cold mercury nights

Mercury_in_color_-_Prockter07-edit1

Enhanced-color image of Mercury from first MESSENGER flyby

Just spent the past two days learning about the solar system and then writing about it.

One interesting thing I learned about the planet Mercury is that it has no atmosphere. So the temperature fluctuations range 1100 degrees, from 800F during the day to -280F at night. That makes Venus the hottest planet in the solar system.

And maybe this is a metaphor for 2018, that I’ve had a cold Mercury night when I thought day was approaching. Of course, I don’t want a hot Mercury day, either. 

I don’t want extremes. I need atmosphere.

When I lived in Chicago, I remembered learning that the bright sunny days of winter would actually be colder than the more frequent cloudy days.

The clouds kept the heat in.

Having an atmosphere not only keeps temperatures more even, it protects you from cosmic radiation and solar winds. A lot more protects us from that, too–like the magnetosphere, Van Allen radiation belts, and the Sun’s heliosphere.

(Don’t worry, I’m not extending this metaphor any further from the atmosphere.)

This year especially, it seems that I had no atmosphere. It was so extreme. And it’s only been about a month of having life the cover of an atmosphere.

And quicksilver astrological Mercury, with their quick turns of fate…still under that foolywang shadow until Christmas Eve…

A bit of a sidenote, really, but it still relates to not having an atmosphere…just the other day while writing (not here), I really was feeling myself. I felt the muses were having a party and just releasing all these great things for me to say.

And I thought my audience was feeling me, too. This is the good shit.

I’m still not sure if I’m what crickets I’m hearing–of busyness, of embarrassment, or of revulsion.

But boy, are the crickets so fucking loud.

I thought the sun was rising on Mercury, but it was a false alarm. I’m still choking in the airless cold.

And today I had a reading with my favorite intuitive, just to see where I’ve ended up on this craptastic voyage. And it’s as I thought–still a little banged up, still looking back at the past as if those catastrophic fires could bring any warmth to me now.

But, whatever internal shrieks and shouts that were a constant din in the back of my mind have now been quieted. For now, building a new atmosphere has been about creating a place of stability and shutting everything and everyone else out that didn’t contribute to that.

(I had always been focused on the former, but never got to the latter.)

So this is even beyond just creating an atmosphere where I can breathe, where it’s not a hostile or harsh environment for me to live.

It’s about world-building.

So what do I want?

For now, I just want to not feel so deflated. It’s not even about healing up anymore. During that reading today, I released a lot of old shit from this year. I had already energetically released a lot in some other ritual earlier last week.

One thing the reader kept saying, it’s done, it’s over.

Well, that’s the thing about trauma, isn’t it? The events may be over, but now is the time actually start the reckoning, within your body.

I’ve been lucky and fortunate to have that happen already. Now it’s about getting up off the floor, fixing my face, and heading in some sort of direction.

And guess who’s leading the brigade into someplace new? My heart.

Oh, how precious.

I don’t know what’s going to happen next–vocationally, relationally, or in any way. Well, except that I have a lot of work to do this week, of which I am grateful to have.

Beyond that, I’ve figured out what I want generally already. I just haven’t been able to get it yet.

But since my mind can’t be the one leading the Pleasure Parade here, then it’s good that I have a few things in mind that I want to accomplish–just no new plan on how to get them.

Capricorn season starts when the work week ends, on Friday evening, and it’s funny to go into that season sans a plan.

I don’t have a feeling of adventure. But I don’t have a feeling of dread.

I can’t think ahead to anything pleasurable, not even my birthday. Turning 41 feels like another step towards death (because it is, because every waking moment is), but this blog post is not (solely?) about that part of my mid-life angst.

Today I was told that I needed to have more fun and not be so hard on myself–ageless advice for me. And to connect with others–that part I’m working in new ways…but I still feel like the long, cold night is one I should get used to instead of preparing to leave for a more habitable planet.

It’s hard for me not to think–oooh girl, if you try to do anything new, then you’ll get the same disappointing results. 

And it’s not true.

I’m listening to this Elton John vs. Pnau song called “Phoenix” (I can’t believe I didn’t know this album existed until about maybe a couple of weeks ago, and it’s been out for six years).

I’ve definitely died and have been reborn. I have to trust in this regenerative process. I have to trust in the results–the results of me, being a different, wiser person.

It takes bravery to seek a better world, to get up and try again and again and again, to keep seeking, knocking, finding.

And, I know I’ve lost my nerve (which is a new thing for me)…or I’ve had it stripped from me. Hearing how flat my affect was on the phone today, feeling waves of enthusiasm and passion wash over me like lukewarm oatmeal…

*sigh*

But as I told the intuitive, I can only take things day by day.

But sadly, like a true, tortured Capricorn, I’ve felt guilty about any breaks or fun I’ve had. I can’t allow myself to have fun along the way.

So I keep putting it off until I’m done with work…or, I end up revolting and playing around for hours.

It’s like how you can’t really hold your own breath to die because usually your body will just kick in and allow you to breath.

Maybe I should stop holding my breath, though…

And yet somehow, I’m still not as productive as I could be–and that isn’t the workaholic talking, just the realist. All that avoidance and sacrifice, and there’s only misery.

As I preached to the cricket choir a couple of weeks ago–it’s not about ending the misery, per se. It’s about enjoying the good times when they come.

Admittedly (and thankfully), I’ve gotten better at that. But now I have to start being more proactive about creating those times, when possible–and not be afraid to make that an aim.

It makes me meta-sad that having fun frightens me. And it’s not even the “there’s no one to have fun with here” problem–that’s a whole other existential hell. 

Part of it is…wait, how do I do that again? And another part is, well, I want to do something musical…how do I do that? By myself? With whom?

Some of it is the scarier thought that I’ve lost pleasure in most things, which I don’t think is entirely true–I hope not. But that’s one sign of depression, which I wouldn’t blame me for being. 

But it’s more like–everything has changed, including me. So what I found pleasure in has changed. I have to figure some of that out, along with getting reconnected with what still works.

And, now that I’m older, I hear that ticking clock of death more loudly. 

What are you doing with your time? What are you doing that’s worthwhile?

It’s a lot of pressure to live up to, especially with Capricorn fantasies of legacy and longevity. I’m lucky to get out of bed in the morning with such mounting pressures to live up to.

I’ve been grinding at work for a few weeks. It has helped me to eat and keep a roof over my head. It’s helped to quell the pangs of feeling unsafe and uncared for.

But I’ve hit an emotional wall with the “all work, no play”–and thankfully, it’s during a week that should be a lot easier than previous weeks.

Ah, so much babbling, but it all boils down to this–I’ve known what I’ve wanted for years, but I’m not sure if I should keep wanting it or if I need to do something entirely different.

Do all these roadblocks me keep going or find a new path? I sincerely don’t know.

But, I will–I can trust in this eventuality, wholeheartedly.

I just can’t use the ole tinker to do it–have to use the ole ticker instead. 

What’s scary, and at the same time liberating, is that there’s possibly no right answer except for what I prefer.

I’ve known so many lonely, cold Mercury nights and blistering hot Mercury days.

But it’s time for a change.

I need real atmosphere…


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clear(er)

So, hey.

I’m still alive–just have been working a lot, which I’m grateful for, even if the pay leaves a lot to be desired.

What’s been interesting about the work is that I get to choose the topics and in the past three weeks, I have

  • a greater appreciation for trees
  • a deeper respect for Motown (specifically the Funk Brothers, the exceptional session musicians featured in the doc Standing in the Shadow of Motown)
  • a more nuanced view of my journey out of evangelicalism via a podcast on the same topic
  • a more complicated, less nostalgic view of what happened in the 1980s (assassinations galore, major disasters, so many plane crashes, the Berlin Wall came down kind of because of a lack of communication (but also a ton of protests and defections?)…seriously, though–so many assassinations and assassination attempts…Grenada invasion was super sketch, but wow, technology improved a lot)
  • a bigger disdain of the Bible–seriously, the Old Testament is fuckery AND I really don’t like how Jesus talked to his mother at the wedding in Cana. Being the Son of God does not mean you get to sass your mom in public when she asks you a question.
  • a larger knowledge of how evangelicals and others view the Rapture and the end-times–had no idea eschatology was even a thing until last month,
  • a greater desire to travel the world, and
  • a deeper sadness and utter frustration over what’s happened over sub-saharan post-colonial Africa. For example, The Gambia was basically created around a river for the slave trade?! What?! And there were Ebola health workers killed in Guinea because people thought white folks were going to harm them, and well, it’s hard to blame them, but again–colonialism caused this shit.

With the above, I’ve been able to quell at least one of the two constant miseries I had–poverty of money. Being broke was really fucking with my head because of course it was.

And now that I’m not as broke, and I have a bit of a routine, I feel less buffeted by stress and more clear-headed.

New knowledge and reckonings aside, I’ve found, or re-found, my new but old companion is music. I am getting clear(er) about its importance in my life. I’ve written about this before here, how I keep forgetting its importance in my everyday life, listening to it.

Now I’m at the point that I want to be making music… but not sure what that’s going to look like, but I hope a year from now, I’m not just writing about this desire.

Yet even as I sit here, I’m starting to see how I missed so much in my youth by not having my parents kindly me in the direction of the arts.

When I was young, I wrote. I played music. But both happened when I was a tween or teen, both of which I wanted to do on my own.

It’s hard for me not to feel like I missed out on some window of not only greatness (yes, that sounds arrogant, but both writing and music come a lot easier to me than other things) if not just a room of solace and pleasure while my family started to implode.

So yeah, sure…I feel like I’d be a lot further along as an artist–if I’ve going to use that title for myself.

Some of this is stupid to think about, though. I am now pretty amor fati about where I ended up.

I did (and continue to do) the best I could with what I had.


It’s strange and yet very sensical how much was decided by my parents–what I believed, what I did as a child and when I did it. Even leaving the house to go to college–that was still throttled by my parents.

But I’m almost 41 now. My parents definitely do not have control over my life. But the fingerprints of what they did and did not do still mark my life.

So now, I’m thinking about what I want as my life’s center. It’s been survival for so long, but that isn’t really enough to get me up in the morning.

It used to be the Church, which almost made it easy for me to check out on or table my own desires.

And then it was relating to people, which was probably some leftover hangover from Church.

And then, as I keep saying here and over and over, people kept leaving.

So what makes me happy?

What would my life look like if I just focused on the things (and people) that make me happy?

And this isn’t about blind hedonism. I’m definitely not one to avoid discomfort or challenges. It’s about balance, along with just realizing I do have some choice and power.

One bad habit I picked up in church was to hang in there a bit too long for the “greater good”, a greater good that never arrived. I put up with people, places, things and ideas that I would never choose otherwise.

So between my evangelical upbringing and my autocratic parents (the two are tightly related), there were decisions that I never had the freedom to consider. One of them was that I could make my life about what I want to do, not just about what is the right thing to do. 

There’s a tension here, because I do have some power and control, and yet I recognize that I don’t have that much.

When I dance with Fate, who is leading?


This autumn, I realized I was waiting around for things to get better and that in some ways I had been doing this my whole life.

Another bad habit picked up from evangelicalism.

One inherent belief I’ve had that I’ve never really challenged is that things, mainly the things out of my control, always tend to work out…well, do they? And what “things” do I want to happen? How am I helping them to come into being? And are they the “things” that I truly want?

Maybe I have a little more control than I thought. Maybe the Universe is waiting for me to act differently. Maybe the way I look at divinity in general is wrong.

Maybe life is more random than I thought. Maybe I’m just incredibly unlucky. 

I didn’t think that I was just floating through life, but since this year of 40 has been a heart-rendering and embarrassing failure, I 1) understand why we believe in deities because 2) so much of life is not in our control.

It’d be nice to think there was Someone who had your back, no matter what.

But there’s some freedom in knowing that maybe there really isn’t (OK, I have guides and angels I chat with, but I mean like a Supreme anything)…

I can’t really control most people or circumstances. A lot of life’s unfairness is based on some really stupid shit that isn’t worth worrying about since I can’t control or change it. And that sounds like I don’t care about social ills like poverty. But I mean this more on a smaller scale–like how the landlady here may mean well, but there’s still things left undone in this house.

The Serenity Prayer really makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it?


Today, I went into the bedroom of that subhuman piece of shit who used to live here. The Russian kid moved out a couple of weeks ago. He left the door wide open.

The room still had the faint but insistent smell of cheap cigarettes–and that’s after it had been professionally cleaned.

I had been haunted by that room–and part of me still is. Evil definitely lived and flourished there.

But I felt compelled to face my fears. I went in and sprayed a juniper sage smudging spray–copiously. Then I sprayed it all over the house, including my room.

Living with that pathetic, bony sack of fuckery…I can’t believe that I ever did and that he’s really gone. I can’t believe what I’ve endured this year at all, really–but how peaceful I feel in the aftermath.

For my own psyche, I knew I needed to go in there today and face the space that tortured me for months. All that was left was the light of a setting sun, a couple of hangers, and some random things in the closet.

There was a lot I couldn’t control in that situation–being yelled at, smoked on, and ultimately ignored by the owners without receiving due compensation.

But he did eventually leave, because I forced the issue. And I’m really proud of that.


I didn’t plan on this being a normal-length-for-me blog post. I just haven’t had the time, energy, or space to devote to writing here. And I’m taking a bit of a social media break until the new moon in Capricorn for now.

There’s so much more to ponder and consider, now that it seems like I’m done mourning my circumstances. The clarity of thought and feeling is just pouring through now.

For now, what gets me up in the morning is curiosity. And, I feel very repetitive right now, like I’m ending this blog post in a way I’ve ended it before, so forgive me if you’re a long-time reader and know where this is going…

This story is continually unfolding, as all of our stories are. And I’m not yet sure how this main character is going to pull this caper of having a good life off.

But I’m rooting for her, hard.


If you liked what you’ve read, I’d love your support as a patron on Patreon. Tiers starts at just $1/month. I blog about things that I don’t post here.

If you want to give a one-time gift or monthly gift, hit me up on Paypal.

Thanks for your support! 💘

the alchemy of healing

intelligent healing process SOM

“I’m so fuckin’ grateful for my ex.”

Now that’s something I haven’t heard before.

It’s a lyric from Ariana Grande’s surprise single “thank u, next” dropped 30 minutes before Saturday Night Live came on last night–where her ex-fiance is a cast member.

And, if you’ve been following the hot goss about him and her, post-breakup, he couldn’t really keep their former relationship out of his mouth.

And she was not happy about it.

The song, from a 25-year-old Cancer, is remarkably wise.

It’s also, as the kids say, a bop.

I honestly was taken off guard at how reflective this song was, how Grande at such a young age was able to channel her pain from former relationships (and Cancers know pain) into lessons learned, wisdom, and a more meaningful relationship to herself.

Seems like she did a lot of growing up from three years ago.

This idea of emotional alchemy, of taking your pain and turning into the gold of wisdom was on my mind all this past week.

I received my weekly Mindful Monday email from Vienna Pharaon, a marriage and family counselor who has a cool Instagram page.

The title of the email is “3 Things For A Happier + Healthier Life (And Relationship)” and the third thing was what jumped out at me:

“Start sharing your wisdom instead of your pain”

Not only is this a sign of healing–where you can mine your pain and wounds for the gold of your hard-fought wisdom–it means that you need to share that with others.

It made me think about the goal of this blog. I wanted it to be a chronicle of all the weird synchronicities and spiritual encounters I had. But then, they were happening so often, I found it hard to talk about.

From decades of journaling, writing about the pain of life has been pretty easy for me. It got to a point that I felt defined by my losses.

But in the back of my mind, I always thought and hoped that there would be some wisdom gained from reading what I wrote here.

There’s so much that I’ve worked out just in the past few weeks that has been healing for me, and I can see my wounds glittering with gold.

(Nerdy sidenote: gold is being researched as a way to aid the healing process of wounds!)

Pharon makes a distinction between grieving and recovering from loss and when one gets in a loop of telling the same story over and over.

Even for those, stuck on that carousel of sorrow–I have empathy. Sometimes, it can take a really long time to realize that things can change, that you can feel differently, that your pain doesn’t have to metastasize into bitterness and eat you alive from the inside out.

But if you are dizzy and want to get off and start walking in a new direction, then you can take a page from Grande’s song.

What have you learned from those seasons of pain? Where’s the wise gold that you’ve mined or made as you’ve pursued your healing?

Maybe you learned more about boundaries, or about self-worth, or perseverance, or listening to your intuition…the lessons, and the unique stories that they’re encased in, are endless.

And someone wants to hear about what you learned, about your journey–your story.

But as Pharaon says, that wisdom that you need to share shouldn’t be hiding out besides the story of pain.

But this has something I’ve struggled with, that there are lessons from this healing journey.

I know, I know, I know!

But that can get a bit…transactional. My pain for greater wisdom.

But maybe, instead of even focusing on exactly what you get out of the break-up, the death, the eviction, the lost job, the failed investment, the broken friendship, the sudden illness…there may be comfort in knowing you’ll get something out of it, that that what you went through, endured, and survived–it wasn’t for nothing.

Even enduring and surviving–there are lessons there. Someone could be in a similar place, drowning in despair, and then they hear your story of resilience. They know that they aren’t doomed.

This year especially, my own harrowing stories, along with the wisdom I’ve created and gleaned from my healing wounds have inspired me to keep going while I worked my way through my feelings.

I got to meet, or be reintroduced, to this hearty, sturdy, steadfast woman who stood with dignity and grace, no matter what arrows were being flung at her.

For once, for many times, I didn’t resent my resilience. I appreciated it.


And my healing journey continues…with intense dreams.

Yesterday, I wrote about healing dreams I had about another former friend on Patreon for my $10+/month subscribers.

Writing about that brought some closure, but also some sadness.

I realized that it was a barometer for where I was at with being close to people, and funny enough–after 40 years of really enjoying getting to know people, I really don’t want to dive deep into anyone’s soul anymore.

An image that came up while I wrote: a heart scarred shut.

I know it won’t stay that way forever. The real gold here is even realizing there are scars at all, that I have a collection of them–just like everyone else.

I don’t have to wear a tourniquet or apply pressure to help with the clotting process.

Scars mean that the bleeding is over–at the very least. Maybe there’s still lingering pain…or a space where there used to be flesh…but the immediate danger is over.

The scab is gone. The skin has sealed itself.

And for me, with people, this means that I don’t have to reach out in a panic.

I am safe, from within. And I don’t have to reach out in desperation. I can be choosy. 

I didn’t know I could be choosy.

That’s mainly because at church, it seemed like you were supposed to get along with everyone. So I tried to, for the greater good. A people pleaser for the community.

But here’s the thing–even in these tough times, there’s still some choices I can make.

For example, I don’t have to be so accommodating to the landlady here. She hasn’t earned it and that deference to her didn’t keep me safe here.

I get to redirect that energy and be nicer to myself instead. Ah, more gold!

So maybe you have some nuggets of gold from your life, just laying around and you haven’t appreciated your own resilience and wisdom.

Not only should you share it (with the right people), but you should appreciate it for yourself first.

That season of your life wasn’t a waste. That break-up had meaning. That job loss helped you after all.

These aren’t just silver linings that you are randomly gifted with. You forged these gifts in the fires of your soul.

And this isn’t even about destiny, fate, or the greater story of your life. You don’t have to telescope it out that far.

It’s just about this human thing we do–give meaning to things.

I encourage you this week to examine those old scars, those storms that have ended. You may have some gold hiding under untold stories.

You may find wisdom that help prevent future pain, for you or for someone else.


If you liked what you’ve read, I’d love your support as a patron on Patreon. Tiers starts at just $1/month. I blog about things that I don’t post here.

If you want to give a one-time gift or monthly gift, hit me up on Paypal.

Thanks for your support! 💘

better for now…

but she had wings

Autumn has finally come to Central Florida. And frankly, it’s a little late. Usually by mid-October, the swamplands have finally cooled off to more spring-like temperatures without the oppressive humidity.

I woke up this morning to a low of 56F without the heater on (it’s not consistently cold enough to switch over yet).  The skies are brilliantly clear and the humidity that seems to visibly hang in the air has been swept away.

I haven’t stepped out to enjoy the weather yet. I will tomorrow when I mail my ballot in for the midterm elections.

Currently, I’m happily wearing a sweater.

And I feel…better…?

Just like the skies, whatever haze and doom that has clouded me has cleared up…for now.

And I’m really grateful for this change of seasons and weather…externally and internally.


There’s something about continually showing up, to your own life.

Even when you want to quit. Even if you have to drag yourself through your day. Even when there’s no one around to encourage you. And that’s what I did this month especially.

And then, a little relief started to trickle in. Relief like work and solid prospective clients. Relief came from within, too. I found some newfound solidity within myself that no one could give me.

It’s a new level of resiliency that I didn’t know I could kick up into.

And I really shouldn’t have to, in theory. And that’s something I’ve talked at length about here–the power and necessity of community and how isolated I feel.

It’s a little strange, to have gone through this phase of being needy and destitute, asking for help and sometimes receiving it, to go back to going it alone…to go back and to go deeper into the journey of solitude.

What I feel was a journey to learn more about interdependence was actually a revelation that the people I chose to depend on weren’t the right fit, to put it mildly. And it came in two different flavors.

There’s the flavor of seeing me as forever needy, which is actually new for me personally. But there’s a power dynamic that develops when you’re sharing your woes with friends, and your woes are really terrible and even terrifying.

I’m a comforting cautionary tale. At least I’m not like her.

But I have to stay in that place. God help me if I decide to become an equal again, whether through circumstances or spiritual growth or both.

Then the power dynamic, along with the relationship, is broken.

The second flavor is being the one who is always there. Here I am with my unflagging support and love and devotion and care.

The reciprocity, though, is never found. So, I leave.

Either way, for all my life, most of my relationships have flavored with one or both of those unpalatable flavors. Sometimes, the flavorings of imbalance are imperceptible. But over time, there’s a cumulative effect. Things go from oh-so-sweet to ruh-roh-sour.

Other times, it’s just obviously wrong, but I’m in a tough place. I just reach out, indiscriminately. And then the relationship is poorly structured from the beginning and it implodes at the first sign of stress.

As much as it’s hurt, taking a timeout from people seems to be necessary. I’m the lowest common denominator here.

I need to use better discernment in choosing my people. And I need to be more whole to do that.


So I’ve accepted that this is where I’m at–going solo. I’ve been relying on my spiritual teams (guides and angels). But business-wise, I can’t take such a hiatus. I must continue to reach out.

But even with business, these same dynamics are at play. So as I continue to heal, I can choose better clients and partners.

As I take a break from relationshipping, there’s some comfort and ease that comes along with it.

I don’t have to deal with anyone else’s emotional burdens or heartaches. As someone who is deeply empathic, I had no idea how much of a toll it was, to keep the tally of what’s going on with someone else as I know this isn’t being reciprocated neither in quantity nor in quality.

I didn’t realize how other-oriented I was until all the others left or I made them leave. There was a constant background noise of the fluttering of other people’s lives–whether I cared about them or not–that was part of the soundtrack of my life.

Why am I doing all the work here? So I can feel connected? So I can feel needed? What am I getting out of it besides tired?

I could tune out my own deep pains. I could narrowly escape the sneering shame and grief nipping at my heels when I focused on others.

And even if I was candid and long-winded about my own struggles, it took decades to realize that no one was taking up my burdens the way I took up theirs.

And I deeply resented that.

But here’s the thing I have to keep reminding myself of: everyone is not me. Most people are just not bent to be that empathetic.

And that’s OK. It’s just another invitation to create better boundaries for myself.

So now, with all this aloneness, I can fully focus on my own burdens and lightening my load.

And it’s about time.

Oh, this time…this is a sacred time that I’ve resented. I’ve resented because I really didn’t understand what was going on.

But that’s how it usually goes. You figure out the path along the way. You acquire wisdom and hindsight along the way. You find peace within yourself…along the way.


As I have about two months left in this year of 40, I can see that this year was going to be big for me–just not in the ways that I thought.

I thought it was all going to come together in this beautiful, easy way, like waking up on Christmas morning and finding the big red bow on top of a new car.

Finally! Here’s my American happy ending to my French tragic movie. I worked so hard to get here–all this inner work, the therapy, the spiritual teachings, the prayers, the spells, the fixed candles, the sigils…

All that fucking work. It wasn’t not in vain, but there were things I explicitly worked on would spectacularly backfire.

Candles for more money? I got poorer. A fixed candle about restoring communication with someone? I’d break off contact never to speak to them again.

I thought I’d have the big love and the big business. Yeah, these are basic ass desires, I know.

Still, I have neither. I have the big clean-up instead.

It’s clean-up that has to happen, and it’s not only because there’s decades of stuff that I haven’t had time to really dig in and sort through. It’s not only making room for the big love and the big business. But it also about the big healing.

It’s like taking that storage room of stuff that you’ve reorganized, labeled and itemized, but you really need to empty the room, as much as you can.

Yet even knowing how important this still time is, it’s still a little hard to let go of the idea that I’m failing (myself).


There’s a big disappointment that my adulting looks like…not very much is going on except death, loss, and the subsequent grief that comes with it.

And yes, this is a refrain that I’m tired of, but I have some compassion for the woman with fierce ambitions and dreams…the woman with empty arms, standing still, who keeps singing this same sad song…

The constant drone of this refrain is a part of grieving itself. But it seems like every time I sing this dirge, I’m singing a different verse.

The verses are moving me through the changing landscape of my own heart.

Another thing: I’m still individuating myself from life’s current circumstances. It’s really messy, figuring out who is me and what is just stuff happening, but the dividing line is this:

I am doing the best that I can.


Maybe the past few years has been me doggedly and repeatedly trying to move on, but being dragged down by the specters of old hurts and shame.

And then when people stepped back…it wasn’t because I was damaged or unworthy. It was to give me the needed space to conquer the past’s demons, finally.

But it did look and feel like abandonment.

There’s really nothing else here to deal with except me. But that was really overwhelming, especially this month. It felt like I was surrounded by neverending silence and darkness.

I was really concerned that depression had come back. And who would blame me for being depressed if I was? I sure as hell wouldn’t.

Have I mentioned how much this year has sucked? 🙃

I still shake my head and marvel at how bad things have been relationally for me–and how I survived it. 

People let me down. I let people down. Such is life, but this year felt like a hot poker to my heart–so acutely personal and painful.

And one thing that has saved me from depression and despair has been  depersonalization: giving people back their actions and intentions, good or bad; letting them prove their loyalty to me instead of just blithely giving it to them in good faith.

Simply put: if you continue to not show up or to be a selfish asshole, you’re not my people. Expecting otherwise is where suffering comes in. And I’d rather not suffer.


Even in the cooling waters of depersonalization, I’m still left with the pain of realization.

You’ve left me. I need you to leave.

Compound that with the struggles of creating a sustainable business for myself, and I’ve got white-hot misery.

But here’s what I keep forgetting. I can choose to try to alleviate my misery, as healthily as I can.

When you’re going through it, then…you need even more support and care, even if you’re the only source of that respite.

I know this, so well. And I can preach this to anyone else, all day, every day.

And yet, I don’t really treat myself as kindly as I treat others–even others who hate and disrespect me.

I don’t think it’s some deep seated self-hatred. I think I’m pretty alright. But I do think it’s a couple of things that are intertwined.

It’s what I’ve said before–I’m not receiving what I’m giving. So that sends a subtle message to me that I don’t need it. I may not even deserve such compassion.

It’s great to talk about self-care and self-love…but the conversation in Western society seems to be in a vacuum.

Who teaches us how to take care of ourselves, to love ourselves? Parents and caregivers are the first teachers. You can’t just know how to love yourself on your own.

With self-love and self-care, I’ve treated myself a little too coolly, like a detached nurse who knows how to do their tasks technically, but without any milk of human kindness flowing through them.

But my parents treated me just as coolly. I’m just doing what I know. And even knowing better…there’s a bridge to cross from knowing better to doing better. And I’m still making my way on the bridge.

Still, I ask myself: don’t I deserve a little loving kindness, some tenderness, some inner respite?

But this never actively comes to mind. It’s a subtle but lethal form of self-abandonment.

I’m withholding the good stuff–the self-nurturing, the self-compassion, the kindness, the respite from shame and sorrow– from my life for a better time.

But the better time is now; it’s always now.


I meander and wander in the lonely land of shoulds. The shoulds are so heavy to walk with.

You should be reaching out to more prospective clients.

You should be doing more spiritual work.

You should be reading more.

But none of that was fun.

I wondered: could I find a little space for fun without feeling guilty?

Another thing that has saved me from this terrible month was bringing in a little more fun through something not very complicated.

It wasn’t more outwardly spiritual.

It was pretty simple. I played more.

The last couple of weeks, I played more games–specifically story-based games (and, well, the Candy Crush realm).

Focusing on something else than how miserable I was feeling helped me feel better, even if nothing had changed.

But as I thought, while I kept showing up–doing marketing blitzes, learning more about business, doing the work I was assigned to do, kept waking up every day…

And yeah, that sounds small–waking up…but when despair tries to choke you out every day, waking up is one surefire way to keep despair at bay. Waking up means I’m curious about how this whole life thing will work out for me today.

Maybe today will be different.

And this week especially is different. This week is actually full of tangible promise. Three meetings with people about potential business. That’s unprecedented, and I hope it continues. I’m so grateful.


And this was what I was hoping for…could I find some way to find some inner joy and peace that wasn’t centered on making everyone happy or being “perfect” or even “good”?

I’ve talked about this holy grail, of finding internal contentment which isn’t based on external circumstances. And I keep getting closer to finding it. I get glimpses of it…

The reason why I search for this inner stability isn’t just because I don’t want to suffer. The power of that impenetrable internal state is that it starts to change things around you. And yeah, it’s a little about a perspective shift, but it’s also a little alchemical.

I don’t fully understand the relationship I have with my environment, how much I have control over it. Right now, it seems like my magical hands are tied…or they are bringing me things that I need but I definitely don’t want.

And I’m torn here. I am not a cheery person. I don’t think preternaturally happy people should have it all. There’s an obsession with happiness that seems like emotional manipulative and controlling, even if hedonic psychology came from a good place–to counterpoint the obsession with psychopathology.

But I do know that stress makes you stupid. You make poor decisions that don’t really help you out in the long run. So, at the very least, besides not having my physical health tank, I want to be able to look at life with clarity and sobriety, without the stress beer goggles which distort.

And I don’t mean to blame people who are buffeted by their circumstances. Being broke and alone, such as yours truly, is almost impossible to overcome in your feeling state.

Almost impossible.

And of course, I’d want everyone to have enough, to have access to great healthcare, for no one to be marginalized in the world. And that’s something to work towards.

But until that reality comes into being, we have to figure out how to cope.


You never really know what you identify with until it’s taken away. And my sense of self-reliance was something I really prided myself. My relationships with others was another thing.

And both have been thwarted or taken away or transformed.

So that means I’m being transformed. Duh.

*sigh*

If I could end this with any hope at all is that I know and can feel that I am stronger through all these terrible times. I don’t feel as fragile and broken. I don’t think it can get any worse. I certainly hope it doesn’t.

I do feel wiser in choosing who can share life with me. I don’t feel beholden to just pick anyone who is just around me, assuming that just because they’re around, that means they’re for me.

Even in a restricted, smaller life, I still have agency and choice. It may not be the amount of agency or wealth of choice I desire or am used to, but I still have it.

So I’ll end here with a prayer. That’s as hopeful as I can get.

My prayer for myself is that I treat myself with more grace, more care, more patience, more compassion, and more love, that I remember to treat myself well period.

May I remember that I am being supported and helped, even when I feel like life is too excruciating for words or too painful to bear.

May I be truly grateful for every good thing that comes my way.

May I see this time as sacred and special and continually unburden myself from the shackles of resentment. 

May I take ownership of my life while discerning what I can and cannot control.

May I no longer suffer.


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“I’m lighting the long way home”

sia som

Last week, I did this values exercise for my myself and my business. It started off with a plethora of attributes, like accomplishment, service, justice, equity, power, and respect.

I started with 10 words, then ranked them, then came down to five. The first two surprised me, mainly because deep down, I didn’t think these were what I should ideally pick: freedom and financial stability.

This week, I have to come up with definitions for these five words, which may surprise me again.

I’ve been emotionally pushing against having very little freedom and not much financial stability. The thought that keeps stabbing me in my head is that I shouldn’t be here.

I should be living somewhere else, around my people…or off traveling, exploring new lands.

I think of the shut-in housemate who is retired and divorced and drives Uber and Lyft. He’s either driving or in his stinky room, lying on his bed without sheets, blankly staring out into nothing…

I am not in the twilight of my years yet, but I feel like him…just some unused sack of carbon, sitting around, doing nothing of importance.

I feel wasted.

I don’t feel free because financial instability has been plaguing me for the past two years, the two years where I’ve been struggling to create a real life for myself.

And I want to reframe this time period so badly, but all I can think is that this part of my life is marred by continual failure–and it’s all because I don’t have those two values or goals consistently flowing in my life.

I want to be proud of myself of believing in myself, of putting myself out there, of finding work. And some days, I am. Not everyone can be entrepreneurial. Hell, I’m not even sure if I can be. It’s not something just anyone can do. I’ve had people also come to me.

It’s taking time to redefine was success looks like, but I’m even impatient with that process.

It’s really of no comfort right now that I’ve been sidelined, let alone that I am not measuring up to my own ideas of basic self-sufficiency. It eats at my sense of self.

Who am I if I can’t pay my bills or feed myself?

(And what do I think of people who can’t do those things either? How come they receive compassion from me and I can’t give it to myself? Maybe we’re made of things that have nothing to do with money…)

I know something bigger than creating a successful business is being created in my life, but this whole poverty thing is a lot distracting–even though I know it’s temporary…

What’s trying to strangle me, in this period of waiting and wondering, is grief.


In my 30s, two big career  dreams have had to die.

The first was becoming a child psychiatrist. And although I’m happy to be a writer and editor, my passion for mental health can get really technical–and I love that (and uh…need to market that about myself).

I’ll always be a little sad that I won’t be able to help people in the way I had initially wanted–doubly.

Yesterday, someone I follow on Twitter had asked about whether they could cut seeing their psychiatrist since their appointments are usually brief. I told them that sadly, psychiatrists can’t bill for psychotherapy anymore, and now, all they can do is med monitoring, which is checking in to see how the meds one takes are performing. It’s important for them to keep track of how the meds are doing, but the appointments are 10 minutes at most.

And that would have been my life, even more frustratingly so with children.

Also, those dreams are from a woman who barely exists anymore…

At 17, I was so worried I wouldn’t be able to get married, have my first kid, and be done with my medical training by age 30.

But those goals seemed like inevitabilities. Why wouldn’t I be a doctor, married, and have a child?

I’m still a little sad that I disappointed my younger self. Even now, I still think that I really should have been traditionally successful, even with all the ridiculous challenges and obstacles which stood in my way.

What I wanted seemed like a given to happen. And maybe that had to do with how many people saw me as pretty darn great–especially academically.

I still see having a family happening, but the timeline is just jumbled up now. I can’t see that far anymore…

Who I was when I made that plan is not who I am now. And it’s funny that I thought who I was as a person would be so stable.

Maybe I should have seen these changes all along…

The way I started to see God and people and myself started changing in college, where I felt free, and even compelled, to question everything.

Who I would have married at age 30 would have been a completely different person than who I’d be open to marry now.

I’m happy about that. Very.

I’ve failed myself over and over in how I thought this whole life thing would turn out, and how little control I have over outcomes. That’s a grief that I’m still working through…or working through me.

Freedom and financial stability maybe maddingly elusive for now, but I’m really happy, proud, and even delighted about who I am as a person.

It just seems that I was wrong about would be around for this better me.


The second grief is over lost communities. The first one was lost after I left the Church. I’m mostly over that.

I’ve said on this blog often that I came down to Florida thinking I’d find these fellow writers that would be my community.

I’m finally the person I’m supposed to be now, choosing the career that I should have chosen decades ago.

So where is the parade and trophy and applause?

What I got instead was an intense and bewildering spiritual initiation that I’m still in the throes in.

It’s still taking time to heal from the betrayal and the rejection–both from myself and from others.

But as I said last week, I have to remind myself that I don’t really belong to most people. And I’d rather take solace in that truth instead of clinging to the lie that I’ve lived most of my life–that I am some everyperson.

When I embrace that prickly truth, though…I do get excited that there’s still hope that the home I find within myself will be found in other people, too.

My people are out there; they really are.

But a lot of my life has been about sifting through who is not for me. And that has been rough.

Last week, I talked about this friend who had come on Facebook, accusing me of ending our friendship when they had been really rude towards me, and yet there was no evidence of that terrible conversation–and that really freaked me out.

I thought we could work through our differences, to find a place of healing. But those missing messages let me know that they were trying to scrub away the dirty parts of our friendship, the part that actually caused it to end. And, well…I can’t someone who scrubs the only record of our friendship for years like that.

On Monday morning, I told them that we were done and that I was no longer going to read their messages.  I unfriended them and their partner. I barely looked at what they sent back.

“I am shocked…” is all I saw. I plan on deleting that whole thread sometime, but that message goes unread for now–as I had said it would.

If anyone had read our conversation, no one would be shocked about how things went down.

To cut off someone who I’ve known for most of my life but seems to be in some self-hating loop of how they are trying to be everything to everyone (the same thing I heard three years ago)… came from a place of finality and resolve.

I deserve friends who are trustworthy and honest with themselves.

The old me would have fought harder for our friendship. But just like three years ago, I realized that I had been trying too hard without many benefits.

And that’s one thing I told them–friendship doesn’t have to be this hard or complicated.

That made me quite sad for the next few days–unexpectedly. I had left things pretty much in their hands in 2016. I was done then. But to resuscitate this corpse of a relationship and then kill it again…it took its toll. I had to drag myself through my daily routine.

And it wasn’t just them. It was just the overall trend of people leaving or having to usher people out of my life this year.

It’s getting pretty old.


If I feel sad about how my life has turned out, I can give myself permission to feel that. And that’s been tough, to be honest with myself about how bad things have gone, about how much unfairness I’ve had to endure.

Sometimes I think those truths will crush me. I’m tired of trying to outrun them.

On the other hand…if there’s an opportunity that I can see coming on my horizon, I can give myself permission to feel a little hope.

Part of me–OK, most of me–wants to fast forward to this really crappy and disappointing part of my life.

Yet I keep marveling at how life continues to worsen and how I continue to become a better version of me.

This isn’t to glorify my suffering or anguish–or even to make sense of it. All I can do is endure it and hope it ends sooner than later.

I’d really like to be cruising on Easy Street right now. I’d really like to not have my character shaped and reshaped. I’d really like to not be growing so damn much spiritually.

But this is all I have, including my sadness and anger that this is all I have. To be able to embrace whatever I have in front of me, with some grace and dignity–that may be a better rubric to grade myself with than whether I have the freedom to take off and travel at a moment’s notice or even that I have “my people” around me.


I was trying to say this last week, but one thing that’s been bugging me is this idea and truth that you need others to have true and lasting success. No one is a self-made person.

Everything I’ve been trying to do with business seems to be dead, or at least dormant–in my eyes, anyway. I know there are signs of life starting to stir…but it doesn’t alleviate the nagging questions of how I will pay my bills every month. Every month since May, it’s been a mystery.

When those nagging financial pressures make me lose sleep and grind my teeth, it’s hard to have the patience that one needs to build something that will last.

Yet I’m growing a garden. I’ve planted a lot of seeds. And I just have to keep showing up, watering and weeding…and things will grow.

And yet every month, the mystery of the bills being paid gets solved. Somehow things work out–not the way I want to, usually, but they do work out.

I’m not homeless. That’s really the only rule I can use to show that things are OK.

But I’m ambitious! Darn this relentless ambition! And I see other people succeed, so I start to ponder–why not me? And why not now?

This meme (which looks like it’s from The 700 Club) is how I feel:

jesus

I’m in my garden with maybe a sprout or two peeking out from some rich soils of hope and desire…and that’s it.

I have this message ringing in my head, that I can’t be successful on my own. And then I have this isolation that isn’t really by my doing–it’s just what poverty does.

When I look around me, it’s that widening circle of people I’ve been feeling and seeing.

So if I haven’t found my peeps, and my business is dormant, then it’s my fault, right? This is what I think.

There must be a way to solve this. So what more can I do?

I frantically look for answers to improve marketing–and find the answers, and start implementing them…

Its fertilizer for the garden. But the growth still takes time.

I’ve practically given up socializing with others in person. That’s where I don’t feel aligned with Florida anymore. I don’t miss seeing anyone in town.

I just don’t have enough imagination to think about who my people are in that regard. And that’s OK. If I’m a moving target of a person right now, even though I definitely deserve love and support, then there’s no reason to pull anyone new into this maelstrom.

It seems what matters more now is focusing on my desires, on what I want (besides, well, other people along for the ride).


So maybe there’s another reason for this terrible feeling of stuckness. And I know, I know…I keep coming back to this place as if I haven’t been here before.

So as I’ve said this before…maybe I’m not supposed to be moving–leaving Florida, traveling, getting on with my life.

Maybe I’m not stuck at all.

Like I’ve said numerous times, this year has been about alignment, and I’ve been so misaligned…and, well, I hate being “wrong.” I hate feeling like I’m deficient or less than–especially in comparison to my own standards.

But that whole idea of trying to be more for people who aren’t even trying…that’s one thing in my life that has been getting some serious realignment–especially as I’m struggling. I have a standing invitation to put myself first a whole lot more.

Another persistent thought I have is how if everything was “OK,” all these old wounds wouldn’t be addressed, that I’m even looking at having very little money in the wrong way.

Again, I don’t want to glorify my suffering or suffering in general. Poverty really shouldn’t be, period.

I just know myself. When everything is OK, I’m not really paying attention to much spiritually. Life is lived a little more on the surface.

We usually reach out for spirituality and greater meaning because everything is not OK.


I just erased a rather depressing section of this post, but it was good to write out how I truly felt.

But this still won’t be that cheery…

TL; DR–As adolescent as this sounds, I really hate why my life is right now. But it’s my life, and I will continue to keep trying to change it for the better.

This seems to be the hump that I can’t get over. This is my life. And, it’s the only one I have. I don’t have few spare ones queued up like I’m playing some video game.

The last time I felt like this–helpless and stuck–I was an adolescent. I was 18, stuck at home on a forced gap year because my father was (and still is) mentally ill.

And of course, I had a huge spiritual growth spurt, probably one of the largest I’ve ever had.

I never really thought I’d be able to leave home, but then spring came and my dad’s unquiet mind changed. And I was freed.

The hump I can’t get over is that although this is my life, there’s a lot out of my control– just like when I couldn’t go to college “on time.”

I keep wrestling with what’s out of my control and the ghost of what more could be (and should be) under my control.

And I’m tired. This isn’t a fight I can really win.

And oh! How I wish I could be zen and just accept everything as is. I’m trying to write and think and pray and crawl my way there. But I keep getting lost…

My unwillingness to accept things as they are has kept me alive. It’s also made me miserable.

It’s hard to accept that I’m doing the best that I can and that it’s enough–because that means the way things are…well, how can I examine all those things, truly? There are so many variables, known and unknown, influencing me and my life.

In that grey space, in the unknown…there’s grace waiting for me. And I keep dodging her. I feel there has to be another way except through.

So, as I take grace’s hand, I know that I can’t keep waiting or hoping for things to get better.

This is my lifewith all the uncontrollable, pathetic, and shameful parts that I wish didn’t exist. And I don’t have to be strong all the time. I can cry, even if it’s just on the inside, over dead hopes, dreams, and relationships.

Maybe I can bury them, like compost, in my garden…

I’m a little too American to end this post without some sort of hope. The hope is that as I feel disconnected from mostly everyone, needed healing is taking place; great self-understanding is growing. And I can’t really see any other way for these things to have taken place in my life.

By the way–I don’t the Universe is taking me offline because I’m so toxically codependent. But I do think that as I am more whole and healed, I can have more whole and healed relationships.

In the meantime, I have to try to keep sane, because I still want to not live here, to move, to be free and financially stable. But, I’m not used it being this alone. I’m scared I’ll get used to it. And maybe I should get used to it, so I can be choosier about who is in my life now.

I need to use this forced solitude to my advantage.

So if I shut out what I think should be happening and what is happening with everyone else and embrace what is happening with me–both the glorious and the unbearable–then I feel I’ll be able to do this life thing a little bit better.

Sounds so easy to do, but that’s where grief comes in. I’m grieving an old way of living.

It’s funny and strange: every time I write about the state of my life, I feel my higher self trying to gently shake some sense into me. I feel so stupid that I don’t get this; it’s as if I don’t want to get it.

My hopes are indefatigable.


But right–that American ending that I promised.

I have been learning to savor the good things, like any conversation I have, a cup of tea or hot cocoa, a smooth falsetto voice from Roosevelt, or any meal I have.

Just last week, for the first time in a while, I thought about how I had finished a couple of assignments and got paid instantly, and was able to buy food for myself within an hour or so. It was all instantaneous and miraculous and beautiful–eating the literal fruits of my labor.

I have been able to be grateful in true and meaningful ways that come shooting up from deep and real parts of me, like geysers.

What really gets obnoxious is how despair (and poverty) can shade and color even the good things in the darkest and bleakest of blacks.

And this isn’t even taking in what’s going on in my state, country, and the world. Things are bad, and I’m aware, as navelgazing as this blog post is (and has to be).

I have to have a monk’s type of concentration to see the good. I definitely don’t have it right now, but it is being worked in me.

Last week I was playing this game where this character who turns into a dragon was being controlled by this woman. This older woman who worked for the woman told the man that to overcome the mind control, he had to look at the good in every situation, no matter what.

The character had his pet killed and his best friend betray him, and he was able to turn those situations around. He remember the pet as it was when it was alive, and he understood that his friend thought that he was doing what was best for his sister.

Granted, I can’t be terminally Pollyanna about my life right now (or ever), that really stuck with me.

But I am trying to see more of the good that is being created in this little tiny room that has become my life. Practically speaking I can at least say that I’ve learned how to pare down my life what I need.

Every second that ticks by, every breath I inhale and exhale without thinking, every electrical pulse that shoots through my brain–those are the seemingly inconsequential but essential building blocks of my life.

I have to savor as much of the good as I can.


I may have mentioned that this latest song by Sia, “I’m Still Here” is my anthem for 2018. I need to mention it again because this is the frame that I need.

It’s a song that I can easily listen to on repeat. She’s so great with anthems about endurance and resilience (“Titanium” by David Guetta comes to mind).

There are so many of us who are silently and secretly fighting battles. I hope this song brings your some comfort and strength.

Here’s the chorus:

Oh, the past it haunted me
Oh, the past it wanted me dead
Oh, the past tormented me
Oh, the past it wanted me dead
Oh, the past it haunted me
Oh, the past it wanted me dead
Oh, the past tormented me
But the battle was lost
‘Cause I’m still here

Well, thank Goddess: I’m still here, and I’m lighting the long way home.


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