Activate Your Life: Show, Don’t Tell

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I remember as a student in writing class this directive was drilled into my head: Show don’t tell. Over and over I’d get papers handed back to me with red marks screaming it at me. I hated that teacher with the keen passion that only a young student can express. But those words held far more wisdom beyond writing in junior high school.

Those words have become a life lesson for me. They have taught me that I could tell you all day long about the me I want you to see. I could wave my fancy feathered fan in front of my naked body teasing you with glimpses of who I really am. I could rip off my spiritual bindings, groaning with effort and continued fear that I’ll not be perceived as blameless as I wish.

Show me who you are.

Don’t just tell me with clever slogans because those are the thoughts of someone else. Using a lack authenticity  to describe oneself  limits a person to the level of mediocrity, labels, and acceptance of someone else’s beliefs.

Who are you quoting?

I don’t want to be remembered with someone else’s words on my lips. My own actions are a reflection of my spirit. I do not intentionally set out to change the world, it just happens because my intent is  like a fire, fully engaged in whatever I’m doing. I require blazes of activity to spark up via conversations, actions, laughter, outrage towards injustice, or by committing random acts of kindness. I want to be remembered as someone who mattered to someone else as much as I matter to me.

I’d like for someone to make a graphic about me that reads, Man, if only you’d known her. She was a fireball like none other. Even though she gave up a lot, she wasn’t a quitter. She’d fight to the bitter end for whatever she believed in and without even realizing it, you’d be right there with her. She was trustworthy in action and word.

We’re all in this together.

Human to human, elbow to elbow, what shall we do? What beliefs do you wish to leave as your legacy? What can you give to the world that is unique to solely you?  Bring that gift to the table of manifestation as a dish to pass to along in your community. Fan out your peacock tail with glorious display because you’re necessary, valuable, and worth more than a few words with a pretty picture attempting to capture your essence. Go on, show all of us, don’t just tell us who you are. We’re waiting.

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Resistance is Futile. Change, Gonna Come.

I am in the most hermetic phase of the summer now.

The temperatures in Phoenix are in the triple digits, tempers flare, cars overheat, dust storms roll through. My tendency at this time of year is to curl up in bed with a good book and an iced coffee, and wait out the heat. I teach my online summer course. I exercise,  cook, do course prep for fall. I clean out my closets. I write. In the dark, cool womb of my house, my animals gather in a semi-circle around me and we enjoy our sloth together, tucked in and safe from the chaos of the outside world.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I don’t care what’s going on. I do. In fact, I think I care too much. My heart is too kind. I often feel much too fragile to navigate the ugliness and difficulty that has become the common thread of contemporary life. I’ve realized that some battles are not worth the time or energy they take. The older I get the more I understand that I must channel my time and energy into things that I want to see happen.

Things that disturb me, upset me, or cause my blood pressure to rise, are things I actively avoid. You see, no matter how bad I feel about poverty, injustice, hunger, killing or war — focusing on them actually entrenches them —  rather than makes them better. My feeling bad about the horror and strife and hatred in the world will not make those things disappear. I can never feel bad enough to make the world feel good as a result.

Change the way you see the world, and the world you see will change.

Let’s face it: the outside world is ablaze with recrimination and hatred right now. As a result, I don’t watch anything on the news — not because I don’t think the war in Gaza is a horrible crime against humanity or that devastating gun violence, murder, and domestic abuse doesn’t exist.  I know what’s out there. I don’t watch because those issues don’t deserve even one fraction of a fraction of a fraction of my attention or time. They’re a symptom of what’s tearing this world up: inhumanity toward all living creatures. The perpetrators lack any semblance of empathy or care or feeling for others. And because I do not want to give energy to things I do not want to see more of, I am doing my level best to put my focus on things that are actually fostering change.

Fighting against things doesn’t change things.  

Working toward things changes things. Constructive dialogue, collaboration and cooperation change things. That’s not just semantics. The energetic signature of something you are opposed to is completely different than something you actively support. One mindset traps the energy in regret, remorse and resistance. The other frees the energy to move in the direction you want to go.

What you resist, persists.

So, if you wonder why I am here at my keyboard rather than out on the street corner holding an angry sign, don’t misconstrue my intentions or my commitment to change.

There is much I am outraged over and much I want to see change. I am for equality, kindness, joy, education, the social safety net, and health care for all citizens. I am for my taxes going to helping the least among us. I want to see women paid on par with men. I want to see racism disappear. I want marriage equality for everyone who loves another person and wants to get married. I want our laws to protect us all — not just a select few.

I want to close our prisons and open more schools. I want us to spend $40K on each student in school instead of spending that amount incarcerating people who’ve been thrown away. Did you know that more African American men are currently in jail than were held in slavery?

I want us to embrace common sense and get guns out of the hands of the criminally insane.

I want a sustainable future, a clean environment, a warm place to rest. I want to trust the food I am eating hasn’t been showered in enough pesticides to kill me. I want to walk into the future with collaborative, kindred spirits who are ready to build a better world.

There is no time left to waste on pettiness or mind games.

What you focus on, increases.  

What are you going to do to make a change? We cannot transform our lives using the same mindset that created the status quo.

We’re living in a whole new paradigm. Anything’s possible.

And what about those among us who are hellbent on taking the world backwards?

They won’t win their fight against progress, kindness, mercy and care. Resistance is, indeed, futile.

So, if you are like me, protect your light.

We’ll need it for the road ahead.

Thrive: It’s Time to Stop Playing Small

If you put yourself in a position where you have to stretch outside your comfort zone, then you are forced to expand your consciousness. ~ Les Brown

Stuck in the middle with you.

We’ve all done it. We’ve stayed too long in a job that made us want to poke our eyes out. We’ve latched on and stuck it out with a lover who treated us like crapola, even on a good day.

Why?

It seems counter-intuitive.

Why would we want to to make ourselves small? Why would we accept less than all that we deserve?

Playing Small.

Part of it has to do with our sense that we can’t do better, that we can’t stretch or reach for much more than what we see those around us reaching for. We don’t want to be rejected by those we love, so we stay small. We sit in the dark because we’re used to the dark.

And even if that darkness makes us miserable, it is a familiar misery. It is not unknown uncharted territory.

We tell ourselves: We don’t need to push beyond our comfort zone.

Instead, we stay put. We keep ourselves safe.

Or so we think.

But what’s really going on?

We’re settling. We’re surviving. We’re opting for the easy way out.

I don’t know about you, but I want more, much more.

“Some people live in cages with bars built from their own fears and doubts. Some people live in cages with bars built from other people’s fears and doubts; their parents, their friends, their brothers and sisters, their families. Some people live in cages with bars built from the choices others made for them, the circumstances other people imposed upon them. And some people break free.” ― C. JoyBell C.

I want to thrive.

I want a big life. I want to live full throttle, all out. I want an embracing-my-gifts sort of life; not a shrinking, invisible, don’t-mind-me-I-am-a-doormat, life.

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” ~ Maya Angelou

I want to show my light. I want to stand in the center of my life and radiate joy. I want to take up all the space I’m given, and then some.

“We all want to break our orbits, float like a satellite gone wild in space, run the risk of disintegration. We all want to take our lives in our own hands and hurl them out among the stars.” ― David Bottoms

These days, we’ve got a choice to make.

Do we grow or do we stagnate?

Do we maintain the status quo or discover who we could be if we pushed our limits and put the pedal to the metal?

Do we watch the lives of others on Entertainment Tonight or do we opt to watch Orion and Cassiopeia rise in the east from the deep loveliness of our backyard?  

Are we all about the known world or the vast, unlimited universe?

Which box will you check?  

Same-old, same-old?

Or adventurer/hero/scribe/scout?

I know which one I’ll choose.

 

 

3 Habit Energies to Awaken Your Undefinable Self.

We are holy, pussy-gushing, sexpot-wrathful deities. We have converging realities and lifetimes within the chambers of our hearts. We are unpredictability incarnate. We kill with a glance and heal with our hands. We are the muse of the universe’s architecture. We are warriors, nurturers, creators and destroyers holding up the world and giving birth to it at the same time. We dance between life and death, our breasts bouncing and thighs jiggling along the horizon of the unknown, making the earth quiver under our feet. We are the hive mind of great omnipotence.

Goddesses, this is your rightful linage, surrender to it.

I know you would probably rather me not say you must surrender to a reality but this type of surrender is transcendent. This is the stuff of devastating elevation.

Give it up. Frighten yourself with your shameless femininity. Hand over your disbelief. Kill misconceptions.

Open.

Tear down walls. Break down secret doors. Fall down bottomless wells. Fly through ceilings. Run as fast as you can toward the ease of letting the tears flow from the softness of your heart. This is your only chance to discover what is hidden behind the illusion of fear, the resentment of your vulnerability, and the attachment to everything you think you actually own.

Being a goddess does not mean that you are jaded – that you are steeled and toughened by the world and don’t need anyone. You need love. You need care. You need a partner and you need solitude. You require a good cry as much as a good orgasm. Allow yourself to need.

Enlighten.

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Enlightenment is not only the realization of knowledge but the allowance of it assimilating in you. It is not about the airy fairy new age half-truths or spiritual burdens of being the chosen one come to save the world, it is about becoming aware of how you operate without attaching judgment to what you think that says about you. You have a lot to learn about yourself in the spark of life that lasts for just a brief moment. Go within to find the answers to life’s mysteries. They are encoded in your DNA. They are whispered in the breath. They are your lucid dreams.

Enlightenment is about living guilt free because you know and love what you know. You have full access to Nirvana when you can love yourself beyond your meanness, your weakness, and even your brilliance. You stand in the middle of the spectrum of each and every emotion ever felt and you can access all or one in an instant. You are the magician of a future emotional culture; don’t cloud it with holding back from full expression. You are no one and everyone. There is no expression that is unworthy.

Shape-shift.

Freak out the normals, bend time, live aloud. The smallest fraction of a moment is new life. Learn of the inner workings of the creative realm in the small details.

Being a shape-shifter means that you are not just adaptable and accepting of change, you embody change itself. Preparing the heart and mind for change requires your true form to neutralize your finite fear-based self. Change your mind, body, lovers, or any situation that could serve your highest good more effectively whenever you need and wherever are. The more universal a goddess, the more empowered she becomes. She forgets how it felt to compensate for others. She knows how to say no. She celebrates reinvention; she realizes the muse is herself.

Shape-shifting requires you to morph on an atomic level. It is a volatile chain reaction of leaping from one reality to another on a dime, tying new strands of space-time together while unraveling those that lead you back to your former self.

Shape-shifting is essential if you wish not to sell your soul to your story.

The most important gift you could give yourself is permission to change. You are not the family history that was handed down to you, you are not your genetic composition, you are not your failings or even your greatest dreams. You are the Universe, ever unfolding on a continuum of reinvention. You created the world. You created your body in your image. It is yours to do with as you intend.

Adorn yourself with the unknown. Wrap spiritual androgyny around your finger and adorn it with your crown jewel. All hail the goddess.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taking a Flying Leap: 20 Seconds of Insane Courage

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear. ~ Nelson Mandela

I used to think that one had to work up to acts of courage. That courage was a state you reached after you’d been through a lot.

For years I wondered when I’d have enough courage to take the action needed to change my life.

And therein was the crux of the problem.

You cannot wait to feel courageous in order to take courageous action. It is only by taking courageous action (despite your fear) that you develop courage. Courage is the muscle that is strengthened and developed by taking brave action in the face of fear.

Courage is being scared to death… and saddling up anyway. ~ John Wayne

Shaking in Your Boots

So, when you are feeling absolutely gobsmacked by fear and doubt, yet you decide to act anyway, that’s courage.

I remember a scene in We Bought a Zoo with Matt Damon’s character, Benjamin Mee, talking to his son about life, “You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.”

That’s some of the best, kindest, most helpful advice any kid’s father could ever give him.

20 Seconds of Insane Courage can Change Your Life

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So, when I sent in my application to the fifth graduate program I applied to, after five years of rejections, that was courage. When I moved to New York City at the age of 23, never having set foot in the city in my life, with nothing but admission to New York University, the promise of a work-study job and $750 in my pocket, that took courage. When I told my corporate boss — at the age of 40 — that if I was lucky I had half of my life left, and I didn’t want to spend it dealing with office politics and a slow death from liquid paper fumes, that was courage. I quit my job to pursue teaching and writing, even though I had no idea how I would make that happen. That was pure, blind courage.

Did all these actions result in a life filled with unicorns and rainbows and Skittles falling from the sky?

No, they did not.

Generally speaking, they resulted in my abject terror and sadness and disappointment, followed eventually by the realization that I hadn’t made ‘the biggest mistake of my life,’ followed by ‘Well, actually, maybe this is a good thing,’ followed by ‘I can’t believe how long it took me to do this,’ followed by a settling in to a new way of seeing myself and my life, thinking, ‘This is good.  This is so good!’

Courage via brenebrown.com

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So, if you are standing on the edge of a precipice today and wondering if you have the courage to take a leap of faith, look up for just a moment.

Study the other side of that chasm.

 

See the woman in black with the striped sunhat, waving to you?

That’s my spirit signaling yours that it’s going to be OK.

Run as fast as you can and fling yourself into a new way of living.

Your heart will grow five sizes bigger if you do.

 

 

#RealizeLove | #GoddessWisdom

S H A R E   Y O U R    S T O R Y

Do you have a story of courage you want to share with Anjana? 

dixonprfirm@gmail.com

Eradicating Poverty: What Can Love Do?

I went to a meeting today. The meeting was filled with women from 29 to over 60. There was one man in attendance. We sat in a crowded room filled with burdened hopes and diminishing resources trying to find the solution for funding the programs that help the impoverished in our neighborhoods and communities and the county at large.

While I sat there listening to the stories of unnamed clients going without food or shelter, it saddened my heart that so many people in my community showed a reflection of poverty to me. With a funding cut to the public coffers of over $13,000 that could be used to lift our people, my people, up in this world, there seemed to be an air of discouraged hope, but hope nonetheless.

But hearing that my neighbors were going without, made me think that if the weight of their care lay in the communities where we lived, we could do so much more. And even with that realization that we’ve become so disconnected from one another, so caught up in our own daily lives that we no longer take that time to breathe life into the very neighborhoods in which we come home to.

I felt tears welling up in my eyes. I hated that I felt out of place in wanting my people, your people, their people, our people to feel the love of community. The feeling of unity left in the gravel roads of unkempt, overgrown, weeded horrors that grow the mold of fruitless living inspired by poverty to excuse our dismissal of their humanity.

Understanding the problem is not the issue. Believing that a change can be made is not the issue. It’s the hands that we have as a people that are the issue. The hands that turn away our brothers and sisters from their basic needs being met. It’s the hands that raise up against social programs that benefit our communities by raising children who don’t have to worry if they can eat more than subsidized school lunches while surviving the summers with hopes that someone will see their condition.

 What can love do?

I believe that love brings a meal over to the ailing neighbor. I believe that love brings resources into the places where we live and blooms them into a sense of hope and belonging. I believe that loving your neighbor is more than just a common saying, but the very act of using our hands to bring goodwill, food, clothing, and hope to everyone.

Why judgement is counterproductive:

Who am I to call someone else lazy? Who am I to look down my nose because you lost your job and can’t support your family right now? Who am I to judge your situation when sometimes my own cupboards barely keep my family fed. I am nobody to judge anybody for their situation. I don’t have nor would I want that power.

Instead, I propose a radical change with our hands.

Use those hands to feed the hungry. Use your hands to help an elderly neighbor do their yard work. Use those hands to comfort a new mother who is overwhelmed with the responsibility. Use those hands to drive a neighbor to the store when they need it. Use those hands to call in reinforcements when the battles get to long and hard and your people, your neighbors, our communities are falling to violence. Use those hands to reach out to one another in kindness and compassion.

Building community means acceptance and tolerance.

Someone else’s  story is not your experience. Their beliefs don’t have to match yours. Their choices are not a reflection of you, but they are the faces of the people you live among. They are your geographical tribe by need, necessity, or choice. Every one of these people, in all their humanity, with all of their faults and triumphs is a reflection of yourself. Reach out to your people with those hands who have held them with disdain and judgment. Remove the faulty assumptions and listen to the words they speak for they may teach you compassion, kindness, or the sincerest of needs and desires that you may have the gifts to fulfill.

Have an idea to create social change in your community?

Learn more about 2014 U.S. Poverty Rates 

The Anjana Network thrives on building community. If you have an idea to help the impoverished in your community, we may be able to help.  Comment below or send us an email at theanjananetwork@gmail.com

#RealizeLove

Drama Detox: Not my Circus, Not my Monkeys.

Step right up! Step right up to the Greatest Show on Earth!

Life. I think many can look around and agree that sometimes their lives look a bit like a circus: chaotic, exciting, dramatic, full of bearded ladies and messy animals. Even more obvious is that the lives of others, such as your friends, family, and celebrities, definitely have a circus flair to them when you look at them from afar. Do you often witness drama going on in some else’s life and fight against a desire to fix them with your advice?

Listen carefully. Step back and repeat this mantra to yourself:

Not my circus, not my monkeys.

Not my circus, not my monkeys.

Not my circus, not my monkeys.

It is compelling to get involved in managing other people’s dramas. People love to be Volunteer Monkey Trainers (hereafter known as VMTs)  for others. VMTs often end up being rewarded by getting bitten or have unmentionables thrown in your face.

Fixing other’s issues robs the ones you love from learning the lessons that they set up before they touched down on the surface of reality. We are here, under the big top tent of the Eartg to learn lessons that help us spiritually evolve. When you step in to corral other people’s out of control “animals” (relationships, financial problems, career issues, health problems, etc.), you prevent them from learning how to take the reins themselves.

For your own evolution, getting caught up in the dramas of others distracts you from dealing with the monkeys running havoc in your own show ring. It is much easier to face the disasters of someone else than our own animals running amok. Relieve yourself from the exposure of stressful and energetically draining  crap to deal with the chaos of others. Don’t neglect the ringmaster duties of your own show for someone else’s three ring tragedy.

When You Should Help

  1.   Discernment in choosing to step in is essential.
  2.   Offering that help or give advice is serving the person’s well-being, rather than enabling bad habits, is paramount.
  3.   Manage Your Own Monkey Spectacle

You will always have the task of  maintaining control of your own monkeys.  First, be honest with yourself. Make a list of the areas in your life that need improvement. Quarantine each naughty monkey and deal with them one-by-one. Ask for help from others if you are  (1) ready to put your own drama to rest and (2) have learned the lesson that the circumstance is teaching. Perhaps, when dealing with each issue, try to figure out what your lesson is. Contemplate.

Another clue is to notice when you are really wrapped up in someone else’s monkey messes. What are you trying to distract yourself from in your own life? Often the problems we see in others, are really issues that we ourselves are dealing with. Look at your own monkey troupe and see if you need to fix something in your own life.

Can’t see any monkeys running wild through your life? A good way to find out which monkeys are misbehaving is to pay attention when someone in your life offers to be a Volunteer Monkey Trainer for you because they have noticed something might not be going right in your show. First, discern if the criticism is valid. If it is, let them know.

“Thanks for your offer, but I will take care of this issue.”

Don’t miss your chance to learn something and be empowered in your own life!

 

Walking in the Shoes of the Other: An Empath’s View

Pilar Zeta Image 2 via Tumblr

Pilar Zeta Image 2 via Tumblr

As someone who is, for all intents and purposes, an empath — and has been one all her life — I sometimes find it hard to understand why so many people cannot put themselves in the position of another human being and ‘see the world through their eyes.’ For me, particularly in terms of people who are struggling or suffering, I sense their pain.

I empathize.

I’ve always been this way.

What does that mean — to have empathy? Even as a very small child, I sensed when others were upset. I felt it in my body, even before words were spoken. I sensed the sad and angry dynamic between my parents long before they admitted that things were falling apart. I cried while watching the Vietnam war unfold in real time on the evening news, acutely feeling the grief, confusion, and loss of thousands of refugees aboard crowded boats that took to the sea as Saigon fell. I remember weeping with joy when Apollo 13 astronauts returned, splashing down into the ocean in their charred space capsule, still intact after a harrowing flight home. In 1989, I cheered with East Berliners as the Berlin Wall fell.

These moments of connection to the human spirit felt natural to me, and I accessed them easily. And for others who are like me, we inherently possess the capacity to ‘sense’ the experience of others.

But many among us, do not.

Why is empathy a quality we should cultivate?

recent survey of college students found them sorely lacking in the empathy department. In fact, today’s students are much less empathetic than their predecessors over the past thirty years. For me, this is a cause for real concern because if we lack empathy, we lack the ability to see the humanity in others.

We see only other when looking at those whose views, skin color, culture, or way of being in the world does not jibe with ours.

“As the world grows smaller and more connected, the role of empathy grows larger and more important than ever. Where no empathy exists, conflict breeds.” ~ P J Manney, Empathy in the Time of Technology: How Storytelling is the Key to Empathy.

Conflict arises when we begin to see someone’s uniqueness as foreign or (God forbid) evil.  If we can vilify the other, then we can come up for excuses for why we do not have to treat that other with anything resembling dignity or respect. We see it every day in the mudslinging discourse that passes for news in this county. If someone doesn’t agree with someone else’s opinion, instead of trying to see where that someone is coming from, the fear of their otherness breeds hatred and vitriol. They are not part of our tribe. Name calling starts. Denigration starts. Slurs and stereotypes and all manner of fear gushes forth. The feared other must be put in his or her place. We must get rid of what we don’t agree with. We must convert these horrible heathens.

It is a story as old as time.

Wars have been fought over the vilified other. Women were burned at the stake as witches because they were intuitive like me. Children who look different or dress uniquely or act strangely are bullied, ostracized, and emotionally tortured by their peers in school. These days, the bullying takes place online as well. Some of these beautiful, sensitive kids are driven to cut themselves or even commit suicide as a result of their mistreatment.

As an empath, I am sometimes doubled-over in pain over my sense that our inhumanity is winning this battle. Especially when I see anyone invoking their religious beliefs as a means to justify or excuse their lack of mercy, kindness, and care for other beings, whether people, animals or the natural environment. 

Cruelty and the ability to ignore suffering are not religious values.

As a Buddhist, I adhere to the notion of cause and effect. Whatever I do, comes back to me. That knowledge informs my choices and my actions toward myself and others.

***

So, how can we change things?

In a presentation on using empathy as a teaching tool that I did with a colleague at a writing conference, we advised attendees to ‘tell stories.’

There is evidence that when we know each others’ stories, we begin to soften up to our differences. Our life stories feel unique to us, but when we share them, we find many people can relate to our tales, whether they are tales of joy or woe, anger or pain. The pathos of our human experience does not understand (or accept) boundaries. We are much more alike than we are different.

So, the next time you are at loggerheads with someone, try to stand in their shoes.

Think of a conflict you’ve had recently. Write it out from your perspective. Then, take on their role and their voice, and write it out from their perspective. You would be amazed what insights you can gain by doing this.

Examine situations from the perspective of the silent person, the baby, the dog or the cat.

Practice seeing the world through the eyes of the other. You cannot easily demonize someone if you’ve walked the rooms inside their head.

Does that mean everyone can be understood?  No.

Some people are, unfortunately, lost causes.

For me, pedophiles, sex offenders, serial killers, and those who abuse animals or children fall into this category.

But for most of us, there is a human being somewhere inside us that simply wants the best that he or she can make of life.

An equal shot, or at the very least, a shot. Understanding that basic longing that we all possess can go a long way toward dismantling distrust and building a better world.

It is in our interest to do so, sooner rather than later.

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If you are curious about the concept of empathy, Simon Baron-Cohen has an Empathy Quotient test that you can take online to see where you fall on the empathy scale.

All Life, Love is Cyclical

Nana

She is smiling in the Polaroid that lies

on the nightstand my great-grandfather built.

Smiling as she holds me, wrapped in a towel,

balanced on her hip.

The matriarch.

 

After Papaw died, I would go to her

condo after class, count her pills

draw up her insulin, change her diapers.

Countless fetid messes

 

During one of her many trips to the ER

in between

the steady heavy wheeze

of the CPAP machine

she held out her hand to me.

I clasped it and rubbed the paper thin skin,

a silent gesture understood even by infants.

I realized then all of life is cyclical.

Front Doors & Bone Filled Closets

“The problem with people is that we’re looking at everyone’s front door from our bone filled closets.” –Crystal Beeler

We show the world the prettiest of packages. We wear the nicest clothes we can afford, drive the best car we can, work at a job where we’re considered  a nice person, hang out with our friends who think we’re hilarious/serious/odd/insert-other-attribute-here, and we still can’t see ourselves honestly. We pull the wool over our own eyes that we’re not as good as others. We hoodwink ourselves into believing we’re bad at everything and at times ponder why we’re even accepted any place at all.

We reinforce this belief by telling each other about our humanity through platitudes: “Everyone makes mistakes,” “Don’t worry, it will get better,” “You’re fine/okay,” or one of my favorites, “Pray that God forgives you.” This shows me that we all want to be okay, be considered okay. But hearing it from the outside while we stand in the midst of our failures can do the complete opposite of what we need to do for ourselves.

The truth is, we already have all the tools we need to be perfectly us. We are already loved. We are already the perfect version of our collective experiences. When you can accept that, the world is ready for you to explore it with the awe and wonder of your spirit that isn’t linked to the physical plane but by your memories and experiences. A collective of the tried and true and the not such a great ideas mingled into the spicy delicious you.

But how do you get over the fear that others are seeing you as you see yourself? How do you look in the mirror with confidence that you have talents unique to you? How can you say that you’re less than anyone else when you are born into the right of love?

Take off the front door. Be the human you are without fear because it’s who you are. You are, with all your lumpy bumpy bits, amazing. In the physical sense, your heart is beating, your lungs are working, your kidneys are doing their thing, your bowels, your stomach, your entire blood vessel system are all working and you don’t have to think about any of it.

Replace those negative thoughts with the things you can do even if they’re not remotely related. Look within with the same compassion you’d show a friend who stripped off their pretty package. See yourself as a child who only occasionally needs correcting by your loving attention. Give yourself tenderness by taking time to recharge/renew/revive yourself.

There is no shame in taking care of yourself. People will come and go in your lifetime which means that you are the ultimate expert on you. You’re the only one that is around you 24/7/365. You are the only one who know your every thought, every emotion, every goal, every dream, every aspiration, and what makes your truly happy.

Comparing yourself to others is judging yourself in the harshest of lights. There is no room for error when you’re trying to measure up to someone else. However, if you realize that you are your only competitor for your life and spirit, it really is empowering to know that you can set the goals you need to feel successful. Search deeply into your hidden secrets without fear. You already know what they are. They aren’t a surprise to you. You lived them. You experienced them. You learned from them.

Just like as if you were doing a spring cleaning in your house, do so with the negative. You can keep the lessons you’ve learned, but just let the rest go. If we hold onto the childish mistakes of our past, we’re likely to hold onto the inexperienced or ignorant issues in our adulthood. This isn’t self-care, this is self-sabotage. You’re worth more than that.

By allowing yourself your humanity, you’re giving the gift of yourself to others in a way that can’t be duplicated. Embrace yourself with the knowledge that your imperfections, quirks, obsessions, snarkiness, anger, kindness, and actions are a reflection of the spirit of your humanity.

Give yourself the greatest gift you can give to yourself. Love everything you are. It is utterly fantastic. Even the worst thing you’ve ever done is not the definition of you but a measure of how far you’ve come.