In Lack of Control & The Miracles that Followed

One primary persona of mine is to walk with confidence and appear to be “calm and under control;” the emotions pour out later. In this “mode,” I can hear my father’s mantra to be “calm, cool and collected” reverberating in my cranium. Recently, that persona broke wide the eff open for me. While it’s been an ongoing process of chipping away at this persona, on this particular day I had a very significant breakthrough.

My son was having an escalating series of temper tantrums. My attempt to control the situation and de-escalate it was only causing further … escalation. Based on a recent read of the book, Dark Side of the Light Chasers, by Debbie Ford, I saw where my need to seem in control was a direct result of my feeling that I lacked control. Literally, a light went off in one of the deepest (and darkest?) recesses of my mind. Once I affirmed that I was, indeed, not in control, I surrendered to my higher power and asked for guidance. I spoke to this event in the post Learning to be Secure.

The M.O. from the Past

In trying to prove to myself and to the world that Tiffany had it under control, I hid where I was not under control. Or tried to. I have had an emotional eating addiction for … probably my whole life. This is one of the ways that I both punish myself for my feelings (eating ’til it hurts) and then hide my feelings by stuffing my emotions down, down, down…

In trying to prove to the world that I had it under control, I learned to smile and put on a good game face; well kinda. One practitioner poignantly described me as being “zippered up.” Yet the muscles of my body reveal my guarded and “under control” tendency. Even with regular massages, I have held onto a great deal of tension; more than most.

In trying to prove to the world that I had it under control, I would attempt to control myself, my environment and … even those in it. Wow! That last one is a challenge to admit. Yet, as a physical therapist I develop (and control) treatment plans everyday. What a great profession to be in for someone who secretly wants to control everything and everyone… understand, I believed it was an act of self-preservation, not mind-control.

Where & why the control most likely started

This control is not so much about power for the sake of power, it’s more about my feeling safe. As a child, I was in situations where I was abused by “trusting” adults who manipulated and controlled me. From this, I believed that my body was not safe, that I had to control others – and myself – to be safe. From this abuse, I also didn’t believe I could trust people; especially those who were meant to protect me. Further more, I felt effing powerless, and hence the cycle starts over, feeding into itself. So for me, being in control has meant that it was harder for someone else to harm me.

Back to the Breakthrough

Yet on this fateful day, I chose differently. In recognizing my lack of control and giving up control to my higher power, I received greater clarity in everyday things. This has helped me to make wiser choices. The irony! Instead of being ruled by my fear of loss of control, I’m seeing that I have little control outside of my own choices, and now my choices are more clear, thus giving me …. more control! Yet in a different way, in that the control factor is no longer based in fear.

It is my hope that in sharing, you will find a greater understanding about yourself or perhaps a “control freak” that is in your life. The more we can understand and have compassion, the less turbulence we each create in our world.

May we each find a greater sense of peace in better understanding ourselves and others. 

Namaste

Moving from Resentment into Freedom (it’s easier than you may think…)

In working to bring forward more inner light, there was an exercise in The Dark Side of the Light Chasers (Debbie Ford) that instructed the reader to write letters to people in their lives who needed to be forgiven; to be clear, who the reader needed to forgive. I found myself thoroughly procrastinating on and resisting this exercise.

Finally, I started to write out to the first person on my list that I was willing to forgive him. Immediately the memories flooded back along with the emotional anguish and heartache. My next sentence was something akin to “eff that, there is part of me that absolutely doesn’t want to forgive you.” In my mind, I felt like a young child crossing her arms after stomping her feet and chanting, “I don’t wanna.”

This mental tempter tantrum went of for several moments. Then the miracle happened: it was as if the scoreboard was wiped clean; I no longer felt the resistance to forgiveness. It was in acknowledging and allowing myself to NOT want to forgive this man of his trespasses that I was able to forgive him and my emotional burdens were also released.

Later, I started write a forgiveness letter to myself. Almost immediately, I began to feel sad and angry about some work-related and financial aspects in my life. Things for which I have felt that had I “chosen differently” would not be factors holding me back. I then allowed myself to throw another mental temper tantrum about how I didn’t want to let go of my anger and sadness at myself. I wanted to hold onto my pain because it was all I had known. Yet, once again, the miracle of fully allowing my resistance actually freed me. After all, we cannot rebel where there is nothing to resist against….

I share these experiences with you in the hopes that you will see that holding back your “negative” emotions just holds you back from being free of them. A wise woman repeatedly told me “the pain is in the resistance.” These experiences have shown me, on a deeper level, just what she was telling me.

May we each give ourselves permission to acknowledge and allow the emotions that hold us back, so that we may be free of them.

Namaste

I find that shredding paper and making mosaics can be very helpful when I’m feeling stuck. The beauty is more in the creatively destructive process than in the final products.

This is my chained and unforgiving heart

This is my open, crowned and passionate heart

Faith in Receiving

It is very easy for me to give, ’tis much harder to receive. I give of my time, patience, efforts and knowledge to others everyday. Sometimes I get paid for it and sometimes I don’t.

Religious dogma and society support giving more than receiving. “It’s better to give than to receive,” Acts 20:35 (KJV). Welfare recipients are shamed for being “needy.” Yet I wonder if there are deeper reasons…

Receptivity means having faith and surrendering. It also means being vulnerable and “accepting” what we receive. Receiving is also being, which is actively “doing nothing.” (that was triggering to state). Receiving is very much a divine feminine trait; where being feminine is often associated with being weak. Again, where religious dogma and society can play a role in how we perceive things. 

In sitting with my discomfort today around being receptive, I saw several “forces” at play. Being receptive means “getting what I deserve.” There is still part of me that wrestles with that aspect of my personality where I believe there is “an irredeemable deficiency” about myself. With that in mind, to get what I deserve could mean more discomfort for me. This belief also discounts Agape or unconditional love. 

Being receptive also means being vulnerable and feeling unprotected. In service to others, I have repeatedly “put myself out there” and have often felt used, abused, taken for granted and unappreciated. I see where I have done this to myself, to make up for my “irredeemable deficiency” where I feel I must “go above and beyond” to prove my worth… I call this trait “super size me,” where I must “give more,” to make up for my deficiencies. Which again, discounts Agape. 

Yet staying in this place of “keeping a lid” on who I am here to be, I feel as if I’m wearing a shirt several sizes too small. It restricts my movements, my breathing and keeps me from being the person I am here to be. There is great sadness in feeling my own suppression. So I’ve resolved to reach up to the stars and have faith in receiving the greatness that supports who I am here to be; this is vulnerability. 

May we each find new freedom and faith in receiving and in being vulnerable; it takes more strength to be vulnerable than it does to power through everything. May we find peace in our own vulnerability, receptivity and femininity. (sounds much like sea anemone, and with that in mind, may we also laugh at ourselves more!) 

Namaste

REleasing during Mercury REtrograde

People have learned to fear Mercury REtrograde. This is a time when all things with communication and technology can go haywire. Recently, I even read an article about how explosive the topic has been this go ‘round on Twitter. I once feared Mercury REtrogrades myself and now I see them as an opportunity for growth and REnewal.

REtrogrades are a time of REflection, RElease and when the first two parts are allowed, REnewal. During this time, we are being pushed to look inwards and backwards at the things that no longer serve us. Our beliefs, thoughts, actions and habits are all on the witness stand, being thoroughly cross-examined. This can feel like death as it can wreak havoc in our lives, particularly when we fight the flow, as we are questioning many aspects of our lives.

When we understand that this is a time to throw away the rubbish that has been stinking up our lives and our minds, then we can see this as what it is: time to take out the trash! This can be literal, figurative or both. It is our choice.

Personally, I find that when I give permission for the things in my mind (particularly those parts that no longer serve me) to exist that they quickly dissolve. Then my physical life demands that I do the same. In the past 2 weeks I have deeply cleaned and cleared the clutter in my kitchen and living room. It feels truly REfreshing now to be at home in my own home.

I encourage each of us to embrace this time of REview/REflection, RElease and REnewal, instead of focusing on the havoc it seems to create. REtrograde CAN be an awesome opportunity, if we allow it.

Namaste

This morning, I burned a card that detailed the child support that my ex owes me. I release the need to worry about it. This or something better will come my way. Mercury REtrograde, for me today, equals RElease.

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 

Sometimes we have to trust our way through the darkness to find the light again

So often it is in our darkest hours, when we are ready to give up and throw in the towel, that our faith in something greater is the weakest. When we need our faith the most, we abandon it and we abandon ourselves. Yet it is precisely when we are at our lowest point that we have the greatest potential to leap forward. 

Just as a seed’s roots grow downwards before its shoot reaches skyward, we must root into the darkness to be able to grow upwards. Just as the seed knows where to go to find the sun, we must learn to trust our ability to find the light. 

Namaste 

Opening the Capacity to Love

Each of us has an infinite capacity to love.
Yet we put rocks, sand and baubles in our jars
Out of fear, out of pain
Blocking our ability to fully receive
And acknowledge the vastness of our own greatness

Allowing the stories we’ve told ourselves
about why we cannot love
Gives them further solidity
Occluding from within the flow of love.

This truly is a labor of love,
Literally and figuratively.
For to clear the congestion,
these objections to love
Is to remove them, to inspect them,
To feel them, and allow them simply
To be, this is the lesson of love they were
Meant to be.

It is always our choice to see.

Namaste

images: Google

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Balancing the Edges: Creation & Destruction

All systems seek balance including our inner and outer selves. We often become unbalanced when we suppress the expression of our hidden, or shadow, aspects. This suppression is learned during the process of being raised, as we are taught to deny parts of ourselves to fit into society. We cut ourselves off from our truest expression of self as a sacrifice for the safety of others (imagine society if everyone acted on every urge felt). However, the complete suppression of our shadows creates an imbalance in our lives until we choose to look within and honor these hidden aspects; even if only symbolically. This is the first in a series about returning to a place of balance within by uncovering our hidden and at times golden facets.

Once the match is struck, it creates a flame which results in its own destruction. To create is to destroy. While I have posted about this topic repeatedly, even this week with the Necessity of a Broken Heart, today I have a new perspective to share.

For a new wave to be formed, the old one must crash. To build a new house or road, the land must first be cleared. To create a new thought, we must destroy the old beliefs. To create a new life, we must allow the old life to die. The maiden must die before she becomes a wife. I could list different things all day that follow this cycle and the possibilities are endless, yet to create such a list would destroy the point of this post. (smiling).

We can see these examples of creation coupled with destruction in the external world when we allow ourselves the sight to do so. For instance, when we watch the news we see where the world seems to be caving in on itself. Yet, so few of us see within ourselves how this is merely a reflection of our own inner desires for destruction. When we can allow our inner world to balance these two halves – without shame or judgement – then we can begin to be whole and complete – finding the keys to our true inner peace.

A beautiful wave crests just prior to its destruction, yet the water flows back to the ocean to create a new wave. In the process of creating new shoreline, something else must be destroyed.
When we fight our dark urges we give them more strength to control us. However, when we allow ourselves without judgement to have dark and “negative” or culturally unacceptable feelings – instead of blocking them or acting them out – then we can free ourselves from this burden of right or wrong. Accepting that the path of creativity also means that we destroy something, even if only in our minds, or even if only symbolically, then we can free the edges of our psyche to co-exist and we can move beyond duality. Balance is then restored and we come to a place of peace, even if it is briefly held as if “on the head of a pin.”
Some creative ways that we can get our destructive fixes: meditate and walk through our “dark sides,” write a story where everyone dies, paint (destroy the canvas with acrylics), sculpt, Dream and even daydream. These activities diffuse the ticking time-bomb within: when we allow them to be as they are – keys of free expression of our dark sides – we free ourselves and become the whole we are meant to be.

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Superheroes Needs Super Villains. The Movie ‘Unbreakable’ is a beautiful explanation of this need for balance.

When we block the destructive side of ourselves it just wells up within. Then we take it out on others through road rage, passive-aggressive behaviors, or maybe even directly abusing others. So much of the world makes sense now from this perspective. Look at all of the examples of “great real life heroes” who commit acts of atrocity.

From this vantage point, we can now see how great societies fell: when their destructive mechanisms outgrew their creative ones. I can now see how many serial killers were also sometimes model citizens. Ted Bundy, for instance, volunteered at a suicide hotline and talked people out of killing themselves. Yet had no problem brutally raping and murdering brunette college-aged women. Now I can understand my own fascination with war, war machines, and serial killers, of all things… This may be scratching the surface of BDSM as well.

This new awareness has shed so much light for me. I now see why I can be so patient and calm with clients and then short-tempered later. If someone cuts me off in traffic I thoroughly enjoy cussing like a sailor as it helps me to release that darker side of me. I have also seen how health care workers and other service providers have the darkest senses of humor. Yes, that absolutely includes me!

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So often the greatest artists destroy themselves with their nihilism. To create so beautifully, there is a requisite balance of destruction that must occur. Not understanding this, many artists destroy themselves. Perhaps as more artists embrace their darkness, fewer will die from their self-destructive behaviors. Special thoughts to: Jim Morrison, Heath Ledger, River Phoenix, Jimi Hendrix, Janice Joplin, Van Gogh, Whitney Houston, Kurt Cobain. 
It is now my belief that mystery schools and societies understand this need for destruction. Many believe Masons are devil worshipers. I never understood this, especially since my grandfather was one. He was one of the kindest & most gregarious men in my life. Perhaps this is why there is so much secrecy about what Masons do: men acting out their need to destroy can be highly misconstrued by the passer-by.

Each of these examples is seeking balance. By telling off-color jokes, cussing at other drivers and, at least mentally, indulging in dark sexual fantasies, I am finding balance in my own ways. This also explains phenomena such as “preacher’s kids.” Now I can even understand why for the past two weeks my children have been acting out so much at school. I had been blocking many of my darker thoughts lately. Now to dive in and free my children from finding the balance I was unwilling to find within.

So please, allow your darkness to express itself within you or at least in ways that allow you to release without harming yourself or others. Finding creative ways to express the need to destroy is a way of creating a controlled burn instead of having wild fires sweep through your  life. As I continue to understand this concept better, I will write more. 

The light & darkness within me honor the light & darkness within you.


The Lady of the Water

Images: google

The Cycle of Growth

Broken down

Again releasing the chains

of oppressive

fears

loneliness

disconnection

confusion.
allowing the pain to wash

over and through

moving again 

no longer stuck

the emotions 

move on 

like they wanted to all along
the vortex spins

the web taken down

its energy collected

broken into component parts

silken lines cast out again

caught in the wind

sailing then finding a new hold
listening to the inner voice

it’s time for a new space

in which to build

doing as i am told

i begin to weave the warp

holding fast to the weft

creating a new center 

upon which to rest
being still i can feel

the residual waves wash over

at the center the spinning ceases

building a bridge of connection

from each outward reaching thread

no longer filled with dread

allowing my chalice to fill with

love & hope now, instead
much as the orb weaver

breaks down each day

to build again that night

i build a new place

in which to find right

the blessings, the grace

keep me from falling on my face

recognizing magic and miracles

move at their own pace
from the slug i see

the path of magic

and not allowing the shadows

to take hold of my soul

allowing them to be

without frightening me

as i allow, i become

just who i’m meant to be

molting the lies, i am now free
Image: google 

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