from nothing to everything.

“This oracle comes with guidance for you. You are being asked to let go to receive, to become empty to be filled… It is the divine paradox that when we are asked to surrender a story or a fantasy, it is because reality is knocking at our door, more often than not, with the delivery of what we have been fantasizing about–but in the best way for us. The human experience of this paradox is that you may feel you are giving up hope, that your fantasy is dying. It may be very painful and bring you much grief. But all that is dying is your attachment and opinion about how it must be. This needs to happen so you can stop dreaming and start living it… Do not fear any part of your process; embrace it without expectation, with trust in your heart, that the Divine is simply guiding you from fantasy into fulfillment.”

Alana Fairchild, Rumi Oracle

From nothing to everything.

Nothing.
Nothing.
Nothing.

Everything.
Everything.
Everything.

When I go to my Rumi Oracle deck, I know I will be given nothing but true and clear guidance. So here I am, surrounded by Christmas lights, a sleeping cat and flickering candles in an apartment that smells of incense and pine, as lightning lights up the sky of a warm southern winter night. I am asking for something–anything–to help me understand this past year. What’s the most important lesson to take away? What should I definitely leave behind? What awaits me? Whenever December hits, I am overtaken by this feeling of overwhelm. It is both exciting and serious. Which I’m sure by no coincidence corresponds with the two Zodiac signs that rule the month–Sagittarius (playful, optimistic, prophetic) and Capricorn (structured, responsible, timely). So I pull this card, From Nothing to Everything. Actually, I don’t pull it at all. It jumps out as soon as I ask my question during shuffle, and I know it is a message that will not be ignored.

This card speaks of the release of a “story” and how our “storytelling” often gets in the way of our ability to receive our blessings and embody who we are meant to be. Our stories are made up of attachments and expectations. They are an amalgamation of how we’ve interpreted our past experiences and others interpretations of us that we’ve accepted as true. Our stories are messy, wonderful, wounded and intricate.

Our stories must be wiped clean.

This energy is already in the collective. The current astrologic aspects (the Saturn Pluto conjunction that culminates in 2020 is one in particular) are all about us finally releasing an old story we’ve been telling ourselves (for years, possibly all of our lives) and choosing a new one. Our new story speaks from our soul and who we are at our core, without the clouded judgment of our ego and outside validation. It is a massive step into personal power that also heals the collective. This is no small task. To choose a new story is to seemingly abandon “who we are” now. This is terrifying, unsettling and also kind of angering. I don’t know about you but I’ve worked pretty hard to become the person I am now. I love the person I am and the last thing I want to do is abandon her. Yet everywhere I turn, it feels as though that is what the Universe is asking of me.

Here’s the thing–it is, and it isn’t. Yes, we are being asked to let go of a narrative we’ve accepted as truth, but it’s only to become MORE of ourselves. This is an uncomfortable paradox of identity. I’ve found some comfort in Jack Kornfield’s words when approaching this process:

“As a Buddhist psychologist, I am aware that sometimes when people hear about the teaching of selflessness, they can become agitated or afraid. This is because focusing on selflessness is not always the right medicine. Speaking of selflessness when a person feels shaky, traumatized and fragile can bring up feelings of disorientation and even terror. At such times, what is needed is safety and a feeling of balance. We can provide this balance through our reassuring presence, through the reminders of compassion and spacious awareness. But even those who are fragile can eventually benefit from the freedom beyond self-image, beyond the illusion of self.”

Jack Kornfield, The Wise Heart

You are more than the stories that you’ve collected to make up your self image.
But in the same breath that you are more, you are also less.
You are as expansive as the outmost reaching edges of the cosmos and as minimal as the atom.
Being here,
being this,
being You.
Which, You are.
How can You Be
but also Be Nothing?

How do we reconcile this paradox? Hell if I know.

Seriously, haha. This is something people have dedicated their lives to discovering and teaching. It is something I am still learning to navigate. I am diving in completely, happily bewildered as a student of this life. This post is not about me teaching You, the reader, anything. I am simply sharing my experience of where I am at, and I am checking in with you. How is it that in our Emptiness, our ability to hold that vast undefined space within us, exists while we remain so connected to who we are? It seems to boil down to a balance, to a practice, and to breath. But it is also a much bigger question I think I will be ruminating on for the remainder of this life. On a lighter note, there are some questions I think we all are a bit more equipped to answer.

What parts of your story feel like they don’t fit anymore?
Are you owning how much you’ve stepped into something new?
I beg you to really think about this. I know many of you have being digging into the deepest parts of yourself. You’ve put in so much work. Are you living a life that does said work justice? Or are you still stuck in an old mode/sense of self?

There is no shame in being stuck. We get stuck because something needs our attention, and we loop continuously until we finally face it. This is where compassion comes in. As your friend, as your partner, as your sister, as your fellow human, I can hold you in loving kindness and safety as you move through into what a new story means for you.

I am very aware of how heady this all sounds. But as the 6th principle of Buddhist psychology says, “Our life has universal and personal nature. Both dimensions must be respected if we are to be happy and free.” A release of an old story is NOT spiritual bypassing. What you DON’T get to do is decide, “Well that’s not who I am anymore,” and suddenly be absolved of all responsibility, suffering and pain. What you DO get to do is decide, “Well that’s not who I am anymore,” own your responsibilities and work through your suffering and pain. Then you can release it from your grasp, opening up your hands to receive something new.

As Jack Kornfield writes, 

“We can’t pretend we are too spiritual for any experience. If we are angry, Ajahn Chah said, we must admit it, look at its causes, know its particulars. If we are sad or frightened or ashamed or needy, this is our human condition, the perfect place to practice. Ajahn Chah insisted we could not find freedom and enlightenment somewhere else, only here and now: ‘It is here in the world of form. Only in form can we develop integrity, patience, generosity, truthfulness, dedication, compassion, the great heart of the Buddha.’
If we fear living the life we’re in, Buddhist psychology insists we explore our resistance. If we’re caught in fear of failure, in past trauma or insecurity, engaging the world can be difficult for us. We need to make conscious whatever keeps us from living fully.”

This is what’s been happening for us over the past decade, and most intensely over this past year. As I lean into the energy of the new year approaching, I feel 2020 refuses to let you enter without surfacing your deepest wounds and admitting what’s been holding you back from embracing Your wildest, truest life. You have to cop to the stories you’ve been telling yourself about yourself, and you have to admit how ridiculous they’ve been at times (be they negative or positive).

From Nothing to Everything.
Stripped down bare; we are all the same.
All nothing, all everything.

It is a paradox both confusing & enlightening. Freeing & terrifying. Your identity is completely made up. It can be ever-evolving and fluid, or you can stay stuck looping around ideas of who you ‘should’ be.

But right now beloved, all this is to say: This is an invitation.
Your invitation.
I am inviting you to flow in the Divine Mystery with a sense of self that is not so rigid.
You are malleable and new.
You are childlike and dancing through varying states of wonder.
You are full of past experiences–joyful and traumatic, mesmerizing and forgettable, simple and complex, and they have all made up your sense of Self. But they also do not have to define who you choose to be now.
In that release you do not lose anything.
You find a more expansive way of being.
You are Nothing
and Everything
and Nothing once again.

So let’s play.

And so it is.

attention

Today I finished the mandatory training we retake every 18 months. We’re tested on knowledge that keeps us qualified to do our jobs safely & proficiently. We’re reunited with people we started the job with. We’re reminded of the unknowing that came with our initial training, and what those nervous first days felt like before we were completely immersed in this lifestyle. Whenever I come back here, I plunge into a state of reflection and contemplation.

Has it really been 4 years?
Am I still happy with this job?
Am I still heading in a direction aligned with my highest good?

Yes, yes, and yes.

I’m sure my contemplative state also has something to do with the beautiful views of the mountains that surround Salt Lake City. (Perfect for gazing at while tapping into the innermost parts of your soul, even in a place as frenzied as an airport.) So, I asked myself a big question—Am I comfortable with myself completely on my own?

Yes. Finally. Because in that moment I realized that sure, I’ve been on my own for 3 years, but I haven’t been independent of partnership. For 3 years I have consistently partnered myself with other people—including 3 days after a break up in 2016. (Big mistake, I do not advise that. However, if you’re looking to be triggered into healing it’s a wild, albeit painful, catapult into getting there. Kind of like the Rainbow Road of healing and shadow work. Still don’t advise it though.)

OFF TOPIC—Point is, I partnered myself to the idea of them, whether they could show up or not.

I chose:

The emotionally unavailable
Those at a physical distance (usually out of state)
People who only had sexual/physical interest in me
People who continuously showed me exactly who they were (which was Not For Me) while I ignored it

I’ve experienced more than a handful of these scenarios over the past 3 years. All with their various lessons to teach, and while I wasn’t always glad to be on the receiving end, I was always grateful. So when I say to myself now, “Hmm, I’m actually very happy on my own. I’m not sure a relationship is a high priority currently.”

My ego says, “But you’ve been single for 3 years!”

But my higher self says, “You most certainly have not. You have committed to all of those people in your past, either once or on and off again, by your choice and yours alone. You used their resistance as a form of escaping facing the resistance YOU had to looking deep within yourself and do the REAL work, the TRUE healing. You have not been single at all. You have been committed to everyone else but you.

So in all honesty, this phase feels new. A truer freedom. A more honest independence. It is a vast, lush garden in which I discover more of myself. Where I see clearly which parts need more nourishment, more Sun, more pruning, more love. As poet Mary Oliver says, “Attention is the beginning of devotion.” And so much of my attention has been on You, You, You, You and You.

No one is my escape, because I don’t need to. I don’t want to. I have no desire to not be exactly where I am. I am HERE, and while I feel I’ve dove in and out of this energy for the past two years, it wasn’t ever as stable as it is now. The grounding it’s taken me to move into this has been deep and relentless. I am doing the work, ugly and beautiful. I see myself, ugly and beautiful. I accept myself, ugly and beautiful. I am my own sanctuary, and on this Holy ground I meet myself fully and compassionately in shadow and light.

Now, my devotion is centered on evolving all parts of self in renewing connection with my higher one. My devotion is centered on creating a space to become a grander Us, as humans existing intricately and miraculously together. My devotion is centered on discovering what part I wish to play. It is perplexing and unpredictable but most of all, it is fun! And that’s how I know it’s different this time.

I can still see the mountains. I am thousands of feet above them, these sleeping giants. The sun is setting, leaving the peaks ablaze in its wake. Yeah, it’s different this time. I am paying attention.

fireflies.

I think my favorite time of day in the summer is the sticky sweet middle of a hot afternoon. It was one of those afternoons when I ordered a Lyft in downtown Nashville. The driver rolled up and said, “No, no don’t sit in the back. Come on up to the front seat.” Usually I’d respond with something like, “Thanks, but I’ll just sit back here,” but his kind eyes beckoned me to take the seat beside him. This man had a story to tell. We all do, but we’re not all storytellers. Some of us keep ours to ourselves, or maybe just share with those we love. Others are called to share theirs with the rest of the world. I think storytellers recognize other storytellers before they ever even open their mouths, before they ever pick up a pen. Sure enough, as soon as I closed the door he began recounting the odyssey of his life. His struggle with drug abuse. The failure of his first marriage. The complete and total loss of himself.

And then, the Revival.

Now, he was a pastor at a local church. Assistant pastor actually—his wife led the congregation. He told me about her journey to hell and back with her abusive first marriage. She’d even written a book. Honestly, I’m not positive why I’m writing this entry. All I know is I think about this encounter often. I think about the peaceful expression that came over him when he told me about meeting his current wife. I think about how I could see the pride practically bursting out of his chest when he told me about her book and her work for their community. The way he smiled and laughed when he described this woman who had awakened his entire heart. I told him I hoped to be as lucky as them both one day. He said, “If you want a good man, pray for him.” Simple advice, but not my style. By this point in 2017, I’d embarked on this current spiritual path, but I was still weary about “praying” and what that meant or looked like to me.

I’ll hand it to him though. There was something about the way he said it. I believed him. Granted, ever since I began “praying” for things I’ve been met with what feels like multiple ego deaths and devastating revelation after revelation. In love, I especially seem to have attracted a string of messy lovers with no shortage of lessons to be taught between us. They appear suddenly and fade out just as quickly. Kind of like fireflies. Sure you could catch them, try to keep them. But that’s not where they belong. It feels so much better to let the experience be what it is. Sitting out in the field enveloped in the glow of dusk, the lights of the fireflies blinking in and out of view, until one lands on your arm. It tickles. It makes you laugh. You’ve been chosen. It’s gone as quickly as it came, but it brings a smile to your face nonetheless.

So yes, I’ve had a lot of fireflies. Each one with a different light to share. Exposing my darkest parts, deepest wounds, awakening me to the medicine I need to successfully integrate those pieces of me. The medicine has come in many forms–boundaries, meditation, unconditional love, compassion, detachment, self-worth, and so much more. Each one of them a step closer to a prayer answered.

To be honest, I’m not sure how invested I am with that specific prayer being answered anymore. The further I walk, the more expansive love becomes. These structures we’ve placed upon it just don’t seem to fit as well anymore for me, or any human I know. It’s not about the external, it’s internal. But that’s the point of the journey right? It starts with self. My love for myself. My willingness to face myself. My willingness to heal myself. My ability to forgive myself. So even still, I pray–for many people and many things–and “I dream of a love that even time will lie down and be still for.” (Thanks for that, Practical Magic). I know it all leads me not closer to meeting another, but to meeting myself. And when I do pray for love, I don’t pray for love to come into my life. I am already surrounded by it. I was born of it and it lives within me. So I pray for my soulmates to come into themselves, to rise into their highest, to have compassion for their lowest, to find their freedom, their mission, their calling, and to sprint toward it. Or walk. Whatever timing their journey calls for. So when we cross paths in this lifetime, we will, as ever-evolving beings.

Anyway, life is good. And frustrating. And surprising. And painful. And inspiring. And confusing. And satisfying. You don’t need me to tell you that. I think my favorite part about this journey is realizing how NOT unique my experience is. I am not separate from you. I feel more full, more myself than I have possibly ever. I have more offerings to give than words. I am planting the seeds mindfully. I’m here for any of you. If you want to talk of alchemy, love, loss, prayer, grief, healing, anything. Or if you just want someone with you in the silence. This is all to say–allow others the gift of illuminating what you cannot see. Trust it. Trust yourself.

And so it is.

illusions undone.

Yesterday I felt an extremely overwhelming energy move through me. I couldn’t name it as positive or negative, it just was. An intensity. But lately, I’ve seen so many synchronicities. I’ve felt so much support and love coming from every corner of my life. I’ve been nurturing a safety within me where the foundation stems from an unshakeable confidence and trust within myself. After ruminating on all of this, I knew the energy was positive. And of course, naturally, my ego wanted me to doubt it all. My ego wants me to be a mistrustful, self-sabotaging, fearful pessimist. It wants me to accept pain as my reality. Where every light shines to remind me that I am worthy of the wonderful things I pray and work for, a voice in the shadow whispers a terror into my heart in efforts to keep it closed.

But it’s not.

I am open.
I am vulnerable.
I am on a path I trust.
I am joy.
I am connection.
I am making a choice.
I choose differently this time.

I choose to hold the wounded girl who’s voice echoes in the shadow. I choose to help her, love her through her sorrows. I am not separate from her. But I will not allow anguish from my past become suffering in my future. When it comes to my sisters and brothers in this life, I refuse to stand in a place of judgment and condemnation, of criticism and control. I choose acceptance. I choose faith. I choose unconditional love.

I am here now, and I trust it. I trust, and then I know. I know suffering is not my natural state of being, it’s simply one way of being. And once acknowledged, I can move through all of the beautifully painful intricacies of the ways my wounds have colored my world. I forgive myself for it. It helps me to see how you all are navigating your own trauma. I support you. I forgive you. I will not carry it for you, but I will hold your hand.

For so long, it was easier to create a “reality” in the shape of my fear. By anticipating pain I thought I was smarter than pain. But really, I was only ensuring that the pain I agonized over would be my only outcome. The more I anticipated disappointment the more comfortable I felt with it. The less comfortable I felt with actually getting what I deserved/wanted. In fear-based, loveless thinking the question, “What if it doesn’t happen?” isn’t the scary one. You are prepared for that because you’ve built up defenses for years to anticipate such a blow. The terrifying question is, “What if it does?” Because that question accepts loss as a possibility and doesn’t fear it. Because truthfully, loss is not separate from love. Once you recognize this its finally possible to accept we have never been separate from love. So often we’ve simply just refused to accept the abundance of it because lack, hurt and disappointment felt more familiar–a desolate illusion so many of us still cling to.

I ask you to release this illusion. It will take time and work, but it will be worth it. There is no real safety in severing yourself from connection, only an illusionary one that keeps you wandering, lost and wanting. I leave you with a passage from one of my favorite books, A Return to Love, to meditate upon. For myself to meditate upon. Because you and I, we are not separate. We are mirrors. Reflecting back and forth to each other, giving and receiving only what we’re willing to.

“Initially, I had chosen the way of anger. Now I choose the way of love. I did not have to be the wounded animal. I could choose to identify with my own strength, which was in fact the more natural role for me to play. I could choose to see others through a generous, trusting nature. My brother was not here to attack me. He was here to love me. It was completely up to me whether to trust that, and love him back.

In accepting the Atonement, the correction of our perceptions, we are returned to who we really are. Our true, purely loving self can never be uncreated. All illusions will be undone. Although experiences can lead us to deviate from our true nature, the truth itself is held in trust for us by the Holy Spirit until we choose to return.”

— Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love

gift.

Disposable.

This is a word that summed up how I felt for a little over two years. It seemed continuously I attracted people into my circle who formed intense bonds with me, only to eventually drop me. When it came, it felt as though it happened quickly, swiftly, seemingly without remorse or a second thought. For a long time, I allowed this behavior to bother me. It bothered me because I would make up a narrative in my head about these people—that they didn’t care about me, in fact they never cared, it wasn’t real, they feel/felt no actual emotion for or about me. I chose to internalize the feeling of being expendable, inconsequential, and I let it keep me in the position of a victim.

Victim.

A role where I felt comfortable with my trauma, my anger, my sadness. As long as I was the victim, I could feel bad for myself without questioning my own actions and motives. Thereby stripping away the humanity of the people that hurt me and turning them into caricatures of perpetrators that did me wrong.

I am writing today to say that I know, very well now, that I am far from disposable. I am far from being the victim. I am far from being forgettable or replaceable. Even the thought of it to me now seems laughable.

I believe I’ve written before about the concept of people as mirrors. We attract those in life who have the most to teach us. They are a reflection of something we need to heal within. If we’re lucky enough to awaken, to be open and receptive, we can make the best of even the most awful and dire situations.

I write today to apologize and ask forgiveness. I ask forgiveness from myself for ever believing the hurt I perceived and pain I experienced was somehow deserved. I am sorry for believing someone as beautiful and powerful as myself could be left behind without leaving an incredible impression on those I’ve loved and been true to. But mostly, I am sorry for forcing a false narrative on those who’ve fallen away from me. You too are beautiful and powerful, and you’ve all taught me so much. Be it through your words, your silence, your presence, your absence. You were a Gift to me.

You see, what you think of me is YOUR business. What you do or do not feel for me is YOUR business. What you’ve decided to learn or not learn from me is YOUR business. It is none of my business. It has nothing to do with me, and has no bearing on me or what I feel for any of you. My time on Earth will forever be spent on learning how to authentically exist in and come from a place of love. There are times when my Ego wins & I do feel the negativity, the anger and bitterness—but I refuse to wallow in it. I make the choice to move THROUGH it. I accept it, I feel it, I let it in and let it go. (Mind you, acting from your highest self often feels like an infinite trial and error. It’s a simple concept but not easy. If it was easy, we’d have nothing to discuss.)

I’m writing today to tell you I love you, because everything else is an illusion. The pain, the betrayal, the insecurity, the distrust, the hopelessness, the loneliness—at times, it can feel vast and never-ending. This is untrue. While I wish I could unfold before you the specific path YOU need to take to heal these wounds, process these feelings & traumas on our mutual mission of humanity (to radiate & experience Unconditional Love & only Love), we all have a unique way of getting there. It could be through discovering your own spirituality. It could be through your career. It could be through therapy and professional help. It could be through a different religion. It could be through charity and volunteer work. It could be through meditation. It could be through your art. It could be any combination of things. But, as long as we are striving for this, we are nurturing ourselves, and by way of that, nurturing each other in the best way we know how.

It is Libra season. Libra. The harmonizer, the peacemaker, the conflict resolver. The Venusian sign of partnership & balance. Libra—when evolved—begs you to ask, how do my actions affect those outside of myself? Am I taking responsibility for the effects they’re having on others? Am I doing my best to bring peace to myself and those I love? Where am I imbalanced? Where have I demanded too much? Where have I settled for too little? Coupled with a Venus retrograde in Scorpio this season, take this time to reevaluate and reflect on your relationships. Are you choosing to act from the self you are NOW? Or are you falling back into an old pattern that no longer suits the current you? Naturally, as you change, you will feel aversion to falling into a toxic cycle anyway. But it doesn’t mean we are not susceptible to it. Healing is not a linear process. Be honest with yourself, gentle, but honest. Consciously choose who and what to engage with. Let the rest go in grace.

Know I am here to encourage YOU, whoever you are, that’s taken the time to read this. I don’t care who or what we’ve been to each other in the past. I have made the conscious choice to carry no angst, no resentment. You can make this choice too when you’re ready.

You don’t have to continue to carry the weight of your losses with you. Honor them and choose to be here NOW. Not in your past, not in your future, here. Take a quiet moment today to say, “I am here. I am safe. I am loved. I am supported.” Inhale, exhale. Feel this. Trust this.

And so it is.