Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Hint of a Rainbow

Normally I don't blog when I'm on vacation, but considering we're coming upon a new year and all, it didn't seem right to skip this Sunday.

En route to California from Seattle, my plane skimmed the clouds, right in between two layers. As I looked out the window, I saw the barest hint of a rainbow, and it seemed like a good metaphor for the coming year. This year, 2013, has been rough. I've experienced a lot of upheaval on a physical level, but also an emotional one. I don't think I've ever cried so much in my life as I have this year. I've felt like carbon, pressurized until it turns into a diamond -- the final result may be pretty, but the process is painful.

cloud rainbow
A close approximation of what I saw.
I don't know what 2014 has in store for me, or for any of us, but I see the barest hint of a rainbow, foretelling beauty after a storm, peace after tumult, and color after gray. I don't know whether 2014 will be a "good" year or a "bad" year, but I get the feeling something good is just out of reach, it's on the horizon, and if I wait a little longer my patience will be rewarded.

Maybe you, too, have had a rough year. Maybe at times the pain has felt excruciating. Maybe you've asked yourself over and over again, "What am I doing here?" Maybe you've wanted to run away from it all, start fresh somewhere else. Maybe you don't even know where your fresh start lies. If that's you, I want to say, "You're not alone." I can't guarantee your 2014 will be better, but I certainly hope it is. My wish for 2014 is that we all find serenity, that all of our needs are met. That we feel loved, held, and nurtured. That we know we are doing a great job taking care of ourselves.

In particular, I dream of a world that becomes a brighter and brighter place as we set the world on fire with our love and passion. A world where we serve others, where we look out for the little guy. A world where no one is left behind. A world where we understand things don't become better unless we make it so. A world where we all see the barest hint of a rainbow.

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

Friday, December 27, 2013

The Awakening

I have a friend on facebook who utterly intrigues me. She's a twinflame matchmaker who's on a mission to help women become high healed priestesses and engage in their bli$$nesses (bliss + business). Her website, photos, and messages are awash with pink and all things girly. She talks a lot about healing the divine feminine and awakening the feminine energy which is in all of us -- men and women alike.

Also, yesterday was the winter solstice here in the Northern Hemisphere. Another friend shared this picture and message: "Happy winter solstice! To the divine, sacred spirit of the feminine opening everything."

I have no idea whether this is photoshopped or not.
What I'm saying is feminine energy has been on my mind. I've been thinking about what it means and noticing there's been a distinct imbalance in my life, a skewing toward the masculine energy more than the feminine. It seems to me masculine energy is all about doing, acting, moving, while feminine energy is all about being, receiving, and stillness. Given the choice, I'd much rather "do." Tell me the action to take and I will. Stillness, having patience, these are much harder for me but I'm being called to bring forth my feminine energy more and more.

On Wednesday, I had a conversation about fear and my therapist asked me what my typical response is. My typical response is to power through it. To rush through fear like a warrior charging into battle, but the warrior doesn't always work for me because sometimes there's no action to take. Sometimes all my fearful self wants is a hug, which means nurturing and caring for me. Calling forth my softer side.

I won't say my softer side has been lying dormant -- it hasn't -- but cultivating the feminine within me has been a process, an awakening of sorts. If you think about it, waking up requires more than opening your eyes -- you also have to throw off the sheets and sidle out of bed. I opened up my eyes long ago, and now I'm stretching.

I guess I'm writing this post because I'm noticing the value of the feminine and I want to encourage other people to engage their softness too. I used to think soft meant weak, vulnerable, open to attack, but the more I'm dismantling my fear, the more I notice it takes a lot of courage to be soft, to be vulnerable, to nurture. And it doesn't mean I have to be one way or another -- sometimes the warrior is necessary, but so is the pink fuzzy blanket.

I also want to say here, in the past I might have berated myself for not being where I want, for not being "awake" already, but I'm noticing there's deliciousness in waking up. There's softness in the process. This is me encouraging you to be OK with where you are, to know whatever awakening you are going through it's perfectly fine for it to be gentle, for you to not be finished with it yet. Savor where you are, you'll be awake soon enough.

I dream of a world where we don't rush the process. A world where we understand we wake up (metaphorically speaking) when we're ready. A world where we value both the masculine and feminine side of ourselves. A world where we live in harmony with ourselves calling forth what is needed when it is needed.

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

Sunday, December 15, 2013


A consequence of my current health condition is I get caught up in my fears a LOT. Not only do I contemplate things that I'm afraid of -- break ins, dying in a car accident, the emergency parking brake failing -- but I become CONVINCED they are all going to happen. My mind latches onto a fear and won't shake it. If I could give one piece of advice to someone, it's don't burn out your adrenal glands, dealing with the repercussions is hell.

On Friday, I drove up to Bellingham to see a friend of mine. I have a slight phobia of driving, which means spending an hour and a half in the car with heavyish traffic is not my idea of fun. When I am stressed, my fears rocket out of control, so for instance, I spent a good chunk of time worrying my car would barrel through the garage door even though I set the emergency parking brake. (It didn't.)

sleepy bunny
Bunnies, or rabbits, are a reminder in shamanism to not be afraid of everything and instead listen to your intuition.

However, I also had an interesting experience on my drive that has helped me pay less attention to my fears. My intuition was on high alert, which means every time a car was about to signal and change into my lane, I knew it in advance. I had a premonition of every event before it happened -- lane changes, rest areas, everything. I got to thinking about all the other times in my life when I had an intuitive hit something would happen, which made me realize for every event I didn't enjoy, I was forewarned.

Every break in, every accident, every layoff, every huge life event, I knew about it in advance. When that realization sunk in, I understood I don't need to worry about all these potentialities, all these psychodramas because for the real dramas, the universe gives me a heads up. I used to wonder if by thinking about them -- break ins, car accidents, etc. -- I was practicing the law of attraction and drawing these things to me. I wondered if I was manifesting these awful events and therefore blamed myself for their occurrence. Now I understand that's a lot of self-centered phooey and instead realize I was getting a warning. I am cradled in the lap of the universe. I am so loved, connected, and blessed that God/Brahma/the Cosmic Consciousness/my inner guide lets me know about terrible events in advance so I can prepare myself and perhaps change the outcome slightly, or at least soften the blow.

Understanding I'm given a heads up, I can disregard my errant fears as they arise because unless they carry the weight of intuition behind them, all they are is F.E.A.R. (false evidence appearing real). I can get in touch with my intuitive side, I can check in and determine whether my fear is legitimate or whether it's my brain making up stories. And I can let go of it all recognizing that even in the worst moments, I am cradled by love.

I dream of a world where we get in touch with our intuition. A world where we listen to the voice that’s within us. A world where we know that even at the worst of times we are still guided, loved, and protected. A world where we let go of what ails us because we understand we are all cradled by love.

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

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Do More Nothing

I'm currently in Seattle where nothing is required of me except the bare minimum -- I still have to work, but other than that, my parents are doing a great job babying me. I'm having a difficult time doing nothing, so I thought I would repost this as a reminder there is value in rest. Here is a blogpost from October of last year. 

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 emails 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.

True story, the weather in Seattle is the coldest it's been in FIFTEEN YEARS. I picked a great time to visit.
 I mention all this not to throw a pity party -- or to make anyone envious of my month of rest -- 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, December 1, 2013

The "What is"

Today is my 29th birthday, that is, if you're reading this on December 1st. It's been a less than stellar day because I had to work from 8:30 to 4:30, I'm still experiencing pain from the car accident, and I'm not having a big party. Suffice to say, today has not turned out the way I expected. The challenge for me is to find the good in what is.

I think we all have expectations of certain days -- birthdays, holidays, graduation, first dates, etc. -- and when those expectations aren't met we're left feeling disappointed. I know I am. However, even though today hasn't gone the way I'd hoped and I'm not feeling the buzz I normally do on my birthday, there's been a lot of good about today too. I've received numerous telephone calls, text messages, and facebook posts from friends near and far wishing me well. My mom is at this moment making me a delicious dinner. There's a lot of love for me in this world and today is the day I get to bask in it.

birthday cupcake
It's my birthday! Here are some pretty cupcakes.  
What's awesome is I spoke to a friend on the phone and I mentioned that if I was in Chicago like I normally am at this time of year to cover a conference, I'd still be celebrating my birthday with family because my sister lives there. Hearing myself say that I was taken aback because I'm so lucky, I'm so loved, I have a lot of community all over the world, which is amazing.

I'm telling you all this not to brag, but because I'm sincerely grateful. Sometimes gratitude becomes dry as I reel off all the things I'm grateful for like heat and food and a roof over my head because I list those things every day. If something occurs every day it becomes mundane, ordinary, common -- at least it does for me. So when something doesn't go the way I expect, it's even more important for me to find the good about what is. What's good about the here and now? What's true? When I do that I can genuinely pull the feeling of gratitude into my heart because I am grateful for my friends and family, I am grateful so many people are wishing me happy birthday, and I am grateful I chose to come into this world on this day. Thank you for being with me on my journey.

I dream of a world where even in sucky situations we can find something good about what is. A world where we all feel genuinely grateful for something. A world where we not only accept what is, but we find something positive about it.

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

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Making Sense of the Senseless

I've been having a tough time since this car accident trying to make sense of why it happened. As much as I don't want to, I keep replaying the incident and I keep crying asking myself "why?" It's one of the few times something has happened to me that I can't explain, that I can't justify as being the result of some previous known action. When I was 15 I was stung 23 times by yellow jackets, but that's because I ran over a nest. Three years ago, I sprained my ankle while walking down the stairs because I wasn't looking as I turned up the volume on my cellphone.

This though? This I cannot explain -- I had a walk signal, the car had stopped, he saw me, and yet as I crossed he hit me anyway. The accident keeps replaying in my head like a bad song. Most people tell me some things cannot be explained, or sh*t happens and that's the end of it. I can't accept that. I can't swallow that bad things happen and that's the end of it. Even disasters like floods and hurricanes I understand because they are consequences of natural forces.

What I'm falling back on is my faith, my spiritual philosophy. The night of the accident I felt some weirdness in the air. A minute before I was hit, I contemplated what I would do if I was hit by a car. I'm starting to believe the incident was inescapable, that for whatever reason it had to happen to me. In my spiritual path, we believe in the law of karma, or action, but it's not limited to my current lifetime. Karma can carry over for many lifetimes and follows the principle of physics -- for every action there is a reaction. Maybe this car accident was a reaction from something lifetimes ago that finally got expressed.

I bring this up, the idea of something being inescapable, because it's the only way I know to continue to feel safe in the world. I've done some trauma work with my therapist and she reminds me the world is usually safe, that I've crossed the street billions of times and been fine. Believing the accident was meant to be allows me to cross the street in confidence (because I'm already a defensive pedestrian). It allows me to believe I really am safe and protected. That perhaps like I wrote about in May, I can be safe within danger because this incident was not preventable. That maybe higher power is still taking care of me all the time, is protecting me, but the car accident was something I had to experience. Maybe the reason will become clear, or maybe it's just one of those karmic reactions, but I don't need to worry every time I see a car driving toward me.

I have no idea whether this post will help other people, but for me the way I'm making sense of the senseless is by choosing to believe in the laws of nature, choosing to believe some things are not preventable -- especially when they seem so deliberate as in my case -- and that I can still be safe, protected, and taken care of even when I undergo hardship. Maybe there's some sense within the senseless after all.

I dream of a world where we're able to accept some things are meant to be. A world where we still have trust and faith in something greater than ourselves especially when life hands us lemons. A world where we're able to grapple with life's difficulties and still retain our joy and optimism.

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

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Happiness Not Required

First off, I want to make a distinction between happiness and joy. According to Brené Brown, happiness is tied to circumstance and joyfulness is tied to spirit and gratitude. Even the Greek origins of the word demonstrate that concept. The Greek word for happiness, Makarios, was used to describe the freedom of the rich from normal cares and worries, or to describe a person who received some form of good fortune such as money or health. The Greek word for joy is chairo, which was described as the “culmination of being,” and the “good mood of the soul.”

I’ll admit I’ve been chasing happiness. When I was younger I thought being thin would “make” me happy and later I thought having a boyfriend would “make” me happy. For the past few years it’s been about having the perfect home space. I’ve been chasing a feeling, trying to recreate an experience from my past, believing if I just moved somewhere else then I’d be happy.
"Happiness runs in a circular motion, life is like a little boat upon the sea. . ."
On Friday, I asked myself, “Rebekah, do you really need to be happy where you live?” The answer is, “No.” I realized sometimes my needs and my happiness converge and sometimes they do not. Right now my home meets my needs – it’s quiet, I live alone, I can afford my rent, and I’m surrounded by nature. But am I happy? No. And that’s OK.

To me, being an adult means understanding I won’t always be happy and much like I wrote about in my post “Self-Will and the Magic Pill,” there’s no magic pill or formula or circumstance that will invoke happiness within me. I’m choosing to see happiness as something I stumble upon, something that is bestowed upon me, and not something I can seek.

What I can seek, what I can cultivate, is joy. Joy comes from gratitude and appreciation, from counting my blessings, from connecting with others, and choosing to see the good in my life.

I guess what I’m saying is right now I’m finding getting my needs met are more important than being happy. I’m letting myself off the hook in terms of searching for happiness because in the last two years especially, I find it’s a never-ending quest. How can I chase a feeling? How can I possibly know what elements are required to create happiness? I thought living in this cottage in Oakland would make me happy, and it hasn’t. But instead of trying to do something about it, I’m letting myself be.

Many people find themselves unhappy – they thought the great job, nice car, beautiful house, loving partner, or whatever, would make them happy and it did – temporarily, but then it wore off because happiness is not permanent. Happiness is something that happens. But joy? Joy is an inside job.

I dream of a world where we realize we don’t have to be happy. A world where we no longer seek good fortune but let good fortune come to us. A world where we practice being joyful through gratitude and appreciation. A world where we understand sometimes it’s more important to get our needs met than it is to be happy.

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

Sunday, November 10, 2013

More Kind than Cruel

I think most of you know this because you follow me on facebook, but if not, I was in a car accident on Tuesday. Rather, I was hit by a car on Tuesday as I walked through an intersection. Nothing too terrible – I scraped my chin, my jaw took the impact, and I’m unable to chew for the time being, but nothing is broken, I walked away from the accident, and I’m physically in pretty good shape, considering. The police already ran the license plates and nothing came back, so it is unlikely the driver will be caught. Emotionally, I’m pretty shaken.

I’m still scared, but what I have to remind myself over and over again is the world is more kind than cruel. After the driver who hit me drove off, the person behind him stopped, and wrote down the license plate number and his telephone number in case I needed anything. He also gave me some paper napkins and an alcohol swab to clean the blood off my face and hands. Another person also stopped and offered to drive me home because clearly the last thing I wanted was to walk. And another person, a woman, stopped just to see if I was OK. I have to remind myself for every jerk in the world, there are at least three kind people.
love of the best kind
I know I could have chosen another image to demonstrate kindness but this one was too sweet to pass up. Copyright by Tolly P.
On Friday night, I chatted with my next door neighbor and she agreed with my sentiment. She’s a therapist specializing in abuse and trauma, so she’s seen some pretty dark things, but even she assured me people are inherently good. I’ve also seen that to be the case – the receptionist at my chiropractor’s office offered to pick me up for an appointment after she learned it takes me an hour to get to the office via public transportation. Someone I’ve never met in person called me up and asked if I’d like her to come over and keep me company after the incident when she read about it on facebook.

There is a lot of love for me. There are many people in the world who want to support me. It’s difficult when things like this happen, but I also think it’s important to retain my world view, my optimism, and my belief in the goodness of others. For the first time I understand it’s a conscious choice I have to make instead of a default belief. It’s not easy; it no longer comes as natural to me, but even more so I see how much it’s necessary. I cannot prevent bad things from happening, I can’t stop drivers from speeding up to hit pedestrians like in my case, I can’t prevent break-ins, I can’t halt violence and poverty and destruction, but I sure as heck can show some kindness and compassion after the fact. I’m starting to believe that’s maybe what life is all about.

I dream of a world where we choose to focus on the goodness in others instead of the bad. A world where we recognize the world is more kind than cruel. A world where we show up for one another to the best of our capacity, understanding support may come from the most unlikely places. A world where we understand we can’t prevent bad things from happening, but we can definitely determine what happens afterward.

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

Sunday, November 3, 2013

I Love You for Who You Are

I didn’t think I was going to write any new material today because I am zonked, but then inspiration hit and I realized I wanted to share this.

Lately, perfectionism and people pleasing have been coming up for me. I’ve held this belief that if I wasn’t perfect, if I wasn’t giving of myself, others wouldn’t continue to like me, wouldn’t want to maintain a relationship with me. There’s been a fear that if I didn’t constantly give my gifts in friendship, people I love would disappear.

A lot of my past work using affirmations has been saying, “Rebekah, I love you for who are,” and that’s great! It’s been so helpful and has completely changed my life. However, right or wrong, I’m at the point now where I want to believe the same is true of friends, i.e. that my friends also love me for who I am, not what I do or give. I know I can’t ask anyone to say these things to me, but perhaps you feel the same and would like to hear it, so I’m going to tell it to you, my readers, my friends, the people I associate with. Here is my open letter to you:

Dear (insert your name here),

I love you for exactly who you are, right now. I love your authenticity, your vulnerability. I love your quirks. I love the things that set you apart from the crowd. I love how you stand up for yourself and how you hold fast to your convictions. I love that you’re willing to be weird because in your weirdness there is you and I love you.

I want to tell you, you don’t have to change for me. You don’t have to be perfect for me. Perfection does not equal love, but humanness does. You’re experimenting in life and so am I and I love you for it. I love that you’re willing to show up for life, to have the courage to keep going even after you make mistakes. I love your boldness.

Please keep being you and please know that if other people don’t like you for who you are, they’re not meant to be in your life. Birds of a feather flock together and you are in my flock. We are meant to stick together, chinks and all.

I love when you’re real with me. I love when you let me in and show me what’s really going on with you. I love when your walls are down, when you’re honest, when you’re crying. That is how I connect with you. I don’t want to see your mask; I can’t click with your mask, so please take it off when you’re with me.

You are a bright, shining light, and I want you to know it’s safe for you to be you, especially around me.

All my love,

I dream of a world where we know we are loved for who we are. A world where we realize the people in our lives love us for us, and if they don’t, the relationship is not serving our best interests. A world where we keep tearing our walls down because our authenticity is what brings about the most love.

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

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Into Me See

It’s funny how things run in cycles. Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote a post called, “Reparenting the Inner Child.” The nuances of that post are being further revealed today. That post was about safety; this post is also about safety albeit a different kind.

The question has come up a few times this week, “Why did I write Just a Girl from Kansas?” Specifically, what do I get out of it? I realized on Thursday, the personal reason I wrote the book is to prove to myself that it’s safe to be me. It’s safe for me to be who I am out in the world; it’s safe for me to be vulnerable.

Into me see
Into me see!
So much of my story, so much of my childhood, has been about hiding who I am for fear of harm. I learned early on to hide who I was and only reveal my true self around certain people. Writing Just a Girl from Kansas was an act of defiance. My adult self proving the world has changed, I have changed, and it’s fine for me to not only reveal my true self, but reveal the most intimate parts of myself.

I’ve heard it said intimacy could be broken down as, “into me see.” I would say that’s true. When I’m vulnerable, you are seeing into me and that’s scary because what if you don’t like it? What if you decide it’s not good enough, I’m not good enough, and you run in the other direction? Vulnerability and thus intimacy can be painful and scary. All day today I’ve wanted to hide away, build a wall around myself, and post a sign that says, “KEEP OUT.” Vulnerability is scary for people and I am no exception, but it’s important to let others see into me.

Because we’re talking about vulnerability, I have mention another post I wrote in which I linked to Brené Brown’s Ted Talk on the subject. She asserts vulnerability creates connection and I’ve found that to be the case. When other people see into me, my friendships are richer, deeper. We don’t talk about what Miley Cyrus is up to – we talk about what’s real, what’s happening in our lives, and that wouldn’t be possible without vulnerability.

I keep making myself vulnerable because the rewards outweigh the risks and sharing who I am reminds me I’m not as alone as I think. C.S. Lewis captures this sentiment perfectly when he says, “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: "What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” Being vulnerable, being who I really am in the world reminds me there are others like me, other people dealing with the same issues, and that allows me to cope in a far greater capacity than I could on my own. That is why I let other people see into me.

I dream of a world where we allow ourselves to be vulnerable. A world where we remember as scary as it is, the rewards outweigh the risks. A world where we know it’s safe to be ourselves. A world where we remember we are not alone. A world where we let others see us for who we are.

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

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Self-will and the Magic Pill

I hoped inspiration would strike and I would find another insight to share with you, but alas, the only theme for this week has been on self-will and magic pills. I’m hesitant to write this post because what I’m about to say is antithetical to what has been taught and we’ve been persuaded to believe. It’s not a popular message, but it’s my truth.

From my own experience of U.S. culture, there’s been a pervasive notion of control and self-will. There’s been a belief that every person can, “Pull themselves up by their bootstraps,” and, “If you work hard enough, you can achieve anything.” Lately, I see these ideas bleeding over into more than being the next American Idol, there’s a lot of self-will around love and money. In addition to “making things happen,” the en vogue idea is our thoughts shape our reality and if we think positively enough, we’ll get whatever we want. If we visualize enough, we’ll all be millionaires living with our soul mates. And if that’s not your reality, by golly you’re thinking the wrong thoughts, or not believing hard enough. But don’t worry, there’s a webinar/course/book that will teach you how to think properly.

This image says it all I think.
Ladies and gentlemen, manifestation techniques and the law of attraction have become the new magic pills. The shortcut to an easy life where you call all the shots and are never unhappy or experiencing any difficulties ever again. I so badly want to believe in magic pills, and I am the perfect target market to buy them because 1.) I’m impatient and 2.) There are a lot of things I want.

I have purchased many magic pills, and all with the same result, which is to say no results. The only “magic pills” that have worked for me are the small, consistent steps that add up to big results. I expect the same is true for many of you, which is why my blogpost “Little by Little” struck a nerve.

I’m not saying there isn’t truth to manifestation techniques and the law of attraction, because there is, I’m saying our part in it has been oversold. It is my strong opinion the self-will piece has become inflated – too much emphasis has been placed on our part, what we can do to create our realities. We aren’t alone in the great blue yonder – there is an energy, a force, something, that governs this world, and I don’t just mean the laws of nature. There is a force at play in my life and as much as I whine, complain, and cajole that unseen entity, things are not going to happen solely because I want them to.

My question is also, who’s to say the people selling the magic pill webinars and books wouldn’t have had the same things happen to them regardless of their visualization? Maybe they still would have met Mr./Ms. Right, maybe they still would have met the talent scout who launched their career, and maybe, just maybe certain events are fated to happen. We have to act of course, but let’s not kid ourselves into believing self-will is all it takes.

I dream of a world where we understand self-will only takes us so far. A world where we say, “No” to magic pills because some things are out of our control. A world where we strive for balance in all things and a world where we allow for a little mystery.

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

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Things Pop When They're Ready

I'm digging into my archives again for this evening's post. I've found this week has been all about remembering things pop when they're ready, that as much as I would like, certain things cannot be forced. For more on patience paying off, read my latest article on Truth Leaders. Without further ado, a post from May of last year:

I moved into a new place about a week ago that’s a studio plus an office. In order to separate my bedroom from my living room, I bought a Japanese screen from Craigslist.

Japanese Screen
Pretty, right?
The night before I picked up the screen, I checked my wallet and all I had was $44. (The screen cost $45.) My new location is not as commercial as my other one, so I’m not near an ATM, nor is an ATM on my way to public transportation, so I wanted to avoid a special trip if at all possible. I dumped all the coins in my wallet on the floor and came up $0.26 short. I searched my whole apartment looking for the extra change. I scoured the bottom of every bag and backpack I own trying to come up with the money, running through scenarios in my head. Perhaps she would be fine with $44.74.

It struck me I should check my foreign money because, hey, you never know, right? I just got back from Italy, so maybe my American money would be mixed in. I searched my euros: nope, nothing. Then I pulled out my money from Costa Rica, a country I visited 11 year ago. Mixed in with all the coins was a $1 American coin. I kid you not. That coin was sitting in a bag at the bottom of my dresser for ELEVEN YEARS waiting for this very purpose it seemed.
The coin looked similar to this one. I hope it wasn't a collectible.
I laughed out loud when I saw it and I think I said, “You have to be kidding me.” Things pop when they’re ready.

What’s also interesting to me is I’ve known someone for 10 years – we run in the same circles, have similar friends – and yet up until recently we’ve been acquaintances. Familiar acquaintances, yes, but I didn’t really consider him a friend. More like in between a friend and an acquaintance. Then in August, he started dating his partner and things changed. We started hanging out more and became real friends. So much so that I visited him in the hospital yesterday after he fractured his jaw while breaking up a fight. I didn’t know I felt that way until his partner sent out a mass message on facebook detailing what happened. Somehow I didn’t even question whether I would visit him, it was a given.

While at the hospital he was a pathetic sight – bandages strapped to his head, immobilizing his jaw, not able to talk. All communication was through paper. He wrote down, “Thanks for visiting me,” and I said, “Of course! That’s what you do for friends and family!” And I meant it. Because somehow we crossed the line of acquaintance and into friendship even though I’ve known him for a long time. Things pop when they’re ready.

I’m going to circle this post back to the last one I wrote “Starburst,” because I think the same principle applies. Matt Damon and Julia Roberts “popped,” they became famous when they were ready, or the universe was ready, or whatever “it” is that had to be ready. The exciting thing is we never know when the pop will happen.

I dream of a world where we understand all things in due time. A world where we know there’s no need to feel impatient because things pop when they’re ready. A world where we live each day in joy, feeling present, and alive because there is nothing more exciting than being on planet Earth when at any moment things can pop.

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

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Power to Choose

On Friday, I had a bit of a meltdown. I’d been harboring feelings of resentment toward someone in power who’s in my life. Let’s call her Marjorie. Whenever I saw Marjorie, I smiled and waved, but inside I seethed. When I asked myself why, I realized things were not how they appeared. What it came down to is I’ve been blowing things out of proportion because I’d been processing my grandparents’ baggage.

I’ve mentioned a few times my grandparents are Holocaust survivors. The repercussions of that manifest in many ways, but in this instance it meant feeling betrayed by someone in power. It meant feeling taken advantage of and as if my needs didn’t matter. That Marjorie’s needs were more important and all I could do is sit back and take the “abuse.” I believed it was in my best interest to “keep the peace” and “not rock the boat.” To go along with what Marjorie wanted because the alternative seemed unbearable, and yet, inside I felt anything but peace.

Lightning power
An impressive display of power if I've ever seen one.

So again, I asked myself why, and I realized I’d been taking things to an extreme level, feeling what my grandparents felt about power and authority and the abuse of it. My feelings were nowhere near on par with the reality of my situation.

After crying, I called up a friend and she reminded me I have a choice in the matter. I don’t have to automatically heal the intergenerational junk. I don’t have to ground my ancestors and break the karmic cycle. I have the power to choose. I have the power to say, “No.” I also realized I have the power to choose who’s in power. Let me explain.

People only have authority because I imbue them with it. People are only in power because I, you, we empower them. If we didn’t believe the president was in charge of the country, we wouldn’t listen to a word he said, nor would we enact anything he signed into law. We have agreed certain people are in power, but let us never forget where they get that power from: us.

It’s the same thing with Marjorie – she’s in power because I’m letting her be powerful. In truth, she’s a person just like I am. In truth, she’s flawed like me. In truth, she’s not the most powerful person in the world. If I continue to have issues with her I can go above her head. It may not be pretty, it may not be comfortable, but I have options, I have choices, and remembering that brings my power back.

I dream of a world where we remember we have the power to choose, to say yes or no. A world where we recognize there is no person who is more powerful than another. A world where we realize those who are authorities are authorized by us. A world where we recognize what our own power is and we employ it.

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

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Life Can Be so Sweet It Will Break Your Heart

At times it can be very easy for me to slip into old patterns – to focus on the negative instead of the positive. To lament what I don’t have instead of what I do. We all know gratitude is the key to happiness, but even gratitude can become something rote, something I roll off the tongue because of course I’m grateful for food to eat, a place to sleep, money in the bank, etc.

What’s been on my mind is holding close those moments that are so sweet they break my heart. Maybe it’s gratitude, but for me it’s deep gratitude, gratitude in the core of my being so pure tears spring to my eyes. A sweetness so subtle it cannot be expressed, only felt.

This weekend has been one of those times. My dear friends who are like family were married on Friday. The ceremony was lovely, but what really got to me was the reception. Friends of the bride and groom performed songs for the happy couple, gave toasts, and generally expressed their love. In return, the bride and groom expressed their love for us, their community. To see how much support and love and appreciation we all have for one another was so sweet. I aspire to have the same thing – a great community that supports me and a wonderful romantic relationship.

Yesterday, the newly married couple had a picnic at a redwood park where we all caught up and socialized in a more casual manner. I made new connections and had more time to talk to the people I already knew. I lounged on the grass, ate delicious food, and walked through the woods. Just before I left, someone I’ve known for a few years gifted me with a CD because he felt inspired. It was a spontaneous act of friendship and I love those authentic moments of expression.

Last night, a friend had a birthday party, so in addition to more food, we sat around in candlelight singing kiirtans and connecting with one another in a heart space. I didn’t get home until about 1 a.m.
A taste of some of the kiirtan we sang last night. If you enjoy this, I recommend checking out Amitabhan's website.

These moments, these times when I’m connecting deeply, when I feel loved, held, when my needs are getting met in unexpected ways, choke me up. Right now I have a lump in my throat. These are the moments that remind me life is sweet, it’s supposed to be fun, and joyful. I can get caught up in the rat race, focusing on how I need to make more money, or checking things off my to-do list and forget this, these moments, are what life is about: having so much sweetness it breaks my heart.

I dream of a world where we all experience untold sweetness. A world where life breaks our heart (in a good way). A world where we remember why we’re here. A world where we embrace all the love in our lives. A world where we live in harmony with ourselves and each other.

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

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Underneath it All

I am very lucky in that there are friends in my life who are committed to growth and healing. People who don’t take the world or personal problems at face value and are always digging deeper – people who encourage me to do the same.

One of my friends, who is a therapist, told me anxiety is like an octopus – it will attach to anything, but there’s “stuff” the octopus is sitting on. For me, I have intense anxiety when I hear noise late at night. I get SUPER anxious about sleeping because I do not want to be tired. I don’t want to be tired because I don’t want to be unproductive. And I don’t want to be unproductive because I don’t want to be unlovable.

Anxiety is like an octopus -- it attaches to stuff but there's more underneath.
Let me phrase that in another way. There is a part of me, a very young part of me, that believes only by doing something, giving something, achieving something, that I am lovable. Like there’s a love quotient and the more I do and accomplish the more loved I am. So of course being tired and unproductive makes me anxious! Of course I’ve taken my life to the extreme of being busy all the time.

Even typing this my inner child is scared because her whole world is shifting. A paradigm she’s been operating from for a loooong time is crumbling and she’s freaking out. Change can be scary y’all.

The truth is, I don’t think anyone loves me because of my accomplishments. I don’t think anyone says, “That Rebekah, I only like her for her writing.” If I flip it around, there’s certainly no one in my life who I love solely because they’re whip smart, or a good writer, or ambitious. Sure, I love those parts, but they’re not the only reason I love someone. Similarly, no one loves me only for what I can do either. To take it even further, no one will stop loving me if I’m unproductive, if I sit around all day and watch Netflix in my pajamas. No one will say, “I’m sorry, you’re not doing enough so I no longer love you.” Why say that to myself?

I bring this up because perhaps you have been struggling with anxiety and it’s not getting better. Perhaps it’s about something other than what it seems. I also share this because I think we have so many outdated ideas we’re not aware of. Things we think we need to do or achieve or accomplish or be before we’re lovable, before we “deserve” what we want. I’m here to whisper, “It’s not true.”

Louise Hay says, “Life’s problems can usually be boiled down to not loving and approving of the self.” At first I didn’t believe it because, “Of course I love myself! I say affirmations all the time!” but I didn’t realize my love had conditions. That I had to meet certain requirements before I gave myself the love I desired. What can you let go of today and what can you do to love yourself even more?

I dream of a world where we unconditionally love ourselves. A world where we understand we are worthy and deserving of love no matter what. A world where we let go that which no longer serves us. A world where we look deep within to find the healing we deserve.

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

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Your Presence is Requested

I have a lot going on. But as my father says, “Rebekah, you always have a lot going on.” Touché Papa. Touché. What happens when I have a lot going on is my mind gets abuzz with all the what ifs. “What if I never get good sleep? What if I need to move again? What if I have a run in with my neighbor?” My mind whirls with possibilities and I contemplate how I’ll handle each one of them, or conversely, I worry what I’ll do in the future because I have no idea how I’ll handle them.

Meditating Presence
Meditating, and even looking at pictures of meditation, helps me become present.
In a moment of clarity, it occurred to me it is not my responsibility to worry about the future. To contemplate all the possibilities, all the options, all the potentials. My mind cannot handle it, and besides, if I’ve been shown anything, it’s that my wildest dreams aren’t even close to what happens in reality (which is similar to the subtitle of my book). I mean, let’s take a look at the evidence. This time last year, I packed up my apartment, put my stuff into storage, and was en route to Tucson with no idea whether I would come back to California. Now, I’m living in a cottage in Oakland where I can see trees outside my windows. These are things that never entered my realm of possibility, but there you are.   

It’s important for me to stay present and in the moment because many of the things I worry about don’t even come to pass, and so I wasted all that time and energy and only accomplished feeling anxious and fearful. Guys, I’m so tired of feeling anxious and fearful. When I’m present, fear and anxiety do not exist because I recognize I am safe, I am alive, I have what I need, and all is well.

A part of this whole “being present” thing is trust. Trusting in my higher power, trusting in the universe, trusting that when I need to know something or do something, I will. When I’m present, I attach myself to a power greater than myself and let some other force work on the details. What I do instead is show up for my life and do what has been requested of me. In March, I made a public declaration of trust, and being present is an affirmation of that trust because it means I have let go of the possible outcomes I could conjure up, and instead allow limitless possibilities in my life, knowing all is well, all of my needs will always be met, and I will be guided to my next right action.

I dream of a world where we continue to be present. A world where we live in a place of peace and harmony. A world where we take guided action as need be but otherwise leave the rest up to the universe. A world where we trust in a force greater than us, and a world where we show up for our lives.

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

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Transcending Fear

I’ve blogged once a week for approximately five years. That’s . . . a lot of blogposts. I realize some of you have been reading “Another World is Probable” from the beginning, but quite a few of you haven’t. There are some gems in my archives that I want to highlight and even if you’ve read it before, I figure we can all use a reminder every now and again. I know I could. So, here in its entirety is a post from April 2010:

I used to believe I had to “conquer” my fears. I used to be of the mindset I had to squash doubt flat, or wrestle with my other issues until I won. That I had to assert my will and come out the victor. I realized a while ago that’s not the case at all. In January I wrote a journal entry I’ve been meaning to share but haven’t yet:
Jan. 27, 2010 I realized tonight this fear is not mine, it doesn’t belong to me. I’ve been trying to take ownership of it. To claim it. To bust through it. To work around it. But it’s like a blind man getting caught tangled in a cloak. I’ve been trying to chew holes in it and rip it apart, but ultimately can’t get rid of it until I just take it off, recognizing it doesn’t belong to me. Because it doesn’t. There’s no use in trying to work with or tame fear – it can’t be tamed. Only released. It was never mine to begin with. It always belonged to God so I give it back to its rightful owner, where God can transmute it into love. That was never my responsibility. My only job was to let it go, to surrender.
I don't know why this picture makes me think "transcendence" but it does.
While that particular journal entry was about fear I think it can apply to anything and everything. I don’t ever really “work through” my issues so much as release them. Some people would say to me, “Yes, but Rebekah, the only way to get rid of a fear like public speaking is to just go out and do it. Take a class and practice.” I would say let’s take a look at what’s really going on. What happens when we practice something like public speaking? We decide it’s not as scary as we thought. Because we’re doing what scares us, we realize it’s not so bad. We release the fear in our mind. So again, the point of power, the point of change, is in the mind, not the action. 

Whenever I talk about surrender and release someone invariably says to me, “Yes but you still have to do stuff. You can’t just sit around.” Sometimes I think we confuse surrender and avoidance. Avoidance is fear-based. When I avoid something it’s because I’m afraid, I don’t want to do it, whatever. If I were to say, “I surrender my fear of public speaking,” and then refuse to speak in public whenever I’m given the opportunity, that’s not really surrendering the fear, is it? That’s avoidance. 

Surrender means to release, to let go, to no longer fight. When I surrender fear and doubt I release them to love. I give them to infinite love. I no longer wrestle with them using my ego, or the willful part of me. The part of me that thinks I handle everything by myself, the part of me that thinks I am separate from everyone and everything else. Essentially the part of me that disconnects from all-pervasive love. 

When I surrender, when I release, when I let go, I transcend all those issues. I transcend my little “I” and my little “I” issues and instead remember all is love. Instead I remember I am love incarnate. 

I dream of a world where instead of “working” on our issues we just let them go. A world where we remember we are divine, magnificent beings, and our true nature is love. A world where we see ourselves for who we really are – embodiments of love. A world where we transcend all that is unlike love and live in a place of peace and harmony. 

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

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Receiving Grace

On Saturday after I woke up, I asked myself, “What do you need today? What do you need to receive today?” My answers were “rest” (a perennial response) and “grace.” That seemed interesting because how does one receive grace and what is grace exactly?

For me, grace means synchronistic events and is one way the universe expresses love for me. Sure enough, I experienced a few synchronicities yesterday. The first was catching an earlier BART train than I anticipated despite my bus showing up several minutes late – a miracle for any public transportation rider. Also, I wanted to buy some protein powder but didn’t want to spend a fortune. Wouldn’t you know it? The grocery store was having 20 percent off ALL protein powders! Then, when I got home, I spotted an email in my inbox about someone giving away their printer inkjet cartridge for free, the exact type of ink I need, and in fact, am running low on.

Receiving grace
This picture was too good for me to pass up.

Even thinking about all the events right now puts a smile on my face.

Why am I blogging about receiving grace? Why am I mentioning all of these events? I think a key component of receiving grace is being open to help. So often I believe I can handle life all on my own – I have all the answers, I already know what to do, where to go, etc. I shut myself off from possibilities, from creative solutions, and from divine help.

In my yoga and meditation group I’ve heard this quote (which I’m paraphrasing) about a bajillion times: “God’s grace is always raining down on your head, but if you’re carrying an umbrella of ego how will you feel it?” I’ve heard that quote (or something like it) so often it’s lost all meaning. The definition of the ego and how to remove it is perhaps a post for another time, but right now my personal process for getting drenched in the grace rain shower is to practice openness and willingness. What I didn’t mention is money is tight for me right now due to unexpected expenses, and so I need as much help as I can get, which means these episodes of grace are all the more sweet.

Because I’m not trying to be the director/stage manager/lighting designer/sound engineer/costume designer/props mistress of my life, the universe gets to fulfill those roles for me. I’ve created space for the universe (or whatever you want to call it) to come in. I’ve removed the umbrella of ego from my head at least temporarily because I’m willing to receive grace, I’m willing to do things differently, and I’m willing to admit I don’t know everything.

I dream of a world where we all experience untold grace. A world where we have the willingness to ask for help. A world where do our part and let the universe do its. A world where we allow ourselves to receive grace.

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

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Goodbye, Hello

I suck at transitions, especially when I’m not the one gallivanting off on the adventure. When my world stays the same minus one aspect – a friend moving away, for instance – then it’s as if I’ve entered the “Twilight Zone.” Life is the same but different. It’s this piece that drives me crazy, the instability, the insecurity, the ground shifting beneath my feet because things are not what they once were.

Goodbye, hello
Every goodbye carries with it a new hello.
I’m not sure I have anything inspiring to say except I keep hearing an expression ringing in my ears: “You have to let go of the old to make way for the new.” When things are good, when I like the old, I don’t want to make way for the new. But I also recognize there could be some really good things up ahead. I could become close to someone new and my life could be enriched. I could experience something amazing I otherwise wouldn’t have been open to. Life could be so beautiful it would break my heart. 

I guess where I’m at is grieving the loss, saying goodbye to the old, but understanding the new could be fantastic. And because I believe in an invisible hand, a guiding force, I know it will be in my best interest.

Am I sad to say goodbye to old friends? Yes, I am, BUT distance doesn’t mean the friendship dies and really, who knows what’s next?

I dream of a world where we clear the old to make way for the new. A world where we grieve for the past yet welcome the future. A world where we live each moment feeling grateful for what we have because we understand it won’t last forever.

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

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Love 'em and Release 'em

There are some qualities about myself I do not like – namely insecurity and anxiety. Partly, I feel a lot of insecurity and anxiety due to my heightened sensitivity as my adrenal glands normalize, but the qualities are still within me. I’ve been struggling with these two for a long time as you’ll have noticed from reading this blog. My affirmations of late have been, “I release my need for insecurity and anxiety, I release all resistance,” but there hasn’t been any traction. The affirmation hasn’t held.

Fishing with love
I love this! Fish with love!
Friday morning I decided to take a new approach. The Queen of Self-Love, Christine Arylo, recommends loving the things about yourself you do not like. I’ve done this with great success – every morning I say, “Rebekah, I love how sensitive you are because that means you’re better able to accept and receive divine messages.” So I tried conducting the practice on insecurity and anxiety: “Rebekah, I love how insecure you are because that means you’re interested in connecting. I love how anxious you are because that means you care deeply.”  

My battered, war-torn soul sighed in relief from no longer having to engage in conflict. “Really? Do you mean it?” I asked. “I really do,” I replied.

A very wise monk, who unfortunately passed away in November, used to say that all anything wants is infinite, unconditional love. That means my insecurity just wants to be loved, my anxiety just wants to be loved, my fear just wants to be loved, etc. All innate characteristics want infinite love. However, I also know, “As you think, so you become,” which is why affirmations are so powerful. Do I really want to keep affirming my insecurity and anxiety? Do I really want to keep these things around?

No. I do not. So what I’m circling back to is releasing them, however, this time I release them out of love. And I think that makes all the difference. Instead of saying, “Ugh, I hate feeling so insecure and anxious. Go away and leave me alone!” I’m saying, “I love you for what you’ve done for me, but now I recognize I don’t need you anymore. I release you and let you go.” I don’t need anxiety to care about people, places, and things, nor do I need insecurity to tell me I crave connection.

Maybe nobody cares about this except for me, but it feels pretty big. To love something I used to hate and then still let it go. To love all parts of myself but recognize some of them do not serve me. To release the bad and hold onto the good. To be open to new ways of being. To love myself so much I say goodbye to the old and welcome the new. I’m walking into a new paradigm and I dream of that for others as well.

I dream of a world where we release the traits that aren’t working for us with love. A world where we love ourselves so much we know when it’s time to say goodbye to some of them. A world where we keep the lessons we’ve learned but discard the rest. A world where we’re open to transformation and then receive it. 

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

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Love is the Container

When I ride the bus it opens up my world and forces me to mix with people I might not otherwise. On Wednesday, I rode the bus and felt like crying hearing the stories around me – the snippets of people talking about being addicted to weed, the demeanor of the woman who looked ready to punch someone, the homeless people camping out at bus shelters. My heart broke a little because I care so much. I care so deeply. Yes, my sensitivity is probably over the top at the moment, but I can’t help that.

As tears started to leak from my eyes, a woman walked on the bus and sat in front of me. Her shirt said “love” down both the sleeves. In that moment I cried even harder because it struck me love is the container for all things. Even while I was crying, love was still there; in this case, literally. Love means it’s safe for me to cry, safe for me to be angry, safe for me to feel whatever I want. All of my emotions, all of my everything, really, are held in the container of love.

I know this is a trash can but there's a heart on it. So love is literally acting as a container!

Often I think love is separate from icky emotions or things I cast judgment upon. I think there is love and then there is everything else. What I’m coming to realize, however, is that’s false. Love is not outside of all these things, love IS everything; it’s omnipresent.

Nothing escapes the purview of love, nothing is outside of love. There is a Sanskrit mantra I sing every day that translates as “love is all there is.” For the longest time I couldn’t wrap my head around that definition and preferred the longer version: “Everything is an expression of an infinite, loving consciousness.” But today I finally “get” it. Love holds everything, even war, disease, famine, and poverty.

This blogpost may not make sense to many of you, but I hope someone understands what I’m trying to say, which is, even when we think it’s not, love is there. In truth, this concept transcends language so to really understand what I mean, I ask that you take a second to feel what I’m saying.

I dream of a world where we feel love in all things. A world where we understand it’s safe to feel however we’re feeling because we’re being held by divine love. A world where we understand nothing is outside of love because love is all there is.

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

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The External is Internal

I’ve wanted to write about this for a long time so I’m glad the opportunity finally presented itself. According to one theory, there are three relationship styles, also called attachment styles or systems. Usually, when we’re talking about attachment theory it’s in terms of parenting, i.e. how “attached” a child is to a parent. Since attachment theory was developed, researchers have started applying it to all relationships, not just parents and kids.

Here is a brief overview of the three kinds of attachment systems and how they play out:
In the strange situation [an experiment developed to study attachment styles], 12-month-old infants and their parents are brought to the laboratory and, systematically, separated from and reunited with one another. In the strange situation, most children (i.e., about 60%) behave in the way implied by Bowlby's [the inventor of attachment theory] "normative" theory. They become upset when the parent leaves the room, but, when he or she returns, they actively seek the parent and are easily comforted by him or her. Children who exhibit this pattern of behavior are often called secure. Other children (about 20% or less) are ill-at-ease initially, and, upon separation, become extremely distressed. Importantly, when reunited with their parents, these children have a difficult time being soothed, and often exhibit conflicting behaviors that suggest they want to be comforted, but that they also want to "punish" the parent for leaving. These children are often called anxious-resistant. The third pattern of attachment ... documented is called avoidant. Avoidant children (about 20%) don't appear too distressed by the separation, and, upon reunion, actively avoid seeking contact with their parent, sometimes turning their attention to play objects on the laboratory floor. Source.
Like I said, this applies not only to kids, but to adults as well and comes out most prevalently in romantic relationships. For me, I’ve noticed my attachment system is at work in ALL of my relationships. (If you want to read more about this, and how your “bad luck” with romance could boil down to picking avoidants again and again, I highly recommend picking up Attached.)
Mirror, Lion, Cat
How you feel internally is what you project externally and vice versa.
You may have already guessed, but I have anxious attachment. What that means in practical terms is if a friend is late and they haven’t told me they’re running late, I immediately start to feel anxious and envision them lying in a ditch somewhere. I start to fret and am unable to calm down until I hear from said friend.

I’m not nearly as anxious as I used to be because I’ve done a LOT of work on myself to become more secure, but sometimes my anxiety gets the best of me, like this week.

A friend of mine dropped off the face of the Earth for two weeks and at first I was fine with it, but then the thought came into my head that something could be seriously wrong. I am so embarrassed I acted out of my anxiety and sent him an email expressing my concern. Through the process, however, I’ve realized the external is internal.

My anxiety is not really about another person, I’m projecting because feel insecure. I (unknowingly) flash back to childhood and being rejected or abandoned by my peers. I relive feeling anxious and insecure about getting my basic needs met. Hearing back from the person I’m worried about only temporarily fixes the problem, much like putting a band aid on a wound that requires stitches. The best thing I can do is reframe my past and heal myself.

Instead of replaying how certain people would be my friend and then all of a sudden stop talking to me, I can remember “rejection is God’s protection,” so perhaps those are people I wouldn’t want to be in my life anyway. And I can remind myself of how many friends from my childhood I do have. I have a busload and many of them live in the Bay Area. Sure, I only saw them one or two weeks out of the year at retreats, but the bond is there. Instead of focusing on the few people I never heard back from, I can feel gratitude for so many people who are still in my life. Most importantly, I can create security for myself by affirming I will never abandon myself and that I will always be around to take care of me.

I know this post is quite long, but the point I want to drive home is sometimes we think external things will fix us – if only so-and-so would call we’ll feel better – but we do not control other people and trying to do so only makes us feel crazy. The inner peace we seek only comes about from doing internal work, which is where the real healing is anyway.

I dream of a world where we recognize our external feelings are often projections of our internal ones. A world where we understand the real healing comes from reshaping our internal thoughts and beliefs. A world where we confront our traumas and then release them. A world where we understand to fix our external world we often have to work on our internal one.

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

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Rhyme and Reason

This blogpost is an extension of “Being Taken Care Of.” There are many things in my life that I thought were random, that had neither rhyme nor reason to them. They happened just ‘cuz and that was the end of it. As I’m slowly unpacking my boxes (I’m mostly finished!), I’m seeing that’s not the case. There is rhyme and reason to everything, even the seemingly random and illogical things.

Ink and pen
Life can be really poetic sometimes.
When I was in Tucson (which is a case of rhyme and reason in and of itself), I spent a good 10 minutes at Best Buy vacillating on whether to buy a small, portable speaker or a car stereo thingy that I could use to hook up my ipod. You see, I possessed a cassette-to-ipod device, but the woman’s car I was borrowing did not have a tape deck only a CD player. I had no desire to lug all of my CDs with me, and listening to music when I drive is a must, so there I was, debating which to get because the likelihood of me using either a speaker or car stereo thingy in the future seemed slim. I settled on the portable speaker and called it a day.  
Now that I’m unpacking, I find myself using my portable speaker all the time. It’s so much easier than firing up my computer. Who knew that seemingly random purchase would come in handy down the road? Also, five years ago (I kid you not) I bought a cable bone to organize my cords and cables. That purchase has been sitting in its plastic wrap with the price tag on it for FIVE YEARS. I’ve been meaning to give it away or return it to the store for store credit because I’ve never found any use for it, and I’ve lived in multiple places since I first bought it. And now, it’s finally being put to use. My inner packrat feels vindicated.

These are not very good examples, I know, but they’re indicative of my larger life pattern. In a review of my book Just a Girl from Kansas, my friend wrote in a private message:
“I know it's difficult to have hope when everything around you is falling apart or not going as planned, but reading your journey really filled me with a sense of no matter what there is a plan for you and everything will be OK and work out for the best.”
When I use my portable speaker or my cable bone or realize I’m experiencing x because I did y, it reminds me of that notion, that there is a plan for me, that everything will be OK, and that everything will work out for the best. I believe in fate AND free will. Really though I believe there is an invisible hand, a guiding force in my life, and when I take a step back for reflection, I see its presence. I see there is rhyme and reason for everything and for that I am grateful.

I dream of a world where we understand even the seemingly random events are connected by a thread leading to one thing and then another. A world where we appreciate that even if we don’t know the rhyme or reason now, we will. A world where we enjoy the poetry of our lives and watch as the rhymes manifest. 

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