River of Conversation: A Vow

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Mississippi River, Natchez, MS 07/19

Often lately (actually I have done this for a while) I reflect on a conversation I had and begin to fill in the blanks or misplaced thoughts with the things I wish I’d said, ways I could have explained myself better or been more honest. Sometimes when I talk things get jumbled, I get nervous, lost in some cloud, a feeling in the room, a look on a person’s face, a gesture, something they write down or pick up. I wonder if I’m saying “it” right and by then I realize I’ll see later there’ll be things I could have said better.

I’m still better at writing where I can take pauses and edit.

The art of conversation- and/or traditionally more formal exchanges like job interviews- really does require full presence and ability to flow. I have been out of practice, in a way. But I’ve also been obsessive later and annoying when I replay and repeat what I missed or feel I messed up. Perhaps I also get too hard on myself as I have been told. And then on top of that I can’t seem to let things or the thoughts go.

Is this all anxiety? Obsessive? Narcissistic? Perfectionistic? From my research, it all also seems to come with the ACOA territory. But either way, at the very least, I want to obtain the ability to let the (clinging of) things go. That’s part of the river. Even if there were mistakes or places to explain better or explore more or cover… even if I was misunderstood or there were important or true things I somehow left out. Can’t control it all, especially not after the fact.

I recognize my weaknesses. Probably have done, do or considered doing every flaw under the sun…but I could learn to accept that. I could learn to acknowledge I was the most forthcoming I was able to be at the time. And leave room to try again. To make it okay.

I am willing to learn, to improve. I like to add color. I’m intuitively inclined. Sensitivity falls in both directions, weakness and strength. I have a way to go, to cover the things left unsaid. But I am starting to go.

There’s still a lot of social protocol to unwind too. Norms like: be honest but dance around your actual truth, don’t tell too much. Like: “We don’t talk about that.” This creates a dam(n) in the river, a split of persona that leads to family systems and cultures of denial and sickness. How long can we continue to abide by this? Sure, we don’t necessarily have to “over” share all our personal details, but it’s not healthy to live under all the layers of facades either.

I vow to learn to confidently yet humbly to stand by my own side, share my true stories inch by inch, be firm yet flowing, gracefully speak up, and to be ready to listen, exchange, and move on to the next thing without endless second guessing after.

I vow to learn to float on.

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Be Still. Send Love.

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Hattiesburg, 03/19

Be still. Send love.

That’s it. A being who can do this, and hold this, is surely just as, if not more, beneficial to the healing of humanity than one who tends to be exalted, or accepted, on the surface because they have an easy answer to “What do you do?” but is actually frantic. They have a job; they are busy acting, but often in chaos (though that has the potential to serve by triggering others into their own healing, too). Of course, a person who has regular work can certainly make just as positive an impact.

But at the heart of value, and in the face of a global (though now shifting) tendency to judge others by what they “do” or “don’t do,” it’s not really about that. It’s about the energy, the unseen core of everything. It’s about a person’s tone, what they emit, how it feels to be around them. Though how it feels to be around someone can be subjective depending on how it feels to be around yourself (does this being elicit your joy or bring up your lack?), either way it’s an opportunity for immediate peace or self-reflection and adjustment that leads to peace.

In that light, a person who “does nothing” but has mastered being still (in mind) and sending love, can simply walk around and lift the spirits of others. In the end, no matter how simplistic or busy one’s life, what could matter more?

Climbing the Bucket, Riding the Waves

Would you believe there was a time in my life I regularly woke up angry or anxious? I would ruminate on some latest incident that irked me, or a daunting future scenario. Over the years with much study, practice and major mitigating events, aside from some flare ups, I’ve managed to mostly alter this habit. I tapered it at first, interchanging mornings of resentful fixations with tears of grief, then mornings of hope, contentment, catching my dreams, doing affirmations, praying, and/or inspired thoughts. I wasn’t even aware of how much I did the former until recently when things had changed.

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Maui, HI 04/19

But now there are approaching deadline for things I have been or am interested in. And two days ago I woke up extremely exhausted, like slathered-in-a-vat-of-molasses exhausted; stuck. Yesterday morning I woke up again revisiting and feeling pissed off at the influence I have unwittingly (until the last couple years) allowed others in my life, to the point of what direction (or seemingly lack there of) I took. In light of my heightened awareness perhaps, this resurgence is really causing me to pause and inspect it. I have been working again to resolve my feelings about this swell.

Then it occurred to me that I could also, at least, tell you about a phenomenon informally referred to as the “crab bucket effect.” Essentially, it goes something like this:

A dude was walking on the beach and he happens upon a fisherman whose got a bucket of crabs set down in the sand. The two men start shooting the breeze about this and that. Eventually the dude looks down at the bucket. Maybe something caught his eye or the conversation ebbed. But he saw one of the crabs crawling along the side toward the opening and immediately alarmed the fisherman. The fisherman didn’t bat an eyelash. He replied: “Oh, I’m not worried about that. As soon as one gets too far up, the other crabs grab on and pull it back down.”

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Maui, HI 04/19

Of course the details like gender can be altered to fit your circumstances, but the point of the parable holds steady. There are certain people in your life who support your dreams or ideas as they hatch and cheer you on straight from the beginning. And there are others- people in positions of proximity and sadly, sometimes those you trust- who do not. Unless it truly seems like a harmful plan, usually for their own reasons or projections, they will employ various tactics- guilt, indirect belittling, fear, jealousy, etc- to try to thwart you from going on.

Sharing your dreams or callings with people in your life will teach you who’s who (at that time at least). And they all may be a reflection of you!

Some people can change if you do go through with your plans anyway or become so strong no one’s reactions have the power to sway us, nor do we need to tell people out of excitement or for validation. But those initial reactions can have a huge impact, especially if we’re still quite vulnerable.

This most certainly happened in my life when the inspiration or messages to launch big changes started coming to me (after I’d been asking for divine intervention). Years of being effected by others’ opinions or control, I didn’t see the mixed reactions for what they were. I couldn’t keep my distance. For most of my life, I would take it all in (and dish it out), not seeing I was part of an entrenched system of false, reactive selves.

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Biloxi, MS 09/18

One of the main ways people advocate to resolve this “effect” is to keep your plans close and quiet- let them nest- until ready to launch. If you tell anyone at all they are the ones who won’t to try to pull you down and keep you “in your place” even if your idea seems “off the wall” to them, but instead encourage you to explore your potential or follow your intuition. Fortunately, these people showed up for me too.

Still, I haven’t (yet?) fulfilled my initial calling (to a place and possibly learn a trade) all the way. But was actually what I was supposed to do, exactly? I did travel to the place, twice, and it most triumphantly churned my soul, showed me miracles and exceptional synchronicities….and areas of limitations too. And then I returned to safety and the continual unfolding at my current home base.

If we’re still feeling “held back” so much more arises. For me, it’s questions like: Why are these feelings still coming up? How much of this is triggered by external deadlines? Is pressure like that sometimes good? How much does fear play a part? Am I worthy? How much does codependency (putting others needs/agendas above ours) and all its symptoms- like indecision- play a part? How much of my anxiety/resentment is actually lodged in a much deeper, darker place? Am I willing to go there? How can I resolve this? What am I willing to give up? What about responsibility and practicality? What about love? Relationships? Interdependence? Was my initial plan ever even to permanently relocate or just to visit? How much of this is illusion? How much of this is FOMO (fear of missing out)? How and where can I reach my potential and be of service to others? How do I know what to let go of? How do I let go? How do I know when to leap?

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Biloxi, MS 09/18

Eventually the cycle brings me back to remember, again, to the place of quiet, of stillness. Of prayer and meditation. Of listening in communion. And the time it takes to polish stones. The importance of patience. Trust. Getting back on the path when we stray.

I know for certain a place I want to move out of is victim mentality and into a place of full authority (none other between me and my higher power). But it is also clear that this process is not just about the reactions of other people (or crabs). I learned that even some people who cheer us on have their own motivations, sometimes just vicariousness. Indeed, unless we’re impervious (or until we become so, that is, have in tact self esteem) to such influences, allowing incubation for fresh ideas, and sometimes even ourselves as much as possible, is pertinent. Let’s face it, when you share info with people, very few people will just listen. We can’t control other people’s reactions.

And everyone reacts from their own worldview.

Many of us are or have been in a bucket a full of pincers that stand ready to latch onto us and our next “big” anything; or figuring out who we truly are.

At this point I’m not even barring that part of what I thought was my calling was to get me to right here (where else can I be right now?), sharing with you in this moment. (Then, of course, I pick up and put down the thought: What will arise after this….?)

We can share stories we’ve heard. We can share what we’ve experienced. But in the end, no one can do the deep internal diving for us. Hopefully, by the time we have these questions answered, we’ll be on the other side of the bucket, with a yeehaw!, ridin’ the waves.

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Biloxi, MS 09/18

Cultivate Calm

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Passion Flower, Hattiesburg, MS 07/18

Ah, the passions! Of the hundreds of passion flower species, I believe this one is passiflora incarnata, also known as maypop, which I happened to find growing wild in a woodsy/field-y area. Did you know that it not only has an electrified look, but it’s also used medicinally, such as in dried form in teas and capsules? Yes, as vibrant as this bloomer is, it’s often used to ease anxiety! I think its appearance alone is “activating.”