Loving What Is

112592_a5614d42“Loving what is” is not mine.  It is from Pema Chodron, but I like it all the same.  She teaches us to accept those parts of ourselves that we struggle with.  She tells us to take ourselves just as we are.

This is so difficult for me.  Perhaps it is difficult because we live in a society that tells us we can always be better.  Perhaps it is difficult because I grew up in a house that told me I was never good enough.  Perhaps it is difficult because sometimes I feel like there is a tremendous hole deep in my guts that can only be filled if I perfect myself and someone loves me.  My meditation teacher constantly reminds me…”Kelly,” she says gently.  “There is no hole.  You are already whole.  W-h-o-l-e.”  When she says this in her calm, reassuring voice, I always relax.  I feel that part of me disengage and for a moment I feel free.

Pema Chodron tells us that meditation practice is not about throwing ourselves away to become something better, but I think I often treat it that way because I want to outrun the pain I feel or the anxiety that wakes me up in the morning.  I have sat with my “white, hot loneliness” once and again and again. I have felt it dissolve.  I have felt it reemerge hours later.  I have wished for it to just go away forever.  I have wished for the man who could take it away forever.  Neither of these things can happen.

So am I am back to hearing the words “Loving what is” and I am dedicated to sitting on my mat so that I can love myself exactly as I am.  Love my insecurities, jealously, vulnerability, feelings of unworthiness, pain, loneliness, boredom…the list feels untouchable, but yet, I continue.  These words feel ugly to me and unwanted.  Allowing them for even one moment to exist in me or through me sounds insane.  My inner child who was abused and hurt wants to scream that no one will ever love those parts of me, and then I hear a voice.  “Yes,” it says.  “You already are.”

Trust. Trust. Trust

Day 3: Finding My Passion

Nature_ArtToday during my morning meditation I asked my inner being again…what is my greatest passion? A thought entered my mind: Don’t forget that you need to sign up for that conference Christine texted you about.  Teaching, I love my job.  I have been a teacher for fourteen years, but I was a teacher long before that.  When I was a little girl, I would create fake classrooms in my mind and I would be both student and teacher.  I would read a spelling list to my stuffed animals and then take each individual spelling test as the various students and then grade each one, closely checking for mistakes.

As I went through public school, I was inspired by the good teachers who made a difference and driven by terrible teachers who should have left the profession long ago, and I dropped my dream of being a writer to teach.  I wanted to make a difference. I knew that my love of teaching students and not necessarily the content was my greatest asset to offer.

I am passionate about finding ways to help my students learn. I have taken so many workshops, read so many books, and worked tirelessly on lessons and enjoyed it immensely.  This conference (that popped suddenly to mind this morning) was offered to me months ago, but the district wasn’t sure it was going to pay for it.  Yesterday I found out they approved it in the budget and that I need to sign up ASAP.

Could this be passion number 1?  It seems so simple. Could the exact thing I chose as my career be one of the greatest passions in my life?  Was I expecting a bolt of lightening and a burning bush to lead me where I need to go?  Like writing, I have lost the thread over the last few years.  As I tried to juggle my new life as a single parent, many of the things I love doing have fallen by the wayside.  Now that things are settling down, getting back to being a strong teacher feels me with excitement.  Creating new lessons and ways to reach my students have always been sources of great pleasure for me.  I have enjoyed the things that have worked out and also the ones that didn’t.heart

Perhaps this workshop in August is just the kick start I need before the new school year to start to focus again on my career.  Yes, this feels good.  This feels like a start and a positive step in the right direction.

Trust. Trust. Trust.

Day 2- Finding My Passion

hearts2As I sat in mediation this morning and listened to the singing birds outside my window, I deeply asked myself what are my greatest passions. I was met with silence.  Silence. Silence. Silence. My mind started to wander.  I started to think about which bathing suit I was going to wear, the text I needed to send back, the laundry that needs to get done.  I realized that I was way too much in my mind, so I tried to concentrate on my breath.  Breathing in and out and in and out.  I felt out of balance.  Out of wack. My mind started to wander again.  I concentrated on my asking again, what is my greatest passion…Silence. Silence. Silence.

Then through the stillness came the word trust.  I must admit trust and I have had a very difficult relationship, so to feel this word emerge when I just asked my inner being about my greatest passion was frustrating.  Trust in what?  I asked my inner self.  Trust was repeated.  As an English teacher we have addressed trust as a topic in the novels we have read.  We have diagrammed it, defined it, characterized it.  Many a thesis has been crafted around its purpose and greater message in many of the word’s classic literature, and now the word was being whispered to my heart.

So I stayed on my mat and felt the word trust and felt the frustration and felt the silence and I felt my one leg start to go numb and I was gentle with myself.  “Yes, trust,” I said quietly to myself.  I fought the urge to analyze the message and the word itself.  I tried to just soften to the direction to trust.

Today I will trust the process.  Trust in the fact that my answer is not immediate but that it is coming merely because I asked the question, but patience is required.  Trust in the Divine who is constantly working to bring about the higher good for all and that I am a part of that patchwork quilt and that when the time is right I will be shown my greatest passion.

Currently my youngest is laying on the coach beside me while I write this.  I am starting to wonder what his greatest passion will be.  I feel like looking for mine might in someway enable him to find his as he grows into a man.  Can I trust enough to know that I can help him find his way?   Trust. Trust. Trust.

Finding My Passion

landing-stage-sea-nature-beachYesterday I sat on a park bench on a beautiful beach in Cape May, New Jersey engaged in a phone therapy session with my meditation teacher.  I often seek her guidance when I cannot wade through my own personal mind fields.  She is always extremely helpful, and that morning was no exception. I am still reeling from my previous relationship, not sure how I am going to finally move on or continue to hope for something more.  Everything was going extremely well until she asked me what I am passionate about.

“Wait, what?”  The question threw me.  I was silent after she explained that I should dig deep and find the things that light me up and help me to feel happy and fulfilled.  My only answer burped to the surface of my mind: romantic relationships.  I instantly felt ashamed as I described that the push and pull of men and relationships have been my main focus outside of my two children, my job, and my own health.

“You need to go deeper during your meditations,” she said.  “You enjoy writing.  Is that a passion for you?”

“Yes,” I answered excitedly.  “Yes, I do love writing.”

“How often do you write?”  She asked.

“I have just started making myself write fifteen minutes a day.  I read somewhere if you do something that way for forty days you can make it a habit,” I answered proudly.  She laughed.

“That’s not very much time to develop your craft, Kelly,” she responded.  “If I only painted for fifteen minutes a day I would never accomplish anything.  Perhaps you are not passionate about writing.  So would you say you spent more time obsessing over your previous relationship than you’ve spent thinking about writing?”

So now, hours later, I am contemplating my passions.  I have sat in silence this morning and each time my mind wanders back to relationships and love.  Could I be passionate about finding out about love?  I do love to write despite the fact that I am only doing it for a few minutes a day.  I love reading and learning about the stories of people around me.  I also love cooking and traveling, but all of these passions take time and energy and as a full-time working, single mom who really just wants a beautiful, loving, partnership where does one find the time?

In addition to finding my passions, she also put my in charge of individuating myself and finding my soul path.  She insisted that true contentment can only exist in me and it cannot be found in others.  It is a message that has been repeated time and time again.  I don’t know why it is so hard to hear.  It seems too easy and too hard all at the same time.

If all journeys begin with a first step, I guess I am making mine.  I will work on staying present because true power is only in this moment.  I am asking the Divine to show me the way to my soul path because I think I am a bit out of alignment.  I am going to find joy in this minute instead of chewing on past decisions and plausible future scenarios.  This is a start.

 

Abuse and the Empath

loveWhen I was child, I was abused by my father. When I did anything wrong, I was beaten with either a hand or belt. I was most scared of the thinner belts.  They hurt the most.  My father has a “funny” story that he used to tell when we would be sitting around the dinner table.  It went something like this…

I was four or five and I had wandered around the block.  This was wrong. I was not allowed to go past the house with the big white pillars and the small porch.  This was a rule, but I had broken it.  Perhaps I was chasing a butterfly, maybe I just wanted to openly defy the rule. I don’t remember why I broke this rule; I just remember that I did.  As a cycled back around the corner, I saw my father’s angry eyes.  His mouth was twisted and I knew that he was furious.  I knew that I was caught.

“Don’t beat me, Daddy,” I cried as I put my hands across my behind to try and save myself from a subsequent beating.  My father’s face changed as he glanced at the few neighbors who were watering their gardens are putting out their potted plants.  He smiled and bent to the ground, supporting himself on one knee.

“It’s ok, baby,” he said soothingly.  “I am not going to hurt you.” I smiled and ran into his arms.  He hugged me as he carried me into the house.  I buried my tear-stained face into his neck and sighed.  I did not notice that we were walking back towards the house.

And this is the part my father always thought was most amusing, the part that he would chuckle while saying,

“So here she thinks she got me,” he would continue.  “She thought she could manipulate me and embarrass me in front of the neighbors, but I showed her.  When I got her inside, I spanked her so hard she didn’t even know what hit her, and I made sure she really knew I was serious because I really laid into her.  She never did that again.”

And I didn’t do that again…throughout my life, I don’t think I ever did that again.  How terribly did that scar me?

I find it difficult to trust men.

I believe all men lie to me or are going to hurt me if I give them an ounce of trust.

I fear men and the things they are capable of doing to me.

How does a person have an intimate relationship with a person of the opposite gender when this is just one “story” in a vast sea of abuse?

How long will it take me to walk away from these stories to find myself in the rubble of a broken childhood, a broken marriage, a broken life?

I know that dwelling on this past and sitting in these stories detract me from the present moment and feed my victim story, so I am trying to relinquish them to a time that is no longer here, but I do feel a sense of loss when I think about letting this story go.  I do feel like this story shaped me, but at the same time I also feel like it is keeping me small.  It is keeping me from freedom.

I am not that five year old girl holding her butt in front of her angry father.  There are no large men lurking in the distance waiting to beat me for my wrongdoings, but I still act as if I am.

How do I let go?  By writing it here in this sacred space?  Maybe by telling the truth about my past, I can let each story go with a touch of the “publish” button, shedding each layer of skin one story at a time.

And perhaps I need to be reminded of the following:

“You have to be larger than thought to realize that however you interpret “your life” or someone else’s life or behavior, however you judge any situation, it is no more than a viewpoint, one of many total perspectives.” – Eckhart Tolle

And Now Here Is the Question…

So…last night the_color_of_nature_by_taitai03I am at the bar with friends and it is someone’s birthday party.

“You must read my friend,” a woman says as she drags a shy woman behind her.  The friend looks at me and smiles.

“Yes, can you read me?” I smile back and tell her to take a seat next to me.  I have already read the middle-aged man to my right, and his new love interest who is sitting next to him.  Every time I looked at him, all I could see was a much younger version in a football uniform.  So strange.

“Ok, the first thing I see is there is a woman with you who would be like a sister, but she is the same height as you, and either is like you in personality or looks like you, but you both have a great relationship.  You keep each other laughing,” I said.  At first when I said sister, she was nodding, but as soon as I started to describing the relationship, she started to look confused.

“Well, I have a sister,” she began, “but we don’t talk.”

“Then this wouldn’t be her,” I said.  “This person loves you, listens to you, and your relationship is good.  Do you have a good girlfriend who is like a sister?”  She shook her head “no”.  “I have a daughter,” she said hesitatingly.

“Maybe it’s her…do you have a “sister” type relationship with her?  She would have to do the mothering and giving advice piece too.  This wouldn’t be the type of relationship that you have a leadership role in.” She was nodding her head “yes”.  I continued her reading and told her about her ex and some other things. I kept wanting to think that she worked in education, but she didn’t.  She worked in a hospital.  Not sure what that was about, but sometimes things just don’t click.

After this woman, I read her daughter and her daughter’s boyfriend and her other young friend. It was fun, and at the end of the night, one of the girls told me I was amazing.  Another woman told me that a had a really special gift and she thanked me for giving her insight into her destructive relationship with a manipulative ex-husband.  Someone else tearfully grabbed me and asked if she was going to be successful in life.  I just hugged her and said I can’t see the future, but I can feel how strong she is inside and I just know that everything can work out for her.  Finally, one woman asked if I could do parties and she would pay me to read her and her friends.

I have always questioned why I have my ability to read and feel others.  Is my gift to help people understand themselves or do I in some way interfere with their path by giving them advice or showing them something about themselves that they can’t see?  When I read people, it feels good. I get chills and I can feel people opening under my understanding as if what they have long locked away is there to be seen.  Maybe I am a tour guide of sorts, a woman behind the information booth of life, just pointing people in a direction, acting as another sign post that leads people inwards.

One of my friends warns me about karma.  She warns that my advice or insights could have disastrous consequences for me and my spiritual path.

Also, is it even ever right to charge people to only show them how they feel?  I am not talking to loved ones who have passed on…I am not telling them their future.  Truthfully, I don’t think you should ever believe anyone who says they can accurately tell the future. I have had a couple of occasions while reading people and I felt like the path they were going to take was still very optional for them.  I also felt like if they did not make the “choice” at that moment that it would show up again at a later date.  I have no way of validating either of these things.  That is just how it felt, but I felt I was being shown a series of possible outcomes that were contingent on the choice the woman I was reading would make at some point.  Very weird.

Any feedback you have for this would be greatly appreciated…especially advice from other Empaths.  I have read so many things where people are crippled by this “gift” and I feel like I am in a healthy spot with it.

Also, if you want to be read, I would love to practice more and receive validation.

Fear and the Empath

 

Image result for pics of mothsI have been thinking about fear a lot lately.  I am in the midst of this romantic relationship with a guy I really like and it has caused me to have a certain level of anxiety.  Where is this going?  Does he like me as much as I like him?  Did a delay in his text message mean that he is no longer into me?  I am trying to work through it.

So today the boys and I are getting ready to go to the beach.  We are in the car, seat belts fastened.  Jonah, my five-year-old, starts screaming.

“What?  What?” I yell back.  He is screaming so much and so loudly I can only assume he is being murdered.

“A bug!  A bug on my whistle!”  He cries.  I bend into the car to see.  My other son Cole points.

“There, Mommy.” He screams, too.  “It’s right on your arm!”  I look down and see a large brown bug, and I start to scream too.  I am not screaming because I am in any real danger.  I am screaming because they are screaming and I am pretty sure one of them was screaming about it being a spider.

“Ok, everyone out of the car!” I yell as I dance around, shaking my arms and legs and dragging Jonah out of his car seat.  He is still screaming and crying and as soon as his feet hit the ground, he is running far away from the car.  Cole is a bit braver and he is trying to help me locate it so he can kill it.  He has already removed his flip flop and is poised to smack it to death.

“Ok, Mom.  Get back.  I will look for it,” he says.  My brave protector.

I back up from the door and I see it.  A large brown moth is clinging to the side of the door.

“Oh,” I said softly.  “It’s just a moth.”

“A moth?” Cole says as he leans in.  “Where?”  I point to the side of the door and I scoop the moth up with one hand and push it outside.  It flies away.

“Jonah,” I yell.  “It’s ok. It’s just a moth.  You can come down now.”  Jonah shows up a few minutes later with his blanket clutched in his hands and his eyes red and teary.

“What was it, Mommy?  A spider?”

“No, baby, it was just a moth.”  This information does not seem to make him feel any better.

“Did you kill it?”  He asked pushing his hand against his mouth.

“No, we didn’t kill it.  It was more afraid of us than we are of him.”  He didn’t seem to agree, but he climbed into the car anyway and let me put his seat belt on.

“How do you know, Mommy?”

“How do I know what, Jonah?”

“If the moth was more afraid of us…I was pretty afraid.”

I wanted to tell him that we don’t really know.  Maybe it’s just something we tell ourselves so that we won’t be as afraid the next time.  Perhaps it’s easier to digest than the possibility that the moth really didn’t give a shit either way and we were running around and screaming like a serial killer had just entered our midst.  The idea that our feeling of safety was so disrupted by a small bug landing on our laps is more laughable than anything. It makes me realize that much of the fear I have felt over the last few months is being created by something that is tiny and more afraid of me than I am of it. Perhaps it is faith in the idea that my fear is predicated on what I imagine it is as opposed to what it really is.  And maybe this is what is causing the problem.

I can only assume he won’t be able to understand much of this, so I just smile at him and say that big moth had a look of terror on his face like he wouldn’t believe as I scooted it out of the car.  Cole gave me a face that said, “Mom” as a way of showing me that he knows I am total bullshit, but Jonah just nods.

And the danger is averted.  Once again peace is restored and our fear subsides.  If only it could always be this easy…