In my experience, life takes everything we’ve got.
We are all failing miserably with the brightest of intentions. It’s really beautiful.
In my experience, life takes everything we’ve got.
We are all failing miserably with the brightest of intentions. It’s really beautiful.
I wrote this essay back in September 2012. For 4 years, from 2009 through 2012, I was going through a dark night of the soul period. I could also call it a period that was my personal season of winter. Fortunately, starting in January 2013 and continuing, the dark night of the soul was over and I could see my path with vision restored once again. However, during the dark night of the soul, you have no idea when it will be over. So this essay is written toward the end of the winter season, not knowing that spring is right around the corner, but luckily it is.
After a dismal 24 hours, I knew that I should being to do things differently, yet I didn’t know how. I had diligently devoted myself to reading spiritual self-help books for about 4 years. During this time I became house bound, developed severe anxiety, and became superb at analyzing my faults. I wanted to become enlightened because I didn’t want to miss out on anything. While becoming obsessed with my own shortcomings, I forgot how to live.
I acquired many, many books. Although I felt cut off from life, I knew there was a secret lushness to life that I was missing. But it was there. The books lined the sagging bookshelves, patiently waiting to be read. I calculated that it would take me about 8 years to read them all.
But mostly I kept reading the spiritual books and wanting to be saved by god. First I had wanted to be saved by my future husband. After getting married to a very kind, wise, charming man, I still found myself waiting for something. I wanted to discover what made life tick. I felt impoverished in my soul, and I wanted to find the god combination to the lock on my heart. Most of all, I didn’t want to fully be an adult, and I didn’t want to take up responsibility for my own life.
Acquiring books became one of the great loves of my life. But still guilty. I felt like maybe I should be a trendy minimalist. But I couldn’t help myself. Every book was carefully chosen with the best of intentions. I specifically knew why I meant to read each book and what had originally inspired its choosing.
My severe anxiety was also from dwelling obsessively on the past. Rather than live in the present and make plans for the near future, I wanted to analyze exactly what had gone wrong and how I would fix it, the impossible retro active fix of the past.
I’m not a perfectionist who tries to get things right. I’m the kind of perfectionist who is very judgmental and gives up out of hopelessness of things ever being right, only seeing where things are wrong.
I became less and less energetic. I ate too much, to soothe my hungry soul. But regular food was not at all what my soul was craving. My soul was craving that I take on my life in a real way again. My soul was craving earnest plans and energetic, realistic desires.
Amidst the happiest time of my life, I was lethargic and lifeless. I was regretful and lost in clouds of negative thinking of my own making.
Envy of others who seemed to know what they were doing transformed to admiration. I tried to see what everyone else knew that I didn’t. As it turns out, we’re all lost in the mystery of life. Shaking life until it releases the exact terms of living wasn’t working out. I saw that happy people were carefree. Life is a mystery. Being carefree is an attitude choice.
I listened to a podcast about kundalini energy being released. The ego mind becoming one with the universe. It was no longer what I wanted. Enlightenment is not what I wanted it to be, and I didn’t want it any more.
What I want is the richness of the material world, in a meaningful way. I want to read people’s stories. I want the lush comfort of the tangible.
During these three years of lethargy and refusal of life, knitting has been one of my favorite pursuits. Knitting is not at all flashy. You can’t really explain the appeal. It’s a counter balance to the otherwise frantic pace of current living. There’s no reason to knit these days except out of sheer delight. It is much faster and cheaper to go to a large store and buy a hat or scarf for ten dollars.
Life isn’t what I thought it would be. It’s not what I thought I wanted. I wanted to conquer life, twist life into submission, and demand that this great mysterious dragon of life give me its secrets. Fortunately, life is bigger than I am, and I can’t win. Certainly I can’t win by demands. And certainly I can’t even win by pretending that life is a competition.
I still attempt to be hyper aware of all my flaws. But gradually I’m finding that being ordinary is lovely. Simply blending in with the crowd of dazzling people, admiring nature, knitting. It is enough. I didn’t need to become an astronaut like I wanted to in fourth grade. I’m okay. I appreciate my simple, lush life.
I want to read the books on my shelves. I want to write my reflections. I want to live, to experience the moments of my life. I’m okay, and it’s enough.
the song of the world, the lyrics of Hope (a poem, not a song)
staring out at me from the cover of national geographic
eyes that have seen the depths of tragic
not so cozy afternoon/ swimming in the depths of the ocean lagoon
a little too much poverty/ a little too soon
reminding me of the will to choose/ images and phrases dance up from the pages
of the last civilization who never knew it
never knew the best/ only knew the worst
the end came and went/ without any notice
tragedy is bloody or tragedy is mundane
all are giving me reasons to jump past the sane
you don’t believe in magic and you don’t believe in God
the river was paved over with layers and layers/ of concrete
and pavement and unanswered prayers
my prayers came back to me unanswered too/ unanswered, unopened
but I decided what to do/ I grabbed the magic from the depths
of the flickering neurons in my brain/ to see how fast I could leap past the sane
leap into the depths of the unknown
setting fire to the antique furniture/ at least in some dream
we can’t remember who built it/ but my nightmares tell me/ we shouldn’t have trusted
don’t trust the traditions they hand to you cold
the same people who stamped your soul as bought and sold
1984 came and went/ plenty of horror and plenty spent
but in a pretty little town on the edge of the world
little girls were reading and learning to dream
you see/ my dream was the biggest yet/ with daring and adventure and no end in sight
I took the sparks from the songs I heard/ and walked past the edge of that forlorn world
you never saw me/ you never knew
but the Universe felt the shimmer/ and the Universe grew
the Universe grew once again/ past the prisons and soldiers and sad sad men
past the places where the women hide/ clutching their children and staying inside
the Universe grew past the stables where horses once stayed
past the fields where once the lions played
the end of our world came and went/ we’re better for it/ the lessons had all been spent
yes that was hell/ back in 1943/ all the bombs exploded and no one survived
but we’re all back here again to stay/ here we are again/ back in the play
the walls of the theater are larger than this day
you don’t believe in your soul or the journeys that it takes
but we fly just the same with our hearts and our aches
those tragic eyes staring out at me/ from the cover of national geographic and all that data can’t see
with blind minds and frozen hearts/ the river paved over and the bombs all sent
the end of the world came and went
I dreamed the dream I wanted still/ my dream came true with a sparkle of magic
I learned that life can be much more than tragic
Shakespeare’s house will be built up once again/ and my vision restored to that day I learned how to swim
and now I swim and I sail and I fly and I surf/ I breathe underwater and come back to the surface
there is magic still/ the Spirits live again/ my dream came true/ my hopes took flight
you slept through the darkest night
but I was awake and I met our fate/ I taught fate to sing and I promised fate treasures
fate climbed out of hell/ and joined our new place
I swim in an Ocean with infinite depths/ I fly through a sky where planets are inhabited
I dream and I hope of the best magic brings/ my vision is clear and my Heart sings
this is a tale that was unknown before/ you won’t believe it and that’s how I’m sure
the dream of Love is much more real/ than the end of the world and the river paved over
tragic eyes will see joy once again/ all the trees will return and truth will shine on friends
It’s 11:00 pm! Way too late for me to be thinking clearly enough to write a decent blog post.
Update to be continued…
It took too long to clean out spam and then upload a spam filter…
What I wanted to mention: It had to do with graduate school, what I’ve been reading lately, aromatherapy, etc. etc.
It was a superb blog post that will now be delayed until at least tomorrow.
And now, in conclusion for this evening, I shall include two random photos. One picture of DC near Gallery Place. The other picture of a random drawing.
Yesterday my mood was stormy and disenchanted. It was one of those days when everything was technically okay, but nothing felt right to me.
Today, the storm of moodiness has passed. I woke up and began the day with a delightful and natural sense of happiness.
Right now I am sitting in our room called the library. It is the warmest room in the house. It is a frigid winter day outside. Inside, I am cozy with candles burning, a cat sitting beside me, a cup of coffee, and many delightful books to read.
I very much appreciate happiness when the time is right. Fortunately, my life has many amazing details to enjoy especially when my mood is forgiving.
It is an amazing feeling to like the life you have made, and know that you have brought the important elements into your life with purpose and satisfaction.
Wishing you many naturally happy days as well.
Earlier this evening I was starting to slip into negative thinking. I almost fell into my own personal pit of despair. The pit of despair is made up of every bad memory I have, plus a forlorn way of thinking about every negative memory I have.
I went upstairs and sat on my yoga mat on the floor. I knew I didn’t want to keep repeating this negative pattern. I wanted to help myself out of it. So, I asked the question in my mind, what should I do? And my practical side responded: write a gratitude list, immediately.
So I began to write my gratitude list, still sitting at my yoga mat. As soon as I began writing, I felt much better. I filled many pages. I easily reached 100 details of gratitude. I was able to completely shift my mind frame from negative to fully and now effortlessly positive.
I would like to share my 100 points of gratitude list here. Perhaps it will inspire you to create your own gratitude list whenever you need to.
1. Ginny the cat
2. Joey the amazing and wonderful
3. my yoga mats
4.my intellectual sister A.
5. my collection of beautiful books
6. my healthy body
7. my vibrant and comfy clothes
8. my beautiful way of being in the world
9. my sophisticated tastes and interests
10.interesting and sophisticated movies
11. my kindle books that keep me fascinated and entertained
12. my everyday heaven of marriage and life together with my husband
13. the way the phoenix rises from the ashes
14. the way that God and Jesus are the vibration of Love
15. the way I am always learning brand-new, interesting things
16. the internet and related technologies that are so fun
17. comfy and colorful blankets
18. Yoga draw me to contentment
19. writing is an outlet always available to me
20. my classes are already incredible
21. I love sewing, knitting, crafting
22. so many wonderful crafts still to learn
23. I live in a very nice part of the country and a very nice part of the world
24. I love wearing my wedding ring each day
25. I love colorful and charming magazines
26. I love my growing collection of digital photos
27. I love my healthy and dependable feet
28. I love the opportunity to learn exquisite languages
29. I love museums and art museums
30. I love all of the wonderful people around the world who never give up
31. I love listening to exquisite music on my iPods
32. I love browsing Amazon and never reaching the end of it
33. I love that my dreams come true (husband and home!)
34. I love my mind and my brain
35. I love my soul and my spirit
36. I love my glowing body and my aura and my energies
37. I love learning about spiritual energy systems
38. I love visualization and Power Animals
39. I love Nature, trees, animals, Mother Earth, fresh water and air, standing and gazing across at the beautiful pristine lake
40. I love human resilience and strength and the human ability to grow in kindness despite previous negative treatment
41. I love reading people’s sincere blog writing. Always inspiring.
42. I love the way that Creativity stretches out toward infinity
43. I love the band Radiohead even though they are morose and grumpy
44. I love certain bands even when their lead singers seem obsessed with being “the cool kid”
45. I love the color lime green
46. I love the vibrant color orange
47. I love the calm feeling of damp concrete after the storm passes
48. I love learning about life’s ebb and flow
49. I enjoy thinking about our possible houses of the future
50. I loved visiting Disney’s version of Asia
51. I love all of the happy photos of Belle and Joey
52. I loved spending so much 2012 Christmas family time, even though sometimes I acted grumpy
53. I enjoy getting inspired by the Etsy photos online
54. I love the fact that I’ll never run out of knitting projects to make
55. I’ll never run out of books to read, fiction or nonfiction
56. I love the possibility of writing books in my future, fiction and nonfiction
57. I love the plentiful bounty of sparkling human ideas
58. I love the fact that Walt Whitman and Oscar Wilde were real people. I can be fantastic and shimmering in my own unique way too!
59. I love the way my mind is always ready to elegantly overflow with beautiful thoughts and ideas
60. I could write a book of poetry and publish it myself
61. I can cook sophisticated and weird things. Could be something different every day of the year.
62. I love coffee
63. I try to like tea
64. I could publish my photography, inspirations, Beauty book
65. One day I may sit in my own cottage by the sea with Joey
66. I enjoy guitaring and singing and songwriting
67. I love that life is about contribution to a whole that is greater than us, rather than competition
68. Piano is elegant and fun
69. Cello is that ever-awkward part of my musical life
70. YouTube videos that are uplifting
71. Those pictures of unlikely animal friendships
72. leaders who transform bad to good
73. that man who helped so many children get out of abusive situations within a decade
74. these wonderful people who open their arms to children who need a new home
75. I love my own promise to myself of ever-renewing resilience
76. I love that Chinese and Japanese characters are so mind-blowing to our sense of language
77. I love that plants grow. One day: a garden!
78. I love that my Grandparetns were a part of my life for so long and that they lived long and elegant lives.
79. I love Texas and my fun visits there
80. I love New Years 2011/2012 in Texas when I watched all the neighborhood fireworks and that night had an incredible lucid dream experience
81. I love my brother J.
82. I love my sister M., even though she is too intense
83. I love the movie (and the books) of Scott Pilgrim
84. I love how funny and witty people can be
85. I love mind-blowing reading material
86. I love daydreaming while listening to music on my headphones
87. I love that my family has its own mini-culture of how we talk that makes it so much fun to discuss thing
88. I love the beach
89. I love the fact that I never get over the majesty of gazing out at the Ocean
90. I love hiking and camping even though I don’t really do that currently
91. I love the fact that I enjoy disc golf even though I am 100% bad at it
92. I love the fact that humanity keeps growing and changing in a positive direction even though it is hard for us sometimes.
93. I lvoe when you read about a tiny life observation that you didn’t think anyone else had noticed
94. I love the way that there is always Hope in life, even when it appears that all is lost
95. I love dogs and cats and the way that they are so happy and content to just keep us company at home.
96. I love learning new words.
97. I love the way an ideas keep popping up after you hear it for the first time.
98. I love being nice to people. It makes me happy to treat people well.
99. I love the fact that there are cultures around the world who see life radically different than the way we see it, and then we mutually share and learn from each other
100. I love the way that each day is so new and different.
My husband’s family and I have been having a wonderful Christmas. Most of my family was even here. We had a delicious meal. My father-in-law cooked a turkey with cornbread stuffing, green bean casserole, fresh rolls, mashed potatoes. We also made wild rice and tofurky for my family.
I am currently trying out my new wireless keyboard. It works really well.
This Christmas Eve I began missing my Grandparents. When I was growing up we always celebrated Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with my Mom’s parents. I grew up with my Grandparents as an amazing positive influence in my life.
Now I’m 31 years old and married. I mostly spend the holidays with my husband’s family. My parents and siblings are still around, but Christmas hasn’t been the same without my Grandparents.
I’ve also recently been coming to terms with getting older and accepting new stages of my life. I feel like it has been a gift today to reflect on generations passing and my place in this ocean of evolving humanity. I’m not going to be around forever either. Life is indeed short.
I feel a renewed sense of wanting to enjoy my life. If I spend too much time being sad about Christmas of the past, I won’t be able to appreciate Christmas of the present.
I think my Grandparents would want me to keep moving forward and enjoying life. I certainly miss them. They brought a wonderful sense of dignity, orderliness, and love to my life as I was growing up. I respect the thoughtful and peaceful way that they lived their lives.
If I have kids, I may find myself as a grandparent too one day. The weeks go by quickly for me now. I want to enjoy the decades ahead of me.
As a part of my spiritual beliefs, I now believe in reincarnation and a soul that continues on its journey. But this personal life is just as precious even with the idea of reincarnation thrown in.
I am very much enjoying learning these life lessons as I grow and change on my life journey. I feel a sense of gratitude, and life does seem to be a very precious gift.
My goal the past few years has been to focus on my own personal development and spiritual growth. I thought that feeling happy was the sign I was doing things right.
Today I realized a new perspective. It’s okay to feel emotional pain sometimes. In fact, full awareness of personal growth goals is probably going to involve doing that tough emotional work that can be painful. I had been making myself feel worse by feeling like I was failing every time I felt bad emotionally.
Of course, there is no need to idealize emotional pain. People who are depressed should seek real help.
But what I’m addressing in my own life is working with healing emotional wounds. Those times when I feel huge sorrow do not mean that I am weak. By trying to be as aware as possible, I am actually a spiritual warrior. I am a very strong person. Even when I feel weak, by fully acknowledging my temporary emotional pain, I am actually strong.
Those times when we feel joy and bliss are precious and valuable. But getting through our own emotional hardships is valuable too. Every person on this planet is capable of being a spiritual warrior. A spiritual warrior is someone who strives to be a gentle and kind person. A spiritual warrior is someone who is very strong and very personally aware. A spiritual warrior is someone who is not aggressive. A spiritual warrior seeks true personal freedom and also wants to empower others to find their own sense of freedom.
It is worthwhile to craft these life stories. I create my own sense of self. Am I really a spiritual warrior? The point is that I become one by believing in this new positive sense of who I am.
I feel gratitude for my sense of awareness. Even though I am dealing with some emotional pain, my sense of awareness allows me to have creative opportunity in my life.
This past week I have started playing my heart out on guitar. It is a feeling of elation and complete freedom. I give my self-critic a rest. I just let all expression come out through the chords strummed on guitar and through singing.
I completely recommend it. It’s along the lines of free movement. I’ve heard that people really enjoy expressing themselves through free-flowing dance movement. I ended up discovering a similar type of thing through guitar and singing.
My intuition has a message for me lately: “let it go.” This phrase, “let it go,” is more than just a cliche that we’ve all heard dozens of times. It is also a very real practice of releasing all of the angst and worries that do not serve us.
Usually instead of letting it go, I want to keep my worries wrapped tight around my soul. Basically, by not letting it go, I usually keep myself cut off from my true sense of personal freedom.
By allowing myself the freedom to sing and play my heart out on guitar, I found my way to feeling elated and truly happy.
Maybe I was some type of severe monk or nun in a past life who swept the ground in front of me because I was afraid to step on insects. Maybe in past lives, or past experiences in this life, I have been afraid of the vulnerability of allowing myself to be truly happy and free.
Cheers! Here’s to giving yourself the gift of true personal freedom. Here’s to allowing yourself to possibly look foolish. It’s so much better to be “naked” in life and freely yourself than to keep yourself so tightly bound that you can’t move your limbs. Freedom from fear is always worth it. Sing your heart out.