Tag Archive: Gratitude


I’m 43 years old this year. My life hasn’t been easy but I think I’ve done pretty well, and I continue to improve upon myself. This last year for me has been rough though… internally, relationally, and spiritually. I’ve come a long way from where I was. My inner life has improved beyond words, and the experience I’m having is what’s driving that. This is the most profound period of growth I can remember. I do fall down sometimes, but then I get back up to live and love and fight another day. Thank you for your support.

Lately I’m pretty worn out with being told what to do, how to think, and who to love. I very rarely ask for advice. If I do, it’s because I trust you enough to respect your perspective, not because I’m paralyzed without it. I’ve never handled being ‘handled’ well, or pressured to do something against my will. I don’t know about everyone else, but my heart and mind are not always on the same page. Since I’ve been navigating through this, my heart lands in a different spot every other day. I’ve given up on trying to control that, and honestly I don’t want to. I am doing my level best to be in the moment with myself and my own feelings so that I can find my own truth, grieve, heal, maintain, and move forward. I can’t be there when I’m being prodded out of my center by loving and well-meaning, but not in it friends. This situation doesn’t need fixing. There’s nothing wrong with me. I’ve just had several major life-changing events in the last year and I’m trying to find my feet again. The only way out is through.

Thank you, but I’m not looking for the next ‘man chapter’ in my life, I’m looking for ME. That was the entire point of ending the relationship I was in, to give myself space and time to grieve and deal with my demons. Doesn’t mean he wasn’t important to me, or that I didn’t/don’t love him. It took a year, it wasn’t an easy decision, I didn’t make it lightly, and I still struggle with it. I have no plans to cut him completely out of my life, that’s not who I am or who I’ve ever been, as many of you here can attest. He’s my teacher, my mirror, my friend and catalyst, in addition to being my ex and button-pusher. I cannot honor his contribution to my life and hate on him in the same breath; I choose honor. Sticking a band-aid on all of this and labeling him ‘The Problem’ is not going to help me grow. He may be an asshole sometimes, but he’s my asshole to deal with, and I’m no treat – believe me. Nobody has to like it, but it would be awesome if I could just be heard without the accompanying lecture. This ain’t my first rodeo, I’m not a fool. It is what it is, I don’t wish him any ill. I want him to be happy and fulfilled and have the kind of love he needs, the life he wants. I care about him. Trying to do this without his input is like only having one eye to see – I’ve tried it.   We’ve been through some rough shit together and he was my rock when all that went down, he dealt with the meltdowns; the fear, and the rage, and the self-loathing.  He was the whipping post when I couldn’t contain my rage, he took care of me and held the space when I lost my shit and came apart at the seams, and kept me on my feet when I wanted to quit, no one else.  So no, I won’t be taking that from him, I’m not going to shitcan the whole relationship and call it a mistake.  He deserves better than that, no matter what else he’s done or how much I’ve demonized or discredited him, no one has ever been there for me like that.  I wouldn’t have realized that if I’d listened to everyone else.  He keeps me honest.  He pisses me OFF like no one else.  He makes me smile when I crash and burn.  He matters to me.  And the problems didn’t go away when he did, so… I have more work to do {sigh}.  But his loving me through all that created the space for me to start looking at the toxic crap I’ve been repressing my whole life, so that’s what I’m working through now.  I’m owning my own shit, and it’s not pleasant, but it is necessary if I’m going to be who I want to be.  He and I are good, he’s not the enemy; I was my own enemy.  He’s no angel, and I am certainly no saint, but that relationship is sacred to me, now.

So please, if you need to project something at a friend when they’re struggling, why not the best possible outcome for everyone involved? That would help me. It’s what I’d do for you. It doesn’t have to come with conditions when you care about someone’s well-being, and you can’t know where someone is at when you’re not walking around in their shoes, what they’re afraid to tell you because it might change how you feel about them. I appreciate the prayers, I’m grateful for the thoughts, the support, the kind, loving energy. I know you have my best interests at heart, that you just want me to be ok again, and I love that about you – I’m so grateful, THANK YOU for caring!  ♥

…but I’m gonna have to do this my way, however that unfolds. Please respect that. Thanks for understanding.  ♥

∞E

My relationship with my mom since she’s passed has been morphing from one of frustration to one of inspiration in many ways. She had this quote from Charles Fillmore hanging in every single house we lived in the whole time I was growing up. He wrote this when he was 94:

“I fairly sizzle with zeal and enthusiasm and spring forth with a mighty faith to do the things that ought to be done by me.”

My mom was always moving, always doing. Whether it was cooking, sewing, painting, or building something from an idea she dreamed, she was making it happen, even if she lost interest halfway through. In retrospect it seemed almost frantic, all that busy-ness.  I think about it now and it seems like she was keeping something at bay by never standing still, distracting herself from dealing with her pain.  She didn’t have an easy life.  She rarely spoke of her hardships.  She nearly always spoke positively though, I think she knew the power of her thoughts even when she felt like giving up.

It was just the two of us most of the time, so we spent a lot of time together. As a kid I felt like she was trying to make me into someone I wasn’t, like who I was wasn’t what she expected and I was very rebellious, very defensive.  I had an incredibly negative attitude with her and she seemed an unnerving and annoying vessel of positivity and gooey Light that I didn’t want on me.  There were times when my cynicism and attitude got to her and she would finally snap. It was a powerful thing to behold, shocking even. Then sometimes she would just break down and cry at her sewing table, holding her head in her hands for an hour or more and that was even more humbling. I remember feeling like an ass on many occasions but not knowing how to express my regret and apologize. We didn’t do that.  I didn’t intend to hurt my mom’s feelings, I was just trying to hold my ground to whatever extent I felt she was encroaching on me, but I had no filter for that. I didn’t know where to draw the line.

We never talked about things like that. Negatively perceived emotions weren’t something to be felt or expressed, they were to be ridiculed or outlawed and stuffed, deep down inside behind a locked door and never fed or visited. When an unpleasant emotion escaped into the light, it would wreak havoc on the house, stir things up, run amok through the china closet, and knock us both out of orbit for a while, but then there would be this enormous sense of relief afterward and we would resume life as usual.

I’ve spent a lot of time since her passing remembering the shitty things I said and did to her and the attitude I gave her, understandably feeling terrible about it, like a horrible daughter.  That doesn’t change the fact that I was endlessly irritated by my chipper, happy, singing, beautiful, talented, pushy mom.

In light of recent events, I can see that I was mirroring her shadow for her so she could release the negativity that she was keeping in check, so she could actually feel her feelings. I still feel bad about it sometimes when a particularly shameful memory comes up, but I understand now that in the grand scheme of things we all need someone to trip our triggers. If no one ever does, we never resolve the things within us that need our attention, our presence, our acceptance and forgiveness. It’s so important to cry, to rage, to expel our toxic feelings in a safe way, by ourselves or with someone who loves you enough not to take it personally.

My mother was and is an incredibly strong and courageous soul. She was brave in ways I can’t imagine being. She made many mistakes, which is what I used to focus on (and remind her of, every chance I got), but ultimately her ‘mistakes’ lined me up for a rich experience full of events and people to navigate through and learn from, events and people that have paved the path to create the person I am, and I like who I’ve become.

I have recently come to the realization that I chose that experience – in detail and on purpose – before I came here and that she loves me enough that she willingly fulfilled her leading part in that experience to grow my soul into the amazing tree of knowledge that it now is, and it keeps on growing me. I am grateful for every minute of it. I find myself coaching my friends on how to change their thinking, I catch myself singing the lyrics to the songs she used to sing while she was working, I find myself wanting to paint this quote somewhere prominently displayed in my home, and I find myself building things I’ve only seen in my dreams.

Thank you, Mama.

I feel “pretty” today.

For the first time in decades maybe, that I can remember.  No special occasion.  I didn’t dress up.  I didn’t put on any makeup.  I didn’t even shower, and I don’t remember looking at my face in the mirror.  I just pulled on yesterday’s tank top and slid into a cotton hippie skirt and flip flops and started coffee.

I think it’s the skirt.  I’d say it’s been 30+ years since I wore a skirt because I wanted to, maybe longer.  My entire adult life I have kept a few skirts and dresses around for the inevitable occasion that absolutely required it, but those times have been few and far between and I can’t say I actually ever enjoyed dressing up.  I just never was that girly of a girl, I never saw the point.  But lately, just in the last few years, I’m beginning to have the experience of wanting to be a GIRL.

I’m learning to appreciate my body for its intended purpose of keeping me healthy, and moving me place to place, warning me of danger, and of filtering the environmental toxins out of my air, food and water.   The more I accept it for what it does right, the more feminine I feel.  After all, attracting and keeping a mate is important, but not as important as being strong and healthy, as being ALIVE.  I don’t hold my femininity against myself anymore, I no longer see it as a weakness.  I’m learning to embrace my womanness, and all that goes with it.  I’m keeping my toenails polished, wearing jewelry, drinking tea, reading books, writing, spending time with other wise and wonderful women, and yes, wearing dresses.  

Image

I don’t know why it’s happening, but I kinda like it.  It’s foreign yet familiar at the same time; like the way you automatically gather your skirts up to climb stairs, or step into your shoes, you don’t even think about it, but you do it, even if you can’t remember the last time you wore a long skirt.  A few times I’ve even had the urge to curtsy, of all things – I was never taught to curtsy, ever!  Where does that come from?!

My point is, I’m becoming softer and more feminine, balancing it with my previous independent, tough girl lifestyle and attitude.  I’m more humble, more compassionate, and have more passion for life and loving, goodness, justice, and peace.  I’m happy and proud to be a woman at this point in my life, I’m enjoying the process, as surprising as it is sometimes.

PMS, for instance.  Having an excuse for a few days every month to take better care with myself, to live without the structure of a schedule, a plan, or a To Do list.  The mood swings that cause my truths to spill out unfiltered by political correctness or subservience to a social hierarchy, making certain that I don’t lose my voice, even if I only speak through my pen or keyboard.  The way I feel a teensy bit crazy sometimes, or peacefully nostalgic about the past.  The way I’m learning to trust the future, while embracing the experience of living in today’s world.  The way I allow myself to cry when I need to, even for no reason.  I no longer make mistakes, I only learn more about myself and the nature of humanity.  I’m allowing my intuition to guide me, instead of controlling my thoughts with logic and reason.  I’m learning to appreciate chaos for the change it brings.  I’m learning to accept help from my friends when it’s offered, and to be grateful for the smallest things, taking delight in micro-moments of delicious joy at the simple act of interacting with a dragonfly, or a baby, a toad, a lover, or a song.  I bathe in the light of the full moon when it suits me, and feed off the warmth of the sun on my back while I’m weeding my garden, consciously accepting the gift of its healing and working with it to grow the food that will sustain me through this year of this life.  These things are real and good and irreplaceable, and decidedly feminine in nature.  They make me feel like I truly do belong to this world, like my time here has purpose.

I have come to realize that “pretty” isn’t something defined by a picture in a magazine, or the face you see in the mirror.  Feeling pretty for me is a way of being in the world which encompasses all things feminine and all beautiful ‘in the flow’ experiences.  Had I known that putting on an old hippie skirt would draw all that together for me, I might have done it years ago, instead of clinging to an identity that clearly doesn’t fit right anymore.

It’s ok to change.  It’s ok to evolve into something more, to accept where you’ve been and let life draw you toward who you are becoming.  Change doesn’t have to be complete or excruciatingly difficult.  It’s an adjustment from doing what you’ve always done to noticing what else feels good to you and allowing yourself to move in that direction to whatever extent you feel comfortable.  The more you stretch outside your comfort zone, the easier it gets, and the more your own experience transcends the ‘reality’ outside your door, or on the news, or at your workplace.  This life is your creation.  Make it your goal to find out what makes it pop for you personally, and move toward more of that experience.  You won’t regret it.  And just for fun one day, put on a skirt and see if it makes you feel “pretty”, too.

Much love, my sisters, we got this.  (;

∞E

I recently made an observation in gratitude to my friend, Rick.  It started out something like this:

“Thank you for making me feel valued while we were getting to know each other. I’m grateful you took the time to ask me questions about myself and took an interest in what I had to say and share.  It’s clear to me now that I felt like your equal, like you cared about what I’ve experienced, tried to put yourself in my shoes, and were willing to try to see things through my eyes, so you could understand who I am and how I got here.  I’ve never felt talked down to, or talked AT, irrelevant, unheard or unfelt.  Even when we don’t agree, you’ve never made me feel wrong for having an opinion or experience that differs from yours.  You always speak from your heart or your gut when I ask you something and you give me honest and well-thought out answers.  You remember things we’ve discussed long after the conversation is over.  You ask me questions that make me feel like you’ve been paying attention, like what I think and feel matters to you and you are willing to mesh the answers with your experience for a greater understanding of me and of women in general. You care enough about me to want the best for me and I can feel it in how we relate to each other.  I really appreciate that in a man because it’s entirely too rare.  Your ex is an idiot if she thinks she’s going to find someone MORE thoughtful.”

Has this ever happened to YOU?  Yeah, me neither, at least not very often.  When it does, it’s definitely noticeable.  My typical experience with men looks a lot different.  It’s like my generation of women and the ones before it brought with us the, “seen and not heard” mentality of the people who raised us, like what we look like on the outside is paramount to who we are on the inside, or what we feel, or have to say about our experience as women.  We tend to automatically try to picture ourselves in some man’s world (or him in ours) before we consider whether we know enough about him to even like him as a person.  We give him value before he bestows any upon us, or shows us through his actions (not words) that he’s interested in anything about us besides getting in our knickers.  Why do we do that?  Why would someone as beautiful, as intelligent, as loving and as courageous as you, put aside everything that you are for a little bit of flattery and a slap on the ass from someone who isn’t interested enough in what makes you tick to want to know about it?  I’m not talking about your favorite color or movie or song.  I’m talking about your essence, your being, the things that set you apart from any other woman that he sees and is attracted to.  Because if he can’t tell that you’re special and unique and amazing, why would you want him in your life, or your bed or your future?  Why would you settle for someone who can’t SEE you?

I’ll tell you why.  Because we’re not accustomed to our inner selves being the main event.  We’re accustomed to generations of men who have gotten lazy and shifted most of their ‘relationship’ focus to their visual perception and how that looks sexually.  Many men (and women now) have no idea how to carry their end of the relationship once that objective has been reached.  On our end, thanks to the media and corporate branding, we females are constantly comparing ourselves to supermodels,  movie and porn stars and coming up lacking.  We judge ourselves by what our ass looks like in the mirror instead of by our character, by our capacity for loving.  We see ourselves weak and them strong.  We reject the feminine qualities of compassion, nurturing, empathy and sentimentality and strive to keep up with the boys at their own game, so we can understand them, to fit in.  We sacrifice integrity and honor on the altar of sexual attractiveness, to get a man, and then we’re all ass-hurt when he wanders off with the next fantasy girl.  It’s not just on them.  Both genders are in denial here.  We, because we think if we can just reel him in close enough with attraction that he’ll eventually see who we are inside, our worth as a partner, and love us, and they because they think loving someone has anything to do with whatever’s in their pants.  And we’ve allowed that to be the status quo for far too long because many of us would rather be in a relationship with someone who marginally cares about us and helps pay the bills than do the hard work of developing a relationship with ourselves and reaching for the kind of love experience that mirrors the value we place upon our new and improved selves.  It’s up to us to teach them the difference between a steady piece of ass and a love relationship.  Sadly we’ve been dropping the ball for a long time.  We’re so caught up in this pay-per-view relationship illusion that we’ve been sold that we’re not in touch with what matters to us.  We sell ourselves short in three ways:

  • The Dangerous Type – We’re attracted to ‘danger’.  There’s a reason you get that feeling in the pit of your stomach when you hear from him (or not).  That’s your intuition telling you the shit is gonna hit the fan.  We turn ourselves inside out to keep him around because we think we need that feeling in our lives, we mistake it for something called Love.  It’s not love, it’s an addiction.  It’s co-dependency disguised as butterflies.  We’re addicted to them and they’re addicted to…something that’s not us.  We’re all surprised and victimized when we get burned, or drowned, or our life implodes on us because we’ve centered it around this guy.   Then we have all this drama and chaos to contend with and share with our friends so we can all commiserate about how rotten men are.  We build styrofoam walls around us to keep this type out of our lives… until we choose the same guy again…
  • Let it Please Be Him – This is the pseudo relationship where you feel kind of warm and fuzzy about a man, but not quite ‘there’.  He says and does all the right things and you like him but he’s not quite tripping your trigger and you talk yourself into committing to him anyway.  Hey, he thinks he’s in love with you (even though you barely know each other) and that might be good enough, because he’s obviously seeing something in you that you don’t.  You’re right.  He’s seeing what he wants to see, which may have little or nothing to do with who you are.  He can’t love you, he doesn’t know you.  But he wants to love you, and you desperately want to be loved, so you decide it’s ok enough and you’ll fake it til you make it.  Except after a while you’re feeling guilty because you’re still faking it, and you’re feeling obligated to make ‘it’ work because you don’t want to disappoint this sweet man who clearly loves you so much, despite the fact that you haven’t had a meaningful interaction in months.  You feel invisible, unheard, unseen, because he’s not in love with you, he’s in love with going through the motions.  By the way, you’re not in love with him either.  You never were.  You’re bored and apathetic and he suddenly notices the giant hot pink pachyderm under the afghan on your sofa and he feels deceived, oddly enough.  Go figure.  
  • Nice Guys Finish Last – Sometimes we actually find a decent guy who takes the time to get to know us and doesn’t want to rush us into the sack, but it’s imperative we sabotage that relationship because we don’t feel like we’re working hard enough to keep him.  It can’t be real if he isn’t primarily focused on macking on us, right?  Because DAMMIT, we’re mackable and he’s not playing by the rules.  Maybe he’s gay, or MAYBE he’s not ignoring us quite enough to make us feel desperately attached to him.  It would appear there’s something wrong with him, because he seems to like us better than cable AND he even has a life and his own interests when we’re not around.  Nope, too weird, he’s got to go.  A big meltdown over nothing should do the trick.  If he doesn’t get the hint, we’ll ratchet it up to every week and finally resort to cheating with a Dangerous Type to seal the deal.  That’ll show him.  Damn guys, can’t they see we don’t deserve their honest affection?  Sheesh, slow learners…

We have been trained and we have trained men to discount the things that make us shine as individuals and to promote that which he can get from half the human population.   We have lied to ourselves and lied to them so we don’t have to feel alone.  Why?  Because we pay too much attention to the messages outside of ourselves and not enough attention to what’s being said inside.  If we approved of ourselves, we wouldn’t need validation from anyone else.  If we found and focused on the things we love about ourselves, we wouldn’t need proof that we’re lovable from someone with a penis.  If we forgave ourselves for making mistakes, we wouldn’t need to prove our unworthiness by making the same mistakes over and over again.  Step up.  Get real.    Deal with your abandonment issues.  Accept rejection as a culling process, saving you from the experience of loving someone who can’t or won’t love you back.  Take care of you, as if you were your own best friend, so you don’t need someone else to do it.  Take an interest in yourself and decide who you want to be and go after your ideal self.  If we defined our values and were brave enough to live them, we would attract partners who are courageous and real enough to meet us there on common ground.  But we have to start the process and raise the bar.  We only reduce ourselves when we refuse to dare to live out loud, to be who we are from where we are in life, unapologetically.  We don’t need all the boys to like us, just the ones that have the presence to appreciate the woman we have come to be, through our own life experience.  Who we are is a culmination of everything we’ve loved, lost, learned, struggled with and overcome.  You’ve put a lifetime of work into your life story.  Give it a happy ending.  Leave the sharks to the shark bait.  They’ll get tired of being chewed up eventually and come around.  I did, and actually lived to tell about it.  Stop living the lie.  Make adjustments as necessary until you know which feelings are yours and which are cultural programming or family patterns.  Be who YOU are, not some stupid imitation of some vapid ego, manifesting itself as a role model from the tv screen or magazine pages.  You are so much more than you believe.  The more you love you, the more love will find its way to you, without your effort.  Believe it.  Be it.

…And when you meet a man who values you without your having to ‘earn’ it, who can demonstrate his appreciation for the woman of substance that you are… make sure you acknowledge him for that, so he’ll continue to do it, and pass it on to the next generation.  There are good men out there, who are worthy of your love, respect, admiration and loyalty.  Make sure you are the kind of woman who is worthy of them.  And if you can’t bring yourself to fight your way out of that generic box you’ve sealed yourself in to conform with the ridiculous illusion our culture is framed in, don’t blame the men in your life for not being able to see past your wrapper.

∞E

© girlslikefastcars2 January 2012

I’ve always loved this Bill Hicks clip and quote:

“The world is like a ride at an amusement park. It goes up and down and round and round. It has thrills and chills and it’s very brightly coloured and it’s very loud and it’s fun, for a while. Some people have been on the ride for a long time, and they begin to question: Is this real, or is this just a ride? And other people have remembered, and they come back to us, they say, “Hey – don’t worry, don’t be afraid, ever, because, this is just a ride…” But we always kill those good guys who try and tell us that, you ever notice that? And let the demons run amok. Jesus – murdered; Martin Luther King – murdered; Malcolm X – murdered; Gandhi – murdered; John Lennon – murdered; Reagan… wounded. But it doesn’t matter because:

It’s just a ride. And we can change it anytime we want.  It’s only a choice.  No effort, no work, no job, no savings of money.  A choice, right now, between fear and love. 

The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your doors, buy guns, close yourself off. The eyes of love, instead, see all of us as one. Here’s what we can do to change the world, right now, to a better ride. Take all that money that we spend on weapons and defenses each year and instead spend it feeding and clothing and educating the poor of the world, which it would many times over, not one human being excluded, and we could explore space, together, both inner and outer, forever, in peace.”

 

I have posted it countless times on facebook, I have repeated it to people, I have written it on post-its and stuck it to the wall over my computer screen to remind myself.  But I have never really realized its meaning until tonight.

choice  (chois)

n.

1. The act of choosing; selection.
2. The power, right, or liberty to choose; option.
3. One that is chosen.
4. A number or variety from which to choose: a wide choice of styles and colors.
5. The best or most preferable part.
6. Care in choosing.
7. An alternative.
A conscious decision, a decision you don’t take lightly, the power to choose, the right to choose, the freedom to choose… between FEAR and LOVE.
-Not hitching a ride with your mind to the worst imaginable outcome.
-Not being swept away by your emotions, your hormones, your beliefs about your worth or lack thereof or your sense of security or lack thereof.
-Not being guided by the thoughts, feelings, attitudes or opinions of others.
A choice, right now, between living in fear or staying with, focusing on and nurturing the LOVE.
Just like learning a new way to meditate.  ☮
Thank you, Bill and both Charlies, for providing the connection.  ♥
Erika Boyer © December 2011

There’s always some good in every situation. Look beyond the madness and trust that there’s a good reason for whatever is happening in your life (even though it sucks right now). You may not know what it is immediately (or then again you might) but if you trust that the universe has your best interests at heart, it’ll make your troubles easier to deal with and you’ll start expecting the good everywhere. When that happens, life only brings you good things.

%d bloggers like this: