There Is A Crack In Everything

I hate cliche’s. I hate “kumbaya-hold hands” bull shit. And yet I find myself becoming the Queen of positive cliches lately. Simply because they are true! Which I cant believe I just admitted to.

I think it simply takes wounds–and lots of scars–to make you realize that all that touchy-feely “one day at a time,” “trust the Universe,” crap you always hear the “hippie” folk talking about–is actually true.

We are all wounded. Some of us more than others. Some physical, some mental, some emotional–there is not a single person on this planet who has not suffered some type pain. And anyone who says that they have never been broken are living in serious denial. Anyone who has ever breathed a single breath on this Earth has experienced some type of scarring. Its part of being a human–and part of being a soul.

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Going through some heavy emotional and spiritual issues myself lately, a friend recently recommended and article about healing our wounds with gold. Lots of things stood out to me, but the most was a quote from Leonard Cohen’s song “Anthem”: “There is a crack in everything. Its where light comes in.” That quote literally made me reevaluate my feelings towards super cheesy love yourself cliches. We all suffer. Every major religion (and some that are off the beaten track!) all believe that we must suffer in order to achieve spiritual bliss. Its not fair and frankly sucks at best, but its through suffering that we realize what can make or break us.

People have commented to me over the past two weeks how different I look. How happy I look. Its because I wont let wounds and scars define me. I will only use them to make me stronger, to use them to push me towards growth. Realizing that you are strong–well its an amazing thing. Even when you feel like you can only go down-the super human strength you get from scars–is pretty awesome.

In days, weeks or years–you will look back and realize that you did in fact learn something. Or, that The Universe does work in some crazy and mysterious ways. That what you believed was the end of the road was actually the path to a new journey. You will realize that every situation, every person you meet, every soul you touch, or every soul that touches you….good or bad….was meant to.

ImageThose cracks-that you thought would always be there-they will close. You may feel like a shattered piece of glass–but you glue yourself together and build character. Essentially, you are creating……well you. I think as humans, we underestimate our souls, our spiritual selves. Our souls are here experiencing life at this very moment. Its taking everything we learn–the pain and the suffering–the joy and the sadness-and creating a sacred tablet onto itself so when this life is over–you will have something to share in the next. There is only one thing in the world that can help seal up all our cracks-that can help our soul realize its strength. Love.

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Love is a word that everyone associates with mushy lovey dovey relationships, which is fantastic, but not just the definition of love. Love is about loving YOU and who you are becoming–with all those cracks–Its about being a bit selfish. Realizing what YOU need to be able to grow, which sometimes means ending relationships or starting new ones. Its also about unconditional love. That unto itself, that is the hardest of all things to learn. Loving unconditionally-including yourself-is about not only acknowledging someones pureness–but also the darkness. Its about understanding that we are not perfect-we are not meant to be perfect. We are meant to be imperfect. In order for us to let the light in, to seal up those imperfections, we have to acknowledge them and embrace them. In order to move past pain, and sorrow, and being broken-in order to glue yourself back together–you have to acknowledge all those things about yourself that you don’t like; because in the end, we all have cracks. And when you acknowledge those bits of you that you wish you could do without–its when you see the beauty in the life around you.

That is how we heal our wounds.  That is how we let the light in.

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The Pain of Resiliency-And the Power of Vulnerability

Resiliency is often a word that people don’t fully understand. Often people associate the word with the ability to bounce right back up when you are kicked down. To be able to crawl your way back up to the light when you have fallen down a dark hole. People admire those who are resilient. The resilient folk seem to have some insurmountable strength that often leaves people asking themselves, “why cant I be that strong?” ~ and it leaves the resilient people saying, “if you only knew.”

I am a resilient person. I have been knocked down so many times in my life and have always found the ability to move forward-against all odds-against whatever the tides of the Universe pushed towards me. I held my head up high and walked against the winds and made it through. Always learning something about myself along the way. I have never allowed myself to be vulnerable. I most often allowed myself to cry behind closed doors….or not cry at all. Even when I have felt that my heart was being torn out of my chest-I would never cry. Crying is not something most resilient people allow others to see. Chin up and no tears, that’s what they let the world see. And that, unto itself, is painful. Resilient people feel that they need to move forward–no matter what they are feeling. And that is the main problem. Resilient people more often than not, dont allow themselves to feel. Feeling would be weak-and you cant move quickly enough to bounce back if you feel everything or anything. Resilient people are the ones who usually, are in the most pain-we keep everything locked up-its easier that way. Putting on a brave face and showing that indeed, I am the Warrior Queen. 

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But then again….we need to show our hearts. Put it on the table. Allow ourselves to be vulnerable. There is a strange power in vulnerability–we cant be strong all the time. And its through our most vulnerable moments-that we learn more about who we are, and what we can handle and what, after all, makes us so resilient. We have our emotions played with, our hearts broken, our dreams shattered. We learn who is there for us through thick and thin and who is only there for the moment. We learn what trust is and what the real value is in friendship. Who will be there for you when the ship is sinking….and who will tear your heart out. All of this so you can crash and realize that you are more stronger than you ever imagined.

Sometimes the pain in your heart makes you feel like you are choking. That you cant breathe. That you have been locked in a box and cant find your way out-because for whatever reason-you keep being pulled in one direction. And then sometimes, you wake up and realize who you are, and what you want to become. You realize that despite the heart splitting pain you feel-you will learn a lesson and become stronger. You will gain a new battle scar, a new wound, and look back on its cause and realize that there is nothing more powerful than allowing yourself to be open–even if it hurts like hell.

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When it feels like torture-to be able to open yourself up-and feel-and allow others in. To knock down a few walls so others can see what is behind them. Even when someone chooses another over you, or tells you they are in love with someone else. When someone walks away from you-or they push you out of their lives. Or even, when you need to spread your wings and realize that you are letting others float away from you–because you have to let them go in order to grow. To find some solace in the pain of vulnerability is what gives the strength that is found in resiliency. You are able to push forward because you know the pain of looking back, and the lessons you learned to get you where you are now. You can’t bounce back if you haven’t already fallen.

Resiliency isn’t always about being strong. Its about knowing when to let yourself be open to the power that lies in being vulnerable. 

We Live In Moments: The Nature of the Empath

I am reading a fantastic book that I found by accident called “Dancers Between Realms-Empath Energy, Beyond Empathy” by Elisabeth Fitzhugh. It’s an amazing book and if you are an empath like me, its like it was written to and for you.

I have struggled with my empathic abilities my entire life–picking up and dealing with other people’s energy–including their emotional garbage. I didn’t know I was an empath until my therapist told me that I had the qualities of one. Once I did more research, everything in my life seemed to click. My emotional ebbs and flows, my depression/anxiety, my physical illnesses, and my emotional “triggers”-feelings I would get from others that would either make me jump for joy or be home crying on my couch.

Being an empath means picking up on things–feeling what others are feeling–and its hard sometimes to separate the two. I used to think I was a sensitive person–and I am–but I am also a sensing person. I am very sensitive to what I call “emotional shifts,”when I can immediately feel a change in the energy either in a room or near a person immediately. Sometimes the feelings are so powerful I need to walk away, or not be in the situation or by that person at all. It’s all taxing and demanding on me both mentally and physically.

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One of the things I love about the book, is that she gives you tips on how to deal with everyday situations–the sense of feeling overwhelmed at work, the inability to say no because you don’t want to “feel” the persons disappointment–and relationships. As an empath-its hard for me to immediately trust someone, but once I do, the bond is very strong. However in certain relationships, and this is mentioned in the book, some relationships end with a disconnection–when the energy keeps flowing out but the vibration coming back is not the same. The empath “unplugs” and starts to drift. And its hard. One thing I am learning on my journey-is that nothing truly lasts forever. We live in moments. Every second is a moment in our history here on earth. And sometimes those moments are painful, and sometimes they are filled with tremendous joy. Sometime we connect with people for a short while and sometimes we connect with them eternally. What matters is the moments.

Someone posted the “6 Sweet Survival Tips for the Sensitive Soul” on Facebook recently and I found it to have a special vibe. Particularly the following statements:

“Be aware of what is yours and what is not.”

I struggled and still do struggle with that. The emotional garbage from others that sticks to me like glue. And having anxiety/depression compounds the matter. Because I can’t always tell if its me feeling sad, angry, anxious–or someone else. I have recently started to make a ritual every day when I get home and every morning when I wake up. Its simple. I take a shower, and scrub myself down with these amazing bath salts from Shaman’s Dawn and say a little affirmation. At night I will light some incense or sage and smudge myself down-again saying a little affirmation. I have found by doing this I am slowly but surely “cleaning” up other people’s crap that was sticking to me. I have found since I started doing this little daily ritual, I have had to rely less and less on my anxiety medication–which is making me think my anxiety was due to my empathic nature. I also find affirmations and mantras really help to “close” down the sensitivity. I will keep telling myself that I am “shutting down,” ensuring that there is a shield to surround me. When I want to open my empathic abilities, I will tell myself its OK to do so, but with conditions. I love “feeling”~but not to much! However, sometimes, you meet people who you connect with so deeply that you actually “feel” their emotional states without even being near them. I struggled a lot with that till I finally came up with the idea of keeping some quartz (a natural healing stone) and hematite (helps absorb negative energy)  on me at all times. That way I can still keep my abilities receptive with an open heart-but also protecting myself for the “emotional crash” that will occur after; one of the interesting thing that occurs in situations like that, where there is so much exchanging of energy-that when you separate-the energy is still moving but not connecting. There is always a “crash” afterward–or until you see that person or persons again. I find this often with large groups of like-minded individuals-particularly if you spent days with them. Suddenly you feel like you were separated from family-you can still feel the energy flowing but the input back is not existent. This is all particularly true if you meet other empaths. We always tend to flow into each other–that so familiar push and pull effect.

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“Surround yourself with people that understand your nature and nurture that connection.”

This is always a tricky one because there are people we enjoy being around and people we connect with. There is a difference. We meet people who share common likes and dislikes with us, but the energy connection is not vibrating on the same frequency. So naturally we enjoy their company but will always feel like “something is missing.” It doesn’t mean they can’t be lasting or good friendships or relationships-they are just not that same as relationships with other empaths or those who understand the connection. It’s a lot different being a room with people who understand who you are then with people who just understand you are different. Its easier to talk to people and connect with people who are like you. Things needn’t be explained with those people. It’s like you are in an ever-present state of just being. You just are. There is no expectation of explanation. When you drift off, when you sense something, when you feel something you can openly express it without fear of either being ridiculed or having to explain yourself. Again, it’s that moment.

I am learning gradually, that being an empath is not easy. In fact, while I like having the gift of the empathic nature-sometimes I could do without it. Shutting down and turning on. Having to differentiate constantly between what is me and what is someone else, and of course the fact that being an empath affects both my mental, emotional and physical health is a daily struggle. The fact that I am finally able to slowly tell the difference between my emotions and someone else has finally given me the chance to wean myself off of anti-anxiety meds is a step in the right direction. I am understanding that perhaps while part of my depression issues are biological, some of it can be placed on the emotional sludge I get thrown on me inadvertently from others.

For now, I just live in the moments I get–good and bad. Those little seconds of time that create the minutes, hours, days, weeks and years of my existence on the earthly plane.

Sleeping on The Edge of the World

I have always been a dreamer. In fact my dreams  have spawned a lot of my life’s creations. When I have “shamanic dreams” they are vivid and clear-I have truly entered an altered state of reality.

My first real vivid dream was when I was 19. I’ve told this story so many times, but if you are just joining my blog its a story I love to tell. The dream began with me standing on the edge of a very serene and still lake. It was night time–no stars. A complete black sky. It was complete stillness. No sounds. The water rippled and a beautiful large white serpent came out of the water. It was pure white–with blue eyes…and huge–almost the size of an anaconda–but bigger. I learned later this was one of my spirit guides and power animals. It wrapped itself around me and when its face was close to mine it opened its mouth and a huge pink lotus flower came out. I remember the petals touching my face. It was so real. After that dream I began my work with snakes and serpentine energy. 

The White Serpent came to symbolize a lot for me–and I dream of it (it because its neither male nor female) when I am times of great need or a spiritual crises. It also comes to me during Shamanic journeys and assists me in sending energy to those who need it most.

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Since then I have had vivid Shamanic dreams that have opened doors for me. Sometimes the messages are loud and clear and sometimes it takes me months before I understand the meaning. Dreams are like that. The Universe is like that.

Last night I had this amazingly beautiful dream that I am still trying to interpret–because it was so radiant and clear that the symbols to me now–make no sense.  And there were so many. I am sure very soon, their meaning will be come clear.

In my dream there was a stair case hovering over the water (water is clearly a predominant theme in my dream symbolizing emotion). Attached to the stairs was a “floating” room. It was square–white. Nothing fancy. I remember seeing stars–millions of them. Above me and within the reflection of the water. Again–the sound of silence. I walked up the stairs to the room. It was large. A bed was on one side-large with lots of pillows and red coverings. There was a small step that led to a huge window-with billowing red curtains. I could see millions of stars. There was a slight breeze-but no sounds. There were pillars of candles and incense burning.

Then, everything in the room turned fluorescent blue. So bright blue I have never seen a color like it before. It was so pure. I was sitting in a chair, facing the window and suddenly this old woman was before me. She was dressed in a white robe with lots of different color sashes and I remember her eyes being the same blue as the light shining in the room. She was ancient–very old–I immediately sensed wisdom coming from her. Her hair was gray and pulled into a bun, and her skin was tan and leathery. But she had this beautiful sense about her. She stared at me for awhile and I had nothing to say. No words formed on my tongue. I couldn’t speak. Then she reached into a small bag she was holding and pulled out 7 blue circles. They were glowing the same blue. She then placed them on my face–but they didn’t touch me. They just floated in front of my face. She placed them from my forehead all the way down my face–and they glowed with this bright blue energy. I felt a stillness and calmness wash over me. I then lied down on the bed so peaceful…and just like that–it was over. I woke up with such a high vibration of energy it sustained me all day.

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This dream has so many interpretations that right now-I cant even begin to interpret. It was so real. I can still see the blue circles hovering in front of me. I believe the room was my sacred temple in the altered reality. Its the place I am meant to “go to” when I need clearance. When I need clarity. 

And oh the stars…..I remember them so well….

Tonight I hope again to sleep on the edge of the world.

Letting Go: A Shamans Journey

I have begun to seriously part take in my journey on the Shamanic path. I have been called. Its hard to explain to people–but when you get “the call” everything around you seems to stop and this path opens before you. Any doubts you have seem to dissipate. The path may not be 100% clear, but you know you must walk it.

And walking the path that you have been called to often means letting go…Surrender — there is that magickal word again.

Letting go is not easy. Its not meant to be. If letting go was easy–people wouldn’t struggle with emotions. There would be no fear. There would be nothing for us to learn from–to see what makes us stronger–how much we can handle.

I had been a belly dancer for nearly 10 years. I loved it. I loved performing, loved entertaining. But recently, I got the call–the call to begin my journey on the Shamanic path–and suddenly, belly dancing didn’t seem to hold that special connection for anymore. I couldn’t connect to the music the way I had done in the past. My feet were moving but my soul was elsewhere. I performed at a restaurant one night, and it felt as if my soul was reaching for the door. It didn’t want to be there any longer. It was at that moment that I decided I could no longer perform. That part of letting go was difficult–but deep inside, it was the right thing to do. I held my show “ANIMUS” and it was the last performance I will ever do for a very, very long time. (The show will be back next year–except with new eyes–since by then I will be a year into my Shamanic journey). 

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People always ask, “Do you believe in freewill? or destiny/fate?”–My answer. Both. I believe that its fate that we should be where we are at certain points in our life. That we should meet certain people. That we should find ourselves in certain situations. But, its freewill with how we move forward. How we react to the destiny placed before us will determine the path we take.

The funny thing with letting go, is knowing when to let go. Even when it feels like your heart is being torn from your body, Sometimes you just know. The situation is bad. The people are toxic. You know its not right for you. Your soul will pull you away. But then sometimes, its harder. Sometimes it seems like you want to keep holding on to that cord–even when its burning your hands. You hold on because you feel like you have to. Because letting go would mean the end of something. Letting go would mean you have accepted something is not right. You hold that rope–that cord that is connecting you to someone–or something until you feel that your hands are about to tear off…and then…..then, something deep inside you, your Higher Self, tells you its ok. You can release the rope. You can let it go. And it hurts for a little bit, but that part of you knows the truth. It knows that in order for you to move forward–you need to release.

Change also occurs. When you receive the call, something transformative happens to you. And its confusing and yet magickal. The path is clear, but you are standing in the middle of a cross roads. Something in you changes. And its hard for people around you to understand that. Connections are made and broken. Doors open. Opportunities seem to materialize out of thin air (The Universe opening the way for you). But you do indefinitely change. And with change comes the inevitable shedding of the skin.

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Letting go doesn’t necessarily mean letting go of of tangible things–but it can also mean letting go of emotions. Ego,selfishness, past emotions, unresolved issues, and of course love. Love is a tricky thing. People have so many hang ups–past loves, present loves, future loves. But one thing I have learned, and am happy to have been given this gift, is about unconditional love. Unconditional love is the kind of love that you never need to let go. You accept the circumstances, you accept the faults. You accept that things are just the way they are meant to be. That’s unconditional love. And that is something so pure and spiritually sacred–that once you have learned that lesson–you are already walking the path of connection to the Great Spirit and Universe.

I have learned that Shamanism, unlike the other spiritual paths I have followed (mainly neo-paganism) is a path that you walk alone. You have your supporters. You have those who share a common vision and a common language. But the journey is personal. You walk that path alone. You have to learn lessons along the way. Some that are so painful it tears you apart and feels like your heart is about to shatter. Some that are so amazingly beautiful it makes your spirit soar.

But the hardest part about beginning this journey–is learning to let go. I read a quote online, “Keep what is worth keeping and with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away.” When you let go of something–even if its painful, it must be done with the highest degree of love and light. That will make the letting go part a whole lot easier.