Creative musings of a girl unfiltered. The intersection of spiritual truth, comedic relief and self-discovery. Join the conversation.

Connect

Are you to blame?

 

tumblr_m68y8scixk1qe0hl1o1_500

“Cuando crezcas, descubrirás que ya defendiste mentiras, te engañaste a ti mismo o sufriste por tonterías. Si eres un buen guerrero, no te culparás por ello, pero tampoco dejarás que tus errores se repitan.”

- Pablo Neruda

“When you grow, you will discover that you defended lies, you cheated yourself or suffered for foolishness. If you’re a good soldier, you won’t blame yourself for that, but nor will you allow that these mistakes repeat themselves.” 

Part of the pain, I think, in growing in consciousness, in becoming more attuned to our actions, is to realize “the lies we defend” and in some form or another, discover that we have in fact “cheated ourselves”. That it wasn’t anyone else or external circumstances that got us here, and that we truly are the master weavers of our fates.

Like that of a tiny spider.

No, lamenting, it wasn’t the mailman, your boss or the dick neighbor who lets their dog shit on your lawn everyday that got you here.

It was your own two feet.

And while I say this with conviction, I also say it with compassion.

There’s no one to blame here, not even you.

After having exited an emotionally abusive relationship, I was/am invited to look at what we uphold in the name of fear, illusion and denial. When we lose connection to ourselves, when we forgo our own inner wisdom and truth, we suffer, needlessly.

What piece of internal wisdom might you be ignoring today, on this beautiful Sunday? And why is it that we so fear that internal voice? Why do we wince, flee and even shun her wisdom or run for the highlands just to avert her grace?

Over the past few years, I continually return to this question, mostly in times when I’m at the brunt end of her loving wisdom.

My own whispers as of late have been to retreat and cocoon, to unravel the “lies we tell ourselves” and open up to a new path in my life. I’ve felt deep pulls toward expanding myself creatively, trying new artistic mediums and pushing the edges of what I’d normally share and express.

And it’s scary.

I know that the path I’m on leads me to a new place; it’s about embracing a new way of living and stepping into the work I believe I’m here on earth to do.

But simpler still; it’s about being present.

It’s about focusing on the space around us, internally and externally, and tuning into the heart whispers that we’ve learned to ignore.

Sometimes they’re hard to hear. I talk about the unruliness of ignored creativity in my TEDx talk about innovation.

Sometimes they’re buried under trauma, pain, fear and a life of being outside of our bodies and inside our phones.

I used to tell a favorite person of mine that he was lucky to know his calling in the world, that I envied his position and thought it was foolish that he doesn’t do more to realize his dreams, given that he already knows what they are.

But what I discounted was what it felt like to stand at the cliff and hang glide into the sunset of your present life, piercing the clouds of heaven, into the darkness that ensues before the sun rises yet again.

I discounted the bravery and tenacity that it takes, the sheer and utter faith required to embark on such a journey. I thought I was the teacher, but really, in that moment, I was the student.

We all face our night.

Such is the path, it seems, of those who feel destined for something. We tiptoe around the work, trying to be and do everything else but that one thing we truly feel called to do in the world.

For years, I have wished for an extension of time to do nothing. To travel, read, study and reflect. To train in the spiritual nature of things and to get down to business with myself.

At some point, and sometimes in tandem with the external building, I’m realizing we have to face ourselves. There’s no more avoiding it; it’s just too painful.

Years ago, in a business course I took, a friend commented on another student’s journey. He simply said, “Your fear no longer serves you.”

Your fear no longer serves you.

I think it’s when we reach this point that we realize it’s time to grow up and out of the self-made prisons we’ve wedged ourselves into. For me, it’s been about learning to let go. And intuitively, I realize, that this next leg is going to require me to pack lighter. It’s the moments like this where we’re invited to wrap ourselves into our night, so that we may emerge as butterflies do.

To see who you truly are, I guess, means cleaning all the gunk, debris and sticky plaque that’s hardened around you, making your spirit difficult to sense. That’s the real work. That’s the real block to creativity and life force as we know it, and it’s often times the last place we want to look or focus our attention on.

Our aversion to our work, whether internal or external, and the lengths we will go to delude ourselves, has [almost] no limits. It seems that life will serve you a shit sandwich in all of your favorite hiding places until you just can’t hide anymore. Until the moment when stuffing yourself into relationships that don’t get you, jobs that don’t appreciate you and endless happy hours cannot hide, until truly, the smell of your own shit is just too unbearable.

Something in you breaks and you surrender.

And in these fragile moments of rebirth, a sense of calm and spaciousness rush over you. And maybe, if only for a second, you realize that the “soul-sucking” job/relationship/house/etc.  may not be to blame. That truly, there’s no blame anywhere. Your mind may not understand it, but your body hums this sweet, soft lullaby, tears streaming down your face, a combination of joy, regret and yes, sweet surrender.

“Si eres un buen guerrero, no te culparás por ello, pero tampoco dejarás que tus errores se repitan.”

In the thick of blame, of projection and of the anger at [insert what you’re mad about], you realize the lies (illusions) you’ve upheld and maybe can start to see how they guided you to this precise position.

And that to move forward, you must let go, and that to let go, you must lay down the burning embers of blame, anger and frustration, regardless of where they are pointed. Lay down the smoking gun; the war is over.

After all, the lies didn’t, maybe, seem so horrible initially because, well,  your colleagues seemed to get along just fine sippin’ on that Koolaid. Your family, friends, heck, everyone you know (!) seems to be feeding into the American/German/Mexican [insert any nationality or religion] fuckin’ dream and you wonder, are you the only one unhappy?

Are you the only one who sees the world differently?

Are you the only one awake or sober enough to move forward in a new direction?

You might be. In your circle and world, it might just be you (for now), which makes your steps forward all the more important.

Because now you know better.

Now you’ve seen your hand in creating this life for yourself and there’s no one to blame, not even you. This can be painful to witness, but it’s also the beginning of freedom.

So forgive yourself for the moments spent sippin’ on that untruth, which is really the essence of our own misery, and get to steppin’.

We need you out there, buen soldado.

0 Comments Short URL

Am I sharing too much online?

“The joy of who we are can only be known through presence.”

After sharing my personal journey with anxiety and how it led me to meditation, one reader—whom I hold very dear to my heart— was brave enough to ask the following question:

Have you ever wrote something that felt right at the time and then struggled with regret that maybe you shared too much or it didn’t come out right?

Every time I post anything that really gets me jazzed, I’ve wondered if I’m overstepping some imaginary boundary of what is and is not acceptable. The more creative, the more truthful and the more excited I am, the more I question what the fuck I’m doing.

And why is that?

Hanging out with our creative muse can kind of feel like hanging out with the infamous Cat in the Hat: tantalizing fun that teeters on the edge of “I might get in trouble for this”.

And yet, I continue to share. 

The truth is that self-expression is my soul’s equivalent to oxygen. There is no room for, “Oh, I can move through the world silent, timid and small.” 

I’ve tried that and I’m betting you have to. It’s painful; it’s constricting; it’s unhealthy.

Yet, how often do we willingly enlist ourselves in this precise scenario in exchange for perceived security?

Yes, sir. Do chop my balls off, along with the rest of my dignity, in exchange for a decent sized apartment and the social pressure to climb the corporate ladder. I do hope that this engagement will provide me the chance to look myself in the face, 10 years from now, and wonder who this old man is standing before me.

Repression is the equivalent of a “living death”. It’s as if I’m being asked to walk through the world with my heart chained and my mouth muffled.

And it’s not a life I can conciously agree to.

The mind—with all it’s beliefs around conformity—will terrorize the soft flame of truth that lives inside of you if you let it. Guard that flame, not with fear, but with space. Breathe into her. Offer up your sincere reverance.

Here are three steps you can take to help cultivate the ideas within you that want to be heard:

#1 Build presence so that you may discern your inner voice from the chaotic noise of the world, society and your memories. These often appear as thoughts, feelings and toxic naysayers in your life. There isn’t a moment too soon to create space between you and all of that. Meditation, Chi Quong, hanging out in nature and being surrounded by animals are regular practices that help me ground and strengthen my jedi discernment muscles. Everything becomes easier the better you get at this. 

#2 Create space so that your voice may take root and grow. This means removing the clutter from your life, creating strong boundaries with the noise in your life (e.g. loud sounds, negative people, old belief systems, harsh chemicals, etc.) and regularly dedicate time to explore your creativity.

#3 And last but not least, ready yourself for the magic that will come from you singing her songs. When she calls, be ready to move.

What do you think? Do you think sharing too much is actually a problem or are we afraid to be vulnerable? Maybe it’s both.

0 Comments Short URL

Let It Go: How Unicorn-Loving Hippies Saved My Life

I began a daily meditation and journaling practice in December of 2014 as a way to save myself from moderate — to at times crippling— anxiety, sadness and racing thoughts.

Meditation has allowed me to sit with the ugly, hairy emotions we prefer to excuse from the dinner table: jealousy, rage, self-hate and impulsiveness to name a few. It’s shone a light on the inner workings of much of our self-imposed madness to find the serenity that all these hippie books talk about.

You know the ones I’m talking about.

The author’s name is Shakti Sutra. She’s probably wearing anything but a bra and if the book were a scratch and sniff, the sniffing part would be on her armpit and yep, you guessed it, it would smell about as natural as “I do not believe in deodorant” gets. The design? At best a throwback from the 1980’s, but without that Buzzfeed, Urban Outfitter, “this is kind of cool” way.

While I joke about the aesthetic, the principles are relevant. The destination, if there is such a thing, is real.

I didn’t understand any of this for a long time. People would say things like, “We are love”. “Oh, shut the f*$% up,” I’d think, mostly because either they didn’t seem sincere or, in the rarer instance, they truly did emanate a warm, all accepting feeling that can best be described as love.

And they weren’t just mystical, unicorn-loving ‘hippies’. They were real people like you and I. It made me wonder what they knew that I didn’t.

There are many days when this all seems like West Coast bullshit.

I’m from New York. I shave my armpits and think deodorant is useful. Meditation sounded like a waste of time, self-love a placebo and the ability to not think 24/7? A joke, at best.

And yet, as I’ve come to realize, that just isn’t true.

People have told me my entire life to simply “let it go”. Whether or not they truly understood the mechanics behind such a directive, I now have a glimpse into one way to do so and it’s changed my life.

Over the past two months, I’ve begun to watch the storm as opposed to getting swept up in it. I am learning to witness more and react less.

The result?

Lively insights. Soulful dialogue. Peace. A glimpse of myself for the first time (!!). Spontaneous laughter. Patience. Compassion. The key to a world I felt shut out from.

Meditation won’t be for everyone and yet, it could be the ticket to a front-row view of who you truly are, a sight you’re just witnessing for the first time.

Don’t you want to meet her?

From #myjournal:

“Do not turn your power into inward-facing, self hate. It’s misplaced energy. It’s a fear of being seen and of coming into the world as yourself. It’s self-sabotage on a both a physical and spiritual level. When this happens, step out into the world more. Practice gratitude and allow your energy to expand. You’re trying to contain it. Hence your stomach aches. Let it grow naturally. Get out of your own way.”

“How,” I asked.

“Presence. Comfort with people’s disapproval. Surround yourself with people you love, your space keepers. Release expectations and the need for a specific outcome.”

Could it be that simple?

2 Comments Short URL

I feel fat. I tell myself horrible things all day. What can I do to feel better about myself?

We spend most of the day mesmerized, taunted and eluded by the endless chatter in our minds. Most of us don’t realize this as we take the mind talk (our thoughts) for who we are.

Sometimes the internal conversaion is nice and other times it’s downright cruel.

The cruel days can be the hardest.

“You’re fat! You look old and old is bad. Why can’t those jeans fit you the way they fit your sister. She was always the prettier one anyways. Fatty, fat, fat!”

I think I spent most of my 28 years here on earth hating myself, which is interesting to note. The part that hated “me” is also the same part that loved “me”.

We laugh when we see dogs barking at their reflection in the mirror. Silly dog, we think. Can’t they see they are barking at their own reflection?

Humans are not so different, which is evident by the nature of this question.

Can’t we see our love/hate relationship with our own reflections? Reflections, by definition, are embodiments or represenations of something else; but, of what?

Unlike the pooch that may forget that the “sliding glass door dog” was ever there, our bodies and nervous systems remember the impact of the endless, and at times violent, tauntings of our mind. Over time, we take the thoughts in our heads as some sort of truth.

In Episode 2 of #AskJuanita, Juanita talks about self-love, taking care of yourself and the epic abs of one Janet Jackson. Yes, that bitch did have a 20 pack.

#AskJuanita’s Best Advice?

“You gotta make yourself feel good. No one else will.” (tweet it)

How can I feel better about myself?

First, identify who you are.

There’s a practice I once learned that entailed writing down all the things we are not. 

Your job title. That devastating heartbreak. Your hairstyle. Your Youtube video that went viral. The man that loves you. The woman that doesn’t. Your neighborhood. The new dryer. Your father’s rage. The ever-painful relationship with your mom. Your resume.

You are not those things.

To put it simply, you are not anything that can change or die (tweet that!).

When you have exhausted your list, reflect on what remains, which shouldn’t be much. That is the direction of who you truly are.

Space.

Peace.

Ever expansive silence. The humming of the stars. A presence than can only be known through your body. A sensation and knowing that the mind cannot possibly rationalize, for it goes beyond the capabilities of thought.

This is vastly different than believing you are the sum of your accomplishments or the people in your life.

You may very well have some extra pounds to spare or you may have weight to gain. Or, go figure, you might be just fine.

But how do you know?

You listen. 

Not to the endless chatter of your mind. Let that go. Learn to watch your thoughts and recognize them as as the renegade Wild West that they are. Don’t try to find solace there.

Sink deeper.

First you will feel, maybe for the first time in your life, and at first it may be uncomfortable. Learn to sit with that. It’s just something that needs to be released.

Over time you will witness and the nature of your question will change.

Namaste.

I’m curious to know. What are three things that would be on your list of things you are not? Share in the comment section below. 

0 Comments Short URL

Are your desires superficial?

It’s been a while, beautiful people. I’m sorry I’ve been gone so long. It’s been almost a year since I last wrote you and wow, hasn’t my entire world changed in the past 12 months?

Has it been crazy for you too?

In the course of all of these profound shifts, I needed time to myself. To purge. To grow. To move. To reflect. To sit with the painful reality of bidding a previous life goodbye.

Can you relate?

Moving forward, I’m changing how I approach this blog. For a while, I felt trapped in talking only about sales and marketing. While these topics are near and dear to my heart, there are other areas in life I want to explore with you.

I hope you’ll join me.

Without further delay, allow me to introduce you to Juanita, athough as of recently, she’s feeling more like a Francesca.

She’s one of many muses. Wise, straight talking and a bit rough-around-the-edges, she allows me to dive into questions with greater depth, fluidity and fun. Plus, I find her incredibly entertaining to bring to life.

In today’s episode, we discuss the question, “Are my desires superficial?”

How often do you judge your desires? I judge mine more than I care to count.

Buddhism has a beautiful teaching around the concept of desire.

“All phenomena, the Buddha once said, are rooted in desire. Everything we think, say, or do — every experience — comes from desire. Even we come from desire. We were reborn into this life because of our desire to be. Consciously or not, our desires keep redefining our sense of who we are. Desire is how we take our place in the causal matrix of space and time. The only thing not rooted in desire is nirvana, for it’s the end of all phenomena […] (original source here).”

I used to think that desire was a sort of final destination. It was a stepping stone to something final, absolute and complete. To obtain what I sought would act as a remedy to a current problem in my life. In some instances this is true, but these remedies are temporary.

Desire is not finite.Desire does not promise a pain free life, but it will act as a teacher. It’s like the swirling Northern Lights, dazzling you into a trance and inviting you down a path.

Are you willing to move?

What you desire is not inherently right or wrong. It simply is. And beneath those whisperings of your heart are pieces of wisdom offered up to your highest self.

Gifts from your soul to the part of you awake enough to listen.

Embrace your desire without grasping for it. Nurture the coals of your heart without trying to hold them too tightly (tweet it). 

In this short video, Juanita gives you the low-down on the “ok-ness” in what you seek. Desires need no validation. They’re your desires. They’re your teacher.

Her best advice?

“Our desire to be famous comes from our wish to be seen. You, however, must first see yourself.” (tweet it)

Tell me what you think: What do you think is the point of our desires? And do you think all desires are worth following? Tell me your thoughts in the comment section below.

 

 

 

 

0 Comments Short URL