THE MEANING OF LIFE…
Over the decades, I’ve thought seriously about this question from a philosophical, religious and practical view.
Why am I here? What is the reason for all of this? How can I embrace my spiritual truth and still be part of this human existence?
There are multiple complex answers that’ve fit at different stages of my journey and seem to work for a while… then something would shift and I’d be at the discover stage all over again!
After all my learning, education, experience and recoveries, I feel I’m more equipped to dive deeper into this seemingly elusive question.
And here’s what I’ve come up with:
MY REASON TO BE HERE IS…
To love and the accept love. To share my gifts and serve others. To connect deeply from my own wounds that’ve healed, and continue to, to support struggling individuals; offering hope for a new way of being. To use my healing hands and intuition, feeling into the people who seek my help, without judgement. To care for my mindbody as if I’m precious cargo. To say “yes,” to experiences and “no,” to negative energy. To land my feet upon foreign land, to gain different perspectives and a deeper awareness of humanity.
Allow your life to have meaning. No competition. “Small” or “large” we all have a raison d'etre! But it’s YOUR meaning.
I would love to hear your personal definition… I’m listening…
Watching the sunrise from my huge picture window, on the twentieth floor, is reassuring that today is in fact a new day. This means new possibilities, new opportunities and a new day for processing emotions and for letting go.
When we’ve lost someone or something precious to us, moving on, is a challenge, to say the least.
They say relationships are “a reason, a season or a life time.” But what that statement fails to clarify - is that sometimes you THINK it’s a lifetime and it ends up being a ‘reason’ or a ‘season.’ The shift from permanence to temporary becomes almost impossible to fully grasp. The pain it brings to the soul can be crushing.
Because it’s been so long without photos or a post, some have you have reached out privately and have asked if my partner and I are still together. The answer for these past few months has been a complex and painful one. I usually responded with, “We’re working through some shit, but hopefully it will work out.”
My relationship was on FIRE 🔥 and then burned to the ground. Lack of self love and self care became daily discussions and fights and sadly, re-occuring destructive coping mechanisms became a regular occurrence. My desire to help, took over, and I became a ‘pain in the ass’ girlfriend/fiancé... constantly pushing my partner towards greatness, when in fact, it felt more like grasping and reaching. The result left him feeling unworthy; which was not my intent.
I felt out of control, witness to my own constant suffering and yet, I couldn’t pull completely away. I felt tied to this love from a deep soul connection (still do) and absolutely refused to give up.
But it wasn’t up to me.
You may ask, how can two people not just “change” and make it work if they choose LOVE ❤️. I would say, “love” is a relative emotion to the individual. Meaning, we play out our experiences with past love, originating from family and those closest to us. Even if someone hasn’t had what we would think of as “serious” trauma - a feeling of abandonment or separation, in childhood, can cause a partner to act out and create similar situations and patterns in a romantic relationship.
I’m so grateful for what I’ve learned and worked through over these couple years. I learned I was re-living my own family drama of wanting to be seen/heard and yet ultimately having my needs pushed to the side. I realized my “saviour” complex was powerful and destructive. I’m currently working on changing my narrative from feeling responsible for one’s healing and growth to empowering people for change. I learned when trust is broken, I almost never regain it. I know that love was not the problem... our “humanness” got the better of us.
If there was one thing to say about love and relationships... is that you will either grow together or pull apart. Changing patterns long term, is only possible when you realize your OWN desire for that pattern shift. We are harmed in relationships and we heal in relationships... but the work is always an individual exercise.
As for me?
My heart will heal and I will move forward. This type of love will never leave me, and when I look back on this time, I will smile at how special he is.
The eternal battle of fully loving self is put to the test, when we perceive that we can only love ourselves wholly when we have met a ridiculous construct of “how we are supposed to be.” This ideology places perfection as the gold standard; anything less is to be hated and removed.
This delusional understanding of personality, makes us cringe when we fall short (and inevitably we will), because the pressure for perfection, causes even the most conscious person to crack.
Loathing the deepest darkest pieces of our selves, doesn’t help master the mind or allow for love to permeate the soul. Being aware of and looking with curiosity and intrigue upon our “hang ups,” and dirty secrets allows for us to stay connected to them, therefore minimizing behaviors that are destructive.
Where there is yin, there is yang. The world exists in contrasts and so do we. There is much beauty to behold when we live in light; but the recognition of darkness, frees our spirit from unnecessary restrictions.
These restrictions can cause us to break down, to give up on self and to create a fake reality, so people think “everything’s ok.”
I would not know love, unless I’ve lived apathy. I would not know kindness, if I hadn’t known hate. I would not know wisdom, if I hadn’t been a fool. I would not know health, if I hadn’t had pain. I wouldn’t know truth, if I hadn’t known lies.
You are not “bad” or “good” - most of us are simply processing being products of shitty circumstances and wading through the waters of past experience.
You have the strength to overcome. To be light energy and everything “right.”
Perfection is not the goal.
Be brave in your pursuit of self love which holds all of you, the “good,” the “bad”and the “ugly...” in high esteem.
You are light and you are dark. And within this knowledge, you’ll uncover freedom.
SHE WOKE UP DIFFERENT TODAY
Tired of searching for peace, love and contentment outside herself, she made a choice. She decided that every night she would dream of the beauty in life and each day she would wake and create that reality. She would no longer try to find happiness in things or let anyone control her destiny with a harsh word or an uninformed opinion.
She made this choice to heal her soul. To let go of past griefs that held her hostage to the cycle of shame and guilt. She dove inwards and loved every inch of her brokenness. She sealed up the cracks with self love, empowerment and connected herself to the all powerful energy source of oneness.
SHE WOKE UP.
I'm sitting in the sunshine after a long hot shower, that followed a very sweaty indoor stair workout and yoga session. I'm feeling peaceful, calm and quite rested from the amount of sleep and self care that's occurring during this time of social distancing.
The COVID-19 crisis, has left many entrepreneurs, like myself, out of full-time work. Most of the people I see, are one on one appointments, for massage therapy healing. Since the doors to my Studio have closed (temporarily), I've embraced the downtime. To my delight, the little aches and pains that built up from 18 years of helping clients with their injuries are slowly diminishing. I don't love not working - the lack of face to face social interactions has me feeling a little out of sorts. My "caged" feelings erupt at times, as I over look the city in my birds-eye-view condo. Yet in my complete honesty, I still have my personal freedoms and a strong sense of security.
As I scroll the news feed, I'm absorbing reports of how this pandemic is affecting the world and its people. Within reading a few sentences, my heart sinks. The statistics are shocking. There is a new type of terror on the rise. A horrible repercussion of this virus that's devouring more people than I could ever imagine. "Intimate terrorism," experts are calling it, is becoming its own type of virus; spreading into many homes and causing irreversible damage.
Since the world wide issuing of isolation, lay offs and businesses closing - there have been many families that are pushed together into dangerous living conditions. The rise of domestic violence has been steadily climbing and sadly crushing the system for women and children to receive help. With lack of work, financial strains, extra home stresses, mental instability, fears, and unhealed patterns of anger and brutality, the dangerous personality finds himself in a perfect situation to act out.
I'm not a scholar nor an expert on domestic violence. But I am an empathetic healer who knows all too well what a dangerous scenario this is. When families who already have mental, physical and emotional abuse going on are jammed together for a period of time, a hellish nightmare begins.
My personal experience with violence is a story from the past and is reactivated as I read about women and children being tormented, world wide. My heart aches and tears flow like a river. I refuse to pretend that this time is "good for all mankind" and that the earth can finally "rest." This may be the bigger picture, but if I am correct, and I believe that I am... nature bleeds as we bleed. There is no praying, meditating or chanting that can fix the shit of destruction that some families are facing.
Home is where the heart should be. It should be a place of safety, guidance and structure for any child. It should be a place where a couple lives in harmony, speaking in loving communication, with intention for self betterment. I would love, in my beautiful bubble of self healing and awareness, to say that this time will bring about reflection and a beautiful new normal for everyone. But this is not reality. The sacred relationship of divine self love is just not occurring in places where destruction, emotional carelessness and erupting anger reside.
This is not doom and gloom. This is becoming acquainted with what "is," rather than "how we'd like things to be." We're all going to experience this time differently; and I respect that. I'm personally curious to see where life goes after all this is over. No expectations... simply trusting I will land where I'm needed. This is just another example of circumstances out of our control. And out of control it is. Our inner awareness will guide us to truth and in our universal community consciousness, we know that not every one will get through this fire unscathed.
This is what I hold dear in my heart... for those suffering at the hand of someone else, that there is a place of relief available, a person who may help you or a way for you and your children to escape. You are loved and seen. As the earth quiets, I hear your screams.
Do your best, as I will, to look out for one another. There is no stopping the force of violence in a home, if the force is allowed to keep building. It's our "problem" to get involved.
Much truth, love and compassion,
Everyone is on a similar journey.
It might not look the same.
But we are.
On one of my many boat rides around Indonesia, I witnessed a ‘car crash’ of an outfit on a fifty something woman, reclaiming her youth. I feel slightly bad about calling her out on the inappropriate ‘girls gone wild’ attire, but if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck (insert the last duck statement here). To be fair, I really don’t judge people on holiday wear, because most of us are adorning ourselves with SOMETHING that doesn’t quite work in the real world. The other day, for example, I was sitting by the pool and an older man – late sixties – came out near the restaurant to watch the sunset in his boxers. How do I know they were boxers? Well, this isn’t my first rodeo and underwear look vastly different than shorts. To confirm my expansive knowledge on the subject, boxer shorts are made with flimsier fabric and have no zipper or top button closure. This is a fact: underwear is meant to be worn UNDER… hence why it is appropriately named. They are not a rebellious fashion statement, to be worn in public where people’s eyes (mine in particular) can see the outline of soft floppy anatomy. And yet there he was, in all his glory, basking in the glory of the fading sun.
The boat ride was smooth. I chose to sit on the upper sundeck, where I could feel the warm breeze ticking my face as I watched other islands pass by. I was lulled into a state of relaxation with the gentle rocking motion, the sounds of the monotonous engines and the waves that occasionally splashed up and cooled me down. I was in my ‘zen zone,’ when I noticed a woman speaking what I thought was Italian. For simplification purposes let’s say she’s Italian. I noticed her because she had that type of energy that slaps you on the back of the head and makes you turn around; so without much thought, I watched her walk to the bow of the boat and take an overly dramatic seat.
Now what happened next may seem like I’m making it up, but believe me, it was all too real. With my eyes casually observing this woman, she began to pull up her already shorty shorts into the crack of her ass and sit spread eagle facing the stern of the boat. This proposed a difficult life altering decision for the travelers facing her: to look or not to look. It was a tough call, but morbid curiosity got the better of me and I chose to watch the show. With an audience of her peers (she walked on with eight other people), it was clear, they were not unaccustomed to her blatant showmanship. As she rolled around on the deck performing what I can only guess were bastardized yoga poses – split leg stretches, side bends and cobbler pose (feet together knees apart), I caught the eye of the couple next to me and awkwardly smiled. You know that moment when you lock eyes with a stranger at the strippers? All you can do is half smile, raise an acknowledging eye brow, slightly shrug your shoulders and turn slowly back to the entertainment. (FULL DISCLOSURE: I've actually never been to a strip club, but I'm absolutely certain that reaction would be the appropriate while accidentally locking eyes with a stranger while a naked woman slides up and down a pole).
And that’s what we did. We all watched.
To be fair, the woman desperately trying to defy her age was attractive but clearly not comfortable in her own skin. Or maybe she was, and I was uncomfortable with how comfortable she was. Either way… there was a hidden story behind her movements.
(Pause for dramatic effect)
You and I have sat spread eagle somewhere someplace at sometime. Maybe you’ve been a tad more subtle or possibly more obliviously obvious. But, really, isn't that all what we're ultimately trying to do? We're collectively sitting on the boat facing the world; vulnerable, stretching, and hoping someone “gets” us, to possibly provide some type of approval.
You might still be shaking your head… no way… I don’t do that.
With all my respect and love – you sure do. We all do.
Even the most confident and well-adjusted person, at one time, has felt alone or in need of confirmation. How do I know? Because I’ve spent the last 17 years listening to your tales and sharing my own stories of how we pulled up our shorts and showed our assets. You might be missing your significant other, who works a lot or lacks the ability to communicate. So you act out. Say shit. Cause fights; to get dialogue flowing. You want to be heard and seen. Or maybe you’re seeking company on a dating site. Been there done that. I only lasted a week because the constant posturing, ridiculous banter and cries for attention made me realize that meeting someone online, isn't my jam. But I can admit, during that week, I talked some shit. Apparently, a winky face (or whatever the fuck it is) can shift perspective and help a person feel good about themselves. Or maybe you do none of those things, but simply post family photos and welcome the affirmations - you are doing one hell of a good job!
Yes, yes I know what you're thinking... shouldn't we be able to uncover our own unique happiness and not need another’s input, to make ourselves feel better?! YES! I agree... in theory. But the reality of being human is that we are social creatures and as such, depend on one another for validation in so many little ways. Think about it: ever wonder why it makes you irritated when someone doesn’t respond to a text or is super late without any apology? Because it feels disrespectful to you and it ultimately means, perceived or real, that your time is not valuable and that you are not worthy.
Shitty but true.
So here’s what I think… we carry on. We become aware of our negative patterns that are restrictive and destructive and do our best to build self love in more productive, self affirming ways. And yet, perhaps, we may continue to reach out, consciously or not, when we need a little boost of positive reinforcement or encouragement from another.
And who am I to say how you choose to receive that.
After all, as connected beings, aren’t we supposed to be there for one another; to affirm, confirm and love?
So to the beautiful lady on the boat… I applaud you. I admire you. And I see you.
Two things about me: 1) I have an unreasonably small head and 2) If placed in an awkward situation, I prefer to see how it’s going to play out, rather than shifting the dynamics. I find the material valuable. So basically, I live my life purely for entertainment purposes and when my little noggin’ feels like it has a story for a blog or video… I run with it.
One of the activities, well not active for me – but certainly for the therapist, that I have been looking forward to while I’m here, is receiving a traditional Indonesian massage. If you’ve never experienced their little child-like rough hands rubbing, poking and prodding you; you’ve been missing out. I suggest you book your flight immediately and get over here – NOW! You will not be disappointed.
My massage was right before sunset. The original plan was to nap from 4-5pm, but instead, after lying awake staring at the ceiling, I said, “Fuck it,” and jumped into the shower to remove sand from my crevices. Once dressed, I grabbed my sad little green bike and rode down the unpaved road, to find a ‘spa,’ close to my accommodations that looked decent. When riding, tourists and locals can hear me coming, because the bell is slightly loose and so gently dings every time I hit a bump – which on this island is about every second. And if by some chance they can’t hear me, I’ve taken to speaking loudly as I cruise, “ON YOUR LEFT” “BEHIND YOU” or my inner sarcastic voice, “Yes!!! Please stand 6 people wide while blocking the whole road, so you can determine where to go next. Right or left people - figure it out!!!” But in reality, I ride by with a smile and say “EXCUSE ME! THANKS!”
Sometimes I’m in awe at the restraint I have.
I settle on a place I have ridden past several times before but have never stopped. It looks clean, cheap and the beautiful mocha faced lady at reception is sweet and has me fill out a form. Interesting… a place that actually has an intake sheet to ask pertinent information about me and my body! Perfect. Off to a great start.
She gestures for me to sit down using only an extended arm that lowers slowly as she maintains eye contact. Good tactic. I’m amazed at how easily I listen. I sit. Good dog. I’m not down for long, when another stunner of a young lady asks me if I’m ready. You bet! I take off my flip flops and am shown around a corner to a ridiculous steep stair case that leads to a loft space with two identical tables. She, in broken English, asks if I would prefer the one with the fan or not. I choose sans fan. She points to a small intricately carved wooden box (think small toy chest) made from local materials, pushed into the corner, waiting for my clothes to be strewn inside. I look over at her and pause for a beat thinking she’s going to leave me to get undressed. She is not. Instead I get a look to hurry things along.
I slowly start to remove my clothes but soon pick up the pace, not wanting to create a strip show environment. I remove everything except my tiny black thong and throw it all, including my over the shoulder ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ bag, into the box. She looks at me; points to the table to lie down and as I clearly take direction, I do. As I’m starting to shift onto my belly, head facing a wall, I realize there is no top sheet. Um… ok...
However, I figure since she’s seen everything already, I will just lay face down and not stress. I try to clear my mind but I have one small nagging thought… not only is there no sheet, but there are also no curtains around either of the tables. This means, that anyone walking up the stairs would get more than a beach view.
I feel a bit weirded out by the fact that my ‘therapist’ seems to be just standing there. I can’t really hear her and I don’t want to crane my neck around to see what the hell is going on. Those tricky little silent bare feet of hers, have apparently left and come back with a towel to cover me.
However, my temporary calmness turns into complete bewilderment as she gently lays the towel width wise across my low back; ass still exposed. Interesting maneuver. As a sixteen year experienced Registered Massage Therapist, in Canada, my primary concern is to offer a safe space where people can feel comfortable and relaxed. Now I'm not a prudish person, but the draping seems less of a draping and more of a place to simply lay her towel.
As she starts 'pressure pointing' my feet, I am aware of her view.
For a brief moment I sigh and let go - her hands are amazing. But as she climbs on the table and my small ass begins to move around; opening and closing, I begin to feel tense again. Does my little thong hide everything? Is she able to see things that I would not want her to see? And why when she reaches for my inner thighs does she seem to be insistent on rolling them apart. If you haven’t quite grasped what I’m putting down… um… my ass cheeks are spreading with every stroke. This seems a bit much and yet it feels great – as I’ve been biking a lot of the day – but really… what is she looking at???
I am momentarily distracted by the fact that my head seems to not fit in this massive cut out face hole. Up till now, I had my arms over head and my forehead resting on the back of my hands. But my shoulders were getting sore and I felt a bit too much pressure on my neck so needed to shift. This type of table basically has a hole cut out at the top so, in theory, one’s head rests easily in the opening. For some reason my head is not fitting. As I try to get comfortable, I almost choke as my larynx catches the bottom of the opening and my forehead hangs without support. Think rag-doll head and you’d be close. Mmm… maybe I’m too far down on the table… I should slide up. As I do, the pressure shifts into my forehead and I am positive my neck just cracked from the strange angle – my neck is hanging dangerously on the verge of folding in on itself. I can’t stay like this for any length of time. The massage lady asks if I’m OK. I lie and say I am… but clearly I’m starting to fidget and she can see I’m uncomfortable or maybe she thinks I’m just being difficult.
I deduce that this massage table must be meant for massive headed people. How is it that I have to alternate between either crushing my throat or my forehead? WTF???
Finally I lift my head and ask, “Pillow?” While traveling in Indonesia, I’ve learned to speak simply; but that wasn’t my intent here. My vocal cords had spent the last 20 min being compressed by a stupid big massage hole, that I could barely speak.
She looks around, like she’s never had this request before and offers me a cushion used for what looks like meditation. I say, “Smaller?” and use hand gestures so she knows exactly what size would work. She shakes her head. I reach for the large pillow. Fuck it… I’ll make it work.
I try a few different combinations but finally settle on having the pillow shoved under my chest/neck and then once again resting my forehead on the back of my hands. The shoulder discomfort is the lessor of the two evils. As she gets back to the leg massage, the pillow softens and I can angle my head just enough for the side of my face to be supported by the edge of the portal hole to hell.
As she continues to work her magic I start thinking about how she must think I’m picky and if she was a waitress she would definitely spit in my food. I contemplate that that would be an excessive response, but understandable. Ahhh, that feels nice… so relaxing… but what’s nagging me? What am I forgetting?
FUCK. MY ALARM!!!
I know I set it for 5pm (rub rub rub), but did I get here before 4pm or after? (Thighs rolling out, possible bull’s eye exposed. I can’t worry about that now!!!) Why did I not just turn it off earlier?! As my brain is in savant calculation mode, she turns me over; covers my face and gets me all set up for a delicious head and face massage.
I’m sure it’s fine…
BUZZ… BUZZ… BUZZ…
I’m so sorry!!! I tell her this a few times, without looking at her, because I'm so concerned about shutting my freakin’ alarm off. I roll over as she opens the box lid and reach for my stupid ass phone. I turn it off. (She is so spitting in my massage oil.) I finally look up at her as I mutter one last sorry and instantly my apologetic demeanor turns into confusion and then... horror. She is wearing a mask over her nose and mouth. Albeit, a really fancy one… but none the less a FULL ON FACE MASK that you’d see in China. NOTE: 1) I am NOT traveling China and 2) NO ONE WEARS THESE HERE. Is she that nervous to catch something from me??? Do I look like I could give her a cold? An infection? Seriously what? Maybe she took one look at my black microfiber underwear and exposed butt hole and thought, here comes trouble.
After the massage, I gave her a generous tip.
I appreciated her tackling such a nit-picky risky case.
I was birthed on October 12, 1976 with a full head of thick black ‘stand – on – end’ hair, irritated by the bright lights and the cold air external to my mother’s womb. I broke free, ready to take on the world with fully formed lungs; preparing for my debut. With a loud cry and probably a swing, meant to crack the doc in the chops for helping with the extraction; I entered this life full of passion and purpose.
When I was 5, my mother ran a day home. The fact that most of the kids were older than me posed no problem. I would position them all in a row and declare, “I am in charge.” No questions asked, they would allow me to militarily check their outer gear before they were able to play in my back yard. In my poorest accurate made up recollection I remember one 8 year old boy who couldn’t tie his shoes to save his life. He simply stood there and let me ‘bunny ear’ his shoes, with the most dynamic precision. To this day, I feel, his partner has purchased Velcro shoes to save time.
I look back with a fondness of how direct and focused I was without inhibition. I didn’t question if I was too emotional or acting too big or exerting too much influence. I just WAS. That age of complete acceptance is a cool time of life. I would wear one blue sock and one white sock because those colors were somewhere in my dress. It made sense to me and people accepted it because I didn’t ‘know’ better. But I did know. Matching socks were for conformists and suckers…
Most children feel and express. This is how they communicate what’s going on in their little minds long before speech becomes readily available. Tantrums, screaming, tugging of clothes, saying one word over and over; louder and louder, silence and turning away, irritation by a variety of tactics, crying, laughing, and cuddles are all methods children use to get adults to become aware of deep emotional needs. True, sometimes it’s out of line… but many times, kids are resorting to the most reactionary method for maximum effectiveness. We grown-ups are so used to controlling our behaviors that we hush, try to push down or silence these moments. As I have analyzed my own cries to be heard, I know that many children are dying to be listened to, to have their feelings heard and to have a sense that someone finally gets them. If this does not happen; the external acts can become more dramatic.
Emotions are not the problem. Emotions are the rich energy tapestry which allows each one of us, including children, to acknowledge that an exorcism of that emotion is needed before it roots itself deeply into our minds and tissues. Sure, timing isn’t always to our liking when a child starts to lose it in public or has a freak out in front of people; but the lessons for us adults are undeniably clear.
We need to allow emotions to release. Not just mentally, but physically as well.
As a grown ass woman, I am aware that I cannot throw a temper tantrum to prove a point, to get my way or to self-express. But I am telling you, that if society allowed it... I would. There is no doubt that external stimulus triggers my mind to remember a hidden feeling and then my body reminds me to deal/release/move forward from: pain, fear, excitement, happiness and extreme love. All emotions need a way out – not the just negative ones. Think about when something really awesome happens how badly you want to do a ‘happy dance.’ Some of us who really don’t completely buy into cultural norms and expectations will get up and move with excitement. This movement releases the planting of that emotion into our physical body, so that we can continue on without extreme fatigue, excessive adrenal pumping or a nervous twitch. You know exactly what I’m talking about; that nervous twitch which starts twitching at the most inappropriate times: talking to a waiter, face to face banking, and having a serious conversation with a friend. Wink wink wink wink – oh good lord what the fuck????!!! And even when I press that little fucker down… it keeps letting me know that I am holding onto some type of shitty shit deep down inside.
Take a cue from your kids, the neighbor brat, or that screaming baby on a plane; next time you hear that annoying cry for attention think, “Now, that’s the way to do it!” However, instead of standing up mid lunch at your favorite restaurant, pushing the table over and screaming at the top of your lungs; have enough conscious thought to know it’s time to do something physical… privately. Go for a run, hit a heavy bag, dance till sweat is dripping down your back, punch a pillow, knit a mean scarf or have sex. There are a list of positive ways to encourage yourself to unwind mentally and physically. The body stores our emotional doo doo, so help your system out by acting childlike; instead of pushing ‘it’ away until you are ‘ready.’ You and I both know that day may never come.
In the spirit of community and self-acceptance… if you see me dancing down the street with a glazed smiley look, wearing my heart on my sleeve and mismatched socks… put down your judgement and come dance with me.