How am I not myself?

 

When I first encountered the phrase “be yourself” I remember wondering, “What does that even mean? Isn’t that my only option, who else would I be?” The movie i heart huckabees illustrates the quandary via Jude Law losing all of the things he defines himself by: his job, his home, his relationship. He’s left pondering, “How am I not myself?”

In a time where authenticity is a buzzword, do we even know what we mean?

It seems to me that we are the most “ourselves” when we honor our honest desires and needs by expressing and acting to satisfy them. But what are your honest desires and needs? Sometimes it’s not as easy as it sounds to pin down.

A list might pop into your mind like, I want a book deal, I need to get some sun, I want that hot guy, etc. It’s what’s behind them that holds the keys: why do you want what you want?

Do I want a book deal to appease someone else, or do I genuinely feel that I have a message that can help? Do I really want that hot guy or do I want to be seen with him? Do I want to get some sun for my health or to look tan for someone else?

Examine your motivations (without judgement!) and you might get some clarifying surprises. It often turns out that all too much time spent without regard to what you actually want and need. It’s normal in our society to fill one’s time with obligations, letting them replace our passions under the guise of adulting. Be yourself by getting clear what you truly want and why. Make a list.

A great way to not be yourself is to let your reactions rule you. How do you behave when you’re scared or anxious about something? Are you dick-ish without apology or explanation? That’s hiding, you know. So not you. As is not trying so you can’t fail.

In high school I had specific music for when friends were in the car, lots of top-of-charts songs I didn’t want to anyone to know annoyed me deeply. That wasn’t great self-ing. It’s pretty common to censor oneself like this, attempting to hide or delete the parts we feel might be rejected. It’s not great you-ing though, and isn’t it exhausting? Try dropping it.

“But then I’ll be rejected,” you might say. Yeah, that’s possible. But if you crack that nerdy joke or share that personal revelation – you might be rewarded with connection and empathy. Also known as “being truly understood.” And that’s the good shit.

 

 

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Dethroning the Queen of Shitgibbers

Once upon a time, I was a teenager. My favorite hobbies were dancing, gymnastics, figuring out who’s parents were going out of town next, and gossip.

I relished in knowing what was going on with everyone else, and was sure to fill anyone in who didn’t know. I’d like to say that I was the girl reading Catcher in the Rye and rolling her eyes at girls like me, but I was not. Not even a little.

I remember the first time that I realized that this behavior was a bad thing. It was normal to me, it was how all of my friends behaved, and how we had behaved since sometime in elementary school. It just was.

But then one day someone finally called me on my shit.

Myself, my high school boyfriend, our friend, and another girl had gone a double date – their first date. I can’t remember exactly how it went, but at the end of the night I was sure they were going to “hook up.” The next morning at school I spread the word in the usual fashion. (It didn’t take a lot of effort, I went to a very crowded high school of bored kids in a small Alaskan city. Word got around fast.)

Turns out, they did not “hook up” as it were. Things had turned awkward, and their first date was to be their last. So everyone was coming up to my friend all like, “Yeahhh, dude, heard you got some!” When indeed, he had not.

He came up to me in the hallway that day and called me The Queen of Shitgibbers.

I was a silly lil’ teenager, but even then I knew that was a title I shouldn’t have earned and sure didn’t want. I had done a shitty thing, and it was the first time I really realized it was a shitty thing to do.

I’ve made huge strides in kicking the gossip habit, but it happened the other day. I cracked a joke about someone else, to someone who I knew would find it funny. It was a cheap shot, not even remotely clever, and remembering it later made me cringe with regret.

Why was I posturing like that? Fucking fucks, I thought I lost you. (Clingy buggers.)

So the next time I get the urge to discuss another person behind their back, I hope that I remember it’s a very fleeting satisfaction. For a split second I can connect with another, get a laugh, feel empowered, a little bit superior…but then just awful. This is kinda trite, but Eleanor Roosevelt once said:

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”

I will strive to be great. I will frequently be average. I will even spend a huge portion of my time discussing the weather or my lunch. (Burrito, B-, overnuked.) But behaving in a small-minded manner like this just isn’t worth the squeeze.

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Haunted: Invisible Illness

Due to a problem with my nervous system, I am disabled and chronically ill. My symptoms often become incorporated to my dreams, sometimes it’s almost funny: a man getting an electric foot massage on my back when the machine shorts out. (Okay, weird/scary, not that funny.) More often, it’s just me trying to keep up with the dream and sorely falling behind.

I just woke up from a miserable one. A repeater. Familiar people are telling me that I’m faking it. That I’m pretending to be weak to get attention. That I’m just irresponsible and lazy and need to try harder. Or worse, they roll their eyes and give one another a knowing smile like, “Won’t this be fun to dish about later?”

It’s bad enough to have to constantly having to explain what’s wrong with me and why I can’t do x, y, and/or z just like everyone else––but then to have convince them that you aren’t telling falsities, and to do so when your brain can’t even recall basic information reliably––I can’t explain how awful it is. How demoralizing. How it just makes a person want to give up.

But then to also do it every night in my dreams? Shiiiiiiit, this has to stop.

I clearly still have issues with people from my not-so-distant past, that’s where I can do work. Forgiveness. Self-love. Continuing to hang with empathetic folks.

But the real problem lies with society. The people in my dream aren’t “bad” guys. They are very “normal” people. We, as a society, still don’t have a strong understanding of invisible illness. (Even though it’s pretty darn common.) And we definitely aren’t aware of how to behave with empathy in regard to it.

Just because you can’t see a person’s pain doesn’t make it less real. To us who deal with invisible illness, it’s all the more real: because we’re so often received with disbelief and even bitterness in place of compassion. Can you imagine? No, like, really try to imagine.

Take a couple of minutes: Imagine waking up in agony, trying to shake off dreams like I just explained. Knowing that you have maybe 3-4 usable hours, that this agony is as good as you’ll feel all day, that it’s just going to get worse. Pushing through everything that you can get done despite your symptoms––which is never even close to the amount that needs to be done. As far as keeping up with life goes, you’re fucking drowning.

And then the pain levels rise so high that you can’t think straight. And then the fatigue levels get so high that just taking a bath is daunting. The television, and all sounds, feel abrasive; so all you can do is lie there until you feel tired enough to pass out despite the pain. But once you actually get to bed that’s rarely the case, as your memory foam feels like pavement––squishing your tender body and making it scream all the louder, a cacophony of miserable symptoms that you just have to lie there and bear. For hours. Every. Single. Night.

Imagine getting through a day and night like that, and then having someone say to you, “Man, I’m jealous––I wish I could stay at home all day!”

Do you see how demoralizing that could be to someone? It’s a private fucking hell, it’s truly awful. Not that my whole life is awful, but more days than not are indeed this bad, and all too often that’s people’s attitude. It really wipes my resting niceface right off, and totally screws up my “fake it ’till you make it” coping strategy.

But how can you really know if someone’s sick if they don’t look it?

WITH THEIR WORDS, dummy. LISTEN TO THEIR WORDS.

Trust the people in your life who tell you they’re not feeling well. Your reaction to someone else’s admittance of that, which often doesn’t happen until a breaking point––can have a HUGE impact on their life. Be the person that helps them find the right doctor. That googles their symptoms in-depth to help find answers. Or simply be the person that listens to what’s going on with them, instead of hurrying away uncomfortably or changing the subject.

We’re doing it all wrong when it comes to our attitudes about chronic illness, and it’s at the detriment of those of us already in a very precarious place. This is off-topic for the website, I know, but it’s really important to me––so I suppose my sharing here is fuckless.

Thanks for listening.

 

My Halcyon Mission

I wrote this when I was 23, somehow already 11 (very event-filled) years ago:

Mission Statement

To create a community of people who desire a paradigm shift in our world, and to help create these changes via creative endeavors. These are the main desired changes in our paradigm:

  • Environmental: Realize that if we don’t support our environment, then it won’t support us. We need to breathe, drink, and eat. If we poison what sustains us we won’t survive as a species, nor will anything else.
  • Empathetic: Humans are humans no matter where they live. We all deserve to live a life that provides sustenance, self-sufficiency, and a lack of fear. We need to learn to see ourselves in others. We need extreme change to happen, and without violence.
  • Conscious: We need to remember that our place on this Earth is about growth, loving and evolving-not about money and ego.

It came out of nowhere, whilst meditating on what the hell I wanted to do with this life.  (Like most of the posts here.)  My first move on this mission was to name it, I consulted one of my favorite books – the thesaurus.  Within just a couple minutes, Halcyon it was!  Its beauty jumped out of the page and seemed to shout, this is your future!!!
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I started by learning how to organize events to raise awareness and cashoola for non-profits and other causes, and did a shit-ton of those as well as joining a couple of their boards and doing fun work there. I also wrote a business plan for the do-gooder Halcyon Cafe, something I pursued tenaciously for years and still intend to create, someday. 

But I still knew I was ignoring something, a dream that was so scary I very rarely even let it gurgle up to the surface: to write a book that could help TONS of people connect to their authentic (and awesome, fearless, centered) selves, and to do it in a way that spoke to “average” Americans.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m way woo and don’t mind a bit (anymore): but mindfulness and personal growth often come in really cheesy packages, and it makes a lot of folks kinda want to hurl. And that reaction doesn’t mean they’re closed-minded, I think it’s mostly a matter of presentation and taste – but it blocks so many of us off from really solid wisdom and life approaches.

How I Lost All My Fucks is my answer to this dilemma. It’s part book, part meditation training, and part experience that the reader rocks in 30 days. (That won’t soon be forgotten.)

I want it to make meditation in public the norm. I want it to introduce people to what they *actually* want and value.  I want it to introduce people to happiness regardless of circumstance, and that’s *any fucking time* happiness.

I want it to help – with SO many of others creations – create a lasting paradigm shift in this wonktaculous world. (I have more ideas too! Like low-income housing for senior citizens and at-risk young adults that’s full of do-gooding community fun.) But first things first, to make How I Lost All My Fucks happen:

I need to create an impressive following so I can sell my baby!! I really appreciate any follows/likes/etc on social media, links are on the right side of the page.

I also appreciate your presence, thanks for hanging out, friend. ❤

 

 

You Need a 2017 Board

Ahhhh, can you feel it? That’s 2016 finally taking its last breaths, transforming today’s rubbish into yesterday’s lessons––maybe only metaphorically, but that’s not nothing, and soon it will be obviously true as well.

So, what’s next?

I’ve been working on my 2017 Pinterest board to figure that out. I like the ease of pinning info with website pages, they’ve got that add-on button. Pinterest isn’t for everyone though, use an organizing tool w/images like this, or go old school in a sketchbook or something of that sort.

Just pick something that incorporates images and text in a way that you’ll like looking at over and over.

First, map out your top goals for your year.

What are the first things you think of? If something seems random, note it anyways, as it could be your subconscious peeking out. Then purposefully move on to other “outside” areas: health, hobbies, relationships, love, work, etc.

Then it’s time to move on to “the invisible you.” (nods ❤) What qualities would you like to work on cultivating this year? Have you been hearing repetitive feedback from those around you? Maybe it’s time to listen better, or to say what you mean. Pick at least one. (That’s super easy.)

For each experience or quality that you’re fruition-ing in 2017, choose an image. Choose one that makes you think of the idea in a quick glance, ideally that also makes you feel good. For example, if it’s listening better: Don’t pick an image of someone droning on and another trying to focus, pick one that makes you think of why you want this thing in your world–ex., something that makes you think of harmonious relationships.

In the text for each image remind yourself of why this is a badass addition to your life, “A reliable car that gives me freedom to go wherever I please.” Also, articulate specifics that’ll help you focus over the year, like if you’re working on bringing new relationships into your life, what kind of qualities do you want in them? Warmth, honesty, kindred interest in Star Wars? Get specific.

I highly recommend setting options to private, or keeping your board somewhere personal. It can be easy to accidently account for others’ opinions and bullshit if you think it’ll be seen. (I don’t care if you love and trust them, that’s not what this is about, it’s about connecting to your authentic needs and wants.)

Now go about your year, remembering to look at your board at least weekly!

It’ll just be a few minutes of your time, but the effects on your focus will be a delightful surprise. Why haven’t most of us achieved our dreams, or become the people that we want to be?

Because we were busy doing other stuff and forgot.

Not out of sight, in your mind where you can remember to do something about it.

Alllllright, 2017!

 

What is Detachment?

What is detachment? How is it helpful?

In the world of woo, detachment is often first encountered via Buddhism where it’s an important principle meant to release from desire and consequently from suffering. I find this area of Buddhist thought to be a bit of a drag, it’s a whole lot about releasing desire, which I think is a ridiculous thing to do.

No longer having desire is a symptom of depression. Desire provides direction. Direction to joy if you do it right. Reflect on why you desire things, fo sho, learn what truly gives you joy in this life. Be honest with yourself. And then desire away!

Desire. Want. Dream. Plan. Do.

*And then let go.*

That last bit is where detachment does its magic. Detaching from the outcome creates energetic space, allowing for openness and receptivity. Do the work, seek inspired actions, daydream about the most desired outcome–but that’s it.

Don’t think about how much you want it. Don’t focus on how you don’t have it. Don’t stew in how you are more deserving of it than someone else. Don’t place the ideal of your future happiness in it. Don’t pressure it. Leave it be.

Even wonderful outcomes are temporary, and every outcome leads to another one–sometimes you just gotta shrug and have faith that the right things are happening in perfect timing.

Or combat attachment with acceptance by embracing this mantra: it is what it fucking is.

Word.

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I spent a lot of years trying to outrun or outsmart vulnerability by making things certain and definite, black and white, good and bad. My inability to lean into the discomfort of vulnerability limited the fullness of those important experiences that are wrought with uncertainty: Love, belonging, trust, joy, and creativity to name a few. – Brene Brown

What is an eclipse season?

Eclipse seasons happen every Fall and Spring (usually! 2017’s 1st is in February), and they are grand inciters of change. What doesn’t suit you anymore will crumble away (even if you thought you wanted it), and what you need will start entering (even if you think you don’t want it). Eclipses are as change-makers that put us back on our path, ’cause man do we get distracted.

I’ve had several day-of events, but the time around the dates of the eclipses are also way in the mix. I started paying attention just a few years ago, and for me it hasn’t been more than a week for wack-a-doo out of nowhere events. But the energy of the eclipse effects the next six months, until the next one.

On the second eclipse (they come in pairs) it’s often been not so much an event as a significant change of heart and focus, or the beginning of something new and awesome— something that will be memorable in hindsight, but that day you might be like “eh.”

Eclipse seasons can be very hard, CRUNCHY, to be more specific. There’s lots of things happening not only to you, but to everyone you know—so there’s lots of people feeling all crazy-like, which is always fun. (I’m not even sure if I’m being sarcastic there… It can actually be fun too!)

Eclipse seasons aren’t hard because “bad” things happen, and they aren’t anything to be scared of. Change is good. Change creates growth. What’s the point of rereading the same old chapter? It feels good to move on. Eventually.

They have a whole lot of uncertainty about them, which can be a scary place to be in. But the thing is—you never have certainty. Sometimes it looks like it, but we all know that anything can happen. Plan for what you want and do the damn best with what you get’s kinda my M.O. on that front.

Stay chill, expect the unexpected, and remember that every new beginning comes from another beginning’s end.

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What is Serendipity?

Is it like luck? Is there ice cream?

Serendipity is a magical 90’s gem of a flick that’s not to be missed. It’s also a phenomenon succinctly defined in said movie as a fortunate accident. It was coined in 1754 via a fairy tale whose heroes “were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of.”

Serendipity is good friends with synchronicity, but it comes with presents.

Not always things per say, but it’s a more external experience, for sure. A synchronistic moment can happen pretty internally, like you can have one and no one around will be aware; but with serendipity, there’s going to be a ‘What? That’s perfect!!’ kind of moment.

Serendipity is always synchronistic, but synchronicity isn’t always serendipitous. With serendipity, there needs to be an external “accident” of sorts—whereas synchronicity is coincidence-oriented, but you can’t have a happy accident without a coincidence. Ya hear?

To encourage serendipity I highly recommend doing whatever you want. You know, consequences are a thing, but in my experience random desires or cravings often lead to awesome serendipitous fun!

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What is Synchronicity?

Is it the same thing as a coincidence?

Synchronicity was first explained by a badass named Carl Jung, who also pioneered the widely known concept of the collective unconscious. It basically says that that events are “meaningful coincidences” if they occur with no causal relationship, yet seem to be meaningfully related.

Out about in life synchronicity can look like thinking about a song and then hearing it. Or it can look like forgiving someone you haven’t talked to in too long, then them calling. It can look like wanting to go to a concert, then some rando winds up paying you to go. It can look like a city coming up everywhere you look, deciding to move there, and then a best friend calling you to say she’s moving there. (Hi Greta!)

At it’s most awesome synchronicity can clarify decisions, leading to choices that feel aligned with the best version of yourself—and at it’s most random, it’s damn amusing. I have a neighbor named Bryan Adams, and I was debating contacting him to make friends a few months ago; when on my TV Pheobe from Friends suddenly starts talking about Bryan Adams. (The One with the Canadian Coincidence.)

I notice more synchronicity when I’m feeling the flow—when I’m in the groove, going with the flow, being the green reed, as it were—when I’m naturally moving towards whatever feels right to you in that particular moment. (Meditate to figure out what the heck that is!)

Rather you think they’re just coincidences or if you think that they’re a cosmic wink, synchronistic moments are definitely fun. In a world where Donald Trump can almost be president and shows like Freaks and Geeks are killed long before their time, and you know, the truly fucked up shit out there—why not enjoy a magic moment?

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