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Accept the Calling

To accept the calling to write and shine should be so easy, right? I mean, it’s my favorite pastime after all. Creating and getting thoughts out and learning and expressing and connecting and sharing. Something’s calling me to do it, yet I’m scared of really putting myself out there. Why is that? I don’t think it has to do with seeking acceptance and approval. I think it has to do with how it feels to truly be seen and understood even though that’s what I most desire.

I can get behind accepting the darker ancillary aspects of my calling to write and speak, like becoming an advocate for sex trafficking victims, promoting awareness about covert abuse and manipulation, and a few others I’ll go into later. I also have light, laughter, and love to share as I explore my curiosities and educate myself about subjects, people and places.

I have been called and I promised to accept, listen to and follow this calling wherever it takes me. So, here I am. I’m also called to share of myself. My struggles, my accomplishments, my insecurities, my imperfections, and my curiosities. All of it. I’m here to show you we’re not dead, until we’re dead. We can begin again, over and over until we feel we’ve gotten it right—keep going until we feel we’ve fully grown into and embraced ourselves. And then, grow some more.

I am called to show that it is a spiritual journey we’re all on whether we’re aware of it or not. I’m aware of it, so that is how I will write. It’s magical and has many lessons. We must listen.

I’m rounding out two years of “the dark night of the soul.” I’ve included a link to Eckhart Tolle’s description of this phenomenon. I know it’s come full circle. I feel it in the sturdiness and grounding of my bones. I feel it in the hairs that stand alert on my body. And, in the whoosh of love that floods me when I consider what I’m called to do.

I continue to learn more and more and don’t fully understand anything, but thankfully this journey is coming to an end. New beginnings and new life are ahead as I accept this end, thank it, and let it go. I release it completely and walk forward into my calling with acceptance and gratitude.

I feel bold saying: I hope to inspire and be a friend. Those are the best words I can come up with right now.

Please join me on this journey. Let’s connect and speak our truth. Let’s share what inspires us, what we’re curious about, what we don’t understand, and what we’re nudged to investigate. Together we can own our space, release the old, and accept our calling. Show me your truth as I show you mine. This is going to be a fun and joyful adventure!

The more we connect our journeys, the better our world will be.

 

 

Shifts Happen. And, So Does YouTube

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“Take a chance, you stupid ho. You’re still a super-hot female. What ya waiting, what ya waiting for? Tick tock, tick tock. Take a chance, you might grow.

Naturally I’m worried if I do it alone
Who really cares ’cause it’s your life
You never know, it could be great
Take a chance ’cause you might grow
Oh oh oh

What you waiting
What you waiting for?” – Gwen Stefani {paraphrased/too lazy to double check the lyrics}

A callous voice in my head said: You must think you’re hot shit to want to do YouTube.

I’d been putting it off even though the kind, little, quiet, voice told me to totally start a YouTube channel. I looked at what drew me to it and why? What would I possibly have to offer?

Some answers that surfaced were, YouTube was a place I turned to most the past two years when I didn’t know what was going on in my life. I had no understanding or place to go or anyone to talk to or way to get a handle on any of it.

I inched my way forward to articulating my experience through the help of various, wonderful, and informative YouTube channels. Channels of people and communities who mirrored back a version of my experience, my feelings, my struggles, and educated me on the why of it.

I was in denial as I became more aware and informed. What I learned online made my world make sense.

The portals of kind and straightforward faces offered me support any time of day I needed them. They shared their experiences and pointed me to additional resources and books I’d never have considered reading before this experience.

In addition to checking out a few counselors, YouTube channels and blogs were where I went most during my long dark night of the soul to find help, inspiration, people who knew what I was going through. People who lifted me up, gave me new perspectives and knowledge, and, kept me from killing myself. I was broken and nothing made sense. Nothing. Made. Sense.

These online communities let me know I was not insane and not alone. They guided me and helped me make sense of what absolutely doesn’t make sense to awaken to for the first time at roughly 40 years old. You know how we think we pretty much know it all by now? I learned: I know nothing.

Absolutely, nothing.

The foundation I thought I stood on never existed.

And then, I learned a lot of weird shit. This weird shit I learned was the language of my experience. YouTube taught me how to articulate a new language to label and define my experiences that for so long existed invisibly in front of me, ungraspable.

I want to be part of the community that helped me more than the handful of counselors I met who couldn’t help me because they didn’t fully understand the nuances of my experience. I want to be there for others like me desperately searching for understanding in the wee hours of the night, peering through tear stained eyes, snot covered, and drowning in tissues when reality is choking the life out of us.

YouTube and blogs are always there and available for us when clarity can’t be found in our immediate world. A simple search away when we need inspiration, insight, a good laugh, or to see there are others out there who articulate what we can’t yet name.

What I needed most and desired most the last 20 years was connection. Real, honest, and true connection with others on a deep, loving, spiritual, and even humorous level.

And, now, it’s time to use my physical voice. This part of my journey was shown to me by a special woman I met in Charlevoix a few years ago and so this is how I’m going to do it. Baby steps, because I’m scared. Or, I might change my mind and take giant steps just to get over it already.

Sometimes my inner voice can be pushy and sound like Gwen Stefani: What ya waiting what ya waiting for? Take a chance cuz you might grow.

And, well, she should be pushy because, once, I betrayed her. The biggest betrayal of my life. I turned my back on her when she was bending over backwards to prevent me from committing a long-term mistake.

I wrote an article for elephant journal that at one point after it was published was viewed by like 26,000 people. It’s since lowered because of the various online algorithms or something. Anyway, that success ripped me open and threw me off kilter. The comments I received were so honest and open and the people who commented connected with what I wrote. Real people, just like me, actually read me, connected and commented. You’d think I would have felt good from that, but it scared the shit out of me. Sent me on another odd existential crisis of sorts for about a week. I realized what a responsibility it is to share our stories. I had never touched it like that before or even considered it. I didn’t know I’d feel vulnerable, seen and raw and pained by the connection and the power it holds.

We need to show people where we’re at with our own shadows and pain and joy and light. We need to show where we’re falling or failing and where we’re succeeding as we make our way through difficult times. We need to share how we’re getting through our disappointments and grief and how we’re moving forward and our lessons learned from our struggles. We need to offer our hand to others in the dark, maybe even grab them and shake them, to wake them up and let them know they’re not alone.

It’s our responsibility to reach out and connect. The nuggets of information we hold may be the magic key that stops someone from giving up during the struggle when they’re so close to opening that last door that will set them free from the pain. This is our evolution.

I don’t know what I’m doing, but I’m doing it anyway.

{Video finally posted. I speak about “shifts” there.}

P.S. I assume it’s obvious I’m awkward and uncomfortable and there are many flaws, like, I need note cards to keep my focus, better lighting, maybe a touch of makeup and to stop twitching around and bugging my eyes out and…So many more flaws I could list, but… I’m new at this, so please be kind and bear with me.

 

 

 

 

 

360-Degrees/Days of Self-love.

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When all else fails try self-love.

I wrote this blog on the trail in my head. And, now it’s gone. That’s how writing works. Your best stuff is your best stuff in the moment and if you don’t capture its original essence or truth it disappears. Sometimes completely, or, the je ne sais quoi disappears and what’s left is less impactful. Flat. Less its original essence. But, that’s okay because this blog is about why I haven’t posted anything since the first blog.

I let fear grab hold of me. I’m struggling with it as I write this. I have a bunch of other things to say, and, I will post them. I mean, they’re already written so why wouldn’t I just post them? That fucking fear. Oh, and a conversation I’m having with my integrity. Wondering if I actually have—integrity. I know fear isn’t real, but integrity and grace are real. I’ll get there.

No. This blog is about self-love. I cringe writing those words, but just as I once thought I knew everything and learned I know nothing, I also know zilch about loving myself. Truly and honestly and forgivingly, loving myself. Being kind to myself. Taking it slow with myself. And again, the forgiveness.

I woke up the other morning and decided to take it slow with myself and do what nurtures my soul. I made a long overdue call to my grandmother and chatted with her while the house was quiet. Then, I took myself out to the trail for nature, sunshine and exercise. And, even though I was doing it as an act of self-love, I immediately began to berate myself.

I should run the trail or at least walk/run. Push myself. I said, no, today is about taking it slow and nurturing. I breathed through it. Then decided, the entire brisk trail walk should be in complete meditation. Focusing only on my breath, the wind through the trees and other sounds of nature and worst-case scenario counting every time thoughts came into my mind. My mind was busy. I’d breath and refocus on my breath and off went the thoughts again. I watched them go by and released them and refocused again, and again, and again, and again. And, then I got mad at myself for failing at the 3.6-mile brisk walking meditation I’d demanded of myself at only .6 miles in.

I was sad and concerned that I couldn’t have my dog with me because he’s injured one of his back legs and I’m not sure he’ll ever be the same or able to walk the trail with me again. It hurts me and I’m sad for him because he loves the trail. We both do. My mind was quite busy with this one.

I had to forgive myself for opening the front door when he was recovering from an illness and atrophied. He jumped off the front stoop in doggy excitement and landed poorly on his back leg. Right then, in just that moment with his deep Rottweiler cry, I knew he’d likely never be the same. It killed me and I beat myself up… I opened that fucking door to move along a fucking situation I hate having multiple days on a weekly basis. My selfishness caused my poor dog’s injury. It’s a big deal. It represents a lot which over the course of the blog I’m sure I’ll share once I release the imaginary and powerful fear of “it”.

I have lots of thoughts that overcrowd my mind like most people. But, what I noticed most on this day I chose to commit to myself and be kind was that in my chosen self-love task I wasn’t being very kind or loving to myself. It’s more than checking a box or crossing “one act of self-love” off my list for the day. I wasn’t connected to the act of self-love which is the point of self-love. I wasn’t loving myself. I was doing a thing that looks like a good thing for me to do and then being a total bitch to myself every step of the way.

When we’ve naturally set ourselves aside for most of our lives, it’s hard to integrate the love we have buried within that we know on a sacred level is extremely necessary for happiness and survival. It’s in fact, the most important thing we can do when we’ve set ourselves aside so long. The thing is, I didn’t even know I was doing this set-myself-aside thing when I was setting myself aside. It takes first noticing ourselves again—”Oh, hello, fancy seeing you here.” Then, being honest with where we’re at, who’s surrounding us, and how we feel within the space we occupy with ourselves and others. Do we like ourselves where we’re at? Are we happy and comfortable? Joyful? Laughing? Healthy? Do we even like who and what we’ve surrounded ourselves with? And, more.

But, the rambly (not a word, but still gonna use it) point of this blog is to say… I’m initiating 360-degrees/days of self-love. I will document daily what I choose to do as nurturing, self-love and write about its discomforts and triumphs or maybe it will simply be a check off my list until it fully integrates as a natural, loving part of who I am to myself.

I chose 360 because it’s practically a year and who cares about the extra five days once you get to 360. It’s more about coming full circle, returning to an integrated, loving, thriving and nurturing self. It’s a full 360-degree change I’m expecting to see and feel within myself. Each degree or practice of self-love will have its space or day to be.

Documenting this process will hold me accountable to daily blog posts. Daily blog posts that are connected to what I plan to write about and have written, but are safe from fear and will behold integrity and grace. See, I’m still being hard on myself, but in a tough-love good way.

If anyone is reading this, join me on the challenge. Let’s grow and integrate self-love and kindness back to where it will be most beneficial. It’s the only way to truly shine and if we shine we help light the path for others in dark places.

In the end, full circle will be an enveloping hug of who we are at our core and any cracks or fractures in our foundation will be filled, mended and reinforced by ourselves.

Photo by Tim Marshall on Unsplash.