Language Alert! Lots of F-Bombs in this post so click on out if that bugs you, ‘k?
It’s been a tough year so far. Ups, downs, moving across country soon, looking for new jobs, teetered on the edge of divorce for a bit, health challenges, loss of income, all kinds of shit. And when I say shit I mean just that. It’s been tense and touch and go and I’ve been afraid to breathe too deeply for fear of something else shattering. I think I’ve been building for some time toward a snap that happened yesterday, a storm, a lightning strike that burnt me to a crisp.
For three-ish years I’ve been learning marketing, selling art, essentials oils and most recently attempting to fill Desire Map workshops for which I spent a LOT of money for a license that allows me to do so. Desire Mapping is a process by Danielle LaPorte and it’s awesome. My failure to get it going as a business has nothing to do with her or the licensing package just to be clear!
I’ve learned to build websites, used marketing “tactics” I learned in all the courses taken so far although they didn’t sit real well with me and while some progress has been made I am going to the tax guy deep deep in the hole again. I do best with the no sale selling but then how do you get your products in front of people outside of Facebook and Twitter?
So for years my way has been to push push strive strive and market myself into madness.
FYI: sometimes when we don’t listen to smaller signs from the Universe to stop or make a course correction the message gets louder. I and others call it 2×4 therapy. You go along ignoring the strains and struggles, the fact that you should buy stock in Tums at the rate you’re eating them and various other indicators of being off your true path and little messages start to come. You trust someone you normally wouldn’t and get douched. You make a simple math error and bounce checks. Stupid shit that indicates you are off your game yo. However you power through acting thick as a whale omelette on coffee and gossip, blithely ignoring them and they get bigger. Ignore them a little longer and you get the Cosmic 2×4 right upside your stubborn little noggin.
My 2×4 seems small but it had a big wallop of an impact. I didn’t get a scholarship I wanted and was deeply disappointed, my reaction to it was way out of context which should have been my first clue that this was related to many recent stresses, upheavals and perceived failures. It was like all the failed projects over many years, all the energy, money and hours spent in cyberspace trying to build businesses, all the time spent in creating art and writing came crashing down on me and I got pissed! P-I-Double-S pissed the fuck off! After that passed the deep stink of failure crashed in worse than in the morning.
I know you know this process, and if you’re an artist or a creative of any kind and you most likely are or you wouldn’t be reading this far, you really know the Voice of Doom. The voice that tells you just how worthless your ideas are, counts to the penny how much you’ve wasted and exactly how maxed out your credit cards are, reminds you in an I-told-you-so tone that you will never never never get it, whatever it is, because you’re just so stinking whatever: your ideas are garbage, dumb, ill fated, you were raised on the wrong side of the tracks, annoying, whatever label the Voice of Doom wants to use in the moment to flog you with but you know what I mean and how it feels. Soul crushing and energy draining.
By evening I was done. So damn exhausted and done with dreaming. I was alone in the house with nothing but time and Cadbury eggs. I made a decision to avoid the siren call of chocolate gooey eggs and instead surrender as much as I could to the negative emotion to see if it would really roll on through or if I would drown. I began writing in my trusty Moleskine journal and to sum it up here’s how it went: fuck art, fuck writing, fuck Desire Map, fuck Reiki, fuck photography, fuck essential oils, fuck home design for cats etc. ad nauseum blah blah fuckity fuck blah.
I wrote each dream on a piece of paper and I burned them one by one in the fireplace. I cried as I surrendered each piece to the flames and when they had all died down to ashes I was done with tears. I sat on the hearth empty and cold and gray and white. I rubbed the Phoenix tattoo on my right arm and wondered why they don’t tell you in the myths how much it hurts to burst into flame and how hard it is to wait patiently and see if a rebirth actually exists.
I asked myself while pitifully poking around in the ashes to make certain the dream papers were well and truly dead: where do I go from here? How do I live a life without reaching toward some fuck weasel goal, some misguided project or always keeping an eye toward some point in the distant future? What does a day without pushing and planning toward achievement look like? Last night I really couldn’t answer those questions. I fell asleep at 3am this morning utterly empty, utterly without emotion but filled with questions of how to live in the moment, not just in concept, but really for reals in action moment to moment. Ask and it shall be given.
Today I know more. Today I know that as much as it hurts to symbolically burn shit to the ground and get back on course the rebirth does come if you give it a bit of time and fully allow all the trolls in your brain to be compassionately witnessed and expressed in all their gory ugliness.
So what happens next?
First forgiveness. Forgiveness for lots of things, so many many things. Forgiveness for decisions made for which no do-overs exist. Forgiveness for money lost and hours gone that could’ve been better spent creating more and worrying less about monetization and affiliate marketing. Forgiveness for whining like a little bitch and not being responsible for my stress level sooner. Bottom line: forgiveness for trying so hard that I did myself damage.
Second? Second is where the laughter begins. The rueful kind, the laugh at yourself compassionate head shaking kind I think that Jesus might have for us when he sees us tripping over things that could just as easily be walked around if we’d only open our pinched up little eyes.
Third: I do what’s been right in front of my face every single day. I do what I tell others to do. I do what I’ve written on every cover of my journals for years. Surrender. Ask – is love available even here? Live mindfully and be present in your feeling of choice as much as you possibly can letting the details take care of themselves. Say some Change Me prayers. Say some Anne Lamott prayers: help, thanks, wow. Say some Bible prayers. Anything to not let Mind take over and run the show because Mind running amok creates drama and drama ruins lives faster than thinking too much about the Kardashians or thinking at all about Kim or Kanye or even the letter K in general because other than kiss or kittens it’s not much use.
It’s as if I’d been leaving breadcrumbs for myself all over the place and couldn’t see them having gone blind in my driven goal seeking frenzy. Some part of me kept writing the only things that make sense, the only things that actually work. Breadcrumbs scattered to lead me out of the dark forest as soon as I was ready to stop tripping over roots and stumbling into trees in the dark. I know I wrote them, I always do but I haven’t been living them and that’s what burning the house down will do for you: when everything “you” is gone you can see for miles.
When the smoke clears you can see what’s True, you can see where you went left and should’ve gone right. Then as Martha Beck says you can go back and find the last hot track. The last place where you were centered, happy, purposeful and pick your life back up from there.
Define your Core Desired Feelings and anchor there every day without fail. Breathe mindfully every day without fail. Remember that plans made for life have to be held loosely and adapted constantly. If it hurts well then for fuck’s sake stop doing it! Offer it all up to the Great Whatever. Recognize that the only true statement when dealing with other people is that everything is relative. Everything Is Relative! Facts are facts but the stories wrapped around them are different for all of us and the only thing within our control so change your story. Write a new one!
None of us are failures. All creatives and all folks in general struggle sometimes with the Voice of Doom that would steal the life from our creations to keep them from being born. I learned this week that it’s more powerful to listen to the voice, pat it on its warty head and go on rather than to run from and avoid it until I blow up.
The fire stung to be sure but this rebirth thing feels pretty all right.
When I think about the upcoming workshop I’m holding using Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Map process and addictions I honestly wish I could share it with everyone right this minute. I was pretty riled up this weekend about addictions and how they can tear individuals and families apart and all I could think about was this process of flipping everything we know on its head and achieving our goals in a spirit supporting way, decreasing the shame of our human failings and really expressing who we are without any hesitation or censure.
Addictions, which includes alcoholism in my definition, are a part of my past and present, my family and friends history and the shame they engender is overwhelming for most people until they learn that secrets really can kill us and bringing light to the darkness is critical. The more we bring addictions and how they affect us out into the open the faster the shame dissipates however the process of taking those first steps of disclosure can be truly excruciating.
I used to be a therapist and worked with substance abuse and trauma for many years, I’ve seen clients and my father die from it. I watch my husband struggle with it every day and I struggle with my own cravings and addictive tendencies. However I know the freedom that comes from accepting the fact that addictions do not equal loser or failure or forever fucked up and it is enormous. Addiction is a disease which means it can and is cured every single day.
You are not lost forever. You are not worthless and you are not to blame for the addiction itself although you are responsible for managing your behaviors for your sake and for those who love you.
How does this related to Desire Mapping? In every way.
Desire Mapping gives you permission to want what you want without judgement. Well, I want heroin thank you very much and I say that’s perfectly fine! You want it, accept that you want it and then plan for how not to act on that wanting. Once people are past the physical withdrawal it becomes critical to face and learn to handle the psychological components. The Desire Map helps you define, clearly and succinctly how you want to feel and teaches you to achieve your goals from that place, from the place you want to be right now without struggling over how.
No one truly wants to feel numb or hungover, we just want to avoid the emptiness or the anxiety or the hopeless feeling that nothing will ever get better. No one wakes up one day and sets out to burn their lives to the ground leaving a trail of broken promises and hearts behind them.
Addicts in general feel different. They feel odd, out of step, always searching for but never finding “home”, as if they are interacting with the world through a glass wall fearing exposure for the rotten person they believe themselves to be and yet needing to be seen because we all want to belong. Families and loved ones want to feel supportive yet often don’t know how to love the person while still setting and holding boundaries against the harmful behaviors of a person active in their addiction.
What we want as humans in general is to feel accepted, loved, seen with compassion for who we are and encouraged to reach for even more development. What we want is to feel alive, productive and creative and I can tell you that every active addict has a stifled creative nature so large that it must be given a channel for expression or it will continue to turn inward and contribute to the outward destruction.
Desire Mapping says your desire is your fuel. What you want is where you start. We don’t start with I’m going to stay sober forever. We don’t start with I’m leaving if he comes home drunk one more damn time. Those goals are too big and they miss the core of it all, it takes us too far into uncertainty so we say I want to feel in control of my urges today, for this hour, for this minute. I want to feel accepted (which starts from within) and how can I feel it? What does acceptance look like? Is it knowing I want to drink, accepting that the urge is perfectly ok but not acting on it? Is it exploring avenues of creation so that all that energy we’ve been holding back has somewhere safe to go?
What tiny part of myself can I accept right now and then use that to expand to another part and another? Is it possible for me to choose an emotion other than despair and if so what emotion would I like to feel and how do I stay there? Do I even know emotions exist other than happy or sad?How do I get distracted, wander off from that feeling and ease myself back into it time and time again throughout the day/night without feeling like a failure at this too?
Desire Mapping answers those questions in a loving way that still holds you personally responsible for your life. Yes you. No one can change the thoughts but you, no one can make the choices but you and the Desire Map process shows you how. If you can’t come to the workshop in Jan go get the book. If you’re out of money get yourself to the library and read it. Ask questions here with the contact form if you need clarification or visit my Facebook pages here and here where you’ll find art and words and Young Living essential oils.
If you want a workshop held where you live contact me, it might be possible for it to be brought to you, you never know unless you ask right?
In the meantime, just for today, please let yourself off the hook if you’re in addiction or if you love someone who is. You are not a loser if you love an addict. You are not anything that your disease says you are if you’re addicted. You deserve a life free from bondage please give yourself permission to feel happiness and peace. If you can’t feel it, imagine that you can and it will come.
Say to yourself in a mirror, “It’s ok. We’re going to find the answers we need and in this moment I accept you as is, no questions asked.Every day, every minute we get a chance to start over, it’s ok.” Sounds ridiculous but don’t underestimate the power of speaking that out loud even if you don’t believe it and guess what? You deserve to feel good and nothing will change until you make that a priority!
I’ve known a lot of men in my life. Good, bad, in between and yes I have known some who were rapists. We’re not reminded frequently enough in the field of sexual assault services that they aren’t all rapists. It’s a very small percentage yet over time I am noticing that the men I know now are feeling the sting of those rapists actions.
Those of us working for change spend too much time reading stats, reports, watching videos and basically saturating ourselves in who got raped, who did the deed and how we can try to change the environment to promote more reporting by those who have been victimized. We go to training and workshops, review programs and look for innovative practices which means we hear a lot about how men are rapists and how evil they can be. All true but a steady diet of this begins to make the men around me who are trying as hard as the women to improve things feel a little squirmy and weird.
In a survey answered by hundreds of rape and sexual assault support agencies, it is estimated that 93.7 % of rape perpetrators are male and 6.3 percent are female. (Greenberg, Bruess and Haffner, 575) (http://ifritah.livejournal.com/211376.html)
Does that 6.3% mean that it’s really that small an amount of females who rape? No. Read the rest of this entry
We’re down here searching the night sky for your star.
I say we.
I know I’m not alone in this.
Do you hear our eyes asking? Is it this one? That one?
Do you see our faces confused and wondering?
Can you hear the hope in our pounding hearts?
I pick one and make a wish on light that left the source a million years before breath filled my lungs.
What else is there to do but wait another million years to stop searching? To stop wishing against reality?
In a world of endless sequels and reruns, accepting that a story has ended is nearly impossible.
So we tell your story as best we remember it,
And we look for stars.
Not on the same day a tragedy occurs. Not now when friends and family are reading your troll-ish, shit stirring comments below the news articles which by the way got all the facts wrong and leave me shaking my head wondering if reporters do any fact checking at all. You want to talk about gun rights do it on your own time. Do it on your own blog, your own Facebook page or keep your evil to yourself. A child is dead, our friend is dead and he is not a trophy for you to use for your personal cause against guns.
No one who knew Shawn Kilker is surprised that he killed a relative and then killed himself. No one can get their head around whose life he took before he took his own. No one can believe that he shot his own son Keith. Not so hard to believe for those of us who work in domestic violence, sexual assault and child protection. Not for those of us who can smell an unstable personality from miles away. We know all too well that yes, yes they will kill their children and sometimes do. Yes, yes they will kill their wives and sometimes do. Yes it’s true they valued them and called them “the apple of their eye” but that was before Mother had enough and was leaving. That was before shit got real when the cops showed up with a warrant. That was before desperation set in and the need to destroy overrode the need to love.
Tonight we stood in a park in Keenesburg, Colorado (a town we just recently moved from but maintain ties to) with candles to say goodbye to Keith Dean Kilker Cowboy as he called himself as a child. The same park where I walked my dog the last day of her life. The same park where my husband and I watched our first amazing fireworks show together, where we walked at night to play on the swings like kids and where we celebrated his birthday and we all discovered the cheese I had used in the chili was spoiled.
In the park now my husband sobbed for his lost “lil Keith” that he will never take fishing again or laugh at for wearing cowboy boots with shorts or grab a soda for as they work on an engine together. Lil Keith who he will never hand money to for a job well done in the yard or plowing snow.
Tonight we watched 14 candles glowing on a table, one for each of his years on this earth and we cried. We listened to friends and his sister tell us that his last day was a good one, that he was happy and that he freely chose to stay with his quickly unraveling Father as they were sent from the house. Perhaps like all sons he thought he could save his father Shawn Kilker. Perhaps like all children he had loyalty to someone that didn’t deserve it. I don’t know why he stayed, I just wish so hard that he hadn’t.
The preacher in the park said to look around at how many hearts had been touched by Keith’s short life. Keenesburg, CO is a very small town and everyone does almost literally know everyone else. You really couldn’t live there and not know Keith even if he had never been in your house swiping sodas and snacks. Even as I was driving into town tonight I caught myself looking for him to go whipping across the railroad tracks on his bike as more than once I’d had to dodge him there. There were a lot of people in the park tonight. A lot of hearts broken by this loss.
Keith cracked me up with his total lack of self-consciousness. I dropped some clothes off for his sisters once and he had two of the sweaters on before I could even get them out of the car. He thought they were cool so he wore them and didn’t care one bit that they were girls clothes. Keith would eat anything in the house that wasn’t nailed down and he wasn’t shy about asking. He was so damn cute that you couldn’t deny his big eyes anything. He would come over and pet our fat dogs and talk sweetly to them years ago before they died then he would head out back to find my husband so they could go fishing or work on something together. He later would come by and cuddle our cat Grit since she had lived at his house for a week or so when we all first found her as an abandoned feral kitten. While she scratched most of us being a temperamental tortie I don’t believe she ever scratched him.
He was sensitive and creative something his father frequently ridiculed him about. As he got older we could see him start to drift into areas that teenagers shouldn’t and I worried about him. I worried when he would come over mad and talk about things that happened at home. I hoped that his sports, his friends, mother and sisters would hold him steady through his adolescence. Almost 24 hours ago now his father made sure that he would never have one.
People shared stories of Keith while his family, wrestling, football and baseball teammates openly grieved and I watched the sun set. I listened to my husband choking on tears. I watched the people who used to be our neighbors wipe away sadness. I watched our friends, huge tattooed men, share their pain for a lost child killed by a lost soul.
I seethed in anger over knowing that Keith was gone forever, over knowing that Shawn would one day do something violent again but never expecting this and over knowing that as hard as we try sometimes we just can’t make a difference. This was not about gun ownership, a background check would never have stopped Shawn from owning guns and would not have stopped his chronic and self-medicated mental instability.
Through my own frustrated tears I stared at the sky’s fading light while birds winged into the trees to settle down for sleep. They were going home for the night. Going home is how I have to think of wherever Keith is now or my heart will explode and my throat will howl the sounds of agony and wasted life for a thousand years.
I hope he wasn’t afraid. I hope whatever happened in that house as his world so rapidly came undone happened fast so that he did not suffer. I hope that he knew how loved and cherished he was by the people he was forced to leave behind.
I hope most of all that I will see him again when it’s my turn to go.
When she sang it was in this thin reedy voice that set everyone on the church’s teeth on edge. She was so tiny and thin and leathery that it was incredible and defied reason that such a sound could come out of such a body. It did. It was awful. But seriously how are you going to tell a little old lady that she sounds like someone’s killing cats when she sings? When she raises her skitchery and loud voice to the skies in praise of the Lord? No, you will not say one word and I myself chose not to sing for fear that I might sound terrifying too. Read the rest of this entry
A new book is out which means a new published writer is born! Check it out~
Originally posted on A Novel Journey:
My novel, The Inheritance, is now out in softcover, as well as Kindle, at Amazon. I would be immensely grateful to anyone who feels led to share this on their blog to help spread the word. Thank you so much! It’s this writing community of amazing bloggers that has given me the courage and inspiration to keep walking the journey to completion of this baby. :)
When Victor and Vivian Forrester meet their unexpected fate on their way home from hosting a charity dinner, it leaves their three estranged adult children with an unexpected fate of their own. Madison has the perfectly planned life of which her two young children are the center, leaving no room for anything or anyone else, including her husband. Her career as a psychiatrist enables her to validate her self-worth and give her children everything they need. She has made a promise to herself that…
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I was accosted the other day at Costco by a woman selling Juice+, some kind of supplement that probably has value but I wasn’t in the mood. Costco makes me grumpy on a good day much less when I feel attacked in the freezing cold produce dungeon. She saw my basket full of vegetables and took it upon herself to try and convince me it would be better to take a pill than have to eat “all those vegetables”.
Who does that? I can see trying to wrestle the carton of Ben and Jerry’s out of my greedy paws, although I would recommend that you not actually try this, but vegetables? You want me to put back my whole basket of the healthiest food I could eat? You really think a pill can beat out green smoothies, juices and salads?
It wasn’t just her though that seems to get more aggressive the more I say no. I’ve been followed by the Dish satellite salespeople at Wal Mart, a magazine salesman was getting pretty mouthy with me on our porch until he saw my tall tattooed husband come around the corner of our house to see what all the fuss was about, and don’t even get me started on the Jehovah’s Witness people in our area. Does selling Jesus door to door really work anyway? Bless their hearts I know they mean well but I do have to restrain the urge to open the door fast enough that they fall off the steps.
Really I’m not a violent person…generally speaking.
I’ve just had it with aggressive salesfolk. If I see you approaching with your sales face on and I shout no and start backing away – do not keep coming! No means no and the more you push the less likely I am to even entertain the idea of getting some information on your product! I sell things too – I sell my art, I sell my books, I sell Young Living essential oils and other than maybe sending out one too many tweets or going overboard now and then on Facebook postings (I mean you CAN un-friend me!) I don’t push and I never will.
Well I don’t push…unless you’re on my porch selling things I’ve said I don’t want and then I make no promises!
I have a friend who misses something in the South. An unworkable situation tangled with regret and love and the knowledge that it can’t be made workable and life must go on as it is. None of that stops the heart wanting what it wants, “Ulysses Everett McGill: Pete, it’s a fool that looks for logic in the chambers of the human heart.” Truer words have never been spoken as I too have always missed people and things in the South: magnolias, soft summer nights, tea that is brewed as God intended and most of all my daughter. Now she and her wife have given me two more people to miss. Twin girls to add to my list of things to cry about as I get out of the car at the airport to return to the dry beautiful elitism of Colorado. Every time I say I won’t cry and every trip I do, just as I did every school year when I took Morgan to the first day of school and cried all the way to my school and then later work. Leavings are just painful no matter what you do.
I grew up in Texas and while it’s different than Georgia (of course it is don’t be ridiculous!) it is also similar in many ways. Read the rest of this entry