Amoureuse…

…last week, while on my last hike of the year in southern France, I found myself weeping and inconsolably sad. Grief stricken could be a more accurate description. I had a lump in my throat the size of a cantaloupe and a pain in my chest that felt like what I imagined it must feel like to have a gorilla rip out my heart. As I write this I am reenacting the whole scene, except that I am sitting on my couch in Abu Dhabi instead of hiking up that gorgeous path up towards Notre Dame du Cros in Caunes Minervois.

What IS this feeling? And why does it seem like every time I leave France, I am being ripped from the loving arms of a mother I’ve never known? Now, of course it’s true that I fall in love with every place I go and always feel a bit sad when I leave, but also usually excited and ready to get back to my apparently adopted homeland of the UAE.

But when I am about to leave Caunes, my heart breaks. The only feeling or scenario that compares is how I feel when I leave South Africa. There I feel a different sort of peace and ancient belonging along with the absolute comfort that I will be back, but a deep sorrow about leaving as well.

In the midst of this emotion last week, I sent a text to a friend asking if there was a word for it, this feeling, this emotion, this sorrow, this love.

He replied simply, “Amoureuse…that’s the word you are looking for…”

And indeed it was. I didn’t even know I was looking for a French word, but it was totally fitting.

Then it dawned on me that for pretty much the whole of 2015, I had become an emotional zombie. I didn’t notice it as it happened, but when that wellspring of pain and tears overtook me, I think I got ALL OF THE FEELINGS that I hadn’t been feeling all year back at once. Let me just tell you, THAT was heavy.

So, what does all this mean? I could certainly write and write and write (which I generally do and find quite cathartic and epiphany inducing), but I think I’ll sum it up in uncharacteristic simple terms.

2015 was the year of SO many things.
Sleepless, sweaty menopause induced madness and everything that comes with that bullshit.
(Hopefully that’s over now??)
The year I changed jobs and dove into a whole new world and way of doing things and loved/hated it.
The year I got to lead a class of NYUAD freshman every Monday night (off the charts inspirational)
The year I did my best to keep up with a 7 month intensive Nature Based Coach Training course with the Sagefire
Institute and met the most beautiful, supportive and heart open friends and mentors possible.
The year I irrevocably lost my best friend due to my own insensitive and very selfish actions.
The year my dear Stepdad left the earthly plane which allowed me to “see” my mother and forgive her.
The year I traveled to Sri Lanka for yoga at a Tea Plantation which changed my life.
The year I traveled to Marrakech for yoga which changed my life again.
The year I had tea and bread and olive oil in a small Berber home as the guest of the children who live there.
The year I traveled to London for Girlfriends Gone Wild Weekend with Susan Hyatt and friends which
enhanced the hell out of my life and introduced me to some damn fiercely amazing women.
The year I had more confidence in myself than ever before and then had less confidence in myself than
ever before. Still working on that one. That has been especially tough to plow through.
The year I traveled to Cyprus with the most wonderful new sister-friend, Jesusita.
The year I traveled again to Caunes Minervois, France for Christmas and embraced with my whole heart the
loving healing that the hiking trails and beautiful friends there bring me.
The year I broke up with and later forgave my birth mother for my traumatic childhood which I am still
in the process of healing from.
The year more insanity than I could have thought possible in today’s world happened in the US and the world.
(Mass shootings, innocent lives lost, Donald Trump, (WTF??) Beirut, Syria, Paris…and more and more…)
The year I realized that it hasn’t just been a year or two since I was in a romantic
relationship, but has actually been 6 or 7 years!! (what the what??)
The year I realized I am worth so much more than I have ever given myself permission to be or accept or
expect and the road to that healing is one I will travel on for years to come.

I have to let that last one continue to sink in. And I will stop there.

Amoureuse.

Perhaps it IS the word for longing to belong and the realization that I DO and that it really is all up to me. Perhaps it is my word for 2016.
Perhaps it is the word to remind me to follow my soul’s heart. (I believe she has a heart and even a soul of her own). That feels like truth to me.

So, I’m continuing the journey in 2016, and integrating the lessons, the love, the gratitude, the forgiveness, the confusion, the healing and the inspiration so that I can better deliver it to myself and to any others I can help along their own journey.

Ma’salaama, ya’ll.

I wish you all peace, love and light….and also patience and comfort with the darkness, for it will come when it needs to.

tu me manques

Judging my journey~

cure for pain

Judging my journey
Comparing and despairing

All this ancient wisdom
Has got me swearing

What’s my original medicine?
Why am I not better than?
Why’s it seem so easy…
Really nice and breezy..
For everybody else?

So now I’m judging my journey
and judging my journey’s judgment

what?

Now I’m thinking of Steve Perry
Which is kinda scary

I reckon I digress
Maybe I’m not such a mess
Or maybe I am…
And who cares?
It’s all good.

Lynn taught me to step into anger
Boy am I’m stepping and now I’m pissed as hell at her
Pissed about menopause
Pissed there ain’t no Santa Claus
Pissed I’m still scared of Jaws…
Pissed I’m not achievin’
All the stuff I’m believin’
That I am meant to do…

Been running from the anger
Been pushing away the pain
Been doing this so long now
Thinking it made me sane

Truth is, quite the opposite
You can’t escape the pain
Can’t outrun the anger
Those efforts are in vain
They know where you live
and will only come back again
And again

We think they’re the enemy
So we pretend we aren’t home
and don’t answer the door
So they’ll leave us alone

But, I’m discovering that I can invite them in
maybe for some for tea
And let them say their peace
And you know, just let them BE
Then this just makes me love them
And understand they’re ME

Here’s the magic, kids
Here’s where it all comes together
As I learn to love them as myself
I find that I am free

journey

sometimes I spill…

Sometimes I rant..

Sometimes I gush…

Sometimes I retreat…

Sometimes I inspire…

Sometimes I feel so much love I have to share it…

Sometimes I feel so much gratitude, I want to shout it…

Sometimes I feel the world is so damn beautiful, I want to cry about it…

Sometimes I control…(or fool myself into thinking I can)

Sometimes I share the thing that is dancing around in my soul in the moment it starts that tango…

Sometimes I have so much to say that I pour it all out in an almost manic rain on my keyboard via text or email, or blog because at that exact moment, there is something inside that I just HAVE to get out. A message I need to give, a love I want to share, a story I want to tell about me, a story I want to tell about you, a gratitude I want to express, a dream I want to send to the universe, a forgiveness I feel like giving, a desire that wants to be realized, a truth that has just landed on me as so profound that I feel that I will burst if I don’t say it right then and there in some medium because It. Just. Needs. To. Be. Said.

Of course, there may be a recipient on the other end who thinks “this really didn’t need to be said”.  And sometimes they tell me so.  And sometimes, I tell myself so after I’ve gotten it all out.  I walk away ten minutes later or wake up a day later with regret thinking I shouldn’t have done it…shouldn’t have written it…shouldn’t have said it…shouldn’t have felt the need to express it…shouldn’t have put it out there…shouldn’t have thought it…shouldn’t have wanted it…shouldn’t have shared it…shouldn’t feel it…

Shouldn’t. Shouldn’t. Shouldn’t….these are poisonous words.  Just as damaging as Should. Fuck “shouldn’t”.  And for that matter, fuck “should”.

I’ll tell myself that it was all about me and so why, oh why did I feel the need to throw up verbally or textually or blogally all over some poor unwitting reader soul who wasn’t expecting it and who is rolling their eyes when they read it or hear it…and that I’m unworthy and they don’t want to hear my message anyway and that they probably think I’m full of shit or I say too much or I drop love bombs on them and it overwhelms them…and who the hell do I think I am to feel inspired to share something that matters to ME?

This duality of bursting with love and shaming myself for sharing it comes from a pattern I learned growing up in an epically dysfunctional home. In that home, I was never allowed to express myself, wasn’t listened to, wasn’t believed, wasn’t treated as worthy, and wasn’t nurtured.  And that little girl was too small to assess the situation, say “fuck it” and leave to find healthier surroundings.  So, I learned to hide. To blend. To censor. To mute. To believe myself unworthy. To make myself small. To overachieve or to underachieve. (whichever brought the least negative attention.)

So, today – I consider it one hell of an accomplishment to have the ability to love and to feel and shine and to inspire….to feel gratitude, to want to forgive, to be in love with the world and all the people in it and to feel it all so deeply and strongly sometimes that I say it. A lot. Or write it. A lot.

Because, I’ve discovered that it’s all well and good if I am thinking it, but as that small girl who physically grew into an adult but had no idea how to relate to other people or walk among them or to sometimes set boundaries for myself – I learned to observe. I had a lot of opportunity to do this.  To watch.  To notice how people speak (or don’t speak) to each other. I watched couples mostly not say what was most important to them in a moment.  I watched parents mostly not say what their kids most needed to hear to help them learn and grow and be whole.  I watched bosses mostly not say what their teams could most benefit and grow from and be motivated by. I watched strangers mostly say unkind things to each other because they are carrying around anger and hurts and pain from other parts of their lives.  Or avoid each other entirely and not speak at all. I watched people mostly not say to themselves what would be most loving and serving and nourishing for their own souls at a given moment.

But, I also started noticing that there were couples who did say what they needed to say in kind and loving ways.  And I saw parents gently disciplining and guiding their children into who people who could think for themselves and show up in the world as light.  And I found bosses so impactful that they couldn’t speak without inspiring, motivating, invoking a chemical reaction that pushed their teams to be their best. I witnessed strangers paying each other the most heartbreakingly beautiful kindnesses and treating each other with love.  People who just inherently knew we are all connected and you are me and I am you and therefore we can either be loving to ourselves or not. I met people who knew how to tend to their own souls and through that consistent self nurture were able to model that for others.

Somewhere along the line, I realized this is why there is a choice.  This is why both heaven and hell exist right here on earth, because we create both with our energy, our decisions, our treatment of others and our treatment of ourselves. This is how I realized that although I had grown up in hell, there had been a lot of heaven in my world as well. This is how I realized that I had alternately created heaven or hell for others simply through my words or actions or my silence and inaction.

So, yeah – SOMETIMES I SPILL.   Sue me. ~smile~  

Because I know how it feels not to say it.  I know how it feels not to hear it.  I know how healing words and actions can be.  I know how very often we don’t say to one another the gorgeous loving things that when said with love and generosity can create an energy that starts a movement that changes the world.  I know the power of human touch and just how healing an embrace, the caress of a cheek, holding a hand, squeezing a shoulder, stroking of hair, sustaining eye contact, and a kiss can be.  And I know so many of us walk around scared to death to feel or to let anyone in for even a nanosecond because they might hurt us or because we will have to give up our cloak of numbness and actually experience our emotions. Or we think that letting someone in somehow discredits someone else. Or that if we allow ourselves happiness or comfort, we are not punishing ourselves as we have decided we surely must for some wrong we think we have wrought upon the world or our family or friends (or selves). How many of us walk around under mountainous weight of guilt and shame we have decided that we deserve and actually cling to it like our badge of courage, because suffering is our nature? Right? Any of this sound familiar? Any of this sound a little too martyrous if you hear of someone else doing it, but it’s ok for us to do it ourselves because, you know – we can handle it right? And it’s just easier. Safer. No risk, no pain. Also, no risk, no joy. Flip sides of the same coin.
I know all of this because I have done it.  I still do it.  But, I don’t want to do it. I want to spill. I want to share.  I want to feel.  I want to LIVE. And I want you to know how I feel about you. (any of you)….because honest to cliché, Life Is Too Short to wait till our deathbeds to feel and to let go of fear and tell people how we feel. To allow ourselves to feel.  To suddenly realize, “oh shit!!! THAT is what it was all about, and I wasted it.”   

And here’s the kicker….I don’t give a green goddam (where did that phrase come from anyway?) if you feel the same. If you reciprocate, great. If not, great. If you love me back or hate me, great.  If you roll your eyes or think nothing of me at all.  Because when I share my love, light, peace, gratitude, forgiveness, anything at all with you – it is because that is how I feel and it is completely independent of anything else.  It’s the same if I share my hate, darkness, greed, disdain, guilt or shame with you.  That isn’t about you either, that’s about me. So, I have a choice.  And so, yes – sometimes, I spill.  Because I don’t want to die with regrets and I want you to know you have had an impact on me if you have and because I know that you too sometimes struggle with unworthiness and fear and doubt and pain and guilt and shame and that even though we are all responsible for our own feelings,  we are all connected and our shared humanity flourishes in appreciation of one another and our souls can wither and die when that is lacking.  We live in a modern world of marvels that makes it too easy to hide and numb and pretend.  We drink, we get lost on the internet, we watch TV, we smile with our mouths and not with our eyes and we get through the day pretending that we are living when we are really just dying from the need and desire to just connect and be understood, heard, loved.

So, sometimes I spill…. and starting right this minute – I am DONE apologizing for it.  I am finished regretting it.  I am saying goodbye to second guessing my motivations. It’s au revoir to worrying that I am not worthy or that it was too much or over the top. Hasta la vista to self loathing and punishment for wrongs that only get worse if I don’t forgive myself for. Adios to the hangover of fear of unacceptance.

If I love you, I’m telling you. And I’m showing you.  If you’ve impacted me, I’m grateful and sharing that with others.  If you inspire me, I’m glowing and I appreciate you.  If you touch my heart, I’m hugging you. If I am overwhelmingly attracted to you on the woman/man level, I’m kissing you. If you do or say or create something amazing, I’m celebrating you.  And I’m celebrating me. If you hurt me, I’m forgiving you.  And I’m forgiving myself. 

Living. Growing. Healing. Learning. Smiling. FEELING. Accepting. Being.

I’m walking through this world unapologetically as a neighbor, a friend, a sister, a daughter, a mother, a lover, a companion, a partner and a witness. Join me, if you like. Or not.  I love you anyway. But just know that sometimes, I spill.  And I dig that about me.

 

beauty

August light 2013…what a difference a year makes…

Today is not at all the day that I was so magically given exactly one year ago. Nor will tonight be anything like that night. But that day, and that night, changed my life…Ignited my soul…Reminded me exactly who I am, what I want, who I’m not, what I don’t want… and that I am beautiful, even and especially when I don’t think so. It also flooded my brain with dopamine and all those other connection chemicals that happen all too rarely in my life. So grateful.
And I’ll tell you, I’ve almost dreaded the coming of this un-anniversary of sorts. I’ve imagined I’d be heartsick, bottomlessly sad, wake up crying, start drinking at dawn (just kidding), that I’d re-read old emails that I’ve intentionally not re-read before…that I’d pine and mope and turn myself inside out in anguish. But I’ve already done all those things (except the drinking at dawn…not about to start).  And I’ve done them countless times. Sometimes they’ve caught me by surprise, while other times the feelings just greeted me softly like an old and familiar friend. They comforted me.  Odd. The utter soul drenching sorrow that I’ve felt over the past 10 months has become such a regular part of my life that I think I’m almost afraid of living without it. You know, as in, if I let it go, then I am also letting that love go and then it simply ceases to exist. And without love, then I cease to exist. Because of that mirror analogy. We mirror each other. Mirrored.
The truth is, Love doesn’t cease to exist.  It cannot.  If it does, it isn’t love. So, there’s never anything to fear. That’s just the lizard talking. (“there, there little lizard, everything is ok”)
But, I’ve held on to that for so long.  Why? Human nature? Sure. Addiction to the feeling of said mirroring?   Sure again. Wishing? Hoping? Wanting? Craving? Missing?  Yes, all of that. Especially missing. Missing my mirror. My love. My “you”. My co-defined “One”.
More accurately, the truth is it’s a bit more pitiful and self serving than that.
Because I know better. On the cellular level, I do. However halfway evolved I like to think I am, my monkey mind, my citta vritti still takes over sometimes. More than I’d like to admit. And then I selfishly feel sorry for myself. Then, of course, the inevitable self loathing for stepping off my own path to evol-lightenment. (That’s my hybrid of evolution and enlightenment. I don’t kid myself thinking I will attain enlightenment, but hope to simply stay on the path that enlightens me a wee tad more each day. Micro-Turtle steps.)
What a mess!! Do you see a downward spiral pattern here that makes you want to roll your eyes, or just chuckle at me softly because you are all human too, and understand, and know that I will right myself once again? Yes.  I will. And am. It’s so funny, really.
And this life o’ mine, really is extraordinary. That I’ve been privileged with this gift, this adventure, these eyes that get to see so much beauty…and these ears that hear so much music…these fingers that get to touch so much texture and life…this heart that gets to feel and experience so much magic… I have to chuckle at myself in spite of the monkey.
Looking back over the past year, I can scarce believe all that has happened and that I’ve experienced. The full moon night meeting with a kindred soul whose company I never grew weary of (no small feat)…a desert sunset, discovery…loads of discovery…hiking in Oman, night swimming in iridescent new moon waters…my father’s death – forever sealing the deal that he and I will never get to know one another…trips home to be with my loves in Virginia, time spent getting to know my brother (at least over email), camping in the Mangroves and watching Abu Dhabi’s lights from my open tent…an unforgettable karma yoga trip to India with 8 magnificently heart-beautiful women and meeting the most enchanting and loving children there…getting to sit in the temple of the Amritapuri ashram before dawn meditating…sleeping on the hard floor of the ashram dorm room and loving it…the inevitable breaking open of my heart when the time came to say goodbye to the subject mirror of this post…a journey to Thailand to meet new magical people and deepen my ashtanga practice Mysore style…the journey to France to reconnect with myself through endless daylong hikes through the mountains, vineyards, villages and the nights with beautiful friends there who have become family…the indescribably fortuitous experience of enrolling in the Martha Beck Life Coach course and the countless way-finders and beings of light and love I encounter there every single day and know that I will continue to in my evol-lightenment…watching the place I work fall apart and my job there start to die a slow death. (Yes, that’s happening, but it’s ok…when its over, new exciting things will await me!! I have no doubt about that)...all bringing me to today.
Reflecting on the magic and wonder of this past year. Astounding!! Profound. Beautiful. Otherwordly, even!
And yes, though through the writing of this post, I have found myself in a few heaps of heaving sobs, I end with the feeling with which I began:
Gratitude.
Sheer, unadulterated, endless, universe sized buckets of gratitude. Mixed with a bit of wonder over it all.  And complete unconditional love for all that has passed and all that is to come. Acceptance. Love. Unconditional. Peace. Enough.
…and that’s my message for any of you (however discombobulated it may be) who may not know what is next, or who may feel a little blue, out of sorts,  going through a heartbreak, unsure of how to start…
Start where you are.  Practice, practice – all is coming.  (You gotta love the yoga metaphors, as they are filled with truth.)  And know that you are loved and that you are love, as are we all.   It’s a big world and there’s a lot going on every day, too much really.  We are all in this together.  I’m honored to share the ride with all of you.
Yep! That’s a whole lotta feeling for a little cricket, but maybe, just maybe, that’s my superpower :-). 
Namaste.
august