MUSINGS ON FEAR

“Not knowing is a state of grace,” my grandmother often said to me; though she’s been gone two years, I’ve been clutching on to that phrase all this time, clutching it close and protectively, like a shield, a ratty blanket, like an excuse.

I sleep well most nights, deep and long and often dreamless, so last night’s awakening only felt that much more significant. Churning mind, rapid heartbeat, raging doubts and a faint excitement all brewing and bubbling within this body I call my own, as the sky remained dark and my lover remained sweetly asleep. Even as I attempted to will myself back into unconsciousness, I also felt a strange desire to stay in that dark awake place, tinged with a hint of terror, as my grandmother’s words yet again came back to me, reassuring and pampering and strengthening all at once. I am about to leap, again, into the horizon of the unknown, this time far across the sea. My reasons are jumbled in disarray, some reinforcing, some cynical: Am I a brave soul, daring to go somewhere that until recently I wasn’t aware existed? Or am I running from myself? What have I accomplished, and what do I expect to accomplish once displaced from my birth country? Will I feel free, or afraid? Am I a worthy lover and friend? What do I love? How do I love? And then, eventually, ultimately: Why am I here?

Once my mind reaches this state of existential turmoil, I know it’s time to breathe and slow down. Purpose is a funny thing to muse over; it is a rich question, but an unanswerable one. I know I am simply taking one more step. I am on the path of discovery, of following hunger, of pursuing the mysteries of my own heart. And following where love leads. But the mind and cultural norms are powerful, and I find myself time and time again getting sucked back into the vortex of quantifying self-worth by accomplishments. And time and time again, what I often consider my own pitfalls become increasingly apparent with age– my seeming inability to vision and follow through, my hesitancy-cum-paralysis in decision making, and lack of tangible legacies to my name, however small. Fortunately, I am the only one holding myself to expectations; I feel supported from all directions, and know that my happiness, above all else, is the simple hope of those who love me. So from where, then, come these judgment calls on my Self? What am I holding myself to, and what do I hope to achieve? What do I think will make me a satisfied person? So many questions. Sometimes I feel all I excel at is questioning. To not know is one thing, but to live in a state of feeling just-slightly-inadequate is another altogether.

I chalk all of this up to fear. Everything I have learned about myself and the world continues to expose to me this immense and suffocating human condition. I know enough to know I am not special, at least not in the sense of the inconceivable lineage of humanity, and our shared and repeated experiences…. Whether it is due to a perceived threat, or baseless self-doubts perpetuated by contemporary culture and society, fear is what stops us in our tracks. It shows us the scope of possibility, of which will always include failure, or pain. We avoid it at all costs; we run from the mere thought. Fear is useful as it allows us to draw boundaries of self-protection–whether that is hiding from a predator or choosing not to interact with others who drain us of vital energy–but all too often we allow our fear to dictate our choices, even when a resounding promise of abundance or success is imminent. I have discovered that if I untangle the knots of emotion and resistance within myself, if I am able to cut through the symptoms and get to the root of my fear, most surprisingly what is left is the realization that I am afraid of what I could be: of the boundlessness of my own strength, power, and capacity to love. Afraid of my own cosmic divinity, afraid of being all that I can be, afraid of success, afraid of my own beauty. What a thing to discover.

I feel like I am standing on top of a great plateau, looking out in all directions at the vast landscape before and behind me. I can see my past, my patterning, my doubts and their origins, and, for the first time, vague shimmering hints of my future. I forgive myself for choices I regret, and love myself in every permutation. I have a full box of tools for repairing damaged parts of my Self, and make active choices to remain vulnerable and honest. Still, I sometimes feel this paralyzing fear. All I can do is continue to trust, put one toe in front of another toe, as slow as a snail if I wish, and continue to do what brings me joy. And know that I am human too.

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Bowing Down to Pain

January 2015

I have to force myself to write now, if not for prose’s sake, then simply as a record for these times of, yet again, upheaval, change, fear, and the unknown. What extremes I have felt these months as my eye has deteriorated … I sometimes fall to the ground with the realization of what I have lost. It crushes me with its loneliness and utter truth– I cannot see. It’s blackness. It’s a dark little world just in front of one space on my face, a space that until recently was filled with light, shadows, and shapes. Now even those are lost to me. It evokes a mind-numbing fear that threatens to pull me down into an abyss where I find myself completely alone … .. ….

… However, I have found strength in wisdom and love, and have (over and over again) pulled myself out and up, quickly, before I slide too far. I have not allowed myself the indulgence of abundant self-pity, or the tempting helplessness that accompanies all-encompassing fear. I can really say with no pretense that I’ve never encountered such fear as I have on this journey of falling apart and being sewn back together. For a while there I truly couldn’t see a future without pain. Couldn’t imagine it, couldn’t envision it, couldn’t reason my way into believing. But still I stayed alive. Still I lay down without sleeping, and sat without awareness, and when I walked, I stumbled with a scream in my teeth and always, always, an electric fire raging in my brain. But alive.

Well, I’m through it now (at least that time of stricken obligatory meditation to maintain sanity), and the drugs give my memories a blurry tint, a vague psychosis I don’t want to indulge, a dream of gnashing metal and blood-filled lips and cruel death without end to pain. It seems I could go on like this for a long time, but instead–again–again–I’ll stop–breathe–and zoom out. Count and name all the blessings. Acknowledge and soothe all the fears. And go on.

I use my computer to not be in Colombia

The title says it. I use my computer to connect with the world which is not heat, sweat, sound and struggle.

On my computer, I can go to a place where nobody who was born here can go.

The painstaking non-productivity of the culture battered down by sun and noontime sleep, houses which are little short of cages.

The impassable roads of shade doing battle with sharp white heat while potholes open their mouths and men make loud loud sound.

I have made a resolution to go out at least once a day, even if it is only this scene which I face, with the idea that I must face where I am.

I thought today about asking my Mom for 25 dollars for a short story contest entrance fee. There is no more kidding myself. I am an impoverished artist. I am taking my writing more seriously, and writing more.

Hungry, not starving.

PHILOSOPHY. POWER. [or] HUMANS ARE A HUNGRY KIND

Knowing I can have anything I want is ennervating and humbling. I have the power to manifest / create / shape / mold my life, my story, into any form I want / desire / crave …. The more I practice it, this mentality, the stronger and more at peace I feel my Self becoming … And every time this realization hits me the wind gets knocked out of me a little. The ‘becoming-aware-of-my-power’ process leaves me feeling a great weight of responsibility to my Self. And why shouldn’t it? And why should I, then, use the word “weight” ? It’s a divine task to tend to the bodies we so temporarily inhabit. Disassociating “me” (the body in particular), with “I” (or the essence of who “I” am, in other words, Spirit), isn’t just about acknowledging the symbiotic existences of both body and spirit, but also then realizing what a unique gift it is to inhabit a human’s body! Don’t we all already know this, accept this, through pure intuition and established psychological and spiritual pillars? But somehow it continues to be a leap to practice this, to actually LIVE in accordance with this knowledge. Somehow we have allowed ourselves to slip into thinking that even discussing the realm of Spirit openly is anything but pure human curiosity and desire to know more (or as some might say, to delve deeper into the Mystery). But we so often relegate topics of the Spirit to a church / religious school … and forget to discuss / chew / wonder ourselves. We live robotically, we allow fear to engulf us, we prepare, we prepare, we prepare … And we forget to muse, and to live … which means to take risks, feel things deeply, practice active self-love and trust, and charge ahead gracefully. Forcefully. We forget to look up to the sky and remember the vastness of it all, and to actively love ourselves. Which brings us back to the responsibility theme ………

Yes, ignorance is bliss … The more I know, the less I know … It’s true. But I believe bliss can only truly exist if there is no hunger. And humans are a hungry kind.

Bottom Line is: Visualize. Realize. Trust in Self, Follow Through.

Creativity has nothing to do with Fame

Upon putting my hair into a fish tail yesterday morning, taking my time with the strands of hair, creating something on my body which was new, I had the clear thought that creativity has nothing to do with fame. Creativity is an energy which can be lived in, accessed. Creativity is nothing more than a quality.

It is possible that by being in this quality, projects will be created which others like and enjoy, and gain something from. It is possible that our way of life may inspire others because we have learned how to use creativity like salt on our food.

Do the thing which doesn’t matter today. Is it a song? Is it learning to fishtail your hair? Is it making a pair of earrings? Is it getting stoned, alone in your room and making a video, although you don’t know why?

If you find yourself thinking about the way your final product will be received by the public before you even begin making, you are missing the point, and stuffing your floodgates as the artist.

If you don’t know what it is yet, be in the empty. Do something although you don’t know why you are doing it. Cultivate and access the emotion and gestation of creativity although you don’t know where it will bring you, but have a trust that it will bring you somewhere, and it is necessary to the process that you don’t know where yet.

NOW IS THE TIME FOR GROWTH

2015 hasn’t wasted any time in challenging us to face ourselves. Already we have unearthed deep-seated fears, been subjected to intense pain, allowed ourselves to sink deeper into trust and love, booked and re-booked plane tickets to lands both new and familiar, sailed the stormy seas of family hardship, and dared to vision our futures– at times chewing our bottom lip in trepidation, and at times wide-eyed and voracious, full of confidence and abundant gratitude.

This blog marks the beginning of a new chapter for us, Becca and Eli: a virtual container in which we hope to capture some of the visceral moments that inform our passionate, unpredictable, full-to-bursting lives. We doubt, we dream; we fall short, we triumph wildly… We are human. We have become sisters over the past three years as we’ve danced this awkward, graceful, lumbering, juicy dance of life, and crave a space to vision and muse together as we create our respective lives across the seas. This blog will serve as that space.

We endeavor to fully embrace our creative selves without judgment. To create unapologetically, spontaneously, and with uncensored abandon. To untangle what it means to be free– free as a woman, as traveler, as partner, as individual, as a wild creature. To unconditionally support each other on our journeys of discovery, and risk, and growing roots, and flight from the ordinary, and breaking the chains of patterning and habit, and leaping without a net…….

Our ability to share stories, creative endeavors, rants, musings, and visions is an incredible gift, and we bask in the knowledge that we are powerful beings capable of manifesting our intentions. This is our time to cast off what isn’t working, and invite in fertile, positive energy to support a full, juicy life.

Salud!