Do you ever become mildly obsessed with a song because it resonates with you or something you’re going through? I had been listening to Salt and Shadow by Thrice over and over again after hearing it for the first time the other day. I kept trying to understand what it was about it that was moving something within me because it didn’t really apply to my current situation or how I feel, other than being a beautiful, soulful song. Then it hit me, it’s because for the first time in my life I do NOT relate to this feeling and that needed to be acknowledged.
The song’s lyrics are beautiful and they express how someone can be physically present but just be ‘salt and shadow’ always so far away. I have lived most of my life as salt and shadow. Wherever I was I wasn’t really there, I wanted to be somewhere else and even if I got to be in the place I imagined, with the person or person(s) I thought I wanted to be with I wasn’t really there either. Where was I? I was ‘half a world away’ always. I wanted to love but never felt safe to do so, not truly. Even when I was loved, I could feel the other person holding back, projecting, hiding, or they simply just loved differently than I did so I stayed far away. This didn’t help any relationship issues obviously; tensions grew and I grew further and further away before physically removing myself.
This is all something I knew was happening. I spent so much time and energy protecting myself, keeping my guard up, I had no energy to invest in myself or anyone I loved including my son. I had never truly known myself and therefore had nothing to offer anyone else and the more someone tried to reach me the further I would pull back. Only recently have I been given the opportunity to shift this pattern. I spent almost 4 years alone to do the work I needed to do on myself so that I would never allow myself to be in a relationship again where I felt like I would be remotely tempted to pull away. In this new relationship I would witness those old patterns creep up and with his support I had to force myself to look at the pattern and step back to look at the entire situation objectively. I needed to see if my desire to pull away was necessary as it had been in the past. It wasn’t. I knew that logically, even in my heart, but my body… my body hadn’t caught up with my mind, heart and spirit.
Each time I was triggered by something that reminded my body of something from the past I would pull away, in a sense abandoning the man that just wanted to love me in that moment. Each time though, I would open up just a little more as he continued to prove his genuine, pure, honest and very real intentions. Part of me needed to see how he would respond to me when I’m triggered or experiencing a PTSD moment before I would open up. I went from shutting him out completely the first time this happened to most recently, feeling what was happening in my body and being with it instead of trying to escape it. Then I needed to tell him what was happening in my mind and body, no matter how ridiculous it sounded so that he could be part of my experience, being allowed to love me and not being shut out. This last time was the most powerful, I cried and he just held me and then it was over. It was as though I had always had chains around me and in that moment of acknowledgment and embrace I realized the chains were made of mist and they faded just as easily and mysteriously as they appeared.
This song haunted me because I needed to acknowledge how far I’ve come and that there are still moments when a part of me, usually my body, is triggered by something from the past and I can feel myself fade into just ‘salt and shadow’ ‘half a world away’ and I don’t need to do that now. What I need now is to completely show up and remain present, especially when it’s most difficult because now I am loved and supported as well as always accepted for who I am regardless of how that may change from moment to moment. I am able to feel empowered in my vulnerability, not taken advantage of, taken for granted, exploited, belittled or abused. Remembering when I needed to escape and knowing that I don’t need to feel that again is one of the most divine feelings you can imagine, it continues to leave me in awe.
The spiritual laws and how they relate to physical laws and how they effect us and what we want vs. what we need. Look up Charles Eisenstein here: https://charleseisenstein.org/
2018 was a potent year for inner reflection and opportunities to raise our awareness, move our blocks, own our mistakes and decide what to do with the lessons. Here are the biggest lessons I learned over this past year. I'm curious what you learned and would like to share too!
Labels - Labels are something I don't really use nor think about anymore except for when they were used to define me by other people. How do you describe yourself as you are still learning to discover who you are and what you have to offer others? I've been told to listen to others describe you and allow them to do that for you but this caused triggers for me because so many of the words used were associated with 'evil' or 'demonic' influence when I was growing up and I began to feel defensive wanting to proclaim how much closer I feel to God, the divine, my Higher Self and all than ever before; how important prayer is in any ritual or practice I'm using from herbalism, intention setting or working with tools.
Witch, Shaman, Alchemist, Medicine Woman, Spiritual Advisor, Moon Goddess, Lover, Artist, Writer, Model, Mother - I had to accept that these words are simply words used to understand the archetype the person sees in me and is actually a clue as to the type of medicine that person needs and where their gifts may have been lying dormant and are ready to begin to awaken. I'm a Pisces Rising which means one of my natural abilities is to morph into whatever a person or situation calls for and this year has taught me how to use that as a tool for the greater good without getting lost in someone else's archetypal definition of me. I am all of these things. I am also fluid and in constant evolution simultaneously embodying all and none of the definitions people need to try to understand me. It's a gift and an honor to witness who someone else is by what filter they choose to see me through. It also makes it easier to accept, teach, connect and love these people exactly the way they need it.
Unconditional Love - Unconditional love was something I thought I was beginning to understand and then I was faced with things from my past I thought I had reconciled to challenge where I thought I had grown and to push me closer to understanding and accepting what unconditional love is. I was shown where my old ego still clung to fear and pain and once I allowed myself to feel the pain I had pushed down for so many years, for the sake of survival being at the forefront of my mind back then. This year is closing with me accepting that I have a love in me that will never die, no matter how much it hurts when it resurfaces. I am compassionately accepting that the pain is only because the story didn't end and begin the way I had wanted - but that was my ego and if it was for the greatest good than it would have worked out that way. I added the most important missing piece to the book I'm writing and I allow myself to feel everything as it pours out of me. As I accepted this and allowed myself to express it, my heart burst open, any remaining walls around it fell, and it felt as though it continued to bleed on the floor around me. It no longer had a hold over me though and my tears weren't made of blood; I was in love and that was ok. Love doesn't begin or end, it just is and the more we try to control it or harness it the more damage we do to ourselves and others because that isn't love at all, it's fear.
Generations - The other major take-away I have from 2018 is that we focus too much on generations assuming that every person from a certain generation is a certain way. We use the lens of fear to judge people that see the world and approach problems differently than we do when we should actually be interested in another way, to be open to having a healthy dialogue and work together towards solutions. Most humans want the same things but our collective dream has us all easily triggered and overly defensive instead of open to hearing another story, another reality, another way. When I treat generations the same but individuals as uniquely as they actually are, we connect deeply and we find much more things in common than differences. When we blame generations that follow us we only have ourselves to blame because we were responsible for offering those people a safe and loving environment to grow up in. When we blame generations before us we close ourselves off to hearing about the lessons and the wisdom those mistakes offered them. When we blame our own generation we blame ourselves. When we blame we remain victims, throwing our hands into the air, giving our power away to anything or anyone instead of taking responsibility and having the courage to learn from our own mistakes.
I make resolutions and set intentions daily and throughout each day. The ending of a year offers us the opportunity to measure our personal (and professional) growth at a macro level, just as reaching a long-term goal measures our personal (or professional) success. We have this opportunity on more micro levels with each passing day, week and month too. Keep a journal if your personal development is important to you so that you can truly see how far you've come at the end of the year. What intentions do you want to set for the year? What lessons from 2018 can you take into 2019 and build upon? Allow your inner work to be forgiving and fluid but also find a way for you that helps you measure your progress so you don't get discouraged during those really trying periods that life inevitably throws at us.
Sending you all my love and blessings for a prosperous New Year filled with more opportunities to have the courage to live life in a loving and compassionate way towards yourself and others. Together we can begin to change the collective dream.
In an extended management training we were taught about the concept of risk vs. reward. At the time this concept blew my mind wide open. It was so simple but I could see how this would play out into every life decision I could ever struggle with. On some level I know we all do this but for me this was better than a pro-con list because lists seem to trivialize and over-intellectualize things that usually need the heart and maybe even the spirit involved in the decision making process.
Risk vs. reward is rolling around in my awareness again because sometimes we are faced with the opportunity to handle a familiar situation the same way you always have or to decide to handle it differently. As we grow, evolve, heal, learn to fall in love with ourselves, our risk vs. reward ratio changes. There was a time I willingly jumped on a carousel (for lack of a more appropriate metaphor). The carousel was something I had longed for since I was a teenager and it opened up when I needed it most, it mixed up my world, shook things up, and helped me connect with the deepest part of myself again, the inner child in me was once again acknowledged and embraced; I was found, I was seen and I discovered a carefree love. My rewards were far beyond the risks so I took the risk and jumped on the spinning carousel and embraced the joy as my heart burst open.
Over the years however, after the power would unpredictably go off an on over and over again I took the time to get to know myself and do the work I needed to do for myself. Now when the carousel lights up I stand next to it and the risk is now greater than the reward. I have everything I need within me and the risks have become far greater than the rewards I once received. Maybe it's maturity, maybe it's just fear of getting motion sickness from years of spinning around and around, up and down, off and on for years but it feels good to love the carousel but have no need to get caught up in it's whirlwind again.
Next time you're faced with a difficult decision, personally or professionally try this tactic. Weigh the risks vs. the potential rewards. Include everything you can think of to measure, money, time, energy, emotions, lessons... there can be an ROI (return of investment) on any risk we take. Remember too, that sometimes you can be someone else's risk. Are you worth the risk for another person? Or are they stuck in old patterns, never really proving the reward of you is worth the risk of opening themselves up?
"The cure for the pain is in the pain." ~Rumi
How can I attract emotionally available people if I don't first learn how to be emotionally available for myself? This question has nagged at me for days after a friend / therapist / psychic prompted this question in me. I exhaust so much energy trying to understand the 'why' of something I don't allow myself the space to feel something, no matter how old or painful. I know I do this and have worked hard at it but sometimes something old that I once thought was resolved creeps back in to my subconscious and I get all frustrated and judgey of myself, reprimanding myself for 'not being over it already'.
It's easy to not feel safe in our emotions. Sometimes it feels as though our emotions have the better of us whether it's sadness, anger or even joy - because constant joy can be a sign of an imbalance or be used as an avoidance tactic as much as constant anger can. There was a time when understanding offered a sense of safety for me. Understanding something (or someone) on a deeper level helped me make important and compassionate decisions remaining an observer of my experience. However, this mentality, this belief of the value of remaining detached to a specific outcome, remaining an observer, almost got to the point (and probably more often than I realize) of disassociation. Logic allowed me the space to forgive, to let go of pain, to survive. Logic made me a warrior and a victor. Somehow I got lost in logic, almost as though I believed that my emotions would make me a victim again, so I would stuff them down or judge them in fear of wallowing. Wallowing makes me frustrated and angry so if I found myself moving into wallowing I would call myself out on it. After knowing abuse, it's not uncommon to fall into unhealthy, even self-abusive patterns you've adopted from others.
The thing is though, some emotions return because we haven't given them enough space to be processed. Certainly we can be swallowed by imbalanced emotions and getting professional help in balancing our minds and bodies is critical but we also need to give ourselves permission to feel. Stifling our own emotions only causes them to become imbalanced and subsequently "rule our lives" later on, forcing us to address them anyway. It's easier to do it in the moment but sometimes we don't have (or make) time. Sometimes it isn't safe yet...
Now I reflect on the people I was drawn to when I didn't feel safe. I was drawn to people who were familiar even though familiar doesn't necessarily mean 'safe' but those people who remain a sort of constant offer a sense of stability, of safeness so we cling to them when everything feels like it's spinning. Why though would I cling to people that are always the same if I am intent on evolving? Why would I cling to people who were once drawn to me because of the chaos that was my life, because we resonated with one another at the time but as I strive to transmute everything I can they remain in old chaos... Chaos has its place, it's important for new beginnings but I'm talking about constantly digging and clawing their way into looking for reasons to be a victim, to complain, to pretend they have no power, no divinity. These people are emotionally unavailable for themselves and now they can no longer be emotionally available for me.
I feel great empathy for people in pain, who struggle, who are trapped in their own shame, patterns, etc. This is why I have had so many people like this around me. My reflex, my ego's reflex, is to help but after a year, or two or three go by and the cycles remain the same I have to look at my own unhealthy patterns or trying to rescue people who don't actually want help (and no one really needs rescuing), they want to complain, they want to stay addicted and trapped in their own drama, their stories, always looking for new ways to justify their chosen path of self-torment. People who want help ask for it and take what is offered and run with it, you can see them evolve, learn, grow and even begin to do their own alchemical process, whether they realize it or not.
Last night I dreamt I intentionally consumed parasites with the goal that I could purge things I needed to let go of physically and all it did was make me sick with the parasites AND what I was wanting to eliminate. If that isn't telling of my past patterns demanding to be recognized now I don't know what is. I don't NEED anyone else to help me purge my past, not anymore. I have grown into having the resources within that I need and I have a solid support system of people who do not become overly attached to me or their own dramas. I have people who refuse to become enmeshed in the past but instead fight to learn and grow, seeing pain as an opportunity to see what it can become with some TLC. If I am to truly become emotionally available for myself I need to not get distracted by the "woe is me" stories that come at me from those who seem to almost beg the universe for the next opportunity to reach out with another story of woe. I need to end my pattern of falling in love with potential regardless of whether it's a friendship or romantic encounter or the potential of a relationship of any kind. That isn't remaining present which is one of the keys to emotional availability. The most important thing I realized *for me* is that safeness includes emotional availability. Healthy vulnerability creates beautiful bonds and opportunities for growth. Healthy vulnerability allows... free of control, judgments, attachments, agendas. Healthy vulnerability holds space for the uncomfortableness to move and evolve into whatever it's meant to. If one or both parties doesn't feel comfortable being open and vulnerable in a healthy and productive way, free of criticism or judgment from one's self or another how can that truly be a safe relationship?
I found this excellent article that explains how to spot emotional unavailability early as well as to check in with yourself to make sure you aren't also the one that's emotionally unavailable: 10 TIPS TO SPOT EMOTIONAL UNAVAILABILITY
Micah's confessions and lessons that have helped with self-forgiveness, healing and acceptance.