When the shit hits the fan, you’re on the right path.

Well it’s been awhile since I’ve posted. That’s because the universe saw me giving a heave-ho to my old life, my old narratives and my old ways. It was all,

“Sweet child….you’re so cute. And, no.”

But I persisted. I didn’t stop with the first universal punch to the gut, nor the second or the 3rd. In fact, I expected it. My guide to being a Bad Ass foretold this with a warning. I was clear that if I made a decision to change my life, and if I really meant it, and if I started to take action steps toward this, there would likely be an immediate setback. This setback would be a test of the universe and my own subconscious. A test to see how serious I am about making these changes. A test of my commitment. A test of my determination. I was also clear that my job was to  remain steadfast, focused and undeterred. I would need to manage the setbacks as they come and continue on my new path with diligence and perseverance. The universe and/or my subconscious took note and was like,

“Wow, you are still moving forward with all this change…try THIS!”

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

So, here I sit….in the ICU, watching my mom breathe through a ventilator and fight for her life……and here is where I have sat for the last 9 days.

My nose raw with hospital stench.
My fingers unable to feel the keys on this keyboard because my hands are gloved and my body is gowned.
Mom is in isolation and critically ill.

She’s unresponsive.

She’s in pain.

And I miss her…I miss her so much my heart aches and tears flow down my cheeks like water out of a faucet. I have never, in my life, experienced such pain and deep, deep sadness.

Everything in my life is on pause. I haven’t worked in 9 days. I haven’t been home in 9 days. I stay with my mom in the hospital and then I go home to her house to sleep. My children are an hour away with my boyfriend watching them. The world, my life, as I knew it, has melted away right before my eyes. It reminds me of holding a glass in your hand and without even feeling the glass slip from your grasp you realize it’s on the floor, shattered. It happened so quickly and without time to respond that it’s almost hard to believe it happened at all – except that the evidence is all over the floor – in tiny, sharp shards that, if not careful, could cut.

Okay universe. You have my attention.

Angels of the universe,

and angels of mine,

I surrender, 

and let you be my guide.

 

The flowers in mom’s room grow day by day.   And I am so grateful.

Did you hear that universe? I am serious about this transformation!

9/17/17

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this yet (snark-snark) but I am kind of depending on Jen Sincero’s “You are a Badass: How to stop doubting your greatness and start living an awesome life,” to get me through this journey of transformation. I’ve taken a Julie and Julia style approach to this journey and this book. I am taking everything in “You are a Badass….” literally. I do exactly what this book tells me to.

  • Connect to “Source Energy” (meditate) – check.
  • Reflect on your inner narratives – check.
  • Rewrite these narratives with new truths – check.
  • Believe that your life can change and that you are worthy of all the awesomeness you desire – check.
  • Make a statement to the universe that you intend to change – check.
  • Take action – check.
  • Have faith – check.
  • Live in gratitude – check.
  • Forgive – check.
  • Let go of ego and live your higher-self – check.
  • Don’t let fear control your life – check.

Okay, okay, so I can’t honestly say “check” on each of these implying that it is done, complete, finished, ain’t no thing. In fact, all of this is quite challenging. So challenging that I am kind of embarrassed and a little ashamed. I actually started reading this book about a month ago and I haven’t finished it yet.

(In case you were wondering, this blog is in real time. As in, work in progress, under construction, don’t mind the mess that is my everyday reality).

It’s not that this book is hard to understand or a million pages long. It’s just that it’s so profound. I read somewhere between 5-20 pages at a time and then I literally just turn it face down in my lap because I can’t absorb anymore at that moment. Each page is filled with something so profoundly relevant to where I am in life that it’s like pop rocks and soda in my brain – overwhelming and kind of exciting. I need time to process the messages and then to apply them to my life. I’ve read some of it over and over because the struggle to apply these concepts is real. I am realizing more and more and more how cozy it is for me to live with anger and resentment towards others and cover myself in a blanket of self-pity. I have believed for so long that life is hard and I will always be short on money, unable to communicate in healthy ways, use food as comfort, deal with insomnia and anxiety and work a stressful job that actually internalizing and believing anything different is a huge risk. It’s a risk to my comfort, my normal.

Yet, I am committed.

Something deep inside is reassuring me that if I do the work, I can change my life. I do believe this. So, while it may be challenging, uncomfortable, risky or downright discombobulating, I’m doing everything I am told so I can be my true Bad Ass self.

First things first, I’ve got to find a new job. My current job has many amazing components but over all, it’s not a good fit. I’ve been more stressed out than ever before and I have less time for myself and my family than ever before. But, of course, being the primary income earner for 2 growing kids, I can’t fuck around with my income. So, perhaps I wasn’t strategic enough when just over 2 weeks ago, in my Puerto Vallarta haze of optimism and clarity, I decided to be transparent with my boss about my intentions to find another job. Yes, that’s right folks, I told my boss that I intend to leave…..before I actually have another job……or any real leads on another job…..or any idea of what I am actually going to DO!

Did you hear that universe??? I am serious about this transformation. I am being bold. I am pushing past fear. I am taking a leap and having faith that a net will appear. How is that for Bad Ass? According to my guide it’s pretty Bad Ass…and according to my guide, this is when the shit will hit the fan.

That’s exactly what happened.

Summer’s Recipe for Success (Yeah- I’m just gonna own this)

August 30th, 2017

Alas, there is no magic pill. No quick trick to escape the sorrows of the swamp and move through the murky muck of stuck. I must trudge – and believe me, right now it feels like truuuuuuuuuudging. One step at a time, small as each may be, I – must – trudge. Where am I trudging to? Still no identifiable destination. But my guide to finding my inner Bad Ass is helping me identify the tools I’ll need for this trip. First step: identify the tools I’ve used in the past.

Upon reflection, I’ve been able to identify two specific times in my adult life when I didn’t feel stuck. Yes! There are two, clearly transitional times where I was living my truth, listening to my gut and “on purpose.”

The first time I can remember feeling truly on purpose was during my first year of roller-derby. Roller-derby came to me at a time of life when I really needed it and yet, I was totally unaware of how much I needed it. I wasn’t conscious of my unhappiness or depression or desperation. I was conscious of the fact that after my first practice I was full-on addicted. That was it. I was a derby-girl and despite the fact that I’d had minimal exposure to any roller derby at all I knew I was carnally connected to all the women who had ever strapped on skates and stepped onto a track. At some point, I do plan to document my “derby story,” (every derby-girl has one) and share the life changing onset, 5 year journey and bitter-sweet closure of that chapter. Today is not that day. I will say that my time in roller-derby built a confidence in me that changed my whole life perspective. In that sport I overcame physical and mental challenges that I never thought possible – not for me. Every time I stepped on to the track I was a warrior. I knew the danger. I knew the job to be done. I did it.
The second time I can remember feeling “on purpose,” was during my divorce. This milestone marked the first time in my life where I truly took a conscious risk. I was fully aware of the gravity of my decision, completely in touch with the fear of what was to come and committed to going through it. As a mother of two young children, the depth of the impact of my choice was always at top of my mind. I knew I had to. I knew it would be awful. It was…and I did it.
I’ve reflected on what was in common in these two very specific times of my life with the hope that I can, once again, move forward through fear and the unknown with perseverance – hell maybe even with some excitement? Low and behold there are some interesting commonalities that give me hope! In fact, the commonalities in these times are almost like a recipe- a recipe for success? Okay maybe that’s a stretch, but I have to have faith and I have to have hope and if a “recipe for success” will get me one step farther along in my transformation then fuck it. Let’s do this.

Summer’s Recipe for Success:

  1. A clear goal
  2. Strategies to overcome fear
  3. Willingness to take risk
  4. Willingness to fall and get back up
  5. Willingness to succeed
  6. Love and support from others

Here is where the real work begins. Time to find a way to access all the optimism and inspiration I felt in Puerto Vallarta for my big life change- minus the unlimited food, drinks, sand and sun.

Hmph. Harder than I thought.

Truth? I cried so much my first day back from Mexico.

Truth? I’ve cried a LOT since I’ve been back.

I’ve moped. I’ve indulged my self-pity. I’ve embraced the fear and the stuck.

Time to move forward.

Hmph. Harder than I thought.

The Stuck

August 23rd, 2017

Do you ever just feel fuckin’ stuck? I mean fucking. Stuck. Stuck like you’re in quick sand and you have to keep moving forward but you can’t move at all and you can’t identify a way out and you can’t see a path to a way out and you’re losing grip of the rope that your strangling just to keep your head above the suffocating sludge, stuck. Like the tragic scene in The NeverEnding Story where Atreyu’s horse, Artax, trots into this black pond of turbidity and slows to a stop, waist deep in this murky mud. Atreyu, at first confused about Artax’s pause, gently encourages him

“Come on…what’s wrong?”

As Atreyu moves toward Artax he realizes his horse is sinking. Right before his eyes this beautiful white beauty goes from waist deep to chest deep to neck deep….and Atreyu, never giving up on Artax’s strength and determination, yells

“It’s the sadness Artax!”

Then pleads,

“Artax, please, you’re letting the sadness of the swamps get to you. You have to try. You have to care…”

But it’s in vein. Artax had succumb to the sadness and was resigned to sinking in the stuck.

That’s how I’ve been feeling recently. And if I’m really real about it, I’ve probably been feeling fucking stuck for much of my adult life. I am definitely that girl that pretty much did what I aughta’. I went to college, got a stable job at the university, got married, bought a house, had a baby and went about life as a 23 year old.
Yup. I was 23 by the time I had done all of these things. Perhaps this has contributed to my feeling stuck?? Of course now, as a (late) 30 something woman I can look back and realize I was just a baby doing all of these very grown and responsible things. I did more adulating in my 20’s than many do in their 30s.

If I’m using what I know about how to be a good Bad Ass in training, this is where am to reflect on my life and try to think if there has been a time in my life where I didn’t feel stuck. A time where I felt like I was living truly “on purpose,” as Jen Sincero says.

Being “on purpose” is to be living your truth – living in inspiration – living with joy and fulfillment and knowing that you’re on the path you’re meant to be on. The idea being that if you can identify a time in your life where you’ve felt on purpose you can glean some tools for this journey based on journeys past.

What if I’ve never had a time in my life where I did feel “on purpose?” What if I’ve been slave to the status quo and negated my inner guide – my gut – in perpetuity?

I have to try. I have to care. Thus, I shall reflect.

A Spiritual Awakening in Mexico – Part B

Should we get tattoos in Mexico?!

In fact, I already knew exactly what I wanted because it was symbolic of the last, and most profound, spiritual experience I’ve ever had. Not to mention that in Mexico you can get a tattoo for about a third of the cost as in the US. I was now officially open to the idea. Jorge recommended a tattoo shop. Cut to the next day (our last full day of vacation), my girlfriend and I ventured into downtown. We sweated our asses off as we trekked through the city to find Chapa Tattoo. “Chapa,” a well known local artist was very friendly and actually moved an appointment so he and the other artist in the shop, Luis Uribe, could do our tattoos that day. 2.5 hours later, we walked out with fresh ink.

I chose to start a piece on my arm, knowing I didn’t have time (or pesos) to get the whole thing done at once. I got a crow. My crow. My spirit animal. I have to admit, once that crow was on my arm it was as though it had always been there. It couldn’t have felt more right.

A year ago, after the aforementioned spiritual experience, I’d done a lot of reading about the symbolism of a crow but hadn’t read anything recently. Upon seeing my Facebook status update with a my new little friend inked into my arm, my mom sent me an article about “Medicine Crow.” There it was, the final confirmation that this tattoo was absolutely part of my journey and confirmation that I am, in fact, embarking on a new journey, a new chapter, a transformation.

In a crude summary of a more spiritually complex article, “Medicine Crow” represents transformation while maintaining a balance between the past, present and future. See the excerpt below:

"As you learn to allow your personal integrity to be your guide, your sense of feeling alone will vanish. Your personal will can then emerge so that you will stand in your truth. The prime path of true Crow people says to be mindful of your opinions and actions. Be willing to walk your talk, speak your truth, know your life's mission, and balance past, present, and future in the now. Shape shift that old reality and become your future self. Allow the bending of physical laws to aid in creating the shape shifted world of peace.

In seeing what is true, you may need to weed out past beliefs or ideas to bring yourself into the present moment. Contrary Crow speaks of needing to remember that Divine Law is not judgment or denial of self-truths. Divine Law is honoring harmony that comes from a peaceful mind, an open heart, a true tongue, a light step, a forgiving nature, and a love of all living creatures. Honor the past as your teacher, honor the present as your creation, and honor the future as your inspiration.

Focus on the positive. Detach from negativity. See opportunities in every challenge."

Source: Sams, Jamie and Carson, David. Medicine Cards (Santa Fe: Bear and Company, 1988).

Yes. Transformation. Creating a new future/reality while staying present and using the past as a learning experience and guide. Medicine Crow also speaks to a level of responsibility within this transformation as well as mental fortitude – stepping lightly, forgiving,  loving all, remaining positive and learning from obstacles endured. Here in lies so many challenges. Like, so many.

Newly armed (no pun intended but definitely appreciated) with my crow and info on tapping into my “bad assery,” I know it’s time for me to take some drastic measures to change the direction I’m headed in life. Which direction? I don’t know. What’s the final destination? To be determined. All I know is that somehow this journey will involve my camera, music, this blog and a shit load of trust and vulnerability – starting now.

The truth is I’m scared. Scared like the kind of scared you are if you’ve just pulled the bars down across your chest on a roller coaster that is about to take you to uncomfortable heights at a startling speed and jolt your brain and body in ways that can’t be safe. Yet you pull those bars down and brace yourself with that knot in your stomach and a twinge of excitement.

 post fresh ink – my crow.

A Spiritual Awakening in Mexico – Part A

August 20th, 2017

Here I sit, on a plane flying back from Puerto Vallarta, having had the most amazing vacation of my life. Coming back with me is perhaps my most treasured souvenir, a new faith that this life of mine- this rat race- can be different. I’ve had an awakening.

After 3 days of decompressing with piña coladas, strawberry daiquiris, Bahama Mamas (an amazing drink that is closest to a piña colada but has grenadine and banana liquor- YES PLEASE), endless time on the beach under an umbrella indulging in mystery novels and cheap magazines, I finally had the energy to get my mind straight (sober) and be present in life. What do you know?!? 3 full days of unlimited access to food, relaxation and imbibing inspired me to want more from my every day life! Well that, and this deep pit in my stomach…this gnawing feeling…..this sick feeling….this feeling of inadequacy, anxiety, restlessness, fear, depression, sadness…..this feeling that was becoming harder and harder to suppress – harder to numb. It was becoming my consciousness- which is why, in preparation for my trip, one of the (many) books I picked up was “You Are a Badass: How To Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living An Awesome Life,” By Jen Sincero.

This book is essentially a self-help book specially written for (late) 30 something women finding their way through the post-divorce, pre liberation stage of life! And probably others too….but that’s how I read the title. Clearly, I knew I was on the precipice of an awakening and all I needed were a couple of tools to get me there. In this case, “tools,” being a dreamy vacation and the right book at the right time.

I’d been reading about how to get in touch with my inner Bad Ass for several days and had a couple good (albeit brief) meditations when one of the staff members at our all-inclusive resort casually approached me and my girlfriend (fellow bad-ass and travel companion) sitting in our beach chairs under our umbrella. His name was Jorge (pronounced George) and he spoke to us like an old friend as we bonded over Ru Paul and tattoos. He was considering a new tattoo and wanted to ask my girlfriend about the ink on her shin. This was one of those times in life where you take note of coincidence, and if you are on the verge of a spiritual awakening, you wonder if this is more than coincidence and perhaps a part of your journey. All week my girlfriend had been jonesin’ to leave the safety and security (the luxury) of this all-inclusive oasis from real life and head into downtown Puerto Vallarta to get tattoos! Tattoos PLURAL- as in one for her and one for me. I’m down for a tattoo and all but a tattoo in Mexico? I had played the skeptic all week laying out one logical argument after another about why we shouldn’t get tattoos in Mexico. My primary argument being that, we were in Mexico. Yet here sits Jorge, perched with his legs crossed on the little side table meant to hold drinks and sunscreen, trading stories about ink. I was starting to think maybe, just maybe, we should get tattoos in Mexico!?

 

 Jorge, ‘G’ and me.