mindingmybiz

This blog is my shared process in working towards integrating self-awareness with all other aspects of life, while on my way to becoming more authentic and whole.

Archive for the category “spirituality”

Positivity Isn’t a Virtue

I was recently asked if I was a “glass is half-empty” or “glass is half-full” kinda gal, to which I said “Both. I’m a ‘glass is half-empty and half-full’ kinda gal, because both are simultaneously true when it’s true.”

In certain cases, positivity is more of a vice than a virtue when it’s fueled by emotional dishonesty in my relationships. It’s not virtuous to deceive myself or others, regarding how I think or feel, just to appear or sound “positive”. I believe this kind of emotional deception can actually lead to disconnection and depression, are those “positive”?

It takes a level of courage to practice vulnerability and allow yourself to be fully seen by others. This is vital for intimate connection, which starts with being honest and clearest with myself. Sure, I can admit that I don’t like how I feel or think because they make me feel uncomfortable or unpleasant. But to omit them from conscious awareness and prevent me from attending to these parts of me isn’t a positive attribute in my opinion. It’s being out of touch with myself and, all while deceiving myself into believing this is really a “positive” thing to practice!

This kind of positivity is a type of emotional vanity and shallowness. It bolsters shallow and insecure connections, and is rampant in many religious/faith/spiritual circles, where I would hope to find these spaces to be where I can truly show up and take off the masks.

Owning what is true for me, is a more virtuous pursuit than “staying positive” if that means bullshitting about how I really am. That said, I also understand the sad reality that many people cannot contain the full weight of my truth, so I choose whom I share my vulnerability with, discriminately. As long as I know the truth of where I’m at, and am practicing being clear and honest with myself, and can be seen in this light in at least one other relationship, I think that is a positive thing.

An Open Letter to the 12-Step Literature Approvers…

I’m trying to work through the 12-Steps and keep bumping up against what appears as dogma with the Disease Model of addiction. I’m reading Al-Anon approved literature as well as material written by other addiction experts like Gabor Mate and Jamie Marich and am feeling more and more disjointed.

I’ve been personally impacted by a loved one’s addiction and have entered into recovery myself. In 12-Step recovery I’ve been urged to study alcoholism and the disease of addiction. I’ve been studying this subject for years as I’ve been in relationships with people who’ve either been addicted themselves or been impacted by a loved one’s addiction, or both actually. I’m finding myself feeling confused and disjointed, unless I strictly read Al-Anon approved literature! I’m trying to integrate 12-Step approved literature with non-approved addiction literature and am forming my own understanding with as honest and open-minded of an attitude that the Al-Anon program promotes, probably mixed with some of my own defects of character, in process too.

This is my take on addiction thus far coming from someone who finds this subject matter so relevant to her personal life. It’s become an area of passion and vested interest due to my family relationships being touched by addiction. Although I’m not an addiction professional, I represent a voice that’s been deeply impacted by this subject. I’m forming my understanding from a conglomerate of reading from addiction professionals inside and outside of the 12-Step model. It also comes from my lived-experience of going through a loved-one’s relapse into hell. So for whatever it’s worth, I offer my personal reflections from this vantage point. I’m still making sense of my own lived-experience as well as studying the topic of addiction from a variety of sources as I work through the 12-Steps. In other words it’s still slowly brewing, like me. If this benefits someone who has or is going through their own experience of this, I’m grateful.

So without further ado this is my evolving summation on a very complex subject that touches millions of lives every day.

To the Unnamed 12-Step Literature Approvers


I’ve read addiction and codependency literature, outside of your approval. And this is what I’d like to share as a newcomer member of Al-Anon, who also feels deep gratitude for the service of Al-Anon Fellowship. What have we learned about addiction since the 1930’s when A.A. first formed? That it’s complex. And a coherent narrative of addiction in layman’s terms could be that it’s not merely a chronic disease. Consider this narrative that’s backed by addiction and trauma research, and please integrate your approval for literature that offers more. Perhaps something along the lines of this…

Addiction manifests in its burgeoning stage as an unconscious adaptive survival trait in the presence of feeling overwhelming distress, coupled with the absence of a close and secure relationship to an attachment figure like Mom, Dad, or another caregiver.

Notice the Theme, it’s a Duet: Presence + Absence

A presence of Distressing Emotional Experience (based in past and/or present) PLUS an Absence of a Safe enough or secure relationship.

These overwhelming feelings may not even register on the level of conscious awareness until it over-reaches maximum capacity. Until then, the response to overwhelm is constructing and maintaining a thick wall of emotional armor. Any unprocessed feelings from the past accumulate while current feelings which bare any striking resemblance to the past also gets heaped onto the pile. This occurs all while the Absence part of the equation remains – Absence of a Safe Enough or Secure Relationship.

The Absence is a void. A hole consisting of profound disconnection and isolation. A substance or “filler” which acts as a substitute, is reached for in an attempt to fill that void. The momentary relief from pain, and fleeting sensations of pleasure string you along while making increasing demands that you sacrifice more to get more. The constant pursuit and chasing the carrot-on-a-stick can never deliver what you’re pursuing. Freedom from suffering. As this phenomenon takes root like a seemingly innocuous weed, the human’s soul becomes a host for a parasitic-type entity of whatever addictive filler hooks you.

12-Step Fellowships offer a beautiful solution to the Absence part of the equation. The absence of intimate connection which is a fundamental, hardwired, basic human need – creates a void. Filling that void with non-human substances is often a way to cope and while enabling dependency on emotional vulnerability armor. The core issue is an aversion to emotional vulnerability within relationships. When a substance or sabotaging behavior mitigates this aversion despite negative consequences and disturbances in other areas of life, you’ve got the active mechanism of addiction at hand.

So why do relapses occur even after dramatic changes in lifestyle going from using or drinking, to being clean and sober, occur? Well, the other part of the equation needs to be looked at, the presence of distressing experiences especially pertaining to the past which haven’t been processed and integrated.

What came first, the chicken or the egg?

The etiology of addiction is hotly debated among experts, addicts themselves, and those who love them. What came first, the chicken or the egg? The addiction or the unresolved trauma? They both feed off one another, so does it really matter? Not in order to reduce harm and initially get clean and sober. But to stay clean and sober, heal from the aftermath, and truly make living amends – I believe this is relevant.

It’s my developing opinion based from what I’ve learned from various schools of thought and my own experience, that unresolved childhood trauma provides fertile soil for addiction to take root. Along with family history, social conditioning, lifestyle habits, and genetic factors. I don’t hold to the belief that addiction is merely a disease. This belief is antiquated now that so much multidisciplinary scientific inquiry and findings regarding addiction and the plight of human suffering, have been shared.

The strictly disease-based model that posits addiction and/or alcoholism as a disease, is sometimes a helpful simplification for such a complex phenomenon like addiction. Yet further down the road of recovery after encountering relapse, it’s a harmful over-simplification which can create a false sense of security. I believe it inadvertently creates barriers to healing the roots of addiction when these roots prove to be deeper than what first appeared. The disease-model of addiction can inadvertently bypass critical trauma recovery, which can weaken relapse prevention.

Growing up in family subcultures which are reinforced outside the home by the broader culture, enabling self-ignorance, self-neglect, and/or self-abuse in response to distress – creates ripe conditions for addiction. And relapse. An innocent ignorance or a blatant indifference towards healing trauma in response to addiction recovery, furtively enables the practice of emotional self-neglect which often leads to physical self-abuse/harm through drug/alcohol abuse. When this is tacitly considered “normal” within recovery programs, you’ll find that necessary, deeper recovery is stilted, versus the addiction.

I realize my take on addiction and its development doesn’t exclude many people, including myself. Addiction development is quite inclusive and many will be counted as vulnerable towards investing in its empty promises when you have a permissive culture of enabling trauma denial.

Addiction is a very human struggle. It accounts for the struggle of being human in dehumanizing cultures and environments. In my opinion, relegating it as strictly a “disease” seems ignorant. Much has been learned about the nature of addiction and I wish recovery programs would honor this progress. It would help those suffering from addiction and those who love them.

Spiritual principles make room for progression, because you keep an honest and open minded attitude. How can the spirit of 12-Step fellowship principles include the latest findings of addiction without losing it’s unity?Is there room for a different ideology beyond addiction and alcoholism as a disease? Well, even if dogma doesn’t make room for it, my own understanding of the 12-Step spiritual principles, do.

This goes without saying but I’ll say it anyway – these ideas are a representation of my own evolving perspective. Take what serves you, leave the rest.

And with that, I pass. Thank you for reading.

The Gift of Rejection

I did it again. Practice makes progress in being, me

I felt our collective discomfort but didn’t sell out
In that trance-like, shape-shifting blurring into “not really me”, me

As usual
I wasn’t paid by your approval
I was paid however, by my own

As anticipated, failed approval-seeking came my way
I now know what I didn’t, so I don’t despair
The fear of rejection subsides
So my authentic self doesn’t need to hide

I know in the absence of your approval, is mine
But when I reject my authenticity
I taste it in my gut
I taste it in my soul
And it always leaves a hole

Damn, the anxiety I once felt when falling in that hole
It left such disparity in my soul
In that disparity I found MY soul
But it never truly left me, it was only but an illusion
The absence of your validation doesn’t cause such an ego contusion
Where once forsaken energy can flow, that which truly satisfies me whole





Whose Shit Is This?

Is it mine?
Or is it yours?

Long entangled strings from old baggage seem to follow,
like a shadow.

The longer you’ve traveled this earth, the more you collect.
In it can be treasures or and, rotten waste.

Open up your baggage! Its damn flowing train is getting too long!
It’s now a tripping hazard for you and for me!

I wish it were as easy as the Baggage Claim at the airport. 
Travelers recognize their own or can check the name tag. 
But this baggage isn’t so easily claimed!
It’s mistakenly claimed as mine when it’s really yours!

Back and forth the disclaimed and misclaimed baggage gets passionately tossed between us. 
Like a hot potato.
Scorched are the hands who hold on too long.

Not all of this will burn.
There are unclaimed treasures inside too.
There’s been a spill from the unfinished business of your past.
It has contaminated everything.

When you indiscriminately throw away your past, it comes back.
Boomerang.
Give and it will be given back?
Karmic energy?

Reclaim the abandoned energy within and between you.
This will be a joint success, a joint failure, or a joint holding pattern; awaiting clearance.
You cannot abandon this energy force, without consequence.

The whole is more than the sum of its parts.

I repeat…

The whole is more than the sum of its parts.

So…
Whose shit is this?
It’s ours.

Your past, my past
Your beliefs, my beliefs
Your experiences, my experiences
Your pain, my pain
Your dreams, my dreams
Your grief, my grief
Your fears, my fears
Your victories, my victories
Your strengths, my strengths
Your weaknesses, my weaknesses

It all goes into one bag.
Like different threads, weaved into a tapestry.

Joint ownership.  Joint consequences.  Joint time limit.

One bag
One tapestry
Many threads
Our threads

We work to carry it together and move on,
Or we toss it back and forth together
And, remain firmly stuck in a holding pattern; awaiting clearance…
someday. Who knows when?

Meanwhile, time passes by.
Time – non-renewable resource.
Time.  No returns, refunds, or exchanges.

Whose shit is this?
Ours.
Whose treasure is this?
Ours.

*This is a poem about coupleshit coupleship.

from

“Freedom from Ego-Illusion” Take #40

Here I am again. Learning the lesson that my ego is so defended against, but doesn’t understand it’s in her best interest to truly learn that I am more powerful than she believes.

I have the power to learn and grow; emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually. That power isn’t dependent on anyone else.

My ability to learn and grow as I go, does not depend on externals beyond my control – this is good news, it’s freeing news. I am free from depending on my partner, children, ex, economy, the weather, my family of origin, the personal choices of others, etc. in order to learn and grow. Am I impacted by these externals? Absolutely. This doesn’t foolishly deny the reality of interconnectedness and interdependence, it collaborates with it.

Opps, I did it again. I’ve fallen asleep to the illusion that I cannot learn important life lessons and grow, unless another is doing “xyz”.

I passionately want to learn and grow as much as I can in this lifetime. A common illusion I often zombie out to is this illusion of dependence within the context of learning and growing that purports: “In order for you to learn and grow, your partner needs to be learning and growing with you, and in similar fashion.”

Bullshit. It’s an egoic fallacy that justifies so much fear of people, places, and things I can’t control – and therefore, try even harder to control.

It was once true, in childhood. And sometimes I admit, I doze off and fall asleep and stumble through life as an adult, forgetting that I am one. Emotional pain is a jarring alarm clock. It’s adult O’clock. This is a discerning reminder that is wrapped in self-compassion, not judgment. Self-awareness at such a keen level requires an above average, adult level of consciousness and self-compassion. So the mere fact that I am aware of this and owning it means, I’m kicking ass again.

I’m up now. This is the lesson being taught through pain:

I am independent and free to grow, learn from mistakes and courageously do my inner work, and release the insane expectation that I can “get” anyone else to do this for themselves (and me). This is messy work because my ego will put up a huge fight because she believes my survival is at stake. This is why my gentle reassurance, and truly sustainable loyalty to her is so important. She fears being left without the support and loyalty of others because she’s lived through that. So, she needs to know how powerful my own loyalty to her, is.

This is where my loyalty can shine – in showing up for myself as a powerful resource and stop compulsively outsourcing my loyalty to others in hopes that they will be loyal in return. Huge waste of energy and time. Huge.

There are tremendous rewards when I wake up to my own presence, that includes both pain and joy. It is freeing. I may will need to come back to this reminder time and time again. It’s sage wisdom that often flows shortly after an egoic break-down. The aftershock of being swept up by my ego’s “good intentions” leads to breakdowns, yet also make room for breakthroughs.

I’ve been known to say “Don’t let shit go to waste, it makes for great fertilizer.” I’m using my shit to grow independent of others. You are free to do the same, my friend. That is way better news than depending on others to change, so I can grow.

Until next time, keep learning, growing, falling down, and getting back up. And remember, you are free to be loyal to your own growth path, independent of anyone else doing so or not for themselves.

from:

Seedling of Power – Enneagram Type 6

There’s a seedling of power within me.  It’s sprouting.

I’m waking up to the subconscious belief I’ve been loyal to for so long as though this was a survival-dependent strategy:

“It’s safer to be weak and unsure, doubtful, and shielded from my inner power.”

The deeply entrenched belief that claims the best source of validation is external, the most reliable feedback is the feedback from others that accentuate my imperfections, that any feedback will do as long as it will protect me from encountering my inner authority and power. Because that is a dangerous place.

For various reason, I somehow internalized early experiences in my formative years which developed into an anxious either covertly or overtly, dependent personality. This personality which is perceptively explained by Enneagram Type 6, is driven by a belief that it’s safer to project my power or any other “threatening” aspects of myself, onto others.

In certain contexts, this strategy had another layer: a callous. I didn’t want people to see how I struggle to fear my own power and even hid this from myself, unwittingly. Some people exploit vulnerability instead of provide protection and guidance, depending on their own internal structures. Sometimes I can’t tell if others will be a “protector” or a “perpetrator”. So when in ambivalence, the best defense is a good offense. This counter move against vulnerability and the fear of being exploited has sometimes made me feel “powerful” or at least, protected. It’s armor. But this armor is not the kind of power that’s sprouting within me.

The kind of power that’s sprouting within is a sense of inner awakeness to my inner world. It’s a very subtle form of awareness sprouting from my internal validation that doesn’t first depend on external validation. This sense of inner trust to what I’m awake to within, is often paradoxical yet hidden in plain sight. It connects me to inner wisdom that trusts myself enough to take risks, and learn valuable lessons from mistakes and regrets. That external validation is important and yet not primary, but supplemental to my own validation. If I don’t get it when I’m looking for it from another, I’m OK. No need to panic or get pissed off and go to combat to get it from a specific source. Nor do I need to shape-shift and contort myself to receive validation that will always miss the mark if I’m shape-shifting in order to receive it.

This conscious awakeness can rest in the faith that there’s plenty of space for seemingly polarizing “truths” to coexist, in harmony. So when I don’t receive external validation, there is no need to worry. That’s where faith fills the void, that there’s enough space for a variety of perceptions, including mine. This kind of faith requires a boldness because it may go against the current of polarization. Yet if this faith isn’t boldly embraced a fallout can occur within me, a split which can be expressed in my relationship with others, and with my worldview because that faith is the bridge. It can be that significant and also play out on a collective macro level, for better or worse.

Who can hold this kind of space where it’s safe to coexist between opposites? An Ennea-type 6 who is awake and has reconciled with their own inner power and authority. This takes tremendous courage and inner reconciliation. Breaking out of that cage of “smallness” requires inner “bigness” which goes against the flow of “safety in smallness”.

I fear my power. I fear my confidence. What if it’s wrong? What if I mess up? What if I get hurt? What if I hurt others? Power can do all sorts of unpredictable things that hurt people.

And

so can abandoned power.

Owned power has the potential to also help set people free from their chains of “what if’s” that focus exclusively on catastrophic endings.”

What if…

you were to own your inner power and live alive and awake in it?

Self-Reflections on Real vs. Fake Confidence, In Relationships

I like who I am.  I genuinely do.  Yes, there are parts of me I feel more comfortable with than others, but they all make up who I am.  They all belong to me.  The sum of all my parts make up who I am; deep, passionate, caring, and completely lovable. Not everyone will see me in this way, at least not all the time. I don’t either, and I’m OK with that. 

Others have parts of themselves they’re uncomfortable with too, and when certain parts or emotions are expressed in me, it may provoke a reaction from others which illuminates how they feel or interact with their own similar parts.  It’s very rarely personal, but almost always revealing of how one holds certain parts of themselves, usually unconsciously.  That’s exactly why it isn’t personal, yet to the degree an individual can make space for all their parts it will impact the degree of intimacy or intimate-capacity they have for another.

In conflict, pivotal opportunity arises.  The opportunity to strengthen a connection by showing up with openness.  When the struggle (and it’s often a struggle, hence the conflict) to do this is self-acknowledged, compassionate curiosity can soften the edges.  

As a type 6 on the Enneagram, I can detect extremely subtle emotional energy, for better or for worse.  You see, emotions tell on us. They reveal what we tell ourselves about ourselves, and what we tell ourselves about others, all at lightning speed. Curiosity engages with this process and slows it down, because it all happens so rapidly. Slowing the speed down serves to prevent defensively disengaging and shutting down the process, or reacting to it by going on the offense against whatever or whomever we feel defensive towards. What often happens when we don’t consciously slow down to reflect, is a missed opportunity at best, and a self-sabotaging repeat of things we’ve later come to regret.

When an individual shows up with a non-defensive presence and can attune, or meet me where I’m at with sincere, non-judgmental engagement i.e. empathy – it is extremely subtle but profound. This is how intimacy is built, and it is also where it is lost if someone cannot engage with this process. The capacity to be intimate and emotionally available with themselves, and therefore with others is what’s illuminated in these moments. And with that, the opportunity to grow. And, there is always room to grow individually and relationally.

When the opportunity is seized, it’s truly a gift.  A gift that’s birthed in imperfection. It’s a privilege to witness this. What I’m witnessing is another sacred human’s strength and profound trust in themselves, and the impact of being trusted by them as well. There’s risk involved. I want to show up as honestly and authentically as I can, there’s little room for perfectionism in this process.

The natural slower rhythms of synchronicity within this level of intimacy spring from doing enough of this on an individual level first. When two individuals mutually cultivate this kind of space between each other there’s a shared protectiveness and enjoyment, and it’s quite nice and quite rare! So, treasure it.

And while enduring the experiences where there’s a lack of synchronicity, I’m learning to not take the misattunements personally.  It’s more than likely a ripple effect of the rapid past-time insecurities, anxieties, and defenses at play. The key word is: rapid. It cannot be overemphasized how important slowing down is, in order to engage in this process productively.

In certain cases you may find yourself in isolation when it comes to having the intention to evolve, and strengthen your own self and the relationship. When another individual (of which you have no control over) is more invested in their ego boosting their self-esteem, they will defend and resist with great effort. It’s hard to believe because it feels so personal, and it is, but it’s not about YOUR personhood, it’s about theirs. Their very own sense of self-esteem is dependent on a false self (ego) to feel secure, and there is rigidity, not flexibility, in the ego. It’s ego-preservation vs. self-preservation.

When the True self is the one fueling self-esteem, there’s an openness that emerges because the True Self, knows itself and all of its parts (the good the bad and the ugly) can belong so clearly to itself regardless of how anyone may react. It’s an integrated Self that is self-accepting.

So when you experience resistance, understand this is where you can also grow. And to be clear, resistance and defensive reactions can range anywhere from avoidance to fleeing to going on the offense by becoming either passive-aggressive or blatantly aggressive. This is indicative of ego-preservation, that results from having a fragile source of self-esteem (the ego).

When (not if, but when) this happens, you’ll have an opportunity with yourself to get very clarifying information around your own ego-preservation activities, which we all have to different degrees, and of different levels of awareness and intensity depending on how your personality operates (read up on Enneagram). The cracks in your own armor around this may likely get exposed.  Ouch. And welcome to the human race, once again. How you respond has impact. Invite yourself to become empowered.

Some of us are more easily duped by our egos than others. To those who have very sophisticated egos when it comes to self-awareness and where we are on our growth maps, you may want to ask yourself some discerning questions:

  • Do you value or dismiss what’s triggering you? 
  • Do you engage in vulnerable and compassionate self-reflection, sharing this with at least one individual who will challenge and vet your narrative?

If not, you’ll stay stuck and your evolution will pass this opportunity by, and will return again and again until you’ve worked this through to completion.  And, may then visit your descendents for the opportunity to evolve in the next generation.

Little by little, (which is the pace that organic life grows) you’ll stretch your window of tolerating discomfort as you receive these Divinely inspired opportunities to say yes to building a sense of genuine self-confidence that stems from grace and truth.

This is how ultimately how I see adult development works, whether I like parts of it or not. 

Know Your Place

Where do you look, in order to know your place?

Allow me to show you. . .

Please, have a look in the mirror.

Get to know the one staring back at you. Understand the person in the mirror – deeply, intimately, slowly, steadily, and thoroughly. You’ll find your place, inside.

In the words of Maya Angelou: “You only are free when you realize you belong no place – you belong every place – no place at all.”

This used to make no sense to me. Until, I understood for myself that freedom is found within. In making space by letting go of finding your place, outside of you.

When you truly and thoroughly claim yourself, you belong to you. Another person’s disapproval or judgment cannot displace you. You cannot be internally exiled, by another’s exile of you.

This is about personal responsibility, which is what leads to personal freedom.

To truly claim and belong from the inside out, you’ve got to allow yourself to travel the depths of all you are. You’ve got to allow yourself to feel what arises while looking inside yourself. Is there discomfort? Stay there. Gently. This is the gateway to freedom.

To the extent that you disown and deny aspects of yourself when it feels uncomfortable (often subconsciously because it’s what you experienced in your formative years) you’re abandoning yourself. It may feel “familiar” to do so. I know it has for me. I didn’t know any other way. But by doing this I was putting myself, out.

Self-abandonment will keep you in a prison cell, while giving away your power to others to define who you are. Or, to acknowledge that you even exist.

There will be certain aspects of yourself which make you feel uncomfortable. Intensely so. You may feel the urge to reject and shame certain parts of yourself. This is all a part of the healing journey. There’s nothing wrong with you if you experience this discomfort. You can start by being present and curious with your inner-banisher, for this too is a part of you. Why does this part feel the urge to banish certain parts of you? Which parts of you get the boot? Those are parts that need to receive special attention, from you.

When you abandon parts of yourself, you’re likely going to inadvertently depend on an external source to do what you aren’t doing for yourself. Perhaps because you weren’t consciously aware you did this, or haven’t trusted that you’re enough to do this.

You can and you are.

In fact, only you have the power to set yourself free. Accepting the vulnerable parts of you is an act of true inner security, strength, and courage. This is necessary and therapeutic when it happens through another person’s validation who assists in filling developmental gaps from childhood, but don’t stop here. It’s only when you start doing this for yourself, that transformation and freedom unfolds.

If you’re constantly looking for others to accept your vulnerable parts while you reject them, and you get their temporary validation – you’re still not free; regardless of how much another may love or validate you. It can be a great start, but you’ve got to take the baton sooner or later and do this for yourself as a practice. In other words; again and again.

Take note; you cannot bypass parts of yourself which make you feel the most uncomfortable. Actually let me restate that. Of course you can do whatever you want on your journey. You are the one who lives it. But know this – you will be housing a fragile sense of self that gets easily triggered by factors outside of your control. So, consider this side-effect of discomfort-avoidance as you evolve. As you evolve, you’ll likely notice yourself tolerating avoidance less, and becoming more sensitive to what you’re missing out on when bypassing the rich opportunity that discomfort often presents.

I’ve found it’s also immensely empowering to become well acquainted with different aspects within, which seem in direct conflict with one another. Give yourself time and gentleness, and convene. This is profoundly healing work. Work that pays off because it empowers you to trust yourself more and more, which includes owning your right to make mistakes and learn from them.

By doing this inner work, you give yourself the conscious awareness of how these parts have formed your personality and parts of your identity in ways that don’t serve you like they once did, and perhaps you’ve never questioned any of this because you believed “you” were rigidly set in stone. Not so. You are malleable. Neuroscience call this neuroplasticity. As a human being, you are able to form new neural pathways and always add onto your learning, throughout your entire lifespan according to your level of openness. That is how we’ve survived this long. But you don’t just have to merely survive (aka not be dead). You can awaken, thrive, and be fully ALIVE.

I believe all of us formed a “self” as a means to adapt and survive while we were young, within whatever emotional environment we grew up in, by no choice of our own. This is my understanding of what an “ego” is. The ego isn’t inherently good or bad. It’s an adaptation, a pretty sophisticated but manufactured identity or “false self” that was formed without a conscious awareness in order to protect the True-Self, while your brain was still developing, and the mechanisms to defend our True Self got wired in along the way, and often become how we see our “self” vs how we survived our childhood environments which were less than ideal for the True Self to be engage with others. These defensive strategies can also be re-learned to serve us better as we receive feedback from present day life. IF – you are not offended by the feedback because you understand it’s not about your worth, but about your programming.

Until consciously examined, the ego is an adaptive autopilot personality or “false self” consisting of various unexamined beliefs which run you. It learned quickly in early childhood about what kind of “person” you should be in order to position yourself to receive external validation at best, or not be abused or neglected (physically and/or emotionally) at worst.

In childhood we develop our sense of “self” from the outside in. Our brain codes our experiences along with the emotions we carry at the time, based on how others (initially our primary caregivers) reflect us back. This starts during our preverbal years. That is how all children start to develop, from the outside in. It takes a long time for our brains and nervous systems to fully mature and develop. During our development, from the time in utero until we are well into our 20’s, lots of experiences happen (lots of which are not optimal) which get wired in as we try to make meaning of our world; internally and externally. When we don’t have caregivers or adults in our lives who can help us make meaning from our experiences in a way that validates our worth (from them knowing their own worth) we are left to fill in a lot of blanks as young kids. That’s a pretty grown-up job for a child to fill in for, so be gentle on yourself. And this isn’t about your parents being consciously and willfully neglectful or incompetent. In most cases it’s done without their conscious awareness. In any case, this is about how you now can consciously respond.

In adulthood we have more choices. We can choose who we reach out to, we’re not confined to our parents, our family of origins ,or school teachers, etc. We have more say-so. Often we filter through who we reach out to with what feels most familiar on an unconscious level. It’s the most energy conserving way, at first. Until life gives us feedback in the form of pain. Learning to expand what is “familiar” takes intention and time. Taking one step at a time through unfamiliarity will eventually lead to new “normals” of to what feels familiar. Again, this takes time. Be patient with yourself.

In adulthood I can practice accepting parts of me that were judged in childhood. They no longer need to hide for protection, they just need connection to the rest of me, and to others who’ve earned my trust.

When you can boldly accept all your parts, even especially the weird ones – you will set yourself up to receive acceptance that is available externally and freely. If you are still not accepted externally and are respectfully being authentic; it is most likely not an issue between you and them, but an issue between that other person and an aspect of themselves they are not accepting. Often without their conscious awareness. Wish them well or farewell, you may need to grieve a loss depending on what is lost but know you are not losing your own place,, within you. It isn’t your place to force another to accept you or to force yourself to contort yourself so they can pseudo “accept” you. You don’t have to do that anymore.

Know that your place is still securely within you regardless of where others place you.

Wherever you go, you belong. Because wherever you go, there you are. And you belong to you. Saith who? Saith you.

Trust Your Anger

Say what?

Yes. I am here to tell you that you can trust your anger. This emotion has been so poorly misunderstood for many folks, including myself. And I understand why. When we don’t understand that our anger is offering us a love-based power, we tend to distrust, fear, resist and/or misdirect it.

I’ve done all the above. Yet the thing is with anger (and all of our “negative” emotions) it doesn’t magically disappear just because we ignore it. Emotions are energy, and according to my high school daughter’s science teacher; energy cannot be destroyed or created, but transferred. Now, whether the act of transferring of energy is conscious or not, that’s where having an empowerment lens regarding emotions comes into play.

What if anger is meant to be a loving and persistent wake up call? A clarion call to expand, first within yourself.

When we keep hitting the ‘snooze’ button on our anger, it doesn’t work out too well for long. Anger is meant to wake you up and the more you try to resist it, the more it will persist even if it means it has to come out sideways. And when our emotions have to come out sideways, there are usually unforeseen and undesirable “side effects”, pun intended.

Common ways anger comes out sideways is by being super judgmental and intolerant of certain differences, while feeling a sense of self-righteousness. It also comes out by being covertly aggressive while feigning this helpless victim/vindictive mode of operation, triangulation, gossip, “isms”, divisiveness, and ultimately consumes a ton of energy to keep anger, on lock-down. Sometimes there is so much energy used up to lock-down anger (which again is energy itself) that people will collapse or implode from basically going to war with their own energy. Depression comes to mind.

I see depression as energy literally used to depress energy; an emotional civil war of sorts that presents in a multitude of self-harming ways in order to release this built up tension from a civil or internal war. There will be success in the sense of temporarily avoiding the anger, but this comes at a huge cost. Consider countries who are engaged in civil wars; burning up valuable resources to fight themselves.

The goal of avoiding anger may be reached by not ever authentically expressing it, but usually this results in ultimately feeling: ISOLATED and drained, while blaming external factors or people, for the internal civil war. That IS depressing.

What if your anger wants to bring you connection, first within. What if anger was a bridge between the gap of who you think you “ought” to be and who you are, authentically?

Anger is an alarm. It’s a wake up call. What is anger waking you up to?

Your TRUE SELF and the power you have in being true to this self.

You may keep hitting snooze on your anger if you fear and judge aspects of yourself, as well as your own sense of personal power. You may believe it’s better to give away your power, and hold someone else responsible for this. Yet when they inevitably disappoint you with your power you’ve given away, you blame them. This keeps you stuck. If this is what you want, don’t change a thing. Don’t look within.

If you want something different, you’ll have to be willing to do something, different.

The way out, is through your anger. Listen to it.

When I’ve tapped into my own anger, this is what I’ve heard it saying: 
Hear Me. See Me. The REAL Me.  Stop giving me away to other people. Stop giving away my Power. Stop abandoning me. I know you can handle me. You can handle my power. I am trustworthy, but I will not shut up. I am not evil. I will not make you “sin”. I do not want to harm you or others. I want to wake you up to something bigger and better, but you are asleep within your comfort zone, fearing the unknown. Fearing the unfamiliar. I am here to provide you with the necessary fuel to trek through uncharted territory and do things that are not within your norm. The norm is boring and lulling you to sleep. I am here to WAKE YOUR LOVELY ASS UP to how parts of you have been indoctrinated with bullshit. Do you want to hold onto bullshit? I am here to wake you up to living a life that you truly mean to live, yet there are limiting subconscious beliefs getting in the way. I’m not afraid to confront bullshit, I can handle it. Trust me, and WAKE UP.”

This is the empowered message of anger. It’s a wake up call to live more consciously and authentically. Ironically, the more you snooze your anger, the more you will distrust it because you are experiencing the side-effects of denied anger, which comes out SIDEWAYS.

And you SHOULD be leery of anger that comes out sideways. It ain’t pretty, it’s quite depressing actually. And yet you can let your anger direct you, back to yourself, one step at a time.

I am unapologetically ME.

Sorry, but I’m not sorry for being; me.

Though, I will seek to apologize for my reactions which fall below my behavioral standards as I learn to receive or perceive rejection, judgment, and criticism while being WHO I AM. 

External rejection, judgment, and criticism are all welcome, as I consciously welcome MY AUTHENTICITY’S HOMECOMING.

There’s a cost that comes with being who you truly are.  Minimally, it will cost you the loss of temporary approval.  It could cost you more though, rather than just someone’s temporary approval, it could cost you the entire relationship if the foundation is based on you being a certain “you” that is not even really you.

There is also a cost to NOT living authentically.  And this comes through managing the effectiveness of all the ways to numb the pain that is calling you to live in alignment with YOU and to stop living a life in self-betrayal, to varying degrees.

Living inauthentically can cause you to develop a dependency on whatever in life may make you temporarily APPEAR to be secure and self-confident. You will need to invest more and more resources towards appearing this way (to others or yourself) by altering your image or even your own moods in some form to fool yourself, until YOU say – “ENOUGH”. Until then, you may settle with living a deeply insecure life, where you depend entirely on numbing out from this insecure and painful place.

In short – this insecure relationship you have with yourself is built on bullshit, and builds relationships with others built on more bullshit.  For some, a bullshit relationship is the only kind of acceptable relationship. It’s the only way they can feel safe because it’s so damn familiar; showing up in various masks, with familiar scripts. I’ve done this.  I empathize with the masked life. AND, I want more out of life than what my masks can deliver, no matter how sophisticated or glamorous they may look.

One of the masks I most comfortably wore (unconsciously) was this religious mask, mine happened to be “Christian”. While I still loosely identify as a Progressive Christian, hiding behind a rigid religious identity paid off for awhile, until my heart desired more

I’m consciously deconstructing and reconstructing my way of relating to all aspects of me, which is deep spiritual work. It no longer satisfies my soul to turn to a system of religious beliefs and practices defined by others in order to feel acceptable to the Divine and therefore, myself. Because I consciously resonant with the belief that I, as a human being am innately of the Divine.

I’m seeking to be more authentic, not “Christian” or even “spiritual”. This is what I see when I contemplate the life of Jesus or other spiritual beings who lived human lives, which inspire me.

I’ve been on this journey for a little bit. I’m finding that my tolerance level for numbing out and buying into bullshit becomes lower and lower. Simultaneously my appetite for deeper and more authentic connection internally and with others, expands.

I’m practicing authenticity, one imperfect step at a time. For me, this is what it means to be a spiritual being, having my unique human experience.

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