Lessons from a Pandemic

I’ve learned invaluable lessons during these last 6 weeks of staying home about myself and my family:

I have more patience than I give myself credit for.

I have a horrid-wicked-twisted sense of humor when I am not busy with my own stuff. I have to water it down!

I have accepted that I am not a teacher…nor ever want to be. And I respect educators so much. Now more than ever before.

I avoid lots of emotional shit until I don’t and then it comes out in a massive wave of release. And, boy, have I released beyond words. I’ve let go of triggers and traumas because I haven’t been able to run from them.

I don’t need much. All those trips to Home Goods and Target were to fill an emptiness. I haven’t stepped into either place in more than 6 weeks and I am fine with it.

My kids are excellent emotional button pushers. And, I have learned to truly return to the present moment with them because they, too, are experiencing a different routine. Now the routine has become normal. They are my biggest teachers.

We love the outdoors. I have given so much love to the yard for the first time since we bought this house a year and a half ago. I am learning to be gentle out there and watch spring as it’s blooming everywhere. I, too, am blossoming.

My oldest son is staying here from New York and our conversations in the evenings have been priceless. There is nothing sweeter than having stimulating conversations with your grown children. When my own thoughts come out of his mouth I get giddy. It’s been the first time in 12 years since we’ve been together longer than a week at a time during holidays.

I am grateful. I have learned that I am truly happy with my life (on most days) even when the young kids take the piss out of me. I am grateful for my husband still having a job and putting his life in danger out there.

My spirituality took a giant blow for three or four weeks during this. I questioned everything and, at the same time, nothing at all. I felt numbed and disconnected. I couldn’t feel the other realm. And, then I did and it’s come back with such depth.

I have learned to stop speculating. I’ve stopped reading things that triggered me on social media. I rarely watch the news. I won’t entertain things that hit my spiritual truth and knowing.

I marvel at it all. Six weeks have been a gift of their own. I know many have lost loved ones. I know the risks taken with each breath out there. I know that I know nothing about what will happen in the upcoming months.

I have reached out to those who I’ve missed but was too busy to talk to. We’ve connected again through amazing increments of time.

Being home has never felt safer. It has never felt warmer. This has been a giant pause for me. I have done very little with my writing, or creativity (other than yard work) and I have learned to be okay with it.

All that I could have done with this time has gone into raising a small family. It’s been a delightful gift to do this fully and mindfully…until I get to bed with exhaustion. But, it has been lovely to learn so much about me at this age.

I had a birthday during this time. I celebrate my birthday all 30 days of April. This year it hasn’t been like that. I haven’t had me time in weeks. But, that also has brought tremendous awareness. Fifty-two years have come and this one I will never forget.

I am certain there are many other lessons I can’t remember at this time. I am healing. It’s never ending. I am excited to see what’s on the other side of this.

What have you learned? What has this PAUSE brought for you and your family?

Mucho love…Millie

No More Hiding

I spent a large part of my life hiding. Recently, after a healing session with an incredible soul, I recognized the patterns and programming. I shared with an old friend who immediately said, “Oh honey, you’ve been hiding all your life. I’m so sorry!”

Her sorry was genuine and my tears flowed out again. She saw me. Really saw the trail of bullshit left behind by a Narcissistic mother. And I’ve been working on cutting cords for a bit now. I tend to listen to the voices of the past when I try to lead my children in the now. I don’t want to be like my mother. I second guess every single major decision in spite of what my heart and intuition show me.

Healing is about release. It’s surrendering to the now while letting go of what has kept you captive. This can be physical, emotional or spiritual. I don’t believe in examining and re-examining the past because that story is no longer there. We create new ones but at some point ancestral wounds need to be cut. And they are!

I purged all day and night. Literally letting shit out. That’s how my body always works when I start to release and forgive. It’s mystical in how deeply connected I am to receiving energetic healing from Source.

Sometimes we don’t really know what’s inside no matter how much we work on ourselves. It takes an outsider to guide our spirit on a new journey and quest.

Here is what I continue to learn daily: unhealed people hurt through their unknowing-ness. They don’t recognize they are hurting anyone, especially a child. As I continue to feel seen the vulnerability is heighten. I am no longer a little chubby scared girl feeling judged by the world. I am no longer a 20 something woman walking on eggshells afraid of what others think of me.

The healing sticks when we become aware of how we allow toxic energy from others. Those folks continue to show up to remind us of our growth. I am blessed they continue to show me how to set healthy boundaries. I am grateful their narcissism is so prominent that I can see it coming miles away.

I hope you can also see them and send them love. You don’t have to participate in their dramas. I see you. I honor you. I love you.

Shaken Up

We are being shaken up to wake in truth. The shift is happening in a large scale. We are women, mothers, sisters, daughters and friends. We are the divine feminine rising in masses. Stay in love and do not allow fear to consume you. This is happening on a massive collective soul level. Together we can heal and help the world heal. When one voice is heard it echoes across the world. So imagine what millions of beautiful voices speaking their truth can do to release old wounds? Regardless of these outcomes we can continue to show the world that truth prevails. And more than anything the light we continue to carry towards one another transcends this moment. We are making history every single second. This is one of the most powerful times ever. And we are witnessing our strength in numbers. I am healing my own traumas and deep treacherous memories. So thank you. Thank you to all the women (and men) for opening up and sharing their own stories of horrific assaults and events. I stand in awed of the magic we are creating. I love you.

Memories of Old

My mother and I moved from Puerto Rico in June of 1976, to Hollywood, Florida. My older sisters had moved there. The middle one was going through a horrible divorce. Mom and I were in a tiny efficiency for a few weeks. She heard shooting and bangs. We heard screaming and chaos. I was 8 years old. She put me in a closet by the tiny bathroom and she hid in the shower. The more “shootings” we heard the deeper the fear. I screamed. She begged me to be quiet. She was crying and praying. I was biting my lips and trying to remain calm. It was a long night. There was no phone in the place. She feared for our lives. Finally it was over. We were wet with sweat and exhausted from the trauma of possibly being shot to death. The next morning she figured out the date. It was the 4th of July. She had so much going on that she never even thought about it. They were firecrackers, not gun shots. They were celebrating outside, not shooting each other. To this day when the fireworks begin I think of my little inner child fearing the possibility of dying or someone shooting my mother. I didn’t speak English. I didn’t know where my sisters lived. I knew no one. But I held my Mami that night, while she slept in. I held her hands and caressed her hair thanking God for not taking her. I was angry that we moved to a place that would end our lives. There was so much violence in my little world that night.

Last night I remembered this so vividly. And I am aware that traumas rarely leave us until we face them. I’m not phased by fireworks. I don’t mind them. I am, however, shaken when I hear screams or feel that the world is in chaos. This is why I reach out to strangers when I know they need someone to just acknowledge them. You never know the fear they are moving through. It’s there until you surround them with love.

Today I hold you. Tomorrow might be your turn. Thank you.

Letting Go

My husband and I were watching the show, This Is Us, last night. For whatever reason, because the show is full of vulnerability, I began to share a memory that I’ve never, ever shared with anyone from when I was pregnant with my second son. I left his father soon after he was born. But, I kept that memory of my 22nd birthday tucked inside until last night. I caught myself saying out loud, “I’ve never shared that memory of that day with anyone.” He asked, “Why now? Why me?” In my silence I knew why. There was no judgment. He was just there, open to receive the message. We continued watching the show. Nothing else was mentioned. This is one of the many reasons why I adore my husband. And also why in the last year we’ve grown closer…because we’ve openly shared the layers of the past.

Memories visit us a lot. They entertain us with laughter and break us up with sorrow. They revisit when they need to be acknowledged and they also leave us when we no longer need the reminders. Whatever triggered that moment of me sitting on a park bench, 5 months pregnant while mourning my marriage, was needed to be released.

Why now? Why do such things come up when they need to? Why do we feel the need to share with someone and not with others? The mind, our conscious choices, and our essence are all tied neatly to this moment. We are brought back to traumas or issues and events because we require healing. We don’t have to entertain every single thought that passes through. We don’t have to block them out either. But, we do ourselves great injustices when we ignore the poignant messages that come through memories. Don’t.

DO NOT wallow in the darkness. Allow the detachment of the past to show you how much you have learned. How much you have evolved. It’s massive. We are moved by growth. I am forever grateful for my ability to forgive and let go.

Allow your heart to heal. Give permission to your higher self to help you. You are precious. And, you deserve to live in the moment without piggy backing any crap from the past. You no longer live there.

Blue Plates

The other day I was hand washing a blue dinner plate. This plate was a set that arrived with my husband, Matt, when he moved in with me. He bought the dinnerware when he got a divorce over 10 years ago. Although I didn’t need the additional plates in my kitchen he didn’t want to part with the dishes. As I was washing the dish I looked at it and became very aware that the dish was mine too. There was no longer the separation of parts: this is his, this is mine…. I looked at the wet dish and muttered under my breath, “I love this dish that’s ours. It’s mine too.”

See, it was a mindful realization that there is no separation between us. For the longest time I kept his DVD’s and CD’s separate…just in case of a divorce he could take them without any hassle. I kept a lot of things apart. I’ve done this in all my previous relationships. I was always one foot out the door, out of the relationship, ready to take flight the moment I got hurt. It was a lifetime of severe programming.

And now, I own a set of imperfect blue plates (symbolizing our own union). I own a bunch of DVD’s and books and things that at another time in my life would not have been mine.

This is spiritual growth combined with emotional healing at its best. Our past beliefs can tarnish our relationships if we aren’t mindful of breaking those old paradigms.

I have settled down in a “team” (as he calls us). I have made peace with the aches and the distrust. I have found a place among all the things he came with that are now mine. It’s a lovely testimony to commitment. It’s a feeling of belonging I never had before. Once I put the guard down, the sense of betrayal, the thoughts of abandonment, I got to witness peace. I am able to see his own journey as well to feeling worthy of love.

I experience…Peace…like never before. It’s taken several years to get to this conclusion. The wet blue plate in my hands spoke to me at that very moment. I had an “Aha moment” right over the kitchen sink. It was a magnificent one that brought a set of emotional release with it to add to the water.

We are together in the hard times…we are united deeper in the good ones.

Don’t bring your dirty laundry into a relationship and expect it to be completely cleaned out. Allow for the emergence, the healing, and the trust to be built. It does not happen overnight. This I promise you. We both were ready at one time (or several times) to call it quits. It took me a lot longer than him to recognize the blessings. It took him a little longer to feel the love in the beginning. We are quite different in many levels, and yet…similar in others.

You aren’t alone in this journey. Relationships require spiritual, physical and emotional bonding. The moment you begin to accept that those around you are willing to stick around you get to a place of serenity. It’s always easier to run from the discomfort.

May you find yourself staying put and working through dirt. May you clearly see the love in between dishes, laundry, and big ole messes.

Goggle image.

Mile Marker

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A sweet wise woman this past weekend shared some magnificent insight into our psyche. She said that “we all have markers…like mile markers in our lives that become significant points of reference.” These markers define major parts into our psychological health as they contribute to all the choices and how we react in the future. I understand these events in our lives. They start from the moment we are born and we work to either avoid them or feed them. If you are abandoned by a parent as a child that pivotal moment becomes a marker. You may spend the rest of your life feeling the abandonment with relationships, strangers, or other events. That particular mile marker leads the path to others. So how do we let go of the markers?

I believe we do it by consciously realizing they exist. They are lessons along the way but they don’t light the way unless we keep repeating similar issues. It’s like getting off a freeway and getting back on to pass the same mile marker over and over. We can fall into this place of hopelessness that does not allow us to surpass that mile. Then the next question is how do we consciously become aware if we don’t realize that they are there? Some of these markers are way back in childhood. But, you do know they are there in the subconscious when the same drama continues to unfold with different actors.

Living a life full of conscious awareness is not easy. We have to take responsibility for our lives and everything that happens in it. We cannot blame the world for what happens, will happen or never happens. We have choices. These choices are part lessons and part programming. The spiritual process of letting go requires shutting up the ego and living by faith…the knowing and accepting those things that aren’t in the comfort zone. It’s a matter of accepting the ugliness, the failures, the shame, the disgust and also all the wonderful experiences. We are made of duality. We need the dark in order to have the light and vice versa.

A simple definition for insanity is repeating the same thing over and over while expecting a different result. Detect the projections of others and your participation! Accept your responsibility in your story! Reject the same markers of dramatically filled egos! You got this. You do NOT have to continue living through past markers. You have the power to change the programming and move forward into a life that’s free of hurt and loss. We are not meant to struggle in such a way that we become paralyzed to the freedom of self-love and self-acceptance. Our worth is NOT suppose to be sacrificed. On the other side of this backward mind belief is JOY waiting to be embraced. Your authenticity is powerful and you are the only who can get you there…stop looking at the rear view mirror…you don’t live there anymore! Check out the beauty ahead!!!

Embrace your Fabulousness

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“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves: Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?”~ Marianne Williamson

Matt, my husband, rolls his eyes and laughs most of the time when I compliment him.  It bothers me that he doesn’t see his fabulousness.  I find this man not only physically attractive but highly intelligent and stimulating.  He brings out the best in me as I am always in awed of him.  When I ask him, “Do you know how amazing you are?”  He asks me to “please stop.”  I tell him to take it and own it.  When the tables reverse and he compliments me I ask him to “please stop with the nonsense and go check his eye sight.”  Imagine that!  I have come to realize that we are the sums of those traumas from the past and all the peeps we handed our worth on platters.  It is time we take it back and stop fearing our greatness, fabulousness, and awesomeness!

I have never had a healthy acceptance of compliments, especially about my body or talents.  We can spend hours analyzing the root of this issue.  If hundreds of hours in therapy did not correct it I doubt that this post will.  But here is the thing I have learned about compliments and self-worth:  we truly fear them.  For the most part we hide behind what society expects from us. An older woman who was my neighbor at 18 (she was 94) said to me, “My sweet young woman, when someone hands you a flower what do you say?  You say ‘thank you.’ So, when a person compliments you look at them in the eyes (even if you don’t believe it) and accept the gift.”  Almost thirty years later I get the reason why.  If you are forced to share the moment and look at that person (stopping everything else in your head) you may see that they are genuine. We have been accustomed to disregard our worth, the natural beauty in our existence, and beat ourselves up because we can’t fit in some kind of social acceptance or perfection.

Body images change with fashion and fads.  Decades determine if size 10 is a healthy average woman’s size or size 2 is the new size 6.  Should your collar bones stick out so you can use them as soap holders? Should you plump up your lips like a bee stung them?  Is it healthy now to let your eyebrows grow out or should we still be plucking them into an arch that puts the shock factor on your face along with botox?  I can’t keep up, can you?  I stay away from those fashion magazines. I have never been good at following directions.

When I look in the mirror lately I don’t see myself.  It isn’t that I sit there examining.  I stare at the reflection brushing my teeth, often times in la-la land but catch a glimpse of a middle age woman who has come into her own.  I feel sexier now than I did in my twenties when I had a breast reduction, liposuction and the insane habit of dieting until I would faint.  I have many more laugh lines, wrinkles, freckles, and age spots. Each one of them maps out some incredible lessons.  I have a flabby but healthier body that climbs mountains, drinks wine, loves lattes, and at times indulges in some delicious dessert that I can’t pronounce.  And, yes, a few times a year I give everything a break and detox the middle age part of me giving up everything for a month or two or four until my friends beg that I go back to carbs, “please” because I am nicer when I eat junk.

I love watching the love of my life move.  I love studying his strong middle age body.  He might not like it but I find that each scar, dimple, and extra space is what allows more of him to love me.  Each time I embrace him I feel like I am with the sexiest man alive and I can’t understand why a magazine hasn’t posted this on their front page.  To me it is headline news.

As Marianne Williamson writes, “who are you not to” see yourself as beautiful?  Don’t let society determine what is beautiful. At what age do we stop worrying about body image, and what needs to be done, tucked, fastened, or covered up?  You are beautiful: curves, flab, scars, more or less.  It is the body given to you to journey on this life.  I don’t want to be perfect.  Hell no!  That’s a lot of pressure.  I want to be loved by those around me because of how I reflect parts of them.  If I can make you smile then I have done my part for the day.  These days when you hand me a compliment I will take it as a flower, put it in a vase, and relish that someone thinks I am special, beautiful or whatever else your spirit sees in me.  The returned words, “thank you” are magical in so many ways connecting us to each other.  Now go flaunt your spectacular-ness into the world.

 

For the love of art

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Last night I had a breakthrough. I did something I’ve been fearful of doing for years. I painted. I went to a painting class with a friend and I created something out of nothing…of course while following instructions. Most folks do not know that I used to paint a million years ago. I was actually quite good. I was going to attend the Art Institute in Paris in my late teens. And….then tragedy happened. I allowed life to dictate my worth. Funny how we give others that power. I stopped painting all together for years. I gave my power away along with every paint, canvas and art supply!

In 2001 I had a head injury and I lost my mind. I lost memories. I lost fear. I had amnesia and didn’t recognize my 6 children. I was 33 years old and I returned to being 19. I left the hospital searching for my paints and canvasses. That accident opened up my creativity for a short while. Then, again, I allowed with great effort and lack of responsibility others to dictate my worth. I stopped painting. I went to several therapists trying to get back the juices. I would stand in front of a white canvas and shake….violently crying in a massive overwhelming phobia as if it was a giant spider coming at me. I cannot verbally express the anxiety that the thought of painting kept bringing me. I stopped because the thought of painting literally made me sick.

Last night, with a birthday friend in tow, we went to a restaurant to paint. It was one of those Wine and Art sessions. I didn’t shake. I didn’t hesitate. I didn’t judge myself. It was kid’s play. It was a fun elementary-school painting that I did not take as serious. There were several moments, while painting grass, that my old strokes appeared. I began to feel like Van Gogh again…for a few minutes. Then the internal critique began, “Oh my, the jar is lopsided. Oh, my God, this is crap….” But something mystical happened….

As the adorable young teacher was taking a break a young intoxicated man stopped to talk to her and tried desperately to get her attention. He was slurring his words, being silly, and she tried in a kindhearted and gentle way to move the conversation along so he would leave. I sat there watching this and laughing. EGO had just entered the space. There it was intoxicated, making a huge fool of itself. I saw it clearly. EGO was trying to seduce her just as much as it had been falsely seducing me with my art. I got it. I didn’t see a man. I saw years of self-sabotage waiting to be acknowledged. I stared at it and laughed out loud. My friend and I just giggled like two school girls at the scene developing in front of us.

I returned to my painting. Ego had been critiquing me. It had been denying me from moving forward. So what if it was a silly painting of fireflies coming out of a jar. It didn’t have to be perfect. At that moment I heard my eldest son’s echo, “Mom, it doesn’t matter what you paint…just do it. Create something and little by little you will get your mojo back.”

I have had many who have tried to encourage me to move past this issue. My partner, friends, children and even the little itsy bitsy voice in my heart…but to no avail. Last night watching the young man stand there making a fool of himself while saying something about the paintings I got it. Ego had no business being in my creative time. I love my lopsided Van Goshish painting of stars and fireflies swirling in the night sky. I loved my hands covered with paint. I loved how I felt breathing the mountain fall air as we waited for the next instruction. And what I love most is that I conquered one of the biggest fears I have had for decades. I allowed others to dictate how I should feel about my art. It paralyzed me. It killed part of who I am.

How many of you have allowed another to dictate your worth? How many of you have been paralyzed into deadly anxiety from living out your dreams? How many times can this go on without you shutting the drunken ego off? Sit that bastard at a table and give it some water. Let Ego cool off and move on. YOU get to decide what and who you allow to dictate your creativity, your worth, your love and all that you are meant to do in this world. You got this! I can’t wait for the next class. I might just be inspired to channel Monet!

Holiday Strike

I’ve always had mixed feelings about the holidays.  I raised six children through many celebrating times – in great moments and in difficult ones.  This year I have not decorated the house.  I used to go overboard with designing and decorating rooms to make them as enchanting as possible.  My two youngest will be leaving to visit their father after three years.  This will be the first time I celebrate Christmas alone without children.  In twenty-four years of raising youngsters it is the first holiday that will come and go and have no expecting face looking forward to “something” in the morning.  I am more than fine with it.  Truth be known, I am exhausted from the catering of a month that seems to be turned into a mass-media chaos of gift giving.  The entire significance of these celebrations has been lost to past traditions.

I remember when I first watched, “Four Christmases,” with Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn.  I thought, “These people have the right idea…running to an island to celebrate the holidays without having to cater to their crazy families.” (Even though they never got to leave their families) I think the concept is the perfect way of spending these stressful days.

This year I will be enjoying the seven days with quietness.  I get to pick and choose who I will visit.  I can take on my Christmas day tradition and go watch a marathon of new movies.  I have no expectations.  I am not depressed by the idea of this solitude.  I will miss my kids…all of them.  But, I do know that I will see them after the holidays. Santa Claus received my memo and he is static to have one less place to visit!

My father walked out of my life the day before Xmas when I was nine.  He went to get a pack of cigarettes in the other side of the universe.  Never returning for the festivities, I spent many Christmases in my youth waiting to see if he was going to show up around that time.  Somehow I had programmed my little head that if he left in Christmas time he would also return during the season like some sort of festive-boomerang.  Raising my children, an ex who hated the holidays, and making sure everything was just perfect sucked a giant space out of me every year.  I would cringe when I started to see the holiday decorations in the stores right after Halloween.  And now it seems that Christmas is starting even earlier.

The holidays shouldn’t be about stress.  They should be about taking those precious moments of sharing, eating, relaxing and loving those close to you. They should be about gratitude, reflecting and spending time in a spiritual connection with others we love.  We, as a society, have added so much strain into those days.  Just go into any airport during the season and see people yelling, chaotic frenetic behavior, horrific energy everywhere, as they have to appear in some other location that will cause the inflation of any pharmaceutical drug stock on Wall Street to hit all time highs.  Depression is on a rise during these days, and the entire experience of being with those we really don’t want to see is just depleting.  It is what it is because we have created it.  We have created a monster out of the holiday season while missing out on the importance of unity, community, and spirituality.

My children’s father will get to spoil these two teenagers after such a long absence.  I am being spoiled by just the act of him having them.  It is a precious gift this year.  They need this time with him, finally.  I need this time alone, finally.  I love being home.  I love waking up and having a bathroom to myself, clean kitchen and the quietness of my mountain home.  And at the end of the seven days, I will be missing them and wanting them home ASAP.  I will relish the laughter they will provide when they come home to their spaces.

The holidays need to go back to simplicity.  We need to return to the moment of joining in each others’ presence and being present without the craziness of over indulging in material presents.  Setting boundaries seem to go out the window during these times.  I, for one, am ready to dive into a few new novels, some old movies, and the beauty of sharing with those I love.  Have a great holiday season, my friends.  My holiday strike is well deserved for this one time.  I look forward to next year’s bombardment of decorations and chaos.  For now I refuse to let the stress squander the real meaning of these days.  Share, give and receive in spirit.  Much love to you all…Millie!