The Tangible Darkness

I am usually a happy person. But I have depression and anxiety and sometimes there are things I can control and things I cant. I usually know my triggers. When anxiety happens or the sadness enters, I try to experience the why and accept it ~ even if its accepting that the chemicals in my brain are a bit out of sync.

But sometimes I have a trigger—and I will do anything to avoid feeling the pain. Sometimes, accepting what has set off my anxiety and dropped me into the deep hole of darkness is difficult. I try my best to stay focused and positive, but sometimes, its to hard. Shamanism always talks about the “wounded healer” and I know I have many wounds (and may to come) over my life time. However, some wounds are deep. Some wounds will never go away. 

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Wounds from betrayal. Wounds from those who turned away from me when I needed them the most. Wounds from someone who allowed others to dictate their choices for them. Wounds from broken promises and false friendships. When those triggers happen–my anxiety elevates because deep inside myself, I feel a sense of loneliness. I am not really lonely. I know that rationally. I know I am loved. Its the feeling that I will always feel lonely–and that’s the irrational anxiety trigger. And there are moments in my life where I often feel that I am on the outside looking in. That I am different from others. That its hard to relate to people. I think if I had to pick a tarot card for myself, especially today, it would be The Hermit. I am in the state of mind of introspection, isolation and reflection. But it doesn’t mean its easy and it doesn’t mean its not lonely. All spiritual journeys, in someway, are lonely.

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Part of this journey of life is being able to look within yourself — even the dark tangible bits of yourself. The parts that you know are palpable. The parts you like to keep hidden, but need to explore. We all have darkness inside us, but some of  us choose not to accept it. Living a lie that we are all full of unicorns and rainbows. If you cant see the bad parts of yourself, how can you see the good parts. And if you cant see both parts of yourself–how will you ever see them in others? Wounds caused by you and wounds caused by other are part of that inner darkness that you must accept and explore if you ever wish to move into illumination.

I both am grateful and sad when I am in this state. I know the clouds will break and the sun will shine, but I also know there are realities within my spiritual journey that I have to face–even the dark ones. I know that during the time of tears and silence, I will gain some deeper understanding of things. I have will have new fuel to keep burning that fire within. 

But right now……today…..I just need to feel.

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Free Thinkers Unite

There are two kinds of people in the world: 

1. The person who knows what they want and will steadily follow that goal until the task is finished

2. The person who follows the ideas of what they believe society and/or their family wants

I am #1. I have always been goal driven, and will do whatever is necessary to make what ever my dream is a reality. Sometimes, it means taking risks—and yes—sometimes losing people. I don’t mean this in a negative context. I am not malicious. I would never do something intentionally to get what I need to make my dream successful. But, I don’t let others think for me.

I think that is something very dangerous and very debilitating. If a person allows someone else to think for them–whether it be familial or societal–the percentage of success will gradually get lower. Not because the person is not capable of success, but because the person is allowing someone else to dictate what is best for them. And sometimes what is “best” is not what is “right.” When you allow someone else to use your voice for their thoughts, you are the one taking the risk of losing what you have–for a desire that is yours, not theirs.

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Its saddens me when I see those people. So brainwashed that they allow someone else to destroy their life for their own selfish needs. When the person openly and freely lives a self created lie because its easier than accepting that someone else is doing their thinking for them—its sad. And really, there is nothing that can be done, except hope that the person wakes up one day and realizes the mistakes they have made because they conformed to someone else’s reality.

There are people who live by societal norms–what is expected of them. Those people don’t always realize that what we think we need or what we think we want–is not what is really going to make us happy. I often find that these are the ones who will state their dreams so loudly–then the next day they are doing something that is trapping rather than freeing them. Those people will be the first to judge you because you are a free thinker and goal setter. You don’t need to conform because boxes are meant for those who follow–not lead. 

Excuses for why you cant move forward will always be there-but its the free thinkers who are able to take those excuses and use them to empower themselves. 

Success will always come from those who are free thinkers and who are not afraid to move forward and follow their dreams.

Emotional Impressions

Excuse the odd title of this post. I really couldn’t think of a good catchy one today. I woke up this morning feeling amazing. 70 degrees, sunny. I brought my car to the mechanic and took a nice long walk home enjoying the sounds of the birds. I came home and watched a movie, painted, read a little……..

Then I felt a sadness. It’s strange type of sadness. Not related to my depression as it “feels” different or any present concerns. In fact, my life is going phenomenally well. When I stopped to find out what my sadness was from, I realized its deep soul memories from the past. I call these small bouts of sadness “psychic impressions.” Shamans believe that at certain times, parts of soul sometimes get lost. Stuck still in time. I think this why sometimes, I will feel sad for no particular reason. Its as if a someone took a bit of me, stamped “impression” and shoved it deep somewhere inside my brain–so I wouldn’t remember the reason, but I would remember the feeling.

Its hard to voice that sometimes. Being an empath, I think we are more applicable to getting these impressions stuck on our subconscious. Its hard to ever forget. Empath’s pick up little bits of emotional junk all the time. The junk gets embedded deep in the mind, and then there will be a trigger–where you are experiencing a feeling– but cant quite put your finger on it. Sometimes this triggers my anxiety–which it did today. So I meditated a bit. I allowed myself to feel the feeling and then released it. It helped a bit, but I know at some point–in the future, another psychic impression will get rummaged up and I will go through the process all over again.

The Dance of Ecstasy

I teach a class called “Primal.” People hear that and have no idea what to think. I even had a center remove the class title because they thought it would be “offensive.” Primal is held in a dimly lit room with live drumming. I try my best to create a “cave like” experience the best I can with whatever space is given. I conceived Primal in 2012 after teaching a group of belly dancers, who are normally graceful and ethereal, to become more earthy, more ancient. I told them to let go and feel the sound of the music. During our time together (8 weeks of rehearsals), something started to happen. The dancers began to have cathartic experiences. Releasing anger, sadness, stress. Something dawned on me then—-we keep to much inside. We need to get a little wild to let go of all that junk that’s built up in our system. Or better yet, take that energy and use it towards a willful intention. 

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Primal is about letting go and using your own energy to create that which you want to form in your life. Dance is used in ritual all over the world. Even losing yourself on a nightclub floor is a ritual. You are outside of your body. Energy raised during dance, specifically dance in which you just let go,can bring about an amazing amount of spiritual, mental and emotional transformation. You step away from your physical being as you lose yourself in the music.

I was recently reading an amazing book called “The Vodou Shaman” by Ross Heaven (who I strongly recommend as his writing is amazing!). In it there is a section on spiritual communion during dance:

“When we dance we do not use our brains; we allow our bodies to move and our spirits to blend with  the things outside ourselves-the ATMOSPHERE, the mood of the evening, the pulse of the dance floor beneath our feet, the Power of the music. Eventually, we achieve a state of trance, wherein we are no longer fully present, in the sense that our ego no longer vetoes our actions. We are not concerned about how we might look to others or whether we are getting the moves right. We are simply going with the flow. This is the state of ecstasy-of being “beside ONESELF” with joy or passion. In this new state our energy can flow freely through our whole bodies, because it is no longer blocked by the censor of the mind.”

Its that “state of trance” in which you can set your intention on whatever it is you desire. The energy raised in group who are just dancing-leaving their bodies completely to the rhythm of the drums-can invoke so much intensity that the air in the room completely changes. There is a moment of bliss when you realize you are moving in an ecstatic state. That you are joining with the world of spirit because your consciousness is connecting to the Universe. In a group, you are all One. 

And you don’t have to be a good dancer—or a dancer at all—to experience the benefits of just moving. It isn’t about how good you are, its about what you wish to achieve.

Sometimes….you just need to turn on the radio and lose yourself to the sounds.

The Weeping Trees

We all have been hurt by someone in our lives. Sometimes the people hurt us directly, sometimes they do it without even knowing. And hurt—hurts. The past 7 months for me have been an emotional roller coaster ride–albeit, I am the happiest I have been in years. But with my court date for my divorce approaching–I realized the most important lesson I have learned: when someone hurts you–forgive and forget about finding fault.

Relationships are a concoction of things. Like everything in life, there needs to be balance. Relationships are like pendulums. You have to keep it swinging in the middle–to far one way and the relationship is thrown out of balance. This is pertaining to all relationships-not just romantic ones.

We lose ourselves when we get hurt. Trying to find fault in the other person or beating ourselves up for something that “could have” been done. Those annoying “what if’s.” We try and wrap our heads around the reason why the other person hurt us in the first place. It becomes toxic. Toxic to yourself. When people hurt us intentionally or unintentionally—there is no sense in trying to find fault. No sense in perseverating on answers you will never get. 

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Its about the forgiveness. That’s the hardest part. Forgiving someone who wounded you deeply. But, you cant move on unless you are able to forgive. Even when someone has cut your soul so deeply that it feels like you will never be able to breathe-forgiveness must happen. Without that, a part of your soul gets lost. It stays in that place of pain. 

Your soul will weep with pain. You will feel hurt. You will feel confusion. But you need to forgive the other person so your soul can continue its journey and continue to have relationships—to live and learn from.

 

Social Anxiety and The Empath

This post is really the first I am publicly addressing this issue. As most of you know, I have depression and anxiety, which is well controlled with medication, meditation, art and dance. But, I also have a strong social anxiety. This is the point where I hear the screeching of brakes and the sound of silence as every turns around and says a collective “What?”

As a successful dance performer and teacher, I am game on. I have no problems speaking and engaging people. Its what I like to call “work mode.” When I have my game face on, I can walk into a room and own it. I can be chatty, enthusiastic and extroverted. But that’s when I am working. Mostly because I knew that the performance/class would be over in x amount of time and I could just sink back into the shadows. In my “normal” every day mode—the thought of going into a crowd of people I don’t know–can trigger my anxiety. 

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I am also an empath. Being an empath is not easy to begin with, let alone going to a party where you only know one person. To give an example of what its like to be an empath in a crowd: imagine walking into the perfume section of a department store. The constant bombardment of smell. Some good. Some bad. Some ok. Now imagine you can feel those smells. And not only can feel them, but you actually absorb them. That’s what its like for an empath. A constant bombardment of various energies. Even as a performer, it would be hard. I hated “mingling” after shows with the audience. I would run off stage and get changed and book it out the event as soon as I could. But even then, performing began to take its toll and I have had to temporarily walk away.

Its hard for people to understand, especially when you know them personally, but frequently turn down an appearance at their party. You know you wont know anyone else there. And if you go, you are being smacked with different energies. Different vibes. I turn inward immediately in those situations. I become an observer not a participator. I would rather watch the people and energy than being presently involved. Its sort of like putting yourself in an invisible egg–except you can look out and no one can see in. Sometimes I would bring a friend a long with me who knew that I would become anxious in social situations. It was always good to have that solid person there, but ultimately they would be the only person I would talk to. Naturally, in circumstances where I do go to such events, people assume I am not chatty because I am snob. That I don’t want to interact with people because I could care less. Its not the case. I just have anxiety around people I don’t know.

Its a strange thing I have. I often think of myself as a some sort of coyote or wild dog. Cautious. Ready to run at any given moment. Taking time to adjust to bits of trust.  I always need neutral territory to get to know someone. Thankfully my partner is starting to understand this aspect of me and respects that when it comes to meeting his friends. If I have them over our place for the first time, its ok. I am in my territory. I can run and hide if I need to and not be scared. Did I mention I can be like an animal?

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I would figure myself to be more of a hermit. I have friends, but I see them on occasion. Thankfully my friends understand me, and the things we do together are usually spiritual based events, so I am around people who I can be hushed around and no one cares. It took me awhile to realize that its ok to be that way. It takes longer for me to trust people. To let my guard down. It all happens when its supposed to happen. Sometimes I walk into a room and I feel like I have walked into a room of familiarity and my blocks come down. Other times I walk into a room and I feel like I am barricaded in. 

Either way. Its ok. You are not weird. You are not broken. You are not a snob. If people really want to know you–and you really want to know them-the walls will fall away.