Update: Where I’ve Been and What’s in the Works

Hello beautiful humans! I wanted to make a video for you guys just as an update about where I’ve been for the last little while. I didn’t want to abandon my blog and I also felt a little guilty just diving back in without an explanation so I wanted to make this video to let you guys know about this project I’ve been working on. Let me know if you want to see more updates or videos! I’ve never done anything like this before so it’s a tad awkward and weird (kind of like yours truly). I know this isn’t a big blog, but I value those who come to read what I have to say SO SO much and I wanted to get more personal and make this video for you guys.

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Truth: A Principle of the Past

It’s been a little while since I sat down to just sit and chat with you guys. That’s what blogging has always felt like to me: a conversation I feel capable of having. I’m not typically the best at conveying my thoughts through speech so this has always been the best form of conversation I’ve ever had.

Lately, I’ve been consumed by the novel I’m writing. It feels like the healthiest addiction I’ve ever had and for once, I feel obsessed over something that’s curing me instead of destructing what I have left.

2016 ended pretty harshly. It was a loss of some friendships that were really important to me, but got lost along the way as we grew in different directions. What’s been more difficult, or what’s supposed to be more difficult is to be living with the friends you have lost. This is a challenge I’ve met a couple of times before (in different contexts of course), but always handled poorly. My go to is to run. When conflict arises, I vanish. But this time, I spoke my truth and now I am living in it.

I’ve always wondered what the end of suffering looked like and I guess I’m learning that it’s the beginning of truth. That doesn’t mean that truth lives without pain. It doesn’t even mean that truth removes pain. To be frank, it actually creates a bigger mess than there was before, or at least it looks that way because now it’s out in the open instead of just in your head. Now other people get to see it and admit to their own truth as well, or maybe continue trying and denying their way out of what’s standing right in front of them, and always was.

The thing about the truth is that once it is told, it becomes a part of your past. Coming from someone who has lived anywhere but the present, I feel cleaner with a mess in front of me that I can now choose to put behind me. The other option is to dwell on something you’re too afraid to admit and living in the anxiety, which becomes a part of your future.

I’m not sure if any of this will even make a lot of sense to you guys because I’m just rambling on, but I wanted to take some time to reflect on my life, on the past year, and on the past month of December. I wanted to see what contribution I can make through my blog now as opposed to what I was able to do before. What more have a learned that I can bring to the table? And what kept ringing in my head was this book. This book that feels like my own secret journey or escape that I can take in my room. It’s an invisible cape I wear that drops me into a different world, one that I get the opportunity to learn about first hand. It’s the feeling I always get when I read a book and now I’m here, 40,000 words later, still smitten, still writing. Right now, this is my dedication and my focus, but I don’t want to leave this space empty so I realize that I have to work around my schedule and find time to tend to it at least once or twice a week because I miss this far too much if I leave it for too long.

I know this isn’t as long as my normal posts, but I wanted to check in and say that I’m not going anywhere. I’m actually realizing that where I am is exactly where I need to be.

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Finding Joy Amidst Pain: When You Already Have What You Need

Finding-Joy-Amidst-Pain-When-You-Already-Have-What-You-Need

You guys must be wondering where I’ve been, and from my previous posts, the last you heard from me was in a difficult situation amidst a tremendous amount of loss. The end of December, I spent all of my efforts to try and get myself out of this situation, because losing someone is difficult enough but living with close friends that you lost is even harder.

There’s a loss you face where distance dismantles a relationship and it’s something you don’t notice until so much time has gone by when you step back and wonder, what happened? How did we become so separate? When did we lose touch? And can we get back to where we once were?

This one happens to be much more confrontational and since I’m still in the midst of it, I don’t want to spew out any details that I would gain more clarity on when I’m outside of the situation. There is a fear that I’m currently living again where I am present in my loss. Where I have to see it day to day. Where I can’t separate myself from it to clear my head. Where I sleep in the room next to it.

And I’ve tried to find another place, to distance myself because I know from experience that the tension that can brought about when this much pain lives together doesn’t typically go well. I’m aware of that, and yet all my efforts worked against me and in some weird way, I am completely at peace with that. Why? Because I also have experience with knowing that sometimes when you feel stuck in situations, that’s when you finally get to the point where you try anything to free yourself. And often times, it’s the thing you’ve always wanted to do. It’s the thing you feared in the first place, but this situation is more fearful and more painful. Being here makes your other fears a lot smaller and a lot more doable.

I have to say, in every situation when I’m lost and in a great amount of pain; in every single situation where I am suffering, there is always at least ONE thing that I am handed. Sometimes it’s a job or opportunity, sometimes it’s a new friend, sometimes it’s a new perspective, a new hobby, a new pursuit, but always something. This one thing that you are given is often dismissed. I have to admit coming from a place where I can attest to dismissing any potential good because it wasn’t exactly what I needed to get out of this current situation or this current pain. It wasn’t what I had in mind, so I denied the attempt and sent my apologies (often in a snarky manner). I dismissed that thing as “not good enough”, “not what I want”, or “not what I need”.

We fixate so much on our current pain that we feel we know what we need best to learn from it and let it pass through us. And then, when we don’t get what we need (whether it be a resolution to a broken relationship, a financial difficulty, a loss, etc.) we become more and more frustrated. Hell, we become pissed off. And I know this road very well. I know it because I’ve lived it many times in different contexts. This time, I wanted it to be different. This time, I wanted to be different.

So I accepted the thing that was given to me during this hard time which will indefinitely last for another four months before I am able to physically get myself out of it. Emotionally, I don’t ever give myself a time frame for that.

Here’s another note: Often times, you have to work to actually SEE what that thing is. My experience right now with this dilemma was that I recognized my pain. I know it’ll teach me something. I also know that I won’t understand that right now because I am living in it. So I decided that I needed to make a few changes in myself to cope with this. We all have tools or resources that we can go to. We all have something that brings us joy, even momentarily. For me, it’s dancing. It’s listening to music on the highest volume and letting go completely with my movement, and it’s a sort of moving meditation for me. I made a physical note and pasted it on my wall to remind myself that I HAD to dance each morning when I first got up. I don’t care if I’m tired. I don’t care if I don’t want to do it. I have to, because it always makes me feel good once I actually do it.

I started a habit of writing a minimum of 3 things that I am grateful for every day. I wanted to focus on the joy that I know still existed and I needed to constantly remind myself of it. I wanted that to be where I placed my energy. I wanted that to be what I looked for every day.

And then, I started to learn how to accept the love that exists around me; the love that I wasn’t placing my focus on. I was so wrapped up in the pain of this loss that I had no energy left to feel love. I wanted to feel love from these two friends, and I didn’t. So I made it my mission to overwhelm myself with all of the people who did love me and care about me and support me. It turns out, I have a lot of those and yet, I didn’t even realize it because I wasn’t focusing on them. I was focusing on what I came home to each night. But what I learned is that just because I come home to this, doesn’t mean that’s all the connection I have. Just because I’m focused on loss, doesn’t mean I have no love around me. I’ve been so absent in the blogosphere because when I say I overwhelmed myself with love, I literally tried to spend as much time in my day as possible with these lovely people in my life.

That was my own self-work that I had to do to cope with my pain. It doesn’t take it away or remove it, which was never my intention in the first place, but it shifts my focus to what I do have. I mean, that’s what gratitude is and that’s what I chose to live in by practicing it daily, and I have to say that it created this inner joy in me that just doesn’t go away. I say joy and not happiness because there is a distinction between the two. Happiness is an emotion like any other that comes and goes. You feel it, then you don’t. But joy is just an inner peace, a love that you feel regardless of any emotion that you have.

And then, the thing that I was given became clear all of a sudden. I picked up the book I was working on and had dropped to the side a few months ago and I started writing in it again. I added to my daily practices, including writing this book (a minimum of 1000 words a day) every single day. I was side-tracked from it a few months ago because I was facing a different emotional challenge, one where I was working a few jobs and getting emotionally abused at one of them which took a great toll on me. Even after I left that place, I knew I needed some time to heal and get my physical health back on track so that my mental health could find something to ground it. And you know what happened when I picked up this project again?

I fell in love.

I set a bare minimum of 1000 words a day just because that is doable and even on days I don’t feel like writing, I can manage 1000 words. But every ounce of spare time I get, I’m researching and writing and trying to educate myself more on what I’m writing about. I’m emailing people to interview and getting responses. I’m being directed to more resources and I’m learning and writing and learning and writing. I am so completely entrenched in this project that it literally feels like falling in love. I think about it every day. I daydream about it. I find it more difficult to sleep at night, but I make myself sleep earlier so that I can wake up early to work on it. And it’s everything that I need right now, but also not a solution to the problem I’m having. And yet, it’s healing me anyways.

When I learned to finally accept the one thing that was given to me, I knew it wouldn’t solve my problem. I knew it wasn’t the solution I was seeking, but I took it and it ended up doing what I least expected. It brought me joy AND happiness amidst pain and loss. This is a first for me, and I ask you guys to work hard so you can see what you are given in this time of your pain.

This wasn’t the only thing I was given. I was given all the love I mentioned. I was given an opportunity to strengthen the beautiful relationships I already had with people in my life. I was given this project to work on, but I was given a tremendous amount of love as well. And so, even though this pain still exists; even though I’ll be living in it for the next couple of months; even though none of this is the solution that I was actively seeking, I realized that I didn’t know what it was that I needed. So when I accepted this love, this project, and this daily practice of gratitude, I found that what I needed were things I was already surrounded with.

Sometimes, we just have to look a little harder.

 

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