Week Two, the week of completion. This week’s work was rough for me. While Week One looked to level set, Week Two looked to check and reinforce my foundation. How? Well, in a theoretical sense, easily. Here are the steps. I have to be:
Easy…no?! What do I want to gain? The man of my dreams. To this end, what am I willing to lose, let go of, or give up for my desire? I think of myself as a woman with not many needs or desires; just simple ones that have a strong link to quality (thanks mom). Initially, as I was reading this lesson I was drawing a blank on what would give up and then Katherine Woodward-Thomas put forth an example that registered. A woman that regarded herself, similarly as I regard myself, as strong and independent realized that
“She had to allow herself to give up the emotional armor she’d grown so used to, becoming more vulnerable and undefended than ever before.”
If I want to be in a lifelong partnership, I have to give up my solo outlook on life as well as my ‘emotional armor.’ This is not to say that I will be the stereotype of a woman from yesteryear without her own identity or allowing myself to be too vulnerable, quite the opposite. For me it means taking that ah-ha moment from Week One’s lesson on making space and applying it to the majority of my life. I had a moment where I was hanging clothes in my closet and realized that I would be seeing men’s clothing in my closet soon. That my home, would become our home and be peppered with elements of us not just me. That my life would still be ‘my life’ but would also be ‘our lives’. To get the man of my dreams I have to incorporate the idea of him into my world. Letting go of the past for me has largely been about forgiveness of what others have done to me and about forgiving myself for what I have done to others. Through this journey I became able to articulate that I need to forgive myself of what I have ‘done’ to myself and move on! I need to forgive myself of the former self-doubt and self-criticism, the former thoughts that my ideas were blah or just okay, the former ideology of only planning versus allowing and putting into action many elements of my life. I am realizing how hard I am on myself and I really need to just love myself more and be kinder to myself. Letting go of the past is allowing me to step into my current mindset. How have you completed the past? What are you willing to let go of to gain what you want?
There’s a hurricane happening outside my window. My little friend the pear tree is blowing frantically and power chords are shaking in a pretty aggressive way. I’ve never experienced a hurricane alone before, and — Actually, I don’t think it’s a hurricane yet? I think, right now, there’s a storm outside of my window. It’s not bad yet…
But I can’t look away.
There are other places in my life where I have, what we’ll call, Hurricane Sandy Syndrome. HSS is my addiction to being afraid. My addiction to staring out at the unpleasant picture in fear of what is next. Don’t get me wrong, hurricanes are serious business, and my heart goes out to those dealing with the wrath of Sandy. That said, my fear does nothing for those in real danger, and quite frankly, I’m safe for now. I have food and flashlights and water and good sense. I should be focusing on abundance not fear. I should be grateful for my electricity and Oreo cookies, because the picture I’m staring at, isn’t quite accurate…but the fear would make me think it is. But it’s not.
So, as I stare out the window in fear and awe, I have to ask myself where else am I looking out in fear? Am I seeing devastation in my relationships? Am I imagining catastrophe in my employment situation? In my own mental faculties?
While preparation is always smart, it is foolish to fixate on a crisis that hasn’t occurred yet? Why cower in fear when I have everything I need to survive.
I don’t know about you guys, but I think it’s time to close my blinds. Be safe all…be well.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about intimate relationships. I tend to visualize all relationships as two people attached by an invisible pipeline.
The question is: what comes thru the pipeline?
Quick: think of the first person that comes to mind. Now, imagine there is a plastic pipe or tube attached between the two of you; it’s thick and clear so you can see into it. What’s being exchanged b/w the two of you? Which way do the contents flow? What do the contents look like? Are they murky? Are they light and wispy? Do the contents have a sweet smell or are they odorless?
What comes thru the relationship pipeline says a lot about the state of your union because all relationships feed us: they nurture attitudes and ideas that live dormant (and awake) inside of us. Whether your relationship is organic vegan goodness or 3 day old McDonalds, however, is the question.
I’ve got some rusty pipelines in my life. Some pipes that need to be unclogged and others that perhaps need to be disconnected, but today I am just striving to understand where and how a relationship feeds me.
How are your relationships serving you?
The way in which I learn best the lessons that will affect my life, is through self-observation, by internalizing and owning the subject at hand. By being taught and then taking a break to experience, observe, feel and potentially incorporate that which I have learned, before continuing to absorb more of it, really makes the difference with me for apprehension.
Life stepped in again and created this timely, extended beginning on my quest to call in “The One” by allowing me to partner with Marley (see my second post here). Also some little issues popped up: a conflict with schedules, sickness and other things that could have stopped our start. Having these potential deterrents allowed Marley and I to reaffirm our resolve of not letting anything arrest our march forward. Something could always come up, but we weren’t putting this part of our lives on pause any further. We were truly committed to this intellectual sojourn.
While waiting, I didn’t pick up the book again. I let the portion of the book that I had read sink in and register. I let what I was feeling about this course swirl around in my head. I fortified my commitment to gaining clarity around relationships and I observed my ways, my thoughts, and I journaled. This delayed start allowed me to slow down and think complete thoughts about our impending journey and prepare myself to either modify established ideas or formulate new ones.
There is something to be said about having a partner. Knowing that I have someone to support and someone who is there to support me, changes the experience exponentially for me. The course went from my private quest, to my personal quest and made it that much more real.
Before our first meeting there was a complimentary seminar that yours truly, Ms. Braithwaite, informed me of. Marley and I attended Calling in “The One” – How to Release Your Hidden Barriers to Love and Become Magnetic to Your Soulmate; an online seminar conducted by Katherine Woodward-Thomas and Claire Zammit.
Between the seminar and Week One I learned that I needed to get over my past, claim my power, and change the way I looked at my life so that it incorporated a “we” versus a “me” outlook. The great news about what I discovered is that I am in control to adjust and create, within my life that, which I desire and need to call in “My One.”
Getting over my past is essential and it became strikingly clear when over the summer I was offered a great way to consider our journey through life…a bus. Let’s consider for a moment that we are riding on a bus taking us towards our goals. There is only enough room on the bus for a certain amount of people and luggage. Who do you bring with you? And what do you bring with you, especially from your past, on this ride? When I was given this way to look at life, it became extremely apparent that I had to get rid of my past that was no longer serving me. I had already kept and incorporated the lessons learned…what else was I holding on to?
In recognizing, accepting and articulating my wants and needs, I am able to claim my power. What came out of Week One is me owning and saying aloud that I want to be chosen as number one! I will not be second to friends, a career, or a specific lifestyle choice. In my life my partner chooses me first as I choose him first, but we recognize, honor and respect those elements of life that are extremely important; elements like family, friends, a career and a specific lifestyle. We build our life together and choose us first and I comfortably believe that this will afford us a solid foundation.
There is Lesson 7 called Making the Space for Love. It is wonderful and was the beginning of a magical shift within. This lesson starts off with a wonderful quote from Marianne Williamson’s A Woman’s Worth that says it all.
Make room for love and it always comes. Make a nest for love and it always settles. Make a home for the beloved and he will find his way there.
This lesson has produced overwhelming feelings of reverence and admiration for love, dedication, partnership and faith. I am still in awe and adjusting to my new mental and emotional landscape of sharing my life with my partner in love. So now I ask all of you: who’s on your bus? How can you create more space for love?
I’m taking a four week course on Zen Buddhism at the Brooklyn Zen Center.
This in itself is awesomly interesting, but what’s really awesome is that Oaxaca Taqueria is right up the block and they have a 2 dollar taco happy hour that makes me so happy (and full and tired). For the last two weeks I’ve eaten tacos right before meditation and immediately felt horrible: will I fall asleep? Will I be gassy? Why am I such a chubster?
It hit me this morning, in an unrelated moment, that if I give myself permission, tacos can be a spiritual practice. This morning, during my meditation, I had my reoccurring thoughts of inadequacy: am I enough? Is he a liar? Am I loveable?
And each time a thought came up, I was able to identify them with the label “thought.” This labeling process took all of the energy and emotion out of my thoughts. A thought is only uncomfortable if we forget to keep space between it. Thoughts we invest in are uncomfortable.
It hit me and I realized, “holy shit! Awareness isn’t just something I do 20 minutes a day. This thought-labeling should happen all the time.”
Meditation, I’m learning, isn’t a self-contained thing. I meditate daily so that awareness can spill out and inform my entire life. A daily meditation practice is awesome, but pure unyielding awareness is my goal.
In our class we talk about body awareness: becoming attuned to where your body is, how it feels, and what sensations are occurring. So on Monday night (30 minutes before class), instead of being hard on myself, I ordered my two tacos and savored them. I tasted the cilantro and felt the texture of the shell. I felt the warmth in my hands and wiped the salsa from my chin.
Every moment is a pathway and every taco is a meditation…if you surrender.
Enter in this course (Calling in “The One”)
The beauty of being in my position is that I won’t settle. I want the man from my dreams and no one else. He is the man for me. In a pleasant way, I was raised not to need a man. That anything I wanted and needed I should provide for myself and if I couldn’t then I should lean on my family for support. There were no lessons either direct or implied that suggested that my sisters or myself should depend on a boyfriend, husband, etc. to provide anything for us. To be in a relationship was an option, a choice, not the end goal. What developed within me was the desire and pursuit of a strong sense of independence. I became acutely aware that I had options and that I would choose my path. This freedom from societal influence and being the selector meant that I did not have to do anything that I did not want to do just to fulfill some unspoken rule that I had to be married by a certain age. My autonomy in the world of love (I’ll use autonomy loosely here because my mom still laid down the law when I was in my formative years) afforded me the time to learn who I was, who I wanted to be and what I wanted in a relationship.
And now I am here and ready.
The Approach, Setting Expectations and Preparations
Initially I was determined to do this course alone, EVEN THOUGH there were strong thoughts in the back of my mind reminding me of my love of community and partnership and the desire to strengthen that part of my life. I do pride myself of being independent and strong. Some wisdom that I have gained along the way is that asking for help or partnering with someone does not diminish strength, but strengthens strength. It is still an active lesson that I am settling into my core constitution.
That being said, for obvious reasons I only thought of asking for a friend to join but actually did not. I asked myself, “Should I really approach a course about finding the one, alone?” “Why of course, it will be our relationship not the community’s” was my initial answer, clearly ignoring my deep desire. My response wasn’t sitting right with me especially after sending a close friend of mine, Marley, numerous texts and having discussions about the book and wanting to go through this process with her. My reticence to partner up with someone is something that I will work towards getting over because that is an attitude that I have carried with me for a while and it does not serve me. Anyway, Marley finally said she was going to order the book and the opportunity presented itself for us to go through this journey together. I am humbled and grateful.
My expectations of the book are nil.
My expectations of myself on going through this course are many.
I expect to be open, honest, earnest, and willing.
I expect to show myself a lot of love during this course. I’m sure I will have to examine beliefs, shift thoughts and face some fears throughout this process, but as long as I am compassionate with myself I will go on this route supported.
I expect to do the practices and activities outlined in the book.
As Marley and I journey on this passage together, I expect to give support when needed, to hold the space for our exploration and to ask for the same when I need it as well.
I expect to be fair and refrain from judgment.
I expect to give it my all because I deserve it and so does Marley.
One of the agreements that we have made in addition to what is recommended in the book is to not consume any stimulants (alcohol, etc.) while on this path. There are only two planned exceptions, caffeine is allowed – whew!- and I celebrate the love of some friends of mine at their wedding in Paris and so I will toast to love. We want to embrace this chapter of our lives with a clear mind and spirit.
I truly cannot wait to start this course and call in “The One”. I am most excited about gaining completion of the past and clarity for the future, as well as meeting my “One”.
My commitment to myself through this period is that I will be an active player in creating the life that I want to live. I invite you to do the same
Admittedly, I never got thru the whole thing, but I did take the quiz. And I learned that my love language is time.
You know how folks say the best way to a man’s heart is through his stomach? Well, for me….it’s through quality time. If you love me you make time for me.
Chapman’s other “love languages” includes: physical touch, gifts, kind words etc.
What makes you feel loved?
A few weeks ago I set out to create my faith manifesto because I’ve been putting off articulating my faith (both to myself and others) for a while. I’ve thought about it, the universe has given me quotes and fodder, but today the words poured into my head. They actually kept interrupting me while I tried to read, so I’m letting them out to share with you. Hopefully, in publishing my faith manifesto, I can move forward with my projects, find clarity around my spiritual partnerships, and essentially…stop apologizing for not being Christian anymore. Shit, today I stop apologizing for being myself.
A Manifesto on My Faith & Belief in the World
When I was a kid, there was a song we’d sing in music class, “…and they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love. Yes they’ll know we are Christians by our love. We are one with the spirit; we are one with the Lord. We are one with the spirit; we are one with the lord. And we pray that all unity will one day be restored…yes they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love. Yes they’ll know we are Christians by our love….”
I’m not a Christian anymore because, somewhere along the line, my experience of Christianity seemed to stray from this song. If my experience mirrored the song, I’d probably still be a Christian, but I’m not. Love is my only religion. Unity is my book of choice. My heart beats in synchronicity with The Source, The Universe, a God beyond my understanding…
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love…
In the wake of loss, and a bit of loneliness, I have discovered that I am following the path of the spiritual warrior. I am following the path of the mystic. I am following the path of the Shaman. I believe in communing with the unseen, I wave my wand and create beauty from ruin. I am a student of Ganesha, I am prayer partners with Jesus, I picnic with Buddha under the Bodhi tree.
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love….
I am typing to catch my breath. I am letting my fingers talk thru me. Today I am transcendent. Today I am free. Today I am unencumbered. From this place, I am certain I can heal the world. Do I need a religion? No. I am embodying the shoes of the mystic today. I am coming out of the closet as a believer in life, a believer in death, a believer in the seasons and cycles of all things. I believed in Santa Claus until I was 12; I am certain that I will believe in fairies and angels until I die. They will greet me when I die – along with my grandmother, Old Dirty Bastard, and Marie Antoinette.
I talk to plants. I hug trees. I hug hammocks and warm mugs. I believe God lives behind the eyes of every living creature. I believe, in another life, cats ran the world. I seek the face of God in everyone I love (and even those I hate). I am a writer – I read my poems to Rumi and Hafiz. They edit my lines, reorder my footsteps – my life is a thesis and they’re perpetual advisors. They wrote love poems to God, I write love poems to lovers: to men on moons who are gone but not forgotten.
I love lovers like they are God, and, today/in this moment, I vindicate myself — this is no longer my crime.
Today I become myself, and unequivocally state that I believe in humanity. I believe in the nature of life. I believe in the unyielding beauty of all that surrounds me – even when it’s dark and I’m scared as fuck. I believe in alchemy, in turning water into wine, and heartache into beauty. I believe that all things rise and fall like breath and heartbeats. I believe in resurrection, reincarnation…recycling…
And they’ll know we are Christian by our love…
I believe in Jesus — both the long haired white dude and the black man with dreads. I believe in miracles, and all courses designed to help us make them. I believe in community and in surrender, in the right to bear souls, and crosses, and arms, and great books.
I believe in my ability to write, to teach, to give, and to share. I believe in public vulnerability.
I believe in peace and in pornography — in the beauty of destruction, the energy of anger, and the power of complete submission.
I believe God is happiest when we worship one another.
I BELIEVE this has taken me so long to write because my kind of faith is scary. It lives everywhere…in every single drop of life…in every mystery of death. I have gone on a witch hunt to find it. I’ve freed the witches, captured my faith, and now I set it free. It lives in crack houses, and prisions, and palours and churches…it lives everywhere I go and places I dare not.
My faith is much stronger than me.
Today, I declare that I believe in myself….and I believe in you, both you that I know and you that I don’t. I place faith in the you that you keep from yourself. I love you with all of my heart (my faith dictates that there there is no other way to love). You are not alone. I am not alone. Today, full of faith…I drop down in adoration and marvel at the center of myself — at the universal center that connects us all.
In the future, when asked by lovers and friends where I place my faith, I will smile and say, “I stow my faith in the spot behind your eyes. In the place where you can clearly see both me and yourself. That’s where my faith resides. That is where God lives, and at my best, that is the place from which I experience the world — the temple in our soul where humanity and God unite.”
Where is your faith today?
I have reached the end of my 30 day forgiveness journey, and today seems like an appropriate day to reflect on forgiveness, prayer, and moving forward. It was drafted WEEKS ago, but I’ve been resistent to share….
I am writing this in a beautiful outdoor space surrounded by tikki torches and twilight. I am alive, and the past is actually behind me.
I did forgiveness work around my ex. Ya’ll read the blogs; you know the one. Prior to this challenge, the mention of his name made me nervous. I had anxiety about the memories and the lies. My stomach would tighten when I heard his name (his name is also an adjective, so I heard it and saw it more often than I liked). The first thing I realized:
1. The lack of forgiveness, the inability to let go was in some crazy way, a desire to “feel” in control: If I worried, somehow I could affect change. If I didn’t forgive, I wouldn’t have to move on or move forward. I wouldn’t have to look in the mirror and see myself in the present. I wouldn’t have to see a single, magnificent person capable of taking care of herself. To withhold forgiveness, was a desperate attempt at staying the same.
This process had its tests and strange occurrences. While I never actually heard from him (thank god…), the universe kept bringing me people and circumstances that were testing my forgiveness work. The universe is good for that, bringing you ways to kick up feelings . Thus the second thing I realized was that:
2. Doing forgiveness work around one man, impacted my relationship with almost all the men in my life: It’s easier to forgive a ghost than a father you see everyday, or a former lover you run into every day, and what I think the universe was trying to tell me by putting me in these trying situations was that I can trust myself to take care of myself. I can trust myself enough to let go of hurt and still be solid, complete, strong, resilient…which brings me to my third lesson…
3. I am resilient enough to forgive: Intuitively, I think we believe that letting go makes us susceptible to being rehurt, but I’ve come to understand that it doesn.t When you forgive, you create a space between the person who as a “victim” and the person who currently exists.
See I didn’t do forgiveness work around my father, but I could have. We’ve got a long history of sarcastic comments and cunning remarks. Most of the time, we’re pretty funny, but sometimes they cut to deep – they bleed for years, they stain the carpets and the walls. We don’t know how to say we’re sorry to each other.
We both need to forgive. Every time a remark cuts too deeply, I am eight years old again and I am hurt. I am angry. Around 16 years old, I learned that I can be just as hurtful and quick-tonged. So, at 28, that’s often how we interact – I am perpetually a 16 year old, protecting her eight year old self.
That’s what happens when we don’t forgive. We walk around as wounded children in grown up bodies. We interact from a place of perpetual injury. Forgiveness separates us from our wounded self. Forgiveness lets us see that we’re not “there” anymore.
4. Forgiveness doesn’t make us vulnerable to attack; it sets us free.
I’ll say it again: I didn’t do forgiveness work around my dad, as I felt it more imperative to heal the resentments from my last relationships, but (in the process) I realized that a man, is a man, is a man…and daddy issues are a m*ther fu*cker. Letting go of one hurt allowed me to heal and deal with others. I am now responding to my father from my 28 year old mind and heart. This is a radical thing, I assure you…
Finally, in an awkward turn of events, my exboyfriend’s “lady friend” sought my guidance on some issues she was having with him. I’d never met this woman, and I was shocked she reached out. I was also a little taken aback by her…but her words, the level of urgency in her delivery, the sincerity I felt coming from her….reminded me of myself. And so I spoke to her with an open heart. I protected my ex’s privacy while trying to help this woman. When I tell this story, people ask me why I didn’t curse her out or ignore her? The truth is I absolutely couldn’t because I saw myself in her words and her questions. When I stopped being so angry at the ex, when I let go of the anger…there was compassion. I suddenly had compassion for him, for her…but mostly I had this overwhelming compassion for myself. Forgiving him allowed me to forgive myself. I didn’t realize it until I spoke to his home girl. I tried to tell her everything I wished someone would’ve told me (while respecting my ex’s privacy..which in itself is kind of huge). Helping her felt like I was helping myself. And so my final forgivness lesson was …
5. We are only ever in relationship with ourselves. Forgiving him was really self-forgiveness in disguise: When we hold on, we re-live. When we hold on we abuse ourselves. We hold ourselves captive and we are actively in the process of being unkind to ourselves. Forgiving someone else is truly a selfish act – if I’d known that I would’ve tried to do it sooner.
So those are my thoughts! Marianne Williamson’s 30 days of forgiveness was hard but worth it. Writing this reflection? Even harder, but I hope it inspires you to find forgiveness in your own way. I promise you…as someone on the other side (I use the term “other side” loosely, I’m not inviting this dude over for tea or anything…I just don’t hate him anymore)….you will see shifts.
I’m interested to hear from someone who tries it with someone whom they MUST interact with? I’d love to hear how that turns out…
Welcome to Operation Fall in Love!! As I mentioned, Emme will be blogging for the next few weeks about Calling in The One. I’m sure you all will enjoy her as much as I do!!
Standing there with a pile of magazines afoot, the one on top had a sky-blue background and a woman in a white wedding gown; countless number of thoughts flooded my brain. I was quickly processing in real-time. My bare feet were planted on the ground. A fear-influenced thought came and went as quickly as it appeared. Staring at the bridal magazine I said aloud “I’m owning it.” I bent over, picked up the magazine and added it to the pile I had amassed to make my first vision board as an adult.
It felt good. I knew it was time. That was the marked moment when I stepped out onto an imaginary bridge leading me towards my future. With every step, backed by intuition, my bridge materializes, just like it did in the “Leap of Faith” scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. I hadn’t remembered this scene until reading it in The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks. When I read it, a “click” registered in my mind. I don’t know what my life will look like in 12 months or even in 6 months; I only have an idea. I do know that it will embody my dreams.
Fast forward a few weeks and I’m writing this after committing to going through Calling in “The One” by Katherine Woodward-Thomas. After perusing the book and recognizing that I could connect to it and Katherine’s style, it was on!
I’m excited — ‘beads of sweat on my temple while focused on my goal’ excited!
But before I get to where I’m going we’ll take a look at where I have been…
I have had dreams of my husband a fair number of times over the last decade. At first they were infrequent and then it seemed like a lot of my dreams were about us versus just him. With each dream there was more clarity about what he looks like, but even more definition around what we feel like and how we are together. We are warm, loving, and affectionate and always within each other’s embrace. We each support the other, physically and what feels like mentally and emotionally too. The actual dream hasn’t changed much. The background varies between different shades of blue with loads of sunshine and we are on something soft, with plush cushioning but sturdy to hold us both. There is always an essence of the woods in the distance. He is big and muscular and his face is always obscured by sunshine. The essence of our life in these dreams is the essence of the life that I will live with my partner. We will be supportive of each other and provide a safe environment for us to flourish in. We will exude our individual beauty as well as our mutual beauty. We will foster a peaceful, loving and affectionate relationship so that our love can continue to thrive. Our lives will be filled with exploration, stimulation and mirth. We will have a strong foundation and partnership. Not only is that what I want, but that is what I feel in these dreams. And so that is what will be.
There’s a lot of back-story to how I navigated myself to this point in my life. In brief: I went from not saying “My boyfriend”, to not wanting to be married, to only wanting a life partner, to thinking it was okay to be alone for the rest of my life (if I didn’t find the partner for me), to now owning that I want a husband, for life. Calling in “The One” will help me to figure out how and why I chose the path that I did and how to keep the good lessons learned and drop the behaviors and thoughts that are not serving me.
In finally acknowledging that I am ready for my husband and to build a life with him, I have become fully aware that these dreams were calls for me to wake up to the reality that I want a life partner regardless of the story that I was telling myself. The frequency of the dreams, was telling me that I wanted him sooner than later; that I want him now!