The Power to Be

This week I decided to get off my ass.  I made the choice to start fresh. start new. move forward.  I had been paralyzed for some time, dealing with the grieving that comes with an ending to something you thought would last forever~ a marriage.  When you’re in a marriage, you have your ideas about what is “supposed to be” ingrained in your mind, soul, and heart. Your future, while always uncertain, contains a security based on the idealism of forever.  Clearly, my soul and heart needed the time and space that this paralysis offered to catch up to my head and to reality.  To filter out what “could have been” and what was “supposed to be” with what “is”.  I was overwhelmed with a life ahead of me that was now open to ANYTHING. ….ANYTHING I wanted…which was EVERYTHING…and EVERYTHING paralyzed me into NOTHING.  and that’s where I got caught up in….doing NOTHING.

In conjunction with my week of starting new, I happened across a TREASURE at the bookstore that LEAPED and TWIRLED right into my soul.  It’s called Inner Excavation by one of my favorite bloggers, Liz Lamoreux.  (I found her blog via one of my favorite photographers, Vivienne McMaster whose work is also included in this book).  The book is all about expression…about finding and exploring your “self” using creativity such as photography, poetry, words, and mixed media…which just so happen to be all of my very favorite things…my passions!

So I woke up on Monday, put my big girl pants on, got out into the world, dropped off applications, faxed important documents, and tackled financial lists.  I was on fire!  I did all these things keeping in mind that I was going to reward myself with an “Inner Excavation” self portrait photo shoot. I was going to capture me with the fresh eyes of a new day and all the possibilities before me.   

What did I see when I looked at me?  I saw the beauty of a regular girl.  A woman who is not perfect, but who knows what works for her….what angles, what poses, what thoughts and visions that can capture her true self in a moment, a woman who knows who she was, who she is, and who she wants to become.

Isn’t it true? We DO know what works for us. We do know deep inside in our heart and gut what is right for us…what makes our soul sing …what makes us leap and twirl. Yet, we ignore our longings and yearnings by getting caught up in codependent tendencies.  We put others first, or we waste our time thinking about and judging their behavior and actions so that we don’t have to LOOK at ourselves and focus on what would make us truly happy. We ignore the deepest part of ourselves…the part that radiates our true beauty because we are probably paralyzed with fear.

One of my favorite songs is Suddenly I see by KT Tunstall.  Listen to the video and use the words in her song as inspiration. Then go out and give yourself the gift of a self portrait photo shoot.  Look at yourself.  Your face is a map of the world.  You’re a beautiful girl.  Give yourself the power to be. The power to give. The power to see.  We need to know that who we are inside is exactly who we should be on the outside.   BEING involves BECOMING.

Favorite Wakeup Call

AwakenThe Awakening by Sonny Caroll

There comes a time in your life when you finally get it… When in the midst of all your fears and insanity you stop dead in your tracks and somewhere the voice inside your head cries out- ENOUGH! Enough fighting and crying or struggling to hold on. And, like a child quieting down after a blind tantrum, your sobs begin to subside, you shudder once or twice, you blink back your tears and through a mantle of wet lashes you begin to look at the world from a new perspective. This is your awakening.

You realize that it is time to stop hoping and waiting for something, or someone, to change or for happiness, safety and security to come galloping over the next horizon. You come to terms with the fact that there aren’t always fairytale endings (or beginnings for that matter) and that any guarantee of “happily ever after ” must begin with you. Then a sense of serenity is born of acceptance.

So you begin making your way through the “reality of today” rather than holding out for the “promise of tomorrow.” You realize that much of who you are, and the way you navigate through life is, in great part, a result of all the social conditioning you’ve received over the course of a lifetime. And you begin to sift through all the nonsense you were taught about:

­ how you should look and how much you should weigh
­ what you should wear and where you should shop
­ where you should live or what type of car you should drive
­ who you should sleep with and how you should behave
­ who you should marry and why you should stay
­ the importance of having children or what you owe your family

Slowly you begin to open up to new worlds and different points of view. And you begin reassessing and redefining who you are and what you really believe in. And you begin to discard the doctrines you have outgrown, or should never have practiced to begin with.

You accept the fact that you are not perfect and that not everyone will love, appreciate or approve of who or what you are… and that’s OK… they are entitled to their own views and opinions. And, you come to terms with the fact that you will never be a size 5 or a “perfect 10″ Or a perfect human being for that matter. So you stop trying to compete with the image inside your head or agonizing over how you compare. And you take a long look at yourself in the mirror and you make a promise to give yourself the same unconditional love and support you give so freely to others. Then a sense of confidence is born of self-approval.

And, you stop maneuvering through life merely as a “consumer” hungry for your next fix, a new dress, another pair of shoes or looks of approval and admiration from family, friends or even strangers who pass by. Then you discover that it is truly in giving that we receive and that the joy and abundance you seek grows out of the giving. And you recognize the importance of “creating” & “contributing” rather than “obtaining ” & “accumulating.”

And you give thanks for the simple things you’ve been blessed with; things that millions of people upon the face of the earth can only dream about a full refrigerator, clean running water, a soft warm bed and the freedom to pursue your own dreams.

And then you begin to love and to care for yourself. You stop engaging in self-destructive behaviors including participating in dysfunctional relationships. You begin eating a balanced diet, drinking more water and exercising. And because you’ve learned that fatigue drains the spirit and creates doubt and fear, you give yourself permission to rest. And just as food is fuel for the body, laughter is fuel for the spirit and so you make it a point to create time for play.

Then you learn about love and relationships, how to love, how much to give in love, when to stop giving and when to walk away. And you allow only the hands of a lover who truly loves and respects you to glorify you with his touch. You learn that people don’t always say what they mean or mean what they say, intentionally or unintentionally and that not everyone will always come through and interestingly enough, it’s not always about you. So, you stop lashing out and pointing fingers or looking to place blame for the things that were done to you or weren’t done for you. And you learn to keep your Ego in check and to acknowledge and redirect the destructive emotions it spawns; anger, jealousy and resentment.

You learn how to say I was wrong and to forgive people for their own human frailties. You learn to build bridges instead of walls and about the healing power of love as it is expressed through a kind word, a warm smile or a friendly gesture. And, at the same time, you eliminate any relationships that are hurtful or fail to uplift and edify you. You stop working so hard at smoothing things over and setting your needs aside. You learn that feelings of entitlement are perfectly OK and that it is your right to want or expect certain things. And you learn the importance of communicating your needs with confidence and grace. You learn that the only cross to bear is the one you choose to carry and that eventually martyrs are burned at the stake. Then you learn to distinguish between guilt, and responsibility and the importance of setting boundaries and learning to say NO. You learn that you don’t know all the answers, it’s not your job to save the world and that sometimes you just need to Let Go.

Moreover, you learn to look at people as they really are and not as you would want them to be, and you are careful not to project your neediness or insecurities onto a relationship. You learn that you will not be, more beautiful, more intelligent, more lovable or important because of the man on your arm or the child that bears your name. You learn that just as people grow and change, so it is with love and relationships and that that not everyone can always love you the way you would want them to. So you stop appraising your worth by the measure of love you are given. And suddenly you realize that it’s wrong to demand that someone live their life or sacrifice their dreams just to serve your needs, ease your insecurities, or meet “your ” standards and expectations. You learn that the only love worth giving and receiving is the love that is given freely without conditions or limitations. And you learn what it means to love. So you stop trying to control people, situations and outcomes. You learn that “alone” does not mean “lonely” and you begin to discover the joy of spending time “with yourself” and “on yourself.” Then you discover the greatest and most fulfilling love you will ever know. Self Love. And so, it comes to pass that through understanding your heart heals; and now all new things are possible.

Moving along, you begin to avoid Toxic people and conversations. And you stop wasting time and energy rehashing your situation with family and friends. You learn that talk doesn’t change things and that unrequited wishes can only serve to keep you trapped in the past. So, you stop lamenting over what could or should have been and you make a decision to leave the past behind. Then you begin to invest your time and energy to affect positive change. You take a personal inventory of all your strengths and weaknesses and the areas you need to improve in order to move ahead. You set your goals and map out a plan of action to see things through.

You learn that life isn’t always fair and you don’t always get what you think you deserve and you stop personalizing every loss or disappointment. You learn to accept that sometimes bad things happen to good people and that these things are not an act of God… but merely a random act of fate.

And you stop looking for guarantees because you’ve learned that the only thing you can really count on is the unexpected and that whatever happens, you’ll learn to deal with it. And you learn that the only thing you must truly fear is the great robber baron of all time FEAR itself. So you learn to step right into and through your fears because to give into fear is to give away the right to live life on your terms. You learn that much of life truly is a self-fulfilling prophesy and you learn to go after what you want and not to squander your life living under a cloud of indecision or feelings of impending doom.

Then, YOU LEARN ABOUT MONEY… the personal power and independence it brings and the options it creates. And you recognize the necessity to create your own personal wealth. Slowly, you begin to take responsibility for yourself by yourself and you make yourself a promise to never betray yourself and to never ever settle for less than your heart’s desire. Then a sense of power is born of self-reliance. And you live with honor and integrity because you know that these principles are not the outdated ideals of a by-gone era but the mortar that holds together the foundation upon which you must build your life. And you make it a point to keep smiling, to keep trusting and to stay open to every wonderful opportunity and exciting possibility. Then you hang a wind chime outside your window to remind yourself what beauty there is in Simplicity.

Finally, with courage in your heart you take a stand, you TAKE a deep breath and you begin to design the life you want to live as best as you can.

Sparkle

Soul SistasOkay.. so here’s the thing. I consider myself a sister goddess (read Mama Gena’s book)…….or as I like to say “story star”. I try to surround myself with other sister goddesses and other story stars. I try to live as juicy as I can. It doesn’t happen all the time…. because I also suffer from PMS. During that time, I am a total fucking bitch goddess…. But you can read about that in another post.

Women who declare themselves as story stars have the magic. Hey girls! “You’ve got to fall in love with yourselves first… and then the world will follow.” (Mama Gena)

Being authentic is about being true to who you really are and developing intimacy with others based on this  truth.  (throw sex into the mix and you have yourselves a guaranteed orgasm) I’m sorry…this is where my mind goes and I have no control over it. :)

Authenticity requires being real.  Declaring this is who I am and I’m not afraid to show you.  It also involves caring about what others have to say and taking a genuine interest.  Trying to listen with your heart and opening up your soul.  I said try. Let’s face it. This doesn’t work all the time. Some people are shut off, shut down….(or the type you wish would shut up).  When I manage to make that kind of connection, however, I revel in it. It fills my soul.  Touching someone’s life is really the essence of who we should try to be.  Anything else is kind of a waste of one’s time.

I think that’s one of the strengths of living an authentic life….. and I think it’s what makes story stars magical in any given moment. Everyone has this ability… but soooo many people live their lives on the surface…. talking about superficial things….playing a part. We all do sometimes. However, I know that when I feel a warm heart in my presence I want to showcase my own. This is what will draw people to you. Find the good in yourself as well as everyone around you…. and just sparkle.

Voracious Vixens for Vitality

“It’s your story…. make it a page-turner!” ~ Nikki Hardin (Skirt Magazine)

 

Camping for a cause (cancer) with the girls in Windsor. We fabulous women understand that props, jello shots, and nicknames can only enhance an already good time…and helps tremendously when sleeping in a tent in the pouring rain. 

We named ourselves “Voracious Vixens for Vitality”.  In other words, we were ill-tempered and quarrelsome foxy women, hungry and eager for the continuation of a meaningful or purposeful existence.  Exactly!

What more can one hope for. :) 

Fellow vixens…. who can remember our nicknames????  Please help out.Page Turner

The Naked Truth

Last year, I met up with a couple of old friends. Old,meaning I haven’t seen them in a while. They are still fresh and young as a summer’s breeze.

One of these friends is a girl who was a neighbor and a very good bud from my pre-teen years. We spent much of our childhood together. We ruled our neighborhood, our younger sisters, and all of their friends.

All the memories jumped right in my face upon seeing her again. We had a ball rehashing the loads of fun and trouble we used to cause. We looked quite innocent back in the day, but our behavior could be construed as a bit unruly.

We used to play hide-and-seek in the cornfields (Remember all the cornfields in St. Clair Beach)…….but we had our own version…. strip hide-and-seek. We ran around those cornfields naked with our friends…boys and girls…. and. we. were. 10.

Oh the days of youth gone by.

In fact, most of the memories that we both shared (with much laughter) include nakedness. Her house backed to a main road. We used to dare each other to run from the back of her house to the fence …naked. Then we would run around the entire house naked. Inappropriate, yet innocent fun.

So..there are many firsts in peoples lives. This friend and I also share a first. The very first time we saw a penis. Together. Get your minds out of the gutter. It wasn’t like that. We were probably about 10 or 11, at our bus stop in the neighborhood. There was a boy who, at the time, was somewhat of a neighborhood bully. He told us that he wanted to show us his dick. He said “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.” We agreed. And he did. He whipped that penis right out without any hesitation. We saw it. We screamed. We ran all the way home like we were being chased by killers. My friend’s memory of that very first glance is that it looked like a huge python. Oh, how you know the owner of that penis would love to hear those words!

When we reconnected, this friend and I were sharing some personal stories about our lives today. She revealed herself as somewhat negligent in certain areas of responsibility. She gave me some examples with slight mortifiication. Can I just tell you how I found her lack of responsibility to be absolutely heartwarming?!

I’m so glad to know that she turned out to be who she is and always was. Someone who is wired like me… no matter how much we try to fight it. When you grow up and are immersed in a world of shoulds and duties and surrounded by people who seem to have their shit so together all the time, it feels good to reconnect with a kindred spirit…. a free spirit.

It’s not that I don’t take my responsibilities seriously…….it’s just that I tend to want to run away from it all…….I want to take it all off and run around a field naked.

I share these things because I know it’s easy to lose sight of your true self. It gets buried underneath all the responsibility and grownupishness, the mass consciousness of society. Remember who you were at 10. Discover who you are now.

Fun, laughter, adventure, trouble….. that’s who we were…. it turns out that’s who we still are…. underneath it all.

Star of My Story

Her True Self Spoke Loud and Clear

I do so declare myself to be a perfect concoction of imperfection…. just f*cked up enough to be considered interesting.

(Oh… you should know that I like to fancify my profanity with stars…it just looks prettier and it’s my way of easing into inappropriateness).
{P.S. How fun is it to say the word concoction?? It sounds like it should be inappropriate yet it’s just fancy}.  

Most importantly though, you should know that I have a kind heart… and since I’ve just read that there’s nothing more glamorous than a kind heart, well then I must also declare myself glamorous. I have a real-woman body and I have to remind myself every day how sexy that is. I really do believe it. It’s just that some days when I’m looking in the bathroom mirror and the curves and swerves are highlighted ever so candidly, I have to affirm it with concerted effort (those are usually limited to the dark side of the moon days). Luckily, a lovely outfit (I prefer Bohemian with a touch of Fancy) provides a huge sense of relief, and then I can throw that sexy all over the place.

I once read an advertisement which said, “My Beautiful: A great pair of jeans, a sexy fragrance, and a brilliant attitude.” So true! So me!

Most people know me on the surface and think that I’m rather sweet with impeccable manners and good grammar.  They are absolutely right of course!   I’ve been told by some after getting to know me that they presumed I was a touch prudish upon first meeting me.  This was soon cleared up once Facebook came to town.  There’s no turning back now I’m afraid.

Really though… we are all so complex with our thoughts and history and moments and secrets.  Our experiences have made each of us who we are.   I am so much more than the girl they think they know.  So when I hear what people assume about me I’m amused.  I try to make myself look outside of “me” to try and see what they see…..(admit right now that you’ve done that too…)  because if they only knew my “story”… and who I am…. so much of everything.  One of my theme songs by the way is “I’m a Bitch” by Meredith Brooks….. because it’s absolutely true. I am a bitch, mother, child, lover, sinner, saint…. and I do not feel ashamed!

Anyways, I always remind myself when I am moving through life to live as if I am the star of this story….. and dammit…. what kind of character do I want to be????? It changes all the time…. sometimes day to day… because I am composed of so many different feelings and I am always changing and growing.

My motto, however, does remain constant. “To Thine Own Self Be True.”