Dark Nights of the Soul

TW/CW: depression, suicide references/ideation, profanity

I’m not really sure how to talk about this, but I am sure that talking about it is likely to help someone feel less alone – and may even help – so I’m just going to jump in. I’m just coming out of a dark night of the soul. I’ve had a few in my life. They just seem to happen from time to time – I’m not even always sure why. Sometimes life just seems overwhelming and/or hopeless, no matter how much optimism I try to inject or how many affirmations I say. The masks fall away and there I am, feeling alone and broken and like my life will never be okay again.

This one I kind of saw coming. A slow build-up of months watching money go out and no money coming in, while the little I had was rapidly disappearing. A few rejections to over a hundred job applications, but mostly nobody paying any attention to me at all. No responses or acknowledgments, not even a form letter saying, “Thanks for applying, but we went with someone else.” I bitched about that on my other blog. Like, at least the courtesy of a fucking response! Is it so hard in 2020 to be human?

It came down to that I was asked to leave where I’d been staying for free (complicated story, irrelevant) – I had no money for a place to live, and I was only going to be able to make one more car payment before I was out of money completely. Desperation set in. I thought I had no other choice than to do what I’d been avoiding: accept a job doing massage therapy and work outside the safety of home. I interviewed at one place and was like, no fucking way. I interviewed at the second place, gave the owner a massage, and was hired on the spot. (I was uncompensated for that massage, by the way, which is disgustingly unfair in my opinion – even if it’s a fucking tryout, pay the massage therapist for their work!) From that moment, anxiety and despair took hold at an alarming rate.

I was mad at Life. I was yelling at my Angels, rejecting the spiritual principles that are usually my guiding light (see my last blog post for evidence of that – I don’t disavow what I said – I just hold space for there being more), and stomping around like an angry toddler. But it was worse than that. Because I felt like I was risking my life for a tiny stupid paycheck – and that even with that job busting my ass and potentially exposing myself to Covid (and as a high risk person in multiple ways, that was terrifying to me), I still wasn’t going to be able to afford an apartment by myself! Most single people can’t afford to live on their own in this economy – especially if they don’t start off with a hefty savings account of (probably inherited) money.

So, my future was looking bleak. I couldn’t see any way that my life would ever be anything other than a painful struggle just to survive. I’d been having flashes of thoughts for months, thinking that maybe it was just time to give up, to slip away, to die. I wasn’t planning my suicide – I wouldn’t do that (I thought – we never actually know what we may or may not do until a situation that tests us arises), but I felt like I didn’t care if I lived or died, and spent an inordinate amount of time thinking about just letting my heart stop. Could I will that to happen? There are people that I love immensely and didn’t/don’t want to leave or hurt – but I couldn’t conceive of myself in those moments as being anything other than a burden. I couldn’t see how I could live through that.

These “torture thoughts” (what I call them) got worse after I accepted the job. It was almost like to get over the fear of going into the office, I had to aggressively stop caring if I lived or died. On a bike ride after that, I rode hard and fast through blind intersections where I didn’t have the right of way. Fortunately, the approaching cars were 20-30 yards out. The second time I did it, I scared myself enough to not do it again – but still, WTF was I doing? It could have had a very different outcome. I wrote about it on Twitter because I didn’t feel like I could talk to anyone about it other than anonymous strangers. I didn’t want to alarm my friends or loved ones or make them feel bad about me. A few people on Twitter were very supportive and kind.

The light starts to come back.

I found out that I actually do care about my life – and want to live – when I reported for my first day of work. Well, it started the night before, although I didn’t realize it at the time. I woke up around 3 am and started crying. Not gentle crying. Huge, racking sobs that continued the rest of the night and throughout the morning. I couldn’t stop crying. As I showered, I briefly wondered if I would ever get to see my future grandchildren or not – and I totally lost it. My shift started at 1:00 pm, so I needed to leave my house a little after noon. I forced myself to stop crying about an hour before it was time to leave. I got my collection of masks together and some goggles that I wasn’t sure if they’d allow me to wear – but knowing from orientation that the clients didn’t have to wear a mask when they were face down, it seemed important to me to cover my eyes too.

I walked in and the front desk didn’t have the things they were supposed to have for me. A young woman walked me back to the small break room/supply room and someone was in there eating, maskless. Anxiety started to creep up. As I was setting up the tiny room with no air circulation, that was to be mine for the day, everything in me started screaming, GET OUT! I went to the manager and said, I’m sorry, but I can’t do this. She asked if it were Covid. I said yes and started crying. I said I needed to leave and apologized again. I grabbed my stuff and walked out the door. Neither making a fool of myself nor breaking my word come easily to me. I’m not one who’s willing to let anyone down if I can help it. That’s how I knew how valuable my life is to me – and how willing I am to fight for it. I’m not willing to put myself in harm’s way – even if protecting myself may make me look like a fool.

I called my good friend and told her what had happened, told her all of it – including about my misadventures on my bike ride. She invited me to come stay with her for a while – to come heal and just be. I’ll continue looking for remote work, continue writing and promoting my books, and continue doing Oracle card/intuitive readings and energy healing for people. But what I won’t be doing is anything that I consider to be putting myself in harm’s way. I don’t know what the future holds. I do know that I want to have a future. And that I’m feeling more hopeful today than I was yesterday, before I decided to take a stand for my life and well-being.

Let the light in – and pay attention to what’s happening inside of you.

Looking back from here, I should have known that my incessant crying was a sign that it wasn’t a right decision for me. I’m not sure I’ve ever cried so hard for so long. I’ve had hard crying jags from time to time, like when I lost my Mom or when it hits me occasionally how much I’m missing her – but they usually only last a few minutes, at most an hour. To cry desperately for about 8 hours straight? Clearly, something was very wrong!

I started feeling better the minute I got back to my car – as soon as I made the decision to honor my life, I felt myself start to heal, mentally and emotionally. I talked to my friend the whole drive home and was smiling by the time I walked back into the house where I’m currently staying. This episode of my dark night of the soul has passed. I’ve seen how easy it is to get so desperate that I feel like giving up. I understand the pain of letting go of the person who I thought I was/would be, to become someone I can’t even imagine from here. I get how it feels to lose most of my material possessions – and to have to be okay with letting them go so I can be free to survive. I’ve been losing things for years. I lost my house a little over three years ago. Along with it, I lost most of the furniture and many of the possessions I’d inherited from my parents. That hurt, but I survived. I’ve moved three times since then, losing a little more each time. Now I’m about to move again – and leave almost everything behind. My life is worth more than that stuff.

I get what it feels like to feel alone – to know that, yes, theoretically people love me, but I don’t want to ask for help. I don’t want to be a burden. I get it. That’s just not the reality – people love you and want to help. You need to fight for your life. You need to reach out. You need to let people know exactly how bad your struggle is so that they can be there for you. It’s tempting to think that you’ll just drag them down and you don’t want to be perceived as someone who is negative or has mental health issues or who can’t manage their own life. I get it. I felt all of that. My deepest core issue is fearing being, “more trouble than I’m worth.” It haunts me. I have to fight to feel worthy, no matter how much trouble I am (or not) and what I can contribute (or not).

I used to adamantly say that I would never let a man hit me – and I meant it one hundred percent. In fact, I wrote that in my book. I left it in there, but in my next book, I’ll talk about the time that I slipped so low, was so desperately in love and wanted his attention so badly, that I wanted him to come over even if he would hit me – even if he would shoot me. I just wanted him to care – to not be indifferent to me or ignore me! I am perfectly aware of how fucked up that sounds – how fucked up that is – and I would have never thought myself capable of thinking or feeling that way (if you know me at all, you know I’m a strong feminist who doesn’t remotely believe in allowing any man to have that kind of power over your life and/or emotions), but there I was.

I’m noticing that there’s a core root between these two moments of my life – where I was deep in a state of not valuing my life, but rather thinking of just tossing it away, out of fear and desperation and/or a lack of hope. I don’t think that I’m unusual in that at all, even though it’s something most people don’t want to talk about or even admit. I read once that most people who try to commit suicide actually want more life, not to end their life – they just don’t know how to open up to that more. Some people think that suicide is a selfish act. I think that when you’re in that state, you aren’t even capable of thinking clearly. You aren’t thinking of the people you would hurt by taking yourself away from them. It’s so hard to see past your own fear and pain and desperation. I’m really so lucky that my Angels were looking out for me and didn’t allow me to get hit by a car. I was cursing them, but they were still loving and protecting me.

I think I needed to know that. I think I needed to know that if I weren’t always positive and upbeat, that I would still be loved. That if I were broken and angry and defiant, I would still be blessed. That I don’t have to be perfect in any way in order for my life to be filled with joy and pleasure and all good things. I get to be my whole self. I get to have my doubts and my temper tantrums. I get to be unreasonable and ungrateful. I get to have my peace and my bliss and my gratitude. I get to get dragged kicking and screaming along my path, rather than cooperating and moving forward in faith and trust. It’s all good.

I don’t know when my next dark night of the soul will strike. I’m going to try to keep it at bay by listening more carefully to myself and staying grounded. I don’t know how I missed the giant waving neon sign of an 8 hour crying jag, but now I’m paying better attention. I did, in the end, honor my own feelings and walk away – but next time, I don’t want to get to that desperate point. I could have realized much sooner. And, just in case, I’m going to keep the phone number for the National Suicide Hotline available: 800-273-8255. Phone them or reach out to a friend or loved one. Please.

Let me just say that it’s okay to not be okay. It doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you if you’re thinking about suicide – or just giving up – it simply means you need help … and maybe you don’t know how to ask for it. Please just reach out. Let yourself be helped. Let yourself be valued. Let yourself be loved. This being human isn’t easy – we need each other. And someone in this world needs you – so please, stick around. Also, it does get better! It’s worth hanging around until it gets better!

Things get better. Let the beauty in.

One more thing (side note): I realize that some people need massage even though there’s a pandemic happening. There are some offices that are taking strict safety precautions – these are usually private offices, not franchises or chains. Where I’d been going to work gave you five minutes to get the client on the table, and five minutes to have them get back into their clothes and leaving, and for you to change the table to welcome the next client. FIVE minutes for all of that! That doesn’t even remotely give you time to do a good job wiping down surfaces or doing any disinfecting – you barely have time to get the new sheets on the table! If a place isn’t offering at least 15-30 minutes between clients – and if they don’t have any sort of air purifiers or even air circulation in the room, then I don’t think it’s worth the risk!

Moving Out of Spiritual Shame & Superstition

TW/CW: This post could be considered highly blasphemous and it contains quite a bit of profanity, so if either one of those would offend you, please stop reading now. Also, if you’re a huge fan of The Law of Attraction type stuff, this post might not be comfortable for you. I’m not here to offend anyone, but I am going to speak my truth in this moment.

My last post was about sexual shame. It didn’t occur to me until just now how closely connected that is to spiritual shame. They both have at their core, a feeling of not being “good enough” – and/or of being “bad.” They both hold a fear of judgment – both being judged by other people – as well as by God, the Universe, the Angels, Life – whatever you want to call that Higher Power. They are both programmed belief systems that cut off our life force and keep us living small, rather than owning, living, and being all of who we are.

I’ve long resisted sexual shame. I think it’s wrong. I’ve also long seen a connection between sexuality and spirituality. I think that they are closely related – and that sexual connection can be a decidedly spiritual experience.

It’s just coming together in my head right now how similar sexual and spiritual shame are. In both cases, we are taught that there is a “right” way to be – and that anything that deviates from that way is “wrong” and “bad.” Both strike at the core of who we are. Both shame us for having natural, normal, completely understandable feelings. Both are used to control our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. They are both sometimes couched in the attitude of “it’s for your own good” – but why should anyone else tell you what is for your own good? Why wouldn’t you get to decide that for yourself? And why would you accept some arrogant, power-hungry man being a mediary between you and God/Goddess/your own experience of the Infinite?

I’ve already talked about sex – it’s a topic I never get tired of, but right now, I want to talk about spirituality. I want to talk briefly about the abuse of religion and a little more about the damage of spiritual superstitions that I have believed in (at least, how I feel these things have been damaging for me personally – mileage may vary and the experience/s are different for everyone – this is my opinion/experience).

I grew up in a Baptist church that was ALL about shame. I learned that I was a “worthless sinner.” (Talk about psychological/emotional abuse!) From grades 2-8, I went to the school this Baptist church founded and ran. At age 11, I learned at a mandated church/school retreat that all sensual pleasure was bad/wrong. Even kissing was a sin because it led to “other things.” I went home from that retreat and broke up with my boyfriend of one year – because we’d been kissing and a little more. I was so ashamed and mired in this ridiculous quest to be “virtuous.” At age 12, after a revival, at the visiting preacher’s suggestion, I burned all of my John Denver records in the oven – because secular music was a sin. <eye roll>

I don’t remember how old I was, but I remember that jackass pastor talking in a sermon about my dad. He was talking about this wealthy man (and gave more details, so it was clearly about my dad), who was a good person, but who was still going to hell because he hadn’t accepted Jesus Christ as his personal savior. When I think back on the cruelty, the smallness, and the hypocrisy in that church – it disgusts me beyond words. Fortunately, it wasn’t long after that bullshit that my dad put his foot down and pulled us kids out of that hellhole school. Unfortunately, a lot of psychological damage had already been done. It took years to pull out of that warped thinking. Sometimes I wonder if it doesn’t remain inside of me as core issues that have contributed relentlessly in my life to over-thinking, over-giving, people-pleasing, and other codependent-type feelings and behaviors.

I happily left religion behind. I was angry about it for many years. I’m still repulsed by a lot of the manipulations and trangressions of religion/s. I mean, many of the worst atrocities on earth have been committed in the name of God (whatever “God” is called) and with the full support of the church/es. Just look nowadays at the number of churches that support the embodied evil that is Trump. How anyone can not see that is beyond me.

God, by any name – a spiritual connection – is not only found in churches.

I don’t believe in a man-made, vengeful “God” – nor do I believe that the “Holy Bible” is any more inspired by God (whatever your concept of that Be-ing may be) than any other book ever written. The reality is that it was written by men who were trying to secure power. I have no fear of the Universe for saying that – only fear of men who are so transfixed by their beliefs that they value their “religious ideals” (i.e. power) over the sacredness of the human beings right in front of them. Religion is used as a weapon at least equally as it is used as a solace or guide – and there are SO many fake, completely unqualified, hypocritical “men and women of God.” It disgusts me. Most of all, these tele-evangelists – who spew hatred and venom, while raking in the dough, living lives of ostentatious luxury, while allowing children down the street to go hungry. Jesus had feelings about that too, if memory serves.

Which brings me to spirituality. I do believe there is some sort of Higher Power or organizing principle to the Universe. I do believe in guidance from Angels and Spirit Guides and other non-physical beings that help us along our paths. There are endless things I don’t know, but I find it interesting to explore and discover. I feel like I’ve fallen into some spiritual traps that have caused me to live with some superstitions and a great deal of fear – which I’m finally resisting. I mean, I wrote years ago about some of the problems I saw in works such as The Secret and The Law of Attraction – however, I kept being influenced (and honestly, still am) by some of the superstitions engendered in these sort of writings/philosophies.

For example, for many years, I have been quite afraid to have a negative thought – and, God forbid, say a negative thing – because our thoughts and words have power. Not only that, but our feelings have even more power! According to many of the tropes I’ve read and videos I’ve watched, if you combine the thoughts with a strong rush of sustained good feelings, you will absolutely manifest anything. If that were the actual case, I’d be happily married, a best-selling author, living in a secluded, beautiful cabin in the woods in the mountains by a lake, making love with my husband every day. I have visualized and held my visions, hopes, and dreams with all of the excitement, joy, and gratitude that I could possibly muster – for years – and you know what? It is all bullshit. I’m not even dating, much less happily married. I’ve sold a grand total of 13 books. I’ve been living the past few years in small rented rooms of friends’ homes, and the only sex I have is with myself. I think I’ll indulge myself at this point in a few negative thoughts.

Not that I haven’t had wonderful blessings and many happy moments in my life. Not that I’m not grateful for my life. I am. But this manifestation bullshit – and all of the superstition around it – has seriously caused me more stress and done me more harm than good. Of course, proponents of these thought systems will say that I was just doing it wrong. How convenient for them – to sell everyone on crap – and when it clearly doesn’t work, just say they’re not doing it right! It would be funny if it weren’t so damaging. And so many people can clearly see it isn’t working, but hold onto the hope that it’s about to work. It’s very similar to dieting, isn’t it? Where it clearly fails 98% of the time, but the diet industry has everyone so fucking brainwashed that people believe they can lose weight and keep it off and be “healthy.” (That body-hating insanity is a whole other post). In this case, people keep obsessively thinking positively, and following these spiritual principles in the hope that they will one day hit the winning lottery ticket of actually manifesting their dreams. They continue to struggle, and blame themselves for not doing it right. Honey, maybe it’s just that like diets, all of this positive-thinking/spiritually manifesting stuff doesn’t actually work?

Now, I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing to stay positive. Nor to visualize what you want to create in your life. Those are fine things if you want to do that. What I object to is the mandate that you must do those things and produce results – or you are judged as failing at spirituality, failing at living a “good” life, failing to be an inspiration to others. One, you can’t fail at spirituality. You have your own relationship with your Self and Spirit – and that’s your business. Two, the definition of “good” is so varied that nobody gets to define that for you – and besides, life isn’t always good. It doesn’t mean you don’t value life anyway – even when it totally sucks. We should be able to say when life sucks or is painful without fear that because of our speaking what is true for us in the moment, we will be sucked into a downward spiral of more pain and suckiness – or that we’ll be judged for being “negative.” NO! Third, it is not our job to be an inspiration to others. I mean, we may have moments where that happens, but that should just come as a result of our living in integrity with our Selves and our own needs – not as a premeditated mandate of how we talk, look, and act. If we are inspiring others by wearing a false mask, then our inspiration is false. I’d rather be inspired to be authentic.

Look, as I’ve said before, I am a fan of “love and light.” I’m also a fan of, “you can fuck all the way off.” I get to hold both within me. I get to hold anything I want within me. I get to accept ALL of me – the good, the bad, and the ugly – without being punished or penalized for it. I’ve been a “good girl.” I’ve been “positive.” I’ve done the “right” things – and it’s gotten me fucking nowhere. Now, the superstition kicks in and says, “you know, it could have been much worse – at least your positivity kept it from being worse” – and also, “you should be grateful – if you aren’t appropriately grateful, things could get much worse for you.” You know what? (Sorry for the coming profanity, but) Fuck. That. Shit.

No, seriously. I’m so at the end of my rope with thinking that I have to be careful about what I think and feel and say and do. I’m tired of trying to tow the line of being a “good,” compliant, conforming person in order to get the rewards that never, in actuality, come. Fuck. That. Shit. I’ll be a good person on my own terms – what I decide is good based not on superstitions or groveling for rewards, but on what is authentic in my heart and soul and life. I know the compassion and the kindness and the love that come out of me authentically and naturally. I know the goodness in me that isn’t relying on any fear of “God” or dancing around for the Universe’s perverse and whimsical pleasure. I refuse to live in fear of accidentally creating something I didn’t want. I refuse to keep spiritually bypassing the reality of my existence.

It’s a weird place for me to be in right now, because I’ve spent decades trying to feel some level of control over my life by referring to things like Louise Hay’s spiritual explanations for the things that go wrong in our bodies and lives – and the affirmations that can heal them. Saying affirmations gave me great comfort when I had cancer – they gave me hope. As did prayers – to whatever benevolent Force/s may be out there. Maybe hope helped to heal me – but maybe it was just the doctor cutting out the cancer. Maybe the outcome would have been just the same whether I’d faithfully repeated affirmations and tried so hard to have a “positive, healing vibe” or not. Maybe I, in fact, have zero control over my life – other than the decisions I make in each moment – and my life is going to turn out how it’s going to turn out, regardless of what I say, think, or feel. I’m sitting with that possibility. I’ll be honest – I’m not loving the lack of control that leaves me feeling, but any sense of control I ever felt was always an illusion anyway, wasn’t it?

I’ve generously attributed all of the horrible things that have happened in my life to being “lessons that I was meant to learn” so that I could become the person that I am. Maybe that’s true, but maybe having my first baby be born early and only live 10 hours was just a cruel twist of fate. Maybe the fact that the very next year, doctors developed technologies that saved tiny babies like mine, was just twisting the knife. Maybe all of the other shit that’s happened since is just shit that happens because life isn’t fair. Life is capricious. It’s beautiful and horrible and … everything. We tend to have this expectation that life should be all good – and I’m still super pissed that life isn’t remotely fair! – but these expectations, perhaps, don’t serve us. I’ve been so afraid of something bad happening if I ever stopped being vigilant about my attitude and my homages to the gods (in various forms) that I’ve been living in a cage of fear and anxiety. I. Can’t. Do. That. Anymore.

I reserve the right to have a fucking bad attitude and to stomp around like an angry toddler when I feel like it – without having the Universe come and thump me for it. In fact, I’m pretty sure that the Universe hasn’t even been paying any attention at all to any of my thoughts or feelings, “good” or “bad.” I’m starting to think that the Universe is mostly indifferent to my thoughts and feelings. Definitely indifferent to the plans I have for my life. This is ancient wisdom: “You make plans, God laughs.” It’s kind of cruel, in my opinion – but then again, at times, so is life.

I think that a lot of times, people use some forms of spirituality/spiritual beliefs, in order to not take responsibility for what’s happening on the planet. Like, justifying horrible things happening to people by believing that they must have somehow agreed to those conditions or that “this is what they signed on for in this life.” The Secret and The Law of Attraction are notorious for this kind of thinking. I call bullshit. Nobody signed up to be victims of war or famine or violence. We don’t get to comfort ourselves by thinking it couldn’t happen to us because we are thinking/feeling correctly – nor that we have no obligation to try to stop these atrocities. Where is our moral courage? We’ve been taught hate in too many of our churches and complacency in too many of our spiritual practices.

Yeah, there is not much/nothing I can personally do to stop the violence around this world, to stop abuses of power, to stop hunger, etc. But I can at least offer the courtesy of having compassion and empathy rather than dismissing it with a pat, “they must have attracted that or agreed to that in their lives,” thus absolving myself of my own humanity. Maybe we could see violence against anyone as the horror that it is. Maybe we could stop allowing abuses of power – and loudly and angrily call them out – and imprison some of these traitorous and corrupt motherfuckers. Maybe we could stop accepting a system where 1% of the people control so much money and resources while millions struggle and go hungry. Maybe we could acknowledge the violence in that. Maybe we could work toward a justice system that actually reflects justice and honorable values, rather than accepting the farce we have now. Maybe we could stop being such fucking sheeple, living in fear of both God and man – and of our own thoughts and feelings.

I’m saying this now because I am at the end of my rope. I am feeling angry and disillusioned. I’m also feeling free – and I like this sense of freedom and defiance. I’m also tired of living in fear. I’m planning to do like I’ve always done – to make the best choices possible for my life in each moment. I’m also embracing my “dark side” like I’ve never done before. I’m letting it all flow – my anger, my joy, my rage, my peace, my pleasure, my bitterness, my wild love, my despair. All of it. Everything. No more blocking feelings. No more moderating my responses with the deadly masks of politeness and civility – and the insidious social mandate of being positive. In this moment, I just need to be fucking real. A human being. A spiritual being, yes – but thick in this human experience. My Spirit is calling (has been calling) for me to be more authentic and less afraid.

Just like I needed to delete many of the teachings of the church I grew up in, I need to delete and detox from many of the “spiritual” belief systems that I turned to in order to make sense of life. They are just as harmful and false as the religion I long ago rejected. I don’t know what’s next on my spiritual journey, but it starts here with letting go of shame and superstitions.

The shame I’m referring to stems from not living up to what I have long considered to be the mandate of being a spiritual example – loving, positive, upbeat, uplifting, inspiring, nurturing. All of this fucking positive thinking training has left me feeling like a failure, both as a human and as a spiritual being, if I’m not constantly reflecting those higher values that have been labeled good/worthy. It’s very similar to how I felt as a child when the Baptist school told us that everything we did in our lives was a reflection on the school, and on God/Jesus – so don’t ever do anything that would reflect poorly. There was a whole list of ridiculous rules to follow in order to live in accordance with “God’s will.” Many of them reflected an appalling level of “moral” judgment and pettiness and hate.

I rejected the church, and I reject the mandate of always being positive and inspiring. I want to be whole. As Carl Jung said, “I’d rather be whole than good.” I also reject the concept that deep down inside, everyone is love. That’s simply, demonstrably, not true. There are clearly evil people in the world. We are all one? Maybe in the great, cosmic ocean of reality, yeah … but we are not all even remotely the same. Are we all connected? Who knows? We all share the same planet, but we do not all share the same experiences. We share some similar experiences and many vastly different experiences. We are all unique … and many of us go through very common stages, emotions, etc. Life is truly a mystery. I’m tired of trying to control it – or even understand it. I’m entering a new stage of surrender and seeing what unfolds. Of course, I hope it’s good – and I have no expectations – because I know damn well that Life doesn’t care about my expectations.

You can still enjoy the beauty of life while acknowledging the struggles, challenges, and negativity of life.

Growing up, the Tasmanian Devil was always my favorite. That’s how I feel now. That’s how I see myself in my mind – sort of this whirling dervish, spinning furiously around, creating space. I just need some space – away from thoughts and feelings and expectations of who I should be and how I should think, talk, feel, and act. I want to stomp around a bit. I want to stand strong in all of who I am. I want some silence in my mind. There’s a whole lot of things that I want in my life. I’m no longer relying on positive thinking, attracting, manifesting, or “allowing” – coupled with my hard work – to get them. They’ll happen or they won’t – but it won’t be because I was or wasn’t good enough or worthy enough or spiritual enough. It will be because that’s life. And shit happens. And good happens. And life happens.

For many of us, religion and/or spirituality help us to navigate this life. They help us to hang on, to have hope, to keep going. For many of us, alcohol or drugs or food or sex is what helps us make it to the next day. Sometimes I rely heavily on escaping into romance novels or adventurous movies. I’m not trying to take away anything that helps anyone. Whatever gets you through, hang onto that. Sometimes what gets us through changes over time. Right now, some of what gets me through is shifting under my feet and I feel a sense of groundlessness. Paradoxically, I also feel more grounded in my life than I ever have. I wish you health/healing, prosperity, peace, love, and every happiness. That isn’t a magic wand and it isn’t a guarantee. It’s just a wish, from my very human heart to yours. Peace be with you.

Moving Out of Sexual Shame

I woke up this morning thinking about how female sexuality is consistently shamed or exploited (yes, I think about these issues night and day). Girls and women generally aren’t allowed to enjoy or embrace our sexual power, pleasure, and/or play. Female sexuality is commodified and used to sell everything from toothpaste to cars to vacations, but it isn’t allowed to freely and openly stand on its own. Real life versus media life is such a bizarre dichotomy we all (mostly) put up with or endure. Fairly strong social expectations and strictures keep most of us “in our place.”

For many, even any of the words that point toward being a sexual being feel shaming and threatening. Even the word “sexuality” used openly, publicly, makes many people feel a little edgy or nervous, self-conscious, or even like running away. Why are these words so charged? Why is such a normal, healthy, beautiful part of our lives heaped with so much secrecy, hiding, and shame? Honestly, why is it okay to show violence in all of its gory detail, but showing intimate pleasure gets an X-rating and general social disapproval? Shouldn’t it be the other way around? Our concept of obscenity is itself obscene, not to mention immensely harmful.

One day, years ago, my friend and I were commenting back and forth on Facebook (so basically having a public conversation) about National Masturbation Month. I don’t remember what we were saying, but I was laughing out loud so hard and frequently that my (then) husband came to find out what was so funny. When I read the conversation out loud to him, he blanched, absolutely horrified. “But our friends will see that,” he whined aghast, demanding that I delete it all immediately. The fun and hilarity and unbounded joy came to a sudden stop as buckets of shame were thrown on our pleasure fire.

One of the things I cherish the most about being single is having the freedom to live my life on my own terms – to be able to say what I want to say without censoring myself for what might make a partner feel embarrassed or ashamed, and to make my own choices without someone else’s undue influence/judgment on how I get to spend my time and/or create my life. Yes, I have my own internal censor that I have to deal with, but that’s something I can work on and make my own choices about. And I mean, yeah, I’m sure other people judge me, but it’s not the same as someone you’re living with and “in love” with judging you, pulling their “love” away – and besides, almost half of this country voted for Trump, so if I were hard-pressed before to care about what other people think, now it’s come down to how could I possibly give a shit what they think? Seriously.

You want to talk about obscene? Let’s talk about this country pulling babies and little children out of their parents’ arms – kidnapping them with no way/intention of reuniting these little ones with their families. It is incomprehensible in the magnitude of its cruelty and depravity. There is seemingly no end to the atrocities committed by this current administration. Hundreds of thousands of people dead, millions of people infected, hatred, racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia all fomented – and we go on living our lives as if our country weren’t (literally) on fire. Before I digress further down this rabbit hole, allow me to return to the topic at hand.

Let’s talk about sex. Let’s talk about sexual power. Let’s talk about sexual pleasure. Let’s talk about pleasure in general. Let’s talk about new ways of being – in our sexuality, in our relationships, in the choices we are able to make in our lives. Let’s talk about how to create safe space for everyone to live their authentic, joyful, happy lives. Let’s talk about safe space for healing, for personal and/or spiritual growth, and for honoring ourselves and the pain and shame we have all experienced. Let’s talk about respect for all bodies, for diversity, for our own uniqueness. Let’s talk about how society (government, churches, schools, media, etc.) tries to control us through shame and ignorance – and how we are complicit accomplices in accepting and spreading shame, particularly sexual shame.

Not me? Have you ever called another woman a slut or some other derogatory name for how she dressed or behaved? You. Have you ever gossiped about the relationship choices someone else made? You. Have you ever criticized another woman’s body (even if just in your own mind)? You. Have you ever criticized your own body? Hidden parts of you that you were taught to believe were embarrassing? Body parts, thoughts, feelings, desires, pleasures? How about anger, disappointment, depression, sadness, or anything that made you feel at all vulnerable and/or imperfect? We are all complicit in this stranglehold that limits our own life force – not because we necessarily want it or choose it, but because we allow it.

Stepping out of shame is literally a step toward healing ourselves and the world. Consciously thinking and talking with others about how our values are formed, about what it true and what is just harmful social programming, is essential toward not only our own healing, but also healing many of the social ills which plague us today. Actually, which have plagued us for many centuries as humanity has endured “dominator” political and religious systems (as Riane Eisler calls them). We desperately need to move toward partnership systems, where people are respected, valued, and embraced rather than controlled, shamed, and discarded. By the way, Eisler’s book Sacred Pleasure is a must-read. This woman is beyond brilliant. She has a new book out called Nurturing Our Humanity. I can’t wait to read it!

I desperately want women to realize that sexual shame, body shame, lifestyle choice shame – all of the shame that society tries so hard to serve us, to keep us buried in – is how they take our power away. It is time – and it is necessary – for us to refuse shame and to take our power back. There is actually nothing shameful, embarrassing, or obscene in sexuality or in our natural bodies and desires. Those feelings have been taught to us – we can unlearn them and teach ourselves and each other something better, something more honoring and sacred.

I continue this conversation in my book, The Sexuality Reclamation Project for Women. It contains some of my thoughts on a variety of related topics. It’s just the beginning of the conversation. I’m not asking anyone to agree with my viewpoints or perspectives. I’m simply asking you to deeply consider what is true for you. If there were no fear or shame, who would you be, how would you feel/act, what choices would you make? If you were safe, how would you express yourself? What relationship/s would you have? What relationship/s would you end? If you were centered in your own power, how would your life look? There is a companion workbook that invites you to consider questions like this and more. There is a journal that invites you to assess your current relationship/s. Are there red flags? Are they about you, the other person, or the relationship dynamics? What do you want to do about them?

Let’s think about these things and keep these important conversations going! Let’s make it safe for each other to allow our authentic selves to rise and be expressed. It is essential to creating a better world and to healing ourselves and the planet. Feel free to comment below.

It’s Not All “Love and Light”

This spiritual/human journey isn’t all joy, happiness, faith, and miracles. It isn’t all positivity and “manifesting” every good thing you dream of. It is not all peace and zen, “love and light.” It certainly isn’t all “The Secret” or “The Law of Attraction” and holding positive feelings and intentions. Have you noticed? I’m trying hard to not use profanity here, but I want to acknowledge in the most clear and real way possible, that sometimes it just f-ing sucks!

The spiritual/human journey is more like an amusement park. There’s the “Sit and Spin” where you seem to be going around in meaningless, dizzying circles. There’s the roller coaster, where you have your ups and downs, sometimes violently jerking you around – just when you think you’re riding high, you go plunging terrifyingly toward the ground. Something inside of you trusts that you won’t actually hit the ground, but there are still moments where you feel your heart in your throat and an adrenaline rush that can floor you.

There are the funhouse mirrors where you and everyone and everything look distorted and you can’t quite get your bearings or your focus. It’s not fun when your perspective feels like it’s slipped and you feel completely disoriented. There’s the spiral ride, where you keep spiraling up, going through the same issues at increasingly high levels. There’s the drop tower where you go all the way up … you’re riding high, peacefully enjoying the view … then the bottom falls out and you go plunging down and there’s nothing you can do but hang on and hope/pray you survive.

There’s the carnival food that seems fun, but leaves you feeling queasy. You get the picture – digesting the experiences of life doesn’t always feel good, no matter how much we meditate or pray or try to bypass our experiences with spiritual principles. Sometimes human life is just painful, no matter what we try to do to alleviate that pain – no matter what crystals we hold, or Tarot/Oracle cards we pull, or spiritual circles we have supporting us. Sometimes we simply have to face the “dark night of the Soul” – and just be in it without any defenses or comfort. Sometimes it’s a series of small/medium challenges, the cumulative effect of which can feel overbearing, causing us to feel like we can’t catch a break and things will never get better.

And yes, there is always something to be grateful for. And yes, sometimes gratitude can pull us out of these dark places. Sometimes, though, it feels like we’re climbing up a slippery slide – and there’s never a place to rest. If we stop carefully hanging on, we’ll slide right back down into the mess … and it’s exhausting always trying to hang on. Do you know that feeling? You just want to be able to find some stable ground where you can lie down and rest? Just to catch your breath. Just to have some peace and quiet – to get off the rides for a minute, to stop feeling like you have to struggle and fight all of the time. You know that feeling?

I did this guided gratitude meditation the other day – and when I pressed the “gratitude button” deep in my “heart sanctuary,” I was surprised at the flood of images that came to me. It wasn’t all love and light. It wasn’t just the happy moments and my favorite people. There were scenes of a whole spectrum of feelings, from joy to pleasure to grief to fear to love. There were people I love, yes, but also people who have harmed me, betrayed me, and whom I thought I had shut out of my heart. But right there in my heart space, in my gratitude space, were all of the people and experiences that had shaped my life (in what I would call “good” and “bad” ways) – and there was an ineffable sense of peace and love about it all. It was a beautiful experience.

I am not miraculously healed from my feelings about the people and things that have caused me pain. I have gained some insight and been able to see the beauty of it all, to connect with a river of peace and knowing deep inside of me. I am able to bring some more gentleness and compassion back with me to apply into my life. I can intellectually understand that everything has its own beauty and purpose and that everything works out in Divine Right Order and Timing. That doesn’t necessarily translate into me feeling any better about my past or current struggles, pain, and disappointment. It doesn’t exactly alleviate my fears or allay the desperate urges that wash over me to just give up, just let go. Sometimes all I can do is keep breathing and wait for the feelings to pass. That doesn’t, by the way, mean that I’m “failing” at spirituality. If you’re struggling, it doesn’t mean you’re failing. It just means you’re normal. And human.

I love “love and light,” don’t get me wrong. I find great comfort and pleasure in spiritual connection, in meditation, in various forms of inspiration. I enjoy communing with my Angels and Spirit Guides. I treasure my crystals and candles, Oracle cards and essential oils. Being out in Nature fills me. Sometimes I am filled to overflowing with the gratitude of just Be-ing. Sometimes my heart feels so expansive in love of life. Yes, yes, yes (!!!) to all of that! YES! In this moment, I am looking out my window at a beautiful sky filled with puffy white clouds that feel joyous and uplifting and peaceful to me. When I’m done writing, I’m just going to sit watching the clouds for a little while, feeling immersed in the serenity that provides for me. AND …

The view out of my window this morning.

Even though I’m feeling this moment of wonder, peace, and tranquility – this sense of “All is well with my Soul” – I’m also still feeling some angst, agitation, and a despair that I can’t even put into words. I’m feeling hopeful, excited, guided and protected – and also sad, tired, and very alone. Even as I say that, I have an awareness that I’m not alone – that I have circles of friends and loved ones connected by love – and a whole team of Angels and Guides and my Soul Council, who love me unconditionally. I know that love. I feel that love. And, I still have plenty of moments where I feel disconnected, alone and separate.

I think that for many, there’s an expectation of all being “love and light” – the belief system that if we just visualize and feel and believe in the “right” ways – if we are just “good enough” at our spiritual practices, then we will “manifest” only/all good things in our lives. And that, my friends, is dangerous bull-hockey. There isn’t light without the dark. There isn’t happiness without sadness. And there are no guarantees in this life. Sometimes Life has lessons for us that we need to learn – and that we cannot wave a magic wand and dismiss ourselves from that life lesson, no matter how ardently we try. Sometimes no matter how much good we do in the world, Life still knocks us down. I suppose there’s a reason for that, a purpose. It still feels like hell, though, doesn’t it?

Sometimes we do everything “right” – and we still can’t manifest a Soul Mate or a job to save our lives (welcome to my current life). It can be super-frustrating. We can rail against God/Goddess/The Universe/Life (whatever you want to call the Higher Power/organizing Force of the Universe). We can scream into the abyss. We can angrily demand a divorce from our Angels, who clearly aren’t doing their job (!!!). None of this makes a difference. Life still goes on, indifferent to our tumult of emotions and existential crises. Our Angels keep loving us and looking out for us, no matter our temper tantrums and lack of appreciation.

We have moments of spiritual awareness and connection. We have moments of bliss and joy. We have times where we notice signs and synchronicities and feel guided and held. And we have times where we feel alone and abandoned, disillusioned and in despair. It’s ALL part of the spiritual/human journey. Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re doing it “wrong.” Your journey is your journey. It will have its ups and downs. Give yourself lots of grace and compassion. This living isn’t easy! Ask for help when you need it. Be willing to reach out, to give and to receive. Notice that last part – and to receive. So many people think that the spiritual journey is just about giving – that to be “good” we have to sacrifice our selves. NO. It’s about balance. It’s about honoring our selves and loving our selves and each other the best we can in each moment (and sometimes our best totally sucks! – it’s okay!). Sometimes life is joyous and sometimes it’s f-ing hard. Yes, sometimes it is love and light. But sometimes it’s shadow and darkness and despair. Just hang on, hang in there the best you can. The wheel is always turning. You can’t see from here what new joys await ahead.

Answering The Call Of Spirit

I’ve got a lot going on right now! I’ve just published my book series, I’ve been continuing work on my spiritual development (a lifelong journey, of course) with a fantastic metaphysical/spiritual group called Awkwardly Zen, and now I’m being guided by my Soul Council to do more intuitive readings!

To that end, I am offering a great special during this holiday season!

If you read my blog, you know that I have intuitive and healing gifts that I’ve been working with for over 25 years. I love helping people and I am happy to share these gifts with you! From this Friday (11/27/2020) through Christmas Day (Advent Season!), I am offering a half hour reading/healing on Zoom for just $20 (that’s a $45 savings!).

To book an appointment with me, please email me at psychickath@gmail.com. Include your name, phone number, and 2-3 days/times that would be best for you. (Example: Monday or Thursday, 12/7 or 10, from 3-5 pm). I’ll get back to you within 24 hours with an appointment time.

I try to keep my hours between 10 am and 5 pm (MT), but if you need evenings, that is okay too. We’ll figure it out! I’ll be doing 3 readings a day every day Friday through Christmas day, first come, first served, so please contact me soon!
To see what is available, check out my website: https://psychickathsenergyhealingreadings.com/.

Also! If $20 is a stretch right now, but you would like a reading – please let me know! I’m happy to do it for free while appointments are available! I understand – I am right there with you! I’m happy to help in any way I can!

What do you need to know? What messages are waiting for you? Book an appointment with me and find out!

Following My Soul’s Calling

I have just published a 3 book series that will be growing in time. It is called The Sexuality Reclamation Project for Women – and as I look back upon my life, I can see that everything in my life has been leading me to this work. There is an intricate web of people, places, situations, and circumstances that have all brought me to this point: my soul’s calling.

I originally wrote the initial book 20 years ago when I was in Energy Healing school, shortly after my first divorce. I was supposed to be writing a thesis and I was so inspired with what I was writing that it got way out of control and turned into a book.

I was afraid to even try to publish it at the time, since I had a young child at home and the book was about sexuality – and that combination scared me, particularly since some of my ideas/philosophies are unconventional, and custody issues seemed potentially at risk – a risk I was not willing to take. I did, bravely, write a workshop based on the book and presented it at a NAAFA convention. After that, I put the book in my closet (literally and figuratively) and there it sat until the pandemic.

A few weeks ago, I pulled out the workshop notes – and as I flipped through them, I thought, OMG!!! This would have helped me SOOOO much over these past 20 years if I’d just remembered these concepts and listened to my own advice! How could I have forgotten all of this?!?

I pulled out the book and reading through, decided to edit it and update it a little (although most of it is still totally relevant to today). I took the workshop notes and wrote a workbook to go along with the book, so that people could write their own thoughts and do their own explorations. (The workbook can stand on its own – and if you only get one, get that one!)

I’ve had many signs and amazing synchronicities along the way that this is the right path for me. Honestly, I’ve always known this was my path and my purpose – it’s just taken until now for me to be ready to fully step into it. I feel like my whole life has led straight to this moment – and I’m really excited to share this with the world and keep moving forward on this path.

These books are for you if you:
*have ever felt shame about your body and/or your sexuality
*have ever struggled with body image issues
*have ever felt “wronged” for your relationship and/or your relationship choices and/or your sexuality
*have ever sought intimacy in ways that were damaging and painful to yourself and/or others
*have ever felt unworthy of love, sex, intimacy, respect, consideration, etc.
*have ever struggled with boundaries – or felt like you lost your Self when you were in a relationship
*have ever been confused about what you want in life, love, sex, and/or relationship/s
*have lost connection with your own voice, your power, your inner spirit – and are ready to reclaim all of who you are – personally, sexually, and in relationship
*want to live your life more at choice and able to be more authentically you

My books don’t give you answers – because your own answers are within you. They tell stories, share ideas, feelings, and questions – and ask you to look at and consider what is true for you. My goal is to create safe space so that you feel empowered and able to step more fully into your own authenticity and truth. I want you to celebrate your Self and create your own happy, fulfilling life! What is your soul calling for you?

The books are available now both on Kindle or in paperback. I recommend paperback for the workbook so that you can write directly into it – it’s definitely interactive! If this interests you, please check it out – and share it with any women you know who might benefit from this!

These past few months, I’d been lamenting being unable to find a job. All of those closed doors make sense now – they gave me the time to do this. I’m now grateful for this opportunity to follow my soul’s path. It feels amazing how many things have lined up since I committed to this in the past few weeks. They say that when you make a choice, the Universe steps up to help you along your way. I have certainly felt that! I’m feeling in the Divine Flow right now, looking forward to seeing where my path will lead. I hope maybe my work will help you to find your path, your truth, your best life.

Please share and feel free to contact me in the comments below or via the contact page on my website.

When the Universe is Talking to You … Are You Listening?

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not always listening. I’m busy, I’m distracted, I’m dealing with things. I forget to tune in, to turn to Guidance. I feel abandoned and like I have to handle everything on my own. I worry what will become of me and my life. Or – in good times – I feel like I’ve got things figured out and have this handled, don’t need any help. Yeah, that never lasts for very long. LOL There’s always some sort of reminder to pay attention and to reconnect with the Divine.

Sometimes those reminders are quiet, gentle, friendly nudges – easy to overlook. Hey, remember Me? Hey, notice this! When I fail to notice, the reminders get louder. Sometimes the reminders get so loud that I find myself in huge life crises, with no choice but to turn to the Divine. For example, when I fell and broke both of my arms, the Universe had my complete attention – and I received some very important messages and insights into my life and the people in my life. I’d rather have learned those lessons in an easier way, but I wasn’t allowing myself to see what was, in hindsight, pretty obvious – so the Universe had to get louder and take more drastic action to get my full attention.

Speaking of obvious, the Universe gave me a huge sign this week – a gentle reminder to pay attention, to stay tuned in to Guidance and Spirit. I do frequently ask the Universe to teach me easy – I don’t want any more hard lessons. This communication was clear – both a wake up call for me, and a welcome reassurance that my life is Divinely guided. Given the precarious life position in which I find myself currently, I am most grateful for this message.

On October 15th of this year, 2020, I accidentally wrote in my gratitude journal “10/15/15.” I laughed at myself and fixed it. Whoa! What was I thinking? When I made the very same mistake in my regular journal, I thought to myself, I need to look at my journal from that date and see what I wrote. Of course, me being me, it took me several days to get to it. I finally got to it yesterday afternoon (10/20/2020). It was an unusually short journal entry that day. This is what it said:

I just wanted to jot down a story from today that probably has a lesson for me. I was at Kroger’s and there was a display that had cucumbers and bell peppers. I could see the price of the cucumbers right there on the front of the display, but I looked everywhere for the price of the peppers – and I couldn’t see it. I stood there, debating what to do – I thought about seeking out a produce person and asking them. I was feeling pretty ticked that they hadn’t posted the price – it seems like they do that fairly often. And as I stood there and fumed – I finally saw the giant sign that I was standing right next to that said the peppers were 4 for $5. The answer was written on a big sign that was right next to me! I’d somehow thought that was another sign for the cucumbers – I think it was the same price. But it makes me wonder – what answer is right in front of me if I were only paying attention? What is so obvious that I’m not seeing? And how can I shift my awareness to see it?

Point taken, I shared the story with a Meetup group last night where we were sharing Tarot and Oracle card readings. But that’s not where the story ends. After the Meetup group, I watched Netflix for a couple of hours on my computer while I scrolled through Twitter on my phone. I was getting tired, so I clicked out of Netflix. My Facebook screen came on and I saw I had some notifications, so I clicked on those … and then I did something that didn’t make sense because I was tired and about to go to bed, definitely had no intention of scrolling through FB – I clicked on “home.”

What I saw at the top of the screen was a FB memory of that very same story from five years ago – complete with a picture that I hadn’t remembered taking. I was a little stunned – in a good way. Now, this FB memory didn’t come up five years from the date of that story – it came up four days later than that, on the same day that I’d finally remembered to look up my journal on that date, found the story, and told my friends about it. What are the chances – from my “accidentally” writing the wrong date (twice! – cause I didn’t get the message the first time) to receiving the message to look at that date to see this story – and then having it come up again like this on FB? I LOVE synchronicity! Thank you, Universe!

The sign in question – honestly, how could I possibly have not seen that?

So now the question is: What does it mean? Are there big, obvious signs in my life that I’m not seeing? Am I failing to pay attention? Am I failing to notice the Guidance that is right there, totally available to me? I’m definitely tuning in because I don’t want the messages to need to get louder. I want to learn as gently, easily, and pain-free as possible! What do I need to know?

I asked this question of my Angels and Guides last night as I went to bed. I asked for a dream or a direct knowing that I would remember when I woke up. Dear Angels and Guides, please talk to me in my dreams tonight. Please show me clearly – tell me what I need to know. Tell me what I’m missing. And help me remember when I wake up. Don’t be ambiguous about it, don’t make me figure it out. Don’t make me feel like an idiot because I’m not seeing the giant sign that’s right next to me. Okay? Please? I wanted a clear message, not symbols that I would have to figure out.

The clear impression and words that I woke up with this morning are that part of it is that the Universe is just letting me know: You are being guided. Stop being afraid. But that’s not all. Here is the rest: You can’t miss what you are meant to see. You can’t miss what you are meant to know. In the right time, in the right way, in the right place – everything you need comes to you. Every message, every sign, every piece of information that you need to move forward – it all comes to you. Your life is Divinely guided. It’s not going to pass you by – you’re not going to miss it. Relax a minute. Relax and just trust that everything you need to know, you will know when you need to know it. Okay?

It’s not going to pass you by – you’re not going to miss it. And if you think back to that story, the piece of that story that you didn’t focus on – is that you did see the sign. Even before you asked for help (thankfully before you asked for help and made a fool of yourself, LOL) – you did see the sign. You didn’t miss it. You missed it for a little bit, but then you saw it and you were there, present with it. And as so, there have been a lot of lessons in your life, Honey, Sweetie – that you have missed them, missed them, missed them – until you clearly saw them – and that’s how life works – is that we don’t clearly see some of the steps until we’re right there and it’s the right time and our vision opens – and then we clearly see what we need to see.

Or like, look at yourself in relationships – you’ve screwed up, you’ve screwed up, you’ve screwed up. Okay? You’ve chosen the wrong men over and over, you’ve let yourself be mistreated, you’ve devalued yourself – all of these signs you didn’t get until – well, you got little pieces along the way, but the whole big, glaring sign? You’re finally putting it together. Hopefully. And, the takeaway remains – that what you need to know does come to you. What you do need to know, you will see. You may feel like you’re struggling as you’re looking for the answers, but even though you struggle for a little bit, the answers are inside of you already. They’re right there already – and when you let yourself see them, you see them. So, let yourself ask, what am I not seeing right now – or what am I resisting seeing right now? And just sit with it or sleep on it and let it come to you.

I am very grateful for these messages. I think that a lot of it comes down to presence – being fully present in the moment, not distracted by the past or future. I’m even more resolved to treat each moment of the day as a living meditation – as much as I possibly can, to hold an awareness of my spiritual connection in this life. I’m inspired to check in more frequently with my Angels and Guides and intuition. Another synchronicity – as I’m writing, an email notification from Pinterest flashes across the top of my screen that says “Angels, Doreen Virtue and more ideas you’ve been looking for” – and I notice that at the exact time I’m affirming my awareness of my Angels – indeed as I am literally writing the word “Angels”, I get this confirming message. Notice, notice, notice. And, yes, I will be pulling out my Doreen Virtue Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards to see what message they have for me.

I am aware that there are signs that I’m still not seeing and awarenesses that I’m still not completely (or at all) grasping at the moment – but I know that the Universe is still continually communicating with me and that I will see what I need to see and know what I need to know when the time is right. I am grateful for this reassurance that I am Divinely guided and that what is meant for me will not pass me by. The right doors will open, the right people will be there for me, and everything will unfold as it is meant to be. The signs are big and little, sometimes glaring and sometimes super subtle. My “r/R” has started sticking on my computer. Even that, I think is a message for me. It’s taken me a couple of weeks to figure it out, but I think I just realized what it is. Now I have to figure out what I’m supposed to do about it. It really is a fun adventure, this mystery of life.

The Universe is always talking to us – through signs and symbols, both literal and figurative – through songs, song lyrics, memories, overheard bits of conversations, interactions with other people, articles and books and movies that catch our attention, traffic jams … and countless other synchronicities. Are you paying attention? Does it strike you that maybe the message I received was also a message for you? There is something here for you – or you wouldn’t have read this far, don’t you think? I think so. And I invite you to open your awareness and start listening more closely to the myriad ways that Life is constantly communicating with you.

So, what has the Universe been saying to you – are you listening and are you able to figure out the messages? Feel free to share any stories – big or small, recent or historical – or any thoughts about this topic in the comments below. Also, if you’d like some help figuring it out, I do psychic/intuitive readings online and I’d be happy to consult with you. Just leave me a message and we’ll set up an appointment. Whether you contact me or not, best wishes on this magical journey of life! Namaste.

The Healing Power of Embracing Imperfection

I am currently editing a workbook that I wrote 20 years ago. I’m hoping to self-publish it this November. It’s just been sitting in my closet (and on my computer) all of these years. Twenty years later, as I re-read my own words, I think about how much it would have helped me over the years to have re-visited these words and concepts on a regular basis. I’m also thinking about how many other women this workbook could have helped – and how I’ve denied them that possibility by not bringing it out into the world. I wasn’t sure it was “good enough.” I was sure it wasn’t perfect. But, you know what? Virtually nothing is – and it doesn’t have to be! WE don’t have to be! Perfection is not required!

This workbook came about as a result of a failed marriage, my first. During that marriage, I felt like I had lost my sense of Self. In trying to be the “perfect” wife, I had lost my own identity. Our greatest learning comes from our greatest mistakes – and I had learned a lot of hard lessons. I wrote a 400 page book about it, then condensed that down into a workbook of lessons to take away – and questions to ask – in order to explore what I really want in my life, what my priorities are, and who I truly am outside of who I’ve been programmed to think I’m supposed to be by my family, church, schools, society, media, etc.

I’m thinking about the concept of the path of the Wounded Healer, which I’ll be writing more about in a future blog post. The trials, tribulations, and pain that we go through can teach us lessons that we can use to help others and ourselves. They can make us stronger. Yes, fallible. Yes, imperfect. Yes, human. But the reality is that we are all human. Perfection doesn’t exist – and our insistence on striving for it and negating ourselves unless we achieve it – is harmful. Our ability to move forward despite our imperfections, our willingness to embrace our imperfections, and our determination to live our full lives and share our imperfect gifts – are all steps toward healing. Allowing ourselves to be imperfect is a step toward healing.

I know a significant amount of information regarding how to have unsatisfying – even abusive – relationships … and also, how to not repeat those same mistakes. I know how to choose the wrong partners. I know how to put their needs above my own and not speak up for myself (which is not a strategy that I recommend!). I know how to betray my own interests and Self (also not recommended!). I could go on, but you get the picture. The thing is, because of these hard lessons, I can relate to people who are facing these issues. There was a time when I couldn’t imagine allowing a man to mistreat me. I wondered, Why on earth would these women put up with that? – until I was in that situation and then watched myself in some disbelief feeling and acting in ways that had previously been incomprehensible to me. I also learned how to heal myself from the many poor, harmful choices I made – and that is one of the gifts that I bring to the world.

Obviously, I still don’t have all of the answers. I’m not perfect. My message isn’t perfect – but it’s still worthwhile and helpful – and, for a lot of women, relatable. I could be wrong, but I believe that more women than not give their power away in relationships. I believe that many women lose their sense of Self in relationships. I believe that many women (and men) are unhappy with the sexual aspect of their relationships (obviously, with the infidelity rates being what they are). I believe that good communication and clarity about who we are, what we want, need, desire, and value would be helpful. I’m working on that in my own life.

I’m learning to (still) be willing to make mistakes (at my age, LOL – we’re never too old to make mistakes!). I’m learning to be willing to speak up even if I say the “wrong” thing. I’m trying. I’m doing my best. I’m learning as I go – that never stops, does it? I think that in a healthy human being, we are always learning and growing – if we stop, we stagnate. I’m learning to give myself space – to allow myself to just be, to rest, to do what I need to do to take care of myself in each moment. I’m creating space for me to live and breathe and explore and play and laugh – rather than be bound by social expectations and the unbearable seriousness of life. As long as I can remember, I’ve felt the need to create and hold space for myself and others to be our authentic selves. I’ve always felt an inner rebellion against conformity and the expectations of perfection (which has not protected me or prevented me from falling into these traps on occasion).

I can help people who are going through what I’ve been through – at the very least, I can offer empathy and compassion. I can share what helped me. I don’t have to have reached a perfect level of healing, either, in order to be helpful. That’s another trap people fall into – thinking we’re not an “expert” until we’ve completely mastered something or gotten it perfect. That is false. Nobody ever truly masters anything – there’s always room for improvement. Even doctors “practice” medicine – and we put our lives in their hands. We can’t hold our gifts back from the world until we reach an impossible level of perfection – we owe it to ourselves and to the world to share our gifts now. Yes, some professions require a certain level of competence – we don’t want to hurt anyone, so we get the requisite training. But for everything else, what’s holding us back? And why are we letting it?

Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

Ten Energy Drains & Ten Energy Boosts

Do you notice when something – or someone – drains your energy? Are you aware of how your energy cycles throughout your day? Do you understand sudden fatigue as resistance to something you don’t want to do? Do you know how to protect your energy?

Let’s look at some of the things that can drain your energy:

1) Saying “no” when you want to say “yes” – or saying “yes” when you want to say no.

We’ve all been there, right? Whether out of politeness, embarrassment, people pleasing, duty, not wanting to disappoint, fear, or some other reason – we don’t speak our truth in the moment. When we aren’t true to our own desires, it can suck our energy right out of us! Rather than rushing an answer, allow yourself to take a moment, tune in, and see what you truly want. Then you are able to choose what is most beneficial for your life and energy – and say what you need to say. Importantly, if you fail to give yourself the necessary time/space in the first place, don’t be afraid to go back and speak up and change your mind. It’s your life and your energy – you get to choose to take care of yourself!

2) Certain people/conversations that don’t vibe with you.


Do you ever get off the phone with someone and feel completely drained? Or notice yourself feeling fatigued every time you’re with a certain person or group? Pay attention! Your body has important information for you! Listen for the message there – and then choose to set healthy boundaries. That may mean avoiding some topics of conversation … or it may mean avoiding certain people altogether. For myself, I notice my energy flag when I’m in large groups of people. So, I take extra care of myself if I’m in that sort of situation – and avoid large crowds when I can.

3) Certain foods that make you feel sluggish (not always a bad thing).


Sometimes it feels good to feel satisfied and a little sleepy after a meal … but not right before an important meeting where you need to think clearly! Or not when you have a busy day ahead and you need your energy! It’s helpful to pay attention to how you feel after you eat certain foods – and since everyone is unique, nobody but you can give you accurate feedback. Just notice – and make adjustments accordingly. Save some foods for when you can just relax and enjoy.

4) Expectations that feel uncomfortable for you.


Ugh! Sometimes other people’s expectations of us can make us want to build a blanket fort and hide – amirite? “Should” is one of the most damaging words in the English language. This is where healthy boundaries are essential. You can choose not to let other people’s expectations suck the life out of you. You have the right to live your own life on your own terms – you know, as long as you aren’t harming anyone else. It is arguable that not allowing other people space to be themselves is harmful. Create that safe space for yourself too.

5) Stress.


Ah, stress. It’s everywhere, right? Stress is a huge energy drain. It’s worth looking at ways to reduce stress in your life – and ways to handle/cope with the stress that is inevitable. I find it helpful to ask if the things that are stressing me out are actually important to me – or if I’m just falling into thought patterns that have been socialized into me. With some frequency, the reality is that I don’t really care about whatever it was that I was getting so worked up about. Another helpful thing I do is focus on the present moment – usually my stress isn’t here in this moment. (Thank you, Eckhart Tolle and Michael Singer for this insight!) Some people benefit from meditation. Some people benefit from long walks. Find what works for you and do it!

6) Worry.


How much of our energy do we burn up worrying about things that are out of our control? I’ve been a world-class worrier in my life. I was afraid that if I didn’t worry, if I wasn’t thinking of every possible contingency, then tragedy could strike. The problem is that it is impossible to think of every possible contingency – and that life is going to happen how it happens anyway, no matter how much we try to control it. I learned this when I fell while walking (not normally considered a risky behavior) and broke both arms at the same time! I could not have seen that coming or prevented it! We need to learn to let go of our worry – it is not protecting us! On the contrary, it is draining our life force as well as our joy and pleasure in life.

7) Feeling pressure to …


Nobody I’ve ever met likes feeling pressured about anything – not even fun stuff. In fact, feeling pressured takes the fun out of pretty much everything. It’s important that we choose to do things out of our own desire and pleasure rather than feeling compelled to do them in order to make someone else happy or to meet an obligation. In fact, sometimes feeling pressure to do something makes us feel resistant to doing something we’d otherwise actually enjoy and want to do! If you’re feeling pressure, maybe just take a look at how you’re feeling under there – and honor whatever it is you are feeling. That will most likely involve some communication – it’s worth the effort!

8) Hurry. Feeling like you have to hurry/rush.


So many of us rush through our days, from one thing to the next with barely time to catch our breath. I learned a long time ago to not over-schedule myself. I can’t do it! I know my energy limits – and honestly, I’d rather err on the side of being over-protective of my energy than trying to do too much and feeling overwhelmed. I know when I’m over-committed because I get irresistible urges to nap. It just knocks me right out. It’s okay to say “no” to people and opportunities – even fun! – to take care of your well-being.

9) Hunger.


Our bodies run on fuel. When we fail to feed them adequately, our energy gets depleted. This isn’t rocket science. Most people can’t think clearly, can’t function as well, and don’t feel energetic when we are hungry. I’ve known a few people who’ve gotten all excited with how energetic they felt if they skipped a meal. Meh. I don’t think that’s true for most people. Hunger makes me tired, cranky, irritable, and unable to function. I know I’m not alone in that.

10) Holding yourself back from what you want – that is exhausting
.

How much energy do you expend not allowing yourself to say or do what you would like to say or do? How much energy does it take to keep your social mask in place? To be polite when you’d like to scream? To keep control of yourself and hold back when you’d like to dance in the street or ask for a hug or ask for help? We spend so much time and effort managing our emotions and protecting our egos from the embarrassment of being human and the shame of needing things. That uses up so much of our energy. What if we were to choose to live authentically? To stop caring so damn much what other people think? Let your body move! Let your voice be heard! Ask for what you need or want. Let yourself be human!

Now, let’s look at some things that can protect and even boost your energy:


1) Laughter.

Smile – all the way to your eyes. Did you feel that? Did it shift your energy? They say that a smile changes your mood. That’s even more true of laughter. There’s a reason that “laughter is the best medicine” is an adage that’s been passed down through generations. Reader’s Digest is not the only one who’s noticed! Laughter gets the happiness hormones circulating – and that gives us energy. Have you ever done a laughing meditation? You don’t even have to have anything funny to laugh at – you just start the physical motion of laughing and keep it going. Soon, real laughter takes over – and it’s very energizing! Try it! Share it! It’s really fun when done in a group!

2) Doing what you want to do, saying what you want to say.


There is so much power, freedom, and energy in living authentically. When you aren’t carefully editing every single word you say, your energy doesn’t get blocked. You just flow. Can you imagine a quiet mind? Like, not having conversations in your mind in preparation of how you’ll handle some conversation/issue or how you wish you would have? If you just speak your truth in the moment, you don’t have to worry about it. When you allow your life force to guide you and you don’t block it, the amount of energy that frees up can be amazing. Have you ever spent hours doing something you love – and you didn’t even realize how much time had passed and you never got the least bit tired? Maybe spend more time like that!

3) Food that fuels you.


Food is nourishment. Food is also pleasure – which is often tied to fun and connection. Food fuels us in multiple ways – not just nutrition. Food gives us energy, not just through calories and nutrients, but through pleasure. Yes, it’s ideal to get your fruits and veggies and proteins – to have a balanced diet. I believe it’s also ideal to enjoy your food, whether you are alone or are enjoying meals together with loved ones, friends, or community. Pleasure gives us energy.

4) Enough rest.


It is helpful to know how much sleep you personally need – and honor that. Some people need more sleep than others. That’s okay and nothing to be ashamed about. There are no actual rewards for sleeping less, even though some people act like there should be. Ignore them. Sleep is healing and restorative. Naps are heaven. Take what you need to feel your best. Yes, sleeping too much can drain your energy, but that’s not the issue for most people. Find your sweet spot and listen to your body’s cues.

5) Emotional, physical, mental, spiritual support and connection. Love
.

You know the feeling when you’re excited to see someone? Or when you’re excited to go somewhere? For me, that excitement usually stems from feeling like I’m going to be feeling emotional, physical, mental, and/or spiritual connection – and it gives me energy. I’m excited to spend time with people that I love – or to meet new people with whom I may form connections. Interesting conversations feed my mind. Hugs and physical affection or shared activities (like walking, dancing, biking, swimming) feed my body. Laughter and a sense of belonging feed my emotions. Deep, authentic conversations feed my spirit. Being loved makes my energy feel expansive. What feeds your energy body? In what ways do your connections and activities make you feel more alive?

6) Self-care – baths, massages, Reiki, journaling – whatever makes you feel most

relaxed and alive.

So what do you do to recharge your batteries? In what ways do you nurture and care for yourself? I know I feel better when I do Reiki self-treatments and yoga regularly. Hopping on my bike is a guaranteed mood-booster. Playing music and dancing is essential to my well-being. I love a good massage (that’s one of the things I’m really missing during the pandemic!). Writing in my journal is my major coping tool. And water – whether it’s a bath or a hot shower, a pool or a lake – water heals me, relaxes me, allows me to recharge.

7) Gratitude. 


Don’t underestimate the power of gratitude! When I am consciously grateful for people and things in my life, my energy lifts. Focusing on who/what we are grateful for in our lives reduces stress. The more gratitude we feel, the less stress we feel – it puts us in a different emotional bandwidth. I’m not saying that it makes all of our problems/challenges disappear – but it may make the load lighter. When we put our focus on gratitude, our energy expands. Try it!

8) Hope, inspiration, purpose.


There is nothing like a sense of purpose to lift our energy! When we are inspired and hopeful, that’s like rocket fuel for our energy levels. What gives you inspiration and hope? What do you deeply care about? What would you like to create in the world – or enjoy in the world? If money were no object and there were no obstacles, what would you do? Let yourself try on that feeling – and watch how your energy rises. They say that if you can dream it, you can achieve it. In what ways can you move toward your dreams and desires? Sometimes offering others hope and inspiration can fill us up in ways we couldn’t have imagined. What can you offer your loved ones, your friends, your community?

9) Enjoyable exercise, preferably out in nature … because sunshine and trees and a nice breeze …. 


Getting our hearts pumping can help us gain energy. A lot of the time, people think that exercising takes up too much time and energy. Not true! Most people feel better and are more productive after exercising, getting more accomplished in less time. I make it simple for myself by only exercising in ways that I enjoy. I wouldn’t choose to do anything I found boring or unpleasant – not even for a “good” cause. So, in what ways do you enjoy moving? Do you like being out in nature – or do you prefer being inside? I love to ride my bike outside, feeling the wind and sun on my body, breathing the fresh air. It gives me a happiness quotient that I find helpful for my energy body. I believe that part of the benefits of exercise derive from the pleasure of moving our bodies and being physically present in our bodies – so make sure to do something you enjoy!

10) Fun, play, doing things you truly enjoy
.

When was the last time you allowed yourself to be silly? Do you remember fun? Play? Adults can get so caught up in survival mode, busy working and being serious – that we forget how to simply relax and have fun (or use over-indulgence in alcohol as a poor substitute). What did you enjoy playing as a child? Do you like board games? Video games? Drawing or painting? I remember we used to play practical jokes on each other with some frequency. Just the thought makes me feel giddy. LOL What makes you feel alive? Do you like to play catch? Four square? Golf? Tennis? Basketball? It’s worth making time to play! Don’t take yourself too seriously or that ruins the fun! Pre-pandemic, I loved to go out dancing and singing karaoke. The key is to be willing to be silly and just have fun! Maybe there’s something you’d like to learn to do. What are you waiting for? If you enjoy it, it’s giving you energy! Go for it!

Please feel free to share in the comments below the things that you’ve noticed drain your energy – and/or the things that lift your energy. If you would like some coaching on how to live more authentically and boost/protect your energy, feel free to hit “Home” at the bottom of the page and contact me!

Energy Clues

Have you ever been getting ready to go somewhere or do something … and then suddenly, you feel like you desperately want to take a nap? It may even have been something you were looking forward to immensely, but your energy somehow feels zapped, like your battery is almost dead?

Have you ever been dead tired, couldn’t even keep your eyes open … and then you get a phone call that suddenly has you wide awake, energized, and excited to go out?

Do you pay attention to what your energy is doing throughout the day and night? Do you ever notice the subtle shifts of energy that are happening all day long? Do you notice the big shifts? Or do you just push through it all and do what you feel needs to be done?

Do you notice how you feel after spending time with certain people? If you pay attention, you’ll notice that some people drain your energy … and some people leave you feeling uplifted, inspired, and energized. You might want to pay attention to these energy clues and make decisions about with whom you spend your time accordingly!

Your body is always communicating with you. The question is: are you listening? Unfortunately, if we don’t pay attention to the smaller clues, like subtle energy shifts, then the body may start getting louder, with increasing fatigue, pain and dysfunction.

So, for example, when you eat something, notice how you feel afterward – has it energized you or made you long for a nap? Which, naps are good, don’t get me wrong! And sometimes a comfort meal that makes us sleepy is just the ticket, right? But awareness is good too. Maybe we have a presentation to give that we want to be energized for. It would be helpful to eat something that fuels us rather than slows us down in that case.

Something I couldn’t figure out for the longest time is why I’d feel so tired when I was in a theatre watching a very enjoyable play. I’d have the thought/awareness that this play was incredibly fun/moving/well-done – I was loving it! – and at the same time, I was having the feeling that I couldn’t wait for it to end so that I could go home and sleep. What I finally came to understand is that, being very empathic, being in a large crowd is draining for me. I frequently get tired when there are a lot of people around, no matter how much fun I’m having.

It’s not just large crowds in person, either! I was noticing that every time I got on a Zoom call with a big group of people, I’d start nodding off. It didn’t matter how interested I was in the topic or the people, I’d feel my eyes shutting themselves! Then a friend pointed out that I was probably absorbing everyone’s energy and it was overloading me, basically blowing my circuit. I started being more aware of the energy and consciously shielding myself – and that helped a lot!

Here are 3 quick ways to begin to take intuitive clues from your energy:

1) Notice when you feel tired. Did it come on suddenly? Were you getting tired a few minutes before – or did it just hit you? Do you have reasons to be tired – or is it hitting you unexpectedly? Have you just spent time with someone or talked to them on the phone? Do you regularly feel tired after being/talking with this person? Think about the circumstances around your fatigue. Did you just eat something that makes you sleepy? Were you in a situation that drains your energy (like me at a play)?

2) Notice when you feel energized. Who/what makes you feel like you are lit up with energy and excitement? Or even what makes you feel quietly motivated and energized? What foods make you feel alert and active, ready to play and/or be productive? Who/what fuels you, body, mind, and spirit? What conversations excite you? What music moves you? What purpose gives you life?

3) Follow your energy to the extent that you can. Make choices that charge you up! I know that sometimes there are things we feel obligated to do for work or our families or friends – but there are also times where we get to choose. When I feel myself resisting something by getting tired, I ask myself, what would excite me to do right now? What would give me energy to choose right now? So, for example, if I’m thinking I should be applying for jobs and that has me feeling drained and like I want to take a nap … I think, what would make me feel awake and alert right now? What would I be happier to be doing? Then I think about writing a blog post or reading a book or baking cookies, and decide to do that instead … and my fatigue miraculously disappears! When I go do that for an hour or so, then I can come back and apply for jobs with a better attitude and more energy. And if doing the thing I really want to do doesn’t give me an energy boost, then maybe I just really need a nap!

When we are paying attention, our energy can give us clues to whether something or someone is a “yes” for us or a “no” for us. Another useful tool in our intuitive toolbox.

I hope this has been helpful to you. Paying attention to my energy has certainly helped me to make better choices in my life! I continue to grow in awareness and I am grateful for that. If you’d like help identifying your energy patterns – or if you’d be interested in receiving some Reiki energy or energy healing, please click on “Home” below – and contact me for an appointment. Be blessed!