Put Your Records On

I have a new motto, “be authentic.”

Its hard to be authentic. I think most of us fight it. We spend many years trying to “fit in” with cliques—groups of people who will help us find our authenticity. We try to fit in with our friends, family, groups—-but what we forget is that true authenticity is really being true to ourselves.

We will spend so much time searching for who we are that we forget that we really already know. I tried so hard to fit in with so many different types of people. I suffocated myself and hid my true self under piles and piles of ideologies, beliefs, and ego’s. The more I kept hiding from myself–the more I lost myself.

I am a free spirited, wild chyld, earth momma, shaman, dancing in the rain or around a fire, colorful, cooky, crazy, drum circle loving, bare feet kinda of person. I am artsy. I love history. I love science. I love geeking out on deep philosophical conversation. I love cultures. I love learning about cultural dance. I am a creator of my own Universe. 

primal zehara

I am not a corporate, conservative, big house, big car, fancy clothes lady.  Being authentic means being real. Genuine. Not to appease others, but to make you happy. As Carl Jung said best, “The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.” 

It took me awhile to get here. It took me a long time to realize that for years and years I was afraid to be authentic. Mostly because of my two biggest fears:

1. Failure

2. Judgement

Then I realized—that those fears are not MY fears. I was so afraid of what others fears–that I dumped them on myself and hid my real-self. What’s that mean? It means that because I am creative, others were scared. They were scared because they feared taking the risks that I took. They judged because it was easier to do that than to accept the fact they were afraid to admit their own unauthentic selves. People who are afraid to jump out of their comfort zone—they fear others who can.

Don’t suffocate yourself. Be you. Be authentic. Don’t worry about what others think. Don’t worry about what others say. Keep it real. You do not need to explain yourself. You do not need to justify yourself. If you like a messy house, wear different colored socks, dye your hair crazy colors—you are who you are……..

Put your records on and let your hair down!!!! 

Advertisements

You Don’t Have To Have It All

I have been hearing a lot of people talk about how they need to figure out what they are going to do with their lives. I have said it myself. In my teens, twenties and now thirties. Truth is, we will spend the rest of our lives figuring out what we are supposed to do with our lives. 

My life “goals” have changed so much. Mostly because I am constantly changing. We are always constantly changing. I have to confess, that my life goals that I had planned ten year ago have completely changed. What that means–is simply–there is a time when you have to take a leap of faith.

rocks-misty-onshore

 

I am ready to walk away from stability and take a leap of faith to do what I want I need to do. What I want to do. Its a risk, but its either I move forward–or I don’t. Funny thing is, as humans, we believe we need to have our ducks in a row in order to move forward. But you don’t have to have it all figured out move forward. You just need to close your eyes and trust that The Universe will catch you…..

 

 

“Comparison is the Thief of Joy”

Its natural for most of us to spend time wishing we had the lives of someone else. Its part of human nature to look at someone and say, “wow I wish my life was like that.” Or when you are with a group of friends your age who are married with a house, kids, and seemingly happy and you think to yourself, “I will never be like that.”

Well you are right. You will NEVER be like that. I recently read a quote on Twitter: “comparison is the thief of joy”

It  resonated hard with me. For most of my life, my idea of success, happiness and love etc. was based on the ideology of the “American Dream.” Good job=marriage=husband=house=kids=happiness. Truthfully, I was living someone else’s journey. I remember job after job in the “corporate” world where I felt stuck and stifled. Afraid of doing anything “out of the box” in fear of getting fired. For the past 14 years I have worked in health care. I enjoyed it at first, because I was able to use my over the top personality to help patients. In the beginning it was always about the patients. Then healthcare shifted–big time–and it has become more and more about money and less and less about people. 

And again, I feel myself being trapped. But not anymore. I started to allow myself to be who I really am: a creative, care free, free spirited, colorful, earthy, shamanically spiritual person. Happiness is not dictated by a title or paycheck, but being able to make the world a better place by being yourself, being kind to others and walking your own journey. 

tat

I stopped comparing my life of those of my friends and family. My journey is not theirs. While most of my co-workers are going back to school for nursing–I decided to go back to school to become a certified dance therapist. Its hard sometimes, because I still work in a corporate environment, but the longer I stay the more and more I realize that its not meant for me. 

Comparing my life to others is literally sucking the joy out of my life. I promised myself, while sitting around a fire pit, that I would trust the Universe with all my heart now–and realizing that my journey is diverging further and further away from the path of what most people consider “normal” is what will make the right door open at the right time for me. Its about trusting yourself and the Universe. Knowing that what is meant to happen will happen if you surrender yourself to the knowing that what lies before you is a road meant specifically for you.

Sometimes it will be a road full of fear and doubt–but its the perseverance and understanding that its part of the journey. I always think of life like taking a hike in a mountain. Somtimes the path is clear and open, and then it becomes rocky and you have to put more effort to get through it to get back to the smooth path.

But don’t allow comparing who you are–who you are MEANT to be–to who someone else is. 

Don’t let comparison steal your happiness.

A Road For the Spirit to Pass Over

As most of you know, I consider all people with mental illness part of my Tribe. Suffering from a major depressive disorder and anxiety–I know the pain of the darkness. With love, support, therapy and psychiatric assistance–I have been able to move past those dark days. But some in my Tribe cant. And while its not always the case, most people in our Tribe have suicidal ideations….We think about the “S” word—often–but doesn’t mean we would do it….Some people have no idea what that’s like. During my last bout in the dark, when my meds stopped working, I was thinking about what it would feel like to just not wake up. I am open about my illness. I don’t pretend and I refuse to hide it. I am open to everyone about my battle. I am not ashamed. Now I am new meds and starting that fun roller coaster ride again……..

20121120-hermit-x306-1353426879

Sadly, while the majority *think* about suicide in our veil of darkness–some in our Tribe find it the only way out of the shadows. When a member of our Tribe dies—whether it be by their own hand, natural causes or whatever else–it hurts us all. When a member of our Tribe, whether we knew them personally, whether they were famous or our neighbor, departs this realm, all of us in the Tribe feel it differently than those who don’t suffer. We get it. We really get it. We have been there.

I will say this though, I do not believe suicide is a selfish act.  I believe its an act of desperation. When you cant see beyond the veil. Nothing forward. Nothing back. Just a wall. I never blame the person who commits suicide.

In 2011 a coworker, who seemed so happy, left work early, went home, and shot himself. I remember the grief counselor coming in to talk to us. My coworkers all sat around the conference table and everyone had to talk about how his suicide made them feel. I was the only person who said I was angry. While everyone said how selfish he was, how he did not matter anymore.  I was angry–I said it was because it did not need to happen if people were not so afraid to talk about mental illness to begin with. If my coworker didn’t feel ashamed–if when you asked him, “how are you” — and he gave a real answer–not just one to end the conversation–he may never have made that choice.  My other coworkers didn’t quite get that. When I said that I had tried to kill myself when I was 14, they all gave me that judgmental “she’s a crazy” look.

I am going to state these statements–and they are based purely on my own feelings and thoughts towards suicide and mental illness:

1. Suicide is not selfish: Nor can it be ignored. People who take their own lives do so because they see no other option. Suicide is part of a much larger picture. Suicide isn’t something somebody does because “so and so” needed attention. Actually suicide doesn’t need to even occur. If the stigma about talking about your feelings wasn’t so blatantly destroyed in this society, less people would feel the only way out was taking their own life.

2. Suicidal talk is not just talk: If someone says, “I am thinking about ending my life,” the WRONG response is “well don’t talk about it, just do it.” When I told friends when I was in high school that I wanted to end it all–that was the response I got. Looking back-they were not my friends. The CORRECT response would be, “lets go and talk.”

3. Don’t blame the person: Blame the society we live in. Back in the 1800’s, people in my tribe were locked up in asylums and never spoken about. Why? Simple. Self preservation. How horrible would it be if Mrs. Smith divulged that her daughter was locked away in a “looney bin”? What a shame it would bring about on the family! So in the act of self preservation, our Tribe has to be made to feel like outcasts. Keep our feelings in less be judged. If a person decides to take their own life—its because they felt there was no one or no place to turn to. Imagine what that loneliness feels like.

4. No one dies in vain: I truly and honestly believe that death–any death–happens for a reason. Whether a still born baby–an elderly person from natural causes–a murder victim–and a suicide victim. The Universe does not take away without giving back--even if that giving back is hard lesson. And with suicide, most times, the lesson is about the stigma surrounding mental illness.

5. Don’t scurry around the issue: Nothing pisses me off more than when I hear: “X was going through a divorce so X was feeling really depressed,” “X had a severe drinking problem and went to rehab because X was depressed,” “X’s friend is in therapy so X just wants attention,” “X just moved to a new school so X didn’t feel like they fit in.” Lets not skip around the issue. All of those “things” X was going through—-the key word is X was DEPRESSED. It has nothing to do with mommy and daddy issues, the wife bailing and taking the dog, the asshole boss. Depression, believe it or not, typically has NOTHING to do with what is outside the person. Being put in a new situation, life stress, drinking, divorce–those can exacerbate the depression–but major depression, just like most mental illnesses are biological. People in my tribe cant help what they feel. Its like your happy as hell–your life is amazing–but your brain is telling you the opposite. Imagine a constant tug of war between your brain and your heart. Rationalism and non-rationalism. All the time. Non-stop. We cant rationalize what our brain is telling us otherwise because somewhere–our brain chemistry is on overdrive.

6. (I am going to take heat for this) There is no cure for mental illness: We can have studies up the wall. We can make members of our tribe human lab rats. But the truth is, Big Pharma knows it racking in the dollars–hell I am participating in their gas guzzling pill creating industry every time I pick up my Celexa, Valium, Ativan and Wellbutrin. Just like AIDS and cancer–if there is a cure—we will never know. Big Pharma likes the money they can make from our tribe. Whether we want to admit it or not. And Big Pharma’s know, that every drug they make–if it works–at some point people will be desperate enough to drop thousands of dollars on a medicine their insurance will not cover because its “experimental” ~ so what is the CURE. TALK. OPENNESS. When someone asks “how are you feeling”—REALLY give them an answer. Not just “I am fine.” No. Say, “I am depressed and I need to talk.” And if they really care, and if they really want to help break the stigma…….then they will listen.

No one needs to be the next Freud or Jung. All they need to do is LISTEN. Break the stigma by learning how to ACTIVELY LISTEN to how someone is feeling–don’t jump in and tell them “get over it, its ok,” or “your life is perfect.” No. 

Just Listen.

I am writing this post obviously, because of the passing of Robin Williams…a member of my Tribe. May he open the roads for the spirits to pass over……

Time for change is NOW.

robin-williams-quotes-1

Stop the Stigma: We EXIST!

Have to say, I am really numb/hurt/angry/pissed at hearing about the death of Robin Williams. It hits close to home. I have depression.  He was a member of my TRIBE. In my darkest moments I cant say that suicide never crossed my mind. I had a co-worker commit suicide a few years ago–he had depression. He never talked about. I am angry. Not because he killed himself-that was not his fault. I never blame people who kill themselves. Its an act of hopelessness. No. I am angry because people are to ashamed to talk about being mentally ill for fear of judgment. Because jokes like “stop acting bipolar” or “you’re such a schizo” or calling someone a “psycho”—-or comments like “get over it”- “you have a good life,” ~ “take that little pill to calm you down” ~ are the reason why people who suffer from depression wont talk.

If someone has cancer-no one makes jokes. No one tells them to cheer up. But if someone has depression–well, damn–“just take your meds,” “you are such much better on your new meds,” ~ who would say that to someone with cancer???? No one. So why say it to someone who is mentally ill? Here is thought for the day…Just because you cant physically see an illness, doesn’t mean someone isn’t suffering from one.

stigma-chalkboard

 

Maybe people need to stop acting like mental illness doesn’t exist because they cant see it. Or because talking about it is “shameful” to family and friends. Because you know what–we feel it. We feel it in the pain, the sadness, the darkness…and we keep it hidden. We keep it hidden because people are to afraid to talk about. Well……..lets talk…….Lets start talking so more talented amazing people in this world don’t have to resort to taking their life because its to shameful to talk about. Its not the 1800’s anymore where “crazy” folk get locked away and forgotten.

No. We are are real. We are here. So stop acting like we don’t exist. Acknowledge that your friend, sister, brother, mother, daughter, father etc. has a mental illness. Lets start the conversation. Now.