the more found in less

After dealing with a rather emotionally raw summer, I decided to make last week a staycation of sorts–which is really just a break from the relentless grind of looking for new clients…and trying to figure out what’s wrong with me and my life.

I need a permanent staycation from that last part!

Specifically, my brain gets burned out by emotional upheaval–duh. And it’s been a cumulative effect. Losing two clients and a couple of love interests, all within the span of a couple of months–it all really took its toll on me.

really don’t like losing. 😏

So last week, I decided to catch up on some YouTube videos. Usually Sundays are my day to watch YouTube videos with tarot and oracle card readings for the week–which I never seem to remember but they bring comfort to me in the moment.

I decided to listen to someone I hadn’t listened to in a while.

Matt Kahn is a spiritual teacher up in Seattle, and I’ve listened to him for about three years. He says a lot of common sense things that are desperately needed to be said. And although I don’t always agree with him, his videos have been really helpful for my spiritual journey.

This video is about having less options and about having less in general. Coming across this video was a wonderful synchronicity because I had said the other night on Twitter how I wanted to be more spartan.

So earlier last week, while I was trying to deal with the anxiety of closing out a client, I went through clothes in my closet that didn’t fit right anymore and took them out. There’s probably more to give away in there. I plan on looking through my room tomorrow to start getting rid of more things.

Beyond just having that compulsion to declutter, I’ve been trying to really get a grip on how I feel about my current situation, the dissatisfaction and disappointment that has been increasing its grip around my throat.

Turning 40 last year has brought a lot of internal pressure to live a beautiful life. It’s about time! And now, time feels very short for me.

I don’t feel like I’m doing anything worthwhile, something that’s bigger than myself, something that will last longer than me.

I feel like I’m endlessly spinning my wheels, that I’m wasting my potential.

I feel underutilized and unseen.

Even writing this post today is irritating me! It stirs up all these tough feelings.

But this–the sore disappointments, the anguish, the shame–this is what has been brought to me. I’ve struggled to cope with this reality. And I’m exhausted from the struggle.

I don’t want to emotionally struggle like this anymore.

Matt’s teaching basically invited me to see this lessening in my life as a part of my soul’s growth. And although I’ve whined here enough about how it’s so tiring to hear that, Matt was able to calm those irritated nerves.

Honestly, what other choice do I have besides continued misery?

I hate to spoil the video’s message here, but since it’s almost 2 hours long, I’ll do a TL; DR version: as a spiritual sensitive being (which isn’t everyone), your journey isn’t to amass more. It is to be satisfied with what you have, even as all kind of marketing tells you that you need to have some just in case.

And yes, this is where gratitude comes in, something that comes to me in waves…

Florida has been a place of less–less money, less people, less opportunities. The longer I stay here, the smaller it becomes. There’s been very little gratitude. I’ve hated mostly every minute of this continual compression.

Even after six years of this roller coaster, I’m still amazed that this is what continues to happen. I’m not in a place of acceptance. Yet.

And sometimes–and I’ve said this before–I don’t want to see things spiritually. I don’t want it to be about me seeing the big picture. I just want my creature comforts: to have a peaceful home life, to have a prosperous business, and to feel free to do what I want so I can enjoy life.

And well, that’s not really happening yet. So the question is, how do I make do without feeling like these circumstances are permanent? I’m still squirming to find these answers.

One funny thing Matt brought up was how the ego always wants more–including trying to get the lesson out of experiences. It’s like we want to just skip the experiential part to get the lesson.

And yes, I’m like, I get it, I get it–gratitude, acceptance, surrender. Blah, blah, blah.

Can we get to the good part yet?

I’ve said over and over here that one of my big life lessons is to learn how to trust in the Universe, and yet my life’s journey has made it really hard to trust anyone (although I still do, like an idiot).

But it always comes back to trust and surrender, to the bigger picture being painted.

It doesn’t mean that by knowing what’s going on, that the losses don’t hurt less. It does mean that resisting loss can make things more difficult, can make one more tired.

I’m at this weird juncture where normally, I should feel driven by something, by some goal. My goals are so small now, which makes me feel small.

But that feeling isn’t necessarily the truth of who I am.

The alchemical thing about restriction and limitations–it can force someone to be more creative.

So what am I doing with what I have right now? Beyond being grateful in word, am I grateful in deed as well?

This year, I’ve experienced people, places, and things that I’ve wanted and then had them disappear.

So it makes me wonder…should I want different things?

The answer is…yeah!

I may have mentioned this before, but in a book I was reading about abundance (yes, I know, I’m rolling my eyes, too), it said that we should be focused on how we want to feel more than preferred outcomes (and that’s a paraphrase).

So take, for example, my desire to live in a peaceful home. That could still be in this house, although I seriously doubt it.

As of last Sunday, the house is full again and already, I have issues with the new tenant using my stuff, which I realize is an inherited trigger from my father. 🤣 And I laugh because he really didn’t like me using his stuff. *shudders*

I had to put up a passive aggressive sign, which I hope he can read (English is his second language) and remove some of my things.

But hey–I’m used to this.

Men just like to take, take, take… 🙄

I cleared it up, though, and he understands now. Phew.

Yet ideally, I feel like living alone would be the best outcome. But what if I’m guided to move out to live in some communal space where people respect other people’s property and give me the support I’m looking for? Maybe living alone wouldn’t be for my greatest and highest good.

So to live a guided life, step by step… it comes back to the place of trust and surrender.

And well…it’s something I don’t really want to do. I want to do what I want.

Yet there are bigger things being worked in me that aren’t just for some elusive, intangible soul growth–but that are just better for me, better in a way that I would enjoy and benefit from.

I have to trust that I’m truly in the right place, at the right time–even if it looks like failure.

I hope I can get curious about what’s actually happening in my life instead of focusing on what’s not happening…

bitch less SOM

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Ankle-Grabbed

mom pulling me back

A GIF of my adolescence

Usually I’m not this late with my blog post, but I’ve been doing some major “change my life” sort of work (it’s going to be months of this, to basically be better able to get what I want from life).

This week, it required me to dig into my life for my greatest successes and failures.

Even though I don’t want to dwell on this part, I need to state that I do not feel at all successful, at least in the ways I desire to. Some of my successes were about friendships and relationships. One of them was learning how to swim at age 26. One of them should have been that I kept myself from sleeping in my car while I was homeless.

Coming up with a list of failures was harder than I thought it would be, but through examining those failures (losing cars and housing and jobs), I saw a theme underneath of constriction.

It was something I had focused on as a teenager. I had been turned down three times to go travel with my classmates or youth group members. Every rejection from my parents was heartbreaking.  And then it was waiting to go to college. Then I tried to figure out study abroad when I was in the throes of a deep depression.

Although I have since traveled to Montreal and Puerto Rico, my passport remains unstamped, and I only got one in 2014 when I thought I’d be traveling to Vancouver while I was in Seattle.

Going through this process got really painful when I got to my last failure, which was my forced gap year. It may be unfair to call it a failure–it was out of my control. But I recalled talking to the Dean of Admissions who personally called me to ask me where I was.

I remember taking the call in the kitchen, listening to the Dean’s deep and well, sexy, voice, and having to ask for a delay in admission. I don’t remember if I explained that I was living with a crazy paranoid father. But I did remember the shame and heartbreak of that moment. I felt myself shrinking into an abyss that seemed escapable.

But from my most painful “failure,” came my most meaningful success so far. Graduating college took 8 years, door-to-door.

If I could make it through that, I thought, I could make it through anything.

And then I made it through a lot more of “anything.” I’m sitting in the middle of “anything” right now.

It was sobering to remind myself of what I have accomplished as successes and have overcome as “failures.” I was able to reframe the failures, but the past two days of doing this, I feel very emotionally raw and spent. Couple that with being 40 and already feeling a bit underutilized for my talents, unseen, and generally misunderstood, there’s a lot of tenderness that my soul is experiencing right now.

And I honor it completely. I earned the compassion and grace that I’m giving myself.

So as a teenager, and definitely now, I feel like this above GIF. At first it was my parents grabbing my ankle when I was desiring to explore my world. And I will never fully know why.

Trips to New Orleans and Paris were allegedly too expensive, and a missions trip with my youth group and our youth pastor before he moved away–that came at the same time as my mother’s trip back to Ghana. So I was forced to be the lady of the house without much thanks or compensation.

But now it’s…”circumstances.” I’ve probably said this before, but I’m a problem that you could throw money at and I’d be solved. I’m sure many of us feel that way.

This current frustration of constriction could eat me alive if I allowed it to. I have to make my world very small so I can get through the day–fight constriction with constriction! It’s one of the sad side effects of living in the moment.

Tonight, astrologically, and astronomically, we’re going to have a new moon (at 9:57 pm EDT). It’s in enterprising Aries, the zodiac sign who definitely know what “I am” feels like.

my whole life

I am this GIF

This new moon will be in my 4th house of family and home. It’s serendipitous and timely that I am exploring my past and how a lot of it does relate to how my parents held me back for so long, even after I left home.

I’ve been through my therapeutic paces for most of my adult. And I’m grateful that I’m not sitting here stewing in anger. There are the occasional burps of pain, like what I’m experiencing tonight, but I don’t even hold them in contempt…or much of anything at all.

I’m not holding this over my parents anymore, yet I can’t say I’ve forgiven them, either. Forgiving narcissists seems like a waste of energy. I’m not seeking justice from them, though–or anyone, really.

There’s a steely acceptance of my life, which includes not having a family that really supports me, a lack of a local community, and a very tenuous housing situation. All of this I’ve had to embrace over the past 4 years which has pulverized me into a pile of humbled dust.

But what if what is really holding me back is the fear is that my miserable situation, in this unholy house, is permanent?

Is this all there is? Subsistence?

Maybe my family of origin is pretty much set. But what about the rest of my life?

I was watching Beyonce’s Coachella this afternoon and I remembered how much I wanted to go to Coachella and other music festivals in my 20s. I wish I had made my whole life devoted to the enjoyment of music so I could have put all my extra money towards going to those shows.

And I’ve gone to a lot of shows. But I wanted to go to so many more.

I had also wanted to become a doctor for most of my life. That was my obsession. My 30s involved a major course correction of my whole life, which included stopping trying to pick up a stethoscope and picking up the pen.

So now, my whole life seems to be about embracing the numinous, which is wonderful. I actually have no regrets about this development, per se. Spiritually, I feel like it’s miraculous that I ended up here at all, but I am 100% in the right place.

My parents may have been able to curtail my travels, but they weren’t able to stand in the way of my soul growth. Many times, they aided in it, for better and for worse.

So what now?

For this new moon, I want to plant seeds for a new home and family. My life seems to be pointing towards that, even if I have no idea of how I will get there and who will be there waiting for me.

There’s also this urgency to shed these old skins of shame and disappointment, to stand firmly within my truest self, to own all parts of my ragamuffin raconteur’s life.

I am whole.

It’s true–I have missed out on some amazing experiences, especially ones with my friends. And they were denied for the pettiest, most selfish reasons. It’s been a phantom pain I’ve carried for decades, my souvenirs of shame that I’m sure more people don’t even know I have.

There have been so many delays and setbacks for rites of passage that should have been straight shots–all wrapped up in bewilderment and frustration.

Why does everything take so fucking long?

So now, I desperately want to start over, and not carry any of the heartache and suffering I’ve accumulated for the past 40 years.

I moved from Birmingham to Chicago and brought my family issues.

I moved from Chicago to Orlando and brought my community issues.

Wherever I end up next, I don’t want to bring any latent issues.

Instead, I want to bring the gifts I’ve been cultivating my whole life: perseverance, wisdom, kindness, gratitude, curiosity, mirth, wonder, warmth, and an unyielding, penetrating love.

I want my life to be radically different than it’s been.

Uranus is conjunct, or right next to, the moon in Aries tonight, so I am feeling the urgency to be unconventional.

Part of that unconventionality is looking back at the good and the bad and seeing those threads of redemption that have held my seemingly disparate parts together.

So for now, I hold myself in a loose and cool shawl of gratitude. I’ve made it this far and that’s nothing to take for granted.

I have a lot of hope for this week and this year, that I can finally have my little monkey paw released so I can explore the rest of the tree and the rest of this world.

Ah, but still, that nagging fear that I’ll be stuck again…it’s nipping at my heel…and I’m not sure if my fears are founded anymore.

So all I can do is try, and keep trying, until I’m set free.

Here’s a song from Sarah McLachlan that seems to be my anthem for this year and maybe my life. It’s from her latest album, Shine On.

And here is the chorus, which really sums it all up for me.

If this is love beside me
I’m working on forgiveness
Laying the past down behind me
Letting go the ways that I’ve been hurt
Let the rivers rise and rage
I’ll try to stand with grace
If everything is love

As Aries season comes to a close this week, I hope you have been able to find your “I am.”

I hope with this new moon tonight and throughout this week, you can plant seeds of truer self-expression and self-care, that you can also shed your old, withered skins of shame, that you can more fully embrace, with a deep confidence, the fierceness and beauty who you are.

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