“I’m lighting the long way home”

sia som

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I feel wasted.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maybe I should have seen these changes all along…

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

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

I’m happy about that. Very.

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

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

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


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

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

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

So where is the parade and trophy and applause?

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

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

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

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

My people are out there; they really are.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I deserve friends who are trustworthy and honest with themselves.

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

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

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

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

It’s getting pretty old.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

jesus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Maybe I’m not stuck at all.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

But this still won’t be that cheery…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I need to use this forced solitude to my advantage.

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

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

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

My hopes are indefatigable.


But right–that American ending that I promised.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Here’s the chorus:

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

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


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remembering where I’m headed

It’s Virgo season, which means a lot of us are examining and scrutinizing the details of our lives, seeing where we can enhance and improve.

And sometimes, that can be quite annoying without the right perspective.

Personally, I had a very needed reminder from the full moon in Cancer, New Year’s Day, 2017, of who I’ve become and where I’m headed.

And I only thought of this because I got a little sidetracked in a brief moment of sadness and longing.

This morning, I childhood friend of mine had posted this beautiful picture of a frittata that she had made for her and one of her best friends for her bachelorette getaway. This childhood friend is a newlywed herself.

First of all, she’s a great cook (and has her sun in Cancer), but she’s also just a great nurturing friend–one that I had to leave when we moved back when I was eight years old.

So seeing her Instagram post doubly stung. We’d never be that close because I had moved. But also, someone was getting married. Usually, I don’t care about people getting married. I had been pretty OK with being a singleton lately.

But I think the combo of a lovely family friend and her closer friend and the early morning made me more vulnerable and fragile than usual.

Back to last year…I had been frustrated on my practically non-existent dating life, but I had this revelation about where I had been for most of my life. I had been a staunch evangelical and if I had settled down and married years ago, I’d be looking at some divorce.

It’s almost as if the Universe knew I’d be someone else entirely different–someone much more like myself.

I know this blog has been about that very transition, from evangelical to, I guess, spiritualist. But it’s been a very Virgo time–it’s been about the minutia and details of what’s been going on.

Specificity is great for story, but then what is the bigger story being told here?

So after that reflex of pain that I had looking on Instagram, I had to remind myself of who I am now and what the real story is about.

Yes, most of my suffering has been financial. This month in particular is a trigger. Four years ago, I was sent packing after not being able to pay rent and losing my job. I went on a month-long adventure across the metro area via airbnb.

Sidenote: I started this blog right before I had to leave, so it’s been a record of meandering and instability. You could say that all these troubles have been an initiation.

Although I’m mostly healed from that experience of leaving a crazy home and being quasi-homeless, it’s not something I want to go through again.

This year is the first year where I even remembered that terrible time. And it’s also the first time in years that I’ve really felt unsettled and, frankly, scared of what’s going to happen to me.

At the same time, this blog hasn’t just been about all the suffering over my misfortune, heartache, and betrayals. It’s been about:

growth

And as I said last time, things are better, but it’s still really scary. I got a call today that I didn’t answer about a bill that’s past due. It put me in the worst mood, like it 2014 again, except I’m carless. So it took a lot–although it was really just listening to music–to not spiral into a catastrophizing fit.

And sometimes, spiraling is a way to cope. But it’s not a coping mechanism that was helping me today.

The dark fantasy: I will be homeless and ruined.

The stark reality: the bill will probably get paid this week and in the next two weeks, things will be stable again.

And here’s the thing about poverty–it limits your focus and your gaze. You’re reduced to worrying about things that may never happen, having Sophie’s choices over bills and your wellbeing, and being a walking a ledger sheet of money coming in and going out.

So yeah, I have a lot of compassion for myself here. Even when I look at this blog, I see the uncarryable weight of not having enough money and not having local people around to support me. And I’ve seen how I keep fighting to not have this myopic view, even if I sound terribly whiny and bratty.

Well, fuck it–I don’t care anymore about how I sound or how I may seem to others. This is my journey, my fight, my life. And I thank you for bearing witness to it, week after week.

But what’s beyond all this? *makes wild gesticulations*

If I don’t spiritually bypass or somehow make sense all the terrible shit I’ve been through, I can simply say that I really am where I need to be, as a complete person.

I can say that the things I want and need–I may not be fully ready for them.

Yes, I want to have a bunch of girlfriends to celebrate an upcoming wedding with, but if I really had to be honest with myself, I’ve been transformed.

The woman who left to go on a journey of housing instability is now someone who is even more intentional about creating what she wants. She is someone who isn’t going to wait for circumstances to be right to start following my bliss.

And that took some big disappointments for me to get here.

So yeah, I have these major goals: I want to move out of state, grow my business, find my tribe, find my person, and explore the world. But right now, the way hasn’t been opened yet…although I can see a sliver of light on the darkened horizon…a way will be shown for those desires to come to fruition.

But then there’s an even bigger story: the journey of becoming and unfolding who I am. I pulled this card in a read from the Energy Oracle Card deck by Sandra Anne Taylor:

screenshot_20180909-121812_energy8828607193942416168.jpg

And this card signifies the spiritual journey I’m on. I’m going in the right direction and this place–the garden and the temple–this is where I’m headed. The lights are the spiritual support I have here on earth and beyond the veil.

The winding path has been what I’ve been focused on for so long, every little pebble and brick and weed growing in the cracks. But really, if I only lifted my head once in a while, I’d see where I was going–and how beautiful it is.

Yes, life is about the journey, not the destination. And I have been so tired of thinking about my soul’s growth–but this could also be about positioning.

That can be so tough to hear when you’re in a holding pattern. The stuckness may not be even a consequence of your actions.

It really could be that you’re on the right path. That yes, it’ll all make sense later.

Even though seeing a pretty egg dish post made me sad about where I am right now, it doesn’t mean I don’t deserve that dish, a friend to make that dish, or a celebration where that dish would be made.

It just means that if I’m here, then I’m supposed to be here.

And again–this can be, and for me has been, so hard to stomach and accept, but even five years ago, if I could see where I would be now–talking to you about astrology and tarot, about my soul’s growth, about oracle cards, about telepathy and kinds of connections with others, about all the synchronicities I see and keep seeing…there’s no way I could have known that this would happen–especially because of what I had gone through.

I had only reached out to other spiritual people–people who worked with crystals and angels and oracle cards–because I desperately needed help.

But truly–this life is what I wanted and needed.

Even though there’s a very bitter struggle just to support myself, I’m dwelling in this lush garden of me. Right now, there’s nothing and no one distracting me from hearing myself.

I’m creating businesses from practically nothing.

the magician

I still struggle to be grateful for it all because I feel like there could be so much more that I could be doing or being as a person.

One day, I’ll learn that surrender is so much easier than resistance.

But I was given a lot to heal from and sort through, including how I was raised. It never ceases to amaze me how much more parental stuff I have to work through because it’s warping how I see myself and the world. That’s part of the winding path I’m on.

So sure, where I’m headed are those goals I previously mentioned. Great goals, beautiful goals. But I’m also headed to a place where I can be more myself–more myself in ways I didn’t even know was possible or could ever even imagine.

I feel like I’m just babbling right now, but if I could sum up how I feel about it all, it’d be this in this fortune:

Everything serves to further

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resistance training

resistance SOM

I can’t remember where the thought came, but it was probably one of those fleeting existential thoughts I have every day.

Why are things so hard? 

Why do I feel stuck?

Will things ever get easier?

Things here were allegedly going to clear up yesterday, with the human trashbag taking himself out (with the supervision of someone here), since his lease was not renewed. It’s strange, but I kept hearing that wasn’t going to happen until Sunday.

The human chimney is still here.

I wouldn’t really care if it wasn’t for the stupid smoking inside, and the scary decompensation/manbaby temper tantrum that last about 21 hours near the full moon.

And he’s just a symptom. It’s the landlady who is currently in Canada doing fuck-all. She won’t be back on the 12th.

I’m not even going to check on this, because these are the constants I have. It’s not my house. The only thing I’ve vowed is that I will fight this spiritually now.

At the very least, I’m not afraid of anyone anymore. That took all year to get that place of internal solidity.

But something broke.

Like a true Capricorn, I have a (somewhat) janky knee. This month about 11 years ago, I had knee surgery. For two weeks, as the cartilage in my knee healed, I wasn’t allowed to put weight on my leg. It’s amazing what two weeks will do to a muscle. My thigh muscles atrophied.

After those two weeks, I had months and months of physical therapy to build my muscles back up.

One of the exercises I had to do was crab walk with resistance bands, like the ones in the image above. I’m sure I did a lot of other resistance band exercises. Somewhere in storage, I have a ton of them. They were exercises I wasn’t supposed to ever stop, really. But I did.

This week, I’ve been pondering about what I should be doing with my career as a writer. I’ve been feeling like I’m not going in the right direction because everything has been so hard. I haven’t been making connections to the clients I want.

Everything feels like a struggle, one I’m not willing to fight through. It feels like I’m going to hit a dead end any moment now.

And this whole blog has been one long sad song of life is has been so hard, for so long.

Those pained words are real, and for so many years, even before this blog, it’s the only true song I’ve known.

But I’m tired of this dirge-as-life refrain.

But practically speaking, I didn’t want to keep thinking that I was wrong. That I’m someone who needs to be fixed.

So on July 1st, I definitely felt like a different person.

Before that Twitter thread, on June 29th, I had such a mind-blowing experience, talking to an intuitive, and I know I’m being guided to do different things. Like read tarot and astrological charts professionally.

But also, to lean into my creativity more and write more creatively. Again, someone has told me that I should write books, and I’d love to–but I’d also like to eat.

Interestingly, I did a tarot reading for a friend. She’s also a writer, leaving behind a different career.

The reading basically was this: you’re stopping and assessing what’s going on. You need to embrace this transformation and stop procrastinating.

Great. 😩

I definitely took that as a free reading for me. She and I are on similar tracks, and that reading really resonated.

My Services page went up yesterday, and it felt…like the right thing to do. I wasn’t afraid. I wasn’t expecting a lot of fanfare from anyone–I’ve gotten a few supportive messages from closer friends, which has been surprising and encouraging.

My Twitter presence seems muted at times, even though I know a lot of tarot readers and astrologers.

But that’s something I’ll be working on, marketing to the right people.

Something that keeps coming up for me lately, but has always been nagging at me–the feeling that I am not even closer to what I should be doing.

My mom told me when I was 15 or so that I wasn’t really living up to my potential. In high school, I didn’t really have the best work ethic. I silently agreed with her. And 25 years later, I still do.

And not to get back on the weepy-go-round of grief, but I have always felt held back or encumbered by things that I can’t control.

It’s always something…

Even now, because that terrible housemate is going through some stupid depressive spiral and chain-smoking in his room, I’m breathing smoke right now, for the umpteenth day.

And there’s nothing else I can do about it.

And last week, I got really sick of feeling helpless about it.

But here’s the reality: I am on my own with this–physically, anyway. I will have to wait this out (who knows for how long?), or figure this out spiritually.

I’ve had to dig deep to find spiritual resources because there aren’t any others around me.

And that’s how it’s been for a while.

So since there are no saviors here, then there’s only amor fati left–a love of fate. Loving, embracing what is, right now.

And that’s what broke–my resistance to this experience.

Yet resistance creates strength.

And that’s the thought that came to me this week, that all this resistance has created an incredible strength that I could not have possessed otherwise.

So many people remark on my strength, but this isn’t because I signed up for this (no matter what spiritual teachings that say otherwise). This isn’t some spiritual circuit training course.

It’s always been out of necessity.

And. The recurrent thoughts I have about how bad things are, they’re out of necessity, too:

I’m not going through all this shit for nothing.

There’s a greater purpose for this struggle.

This has to be used for the greater good.

Although today was allegedly going to be an Independence Day from this trash person, there was a mightier independence declared earlier.

I’m not going to be defined by my circumstances, by the lack of respect, by the lack of help, by the lack of it all.

I’m still here, unharmed. I am full of an ever-expanding ocean of self-respect, a raging wildfire of righteousness, and gale-force winds of determination.

I am supported by loved ones who have passed on and protected by angelic beings.

And there are some online friends who have been there for me, and I’m ever so grateful…but it’s not the same as being here.

Oh, another old refrain that’s not even worth dredging up again

So maybe most of my life has been me, thinking I was supposed to be walking normally, but instead, the resistance was doing some work for me, on me.

I can’t say this without thinking of all the crazy resistance bands that are thrown on marginalized people.

Why do we have to be strong when the occupants of dominant culture crumble at the paper cuts of life?

But I really can speak of my own journey. Being treated cruelly when I’ve given kindness–that isn’t my karma is it? I thought if you’re to be kind to those who are unkind to you, then things will transform.

Says the former chump. Says also a lot of well-meaning white people.

I don’t know…this all made sense when I was briefly thinking about it: the persistent circumstances that have been clipping my wings, that have kept me in this suboptimal holding pattern. And I thought it was me not trying.

Even when my mom said that to me about my potential at age 15, I was living with a frighteningly emotionally distant mother, a father who was becoming more and more mentally ill, and a brother who had his own scary behavioral issues.

Yeah. Not really the potting soil for “living up for my potential.”

So, 40 years later, and life is still pretty disappointing. So now what?

Until “then,” until conditions are more optimal, when will I start living, right here, right now?

Waiting out the smoke monster is a waste of my time, of my life. It’s no way to live.

Fuck this and fuck him.

I’m strong enough to really live, instead of mourning and grieving the life that I felt I was meant to live (and this thought came up today right before I had a Reiki session).

So yes, the life I was meant to live was never alive. It was always dead. But the life I can live now, even in this dump of a home, can be real, can be full of joy, can teem with healing and hope.

I don’t have to wait. I don’t have to resist. I don’t have to settle. I don’t have to merely cope.

And this is probably why the practice of gratitude has been so hard for me. How can you tell a perpetually grieving person–a person who had high hopes for herself, who had those high hopes continuously dashed–to focus on what she does have, not what she doesn’t have?

Grief has been silently strangling for so long. It came up today during a Reiki session.  I wasn’t surprised.

But I am tired of grieving what wasn’t, what should have been.

This is the life that I’ve been given, for better and for worse. So many bitter things, I’ve had to choke down and swallow, more than the normal amount.

And my heart…goes out…to all experiences.

But herein lies…hope.

I still have so many chances to make this miraculous life into something that will last beyond my earthly body.

Right now. Because that’s all I have.

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.

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Five Ways to Get from Here to There

harmony and peace SOM

I’ve written a lot in the past week, and if you’re a patron of my blog, then you read about the adventure I took last week. That’s all to say, I’m a little written out (and yet, I’m sure I’ll find the words for this week’s blog post!).

The original goal of this blog was to chronicle all the supernatural and spiritual phenomena that happens to me. That would have been a daily blog, honestly–it’s been too much to keep up with. And I feel very fortunate to say that. I was telling a friend the other day that I’ve gotten used to daily signs, so I’d be afraid if I suddenly wasn’t getting any signs.

One thing I’ve been learning while I’ve been seemingly stuck in a house with two older white men who are not in the best health, mentally or otherwise, is how to healthily detach from unhealthy situations.

That wasn’t really the goal, though.

Usually, my goal in a tough circumstance, is to get out of it ASAP. I think that’s how most people are. But a lot of times, we can’t, for whatever reasons.

A lot of times, we’re in transition from an undesirable place to a more desirable place.

So what should you do while you make this journey from here to there?

The very first thing to do is to accept where you’re at. And maybe this is where the somewhat annoying and inaccurate adage, “Suffering is optional” actually makes sense.

So much of life is really undefined, and lived on the way to somewhere. We get a glimpse ahead, and that’s about it. Only a step or two is illuminated ahead.

As you journey through life, trying to get to a more palatable place, there’s a point that complaining about where you’re currently at only drains and further depresses you. It only makes you feel more stuck.

Wishing you were somewhere else doesn’t get you to somewhere else any quicker.

Accepting where you’re at is also a way to assess things more rationally.

Sometimes acceptance involves a lot of investigation.

Have I done all I can within these circumstances? Are these barriers systemic? Is it worth the energy to pursue this path?

While I was away, I had a convo with my friend about my housing situation, and it just dawned on me how white culture of keeping up appearances is why things haven’t changed around here, after months of complaints.

The landlady and the other guy I call the shut-in–they both have told me that they want the creep gone. But if you saw their interactions with him, you’d never know it. They are chipper and cheerful, accommodating and welcoming.

Ultimately, they enable someone who is a narcissist, with poor boundaries and entitlement issues, actively psychotic, and, ultimately–just an unkind and selfish person.

So really, that’s really something I can’t fight against–at least by myself. Really, the only remedy is to leave–which is exactly what I was working on last week, and for the past few months.

Once you accept where you’re at, then you can make plans for change.

Now that you have a better sense of where you’re at, what you’re capable of, what your resources are, then planning for change is a lot easier. But even then, there could be bigger things going on than you can see or perceive.

Like, you know…your spiritual growth. No, really.

Financially, I always have just enough to stay here and pay my bills. It’s madness, because my expenses are very low. Like I know how to make money…or so I thought.

I don’t want to get into the woo-woo/metaphysics about why I’m a bit stuck, because that involves, in my opinion, a lot of self-blame. And I think a lot of it just doesn’t take into consideration societal influences. It assumes a lot of white privilege.

Some of the stuckness has happened because that freelancing is hard, period. I keep kind of saying this plaintively (it’s pretty whiny), that I didn’t sign up for the freelance life. But I’ve realized that whether I signed up for it or not, I need to start treating it as something that isn’t going to go away for a while.

So I may as well make the best of it.

Making the best of it involves ridding myself of ignorance. Freelancing is a business. I have my own business now. So I’ve been learning the business side more in the past few weeks. I’ve had to be patient with myself because I want to rush ahead and get to the better place–not only because I learn quickly, but because–well, poverty sucks.

And some of it is just bad luck–I lost a major client a few weeks ago, and things haven’t improved since then, which brings me back to the first point: freelancing is hard.

And there’s just the obvious barriers that I don’t even think about–race and gender. I don’t think about them much at all since they aren’t things I can change. But I know they play into this mess a lot.

Because of the stuckness and a real lack of momentum, I’ve had to dig deep spiritually. I hate to use the cliché, “grow where you’re planted,” but…ta da, that’s me.

I still don’t feel like I’ve gotten where I need to be spiritually. I’m closer, though…

When you accept where you’re at, you’re better able to see what you can push back against and what you need to work around.

When I came back from my adventure last week, I had already discovered that all my clothes reeked of cigarette smoke, so I wasn’t surprised that my room smelled terribly of cigarette smoke. It’s something I will eventually mention to this lazy landlady.

I was so disgusted that I also decided to investigate and see if legal action was an option. And as I had suspected, really, it’d be so much cheaper and easier to move.

Through all of that, I didn’t feel as anxious as I usually would. Even though absolutely nothing has changed circumstantially, I have some deep, (hopefully) lasting peace.

So when things don’t change circumstantially, after taking more traditional courses of actions, usually that means there’s something bigger here to learn or grow in/through/beyond. 

I’m not happy to be here, nor am I happy to learn these lessons in this way. But at the very least, knowing that there’s something bigger and better happening here, it makes it easier to not GAF about whatever the creep is doing or not doing.

It’s easier to not take this personally. It’s easier to focus on what makes me happy, right now.

And then it’s easier to use the energy I’d use fretting and internally raging to focus on where I want to go next.

As I make that shift in my perspective, I’m really tired emotionally. And I have to figure out what will fill me back up. I caught up TV shows like The Good Fight and The Americans. I haven’t had much space for emotionally intense dramas. TV really isn’t an escape when it only reminds you how hard your own life is.

It’s also shifting focus, from survival mode to…”You know what? I am capable of leaving here, with my sanity and dignity in tact.”

And that takes time.

Even what I’m listing out here, I wouldn’t call it a linear process. Acceptance is not a one-shot deal. It’s a daily practice. Assessing your situation happens on a continual basis.

Even if you’re in some unbearable holding pattern, you have to have faith that things will change. Whether it’s by your own hand, or divine intervention (it’s usually a combination of the two), change is coming.

Change is always coming.

It’s hard to keep the faith when you feel emotionally tapped, but you have to start to look at what’s going on around you. There are signs.

For example, the more spiritual practices that I do, it seemed like things actually got worse here. The worsening wasn’t some sign to stop doing what I was doing. To me, it was a sign to keep going.

It’s like in a video game, when you’re trying to beat the boss, and right before he dies, he gets really desperate and will try everything to stop you from beating him. It can be almost wildly dangerous right before they are beaten.

Things got worse here when I asserted boundaries. They continued to worsen as I kept asserting my boundaries.

But I’m not going to stop. Having healthy boundaries is great and necessary.

And that part, to me, is done. There’s not much else that is going to change unless the creep decides to leave out of his own free will.

There’s no more reason to push, to be attached to these people.

Now I have to look forward.

Maybe the deliverance will be conventional–I’ll find a client that pays more than the former one. Or I’ll find a new full-time job.

Or maybe it’ll be unconventional. I’ll get an invitation to do something or to go somewhere.

Or it could a mix of both. Who knows?

What helps here is to get curious about what happens next.

Doom and despair can leave you feeling like the road stretched out before you never ends, never changes. It’s the seemingly never-ending hellscape scenery.

But, it’s not really true. And this isn’t even me talking about having some gratitude exercise or appreciate every good thing in life.

Sometimes, we just don’t have the space for that. So, maybe, you can just think: I wonder how tomorrow will be different. Who will I talk to? What will I learn? What will I experience?

This practice of curiosity has kept me alive. As a writer, I see myself in this story, as the main character, and I want to know what happens next to me.

When will she finally get out of this house? What job lead is going to pan out? Will she ever get her HEA? Who is she going to meet this year?

How will she be different a month from now? Six months? A year? Five years?

I keep picturing myself like some spiritual Houdini, like I’ve put myself in a straitjacket, hung myself upside down, in a water tank. The water is rising and I’m just wriggling, wriggling, wriggling, trying to free myself.

No pressure. ALL PRESSURE.

So. I’m here, with three people, including the grandmother who lives in the mother-in-law suite next door.

They are all living the twilight of their lives. Probably the next place they will live is in a nursing home…or hospice.

And that’s when I feel the doom and the hopelessness starting to rise. It’s scary to think that nothing will change, that I will be stuck here in this de facto old folks’ home, barely scraping by. They are so much closer to the end of it all. And I feel like I just started, at age 40.

Spiritually, I feel like I have endured and fought so much fucking nonsense to get to this space of…I get it. I finally get it.

I know what matters to me. I know what I’m about. I know what kind of people I want around me. I know what I’d want my family to look like. I know where I want to live and grow and thrive.  I know how to keep better boundaries.

I know. I know. I know. And life is so short. I feel like I’ve wasted so much time…waiting, fighting, longing…

And I’m ready to apply this knowledge, to leave what so many call “God’s Waiting Room.”

My time has not yet come.

So sometimes, the suffering comes from feeling like there is so much more out there for me, and that these old folks are somehow in the way of my happiness.

It’s so easy to be angry, hurt, and sad–for very practical reasons. This housing situation is frighteningly and unreasonably absurd.

But then again, it’s also just the way it is. I can accept and even embrace the absurdity of living with someone who looks like the grim reaper.

Ultimately, the real question is this: do I want to give these people any power over me?

And the real answer is: no.

Eventually, I just have to say, and repeatedly say to myself, these people don’t matter, at all. What matters is me and my happiness.

The only harmony and peace found here will be within my own heart.

And that journey, even before I leave here, is the most important one I need to take right now.

So acceptance, assessment, allowing growth, planning, and curiosity…those are the things that are finally sustaining me as I journey to a better place. And I hope they will sustain you, as you travel from here to there.

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scooped out

clean up SOM

I’m not sure if I forgot to write last week, or if I didn’t have much to say, or both.

I’ve been writing a lot for work, which is a good thing, but it also short circuits my creative spark.

The only thing on my mind worth to talk about right now is that lingering fear that I’m not doing enough to make my life better.

Heavy weather, heavy shit.

I just talked this out with a friend today, and between that conversation and another conversation we had earlier this week, I feel like I’ve been emotionally scooped out, empty and clean.

My current housing situation is swirling down the drain of time. And that’s a good thing, even if looks scary and feels uncomfortable.

The creepy roommate that I didn’t think I’d write about again got creepier. All last week, as I was going out more and more for a number of reasons, he was always around on the porch, or lingering in the living room watching TV.

The climax was when I went outside to take pictures of the orange blossoms on the in the backyard. The scent is intoxicating, a heady perfume, and it’s amazing that this is the first time I’ve really smelled it.

 

I turned to go back to inside, and there he is, picking up cigarette butts from outside his open window.

(So this asshole is still smoking in his room. I’m sure I still smell it every once in a while. While looking outside my window one day, I saw smoke curl on the wind. We’re under a red flag advisory so I hope he doesn’t end up causing a fire with his errant ashes.)

When I walked back to the house, I said loudly, “You’re a CREEP!”

After the owner asked me for rent on Sunday, I told her about the stalking and that although I will give her the (undeserved) 30 days notice, living in this house was insane and that I would be looking for a new place to live.

That felt good and right to do. I needed to see myself say, this is insane. I need to leave.

I never heard back from her, just like last time, just like many times.

The effort to handhold someone to a path of decency and respect. Right now, I don’t have the strength. And I’m not sure if that’s conditioning or the conditions.

This old house has triggered so many old wounds I thought I had healed from childhood.

There’s something primal in me that didn’t get her needs met, something non-verbal, something like a newborn’s withering cry, still reverberating inside of me.

And then there’s the obvious parallel of living with someone who has an untreated mental illness, like I did for most of my childhood.

The repetition of being in the same old scary place of not being heeded and heard.

Why don’t I just leave? 

To where? And how?

There are some options that are popping up, and my finances are opening up.

But I’m still a bit stuck here.

I need a little more grease, a more monkey grease, a little more time…

A little more patience with myself, with the process, with the becoming…

I know that I have been called to call in my own power, to inculcate the idea in my being that I do have power, here. Now.

And surprisingly, that has helped.

The creeping has stopped…for now. I’ve had to improve my spiritual hygiene, do things on a daily basis that creates protection.

There are other things–well, really just one thing–forming that I wish I could publicly talking about. It’s been interesting to see how the Universe has been bodying me into this new place, a place that I don’t really want to go, but I am open to explore…

In the meantime, as I’m welcoming this new idea of place, I have been letting go of another idea, another one I really have wanted for over a year.

Or, at the very least, I’m putting it aside.

As things have improved in my life, I’m wondering if this was just a life preserver, not something permanent? I’d like for it to be permanent, but…so much in my life has not been permanent.

If I misunderstood things…well, I can’t take the disappointment right now.

Have you ever hedged your bets like this? Put off taking life-changing risks because the chance of failure is so great, you’re unsure you’ll be able to pick yourself up again? Or if you are able, it’ll take months to put yourself back together again, even with all the king’s horses and all the king’s men?

I’m strong in so many places, but I’m oh so fragile right here.

To have hopes dashed, again, in this desolate, barren place…

…now is not the time for a broken heart (is there really a good time for that? 🤣)

And it’s OK to wait until I’m OK to take the blow of defeat, or even to ride the waves fear and regret.

Although I was drowning in a lake of self-loathing over my loquaciousness, I’ve realized that I’m thinking more clearly lately.

It could just be that not being broke makes me less stressed out. But even when I was making more money, I was still stressed out. So as work satisfaction and financial stability are growing, my home life is soon to follow.

So as I ponder if I’m doing enough to improve my life, it seems easier to do, to examine myself more critically.

So here’s what I’ve come up with.

I haven’t left this house because there aren’t the right options open to me right now. And I’m trying to tie up things from my past which is tying up my money.

And all of that is OK. All of this is about getting to the life that I want.

It seems the climate and locale and people that life will be filled with–all of that is changing.

But there’s still a gap between what I am capable of, physically, emotionally, spiritually, and where I want and need to be.

And honestly, the bridge will be made of miracles.

‘Cause there’s only so much that I can do…

Here’s a song from Sia, from the Fifty Shades Freed soundtrack, “Deer in Headlights.”

It really sums up how I feel, especially since words are failing me now…

 

Hoping for a miracle
I’m not equipped for this
But I can’t move until I choose
I need a crystal ball
I’m falling apart
And I can’t take anymore
Standing at the crossroads
There’s no right answer
No one’s brain to pick
Under the spy
There’s no escaping, I’m a deer caught in headlights

I am hoping for a sign
Something bring me right here
Not in a drink, not in a drift
Please see me through metaphors in blue
I’m holding on for dear life

Ego, I am a slave to you
You’re running the show, my confidence is bruised
Dumbstruck, I’m falling for his act
Down a shame spiral, I am at the news

I am hoping for a sign
Something bring me right here
Not in a drink, not in a drift
Please see me through metaphors in blue
I’m holding on for dear life

Something bring me right here
I am dreaming, I’m in a drift
Please see me through metaphors in blue
I’m holding on for dear life

Spirit, please don’t abandon me

If you liked what you’ve read, I’d love your support as a patron on Patreon. Tiers starts at just $1/month. 

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