For Keeps

play yourself

It has been too long since I have written, and the feeling of incompetence has set in. I have made attempts to understand why I feel no motivation here, especially coming out of 2015 with huge successes, and I have found my answer.

There is a part in me that does not believe the success earned is mine for keeps.

I know the unhealthy attachment to victim thinking, and how destructive it can be. It is covert in nature, a few pocketed secrets hidden in my cells that surface when exhaustion sets in. In those moments when I have given my all, and accomplished greatly, a sliver of soot glides up from between my shoulder blades and creates a playground with my thoughts. Then the old belief that “good for me is temporary” climbs into my ears.

The cycle of self-sabotage emerges.

This belief is no longer good enough. I am smiling. I had no idea I could capture the feeling from the other side of victimhood. I accepted that I was a person that would feel dampened throughout life.

The hardest thing to accept is that Purpose sits in Greatness, and then making choices to live up to all that I am. I have been running from this my whole life, and therefore create outcomes that support sub-standard. Last year I focused on proving my worth.  So it makes sense that when I was able to sit down, from exhaustion, I had to face what I have been running from.  You cannot run from yourself, no matter how hard you try.

I am going to tear this part of myself down – the self-destructive ways. Cell by cell. The way I will win is from hard ass work. Pure and simple.

How I have missed writing.  Things that I am not able to make out from thought, I can comprehend through pen.




“Soon, I enjoyed the feeling that comes with becoming a better person.”
Peaks and Valleys by Spencer Johnson, M.D. (Page 54)

This is one of the books we are reading at work and this sentence struck me.  I can spent countless hours beating myself up over mistakes; things I should have done and said differently.  But, I did not spend time feeling the feeling of betterment.  When I read that sentence I just sat and reflected on what I came through.  In the chaos of the memories, I sat in the center, calm.

There is an assurance that seemed elusive before.  I can feel it as a solid base beat – my heart.  I had not noticed that within my heart lies certainty.  I have worked hard at learning the messages from my center (as if it were separate from me).  There was this noise from dependencies, those were the ribbons crowding out the air around my beat.

The things that lay with Truth are subtle, soft, loving.

The things that lay with deception are loud, obnoxious, indifferent.

At one recent meeting the host said “Consistency wins”.  I thought “If someone is great at being an ass, and they do this every day then then are: “Consistently winning at being at ass, everyday”.”

Seriously, think about it:  Whatever you are thinking, who we/I/you are emulating, what we are saying, what we are not doing, we are consistently winning at being that person.

Learning the feeling the comes from becoming better is crucial, because what I am really talking about is Faith.  That word is smoke and mirrors. I know I am sitting in the hands of something Greater, and the feeling that comes with this knowledge is deep and steady.  I have found the courage to strive for better.

I’m getting to know the feeling that comes from becoming a better person. Because life is a bag of tricks and I need Faith.

"faith", mixed medium on canvas by Arifah

“faith”, mixed medium on canvas by Arifah

Denial’s trickery in Value

Becoming a woman is work. You cannot claim it due to age, (laughing). There is no easy way to this one, it is embracing accountability. I used to run from that, and say lovely sentences that made me believe I had it together. It is funny how quickly bullshit becomes human.

I can look back at all the conflicts and see how denial spun her web. Every single incident, or break-up, happened because I allowed fiction to become the foundation.

This is about paying attention to how I define myself, and if my actions are in alignment. I have been evaluating certain words and how definitions became normal. I see how some meanings were from the girl, and they needed to be cracked open to reveal the gifts. This is the only way to fuel empowerment and step into worth – Value has no bargaining chips.

My Denial has class. :)

My Denial has class. 🙂

There were moments when I knew what was being said was just not quite right, and I ignored that nudge and stepped into Denial’s gown. I looked good too. It hugged all the right places, flowed around my hips and thighs, kicked away perfectly as I walked, and I could change the color in a blink of my mind’s eye. Today I am seeing it in a cream, and it is made of silk, with small straps. should see what I am really wearing. That is reality though, isn’t it? What we think, and can fake, is a whole lot better than what we are hiding.

I am wondering if this kind of denial increases levels of hormones and neurotransmitters? If it is making you feel good, and our thoughts influence what is happening in our bodies, it makes sense that it would.  It’s so easy to feed that falseness, the neediness, and the addiction begins.

Then I started turning this word ‘friend’ over in my palm.  The word is like a Rubix’s Cube.  There are so many combinations to success, and what happens before is a right mess.  We aren’t allowed to twist this Rubix’s Cube around to create the world we want, yet some do.  Maturity helps us know which friendships make us better by filling us up, and which tear us down.  So what does this word friendship mean to me?

First, I want it to mean honesty. What’s surprising is that I have to define that word. I have noticed how quickly people, and I was one, used it with little understanding as to the follow up it takes. This word is hard work. If they or you are in denial this is just a fine mess. Laughing at the memories I actually thought were intimate, not just sexual, intimacy in sharing and connecting. Such an impossible chase. Lying to myself when all I was chasing is dopamine, or whatever is in the high. The crash cometh.

I have come to realize that if I do not understand what someone’s truth is, I am being dishonest. A personal truth could be fantastic and allow both to flourish, or it could be a load of bullocks. It depends on intention. People will show you their intention quickly. The secret to hearing it is to not be in denial. Ha! Kick in the pants ain’t it. I just love this stuff!

Here is the next truth: Friendships aren’t forever. If you’re telling yourself that, yep lying – denial. If you are in your 40s and making pinky finger promises, “holy shit balls Batman”, the timber will fall. Although you may not hear it because you are too busy looking at your cute pinkies, while the woods/world shatters around you. So maybe that is good for you.

I stayed in my marriage too long because I was busy trying to make forever work, and doing all the things to keep that, instead of looking really hard at the things that were not working. If only I spent the time looking at him, and speaking plainly about what the issues were, and therefore being brave enough to hear what he had to say. I am not saying that we would still be together, we would not. That is not the point. We cannot use the word honesty as a base requirement. then lying to create a normal everyday. That is a cop out, and those of you doing it know it. Keep the denial baby, I can guarantee ain’t no escaping ‘bitch’….which your life will become.

The next truth with ‘friends’ is that it has boundaries.  That is a foundation in respect.  Some actions stand alone and there is nothing you can do with them, there is no forgiveness.  No it does not mean I am harboring anger, it means abuse is abuse, however small or slight, the result is the same.  Somethings we should not do to each other.  Speaking up means you have arrived.  And no, it does not mean I think the person is an ass****, just their actions. I could not hold the entire human locked in a vice, that is wrong, a woman knows this.

Honesty quote jpeg

Habits, behaviors, can be filled with trickery. If you are really honest with yourself you will know where the lies are. It is having the bravery to face them and respecting truth, that is hard and the only way for Love to emanate.

When you are no longer willing to be in denial, I cannot lie, it is like ripping the muscle from your bones, and finding all those hidden cells that have false ideas trapped inside their tiny beings, and throwing it out. It hurts. It burns. It blows. It is bottom.

I know this is hard to believe, unless you have been there, but ripping away Denial’s gown is the best gift you can give yourself. It is the only way you can start to build intimacy. We cannot create forever with anyone if we are are giving/living small truths: there is no now, there is only the past and you have capped the future.

You are not living anything real until then, and you have devalued your currency – life.  My words will continue to be re-defined.  It is time for an evolution and I am doing it because you are worth it, as am I.  Namaste.

Letting go…

What defines an end, and starts a beginning? I do not think there are such things, it’s just what I tell myself on the path of believing better.

I went to see my numerologist friend to get her much needed advice. Truth is interesting. It’s a cord that resides in us always, and when someone says something that vibrates that cord we immediately know what they are saying is true. Everything starts from within.

In turn when someone speaks an un-truth I have an abrasive sensation that rubs against my Truth cord in the wrong way, and I feel that something isn’t ‘right’.

So she tells me I’m getting ready to graduate and I need to pass the test. The next few months will have some challenges and to stay in touch to get through it.  “If you don’t pass you’ll repeat these lessons, do you want that?”

“Hell no!” As I said this, I had a flash as to what the challenge would be, and knew what she was saying was true. I swinging-on-the-swing-set-143858did not like it. So I went right into denial, and tapped into that carefree feeling, like swinging on a swing as a child. I love that feeling. It’s an instant feel good. This need created a familiar chase and in came the chaos.

The drive home was funny, in hindsight. 🙂 Went something like this…

“Darn it! I’m gonna pass this test and I don’t care if I slide in sideways, with my last breath, bleeding! Wait! Change the test! I mean you, (looking upward), can change the test. I’ve come a far way and I don’t need that. I mean who am I proving myself to anyway?  Myself…so I don’t need to prove anything…..Damn it!”

Insert happy song. More denial, through singing this time.

“OK. OK. I got this. I can do it. And I can do it better. I don’t have to be on my ass when I face this challenge. I can do it with grace! Oh crap! That’s the real test isn’t it to stand up, be a woman, honor myself, my voice through it all?” The real burden comes and I know this is true.

My brother told me many, many years ago, “there are three sides to every story: what you say, what they say, and the truth.” One of the best nuggets I’ve received.

The pursuit in life, is connecting to truth more than not. The problem is that it is subject to our whims, desires, needs and confusions. With maturity comes discernment.  So what really creates an un-truth? Attachment.

If I have an attachment to an outcome, I may alter my words, and personal truth to co-create that need. Behavior can only be learned, it is not innate. Truth is innate and from it stems goodness. If my behavior is not attached to Truth, and it is manipulated to suit the false need, there’s going to be a consequence that won’t make me happy! That’s inevitable.

When I faced my demons, and this challenge, I had to face all the sentences that I allowed into my life from this person, that discounted my humanness, and in turn Love. They would even back track on their words, and pretended I misunderstood them. Turn the phrases around to things like “why would I say that?”….it’s an intentional mind game.  I kept asking myself “where is the Truth?” And I immediately heard exactly where the lie was.  I hold myself responsible, because they would never have spoken this way if I didn’t allow it. This was one of the hardest conversations/conflicts I’ve faced. The words that spun circles around me were “I told you what you wanted to hear.”

Never say these words to another. They destroy everything. (They are intended to do that.)

run hafiz

In a way, I’m glad they denied the words.  It’s a hard thing to face admitting you said that to someone. They already decided they didn’t want me in their life and the use of the sentence is evidence.  I was living the result and didn’t know it. When the conflict came, I was not going to alter my voice to suit. We all want to know we matter. That is why we try to connect with each other. We want to know our struggle in this human world, stumbling around, making mistakes, and trying and trying, matters for something. If we have made a connection that resides in falseness, or the person is not being truthful during the experience, it removes our own existence from the experience. We may as well not have been there. That’s how those words made me feel. It erased my existence.

truthNothing is hidden. Nothing. It’s the lie we tell ourselves to keep the attachments at hand. If someone can be unkind to one person, do ‘wrong’ to me they will do it to others, and they likely have a trail. Behaviors are choices. We all get to choose what is in our lives, and how we want to live.  Actions are the template, and we are always showing each other who we really are.  Remove expectations and the truth is seen.  

So how do I let that go? By facing the needs, expectations, and attachments I’ve placed on this person.

Let me say, in friendships, if you can’t trust the person that’s supposed to have your back then it’s a mind f***! This person took my trust and violated it. I also know the reaction those words will cause. It’s still true. When you give trust and someone, intentionally, abuses it, it is a violation, of your words, your life, your body, your soul, your emotions…everything. There is an expectation in friendships that this will not occur. So the trust is real for the person giving it, it is not real for the other person, even if they are claiming they are receiving it.  It’s their lie, hence, they can violate it as easily as the next breath of air.  

So back to how do I let go? Cutting cords with someone is not easy. It’s really about cutting cords within yourself. The questions begins and ends within. It’s a question of:
“What is it that resides in me that allows these actions in my life?”

I let the answers come, and I cut the cord to each answer.

No more running from myself and excusing and pointing fingers. The past will NOT hold me back. Nor the people that do not have my heart in their actions.

Letting go is growing up, and stepping away from childish games. Learning to speak as a woman takes courage, because you’re often doing it alone. I do not need ‘buy’ in from others. They will either see who I am, or they will not. Maturity has nothing to do with age, it has a voice, it has no use for things not of service, it has no use for ‘takers’, it has no use for things ‘wrong’.

Yes there is right and wrong. I used to think these two words were too categorical and unforgiving. I’ve come to see that was my excuse for keeping my false needs alive. Truth is not subjective. Facing Truth is HARD, that’s when you know you’re looking at it. Love cannot take part in harming itself, those are the other things.  Nor can it stand by and watch it be destructive to people I love. Saying “no” to certain actions is crucial to maturity.

Oh this is the best, from my numerologist after I explained this difficult conflict, she said “aren’t you glad to be you, instead of them? I’m proud of you, you trusted. You don’t trust and you did it. Keep being you.”  I am proud of myself.  In the height of chaos I held onto that inner fiber of Truth.  I let it guide my shaking, crying voice.  I spoke up however I could.  When you look toward service to guide your path, everything that is disingenuous, and does not serve must be seen.  Then it’s time to choose.  

Life, living, happiness, joy, love, all starts with Truth. It cannot be otherwise. If so, it’s a chase into nothingness. And the chase starts every second till you’re worn thin. I remember.

The chase ends. The beginning begins.


Writing the Script

Things I’ve learned this year, and everything that’s lead to now….

1. Age has nothing to do with maturity: One just happens with no control; the other is a conscious act, entirely within our control.

2. Words and actions: Stop expecting loving support from people that aren’t expressing from love. Their expressions should match the love they claim to have for you. Caring is a conscious act of deliberate, thoughtful, expression.

3. Expectations vs Needs: Know the difference and not be ruled by either.

4. When someone says “What is she going to do with poetry?”, giggle and walk away.  I will no longer squeeze all that I am through those 8 small words. That opinion is not mine to carry, it is their burden to bear. I will leave it where it is spoken, and any other sentences that are a belittling expression of all that I am.

5. Urge vs. Intuition: know the difference. One is a chase that drains energy, sits on and from, externals; the other IS Energy and the fuel for Life, and it only resides internally.

6. Intuition holds hands with Empowerment: I know that these two things are interwoven. One cannot be separated from the other. When I walk in trust of my Intuition and witness the results, Empowerment surges up through me and that bond is forever. When I used to give my power up to the external voice my internal power shrunk. I stepped away from believing in myself and the pain of that was more than I could bear. I trust that Universe/God/Energy has an intelligence that is far greater than any human judgment or opinion of myself. I exist here and now and will never be again. I have purpose and am living purpose. 

7. I’m learning to say “I deserve better.”

8. Hold me in reverence. I will only share my heart, my dreams with others that hold me, my thoughts, and dreams in reverence.

9. Laugh and laugh a lot.  Spend time with people that know how to laugh from their hearts, and throw their heads into the wind, until your faces ache with the love of it all.  

10. When I love I will continue to do it with abandon.  

There’s more to come. Blissfully more…thankfully.

the sweetest deceiver

the mind is weak,
when torn into a million pieces
the heart weeps when broken,
and still churns toward the path
the body wears from carrying both

This has been my year. It seems the memories of my mother ripped me apart, and wide open, at the same time. Emotions were magnified and everything hurt like hell! Now all I have left are tears and they won’t stop coming. I’m crying when I cook, when I drive, before I sleep, and first thing when I wake. I’m crying writing about me crying.  I’ve never been much of a crier so this must be the years of accumulation.

For a while I wasn’t able to write.  That was the worst.  I felt incapable.  So I hid from this blog, the empty page, a pen, the lines, everything.  On top of it all, I thought a friendship was over.  I even felt and saw the contract end.  I did ask if this was the end and all I kept hearing was “no”…..pissed me off!@)*&&!!  The heart has a path and won’t listen to what I want.  !#$#@#$!!!  I need to meditate.

I’m ready for the New Year. Yes, yes I know, I’m supposed to be in the now….screw that! I’ve had enough!!  The sweetest deceiver is ourselves.  I’m good with it.  Painting has turned toward me and I’ll hide out there.  At least hidden deep in a canvas, there’s no lying.

"forgiveness" my red runs blue into salt, and sea and the ocean breathes me into eternity and forgiveness

“forgiveness” by Arifah
my red runs blue into salt, and sea
and the ocean breathes me into
eternity and forgiveness


bravery in weakness

Last week was a hard energy week. Everything came at me and I was raw. Recovery has been slow. I’m immensely thankful that I had a busy week with work, otherwise I would be on the floor.
A friend said “I can see why Robin Williams made that choice.” I totally get it. I hadn’t felt that much collected pain in a long time. It brought up some old wounds, some fresh ones, and I was reeling.
I felt like a cosmic washing machine for collected energy. 

Sometimes, I too want to pack it in. I don’t want to feel all of this so deeply. I just want my life. This may explain my desire to hide out from the world in a small shack somewhere. I don’t want obligations, expectations, commitments….nothing. Just the clothes on my back and a few other things. I get how people get to this place.
Pain is distorting when it gets to those levels. I know I’m not thinking clearly and I also know what I’m experiencing is bigger than me. It’s teeter tottering between two worlds and I feel like I’m being pulled apart. Thankfully, I was able to meditate today and it was sooo good. I just want to spend all day wrapped in cosmic dust. I need the healing.
I think last week was magnified because I had to make a decision to walk away from a project. I knew it was coming just not so quickly, and the decision was made before I said it. The hard part was hearing some judgmental opinions based on my actions. It still hurts to hear some comments. I wonder if I’ll ever be strong enough? I took these hurts into the next week and it makes sense why I would be knocked over.
I wish the Universe would give me a warning before the tidal wave comes. 
As for Robin Williams, send him some love. He’s a brave soul, living openly as he did. I love all the cherished message across Facebook giving him the respect he deserves. We’ve come a long way when we are able to embrace the bigger message.292304_10151235635703356_1185720136_n

Manicures, time, and things of love

I was never really into fashion. That was her thing and I didn’t want anything in common with her. I was a silly child. I don’t know when the interest started but suddenly I loved all things designed. This was definitely her eye I was sharing. Secretly I wanted to bond with her as distance stood between us. I craved her touch and love. She was so very gentle and I starved for that. She was such a torn flower, hanging onto the shriveling stem. What little was left in there, keeping her blowing in the wind, was a secret she kept.

Instinctively, I knew connecting with her had to be done without fuss and genuinely so. I didn’t want her to run away again.

I started by giving her manicures. She was hesitant and gave a shy smile. I knew this could work. I loved my mother’s hands. One of the things I miss most. Her touch was sensitive, soft and loving. This moment I cherished and did it every week.

He even had the audacity to ask once, “what about my hands…aren’t you going to show me love too?”

“No”, my eyes held his telling him everything. I gave him my back and he never brought up the subject again. I was fourteen, and unknowingly learning how to love.

On the weekends, I would look at “Style with Elsa Klensch”. All fashion! Who knew I would turn out that way. Running to her asking, “Elsa Klensch is coming on do you want to watch it with me?”

I remember holding my breath in the hopes she would.  She did but didn’t like it.  I’m laughing again.  My mother’s sense of style was not modern and yet it was.  There was a simplicity to her dress. These moments went something like this…

“What is that?  That’s not even cut for her body.”
“Is that her breast?”  She whispered this, hand on mouth, shocked.
“Who wears that color gray?  No one can or SHOULD!”
“Such a waste of fabric. Oh my gosh look at that fabric how can they do that?”
“Is she naked under there? OMG she is! Arifah what are you making me watch?”

She became increasingly frustrated and I more, and more happy. Witnessing her come to life and sharing passion was a dream. My held breath carved out the moment, uninterrupted. I did this as often as time would allow me to collect.

I was quietly visiting a local boutique and got to know the owner. She would tell me when the new lines would come in, and I would run to see the new collection. One day she asked me, “Have you ever modeled? I can use you. It’s not hard, no need to get nervous.”

I was excited, but had to convince my father and knew the odds were against me. That’s why I didn’t tell him. I told my mother. Yeah, I was learning strategy from early on. I approached my mother cautiously.

“Mom, you know Mrs. X of ‘…’ shop?”

“Yes,” an equally cautious response.

“Well, she asked me to model at a show she’s having for the new line, and -.”

“What? You are going to model?”

I thought I was in trouble for making plans without asking her first. I was praying to make it out alive. “Yes…well…what I mean is that I’d like to -.”

“What are you wearing? Did she show you the dress? OMG, the shoes! Always! Always! Choose the shoes. Don’t let ANYONE choose the shoes for you. They make the look.” She was gushing, eyes excited and not looking at me, but through me.


“Yes,” she inhaled, and instantly knew she had to tone it down, or I would run away.

“Do you want to see what she wants me to wear? I have no idea what shoes she wants.”


“But, you have to let me talk. I don’t want you doing this for me. Don’t tell her anything about the shoes. I want to do this myself. Can you do that?” Trepidation flooded my face. This was the first time we spoke as equals. I felt exposed, vulnerable and didn’t want her turning away again.  We were so delicate, a few spun webs holding us together many strands broken.

“OK.” She quickly agreed.

This makes me smile. I love that she knew how important this was to us, me. She immediately took off her apron and turned to the staff and said we’re leaving for a bit, and put my sisters in charge. In the 1/4 mile walk she talked my ear off. Telling me why the shoes mattered. I was suddenly walking with Elsa Klensch.

She behaved in the boutique never once interrupting me. She talked with the owner, and once all the mothering questions were over she handed the conversation over to me.  I made plans for trying on the clothes and yes, I did ask about shoes.  She smiled.

Oh yes, when it came to my father it was all matter-of-fact. She just told him this is what I was doing and that she approved and that’s that. You should have seen his face it all happened so fast. There must have been something distracting him because this quickly became unimportant.

Did I ever tell you how she taught me to walk? Let me say, my mother could walk the cat walk. She knew how to hold her body and saunter across a stage. I was stunned. She got rid of my tomboy mannerisms, but that was years earlier and another story.

Creating bonds are delicate and intricate – easily broken, trampled, ignored and shattered. Sometimes it can’t be done when the person is here, walking Earth. I had to do it afterwards. I had to break the cycle that kept me trapped living the pain of my mother. I carried her burden for years as a karmic undertaking. It wasn’t mine to carry. She had more freedom residing inside her that very few knew of. I was too young to know. She was before her time. Circumstances can dictate shallow actions that skew truth. It’s heart, and moments that have quietly spoken love, that reaches through all times, and after death, to mend everything.

Another excerpt from “Art of Receptivity”, my memoir.  So strange to write those words, the title of the book and knowing it’s mine. There’s anticipation, and I don’t feel that too often.

the love of silence

Writing a memoir is some hard work. Everything comes to surface. Everything. You cannot hide from yourself, and if I am…well the writing will suffer. For someone that loves silence and privacy this is beyond challenging.In a recent conversation about art I was shown a piece about a vagina. I immediately laughed and said “awesome”. I’m provoked by art that’s deeply intimate because my work is similar. This piece wasn’t vulgar it had depth. There was clearly a struggle for understanding that stood out beyond the striking force the obvious stated.

Immediately I’m on a quest. I ask “why?”

After some floundering and struggling with an answer they said “I don’t have one. I can’t explain that place and this is what I want to do. I’m tired of the bullshit artist say, that statement they repeat. A lot of it is just bullshit.” I knew they didn’t want to share and I relate because I don’t like to either.

I laughed in admiration. I said “say that…that’s your voice. Tell them it’s “none of your business”. What they see is the experience they are supposed to have because they can’t have the ‘why’ that created that piece. It’s private. Own that fact that you want to be private.”

It’s such a struggle for wanting to be heard, seen and remain unseen at the same time. Because we know that many people are trying to connect to artist because of a “cool” factor. Some of us run for the hills from that, because it’s so removed from connection, and that’s what we’re really seeking, and not.

It’s a mind trick.

For me, I’ve lived silently because it’s easy to become invisible when abuse is rampant.  It’s a defense mechanism.  I became an observer and content with being unseen.  Silence is a comforting friend and it knows me.  I don’t need to explain who I am or why I hide.  I’m OK in silence.  It’s a cocoon.So how do I write those things that thrive in darkness?  I was comfortable with them there. This has been my block, I’ve been resisting writing it all down.  There’s some silences that no longer serve.

What I’m doing is preparing myself for being open when I love being closed.

They asked “when you finish writing the memoir, will it end?”
“No. It will become something else.”Absolution is a yearning that stretched from the soul into the human. We strive to feel it while in form.