Celebrate the Temporary

There are things I have stopped doing because of time limitations. I used to send cards in the mail to friends. I loved doing it. The act of writing a short note made me so happy, but down time now fulfills me more. I am stretched at times between long hours at work and family. Even the thought of entertaining during the weekend becomes a chore (which I love as well).

Yesterday one of the volunteer grammas in the classroom said something and I told her that nothing lasts forever. Things come and go. She used the perfect phrase at the moment of hearing this: “celebrate the temporary.”

Being in the moment of what is can free up the guilt and shame of not being able to do what you have been programmed to believe that you have to keep doing. If this means letting go of sending greeting cards for now…then be it. If it means not visiting with loved ones…it’s not forever. If it means letting the laundry pile up or the dust bunnies take over for just a little bit longer…it’s okay.

Our addiction to busyness is excessive. It’s sickening and exhausting. Nothing lasts infinitely except how you perceive things. You get to shift that thought process. This is the art of living mindfully while celebrating the temporary. Celebrate the now and give it your best. Tomorrow things may change. The job will not demand so much. The debts may be paid off. The illness may turn to full health. The situations and challenges will evolve. They might not be how you wanted or expected but they will change. Life is fluid. It’s made of eternal fluxes of movements.

Look back at all the crap you’ve survived. Here you are. Right now. Celebrate that! Let go of what you think you should be doing and feel what you are living in the moment.

I love you!

(Note: this meme says so much about how we always feel the need to explain ourselves to others. DO NOT! That simple).

You Must Release the Shame

Come close. Sit for a second and let me share a story…

I held a giant amount of guilt and resentment for over 20 years. It wasn’t something I thought about daily but it would show its ugly head every so often. The trauma was molded to my worth. It would visit and linger and poke in a way that I felt my breath leave me, especially in the middle of the night. In the last few years I needed to release it. And back in February I did.

I met with this amazing woman…a true soul sister…and apologized. We had something in common. We had both been with the same man for 18 years, and in between those years there were years that overlapped. She didn’t know it. I was also told a different story. We co-inhabited with a man who fed on our lack of self worth. We handed him the right to place a price tag on our souls.

I was young, stupid, and foolish. I was naive. I was in my twenties with two little boys while needing a father figure as he was 18 years my senior. He was a master manipulator, the poster child for narcissism. We believed him. I loved him. She did too. But, what happens when you grow into yourself and the shame is still lurking? You must find a way to shred it, surrender the yuckiness, and forgive yourself for mistakes.

We are human. We are imperfect. We are entitled to screwing up and growing. We are given the extraordinary beauty of falling miserably and rising to greatness.

You must enter the discomfort and allow the healing to begin. You must acknowledge your part in the stories and own the lessons. You have to allow for the truth to come out of every pore of your being. That’s when light comes in and you are recreated.

Guess how that happens! It happens through love. It happens through total release of culpability. It appears through the total abandonment of monsters in closets. You open the door and let them go free. Those suckers need release. They need light to vanish.

I own every part of the stories: the ugly and disgraceful; the lovely and magical; the ridiculous and careless; the spirituality and the human. I own it because it brought me here to this very moment of midlife with a giant exposure of truth. It allowed me to fall in love again with someone who could love me back for the real me.

Once we met at a retreat, we spent four days with one another. We spoke truth and opened up all the lies. She forgave me for being with her husband while they were still married. She also gave me permission to let that shit go. I gave her permission to forgive him for all the atrocities he created in both our lives. We held one another, hands intertwined, walking on the beach. We cried. We shared in disbelief the stories of two young women wrapped in the web of deception with a cunning Machista.

What happened after that gathering was pure ecstatic. I found myself. I dug into places of me that I didn’t know were available or even existed in my perception. The truth of it all shook my core belief. My imperfections were embraced by her which allowed for me to accept in me. I fell in love with this woman who shared similarities, not just our children but a man we once loved with ferocity. He had a type and we saw it while laughing, communing, speaking and crying.

I ask that you let the shit go. Whatever is in you that is breaking you needs release. You might not get a chance to say it to another so allow yourself the surrendering to divinity. Truly let it all go.

And start loving all the parts that have made you whole…because you are precious and loving. Fly, darling! ~m.a.p.

Struggles…

Many years ago…12 to be exact…I was experiencing a struggle with my eldest daughter. She arrived into my life at the age of 11-1/2 from Romania. And with her came a lot of secrets and demons. She suffered from multiple personalities and deep wounds. There was no way to reach her regardless of all the love and security I provided. At the age of 18, finishing high school, she plotted to hurt me and some other family members. The heartache those days was immense. It was unlike anything I had ever experienced up to that moment in my life.

My son’s friend’s mother came over to get him one day. I shared my struggle through tears and heartbreak. She took me aside (a woman who truly didn’t know me that well even though our boys were super close) and she shared a personal story about her eldest son. She told me, while holding me, that sometimes we had to let go in order to continue helping our other children. Up to that moment I didn’t know anyone who had undergone things that broke the mama heart that profoundly. Whether it was addiction, mental illness, or whatever…I had not known someone personally who was navigating through similar experiences.

I listened to her. She had been at this for years. I felt her own release in that conversation. I listened so much that, now 12 years later, I can still remember her words of wisdom. This woman just lost her son a few days ago. That said son who was struggling with his own demons. And as I write this I swear my heart breaks even deeper. A parent should never, ever, have to do what she’s had to do this week. I know he’s finally at peace. She does too but there is always the uncertainty of how much we did or didn’t do to fix and save our loved ones. The doubts creep up and we are consumed by the unknown of it all. It’s hard to decipher what is real and what is not. Guilt and shame are familiar emotions that push the grief up. It’s all part of healing and letting go.

I know without a shadow of a doubt, that when someone has these struggles the only thing you can do for them is hold space. The loss is inexplicable. It’s unreal and I cannot imagine how my friend is holding herself up this week. So I pray and send loving light to her and her family since she’s not near me (although I wish I was with her at the moment). I keep meditating and hold her heart in mine. No one knows what another endures…not what she had to do for her son, not what I’ve had to for my own children. We have little windows we show to the world, but behind closed doors and blinds the truth of it is quite different. I am blessed to have had her 12 years ago to help me navigate my own grief, shame and guilt because I was completely lost. I had to let my daughter go. I had to love her from afar and continue to do so daily because she refuses the love. In the end I had to put my energy into those in my house who were willing to receive the love and security. And it continues…

That’s all we are asked to do: love and serve those who receive it (who are willing to accept it). We can’t fix or help those who don’t want it. It’s like hitting yourself against a giant boulder while the ocean smashes against you over and over. It’s pure insanity.

I love you, my dear friend. You know who you are…you will always be the words of wisdom when I struggle through my own little demons of guilt for not doing more…. I am here!!!!!

You are Worthy

I want to tell you something that it’s hard for you to hear or accept: you are worthy. You are worthy of love. You are worthy of happiness. You are worthy of freedom. The shit you carry around, all those dark secrets that eat into your soul, attack your worth. You cannot go back in time no matter how much you power your thoughts. No matter how angry you get. No matter how much shame you hold. No matter who you blame. You cannot go back there. So stop sabotaging your future. Stop the insanity of negative self talk. Stop punishing your soul for all that has happened. What good is it bringing you? Your worth is a product of what you believe. You believe you are great…you will reach greatness. You believe you are lovable…you will find love. The monsters you carry around full of shame are stopping this moment and your future. No more hustling for your worth. Let it go. Find love. You are worth it.

The Power of Loss

loss

You’ve known loss. I’ve known loss. We have all lost someone, something, and at times even ourselves. We lose. That’s what entails living. We gain and we lose. I have lost loved ones to death, to misunderstandings, to circumstances, and to the world. I have lost myself more times during the process of growth and expansion than I care to remember. This happens. It must in order to grow. I wish we didn’t have to go through disappointments, despair, loneliness, shame, catastrophe, wreckage, and anything under the umbrella of misfortunes.

When I was in my twenties I lost a man whose absence changed the perspective of what I thought I deserved in love. He would become the love gauge of what and how I should be loved. It would take years to feel the assurance of what I should have in the love department. He asked me to marry him, I said yes, and three days later, at the age of 25, he died in a car accident. Just like that…gone!  One minute making plans to marry me and adopt my two boys…and in a second the emptiness and destitution of nothing. It’s been over 20 years since that moment and the heartache that it produced has finally stopped aching. The loss, however, never has. 

The thing about loss is that the grief it carries is inexplicable. Its shame is unpredictable. He’s still around in my dreams, in words someone says, in a smile a stranger might give me, in a look another might have. He’s in books and movies and many relationships. He’s still in me because no matter what happens every person who enters our existence leaves a imprint. It is never erased. Some leave them deeper than others. And, every other relationship that has existed in my life has also visited those scars and places of loneliness. In the beginning the shame that arrived for me still living and him being gone was incomprehensible. However, I held on to love. I held on to the beauty of forgiveness and knowing that he passed my life to better it…not to create a trauma so large that I would stop loving forever. The choice to continue loving is one of pure courage. Who the hell wants to feel that pain again? Why would anyone want to take the chance to feel that loss once more?

Here is the thing…to shut yourself off from the world is insanity. It is a great injustice. We are not made to live without love. We are not made to put up walls. We are to continue growing through those losses. I’ve lost no more and no less than anyone else. I have lost physically and mentally while in those losses I have doubted my humanity, my self-worth, and my ability to keep going. I have loved time and time again and have been hurt. I have left the warmth and comfort in not wanting relationships to then dive in and get hurt. I have been ruptured and stitched up again. I have seen the beauty in mindful love and the downside of giving all I am. It’s been worth the ride. 

I remember telling someone that a break like that truly feels like a giant crack inside. I believe it is then that the fracture allows for the heart to expand and grow to love deeper. Perhaps I am delusional. I just know that the times that I have ended relationships, or death has taken someone, the pain is so immense that my soul needs time alone to recuperate. I literally feel the ache coming from my chest. It is in those moments that the tears wash everything out and I realize that faith is the only means of transportation. I have no regrets because the child in me only wants love and to be loved. If that entails loss…well that’s a mighty hefty price that needs to be paid. 

Love is part of conscious living. You must give it in order to breathe.

We are not exempt from disappointments, deaths, breakups, tragedies, and anything under the scope of loss. Loss is the vulture that cleans our insides. While it’s in there anger, resentment, guilt, shame, and a kaleidoscope of emotions rise. Loss eats every aspect of hope and then allows for new cells to rebuild. If we live long enough we will see the immense power of hatred as well as the magnitude of love. 

This is your life. This is my life. This is life. Do not confine yourself to a prison of safety by not opening your heart to the world. You will miss out in other ways that Spirit can gift you through the magic of love. You are not alone. May you find the courage to love again and again for the rest of your life!

You don’t get to leave here alive!

light on person

We as humans tend to beat ourselves up for things we’ve done in the past. We carry embarrassment, guilt and memories like a giant sack of potatoes across continents on our backs. Every so often we sit the sack down and let things go to no sooner pick it right back up with regrets, anger, resentments, and shame. Oh…that beautiful word called shame. No one seems to be exempt from it. We feed it, hate it, and give power to it above everything else at times. We create plays and dramatic events with Shame as the protagonist and the antagonist. It’s a one-man show!

The reality is that we all do stupid things. We all have had moments of carelessness, irresponsible behaviors, and absolutely no regard for our psyche. I have done things that have questioned my moral compass in the past. I have lied, cheated, drank way too much, taken drugs, slept with people I don’t even know their names, and have taken the most disgusting attitude condemning myself for it. I have self-sabotaged myself and relationships because I haven’t felt lovable or good enough. I had no value to my greatness for being alive. But see, the past is gone. I don’t live there anymore. Being on a spiritual path for the past few years has allowed me to let go of the shame and guilt for things that brought me here. I went from that point to this point. I wouldn’t change a thing. Being promiscuous, especially when dealing with a rape I didn’t address for 18 years, is one of those things that I’ve had to accept and let go. I don’t recall the fun in it now but I know that at the time it was an addiction of sorts. I did what I did on the down low without a single person knowing it. I purposely used sex and alcohol as an escape as well as a punishment. For years after my escapades I became numb with my partner. He went off to do his cheating and I didn’t do anything but excuse it as “I deserve this. Years ago I did this. Now it’s his turn.” Imagine the messed up psychological process behind it all. Imagine the stories I carried just because I thought I was not worth anything better!

My children, especially when I acquired all six of them, forced me to love harder. They took me out of my own existence and learned to love unconditionally. It was powerful. I still carried those sacks of regrets around the world but couldn’t focus on them as much because I had others depending on me. Self-sabotaging wasn’t soever present when they were growing up. I had no time for the nonsense. There were moments of doubts, depression, sadness, lack of worth, no self love…and always lurking in the distance the shame for not being a good human being. But, I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I was born to be a mother and that kept me going. I could love another like no one’s business. That, I could do and I was good at it. For the first time in my life I had something to give that didn’t require my past. My expectations of humanity were on the right track.

Ah…those expectations of being “a good human.” Who makes this up? Who determines our worth? Who says we are good or bad? Religion, politics, some council in the sky…I don’t know. I don’t know why we judge and criticize others based on what we truly don’t follow or understand. Our lesson here is to live and learn and evolve. How can we understand another when we don’t accept all that we are: the flaws, the mistakes, the wrong decisions…. We ARE humans. Humans get to mess up, hurt, hate, judge and criticize all they want…the problem is when it is done towards another without accepting their own imperfections.  Fear allows us to stay stagnant because what we don’t know we cannot accept.

If you want to live a life of authentic power you have got to let go of that sack. Drop it!!! Drop it right now. Stop punishing yourself. Stop the victimization. Stop the martyr-ship. Stop the insane self-sabotaging. Stop replaying the past. Aren’t you here because of it? Aren’t you evolving? Stop judging, projecting, criticizing others because of your own crap. You get to determine what happens now.

The other day when I visited a homeless shelter to drop off clothes and food I came across a young man. He was no older than my eldest son. He was lying on the cold gravel without a shirt and some raggedy shorts sucking on a candy. I asked him something and he was nasty. I remained kind with a “thank you.” He apologized. I asked if he needed anything and he replied that he was fine. He wasn’t fine. He was fractured, broken in pieces, and full of himself lying on a giant sack of shame. The rage, anger, and self hatred could be seen from the moon. I cannot judge this soul. I would have to condemn my own past and the times I thought I deserved nothing more than to live on the streets.  I could just as well been this guy, or the prostitute on the next street, or the drug addict down that same road.

What constitutes being human? What makes us good and lovable and righteous? What did I do to make the right choices? I believe I had good people who cared and showed me their love. In the end love has a lot to do with our choices in life. We all want love and appreciation. The lost and hopeless seem to have forgotten what those things are. I am always deeply touched by this lack of knowledge. We all deserve love, forgiveness, and acceptance. We are all part of this crazy and yummilicious human race.

Do yourself a favor…stop the self-sabotaging. Drop the past. Start today. You are beating yourself up for no reason but as punishment for what happened to you. You got raped, molested, beaten, abused, and whatever atrocity happened to you…guess what…here you are! Your parents didn’t love you or loved you too much and over-protected you. You got your ass beaten everyday for no apparent reason but because you were there. You lost all your belongings and monetary valuables. You lost your job. You got sick. You lost a limb, a breast, or whatever else you’ve encountered through disease. You lost your hope, your way, and your pride. You are here and you made it through the shit storm. You made it through all the horrific events. I am proud of you. Oh my God…I AM so deeply proud of what you have done with your existence. You are breathing, you are surviving, you are existing here on this marvelous earth. You get to decide what you will do from here on. You cannot continue to blame your ex, your friends, your parents or anyone else.  Find something outside of you to sustain you like the wisdom of divinity, faith, belief or whatever you want to call it.  Stand in your glory and light. Embark in the mysteries and mysticism of this light. Do not allow Ego to dictate your worth. Do not allow the media and others to put a price on you. Get out of your own way. Stand up! Stand in gratitude for all that you’ve overcome. Own your part in your drama. Be responsible for it all but let it go. Let…IT…GOOOOOO! No one can do this for you. You get to decide what you carry around. Stop the insanity and start loving all that you have become. Whatever you don’t like…damn it…change it! You are not a tree rooted to the earth waiting for someone to move you. After all, sweetheart, no one gets out of here alive. Not even YOU! I love you.

I’m Sorry Syndrome

I had a dream in the early hours of morning about a visit to a therapist.  Dr. Carl Jung sat across from me with a giant desk in between us.  I remember asking, “Dr.Carl, this is very impersonal.  Is there a way we can sit next to each other without this desk in the way?”  We moved to the area where I sat on the sofa and he sat on a comfy chair across from me.  I began with apologizing for my brokenness.  It was a long dream.  I was woken by my boyfriend while crying.  The details aren’t important.  What is relevant is my sense of apologizing for my emotions.

I have always had the “I’m Sorry Syndrome.”  And when someone asks me to stop apologizing I apologize for it again.  I know where and how it stems from.  There has to be a barricade to this agonizing need to please others.  As women we tend to do it more frequently than men.  Childhood traumas, abusive relationships and just pure self-esteem issues cause us to immediately sneak in the apology to smooth things over with another person.  But, sitting across from Carl Jung I realized it wasn’t necessary.

We tend to apologize for everything.  I apologize for interrupting, for feeling a certain way, for being early to an appointment, etc.  Heck, I apologize just for laughing or crying while thinking I am making the other person feel uncomfortable.  And, let’s not even discuss the apologies I shell out when the other person has done me wrong and I end up apologizing for them.

The word “sorry” is magical.  It opens hearts and allows for forgiveness.  However, that same word can be a crutch in not allowing self-worth to grow in a positive manner.  We apologize for our parenting skills, professional choices, schooling, loving too deeply or not loving enough.  We apologize for not wearing the right clothes, not having enough money, and having a bad hair day.  We apologize for so many senseless acts based on our emotions.  When do we stop this self-sabotage outrage of losing our self onto another?  Why do we apologize when we find our voice and want to express it?  Each time an apology is dished out we are serving a part of our worth and letting that person hold the key to our emotions.

I remember my ex never apologized…ever.  So, I spent years apologizing every time he did something wrong or hurtful to me.  I would end up apologizing for a fight or disagreement.  The common answer from him was, “If you weren’t the way you are then you wouldn’t push me to act this way.  I accept your apology.”  Typical narcissism personality disorder to the oomph degree!  In these moments an apology is like white-out.  It is covered up but always still underneath it all.  When you’ve wronged or hurt someone an apology is a must!

Some of the questions I asked Dr. Carl (as I kept calling him) were: “What is my purpose here?  What do I do with myself from here on?  What can I bring to this life?”  I believe I had a few more universal questions in regards to my existence.  I can’t remember right now.  What I do remember is the feelings of shame and displacement.  I recall the brokenness of remorse and guilt. In the middle of the conversation I can still feel the sense of self-criticism and judgment while apologizing for the past and the lessons that I’ve learned from such traumas.

As a child I wasn’t heard.  My mother had me at 44 years of age.  She was too busy going through menopause when I was just starting middle school.  Puberty was something you did and never discussed.  I apologized for my mood swings, for wanting to be with friends, and for needing to just be left alone without her around.  I apologize for my ultra sensitivity, my need to be perfect in school, and anything that she could not relate to as a teenager in the 80’s.  I was expected to be seen and not heard.  This was most people of my generation.  Now that I am my mother’s age I see the difference the generation gap created.  The need to apologize is a weakness rather than a healthy characteristic when the resentment is for wanting to honor your feelings.

When do we stop this nonsense of putting everyone else in front of our own needs?  When and how do we break the pattern of justifying what we want with an apology?  When do we start to live authentically…now or the day we are dying?

I believe that a dream with an archetypical world famous psychologist was exactly what I needed to reflect and cease those things I keep struggling to fix.  I cannot continue to be sorry for the person I am or continue to become.  If I happen to ruffle a few feathers along the way I have to accept it is a reflection or projection of that other person.  We must stop apologizing for evolving and wanting to live authentically.  Let’s put the word “sorry” back to its real context once and for all.

“The only correct actions are those that demand no explanation and no apology.”  ~Red Auerbach