Saturday, May 18, 2013


I have, for a very, very long time, thought of myself as being defined by being shaped and molded and defined by a trauma that happened so long ago, and in so many ways directed how I interacted with the world around me, especially when I was younger.

I was unable to trust, and kept real distance between myself and other people.  And this basic feeling - of being disconnected, and then of wanting to be disconnected - persisted until I found a way to align myself with a spiritual practice that embodied this as spiritual virtue, that put detachment high on the list of desirable qualities.

And I was fine with that detachment except for the feelings of boredom, isolation and loneliness.  Except for all the ways I felt disconnected and broken, I was fine.  I've carried this idea with me, that this brokenness was a legacy, and that while I could maybe overcome, it would be difficult and painful and take a long time.

But a very dear soul has helped me, in a short period of time, re-frame so much of my own understanding.  And more than anything, I realize I'm not some traumatized child, defined only by my past and what I was victim to, but I am an adult, capable of caring for myself, and reaching out and connecting with others, and knowing that sometimes people are trustworthy and sometimes not, and that that is no reflection of me.

I am not stuck in some earlier stage in my life, unable to think or feel clearly, or unable to communicate clearly, or any of it.  I am a fully grown woman, who has years and years of experience cultivating good communication and meaningful interaction.  And if I'm not always so good at it?  Well - that's ok.  Very few of us are always good at it.  But I don't have to blame it on my distant past or re-traumatize myself with a story that there's only one way I can understand it.

I am a very ordinary human being, with very ordinary requirements, emotionally, physically and spiritually.  I need the same kind of love and care and attention as everyone else, and whatever has been in my past doesn't define my present or my future.  It did once.  It overwhelmed me and overshadowed me and almost destroyed any hope I had of being fully myself.

But I'm not in the place anymore. I don't need it and I don't want it, and I have no romance or sentimentality or nostalgia about it.  I was there.  But now I'm here, and this is where I belong.  Because my life is bigger than my past, and G*d has a purpose for my future.  Not everything is going to work out the way I imagined or even hoped.  Not everything is going to unfold as I expect or plan.  But it's all going to be fine anyway.  And I'm going to be more than fine.  In fact, I already am.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Optimal Operations

Someone told me a statistic today that, in terms of mental health, only 17% of us are flourishing - operating optimally.  I don't know what that means, or what that tells me, but I know life is full of endless challenges that impact optimal operations on a daily, hourly and sometimes minute-to-minute basis.  And I know that inevitably, when I am overwhelmed by the challenges, and simply cannot imagine how to alter circumstances to improve a situation, it is time to turn within and stop expending so much energy on all the external stuff.  When I hit that place of frustration, it's time to think about changing me, about re-calibrating the energy that got me to where I am, and how it needs to be different moving forward.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Spiritual Practice is a B*tch

Spiritual practice is a b*tch, no matter what anyone tells you. The minute you begin to pay attention to who you are and how you are is the exact same minute that you notice every single fault and failure and shortcoming you have. Which is hard. Really hard. The romance around spirituality is that you will feel peaceful, calm and relaxed all the time, that you will have magical access to a new you. But the reality is that YOU are exactly what you have to work with, and meditation, mindfulness, breathing and relaxation techniques - none of it provides an escape. And it's not supposed to.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Just F*cking Do It!

The spiritual life invites contemplation and rightly so.  We are so often thought-less in our approach to life that a little introspection is warranted.  And we are so often unsure of how to explore the interior landscape that spending real time and energy around this can be the most worthwhile thing.

But there is a point of diminishing returns, where the introspection is a substitute for action, when the internal realization takes the place of relationship, where the process overwhelms the outcome, and nothing changes so much as we are mired in our own thoughts and feelings.

I don't want to talk about balance here, because it assumes there's a moderate way to approach self-awareness, that we can determine the speed and direction at which we need to unfold.  But sometimes it comes at us hard and fast, and sometimes it's painfully slow, and all this and everything in between is exactly what's required, it is exactly as it must be.

So get in there and muck around and see what's blocking you and holding you back, but don't let it be the excuse for hiding away and missing every opportunity you know you want to say yes to.

It's okay to do it imperfectly, to be yourself imperfectly, and there is no greater liberation than in simply acknowledging the imperfection, to yourself and those that matter around you.

Try it out, try it on, and see how it feels.  Leave aside what diminishes you and embrace what enhances you, and just f*cking do some of what you've been thinking about.  Cause if you're waiting for someone else to make it all okay, you might be waiting a long time.  And moving ahead, while unfamiliar, feels pretty amazing.

There might be discomfort in the unknown, but so what?  Really - it's not more than the discomfort of the known most of the time, and it at least holds within it the possibility of hope and change.

And if it doesn't work out perfectly, if the result is different than what you were hoping or planning or expecting?  Well - then you at least are more interesting and have some good stories to tell.  And you will never be sorry for that.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


I have shared the biggest secret I had, in a way that was so personal and intimate and something I never expected to happen.

And it's left me feeling disoriented and missing the sense of protection that I gave up to tell the secret.  I have never felt more exposed or vulnerable.

It's not that I want to take it back, to go back to where I was or not tell the secret.  And the recipient of this story could simply not have been more caring or compassionate or loving.  I could not have imagined the support and warmth where I had thought I would be faced with disgust or judgement.

But I have been so used to a certain kind of isolation, a certain kind insulation, a certain kind of security from knowing how firmly in place my limitations were, that I cannot quite get my balance, I cannot quite find my center the same way.

I was centered around something that needed to go, the fear and overwhelm was no friend of mine, but so familiar that there was some comfort in them.

So now I have to find a new center, a new equilibrium that doesn't depend on the tragic heaviness of carrying a burden alone for too long.  And I don't know that it will take long, but I have to honor the process for what it is, and let it unfold in its own time.

But I know I'm not supposed to just keep going it alone.  And I don't know how to do all this just yet, but I am relieved not to be alone.