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.

 

 

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Detoxing Shame: A 5-fold Path

Shame is a hit and run driver in a woman’s life. It gets drunk on her innocence and optimism. It careens down the highway of the soul, swerving, picking off the freedom to just be.

It is such a regular presence that we don’t even realize has taken root in our most sacred palace and extends itself like an infinite redwood into our higher selves. We cannot see our greatest selves beyond  giant shame trees that provides shade for our demons of guilt, while we sweat in the harshness of the midday sun of our hang-ups, begging to believe we are worthy.

At the crossroads of any decision to be made, shame is there ready to blame you when you follow the path of least resistance. To have awareness, an ethical compass, higher consciousness, compassion and values is not synonymous with shame but many of us confuse this notion and create sorely misguided spiritual practices, bruising our knees and getting a little more neurotic with each passing day. It is zealotry that has prevented we humans from reaching our full potential by attaching shame to our natural instincts and devising laws to protect our human nature from ourselves.

This insidious consciousness feeds on the living goddess: her beauty, her desires, her feelings, her accomplishments, even her anatomy and her bank account. It keeps her from taking a leap toward the impossible. It is what keeps her pinned to the rough tree of ignorance in the public sphere. She becomes the target of  politics based on subtle quiet terror whispering to us to hide or be destroyed. “Hide your shame. Cover up or pay the high price.”

Look Between your Legs.

The vagina is a living sentient entity all of its own. It is the muse of mystery and the stuff of legend. It thinks, feels, cleanses itself and guides our ethical compass. It is a trickling fountain of creation and an ever budding flower of deep Goddess Wisdom.  When looked upon it incites the current of nature. It is tied to the moon, who also steers the greatest sea fearers to their charted course and protects sleeping children at night. It has been called the way to heaven and the path of destruction. It is the most unique aspect of a woman, and the secret to her undeniable magnetism.

Because of the fearsome power of feminine delights, the vagina has become the breeding ground for shame. For those that have an uncontrollable violent urge to usurp this luminescence, the almighty finger points back to the source. We are sluts if we dress sexy. We should not have looked so enticing or have been weak enough to allow ourselves to get raped. We live in a society where that malignant thinking is seen as balanced, correct. What the ever-loving fuck?

Our responsibility is to illuminate the inherent value of our goddess nature within our own soul work, so we may heal and create a reality where we can be honored for being the bearers of life.

The Problem Lies.

The two orifices on our body that are the essence of creation are incidentally the same orifices we are told to keep closed. We have been instructed to relax and have a seat, drink some tea, don’t worry your poor little head, shut up, you’re weak; you’re a fucking bitch. And as we sit remaining in a quiet half-life homeostasis placated with condescending pleasantries, we die a little inside from not being able to howl at the moon without fearing negative consequences and so we slather on another layer of lipstick, hoping for the best.

We have been challenged by this since the dawn of time. Each generation picks a little piece of the shell to our greatest potential and scatters it as stardust in the sky, leaving a map for future generations. From that intelligence, we are created again and again, the best parts taken to keep replenishing the process of evolution on a constant feminine flow.

The problem is our polar complement, the devolved patriarchy and the devolved matriarchy, has amputated Goddess power. They fought dirty. They burned books, they burned us. They took away our young and they bled us to death. They took the most important parts of sacred myth and changed our names to their own. They called us cunts while they were the ones grooming little girls into child whores to traffick.

They created a bio-weapon in a system of lies that could induce the worst of emotions and implant terminal malignancies. They had to go into the bowels of their own fractured psyche and discover all that goes against the laws of nature in order to create an illusory uprising designed to make us believe that somehow it is our fault for existing. Then finally, they pit us against one another in a competition that spans the gamut of vulnerability, shame and guilt to see which of our asses deems us fit for a title.

Goddesses, we have been demeaned. But there is beauty in the presence of a challenge. There is undiscovered love present in the struggle.

Too Scared to Ask?

I have recently had an influx of success in my life and it has triggered this internal firing round:

Is it really possible to have what I want?  Should I have what I want? Am I selfish if I want to be wealthy? Does it mean that I am a slut if I love sex or dress as sexy as I feel? Do I get a choice in matters that pertain to me? How do I get to eat in peace or buy a pair of shoes freely?

We all ask these questions over and over in our minds but many of us never utter them. We feel defective if we admit our feelings. We get smothered by guilt too easily if we give into our desires. We feel we do not deserve even the smallest victories and when they happen to us, we shut down, go manic, get depressed and what have you.

Take the Test.

The next time you feel inclined to indulge yourself, check out your shame crashing your party for even wanting whatever it is that you desire. Give in to your desire. Feel your guilt suffocate you afterward. It is the part of the darkness in a woman.

 For the love of the Goddess, what can be done?

I spent time with Goddesses that are on the fast track to their best selves. The women in my life are wise; they are very successful or are opening the door to great lifetime successes. In my recent conversations with them, we all concurred that success was actually making us depressed.

Inside me, this depression went beyond the feelings of transition — an old aspect of creation dying to a new reality with different responsibilities. No. This felt like disease.

But I am happy, I am really happy.

So how come I felt the need for permission to be happy because for some reason my inner mother goddess judged otherwise? My inner mother goddess is based on my parental figures being an evil hag and a cripple, so I am already fucked in the happy department. I have to work on it hard.

So when I spent quality time with a little libation and some meditation after my heart was exposed to fierce women of love, truth and glory, I began to see all the places shame was hidden. I saw shame written on all the toe tags of the best parts of myself that were murdered in cold blood.

I feel shame when I spend money, when I don’t eat clean, when I don’t exercise, you know the usual suspects. But I also feel shame when I love someone and when someone loves me. I feel shame when someone else does something wrong that is in some way related to me. I feel shame when I tell sad people how well I am doing. I feel shame so much so that my doctorate degree has yet to be framed, but is sitting under a stack of old tax information (what a metaphor). So when I held my hand a little longer to the flame, I realized that my success induced depression is based in shame.

Shame is the only tether that can hold a person back from their greatest joy and possessing the ability to actually soak it in. Shame has often been mistaken as modesty just like a healthy dose of confidence has been mistaken as an over active ego. When a goddess creates something, there is no shame in it. It is a beautiful thing, even if it is ugly to someone else. We have our own interpretations, motivations, and evolution. There is plenty of space for all aspects of the goddess, but we have yet to believe that. So we take the smallest crumbs of happiness and martyr ourselves thinking it is the right thing to do. All it does is create a victim mentality that gets everyone slapped around in some way or another.

No longer will I season my food, look at my naked body, taint my relationships or my vagina with shame. The switch has been flipped, my scope is magnified. Even though I will be able to see it more clearly, there are some practices that I need to put in place to ensure that I can properly heal. Here is what I plan to do. I want you to practice this with me. Tell me how it has helped you.

1.    I will identify moments when I feel shame immediately.

Yesterday I sat by a stream and wrote all identifiable ways I felt shame on one side of a sheet of paper. On the other side, I wrote loving promises to myself as antidotes.

e.g.: Side one: I feel shame when I spend money. Side two: I will spend money consciously and freely.

Each side needs a solution. Each aspect needs to attain balance.

2.    I will be honest about my feelings and own my shit.

I have a hard time discussing how I feel about things sometimes. So instead of beating around the bush and saying what I think the other person wants me to say, I will be honest even when it hurts. I will own all of my thoughts, feelings and actions without attaching definitions that will ultimately diminish my value.

3.    I will celebrate my victories without guilt.

As a little girl, whenever something amazing happened in my life, I was either punished for it, or it was taken away from me before it could come to fruition. I will recognize the triggers that prevent me from receiving all good things that I deserve, and I will honor the fruit of my hard efforts with extravagant self-love. I will display my doctorate degree and buy the book I was published in last year.

4.    I will love myself as I love others.

I have one of those topsy-turvy heart-minds that tend to give out more love than I give myself.  Somewhere in the recesses of my mind between my mother telling me to shut up and a date rape attack, I thought the safest option for me was to just love other people and reject the love given to me by glossing over it.  After countless clinical trials of failed relationships, weight gained and lost, and finally diabetes diagnosed, I have learned that this is not the right approach. I will be fiercely protective of my personal time, I will say no when I need to. I will foster intimacy with myself during times of solitude. I will make myself laugh. I will have hopes and dreams for myself. I will be my top priority and never compromise my needs for others.

5.    I will receive

I noticed that shame clogs all of the receptors to blessings. So as I go through the cleansing process, I will amplify my channels to receive. I will absorb the beauty of life and not hold anxiety on a pedestal, catering to its every whim.  I will remember that the love I extend is the love that I deserve. My work holds high value and I deserve to be honored for honorable efforts. I will accept the fact that I am unique and beautiful, and revel in the joy that I feel when others notice me. I will open my heart to receiving truth in areas that are hard to hear, seeing this as an act of love not a shaming punishment.

The Antidote:

Love always takes the sting out of every painful moment. We are never too old cry when it hurts and have our wounds kissed better. Goddesses, we are a tribe. It is our duty to do this for one another. Let us  love one another. This the greatest act of self-love. For the comfort we give to one another, is the healing we receive manifold.

#RealizeLove

Meditations on the Gentle Heart

A gentle heart is not indifferent. A gentle heart is neither so cold as to feel nothing, nor is its resident emotion so great that it eclipses new perspectives. The gentle heart feels joy and sorrow and all in-betweens with balance, open to the new influx of life that comes at every moment.

The image of the Immaculate Heart is one of the reasons I officially converted to Catholicism years ago. The image: a burning heart alight with love, wreathed in flowers, and plunged through with a sword — this to me is the image of gentleness. It is the heart that understands all experiences in the context of transforming love. It is united with the Sacred Heart, the heart of Love, which is God, pulsing in the invisible center of all things.

There is an ancient tradition that understands the Blessed Virgin as the embodiment of Sophia Ourania, “Heavenly Wisdom,” an image of the Feminine Divine. St. James, known as the Apostle of Hope, wrote:

Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom…. The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy.
(James 3:13, 17, NRSVCE)

This, then, serves model for all people wanting to know the love that beats at the heart of the universe more deeply.

Gentleness is considered the virtue opposite the vice of Envy. Envy is resenting another person’s success, happiness, or possessions to the point where you wish them harm. Envy is the standard method of operating in day-to-day matters; we want ours first, and if somebody else gets there, we fear there is not enough left for us.

Envy is the drive to swaddle ourselves in fine things in order to hide from the messiness of human connection. Envy is the reason we elevate people who spit on the heads beneath them, because one day we hope we will spit on those same heads, too.

Envy brings violence, strife, resentment. It is the root motivation of the ancient curse of the “Evil Eye”, or malochia/malocchio, the feared destructive force in many cultures since ancient times. It is the opposite of the fruits of wisdom and gentleness.

I struggle with these ideas on a daily basis. Working in industries which provide luxury goods and services, I strive to maintain a kind attitude even though I often experience my clients as inhumane and cruel. I am trying to find the difference between humble service and being a doormat, and that between reasonably remonstrating those whose behavior is out of line and outright resistance and sputtering rage.

It’s not easy.

One of the stories held to be archetype of a gentle heart is the losing and finding of the boy Jesus in the temple. This is after the feast of Passover, when Jesus and his parents were finishing their pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Jesus was twelve, and operating in the mode of Trickster, disappeared without word.

Mary and Joseph searched for their child for 3 days. At last, they found him in the temple, and all who were conversing with him were amazed at his wisdom.

Mary and Joseph remonstrated the child for disappearing. His response was to ask them, “Didn’t you know I’d be in my father’s house?”

This response transformed the excruciating pain of loss into the joy of realizing more clearly who this child was. Because Mary’s heart was gentle, her previous emotion did not close her to this new input. Rather, it opened her to the new perspective which gave her a deeper understanding of the meaning of her own life. This, the scripture says, she treasured in her heart.

This event is esteemed in two seemingly contradictory traditional meditations on Mary: The Seven Joys of Mary, and the Seven Sorrows of Mary. How could this event be seen as a terrible sorrow and a wonderful joy?

It is because Mary’s heart, being gentle, was present to both experiences at once. The sword (sorrow) piercing her soul opened a way for the love of God to enter in. Sorrow and Joy were united, and this allowed her to transcend the limitations of her circumstance while remaining fully present.

I often wake to my own life feeling a mixture of pleasure and revulsion. I’m happy to wake in my own bed, in my own home, with my cat curled against me softly sleeping. I am happy to be employed, but I often resent the experiences of my job and the inconveniences it presents. I love my independence, I sometimes rue my singleness. I often want to hide or flee.

And this is where the meaning of the Gentle Immaculate Heart of the Divine Feminine means something to me immediately. I can sit with all these experiences at once, wanting something else perhaps but remaining fully present to each experience as it washes through me. I am here because God is here, and I want to see and know God in every circumstance. I want my heart to be gentle, and if it must be pierced with a sword, I want it to also be aflame with love.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scarred: A Story of Love and Fortitude

I am a woman with scars.

Stretches of white lightening cascade from the backs of my arms down to my knees, swirling around my ass, making delicious images of uninterpreted art, only to be slashed by four precise lines made by a skilled surgeon. These marks are my body’s artwork; they are my naturally made totemic tattoos.

I wear them with pride. They are proof of my own personal super power: fortitude.

One day while lounging on the beach watching our girls play in the ocean, my sister commented  “You’re so brave. I loathe my stretch marks, yet you see completely unaffected by yours. How did you become so comfortable in your body?”

Struck by her comment, I stopped and thought about it.

Years ago, I could be found perpetuating the conversation I had grown up with: a diatribe of self loathing and low self esteem constantly comparing myself to impossible standards. That is what women were supposed to do –  hate themselves.

Today I actively choose for the sake of my daughter to stop berating myself and started to actively and completely love myself –  every molecule, every cell. This was the legacy I was determined to leave behind. I would teach her how to train her internal dialog to one of compassion, appreciation, and self-confidence. I would make sure she heard her mother speak kindly to everyone, especially to herself. Children learn by example. I needed to mirror the reflection I wished to project. Self-esteem is a learned behavior and it starts with your internal dialog.

While my sister and I sat on the beach, I smiled and replied “I became comfortable with my body the day I decided to shift my perspective. I see these beautiful scars as reminders of my growth. They are a sacred map of the journey my soul has taken while incarnate in this body. They remind me that just when I think my body cannot stretch any further, it can and will. These etched marks are a testament to the lengths my body is willing to go to support me. They are my road map to survival, they are my cheerleaders in all that is possible. They are a testament to both my strength and my feminine delicacy. I have earned my scars and I choose to stand confident in the reminder that my body is truly a work of art that chronicles the extroardinary lengths it will go through to survive.”

Dumbfounded my sister stared at me open mouthed. “I never thought about it like that”

Smiling, I replied “It’s not too late to start.”

Today, I say the same thing to you. You have a choice. You can look at your own scars, both physical and emotional, and decide to love them or hate them, but either way you will carry them. The decision is yours.

Will they be a feather in your cap or a heavy burden?

Be encouraged by your learning experiences. Take note of your progress because you are worth the celebration.

#RealizeLove

#FridayFive: Fashion Goddess Brigid KO

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Brigid KO’s star is fast on the rise.

Her commanding presence and ethereal beauty is the jaw dropping fuel that is the essence of her work.  She has discovered art in environmentalism, repurposing rubber inner tubes from tire graveyards into haute couture.  Her art has caught the eye of the A-lister crowd – she has recently dressed one of Lady Gaga’s dancers in her epic creations.

It has been an exciting pleasure to see Brigid’s  Goddess Magick in action over the years, from the time she started with accessories and small collections combining soft femininity and the gritty world of industrial ingenuity.

#FF: Who/What is your muse right now?

BKO: Inspiration comes in phases and at the moment, I have been looking at sculptural artwork and metalwork throughout the ages. I’ve been doing research on and experimenting with metals: soldering, welding, making cold connections, etc. And I am about to do some research on forging and firing. I’m excited about incorporating metalwork to my pieces. I am always studying new techniques and I find endless inspiration in the trial and error that comes from that self education.

 

#FF: What does your creative process look like? 

BKO: I go through phases of learning and then refining. I’ve been so excited about teaching myself new techniques lately that it has changed my creative process a bit. Currently, the process involves a lot of research and experimentation. I’m so engaged with learning right now that I am not worried about the final product becoming something a little different than what I had first intended. 
I often start by choosing a group of images- textures and shapes – and focus on the one attribute that I would like to focus on. One piece may be more about silhouette and another about texture….Often, the process of making one piece results in many new ideas of things to create.

#FF: When did you realize fashion was your calling?

BKO: I embraced fashion after I had my first runway fashion show in Nashville, TN. Until then, I had been making pieces as special orders and was either never seeing the customer, or just meeting people in my studio. I had not pictured my work off of a dress form and out in the world. Until the show, still thought of my work more as sculpture.
Once I had the show, saw all of my work all at once, on these amazing, beautiful women, I embraced fashion. I realized how powerful it can be – how people can be both physically and psychologically transformed and empowered. I know fashion will always be part of my fashion-art work.
 

#FF: Where do you go to revive your spirit?

BKO: I need to get out into nature to revive my spirit. I appreciate beautiful outdoor spaces being easily accessible here. And, I enjoy finding new places to explore for hiking and swimming.

 

#FF: How do you see yourself evolving as an artist?

BKO: I am always learning and refining. I know that will never change and so my evolution will be endless.
 

Are you an emerging creative goddess? submit your story to #FridayFive

theanjananetwork@gmail.com 

I Could Never Be a Surface Lover

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I can only go deep.

It seems that there is a current trend of forgoing deep meaningful relationships in an effort to protect myself from the pain of a possibly tragic break up. Maybe it’s because I am in my mid 30′s,  still single and this new collective vibe has caught my attention.

Whatever the case may be I am not a fan of this retreat to what appears to be safer waters in relationships. I hate to break it to you friends, but you can drown in two inches of water.

I have taken note of those in my sphere who have tried the shallow end of the dating pool, only to find that the pickings are slim, with small fish that end up becoming nothing more than a snack or small meal that has left them starving after empty hearted consumption.

For me, love is an issue of great depth and importance.

It is not something I can enter into lightly. I am well aware of the risks and the rewards and am still willing to live among the waves if its absence and presence as I wait. I have learned to love the still of this ocean as its currant supports me along with the sound of the quiet and the roar of the water.

A few years ago I was introduced to the song Cool Change by the Little River Band. It became an intricate part of my life. One of my favorite verses is:

“Well, I was born in the sign of water
and it is there that I feel my best.
the whale and the albatross are my brother. It’s kind of a special thing
When your out on the sea alone, staring at the moon, like a lover.”

It’s true that a life of solitude takes some getting used to, but the rewards have been exponential. I am comfortable in my own skin. I am happy even when alone with my own thoughts. I am no longer haunted by the storms of yesterday and the nights that made me question if I would see the light of day again.

I have found peace with myself and the ocean. The evening sky has truly become intricate part of my existence. It’s in these moments of quiet solitude that I have discovered the ability to be my own best friend. Encouraging, uplifting, and simply enjoying my own company has been a reward for all of the effort. It’s not easy to fall in love with yourself.  You have to get used to looking beyond the flaws to see the jewel that is the real you. If what I seek never appears, my years of the oceanic journey will not be in vain, I am not empty. I am filled with my own joy, self confidence, and peaceful happiness. These things are worth their weight in gold.