Connections

Daily Om Writing Course Lesson 7 discusses our connections with others. If you keep count, yes. I am deliberately going out of order because I’m not particularly inspired by any of the topics between this one and the one I last wrote about.

Connections with others… I can’t say, either, that I’m a big fan of the writing prompt questions, so I won’t focus on those either. Instead, I offer up this:

I’ve been watching a series on Gaia Television, lately, called Missing Links with Gregg Braden (henceforth referred to as “GB”). I’m on the third season, which is about the divine matrix. It’s infinitely interesting, to me, and it’s quite literally blowing my mind. Not that this is a bad thing, mind you.

Last night, I watched the episode about relationship mirrors. I’m not sure I can adequately explain the concept, but many things jumped out at me.

We’ve all heard that nonsense that “what we see in others is what we have in ourselves.” You know… you attract drama, liars, and betrayal because you, yourself, possess those characteristics.

I have to say, I am really glad that GB called this out for the bullshit that it is. Basically, this started as a “self help” movement prior to anyone actually understanding what the relationship mirrors actually are. I mean, how many of us would never dream of doing some of the things that have been done to us? How is it fair to say we draw this shit to ourselves? This crap is cyclic, and we attract it not because we are those things, but because we have not taken steps to break/heal/change the cycles that present themselves over and over.

While that part absolutely interested me, it still is not the part that snatched me up by my nostrils.

The episode went on to discuss how, in our relationships, we can lose or give away parts of ourselves when we go through strife with a lack of consciousness. We do it to avoid drama or just to make someone else happy.

At some point, GB talked about those people we’ve all met, at some point, and we’ve been magnetically and unexplainably attracted to them. I’m not talking about those people who are simply pleasing to the eye. There’s somthing about them, and it simply can’t be explained, so why bother trying to put it into words?

GB says you should interact with these people. Even if it’s just to say, “hello… how’s your day?”

What’s important is to go into this interaction while asking yourself the following question:

“What is it that I see in this person or that I sense in this person that I’ve given away or had taken away from me by another person?”

These people and this question helps us to reclaim lost parts of ourselves.

Bare minimum… you see in them something you used to like about yourself and you go about the work of reclaiming that quality or characteristic. Ultimate maximum… this person becomes a wonderful friend or more. Who knows? Do you have to know? Maybe, too, this person displays things that you really don’t like about yourself, your life, your circumstances, or the people around you. Somehow, your interactions with people like this end up being the catalyst for you growing and/or changing.

I guess this grabbed me the way it did because this has happened to me recently. I met this person, and there was no questioning the fact that I NEEDED to interact with them. I think the universe has gotten to the point where it realizes the need to be blatantly obvious with me. “hey, fuckhead, PAY ATTENTION. This MATTERS,” so it sends a dude who is 99.99999% of what grabs my attention walking on into the ladies room. “hey… how’s it going?” OK, Universe. Time for me to get to work. I get it.

What I have noticed from my interactions with this person is that I am becoming curious about the world and people again. I noticed myself looking within myself more because this person carried an air of being self-possessed and centered. I used to have those qualities. Where had I lost/let go of/or misplaced them? How do I heal that? Was it ever truly gone? Or do I just need to let it out of the closet again? Oh… there it is. Let’s make sure to not lock that shit away again. It’s pretty damn important to have those things. It all adds up to something called PEACE. love it. live it. BE it, Dissy.

I love that I started thinking this way prior to my watching this episode of GB’s series. I mean, I love it now. At first, when I was thinking this way, it felt kind of selfish. Like, here I am mooching personal growth off of another human being, but, you know what? I’d wager that the pull felt by me was also felt by my new friend. I’ll bet there’s something to learn from me as well. Any relationship, be it spiritual, friendly, romantic, work-related, or something else, anyhow… they should be mutually beneficial. You just have to look within yourself to see what another soul has to offer.

So Talk About It…

I’m so tired of women bemoaning the fact that “no one ever talks about women’s issues like menopause, hormones, libido, you know… all that shit we’ve been told isn’t “polite.”

Sure… I likely wouldn’t sit down and dish on it at a family dinner … Well, maybe *I* would, but I am not your average bear.

But, here we are… we are amongst our friends, so spill…

Why don’t we talk about this?

I know, for me, it’s because I’m tired of not hearing good answers. If I have to hear one goddamn more time how “every woman is different…” I may lose my mind. We are all very well aware of this. We are looking for your experiences and your answers when we ask the question, not placation.

You know, in not sharing your story with your younger friends, your daughters, your female family members, you are missing out on meaningful connections with them. Imagine the power of sisterhood on that level. Imagine teaching young women that there is nothing to fear.

Don’t get me wrong… I really hate how today feels. I’m angry as fuck for no logical reason, and I’d just as soon punch someone as hug them. But that’s the nature of the beast, is it not? I know this is cyclic. I know that tomorrow or the next day, my hormones will level out again, and I will be back to being a ray of fucking sunshine.

I skipped last month. I’m pretty excited about that.

A. Because there’s no way in hell that I could possibly be pregnant.

B. Because I’m stepping closer to the end of all this horse shit.

All of the symptoms arrived like clockwork, though. The body aches, the cramps, the mood swings, the bloating. It was all there. No better, no worse than any other time.

Except for this salad. I’m angry as fuck that this salad that I bought at the gas station SUCKS!!

yeah, yeah… what did I expect? Shut up.

Now I have to go find something real to eat to wash the taste of disappointment out of my mouth.

Maybe that’s why no one ever talks about it. When they get ready to begin the conversation, they get hungry.

Let’s run with that.

What’s Missing?

I’ve really dropped the ball on my writing course with the Daily Om writing prompts. Instead of bemoaning that, I choose to pick up the proverbial ball and try to do better.

Lesson 3 discusses what we feel is “missing” from our lives. One question, in particular, grabbed me.

“Is there something you had in the past that you wish you still have?”

The short answer, for me, is “no.”

It took me a very long time to be able to say “no” without bitterness, hurt, or anger being attached to the “no”. See… I’ve had many people for whom I’ve held great fondness and deep love, who are no longer a part of my life. I’ve had many cherished “things” in my life that I no longer possess. I’ve lived in places I absolutely loved, but those places were so special because of the circumstances that took me there and the active things that were done to make them wonderful.

My favorite place was my apartment in Highland Square, a neighborhood in Akron, Ohio. I loved that apartment. It was the first place I got entirely on my own, the first place where I was not cohabitating with a significant other, and the first place that was all mine. I was proud of that.

I loved the feeling of going out, doing the damn thing, and settling in all on my own (with the assistance of the world’s most amazing moving crew). I learned some very important life lessons there, I loved the group of friends I shared time with there, I loved my job, and I loved the social life I had. I felt open, present, and free. There was a great deal of amazing energy gathered there, and I walked away from it all for love.

I guess that kind of paints a negative picture… that I ditched all those things I loved so much for “love.” Being a pagan/witch, what was most important to me was the massive core of energy I had built there. All of that energy came from loving acts and the process of improving myself. When I left that apartment, I still had the friends I adored, the job I loved, and an active social life. Don’t read me wrong. I did not leave to go live in a cloister. I had wonderful times in the new places. This one is just special to me because of who I became as a result of having been there.

That was the very first time in my life that I realized how life, energy, and the universe works. The first time I truly got it.

I ended up moving out to the sticks with my ex. I was happy there for a long time. Until I wasn’t.

And now, here I am in Cleveland, Ohio. I really don’t enjoy where I live. I hate the neighborhood and the general lack of regard that people have for others up here.

That being said… I can’t bring myself to say that I’m “unhappy” here.

There’s a difference between being dissatisfied with one’s surroundings and being “unhappy.”

It is in all the transitions I’ve made during the course of my life that I learned about “destination happiness,” or the notion that a “different” person, place, or circumstance is going to “make” you happy. That simply isn’t the case. To quote the old lady in that commercial, “that’s not how any of this works.”

I struggle. Sometimes, I still cry, but those tears are over grief for what I thought I had and not because I want it back. Tears cleanse the soul, if you allow them to. When that cleansing happens, you find gratitude for the lessons that the universe brings. I also believe 200% that the universe will never bring you unhealthy lessons. You must, however, actively participate in your healing. Even when that activity is sitting down for a day, a month, a year to just wallow, catch your breath, and start over. The lessons?

Love yourself.

I was going to make a list of things, but I feel like they all route back to that simple statement of loving yourself. I am, however, talking about the kind of love that is not bred of ego. It’s important to make that distinction.

So, back to the original question… “Is there something you had in the past that you wish you still have?

If I still had those things, I wouldn’t be here. “here” in the figurative sense. And, guess what? I am finally starting to realize how much I like me.

Love? That’s easy. It’s the liking that is the challenge.

Cent’anni, folks.

The Big Dream

So, this is an extension of my last blog that covered work.

Basically, last time, I put the vibe out there that I wasn’t exactly thrilled with the job I have that makes me money. By and large… Yes. That’s a fact.

I do have another job that fulfills me in every way a person could possibly imagine. I wish every day that it could be my paying job.

I am on the board of a non-profit organization called Crossroads Universal. We organize and host two very large community events every year: Cleveland Pagan Pride Days and The Cleveland Witches Ball. There are so many other dreams we have for the organization, but these two events are very solid, though, due to the ‘rona, we had to cancel the Witches Ball and we made CLE PPD a live-stream event.

Every summer, the weekend of PPD, I am with my true tribe, with my people. There is such a spirit of community, togetherness, and pure magic. It makes every ounce of work we put into it so worth it. Just having someone walk up to me and thanking us for all our hard work and sharing about what a wonderful time they’re having… well… it’s a very special time.

Watching children dance along with the drum circles, friends who don’t see one another often hug, laugh, and pose for a selfie together… it’s truly the most wonderful feeling, for me. I know the rest of the board and the planning committee agree with me.

Part of me wonders if I’d still love it the same way if it were my paying job. Part of me says yes because I could move the organization into so many different directions and do so many wonderful things for our community.

No… not part of me. All of me.

Time to figure out making this happen.

For Money

Week 2 of the Daily Om writing course involves work.

For money, I am an insurance follow up representative in the billing department of a very large, world-renowned hospital system. That should make me proud. In actuality, it does not. To be perfectly frank, I have never worked in such a … well … toxic environment, and that really says something.

See, I started this job after the pandemic introduced itself to the world, so I’ve been working from home since day one. I’ve never experienced their “in office” environment, but if it’s anything like the “at home” environment… let’s just say I’m going to have to actively pursue other avenues.

Most of my adult life was spent in the medical billing field. I gained all of my experience from a good company that cared both about their patients and about the people who run their processes and make things happen… you know, the workers. Every day I worked there, I felt valued, appreciated, and like what I had to say mattered. Where I’m at now? I have none of these things. In fact, it’s not a matter of simply not having them. Personally, I’d call it less than zero. In my world, that is a possibility.

Life tends to sling shit around, so, for the sake of practicality and for the sake of my sanity, I had to leave the job. I walked away from a great paycheck, excellent benefits, people I loved being around, and feeling cared about. Sure, I was a cog in the machine, but I was well-oiled and tended to. Any accumulated grease and grime were of my own doing, and they had a lot more to do with me and my own personal issues than they had to do with what I did to make money.

When I left that job, I took some time off to see if I could figure out what I truly wanted to do. I ended up working technical support for a huge company. I spent exactly one year of my life walking retail workers through the process of restarting their cash registers. For a lot of reasons, it simply wasn’t my thing. See… in the medical field, sure I was billing outrageous sums to people who may or may not be able to pay, but in the daily battle with insurance companies and with the “powers that be,” I, more often than not, was left feeling like I was genuinely able to help others, so I decided to go back to that.

Currently, I’m left wondering if that was the grandest idea I’ve ever had. Not because the specifics of the job don’t resonate with me, but because of where I am.

People and their attitudes about other people and life, in general, matter. You’re never going to have a good and easy time in life when you encourage adversarial relationships with people and entities who can make your lives easier or more difficult depending on your approach.

There are a lot of avenues to this “work” topic I’d like to explore, so there will probably be several posts for it. For now, I’m tired of writing and am struggling for words. This is the last day of my long weekend, and I don’t want to spend it bemoaning what I’ve lost and dreading what I get to go back to tomorrow.

Have a great Sunday!

Obstacles

Last week, in an effort to make myself dive into some self-exploration, I bought a writing course from Daily Om. Every week, you get a topic to ponder, explore, and to write about. I’m not sure where this trip will take me or if it will give the kind of discovery and growth I’m hoping for, but, for now, let’s get started.

This week’s topic is “Obstacles.”

I have two massive obstacles in my life, currently. The largest, I’d have to say, is myself.

I tend to get in my own way in numerous ways.

It’s funny, to me, how, before I sat down to write this out, my mind was brimming with ideas, yet, now that I’m here doing the damn thing, I’m at a loss for words. Why does that happen? Is that me, yet again, getting in my own way?

I feel like I compare myself to others too much, and, if it seems I’m doing better, then I must be doing something wrong. For example…

I signed up for an online yoga teacher training course. I was doing all the “technical” learning modules, and, on the online support group, everyone was bemoaning how difficult the anatomy section was. Personally, I didn’t struggle with it. I thought it was easy, and I aced the test the first time I took it.

That caused me to worry, though. Everyone else is struggling with it. Maybe I’m not learning it right. Maybe my study method was wrong. Maybe I only studied in order to pass a test and not to truly learn the content. “Everyone else is having a hard time, that means this shit is difficult, so why aren’t YOU struggling? You know, that means you’re probably just doing it wrong.”

And there’s obstacle number 1. I question myself far too much.

In fact, that may be my biggest obstacle. I can’t think of one thing in my life that wouldn’t be better if I just stopped doing that. But how does one accomplish that? I have all the basics down… we fail so we can learn, there’s no shame in not being the best, if at first you don’t succeed… you know, all that happy horseshit. I wholeheartedly believe them for others. For myself? meh… some days yes, some days no.

I read somewhere that anyone can know all the correct and right things to do, but true growth and wisdom comes in the doing of those things.

What about an asshole like me who knows and only does sporadically?

They say habits form after doing a thing x amount of times.

If that was true, I’d be out exercising, improving my finances, and not getting myself into fucked up relationships instead of doing this.

Yet, after waaaaaay more than the x amount of times doing a damn thing, seeing good results, and feeling successful, I just stop. Yet those bad habits linger. Why does my nature not drop a bad habit the same way it drops a good and productive habit?

Good habits are work and bad habits are not.

Which leads me to potential obstacle number 2. Maybe I’m just lazy.

That’s not a pleasant thought. Especially when I consider the myriad ways I bust my ass. But then I consider the myriad ways I really don’t. It’s a mix, so I’m not quite sure I can slap the label of “lazy” on the situation.

I want to do things. I want to know things. I want to be things. I lack the energy, motivation, and know-how involved in getting started. I was never trained in the process of achievement. Of course, that doesn’t mean I couldn’t train myself, but … again … energy, motivation, know-how.

Fear. Maybe it’s fear. I fear failure. I fear success. I fear losing. I fear winning. I fear not winning (I see a difference between “losing” and “not winning”). I fear mediocrity. Maybe, one day, I’ll get to the point where being “nothing” is no longer satisfying. For now, I mostly sit on the sidelines and watch life go on around me. I wonder if I’ll ever go on ahead and dive into the pool of life and swim.

This writing exercise has taught me that, for all the ways I know myself very well, I really don’t know myself all that well. It’s time to dive in and know more. The knowledge I do have is impressive. Most never achieve that kind of self knowledge, and that’s kind of a bummer, but the focus of these exercises is me, so no worrying over what everyone else has and does. I have a wealth of wisdom under my belt. It’s time to apply it.

Stick A Fork In Me

I knew today would be fun. When I say “fun,” mind you, I mean the 180 degree opposite of the textbook definition of “fun.”

Now that we have that clear…

I’m tired.

I’m cranky.

I’m a bit lonely.

I’m tired of being broke all the time.

I’m tired of the people who will say “me too” to that last one but still have the ability to make changes in their lives.

I’m tired of staying home all the time, yet there isn’t any place I want to go.

Winter always gets to me.

I’m constantly cold.

There’s this “thing” in my head that I can’t quite put my finger on, but it is the source of my displeasure and discontent. I don’t know how to figure out what it is, turn it around, and make it work for me instead of against me.

I don’t even have a clear thought for this blog? How’s that?

Goals Schmoals

“you just need to set goals for yourself…”

I’ve heard this, ad nauseam, since I was a child.

“you’ll feel so much more accomplished…”
“it really boosts your dopamine…”
“imagine how good it will feel to have a goal and to finally achieve it…”

I guess you could say I’ve done this on numerous occasions, and I’m still waiting on this feel-good thing to kick in.

I had a goal to make my living room useable before Thanksgiving, and it’s done.
I lost 100 pounds, give or take a few, on any given day.
Today? Most of my house got cleaned. Well, let’s not exaggerate… let’s keep it real. a lot of my house got cleaned today.

And still… I want to know… When does this amazing feeling of accomplishment kick in? When does the dopamine surge occur? When do I begin to stack my successes so that I can achieve even more?

Goals… I’ve never really been goal oriented, and I don’t know how to fix myself so that I can be. I’m not sure if the lack of this quality makes me deficient or if it makes me … me.

I hate those emails we get from work… “it’s time to set your professional goals for the upcoming year…” Ummm… I don’t know… maybe “not be unemployed?” How’s that for a start? I’m entirely certain that “not killing anyone during my perimenopausal hormonal outrages” is not acceptable, but do they even give a shit that this may be what I actually want? Nooooo…

I guess I can see how maybe it would help in building certain types of skills. I mean, I’m certain that if I had a goal of practicing my yoga every day, I’d be way better at it than I am now.

Alas, I do not.

Maybe I should make it a goal to set a goal.

It’s Been a While

I haven’t checked in here in quite some time.

There’s actually quite a bit going on with me.

Well, let’s start with the old lady stuff. Dear old Auntie, who has shown up with the regularity of the full moon, was 8 days late this month. Since I knew there was, without a doubt, no way that I was expecting any bundles of pure and utter dismay, I got all excited thinking, “this is it! it has begun!”

But noooooo… she arrived along with the shitty disposition, debilitating cramps, and all that other jazz that makes her visits oh-so-special.

All that aside, I have been feeling kind of blah. I haven’t really wanted to talk about it because, in our current circumstances, people seem to want to blame every case of ick on COVID. Unless I’m massively fooling myself, none of my internal bullshit has anything to do with the ‘rona, so it’s rather demeaning to have my issues relegated to some current event that isn’t really affecting me. Masks don’t bother me. I mean, sure, I’d rather not, but we need to, so I do. Anti-maskers don’t really bother me. I don’t put myself through the emotional trauma of thinking “if you don’t mask up, then you don’t care about me.” To me, that’s bullshit. But that’s a topic for another day. My one and only point here is that the ‘rona isn’t really impacting my life, so why would it be the cause of my funk, and why are people so quick to slap that label on me?

So, there’s something I’ve been thinking about doing for a very long time.

In times of darkness and sadness, I’ve always gone back to my yoga practice. It brings me peace, it helps me ground and center, and it helps me stay present. I’ve thought for years about training to teach yoga, but I never really had the money, and my work schedule was never in line with me being able to do the in-person classes.

One benefit to the ‘rona…

A lot of learning opportunities have been forced to go online, which, gasp, brings prices down. They’ve also become “learn at your own pace” opportunities. Jackpot.

So, there ya go. I’ve begun classes so that I can become a yoga teacher. Why not help myself deepen my understanding of yoga and of my practice and help others find the same things I’ve been given by the awesomeness that is yoga? Nothing but win there.

So… that’s what’s up with me. I may need guinea pig students some time soon. Stay tuned.

ch-ch-ch-changes…

I’m reminded of lyrics from one of my favorite songs:

“I’m not quite what I thought I was, but, then again, I may have been more…”

Almost a year ago, each and every aspect of my life not only changed, but changed dramatically. There is not one part of me that wasn’t completely and totally upheaved, rearranged, and left in a big heaping mess.

Some of this was my own doing.

Like my former job.

I had been struggling in that position for some time, and I simply couldn’t do it anymore. Once upon a time, when I did that job, I was able to feel like I was genuinely helping people. Policy changes took that feeling away from me and, subsequently, sucked the joy out of the job for me. It got to the point where I had a fucking FMLA case on file for the anxiety attacks I would have in the middle of the day while I was working. Part of me feels infinitely grateful that this was available to me, but, at the end of the day, I really had to stop and ask myself “should I need FMLA time and drugs in order to be able to cope with my job?” That answer simply had to be a resounding “no.”

So, I left a job I had for the better part of my adult life. I left good benefits, a lot of paid vacation time, great wages, and, more importantly, people I adored. I left for my sanity. That had to be more important.

Some of this was a joint effort.

My long term relationship ended. I don’t want to say too much about that because there are people out there who do not deserve to have this information. All it’s really necessary to say is that this devastated me for many reasons.

Never before had I been forced to walk away while I still was very much in love with someone.

Addiction is a bitch, and that bitch certainly took her toll. In an effort to try not to be an enabler, I stepped back. I thought I was doing that new-agey thing and “holding space” for my love (some of you know what that means. For those who don’t, Google is your friend). I thought I was loving without condition. I thought I was being there without being a nag, preachy, or domineering.

You can say “I’m here for you,” until you’re blue in the face, and none of it means anything if no asking is going on.

All of this was met with accusations of neglect and not caring.

Well… it’s done. Nothing I can do about it now but learn, grow, and move on.

I’m not talking about the parts that piss me off the absolute most about all of this. If you simply HAVE to know, ask. If I feel like talking about it, I’ll tell you. If I tell you as kindly as I can that it isn’t any of your business, try not to let that get you down.

So… Some of these things, I’ve handled pretty goddamn well if I do say so myself. It’s only a year later, and I feel like I can cope, and I feel like I can do better and BE better.

During this process, though, did any of you know I legitimately had a nervous breakdown? No? Well, that’s good. That’s kind of between me and my doctor, but you know, this normal reaction to everygoddamnthing about my life being thrown in a blender, tossed all around, and left in a fucking dirty, nasty heap for me to sort, rearrange, and clean up all on my own (I’m talking about my own, personal, internal and figurative mess) has cost me some relationships I used to value.

I’m sure I’ve let some people down. I’m sure this particular snapshot they’ve gotten to see of me and my life leads them to think I’m not what they thought I was. Well, guess what? This has led me to see that they aren’t what I thought they were, either. There are some “hey kettle” conversations looming that are far overdue.

Diminished in one another’s eyes is okay, but now it’s time to move on, and it’s also of value to recall, at pertinent times, who kicked me when I was down. Not in a grudge kind of way, but in that healthy way of knowing with whom I can and can not extend myself in any kind of meaningful way.

Yes, life has brought me a lot of changes this year. I’m not at the point, yet, where I’m thankful for any of the upheaval, but I’m getting there. Every day, I feel it.

Whether or not you see it, well, that’s on you.