See Ya 2019

We come to the close of another year– another decade in fact.

2019 was a mixed year for me. It was a struggle. It did not start off well. My father had to have emergency open-heart surgery and shortly after he had a major stroke. My family had to learn how to live differently. Especially for my mother. I am amazed by their resiliency and can proudly say, that I have inherited that.

I moved across the country (again!) to Tampa. Admittedly, it was hard to leave the desert. I loved the desert in Tucson, AZ. Whenever I see images now, I can smell it. Arizona was the first state that I ever lived in besides Massachusetts. It was definitely four years of growth and learning that I can, truly, bounce back from all the shit that life throws at me.

Moving Florida was a great decision simply for the fact that family is here (and those who are not are only within short driving distance or a four-hour flight). I am also making new friendships that I can already tell will be lasting– and one of my best friends from Boston moved here shortly after I did, and we hang out a lot… Can I tell you how important it is to have awesome friends?

Of course, moving to a new state comes with its ups and downs. So far its been a lot of downs, but I am hoping that will change in 2020. One of the hardest things of 2019 was the loss of my spiritual teacher and mentor Brad Kinne (or as I knew him, Balaam). It was a strange loss for me and I had to learn a different way of grieving.  I dedicated the first book of my writings and photography “Grave Spirits” to him…It’s still hard for me and when I think about it too much…well…it hurts.

My Belly Dance business is flourishing more here in Florida than it ever did in Arizona. I am already being booked for some awesome gigs in 2020. It does feel good to be dancing and performing again. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that I have been professionally Belly Dancing for 15 years.

Oh yeah…I did also publish my first book! It’s short, but its a start. 2020 will be a year of writing as I am preparing my second (and longer) book. I am also doing research for a future long term writing goal-focused mainly on the occult workings of Grigory Rasputin.

One of the most important things that happened in 2019 was that I am finally accomplishing my goal of going to college. In 2020 I will be a junior in college. Two more years and then on to my Masters.

I learned in 2019, that you are never too old to follow your dreams. And it’s not to late start fresh. It does mean some heartbreak and frustation- but the road is always open.

2020 is shaping up to be a good year already. I have decided to be softer in the new decade. To let my guard down a bit more than I have in the past-and allow more people in.

I have also decided to do a 365-day gratefulness challenge.

Here is 2020…a new chapter in this book of life.

Year of the Dog

Another year has gone by. For those who do not know, I always consider my birthday my new year; I had my new year on Sunday. Every year I make list of “resolutions” to accomplish in the next year.

This year, I decided to use my dog as a source of inspiration. As humans, we forget so much of our natural essence. We worry about trivial things, forget to breathe. We work tirelessly. And that leads to blockages within our energy fields. It causes us to be exhausted-drained of our energy and life force.

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My chihuahua Fox Mulder

I am guilty of that. Very much so.  So this year, I am going to live more like my dog and follow these simple, yet difficult, resolutions:

  1. Live in the moment: I will try my best to be in the moment—even if the moment is uncomfortable or new to me. I am going to learn that whatever moment I happen to be in, is a moment that I am meant to learn from.
  2. Love unconditionally: Probably the hardest lesson of them all. Learning to love unconditionally: even if the person has low vibrations, hurt you, etc. Learning to love and accept that person for who they are….regardless. My dog loves me even when I am in a fierce mood. He loves me even when I am sad. He loves me even if I scold him for doing something he wasn’t supposed to. He loves unconditionally.
  3. Don’t worry. Be happy: My dog is ALWAYS happy. Always. I need to stop worrying over things that I cant control. I will stop worrying over things that I can change. I will just be happy.
  4. Let go: When my dog does something bad, I scold him. He is upset for a few moments and then he is back to being happy. Lesson to be learned: let go. Bad stuff happens. You cant make everyone happy all the time. You will disappoint yourself and others periodically. But……it happens….Let it go and go back to being happy!

Will I be able to do all of these successfully–no, but I can try! I know I will have my “human” moments—but if I keep my dog and his virtues in check, then I think these lessons will be another stepping stone in my growth to be the best person humanly possible. And if I mess up….well….my dog will be there to love me!

The Dark Side of the Moon: When the Light Fades

There is always a light and dark side to everything in life. And for those of us with depression, the dark side tends to be the most prominent. I have battled depression most of my life, with an attempted suicide at age 14 followed by panic attacks later in life and then several shrinks. I finally found a therapist I liked and from 2009-2013 I saw her and a psychiatric Nurse Practitioner during the darkest hours. I am very open about having clinical depression because I have to be the voice for the thousands out there afraid to talk about because they are afraid of being judged. In 2014 I was doing great—so great my social worker decided that she only needed to see me on as needed basis and my NP tapered my meds. I was feeling on top of the world.

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Then, I recently, and abruptly had a life change. Within two weeks, my boyfriend and I were packed up and heading to Arizona. There we were on a Saturday night enjoying some wine and sake listening to some old school tunes in an apartment I lived in for 15 years to suddenly packing boxes on Sunday, renting a U-Haul and driving 2300 miles away from the only place I had called home. It happened so fast I had no time to comprehend what the hell just happened. The whole cliché of having the carpet pulled out from under you—is serious shit.

Here we are in Arizona and the adjustment has been difficult. We went from a major city to a new town. We know no one. Have np physical support system here and are basically fending for ourselves. I have to find a job pronto to make sure we can pay rent which means finding meaningless work to pay the bills.

And what happens but that the dark side appears. I woke up one day in tears. I was crying to the point where I couldn’t stop. My depression had returned. YES—the move was the TRIGGER—but not the reason.

People who don’t have depression don’t understand what it’s like. Imagine that you are just moving along a bright sunny day when suddenly someone throws a pitch black can’t see shit bag over your face and never ever takes it off. It’s like that. A dark cloud that just doesn’t go away. And thoughts-bad thoughts come in your mind. And YOU CAN’T HELP IT. It’s just there.

I have had so many people tell me it’s the move. To give it time. To find joy in the things around me. Believe me…I am trying. We have gone to canyons, creeks, walked, enjoyed the beauty of the place—but my lack of happiness isn’t with where I live…it’s chemically going on in my brain.

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I think that’s hardest thing about depression–people think it’s an external thing that can be “fixed”–when it’s a chemical thing that can’t be fixed just “adjusted”….and I appreciate everyone’s helping…. but depression can’t be fixed with a walk or giving my move time…if it were…I would be walking all day every day and loving every bit of Flagstaff. It’s hard for people who don’t have a clinical diagnosis to understand that depression is not always due to outside circumstances. I appreciate everyone’s kindness and offerings of advice during times like this, but want I everyone to understand that it’s not going to “fix” what’s happening inside my head. I can’t just flip a switch and “be happy”—nor can I flip a switch and decide that all the chemical mishaps in my brain will fix themselves.

Being supportive is awesome. Being able to just be there—and listen—is even more awesome.

Its Never to Late To Be Happy

As we say goodbye to 2013 and welcome in 2014, I would just like to remind you all that it is never to late to be happy. You can start your life – make changes – whenever you want to. While the “new year” is a great time to start fresh, you needn’t wait an entire year to find happiness. 

Happiness and change can happen whenever you want it to. 

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Its never to late to be happy.

And always remember, if you don’t take risks your glass will always remain half empty.

Wishing you all a happy and blessed New Year!

~Zehara

Convergence

2013 was a big year for me. Personally and professionally. It’s funny how when a year starts, you have no idea how it will end. We all make resolutions-what we wish to accomplish in the year ahead. We have dreams and goals. Perceptions of what to expect. But it almost never turns out in the end the way we expected. For better or worse, the New Year always brings about changes in our continuous evolution. We shed our skins. We learn, we grow, we change.

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If I had to sum up 2013 in one word it would be ENDINGS. I don’t want to say “losses”–I don’t believe things are ever lost for us. Things end. Some things that end we never expected. Something that begin we never expected. But everything ends and begins somewhere in time. 2013 started off with the hopes of new things to come. My year has been such an emotional roller coaster. 2013 marked a major shift in my perspective on life, love and the world around me.

I have battled with anxiety and depression most of my life. It all came to ahead eight years ago, when I found myself ending up repeatedly in the emergency room from panic attacks. I lived as if I was sleep walking. Needing to hold hands. Afraid of doing things I used to find so simple. My life became a focus of dependence on others. After years of therapy and finally taking the step to go on medication, I have been able to get a handle on both. My anxiety, which used to be so debilitating that I lost my independence, only creeps up occasionally. And its been months since my depression consumed me that I could  not even get out of bed. With my regained sense of self and control, I began to explore outside myself once more. My spirituality began to become a major part of my life and I was blessed to begin meeting other people who had the same sense of the Universe as I did. I started attending drum circles, started my own spiritual group, and focused more on the needs I was feeling. I began turning inward.

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With the new awareness I had, of which I was no longer bound to the darkness I had experienced with anxiety/depression, came changes within myself. With change comes beginnings and ends. I changed. I changed a lot. What I thought I knew, what I thought I wanted, began to shift. I decided, wholeheartedly, to take a rest from my dancing. I loved performing and teaching, but my passion was gone. Dancing was not what it used to be for me. So I decided that I needed to step away. That life was no longer what I needed. My “retirement” came after my show “ANIMUS,” which for the third year in a row, became a spiritual masterpiece for me. Conceived of a dream where my dance and spirit could merge.

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My perception on life, once bound by chains of a loss of self due to the darkness of anxiety and depression, shifted. My dreams, desires and needs changed. With that, came the end of my marriage. The Universe was pulling me in a different direction, and my desires for my future deviated.  Our goals differed from what they started off as. I shed a new skin and needed to grow.  I continued on my spiritual journey, walking away from the life I had started. I had to reevaluate myself once more. I was now treading in a new tumultuous ocean. But life is like that—waves. Big or small, we have to ride them out.

And then, like a flash of light in a thunderous sky, The Universe decided to flip my world upside down again. If I have learned anything this year, it’s that The Universe will do exactly what it is meant to do when the time is right.  I met a partner who was my spiritual and creative equal. Who I have loved for lifetimes. When you least expect it, when you think your world is drowning in darkness, The Universe decides to pull you out. What I have now is a gift I treasure beyond all others. What I have now, only few will experience in their lifetime. From an end, came a beginning. And with the meeting my twin soul-came the rebirth of my creative spark.

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An idea that had once lived only on the stage of “ANIMUS”, now became a new reality. I founded PRIMAL FUSION WORLD DANCE. Walking away from belly dance, I was able to open a door to a new world that I could share, finally. Creating a dance style specifically for the use of cathartic purposes, I began to reestablish my love of dance and movement. From and end came a beginning.

Lastly, the hardest aspect of my life was the passing of my sweet best friend and dance partner for nearly 10 years, Kaala. A spiritual guide for me now, even in death, my serpentine friend is always a part of my heart and soul.

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The great convergence of 2013.

I thinking of 2013 much life the myth of Persephone. Spending 6 months in the dark and 6 months in the sun. It’s not that my life was lived in shadows. It was that I needed to see the shadows as a gift. You can’t walk in the light–appreciate its warmth–until you walked in the shadows. I changed and evolved.  Like a snake, I embraced the cyclical nature of my evolution and shed my skin. I started to become who I was meant to be. From the endings, came beginnings.

I have learned a lot this year:

1. Always trust The Universe-even when you think your world is ending–The Universe is doing EXACTLY what needs to be done for you.

2. Expect the unexpected.

3. Embrace your change. Even when things may not turn out the way you wanted, that change is part of your evolution.

4. Don’t worry about what others think. People who judge you are people you don’t need in your life.

5. Be happy and let go. You can’t move forward if you are living in the past and you can’t live life to the fullest if you hold on to regrets and what-if’s.

6. Take one day at a time. What was yesterday was yesterday. What is today is today. What is tomorrow is tomorrow. You can only live in the moments. Life is made up of all those little moments.

So 2013 was an a year of endings for me. I cant wait to see what 2014 has in store!