The Value of Change, Endings, and Evolution

Snow and cold take over Seattle and I feel more like a reflective writing hermit than ever. My grief bubble is a winter wonderland. I don’t feel mom right now. Maybe she is resting. Maybe my channel is weak. I don’t know but I follow the flow. I keep hearing her voice in my head and think of a line from a Heather Nova song, “everything you ever said is still in me.” Tears. Beauty.

How I am coming to understand the taking for granted of the smallest things. Like the sound of my mom’s voice. Our precious little lives are so significant in their temporary uniqueness…

I think it’s silly how we assume eternal is where importance and value is placed. What a huge assumption to make. Temporary is just as valuable as eternal. My mother’s voice feels as valuable as her soul even though her soul will go on and her voice is forever gone.

Our human lives are important because they are flashes in the pan and we are all very unique and meant to express our true nature and stamp this reality with our expressions. We are meant to emboss the hearts of those we love with our essence…

I wonder how many people don’t end a relationship because they overvalue long term commitment. I play devil’s advocate to yesterday’s blog because I hold both sides. I always hold both sides (Libra moon)…

What if you are meant to end a long term union because it is time to experience being in a romantic union with somebody new or it is time to experience being alone? What if we did not have so much value placed on permanency as the moral right and we placed value also on the adventure of living and the natural evolution of change?

Our culture embosses on our brains this value of “until death do you part” and having one job your whole life, owning one home, keeping a family together through marriage and in one home, and being one way in how you express who you are. But this is not the only value to living a human life.

The format in which we assemble our human lives is fabricated by our values not written by an omnipotent force decreeing what is right versus wrong. With love, awareness, intelligence, and a sense of humor, the human being can be healthy and happy no matter the format.

For example, there are many assumptions made that divorce is bad due to causing children pain and ripping the family apart but this is just a moral judgement based on a value system. Going through emotional pain may be valued as healthy for children and conscious divorce may allow for turning one home into two a creative complex and messy act that teaches children how to move through the vicissitudes of life.

It isn’t the format that is healthy versus unhealthy, it’s how you traverse through life, how authentic you are, how loving you are, and how aware you can be that determines health.

Health is in the verb of life not the noun.

What if the over-value of permanency, eternalness, and forever stems from a defeat story in the collective unconscious and in the personal shadow?

What if spiritual starvation (the lack of feeling the transpersonal in your personal experience) creates an overcompensation in the ego to create a moralistic domination over what is permanent, long term and eternal?

The defeat story in the shadow would stem from feeling undervalued, suffering from low self worth, feeling cauterized from nature (spirit) and not receiving secure attachment from family as a child. These shadow feelings are inside every single of one us born from the same world-wide systemic trauma, abuse, and dysfunction of humanity due to the powers that control us.

The powers that control us are a projection of our own inner lack, our own shame, our own sense of defeat, not being good enough, not being a part of nature, not feeling connected to the transpersonal, not feeling love. But I don’t want to philosophize too far out in this blog. The essence I want to capture is rooted in our value system and why we hold the values we do.

To question the values is my intention…

To understand that the values we hold are not necessarily our own choice…and what if we did the healing work to get to our true values within?

On the other side of permanency and long term commitment…is adventure.

As I said, I hold both stories. I would love to mate with a man where one lifetime did not feel long enough to spend together…and…I am ok to end a very long term commitment, to blow the sand mandala away and let go if my soul told me that it was time to mate with a new man or be alone. Ending a long term union would not devalue it and I would hold no moral conflict about it because I don’t moralize the long term over the short term.

I don’t devalue what wants to come to an end according to my soul.

I value the adventure of life. My soul is on a solo journey to a certain degree. I would not want guilt or attachment rooted in the fear of letting go to stop me from ending anything, be it a romantic partnership, career, or whatever.

I know this is very out of the norm. I am very ordinary in terms of being a straight cis monogamous female and yet so out of the ordinary when it comes to cultural values on permanency versus adventure in relationship. I love the idea of a ritual spiritually binding me to my partner but I don’t believe in binding us to the state in marriage or to a forever commitment.

I want to have the freedom to change and this is a soul value.

What is a soul value?

It’s a value that honors my soul having a human experience. The values of the soul are very different than the values of the ego. Both are equal, just different. The ego values safety, security, pleasure, ease, confidence, to be good, needed and contributing to others, and to receive attention, love, and affection.

The soul values growth, evolution, and having new experiences in order to grow and evolve.

This being said, if I stopped evolving in a long term relationship and found myself stagnating, I would know it is time to be alone or partner with a new soul to evolve. This stagnation may or may not show up as something painful. It could show up as a deep feeling that is time to move on.

I know this is scary for most people because we are brought up to feel that being alone is scary, wrong, bad, terrifying, and the losing game. We are brought up to also believe that heart break is bad and to be avoided. I suppose one of the perks of being single for the bulk of my life is that I don’t fear being alone and I am not fearful of heart break. Every gift has its curse, as they say.

I would not be ok mating with a man who felt he needed me so much that if I ended the relationship he would lose his sense of self. I don’t want to carry anybody’s sense of self.

Of course, we don’t always have the freedom to choose without the fear of losing the security of having our basic needs met. Some people stay together because they literally cannot afford to separate and feed themselves and their children. The ego and soul must dance through the survival game, as well. Some souls are extreme and willing to lose everything for the value of the soul, dancing on the opposite end of the cultural spectrum and perhaps ignoring the needs of ego too much.

I like to play mostly in the 70/30 range on the spectrum…valuing my soul’s evolution a little bit more than my ego’s needs, though I feel I am moving more into a 60/40 blend. It’s always adjusting to the moment. Love always comes first.

We are all different and I am blogging about this to titillate your thoughts, not shove my value system into your head. It’s just something to think about…

If my long term partner said to me, “I need to move on from this relationship, my soul knows it, ” and I did not feel the same, it would break my heart and I would honor his soul and know the heart break would help me grow. Or, if one day I say, “I am done being a healer,” and chose to make tortillas in the Florida Keys for a living, this would be perfectly acceptable. I want the freedom to evolve according to my authentic values that change throughout life.

My mother’s passing is waking up the adventure aspect of my soul’s reason for being here.

I am not only here to bring healing to this human world and my own soul. I am not only here to mate, work, and die. I am here to play. I am here to experience. I don’t need to have a grand reason, purpose, or plan. This message courses through me like liquid lightning, from my mom. As soon as I tap into this message, I feel her again.



More Tales of Romantic Partnership

I felt compelled to write more on romantic love this morning. I noticed yesterday’s blog braiding a restless personal disappointment with inspirational wisdom of love’s true nature. This makes me think about everybody on their quest for secure attachment, the term given for healthy intimacy in relationship. Secure attachment is when you feel safe, trusting, and nourished in your partnership and this roots back to how you, as a little person, felt with your parental figures.

This stuff is really hard to rewire. Not one of us can truly remember how it felt to be two years old and a child to a parent. The brain hard wires itself into a mold of attachment in those formative years and that’s why we feel the way we feel as adults in relationship. Literally, how we felt a toddlers is how we feel as adults. Not just with parents but also with our friends, community, and culture. Because we cannot really go back to the feeling memory in the past, we can work with it in the present. We can own the distrust, fear, anger, sorrow, confusion, ambivalence, and avoidance we experience with the other, in the moment.

When is it them and when is it you? Almost always it’s a little of both, with some mutual projection going on. Projection is when your brain acts like a movie projector unconsciously. You project the movie of mommy onto your partner without realizing it, feeling scared and angry at your partner due to something they said or did that triggers the mommy memory. Your partner suddenly wears the mask of mommy. Or you project something you feel onto the partner. You might feel ambivalent about being with them but project onto them that they are torn. They wear the mask of you.

The variety is endless in terms of how we project, it is always happening and very natural.

In Jungain terms, we all have the opposite gender personality living inside of our bodies. So, if you have a penis, an inner female lives inside of you. If you have a vagina, an inner male lives inside of you. These are polarized gender forces we are discussing and if you do not relate due to being gender fluid or non-binary, ditch this. The point Jung is making is that the polar opposite forces of what the ego identifies with, lives within the psyche.

If we actualize our inner polarized selves, we don’t project this self onto the partner and make them the carrier of what we have not actualized. You wont make your partner the one who feels the feelings while you remain the detached and logical thinker, if you integrate your inner female. You won’t be all feelings and no ability to use reason, making your partner the one to hold all the logic, if you actualize your inner man.

The goal is to become more whole in all of who you are so that you don’t make your partner hold and express your unawakened aspects.

This is rooted in the idea that in any system, a partnership system, family system, cultural system….an individual who is unconscious of aspects within themselves causes another individual to hold all of that aspect. This is why a detached aloof man will attract a super emotional woman if both don’t actualize their inner female and male selves. Lazily, we cam make the other carry what is too hard for us to carry and then ignorantly blame them for being “too emotional” or “too detached.”

Why opposites attract is because we unconsciously seek out those who will hold what we cannot face within ourselves. This is how systems operate. The system must act as a whole unit, so whatever is lacking in one, is overly abundant in the other because systems of nature will always be working in the moment to create balance. If you want your partner to be less emotional, awaken your own feelings. If you want your partner to feel more, awaken your detached reason.

The empath is the sensitive one holding all the feelings for the family members or partner who sweeps their feelings under the rug. The overly cautious one seeks out the dive right in type to actualize what they are unaware of within themselves. This is the nature of systems at work behind the scenes of the romantic stories our egos identify with. Nobody acts as a separate individual. Only our bodies are separate but the energy currents behind the scenes of physical form are never acting in separation.

All this being said, I have been working on actualizing my inner unawakened polarity aspects. Through the years I have woken up my inner man. I have been forced to learn how to put logic before attraction and reason before love. That’s been my biggest lesson in romantic love as I have learned how to create boundaries, recognize my values and seek relationships that work on a practical and logical level.

I feel my lesson shifting again now…into the lesson being about healing the avoidant attachment wound. To fully heal, I know I will be in a partnership with a man willing to heal his wounds too so that we can commit for the long term. My friend said I will be with the man who is the thunderbird, metaphorically. This is the man who is transforming himself and who values healing like I do. I have worked too hard to heal myself and my work now is to stop working so hard on healing. This will draw to me the man who is ready to start working on healing. Systems…

Love truly is the healer for everything.

I am highlighting this reason oriented aspect of partnership for balance. The feminine poet wrote my last blog. The feminine with a touch of my shadow. I wanted to highlight the beauty and power of love to conquer all, to surprise, to remain a mystery, and to arrive however it sees fit. This mixed in with my personal shadow wanting to highlight that life does not always give you what you need and no new age slogan or “how to” book can change that. My shadow has a vendetta against platitudes!

I share my inner motivations to give an example of how aspects of self each have a voice, a message, a desire, and a calling. We are made up of multitudes. Romantic partnership may be two bodies coming together but many personalities live within the two bodies and this is perfectly natural.

Love’s Inconvenience Unstore

The grief creature longs for partnership, intensifying my natural longing for my beloved that has burned in my soul since I can remember.

First of all, can we just get rid of the flimsy platitudes?

Love can come when you are looking for it or not. Love can arrive whether you love yourself or not. Love can happen when you are healed or broken. You can be completely in love with somebody you cannot be with and it wont keep away the love you are meant to be with. You can have as many lovers as you want or just one true love or anything in between. Love can start and stop and start and stop as much as it wants.

Love is not an equation. Love is not convenient. Love is not safe. Love is not easy. Love is not flimsy like the platitudes people generalize based upon their own experience.

I have found love when I am looking for it because I am never not looking for it. I have found love in the center of my wound when I did not love myself an inch. I have found new love when still burning for an old love.

I have not found love just because I found self love and healed. The universe does not roll out the red carpet of reward the moment you achieve inner success.

Love refuses to be figured out. The poets know this. The artists know this. Self help gurus and new age sayings are nothing more than costuming around the suffering of “how to” find love.

Truth be told, love finds you.

I still love my ex. It seems like the unbudging love that refuses to leave my heart, no matter what. This does not mean I am supposed to be with him or that loving him blocks another from entering my heart. I cannot control how I feel about him. Love cannot be controlled. I have no clue if he still loves me and I don’t feel shame if he doesn’t. I don’t feel shame for the part of me that fantasizes and hopes. I don’t judge because love is love is love love.

Love is bigger than the ego’s need to avoid vulnerability and loss.

I go on dating sites but now I am off of them again because it stresses me out to begin a meeting with texting and then awkwardly showing up for a date after telling him that if there is no spark, we need to just say it. I don’t have the time, energy, or youth for online dating. I have learned that projecting and romancing a screen man is a waste of my energy. I cannot have sex with a man I have no emotional connection with. Swiping through profiles feels like it drains the life force out of me. My intuition tells me it is not my way even though many of my friends found their partners online. I go off and on the sites, honoring my energy levels.

I don’t feel desperation is a bad thing. Did you ever see the movie, “Desperately Seeking Susan”?  That movie explains the beauty of being a passionate and longing person. I refuse to ever become a stoic self-centered wounded animal who does not trust myself or a man because of past hurt. I would rather live my whole life desperate and passionate for partnership and not finding it than to be safe, stoic, alone and distrusting in my self contained environment.

Making choices that brought me hurt does not feel like failure to me. I have loved each one of my boyfriends and just because they did not work out does not mean I failed. The last one I loved the most. He is like superglue love. Just because it was messy and fast and we both collided from opposite spaces and it ended painfully, does not mean it was bad or wrong. I am thankful that I can love this hard. I am thankful for each man I get to love. I don’t regret any man I have been with and I don’t regret my choices.

I do feel anger that I am still alone when I am such a lover in essence. I don’t judge this anger. It’s appropriate. Again, the universe does not supply people with what they deserve. Look at our human world. The deserving and innocent are robbed of love, success, shelter, food, safety, respect, and equality continually. It’s a privileged statement to assume that “we create our own reality”. I don’t deny the truth in that statement but it’s not the only operation. There are plenty of people with sparkling vibrations who still don’t attract what they need. Look at all the innocent children mistreated each day.

I feel anger toward new age platitudes and my anger defends love. Love is not about being pleased, feeling joy, and getting what you want…only. That’s a part of love but love is much bigger. I see the romantic relationships of my good friends and learn a lot about love. These relationships stay together because two people keep being willing to do their own work, keep committing even when it’s hard, keep staying when they want to go, and keep loving no matter how intense the messy hot fire of conflict becomes. My therapist friends understand that romantic partnership is a direct reflection of the attachment wounds formed with our original attachment figures. The parental units.

Why do you think we call our lovers “baby”? Why do we turn into baby animals with our lovers? I don’t call my friends “baby” and I don’t want them to hold me tight and touch me. We crave lover love partially because of our memory of being infants and toddlers super attached to our parents, having our needs met and our little beings nurtured and cared for. If this care taking did not go so well as babes, which for most of us it did not, we grow into messed up adults who have all sorts of neurosis around sex, partnership, intimacy, and affection.

We all share intimacy dysfunction in common.

Toss in abuse and it’s a salad of great dysfunction. But love does not care. Love will come in and heal all that is wounded in its own sweet time…if you let it. You have to allow yourself to love and be loved because love won’t beg or force. Love can decay too, if taken for granted. Love is a garden that needs water, fertilizer, sun, rain, space, attention, and affection from the care taker. If you do not care take love, it will decay and eventually die.

I am in a time of life where I need my man. I need the sustenance of his love and to give the sustenance of my love. I am in the opposite place of most people. Most people either relationship hop (and think it’s a long time when they are single for three years) or have been in one relationship for many years. I have been single the bulk of my life. I have devoted myself to healing, wisdom, the divine, and creative expression since I was young. Wisdom, creativity, and healing have been my number one beloved. I always wanted to be partnered but I just haven’t had the chance yet.

Love can arrive at any time and in any moment. Culture’s protocol to find it in your twenties is not love’s way. Love has no order, it is absurd.

Due to my own wounding, I realize that I don’t know who is right for me. All I have are my essential standards and an open heart. I am willing to love so long as there is mutual open communication and trust, mutual attraction and chemistry, mutual willingness to commit and work on ourselves and the relationship, mutual values looking in the same forward direction, and mutual love where one is not more in love than the other.  I don’t care if he is different than me and by god, I hope he is. Could care less if we like the same music, food, movies, or anything surface like that. But it is important that we laugh and really like each other as people.

This is all I know and love likes me not knowing much.

I have learned that I can avoid intimacy in very tricky ways. I can run away in the name of truth and I can unconsciously attract emotionally unavailable men and then project onto them as the avoiders. I am crafty like that.

In the past, I have set my standards too high and too low to avoid intimacy. I have also avoided through simply being a hermit. I have an avoidant attachment wound. I fear sexual intimacy even as I long for it. I fear devoting myself to a man even as I want him more than anything in life, right now. I am not ashamed or fearful to share my longing and fears because they are common to us all. We all long for and fear intimacy.

Nobody escapes their fear or longing.

The spiritual undertone and soul lesson of partnership is to learn how to love and to heal but my ego and soul get to have equal weight in the game of love.

I used to pedestalize the soul and judge the ego. I used to always want to transcend the third dimension, duality, and everything base and animal. There are many like me who use spiritual connection as an escape hatch from the animal reality of life. I can pretty much guarantee that all of us types endured abuse as children.

There are many ways to bypass the wounded animal and some seem healthier than the others by the ego’s judgement. A spiritual person gets more respect than an addict but they can be exactly the same if the spiritual person is escaping into the upper chakras to avoid their wounds and human existence. Somebody can claim independence and receive accolades by our culture but sometimes this is a ruse for avoiding intimacy.

You gotta look beneath the surface. Love asks us to dig and dive deep to the source.

The ego’s (animal) desire for partnership to experience pleasure, security, home, companionship, and meaning is as important as the soul’s desire for partnership to heal and learn the lessons of love. The former is more temporary than the latter but they still hold equal value.

I love myself now. I have found balance between ego and soul and I have healed the bulk of my past wounding. Despite the self work, I still feel vulnerable and unsure every step of the way.

What if there is nothing wrong with feeling vulnerable and unsure every step of the way? My soul tells me to embrace my longing, unsureness, insecurity, anger, sorrow, desire, patience, and every virtue and wisdom that the mud balls of life keep turning into pearls.

What if I can be more playful with my feelings and not take them too serious?

I feel my mom tell me to be more playful and take more risks. In this grief, I open myself to love’s mysterious timing, ways, and inconvenience.

Grief, Shadow and Addiction Play with Light

My friend drove up for a 24 hour visit and we made magic. She helped me to realize that I am still in the very early stages of grief and not to rush through it. It is important to give grief gravity and not just “get on with life.”

I have noticed an impulse for too much action and forward movement. Through her wise counsel, I realized that impulse was a form of resistance to grief. After her reminder, I cried for my mom while looking at videos and pictures of Vivian, moving through another big wave.

Grief is exhausting on a soul level.

We did ritual for Imbolc, which is the time of year where the seeds in the earth first open their eyes and begin to feel the sun calling them out of the dirt. It is a time to impregnate ourselves with what we want to create and how we want to grow in the year ahead.

The day of Imbolc is a potent day to set intentions and honor the cycle of the seed’s awakening. My friend and I engaged in spontaneous and natural ritual through conversation and creative expression. We named what we want to experience externally, in the north…the story we want to narrate mentally, in the east…the deepest healing we can initiate, in the south…and west was dealers choice. The center was the overriding arch.

Through conversation on aspects of self we were discovering, I came to understand shadow as an archetype on a deeper level. I understood my shadow on a deeper level as I reflected on my friend’s shadow. Looking into the Jungian lens of seeing the personal shadow self connecting to the collective shadow archetype, we pioneered new territory in the manifest destiny of the psyche.

I named my shadow Melissa many years ago. Michelle is the name of conscious ego me. On Imbolc, I named myself Madeleine for 2019, the name of Michelle integrating with Melissa.

Naming is powerful because it playfully externalizes internal aspects, bringing these aspects to life through creative expression. This allows for healing to occur, versus just analyzing.

For example, when you name an inner aspect, you can say, “Oh that’s Melissa’s anger popping up,” differentiating shadow from other self aspects. You can then unearth the root of the angry reactivity and bring love to the core issue. When you do this, you stop projecting said anger (as an example) onto a loved one (or the world) and getting caught in needless hurt and arguing. You can also get out of seeing yourself as bad/wrong/not good enough and amplifying your suffering with second swords of judgement.

Naming and externalizing the shadow (and all inner aspects) is a foundational step that allows you to take responsibility and accomplish the results of healing.

Jung named the archetypes just as tarot, astrology, and other systems name them but it is important to understand that we can do our own naming too. No archetypal system channeled by a previous human is the be-all end-all system. The inner world of the psyche is a vast ever-changing place always asking for continual new discoveries.

The twenty-four hour whirlwind with my friend was focused on grief, healing, comfort, and understanding. We brought light to our shadows and connected them to food, eating, and body healing…

I have an autoimmune disease and have been on an autoimmune diet since summer solstice of last year to heal through the natural route. I can no longer eat diary, nuts, seeds, night shades, kale, mushrooms, yeast, sugar, too much fruit and I can only eat red meat, bread, and eggs in small amounts, once or twice a week. I stopped drinking alcohol for 8 months but I am re-testing it in moderate amounts, hard alcohol only. Each day is an intense journey with food as this diet is making me face food addiction.

I am not ashamed to share that I face a full-fledged addiction to food that I have been healing since I was in my early twenties. It’s been twenty-three years since addiction expressed through an extreme binge eating/fad-dieting roller coaster. I have been healing my relationship with food in many ways but mostly through love and intuitive eating.

Now with this new diet, I am forced to rewrite the story of deprivation, as I will most likely be on this diet for life. Due to cutting out so many comfort foods, I face daily the archetypal instinct to eat my feelings and use food for a dopamine hit (read, “In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts” by Gabor Mate to understand addiction fully.) I feel I am being forced to heal food addiction at the core.

This weekend, we playfully named the non-stop eater, Patty the goat. When the desire to eat and eat and eat rises up, we named it, “getting my goat on.” We connected Patty’s desire to endlessly chew with Melissa’s anger at the unjust world and her own past trauma. The very root of addiction forms an unconscious complex of archetype and personal shadow wounds and unmet needs. The archetypal shadow (Patty) collides with the personal shadow (Melissa). As I bring consciousness to unconsciousness the healing deepens…

Awareness. Love. Expression. The Golden Trifecta.

We have the opportunity to make different choices when we engage the golden trifecta and differentiate aspects of self. The golden trifecta allows us to remove guilt and avoidance…gives us space to see and to respond instead of react…and gives us the opportunity to love the shadow instead of judge or punish it.

We may greet the shadow with open arms instead of making issues worse through repressing, denying, and trying to be “all good” or “all light”.

Integration naturally happens when we meet, differentiate, honor, and express our shadow and all aspects of self swirling within the psyche.

Integration happens as all aspects are given their proper place and are operating as they should in nature. Think of the inner world of the psyche like a galaxy…

In a neurotic galaxy, Sun may be like, “I matter the most! I shun you, Mars. Only Venus is respectable! Moon, you do whatever I tell you to do.” In this mentally ill galaxy, Sun rules like a control freak, Moon loses sense of self, Mars hides unseen in defeat and Venus acquires a love addiction to compensate for the other planets being shadowed” Sun becomes bipolar, needing to always get romantic attention to feel worthy and has an inability to set boundaries, initiate, or accomplish goals because Sun has denied Moon’s emotional/cyclical wisdom, repressed Mars’s masculine energy, and over-identified with Venus’s romantic feminine beauty.

The Milky Way’s tendency to operate this way stems from its personal upbringing in mommy and daddy universe, as well as being born in an ancient ancestral line of universes that created the one she lives within. Like the Russian doll analogy, the roots of our neurotic dysfunction reside in the outermost (collective) doll, not within the smallest individual doll.

Integration and wholeness does not mean all self aspects mix together and become one, it means all aspects are returned to their right place within the psyche and can work in harmony.

Integration and wholeness is not too tall an order because nature is designed to work in harmony. But to the neurotic psyche it may seem outlandish to achieve harmony and integration. We all wear the mental blinders of multi-generational systemic abuse and trauma because we are all born into an ill human world.

Back to my mother’s message from the spirit word about being more playful. I am playfully naming my inner aspects and integrating through creative expression. It is hard work and requires commitment, discipline, awareness, and the ability to be vulnerable and love with greater capacity. But I can make the path playful and creative.

My friend and I named contentment this weekend. When we stop identifying with the experiences that happen to us and with our thoughts and feelings, space is created in the psyche that allows us to feel who we are. This feeling of being true self is contentment.

The purpose of healing is to feel the natural contentment of being a self having a human experience. The experiences will always cycle through pain and pleasure but contentment is found deeper in the feeling of being a unique soul living a life that is partially about learning the lessons of love and partially about enjoying being a self, no matter what life is bringing.

I love how my friend uses the language of “non-resistance” to not identify with experiences, thoughts, and feelings. “Not identifying with” and “non-resistance to” are two ways of engaging the same practice.

I dreamed about mom’s death last night. Feelings express so much more potently in the dream state. I woke up feeling loss on a new level, lighting up aspects of self that may still need a mom. I surrender to the grief creature and allow grief to take her time expressing through me. As my friend advised, I wont rush it and I wont apologize for being more internal and self-focused.

Madeleine plays with her friends grief and addiction, turning loss and suffering into the beauty of creative expression.




Shame and Love are Lovers

In keeping with the theme of my mom giving me the message to be more playful and express who I am with more confidence, I bring up the S word. Shame.

Shame. The one feeling we all run from as if it were a noxious lethal gas seeping into the nostrils.

The one feeling that can take you from composure to complete melt-down in two minutes flat.

Shame rises like a cobra and blooms its threatening head into the psyche, causing the brain’s cognitive functions to shut down and revert to flight, flight or freeze mode.

Shame has such a powerful effect on the psyche that many cannot face the feeling and scapegoat shame onto groups of people, turning them into minorities, creating massive scale inequality and suffering for all.

Shame is only harmful when not met with radical acceptance and love. After all, feelings cannot cause harm when they are loved, understood, expressed and released from the body. So simple…and yet the hardest task.

Shame blooms into the psyche when wounds from the past get triggered or we suddenly feel misunderstood, undervalued, judged, wrong, less-than, not up to par, not good enough.

As children, when the ego is developing, we naturally and unconsciously push any aspect of the personality into the unconscious when shame flares. We develop the traits that bring the opposite of shame, namely reward and recognition for being good. We all want to be valued, liked, and needed. In this case, the ego will push low self worth and esteem into the shadow when shame flares, expressing a functioning persona that has control, relative positivity, and composure.

For some, masochism is real and shame may be a trait we consciously identify with. Often, those who have endured dysfunction, abuse, or neglect on any level, will identify with being the cause of the mistreatment and hence, identify with shame, developing a negative sense of self in the world that becomes a familiar and painful comfort zone. In this case, self-esteem and self-worth get pushed into the shadow of the psyche while the persona expresses loss of control, negativity, and a painful sense of self.

I have been more like the latter. My self-work has been meeting with radical love and acceptance, the conscious shame and self-blame that I have over-identified with in order to go deeper, bringing self confidence and self worth up from the shadow. Types like me tend to struggle with the worldly aspects of life but have rich inner lives filled with imagination and depth.

Types that push low self confidence and worth into the shadow, tend to develop healthy egos that create family and contribute to society, while the inner life lacks richness and harbors dark feelings never metabolized from past wounding.

Like everything, this is a spectrum where some tend to fall on the extreme ends while others find themselves in combination or in the middle of the extremes.

Our natural temperaments decide where on the spectrum we fall and how we will process the wounds and systemic yuck we all grow up experiencing in one form or another. Our soul’s guide us on the path of healing. It’s easy to judge others and then to remember that everyone is reflecting a different expression of the same story of shame. We truly are all in this together.

Yesterday, shame flared after a long while. I thought I had transcended the feeling. Feelings always humble the ego. I welcomed the shame with radical acceptance. Happened in a conversation with a friend where I found myself sharing from a vulnerable wounded place and soul longing.

I did not realize I was asking for empathy and for tragedy to be honored. That’s the thing about feelings…they tend to have specific needs for release.

Sometimes feelings need a mental reframe to leave the body. You might need to hear something like, “you are doing great and everything will be ok, don’t judge yourself, ” and that is what allows shame to be released. Usually, this works when a deep wound is not being triggered but shame arises more in the moment, from an insecurity or unsureness.

Shame may need humor to shift and leave the body or perhaps it needs creative expression to be set free. Maybe shame just needs to be heard like a wolf howling at the moon…

More than often, we need to hear, “that is really hard and painful, I am so sorry you have had to endure this, it’s just awful.” This is when empathy and honoring tragedy helps to release shame. Honoring tragedy is important for those who tend to blame themselves because it takes the blame off of the victim when shame stems from abuse or harmful actions caused by another.

You don’t want to minimize the tragic long term effect of abuse or harm on the psyche by turning the frown upside down, reframing the story into something positive, or trying to make the shame go away because it is threatening or bad. Sitting in the pain with empathy may be one of the most potent healing medicines for the psyche riddled with self doubt and self blame.

Empathy and honoring tragedy also helps release shame by validating that “you are not crazy.”

Shame is an appropriate feeling that takes us deeper into the wound needing loving attention. When the feeling of shame is felt and honored, is it released and takes us deeper into the shadowed feelings. These deeper feelings are the scarier ones to feel. When the psyche is ready, shame is the gate keeper bringing the ego into the shadows to feel the grief, anguish, and rage awaiting liberation through radical acceptance and love.

Only once the feelings are moved out of the psyche/body through acceptance and love can the mental story be reframed to help process the meaning of suffering. To give suffering a mental meaning without releasing shame and feelings underneath, is a form of bypassing and only creates a larger split in the psyche.

We cannot expect others to respond to our feelings how we need and desire. It’s great when it happens but realistically, we all must learn how to communicate and ask for what we need from those we love. Other people are not inside our own heads and hearts. Taking responsibility for our mental and emotional health is necessary. This is the golden key to healing.

Giving yourself radical acceptance and empathy is very difficult in the beginning. The saying, “shooting second arrows into the heart”, I take from Tara Brach, who speaks about how the first arrow is the actual wound of being mistreated and the feelings of shame, anguish, anger, despair etc, that results. The second arrow is the feeling of shame that arises when we judge ourselves for feeling shame and all the hard feelings to feel.

The golden key is to stop shooting second arrows into our hearts. It’s difficult because love is difficult.

Isn’t it crazy…how love is so difficult? Why? There is no logical answer to why. We are all here to learn how to love. This earth game is one big lesson in learning how to love the light and the dark and to abolish the need to judge and divide up the human experience into categories of good and bad.

Dark is not bad. Light is not good. Dark is painful. Light is pleasurable. Both exist in a continual flux through the feeling body.

Feelings are not who we are. Neither are thoughts. Both feelings and thoughts course through us in chemical storms as we naturally react to life experiences.

The hardest thing is to learn to not identify with the experiences happening to us or the way we react to them.

The entire point to learning to not identify with our thought and feeling reactions is to allow love to enter the psyche and bring healing.

The more I learn how to do this, the greater my capacity to love. The greater my capacity to love, the more my life and my sense of self becomes liberated, content, at peace, and playful. I can then share my love, peace, playfulness and contentment with others.

When shame flared yesterday, I did not identify with it. I did not identify with the rage and frustration the wound brought up in my psyche either. I did not hold my friend responsible for making me feel better or worse. I did not hold expectations to be anything other than who I was in that moment. The moment was showing me pain, shame, and the wound. I sat in the fiery mess with love and radical acceptance until shame was released and the feelings beneath were honored and released too.

By doing this, I lightened up. Little by little. Step by step. Inch by inch. I take my mom’s message very seriously about not being too serious!

I do not share this to boast. My intention is to show that self work really does pay off. Your efforts, no matter where you are on the path of healing, will bring results. The results may not show up as manifesting the perfect experience on the physical plane but I promise, the results will arrive as feeling more self loving, at peace, and able to to laugh and be more playful with yourself, your relationships, and to feel contentment in life.

What are we healing for anyway? We are healing to be here now and enjoy this one precious life we have as the creatures we get to be for a limited time only.


The Red Candy and Flooding

Two days ago, my father found a piece of unwrapped soft red candy in his bathroom sink. He did not buy or eat this candy. He lives alone and it wasn’t candy my mother ate that the cat might have batted into the sink. Mom put the candy in his sink, I know it. What a sure way to give a sign for my logical, non-spiritual father, who could find no way to refute the magical appearance of the little red candy.

As I was sharing with him that I thought the candy to be a visit from mom, I felt her tell me that it was a sign to be more playful. Her message changed my brain, effected my cells, and opened my heart. It’s hard to put words to the experience but when messages come from the spirit world they are somatic and change the make-up of my body and felt experience.

I could feel playfulness awaken in my body with mom’s little red candy message.

I have been feeling her for a few days now, as if she has awoken from a post-death nap.

Vivian’s soul feels strong like a potent fragrance or jet black coffee. There is no denying her effect on my body and feelings. My intuition taps into her soul and I receive messages, turning psychic feelings into words.

Mom gets it now, is what she tells me. She gets what life is about.

The human cloak weighed her down as it weighs all of us down. We humans take life so seriously, we suffer immense shame, hatred, illness, poverty, and battle. As a healer, I can blab all day about the systemic roots of suffering, abuse, and inequality, explaining how we got to be this way with intellectual precision. Some might say it is human nature to be the conflicted and serious way we are. Right now, my intellect feels like dandelion fuzz being blown in the wind my a child’s breath.

I only feel my mother’s lightness without her human cloak. Vivian’s message is clear. Life does not have to be so serious and heavy like an anvil on the back.

The lightness and liberty of being a soul free of the human cloak is very real. The heavy, long term, entangled systemic swamp of suffering we soak in, is also real. And, there is a very real gap separating the spirit world and material world.

Just like healing the split within the individual psyche, there needs to be a healing between the spirit world and material world. The outward divide mirrors the inner divide. We must heal our inner divide in the psyche to heal the human race collectively and as the human race heals collectively, a bridge is formed from the material to the spiritual dimension.

False ideas about what spirit is will crumble because people will have their own felt experience of knowing and being connected to spirit. We may still express our felt connections through a variety of practices, religions, and cultural expressions but there won’t be a “my way is right and your way is wrong” divide. There won’t be belief-informed spiritual myths anymore. The psyche will feel the connection to spirit and this will evolve human kind.

Humans will no longer need a belief structure to experience connection with the transpersonal aspect of life.

This is what I see in my mind’s eye….

How do we drop the anvil of heaviness and heal our karmic and material debt with such wounded psyches confused about how to love and be loved, riddled with anxiety, depression, poverty, and trauma? Love is the answer and the mind creates many methods, techniques, and practices to help bring love into every cell so we may let go of shame and our personal hell. The transpersonal floods in when we call out from our hearts and belief systems.

We are on the path of healing…

It’s a tall order and healing is the only way through. We are all at different levels on the healing path. It’s important to not compare and not race to any finish lines. We are doing the best we can. Those that are being a contrast by amplifying suffering through their actions, help those who are actively healing, to see with more clarity what aspects need love, awareness, and understanding.

Healing is complex!

The point my mom is making for my life floods my heart. I feel called to make healing more inspirational and less heavy. I feel called to bring lightness and playfulness into my life and the healing path.

I feel mom’s message shed any shame I have been harboring, specifically where my most tender wound exists. I am writing poetry, dressing up, dreaming, painting, creating…

Wow, mom, you are healing me with your soul on the other side. Your perception is flooding my heart like the flooding of the Nile. I take time to miss you and replay your last days on earth over and over. In doing this, I seed the book I will write about you, turning the most sacred memories into beauty. My grief needs creative expression as the ritual to honor my sorrow and celebration of your soul.

I see the little red candy in my mind’s eye and instantly think of fun ways to play. Like, I could buy such candies, wrap them up in paper with an oracle message written on it and hide them around the city. Or, I could take photographs of the little red candies in provocative and unexpected places. Ideas flood in. So much playful bright red flooding.


Building the New Dream

Yesterday a friend asked, “have you ever felt that you have lived longer than you should have and that the day to day that you live just feels like a dream that you shouldn’t be in?” They were wondering if it was the Uranus opposition at work in their psyche. This transit happens for everybody around age forty-two and lasts two years. As another friend put it, this transit is a metaphor for having to build a new house. The psyche goes through a complete restructuring on a deep unconscious level, innovating your sense of self and life in the external world. Uranus initiates this transit by bringing crisis that can only be solved through evolving who you are.

I don’t want this blog to be about astrology. Jung called this transit, the mid-life crisis, as it is a developmental rite of passage whether you look through an astrological lens or not.

A sudden evolution of the psyche or soul may happen at any time in one’s life and usually crisis brings it on in varying forms…such as the sudden death of a loved one, an accident, divorce or separation, sudden loss of a career, an illness, war, cataclysm, or any life event personal or collective, where something valuable to the self destabilizes. This may also come in the form of a seemingly positive event, such as the birth of a baby, marriage, or relocation to a new home. Self evolution may also be initiated by internal turmoil that destabilizes the self, such as a long and stagnant ennui, depression, or sudden onset of mental illness.

Self evolution is a universal human experience, whether family and culture values and recognizes it or not…and often not, which often leads the psyche unconsciously into addictions, to cover feelings of  of wrongness, being unfulfilled, not knowing who you are, depression, stagnation, and insecurity. Addiction does not always take the form of alcohol and drugs. You can be addicted to shopping, looking good, working, relationships, sex, and just about any thing or behavior used to push feelings into the shadow in order to survive, be valued and accepted by family and culture, which often gets blurred with how you feel about who you are.

Evolution of the self is a universal rite of passage that nourishes the true self and roots in the very nature of being human. Crisis is usually the initiator of soul evolution. Crisis, although appearing malevolent, is for our benefit so that we may grow and evolve. The Tower archetype in tarot speaks of this and so does Uranus in astrology. Whether on an individual or a collective level, it usually takes crisis to make us change, for human nature tends to lazily bask in ease and pleasure if given the opportunity.

The last time I felt I was living in an outdated dream happened to be during my Uranus opposition…

My outdated dream looked like stagnation and depression. The crisis appeared as a dark night of the soul happening internally. My mind-body connection was pretty solid at the time, due to practicing yoga and having a chanting practice daily. Self discipline nourished the depression. Although I felt off, disconnected, impoverished, and lacked motivation to change, I wasn’t being self-destructive and I knew I needed to build a new house.

Awareness and self care buoyed me tremendously and a little truly goes a long way…

In order to build a new house, I knew I would need to make choices based upon my astrological chart and not my instinct. My instinct was to keep being a gypsy bohemian soul living to become recognized and successful as an artist. I was also very attached to the underworld and the wounds that I carried, as a familiar comfort zone where Uranus calls home in my chart. Where Uranus was opposing revealed where I needed to make choices based upon what I had been avoiding in my self and keeping shadowed. Namely, the material world and my physical values.

I already had a head start on coming into my body through my yoga practice and this helped. The equanimity gained through yoga and chanting allowed me to not identify with my comfort zone and old self. I could pull away and enter the discomfort of all that was being shadowed; the pragmatic, money-making, material world and my identity within this world. It was time to become the earthly woman who focuses on worldly matters and practical reality. I needed to engage logic, reason, and my masculine energy, all shadowed elements asking to be brought to the light.

Nothing in me wanted to do this work but I did it anyway. Like the salmon, I swam upstream. Or like George Constanza in that one episode of Seinfeld, I said yes when my instincts told me to say no. I walked out of my comfort zone and entered grad school to become a therapist.

In doing this, I faced the aspects of myself in the shadows. My healing process switched focus onto family of origin wounds and ego development and less on past lives, soul wounds, and integrating the multi-dimensional self. I faced all of the worldly rules, regulations, techniques, ideologies, and language concerning becoming an effective healer. I sat the tarot reading indigo priestess in the back seat and began to develop the psychotherapist woman, giving her the wheel.

Initially, I made the choice so that I could make a living in this world. It was a very pragmatic decision. The bohemian dream had genuinely died and I was already living too long inside of it. I did not become a recognized artist and I felt burned out on my ego trying to become one. I also felt burned out on being a tarot reading indigo priestess. I suffered both artist and healer fatigue. I was burned out on my identity and my lifestyle. That’s when you know it is time to evolve and build a new house.

Either you feel burned out or external crisis forces you to build a new dream. It will be one or the other.

Grad school was the hardest two years of my life because my ego was knocked off her comfortable priestess underworld throne. I faced issues never faced from deep ancient ancestral wounds to facing the world’s demands and red tape when becoming a professional in the field I am in. I faced every resistance you can name. I felt off my game in every way, humbled in every way, insecure, fragmented, and confused. But I knew this was the process. I needed to come undone. My sense of self needed to be dismantled so that the new identity could be born.

We all have a version of facing the self we have shadowed, in order to evolve. It is a messy and vulnerable process. I share my version, as an example.

I kept up with the messy process and by no means could I have done it alone. I met dear friends in grad school and my partner in crime was a soul friend I had already known for over fifteen years. During that time my mother was diagnosed with cancer. I also came together and broke up with a soul mate I did not want to let go of. There was great heart break during those two years….and there was so much love.

I had to take a trust walk into the unknown and walk on a tight rope blindfolded. I had to see myself through facing all of the aspects of myself I had rejected and projected into others and the world. I had to take out enormous loans. But I kept up with the process because I knew if I did, I would rebirth into a new dream with a new sense of self. I wanted to evolve more than anything. And I did. The new dream’s foundation has already been built.

What is the new dream and how do you know it’s the right dream?

Let’s get fantasy out of the way, right off the bat. My mom has died, I still long for the ex, I still struggle to make ends meet, I am healing from an autoimmune disease that’s thrown my lifestyle into chaos, and I am happy about a third of the time. But it’s the right dream and it’s the bright dream.

I know it is the right dream because I am no longer doing this work to “make a living”. I love being with clients as a therapist, much more than I did as a reader. I have no more burn out as a healer, artist, or human being. I am no longer fearful or resistant to the rules and regulations of the material world. I feel competent to run my own business (again, with the help of others). I feel inspired constantly. I feel more grounded, well-rounded, whole, loving, and capable. I no longer feel off or in an ennui or depression. I am at peace with who I have become and with my lifestyle.

The new dream is filled with longings, issues and hardships just like the old dream but what is different is me and my lifestyle. I no longer rely on addictive behaviors to cover up shadowed self aspects. I don’t seek romantic love to fill a sense of unhappiness. I no longer feel helpless or that the Universe is working against me. I may not get to be the free spirited bohemian anymore but I do get to have romantic bohemian Saturday afternoons. I may no longer be the indigo priestess in the curtained back room of the underworld but I have a lovely shared therapy office in a bright sunny room in Maple Leaf. The rich parts of old me and old lifestyle integrate with new me and my new lifestyle.

I share my personal experience to inspire your rite of passage of self evolution. You don’t need tarot or astrology to be your maps but I do recommend having some form of a map, any form that works for you, any books, therapy, allies, healers, nature, whatever works best for your being.

My other advise is that when it’s time to build a new dream, go against your instincts and default way of thinking. If normally you would do A, do B. If normally you are one way, be the other way. Learn from the salmon and from George Constanza. Sometimes we need to go against our nature to create a new neural pathway in the brain and a new feeling in the heart. I promise, once the new path is formed, you will find your way again. You will feel you are in the right new dream with a renewed sense of self that looks back and knows that crisis was there to help you grow.


The Beauty of Death and Spirit

Last night, I was awoken by a dream in which I looked at the pictures on my phone and there was a photograph of mom sitting naked in a living room. In the dream she was dead like she is in real life and the photograph communicated to me that this was a snapshot of her from the spirit world.

Her body looked robust, healthy and the picture had a hazy, nostalgic and ghostly feeling to it. I woke up in the middle of the night feeling spooked, a rare feeling for me because I communicate with the invisible realms commonly. But the feeling I awoke with was a different sensation than I am used to experiencing.

I felt mom in the room, literally. I know it may be hard to understand how to feel something on the physical level that your five senses cannot detect but the sixth sense is as fundamental as the other five. When you detect something in physical reality with the sixth sense, it is as real as sight, sound, touch, smell, and hearing. I sixth-sensed mom in the room with me. It was not my intuition that felt her, the faculty I usually engage with when communicating with the invisible realms.

Not only did I sense mom, I sensed the realm she was in. I got spooked because reality as I know it shifted into a new reality, so alive and real it was undeniable. I felt unsafe suddenly in the dark…

Quickly my fear diminished. I could not hear my mom or see her, I could only sense her in the room. Just like the picture in my dream, it was a totally silent sense. I could not communicate with her but she was there. I instantly had the thought, “what if my mom’s death is going to open up my psychic senses?” I welcome that happening and would use it to help others just as I use my intuition to help others.

Sleep took me minutes after this intense experience…

Now I know she is here.

A friend said to me that mom is being as great as a support for me now as I was for her, through her cancer battle. I feel this. I feel her guiding me.

I am still in the mourning phase where I am wearing her jewelry each day. My mourning decorations are made of pearl and rose quartz, not black clothes. I want to wear more color because she always wanted me to wear more color. I am wearing more make-up because she did when she was alive. I want to model her as a way to mourn her human life with honor. What writer said that mimicking is the greatest form of flattery?

Yesterday, I felt the beauty of death and I know I am simmering the death story in my heart so I may write it out poetically. My way of fully honoring Vivian.

Being there was one of the greatest gifts of my lifetime. I believe we willed her death to be as gentle and sacred as it turned out to be. With fire in my belly and a will like Joan of Arc, I asked mom how she wanted to die, four days before her death. She said she wanted to be surrounded by family. I said, “lets make it happen”.

There are a few key moments in my life where my will was so fiery that I would not allow any other version of reality to happen other than the version in my heart. This was one of them. And…it takes a village. My family, friends, and people we reached out to on social media, all sent prayers and energy for my mom. Along with spirit, I feel we willed her death to be as she asked for it to be. This is the story that is my truth.

They say death is not in our control but I do not agree. I recall a time about twelve years ago, when I was reading tarot out of a metaphysical store in Portland…the owner was a wise and fiery crone who would lay down wisdom for me in key moments. During those years, I was struggling to heal certain aspects and slugging through some serious mud. I wasn’t suicidal and did not consciously want to die but she said to me, “Michelle, be careful or you will unconsciously call death to you.”

That sentence struck my heart like lightning. You know how you hear wisdom and it changes you instantly? I suddenly understood what my energy was creating and I did want to call a near-death experience to me to learn the value of my life. I also understood how death is unfixed and malleable.

Our spiritual and religious cultures tend to perceive spirit as a fixed all-knowing parent (or all-knowing parents when there are multiple gods and goddesses). In this story of spirit, we are the children to be rewarded or punished for good or bad behavior. All relationships and experiences are written in the stars ahead of time, such as having your destined true love, destined birth, destined death, etc.

I don’t feel this to be true for me.

I do feel many of us make soul contracts, choose our parents, and travel lives with divine purpose and intention. But not every soul does this. I feel the variety is endless.

If you believe in heaven you will go to an etheric heaven created in the fourth dimension for your belief to play out…if you don’t believe in spirit your soul will be recycled into nature…if you experience your self as a multi-dimensional being of light you will travel into lives in and outside of earth…if you know past lives are true it is because you have and will reincarnate, etc. These are just a few examples of many experiences. It is not one path for every soul.

Basically, my wisdom is that spirit is pure creativity, hence the possibilities are endless for the soul’s journey.

Spirit is all-loving but not all-knowing because spirit is learning and growing through becoming souls. Any reality can happen at any moment in this huge creative art project called life. Fixed destiny is real too, because if spirit is pure creativity then fixed fate is also a reality to experience.

My knowing is that spirit is playing, creating, learning, and evolving through being individuated into form of every kind, from incarnating as big as a universe all the way down to incarnating as a single cell. Appearing as form is spirit’s activity, lesson, longing, and creative act.

Spirit manifests as everything, in the realm of appearances and all form is spirit behind the scenes of every appearance.

I see through a “zoom out, zoom in” lens where spirit incarnates into every form and dissolves back into oneness in ebbs and flows, cycles, and designs. Spirit desires to become form to experience itself in relationship, to forget it is oneness, and to create.

Therefor, as souls we play all the roles…we play the good guy and the bad guy, we play the powerless and powerful, we play human, rock, mountain, mouse, single cell bacteria, alien, whatever the form may take. Sometimes souls play in a linear progression to evolve an individual soul, collective soul, or species…and sometimes souls play in a non-linear way and incarnate to just be or just do it with no intentions, contracts, or agenda.

The variety truly is endless…

All this being said, death is a creative act, in my truth…

Mom’s passing was a creative and sacred act. Being there to facilitate and witness her death was one of the most valuable treasures I will ever experience…priceless and beyond comparison. I feel gratitude and awash with beauty.


Soul Food in the City

Yesterday, the grief creature insisted I be completely alone and improvising my day like jazz music. I felt the impulse to move and wander. Put my blue tooth headphones on and allowed the melody to guide me from moment to moment.

One thing I love about city life is walking and bussing through the streets as if floating down rapids, allowing the pulse of the city to take me from place to place. I enjoy surrendering into the river of the urban flow.

Hopped on a bus that pulled up right as I was walking by it. Stared out the window and sank into a song coaxing tears of beautiful sad from my eyes.

I love bus rides because you can really let go and be carried as if gently traveling in large metal womb. Bus drivers comfort me with their quiet presence taking care of business. Being surrounded by seeming strangers also provides an unexpected comfort. We’re all in this together. It takes village. Sometimes I don’t want the village or to be carried along in an automotive womb and wish I could get somewhere quickly without having to interact with humanity but yesterday…I was feeling it.

Wandered into my favorite used book store in the University district and stumbled into the one unedited diary of my favorite author that I don’t have. Anais Nin touches the bohemian artist in me. Her writing inspires and invigorates my soul. Book in hand, I wandered up the cruddy Ave, walking off of it soon as I recalled a cafe near by. Anything to get off the Ave, which always depresses me…

I walked into the cafe to sit and read but discovered it was attached to a beautiful and striking hotel lobby. I was moved by the ambience and felt that I walked into a different reality. The walls were mammoth shelves of books stacked backwards so that the spine of the books faced inward. A real fire place warmed the large room lined with long plaid couches and richly colored velvet chairs. Mammoth mirrors matched the bookshelves and made the room appear large as a ballroom. Paintings of herons were hung everywhere along with books about birds strewn over the long wood coffee tables. Vivian brought me here, I thought, because she visits through birds.

I imagined Anais sitting by the fire with a cup of tea, getting into deep conversations with her lover, Henry Miller. I cozied up and read her words for hours, lost in a time warp. How I long to live in the forties in Paris and to have known Henry and Anais…

Felt so luxurious to be alone and escape into the sensual dream world of my choice. Felt meaningful that mom guided me, knowing I needed to feed my bohemian artist soul. Reading Anais is food for my soul in today’s clinical and robotic culture. Although Anais talked about this very thing in her diary written in 1940…how everyone in New York is robotic, over indulgent, soulless. There I was, filling my soul up on her words about the artifice and emptiness of New York in the artifice and emptiness of Seattle.

I read about her craving passion and feeling morbid inside because her lovers, Henry and Gonzalo, were losing their vitality. She lived more inside her lovers than in herself. We are very different this way. I cannot find the passionate connection Anais found in her lovers and when I do, they are not emotionally available for what I have to offer. She knew how to love fully and completely, sexually, emotionally, mentally, and physically. Even though I am more of a one man type of woman, I resonate with how she loved…the closeness, depth, intelligence, and passion she shared with her beloveds makes sense to my temperament.

Wandered back home after a stint and read some more in the ambience of my urban oasis. Grief needs soul feeding but soul food is essential on the daily too. What feeds your soul? No judgement. I don’t judge that I take the bus to a hotel lobby to read. Doesn’t always have to be that you crave to be in nature or do yoga or some other trendy idea of what nourishes your true self. The variety is endless.

And in the spirit of wandering, I have no ending for this blog…



The Cardinal and Anger

The anger stage takes turns with the denial stage, two weeks and two days since my mother’s passing.

Denial is a strange trick of the mind but easy to understand. I don’t forget for more than a second that my mom is gone. But those seconds of denial feel astounding when they suddenly crop up. Like when I wanted to text mom to tell her the new Grace and Frankie season was on Netflix. That one second of denial shocked me once my mind realized she was dead.

The anger stage is harder to understand because it’s rooted in the feelings. It doesn’t help that we are culturally conditioned, especially women, to judge anger as bad and repress the feeling. In truth, anger is coming up for a reason. I think anger comes up not only in reaction to forever loss but also because death brings up the long buried past…especially the death of a parent figure in the family system.

We all grow up in dysfunctional families because we are all born from the same systemic and multigenerational trauma that gets passed down generation to generation, making parents flawed in how they parent because they were once wounded children. Nobody is free from this. Each generation becomes more aware and has more opportunity to heal as a result. Each family has their own version of the dysfunctional story as told differently by each individual.

How much you have worked on healing the wounds of your family past correlates to what will rise up when there is a death in the family. Death feels like a band-aid being ripped off the wound. In fresh grief, hurt will unleash from the basement of your psyche through the triggers that naturally occur as each family member grieves differently.

Our grief journey is very personal because each person has a unique relationship with the deceased and with the living family.

The day after my mom’s death, we packed up every item of mom’s clothing to be taken to donation in a frenzy that only grief can create. Our action caused pain for my father. It was too fast for him. We cannot avoid the triggering hurt that occurs because grief is not something we can control. I have been witnessing myself not be in control. This is why I call it “the grief creature”.

I believe the triggering hurt is meant to be an opportunity for healing.

Healing has many components. Differentiating your sense of self from your family members, validating and expressing the hurt you feel, accepting the way others are and have been that is different than you, letting go of judgement, forgiving, gaining more unconditional love, allowing your vulnerability to be seen, and rewriting negative narratives about the past that are not true, are some of the detailed aspects of healing from family pain.

Death forces what has not been healed up from the basement and into the light of awareness, through anger. Anger says, “I feel hurt,” and points to what is unresolved. Hurt has a root and that root needs love, recognition, and tenderness.

Each one of us has a right to feel angry about past wounds even if the one doing the wounding did not mean it or wasn’t aware. We can validate our anger and hurt while also learning acceptance and perhaps even forgiveness. We have the opportunity to let go and heal to the capacity we are ready to engage on our soul’s path. Death opens the doorway and urges us to see past our limitations and face new edges.

I am facing my new edge. I am learning how to differentiate between anger that my mom is gone and anger rooted in a dusty wound covered in a musty outdated tapestry. I am looking with soft eyes upon unresolved feelings. I am learning how to express anger in a healthy way.

That’s the thing about feelings, they need an outlet. Thoughts only need to be observed and not identified with to leave the mind but feelings need to be valued and expressed to leave the body.

Anger is hard for me to express. I don’t want to punch or scream into a pillow. I don’t want to throw things. I think I may need to sing out anger. I am still exploring…

Grief is the opposite of control. I cannot wrap up all of my feelings into a nice and tidy file named grief and open it when I have time or it is convenient. The grief creature moves mysteriously through me. Messiness and suddenness must be embraced. I tell my friends I cannot plan ahead because each day I feel different and cannot promise being emotionally available like usual.

Those who have been through it tell me, “I remember feeling that,” and I am reminded that although we move mysteriously alone through the dark night of grief, we all take the journey and we all relate to the same experience filtered through our personal and unique story.

Through feeling and expressing the anger stage of grief a rebirth is occurring that is hard to describe. It reminds me of the picture on the classic Judgement card in the tarot. Gabriel is tooting her trumpet as dead bodies rise from graves, rebirthing into new life. Gabriel’s trumpeting is symbolic of the anger that calls the past out of the basement and into the light, to be given new life.

I am being more present, open, honest, and vulnerable with the hurt, my flaws, and the flaws of my family. To be honest, I enjoy engaging in the painful healing process, no matter how hard it is and how vulnerable I am learning to be. Mom’s death is bringing me deeper into my soul essence and purpose. I feel liberated to be free of ego driving the bus (but I will save this for tomorrow’s blog.)

In conversation with my sister, touching upon our deep family wounds, a bright red cardinal landed on her porch and watched her as we were Skyping. We both knew it was mom. We both had reached the other side of anger and found healing through being loving, communicative, and open. My sister commented on how our family has not been through anything like this before, specifically with how grief is effecting the family dynamics were are navigating through now that mom is gone. Truth.

Mom’s death takes us to new levels and places within ourselves and within the family. She watches us through the eyes of birds.

Mom was always unconditionally loving no matter how challenging other personality traits presented (in any of us.) Unconditional love is a quality our family has in abundance. I have always associated cardinals with unconditional love and also with Virginia, where I was raised.

Now, the cardinal becomes Vivian.