Shifting Purpose & Writer’s Block

white cassette tape
Photo by Stas Knop on Pexels.com

In a way, I feel as if this “head cleaning cassette tape” were something I had used on myself! And thus I have also “dated” myself… 

What does one write about when the purpose of writing has suddenly disappeared? This blog was born out of my desire desperate need to understand and share my process of self-discovery. It was as if I were an archaeologist who dreamt of Indiana Jones’ type adventures and yet found herself waist-deep in sh*t,  sifting through sand, muck and rubbish seeking the hidden treasures within.

YET, plot twist?! The main drive behind this was more to uncover the source of the deep foreboding sense that there was something terribly, horribly, indescribably wrong with me at my core. We’re talkin’ Apollo 1 type of ‘this ship won’t launch and kills everyone on board’ sense of messed up feeling at my very core. 

Looking back, I see where I did my absolute best during this process to focus on the light, to focus on the “lessons on the other side of the pain.” And some days it seemed the more I reached for the light, the more “the evasive darkness at the core” haunted me more.

Enter the Dragon: Enneagram 4
After delving into the Enneagram 4 personality, I had a profoundly freeing “EUREKA!” life-altering-180-degree-countenance-shifting moment where the pervasive and heavy feeling of my faulty core became but a speck instead of a burgeoning and endless well. For fours, it is part of our nature to have this sense of an “irredeemable deficiency.” Hearing other fours acknowledge this lead to my accepting this as “part of my condition,” and allowed the Dragon to do its quick-work to melt away the dross, eliminating the need to further excavate.

Rubicon Crossed: Check Mark… & now what?!
Now, I have magically crossed “The Rubicon” and, in a way, I’m experiencing an existential crisis with the blog! My purpose for writing for so long (even pre-blog) was to excavate and DIG. I’d become a digging beast-machine. Now, there is no more need to dig. So now I’m in a place of asking myself, WTF do I do now? The purpose for my writing is …. seemingly gone?!

Yes! There are still things to “work through” and “understand” and “accept,” yet they do not have the “fire” behind them. The best analogy I can think of at the moment is to imagine you have been blogging for nearly 5 years about your experiences of finding, dislodging, accepting and loving this damned annoying and evasive rock lodged in your shoe and then when you finally see the rock you immediately see it is gold, so now your reason for writing is …. effectively gone because your self-help crisis and blog were based on the rock in your shoe. So now what do you write about?! 

A different focus.
Well, I have been posting inspirational memes somewhat daily on Insta (unfilteredheart77). This has required more effort than I had expected, perhaps because of shifting streams and allowing of the memes to unfold. Effortless-effort, as some would call it, can take more time and patience than blogging about the process of “vomiting” my insides out…

Please bear with me as I get comfy in this new understanding; it’s quite nice, really. So MUCH angst is gone. It’s just a matter of getting used to the new so that I can write more again!

May we accept a greater level of peace with our journeys; appreciating more deeply where we find ourselves today.

Namaste

Healing The Roots of Despair

In talking with my mother about the culture of the county in which she was raised, which I only visited as a child, I have come to a new understanding of some of my habits. It frightens me to be publicly recognized for my achievements. Actually, that applies to any recognition, even one-on-one.

Compliments are not something that I find easy to receive. My mind focuses on where things “could have been better.” While this mindset pushes me to do better, it also thwarts my ability to feel at ease or at peace with … just about everything in my life.

Where my mom grew up, those who “had more” or who “looked pretty” were targeted by others … there was a culture of rape and a fair amount of lawlessness. So anyone who “had,” could be expected to have something taken.

The effects of this culture meant people were, out of fear, generous in giving to others and also in putting down their own achievements. It was better to be pitied (at least people would “bless your heart”) than to be seen as having something that someone else wanted.

So here I sit with this awareness. Seeing how complicated it can be to feel comfortable with being at peace or even happy. Softening into the fear, shining the light of my awareness on why happiness has scared me, aside from brief glimpses. Slowly, the fear begins to melt.

Within a metta meditation, I send love back up the ancestral lines, and the community that brought this fear into being. May all beings be at peace.

Namaste

Navigating The Spaces Between (NatPoWriMo)

How confusing it can be

When nothing is as it seems

Traveling along seams

Between what was, what could be,

& what is yet to be…

Navigating the spaces between.

~~

Betwixt

One may feel tricked

Yet it is here

We can choose differently.

Seeds in spring sprout

Some seedlings become great trees

While others give in to rot

~~

Navigating the spaces between

New seeds planted and sprout

What are we watering?

Navigating the spaces between.

Breathing Freely Again

Usually my exercise-induced-asthma is triggered with running or higher level cardio. Today it was so bad while I was out for a walk, it made me wish I had used my inhaler beforehand. After thinking through several possible asthma and allergy triggers, I realized that this past month – and this past work week in particular – that I had felt as if I couldn’t “catch my breath.” 

Later, when I settled into meditation and traveled to “my cave,” the place where I speak directly with internal aspects of myself, the “asthmatic” was already there. Her breathing was such that she appeared to be having an asthma attack. She was anxious and afraid to be happy or joyful. In listening to her, she revealed that she was afraid to be happy. For her it meant something bad would happen and it would be just a matter of time before “the other shoe dropped.” 

After listening to her and allowing her to express her fears, without judgment nor denial, I was able to witness her transform. It was amazing that I was then able to breathe freely again. 

My fear of life, fear of joy, and fear that being happy leads to “the other shoe dropping,” were all keeping me from breathing and enjoying life. 

So now I ask: Where are you not fully enjoying life? What thoughts make your chest tighten and your breathing to be restricted? 

Shortness of breath can be a sign of an underlying medical issue. Please be sensible and immediately seek a medical evaluation if you are inexplicably short of breath. 

Namaste 

The Shame of Success


I won the first round, as we opened the second, I won 3 hands in-a-row. The jokes at the table then began to be directed at me, they knew who would win each hand. This perception felt like a cut, stated somewhat begrudgingly. While I did win the next round, there were others at the table who were only one hand behind me. I felt shame and apologetic. For what? For winning?! 

This is part of the story of my life. The difference is that in the scenario above, my success was out in the open. It was not something I could hide like my grades, my certifications, my degree, my accolades and praises. 

For most of my life, I have felt shame for my successes, some hard fought to show and to prove to myself and others that there’s nothing inherently evil or wrong about me. 

This irony is the razor’s edge of living with shame. We’re afraid to be good, too good, and yet we’re also afraid to show our crap. It’s all a trap! Each type of shame just holds us back from our own greatness. 

It’s time to break free of the shame that binds us and tethers us to a mediocre reality. Each of us in our very own captive AND prison warden. As such it is up to each of us to let loose the shackles, to stand up and shine the light that is our uniqueness. This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes by Marianne Williamson, see it below. 

Come now, join me! It’s time to show the world what we’ve been hiding: Our bright, beautiful, superbly unique selves. This planet needs us to shine on. Walk through the fire of the lies others have told you about what’s wrong with you: the good and the bad. Once you reach the other side, you’ll find yourself transformed and more resilient, ready to show more of your light in your own, intentionally unique, magnificent and beautiful way. This is your permission to shine! Let’s roll! 

Namaste

The Shame that Hides Us


The voice of shame puts us down and keeps both our darkness and greatness hidden from ourselves and the world. “Who am I to be great?” is as much the voice of shame as “there is something terribly wrong with me.” These, and thoughts like them, keep us isolated and afraid of revealing ourselves. 

I’m speaking to you as much as I am to myself. For much of my life I’ve felt as if there were something inherently wrong with me, to the point that when something in life goes wrong, I’m the first to lay blame on my own shoulders. This belief has also been the fuel to pushing me forward at times as well as the weed that chokes my breath and keeps my paralyzed. Neither is really healthy. 

In trying to hide my faults, I’ve isolated myself, repeatedly, only allowing people to get but so close. While I can share things that many would consider too private, I struggle with maintaining that level of intimacy and vulnerability for any length of time. My fears of rejection and abandonment then become self-fulfilling prophecies and once again I find myself feeling alone. 

It is my goal over the next month to consistently post on a weekly basis about things that I’ve found shameful; things I’ve tried to hide. It is only when the light is shone on the darkness that healing can persist. I’m tired of hiding. If you’re still reading, I’m guessing you are, too. 

Please feel free to share any stories in the comments, on your own blogs or feel free to Gmail me at Tiffanybeingfree. 

Namaste

Using the Imagination to Cope with Emotions

Her fingers shook as she raised the black clove cigarette to her cracked lips. The golden light as she lit the clove created a patchwork of dancing light and shadows, revealing deep wrinkles in the skin of her face.

Soon she began to speak as the smoke poured out from her lips in puffs. “I want to control everything. I do not trust anyone,” she said while her shoulders were drawn forward; bearing the burden of the world and caging her heart.

I understood her fears, I told her as we stood at the entrance to a dark cave. I listened, nodding my understanding as the words poured out of her mouth like acid. I understood deeply, as she was the personification of my anxiety.

After she finished speaking, I experienced a deeper calmness. I had allowed myself to hear, see and experience my anxiety, to where it released the need to gnaw at my gut.

To up the ante, I saw myself sending her love. After all, that’s all my anxiety ever really wanted; to be loved and accepted.

This method of using the imagination to have a conversation with our emotions is based on the book Inner Work: Using Active Imagination and Dreams for Personal Growth by the Jungian analyst Robert A. Johnson.

While Johnson uses more dream-like modes in his examples of active imagination, I find that this “personification method” tells me quite a bit. I gain a good deal of information based on what the emotions say, their demeanor and their appearance. By listening to them and also sharing my own perspective, I am able to regain a greater degree of peace.

This process is quite simple. While sitting in a supported position, close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, then allow your imagination to take you inward. For some reason, I see myself outside of a cave and maybe another setting would work better for you. Once there, call forth an emotion that has been troubling you. You can name this person. Write down your conversation as it occurs; it helps to further the process. Following the conversation, give the emotion love or at least appreciation.

I’ve personally found this method more effective than riding the emotional wave that I’ve described here.  I hope that you find this helpful in your journey.

Namaste

Image: Pintrest, no credit given

 

Keep Going

When in the shadows 

All can seem lost. 

Just as the sun rises,

There is light beyond the dark.

Keep stepping. 

Keep going.

Allow the dark to show you

Your courage,

Your strength,

Your truth.

For it is in the darkness

That we can learn the most. 

Namaste 

(C) 2017 Tiffany Cara

This is Tiffany’s Anger

“Tiffany, this is your anger. Own it.”

I had spent 30 minutes on this particular morning in meditation working through some emotions that mainly involved sadness. Later I headed downstairs to make breakfast and pack lunches. I had cleared the issues at hand in meditation, or so I had thought. 

After asking my son to come into the kitchen, because his pancakes were almost ready, he yelled that he wanted eggs. When I had asked the kids earlier what they wanted he hadn’t replied so I put pancakes in the toaster oven; he’d eaten them for breakfast every morning for the past month, maybe more. In fact, the next morning he asked for pancakes again. 

His yelling at me was all I needed to allow the ignition of the slumbering temper tantrum within me that then ensued. I barked back in argument with him; futile efforts with a five-year-old. While I was still seething my daughter needed something. My irritation grew; I allowed it to. The quiet, still voice within gently reminded me this was not worth my anger. Luckily, I had enough awareness to avoid allowing all hell to break lose. I began to breathe and was still somewhat easily angered by their needs.

On the way to the bus stop, in one moment, I recognized something quite profound and life-altering, “Tiffany, this is your anger. Own it,” the quiet voice in my heart said. In that moment, when I chose to see that this anger truly was “all about me,” its burden upon me was lifted. Yes, it truly was that fast. 

Had I woken up “on the right side of bed” that morning, I’d have been just fine with my son’s responses and meeting my children’s needs without feeling angered, perturbed nor rubbed the wrong way. By denying my anger and attempting to project it onto my kids and their needs, I wasn’t owning it. 

I’m human and some days are easier than others to live more fully in love. My question for myself now is: Where was I not meeting my own needs? 

Background 

For most of my life, I suppressed my anger. I would act out passive-aggressively or hold it all in until it erupted like a nuclear holocaust, raining down toxicity in waves. The fallout was often felt by those closest to me. 

“Good girls don’t get angry,” or so I thought. I also believed growing up that if I controlled my emotions, I would then be able to avoid upsetting others; by definition this was manipulative. This is a habit I continue to change through mindfulness. 

For years, I kept my anger tucked away, at least for as long as it could be. Then one day while I was in a counseling session while in grad school, the counselor said to me, “Tiffany, that would make me very angry.” Meanwhile, I felt nothing. The blankness I felt inside was reflected in the blank stare I gave to her in response. I wish I could remember what the story was! What I learned in the overall counseling process during those stress-inducing years was that I could no longer suppress my feelings; not even my anger.

Anger in Spirituality

Anger is one of those taboo emotions that many in spiritual communities try to deny, ignore, suppress, and et cetera. These actions are like trying to cut off your foot because it isn’t visually appealing. Our anger is part of us. Just as our Egos are. To deny our egos or our anger is to allow them to grow unchecked. It is only when we acknowledge their existence and own them that we truly gain control over them.

Now, I do believe that holding onto any emotion can be dangerous. It is the suppression of the feeling that leads to a loss of control.  Much like I felt that morning over breakfast: “I shouldn’t be angry,” I thought. Red flag! As soon as those thoughts crop up, it’s a sign we’re suppressing. 

Suppressed emotions can also show up in the collective unconscious, according to Carl Jung. It is by acknowledging our feelings on an individual level that prevents this collective from accumulating more terrors. 

Suppressed feelings show their faces somewhere. So do we choose to own it or let it play out somewhere else where we have less control of it? 

Namaste 

Image: google

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