What Radical Mysticism Means Now

I decided on the Radical Mystic title for this blog last August, while I was on vacation from work. I felt I needed a more holistic name for my writing space, something that acknowledged the place of the Divine as my foundation in life for everything that I am and everything that I do. I assumed then that I would continue writing about my process as much as I had in the previous months. But that vacation was the first time I really gave myself a break from process (from doing anything at all actually) and in many ways it ended up lasting much longer than the two weeks I took off from work.

The “Why Radical Mystic?” page talks about what Radical Mystic meant to me eight months ago. It means something more now, or perhaps it’s more accurate to say that I’m embodying it more fully now.

As I look in hindsight on last year’s mission in vulnerability, and the last four years of continual growth and transformation, I can see how I pushed myself too hard in the name of healing and striving to be a more conscious and loving human being.

I’ve spent the last 22 years of my life working on being better, working on transcending my dysfunctional background and my resulting mental illness, working on raising myself and children out of poverty as a single mother, working on being the best mother I can be, working on being of “perfect” service to my community and the world, and working to be enlightened/evolved. I’ve called myself a masochist for God, enduring everything painful in the name of evolution.

In recent years, I also shamed myself when I had reasonable emotional reactions to being treated poorly by others, always pointing the finger back on myself, trying to figure out how I could change my stories, be more loving, and be less emotional. Because I grew up with violence as a primary language, I am deeply sensitive to anything that sounds or appears violent in myself and the possibility I might hurt others. I became so afraid of my own emotional reactions, even the most reasonable ones, that I pounded them down as much as I could, and berated myself for days or weeks when something leaked out onto others (no matter how much their emotional reactions were leaking out on me).

I worked on myself so hard, and continuously endured difficult relationship situations in the name of growth for so long, that I finally collapsed under the pain of it all. Instead of the big open loving heart that I hoped to be through my mission in vulnerability, my heart became a knot of stress, anxiety and shame. I was so hard on myself about my mistakes that I came to a place where I stopped trusting myself.

Essentially I shut down. I took a conscious vacation by going on an anti-depressant, giving myself an emotional break.

Now, as I come out of vacation and start processing my current health situation, I think that this pain in my body may actually be the result of years of unexpressed emotion. I think I’ve been so hard on myself that I haven’t let myself really feel the grief of losing my mother or the pain of how I lost her (I turned her death into a mission in transformation), the pain of being rejected by my other family members (I don’t want a relationship with people who don’t want one with me), the grief of my son leaving my home and moving across the country (it’s a natural part of motherhood), the hurt of public humiliation and private conflicts in my journey with the Imps (as a leader I have to be the “grown up” and keep it together no matter how people treat me), and the heartbreak of rejection, humiliation, objectification, betrayal, dishonesty, neglect, shaming, blaming, personal attacks, etc. in my personal relationships (any sadness, frustration or anger I feel I need to own as part of my own shadow and unhealthy stories).

As I come off the anti-depressant, my emotions are coming back in fullness. I’ve cried nearly every day the last month from some big feeling. As I become friends with my emotions again (oh, how I missed them!), something in me is shifting. Instead of seeing my big emotional nature as a burden to be managed and controlled, I am seeing all the beauty in feeling this deeply (and in being willing to share what I feel).

Four months ago I really had no idea what shape this year’s mission in self love would take, I just knew it was a necessary kindness after the mission in vulnerability. Now I understand that this self love journey is integral to my evolving any further in my mysticism and consciousness. I’ve stood on the edge and stared down the abyss of shame, which is essentially our deepest belief of separation from the Divine (or love, or connection, or whatever you want to call it). Shame is the primary reason for isolation. I could let it paralyze me – as it has so many people I love – or I could pull myself away from it and claim the beauty that is me, as well as the connection that is available to me.

Today being a Radical Mystic means a radical faith in myself as a piece of the Divine moving through the world as April. It means trusting my big emotions are God moving through me. My anger is as much God as my love. My despair is as much God as my ecstasy. My mistakes are as much God as my successes. What matters most is that I remain conscious of the Divine in my life, not that I try to be a perfectly evolved human being (whatever that is). Divine awareness drives my passion for social justice as much as it does for healthy intimate relationships. However, Divine awareness doesn’t mean being perfectly enlightened or transcending my capabilities for feeling sorrow and rage.

Dancing with the Divine, and Radical Mysticism in its truest sense, means accepting that everything within me is Divine (as well as everything in others).

My radical mysticism no longer looks like thinking and reading about self-development and spirituality every day or berating myself for every little thing I do that may have caused someone else the slightest amount of discomfort. It doesn’t look like a strict spiritual discipline or practice. What radical mysticism looks like now is fully accepting myself as I am and my beautiful life as it is in this moment.

I practice Divine service through my paid work and my work with the Imps. I feel Divine Love and practice healthy relationship with my loved ones. I continue to allow Love to open me and to consciously create a joyful and loving story out of my life. I am conscious of the Divine every day in the people and the world around me and experience great ecstasy, great joy, great sorrow and great rage at all I witness. My tears are prayers of gratitude for the gift of being alive.

And this is enough.

This is enough for God and it’s enough for Me.

Coming Out of Hiding

I have been hiding for a few months, both from writing and from the people in my life. I have a new challenge and I am having incredible difficulty with the vulnerability of sharing it.

I’ve been living with chronic pain off and on for several years and that pain has become the worst it’s ever been over the last four+ months. It used to be muscular pain in one part of my body at a time – my back, my shoulders and neck, or my feet – except during intense physical exertion when I would feel it all over.

Now I have musculoskeletal pain in many places – back of my head, neck, shoulders, ribs, back, hips, ass, thighs, knees and feet. I also have a couple tender spots in my left arm and shoulder that radiate pain differently that the other places.

I experience pain every day. How much and where varies, dependent on what seems to be a wide variety of factors, from temperature to movement to pms. The primary focus of my attention is now my body (rather than my heart and mind), how much I’m hurting on any given day, and what capacity I have to give to myself, my daughter, my loves, my friends and the Imps. I have far less to give than I used to – loves, friends and the Imps are all suffering a lack of my presence (which is hard to live with).

The truth is that I’m looking at a diagnosis of fibromyalgia. Cultural references to fibromyalgia had me believing it was a psychosomatic disorder, which is one aspect of my vulnerability – and shame – in facing it. Fortunately, my research tells me differently. The medical community has been aware of fibromayalsia for over 100 years and now considers it to be of biological origin within the brain.

“Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals.

Symptoms sometimes begin after a physical trauma, surgery, infection or significant psychological stress. In other cases, symptoms gradually accumulate over time with no single triggering event.” The Mayo Clinic

I’ve been living with minor chronic pain as if it was a normal part of life for many years. I always assumed it was because I was heavy and out of shape (even though none of the many heavy, sedentary people around me seemed to have the same problem). Now I have a sense that I am one of those people in whom fibro has built up over time.

I also wonder about genetics. My mother was in pain for as long as I can remember, first in individual parts of her body, and then it seemed to spread and worsen. She was on morphine patches near the end. For her, the pain had become unbearable, and may have been the source of her lifelong battle with depression. If she lived with anything like I am experiencing now, I have a whole new sense of empathy for her. Maybe she never got better because she was never properly witnessed, diagnosed and treated for her actual experience rather than individual doctor’s limited perceptions. I know she suffered mistreatment by the medical industry, being prescribed contraindicated medications by multiple physicians, the consequences of which wreaked havoc on our family.  I’ve had my own issues with doctors as well, taking 10 years to diagnose a common gynecological condition. I find this new possibility for my mother’s story to be viable.

At the end of 2010 and beginning of 2011 the pain mostly got better, especially after I lost 30 lbs, only flaring up during intense physical times (like producing an event). But over the last four months or so, it’s been getting worse. Before the pain I had significant sleep issues for a few months, apparently another symptom of fibro I just lived with best I could. I sleep better but I’m now in pain on a daily basis to varying degrees. My muscles are tender all the time. It hurts to do anything for too long – even sitting or laying down. I am very sensitive to pressure , so that only the softest furniture can be comfortable for more than 1/2 an hour at a time.

Like any chronic condition, some days are better than others.

The thing about me and pain is I refuse to take anything stronger than ibuprofen, at least as long as I continue to be functional. Because my mother died of narcotic addiction (I wonder if it was also the cause of her psychotic break the last year of her life), and I’ve watched other people suffer from the addiction to pain medication, I refuse to go down that road. I would rather hurt than risk the horrible things those medications do to the body and mind.

So I’ve been hurting. A lot more than I’ve been admitting to those closest to me, or even allowing myself to really feel. My life outside of work right now is spent mostly in bed with my Love, getting high on weed, watching movies and television on dvd to distract myself, resting because work takes nearly all I have (especially since I’m working harder and more than I ever have in my life, which is both wonderfully stimulating and exhausting mentally, emotionally and physically).

Over the past couple weeks a lot of sadness and anger has come up about my situation and now I’m here writing. I am finally speaking the truth of this experience the way that I would my emotionally based ones.

I have a lot of judgments about long-term illness that I’m having to work out. I’ve spent so long in woo-woo land and on the self-development track that I’ve come to see long-term disease as a failure in my evolution. According to many spiritually oriented teachings around the body-mind-heart connection (which I know to be real because I’ve actively worked with it before), if my body is this fucked up, then I must be equally as fucked up in my mind or heart (and of course being on anti-depressants only enforces this belief). This is what I’ve allowed myself to be conditioned to believe after all these years psycho-spiritual research and practice.

Yet, I can’t help but question those beliefs now. I am happier and emotionally healthier than I have ever been. I am very happy in my work. I am in the healthiest and happiest relationship and friendships of my life. Things are great with my kids and with the Imps. And I feel that I’ve experienced a lot of healing and evolution in the last couple years around my deepest woundings. It doesn’t resonate with me that this pain is psychologically induced.

What does resonate is that I have a biological condition that has been flaring up in various ways for many years without relation to what’s going on in my emotional life. It resonates that I’ve experienced depressed moods and anxiety because of this condition, rather than those things causing it. It resonates that combined with my PCOS, another biological condition, I have been at the mercy of my biology for a long time, and perhaps have never been as crazy or mentally out of control as I believed all these years.

I have been and continue to be so damn hard on myself.

Since last September I’ve been resting and I’ve been hiding. I don’t want to be one of “those people” who acts and talks like a victim of my pain, who is defined by illness. And I don’t want to become a burden to my loved ones. I’ve known many of those people and I’ve seen how their victimized behavior impacts the world around them. It’s not pretty.

However, I am on a mission of self-love. It’s not loving to myself to try to hide what I’m experiencing or to keep myself from the support of my loved ones. I know the power and importance of witness and loving support in our lives. I have been denying myself one of my most basic needs.

There are ways I have been loving myself. Over the past two months I have become present and dedicated to my health, including nutrition and movement. I have overhauled my diet, take several supplements (most specifically indicated for chronic pain and inflammation), do gentle yoga daily, and journal my food intake, pain levels and emotional landscape.

Instead of just living with the pain and trying to push it in the background as I have for so long, I am facing my reality. Earlier this week I went to my doctor to have lab tests taken to rule out any other possible causes (arthritis), but she says my symptoms sound like fibromyalgia. As I read about the symptoms, I can see nearly all of them on the road here (including the IBS I experienced for a few years and the sleep issues I’ve been having off and on the last three years).

I’m honoring the truth of what is, striving to be honest about my experience without being a burden or a victim.

I want my friends to know I really miss you. I haven’t been around or talking much about my process when I am because I don’t know how to deal with being in pain all the time in front of people. My process is primarily about dealing with my physical states and how they impact how much energy I have and where I use it. I desire to continue living life to the fullest of my capacity, however diminished it may be on any given day. The Universe has brought me a powerful opportunity to practice self love and I’m doing my best to navigate it. But I don’t know how to talk about it with the same vulnerability that I do my emotional processes. There is some kind of shame around physical illness for me, maybe because I’m ashamed of how it ruled my mother’s life. Or because it’s something I little no control over. While I can eat well, take supplements and lose weight, it’s possible no amount of personal work is going to make this go away. There are also cultural taboos in talking about illness, an inherent sense of discomfort, maybe because none of us know what to say in the face of suffering we can’t change.

I’m striving to bring light to my darkness, to show you my cracks where the light gets in. As Kelly Diels recently said: “Cleavage is where I start my writing: the breaks, the cracks, the fissures, the wounds, the shadows, the caves. I mine them for joy. Cleavage is what I try to write about and through. Cleavage is the lines that shape us.”

This isn’t where I expected my journey to lead me this year. While my self-love mission was partly inspired by the pain experience, I didn’t realize it would become the center of it. These are not the lines I expected to shape me. But I will mine them for joy. And I will share my story. Because that’s what I do. Share the vulnerable stories that are hard for other people to tell. There is a story in living with pain. There is a heroine’s journey to be had here and a love story of some kind. I will not be defined by my illness, but I will let it shape me into a more loving woman, as every painful moment in my life has before this.

And the Radical Mystic will find the beauty of the Divine in this, as I strive to do in everything.

Leaving Behind The Wall of Shame

Patti Digh and Susan Piver hosted The Week of Inward Looking the week before New Years, with writing prompts for looking within as we move out of one year and into another.

I wasn’t in a place to write that week, but the prompt for day 2 has stuck with me and I think it’s the appropriate thing to write about as I make my ascent into the light after a time of darkness and withdrawal.

From Ken Robert
Topic: Shadows

Question: In what way have I been living in the shadows in 2011? How might my life change if I came out into the light in 2012? What strengths could I discover and share if I gave up hiding my weaknesses?

Sometimes we stay hidden, fearful that others might see our wounds and blemishes. We think we’re the only ones who bear them. But I find that when I expose my weaknesses, I give others permission to expose theirs, too. There, beneath the light and in between the blemishes, we find we have strengths we never noticed before. Hiding becomes far less appealing and we’re drawn to living instead. In 2011, what were you hiding all year? What could you do to stop hiding in 2012? What treasures will you find when you step out into the light?

In what way have I been living in the shadows in 2011?

That’s an intimidating question, isn’t it? Powerful, but potentially ouchy, too.

I know the answer already, which is why the question grabbed me. In the first half of 2011 I shined my light as bright as I could possibly muster with my mission in vulnerability (and I have the blog posts to prove it!). I chose vulnerability in every possible way I could imagine in my relationships with individuals and the collective. It was an amazing experience that brought me deeper into my mysticism. However, in the process I made myself vulnerable to public humiliation and private rejection, loss and heartbreak.

I started out the year with several relationship beginnings in which I allowed myself to be completely vulnerable, but then I was in some sense rejected by all but one of my lovers or potential lovers; people with whom I had magic and chemistry, but who chose for various reasons not to let it flow between us. It hurt over and over again. I am still learning how to hold space for the people I love when they shut me down. I am also still learning how to not take it personally or see it as evidence that I’m not worth loving.

Then of course there was the relationship with Daddy and excavating my deepest feelings of worthlessness and invisibility. I am going to be unraveling the lessons of that relationship for years.

Over the summer I was accused on the Imps list of discrimination of disability. The accusations weren’t true but I had a terrible feeling that people who read the email who didn’t know me would make negative assumptions about both myself and the Society. Then I made a mistake in an emotional reaction to a fellow Imps leader and that was shared publicly, potentially causing me to look like a judgmental bitch. I became afraid to be one of the public faces of the Imps and to preach our core values when I was failing to live up to them.

Also over the summer my hormonal condition (PCOS) starting going wonky again and I went to my doctor for help. She believed it was stress and anxiety induced by the accumulative three years of loss and continuous life and relationship changes. She put me on a low dose of an anti-depressant. It has admittedly taken the edge off emotionally. Unfortunately, it’s also decreased my sex drive. :(

In the spring I learned that my daughter was depressed and self harming. I had to face that I had not been present to her experience, that I had been neglecting her emotionally.

Sometime in August I hit a wall of shame. It got so dark that I couldn’t write about it, or even talk about it. Although I let my loves and friends know I was hitting a shame wall, I didn’t share very much of the experience with them. I isolated myself and focused on my family and being gentle with myself. Being gentle with myself could also be interpreted as hiding out. I spent a good deal of time watching tv shows on dvd, cuddling with my guy (can’t wait to write more about him!).

I didn’t trust myself any longer. I made some poor choices that hurt myself and others. It seemed no matter how hard I tried to be a good person, I still hurt people, so who am I to presume to be an Ambassador for Love?

I also thought that if I needed an anti-depressant, then I still lack control of my emotional states, which makes my self-work a failure. How could I transition to any sort of coaching, or even write as if I know anything, if I’m failing at my own transformation?

What’s incredible about hitting my shame wall is that it opens my heart to the experience of being lost in shame and fear the way that my mom and others I’ve loved have. I never understood before how people could be paralyzed by shame and fear and keep their lights buried deep down inside, with only a peek of it now and again. While I knew I couldn’t stay there, I could see how safe and tempting it would be. If you stay in the shadows and people can’t see your light, then you don’t risk them rejecting you. It appears as though you’re keeping your heart safe from hurting.

As 2011 ended, I came to see how this incredibly intense year has led to the deepest and most consistent experience of happiness that I’ve known. I am in the healthiest partner relationship of my life. I feel closer to my tribe than ever. I am more present to my daughter and she and our relationship are thriving. I stood up for myself at my work so that I’m acknowledged and fairly paid for what I’m worth as a leader. I’m recognizing how much I really like my “job” now that I am able to be a leader and put all I’ve learned into practice. And I feel that through all of the challenges with the Imps, we are living our commitment to our core values and to each other as lovingly as we’re capable.

This shows me that no matter the mis-steps and mistakes I make, which are inevitable because I am human, I am still worth loving and being trusted. While there are a few “haters” out there, people who tell me I am self-involved, unkind, and other shadowy adjectives, my experience is that I am seen, held, and deeply loved by a whole lot of people. My chosen family consists of more than 20 people, and those are the most intimate. There’s a much larger circle of people I truly call friend.  And my co-workers often tell and show me how much they appreciate me.

Experiencing the affirmation, love, and forgiveness of the people around me (their lights shined on me) – is what allows me to break through the wall of shame now. I’m ready to shine my light bigger and brighter than ever – and do my absolute best to serve everyone around me in doing the same.

Thanks to 2011′s mission in vulnerability, I have a new understanding of shame and its place in myself and in the human experience. Shame is the darkest shadow of them all, the one that keeps us from being vulnerable, which keeps us from connecting to others. Shame can keep us from opening to others so that they can reflect our light back to us, which means we remain lost in the dark, convinced we are unforgivable and unlovable. Shame is how we oppress ourselves and that is the oppression I am most interested in transforming.

This is another step toward knowing how I can support others on their journeys to their light. I’m not a failure, I’m a work in progress and I will have more patience and more to offer others because of this experience.

I am pretty damn excited to discover where 2012′s Mission in Self-Love takes me!

A Radical Love Affair

I haven’t written – not one word privately or publicly – in six months. It’s a little intimidating to be here now and going public with my grand plans for 2012.

Yet I am here and I am committed to a new blog and a new word for a new year.

I’ve taken on a new blog identity because I need to step beyond the limitations of my role as an erotic hostess to a blog that represents my journey as a whole. The Impropriety Society is only a piece of my life. It is my hope that eventually Radical Mystic will evolve into my bliss work as a facilitator of transformation, that sharing my story and the tools I use for transformation will attract those who need what I have to offer to their journeys. If you’re interested in the new blog identity, you can read my musings on being a Radical Mystic at the about page.

I don’t do resolutions on New Years. I choose a word for the year -  a word or concept I can filter all of my big and small choices through to nurture transformation in myself and my life. It seems appropriate to introduce this new blog with my new word in the new year.

If you know me at all you know that last year I chose the word Vulnerability and it kicked my ass (it’s a darned good thing I’m a masochist for God). The first half of the year was an experiment in vulnerability to everyone and everything. In some ways it was incredibly magical and I had more affirming connections to other people and spontaneous mystical experiences than ever before. In some ways it was incredibly painful and it led me to the theme of the second half of the year – and vulnerability’s shadow counterpart – Shame. I will be writing more about my experiences and the insights I gained into myself and others concerning shame very soon.

What’s amazing is that as hard as the year was, it ends with my healthiest partner relationship, a very happy and healthy daughter, a promotion and quality-of-life-changing raise, and the deepest sense of tribe and family I’ve yet known. That tells me I chose well.

My word for 2012 – Self-Love.

After the emotional roller coaster of choosing vulnerability, I decided I need to be gentle with myself this year. Instead of seeking big emotional and spiritual challenges in my relationships and in the world, I need to hold myself in tenderness for a bit. I’ve been living a whirlwind of evolution since my mother died three and a half years ago. I’ve looked every demon I’ve got in the eye trying to integrate the Invisible Girl and overcome the triggers that come from being the daughter of a Narcissist and cause my emotional upheavals.

I am finally understanding that the place I have stagnated in my conscious evolution is around loving myself. I work so hard to be healthy and strong in my relationship to others and the world around me. I strive every day to be a good mother, lover, partner, friend, and community leader, working on myself so that I cause less harm to others. And I am healthier and more loving than ever. I’ve made huge progress in my life in relationship to the outside. Yet, I still have such a terrible relationship with myself inside.

Besides the incessant self criticism that I am not doing/being enough, I have deeply ingrained patterns of self-neglect and avoidance. While I’ve danced with radical self care andradical self love, I’ve always done so in reaction to big heartache and then returned to my old patterns. My modus operandi is to create situations that cause me anxiety and discomfort. It’s as if I believe that I cannot have a life free of anxiety and pain.

I neglect my body more than anything else in my life. During my summer of radical self care in 2010 I lost 30 lbs and kept it off for over a year. I gained half of it back in the last 3-4 months. I’m also experiencing pain nearly every day again because I’m avoiding the (consistent) discipline I need to establish in diet and exercise. And I don’t even want to admit to the bad shape my teeth are in.

I neglect my car to the point that I experience anxiety it will break down every time I get it in it (near daily).

I avoid financial challenges from my past and live in anxiety on a regular basis that they are going to catch up with me (without giving myself credit for living without incurring any new debts for over four years). I make immediate gratification financial decisions instead of putting money towards the old debts or things that will make my quality of life better (like a comfortable mattress to sleep on).

I procrastinate on commitments at work, for the Imps and elsewhere, leading to self criticism that I’m not living up to my word. I put off or forget to make contact with people who reach out to me and then criticize myself for being flaky.

I neglect the steps I need to take to transition to the work of my heart. I avoided or neglected every connection I had in 2011 that could have led to transitioning into that work.

And I don’t nurture the things in my life outside of relationship that bring me joy – reading and writing, singing and dancing, spiritual connection and praying, creating art, etc.

While I was gentle with myself while facing my wall of shame the last six months, it looked like watching television and movies most of the time rather than doing activities that truly nurture my joy and stimulate my intellect, creativity, spirituality and physical health.

Like most of us, I treat others with far more kindness than I do myself. I am hard on myself for still experiencing grief over the loss of my mother and the wounding of my early life. I imagine I should be more evolved and healed than I am for how long I’ve been on the conscious path.

2012 – a year prophesied for significant collective transformation – will be my year for a self-love revolution. The places in my life I still experience anxiety and pain all have to do with how I treat myself. In 2011 I stood up for my value in my workplace and my relationships, now I need to stand up for my value to myself.

“Begin today. Declare out loud to the Universe that you are willing to let go of struggle and eager to learn through joy.” Sarah ban Breathnach

My declaration of self-love to the Universe today is that I am willing to let go of my self-inflicted struggles and eager to learn how to evolve through joy rather than pain. I will strive to change the belief that I have to hurt and the self-neglect that causes my anxiety and pain. I will strive to filter all of my choices through the concept of self-love.

In 2012 I will have a radical love affair with Me.

The Ecstasy Returns (Whew)

I had my first ecstatic experience in a couple of months in the forest near my home today. I’ve not had one of these experiences since I gave the fullness of my heart to someone who didn’t see it and decided they didn’t want it once they did see it. They wanted my body for sex and my mind for the capacity to fantasize as they liked, but wanted nothing to do with my heart. My heart closed up after being objectified and rejected so profoundly. It hurt big and deep. It caused me to question whether I can continue my mission in vulnerability and open-heartedness. I’ve spent some time going deep inside to lick my wounds, healing through time, writing and loving relationships.

I live near Jacoby Creek and yet in the year that I’ve lived here I’ve never taken the time to visit the creek. As ridiculous as that seems, it’s true. Today I was inspired on the way home to pull over and explore a path that I’ve seen hundreds of times on my drive into town. I have a friend coming to visit and I want to be a good hostess not just in my home, but in this amazing forest that surrounds me. I swear sometimes I feel the trees holding me, their roots underneath me, their trunks and branches around me and above me. As I wove my way through the mossy trees and walked through the water and watched little banana slugs on the path, skittering water bugs in the creek and spiders in a patch of wild flowers, I felt a big opening in my heart. I felt connected. I felt the magic of Oneness and the immense miracle of life that I am blessed to participate in. I felt the God in Everything.

Last night I felt my heart opening in a different sort of way. I spent some time with writing and art by people who are witnessing the tragedies of the world and bringing the stories to the American public in hopes of inspiring people to change the unnecessary harm we are causing/allowing to the earth and other human beings. I am recognizing how my capacity to feel so deeply through my empathy and to evoke feeling in others in all kinds of ways by very my nature is a gift to be used in a similar way. I used to dream of art projects in which I told the stories of people whose lives could be changed if enough people woke up to their true capacity for compassion and empathy and did something about the atrocities taking place every minute of every day. It’s stories that cause people experience empathy, to feel for the suffering of others.

I watched an Eve Ensler video earlier today in which she talks about how she experiences Oneness through her body (please go watch it, it’s profound and only 12 minutes long). She’s recognized that her body is a reflection of the larger world, that the cancer that invaded her body is a reflection of the cancer of war, greed, and violence in our world. It’s all the same. It’s all connected. It’s powerful and so very true.

God, I do feel so very deeply. When I approached my car from the creek this afternoon and looked up into the giant redwood trees, I started crying. Tears are how I express emotions that are too big for words. I could feel my crazy deep love for the Divine Spark in everything pouring out of me, streaming amongst rivulets of grief for the wounding of myself and the world. I’ve cried so many times in the last few days, nearly every time I’m in conversation with a friend. I am allowing myself to feel the fullness of everything I have experienced and am experiencing in my life recently – the grief and the happiness, the disappointment and the hope, the confusion, the doubt, and the moments of pure clarity. And of course the inexplicable depth of complicated love I have for a few people in my life.

I’ve missed the heartlight that imbued my life so deeply a few months ago – the light in me that responded to the light in the world with giddy joy and a connectedness that seemed to set my cells on fire. Ecstatic states were happening all the time. I recognize that like the myths of Persephone and Inanna, it is necessary to walk through the darkness in order to clear the shadows from the light I shine. I know that I needed to explore the depths of my sense of worthlessness and invisibility the way that I did so that I could discover just how valuable and visible and worthy of love that I am. While I’ve been deeply hurt, I am incredibly grateful for the experience and for the participation of the other person in my evolution. I am very frustrated by their shadow right now and working on forgiveness, but I still know their light and I still have love in my heart for them, whether they want it or not.

As I’ve said before, ecstasy and despair, it’s all God.

I’m just so very so grateful to have the heartlight again, to bask in its warmth however long it lasts before a descent into the dark is required for the next stage of evolution.

Thank you for listening.

Grief is Weird

I saw grief drinking a cup of sorrow and called out, “It tastes sweet, does it not?” - Rumi

The waves of grief come farther and farther apart as time passes, but they still crash over me now and then.

My mother died three years ago. Yesterday was the anniversary of the day I found out. We are unsure whether she died 1-3 days before she was found. For those who don’t know, my mother died of an accidental narcotic overdose after a lifetime battle with depression and addiction.

Grief is weird. Sometimes it’s big and obvious and all consuming, especially at the beginning. But sometimes it sneaks up on you. You feel a tug at your heart, a sadness out on the edges of your consciousness, and everything in your life looks a little bit darker, but you don’t realize you’re riding a wave of grief until it overcomes you and you feel like you’re drowning.

I have been stressed at work the last week or so, unusually so, and while there are understandable reasons I feel stressed, it’s felt out of whack for the way I usually deal with work challenges. I’ve not been conscious of the impending anniversary of my mom’s passing, so it never occurred to me that I have funky feelings percolating under the surface.

I have also been anti-social this week. I usually have at least a couple nights with loves/friends, either individually or in gatherings. But this week I’ve been home every moment I can be. I’ve been introspective and experiencing a sense of processing, but no clarity on the specifics. I’ve been fuzzy headed and heavy hearted.

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The last three years have been a constant ride of transformation as I open into ever deeper experiences of love and consciousness. As I look at the self-therapy process I’ve cultivated over 15+ years, it’s in the last three that the most visible growth has taken place. I’ve made significant progress in managing my emotional world, both working with hormone therapy to address the physical causes of my moods and working to understand and manage my emotional triggers when they go off. I’ve made leaps in consciousness and helped raise consciousness in my relationships and community. I have become brighter as I learn to shine my Light with intent and confidence.

I am a work in progress, but I’ve progressed exponentially since my mother’s death. She catalyzed me. She always catalyzed me. When I became a single mother to two children at 22 years of age, I realized that I needed to pull myself together so that my kids had a better chance of being healthy and happy. I promised myself I would not do what my mother did and send broken children into the world after dragging their childhood through addiction and narcissistic drama. After my mother died a friend told me it was an opportunity to be free of chains of my past and live my life beyond my mother’s shadow. I took the invitation to heart.

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I recognize I’m having a new experience of grief this year. It’s lighter than previous experiences. I can feel where I have healed. I can feel where I have forgiven. I can feel where I feel great love and compassion for her rather than blame and resentment.

I allow myself to have the fullness of my grief experiences because I know it’s vital to moving through. I talk about grief and recognize it in people more than anyone I know. Our culture doesn’t make much space for grief. It’s meant to be kept behind closed doors at home. It doesn’t belong in the workplace, or in the store, or at a party.

At the end of my workday yesterday I had a conversation with a staff member in which she revealed her father is dying. She started crying and she apologized for doing so. She apologized several times in the course of our conversation for perfectly normal grief responses. I tried to tell her that she didn’t need to be sorry for her feelings or how she spoke or crying or anything else that comes from grief.

We shouldn’t feel that we need to apologize for our grief, however it manifests (as long as we’re not causing harm to anyone). I desire to work with people in the heart of the grief process. I’ve been very conscious of my grief processes in recent years, not just around my mother but in all grief experiences. I’d like to do some study in grief counseling, but I think I’ve got a pretty good understanding of its complexity and have the capacity to hold other people as they ride their grief waves. I think it’s important that people be validated for their grief experiences, no matter how weird they might seem.

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I am changing so rapidly because I am embraced and encouraged in my process. I am held by several dear loves and a larger tribe of friends who know that I’m striving to be a healthier and more loving person. They reflect my light to me when I shine, they help me up when I fall down, and they forgive me when I totally fuck up. I know that if I reached out to them tonight I would have a friend by my side in less than an hour. I don’t need that tonight but it’s an amazing feeling to know I have it, to know I am not alone. For a girl who used to sit in a dark closet truly believing no one cared that she existed it’s an incredibly big deal to feel held like this.

Every day I trust my visibility more. What I’ve noticed the past several weeks is that I no longer have the desperate hunger for a partner, I’m very comfortable being alone, and I’m seeking validation less and less. I seek authentic relating. I desire connected time with loves and friends. But I don’t act out of a unhealthy need to be validated, to convince myself that someone is seeing me, even in circumstances that don’t bring me joy. I realize after recent relationship experiences that I have a pattern of compromising myself just to feel seen. I desire to act from a sense of true connection and love rather than fearful hunger.

For three years I have been actively working to understand The Invisible Girl and to give her the love she needs to grow up and become the Visible Woman Who Shines Bright. Tonight I can feel how much progress I’ve made and how I’m moving away from doing the work of healing within to doing the work of my heart in the world. While I still have healing and brightening to do, I believe I’ve cleared away enough of the darkness to serve with my gifts confidently and create the career that will allow me to earn my living from serving others in periods of grief and transformation.

Whatever happened to my mother’s consciousness when she died, I hope she can still witness the life I’m living. I want her to be proud of me and my children. I want her to see how our crazy life led me to a revolutionary experience of love and community. I want her to know that all I ever wanted for her – and for everyone – is to consciously overcome the fear that comes from past wounding and embrace the love that is possible. My whole life is dedicated to helping every life I touch experience more love and less fear because of her.

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Image Source: Alice Elahi Seascapes

It’s Meant to be Messy


“We are complete, whole, fine and totally capable from the onset. We may cover up, forget or be afraid of this fine specimen that we are, and as such life becomes a continuous dance with our soul and an ongoing unveiling of who we are in relationship to ourselves and our world. We are on a journey of discovery. We fall and get back up. We have questions with no answers and are full of marvelous paradoxes that secretly make us worry about schizophrenia. Truths change as do our desires, loves, fears and longings as we go along. If only we dare wake up and be with our full, complex, wild ever-evolving selves.

The point is this: it’s meant to be messy. Life is a rollercoaster ride, with ups and downs, and thrills and terrors, and the more we lean into the curves, the more we get out of it. Life’s meant to be just that. Messy. A rich, epic experience on all dimensions. You are meant to savor and be savored by life.

But we are afraid of this messy life. Entire careers and industries depend upon and have enhanced this fear for their own profit. Look at the bookshelves, search the internet, spend a day on Facebook, and you’ll know, how apparently fucked humankind appears to be. We no longer know how to live. We plan ourselves out of life. We guru and train and abstain and stretch and educate and work ourselves out of life.” Lone Morch

I read the blog post this passage comes from a few weeks ago and my heart said, YES. This is true. Myself and the people I love are wonderfully messy, imperfectly perfect human beings. I have stopped reading self-development books because I know I can get more out of experiencing life fully than reading other people’s guides to life. I know no one can tell me how to navigate my own unique path. I have no gurus or formal teachers – I just pay attention to who I resonate with in the world around me and how they navigate their stories for little pieces of insight or tools that may assist me on my journey.

But my reality is that I spend time thinking every day about how I could be improved, how I could be better and more evolved in some way. Lately I harass myself for not making more progress towards my goals to change my career. Today I thought about how I need to continue working on my emotional self so that I attract healthier relationships into my life. I often wonder if I’m neglecting or failing my daughter in some way. I think about how I could have a better attitude and be more centered during the stressful times at work. I think about how I could be a better community leader and how I could interact better with those I love and work with.

I spend a lot of time thinking about how I could be better, improved, and doing more good work in serving the world, as if I am not good enough just as I am. I criticize myself for spending time watching television shows on dvd or futzing around on the internet (even though most of my reading is about spirituality, consciousness and how to be a better human). I tell myself I should be writing (my last blog post was three weeks ago). I should be building a professional website and taking active steps towards changing my career (I’ve had three conversations with experienced coaches giving me the next steps to take). I should be putting more time into the Imps.

“I suffer mornings most of all.
I feel so powerless and small.
By ten o’clock I’m back in bed
Fighting the jury in my head.”

Amanda Palmer

Every single day I tell myself I could be doing better than I am. I hold myself to impossible standards (and as a result others too, which is part of why I struggle with embracing the shadow). I tell myself I should be doing more and being better.

For years I’ve been telling myself (and others) the story that I was broken and need to be fixed. Growing up in a severely dysfunctional family and my resulting psycho-emotional wounds = brokenness. Mental illness = brokenness. Teen motherhood, poverty and rape = brokenness. I tell myself even now that I if I have strong negative emotional reactions to others, even when it’s perfectly understandable, that I’m still broken and need to be fixed.

Since a difficult conversation last night I’ve been wondering if it’s ok for me to be angry and hurt because someone(s) I trusted with incredible vulnerability treated me carelessly. I wonder if it’s ok to speak what feels like the truth of my experience right now even if it casts them in a shadowy light. I wonder if it’s ok to be frustrated and hurting because people in my life are choosing to withhold intimacy with me because it scares them. I’m having trouble being open-hearted with a couple people I love because they have boundaries preventing our intimacy from being as deep as it could be or manifest in all of the yummy ways it could. I seem to think that if they withdraw then I should, too, because it would hurt too much to let my love flow fully without reciprocity.

Shouldn’t I be better, more evolved? Shouldn’t I be able to not take things personally, to see the truth of the situation (it isn’t about me, their fear is just too big to let the love flow at this moment in their lives)? Shouldn’t I focus on compassion for their fear rather than be caught up in my own projections and resulting heartache? Shouldn’t I be able to see with clear vision and love unconditionally? After 15 years of actively working on my own psychological, emotional and spiritual evolution, shouldn’t I be better than this?

I have pursued open-heartedness and vulnerability with my whole being this year and nearly every road has led to being turned away or shut down or allowed only a fraction of what’s possible in the relationship. It hurts. It hurts to feel the possibility in relationship – to feel how the love could flow and heal – but the other erects walls to keep the flow controlled, if allowed to trickle at all.

My instinct is telling me to put a stop to the mission in vulnerability and build walls around my heart to keep me protected. My mind tells me to stop reaching out, to stop trying to connect until I know someone wants to and is capable of connecting with me. But my heart – and messages from the Universe – keep telling me to stay open, to stay vulnerable, to be willing to be heartbroken, and love as big and deep as I possibly can.

My mind keeps asking if I’m being unhealthy in my relentless pursuit of emotional experience, if I am an emotional masochist and creating my own pain. My heart keeps saying that I’m an emotional and spiritual mountain climber and shining my Divine Light means being an adventurer of the heart and sharing my adventure story with others. My map may not lead anyone else to their Divine Light, but my story can provide a sense of connectedness and perhaps an insight into another’s story.

I’m struggling right now. I am a paradox, a damn messy one. While I have strong desire to be writing, to be working towards a coaching practice, to be putting energy and consciousness into nurturing community, I am not finding the motivation to act.

Today I read an article that talked about the timing of success and the writer believes that our success comes when we trust ourselves. Now I am asking myself if a lack of trust is what’s holding me back. Am I afraid to start taking steps toward coaching because I’m afraid of failing, because I don’t trust myself or that people will desire what I have to offer? Do I keep telling myself I need to improve because I don’t trust that I’m good enough or lovable enough just as I am right now?

Maybe instead of looking for the next step in improving myself, and maybe even instead of constantly reading articles about how to be better, I need to start trusting myself and my process. I need to trust that I am moving at the pace that is right for me, in my career, in my relationships, in my evolution. I need to trust that taking a break and enjoying the ways I like to take time off – whatever they might be – does not diminish who I am or my value to the people around me. I need to trust that it’s ok for me to be an emotional human, to have hurt feelings and fears, and to sometimes act from them and go through the growing pains of relationship. I need to trust in forgiveness, of myself and from others, trust that I can fuck up and that doesn’t mean I’m broken or not worth loving.

I need to trust that I am amazing and lovable and valuable in my glorious and messy humanness…and that everyone else is, too. To me, this is what faith is. Trusting that we’re all the Divine, sometimes gracefully dancing and sometimes clumsily bumping into each other in our skinsuits, seeking to connect with the Oneness we know somewhere deep inside is our true nature. I don’t care about some big God out in the Universe somewhere. I want to be able to consistently perceive the God in all of us, to love myself and each person I relate to as openly as possible, to trust that everything is really ok, and know that the gift of this life is fucking BEAUTIFUL in every way it manifests.

For now, I’m just letting myself be a beautiful mess.

Embracing the Shadow

I came across this blog post today, which is serendipitous in puzzling out a significant quandry I am facing:

“What would happen if we looked at our lives right now – every one of us – with all the things we love about them and all the things we know we want to change, all our strengths and our neuroses, all the places of confidence and the fears and stresses and what-ifs that we carry, and trusted that the unfolding of all of it is good?

What if we trusted this to be true for other people, too? Even, yes, the person on skid row. Even the addict, the terminally ill, the suicidally depressed?

Could it still apply? (I feel shy and audacious even asking!)

What if we trusted that the exact pace we’re all going is right, and that if any of us were inspired to speed up or slow down, that would be right, too?

What if we trusted that our screw-ups fit into the big picture well?

What if we knew that nothing has been or is being or will ever be wasted or lost, and that even where we could talk about waste and loss on one level, the feelings that get evoked by such things – grief, despair, embarrassment, shame – and the actions these inspire, are important parts of our story, and are working their own magic to take us to important next chapters?

Could it be true? In the face of horrendous loss? Natural disasters? War?” Kirstin Noelle

I am in the midst of a big lesson in acceptance and trust.

As an empath, I can feel the emotional experiences of others. This means that I can experience someone else’s joy and their heartache.

Another aspect of my intuition is the ability to see the shape of light and shadow in people. I can see people’s gifts, the unique combination of qualities that they shine into other people’s lives. I can also see the corresponding darkness, the unique challenges that lie in the shadows of their gifts (there is a direct correlation between our gifts and our shadows) and their past (our life experiences shape our wounded stories). I can often feel the motivation in people’s choices, whether they are expressing their light, a choice from love, or shadow, a choice from fear.

I can also feel potentials, which sometimes are experienced as precise premonitions (they have always come true to the exact detail). I can sometimes see and/or feel what will happen if someone chooses to express their light, or if they choose to express their shadow.

These are all gifts I have to offer as a counselor/coach. But here is the quandry – I am attached to the choices people make. I desire for people to choose the light and the deepening of love and joy that will come into their lives when they do. I have a difficult time when people choose the shadow and I know I will witness – and possibly feel – the painful consequences.

The closer I am to someone, the more I can see and feel in them. The pattern that I’m recognizing is that when I’ve had an intimate relationship with someone and it ends at least partially because they choose their shadow, and I can feel the potential of where they are headed if they continue making fearful choices with painful consequences, I want to withdraw so that I don’t have to see or feel their pain, and the pain of others impacted by their choices. I want to shut them out of my heart, not because they’ve hurt me, but because I don’t want to experience them continuing to hurt themselves and possibly others.

And here’s why – I watched my mom die from living in her shadow. I watched my mom struggle with addiction most of my life – from age 11 when I was putting her to bed because she couldn’t walk straight till age 35 when she died of an accidental narcotic overdose. I watched my mom suffer from severe depression because she would not transform her wounded child stories of abandonment and worthlessness to experience her own empowerment. I’ve witnessed firsthand what happens when someone keeps choosing shadow and their sense of worthlessness till the day it kills them. I don’t want to ever have to witness that again. I don’t want anyone in the world to experience that. I want everyone to truly know how bright they shine and how deeply loved they are before they die.

And yet I have to admit that I see the beauty and meaning in my mom’s life and death. I see it in how she inspired me to claim my own mental health and be a good mother to my children. I see it in how she inspired my sister to work in art therapy with juvenile offenders. I saw it in the friends from one of my mother’s churches who attended her funeral and expressed how they were impacted by her capacity for love and service. Although my mom let shadow drive most of her life, she also brought light and love into the world.

I wonder if I can find the trust that Kristin speaks of. I wonder if I can learn to the see the beauty and meaning in other people’s shadow stories the same way I have my own. I know that every painful experience I’ve had has led me deeper into myself, into a deeper relationship with Life, and into a deeper experience of love.

I can see how powerfully we shape each other, but not always in love. The shadows shape us in ways the light can’t.

I did the dance with resistance for years before choosing to make a change I knew I needed to make (ending my unhealthy marriage and my own pattern of emotional violence) – and every one of those years brought amazing experiences into my life that wouldn’t have happened if I’d been anywhere else. When I think about those whom have caused me pain or harm, I see that every single one of them also brought me profound transformation into deeper love and joy. Being raped by an abusive lover gave me my daughter, catalyzed my journey to empowerment, and inspired an art project that touched thousands of lives. Being abandoned to single parenthood gave me tremendous strength and a life shaping experience of service and unconditional love that touches every relationship I have.

Most recently, I gave my deepest vulnerability to someone who preyed on it and objectified it rather than treasured it and I experienced a lot of heartache. I also discovered my own desires, new depths of tribal and self love, a trust in my capacity to manage emotional triggers in a healthy way, an ability to communicate my needs, and so much more that I may never even be able to put into words. I needed the experience exactly as it was to learn that I am truly invincible – I can lay my heart bare to a predator and not only survive, but thrive in the revelations of my own power.

Is it possible this must be true for every woman who is preyed on? For every child who is abused? For every man who goes to war? For every person living with cancer? If my heart and spirit is invincible, doesn’t that have to mean everyone else’s is, too, if only they believe it is so?

Whether I am a spiritual being having a human experience or just a skinsuit capable of consciousness and emotion, I am invincible right here, right now after surviving more traumas than most people experience in one lifetime. I am not invincible because there is something special about me or I am somehow more resilient than others. There are many people like me. I am invincible because I have an unshakable faith than I can survive and thrive in anything that doesn’t literally kill me. I believe the resilience of others comes from the same faith, whether it’s faith in God or faith in our capacities as humans.

Instead of letting life happen to me, I consciously use my life experiences to transform my wounded stories and grow my psychological, emotional and spiritual health. And this is what I think I have to offer others. This is what I want to help others do – be empowered to transform themselves and their lives by choosing to consciously express their love and light, as well as work with and integrate their shadows so that they don’t act unconsciously out of fear. Our shadows are a part of us and need to be explored and expressed, but we have the choice to do so in unconscious, self-destructive ways, or conscious, self-empowering ways.

Of course like all coaches I desire to assist people in seeing and expressing their light. However, I also desire to assist in embracing their shadow, which will give them greater capacity to hold space for and embrace the shadow in others, which is really the only way we’ll ever experience peace. We need to accept our own and each others darknesses and hold space for each other express them in non-harmful ways.

“Guess what: God created beings not to act in a morality play but to experience what is unfathomable, to elicit what can become, to descend into the darkness of creation and reveal it to him, to mourn and celebrate enigma and possibility. The universe is a whirling dervish, not a hanging judge in robes.” – Richard Grossinger

It’s vital to both my personal relationships and my eventual practice in counseling/coaching others that I make peace with the shadows and resulting heartaches in others, even when I can feel it in my own heart. I need to extend the trust I feel in the Universe to everyone I encounter, no matter how tragic their story is or may become. I must keep my heart open (with appropriate boundaries) to the addict who chooses to stay addicted because it’s easier to be continually numb and distracted rather than face the pain; to the woman who continues to take the abuse because she believes she deserves it; to the man who preys on others because he doesn’t know his own true power or lovability. I have to trust that everything is unfolding exactly as it is meant to for everyone – the addict and their loved ones, the abuser and the abused, the predator and the prey.

If my heart is invincible, then I can love anyone. If my heart is invincible, then I can make myself vulnerable to anything emotionally and empathically. I know that I need to have boundaries if I desire to be conscious and healthy in the expression of my love and vulnerability with others, but I also know from experience that every story is potentially a life-changing love story, no matter how imperfectly or painfully it unfolds. I just have to live it that way.

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Image Source: Kumi Yamashita

Where Everything Shines as it Disappears

Want the change.
Be inspired by the flame
where everything shines
as it disappears.

Rilke

I haven’t written in a long while for a couple of reasons.

The first is that my relationship with Daddy became emotionally complicated in some troubling ways and I found myself both afraid of writing vulnerably where he could see my process and too raw to share what I was experiencing. As vulnerable as I am capable of being here, I don’t show you everything. I haven’t shown anyone everything in regards to my experience with Daddy, it’s just so deep and raw and confusing.

Our relationship ended last week and I am still sorting and processing my feelings about everything that transpired. I’m pretty certain there will be future posts that address what I have learned about myself as a submissive and emotional masochist, as well as my mission in vulnerability and healthy D/s dynamics. I have been writing, I just haven’t been publishing, and now I desire to filter those posts through my current perspective.

The other intimate relationships that I was nurturing all ended as well, for various reasons. I am working through experiences of rejection, misunderstanding, disappointment and other tricky relationship territory. Now I don’t have any intimate relationships at all, although opportunities for sexual intimacy with friends have arisen, so that I can at least get those needs met if I desire. Experiencing the end of so many relationships in such a short period of time has been hard on my heart. It’s difficult for me to write in the midst of the heartache. I usually write after I’ve turned the heartache into something meaningful and beautiful. I’m still in the process of making it all beautiful.

The other reason I haven’t been writing is that life threw me a curveball and my big plans to move to the Bay Area and create the life of my dreams have been put on hold for another two years. I made this decision for the best interest of my daughter, which is a relatively easy sacrifice to make since I believe raising emotionally healthy children is the most important work I can do with my life.

However, I am struggling with feelings of stuckness. I couldn’t write for awhile because I was striving to find the beauty in the change – or lack of change. I have been looking for answers to big questions: How can I create the life of my dreams here in this small county that can’t financially sustain the sort of work I desire to transition to? How can I find my peers in mysticism, consciousness and sacred sexuality that I’ve hungered for so long and haven’t found in the years I’ve lived here? How can I experience and learn what I need to in order to become a Tantrika or other sort of healer-counselor that weaves Mysticism, Tantra and BDSM into my practice? And how do I find the sort of intimate relationship that I desire with someone as committed to consciousness, emotional health and sacred sexuality as I am – and is also a dynamic Dominant (something I now know I deeply desire) – when the local pool of possible connections is so small and keeps getting smaller (especially in regards to kink)?

Of course the truth is that I can make progress towards the work-of-my-heart while remaining in Humboldt. I have decided to return as a full partner and Hostess with The Impropriety Society. Jen W has left us to pursue motherhood, and Paddle and I are working with four long-standing Imps leaders to transition to a different leadership model by the end of the year. Having more people responsible for the organization can allow me to focus my efforts in the places I most desire to – organizational culture, community relationship, cultivating conscious leadership, activism through writing, etc. All of these contribute to my growth as a sex-positive leader and community organizer.

I can also make progress towards developing myself and my work as a personal-coach/healer through self-study, traveling to workshops & conferences, writing, building a strong web presence, and starting a part-time practice.

What really frustrates me is the sense of limitation around finding spiritual community and an intimate relationship that meets my desires and needs. I’ve been seeking spiritual community for as long as I’ve been here and had one for about 2 years out of 20. I’m skeptical I’ll find one now and the spiritual gatherings I facilitated didn’t lead to the kind of connection I am seeking, so I’m not sure that attempting to create my own community again will be successful.

As to intimate relationship, I don’t even know that I could find a Dominant locally that could inspire me to the depths of submission that Daddy did. On-going psychological and emotional edge play like his is not common in this little community. All the local Dominants I know are primarily into physical play and occasional, light D/s. Now that bitch has been awakened, it makes me incredibly sad to have to essentially put her to sleep until someone else inspires her into being again. To find someone who can be the Dominant I desire, and is also devoted to conscious evolution and relationship, seems like an impossible dream right now.

Every happiness is the child of a separation
it did not think it could survive.

Rilke

Despite the changes – or lack of change – in my life, I am still the person I’ve always been. I will turn my circumstances into something beautiful. I will continue to empower myself to claim the life I truly desire. I will keep my heart open to the Universe and every opportunity it brings me. I will trust that I am on the right path, headed towards more love and creativity than I have ever known before.

Because that is what is true about the last few years of my life here in Humboldt – it does keep getting better. I am evolving in significant ways. I have the most amazing community and friendships. I am wrapped in love in a way that I didn’t even know was possible three years ago. And I have faith that it will keep getting better as long as I’m willing to trust the journey and remain vulnerable to where the Divine leads me.

The Need to Serve

“…I would like to beg you…as well as I can, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer. Rainier Maria Rilke

As my relationship to Daddy continues to deepen, I find myself plagued with questions about who I am and what I truly desire out of life.

My desire to serve runs very, very deep. Serving the desires and needs of others brings me the deepest satisfaction I’ve known in my life. I’ve channeled that desire in many directions – starting a home for teen mothers when I was 19, volunteering for the HSU women’s center, tutoring at risk teens, creating The Yoni Endeavor (an art/writing project towards women’s empowerment), directing a Welfare-to-Work job training center, devoting my career to service organizations, The Conspiracy of Blessings (an art project in which I sent art blessings to those in need of a bit of kindness), co-chairing the Board of Directors of our local Pride organization, and being a Hostess for the Imps. No matter what is going on in my own life – no matter how crazy or depressed I was, no matter that I worked full time to support my family and was single parenting two children, no matter what relationships I was involved in – I have always needed a place to channel my desire to serve in order to feel any sense of satisfaction in my life.

While I understand that my Servant archetype is a fundamental aspect of who I am, I have struggled with how I feel about where I channel my service and what I receive in return. There is no such thing as true altruism. We always get something from giving, even if it’s just pleasure from the act of giving. When we give to a person or an organization or a cause over the long term, it is vital that our needs for pleasure and reward are met, otherwise we experience burn out. I have found that I often reach a point of burn out with the places I’ve channeled my service because I’m not getting all of my personal needs for pleasure and reward met, whatever they are. For instance, I often serve by meeting the administrative needs of an organization because I’m really good and efficient at administrative tasks, even though I am extremely under-stimulated intellectually, creatively and emotionally by administration. I get the reward of service, but it’s shadowed by lack of fulfillment in expressing my other gifts and interests, especially my intelligence and creativity.

I am so very good at meeting the needs and desires of others. As a single mother most of my life, I’ve always focused on meeting the needs of my children first. I also naturally put the needs of my romantic partners first, not because I believed I had to, but because I truly wanted to. I’ve always wanted to give as big and deep as I can. I just failed to realize that I have needs to be met, too, and that I would have even more to give if they are met. I have never, ever been good at identifying many of my own needs that can be fulfilled by others (I know how to self care), let alone getting them met. The shadow in my service has been giving all I have until I’m drained and not always knowing how, or feeling I deserve, to get my reserves filled back up with things from others that feed joy to my heart.

Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. Howard Thurman

I’ve seen this quote often and I keep asking myself what makes me come alive. While service itself makes me come alive, it’s often shadowed by the lack of reciprocity in meeting other needs and desires.

I’ve started questioning my lifelong belief that I need to serve the world in the biggest (from the world’s point of view) way that I’m capable. My entire life has been committed to service in a belief that I am here to help facilitate the revolution of consciousness in humanity. And my desire to serve is so big that I’ve wanted to figure out where I can have the maximum impact. And yet I wonder if I have been partially driven by ego and partially by the actuality that I’ve not found truly rewarding containers for my service.

I have always desired to serve through building others up – empowering women who’ve been abused, supporting teen moms in becoming self sufficient, inspiring welfare-to-work single mothers to dream for themselves and their children, facilitating sexual confidence in my community – and have always tried to build up the person I am in intimate relationship to as well. I tried so hard to build up my ex-husband to pursue his bliss. I tried to build him up so that he’d have the confidence to develop friendship and community. I tried to be emotionally and spiritually supportive by offering insights, ideas and resources for healing and growth. But he didn’t want those things. He wanted to remain a bakery driver and spend all his free time in video games because he was afraid to try to be more.

I’ve had other relationships in which my energy and love towards building up my partner didn’t really go anywhere. Either they couldn’t accept it or they weren’t interested in it.

I realize that I need a much different kind of man than I have fallen for in the past. I need a man who is not afraid to be all of who he is, and who desires a woman who will build him up and support him in his power.

Daddy is such a man. Daddy does big world changing sorts of things in his work. He claims his power in the world, uses that power to make the world better, and then He comes home and claims his power as a Man who deserves all the devotion and worship that His bitch has to give. Daddy is big enough to hold what I have to give and He desires it.

Here’s the truth of the matter:

Serving Daddy makes me come alive. Being a source of joy, pleasure, rejuvenation and building up for a man who shines his light so bright and earns my devotion makes me come alive.

The emotional, intellectual, spiritual and physical stimulation and intensity of the Master/slave relationship makes me come alive.

The immense opportunities for growth and self improvement make me come alive. Under Daddy’s guidance I am improving myself physically (i have an exercise program now), psychologically/emotionally (i am working through insecurities and fear as i claim my erotic power), and spiritually (i am experiencing the Divine Spark in us both).

The conscious use of my erotic power to fuel my day-to-day joy makes me come alive. Daddy calls it pussy power. Being in touch with my erotic power and being turned on all the time gives me confidence and energy, keeps me smiling and makes me joyful in all my interactions, and inspires me to creativity.

I am not saying that I should give my life to Daddy and stop striving to serve my fellow humans in some way. I am not seeking to completely give my self up to a man like that. I know I have all sorts of things to contribute to the world as an artist, healer and community builder. And Daddy knows and appreciates that, too.

What I am doing is recognizing what makes me come alive and what brings me fulfillment in relationship, because relationship and intimacy make me come alive more than anything else. I’m recognizing what feels like a healthy and immensely rewarding way of channeling my need to serve into a container that allows me to express my service in ways that meet my needs as well as His. I am getting so many needs and desires met through this relationship. However things do or don’t unfold with Daddy specifically, I now have a much better idea of the kind of man I truly desire to be in relationship to, and perhaps the specific shape I’d like that relationship to take. No matter how long our connection lasts, the rest of my relationship life will be positively impacted by what I’m learning with Him.

I’ve been telling myself for quite awhile now how unhealthy relationship immersion is and that it’s healthier to focus on the work of my heart rather than who I’m in relationship to. But now I’m doubting the truth in those beliefs. I think it’s a matter of being conscious of why I desire to immerse in a relationship like this. I’m not in relationship to Daddy because I have poor self esteem (I wouldn’t have lasted this long with Him if I did). I’m not giving up any aspect of myself for Him (in fact He encourages me to be healthy by maintaining a sense of self and shine my light brighter). I’m not in this relationship because I’m playing out an old pattern (this relationship is different than any I’ve ever had). I’m in this relationship because Daddy and i make amazing magic together, magic that builds us both up in the rest of our lives, magic that brings us pleasure and joy every day. I’m in this relationship – that’s also been rather awkward and odd some of the time – because it makes me come alive.

I have to admit that I’ve been looking really hard for how this is unhealthy, but I can’t find it. He and I will have shadow patterns play out, as all relationships do. But my heart tells me this relationship is based on a sharing of light (paradoxically through darkness) and reciprocal support of each others service to the conscious revolution.

Coming back to the Rilke quote above, I want to live this question through this journey with Daddy – how can I shine my light brightest and be most fulfilled in expressing my deep need to serve?

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