Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Don't Get [Fenced] In.

At some point, you have to make a decision. Boundaries don't keep other people out. They fence you in. Life is messy. That's how we're made. So, you can waste your lives drawing lines. Or you can live your life crossing them. 

You know how when you were a little kid and you believed in fairy tales, that fantasy of what your life would be, white dress, prince charming who would carry you away to a castle on a hill. You would lie in bed at night and close your eyes and you had complete and utter faith. Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, Prince Charming, they were so close you could taste them, but eventually you grow up, one day you open your eyes and the fairy tale disappears. 
Most people turn to the things and people they can trust. But the thing is its hard to let go of that fairy tale entirely cause almost everyone has that smallest bit of hope, of faith, that one day they will open their eyes and it will come true.

At the end of the day faith is a funny thing. It turns up when you don't really expect it. It's like one day you realize that the fairy tale may be slightly different than you dreamed. The castle, well, it may not be a castle. And it's not so important happy ever after, just that it’s happy right now. See once in a while, once in a blue moon, people will surprise you, and once in a while people may even take your breath away.

A couple of hundred years ago, Benjamin Franklin shared with the world the secret of his success. Never leave that till tomorrow, he said, which you can do today. This is the man who discovered electricity. You think more people would listen to what he had to say. I don't know why we put things off, but if I had to guess, I'd have to say it has a lot to do with fear. Fear of failure, fear of rejection, sometimes the fear is just of making a decision, because what if you're wrong? What if you're making a mistake you can't undo? 

The early bird catches the worm. 
A stitch in time saves nine. He who hesitates is lost. 
We can't pretend we hadn't been told. 

We've all heard the proverbs, heard the philosophers, heard our grandparents warning us about wasted time, heard the damn poets urging us to seize the day. Still sometimes we have to see for ourselves. 

We have to make our own mistakes. 
We have to learn our own lessons. 
We have to sweep today's possibility under tomorrow's rug until we can't anymore. 

Until we finally understand for ourselves what Benjamin Franklin really meant. That knowing is better than wondering, that waking is better than sleeping, and even the biggest failure, even the worst, beat the hell out of never trying.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Being Lost, Now [Found].

Life is kind of a genius. It's this constant flow between shadow and light.  I finally feel like I’m coming home to myself. To that place where the old me and the me of today are meeting up and finally getting on the same page.  I laugh more. I feel lighter (physically and emotionally). I’m working on not taking things so darn seriously all the time (this is an ongoing battle). I smile easier. I’m much quicker to say yes to impromptu adventures.

I want to be living the length and the width.

This also translates to my dating life. I feel like it’s been a long time since I’ve felt the actual heart-pounding delight – almost like a high – that comes from meeting someone new. It’s felt when I make messes and experiment and what if this happens with this instead of this. 

It's those things...
It's the tiny little text messages that really don't say much...
It's the sharing of souls through music...
It's the everyday sharing of information...
It's the time it takes to share a photo...
It's the pointless smiley faces...
It's the openness...
It's the non-judgmental...
It's the follow through...
It's those things...

I felt that way today while texting someone. It was a letting go of perfection, of holding on too tight (it's like when you swallow something wrong and can't catch your breath). I'm also now simply taking the time to allow for fun within the realm of the ‘dating’ things I do already.
I think it’s also a reason I haven’t dated as much or shared as much of my story in this space. I’ve found my voice again bit by bit (Who was I before? Who am I now?). And I think reclaiming the “fun” me is definitely a part of it.

I still feel lost at times. Scared. Unsure. Sad. Just this past week I had “one of those days” and was emotionally spent.  It essentially boiled down to me needing to be reminded that I need to find happiness within myself first and foremost. At times I see it.  At times I don't see it. I have to own, all the way through my bones, that I really am enough.

Music has been a great catalyst of fun for me. I have a physical reaction to music. I play it loud in the car. I play it loud at home. I’ve been attending and making plans to see live music. I’ve been making time for old and new friends and we laugh and drink and eat and make merry and listen to music and I remember the lighter parts of myself that existed before the layers of years and responsibility and stress and loss and experience - that whole crazy combination life that includes all the awesome stuff as well as the things that are really hard.

I’ve learned that I have to allow and create opportunities for myself to have fun, personally as well as in my dating life.

And I have to let go.

And I have to be open.

So here I go, trying to fearlessly live the length and the width, inviting in the fun.

Monday, April 15, 2013

[All] My Edges.

You guys. I have so much to tell you, so much to share. I'm about to get super cozy in my pajamas and write my little heart out about where I've been these last couple of weeks (my heart is full).
I deeply believe there is room for all of us. I deeply believe in tapping into the thing that is calling us - that thing that makes us afraid, a little bit uncomfortable. Every whisper answered leads to a new edge with new fears and new horizons. I deeply, more than ever, believe in sharing my story of what's worked, what hasn't worked, and all the in betweens. Because sharing our stories about life, about dating, about spirituality, about courage, about relationships, about vulnerabilities - all of it - inspires me to reach toward all my edges where being afraid usually means it's a horizon worth reaching for. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

I Hear It [Again], Loud.

I can see it now. 
How I've gave away pieces of my voice the last year. Subtle, over time, a little here, and a little there. You know how we don't realize what we had until it's gone or until it returns? 
Yes, it feels like that. 
Earlier this year, when I could feel my confidence coming back, I recognized my voice again - a lovely, most welcomed thankyoujesus gift. Oh, there you are: there's your spark, your funny, your wise, calm self. 
How nice to see you again. I. Have. Missed. You.
I don't believe we lose our voices, but rather we give them away
And I can see now - the very exact, specific moment when I began to give mine away.
It was a relationship that confused my spirit - a hard reconciliation of being the day I broke my own heart, but also a day that prompted a post traumatic response which then prompted the unraveling of my voice. Strange - beautifully strange - how our greatest teachers are often single, heart aching, slow-motion moments where we begin the dance of either losing (giving away) ourselves or finding ourselves. I could write an entire book about that pivotal moment during that relationship that weakened a foundation from which I stood confident with a voice that, up until that moment, I was fierce not to betray.
We all have those pivotal moments, don't we? They are the moments that break us open. They are our greatest teachers.
I made the mistake (one of my best mistakes for all it has turned out to teach me) of simply not giving myself the time I needed to recover my voice and confidence that was shaken.  
And just like that, little by little, my already shaken voice and sense of self began to slip further and further. Without knowing it, I was choosing, in small ways and in big ones, to carelessly give it away. That choice meant sacrificing my relationship not just to myself, but to others, to him (I really think he is my soulmate, still)- there's a real price I was beginning to pay.
I have learned a really hard, necessary, beautiful, universal lesson that most of us already know but often neglect to fiercely hold onto

-We give away our voice in the micro/everyday moments when we choose not to stand in our power. 

-We give away our voice in the micro/everyday moments when we choose not to protect our boundaries and carry someone else's shame/anger/etc that doesn't belong to us. 

-We give away our voice in the micro/everyday moments when we choose to sacrifice self-care over other-care. 

-We give away our voice in the micro/everyday moments when we choose not to shine. 

-We give away our voice in the micro/everyday moments when we become other-esteemed and not self-esteemed. 

-We give away our voice in the micro/everyday moments when we don't challenge the shame/gremlin/self-defeating stories we tell ourselves, all day long.

And perhaps most importantly, we give away our voices in the micro/everyday moments when we choose not to bravely show up inside our beautifully messy, often complicated lives. 

We must honor, and tell our stories, all along the way. It's how we speak our truth and know our voice.
I've been reclaiming my voice for awhile now. To the girl who says no more often, who speaks up when she has a question, who takes a couple hours out of everyday to do anything that nurtures her soul, who firmly stands up for herself and her work, who is astonishingly sensing, who makes choices that are best for her and disregards the judgments of others, who claims her courage as honesty, who owns her significance, who celebrates her quirks + her superpowers, who loves flowers and being outside in the sun, who loves music and art and silence, who has something to say.

Our voices are precious. Beautiful. Important. And they change the world.
May you be careful with yours. Be fierce around protecting it, nurturing it, and celebrating it, always.

Love you, Mean it!

The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.
― Elisabeth K├╝bler-Ross

Friday, April 05, 2013

[Embrace] The Chaos.

Life is moving full steam ahead these days. Though I try different routines + schedules to try and put it all into balance, or into a nice tidy box, the truth is, most of the time, it simply doesn't work. 

What I'm learning these days is this: The second I lean into the chaos, put on my big girl panties and take the driving wheel from the version of myself that tends to get overwhelmed, I can feel my chest expanding with the knowing that I totally got this. I got her. I got this. 

Honestly, friends, it feels like a practice in self compassion toward the pieces of myself that insist on adding in teeny bits of suffering (I'm overwhelmed! I'm under appreciated! I'm not seen!) when the overwhelming evidence is that it always works out

All we can do is embrace the chaos, keep our hearts open, and keep on truckin'!

Right? Right. Wishing the same sweet surrender for you. Let's keep our hearts open, through and through.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Vulnerability [Courage] And Dating.

I met someone. He is so tall, I almost come off of my seat when he hugs me.

With his octopus arms wrapped around my waist, I bury my head in this giant’s neck, close my eyes (sniff), and wonder: Is this something?

Are we compatible, even though he’s never watched one episode of Big Bang Theory and doesn’t like spicy food?

Better yet, am I capable of quieting my mind for two seconds to actually listen and learn about him? I just get so excited about the possibility. I’m like a little clown child trying to run around and not trip in oversized red shoes.

I want to press fast forward and know what will happen next.

I tell myself to enjoy the moment, and let it unfold, but patience is not my virtue.

In fact, asking me to be patient is like sticking a tiny knife in my finger and then telling me, “Now, just let that sit there. You will be all right. Just let that sit there for a while.”

When I get ahead of myself, I pray, tell my brain to shut up, and complete a 5K to shake the need to predict out of my skin.

Although I spill my guts in my writing, the prospect of being vulnerable in real life is more frightening.

It is scarier than the time I accidently almost cut off one of my toes. (I didn't)

I get nervous with this guy, and he laughs when I blush. Then I end up staring at the wall saying things like, “Wait, the words are coming. Just give me a second,” and he laughs some more.

Revealing the sticky parts of myself, the parts I don't want to say out loud, stop me in my tracks. I know he has his own sticky parts and isn’t super-human. So what is my problem?

We don't want to be rejected, right? We don't want the other person to sneer and walk away horrified.

My scary parts are actually pretty common, I guess. There are no violent felonies to report, so lately I have been thinking about why I get so nervous.

My fear lives in the part of me that remembers the worst heartaches. Those memories unfortunately tell me to run sometimes, but I don’t, and I wont.

I haven’t bolted because experiencing loss gave me a shield in a way.

I don't think we can ever hurt the same as we did before, because by getting through the worst battles, we taught ourselves that life goes on.

It can’t ever be that bad again because the part of us that learned how to survive won’t let it be.

I am an all or nothing kind of gal, and I’m really working hard to (just eat a few chips and not the whole bag) to find a middle ground.

My mind sometimes selfishly tells me to dump every detail of myself at once to this person, and say, “There, you deal with it and decide if you’re still interested.”

I realize this is a ridiculous, childish, and weird thing to do, but I swear I either have a sock in my throat or words are teeming out of my mouth like green slime.

Authenticity is key here, but when we strive to put our best foot forward, the lines get blurred I think. It is difficult to be totally real, when you are anxious like me.

Although, I guess the nerves are part of me, so then I really am being myself after all.

I am enough.

It is important for me to remember these words in dating and in life.

When my muffin top makes an appearance after a dedicated weekend of pizza indulging, when I feel too tired to write and all my words sound boring, when my students aren’t laughing at my jokes, I am still enough.

It doesn’t matter how much I fret anyway, because all I can be is myself.

There is no guarantee on anything, but taking the risk is worth it. I will always take the risk in cultivating meaningful relationships, no matter how scared I feel.

My shoulders are finally relaxing, and now I will go attempt to eat “just a handful” of chips.