Sunday, December 16, 2012

Living in Reality

This post has been a year in the making so it's fitting it will be my last post of 2012 (probably). "Living in reality" has been the theme for me this year. There is so much I wanted to believe, so much I hoped for, that hasn't come true. I've spent most of this year feeling heartbroken and sad because my fantasies came crashing down around my head. But that's a good thing.

It's a good thing because instead of being in denial, or waiting for the day xyz will happen, I'm addressing what's here, now. Fantasy has been a huge part of my life. I used to get lost in my head dreaming about the future. It was my coping mechanism as a child and I needed it to survive. But now I'm an adult and it no longer serves me to fantasize because it means I miss out on all the good stuff that's here before me. Living in reality means I'm no longer comparing what's in front of me with the dream in my mind.

You might be perplexed reading this when my blog is called "Another World is Probable." Isn't my whole blog one big idealistic fantasy? No, it is not. My dreams for a new world may be somewhat of a fantasy but I see seeds of those dreams in the everyday world. There exists unconditional love and heroism in the here and now. I think of Victoria Soto who died while saving her students from a shooter. I think of the principal of Sandy Hook elementary school who also died trying to wrest the gun from the shooter. This is real life. 

It's tempting for sensitive souls and spiritualists to say, "Let's pray about this and visualize a better world," and have that be the end of it. I agree, let's pray and visualize a better world, but let's also do something. Let's also invest in mental health care, let's notice who's around us and what they're doing. Let's listen to each other and take action when others are suffering. We can't keep living in a fantasy about "the good ole days" or dreaming of the future when something a psychic predicted will come to pass. It doesn't matter what life was like 50 years ago, or what it will be like 50 years ahead. What matters is reality. I'm not saying we should all start miring in the darkness, lamenting how awful things are. I'm suggesting we take stock of what's before us and keep hoping for the best.

I would much rather acknowledge the good things in this world than fantasizing about something better. There are so many beautiful things in reality. People sacrificing their lives for someone else. Neighbors helping each other in time of need. Little children who squeal with delight when they see their favorite cup.

When I wrote about "children who squeal with delight when they see their favorite cup" I was thinking of this picture. So stinking cute!

I'm not sure what I'm driving at except that I see the wisdom of accepting things as they are while also trying to change the things we can. I think maybe Howard Zinn sums it up best:

"An optimist isn't necessarily a blithe, slightly sappy whistler in the dark of our time. To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places -- and there are so many -- where people behaved magnificently, this gives us energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction."

But I think first and foremost this comes about by living in reality and seeing what's here, now.

I dream of a world where we live in reality while also striving for something better. A world where we see the beauty of what is. A world where we celebrate our triumphs and lament our failures. A world where we live in the here and now while also seeing infinite possibilities for the future.

Another world is not only possible, it's probable.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Golden Rule for You Too

I didn't blog last week because I was terribly sick, nor the week before because I was in Chicago for work. My reasons for not doing so fit in with the theme of this post as well as the last one I wrote, "Radical Self-Care."

My best friend pointed out to me that I would never treat other people the way I've been treating myself (i.e. pushing too hard, being critical, etc.). It made me think of the golden rule, "Treat others as you'd like to be treated." In this case it's more of the reverse, "Treat yourself the way you treat others." I'm very good at being loving with the people in my life but I'm not so good at being loving toward myself. I don't beam love to myself the way I do to others. I don't pamper myself or treat myself the way I do my friends. It's not because I'm being malicious or punishing myself, it's because I really hadn't given it much thought until I came down with the "plague." (I actually don't know what illness I have. All I know is I'm SICK.)
A golden ruler! I couldn't resist this image.
The most important realization I had this week is there are many parts to me and they all want to be loved. I've been saying affirmations for years but they've been directed at the adult me and she's easy to love. She's bold and fun and smart and adventurous. It's easy to say, "I love you," in the mirror to her because I mean it. But as I've written about before, I have an inner child and she's the one who needs love the most. She is needy and clingy and never feels like there's enough love for her.

My inner child is shy and quiet and wants to disappear. She's scared of people, places, and things. My inner child is the one who needs my care and attention. The one who my affirmations need to be aimed at. Do I like to admit these things? No I do not, but I'm writing this post in case there are others out there like me who feel like they never get enough love and they don't understand why. The people who've been saying affirmations for years and are puzzled why they still get so anxious about relationships. The people who could say, "I love you" to themselves all day and not have it make a difference. Perhaps it's because the affirmations are not being directed at the right you.

I know, I know, affirmations are cheesy and sometimes feel ridiculous, so what's the point of saying them? I say them because I don't like feeling anxious. I don't like clinging to people or boarding the bus to crazy town. The external world is a projection of the internal one and I want both worlds to be awesome. I want to feel whole and complete and loved. I want to give myself the endless supply of love I so desperately crave so I don't keep turning to an unsustainable source. The love I want is infinite and no finite person will be able to meet my demand except for me. I am the only person who knows how I feel all the time so that's why I say affirmations, because I need them and because I want to feel at peace.

To the parts of you and me that are "unlovable" and "unattractive." The parts that no one gets to see because they remain hidden. The parts that desperately want attention but so rarely get it. To you I say, "I love you SO much. I send you nothing but unconditional love and sweetness. You deserve to be loved as much as everyone else." I hope you'll join me in saying it too.

I dream of a world where we all love the parts of us that are deemed hard to love. A world where we treat ourselves the way we treat others. A world where we say affirmations to the parts that need them the most. A world brimming over with love for all of us. A world where we really understand what it means to live the golden rule.

Another world is not only possible, it's probable.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Radical Self-Care

Last week I decided very unexpectedly to leave San Francisco for a few months, much to my dismay. I mentioned in my last post I have maladaptive stress syndrome, which if I'm not careful could lead to chronic fatigue. It became very clear to me I need to take drastic measures to take care of myself. This is INCREDIBLY difficult because I don't typically prioritize self-care (obviously) and now I'm required to make a major change in order to heal myself.

Part of the issue for me about this is I don't want to stand out. I don't want to be the only person at the potluck who is eating spaghetti sauce without the spaghetti because I'm allergic to gluten. I don't want to be the person who is dancing at half-speed because going too fast feels draining. I don’t want to be the person who has to take a nap at 4 p.m. everyday but I am. I did all those things this weekend.

At this point I'm realizing it doesn't matter if I look stupid or people notice me or judge me. I have to take care of my physical body and make that a top priority. I can no longer afford to worry about other people because I have to worry about me. Sometimes you have to go against the flow in order to do that. And sometimes you have to do things you don't like in order to take care of yourself.
Screenshot from "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen." Sometimes you have to go against the flow to take care of yourself.
As much as I want to stay in San Francisco right now I cannot. I need a quiet place to rest and relax. San Francisco is many things but it's not quiet or relaxing. Yes, I have so many friends and friends who are like family here. In fact, I'm writing this right now from the living room of beloved friends. I have to say goodbye to them for a while in order to take care of myself. I'm lucky in that I'm going to Washington, D.C. (where I'm going to stay) I've lived before so I already have an established community. I've wanted to go back and visit so this seems like as good a time as any.

It's sad for me to say goodbye but I know I have to for my self-care because sometimes radical measures are required.

I dream of a world where we prioritize our wellness. A world where we do what it requires to take care of ourselves. A world where we understand sometimes we have to do things we don't like, but in the end it's always worth it.

Another world is not only possible, it's probable.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Say Yes to Intuition

I've been in the midst of a housing search once again so I've frantically checked craigslist looking for something suitable. I spoke to my dad the other day, describing to him an apartment and he said, "Rebekah, don't say yes impulsively."
"What do you mean? I said yes impulsively for my apartment on Post St. and that was great."
"But you also said yes to your other places and look how that worked out," he retorted.

I told him (and myself) I said yes despite my reservations and that's why my other places didn't work out. My intuition knew they weren't right for me but I said yes out of desperation.

An artistic rendering of intuition.

Having that conversation with my dad I realized that's a big part of what this housing drama has been about -- I feel desperate to find a place to live because I want to be settled and I say yes because everything looks good on paper and I'm letting my logical mind overpower my intuition. For instance, I booked a room on and felt a little uneasy about the place. "Will it be quiet? Will I be able to sleep well?"

I read the reviews and everyone said they had a great night's sleep, the place was quiet and cozy, so despite my wariness I booked it. The studio apartment is in someone's garage so that means insulation between the floor and ceiling is practically nonexistent. That means I can hear when the owners upstairs cough, have conversations, and snore. It's no big deal for regular San Francisco tourists who aren't home much, but I'm not on vacation so I'm here all the time. I also fully admit the problem is me. I was diagnosed with maladaptive stress syndrome, which means my adrenal glands are super dysfunctional and explains all the symptoms I've been having for the past year.

The key point though is I knew there was something I wouldn't like about the place but because I was feeling desperate I ignored my inner guidance. It's easier for me to trust my gut about stuff like, "Walk down this street," or "Talk to this person," but a bajillion times harder when I'm desperate and fearful, when there's a looming deadline in front of me.

The lesson I'm learning (over and over again) this year is HAVE FAITH. Scared you won't find someplace to live and you have to be out by a certain date? Don't settle for the first thing that crosses your path, especially if you have misgivings about it. Trust that you will be provided for, that you are taken care of, and that all of your needs will be met. I'm not saying I'll immediately be able to say yes to intuition and no to fear when I'm desperate, but I am saying I recognize that's what I'm doing and I'm willing to change my behavior. That for today I will trust my internal guidance and say yes only if I mean it 100 percent./p>

I dream of a world where we trust our intuition even when it's scary. A world where we keep going with our internal guidance even if it sounds like the most horrible idea. A world where we stay in the ebb and flow of life knowing that it's important to turn up on the volume on intuition and turn down the volume on the ego.

Another world is not only possible, it's probable.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Backward Can Be Forward

I can't believe I'm typing this but I'm seriously considering going back to Washington, D.C. for a little while. A friend of mine offered to let me stay in her house where she has a second bedroom and a basement for as long as I need. All of my stuff is in storage in SF and I'm having so much trouble finding a place to live, so it's an option.

One of the things holding me back is the idea I will be regressing or going backward. If you know me well or have been following this blog, you'll know I moved to San Francisco from Washington, D.C. To go back almost seems as if I'm regressing.

What I'm reminding myself of is going back to a place I lived before doesn't mean I'm traveling back in time or moving backward. A physical place is just that -- a physical place. I am not the same person I was when I lived there and nor would my life look the same. Yes, it's clear I don't want to live in D.C. for a long period of time, but for a few months? Would that really be so bad?

This whole thing also brings up the notion of my plan versus my higher power's plan. To me, moving forward means never going back. It means once I've left a place it's in the dust, I'll never return. But my higher power/the Universe/whatever doesn’t see things in such a black and white way. Nor are things always so straightforward. Life moves in crazy circles and offshoots and k-turns and not the straightforward trajectory I think it does.

I guess I'm saying just because we go back to a place we've been before -- either literally or figuratively -- doesn't mean we're backsliding. It doesn't mean we're not growing as people, and it doesn't mean we're not right where we're supposed to be. Just because we didn't expect to be in that spot doesn't mean it's not a part of the process because sometimes going backward can really mean we're moving forward.

I dream of a world where we understand forward movement may look like we're backsliding sometimes. A world where we imbibe the idea sometimes it's necessary to return to somewhere we've been before. A world where we embrace change in all of its mysterious manifestations. A world where we understand backward can be forward.

Another world is not only possible, it's probable. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Reparenting the Inner Child

When people talked to me about their "inner child" I would look at them quizzically. I didn't really know what they meant, possibly because my inner child has been very repressed, but also because now I'm an adult and there's enough distance between who I am now and who I was as a kid to distinguish the two.

It has become clear to me lately I've been letting my inner child run the show. I'm defining my inner child as the voice inside my head that likes to throw tantrums, that says, "NO!" the way only kids -- or adults imitating kids -- can, the voice that would have me shirk responsibility to play instead, and the voice that's really scared.
Copyright (I think) is Natalia Phenice.
I've realized all (or most, anyway) of my issues about safety stem from my inner child, and with good reason. I know I've been very blasé about this, how I often mention it in passing, but both of my maternal grandparents were Holocaust survivors. Let's have that sink in a bit. My grandpa was in a concentration camp, narrowly escaping death numerous times, often because of someone else's whim. When the Russians liberated his camp, he was so emaciated he could barely stand. My grandma lived in hiding for years. She was in a ghetto and then hid in a farmer's cellar who kicked her out once she had no more money to bribe him with.

My grandparents were attacked and persecuted for being who they were -- Jewish. After the war their fears didn't disappear and in fact were passed down. My mom still gets nervous about telling people she's Jewish or that she does yoga and meditation. She has that lingering fear that she will be harmed for just being her. And I? I carry that fear with me too because of my childhood.

I've said this so many times people are probably tired of hearing it, but I grew up someplace where the KKK was active. These people burned crosses in the yards of other Jews. Many of the townsfolk where bigoted and racist, trying to kill the black student that went to our high school. I didn't realize how deeply this affected my psyche, but it did. I was scared to be myself, to let people really know me because I've been afraid they will hurt me. Physically I mean. It's not just the Jewish thing, it's the vegetarian thing too. Kids at school used to tease my brother mercilessly about what he ate -- they even threw bologna at him as a "joke."

Notice I've mentioned family members but nothing specifically about me. That's because I was always shielded. Through the grace of God or I don't know what, I have never come to harm for being myself. (OK, so I was bullied a teeny bit in middle school for like two weeks but after one trip to the guidance counselor that was resolved and now we're friends on facebook.) I have never been hurt in that way but my inner child is so scared that I will be. It's gotten so out of control I have trouble sleeping at night. That is, until recently when I realized I've been letting my inner child call the shots.

I've had to tell little Rebekah it's safe to be her. And I've had to remind myself my grandparents were survivors. They survived and even thrived -- my grandpa started his own business selling clothes in Manhattan. I'm also a survivor, I'm a thriver, and it's time to employ my logical mind. It's time to be an adult and look at the evidence. Hell, there was a break in and I wasn't home and none of my stuff was taken. I'd call that being pretty darn protected and safe. In the spirit of reparenting my little darling, I gather her up, let her cry, and ask her to remember while the world may look scary, she's safe and I've got her.

I dream of a world where we all take care of our inner children. A world where we reparent our inner kids if necessary. A world where we love and approve of ourselves and a world where we know we are safe, loved, and protected because we are here. We made it.

Another world is not only possible, it's probable.   

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Seeing Through the Eyes of Love

I'm reading Doreen Virtue's Solomon's Angels and the main character is speaking to Archangel Michael and he says:

"Every moment around the world, there are thousands of examples of love," Michael said to me. "You are watching it in action right now, which is the most powerful demonstration of the Divine energies. The more you notice and practice love in action, the more you will enjoy the dynamic flow of your life." -- Doreen Virtue. Solomon's Angels: A Novel (pp. 178-179). Kindle Edition.
Last night as I read that sentence I put the book down (or my computer as it were) and thought about all the instances of love in my life. And I don't mean how my parents love me or how pets love me. I started to see all my life circumstances through eyes of love so they can be healed. It's been very challenging for me to let go of the bitterness in my heart about the events of this past year, and last night I started to crack that façade and start seeing through the eyes of love instead.

Seeing through the eyes of love!

I left my beloved apartment on Post Street so I could be safe. I moved into a sublet in the Mission district so I could meet M, who is my human local connection to Judaism (such as it is). Because as much as I don't understand it, I have a deep love for some of the practices and I enjoy celebrating the Jewish New Year. And I wouldn't have met him if I hadn't left Post Street.

I am so very, very appreciative of how all this drama with my housing has led me to become closer to my community. How I bonded with K while painting my room in the Mission. How I got much closer to S and L because I didn't ever want to be home. How I was able to spend time with A and his wife. I don't think any of that would have happened if I'd been in my bubble on Post Street hibernating. I guess that's also what this has been about. Coming out of my shell and being more in the world. My friend B says higher power sends me places. She may be right because I've certainly been sent out in the world!

I see with eyes of love this lack of sleep and physical problems because the truth is they've been out of whack for years and because I'm melodramatic, it takes something really huge to get my attention and force me to change, and now I am.

I'm grateful for the apartment I just moved out of because it showed me it's really important to have good neighbors. How I can't tolerate living somewhere with lower or negative energy. And how it's important for me to not settle for anything. To always, always follow what makes my heart sing and not give into my fears no matter the circumstances.

I'm also grateful for that apartment I just left because it's led me here, and this is such a sweet setup. No rent, a pool, gorgeous Arizona, and gift cards for food as well as gas and use of the car. All my needs are met in abundance. I had to go through hell to get here but I think it was worth it.

I'm even grateful for the break in a few months ago because my need to feel safe/protect others and worry about their safety has been a lingering issue. I'm grateful it happened so the issue could finally be healed as I realize I'm not responsible for anyone else.

I'm seeing all of these situations with a much broader perspective. I'm seeing them as a perhaps a loving higher power would. And because I am, it all becomes easier to deal with. I can see the good in the bad and understand there is love behind it all.

I dream of a world where we all see with the eyes of love. A world where we find the benefit in all the things we go through, even the "bad" stuff. A world where we truly believe everything happens for a reason in our best interest. A world where we notice all the love and thus amplify it.

Another world is not only possible, it's probable.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Bring Out the Inner Warrior

I think it's fair to say I've been in a heightened state of fear and anxiety for roughly the past year. I startle at every noise. I check that the doors and windows are locked multiple times before retiring at night. When I'm sleeping in a house by myself I race to the window every time I hear a thump (a tree branch) or a creak (the house settling). I'm doing my best to mitigate the problem -- biofeedback, acupuncture, etc. but ultimately fear is taking over.

I spoke with my life coach several days ago (yes, I have one) and cried on the phone about how I want to sleep at night and I don't want to be dependent on the presence of someone else to feel safe. He asked me, "When was the last time you felt safe?" Despite its pitfalls, I felt safe in my previous apartment because it was such a pain in the ass to get to. No one would go through the trouble of breaking in, but even then I still had some fear. I surprised myself by telling him the last time I felt truly safe was when I did kung fu regularly. I remember walking down the street feeling unafraid and in my body, knowing and trusting I could handle myself should something arise. In the past year I've lost that. I've felt powerless and helpless and like a victim.

This week I started doing kung fu again. I wish I could say it was a magic pill and all of a sudden I feel loads better, but that's not true. I can say I feel progressively better because I'm bringing out my inner warrior.
Wing Chun, the woman a type of kung fu is named after.

When I think of "warrior" I usually picture some ripped guy ready to use his fists or weapons to protect himself and his loved ones from some impending danger. I do NOT think of a 5'6" Jewish woman who waxes eloquent about spirituality and love for all. Here's the thing -- my image of a warrior is warped. A warrior is not a bloodthirsty dude ready to kill whoever steps in his way. A warrior is someone who faces their fears. Someone who does what needs to be done. Someone who has strength of character and a backbone. Someone who will fight and protect if necessary but isn't constantly ready to engage in knuckle bashing.

I bring this up because we all have an inner warrior. It's the part of ourselves that's strong and capable and focused. The part of ourselves that's disciplined and keeps taking the next right action and then the next. The inner warrior is the piece of us that is courageous and provides security. My inner warrior has been lying dormant for far too long. Instead of jumping like a scaredy cat, feeling like a victim, afraid of my own shadow, it's time to pull up the strength within me, to take back my power, and become an active participant in the world once more.

I dream of a world where we call upon our inner warrior when it's most prudent for us. A world where we engage with battles to set our world right again. A world where we stand up for ourselves, a world where we access our inner strength. A world where we bring out our inner warriors.

Another world is not only possible, it's probable.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Do Nothing

If you've met me in person (or even if you haven't, actually) you know I'm like a frantic "little engine that could." I-think-I-can-I-think-I-can do any and all projects until my poor little engine starts short circuiting. So much so that even the hum of a refrigerator gets on my nerves.

Now that I'm in Arizona I've had to change my "I think I can" motto to, "I think I won't." It is so very hard to convince myself to do nothing. To rest. To relax. To lie on a pool flotation device and dabble my fingers in the water. I'd much rather be swimming laps or responding to e-mails or doing something productive. My little workaholic is horrified at the idea of spending an entire month lounging around and resting. What value is there in resting? What am I accomplishing by resting? There are no awards given for it. No gold stars, no praise.
I floated on this today
I mention all this not to throw a pity party but because this is seriously imbalanced. Rest is just as important as work. (I have to admit a part of my brain just said, "Yeah right.") Without rest my body, my brain, my life all start to deteriorate. And I'm not just talking about getting eight hours a sleep each night. I mean taking time out to do nothing. Having a day where I don't leave the house and don't accomplish anything of merit.

When I rest it says, "I matter. I'm worth taking care of." When I throw myself into activity after activity it sends the message other people are more important than me. World issues are more important than me. But they're not. I'm not of use to anyone as I am right now -- so dysfunctional I startle at every low, deep noise. So tired even after being awake for four hours I want a nap. I'm not blaming or chastising myself. This is the way it's been but I am making a conscious decision to change all that. I made a decision to put my health first the minute I said, "Sure, I'll housesit in Arizona."

There is value in doing nothing. There are three aspects to life: work, rest, and play. Neither should overpower any of the others because if they do life will become unmanageable. I'd rather not keep going down this road, thank you. Instead, I vow to do nothing.

I dream of a world where we all find balance between work, rest, and play. A world where we value each aspect equally. A world where we understand all elements work together. A world where we sometimes commit to doing nothing.

Another world is not only possible, it's probable.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Goodbye for a While

Tonight is my last night in California for a month. I know that doesn’t seem like much but considering I don't have a place of my own to come back to, it is. I'm saying goodbye to a state I've called home for the past 4.5 years. It feels like more than a vacation because I'm really and truly blowing in the wind. When someone asks for me an address I have to think about it -- do I give them the address of the place I'm housesitting? Do I use my parents' address? Do I use my former apartment because that's the last place I lived?

This evening I sat in my friends' backyard in San Jose all by my lonesome. They went out of town unexpectedly so I again find myself housesitting. Watching the sun turn the mountains in the distance burnt sienna, my heart broke a little. I don't know where I'm living in November and quite possibly it won't be here.
San Jose Sunset
A close approximation of what I saw tonight.
Yes, I'm being a bit maudlin, but this is what it means to say goodbye. To close a chapter and start something new. My friend went to a financial conference recently and one of her takeaways was, "Don't forget you're asking a whole lot when you ask someone to change." I think the same is true of ourselves as well. Even though I grow and change ceaselessly, that doesn't mean it gets any easier.

Here is what I know. It's difficult to say goodbye, even for a short while, but it's so we can welcome in something better. I realize I'm talking specifically about moving out of California and becoming a gypsy, but I think the same applies to anything we say goodbye to: a romantic partner, a job, a lifestyle, an addiction. Painful feelings will come up, we may want to say, "I changed my mind! I'll keep things the way they are!" but we cannot. One of the things I've learned in the past year is life can become so uncomfortable it forces us to change. I never had any intention of reliving my Just a Girl from Kansas experience but here I am, housesitting and living out of my suitcase once again.

Do I have anything profound to say? No. Mostly I'm sad. Sad to be leaving behind a state I love and a community I love for the great unknown. But I'm doing it anyway. Because I know I need to. I know I need this time to rest and rejuvenate. To start writing again. To get my body in working order. To heal parts of myself that are crying out for attention. And that means I have to say goodbye to California for a while.

I dream of a world where we say goodbye to things that no longer serve us. A world where we change because we know it's in our best interest. A world where we embrace the big question marks and trust we're doing the right thing even if it makes us sad. A world where we know we have to say goodbye for a while in order to say hello to something new.

Another world is not only possible, it's probable.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Why it's Important to be Optimistic

Even if you've never read this blog before I'm pretty sure you'd know I was an idealist and an optimist just based on the title. When I interact with people who aren't optimistic, it bugs me. Today I've been asking myself why. Why is it so important to me people allow for possibility and hope for the best? I think primarily it's because when we say negative things we give away our power. Stay with me for a minute.

I firmly believe who co-create our lives because we are what we think. This is what affirmations are all about and this is the underlying idea of so many meditation practices. If you constantly think, "I am one with the universe," you feel one with the universe. Louise Hay has a great story about how she worked for a nightclub, I think it was, and everyone told her the boss was terrible. No one liked him, he treated everyone poorly. Instead of giving into that idea, Louise took the stance, "I always work for wonderful bosses," and you know what? She was the only employee he treated well. Words are extremely powerful and so are our attitudes. They set us up for how we experience life.           

This is a small example but last week I moved all of my things into a storage unit. The movers kept saying to me, "I don't know, I don't think it will fit. You have too much stuff." My response? "Let's just try it. I think it will fit." And you know what? We had room to spare. If I had listened to the pessimistic movers I would have stopped packing, unloaded the storage unit, and paid more money for a bigger space. This is what it means to be pessimistic, to assume the worst under the guise of being "realistic." Maybe I don't want to be "realistic." Maybe I'd rather co-create a life where people treat me well, where I catch all my flights, where my stuff fits in small spaces, and I realize my dreams.

I'd also like to take this time to point out we are all vibratory beings. We are made up of atoms zinging around, so on a fundamental level we are energetic entities. Our words are as well. It's no secret I love Doreen Virtue. Doreen has a book, Angel Words, that shows quite clearly when we say something positive like "admiration," the literal graphic representation is larger. You can see the high and low vibrations within speech:

We all know this already. When we say the word, "love," it feels different than, "hate." For me, anyway, I feel it in my body. "Love" is expansive and open and "hate" is constricted and makes my chest feel tight. So of course it makes sense when we string together a sentence, it too carries its own vibration and has an effect.

Here is one of my favorite stories about being optimistic. A few years ago I traveled with a friend of mine and we stayed in a tent together. While we were out, it rained. My friend worried and fretted. She said over and over again, "I bet my stuff got wet." I said over and over again, "It's probably fine." When we got back to the tent, her things were wet while mine were dry. Now, I can't tell you that's completely because I believed my clothes would be dry, but I like to think it had something to do with it. I know that when I'm more positive I attract positive experiences to me. That's not to say I'm 100% in charge and in control of my life, because I'm not. Some bad things are destined to happen to me because of my karma or because of what I set into motion, but the things I can control? I sure as heck want to make sure they're as positive as possible.

I dream of a world where we look on the bright side of everything. A world where we see the potential in everyone and everything. A world where we believe in the best more than we do the worst. A world where we understand we co-create our life and therefore we want to make it as positive as we can.

Another world is not only possible, it's probable.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Cast Away Your Troubles

I didn't write a blogpost last night because I was at Rosh Hashanah services and didn't come home until late. One line in particular during the service jumped out at me, "Cast away your sins." I don't like the word "sins" because it dredges up notions of heaven and hell and judgment, but I do believe in casting away troubles.

This has been quite a whirlwind week, and year, for that matter. Last night I looked down at my body and noticed the numerous black and purple bruises that were war wounds from moving on Saturday. (Moving: It's a dangerous business.) But I'm OK with them because they will fade. They are mementoes from a time now past. Now that the dust has settled and I'm out of my hellacious apartment, I'm sighing in relief. In fact, just now I took a big exhale.

Let your troubles fly away!
What I love about Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year for those of you who don't know) is it's a reminder to start over. To cast away our troubles and leave our past behind. I am certainly ready to leave this year behind. I am ready to turn over a new leaf and revel in the healing and the miracles that are sure to come.

Even if you're not Jewish, I highly recommend a ceremony or a ritual to mark the end of a period of trouble and a celebration of something new. We all need a chance to shrug off our troubles, but even more so, to celebrate the good that is to come.

I don't have much to say because I think it's already been said. From September of last year to September of this year life has been pretty crappy. Good things have certainly happened but I'm ready to start living well again. I'm ready to let go of my old ideas and my old belief systems and to be reborn. I look forward to reconnecting with old friends and making new ones. I look forward to adventure and healing and grace. I'm casting away my troubles and making room for the miracles that are yet to come.

I dream of a world where we let go of our troubles. Where we let them go because we know they are being handled as long as we keep showing up for life and remain willing to take the next right, wise action. I dream of a world where we know we can start over at any time, at any point of the day, week, or year. I dream of a world where we are in the ease and flow of life.

Another world is not only possible, it's probable.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Miracles Happen Outside Our Comfort Zones

The title for this post comes from my dear friend Alok Joddha Hernandez. It really resonated with me because as I reflected on his comment, “Miracles happen outside of your comfort zone,” I realized he was right. All of the miraculous, wonderful things in my life have happened after I took a risk or did something that made me uncomfortable. The most obvious/biggest example is chronicled in my book, Just a Girl from Kansas but I’ve also found it to be true with smaller experiences.

I can say unequivocally this has been the worst year of my life. That’s not to say good things haven’t happened, because they have, but this has absolutely been the most trying year to date. I’ve always had a sensitivity to noise, which I’ve mitigated with earplugs and a white noise machine, but lately my sensitivity has developed into a full-blown disorder. I startle at loud noises. I jump when doors slam. I am so on edge you’d think I was about to pull off a diamond heist.

I want a miracle! And I'm willing to do the work for it!

I had no intention of ever doing something about my sensitivity until it developed into this huge challenge. And since it cropped up I’ve been trying my usual bag of tricks: acupuncture, affirmations, homeopathy, prayer, meditation, naturopathy, surrender, etc. If it worked for me before, I figured it would work again. Except it hasn’t. I posted a very emo facebook status the other day that asked, “When you’re desperate is that when the true healing begins?” Because people, I am desperate. I am so desperate I am willing to go outside my comfort zone.

A friend mentioned to me biofeedback and I’ve been reluctant to try it because I’m unfamiliar with it, I don’t have much money, and well, new things scare me. However, I found a place in Arizona (because I’ll be there for the month of October) and I e-mailed them, mentioning I don’t have insurance so how much would this cost me? (I should mention here in case those of you reading get concerned I have Healthy SF which is like insurance just for within the city of San Francisco so it doesn’t apply in places like Arizona.) The very next day the biofeedback place called me and said, “We’ll waive the initial $100 fee, plus we’ll charge you half price, and if it takes seven sessions we’ll only charge you for five.” Da-yum.  

I can’t say for sure whether this is a miracle because I haven’t done the treatment yet, but it sure feels like the beginnings of one. And all because I stepped out of my comfort zone.

I dream of a world where we all experience miracles. A world where we push ourselves outside our comfort zones because we’re ready for something different. A world where we experience love in the form of a miracle and where we keep growing and keep allowing the miracles to happen.

Another world is not only possible, it's probable.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Final Frontier

In truth, I think the final frontier is the mind but the final frontier in terms of the physical world is space, in my opinion. I planned to write about this last week because Neil Armstrong died but, well, other stuff happened instead.

Armstrong's death, which also closely coincides with the rover Curiosity landing on Mars, demonstrates so clearly to me another world is probable, quite literally. I mean, a man stood on the moon, and now we're looking at pictures from MARS. This is stuff my ancestors could only dream about. Or maybe they didn't even dream about it because it seemed so farfetched. I mean think about it, we're exploring space. We're looking for other planets with living beings and stuff. THAT IS SO COOL.
A picture! From Mars!
A picture! From Mars!
I am still quite tired this week because I'm startling awake at every little noise after the break in, but today I am simply amazed by technology and what we as humans can accomplish. Somebody walked on the moon and today we're able to look at pictures of another planet from the comfort of our homes. How cool is that?!?

It's very easy for me to become blasé about stuff like this, "Oh yeah, whatever, somebody landed on the moon. Blah, blah, blah," but it's really a big achievement. We are all capable of so much individually and collectively. We have the power within us to solve our world's problems and seeing stuff like Curiosity land on Mars proves that to me.

Sometimes I feel like a peon, a speck of dust within the universe, which is probably true, but it's also true that everyone alive today is living during a pivotal time. We're witnessing unusual things, expanding our horizons, and seeing science fiction become reality. And that's pretty cool.

I dream of a world where we continue to explore our horizons. A world where we keep striving forward and achieving great things. A world where we stand in awe of what has occurred and what has yet to occur. A world where we truly experience the final frontier.

Another world is not only possible, it's probable.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Desperate Times Call for Daring Measures

I didn't think I would blog this week because on my normal day, Sunday, the place where I'm housesitting was broken into. I wasn't exactly shall we say, feeling inspired or hopeful about the future? This is going to sound incredibly narcissistic, but what changed my mind was me and my actions, and also knowing there are others like me in the world.

As you know, I’m moving (again), which dictates I put my stuff in storage at least for the month of October. Some friends kindly offered me the use of their discount at a storage facility under the false pretense that I lived at their address. At the storage facility my stomach was in knots, I felt so uncomfortable being dishonest, leading the facility to believe I live somewhere I don’t.

My friends reassured me it was fine because they were technically liable for the unit but I couldn’t go through with it, I felt awful about not being completely upfront. I told myself it was OK because I’m experiencing financial insecurity and I could really use the money, but my feelings were not assuaged. I called my recovery mentor and he said, “Rebekah, it sounds like you’re justifying.” Ding, yep, way to call me out. I totally was.

I called the facility the next day and fessed up, telling them I wasn’t being completely truthful. They thanked me for my honesty and still gave me a discount, albeit not as much as I could have gotten. I felt relieved about coming clean because the truth is I was giving into my fear. I was exclaiming to myself and to the universe that I didn’t believe that I would be taken care of, that I needed to take matters into my own hands, and that to get what I wanted it was OK to be dishonest. I was allowing myself to be swayed by desperation.

This is all to say to thieves who broke in on Sunday, “I get it. I understand feeling desperate and wanting to make sure you get yours but it’s not OK.” It is not OK that some neighborhood hoodlums have deprived me of my peace of mind. It is not OK that I’m worried for my safety. It is not OK that I startle at every little noise and my sense of home and security has been disturbed.

Furthermore I am pissed off. I am pissed off that people are feeling desperate in the first place. I am PISSED OFF there are no safety nets in our country. That we’re living in a greedy, selfish society where people feel pushed to lie, cheat, and steal to get their needs met. I am pissed off that some people are hording all the wealth to such a degree they are practically wiping their butts with money while others are dying on the street. This is NOT OK.

Capitalism is not working. It’s just not. We seem to think basic necessities like food, education, clothing, shelter, and medical care are privileges and not rights. People, that is messed up. It is time to say no. It is time to say this is not right. It is time to give daring measures like local economies, wealth caps, and cooperatives a chance. Because if the local economy is thriving, if people have all their needs met, how likely is it they’ll break into houses or mug people on the street?

I obviously can’t control other people, all can I do is control myself and change the things I can. All I can do is continue to choose faith over fear. All I can do is act with integrity in all areas of my life. All I can do is employ new measures because desperate times don’t call for desperate measures, they call for daring ones. So let’s be daring.

I dream of a world where everyone everywhere has all their needs met. A world where people feel safe in their homes. A world where wealth is shared and people are taken care of. A world where universal rights are granted and people are happy, joyous, and free.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

One is NOT the Loneliest Number

This weekend I've been in New Hampshire to attend a wedding for some friends of mine. A few months ago I wrote a post about feeling at peace where I am, and this weekend has been the proof in the pudding. Normally when I attend a wedding I lament that I'm all by myself, that I don't have a boyfriend yet, blah, blah, blah. This weekend was the complete antithesis because even though I was on my own I didn't feel apart from, I felt a part of a group. I felt cloaked in kinship and oneness with those around me. So often we talk about "one" being the loneliest number but we also lionize being at one with nature, being at one with ourselves. It's become synonymous with peace and tranquility. So maybe "one" is not such a bad number.

This photo may be copyrighted, so, er, I found it here.
I booked a hotel fairly far away from downtown not by choice but more through happenstance. I didn't rent a car but rather counted on the fact other people would shuttle me around, and they did. I felt so taken care of by those around me nothing seemed missing at all. At the wedding I sat at a table full of my friends so it didn't even occur to me I would need a date. Because I didn't. I was full of friendship and love.

Being dateless at a wedding has become tantamount to wearing white after Labor Day -- it's something we're not "supposed" to do and yet so many of us do it anyway. I've noticed in U.S. culture we like to partner up and then move somewhere to start a family. Maybe this is a model based on the Wild West when in order to populate the nation people had to couple up and move far away. But that's not the case anyway. Now it's more beneficial to have a support system, which allows for people to live on their own because they don't have to rely on only one other person. What I've noticed is as I've sought to meet my needs in my community my desire for partnership has lessened. One doesn't feel like the loneliest number because there are so many other people I can turn to. There are so many other options for help. There is so much love for me spread out all over the place that it doesn't need to be concentrated within one other person -- it's been diluted in many.

I am very tired and very sick so I don't know how well my point is coming across, but in essence I'm finally understanding -- and living -- the idea being alone is not the horrible state I was making it out to be. It hasn't made me a pariah. It hasn't made me less of a person. I think it's mostly because I feel very loved and very included wherever I go, even if I'm all by myself. And I feel this way after a wedding, a time that I used to feel my single status most acutely. It's my wish that other people will come to the same realization I did.

I dream of a world where everyone feels loved, held, and whole. A world where everyone gets their needs met whether they're in a relationship or not. A world where we all feel a sense of community and kinship. A world where we understand one is not the loneliest number after all.

Another world is not only possible, it's probable.  

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Equality Begins with We

This dude from the Congo has been emailing me for more than a year saying, “I love you, I kiss you, you my baby angel.” He’s not a scammer, he’s a desperate, mentally ill man who will not get the message to stop contacting me. And I’m pissed. I’m pissed because I have to block him. Pissed that people harass others. Pissed that as a woman I have to deal with this on a frequent basis. Pissed that it makes me feel unsafe.

A friend pointed out she feels unsafe with other women and that men have to deal with this stuff too. I completely agree and absolutely dream of a world where all people feel safe. But for the purposes of this post I’m focusing on women, primarily because there is more often a threat of violence against them. One in four women is sexually assaulted and it occurs every two minutes in the U.S., according to RAINN. I haven’t seen that same statistic for men. People, this is wrong. We do not have to accept this as a point of fact.
I dream of a world where all people feel safe.

What also has me up in arms is this column about how some creepy dudes are allowed to continuously make unwelcome advances on their female friends because the men in their circles are not admonishing the dude for his behavior. His behavior so often gets excused because he is a “nice guy.” Being “nice” should not give anyone anywhere a free pass. If the Dalai Lama punches someone in the face there should be consequences. We cannot say, “It’s the Dalai Lama so it’s OK!” We cannot allow anyone anywhere to inflict harm on others through thought, word, or deed, except in certain circumstances. And believe me, the weirdo who continues to email me saying he’s coming to the U.S. and plans to marry me is harming me with his words.

It’s not enough that I as a woman say he has to stop. There needs to be peer pressure from men too. The only way any of this behavior will change is if we get both genders involved. Otherwise, feminists will still get portrayed as man-hating, bra burners who think women should be treated better than men. We see this all the time in the media as straw feminists. For the record, that’s inaccurate. As a feminist, it means I believe people should be treated equally, not the world should be man free.

I know this post is ranty but that’s because I’m filled with righteous indignation. And even though things are not moving NEARLY as quickly as I would like, I’m heartened by other recent events. One, that a male comedian drove home the point of why rape jokes aren’t funny after the Daniel Tosh incident. Two, that on Friday night I ran into a guy I’ve seen around my recovery meeting place but never actually met. He walked me all the way home and didn’t ask for my number or do anything but be an absolute gentleman. He respected my boundaries 100%. I’m also heartened by you, my male readers and friends because you know how to treat women with respect. You remind me, in my life at least, the good men outweigh the jerks. You remind me that for every perv who thinks women need to be “worn down” and “persuaded” to date them, there are at least three who understand, “No” means “No.”

I dream of a world where men and women can walk around at any time of day or night and feel safe. A world where men and women are treated equally. A world where peer pressure is enacted to keep everyone in line and there’s a clear sense of what’s acceptable and what’s not. A world where all people are respected. A world where we treat others the way we’d like to be treated. A world where we understand equality begins with we.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

No Longer Wavering

Last week I opined that no storm lasts forever, what I didn’t count on is my storm ending so soon. On the first I gave notice and told my landlady I’m moving out September 15. I don’t know where I’m going for two weeks, but in October I’m heading to Arizona to housesit for a friend. What I noticed is August second I felt so much peace and contentment. Not because I’m moving out – although that too – but because I finally made a decision.

For weeks I’ve been wavering, sitting in limbo about what to do. “Should I move out on the first? Should I wait until I have a new place? Should I go to Arizona?” A stream of questions flowed through my brain and I didn’t know what direction to go in. That’s the agony for me, the indecision. At times I feel paralyzed about which path I should choose because I want to pick the “right” path. The path that will lead to my happiness or peace or whatever it is I’m craving exactly. I’m afraid if I choose the first option it will end up being a landmine and blow up in my face.
Which way to go?

Does anyone like being in limbo? I highly doubt it. So once a decision has been made – even if it’s the “wrong” one – I feel better because at least I’m no longer scrutinizing every scenario in my head. At least I’m no longer obsessing about which way to go. I may not have picked the most optimal choice but once I’m off the fence, at least something is happening and I am able to deal with what’s next.

These days I strive for peace and serenity and making a decision leads to that. We are made to keep moving. Pausing goes against the natural order of the universe because if you’ll notice we either progress or we regress, there is no staying where we are. I think perhaps that’s why wavering kills me so much – it’s not a state I’m meant to be in for long. We are made to choose so at long last I have.

I choose to say “No” to unhealthy situations even if I don’t know what’s next, even if I don’t have a clear safety net, even if I’m nervous about what will happen. I choose to keep moving forward with my life and I choose to say “Yes” to growth, to love, to happiness, and making a decision. I may waver for a little while but I won’t waver for long, and that is something to celebrate.

I dream of a world where we all take clear, decisive action. A world where we keep moving forward because it brings us peace. A world where we say no when we mean no even if it seems scary at the time. A world where we feel held by love and light. A world where we no longer waver for long.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

No Storm Lasts Forever

I must confess the title for this post comes from a book I haven’t read but have heard about. The concept of “This too shall pass,” I’m really struggling with. Someone said people respond to our truth so that’s what I’m writing about, what’s true for me. Even if it feels like it’s the same damn thing over and over again.

It became clear to me recently I have something similar to post-traumatic stress disorder. Whenever there are loud noises in my apartment or near my apartment, I go into a full-on panic. I start shaking, my heart starts beating faster and I am consumed with fear. Whenever I complain about hearing the pulse of music in the house below me the responses are invariably, “Have you tried earplugs? Or your white noise machine?” And “You can blare your own music!” I appreciate the sentiments, but really all I want is empathy. Because the super low pulse of bass cannot be drowned out. When the noise is a low, steady thumping, it gets into your body like a heartbeat. There’s a reason people have used drums for war calls – the sound travels across great distances.
Life is like a little boat upon the sea. . .

So instead of being able to do anything about it, I have to sit and listen to the damn noise until it’s turned off. And as I listen to it I start to chant like a mantra, “This too shall pass, this too shall pass. This is temporary. I won’t be here much longer. It will stop.” I know with utmost certainty this keeps happening to me because this issue is begging to be healed. It may not seem like it to other people but it was really traumatic not being able to sleep for five months because of loud music and other noises in my former apartment. This thing with noise keeps happening to me because I haven’t dealt with the issue – instead I keep running from one place to another hoping this time it will be better. It is usually better but I still get triggered.

In the interim, I have to keep reminding myself no storm lasts forever. I had an acute awareness of the transience of my situation on Friday night. I took a shower and the water pooled around my feet three inches deep. This has happened to me before. I chronicled it in my book in a chapter called, “The Sublet from Hell.” At the same time I started rewatching “Felicity,” a show that was on in 1998. When “Felicity” was on the air in 1998 I was mostly depressed, fantasizing about the day I would have numerous friends who lived nearby. Wishing for a time someone would call me up to hang out. The confluence of these two events – showering in a pool of water and rewatching “Felicity” – reminded me how different my live is now and also how temporary. These days I have what I dreamed about, and I lived through a situation that was also unbearable at the time. In that moment I really felt the impermanence of my situation. I felt centered in the truth no storm lasts forever.

This is an important lesson because when I’m in pain I think I’ll be in pain forever. I go to a negative place and don’t believe things will ever change. Even if I know intellectually that’s not true, my subconscious or whatever it is, takes over and I don’t believe it. All I can think about is how I’m in pain and isn’t it terrible, and “nothing will ever change.” It’s important for me to cling onto my boat and ride the waves because in truth, no storm lasts forever.

I dream of a world where we grasp how impermanent every situation is. Even if it’s longer term, it will also pass. Nothing is constant in life except change. I dream of a world where we ride through each situation, where as Winston Churchill says, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” A world where we understand as long as it may seem, no storm lasts forever.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The In-Betweens

Last night I told a friend I go through a big transformation every four years. It's been four years since I moved to San Francisco so that means I'm going through another transformation. I've been kidding myself, resisting this change, and fooling myself into believing I just need to find a new place to live and then everything will be settled. In truth, everything will not be settled because it's not about a new place to live. It's not about more money. It's not about any of the million things I can "fix." I am in a transition.

The title of this post is the in-betweens because that's exactly where I am. In between one place and another. Quite literally actually because I'm writing this from a housesitting gig. I am flying through the air, in between one landing pad and another. I know all of this is a little vague, but in essence, I'm at a point where all I have is faith because there is nothing solid beneath me. There is no absolute "this is going to happen" or "here follow this plan." I hadn't realized how big of a change this was going to be. I thought my next transformation would be marriage and babies. Not "where am I living, what am I doing, how am I making money?"

throw your hands in the air like your flying

The beauty in all this though is the in-betweens are the place where the magic happens. Where the growth happens. Where all my spiritual lessons are being put to the test. How much faith do I really have that everything will work out? How much faith do I have that I'll get through this murky period where I'm not sure which way is up? How much faith do I have that I'll sprout wings? Because that's what happens in the in-betweens: we're no longer on land so we have to use our wings. My wings are a little rusty. I haven't had to use them in four years so I've forgotten how to fly.

What's really funny is people keep reflecting back things that I've said and heck, things that I've written. How my higher power hasn't abandoned me, how I need to keep a positive attitude, how I need to stay in the moment. You all got to see all of that reflected in Just a Girl from Kansas and now I'm reliving it. Seriously. I've moved twice in the past six months and I'm poised to move again. I've already housesat three times at least and I'm scheduled for a few more. This year is an echo of 2012. Am I freaking out? Yes I am. But today it hit me so clearly, "This is a transition. This is an in-between. I cannot escape this as much as I'd like to try." Somehow knowing this is my process, knowing every four years I will have a period like this, where the universe plucks me out of my comfort zone and drops me into something new, makes it easier to swallow. It doesn't have to be such a scary thing, this not-knowing. Instead it's faith 2.0. I have to lean into my higher power and see what develops.

My life has felt like it's been crumbling because I've had to move so much and my financial situation is not what I would like. But now I see that my life isn't crumbling so much as breaking open. It's not as if there's one major change in my life and that's it. I will have many, many more periods like this where I don't really understand what's going on or what direction my life is taking. But that's OK. I can enjoy the ride and enjoy this in-between moment where I feel the wind in my hair and the freedom around me. It's these in-between moments where I get to feel really alive because I'm not tied down to anything.

A friend reminded me I've experienced multiple periods of grace, where everything flowed together. Today I acknowledged as an addict I want to feel that grace all the time, and if I don't I think something is wrong. But really if I experienced that grace once I'll experience it again. I haven't been abandoned or forsaken. I haven't been forgotten about. I'm in the in-betweens where land is far below and it's my job to keep pumping my wings.

I dream of a world where we understand life won't always look the way we want it to. A world where we acknowledge there are periods of transitions we each have to go through and instead of being scary they can be fun. A world where we trust the process and acknowledge when life seems to be crumbling around us, really we're probably in the in-betweens.

Another world is not only possible, it's probable.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Free Falling is Only Scary if You Fight It

Today I had the pleasure of running into not one but TWO friends of mine unexpectedly. The second one said, "Free falling is only scary if you fight it." That statement really struck me, probably because I've been fighting, well, everything.

There's a lot going on in my world right now and I don't altogether trust my higher power. Whenever things don't go the way I think they "should" or that equate pleasure and enjoyment I think it's time to take my free will back because my higher power is obviously not doing a very good job. I know, the hubris of such a sentiment! But it's how I feel nonetheless. So when my friend said to me free falling is only scary if you fight it, I realized this process doesn't have to be scary. I can choose to see things differently. Instead of feeling punished or put upon or angry, I can go with it. I can allow myself the sensation of free falling, knowing when need be I can pop my parachute.
I aspire to be as joyful while falling as this guy is.
 It's certainly not easy, nor am I able to shut down my urge to fight, but I know from past experience my higher power will catch me. That it's important to keep the faith because even though times are hard, they will get better. That even though I'm panicked (quite literally because my adrenal glands are so depleted I freak out over every little thing) the feeling will pass. I don't seem to remember that.

Two years ago I wrote a post that elucidated exactly that -- if something is happening in the present I think it will last forever. In that particular post it was about a car alarm going off. These days it's the belief I will NEVER find a great place to live, that I will NEVER sell a bunch of books, that I will NEVER make more money, etc. I think this is probably because I'm a bit of a drama queen or an addict. Funny how I only think about these things for the negative emotions and experiences and not the positive ones. I don't believe bliss will last forever and instead appreciate it for the transitory experience it is. I wish I could feel the same way about misery.

So again, I have to come back to basics. I have to be with the process, knowing it will pass and doesn't have to be quite so terrifying. I have to remember even though I don't understand any of my life's circumstances, they are all happening for a reason. Someone said to me today, "You can't fall out of grace." How true. There is nothing I can do that will make God and the universe love me any less or punish me. Yes, there are equal and opposite reactions to all actions I take, but even those are temporary. All of it is temporary. Free falling isn't scary if you don’t fight it.

I dream of a world where we sit with the process, whatever it might be. A world where we understand all things are only temporary. A world where we know we have strength and patience and fortitude to move through any difficulty even if we feel like we're hanging on by our fingertips. Because as was shown to me today, we never know what's around the corner and when we'll receive the help we need.

Another world is not only possible, it's probable.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Life Without Money

I have never in my life been as financially poor as I am now. I know many people believe that by writing that statement I’m only making my financial situation worse, so in order to counter that sentiment I’ll also say I am increasing my financial abundance and that all of my financial needs will always be met.

Lately I’ve had tunnel vision when it comes to money. I feel like I’m forever saying, “No” to things because I don’t have the financial means. A friend suggested I needed a vacation and my first response was, “I’d love to take a vacation but I don’t have the money to fly anywhere,” which was true. However, the universe is creative and there are infinite ways to accomplish what I desire without involving money. In this case I used my frequent flier miles to head up to Seattle to stay with my parents.
Hallelujah! A vacation!
That may sound like the most obvious solution in the world but it was not because I didn’t have enough frequent flier miles and neither did my parents. But the universe always provides, as I’ve written about before. I stumbled across the website, which allows you to shift loyalty points from one program to another! I didn’t have enough miles in any one program but I certainly had enough when I combined points! Thus I was able to take a much-needed vacation after all. (By the way, does anyone want to donate points to me so I can fly to my friends’ wedding in New Hampshire?)

Also, my current apartment is driving me crazy. I write that with only a touch of trepidation that my landlady will see it, but I’m banking on the fact she doesn’t know my blog exists nor have I ever sent her an e-mail in order for her to find the link. The place is fine at night after everyone goes to sleep, so yes, I’m sleeping through the night, but at other times I’m going out of my friggin’ mind. Last week her little rat dog BIT ME and DREW BLOOD. For the record, never in my life have I been bitten by an animal until last week; usually animals love me and beg to sit on my lap. So I’ve frantically been looking for new places to live and have been pretty depressed about it actually. (Moving AGAIN?!?)

But the universe provides and life can be lived without money. My dear friends announced they are going out of town for two weeks and I asked whether I could housesit. They said yes so for two weeks I get to have peace and quiet in a gorgeous San Francisco condo. Halle-frickin-lujah. The whole experience reminds me all of my needs will always be met and it doesn’t have to involve money even if at the onset I think it will. I am loved by the universe and will always be provided for.

I dream of a world where all of our needs will always be met. A world where we understand money is not the be-all, end-all we think it is. A world where we realize the universe is listening and it’s up to us to continue to ask and be open to what comes back. A world where we know life can be lived without money.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Power of One

This week I texted a friend, “I will eat you out of house and home!” Did you know that idiom originates from William Shakespeare? Did you also know Shakespeare is credited with creating approximately 1,700 words? SEVENTEEN HUNDRED WORDS people. I bring this up because so very often I feel like a peon, a grain of sand on a beach, a speck in time, and I start to question what one person can really accomplish. I don’t have any superpowers, nor am I likely to cure cancer, but then I remember one person can accomplish a lot.

This man is pretty epic if you think about it.

I am inspired by hearing Shakespeare created 1,700 words that are still in use today. The dude died almost 400 years ago and yet we still remember him. That’s some power right there. He was one person, and yet he had a lasting effect on the world around him. He was a person just like me and he absolutely made a difference. And he’s not alone. Albert Einstein was another great man who revolutionized physics. One guy, huge impact.

So often I think I have to do something HUGE in order to leave an impression on the world, but in truth, each of these fellows followed their hearts and let the chips fall where they would. I doubt either of them foresaw people would still be talking about them long after their deaths. It’s amazing the sort of power one person can have on the world. One person can and does make a difference.

One of my favorite quotes comes from Mother Teresa: “We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.”

If you’ve ever taken a dropper bottle and put drops of water on a penny you know there comes a certain tipping point where just one more drop breaks the surface tension and the water spills over the surface. We don’t know if we are that drop. We don’t know what ripple our actions will create. We have no idea how powerful we actually are, and that’s what amazes me today. To realize even though I am a small human being I am also powerful beyond measure. That I could also change the world and so can you.

I dream of a world where we realize we are powerful beings who can leave an imprint on the world around us. A world where we realize all of our actions means something and all of our actions add up. A world where we understand as Mother Teresa also says, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Celebrities: They're Just Like Us

So often I’ve heard “celebrities: they’re just like us,” but never quite believed it. In my mind there was always something “special” about a celebrity because they were famous and fame seems to be a very capricious thing – it’s not as if you go to school and can become a celebrity. This week I had the good fortune of spending time with two celebrities and have come to the conclusion I don’t know why some people become doctors either, but that doesn’t mean they’re more “special” than I am.

Years ago I would have regaled you with stories of hanging out with someone famous because I wanted to impress you. I wanted to show I was “important” because I knew a celebrity. Today, instead I find myself relating to those around me, understanding no one is that different, whether they’re famous or not. That I can do what they do, and in fact, I am.

Do you know how hard it is to find a stock photo of a fake celebrity signing autographs? Answer: very difficult. At least in this one the star is not so obvious.

So to back up a bit, I had the opportunity to be a part of an interview with Marianne Williamson. As in the woman who wrote, A Return to Love. As in the woman who I’ve quoted a jillion times in this blog. Yes. I have no idea how it happened but I am so glad it did. I have put this woman and others like her on a pedestal believing they were gifted with something I was not. Believing they must have been graced with something in order to do what they do. Meeting Marianne and seeing her speak showed me how false that is.

Don’t get me wrong, she is an amazing speaker and she obviously taps into divine consciousness in her talks but you know what? So does anyone who’s creative and has something to say. There’s nothing so very different about us. She’s a person just like I am. She gets spider bites and a dry throat and unruly hair. We are absolutely cut from the same cloth and that cloth is “human.”

What I also find interesting is “celebrity” is really about the beholder. On Tuesday I had dinner with Raymond Bagatsing, a Filipino actor I love. He said we wouldn’t be able to have the same experience in the Philippines because everybody would be looking at him and people would be mobbing the table. He didn’t say it to brag, nor to lament his life and his fans, he said it very matter-of-factly. Yet here in the States, nobody knows him from Adam. Obviously celebrity isn’t really about the person who’s famous, it’s about the people who are viewing them. It’s us that put people on pedestals. It’s us who think somebody is special and amazing. It’s us who turn that person into someone they’re most likely not. Because honestly, Raymond and Marianne are just doing their thing.

I dream of a world where we understand celebrities are just like us. A world where we realize no one is more special or less special than someone else. A world where understand people are people no matter what they’re doing, no matter what they’re wearing, no matter who they are. A world where each of us feel like the divine children we are because each of us is special and each of us has our own role to play.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Seeing What is Given

This week I experienced a huge shift in my perspective. I’ve been in a space of focusing on what I want – and lamenting that I don’t have it – instead of seeing what has been given to me. I think I’ve already mentioned for years I’ve been a bit, er, obsessed with being in a relationship. I did make peace with the fact I’m single, and may be single for the rest of my life, but that hasn’t slackened my wanting any less.

Last night I finally felt gratitude for being single. I have some hang ups and I finally realized what a blessing it is that I’m being given the space to work on those hang ups without anyone else around. I don’t have to deal with my issues while also trying to navigate the dynamics of involving myself with someone else. I see how much easier it is to heal my wounds now that I’m alone. Instead of focusing on my “want” I’m instead seeing what has been given to me – a great opportunity.

Everything can be viewed as a blessing or a curse.

In the same vein, I’ve been dreaming of the day I can stop writing about things I don’t particular care about and instead make money from my publishing company Inspirí Press and my book Just a Girl from Kansas. If you’ve met me in person it’s quite likely you’ve heard me grumbling. On Tuesday I came home at 9 p.m. and still had to finish up an article for work. As I sat down at my desk, peace descended upon me as I began to write. Writing is what I was born to do. I finally realized what a blessing it is that I have the job I do. I get to work from home, as a writer, and honestly it’s not that difficult. I mean, it is and it isn’t. Writing is a skill so it doesn’t take me much effort to crank out an article. I understood I get paid to do something that’s fairly easy for me. I don’t have to stretch my limits everyday to do something I don’t fully understand. I don’t have to labor in a factory line. I don’t have to deal with snotty customers. I finally see what has been given to me.

I guess I’m taking gratitude a step further. I’m starting to cultivate an attitude of gratitude not only for the things everyone is grateful for – friends, a place to sleep, food to eat, etc. – but also for the things I used to dislike. I’m in the mindset of understanding everything is a blessing – even the things at first glance I thought were a curse. And that is a miracle.

I dream of a world where we look at what is being given to us. A world where we find the good even if at first glance we think it’s bad. A world where we feel grateful for all that’s given to us because we understand it all boils down to a shift in perspective. A world where instead of focusing only on what we want, we see what has been given.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

Sunday, June 10, 2012


"Connection is why we're here." -- Brené Brown

The word "vulnerable" and the derivative "vulnerability" have been bandied about in my presence this week so I figured that meant I needed to write about it. I watched Brené Brown's talk "The Power of Vulnerability" (below) because it’s been on my watch list for a long time and I finally got around to it.

In Brown's talk she says, "Connection is why we're here." I believe it. The times I cherish the most are when I feel connected to a friend, my family, nature, or my higher power. I've also come to realize connection doesn't happen unless I'm vulnerable. I need to create the space within me to allow others to come in, which only happens when my walls are down. It's scary though. Admitting I'm scared of being vulnerable might sound funny coming from me considering I've already outed myself as an addict, and I wrote a whole damn book that shows off my warts, but it's true. Whenever I allow myself to be vulnerable there's still that fear I'm opening myself to harm. That instead of connecting with me I'm exposing my soft underbelly so you can rip my guts out.

Brown pinpoints this as shame and fear. Yep. Pretty much. So what's a girl to do? Run away and keep my walls up forever and always sounds pretty good. Except that means I miss out on connection. Well crap. Obviously I have to continue to follow the motto that has been guiding me since I was 17 or so: "If you're scared do it anyway." I keep opening myself up, I keep allowing myself to be vulnerable, because the risk is worth it. Because I love connection so much. I live for connection. I absolutely love it when people call me up and share what's really going on with them. I feel so honored they trusted me enough to do so.

Yeah, I hate, hate, hate being vulnerable, yeah I hate the possibility my vulnerability is going to be turned around and the person will use it as a weapon, but really that's not going to happen. One, because I already know what my issues are, thank-you-very-much, so if someone tries to take pot-shots at me the wind will go out of their sails because my retort will be, "Yes, I know." Two, like I would ever allow myself to be vulnerable to a jerk. I'm presuming here that anyone who picks up Just a Girl from Kansas will do so because they're drawn to it. Any jerks or potential jerks will set it down. So really what am I opening myself up to? More connection.

As Brown mentions, we can't pick and choose our feelings. I've heard before there's only one switch for emotions and that's "on." Because when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable we also allow joy, creativity, belonging, and love to come in. We allow more sweetness than we can imagine. Yes, I effing hate being vulnerable but I choose to go forth and be courageous, which according to the original definition means to "tell the story of who you are with your whole heart."

I dream of a world where we allow ourselves to be vulnerable. A world where we know vulnerability breeds a lot of good things in our life. A world where we understand in order to get what we want we have to allow ourselves the possibility we'll get hurt. As Brown says, a world where we're grateful we feel so vulnerable because that means we're alive.

Another world is not only possible, it's probable.