Love For My Journey

Facebook showed me a memory today. A picture of me from the brief time I lived in Portland. That time was a pain peak in my life, but the picture says otherwise. I’m smiling, holding a finger with a mustache drawn on it up to my face, ostensibly exuding silliness – a part of me I often show to people. But not always. When I was young I was shy, and then slowly I grew into some loudness. First just with friends – making jokes, singing loudly, dancing weirdly – but soon boisterous became a go to, a brand of armor against the inward pain I dare not show anyone. And then came the story of expectation. I made up that everyone expected me to be happy, fun, exciting, loving life. I played out this story so well it became my truth. I believed no one could handle my pain, and if I voiced it no one would understand. And surely they would all think I was crazy, ready for a strait jacket, some meds, and the psych ward. So when friends asked ‘how are you?’ My answer was always ‘oh good, fine…’ followed by some joke about being single, or a quip about not quite having enough money to do exciting things. I buried pain after pain for years. Not letting it out to breath, not voicing it to honor my emotions and experiences. I didn’t really know how. I did the only thing that made sense at the time. Repress and pretend. Then there was no more room to bury anything. I was oozing pain at the surface. The ooze of pain came out in daily panic attacks, dizzy spells, and crying fits. I tear up thinking back to those memories and realize it had to happen that way. I look at the picture again. My sister took the photo on her trip to celebrate her 30th birthday, which she also used to help me move home. Definitely an act of love. I had chosen to withdraw from grad school, and turned down the path of inward exploration, my journey of spiritual remembering was ignited. Almost seven years later I am looking back and my heart sings with hurt, sadness, and gratitude at these memories. Then with a deep breath I realize my heart is really singing love.

Love for my journey.

For each step on my path.

The pains. And sorrows.

The changes and reframes.

The understandings.

The realizations.

I’m in love for a minute with all of it.

I smile.

Breathe.

And keep going.

I Forgive You

Forgive Yourself, You’ve Done Nothing Wrong.

Whoa. Big words for many of us. Our human-ness wants someone to be wrong and so often it’s easiest if we are the wrong ones. This has come up for me on several levels in my life recently. First was in doing some processing around my last relationship, which ended 11 months ago, but I was still in a place of blame. Blaming him and blaming me. Another in blaming me for not seeing the true colors of a former friend and mentor quicker, blaming myself for allowing her to treat me the way she did. As I dug through these layers with my therapist, I found yet another layer hidden deep in a corner – stuffed away by my Little Darling inner child.

When I was nine years old, I loved so much of life. Like many lucky nine year olds, I was pretty carefree. I loved being a kid – being a girl and running around the backyard barefoot, in soccer shorts, smell of sunscreen mixed with sweat, sound of my dog sniffing behind me, my hair blowing in every direction. Being a wild mess was the best. Free. Joy. Love. That was my life at nine.

And like many nine year olds, I began to hit a few bumps, those small ones before the cliff edges of teenagdom show up. The summer of nine, I enraptured myself in watching the Summer Olympics.  I vividly remember adoring the women’s gymnastics team. They were so cool and hip, their bodies graceful and perfect, I wanted to be just like them. I imagined myself being able to do flips and summersaults, yet knowing I couldn’t really do those things, somewhere deep down I began the fatal mistake every young girl makes. Comparison. I looked at those young women’s legs and movements and had a fleeting thought – how come I don’t look like them? And boom. The ‘not good enough’ trunk that was planted in my closet that was nearly-probably-certainly destined to be opened at some point, flew open retching it’s guts out.  ‘You’re not like them,’ it whispered, ‘you’ll never be cool like that’ it mocked.

I remember one gymnast in particular was blonde hair and blue eyed just like me, but she had her hair cut short. Naturally I excitedly thought about how maybe I could be just like her. So I asked, ‘Mom, can I get my hair cut like her?!’ My Mom agreed, although I pretty sure she cried when she cut my pony tail, which was down to my waist at the time. She firmly stood behind me in support of letting me make my own decisions. Such a good Mom move. School started back and I proudly arrived with my cool and groovy new haircut only to feel out of place and extremely self-conscious. One day, we had a substitute teacher in class and he called out from behind me ‘Young man…’. Naturally I didn’t turn around, and saw a few kids looking around to see who he was speaking to. He called again ‘young man…’, which was followed by some snickers. Then a third time, ‘Young man…’, the person next to me nudged me, he’s talking to you. I looked over and then someone else said, ‘she’s not a boy’. I blinked away tears and swallowed the lump in my throat and said ‘Yes, sir?’ Unbeknownst to me, opening that ‘not good enough’ trunk and swallowing my voice, my wild Little Darling died. To be replaced by my Protectors – control and over achievement.

Now I peel back the layers and listen to the ghost of my Little Wild One.

‘I’m so sorry, I didn’t know. I didn’t know I was good enough just as me. I didn’t mean to become someone else. I didn’t mean to deny that pure love inside me. I didn’t mean to forget. I’m sorry I didn’t speak up to that teacher.’

I listen intently. I take her hand.

‘It’s ok,’ I tell her, ‘You did the best you could. You wanted to try something new on, a new identity. I understand. It’s ok that you didn’t speak up at the time, you were scared, and that’s normal. And I forgive you, you did nothing wrong. I love you.’

Slowly I see color come back to my wild Little Darling. I stand by her. I ask her what she needs. I listen. I realize I have the power to completely resuscitate her. To remember her worth. Her greatness. Her WILDNESS. My inner protector will now always be around, my not enough trunk still sits in my closet, but with awareness I can choose who drives the bus of my life. I choose my wild Little Darling. She is the Divine in me. My intuition. My light. My love.

And I sing to her:

“You’ve got the most unbelievable blue eyes I’ve ever seen

You’ve got me almost melting away

As we lay there under a blue sky with pure white stars

Exotic sweetness, a magical time

Say, say it again

I love you always forever

Near and far, closer together

Everywhere I will be with you

Everything I will do for you

I love you always forever

Near and far, closer together

Everywhere I will be with you

Everything I will do for you”

Beautiful Surrender

Have faith and wait. I heard that message recently as I walked a labyrinth at beautiful women’s retreat I just attended. Having faith and waiting are not words I embody. I pretend I am. I say I’m giving something to the universe or I’ll wait until it feels right, and then underneath both of those is a deep frenetic uncertainty. It leaks out of me in anxiety and a very loud mental loop of sorting through all the possibilities. Asking myself what do I want? How am I going to get that? It’s not possible because fill in the blank with one of my many insecurities that all boil down to fear and not enough-ness.

At this retreat, the leader was coaching another woman and articulated what faith might physically look like. She said faith is like taking a step and then standing on one foot until the universe puts the next step in front of you. In hearing those words I felt into an understanding about why I struggle to embody faith.  Having faith and really giving something over to the universe isn’t comfortable.  If I’m just standing on one leg in the middle of my path and my only job is to surrender, I feel out of control. My mind immediately wants to kick into problem solving mode. It feels better – it feels like I’m making progress. Maybe I take a jump to the side on my path to look at an option, and then jump back, and then sit down, and then do some twirls, but I’m still in the same spot. Stuck. Then I usually start feeling frustrated so I try to charge forward and find myself running into a wall of money issues, sickness, or anxiety.

I realize now that my hops, twirls, and sits powered by my anxiety are simply an attempt to protect myself from any possibility of getting hurt. This is really great news! Now I can thank the anxiety for protecting me. I find most anxiety is rooted in a deep desire to protect ourselves, and it keeps going because often it works on some level to keep us safe. So thank you for protecting me anxiety, I now want to up level you to intuition.

I am clear now. I do want to surrender to the universe completely. That’s my first step, and now I stand balanced and waiting. I breathe through the habit of trying to control how something will happen. It’s not my job to know how. Things never happen the way they are expected anyway. In letting go and really standing on one foot and waiting I can live faith. I can listen. I am communicating to the universe that I am open to divine wisdom and timing. And I know the next step will be there with this beautiful surrender.