happily, yes!


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Stepping out of the Shadows

I need a good cry. I feel the tears pooling up behind my eyes and I wonder why they just won’t come out already. Maybe it’s because despite the sadness that I’ve been feeling lately, my life is really great. It’s amazing in ways that I didn’t know possible in the sense that for the first time ever I value myself for the treasure that I finally, finally know myself to be. I’ve stopped taking everything so personally and am in a state of mostly acceptance about what the Universe is laying out for me. When I’m in tune, I am guided in a way that feels rare and precious to me.

I’ve been on this path of discovery that has taken me around some mighty strange twists and bends over the past year and especially the last few months, and because of the fact that I’ve been laser focused on how every little bit of it impacts me and shows me what needs to be healed, I’ve been both amazingly self-assured and deeply sad. It’s time for me to not just let go of a relationship that means a lot to me, but to let go of a myriad of false beliefs and programs that have been running in my background for oh, thirty years or so. Even though these patterns and behaviors have been harmful to me, they still feel comfortable, sort of like a box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. I know I can’t touch the stuff anymore, and I really don’t want to, but sometimes I look at it with a longing that transcends my understanding. I suppose it’s because when I was younger, all of these behaviors and beliefs cropped up as a mechanism for me to feel safe in the world. Lowering a veil over your eyes can be a comfortable place to be and I thrived in an environment that allowed me to only pull in the bits and pieces that I wanted to acknowledge.

Over the last five years I’ve been lifting that veil slowly but steadily. At times it’s been almost imperceptible, but recently I feel like it’s getting yanked off my face. I’m seeing why I’ve been so comfortable in the shadows for so long, how I’ve never felt that my light was strong enough or important enough to be the brightest in anyone’s life, most of all my own. I’m seeing how I allowed myself to be dwarfed by others and by life and by myself just so that I could stay in a place that seemed to be less vulnerable. I understand how I believed that stepping into the forefront of my life threatened my very foundation.

Despite making huge strides in this arena, I recently considered sliding into the shadows again in a relationship. It wasn’t even expected of me, I just felt myself desirous of slipping into that space of delicious darkness and secrecy. It’s easy to manage something if you don’t have to be held accountable to it. If I can keep my emotions safely tucked away, I don’t have to worry so much about what I may lose. Retreating into the penumbra also allows me to create my own set of boundaries, something that can be very enticing to someone that has trouble establishing and maintaining them. Getting through the boundary creating phase of my life (2012) was challenging in ways that were terrifying, though ultimately gratifying. Now that they have been identified, I’m beginning to understand that not everyone or everything belongs in my life in ways that I before believed possible or necessary.

I’ve done a lot of growth and so I was surprised when this popped up again. I packaged it really nicely too, I’m sure in the hopes that I could deceive myself. There were many wonderful things about the relationship, and I learned more about myself in this short dance than I have in a while. The reason for this is that I went into it with my eyes wide open, and despite the fact that I considered sliding into an unhealthy safety zone, I was in such a state of awareness that I was able to literally smell the fear that had provoked it. With that, I had the opportunity to hold my own hand and walk myself through the process. I called on a few trusted others as well, but the main thing was that I refused to close my eyes no matter how painful it got or what came up. I may not have handled everything perfectly, but I do feel like every step along the path – even the so-called mistakes – were actually mirrors allowing me to see what I needed to tend to.

I’m ready to let go. In all honesty, there is a big part of me that doesn’t want to do so. The petulant child in me wants to twist and manipulate things to be the way that I want them to be, but the adult in me knows that is not the answer. I tried to do that for a good thirty years with no success. I’ve learned that letting go really is letting God. I have to make space in my life for the something better that always comes along whenever you release that which doesn’t support your highest good. I know this to be true because as I’ve let go of the relationships and situations in my life that didn’t enhance my growth (even when it wasn’t my own idea), I’ve been able to let in many amazing people and opportunities. I have co-created more wonderful and fulfilling friendships in the past year than I had in the preceding 10 and my support system is so strong that I never have to look for a shoulder to cry on.

So here’s my true confession: Sometimes this healing stuff really sucks. Sometimes it is so hard and the not-numbed pain is so intense that I want to throw myself down on the ground and pound my fists and scream. Sometimes I do scream. The unbelievable part is that with each passing day it gets easier and easier. The pain passes more quickly and I no longer blame myself or anyone else. I don’t take it all so personally anymore and along with the pain comes the joy of feeling a wee bit more miraculous and alive every day. My senses are honed and there is a remarkable amount of clarity in my life. My life is so full of love and beautiful people and blessings that I have to keep expanding just to accommodate it all.  In the end, it’s all worth it, every last bit of it.

 Banksy Red Balloon


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On the Other Side of the Coccoon

I can’t stop feeling. I am feeling everything I’ve ever felt and everything I’ve never felt. The tears are pouring out of me like Iguaçu Falls and my body is shaking and I feel as though I’ve been cracked open. Every emotion that I could possibly experience is just seeping out of me, sometimes creeping, sometimes gushing. These are the “good” emotions too – the happy ones. I can flip from tears to laughter without even a hiccup and feel both oh so completely as they vibrate their way through my body. I’ve become one big raw nerve ending, and everything that touches me makes me quiver. And shake. And then tremble.

This feeling of being so so alive is wonderful. I am really, truly going through the most amazing and remarkable period of my life, and I feel the blessings all around me. I’ve met the most fabulous people over the past few years and gained a few friends that have become the cornerstones of my existence. I have opened up and blossomed and stepped into my power, and I’ve done it by being wholly and authentically ME whenever possible. Even when I thought that the fear would paralyze me, I have just stepped through it, one tiptoe at a time.

All of these layers that have been lying dormant for many, many years are rising to the surface as I slough off the epidermises of numbness and scales and armor that protected me for most of my life. Each piece of patchwork in my shield is the result of some little slight: the many times that I was asked if I’d stuck my finger in a light socket growing up, being laughed at for having to wear a head gear, the names I was called, not getting picked for the team I wanted to be on.  It was created for every time that I was felt ugly and less-than and insecure and inadequate. It helped me through the big stuff too: the rape and the mixed-up bag of heaviness that followed that, the too-many losses of friends that I have experienced, the break-ups, my divorce. It all felt like so much noise, and the only safe way to deal with it was to pretend it didn’t matter – to shut it down, laugh it off, solder on another piece of metal.

I became really good at creating distractions that could deflect things off of my shield. I picked up addictions like candy at the drugstore, and I created chaos around me so that I would never, ever have to look at the mess inside of me. The more the storm outside me flared, the safer I felt inside of me. I projected images to set up around me of things that I thought I’d like to be: fun, adventurous, courageous, a world traveler, exciting, open-minded, and happy. I was and am those things, but the irony is that I created that persona because I was so afraid to show the world how scared, lonely, isolated, and sad I was. I threw the outfit over the armor every day and carried on.

When the pain got to be too much, I let go. Just a little bit at first. Committing to not taking a drink or ingesting a drug was the first step. I didn’t do it to start feeling things; I did it because I couldn’t manage my life anymore, and because I was afraid that I’d fail my son. It surprised me when I started to drop back into my body. It felt tingly, and I sensed that a teeny tiny part of that armor had melted away. Quitting smoking followed and then coffee and various things in my diet that I’d used to comfort me and hide me. With each molting and shedding, I felt just a little more alive. I started crying more and I started belly laughing more. I started telling people that I loved them, and I really meant it all the way through my being. I did a lot of healing work and gave myself over to it authentically, allowing Spirit to work her magic on me. I watched as a lot of the shame and guilt that I’d allowed to weave its way into my armor began to fall away. I began to honor myself in a way that felt like I’d come home. I fell in love and I fell out of love. I grew and I continue to grow. And with every passing day, I have been allowing myself to feel just a little bit more.

Which leads me to now: Here I am, crying and crying and crying, the tears rolling down my face in my meditation this morning as Deepak talked to me about miraculous relationships, sliding down my face and into my ears this morning as I lied in Savasana, rolling off the tip of my nose as I drove home from yoga, and hovering in the corner of my eyes as I wait to clear up the heartache that is really a heart bless. Crying and laughing, I let go just a little bit more today. I calmed my grip on a fear that has been dogging me all month, and then I released a love that was remarkably important to me but that now no longer serves either of us. I also let go of my friend Paul that made me laugh every time I saw him and that transitioned unexpectedly last week taking his laughter with him. I put my trust back in the Divine that everything is going to be okay, and I released the need to try to control it all.

I wouldn’t trade this pain for the world, because it is me. It is more me than anything has ever been me. It is wrapped up in this deep knowing that I AM what I AM. I am all of it: the sorrow and the pain, the laughter and the often inappropriate sense of humor, as well as the incredibly compassionate, empathetic, and loving healer that reaches out a hand to anyone that needs it. I am so grateful to know myself so completely that even this pain comes to me as a blessing that I AM here – right here, right now, sharing with you so that we may have this moment together. I love you and I thank you.

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Making Magic

I hang onto stuff. I cling to things that I think I may need one day. This can be something physical, such as a coat, a dish or a book, or it can be something abstract, such as emotions, thoughts, patterns of behavior or a relationship. I hang onto things because I worry about what will happen if I don’t have them, and because I may need them to fulfill some vague need in the future. I also resist releasing them because my thinking comes from a place of lack rather than abundance. Paradoxically, this reluctance to let things go has kept me trapped in that place of not-enough because I don’t make space for the free flow of energy.

I have had moments of purging throughout my life, and I have made it a point to live much more simply, but although I have sort of superficially given this some thought, I’ve never really dug down into the nitty-gritty of it. And then yesterday I had one of those moments, an emotional and spiritual relapse of sorts that forced me to recognize that I am only ever one step away from doing something completely out of alignment with who I am because I am still tethered to the strings of something I haven’t released.

Last year could probably be defined for me as “the year of creating boundaries.” I had to do this because of my habit of hanging onto things that no longer serve my highest good or that of the other person involved. Fear keeps me locked into relationships that I convince myself are beneficial, when really they are a place of stagnation – my ego’s way of keeping me small. That’s not to say there hasn’t been any good in those relationships; rather, it’s an acknowledgment that fear has played its role in me not allowing those relationships to take a different, more healthy course.

For many years, I had a lot of old relationships that I kept alive in my mind and that I was able to revive with the expansion of the internet. This has been both a blessing and a curse. Bringing these connections back to life filled in all of the little holes that I didn’t know existed but that riddled my soul. Just like a cigarette or a drink, making a connection with one of these people could stuff some cotton into a hole so that I wouldn’t have to feel what was really going on.

Over the past several years, I have been trying to let go of old beliefs and patterns, but I realize now that I’ve been doing it from a place of obligation. I recognized that I had to do these things, and so I would, but sort of begrudgingly. I perceived that letting go would be good for me karmically, and I’m tired of spinning the same wheels over and over again. I was also aware that it would be good for me and the other person involved because a lot of these relationships had an element of toxicity in them.  And finally, I knew that it was the right thing to do for any other people in the equation. Knowing all of this was enough to push me in the direction I needed to go, but it wasn’t enough for me to really fully digest it.

Yesterday I was given the opportunity to do just this. I am coming out of a wonderful relationship with someone that I love very, very much. It has been a very mature relationship for me, one in which I experienced exponential growth. In fact, I  was shown a completely new way to love someone, and it was such an amazing experience that even though I miss him and love him so, so much, I was able to let him go (for the most part; there’s still some tugging, but if it’s meant to be, it will come back around). For now, the relationship isn’t going in a mutually beneficial direction, so like big kids we agreed to go our separate ways, and we did it really nicely – no deception, no disrespect, no dishonoring.

It’s been a few weeks now and though I’ve shed a lot of tears, I have felt comfortable. And then yesterday, the Universe wanted to know if I was paying attention, and it threw me a little bone, just to see if I would bite. I did. It looked good, just dangling there in front of me. I convinced myself that it was okay, just this one little bite wouldn’t hurt anyone. But deep down I knew that despite how appetizing it looked, it would leave me feeling hollow if I ate it, and I did anyway. I knew all the way through my core that grabbing for the immediate gratification was not going to be satisfying at all, and yet because I was still hanging onto an old belief system, I snagged it anyway. The result was horrible. I could feel its effects on everyone involved, whether they knew about it or not. One plus one still equals two no matter how hard I try to bend the laws of mathematics.

Thankfully, though, I really have made progress, and so instead of retreating to my rabbit hole, I asked myself how I could learn from my actions so that I would not do it again when the occasion arose. I came to a conclusion, and with a confession and the help of a friend, I worked my way through it. The Universe, because it has a great sense of humor and because it still wanted to see if I was paying attention, threw me another bone just a few hours later. Unbelievable! But you know what? I acted completely in alignment with my ideals, and I walked away from the situation empowered and grateful that I was able to take care of myself and that I was able to show respect for another, even though that other had no idea what was going on.

It only occurred to me today that I was in the process of letting go of relationships and entanglements that had given me a false sense of safety and love, and that in doing so I was cultivating faith. And as I was mulling this over in my head, I internalized the notion that faith takes care of everything. I can get rid of the sweater that I like but that I never wear because it scratches my neck, and in doing so I can make room for a sweater that I like and that doesn’t scratch my neck. In the same way, when I let go of relationships and old emotional patterns that no longer serve me, I make way for the new and improved relationships and emotional patterns that nurture me and my growth.

I was able to see this in my body as well, and in the bodies of everyone as we cling to our rigid belief systems. The energetic manifestation of holding onto something old – this stagnation – creates the energy blockages that foment dis-ease in the system and that later manifest as illness in the body. Letting go allows for flow, and that free flow opens the mind, the body and the spirit to something better. It allows us to rest in faith, the knowingness that everything is taken care of and that this Universe is infinite abundance. It is only me and my restrictive thought processes and outmoded ways of feeling that keep me from experiencing that abundance. Letting go creates space for the miracle to happen, and the journey allows the magic to unfold.

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