my course of miracles

miracles

It’s always the darkest before the dawn.

There’s a light at the end of the tunnel

It’ll get worse before it gets better.

Every cloud has a silver lining.

However long the night, the dawn will break.

sigh

There are so many sayings and cliches and aphorisms about getting through dark times. And if you’ve been going through something for a long time, then these trite words may fall flat. They can taste stale and dry in your mouth, and coarse on your heart.

This month has been difficult. This year has been difficult. This life has been difficult.

And sometimes, I forget how I even got here.

So it’s time to remind myself of the miracles that brought me here…

When my mother was in labor with me, she had an adverse reaction to her epidural and blacked out during labor. The last thing she remembered was the medical staff pushing on her stomach to get me out before she went unconscious. I was due in January, but at over 9 pounds, they even thought I was twins.

My mother survived and I came into the world, healthy and whole, on Christmas morning.

I don’t know if my childhood was miraculous, but the next miracle I remember was a Christmas one, on my 18th birthday.

My dad and brother went up in his private plane for some flying. I had driven them out about an hour or two east from my our house. My mom was working that day.

But it’s Christmas, and the airport terminal wasn’t open. My dad wasn’t really thinking like a sane person at this point. So although he wasn’t into holidays anymore, he didn’t think about how the rest of the world worked.

He didn’t make sure I had a place to hang out. Even the hangar was closed.

I was stuck outside in the cold. And this was the time before everyone had a cellphone. There was a payphone outside the terminal that I was able to I think leave a message for my mom.

So I had to hitchhike back to town–which I was lucky to find anyone out at all since it was the holiday, and it was a miracle that I wasn’t abducted or harmed. I called my mom at the McDonald’s near our church, and she met us there after I called her.

And although I am recounting about the miracles that have graced my life, I can’t help but note the emotion that was absent from this episode.

My dad didn’t apologize. My mom wasn’t upset. There were no hugs or tears. The people who picked me up were nice, but they weren’t horrified. I wasn’t angry or hurt.

It’s been 22 years and I fail to find any emotion about it…I only find cozy rationalizations that keep me warm and safe.

My dad was and is sick. My mom wasn’t really emotionally there for me. And I was used to getting through tough things without any sort of deep emotional resonance or identification. And maybe that’s why when I wrote about this in grad school, that’s partially why no one could find much empathy or sympathy for me.

That same year, I had to wait to go to college for a year because of my father’s increasing mental health issues. It was a miracle that he let go of the paranoid delusions holding us both hostage and gave his IRS returns as proof of income to my school. I had prayed so hard to leave while I was drowning in dysthymia.

After 3 years of schooling and battling my now clinical depression, I had to leave college because of my family’s deep spiral–mental illness, imprisonment, foreclosure, tax liens.

Even finding out that I was about to get kicked out of school was a miracle. I had decided to skip class that day and the resident head of my dorm knocked on my door to tell me that I needed to go to College Aid and figure out a way to pay my bill.

It ended up being a tense meeting with a College Aid adviser and the Dean of Students who didn’t like me because of a crazy subletter who wrote her a letter full of lies about me.

And, she was actually most likely dealing with early-onset dementia. The reason I didn’t have the money was because my parents were very slow in getting me the info I needed for the FASFA so I could get financial aid.

So from that meeting, I was able to get some student loan support, but most of the funds had been used up by spring quarter. I had owed $10,000 and was only able to pay half from loans. So, I got kicked out soon after that for nonpayment. I wasn’t allowed to graduate with the people I came into school with.

And if that banishment is a scar, it’s one that feels like a thick and long keloid, one that can kick up some phantom pains every once in a while…

(I’m mostly over it, after almost 20 years, but it definitely still makes me sad sometimes)

It was a miracle that brought me back into school 3 years later. And this still feels like the biggest miracle I’ve ever received in my life.

The Dean of Students had died suddenly because of her illness and the new Dean of Students was an academic adviser and close buds with my academic adviser.

The resident head of my dorm was the daughter-in-law of the Dean of the College. So she, along with the head of housing, my adviser, and her husband had written a long letter of support with a lot of evidence I had to drudge up: news articles of my dad’s conviction, letters from the IRS, the foreclosure notice on the only home my parents owned.

Yes, here is the evidence of my family’s undoing. Can you forgive this debt of $6000?

I remember sitting at my computer in my bedroom, about an hour away from where my college was, reading an email from the Dean about how she was going to consider paying only a part of it and leave me with the rest (expensive phone bills).

The waiting for this answer was one of the most excruciating times of my life.

But then–good, unbelievable news: the Dean of Students has agreed to forgive the whole debt.

I went to campus to her office, to get the voucher to that I would take to the Bursar’s office. To be in that office again under happier, more hopeful circumstances felt like I was finally coming back home. What a fitting way to close a circle of estrangement and shame.

This is still one of the most surreal experiences of my life…walking, or was it floating?, to one window, giving this voucher for my debt. I felt like I was silently robbing a bank. It’s the only time I’ve held that much money in my life. I joked that I could run away to the Bahamas for a while instead of paying this debt.

I held my flight of fancy walked just a couple feet to another window and paid off my debt that had kept me away from school for three years. I graduated the following summer.

Then there’s the miracle of making it through grad school. My thesis adviser had sabotaged me by not paying me much attention with my thesis.  We barely got together throughout the whole second year, but I didn’t know that was bad.

I had my thesis defense cancelled the day before.

I had no idea that she didn’t think I was ready until I had spoken to the program director. I didn’t really have my “I was told by Apple Care” steel ovaries to raise a stink in the department. So I kept my head down, reformed my committee with the better adviser and successfully defended my thesis.

Beyond graduating from college, that was my most triumphant moment of my life, and only 5 people were there to witness it–my committee and two friends.

And, as much as I really resent this part of the journey, during and after grad school, it’s just been miracle after miracle to not be homeless.

Staying with friends, staying in Airbnb’s. Being able to eat. Having a car for some time. Finding work. Finding new friends. Creating a business from basically nothing. 

And still, I resent it. I resent it all. I resent the alchemy I’m forced to use over and over. And maybe, just maybe…I resent having to rely on the Universe so much, for every little thing.

And now, that’s even coming down to the very air I breathe.

I resent all the loss, all the struggling, all the things I’ve been passed over, all the times I’ve been taken for granted…

I resent that I sound whiny instead of grateful. 

Earlier today, I finally was able to face the owners of this house about the stupid toilet seat that needed to be replaced after a year of asking.

And then–to deal with the person I now call the creep, this lanky, leather, nicotine-stained, psychotic thorn in my side.

All of that resentment comes up again, little infant squalling bawling resentment:

Why are my basic needs of safety not being met?

Why am I stuck in this house?

Why are they not acting quickly enough?

Is the law really that convoluted or difficult in terms of evicting people?

It’s tiring, but I have a new toilet seat and an assurance for more open communication.

But in the meantime…

I know another miracle needs to happen, is about to happen. So much here has gone wrong and worse. There’s a chaos that has been brewing and growing–which is the sign that things are about to change for the better.

“When everything is falling apart, it is a good sign that everything is coming together,” says Henriette Anne Klauser, author of the book Write It Down, Make It Happen.

She goes on to describe the process of childbirth, where the one giving birth feels like they can’t go on. It’s called the “transition,” it’s right before a child is born.

And it’s right where you’re not supposed to give up. You have to keep pushing, so this new life can be brought forth.

So I didn’t get the answers I wanted today from the homeowners. Of course, I didn’t, I think. Impending doom starting shaking at my pant leg.

And the chaos seems to just stick around like a never-ending Floridian summer thunderstorm, the kind that you can’t ever get your windshield wipers to wipe fast enough so you can see at least 5 feet in front of you for just 5 fucking seconds.

I don’t know how I can move out of here, no matter what happens with the creepy housemate, as business is a little slow.

And it’s more than just moving out of here, it’s moving out of this mess of a life that doesn’t seem to have created much happiness or joy for myself.

I desperately need to break out of this cycle of subsistence and get on with the hopefully more boring, less dramatic 2nd act of my life.

And I feel so tired, trying to fight this on my own. I’m doing what I can energetically, spiritually, practically, etc.

But under a Capricorn moon this evening, I wonder if I’m ever doing enough. Am I listening hard enough to Spirit? Am I sacrificing enough? Am I cowering where I should be courageous? How can I keep pushing–and where? In what capacity?

Where’s the on switch for the good stuff and the off switch for the bad stuff?

But there’s one truth that I need to embrace, more than more own resilience and ambition and alchemical prowesses:

Miracle-making is always a team sport.

I didn’t make it back to college on my own. I didn’t make it through grad school by myself. I didn’t stay off the streets or from sleeping in my car when I was broker than broke back in 2014 without help.

And the messages I continue receiving, from astrology readings, from tarot readings, from synchronicities–it’s going to take teamwork to make the dream work.

Yes, another tired ass cliche. But cliches are cliches for a reason–they’re usually true.

I don’t know who is going to help this time. I mean, I have some clues but… I’m definitely at that point where all I can do is dangle some hope out in front of myself, even if it feels like I’m lying to myself.

There is a Santa Claus. There is a Tooth Fairy. There is a way out of this.

And then there’s the miracle of being here at all, beyond my harrowing birth story. It’s the universe itself, and how we’re on this perfect planet in its perfect conditions and that the universe even was created at all…

If there’s anything that has been helping me gain perspective about whether I will have another smoky day in my room, it’s that this situation is infinitesimal to the bigly-ness of the universe, known and unknown.

I am made from mostly carbon, but I am also made from the same stuff that started the universe–miracle-making stuff.

It took billions of years for me to get here, and I’m not going to give up now.

I thought writing this would cheer myself up. But alas, it really didn’t. I’m not as grateful as I could be, either. I think I’ve grown tired hearing and telling of my fables of endurance.

But, I at least can remind myself that although it may take years (gah, years!), things do eventually work out. It may be not how I wanted, or when, but the cycles of struggle I endure do end in triumph (and increased strength and stamina and wisdom and grace and empathy and compassion…)

There’s a steely core of resilience that isn’t really moved by my emotion or circumstances. I think sometimes it’s the only thing that keeps me upright when everything around me is in flames or blown away as ash by the winds of changes.

So yeah. I’ve lead a remarkable, unbelievable life, and the only thing that drives me is that it’s not yet one I’m really or fully proud of.

There are so many chapters of my life that I want to skip over or cringe when I remember. There are probably many more miracles that I have forgotten…

And it’s not that there’s a lot that I’ve done that I’m ashamed of. It’s that there’s been a lot of things I’ve endured that are shameful and somewhat Sisyphean.

Although I own my full story, the threads of loss and resilience aren’t ones that I can fully value yet. Part of it is that I’m still in the middle of the story’s unfolding. I can’t see the point of the plot yet. And that’s OK, for now.

But for the most part, I’ve been typecast. And I long for a new role, a new characterization.

This is not all that I’m capable of. Not in the slightest.

To throw in a little astrology, this has been a long journey of the nodes of fate. I’ve been evolving from my south node in Aries, the warrior, to my north node in Libra, the diplomat.

I can conquer and overcome and slay all day. But there’s no one to come home to. There’s no home, period. My life has been played out on the battlefields of life for decades.

So, I’m tired. My sword and shield and armor all weigh me down.

So, I wonder…

How will I act in a home of love? What new miracles are living inside of me, like dormant seeds, waiting to be germinated? What will the fertile soils of stability grow in my life? What new life is squirming to blossom and bear fruit?

What will I look like when I’m not defined by my daunting circumstances?

I want to surprise myself…because I scarcely have a clue what will happen…

I’m sure the end to this “Florida is full of fail” chapter of my life will be no less miraculous. The writer and reader in me is wondering how the heroine will get out of this predicament this time. She’s a bit of a wily, nervy Magician. She totally has it in her.

And even though it will take some other heroes and heroines to assist in the creation of this denouement, I trust this woman to get her happily ever after.

I trust her to get home safe.

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 and you can have access to those things for $10/month.

Thanks for your support! 💘

 

Calling on the right ones

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Photo credit: Tim Van Damme

This is a long one, so just sit back and get cozy.

I wrote this two months ago, and I didn’t publish it because I felt super whiny, albeit rightly so. It’s a little scattered, like the energy that swirls around in the U.S. So I apologize in advance for the motifs and metaphors that come and go.

Two months later, not much has changed in my life, and this topic of asking, and not receiving, is still very relevant right now. Today is Day 120 of unemployment and under this moon in Pisces, I feel very done.

Pisces is the last sign in the zodiac, so that’s also why I feel done. Pisces is a water sign and it’s very intuitive, but also very emotional. So I also feel like a catharsis from the past 4 months.

 

The pain I’m enduring is not being wasted. The isolation I’m experiencing is not being wasted. The incessant asking that isn’t being answered is not being wasted. I have to believe in the law of conservation of energy: 

Energy can neither be created nor destroyed; instead, it transforms from one form to another.

I’m still scared, but not as much. And I’m still sad, but not as much. When I woke up after I thought about all this, the black weighty gloom lifted, just a little.

I cannot tell  you how many times I’ve repeated this process, of pushing the tag team twins of doom and gloom off of me, like I’m under too hot of blankets. It’s becoming an almost everyday process, of choosing to be here, of choosing not to look at my circumstances and letting that be the only story told about who I am and my purpose here on Earth.

This morning, before I was officially awake, I was blogging in my head. Maybe the correct term is ruminating. Either way, my adventure with NaNoWriMo must have kicked on my loquacious Mercury in Sagitarrius writer’s button, because now, I can’t stop writing.

I know that keep writing about the same topic, over and over. I also feel like I’ve been running in place for over four years–that Sisyphean energy.

What’s this all worth, really?

Fixed candles are burning, pink and green, pulling down love and money respectively. I’m waiting to be called for my phone interview with a former employer [That went well, but there may not be a decision until, at the latest, March?]. ETA: I heard back yesterday when I checked in, and there will be no face-to-face interview. Today [January 31st] I also got another rejection from the worst phone interview I’ve ever had. Friday, I got a rejection from what I thought was my dream job. 

Clouds are starting to gather as I see our resident vultures gliding high in the air. I’ve been listening to Coldplay’s Ghost Stories, over and over. It’s been reported to be a breakup album, from when Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow. It sounds more like their old stuff. I actually need to stop before I start hating it. But hey, you can use this as the soundtrack for this post.

What I was blogging in my head has escaped me a bit, mainly because I resolved that angsty puzzle. But I remember now.

Today, in two different tarot/oracle card decks, I pulled the equivalent of Three of Swords: heartache, sadness, loss. It was definitely a reading of my energy–maybe it’s just the residue, or it’s just always there.

I’m already loathe to talk about this, because I can hear my own inner critic join the chorus of my fellow Americans who have bought into the bootstrapping myth, as if any of us can make it without any help. There are so many conversations I’ve had with friends about the value in asking for help and the importance of community, and they are all running in my head right now.

Under this full moon in Gemini, which is not helping with keeping my head clear due to the streaming of information, I’m thinking about the losses of this year. Besides struggling with a job loss, I did lose a few friends. I’ve gotten wise about how life works, though. So many lessons in the losses… mainly I was trying way too hard with those friendships. It’s a bad habit that has cost me time and money. I’m finally sensitive to not trying to make anything happen.

But with those losses, I’m doing a lot of grinding by myself.

I’ve had to really upgrade my definition of “friend.” Right now, I have a lot of really good acquaintances and not a lot of friends. And as an immigrant’s daughter, there really isn’t family to fall back on during hard times. I fall back on myself.

I’m resilient, very resilient. And I tire of it. I remember telling my therapist in grad school of my exhaustion with my own indefatigable spirit.

I look at my unemployment, which is the longest stretch I’ve ever had, and wonder when it will end. It keeps unfurling, like a long, blank scroll, emphasis on blank.

And I know why I resent my resilience. There’s some inner child wounding being healed as I go through this valley, places inside of me that need parenting and re-parenting. have to do it, no one else. I have to release the need, the compulsion, of my parents to come in and take care of me.

It’s not a bad one, this need. It’s 100% natural. It’s how the parent/child relationship is set up. But when the parents are unable or unwilling, you have to take up the slack. And I don’t like it. Thankfully, even the acknowledgement of not liking it is a step towards healing.

Yes, I deserved better support and guidance, and yet, I didn’t receive it. And yes, in order to move forward, I have to just (suck it up) take care of myself.

I don’t necessarily believe in shitty circumstances being orchestrated  in your life, just so you can learn things. That’s a bit self-absorbed, in my opinion. I am 100% sure that the Universe would rather draw us through kindness.

The way I see life is that shitty things will happen, regardless of whether I’m at the “proper vibration” or whether I had enough “faith.” The question isn’t if those things will happen–it’s when. And then what are you being invited to do? How will your RSVP, oui ou non?

Not finding work as quickly as I need isn’t some grand universe conspiracy. But I have been invited to slow down, reassess my life, and continue to bring healing to that deserving inner child that seems to have been left by herself. I’ve also been invited to trust the Universe in ways that are frightening–at least for a Capricorn sun and a Cancer moon. Job and housing insecurity would probably frighten most people, though.

Until I came down here to Florida for grad school, I never really realized how much I relied on myself and on my friends. I don’t know if I took my friends for granted, or even myself. I hope I’ve always come from a place of gratitude.

The longer I’ve been here, the more I’ve become active on social media–and thank goodness because otherwise, I’d be worse off in all ways–and not connected to people locally. That’s mainly because of money: it costs to hang out with people, even if you’re just driving to meet up to do something free. I’ve been able to give myself a lot of patience and grace with this, and I need to give myself even more.

I did realize, though, that culturally, the way I was raised as a Ghanaian does not mesh well with the “rugged individualism” of America. Looking back, I can see how my family’s relationships with other Ghanaian families weren’t a luxury, they were a necessity. We went out of our way to go on road trips to visit people in Michigan, Georgia, Louisiana.

Even though I’m not close with most of those families anymore, I still consider them as family–somewhat. Even with this current lack of closeness, you could say that American culture has started to erode our bonds. Not to be too simplistic, though–because I know there are a myriad of reasons why people grow apart over time. Still, we’ve gotten absorbed in our own lives.

But I’m still wired to go out of my way. Yet, there are fewer and fewer people to go out of my way for. And vice versa.

And that was a big lesson this year. I was going out of my way for people who would never make that effort back. And now, they are gone. Effort can’t solve everything.

It’s been a funny journey for me with my willingness to asking for help. I have loathed hating asking for help, and it’s possible I’m living a self-fulfilling prophetic nightmare. Before I even made it to Florida, I had to ask for help to get down here. Since I’ve been here, I’ve asked and asked and asked–and I’m still asking. To hear the silence roaring back in response to my request, and not have it be about me, to not have it be that I’m not deserving or that I’m unworthy or whatever other ugly self-judgments that I have to fight off…I know I’m learning a few things from that.

  1. I’m not the only one whose voice isn’t being heard or heeded to. There are people all over the world who ask help for help and are ignored.
  2. Asking for help doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll be helped by the ones I ask.
  3. Related to #2, this message came across Twitter earlier today: I’m not asking for too much, but I’m asking the wrong people.

This last message, about who to ask, has been a mindbender for me. I’ve looked back at how I’ve been provided for in ways that were unexpected. As a Capricorn, I really like efficiency. I just want the big ole windfall, the amount of money that will take care of everything all at once. But that’s not what I’ve been invited to receive.

My ultimate invitation, every day, is to trust the Universe, for everything. When it gets to brass tacks stuff: my bills, food, shelter, transportation–it’s scary. My hierarchy of needs pyramid is on fire, starting from the bottom. It’s admittedly crazy-making. Not having enough money is stressful and can cause you to not think clearly.

Through that fog of confusion, I can clearly see that the right one to ask for help from is the Universe. I’ve been incredibly stubborn and resistant about this change because it’s not how I usually have gotten things done. Being resilient and rallying for help when I needed–it hasn’t been as difficult as it has been for the past few years.

And again, the struggle is not to make this about my self-worth, i.e. it’s not raining money on you, so that means you don’t matter.

This has been a baby stepwise process. (Aren’t all life journeys?) I’ve talked about this before. There have been a few times that I talk to Archangel Ariel,  who is known to help with  earthly needs, and audibly ask, “What else can I do? I’ve got nothing.” Something seems to always happen: I get more time to pay something, or money shows up. I’m in a similar place this month, and I don’t know how things will be taken care of.

I’ve gone through this so many times, though. I should be a pro. But every time, I feel like this is some major test of my existence.

Somehow, faith is being grown, in this rocky, dusty soil of my life. I’m not sitting here panicking, like I usually would. I’ve had to find my worth outside of the number of friends I have, whether I feel overlooked and misunderstood or not, whether I have a job or not, whether I’ve had a car or not, whether I had a BA or not, whether I’ve been in a relationship or not.

That’s what’s being transformed in me, right now, in this cauldron of waiting and wondering and worry: these precious, priceless gems of my true worth.

 

A glass of orange juice

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Photo credit: Razmi Hashisho

I went on a lyrical rampage yesterday, and I don’t write like that professionally. I’m a little more concise, but the lyrical fire hose is one that whips around and around–sometimes it’s not very direct (like right now). So, I wondered if in all that orange/cherry talk, if the main message got lost.

 

So, here’s a glass of orange juice, with no pulp, in the form of a listicle. I feel like I need to offer it especially after the Senate GOP decided to start gutting the Affordable Care Act as I slept earlier this morning, i.e., give a bigger context to my own journey.

  • There’s always the season for enough. Poverty is unacceptable at all times. So is the lack of affordable health care. I’m dancing on the edge of both. Although the worst thing happening to my health right now is that I look like the before picture of a Clearsil commercial, I’m OK. I hope I can find alternative ways to deal with my stuff. But the season of enough looks like this–enough to eat, enough to get around, enough to be clothed, enough to have fun, enough to pay your bills on time and without dread.We all deserve enough.
  • My season of oranges will look differently from yours. I’ve been here before, although I’ve arrived in different vehicles or at different times in my life. The waiting for things to get better as you do all you can while you work towards that place of “enough.” I know that I am in a clear, open space to receive good things–good things that we all deserve as human beings, no matter the race, gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs or lack thereof, ableness. I know that I’m doing my best and that the good is on the way–as rote and unconvincing as it sounds.This season is years and years long. It’s way bigger than just being unemployed for months. Your season may be shorter, longer, more or less intense, and with a different fruit altogether. But we all go through seasons where we’re doing the best we can and we still have things to learn, or we still have things to grow into, or we still have things that need to be revealed to us (like our own personal power) before we move onto the next season.
  • Human history has its seasons, too. That’s what’s cool about astrology. You can see the human drama play out in the transits of the planets through signs. I’m a part of that bigger human drama, too. I can point to transits that can say “That’s over. It’s canceled.” (a la Joanne the Scammer) for this period in my life. This season in American history is growing darker and darker still. We look to people of faith, to mystics, to spiritualists, to public intellectual, to activists to figure out what to do next, of how to band together and find the light (again? Was it ever really lit in America?).

That’s enough listicleness for now, but I wanted to emphasize both how esoteric and yet how universal my journey is. I didn’t want it to sound like I was spiritually bypassing the hard things in my life. I’ve just gotten to a place where I can float a bit. Maybe I can look up at the stars and dream and ponder for a momen. But this float is also from a place of sheer exhaustion, of possibly trying too hard. This is all 100% mystery to me. I know what I’m doing, and I know the results I want. But I have no idea how they will show up in my life, nor when. For now–that’s scary, that’s tiring, and that’s life.

One big thing I’ve been working on is my own sense of worthiness when it comes to the good things in life. I was thinking today that I need to read more about deservedness, and then I found this Ask Polly column that posted last night. Someone heard my little cry, eh?

As a Capricorn, wealth and money are things I feel like I definitely deserve. I deserve the corner office. I deserve the closest parking space. I deserve, I deserve, I deserve–because I busted my ass for it. I try to translate that work ethic to relationships and it gets murky. My track record is awful since I got here, and it’s upsetting–I don’t like failing at anything. I have less control over people and how they show up in my life.

So, let’s see. I deserve less shitty people in my life? Um, sure, yes. I agree. And, I deserve dudes who won’t ghost on me or freeze me out? Yes? Yes. Of course I do. I think.

One thing I absolutely believe is that I definitely deserve respect. I can start here, live here, breathe here. I can breathe that in and feel good, and feel all of that spill into all areas of my life–if I let it. I can ask myself these questions more and more:

How am I respecting myself? Is this action self-honoring? Does it honor others? Is this relationship full of mutual respect? How do I show up in other people’s lives, even when my own life seems to be slowly collapsing on myself?

(that’s also about integrity, too, but that’s a whole other post)

Self-worth, in long seasons of waiting, can get weeded and choked out. You start to connect the time you’ve waited and worked on things to your personal value as a human being. If  you lack the results, then surely you’re not deserving. You’re doing it wrong. And that’s not life–at least not a good life.

Look: I’m really writing to myself because desperately need to hear this.

Sure, I could be blocking myself with limiting beliefs–blah blah blah personal development words that end up victim blaming instead of addressing the society that fixed it that some would go without no matter what they did cough cough cough–but that’s all a part of the journey, a part of living in life’s waiting room–you figure all of that stuff out. You love yourself more, and hopefully in turn, you love others more.

That’s what we’re here to do. That’s life.

Under this full moon in “feel all the feels” Cancer, I really want to release the inner pressure to force anything to happen that isn’t ready to happen. It borders on self-hatred, and in tight times like these, I need a lot more love and compassion–not less.

I also want to release the ingratitude that sometimes encases and hardens my heart when I’ve been rejected over and over. I’ve had people help me with job leads and money (shout out to my one patron on Patreon) during this season of constraint and I would have gone hungry or lost my car or lost my belongings if it were for those people (shameless plug, if you want to help me out financially, click here!). I’ll be forever grateful to them, to the people who showed up when everyone else left.

Even as I wait and seek and search and become dismayed, I can feel the positive shift in my life happening. I do feel supported–even if it’s in new and unexpected ways–like angels and guides and a dead friend who was an atheist. I’m on my way to feeling like I deserve the love and support that I give to others.

Sidenote: It makes me wonder how I can find those sorts of treasures and gifts if everything is going well. Is it possible to be grateful when it’s Christmas morning and the room is brimming with gifts and it’s always that way? Is that a story that I made up, that gratitude can only walk hand in hand with humility? Is this my story?

Between the oranges and cherries, the tangelos and berries, I may not know all the reasons why it’s taking so long to find work, to find my own family and community, to find true stability–but all of that is on the way. That hope, that annoyingly persistent hope that hops around my heart like a cute, fluffy bunny, is all I have for now. And all I’m really wanting, and needing, is to get to the season of enough.

Identity & finances

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When I was buying my car in August, the financial advisor noticed how antsy I was as we were completing the paperwork in his office. He assured me that my income was fine–it was great at the time. I was concerned getting to this tight spot three months later, with no real job prospects in sight.

Of course, too, all day, I was ruminating about my shitty credit, made shitty thanks to grad school. Even as I type this, moving to Florida has been all about taking risks, for following my dream of writing. The dream is realized–I’ve been a writer for four years. But at times I wonder if it was all worth it, especially financially.

As I joked my way out of my fear of the future, the financial advisor said something sagacious that reminded that I was not my credit score or my finances. It’s something that’s stayed with me and has been more important to me now, after two stressful phone calls with my car loan company and my long-suffering but not that great cell phone service provider.

I’ve come to a point that I’m doing all I can and it’s not enough to pay bills on time. I can understand suicidality from a place of–I can’t live like this anymore, the bleak and unyielding despair that can try to choke you out. There are no options. And it’s something that even last month, I batted around like a cat would with a toy mouse. I’m too lazy to do that, and I’m also curious about what will happen next in my life. But I get the exhaustion, the frustration, and the sense of hopelessness that one can feel when unemployed. I’ve been here a few times and this time feels more like…an object lesson.

One of my favorite movie scenes is from Dune, where Paul is given this test to see if he’s divine (I think, right?). He has to place his hand inside a box and endure inordinate amounts of pain. If he removes it, he’ll die. He holds it in the box until the test is over. It seems like his hand is being seared from the inside. But, when he removes his hand, it’s fine.

Also from the book and the movie, there’s the Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear that Paul recites in a stressful situation (can’t remember what it was), but here it is:

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.

know things will be fine, eventually. There are things I know coming down the pipeline that will help tremendously. And then there are things that I don’t know are coming that will also be helpful. I have to have faith that the latter is very, very true.

I don’t fear that I will be homeless, or even that I will lose my car. My phone may be turned off tomorrow. I fear that I’m letting myself down in terms of how I wanted to live my life–with independence and aplomb. This feels like yet another adulting failure, but so many people are in my position right now, doing the best they can.

Deep down, though–I fear that I am my shitty credit score or my bank account balance or even the number of friends that I have close by.

I am none of these things, and I never have been.

The lesson that I’m learning, with a little more ease this time, is that I had been identifying with my job and with the amount of money I have. Money, my phone, my car–they are all tools. And I am not defined by tools, or even my access to tools. It’s tough to say this, as a double Capricorn, who likes to work, who likes to have money, who likes to pay bills on time. Not having these things does cause some suffering. It’s suffering that I’m learning to be present with, with copious amounts of self-compassion–even if it comes out in dribs and drabs.

Once I let go of this identity tied to money, then I’m just me–an able-bodied, hard-working, fiercely loving, highly intelligent person who deserves love and compassion and is doing all she can. All of this is enough, no matter what circumstantially happens to me. That’s still a hard pill to swallow. But, day by day, internal meltdown after internal meltdown, it is becoming enough. Scorpio season may have ended yesterday, but my own personal transformation is still happening. One can only be stripped down every so often before it starts to become not about the things being stripped away, but about what remains.

I’m so grateful to be housed, for my plucky resilience, for the few people that have helped me during this transition time, and that I’m still alive to see what will happen next. Again, my own personal readings have been so positive. I believe I received one today about golden opportunities. I look forward to not scoffing at these readings and really embracing them as messages from Spirit, that things are about to get better, that things are already getting better.

Anyway, I’m a broken record, but it seems like every time I blog about this, my attitude and my circumstances start to shift. I write because I am compelled to, and I want to document this journey. But the self-encouragement as I go on another hero’s journey is so necessary.

When I’ve done all I can, I have to throw the rest of it up to the Universe/higher power/God to take care of the rest–even when it’s out of exasperation. That may be the best time to do it.

Even in the expansive space of gratitude, it’s been hard to embrace that the Universe pro-me. It’s been yet another lesson that I’m learning. And while I am learning, I’m not giving up.

If you want to help me out during this time, you can donate to cash.me  or paypal.me. Thank you in advance! If you’re interested in how I can help you with your writing needs, let’s talk really soon.

OK with everything 👌

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No, really! It will be!

 

A Week in Review

A lot has happened last week, but in front of the backdrop of unemployment, they all seem really banal and boring. It’s kinda hazy

I’m still avoiding #NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I wrote 22 words for it and somehow think I’ll come up with 50,000 words or more by the 30th. I don’t want to do it because the subject matter is a little too tender post-election. Being broke is distracting me from the joys of writing. I don’t even want to write this blog post, but it’s becoming a Sunday tradition to write. As a Capricorn, it seems like a distraction from the work of trying not to be broke. I really don’t like writing fiction. I tip my hat to anyone who does it well and enjoys it because it’s very hard to create a realistic world, a decent plot, fleshed out characters, and keep all those balls in the air.

I wrote a couple of articles. I applied to a few jobs. I reached out to some recruiters who never got back to me. I had a phone screen/interview where I got defensive about my last salary because I don’t think it’s anyone’s fucking business.

I finally paid the rest of my rent–very grateful. Still dreading the other bills that are languishing, like my phone bill. I hope it stays on this week.

I got groceries from Target and saved over $32! I looked on the Cartwheel app and found that I could have saved a couple of bucks more. Oof.

I applied for SNAP, again. This time, I didn’t feel any shame about it, even when my last employer had to verify the separation. They faxed over the form within the hour, which I really appreciated.

Sidenote: Shame and despair are to be avoided, at all costs. It’s one thing that I learned the hard way last month, as well as this month. Being beat up from my ongoing financial upheaval down here, I really started to take on a broke and beat down, despairing persona. Last month, I was exhausted from the hypergrind, but I was also cowering. Ironically, I really wasn’t taking care of myself, of the business of myself, because I was way too optimistic of how things would work out for me.

Moral of the story: find the middle path and find a healthy way to face your stuff.

I launched my Patreon site for this blog. You should join!

I looked up a friend who has passed on who “lead” (I guess he’s a spirit guide now) me to a blog post written by another friend of his. And this has really messed me up. He deserves a whole separate post. I’ve written about him before–and you can read that if you sign up at Patreon. It’s really intriguing and sad to read another friend’s point of view of a loved one. It was also very freeing and enlightening. I was going to write about him for this post, but it’s still too fresh, too raw, too messy. Grief is so weird and not confined to time.

I caught up on the second season of The Royals. I love that tawdry, cheeky show.

But really, overall, I really felt good last week, despite how my life isn’t going the way I want, as fast as I want. That’s really all one can hope for in life: to have one’s emotions to be separate from circumstances.

The Week Ahead

It’ll be more of the same above–talk to recruiters, apply for jobs, write a couple of articles.

I will try to sell some more clothes. Finally saying goodbye to my Chicago cold weather persona.

We leave the dark depths of Scorpio season and pack our bags and passports for the wide lands of Sagittarius season. And we thank God.

*heavy sigh*

I’m not doing anything for Thanksgiving. Beyond it being really a commemoration of genocide, I don’t have any family, “framily,” or anything like that near me. This year, I will resist self-pity imposed on society that claims I need to be with people on Thursday. I don’t need to do anything except take care of myself and not be an asshole.

But since Halloween, as we slowly dip, minute by minute, into the darkness, after we ended Daylight Savings time, it’s been a slow death march to social obligation and forced connection. Last year, I traveled a lot to see friends. This year, I probably will go to the beach for sunrise. Before that, maybe I will buy some pumpkin pie with French Vanilla Cool Whip. Perhaps, I’ll try the Publix turkey sub (holiday sub?).

Still, I may cry, because fighting loneliness isn’t a fun or fair fight. I may cry because this year has been transformative and has left me broken in more than my bank account. I may cry because I’m still so very tired of living, living like this. I may cry because existential loneliness is a constant companion that I’m still not comfortable with. I may cry because there going to be weeks and weeks of this and Thanksgiving will kick it off. I may cry because even though I had a great week last week, I’m still stuck in this house, with the guy whose coughing sounds close to vomiting, in this redneck neighborhood, in this frustrating, stifling holding pattern.

And if those tears form and fall, they will be welcomed. If the only thing I can be thankful for is crying, then I will be thankful for that. I will be thankful for being able to embrace my suffering.

I will miss the Thanksgiving spread. A lot.

Still, the freaking featured image here says “Everything Is Going to Be OK”–and the caption says, “No, really! It will be!” So, um, gotta address that.

That image comes from a book I bought some time ago. I wish I remembered when or where. The whole book has a lot of crafted images of hope and encouragement. I haven’t opened it in a while. It’s just on my bed, as a reminder.

The caption is how I feel like my own oracle and tarot card readings are affirming and reaffirming. And this is where faith lives–Spirit’s waiting room. Spirit’s womb. Spirit’s cocoon.

(OMG that rhymed.)

And this is where faith is planted, sprouts, grows, and lives–between what I see and what I can’t see. One message I keep getting this month is about a financial windfall, or a job promotion. I laugh when I see these messages, like how Sarah from the Bible laughed when God said she’d bear a son in her very old age. Inconceivable! I look at my bank account balance: $2.34. My five loaves and two fishes.

But I am reminded that life has been so much worse, though.  I’m still housed. I still have my car. I am clear-headed and strong. I’m stubborn as hell.

Still, my laughter is heavily laced with incredulity.

I’m also befuddled. Show me the money, honey? Where is it? These messages of golden opportunities are also coming from other people, people I don’t know. YouTube videos of people giving tarot, oracle, and crystal readings. Readings I have requested from friends.

I don’t need to do anything differently. I just need to keep on, keepin’ on.

I need to hear this, and yet I laugh. When I don’t hear those messages, then I wonder if I’ve been abandoned by the Universe.

Another is that everything will be OK. It’s hard to hear. I feel like I’m being teased still. When has everything been OK? Then I have to ask, what is “everything?” It’s clearly not my bank account, my employment status, my marital status, my home address, the number of local friends I have–all the things that I wish were better, that I work on every day to change.

Even though I’ve written some really sad stuff here, I say this as an observer. One thing a friend mentioned to me while we were talking about Mercury Retrograde (which starts on December 19th, but you may start feeling some of those effects soon) is this great quote from the Dalai Lama:

If a problem can be fixed, there’s no use worrying. If it can’t be fixed, there’s no use worrying. –The Dalai Lama

Maybe, circumstantially, things will get worse before they get better. The darkest before the dawn. Impaled in the back by 10 swords like the 10 of Swords tarot card. Or, at the very least, I won’t get what I want when I want (hell, NEED) it. Maybe I won’t work until the New Year. Maybe my phone will get shut off. I’m scared, also, that I’m going to write this same sort of post for the next few weeks–I hope not! It’s all to say that although I’d welcome a miracle, usually life is a second by second unfolding. That requires patience that I usually don’t have. It is being worked in and through me.

I’m scared, also, that I’m going to write this same sort of post of holding on for dear life for the next few weeks–I hope not! It’s all to say that although I’d welcome a miracle, usually life is a second by second unfolding. That requires patience that I usually don’t have.

I wish I could be on a spiritual Neptunian cloud and just transcend this. I wish I could just automatically trust that things will be OK. But you know how I am about this journey through the mud. It’s one step at a time. I can’t think beyond today, and not in a fun “Oh, I can’t wait for this to be over!” way.

So. It’s probably going to be that I am going to be OK with everything, to be able to accept life as it is. Can I trust that the Universe has my back? For a few seconds at a time, yes. I know that this has been the ultimate lesson in my time down here in Florida, and with my whole life. I am sure that as I was being born, I had to rely on the Universe to bring me into the world safely (long story short: mom passed out due to a funky epidural, so she wasn’t even awake for my birth).

As an observer of my life, I can sit in the cozy knowledge that I’m doing the best I can, even if the circumstances don’t instantly change. I’m learning not to take them personally. I can watch it happen without getting as emotionally involved. Going through this financial crisis a third time, I feel different. This is a different time, a different season of my life. If I hit rock bottom again, it won’t crush me like it did the last two times.

I won’t let it. It’s like I turned a corner, into the light, and

I turned a corner, into the light, and this post seems to crystalize when and how that happened.

Hope isn’t a lighthouse, and I’m miles away from shore. It’s being stranded alone on a dark road and finally seeing headlights a few hundred feet away.

And I’m waving my arms like crazy, hoping that help has finally arrived.

If you want to help me out during this time, you can donate to cash.me  or paypal.me. Thank you in advance! If you’re interested in how I can help you with your writing needs, let’s talk really soon.