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.

two sides, same coin

For when I’ve been the heartbroken…

I accept your rejection. It is a blow to my ego I can more than withstand. I accept your rejection, and I wrap the wounds with gauze stitched from years of learning self-love. I accept your unwillingness, your inability, your reluctance because sometimes things just don’t “work.” This is one of the most frustrating yet incredible miracles of the human heart. (Because when it does work, it’s magic.) 

I accept your closed heart, because I know what it’s like to not be able receive what I cannot give. I accept your lust, your desire, your drive to consume me but not keep me, not SEE me. The hunger that leads you to this bed will never be satiated by flesh alone. It is deeper, wilder and more transcendent than that.

I accept you will find the love that fits you just right in another’s heart. I accept that this is no reflection of my own ability to love or be loved. I accept that I will also find the love I’m building within reflected back at me in someone else. My Person. A miracle. A human, flawed and free, probably somewhere right now laughing deeply, grinning wildly, running their hands through their hair, completely unaware of the wonder that awaits them. I accept this, even though I had wanted that Person to be you—I accept that it is not. 

For when I’ve been the heartbreaker…

I accept that you are angry, and there is no amount of poetic words I could string together to salve this hurt. I accept that you have loved me—do love me—and I have you, but I cannot stay. I accept that you may say things or do things that are reflections of your pain, and I will take responsibility for the part I’ve played in it. But I must hold this boundary, and you must let me go. I accept that I have no control over how you react or how you heal, I can only let you know I support you (and I know, even that stings).

I accept there is no simple, non-messy way to leave someone and also stay to ease the wounding. I accept I must put a distance in a sacred place where I once only wanted closeness. I accept the strange intimacy that comes with sitting in silence with you, after the tears and before I go.

I accept our friendship may never recover. I accept that time heals all wounds, but does not always deem healthy that we stay in each other’s presence. I accept that life is cyclical, and this cycle may close for this lifetime. I accept that I was happy. This was good. I was in love. I also accept that I am not anymore. But I will be again, and so will you.

This is the grieving, the unbecoming, the healing and the loving into something new. A threshold I cannot cross until I accept, all of it, in it’s heavy and holy totality.

I accept.

I accept.

I accept.

Thank you.

nouveau départ

Two fraternal scars decorate my inner ankles now. The left cut went deeper than the other—born at the same time but different. Both there all the same. I never wear those boots, but I wore them that day. As we walked around the lake you asked me if they were comfortable. A light question in a heavy conversation. Between our words the silences lingered markedly. With anyone else I would’ve said it was uncomfortable, but with us the silence is never necessarily unwanted. I’ll admit, my cards were held so close to my chest I wondered if the Queen of Diamonds would imprint onto my heart. Would that make me stronger? In truth, my only real longing was to reveal my hand—in blind faith, in devotion, in one last hope you’d reach out for it.

The material of the boots dug into me. Our feet trekked along the paved path, but where were we really?

I stared straight ahead.

I could barely look at you the entire day.

Did you notice that?

I sighed.

It was beautiful, all of it.

The lake, the birds, the people, the trees.

The way you and I were strewn out in pieces like it mattered; as if we had any chance of making this better, as if there had ever been anything to make better.

We always speak in so many words. I blame our Mercurial moons. There had never been anything to say. From the moment we met, what existed (what exists) between us was never meant to be talked about, it was meant to be felt. To be known.

And now, all we needed to do was hold each other, and then let go.

Hold, and let go.

Hold, and let go.

I wanted to stop walking, it hurt.

I wanted to stop talking, it hurt. I didn’t know it but this wound was still being made. We were picking at scabs that hadn’t even formed yet. So, you asked about my boots and I replied they were fine.

“Comfortable enough.”

All the while I was bleeding, the entire way through.

~~~

Present day

The nonfiction piece above is so different to look back on now. It is an echo of someone who was on the brink of a huge upheaval. This past me wanted so badly to focus all her attention on those around her because then she could avoid what was really happening. There was so much I was still learning, still healing, still struggling to accept. I didn’t want to see how hurt I was. How hurt I had felt my whole life and continued to let myself feel. The pain I felt had a root so much deeper than my present situation. That situation, like so many before it, was a sad symptom of many larger issues I needed to admit. Issues of self worth, self-respect, boundaries. Most of all my issues of expressing my needs/desires/truth and knowing when to leave when they didn’t align with certain people. While I had been diving into this work prior, all of 2019 forced me to realize how much deeper into myself I needed to go.

I needed to see all for what it was, and decide where I would go from there. I needed to realize control isn’t a part of the equation, but acceptance is most certainly the answer. I needed to stop surrendering my personal power and with it responsibility for myself. It had become natural for me to hand my power over to circumstance when what I really needed was to embody it, believe in it, embrace it, celebrate it.

This power. My power.

Power of perspective. Power of choice. Power of forgiveness. Power of acceptance. Power of humility. Power of radical honesty. Power of unconditional love.

Now, I can say I know I am doing my best. I am weaving a life full of equal parts messy and joyful moments. It is both a dream and a sobering reality. I am standing here, in my power, still with two fraternal scars but they have faded, and I am grateful. I am right where I am supposed to be. All of my glorious failures as well as my successes have contributed to this. I am ecstatic to be Here. I am so in love with all of it—the hurt, the ecstasy, the epiphanies, the quiet, the growing pains, the fluidity, the irony, the belonging, the questioning, the inner knowing, the solitude, the confusion, the release, and most of all—the roaring, unending wilderness of possibility.

I’ve held on tightly for all of my life to so many people, places and things. I was desperately reaching. I was trying to get a handle on something not one thing outside of myself could give. I didn’t understand, but I do now. The peace I long for is with me. I experience it in moments. I let the healing wash over and accept the work may never be completely done. But moving in this direction feels right, and I like that.

Hold, and let go.

Hold all in love, all in wonder, all in respect, all in gratitude, all in honor.

Let all go in love, all in wonder, all in respect, all in gratitude, all in honor.

Whatever stays is none of my business, but where I choose to stay is ALL of my business.

And I choose to follow my heart, to be led by my Soul, to trust in the Grander scheme. I must accept the risk that comes with such a choice, and I do, humbly. Don’t get me wrong—I’m far from alone in this. I am surrounded by miraculously supportive, loving beings. And while I know this is my path regardless, that fact makes this choice much easier. So thank you. You all know who you are, Family and Friends. I am lucky to be loved by you and to love you. I do not take you for granted for a second.

So here goes.

To something different. To living in authenticity. To discovering a higher Truth. To pursuing my Personal Legend. To allowing my heart to want what it wants and listening to it—wholly & presently—so I may embrace the untamed, magical life I am creating. To letting go, so I can more fully receive.

And So it is.

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.