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.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Sensitive Soul

I really REALLY did not think I would be writing about this. But here I am. “This” being the account of the man in Florida who ate another man’s face. And the person in Maryland who ate someone else’s heart and brain. I’m so distressed by these news stories I will not be linking to them because I cannot even glance at the ensuing headlines without cringing. And that’s a good thing.

I’ve been thinking being such a sensitive person is a plight, a curse. Something I wish would go away because it makes living in a world where there is torture and massacre of children extremely painful. A few people have said to me it’s great I’m so sensitive, that the world needs more sensitive people. If everyone felt the way I did – shocked and horrified by violence, homelessness, poverty, etc. – more would be done about it. If enough people were sensitive, and enough people woke up to what is happening in the world, injustices could not continue.

I'm not sure why this photo says "sensitive" to me but it does.
I think all the atrocities in the world are a wake-up call. A chance for us to say, “This is unacceptable and must be changed/stopped.” Sometimes it takes extreme acts to get our attention. Humanity is obviously crying out for help. We sensitive souls are being called to action. Instead of sitting idly by, covering our ears, wishing it would stop, we’re being asked to do something. I’m not sure what that “something” is because it depends on the person. For me, the lesson is to love even more.

Many of you know this, but my Sanskrit name Radha means personification of love. These days I’m being asked to really live that name. To love everyone, not just the people it’s easy to love. I’m being asked to love those who are violent, those who mentally imbalanced, those who narcissistic, and those who are mean. This is no easy task because my first reaction is to distance myself. But the more I distance myself the more I allow horrible things to happen. It’s as if I’m saying on an energetic level, “I am not a part of you. I am separate and thus don’t need to engage with you.” Those times are over.

When I hear the expression, “The meek shall inherit the Earth,” my interpretation is the sensitive souls will inherit the Earth. Not because we ran for cover when the going got tough, but because we were so sensitive to what was going on around us we had to put a stop to it. We had to stand up and say, “No.” So as much as I hate being sensitive at times, I also know it’s a good thing. Because it’s people like me who are going to bring about change. We must because the alternative is unbearable.

I dream of a world where we acknowledge sensitivity is a gift, something to be celebrated. A world where the sensitive people embrace their nature, understanding it’s what makes them alive. A world where the sensitive people band together and say, “No more. We are changing things.”

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