I Can’t Fix You

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My beautiful baby girl, who is 7, has been more and more hostile lately. This is huge as she is one of the most peaceful, kind, wise and loving kids I’ve met.

What was I doing wrong? Was it the divorce? The loss of men she loved? The pet deaths? Was I not listening? Was I selfish? How did I cause this?

I asked her to share with me, and I was met with 7 year old silence. I offered her a counselor, or a call with any adult she trusted. She told me she didn’t matter and her feelings didn’t count.

I found myself helpless and angry about my helplessness. What was going on here? If I can’t talk to her now, how will we survive adolescence?

And then I realized my ego was making this about me, not her. She needed my love, not my projected fears. I told her I was so sad about how she was feeling and started to cry. I told her I loved her 

And that was enough. She started to cry and the flood gates opened. A girl at school was bullying her and my child felt like nothing could be done.

I listened to her stories of being shamed by this girl. My child felt manipulated and as if every time she tried to defend herself, the bully lied and told the teacher things that put my  child in the position of the bad guy. When my child told her story, it was dismissed and she was not vindicated or protected.

I felt relief. With so much emphasis on anti-bullying at school, I know this can be resolved. The big issue was getting my child to tell me.

But for me, it has been facing the truth that I cannot fix the pain of people’s lives. I cannot protect my child from everything. I cannot heal her. And that is OK.  It doesn’t make me a bad mom. It doesn’t make me a bad person.

All I can do is love her and let her life unfold with my support. That is spiritual truth.

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Celebrating the Dark

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My spiritual partner and I hosted a Conscious Christmas event today. It was something of a Winter solstice event but more a celebration of the beauty of the dark.

The highlight of the day was a raw cooking class. The food samples were powerful in flavor and nourishment. I forget how intense the energy of food is and how different it can be to eat food that is not processed.

We came together for a ceremony of light and dark. As we set our circle and our intentions, the energy in the room was pronounced. One of the guests is new to energy work, and it was clear that she was aware of what was happening in the room. My whole body was charged by it, and the communion of spirit that was occurring moved me to tears.

We went into the dark places inside of us, to shine light where we may be afraid to look. We released that which we carried and no longer need.  We embraced the void as a space of pure possibility. We embraced the dark as beautiful and loving. It became the space for our essence to be revealed.

Here is a meditative poem by Joyce Rupp “Winter’s Cloak” from The Circle of Life which she co-wrote with Macrina Wiederkehr. We closed our ceremony with it and I share it with you.

Winter’s Cloak

This year I do not want
the dark to leave me.
I need its wrap
of silent stillness,
its cloak
of long lasting embrace.
Too much light
has pulled me away
from the chamber
of gestation.

Let the dawns
come late,
let the sunsets
arrive early,
let the evenings
extend themselves
while I lean into
the abyss of my being.

Let me lie in the cave
of my soul,
for too much light
blinds me,
steals the source
of revelation.

Let me seek solace
in the empty places
of winter’s passage,
those vast dark nights
that never fail to shelter me.

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Everything Inside

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“I don’t look for something outside of myself to fulfill me. I look for everything inside.” These were the words of a man for whom I have great love and admiration as we spoke about his current journey and his upcoming visit.

Since my soul seems intent on not having a romantic relationship right now, it was significant to me to hear these words (because I’m a bit put off that I have a perfect possibility in front of me and my Being says Nope!). Those words put into context the biggest change in me. I definitely continue to have spiritual partnerships develop but the idea of a romantic relationship seems trivial. I don’t say that to diminish the value of such relationships – all love and forms of love are valuable – but on my current path and in comparison to what I’m experiencing with spiritual partners, a lover seems wrong.

I panic sometimes about that and worry that I’m shutting something important off. I fear I’m missing out because of this. I worry that if I don’t find someone right now I will be lonely. Not only is that a horrible  reason for relationships, it’s simply not true. I am without a relationship now and I don’t feel lonely. I feel free. I feel like everything I need shows up – not in one person or relationship but in all my life, the whole experience.  I’m not lonely.

There may be a day that a relationship shows up and if so, I will be open to it. Mostly, as my beautiful spiritual partner said, my fulfillment is inside me, not something to pursue outside.

Mmmm love the feel of truth. Love the feel of this awakening awareness.

Joy to the World

When you go out to run errands but you come home with nothing because you and your daughter decided that singing Christmas music at the top of your lungs  with the car windows rolled down was a better use of your time…

…did I just teach her to be irresponsible or that joy is much more valuable?

Your answer is redundant. 🙂

Surrender

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The best indication of what is meant to be is what is.

A man I’ve been interested in for nearly a year is available and spending time with me. And I am walking away.

What the hell?

Both on paper and in experience he is a powerful fit. The connection is there. There is love.

I’m not walking away from fear. I’m walking away because that is what every part of me wants.

Again, what the hell?

My ego is furious that I’m doing this. I was excited by the potential just a week ago. And when I listen to my inner voice, the answer is still not now, not yet.

I’ve heard that voice for two years, the same message but for different men.

So what can I do? Only one thing.  Surrender. Trust. I’ve started down a powerful path of Awakening. And so what arises is perfectly aligned to that. 

I still say what the hell…but I’m curious about what happens next.

Learning Love Is A Choice

By Hilary Lauren

I would liken my views on love prior to this year to a beaten dog racing to stay ahead of the pack of disappointment, fed-up-ness, disgust, and the last surprisingly-fast weiner dog who came nipping at my  heels, disinterest.
I had wanted “real” so badly I often wondered if I had given so much power to the fantasy relationship that I couldn’t hack it, that I sabotaged it so I could never have it for myself.

Then I read that love is a choice and I stopped running. Boom! Just like that. I stood still as the dust clouds settled around my ankles and assessed my view of the world upon which I stood. Then I licked my wounds and re-embarked on the path I wanted, trodding along at the pace I desired, slow enough to notice the details surrounding us all: love, love, love. I starting trying to explain it in Let Me Love Your Filthy Heart, my first article for The Good Men Project.

I didn’t understand, when I wrote that piece, why such a phrase and a way of thinking would stick to me like the thin layer of jelly on my fingertips after eating a PB&J. It was ordinary. Not fluffy, not overly romantic. Real. The kind of real I coveted in couples who married shortly after high school, in wrinkled older spouses walking down the street, still holding hands. I had wanted “real” so badly I often wondered if I had given so much power to the fantasy relationship that I couldn’t hack it, that I sabotaged it so I could never have it for myself.

I viewed relationships as a cycle: infatuation, crazy-making love, annoyance slide, disinterest, then the break.

What I missed when assessing other people’s relationship was their real. I saw sugar topping the cookie, not the month-old flour involved in the baking. I saw the delectable outside they presented to the world and attempted to live by what I saw; one irresistible duo, with no flaws, no weaknesses. No wonder it never worked. At the first sign of trouble, I wept, panicked and began to mourn the loss of what would surely be next. I just knew the end was coming. I beckoned to it and created all the right circumstances for it to happen.

Until this morning, reading those words “Love is a Choice,” I never realized, making love a choice means you give yourself permission to make decisions, too. You know how aggravating it is to complete a series of jigsaw puzzles, only to discover that each one is missing a piece? A piece you had hidden, but forgot where you put it? I can finally understand how to hold myself accountable for what I do or don’t do in relationships, and that was the missing piece.

I had been a subconscious victim of my past relationships, “But he was like this and was angry all the time, and he was unfair and a slob.” I was spouse blaming and removing my own control.

This is what happens when we hand the reins of our life over to another. I ceded my own power, subtracted my own vital input, and lingered on the outskirts of my partnership, forever a blamer and bystander until I changed something.

When you love you take a hard vow to be there, and the phrases come easily: “I will be there for you always, I will love you forever, I will never leave you.”
It’s what we are supposed to say, so we say it. But we don’t understand the weight of each of these statements, and the real promise we are making to our partner, who surely does not detect any hint of guesswork as we numbly blather out what is expected, what movies and Lifetime TV and rom-coms have taught us.

Why do we cry at these stupid bits of film? Because we know in the movies, in a make believe world, the love you’ve witnessed between the starring characters goes on until the end of time. But in life, if you’ve been like me, it’s never like that.

This idea that love is a choice was exactly what I needed. I immediately felt comfortable asking for what I needed, elected not to tiptoe around how I wanted to proceed. I asked for clarification, and it was granted. I asked for space and it was given, I asked for help, for a shoulder, a hug, uninterrupted no-screen time, sex, snuggles, kisses, laughter, it was all given to me as simply as lifting the lid and plucking a cookie out.

And I felt better about things because I took an active role in forming my life, our life together. I took an active role in nurturing us the way I saw we needed.

On the flip side, I responded and anticipated in the manner I knew my other, “the Otter,” would need to be acknowledged and loved. Because he speaks a different love language than I, I dusted off the Rosetta Stone Love Languages Lesson in my head and rolled with it.

The Otter loves tangibility, his favorite candies on his flat bed-pillows, a fresh pot of coffee without asking. He requires you to know the look in his eye that means he is still hungry , but doesn’t want to inconvenience you for a snack. He must know, at any time you can find him more important than yourself, that you can pull yourself out of your own skin and jump into his. If you don’t know him well, and you have lost your Otter Manual to Happiness, you might feel a tad lost, and yes, he loves for me to exercise extra-sensory powers of loving, codes I have to decipher, but I signed on for this, I want it, and I choose it every day.

In contrast, as a love speaker, I adore it when he stops and takes my face in his hands, kisses me like I am the most precious treasure he’s ever unearthed, love it when he writes notes for my lunch and includes happy, goo-goo faces. When he says he loves me, I whirl around within myself, a dance no one else can see, the only evidence shining from my eyes. When we make time for intimacy, I strut around beside him at the Home Depot searching for duct tape, wallowing in the special knowledge I have that he and I claimed each other only 20 minutes ago, and no one else knows our secret. It’s something only we own.

He chooses me and my shedding hair on the bathroom floor that gets tangled in his bare feet. I choose him and his unfortunate habit of smelling up the laundry room with clove cigarettes, and there is no partner blaming because we both know what we need to about the other, we make the decision every day to stay in the midst of little and big misunderstandings that plague every relationship. Once and for all, ladies and gents, there is no happily ever after, and this is the best discovery I have ever made, even better than when I viewed the right way to peel a banana — a pinch from the bottom up, in case you’re wondering.

I gave him a chance to heave-ho when I got sick and pushed harder than ever in the history of our relationship to get him out the door, after all, wasn’t my illness and disability robbing him of an active life? Wasn’t I taking away his choice? Hello Backwards Thinking, yeah, I suspected that was you again making me doubt my worth…get the frack out of here.

A curious idea, that I’m worth something to him. If he had responded and left without wanting to because I pushed hard enough I would have been depriving him of me.

It is ultimately his choice to stay, he expressed as much and  he re-expresses it each day without saying a word. When he teaches my teenage daughter, Lauren, to drive and his trying-to-be-patient voice fills the car as I smirk at them both, when he brings home new nightshirts for me to sleep in because I feel like warmed over crap so much of the time, shampoo that he picked out by test driving the sent, sniffing the bottle in the aisle, ignoring the strange looks he gets, when he fills the blue wiper juice in my car.

I don’t make him do any of those things. They are his choice and I refuse to control any methods originating from his heart. Instead, I wait to be surprised, and it is always lovely. Because he retains the control, he makes every day mind-blowing.

If I am tired because I went out of my way to get a number 17 at McDonald’s so I can see his brilliant smile and kaleidoscope eyes light up before we fall into bed, that is my choice. If I put myself out showing my love for him and need to devise a way to snatch some downtime, my choice again.

Learning love is a choice for both people and believing two want to remain together through their un-coaxed actions healed me and changed my outlook on love permanently. It cured my abandonment issues, too — after a few too many decades — and invited me to trust again…in the gentlest way.

Challenge accepted.

http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/learning-love-is-a-choice-kept-me-from-ruining-my-relationship-dg/

What I Have Learned Through Grief

“It is always the false that makes you suffer, the false desires and fears, the false values and ideas, the false relationships between people. Abandon the false and you are free of pain; truth makes happy, truth liberates.” ― Nisargadatta Maharaj

Grief-and-Joy-What-If-300x82Grief and I have been close companions for a few years now.  There have been the deaths of 4 beloved pets.  There was the ending of two major loving relationships.  I left my job and all the friends and connections in that role. It has definitely been a period of grief for me.

What I know is that what shows up in our lives is perfect for what we value most and for our deepest desires.  I am sure that I did not say “Hey tear apart my life and change it all!”  Except, maybe I did.  I set very strong intentions in my life, and those relationships that are not in alignment with our vibration will fall away.  Circumstances will conspire to grow what you desire more fully in your life.

“Once you realize that the road is the goal and that you are always on the road, not to reach a goal, but to enjoy its beauty and its wisdom, life ceases to be a task and becomes natural and simple, in itself an ecstasy.”
― Nisargadatta Maharaj

What did grief teach me? Before all this grief and loss, I feared loss.  I gave away every inch of who I was in order to keep everyone in my life happy, and to keep them from leaving me.  I drowned myself in food to try to meet needs that were just not being met at all.  I closed my heart so it would be easier if I did lose someone.  I left before others could leave me.  I swallowed down tears and would not cry.  I denied my needs. I denied my emotions.  All in all, I did not treat myself with love.

I have held a desire for knowing God, for full awakening and living in Consciousness for nearly as long as I can remember.  And so despite these desperate attempts to protect my ego, the Universe lovingly said “Ok, you can live in God, in awakening and in Consciousness.  Just let go of what does not serve you.”  In the end, it was my anger – the emotion I surpressed, repressed and feared the most in myself – that was my ally to truth.

When I became angry, it was always a signal that something I valued and that was necessary for my Truth was being ignored.  I surpressed that, or beat myself up, if the disparity in values came from someone I loved or who loved me.  I mean, love conquers everything right?  But what I really meant by that was “If I love you, I will deny more of myself to meet your needs.”  Eventually my soul stripped away everything and every relationship that did not serve me.   That was not love, neither for myself nor for the Other.  That was negotiating and bargaining.

In grief, I have also learned that I love.  I convinced myself in both of my ended relationships that I was unable to love, and therefore, I was not attracting love.  I was attracting conditions and circumstances that might (but never did and never could) fulfill me.  When I look at the love I have with my daughter, it is selfless, honest, vulnerable, true love.  When I watch how I gave myself over to the palliative care of my cat (I know it was just a cat, but not to me), I see what an authentic embodiment of my Self and my Love looks like.  It is uncommon for me unfortunately, and it is the Divine’s gift to me to see how I can embody my Self as Consciousness in all ways.

On my path, I have come to understand the Void, the No-Thingness, the Shiva Consciousness.  I have moved from terror of it to joy in the freedom of it.  I have been less successful in the Shakti aspect.  It is common for people who are Awake to struggle to reflect that in relation to others.  And now, I am moving more towards love in all aspects of my life.

“Wisdom is knowing I am nothing,
Love is knowing I am everything,
and between the two my life moves.”
― Nisargadatta Maharaj