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 BrenĂ© 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.