Projections of the Past

This post continues the themes of Strike the Root and We’re more alike than different.

Last night I came across more commentary about the youth taking a stand to demand gun reform. And I felt so conflicted. I find myself really wanting to support their efforts because how can you deny them? How can you get in the way of young people trying to make a positive difference in the world? I don’t want to dampen that fire at all. However, I find I can’t support their actual cause, and it’s actually hurting me because I want to so badly. From a practical standpoint, I honestly don’t believe more gun laws will reduce violence (and prohibition has never worked well in this country) but I can openly admit I could be wrong about this. But from a deeper place, and what makes this so difficult for me, is that I’ve come to realize that I’m unfairly projecting my own fears and anger onto these very kids. It has nothing to do with my (admittedly uneducated) opinions on gun control, but with my own horrible experience with public school.

Not that long ago, I was the target of relentless teasing in school, simply because I was “different”. When I see these young people standing up to decry gun violence, all I can see are the kids who didn’t think twice about making fun of me and others for not being like them, and all the other kids who just witnessed it and didn’t do anything. I feel the rejection of the popular kids all over again. I wasn’t pretty enough, cool enough. I was kind of weird. It was easy for the insecure ones to make me the scapegoat and dump all their own feelings of inadequacy on me.

When the teasing began, it hurt me very deeply. I’m an incredibly sensitive person and this pain of rejection was almost too much to bear. I started to build walls and become numb and hide my true self. It wasn’t too long until that pain led to a sense of indignation and anger. I tried getting back at those who bullied me, and even started to distance myself from other kids who were “weird”. I quickly learned the social structure. You don’t associate with the weird different kids unless you too want to be seen as weird and made fun of. If someone was getting made fun of, most kids just tried staying out of it. Those who stick out their necks to defend the victim become immediate targets.

There was a boy I had a crush on, and at some point, he starting making fun of me. This was a pretty hard blow to my adoring sensitive heart. So the next year, I relentlessly teased him whenever I saw him, usually making fun of his high-cut socks that I thought were dorky. Years later in high school, we started to become friends until one day he just acted mad at me and didn’t want to talk. He finally blew up on me for making fun of him years before and I was shocked. First, I thought that was water under the bridge. Second, he completely denied ever making fun of me, which was the ONLY reason I ever started making fun of him. Despite my sincere apologies and attempts to make things right, he never forgave me and our friendship died right there.

The sad truth is that I LIKED him. I wanted to be friends with him when I first met him. But he rejected me. And that rejection and disconnection made me want to hurt him. I wanted him to feel the same pain I did. I wanted him to feel as disconnected as me.

Unfortunately, I succeeded.

Disconnection breeds more disconnection.

As I’ve grown older, those desires to “get even” at others have disappeared. I’m not a mean person at all and can’t stand the idea of having hurt anyone (my mean phase didn’t last long at all, it’s so opposite of who I am). However, I think my previous desires of revenge have morphed into something else. I think I’ve used spirituality and a search for wisdom as ways to keep my distance from others. I’m far more spiritual than most people and sometimes this gives me a feeling of superiority (which is the opposite of true spirituality). I don’t need to get back at others for hurting me. I simply have to rise above them and condemn them all for being blind fools. I’m convinced I’m smarter than others, that I know better.

And so, when a massive uprising of young people starts forming over an issue I believe is well-meaning but misguided, I’m triggered a million ways. While I still think my overall analysis of the situation has been correct, I see now where my pains of disconnection are getting prodded and how I’m projecting my own fears onto the innocent.

I have no clue as to the characters of these youth. Like all large movements, I assume this one is full of the good, the bad, and those just jumping on the bandwagon. But I can’t make any judgments about any of them because I know zero about any of them. I have no right to project the mean kids of my past (and the kids who simply stood by without defending me) onto this group of kids. In recognizing this, I feel somewhat ashamed. I beg these kids to not project their own fears onto others while I project my fear onto them. Pretty hypocritical, right?

It’s hard to openly admit my hypocrisy (and yet, so liberating), but I’m glad to actually be the asshole right now if for no other reason than to give my readers a clear example of what I’ve been trying to communicate (please read referenced posts at the beginning): WE HAVE TO STOP projecting our darkness onto others. I’ve been distancing myself from these young people because it triggers my own pain. But disconnecting from them only ensures I will not listen to them or work with them to reach our common goals.

When I realized all of this last night, I was finally able to open my heart. I was sobbing from my own fountain of pain, but also realizing that I truly do love these young people. I wasn’t able to feel that love until I stopped projecting my pain onto them. When I owned my pain and released them from responsibility, I could see them as being just like me. Eleven years ago I too was a young person on fire with a desire to change the world for good. And just as I was supported by adults back then, I would like now to be the adult supporting a new generation of world changers.

My projections and judgments have been wrong, but there is an important lesson to be learned from both my painful past experiences and also my current situation.

The moment you stand up for truth, your own hypocrisy is going to be thrown in your face. Whenever you make a judgment call on others, you raise the bar for your own behavior. Expect everything you say and do to be scrutinized, and be thankful to discover when you have been wrong, as it allows you the chance to grow and become a better person.

To young people everywhere (and everyone else!), please listen to me: you must protect one another, not just from guns, but from your own insecurities. Don’t distance yourself from those who are “weird” and different from you. Never make fun of your classmates or harrass them, even if you think they deserve it somehow. And when you witness bullying, DO SOMETHING about it. Speak up for the voiceless, stand up for the weak, reach out to the lonely. Stop it with the dumb exclusive cliques and connect with people outside your normal social circles. There is so much pain in your schools, and I know you have the power to heal one another if you would simply reach out and connect. I wish I could go back in time and do the same. Although I can’t change the past, I can decide to do better going forward.

If we want to take a stand against violence, then we need to make sure we aren’t feeding violence in our own hearts. If we’re going to preach love, then we must BE love in all circumstances to all people. Otherwise, all our marches and movements and legislation are useless. Carry on with the righteous fight, but remember to examine your heart and behavior in all situations so that your walk matches your talk.

Writing about these topics has been good for me. I hope that I will continue to recognize my own false projections for what they are, and to allow my past experiences to draw me closer to others as opposed to keeping me away.

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We’re more alike than different

This post continues the themes I wrote about several days ago in my post Strike the Root (click link to read).

My dear friend Jeremy recently stated that, “We’re more alike than different.” This is an idea I’ve mulled over for awhile, and it’s becoming more true to me as I explore what motivates all the different flavors of humanity.

Most of us truly want the same things. I believe that deep down in our core, we all want exactly the same things because we all come from the same source. We’re not so different from one another when it really comes down to it.

What trips us up is how each of us has different ideas on how to reach our common goals. When we disagree as to the method and means, we start believing we’re on opposing sides.

Right now I’m thinking about the current gun control debate. I have family and friends on both sides and know that each of these individuals is a caring and sincere person who wants peace and protection for loved ones and others. But they have opposing ideas on how to reach that common goal.

Those in favor of gun control believe that restricting access to firearms will reduce violence and prevent mass shootings. 

Those who oppose gun control believe it’s better that regular good citizens (including school teachers) be allowed to defend and protect themselves, and that being armed and prepared sends a message to potential criminals to stay away.

Realize that both groups want the same thing: protection.

So it’s upsetting for me to witness both sides having such negative views of the other. Just because others don’t believe in your solutions or how things work doesn’t mean they are heartless monsters who want to eat you and your babies. Just because you disagree doesn’t make you enemies.

When will we stop focusing on our differences and instead focus on our common goals? We cannot arrive at true solutions when we spend so much energy shutting out the other side and painting them as the enemy. DISCONNECTION and VIOLENCE are the enemies, and the longer we vilify our differences, the more we encourage disconnection from, and violence towards, those of differing beliefs.

I really do admire all the young people in the nation taking a stand right now. Honestly, I do. There’s something exhilarating and inspiring about witnessing young people standing up for what they believe in and trying to make a positive difference in the world. But my concern is that the young people who are so righteously angry right now may turn that anger on their fellow classmates (and others) who may not share the same convictions on how to solve these problems. This is already happening among the adults and I loathe to see the youth continue these destructive attitudes and behaviors. When this happens, I think the real battle is lost because “the other side” isn’t the problem. It’s how we treat one another that matters. If we have malice and hatred in our hearts towards those we disagree with, then we are merely feeding the beast of violence and perpetuating it’s existance.

I am very concerned for our country right now. I am far less afraid of terrorists and mass murderers than I am of the collective anger that is quickly growing among the population. It’s not just about gun control, it’s about so many different issues that we are dividing over. We are now so polarized and afraid and suspicious of one another due to race, politics, religion, sexuality, etc. I am especially concerned for the youth, who “are the future” and will have an enormous impact on the direction of our country. What kind of examples are we being for them?

Anger is not wrong. The anger so many of us feel is a proper response to the injustice we’re witnessing and experiencing. Anger gives us the necessary strength and will-power to make changes when we need to. But if not channeled correctly, we may use this anger to destroy one another instead of using it to enact changes that will heal one another. Realize the same anger, pain, and sense of injustice you feel is being experienced by those you disagree with. We need to be humble enough to listen to the experiences and concerns of those we disagree with, whether we think their feelings are justified or not. It is not for us to determine whether or not someone else’s experiences are valid or worthy of acknowledgment. To them, it is their reality, it is their life and their story. “Whatever is denied cannot be healed,” and we cannot heal one another if we deny one another. We must listen to each other and find our common wounds and common needs. We need to work TOGETHER to find the medicine that will heal the soul of humanity.

I am angry too. I am angry over senseless violence and for the pain and grief we’ve endured. And I am angry that we have believed the lies which state that those who are different from us are a threat. I am angry that our fears have blinded us to our common ground. I am angry that we choose distance and separation over love and acceptance.

What will I do with my anger? Right now, I am using it to strengthen my voice and speak out against the root of violence in our country. I want to bring down the walls that separate us from one another and to expose fear as the imposter that it is. And ultimately, I let this anger break me open and expose my own vulnerability. Underneath all the anger is my own pain and desire for healing and acceptance. Underneath all the anger in our country is the pain of disconnection, of being separated from love, from one another. We all want love and acceptance. We all want the same things.

We stand at a crucial moment in our nation’s history. We can use this growing momentum to break down the walls that divide us, or we can use it to destroy one another. Every one of us has a choice. 

Will I choose love today? Will I choose to see my brothers and sisters as allies in the quest for protection and prosperity? Will I choose to remember that we all want the same things?

Today I choose to remember that we are more alike than we are different. I urge you to do the same.

Tomorrow I plan to continue this topic, but from an extremely vulnerable personal perspective. I want to share my own experiences and struggles that are so specific to these issues, and to shed light on my own shadow that I’ve projected onto this entire situation. In writing about this topic lately, I’m coming to face the areas in my own heart that need healing and recognize the walls I have built between me and others. 

Strike the Root

Like many others, I find myself emotionally charged right now in the aftermath of yet another mass school shooting. Everyone is arguing over gun control and I’m literally getting a headache thinking through all of it. I like to think of myself as an open-minded person, and when it comes to the topic of gun control, I know that I have not done sufficient research to convince myself whether or not banning “assault rifles” would truly be effective in reducing mass murders long-term. Also, I know next to nothing about firearms, the many different kinds, and their wide range of uses (and unfortunately, neither do most lawmakers or citizens who staunchy defend their uneducated opinions). Simply put, I am not educated enough to truly have a worthwhile opinion on the whole topic. My biggest concern is the enormous possibility that a semi-automatic weapons ban will not reduce violence. Violence will simply find another outlet.

I read a brief, yet thought-provoking article today on how the “blame games” contribute to the acceptance of violence in our culture (https://thelibertyreview.com/polarization-following-mass-shootings-has-become-part-of-the-problem/). This article reflects many of my own ideas. My view on how society addresses many of it’s cultural ills can be summed up in a Thoreau quote:

“There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.”
-Henry David Thoreau

Several years ago I had a massive showdown with a patch of thorny puckerbrush. It’s one of those obnoxious plants that will keep growing back no matter how many times you cut it down. You must uproot the whole thing to kill it. As long as there is root in the ground, it will continue to grow back.

I believe that well-meaning gun control legislation is merely hacking at a branch. I’m not going to say it isn’t helpful because I don’t know. Sometimes you have to cut at branches before you can even reach a root. But we must not fool ourselves into thinking that gun control is the ultimate solution. We cannot focus all efforts into legislation and then breathe a sigh of relief when it passes. All we’ve done is hack off a branch. Another branch will grow in its place. Those who desire to harm others will simply find another way to do so.

We need to find the root. We need to explore the reasons for why our culture is currently a breeding ground for such hate and violence. Why is there so much unrest? Why is there so much despair? What causes a young man to become so detached from love that he feels the need to kill? How have we, as a society and individuals, contributed to a culture that produces such a violent human being?

I happened to read a few sentences of an account by one of the survivors of this latest massacre. At one point she stated, “…don’t humanize him,” (referring to the killer). Reading that broke my heart. This statement is cutting me so deeply because it reveals the massive disconnect we have in our culture. That killer IS a human. He is one of US. This sort of behavior is a product of humanity, a product of the culture and reality we’ve created.

It’s automatic for us to separate ourselves, to disconnect from someone who is so obviously horrible and to call him “inhuman”. However, the potential for horrendous evil lies within everyone of us, and I think most of us don’t want to admit that. It’s terrifying. But in dissociating from those who get caught in darkness, we actually dull our awareness of the dark areas in our own hearts that desperately need the light of love.

“Do you hate him because he’s pieces of you?”
-Jewel

We are all guilty of feeding and grooming the beast. We are all responsible for the division in our country. We demonize those who don’t agree with us. Our version of “Be the change you want to see in the world,” is to demand everyone else be the change we want to see in the world. We chant “Love Trumps Hate!” while day-dreaming the president gets assasinated. We preach tolerance but want to hang anyone who we deem intolerant. We know things need to change, but we keep pointing the finger at everyone and everything else. At what point will we finally take responsibility for our part in this mess? At what point will we realize that distancing ourselves from those we fear and misunderstand only further divides us and generates hatred? At what point will I finally stop preaching to the crowd and instead, examine my own heart and the places I’ve harbored hate and fear and pain?

When will I discover the outside war is just a reflection of the war going on inside of me?

“We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.”
-Dalai Lama

It’s true: love is the answer.

We must learn to love ourselves and each other. Learning to truly love myself has been the hardest challenge of my life. For so long, I was afraid of my own darkness, of the deep shadows within my soul. I heard the angry growls of a monster deep within. But once I shone a light in the darkness, I discovered not a monster, but a wounded heart in need of compassion and understanding.

A wound that is not tended will fester and become angry. A wounded animal can become very dangerous. The saying is true: hurting people hurt people.

When someone hurts us, we retreat and disconnect. That disconnection is a wound in itself. That’s what having our “feelings hurt” is about. And when we don’t know how to tend our wounds, we disconnect from them. When we disconnect from our wounds, we disconnect from that part of ourselves that was wounded. We lose ourselves.

I think it is this hellish internal disconnection that causes us to disconnect from one another. For some, the disconnection takes a violent form. Those who feel disconnected from others feel no remorse killing them. as they are merely acting out in the physical what they feel in the spiritual. However, most of us don’t kill one another. For many of us, we simply withhold love from one another. When we find our wounds and darkness being reflected at us from another, we are so triggered that we quickly make that person/group our scapegoat. We think they are the problem. If we get rid of them, then that will fix everything.

But it’s just hacking at branches. It’s just pruning a bush that will only grow back with a vengence.

I’m not the smartest person in the world. I don’t have many answers. The problems we face are complex, and certainly require a variety of solutions. But I do know one thing: we need to learn how to connect with our own hearts and with one another. We need to stop viewing the other side of the debate as being the enemy. We even need to stop viewing mass murderers and terrorists as the enemy. We need to see them as one of us. We need to treat every human being, whether lovable or unlovable, as an extension of ourselves. We’re not going to survive if we keep disconnecting and dividing. We all need each other.

Ultimately, love is the only thing that is going to save us.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
-Martin Luther King, Jr.

May we listen to one another with tender ears
May we see one another with unfiltered vision
May our shoulders help bear one another’s burdens
And may we love one another with open, fearless hearts

And may we recognize that, ultimately, we are all one, and that what we do for another, we do for ourselves. A little compassion and understanding can go a long, long way.

The Shifting Light

My favorite times of day are the times when the light shifts. That’s when I can feel the breath of the expansive living soul of the universe brush against my own breathing soul.

There’s something magical about the time just before dawn. I feel closer to all the goodness of life right before the sun graces us with his brilliant rays. The light appears before the sun does. It’s an irresistible feeling of hope and anticipation for all the beauty life has to offer. It’s like a delicate but steady dream yearning to reveal itself in full glory. And yet, it’s so quietly and gently close, so small and near, like wearing a favorite sweater, like a secret that only the universe and I share. Sshhh… just wait for it…

And then there is twilight, the time of day when the sun has departed, but his light still lingers, slowly trailing behind him. That’s the time of day that breaks my heart. That’s when I feel all the old memories deep within my being press upon my chest, yearning to be experienced all over again. The sun has left, the times have passed, but the light and the memories still linger. 

Not only do I meet with the memories of my own experience, but I also hear the echoes of a thousand different lives yet lived, the infinite possibility of experience. A million beginnings and endings, existance and oblivion all at once descend upon me as the final light of day gives way to dark night.

In these times of shifting light, I can feel the presence of eternity wrap around me, like spinning against a silken shawl. Beauty is both a light and heavy weight that flows in and around us, and try as you may, you cannot grasp her. You can only become one with her, let her move you. She may move you to joyous laughter or to gut-wrenching tears. She invites you to feel whatever it is your soul feels.

Light in its infancy: a glorious fresh dawn of passion and curiosity.

Light in its final moments: a twilight of reflection and an awareness of the continuous circle of life.

I like to meet light in its beginnings and endings, in its daily shiftings, because I want to know that I too can be laid to rest and still rise again. The sun knows not defeat- only rebirth.

The light calls to me, “Shift with me…”

Turn Around 

I recently watched a video on YouTube of toddlers discovering their own shadows and being frightened of them. While not at all funny to the child, adults find such reactions to be humorous because we know there’s nothing to be afraid of. It’s just a shadow.

But adults are afraid of shadows too. We all have a shadow. We all have parts of ourselves that we’d rather ignore, dark and unexplored territory that we fear to delve into.

And then there are some of us who start exploring the shadow and then get stuck there. We get stuck in the darkness, we become the darkness. It becomes everything. There is nothing but this eternal dark night.

“Man stands in his own shadow and wonders why it’s dark.”
-Zen saying

“The shadow proves the sunshine.”
-Switchfoot

When all you see is shadow, it’s time to turn around. Face the sunlight that has been shining on you the entire time.

Death, the Comforter

Last spring I had an interesting encounter with Death. Ok, not actual death, but a personification of death. I’ll skip the fun details as to how it began. 

What eventually happened is that I had a writing conversation with some aspect of myself that identified as Death personified. We had a good chat about some things in my life that needed to die so that the real me could step forward. 

Turns out Death is super nice and friendly. I wasn’t expecting that.

I briefly engaged with Death tonight for the first time in many months. 

I haven’t been feeling well for a while, and I’m steadily getting worse. I’ve been hoping things would resolve on their own, but they haven’t.

I’ve had some health scares in the past, so it’s been pretty easy for fear to creep in lately. It has quietly grown and grown, and of course, makes me feel worse.

My fear of dying has hit me several times in the last couple weeks, and tonight, I finally surrendered to it.

I realized how dumb it would be for me to have made all the progress I’ve made in the past year just to die. Death had been with me, helping me release the old ways that kept me in bondage. My soul has been reborn. I made it through my long dark night and I finally feel ready to LIVE.

There’s no way Death has brought me this far to then literally kill me.

And with this conviction, I released my fear of dying. I found myself sobbing on the black cloak of the Grim Reaper with his blank skull of a face and his scythe glimmering in the moonlight. Not exactly the sort of character you’d go to for comfort, but that’s exactly what happened. 

I released my fear of death to Death itself- I released the fear to its source. As I cried, he took my burden. My own tears washed me with relief and I felt the heavy weight fall from me.

Death has taught me many lessons through the years. Many have been bitter, but through time, have become sweet. Tonight, Death is my comforter because I know that I need not fear Death. He is merely a guide who helps me pass from one life to the next.

The River

I am caught in the current
of the Indigo River
Lost in the flow
all I can do is let go
There is no fighting
no denying
only acceptance
and embracing
of the movement
-7/4/17

Once you’re in, you’re in.

I can’t get out now. I’ve been baptized in the river and now I am one with it. This is the river of existence, the true story behind the scenes.

Truth is, everyone else is here too. They just don’t know it. They think they are on land, but their spirits are truly here in the river. I know, because I keep running into them. I know things I shouldn’t know. Nobody told me, I simply felt it in the water.

I’m out here, flowing and mingling with the essence of the universe. Someone from the river bank calls out to own what I am experiencing, and now I know who I was swimming with. Who’s next?

What I really want to know is, Who will join me? Anyone? Or will I merely experience others without them knowing? Will anyone ever experience me? Can two people share the same experience? Can I experience someone at the same time they experience me? What would that be like? I wonder all the time.

How does someone become aware of the river? Truly, it’s baffling. It defies logic. None of this makes sense. Diagnose me as crazy if you want, but I’m not making it up. I’ve seen the future and I’ve seen the past. It shouldn’t be possible, and yet it is.

Again, I ask, How does someone become aware of the river?

I think I was born with a partial awareness. Not sure why or how. It’s why I’ve never quite fit in. This life is confusing, something is off about all of it. What we call reality isn’t the truth. I’ve always known it, and at times I have feared it. But my fear is being washed away as I allow myself to be one with the movement.

I am one with the river. I am the flow of water, and I feel you all.

2018: I Will Build

2017 was a very difficult year for me. It was my “dark night of the soul”. My internal world has been completely shaken and turned upside down. I ventured into the shadows deep within myself and have had one existential crisis after another. Having to deal with plenty of hormonal fluctuations has made it all the more intense.

In a nutshell, 2017 was a year of deconstruction for me. I spent the entire year picking apart every single belief I’ve held, tearing down my entire worldview. Every castle in the sky that I ever looked up to has crashed and burned and dissolved into the nothingness that it truly is.

I’m believing that 2018 will the be year I rebuild.

As a quick summary, here’s what I’m going to address in this blog post:

2017 = 1: the beginning, starting over, deconstruction, the good and bad aspects of oneness

2018= 11/2: creation, building, wholeness as balance

New Year’s full moon in Orion: choosing a hammer over a club/sword, choosing to build rather than destroy

In the past year, I unexpectedly fell into the study of both numerology and astrology. I find that the less I actually know about an established practice, the better. It leaves me free to make my own personal interpretations and connections instead of getting caught up in the experiences of others and missing my own. So when I say I’ve studied astrology and numerology, I mean that as loosely as possible. I generally learn just the very basics (the bare-bones structure), and then immerse myself in the actual substance and see if it will guide me. 

According to numerology, 2017 was a “1” year (add all the digits until you reach a single digit). I think we can all agree that 2017 was pretty intense all over the world, especially here in America politically and socially. ONE is a new beginning. It’s about starting over: wiping the slate clean and going back to the drawing board. This process often involves a great deal of destruction and can be very chaotic. 

My 2017 experience was all about oneness, the good and bad aspects of it. I have had many experiences of universal oneness, in truly understanding the interconnectedness of everything in the universe. Essentially, everything is one. But the flipside of oneness is nothingness. If everything is essentially the same, then there is nothing to judge anything by/against. You can’t know a thing unless you also know it’s opposite. Opposites offer a point of reference. 

I believe this would partially explain my rather contradictory experiences this year. Every high point has been met by an almost immediate low point. I have felt the joys of heaven and the agonies of hell back to back. 

I think this is an essence of the number 1 that people don’t really talk about. The fact is, life is incredibly diverse. In focusing on unity, differences melt away. While often praised as being good, this process/experience can also be bad. It can lead to a loss of self, and the loss of self can send one into the abyss of nothingness (not a fun place, believe me).

For me, 2017 was about going all the way back to the very beginning, to the everything/nothingness of existance. I used to think I knew so much. Now I realize I know so little. Because of this, I’ve been forced to deconstruct my entire worldview. I’m having to start all over again.

Now we come to 2018: 

2018 is a 11/2 year. In numerology, the only double-digit numbers are 11 and 22, and these two numbers are considered “master builder numbers”. So our new year is more than just a 2 year, it’s an 11 year- a year of building and creation. 

I don’t know much about the number 11 or why it is considered a master builder number. But I do understand the energies of the number 2, and that 2 is a fresh chance to build.

Two: duality, opposites. Plurality: the beginning of separation, of individuation. This actually sets the stage for creation, for building. “It Takes Two.” The creation of life involves two opposites of male and female coming together. In this duality, the number two holds the power of creation. 

For me, two also speaks of wholeness. Union involves at least two. Two becoming one. You can’t be one without also being two. Each of us is comprised of many parts that create one whole. The one is a product of the many. 

In the essence of ONE, I have somehow played the “either/or” game. I have to be one thing, or another. Everything, or nothing. It’s not the sense of wholeness you would expect. But with TWO, I can play the “both/and” game. I’m not limited to one choice. I can actually be two things at once, and this will create a true sense of wholeness. By recognizing, understanding, and embracing my opposites and polarities, I can finally bring them together. This is the nature of balance, and the true path to wholeness. This is the potential of the number 2.

Now is when I’ll turn the topic to astrology. 

(Important preface: I completely ignore astrology’s calculations, and instead, go according to astronomically correct calculations. For example, astrology says this new year’s moon was in the constellation of Cancer, when it was technically in Orion/Gemini. I don’t think astrology even acknowledges that the moon moves through Orion, which seems like a big deal to me. But… a different topic for a different time.)

It was exciting to witness a full moon at the start of this new year. On New Year’s Eve, my husband and I witnessed the nearly full moon rising on the horizon over a delicate periwinkle sky above snow covered trees and fields, and the immense beauty of it all helped rekindle a flame of hope within me. I think a lot of us felt it. 

What most people are unaware of is that in the very first hours of this new year, the first constellation the moon moved thru was Orion- specifically, the club/sword of Orion. For some reason I have always been partial to the club interpretation (as opposed to sword), but when I saw this sign on my sky program, I immediately thought of a hammer. A club (or sword) is used to destroy, but a hammer is used to build.  

I find this sign to be incredibly symbolic (at least personally), and that it confirms and intesifies the energies of this 11/2 master builder year of 2018. Here’s my personal interpretation: 

Our new year is heralded by a symbol of fullness (full moon), but it’s up to us what we will be filled with. It’s our choice (2 represents choice). Will we let ourselves be filled with negativity and hatred which leads to violence? Or will we instead choose to fill ourselves with light and love to perform good works? Will we choose a sword or a hammer? This year can either bring more painful division and destruction, or it can it can be a year of creation, of recognizing and embracing our opposites and bringing them together to create life. The outcome is up to us. The choice is ours.

On another personal note… 

On New Years Day, the moon quickly traveled through Orion and then went into the constellation of Gemini, the twins. I choose to believe this represents a lot of positive potential for me. 

I was born with a 1st quarter moon in Gemini. A quarter moon is half light and half dark, a striking symbol of duality. This sign of duality was in another sign of duality- the twins. Double duality. This has been my nature for so long. I flip flop back and forth (with alarming speed these days), and in trying to be one thing over another, I inevitably deny half of my own soul. (Typically we suppress our “shadow”(dark) side which leads to all sorts of problems). I have always felt a terrible black eternal void within me, as if I’m “half-empty”. 

This new year begins with a full moon traveling through Gemini. As opposed to the “half-empty” moon of my birth chart, here we have a symbol of wholeness moving through two individuals (twins). It’s an action of uniting, of bringing together my different parts. It’s speaking wholeness into duality- a marriage, if you will. And this sign ushered in our current 11/2 year, a year containing the power of creation and building.

I’ve a got a feeling that 2018 is going to be a good year for me. An easy year? Hardly. But a productive one? Yes. Fullfilling? I sure hope so. 

After all the deconstruction of 2017, I am so ready to finally build something. 

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(I wasn’t sure how to add the following story into this post, so I’m merely tacking it on the end… sorry for the sloppy arrangement 😛 )

I wrote the preceding words on the first of this year. I am publishing this writing today, which is 1/11/2018. 

Yesterday was 1/10/2018. Being that 2018 equals 11, this date can be read as 1/1/11, 1111, or 11:11. This number sequence is a big deal in numerology. It’s two elevens. Two master builder numbers together. Added all together, it equals 4, which represents structure and order. I think of it as being a good foundation number. Many people who are into New Age practices say that 1111 is some sort of awakening code, or a portal. Reportedly it’s energies can greatly help make your thoughts/desires manifest. I simply like to believe it as a good foundation, a good starting point. It is a reminder for me to examine what I want to do, and having that awareness allows me the ability to follow through with my intentions. 

I had been feeling a significant shift the past few days, as if I was finally shedding the last remnants of 2017. Without really thinking too much of the special significance of the date yesterday, I finally came to the solid conclusion that it is time to start building. I didn’t discuss any of the content of this writing with my doctor yesterday when I saw him, but he basically told me the same thing. It’s time to BUILD. 

Late that night after waking up from an hour of sleep, I was thinking of a song I know by Nichole Nordeman titled “We Build”. I decided to listen to it. I rolled over and turned on my phone. It said it was 11:11pm, and my phone was 100% charged. I had to smile. Here I was, on a day that equals 1111, at the time 11:11, with a battery fully charged, about to listen to a song titled “We Build”. I like to fight the universe on signs/synchronicities, but this was one I could happily accept. And as I listened to the song, it felt so appropriate to my entire life situation right now. I could feel a new sense of hope and determination to finally start building.

As it turns out, I continued to listen to a long string of songs by the same artist and ended up having an incredibly profound revelation/breakthrough (which I’ll write about later). This important shift happened as midnight rolled over, and I found myself in today’s date, 1/11/2018. 

Again, being that 2018 equals 11, today’s date can be seen as 1/11/11. That’s two elevens (master builder) preceded by a 1. It’s a grand master builder code with the addition of another 1, as if it is a new beginning. 

Well, today is my new beginning. I knew I needed to revisit this writing and go ahead and publish it TODAY. Publishing this blog post is my first act of building. I’m setting forth my intentions. I have felt nervous to post all of this, for fear that I’m merely throwing around a bunch of nice sounding ideas, and that in the end, none of it will actually happen. But the truth is, it’s up to me (again, the number 2 represents choice). In posting this, I am declaring to the world that this is what will happen, this is what I’m going to do. This public declaration is a good way to keep myself accountable and to remember my goals.

I’m done deconstructing. There’s nothing left to tear apart. I’m at ground zero. Now is the time to toss aside the club of deconstruction and to pick up a hammer.

Now is the time to build.

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The new Grace wishes you all a happy new year! Go out and build something.

 

Dwelling Deeper Within

Discontent.
Restless.
Call it depression, if you will. 
Nothing satisfies.
Everything has lost its appeal.

“It seems that I’ve completely fallen out of love. Nothing impresses me anymore.” -4/9/09

The well-meaning Christians always told me that this feeling was an indication that I needed to “press in” more with the Lord. The world and all it offers will never satisfy the deep hunger within.

I suppose there’s some truth to that, but before I even revisited that memory/thought, I was gripped with the new realization that what I really want is to go deeper within myself. 

Unfortunately, I’ve used my faith as a way to avoid myself. I actually thought that was the point. I’m too focused on myself, I need to seek God. When I would get hit with this feeling of emptiness, I would try to fill it up with prayer/worship music/Bible reading, but often with little result. Sometimes I could muster up a spiritual high, but it dropped me right back down into the depths of my own void. I can see now that the true disconnect is within myself. 

I keep pushing outwards. I keep seeking all that is without me. I keep searching for all the externals to fill up my internal emptiness. And it feels very weird to admit that God is included in that. God is absolutely an external concept. He’s not me, therefore, He’s outside of me. He may very well dwell inside of me, but there’s still the understanding that He and I are not one in the same. 

Here now, let me freely admit to myself and to the world: I’m not in search of God. I’m in search of myself. Always have been. The search for God is ultimately a search for myself. I’ve long been convinced that I could only be found in God, so in order to find myself, I must first find God. I’ve convinced myself I seek God for the sole purpose of knowing God, when all along my (not so) hidden agenda was really to find and know myself.

I think any true search for God will lead one to one’s own doorstep. It’s inevitable, inescapable. A search for divinity will always lead to the divine aspect of humanity. As a creation of the Divine, we carry the DNA of divinity within our very cells.

“I searched for God and found only myself.
I searched for myself and found only God.”
-Rumi

It seems quite clear to me now: I must go within, in a totally new way. I’m not really sure what that looks like or how to do it, but I’m pretty sure I’m on the right track to finding out. I’ve had some pretty intense experiences this past year, but I know I’ve only scratched the surface. I know that the experience of my existence is far deeper than I could possibly fathom.

And as I sit here writing (this is a totally spontaneous writing that is coming to me as I go), I feel like I’m starting to put my most recent puzzle pieces together:

I’m terribly “ungrounded”, especially lately. I’m spacey and brain farty and have a difficult time engaging in real life day to day activities. I’m “not here”. The other day I asked my spirit to please come back. Life is so screwed up when I’m so disconnected like this. I keep trying to find ways to ground myself, but somehow everything I try only seems to push my spirit out farther away.

Maybe, just maybe, the key is within me. I must go inside, deeper. I keep reaching outwards… for God, for relationships, for things, for nature and the earth itself. I keep trying to find myself and wholeness and grounding in all the things outside of me. But it’s not working. Perhaps, maybe, I must go deeper within myself. Somehow gather my scattered self into my center, into the deep heart of my being. 

As I said, I’m not entirely sure how to do this. If I think in energy terms (for lack of better words), I discover the great difference in my reactions between going within and going without. I can switch to “oneness with the universe” freakishly easy (and this coming from someone who’s never done meditation). I feel the barrier between me and everything else fade out in a second. Sometimes it’s amusing and certainly a nice feeling. On the other hand, going within fills me with fear. I’ve had experiences that I can only describe as “falling within myself” and it terrified me. I exclaimed there was an entire universe inside of me. (I let myself go into the universe around me, but what about the universe within me?) This feeling tends to overtake me the most when I’m utterly exhausted. I actually feel myself slip inside and I always catch myself with a jolt. It’s like abruptly waking up from a split-second nap. Whenever it starts happening, I resist it so bad. But like all things I resist in my life, I realize there is an aspect of this which must be embraced. Perhaps it is exactly what I need at that exact moment. Perhaps there’s a reason this experience happens when I “reach the end of myself”- it’s the end of all external holding points, including my physical existance. I have nothing left to cling to. There is only one place left to go, and that is within.

Right now I feel this adventurous desire to explore the unknown depths of my own being. What could be more exciting than actually coming to know yourself? Honestly?! And do I have any real concept of what the hell I’m even talking about? No! (I shout in glee) But I’ll get there! The desire is real. It’s more real than any other spiritual truth I could dwell on right now. 

Could I possibly turn my desire inwards? Could I fixate a decent sized portion of my own passion on myself for a change? What would that be like? I’m not entirely sure, but I’m convinced it would be the very definition of “epic”. And I suspect it may be the only way to truly satisfy my soul.

“And you? When will you begin that long journey into yourself?”
-Rumi

Past Present Future Me 

The first time I sincerely contemplated the non-existance of God was this past February. I’d been reading through old journals, trying to capture significant moments to give an overview of my life and the struggles I’ve faced… trying to understand why I am the way I am.

I had just finished reading my 8th grade journal and moving into my first year of high school. It finally hit me how hard a transition that was. I was 14. It was exactly half my life ago.

I found myself wanting to go back and talk to 14 year old me. Wanting to somehow prepare her for the brutality of life that she has so far been shielded from. But I realized I didn’t have anything to tell her. There’s nothing I could have said to prepare her for what was approaching. Instead I wanted to hold her and cry, and I knew that 14 year old me would be totally weirded out by it. But I looked at the upcoming events, and tried holding her as her heart broke in new ways. I have to be there for her, she has nobody.

There are times in my life when I talk to Past Me. Having new understanding of life and the situations I was faced with, I talk to that clueless girl of yesteryear. Last December I went walking through the cemetary that was nearby my childhood home. And I suddenly began pouring out my heart to little Gracie girl. Trying to instill courage and hope into Gracie-going-through-puberty. It felt like a necessity. Once I know things a little better, I feel compelled to talk to old me. I can’t change what’s going to happen or what she’s going to do, but I let her know I’m there for her, that everything truly will be alright in the end. “You’re gonna make it. Things will change. And you are LOVED.”

When I did this again this past February, trying to brace 14 year old me for the dramatic changes of high school, I suddenly went into a panic. I was overcome with anxiety as in a flash of a second I became convinced that God did not exist. That it was only me. That in all the difficult times of life when I somehow still felt the reassuring presence of a God who loved me- that the presence I felt was none other than Future Grace. The Grace who already went through the experience and comes back in time to spiritually support me. There is no God- there is only me.

The next day this concept seemed totally batshit crazy. I do still believe in God, although my concept of what God is has been going through some major upheavals. But I don’t think my idea of Future Me coming back to comfort/support Present Me is too far out there.

Time doesn’t exist in the linear form we think it does. I’m no scientist, but I’ve read enough to know that what we think we know is incredibly limited. We DO know that people throughout history have had the ability to see the future (and even the past). Apparently I’m one of them, but not in a very dramatic way. It’s mostly personal, and it’s not so much vision as it is feeling. 

I think my theory of Future Me interacting with Present Me (or Present Me interacting with Past Me) is somewhat supported in that Past Me has tapped into Future Me. There are so many poems and songs I’ve written (or simply stories I’d spun in my imagination) that had no personal relevance at the time of their writing. I didn’t really know what I was writing or WHY I was writing it. It didn’t really make sense at the time. But I shrugged my shoulders and continued living life. Now I am experiencing so many of these things I wrote about. They are suddenly now incredibly personal. Somehow I was channeling my own future without even realizing it.

You can call me crazy and delusional if you want, and I fully expect you to. But it doesn’t really matter what you think. All that matters is what I think, and how I live my life. And this bizarre timeless relationship I believe I have with myself actually gives me a measure of peace and hope and courage. I know there’s the element of God surrounding me in my darkest moments. And knowing that the ultimate Creator has my back is certainly comforting. But truth be told, it feels a little more comforting to imagine that it’s me, because it proves to me that I made it. If Future Me can connect with Present Me, then I know that I made it through my current dark night. I’m gonna make it. I’m gonna be ok.

Afterall, who’s support would truly be the most helpful to me? Wouldn’t my own support be the most helpful? Wouldn’t Future Me, who already went through it and made it to the other side- wouldn’t her support be the ultimate? She knows me, she IS me, she’s already had the experience, and she loves me more than anyone ever could. I’m going to trust her more than I’d trust anyone else. 

For the religious among us who need a more sanctified and less blasphemous sounding concept, let’s just say that it is God working through Future Me. We can all agree on that, can’t we? In the moment I think it’s God surrounding me with love, and that is true. But we can easily say it is God working through Future Me to express love to Present Me (which would certainly give God’s love a more “personal” touch, an intimacy I desperately crave). Afterall, God exists outside of time. He doesn’t need to meet me right here and now (He’s already here…), He can easily work through Future Me to reach Present Me. Basically, it all ends up meeting me in the Present Moment anyway, so the complications are irrelevant. 

It’s a crazy concept that’s a little difficult to really wrap the mind around. But it both amuses and comforts me. If it’s nothing but a crutch, then I can accept that too, because sometimes we could all use a crutch to help us stand. Whatever gets us up and moving is blessed of God.

And look what lyrics now come to mind! Theory in action: I was writing for this exact moment.

“Keep on standing
even if you need a crutch
I’ll be there
I’ll be there to lift you up

Don’t give up in the middle of the night
In the middle of the night
the sun is on it’s way.”
-2010