

And now that I am here, I no longer dishonor myself. I no longer look down upon myself. I no longer sell myself short. I no longer fill my time with bad candy when I know I’m deserving of a feast. Yes, that is a sexual reference. I love the woman I have discovered within myself. She is passionate beyond words. Sensual. Smart. Sincere. I love her. It all starts there. So take the mirror, dear reader, love who you see. You are worth the effort. And no, you don’t have to be perfect before you can love who you see. You just have to love who you see – unconditionally.

Sane

As always, written to music. Van Morrison, Into the Mystic.  The Strumbellas, We Don’t Know.

 

What Do You Believe

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What do you believe? It’s an important question to ask yourself. Because whether you are aware of it or not, your beliefs determine much of your journey.

I remember one time, sitting with my mother. I had recently given her a powerful book to read. The book had within it many spiritual truths. Underpinnings as to our power, and how it controls much of our life. It spoke of the importance of, not just our words, not just our thoughts – but our beliefs. The thought behind the thought. My mother closed the book, handed it back to me and said, “Well, the hell with that.”

I’ve always appreciated my mother’s straightforwardness. Even when what she was saying was something I didn’t want to hear. My mother instantly knew that she was not the master of her beliefs. More so, she knew her deepest beliefs were not ones of a positive nature. The fears within her had become her beliefs. It’s like that for many of us. But never underestimate the contrast and challenges Life brings before you. Because each one offers a chance to confront one’s beliefs, and either walk forward in them or to see them for what they are; to see how they have been holding us back.

There is a powerful Sufi phrase regarding communication. But I feel it’s valuable, not just during communication with others, but also, for communication within ourselves. Sufi’s teach that there are three filters through which our thoughts should travel before being spoken: Is it true. Is it necessary. Is it kind. It’s the first filter that I’d like you to focus on as you move through your weekend. Is it true. To answer that one must first know what they believe. You almost always know what you believe once you take note of what rises within yourself when confronted with contrast or challenge, regardless of what we say or do outwardly.

My mother was very aware of what bubbles up from within herself. Fear. A life spent in fear had worn her down considerably. Some of the fear was inflicted upon her from outside sources. From there her inner fear grew stronger. Before long she viewed the world through a fear-shaded lens. Getting control over one’s own beliefs, owning them, healing them, then managing them – feels like an insurmountable task, at times. It did for my mother. It is the key to freedom, however. It is the key that unlocks one’s own power. It is the vital step that places us firmly in alignment with All That Is.

I won’t even begin to tell you, dear reader, that it is easy. It’s not. Life is a journey, whether you are cognizant of why you are here. You can either get run over by life. Or help lay the foundation that creates the road. You don’t get to control every turn. You don’t get to control every hill. Your Higher Self has you here doing things that are meant to develop your soul in ways from which your shadow self will always try to run and your mind will struggle to understand. But once you know your beliefs, things become clearer. Once you have mastery of the thought behind the thought, you look at the curve and see why it’s been placed before you. That is what alignment does – it lessens the fear of what’s around the corner and allows us to see things we couldn’t see before. Your beliefs matter. They tell you almost everything about your soul’s development.

Do you believe the Universe is conspiring to help or hurt you, to support or to penalize you? Do you believe that help is always there for you, just when you need it or that you will be left to suffer alone. Either way, you will get what you believe.

Believe in Love, dear reader. Believe it. Be it. See it.

Sane

You Are Love

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I’m a victim of rape. Did you know that about me, dear reader? It’s one of the most heinous and evil violations done to another. Far beyond a legal crime, it’s a crime against humanity. There is the physical act, but there is also the spiritual karma generated; an energy interaction that transcends the physical. Causing a wound that takes enormous fortitude to heal. But, like all wounds – it can heal.

It must be part of my soul’s journey, that my healing process be long, deep and hard. As healing this part within myself was that, and more. Yet, for all that was taken from me, I have given back to myself ten fold. And Source has given back to me a hundred fold. This I know to be true.

If there is a purpose within such an act, I feel it is that we use it to help those who have endured similar. You see, dear reader, I understand far more than I let on. I understand what it feels like to be hurt beyond heart-break. I know the walk to heal a broken soul. I know the battle to overcome shame. I know how it feels to have someone steal a part of who you are. Abuse is abuse. It is a crushing blow that can cripple you until your final day.

I don’t believe in happenstance. I believe events happen for a reason. I may die not having understood them all. But it was after this event that I began to see within people. I began to see their soul. And although this has been a bitter gift at times, I still wouldn’t trade it.

More than anything, it blossomed in me a level of compassion for the abused and disempowered that, to this day, is the basis of my spiritual world. Yet the flower had already been growing. People may damn their unstable upbringings. But for me, mine birthed a flower that became a soul that feels most at home deep within the world that sits just behind the one our human mind sees. I suppose it entered knowing it was destined for such a journey, and I know that I know that it was pleased with what it saw coming. Not because the events would be joyful. But because they were necessary if ever I were to fulfill my purpose. And that purpose is to be an example of love. And often that love stands in the face of all that love is not.

The times I have acted in love amidst the absence of love is numerous. I could damn God for such experiences. Having done so, I know what I would hear, “The example needs to be shown to those who most need to see it.” I live for the moments where I bear witness to love.

Tonight I’m sitting with a nice Côtes du Rhône, good chocolate and good music. I’m sitting with candles lit and I’m peacefully, and sometimes tearfully, reflecting on my life. I’m allowing God to unearth in me all that needs my attention. Things that make me smile. Things that make me cry. Both have value. I’m taking stock of how I’ve done thus far. Life is an endless cycle of opportunities. We are confronted with people of all kinds, carrying out deeds good and bad. Sometimes we become the victim. But later, we get the chance to see that we became a survivor. The Good Book says not to hide one’s light. That light is your truth. It is your hero’s journey. Share it. Help another to heal. Help another feel less alone. If you share your bumpy story, then another will feel less judgmental about their own. That is love.

Love who you are, my friend. You’ve been through a lot. And sometimes it doesn’t feel as though it will ever end. Just remember, you are loved. All the things that have been done to you, are not who you are. Who you are is determined by what you have done in the face of those things. Someone tried to take something from me. They succeeded. And it took years to heal. It took years of nurturing. But, for everything they took, I’ve added. My love is more tender, more authentic, more steadfast and true. Its raw and its nuanced and its spiritual beyond words. I remember ever baby step and every far reach it took to get here. I remember ever muscle ache and bit of fatigue. Not to mention how life looks when brought continually onto one’s knees, surrendered in prayer. With every agonizing bit of growth came a feathery soft, encompassing hug from heaven. Every pivotal event in my life has caused me to discover something new about myself.

To this day I cry as softly and delicately as I laugh. When I make love, heaven joins me. When I speak, something sometimes pushes my voice aside to share a deeper truth. When I look upon this world, I see the profound beauty mixed with actions that show how dark people can be. Within a person’s eyes, I see their soul and I see their struggles. I see their truth and I see their lies.

I was eighteen when someone broke into my garden, and tried to take the beautiful flowers within me. Little did they know, those flowers had roots. And once the rain had time to pour down and the sun had time to shine, the flowers returned. So remember, dear reader, I understand. Life can be brutal. But you are strong. And within you is everything you need to blossom. No one can take that away. No one can take away Who You Are. Only you have that level of power.

Sane

Written while listening to: Into the Mystic by Van Morrison (if ever I marry again, this will be my wedding song) and We Don’t Know by the Strumbellas.

Being Beautiful

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I have never felt beautiful. So yesterday, while walking by a group of people, a man and woman turned to look at me; first at my face, then my shirt. They did what so many do – they sized me up. Then I did what almost all of us do, I joined them. Its an odd thing how our ego is poised and ready to tear us down.

Truthfully, I spent the majority of my life never feeling beautiful. It wasn’t until the last few years of my life that I’ve come to know my beauty. But it isn’t the kind of beauty the media likes to persuade us into believing is most important. The kind of beauty of which I speak is inner beauty, which is what we feel and others see. What we are on the inside is always revealed on the outside. For me, it wasn’t until my dark night of the soul that I came to understand what stood between me and believing in myself. It wasn’t until, out of sheer exhaustion with life that I found myself staring into the eyes of the demon that had plagued me since my earliest days.

The demon of which I speak is the kind we all have. It lives and breathes in the darkness of our shadow. Its voice is often weaved through the voice of ego. Its constant declaration is that we are not good enough. That we will never be what we want to be. We will never have what we want to have. It bounces around. Its target and diatribe ever shifting the blame. But the core of its message remains – you are nobody. And everyone knows. Who do think you are? You will never be as beautiful as others. You will never be smart enough. You’re a failure. Life stinks. You stink.

Depending upon what has happened to you in your life, the shadow side can cast an overwhelming presence. Which explains why so many avoid it at all costs. And, there is a cost. We pay greatly when we turn our back on this side of ourself. Like an untended garden, the weeds of our fears begin to overtake all that is beautiful and healthy. Dear reader, I had reached my end, which is what led to my dark night of the soul. I really had nowhere else to go but to travel deep within myself and confront my fears.

But within this darkness, I discovered, there is Light. And there is a mirror. We get to see Who We Are. Even when surrounded by all the falsehoods I had believed about myself for nearly four decades, I was shown a Light that allowed me to see past the illusion of my fears. And when I shined the light, the darkness became illuminated. There was great beauty there. There was Love. A love that had the ability to strengthen me to stand up against my deepest fears. When I did, the demon went into submission. And my life has never been the same since.

But like with all things, I have to keep a watch on it. There are times, when a side glance from a stranger will bring that demon to life. Once again, it will try to override my thoughts. Its up to me to shine the Light back onto it. I’ve seen it for what it is. It isn’t big. It’s small. That’s why it fought so wildly within me like a small, crazed animal. It didn’t have mass on its size.

As I mulled around with my daughter yesterday, I gave thought to what had occurred. I gave pause to all the thoughts that sprung to life within me. You see, dear reader, I was wearing one of the shirts from my women’s empowerment clothing line. It was the I AM shirt. The design, upon first glance, is simple. Its message, at least to me, profound. Surrounding the words: I AM, are all the words I spent a lifetime believing I wasn’t: I AM beautiful, healthy, radiant, love, peace, abundance, success, joy, enough. And because we can never see in others what we can’t see within ourselves, I never saw any of these things in my life. All I use to see was a shifty world with people, places and things that I couldn’t count on. Life didn’t feel beautiful to me. I didn’t feel beautiful to me.

But life is, and so am I. Not the kind of beauty that ego tries to say is the measure of success. No. In fact, the core of my Being doesn’t give a damn what others think. My ego does. Within myself I finally found my beauty. It was there all along. It is singular to me. It’s kind. It’s nurturing. It’s peaceful. It’s strong when protecting, soft when loving. It is Love. Under all those layers of insecurity and fear, is Love. And love is beauty. Its within us all. So when I wear my I AM tee, its my way of reminding myself that its okay to recognize my beauty. Actually, it’s a hard won victory being able to do so. And it’s a victory that finally allowed me to recognize it in others. I may not be a Covergirl or a super model. I look like me. And within me is someone I’ve come to love greatly. I am the kind of beautiful that means something to me.

Sane

Silver Linings

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We can only be that which we believe. So if your beliefs do not bring you joy – change them. Amidst all the madness inherent to being human, there is a silver lining: You are allowed to rebuild.

Those who want only to laugh must first know happiness. Those who want to feel love must first be love. To experience abundance one must feel the essence of abundance, despite outward appearances. This is where appreciation is key. Our outlook mirrors our beliefs. How we feel inside, whether it is damning or liberating, negative or positive, is the blueprint upon which the universe builds the life we’ll soon be experiencing.

For some, these words are freedom. To others, these words are a prison, as they feel locked to a reality that is in direct contrast to what they want for themselves. And yet almost every spiritual text states the same process: Believe, then receive.

We can not change what we do not recognize and know. The words said within our mind are linked to what we believe deep inside. So take the time to discover your inner truths. Give yourself a week of believing that the best in life is yours, then listen to what your mind has to say. As the days unfold, circumstances will arise – they always do. Your beliefs will be put to the test. Listen. The inner dialogue you hear is your inner truth. And if that inner truth is not in alignment with the life you want to live, then the life you want to live will never find you. You can not rebuild a home if you do not first know the structural integrity of the foundation. These truths, are your foundation; they have been orchestrating your life whether you were aware of it or not. Become aware. Know what beliefs dwell within you. If they bring you joy, good. If they do not, good – now you know where to begin.

Knowledge is power. Empower yourself. By knowing your weaknesses you give yourself strength. Burn down the walls, and build a foundation that knows you are worthy of love; then choose to look at yourself with a soft, loving eye. Mix into the concrete the belief that you contain the same energy held within a mighty oak; then choose to stand tall, knowing you are meant to flourish. And finally, set the cornerstones of your foundation with pillars of laughter. Know that when you choose to feel joy, even in the smallest of things, you increase your magnetic pull on the universe. Joy is the indicator of your connection to All That Is.

Take the next week and examine your foundation. You may be surprised by what you find when you walk down the steps and enter the cellar of your inner being. Don’t be sad. Instead, smile, and remember – you can always rebuild. So don’t be afraid to burn down the house.

Sane

Based on the post, Burning Down the House, August 25, 2013

Daily Refinement

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refinement |riˈfīnmənt|
The process of removing impurities or unwanted elements from a substance.
The improvement or clarification of something by the making of small changes.

I think it’s fair to say that our soul is on a journey of refinement. And this planet allows us everything we need to accomplish the mission.

People enter into our life, and with them arrives countless opportunities to learn more about ourselves. One would think that when we meet another, that’s all we’re doing – meeting them. And although that is an important part of the process, we are also meeting a plethora of aspects of our inner being. This happens not just when meeting people, but also when meeting different circumstances. The good, the bad. The blissful, the horrific. Each one is a gift when it comes to our spiritual development.

Believe me, dear reader, when I say that those moments and people who lean toward hurtful, or what is upsetting, are not viewed as a gift by my mind. At least not at first. But if I can override my mind, and refrain from judging, something magical happens. I meet a new aspect of who I am. Am I reactionary? Or am I calm? Are my actions mean? Or are they loving? I have been all of these things. Which has, at times, led me to believe that I have either achieved something or failed something. Neither is completely true. Awareness is a process. Even when we are able to climb the ladder another rung, we’re still moving. There’s still a process underway.

But that’s what life gives us, an unceasing array of people, places, and things, from which to discover – inwardly and outwardly – something about ourselves and those around us. That is why meditation is vital, it provides a break from the external. And thereby helps fortify and steady us when the external kicks back in.

There is a sticky spot, though. It is when we have become aware but are still resistant to our own growth. Quite honestly, it’s hell on earth. The internal struggle is phenomenal. I’ve often referred to those moments within my own life as having gone under. As that is how they felt to me. Dark and underwater. But in time, something within me recedes, the cloudy water clears, and I am able to see the stones on the ocean floor once again. But that is a hard battle. It is much easier to learn to float. Or dive when I choose.

When we are aware of our own journey, when we begin to glimpse what is behind the earthly veil, we see the road to salvation; freedom. We can either walk it or fight it. But it’s fair to say, your soul knows you are being refined and that Life is trying to help you find every impurity and unwanted element within yourself. If you fight it, then it will be left on a continual loop. But if you release and lean into what’s being shown, things become clarified. You have much more aha moments than you have God damn moments.

I’m far from a polished stone. There are still flecks within me and some raw edges. But with each day, with each experience, I am allowed to see what is off within myself and thereby own it, love it, and release it. It’s how the heart is made pure. The more I love me, the more I love life and its inhabitants. So, take a look at how you are being refined. Take strength in knowing, dear reader, that your heart is worth the work. Source knows it. Your soul knows. You are a magnificent work in progress.

Sane