a seasoned sailor

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From the Art of Life tarot deck by Charlene Livingstone, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.

I used to use this tarot deck and give daily tarot twitter reads and then, probably because I was a bit disillusioned with the esoteric and how my life was sucking, I just wasn’t feeling it and stopped.

This deck allows you to display a card of the day in a picture frame, and the last card I pulled was the one you see above

I pass by the card every day on the way to and from the bathroom. It didn’t really mean that much to me when I pulled it, although this sentiment was nice enough.

Now it seems to make sense.

It’s interesting when you look at something often and you don’t understand it, and then all of a sudden…it just clicks.


So do I feel brave enough to go into storms on purpose now? No, not yet. But I do understand that I’ve learned a lot while I’ve been sailing on life’s stormy seas. And they are only lessons I could learn in the tempest, not during smooth sailing.

And that’s actually the point: I recognize that while I was sailing along, I was actually learning how to sail my ship.

Like right now…there’s still so much uncertainty with money. It’s frustrating and, until recently, utterly embarrassing.

I recently had a conversation with a friend about how poverty can warp your mind and your relationships. We also talked about the inflated expectations placed on us as smart kids at school. Being learned and clever should be enough.

But it isn’t. The world is unfair, at least within this worn out conventional wisdom of being smart enough and educated enough to make it to that (quickly fading) dry land of a comfortable, middle-class life.

If anything, this blog has documented the deconstruction and reconstruction of my life being centered around the idea of fairness and meritocracy. 

So many of us endure the withering, blistering storms of poverty. But since the end of January, I’ve somehow learned to stop stressing out or worrying about it.

It doesn’t mean that I don’t care, that I don’t have concerns about how I will be taken care of, of how I will take care of myself.

Of course I care. Of course I have concerns.

And this is the same old squall. But I am not the same old sailor.

Letting the acrid waves of anxiety wash over me and the whirlpool of worry pull me down didn’t help my money situation.

Listening to myself did. My intuition as my internal GPS.

Specifically to this situation, it was listening to myself about what I should be doing, not just doing a list of prescribed things that I should be doing. It even involved a tarot reading last month that warned me against hustling and grinding.

That’s counter-current of what’s going on in American culture: rise and grind. 

I had been grinding and I was so miserable.

So when I stopped grinding and hustling , last month was one of the happiest months I’ve had in years. And it had nothing to do with circumstances changing…except dropping the rise and grind drudgery.


To use another aquatic metaphor, struggling against a current will only cause you to sink. You need to move along with it. 

So maybe…actually…I’m not afraid of storms anymore, because if I can look back on my life, I can tell you, most assuredly, that the storms of life are certain. 

You will be betrayed. You will be disappointed. You will be abandoned. You will suffer. You will lose.

There’s no point in trying to resist the inevitable pain and heartache of being here on earth as a human being. So what’s the point in avoiding the inevitable?

As they say in the military: embrace the suck.

But one big point of being here on this spinning hot rock is that we do get to learn how to handle these certain storms.

And then we, as seasoned sailors, teach the novice sailors how to sail through, to keep afloat, and to even rebuild a ship after shipwreck.


Even there’s still a lot of growth and processing going on, it’s been calm for a little bit now. With this space of respite, I’ve been able to appreciate the storms I’ve endured, about how radically different my life is because I stop resenting the storms.

And I don’t mean to be one of those people who sound they’re on a nirvana cloud, floating above everyone. If I could transcend the suck of everyday life, I would have done it already. 

I have resented how hard my life is and has been, how it seems like the help I give far outweighs the help I’ve received. And I may sound ungrateful, but I’m not. Even if I grew up hating asking for help, over the years, I’ve learned to ask for it, and I’m grateful whenever I receive it.

But it can be excruciatingly frustrating and confusing to see lives around you flourish as your life continues to deteriorate and worsen over time.

Why am I encountering so many of the same kinds of storms so often?

Just a couple of days ago, I finally got an unexpected breakthrough with that question, which I will most likely blog about for my Patreon subscribers, since it’s very personal.

To be brief, though – I’ve had to learn a new way to sail through life so I’m not tiring myself out while I seem to spin around in circles.


So for the uninitiated in tarot, here’s what the Ace of Swords means: cutting through the bullshit. Obliterating obstacles. It signifies a new chance to begin again. New thoughts, new words, new truths, new clarity – especially mental clarity. The swords suit usually have to do with words and thoughts.

Cutting through the mental storms of life has been one thing I’ve learned to do, and I guess this post is just one of gratitude, that I’ve been able to apply what I’ve learned to get through these tough times.

Another certainty in life? Storms eventually end. The sun returns. The skies clear up. 

That can be nearly impossible to believe if you’re being tossed about on the uncaring seas of life. And heck, this metaphor is becoming belabored after a thousand words or so.

I’m just giving you a dispatch from my ship, which I’ve been learning to sail for the past four decades, and finally, I can see a break in the clouds…⚓


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. Also, here’s my Amazon Wishlist.

Thanks for your support! 💘

 

 

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some lessons learned

truth

Well, it’s been a minute since I was here.

I was really busy with work and now I’m back in an ebb state. Such is the name of the game of being my own business.

There are a few things that have come to mind in the past couple of days that I’ll just list out, because it’s hard to tie them all together (maybe I need more coffee–working on that!)

Poverty is isolating and terrorizing. And so much of this blog is just me reacting to poverty. And, I won’t be ashamed of that any longer. Meanwhile, white men can make oodles of money off of the poverty narrative. This thread is full of how poverty can really fuck with your head and your overall well-being. I couldn’t read too much of it because I related too much. But at the same time, I’m comforted that I’m not alone in these feelings. 

Companies really don’t care about you. I know that and that’s one of the reasons why I dug Fight Club so much (toxic masculinity aside). It really got to that Gen X core of life being more than things and possessions.

This week, there were massive layoffs at digital publishers BuzzFeed and Huffington Post, as well as at publishing conglomerate Gannett and whatever the fuck Verizon Media Group is (formerly Oath, including Yahoo and AOL).

About 1,000 media folks lost their jobs with more to come since BuzzFeed couldn’t get their shit together and stave off the rumors of layoffs. So now, there are people who are having some shitty weekends while waiting for news. BuzzFeed is probably preparing for a merger with another group call Group Nine, which specializes in…wait for it…video. 

I just had something similar happen to me last night, as if the Universe wanted me to embody this fact. I was expecting the cut, but couldn’t really put my finger on why. Thursday night, I could barely sleep because I felt I had already lost it.

Prophetic intuition can sometimes come as a form of fear.

The only other time I’ve felt like that about a job was almost 20 years ago. I was freaking out about getting laid off at a crooked personal injury law firm. My colleagues thought I was being paranoid, but I couldn’t shake the feeling. I learned later that the powers that be couldn’t find me on Friday to do let me go. So I was let go on Monday.

Sidenote: I really have to start honoring my intuition and not doubting myself.

So today, I feel…free and happy. I am repeatedly repelling any shame or resentment. I don’t have to do work I hate like that anymore!

I’m constantly shutting down the typical internal conversation of what went wrong, of what could have been done better, of why this is happening now, of the shitty email that was sent. All those thoughts are unhelpful when acceptance of this new reality makes it so much easier to move on.

I did the work because I needed the money–that’s all. In one Facebook group I’m in, a colleague had posted that they had also gotten this work but decided it was too much and wondered how to get it. And they were right, it was too much. But, it kept me afloat for three months, and I’m really grateful for that.

But this month was incredibly hard for some reason. Part of it was allergies (the pollen count is high right now down in Central Florida). Part of it was doing other work. But maybe my heart had finally checked out of the work I was doing. But I felt like such a snob.

I kept having this conversation with myself about how I needed to be grateful and honor this work. I know I can be elitist because of my background of being a doctor’s daughter, of going to an elite university, of having a master’s degree.

America can make you feel so entitled to things you should have, and I don’t mean basic needs (America does the opposite of that with the basics). I should be further along in my life. Why am I doing this terrible survival work?

But I needed to pay some bills and without a car, this was what was in front of me. So I did it.

Yet the nagging feeling, that I was just felt like some replaceable cog in a wheel, lining someone else’s pockets, only grew and made me feel terrible. I never felt any real connection to this group. It doesn’t seem like they can hold quality people, but they don’t really provide that much support. I only was spoken to when I was wrong.

And I wonder if all these veteran journalists, editors, producers, videographers, etc. now feel the same way, like a replaceable cog in a wheel. They were doing a lot more important work than creating content for who I imagine are bored retirees. But with all those layoffs, 1,000 people could form their own newsroom right now, and a really good one.

So, to sum it all up:

You are not your job, you’re not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You are not your fucking khakis. ― Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

Capitalism is a dehumanizing affair, and it doesn’t belong in journalism–or in most places. And if corporations are people, then they lack a lot of empathy (as do most people, sadly).

Despite life being full of suffering, we must find joy in life. So the season finale of The Good Place, the only American sitcom that I can stand, was on Thursday night. And the ending made me cry because of all of the shitty things that happened last year in particular. If you haven’t watched it and you’re a fan of the show, go watch it and then come back.

Eleanor asks Janet, the all-knowing android, what the meaning of life is, if it’s just full of pain. Janet responds that if she told her, then life would just be some stupid machine. Life would lose its mystery. Since life doesn’t really make much sense, when we find someone or something that does make sense, it’s miraculous. And it’s those glimmers of happiness that we should strive for as we embrace the suck of being human.

I remember saying this to a friend in an email a couple of months ago because I had heard this same message in a podcast about leaving evangelical Christianity. Life is suffering, so when there are moments when we’re not suffering, we should savor them.

Those insights made me cherish the people I had in my life. It made me feel lucky and fortunate, not abandoned and alone.

It’s funny, when I left social media for the holidays and Marie Kondo’s Netflix show came on, I came back to so much xenophobic snark about the concept of what sparks joy for someone.

Clearly, Americans don’t even understand this concept, and a few people have said as much–specifically that we’ve been trained to believe that things bring us joy. So when our houses are full of shit we don’t even use, Kondo’s gentle suggestions about how to store and sort through what you need and don’t need felt like indictments.

So joy…is not happiness or exuberance or giddiness. It’s deeper than that. For me, it has to do with connecting to your life purpose and your essence, the things that make you really you. Deep satisfaction with who you are and the life you have.

And yeah, sometimes it’s hard to find that when your basic needs aren’t being met and you’re treated like some object that has lost its use. But after last night, I felt a new sense of determination to find real joy, even in the midst of loss. I can’t wait for the perfect client, place, friends, relationships or time.

And the time is now. It is always now.

So what’s deeply resonating for me and who I am is working with people who honor my time, talents, and efforts. I want to be with people who are thoughtful and kind. I want to live in a place where my life matters and where I can be useful. 

None of that is happening right now, and honestly, I know that’s a lot to ask for from humanity. But I must commit that I will die trying to find it. There’s no other option besides just giving up completely and dying. My life has to align to these values or I will wither inside.

And, that’s a process. I sometimes think at the end of writing something, whatever lessons I’ve learned from the process of writing will somehow just be permanently imprinted. 

But then life happens, loss happens. Something doesn’t go my way. I screw something up. Taking it so personally is suffering. And I don’t need to suffer any more than I already do.

Anyway, this blog is, in essence, me trying to remember what life for me really is about. And it takes a lot of keystrokes and conversations to remember and to keep remembering that I am not even the poverty I live in nor the people I don’t have in my life.

I am so much more, and I find it hard to find the right words to say what that exactly is besides the word “me.”

Not knowing isn’t a bug—it’s a feature. So now that I don’t have this soul-crushing client anymore, I feel more space opening up. All the people, places, and things that left, that didn’t work out, that I messed up–now there’s space to explore what I do want. 

Until maybe this morning, I really was exhausted by the question, “So now what?” I don’t know, and that’s not a problem. It’s how life is.

I know there are a lot of obstacles in my way towards being what I deem to be a financially stable, well-loved person, and they’re ones I don’t really think about.

But then I think about how so many people have stable lives because of their race or gender or good looks or wealth–very arbitrary, meaningless things. Despite the meaningless, immoral riches of billionaires who decide the fate of people they don’t even care about, despite all the noxious -isms that are on my back and blocking my path, I still have to try to figure this life stuff out for me.

It’s tough because it’s been a very lonely road and the further along I walk, the less people walk with me. That’s also by design, it seems, and something I’ll get into in another post. 

But I don’t necessarily know where I’m headed. For example, right now, it’s a brisk 57 degrees outside, and where I was thinking I’d be living now has wind chills in the negative 50s.

I was telling my writing accountability partner this week that I hate fumbling around to figure things out (she hates it, too). That’s what I’ve been doing since I left grad school. Going on five years of fumbling.

Doors open and close without warning. People appear and disappear. We grow older and hopefully wiser. And that’s (part of) life.

And I know that wherever I’m trying to get to, as soon as I “arrive”, another journey of fumbling will begin. My hope is that it won’t be as hard as living with an inconsistent income and that better people stick around for that journey.

So in between here and there, it’s just more reminders to myself to hang in there, to see the good, to find the silver linings when I can, and to be kind to myself when it’s too painful to smile or see anything redemptive of a FUBAR situation.

I can finally see how my resilience is a blessing. I can see how I’m rebounding more quickly from failures and setbacks. I’m already starting to forget what happened last night and soon, I’ll even start seeking failure and rejection out as learning experiences and ways to move forward. That takes some inner strength and wholeness that I haven’t really had before, but it’s being developed.

My hope for you is that you journey well and have the best traveling companions, that you don’t grow weary when you journey alone or come upon obstacles, and that you become stronger and more whole with each step you take.

Godspeed.


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. Also, here’s my Amazon Wishlist.

Thanks for your support! 💘

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

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! 💘

 

 

 

 

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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