stoking my heart’s fire

Arifah:

“alohaleya” says it way better than I can….I feel it…and love it…enjoy…

Originally posted on alohaleya:

Fire has been on my mind a lot lately. It’s partly the talk of April’s cosmic intensity, but it’s also the desire to feel my own inner fire. To have it burn so strong and steady that I don’t question myself about anything anymore.

I want my life to be fuelled by that glowing, beautiful fire within. The fire that can be trusted to stir, ignite, heat up…but never harm or burn.

My inner fire is my inner voice. My inner voice is my heart.

'harmony', by the amazing toni carmine salerno.

‘harmony’, by the amazing toni carmine salerno.

For many years, I didn’t trust my heart. Somewhere in childhood, I began to rely quite heavily on my mind, my brain. I was always the smartest in school, and this became my ‘thing’. My brain was consistent. It was my trusty friend, and it wouldn’t let me down. It delivered.

My heart, on the other hand…

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Fragility of Respect

Chaos spurs growth. Well these last few weeks I grew a forest and I’m still here.

In the middle of my own personal implosion and deciding to sort recycling in the kitchen to distract my mind, my boys walked in and dropped a bomb. I stood there holding some piece of plastic, don’t remember now, looking at them in disbelief. I didn’t feel capable right then. I just wanted to ferment in my own sorrow, and run away. That’s the beauty of life, it shows up to pull us beyond ourselves; salvation.

I knew this conversation was coming I just thought it was going to happen in their 20s. In addition, we talked a lot about how we interact and one son was not happy with me. I can be selfish…I have that artist personality. I like my privacy and space. He felt neglected. This was hard to hear but I’m profoundly moved he was able to communicate his feelings. I couldn’t promise to always do better, but I promised to improve.

Having grown up without this freedom in expression I’m so glad that I have it in my home. I feel like I could die peacefully knowing I’ve accomplished this. It’s easy and it’s not easy. I’ve been ridiculed by so many people on how non-parental I am…I shake my head because they just don’t understand what it takes to foster respect. Criticism and judgments are easy.  Asking questions keeps us open and receptive to each other.

Respect is an art.  It’s something you’re constantly working at and it says “I’m thinking about how you feel.”  It’s not a one time thing. In order to have it…there needs to be freedom of expression, and no withholding of emotions. That’s basically blackmail and it’s short lived…I don’t have any relationship that made it through this kind of exchange. 

I don’t have many people I can freely vent with; where I can say those crazy things that fly into my head free of worrying about their judgment. That’s why I don’t share myself with too many. For me, the moment judgment shows up it feels like my energy has hit a concrete wall and I quickly become weary…I just can’t take it.

I think my boys are the same. We’re going to have more conversations around energy interpretation. The thing they are both facing is the natural instinct to suppress their voice…intuition. It’s a tricky time. Being 14, they don’t have the emotional experience to pull from, listening and doing what adults say is natural. Needless to say speaking up is creating internal havoc. As it should. They are learning to be brave.

So what does it take to have freedom in your home?  Here’s what I’ve learned so far…and a lot of it we already know.

Allow. Let the person say “this person is an ass!”…it’s what comes after that’s truly important and not the initial sentence. Patience, and allowing the words to flow as they wish, teaches more of what the issue is than getting sucked into a judgment, a reaction to the initial statement.

Listen. The art of listening involves way more than the ears – it’s multi-sensory. It’s feeling the emotion behind the frustration. If you’re quiet and don’t look for a response they will tell you everything. The moment is about them not you; have to get the ego out of the way.

Heart. These moments are that of the heart. This is where voice needs to come from, intuition needs to speak. The brain, I’ve found is reactive. It is quick to pull from the past to use in the present. I want the moment to shape itself…however it may end up. In order for me to be giving I have to be from my heart.

Explore. To be from exploration means I have no expectations. The moment I think “I need to tell them…”, I’m missing something big and the moment switches back to me. Most often they know the solution, and not giving them an answer. It’s allowing them to find it for themselves.

Support. I use these words with my boys “I’ve got your back and we’re in this together…I can’t speak for you, and I can’t promise it’ll be easy, but I’m here…I’m supporting you and everything I say will be about what YOU want…so tell me what that is.” EVERY time I say these words, I mean EVERY time, their chests inflate, you can see the surge of confidence flow up and through them. Their eyes light up, and I get the quiet male head nod of acknowledgment. I can see they feel capable to face what they need to. That’s powerful!

Ask. I ask them what they want the home to feel like.  How do we want to communicate through an issue: “do you want us to spend 10 hours talking about the same issue or get to it in 1 hour?” Guess what they agree to? This means that we all have to acknowledge our grievances, there’s open communication – nothing is wrong, and we have to commit to the solution. What I’ve found that from this energy space nothing is a compromise.

Side note: I think the word compromise has a deflated energy associated within it. It says we’re giving up a part of ourselves, to settle for the other. I don’t really like it. I’ve found it’s fine to compromise in work and some situations…however if we’re compromising on our feelings…this could be suppressing. If there’s love weaving through the moment then there’s no compromise. It’s all willingness. We WANT to make the moment better. That’s far, far more powerful…that desire. If that’s not there then the issues may reoccur. We don’t have too much of that, thankfully. Frankly, I don’t have the tolerance to talk about the same issues day in day out.

I put this out in the world so I can have it more in my world. It’s not always the case. There’s so much judgment out there it’s a swamp you suddenly fall into, unnoticed. I’m very careful with friends now….even though they say “it’s OK go ahead vent…” a part of me worries if we truly have the freedom of expression. Will the serpentine withdrawal come one day and I’m left stunned?

That’s why I told my boys that our similarities are lovely, but how we communicate through our differences shows everything. Respect is crucial.  Everyone wants to be heard, acknowledged.  If what you’re saying is ignored..well that’s a problem and not healthy for any relationship.  You have to learn to safeguard your feelings and not let anyone tell you “you’re wrong to feel that way”.

The moment you let others speak for you eventually they will say the wrong things.  

Freedom comes from being considerate.  It’s not a one time thing it takes thought and ongoing actions.  Respect is the work of an ironsmith.  It’s taken me a while to learn my tools.  And what we have now as a result…well it’s bliss. 

 

 

Inheritance

We’re living today, processing yesterday, in the hopes we can move into the future evolved.

I’m writing this in pure exhaustion. It hit me yesterday, Thursday night. I slept for two hours in the early evening and thinking that nap would keep me up most of the night, I was wrong. I slept like the dead. All I want to do now is climb into the bear cave and close away from society.

I’ve recently had some memories come to surface that involves my mother, and the past in general. I’ve said that I don’t have memories for a couple years of years from 11.  I blocked them out after a very hard moment with our family. Well some of what occurred during those years and what lead up to it have started floating in. I know I’m strong enough for them now because I haven’t fallen to the floor in the pain of it all.

I’ve just moved directly into deep sadness. The shock has worn off I think and now the sorrow has taken over. It’s hard. I just want to sleep this off. I can’t. I have children, a business and obligation. Right now I just want to pass everything off to someone else and go find my shack on the beach, and regenerate.

An inheritance is typically a joyful time. When you consider we also inherit the past, the good and bad of our ancestry, and the deep desire to offer pain more than just pain…well the burden becomes burdensome and inheritance weaves into a different perception.

So now that my body is processing the pain my mother experienced at the hands of my father I’m thinking on what’s running through my blood. I have information about my father that I can’t turn into ‘nice’. He caused immense harm not just to my family, to others as I’m coming to find out. These are things I just don’t want to know. His cells are in my cells and I want a body transfusion…I share his skin.

I’m broken today.

I’ve done a lot of work to find the few precious memories from my father that have influenced me for good. I’m beyond appreciation in knowing he had morsels of goodness residing, however briefly they stood. Right now they aren’t enough.

I was doing great rebuilding the house, and the fields in the back, with the goats bleating, happily. Not enough.

During the hot summers we would sleep on the porch. The ocean breeze making it’s way to our house on the hill, bringing assurance. Not enough.

I loved seeing how my mother took care of her garden, watching and nurturing green and colors into growth. Not enough. I remembered he trampled it.

I’m going to be one year older shortly and I want to tear away the responsibility that age is supposed to bring, and just scream at this inheritance. I want to be immature, not be the rock, just let everything fall to dust. I want to crumble. I crave it.

I want no association to his name. Some of the things he has done I have no space for. I think I need to find the others he’s harmed and make peace. I know I can’t. What I want to do is just stand in shame before them because they deserve no less. That’s the lesson from the inheritance. I want to make it right if I possibly can. Honestly, right now, I don’t feel strong enough to carry this burden without saying “I’m sorry” where ever it’s needed.

Sometimes the Simplicity Practice, meditation, acknowledgment, allowing, being a witness to the pain body…and all the Spirituality teachings just aren’t enough.

Nothing is right now….except coffee.

I need your help….send me some healing, loving energy…I need it badly now.  And I feel I need to apologize to you for this crumbling piece of writing.  However, I can’t hide how I feel…not here anyway.  

EXPOSURE

Arifah:

This is a remarkable piece of photo-journalism. It’s astounding that there’s still polio cases out in the world. Now as you read you’ll see the prize money seems small. You may even ask yourself how can that do anything? I did. Then I realized that silence is the real killer. Sometimes silence is necessary for growth this is not one of those moments.

Also, money goes much, much father in Africa than it does in the US, for example. The power of $1 is significant to many Third World areas. (I really don’t like that term…that’s another subject.)

I hope you read this provocative piece of work and then vote for Michele D’Acosta through the EXPOSURE competition.

Namaste.

Originally posted on Michele D'Acosta:

Polio in Sierra Leone

British award-winning writer and documentary filmmaker Michele D’Acosta is seeking to transform the lives of 170 African polio victims who are struggling to stay alive in the former British colony of Sierra Leone.

With the help of an international photography competition, D’Acosta’s goal is to bring global attention to the desperate plight of these forgotten people – and use her photo-journalism as a tool to help leverage medical attention, food, clean water and proper housing for the men, women and children that live in cramped and unsanitary conditions in a bombed out building on Pademba Road, Freetown, Sierra Leone.

Michele D’Acosta began her film and television career as a reporter for the BBC – reporting on the break-up of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s and then going on to produce a slew of television documentaries with the high profile and controversial director, Nick Broomfield. However, it wasn’t until…

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Walk Into Love

Tea is sacred to my family. We gather and expose our hearts.  We do it through foolishness. Consciousness is an act of deliberation. This is walking into love.

Life changes when you know you’re about to be a part of something special. It’s where Aliveness waits to tingle our skin. Effervescence bubbles from our soul and is bursting to come out. They are mostly simple moments and yet there is a complexity that connects the human into humanity.

When my sister, Haleema and niece Saadia, knows there’s a tea moment in our horizon we’ll talk about it in anticipation. We plan the menu, the time of day we’ll start and don’t allow anything to interfere with our energy and the moment. The excitement becomes contagious. We love it, keep it close and protect it from intrusion.

There’s a trip to the grocery store that involves collecting deserts, this is first. Decadent chocolate for Saadia. I want something like rugelach or cinnamon.  Love cinnamon. We grab a few things for small bites. My beautiful sister denies all deserts and ends up running back to grab something she forgot. We’re grinning in the check out line. She does it with a sweet innocence like shes forgotten a cucumber. We usually have to let a few people go ahead while we impatiently wait. She comes back with that same lost look and we burst with laughter.

She quickly says “what…we need fruit”. In case you’re wondering it’s a fruit torte. Or cheesecake with a fruit topping.

My boys were about 5 when they first witnessed tea. We started earlier so they could join in. They sat on a bench mesmerized, falling over backwards a few times…I think our fits of wild laughter startled them. They never saw me ‘free’ before and didn’t know who I was. They took part as they could…we patiently listened to their curiosities and not once did we alter, change or dumb down the moment to include them. No. We stayed in our space. Spoke as we wanted to and they took part. The wonderful thing is they didn’t have many questions. I think they knew the moment didn’t need explaining and it was about participating.

When we are alone we talk about things that make us crumble. There’s art and arguing. A visit to the past and crying on things we could never change, and want to. Then the importance of good food with wine. My niece complains that the world can be enjoyed without vino…we laugh because she doesn’t like alcohol.  She has no idea what she’s missing.

There’s an important rule with improv…you never say no. Whatever the actor says, no matter how he changes the direction of the story, you have to run with it. Look at ‘Whose Line is it Anyway’. This shows is the best. Not one actor stops when it’s their turn and changes the subject mid play. They giggle, throw their arms up in the air and run with it. That’s tea. No one is wrong. I mean we tease the hell out of each other and call it like we see it. It’s done with love. Always.

I am so grateful for this. So much of our lives is spent in proving our worth. It’s exhausting. I think that’s why the search for meaning is such a profound search for us all. Spirituality has become an industry.

I didn’t know “how” to bring Spirituality down into the Earthly experience…incorporate it into my body. Yet that’s the search. How do we take something so BIG, so POWERFUL, so MAGICAL and bring it into a decaying body.

My journey was spent looking at the wrong moments to find it.  I mean Spirit isn’t a burden.

I recently had a conversation with someone that left my soul soaring. We both said it too. I allowed myself to soak in the sensation of my soul lifting me up higher than where I sat. I felt myself expand beyond my flesh…I was un-contained.  It’s these moments that we are ‘in Spirit’.  I used to see these moments as the ones that took me into fantasy and for a time they did.  I just couldn’t process the magnitude of them because I allowed the ego to take over.  Now I see them as fantastical.  They are.  They are supposed to be.  I now see them as purpose.  These are the message posts that I’m focusing my attention on instead of the other things.  They were distractions.  Now I know better.

Laugh. Laugh out loud. Find people that will do that with you. This is the laughter that comes from wearing torn jeans and a scruffy Tee, with your hair pulled back. It’s the moments of abandon.

Tea for us, is a journey into discovery.  It starts with the willingness to be foolish.  We are open and we are closed and we all know it.  We want and encourage our individuality to be seen. We know when to push and when to not.  Life will give you all her secrets in these moments.  It’s in the willingness to uncloak your eyes.

They are all around.  They are simple.  They are profound.

It’s here. It can’t leave or go anywhere. We make them happen. It’s consciously done.  Walk into love.

"Walk Into Love I" by Arifah

“Walk Into Love I” by Arifah

Authenticity Makes Her Appearance


great-quotes1I have a giving nature and as much as I love that about myself it’s those actions that stretched me apart from soul. I didn’t realize the damage I was doing. It was years of living this way.

I believe everything we do has paybacks. I meditate because I feel deeply connected to something bigger than myself.  The Intelligence through guidance is astounding, and I feel deeply cared for. These are my rewards.  However, they weren’t always positive. I’ve been addicted to negativity.

Either way there’s a payback from the result.

I remember hitting the wall in one of my relationships. They were asking for more and I didn’t have any more to give. I had compromised myself away. Something clicked inside me. I felt empty, just a scrap of bones left. There was a deep ache like I was missing. I remember quietly saying “no, I can’t give what you’re asking. I’ve given enough. It’s your turn.” I don’t know where this last morsel of strength came from. There it was floating off my lips in absolution. They heard the finale too.

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I stood up for myself. In this weakened state I took a power action and empowerment started to grow in my gut swirling up and guiding my tongue.

Hope, my soul, stepped in to save itself. Where there is no hope, no better, there is just a slow death into empty. The Universe removed all my excuses. I was surrounded by mirrors, and like I’ve said, when you ask for better they show you what’s not. They will pull the rug right from under you. Yes they can do that. It’s a pain in the ass. I highly recommend you find the easier way and just start listening, then doing what the inner voice is telling you.

You know that scene in Liar, Liar where Fletcher Reede (Jim Carrey’s character) is kicking his own ass in the bathroom? That’s what I started doing, internally. I woke up one day and found myself surrounded by these sponging types. I felt like I walked over to a dry well and though “yeah I’ll jump in…that’s a great idea”…to say that I was angry is putting it mildly. I’ve since learned to redirect this energy into learning what I need to.

So where was my payback with this type of person? It fed my need to make them feel better. It’s what I wanted for my father. So I gave, and gave until I was out…dry. I thought that in giving eventually they would become full and see who they really are. In giving so much I was creating an addictive dynamic. I was the pill.

The ego is an addict and the way you can tell is that it looks outward to feed inward. It’s associated love with receiving attention from people. You’ll notice the words, language always lead back to themselves, their desires, their wants, their perceptions…the connection is made through the agreement of similarities.  They don’t cope with changes well.  I hit the wall with these types when I started speaking from my voice, showing a difference of opinion.


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When your insides are murky it’s really easy to listen to externals. You trust the people that say “I love you”. It’s how it’s said…I’ve come to realize. Does it have a list of requirements? A level of performance I have to live down to?

I saw what needed to change. Self-awareness, for me, was hard work. The internal lying had to stop.  I had to rebuild myself cell by cell. There was so much BS hidden in me it was muddling up the intuition.

You cannot develop your intuition through the voice of others. When you allow others to speak for you eventually they are going to say the wrong things.

The way I looked at the people in my life is this: if they love me then they’ll be there at the other side…if they aren’t genuine they won’t. I know it’s not fair to simplifying relationships like this. However, when the noise is so loud and the pain inside more than you can bear, this process of elimination is necessary to get to sanity. Simplifying is air.

It seemed all I needed was to shine a very small light toward my heart and ‘The’ took over. Nothing seemed more important than rebuilding me.

What may seem as loving through giving isn’t always. Instead it could be creating harm through co-dependency…this is the human version of love. It’s needy and compromising.

Divine Love will not compromise itself, it cannot. It only knows to raise the bar to better to evolve deeper into itself. There are no limiting actions or beliefs within the Divine. It knows when contracts are over far before the human does. Hence the internal battle. 

I’ve found there’s immense power in falling. Because there’s willingness to say “this isn’t working”.

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Every action that we take part in has a payback, good or bad, positive or negative. There’s a fulfillment however it comes to you, there’s one. With self-awareness you can squelch the unhealthy attachments. You have to know what actions are holding you back.

Awareness harnesses great power when you remove yourself from guilt, which is a waste of energy that Life doesn’t have time for.

When you sit in a space of your authenticity you don’t need ‘buy in’, paybacks become mute….you are perfectly ok with no one being on your ‘side’…because you hear what’s inside and know the power that resides there. The people that Love you will be there cheering you on and they won’t try to change you into their needs…they will allow.

Purpose has it’s own guidance system.  Now I understand that some just won’t get my path.  It’s not for them to.  I also can’t drag people along.  I can’t be held back either.  I know it sounds cold.  I know it sounds like I don’t care for others.  This is so far from truth.  It’s in honoring myself, who I am, where I am to go, what I am to do, that I’ll be able to serve from Divine Love.

Once here no one can take it, you’re not giving it away, it’s who you are. The inner sanction of soul is sacred. I’ve been to hell and back to find this place. And I know that the relationships I have, and will have, want me to communicate from authenticity and they aren’t afraid to hear her. That’s power.

I’m am and will continue to be a part of that Love. That’s excited my being beyond these words. I’m bursting out of myself. This is the kind of thing that changes things.

Jeff Brown Ascending with Both Feet on the Ground

Authenticity Smiles at Fear

Fear was a reoccurring subject with several friends last month. A few of them haven’t experienced excess of this emotion during their life. It was a more recent occurrence.  I was surprised because it immobilized me too many times to count.

Even in talking to my boys, I was surprised to learn they don’t really feel it anymore. They know it’s there but focus their energy on performing. I remember interviewing drum instructors for my son Kyle, and asked Vincent “how do you deal with the build up of nerves come show time and how can you help him with that?”

He said “it’s all energy, and if he can understand that, change how he looks at it and learn to redirect it, then it’s not an issue.” I immediately hired him. Anyone that can talk energy, and explain it so well, should teach my son. Plus he’s one off the chart drummer.

FEAR
I remember writing “Pearls, Legs Crossed, and the Savage” it was a tricky piece because I was consumed in fear while writing it.  For a couple of reasons.  First, I was being subjective with my emotions and second it was bringing up a past issue that I didn’t want to talk openly about.  So fear kicked on as a protective mechanism.  It kept me ‘safe’ as a child.

(Some background on “Pearls, Legs Crossed and the Savage”: It was written in response to the reaction to Miley Cyrus’s performance at the 2013 VMA. I was reading some feedback on Yahoo and the words ‘slut’ and it’s derivatives were being used to describe this 22 year old. I couldn’t believe it. I thought it shameful and was embarrassed as a woman. It brought to surface varying emotions that I wanted to explore.)

Writing that piece was bigger than me and I knew it.  I dove into what surfaced and watched myself become consumed. I was riding a mixture of excitement and fear.  The writing could create isolation from many people. Seeing that I wanted ‘likes’ added to the mix I was already experiencing. Maybe that’s one of the stems of fear – wanting to be accepted.

Making art that ‘fits’ within norms – not art!
Saying the ‘right’ things to belong – nope…no intimacy…no belonging.

During this entire experience I was self-aware.  I knew I was breaking through something and had to keep pushing.  I just didn’t know where I was going.  The fog in my head was thick but not blinding.  The fear at an all time high but not immobilizing.  I ‘knew’ what I had to do and did the ‘right’ action, irregardless of need for approval, and over the crazy emotions.

Hitting that electronic ‘publish’ button was one of the hardest and best things I’ve done. I was willing to bomb. Right after the post went live I felt a surge of power flood me, and I sat smiling. I found the moment.  Armed with this self-assurance I was able to cope with the negative reactions.

Now I’m able to remove the external noise and focus on the craft discerning purely for the betterment of the piece.  This is freedom.  “Pearls…” will be one of my favorites because of what it helped me accomplish internally.  My intuition is no longer just a faint whisper. This is huge for me having lived through a barrage of self-criticism. Feeling the guidance surge through my heart only came from the moments of showing myself I’m worthy.

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I’ve recently discovered there are two types of fear. There’s the fear of not wanting to embarrass myself, trying to achieve something challenging. It seems derived from an external stimulus. Something from the world is causing me discomfort and fear comes in to protect.

Then there’s the fear of not wanting to fail myself. It’s purely from an internal drive. This one is by far more magnificent and I think the seat of empowerment.

If I sense that I’m holding myself back through a mental framework; any idea that I’m not good enough, not worthy of success; the desire to push through it is tremendous. The need to protect my soul is deep now and I’ve become driven to trudge forward and damn anything standing in my way. The need to NOT go back is a profound driver.

Fear is an interesting emotion to observe.  It’s designed to keep you from getting to the other side.  Once I pushed through I had a new experience for my body to access.  The feelings that would shatter me started to dissipate and capability slowly surfaced.

Empowerment is an interesting beast.

I’ve noticed what actions fuels power.  Fear has to be conquered with ‘doing’ not by thinking.

WealthLift-Steve-Jobs-Quotes

In getting used to the differences between fear and power I’m able to rapidly switch from the negativity. For my personality this has been a challenge.  I’m not aggressive by nature and these actions feel that way to me. Another false idea.  Standing up for myself has been sheer will and Honesty my guide.

Self-awareness is necessary to cultivate. Yes it’s the wine within yourself. Sip it, savor it, get drunk from this place. Let it consume your senses. I guarantee that when developed the ego sits and fear falls. Empowerment is the seat for the soul and self-awareness allows her to speak.   

Discernment walks into Authenticity

In writing about my past I’ve had to step away from any hidden desires to show myself as the shiny penny.  It’s important to give my mother, father and all the other lives, more than the pain they lived from.  We are all worth more.  To tell a story requires authenticity to the characters, the moment, the emotions, and more importantly the removal of all personal agendas.  Initially this was hard to do.  It seemed impossible to connect to that part in myself that showed what better should sound and look like. Saying I was frustrated was an understatement.

I was writing a poem “Discernment” purely as an exploration of the word.  A play on play so to speak.  I was struck into realization “I don’t know how to tell what’s right for me and what’s not!”.

I was talking with a writing group and asking “how do you find discernment for the craft? The ability to inspect and know what needs to stay and what needs to go?” I was instructed to “keep writing, write, and write some more.  Eventually it will come”. They were right.

I started “Discernment” 5 years ago and this is the year it will be finished.  It’s a rather short poem :)

Last year I dedicated to myself.  I wrote possibly over 1,500 hours. Every chance I had I wrote.  I got off line, ignored Facebook, Twitter…. and so many things.  I’m glad I have family and friends that understand and are still here.  I love them more for their patience this last year.

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To develop this acuteness in self-observation I had to move past my ego.  What she wanted a say.  I had to get deep within to find how to express me.  I started asking questions and didn’t try to answer them.  I noticed sometimes when I did want to answer, the response leaned toward justifying emotions. That’s when I knew ego was speaking instead of my soul.  I kept driving into the next question and the next until I ran out.  The excuses seemed to sit in the first few questions.  They were tailored to make me feel good about me. When I got close to running out of reasons I started to get closer to Higher Truth.

The knowing started to rise up like a puff of smoke.  The messages, the real messages, start to surface. When you let the smoke subside and ‘read’ what’s within, you will have entered into your authentic space. Where the truth of you resides. I could feel the questions change.  I wasn’t afraid to look at the ‘bad’ parts from the past and criticize.  I was able to step into a bigger picture and look at the landscape instead of a square of grass.

My writing soared.  I was able to make my parents whole.

In looking at my parents without judgement I was able to access Active Compassion.  I was able to fill in the blanks with love.  I wanted to understand what made them express life through the filters they chose.  It’s easy to say we forgive.  However, words and descriptions need to encompass it.  It’s being able to offer hope where hope is needed.

Are you holding a place of hope for yourself?

This means you have to remove expectation.  This is connected to control.  If there’s a desire to want a person to behave a certain way, tailoring your words to solicit certain actions, you’re behaving from control mechanisms. Sorry this is going to hurt…it’s manipulative.  There’s different levels of control. Some subtle and some not so much.

Removing expectations from the moments allowed me to ‘hear’ authenticity. I could tell when someone was being disingenuous, and if they were really trying to impress others and using the moment to raise themselves up.  And in turn see those actions from myself.  I was no longer pretending to myself.  I started ‘seeing’ from the intentions people try to hide, WITHOUT judgment.  In giving this to them I am giving it to me.  I have such relief. Not feeling judgment frees the soul.

Now I could make real choices.  I was no longer lying to myself about myself.

It was like lifting one dead leg in front of the other. Repeat, and repeat again. Until my legs learn this new method of walking. Eventually they made steps on their own. It’s one thing to have consciousness and a whole other game to be active from it.

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I’m in a place where I’m feeling who I am. It’s not really describable…sorry…it’s…it’s a place where Knowing resides and capability becomes legs. It’s living.

We spend so much time on knowing what clothes fit our body types, our favorite wine, savoring said wine after a long day, enjoying a lush dinner, having tea, talking with our loved ones….when do we give that to ourselves?  Let me be clear.  I mean actual time in sitting with ourselves without interruption to ‘see’ who we’ve become.  Turning ourselves over like a penny.  Not hiding from ‘those’ parts looking back at us.  Instead embracing the burnished copper.

YOU’RE worth it.  YOU’RE worth this time.

GIVE to yourself the time you willingly give to others.  (Throw out the excuse you just thought up.)

All reasons for becoming better are simplistic.  Because the path to better is clear.  There is no confusion as to WHY you have to go down the road least traveled.  It’s a matter of having the courage to brush aside the saboteur’s responses that’s filled with daily complacency.

Discernment leads to Authenticity and they are both components to powerful self-awareness.  That’s another subject and maybe this is Part 1.  I do know there’s confidence here and that’s as it should be.  I don’t think the soul is insecure or sees life through limits.

I’m worth this work and you are too.

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I admit being fearless is tricky. It’s knowing you could ‘lose’ yourself if you don’t. That’s a different kind of fear…suddenly you become fearless.

 

Things Collected and Under the Bed

“…to me, there is an invisible reality behind the visible reality. What I think it’s supposed to look like, I have to let go of, in order to see what it is. That demands attending to it—in other words, waiting—allowing the impression of the bird to come in, rather than going out to it. It’s a really subtle shift.” Jane Rosen, artist.
After my mum passed my sisters and I decided to visit my grandmother. She couldn’t make the trip from Guyana to Barbados. Knowing she was deeply sad we wanted to share her pain as best we could. Sounds good doesn’t it? My sisters were the kind ones and in truth made me go. I didn’t want to share with anyone during that time. It was my duty.  After someone passes life is filled with things organized keeping havoc at a safe distance. I was saturated with complacency and I used it to keep anger at bay.  
I hadn’t been to Guyana since 5 when my family moved to Barbados. I didn’t have a connection to the place and this wasn’t a time to develop one. Getting off the plane and inhaling the same sweltering that circulates the equator was a comfort. The incessant dampness layered my skin with a burning pulse that I loved. It was a continuous wave of welcoming exhaustion, and cocooned me from myself.
I hadn’t seen my grandmother for 8 years. The last time she spent a month with us and it was too much for me, at least initially. She had a hard life as this generation did.  They lived time through things long gone. They were the doers and physical labor gave them accomplishment.  I can see how days filled with nothingness challenged her and reflecting made her feel useful.  Nevertheless, her energy was a lot for me. It felt like complaining. A barge overflowing with grief filled my room. I had to sleep with her.
I didn’t realize how sensitive I was to energy. But I was, and still am, a conduit. If you’re feeling it so am I. It seemed when she slept her body sighed relief, and all the trapped energy didn’t leave. Instead it hovered above her waiting for next day’s use. This was her attachment and the multiple strings pulled them close. I couldn’t sleep. By the end of three weeks I couldn’t hear her anymore. All I saw was her lips moving. I missed so many wonderful stories.  If I only knew how to turn the energy around.
Unfortunately I was only 16 and not capable of seeing the hidden gems. She did have a motive and changed when her time drew nearer to leave. She started telling me about my mum. I jostled out of the fog because I craved stories about my mother. I wanted to know who she was. My grandmother saw my alertness and was pleased. Our first moment of connection.  At least that’s how I saw it.  What I’ve come to realize is the three weeks of story telling was her way of building a bridge to me. She was sharing, her way, if only I’d known. 
 
“…the act of seeing is coming into an understanding of the whole of what’s occurring.” Jane Rosen
 
Connections fade if not nurtured. Care needs to be given to seedlings.
Now 24 and in seeing her again, I remembered a complaining woman that I had to tolerate. When I stepped into the second story flat all I could see and feel was the suffocating squeezing me. “This explains our home” I thought. My mother designed it with simplicity. My grandmother’s home was stuffed and impossible to walk around without thoughtfulness. I don’t think she threw anything out. It was all there packed tightly under the couches, under every bed…under everything that was once open.  I don’t know how the floor didn’t cave in.
This is why my mother needed air to breathe and she placed the furniture with that intention. She evolved into a modernist sensibility through the cluttering of an Indian lifestyle. There was flow and ease of movement around my mother.  That was her constant.  She couldn’t stand anything crowding her in, taking her life. She understood placement from fashion to home, and I’ve chosen her sense of simplicity in design. In reflection I’m glad I gleamed more of my mum. We just don’t know how experiences are going to enrich us. It’s allowing it to unfold without too much contamination from self-importance. 
 
“I’m talking about life. When we talk about taking in an impression, most of the time I’m not taking you in, I’m trying to make an impression on you. I’m going out.  And there’s a shift that happens when I’m drawing or when I’m looking at the dog or a horse or looking at someone in my mind’s eye, there’s a shift where something in me listens, but not with my ears. There’s another kind of listening.” Jane Rosen 
 
After a long day of traveling, getting re-acquainted, discovering things generations old under the bed that I would continually give inquiry to, I was beyond exhausted. I came out of the bathroom to find my sisters struggling to put a mattress on the floor. I could tell it was heavy. I went over to help and felt prickling through the covering and strange noises were emitting as we were moving it. I asked one of my sisters “what’s in here?”
“Straw.”
“What? It’s made of straw?” I tried to whisper to not offend my grandmother but that darn woman heard everything…especially things said from the other room from behind a closed door!
She laughed at me. I was so city and a big part of me was removed from this sort of life. “Yes that’s what we had to use back then. We didn’t have no bedding.”
I guess that made sense. I looked over at my grandmother and she had a slight smirk “that’s where you’re gonna sleep, it’s a good bed, strong”, the smirk grew. I recognized this mischief. My mum wore this face just not often enough. I loved seeing the similarity. Jemila they called her, my grandmother. I could see her beauty hidden behind duty that creases a face, and hides it under burden and sagging skin. Her eyes twinkled just like my mum’s. I was temporarily mesmerized. I caught glimpse of the woman she could be if she allowed herself.
I was laying on the bed and enjoying the streetlights merging with moonlight streaming through the windows. Jemila still wanted to talk and her words were a murmur as I was lost in bathing light trying to ease my pain. Getting comfortable was challenging as the straw was poking me, keeping me in reality. Did you know straw squeaks when rubbed together? I kept moving about. Jemila’s smirk came back, I heard it in her voice, and turned to look at her. She said “that a good mattress you were born on it.”
My sister said smiling, “Grandma that’s not true. Arifah was born in the hospital.” They were laughing at my expression.
I was frozen at the thought of a birth occurring where I slept, my mother screaming, and visions of amniotic fluid trapped in straw freaked me out. I immediately felt relief in seeing myself surrounded in a sterile plastic compartment, in the hospital room with other babies. I liked that thought. She didn’t stop.
“Oh yes, dat true. You lucky girl. But ya sistas and brotha was born there…and I think a few others too.  The straw in de mattress is good and sturdy fuh chile bearing, an we could use it ova and ova again witout it going bad.  It just need air.”
Oh shit! They were all howling with laughter, Jemila chuckling and head shaking at my wide eyes and horror. OH SHIT! I couldn’t sleep on that bed. My eyes started scrambling around the room for an alternate. I made note of the size of the couch and decided on the chair since the plastic coverings would make the hot night air even more unbearable.
Pointing to my sisters, I asked “grandma, are you serious they were born here?” 
“Yes chile, you lucky you came into hospital.”
Suddenly amniotic fluid became a living monster trying to eat me by sucking me backward into the mattress. I hopped off in holy terror that made the laughter louder. The room, with all its other crap, held with ease 4 women and 1 girl, letting go of femininity, giving into obscene howls that could be heard to the street below. This is care.
Now I can see my mother sitting next to her mother and the wickedness they shared.  Both of them beautifully girlish, laughing. 
The filters that we pour experience through can cultivate the emotional tone that we live our entire life from.  I’ve come to realize how many perceptions were formed in my teenage youth.  It’s shocking to discover my entire life, so far, has been lived through broken glasses.  I’m rediscovering me through simplicity, to unravel the stiffness complexity brings.  Rigidity, as I know, has no place next to the soul.  What made my mother, my father, my sisters, and brothers to be who they were, and are, is discovered through smaller moments that I didn’t pay attention to at the time.  I’m recreating them to experience not just life, but the souls that were and are trying, no dying, to come out.  It’s the least I could do. This is part of my purpose….exposure of beautifully laid unsaid things.

Possible excerpt from “Art of Receptivity, a memoir”…not sure if I’m going to keep this in the final edit. It’s fun reliving my past and I’m writing like a crazy woman. I love stories they are the connective juice that keeps us humble. 

The quotes from Jane Rosen are from an interview by Richard Whittaker “Looking with Your Whole Body” for Daily Good.
http://www.dailygood.org/story/599/looking-with-your-whole-body-richard-whittaker/

Displaced Accountability

I am tired of hearing what God is from head-tripping men. I am tired of hearing what God is from isolationists on a spiritual quest. I am tired of hearing what God is from lovers of detachment. I want to hear about a juicy God, a creative God, a relational God, a God that arises when we jump into life and stop playing it safe, watching it race by like a passing train. Its time for the dancers to tell us what God is. Its time for the artists to tell us what God is. Its time for the lovers to tell us what God is. We are not here to watch God from afar. We are here to live God from the inside out.
Jeff Brown, author. 
https://www.facebook.com/SOULSHAPING
I have chills when I read this.
 
Jeff Brown worded feelings I’ve had for sometime and didn’t think to compile into a purpose. The opposite became glaringly obvious. I’ve had discomfort with how Spirituality is sometimes expressed and haven’t been able to articulate it. Jeff Brown’s small paragraph blew it open.
 
It’s how certain words are express and used to create indifference in life. Words are powerful. I’ve made promises when I was a young 14 and 16 year old.  Over the years they have shaped my life. A few whispered words have expanded into years. In the search for evolving into a Soul driven life, we’re using indifference and detachment as the tools to take us there. Even more detrimental, is using these words to consciously define Spirit through. I’m exasperated not just at you, but at myself, because I was there. Finger pointing is circular.
 
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We all seem to share the same ‘steps’ through Spirituality and it seems that many of us go through this Stage of Indifference in order to ‘connect’ more to Spirit. When I think back I’m shaking my head at the insanity of it all. This is the path though. My reason for this stage is this: we don’t know how to cope with the insanity that resides on Earth, the pillaging. We can be kind, and yet a barbaric society that excuses wantonness as necessary to the path of achievement. It’s hard to look at the realities of our world and claim it to change. The act of changing some things far outweigh our singular comprehension and hence it’s easy for indifference to set in.  Detachment does not mean not caring.  It’s removal from control.  We cannot live from thinking we can affect the outcome of another.  The ego is quick to speak from here.  We are here to learn and do our soul’s desired expression.  
 
Then there’s the Stage of Active Compassion. (I’m making this up as I go.) This is the ability to deeply feel and express genuine compassion to others, willingness to see and share their pain, not become expecting of what they should/should not do, and offer kindness. A beautiful place when you get there. I feel energy deeply. So it’s taken me a long time to learn to sit with another and experience their sorrow without it overtaking my senses.  I’ve had to disconnect from the moment making me hold back.  I’ve worked hard at listening to my heart and trusting my intuition.  This has given me the feeling of capability, allowing me to sit in these moments, feel you while letting things show itself.  This is an amazing gift to give and I’m glad I’ve arrived here.
 
I’m toggling between that stage and this one…
 
The Stage of Active Heart speaks from matters of my Soul through my heart, and I’m listening. My heart is passionate. Not passive. There’s an active participation that my heart screams from sometimes, and I want to shake people that sit in passivity, with trite hand waving through the air, to others, and the world.
 
I want to say “where do you think you reside? Do you really believe that your residence is here by this table, in your home, on your spot of land, on this continent? You are a part of something bigger and yes it’s scary. Frankly it’s a mind fuck. That’s the problem. The way of Spirit isn’t through the mind it’s through the heart. There’s no other way. Yes the heart feels deeply and becomes enraptured…it’s supposed to. It’s supposed to drive us past the insane profit making thoughts that reside in the mind. It’s supposed to be passionate to push through ego and guide our pen. This is where ‘great care’ sits, beats and expresses. So please for everything this resides in goodness STOP diminishing the shine from this world, and others, by your discounting hand wave of indifference.”
 
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Sometimes I am dying to respond from this passionate place. I’ve held myself back many times because I think I’ll be misunderstood and judged. Now I feel Energy pushing me past this human confinement and telling me “speak our mind”.
 
The things that I love: my children, poetry, writing, conversation where you show me your heart, a cup of tea, laughing till my face hurts with my niece, telling me about the simple things from your day, wanting to touch you with love, all come from a desire that resides in my heart. Love. There’s not a damn bit of detachment in those actions. Rather, there’s a deep want, a wanting to share those moments with you. I WANT, no I’m starving for you, for us, to feel the love that is pouring out of me and dying to touch you. I want your heart to flourish like mine is right now. I want us to wake up to life and living. Because when you do that, and more of us do that…well all the excuses become mute. The Power that is Us become…
 
I have no idea where all this passion is coming from. Maybe Universe is trying to kick my ass into awakening. No doing! I know it’s time to stop walking and it’s time to pick up the pace in my life. I’ve had three years of upheaval and there’s no time for breaks. This I know. It’s time to run.
 
f72c567b1298f8c64c9451b2683e134bJohnny Depp is right and wrong.  If your heart has been closed for sometime then you may not recognize feelings.  There’s a numbness that dulls everything.  I remember.  However, when you open your heart…well it starts slow and then there’s no closing it anymore.  I’ve even tried to and it’s too painful.  Once opened it sings. 
 
I’ve discovered my passions again. I’ve found the things that feeds my inner flame and now she’s burning so bright I can’t sit still sometimes. I feel alive with my desires. I feel like I can conquer anything. I feel my power. I feel my Soul smiling and ready to catapult me into now, and the next and the next…and life is vibrant with color and damn exciting! Yes I’m also scared…nope terrified. It’s all a fantastic mix that my Soul is excited to taste.  There was a time when I would lose myself into these feelings and become lost in air.  Floating.  When your senses come alive there’s nothing like it and I’ve been starving for these feelings.  Now I’m learning to merge the two worlds.  Spirit shines through my heart, where my Soul resides, speaking my mind, and guiding my body. 
 
There’s not a bit of indifference here.