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Options

We start out in this life with so many options available to us.  As we move through our experience and we make choices, some of those options start to fall away.  Some of the things you accepted about yourself evolve and some of your choices teach you new things about yourself and how you relate to other people.  What used to feel true and familiar and right to you becomes something you want to reach beyond, to a new face of familiarity, something even more right, something that challenges you to grow into it and make it your new home, something transformative and magic.  Once you get a taste of the magic, nothing else comes close.  You can’t settle for where you’ve been before, you can’t be at peace with your former norm.  You leave your field of options behind you and focus only on those things that grab you by the soul and hurl you into the depths of the unknown.  No security, no lifeline, just you and your conscious creation of your new experience while the past burns in your wake and is resigned to be mere charred stepping stones to the you you are becoming.  Sometimes you linger too long in the past.  You get burned by your indecision, but the heat pushes you to a new level of understanding and peace and clarity and then you only go back to the scene of the fire for information, like an arson investigator searching for the cause, the flashpoint.  Once that information is available to you, you can’t delude yourself anymore, you save your game and you never go back to that level.   Only then do your options begin to expand again.

As I’m sitting here on New Years Eve, 2011, pondering the events of the past year, I find myself feeling decidedly empty.  I haven’t ever been in this particular place before, especially at the beginning of a new year.  The house that is my soul has been burned out, the dozer has been here to push it all into a pile and the Mack truck that hit me has taken away all the debris.  This property is now ready for the new owner.  Who that is, I don’t know yet.  I guess she moves in tomorrow.

Last year was one of the best years of my life and also one of the worst.  The highs were exceedingly high, the lows the lowest I can remember.  I made several new friends, some of them I am sure to keep for the rest of my life, they’ve become that important in such a short time.  I opened myself up to closer connections with some of my oldest friends and I discovered who my real friends were.  I allowed myself to accept support and lean on those friendships when I needed to.  I put some distance between myself and some people who were taking up space and weren’t adding value to my life, and I’m good with that decision.

I fell in love twice, hard.  The first time I lost my sense of self.  The second time I found it again.  I experienced an unusually thick soup of synchronicity, catharsis and growth both times.   I loved deeper and more openly than I ever had before.  I accepted love, I embraced loving, I gave freely.  I fell in love with someone’s children and it ripped my heart out when we broke up, x4.  I laid my soul bare, I shared my pain and was met with acceptance.  I extended some boundaries and I set some new ones.  I had the best sex of my life.  I lived in the moment when I remembered to and was grateful for the little things that made those relationships beautiful.  I wrote them down so I wouldn’t forget how I felt when I was loved.  I resolved to love unconditionally and in my heart I did.  My mind got to me a few times though.  I made some mistakes.  I disconnected and fed the ego some things that weren’t good for me.  Something interceded and saved me from holding on to either of them too long and I’m grateful for that.  They both looked fantastic on paper but my intuition was telling me different and I didn’t listen to it.  Now I know.  Both of those highly charged relationships ended as friendships.  Both of those men taught me priceless things that I wouldn’t have learned if I hadn’t known them, hadn’t allowed myself to go that deep.  I’m forever grateful for them, as painful as the endings were.  I wish them the best in their respective journeys.  They are two major components in my life story and ultimately what started the fire.

In 2011 I struggled with my faith.  I discovered that I wanted to believe in happy endings and deep healthy forever friendships, but that I didn’t really.  Maybe I haven’t judged myself worthy of those things, but I’m going to keep digging for that key to unlock the door to self-love and acceptance.  I learned to believe in people again, I fought to believe in myself.  I disappointed myself on several occasions and then I made up for it later.  I stood up for what I believe in and I learned to stand up for myself.  I struggled with security, financially and otherwise.  I learned that the only person I can ultimately depend on is me, so I’d better take care of myself.  I marinated in grief and despair alternating with joy and wonder and increasing compassion for the human condition.  I struggled with my past, beat myself up for things that had nothing to do with me, excavated around some old patterns and beliefs, left some behind, lost my abilities to think and feel, and found them again.    I felt, on several occasions, who I want to be.  She’s closer than I think, if I allow her to integrate and stay out of my head.  I cursed the Universe when I couldn’t see the path ahead and cried great heaving sobs of grateful understanding when the blinders came off.

It seems everything I thought I knew, everything I thought I had a handle on, everything I was comfortable with, went up in smoke in the last year and I’ve been frantically rebuilding while the fire was still burning at the foundations of me.  I’ve stopped construction now until the new blueprints get here.  What I do have is a lot of space to work with, a basic idea of what I want this to look like when it’s finished and hope.  I hope when it’s done I don’t fill it with junk, and baggage and pain again.  I hope I make better choices for the new owner, that she can settle in and relax knowing that she has a new foundation and that her house was built with the best intent, best materials and workmanship possible.  I hope it’s somewhere she can be the best version of herself and live the rest of her life making a better story.  I hope she’ll be happy here, and generous, and accept love and laughter into her life like oxygen, free and vital to her survival.  I hope she’ll grow a beautiful chaotic garden for herself, a place where she can thrive and grow unapologetically into the divine earth goddess/healer/teacher/lover/friend she is meant to be.  I hope she continues to believe in herself, I hope she finds love that lasts, and I hope that she has no regrets, ever.

∞E

After a while you learn the subtle difference
between holding a hand and chaining a soul
and you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning
and company doesn’t always mean security.

And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts
and presents aren’t promises
and you begin to accept
your defeats
with your head up
and your eyes ahead
with the grace of woman,
not the grief of a child

And you learn to build
all your roads on today
because tomorrow’s ground
is too uncertain for plans
and futures have a way
of falling down in mid-flight.

After a while you learn
that even sunshine burns
if you get too much
so you plant your own garden
and decorate your own soul
instead of waiting for someone
to bring you flowers.

And you learn
that you really can endure
you really are strong
you really do have worth
and you learn
and you learn
with every goodbye, you learn…

You Can Quote Me

“Keep the doors and windows to your mind and heart open. You never know what wandering wind will blow through and change things for the better.” ∞E

You Can Quote Me

Every loss gives something back.

∞E

Bricks

I’ve found that when I am butting up against something that won’t budge, the best cure is to take my energy out of the equation. Once that force is gone, eventually the wall I’ve been beating my head against teeters and falls and I can decide what I need from it in smaller pieces. Let the bricks fall where they may.

Photograph by Craig Foster 2007

The Guest House

 The Guest House


This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

From Essential Rumi
by Coleman Barks

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice—
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do—
determined to save
the only life you could save.

You Can Quote Me

In the big picture, only Love is real. The rest is just drama and filler. Gotta love people where they’re at to inspire them to greater heights. Sometimes people just need to see themselves through your eyes to be reminded of how amazing they are and how far they’ve come. -∞E

Tenderness

You peeled me out of my self-judgment
You erased the memory of touch  and replaced it with bruising pain
You penetrated my resolve
Violated me with glee
Stole my inhibitions
And flung them away like trash
You felt nothing while I felt all of you
Every tease
Every stroke
Every twist
Brought me more fully out of my mind
And into my body, while you laughed
You took me to the edge of insanity
Burning me with your words
Branding me with your hands and mouth
While I teetered between Goddess and Child
You held my soul in your uncalloused hands
Forcing me to accept my new reality
And when I surrendered to what was
I was changed, immersed, reborn, renewed
Bruised, violated, submissive
But stronger somehow, and better
You met me there at dawn, the conqueror
Changed too, by the light of day
To the sweetness that was absent in the dark
And what I feel for you now is
Tenderness

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