eleventhbeatnik

musings of an aquarian age counterculturist


Yesterday’s News: Unsubscribe Me.

The simplification of life is one of the steps to inner peace.  
A persistent simplification will create an inner and
outer well-being that places harmony in one’s life.
Peace Pilgrim

Glancing at the calendar, it feels a touch too early to be pondering spring cleaning.  Still, the need to clean house and organize my surroundings and by extension, my life, nags me with persistence.

Last week I finally finished a painting project that has taken a couple of months to complete.  Okay, fine: more than a couple.  Regardless, it was with a sense of accomplishment that I at long last stripped off the green painter’s tape, finished touch-ups, and packed up the tools – essentially removing the obstacle course that has existed in the living room so long that I somehow stopped seeing it.  I think that is a well-known characteristic of procrastination:  that which we do not wish to deal with is far too easily buried under other distractions.

In any case, I relished the moment when I was finally able to sit down to survey my surroundings and truly see the results of my labour.   Taking in the vibrant new wall colours was indeed a heady business.  (Good-bye and good riddance coma-inducing beige!)  I took pleasure in noticing that the apartment was starting to look like an actual home rather than an abandoned construction zone.  All that remained was to acquire a few pieces of previously-loved furniture in good condition that would suit the place.

Alas, coinciding with Paint Project Finito, it became clear that ever seeing those longed for finishing touches through to fruition would be an unlikely outcome.  Apparently, it will be a moving van rather than a delivery truck on the horizon.  It turns out that departing this place is more a matter of “when” than “if”.  Despite my initial feelings of disappointment, moving is not a new experience in my world and a part of me welcomes the excitement of starting fresh.  Although I am not necessarily thrilled about having to deal with another move so soon after the last one, I understand that the circumstances in this situation truly are completely outside my control.

Taking into account my direct experiences with disruption in general this last couple of years in particular, I’m doing my best to take the view that it is in fact life’s disturbances that open up new pathways and opportunities.  Taking a deep breath and stepping into the fear of the unexpected with as much peace as possible allows for a broader view of previously unseen possibilities to take shape.  It is in those moments of acceptance that an opportunity arises to glimpse something brighter and better waiting, if we move out of resistance and into ease and flow.  Not easy, but worth the effort.

Another major plus about moving is that it provides and excellent chance to de-clutter and identify any and all crap taking up real estate in closet space serving no particular purpose aside from collecting dust.  From that viewpoint, it appears my urge to spring clean is well timed after all, given that there is now really no choice about it.  In the planning of emptying closets and junk drawers, it has also become glaringly obvious that another area of my life is in serious need of paring down:  my email account.

Over the past couple of years while navigating a huge life transition and undergoing some pretty heavy soul searching, I swear I must have signed up for every self-help guru’s newsletter around the globe.  In that time of pain and grief, it was a comfort to pour over advice and opinions from healers and thought leaders I admired; who appeared to have a wellspring of knowledge I couldn’t seem to tap into on my own right then.  There was a time when I read every word and soaked up all the positive thoughts, affirmations, opinions and “how-to’s” like a sponge.  Lately though, I’ve come to realize that it has been many, many months since I’ve read any of those newsletters.  In fact, most of them have gone unopened and often sent straight to the trash.  The insight and guidance that was once so very helpful, no longer seems to fit.

In terms of my personal life, these days I’m far more invested in the support, love and guidance offered by people who know me personally and love me despite my flaws and missteps:  loved ones, my counselor, teachers, herbal studies classmates, my blog community.  That’s not to say I’ll stop reading authors and writings that I enjoy.  It simply means that it is okay to let go of what no longer seems nourishing or applicable right now.  By letting go of voices and messages of the past, I’m making room for new speakers and writers and teachers to emerge in my consciousness, allowing for the the potential to discover different principles and ideas to help me learn and grow in real time.

So as I prepare to purge the abode (yet gain) to start over in a new place, I am also clearing out my inbox.  I am spring cleaning my life.  I am making space.

With a nod of thanks to Yesterday’s News, it is time to say:  Unsubscribe Me.  

photo credit: google images

photo credit: google images


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Becoming the Best We Can Be

“What if our ancestors got it wrong?”
Lyn White

Hello friends.  It’s been awhile.  All attempts at writing lately have ended before ever really starting.  Basically, I’ve been feeling flat and uninspired.

Until now.  I stumbled across a presentation called Becoming the Best We Can Be the other day.  Watching it set off firecrackers in my head and filled my heart to the brim. It is so good, so hopeful, so inspiring, so beautiful. So much so, I saw it twice.  It has awakened a part of me that has been quiet for awhile.  Suddenly I’m remembering all the things that matter most to me and why.  Things that too often get buried under the weight of the day-to-day distractions and to do lists.

Do yourself a favour.  Do the world a favour.  Press play.  The entire presentation is available to view online for free and is worth every second of your time.

More soon. I feel it.  xo

Full presentation available here:
Becoming the Best We Can Be

Lyn White


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The Elephant Has Left The Room

All alone! Whether you like it or not, alone is something you’ll be quite a lot.
˜
Dr. Seuss ˜

According to author Susan Cain, “introverts prefer less stimulating environments and tend to enjoy quiet concentration, listen more than they talk and think before they speak. Conversely, extroverts are energized by social situations and tend to be assertive multi-taskers who think out loud and on their feet.”

Oh, what I wouldn’t give to be an extrovert.  One of those outgoing, happy-go-lucky types who can go anywhere, anytime among any number of people known or not and, completely at ease, strike up any old conversation.

As you might have guessed by now:  yeah, I’m most certainly not one of those.  Let’s see.  Socially awkward?  Check.  Chronically shy?  Yep.  Horribly anxious?  Uh huh.

I am textbook introvert.  Well, maybe not in the ‘listening more than I talk’ scenario, but to be clear that’s specifically in one-on-one’s with people I know well and trust a lot.  Aside from that, my ability to converse with strangers off the cuff or carry on idle chit-chat is pretty much non-existent.

Beyond classic introversion, I am often anxious in settings involving larger groups of people, particularly where I don’t know anyone or what to expect.  Chatting with a group of people I’ve never met in contrived social situations such as parties, fundraisers or meet-and -greets for me, and I suspect for many introverts alike, is akin to walking into a death trap.

There is no better example than what I experienced attending an event this evening.  The whole process went something like this:

* Decide to attend event
* Put said event firmly out of mind until event day arrives.
* Spend day of event debating whether to go or not with varying degrees of freaking out.
* Decide not to go.  Full Stop.  Sort of.
* No, wait.  I’m going.
* Changed mind (at least 10x).
* Fuck it.  I’m going.
* Have complete meltdown about what to wear.  Like this has *ever* mattered to me.  In the history of anything.
* After bucking up buttercup and getting ass out door, sigh of relief ensues.  “How bad can this really be?” I nervously tell myself.
* Begin mercilessly questioning whether I’ll be scrutinized for being new, out of place, for dressing too casually, for saying the wrong thing, for standing in the wrong place, for…breathing.
* Arrive at event.  Walk in Door.  Another deep breath.
* Survey room.  Realize I know NO ONE.
* Looking around for a place to stand back and out of sight, I realize there is nowhere to go.
* Small room, big crowd, noisy, no one making eye contact.  I smile awkwardly here and there, nod.  No one says a word.  Even if I wanted to, I can’t.  My voice box is paralyzed.
* I begin to sweat and swoon.  The walls close in.  Everyone sounds like they are speaking into a tin can.  I am separating body from earth.
* I am alone in a crowd.  The loneliest place of all.
* I feel awkward, afraid and deeply embarrassed.
* I realize I need to take in fresh air, and this propels me forward.
* I leave.

The self-perceived Elephant Has Left The Room.

And that is just fine:  the elephant is the strong silent type and she’ll be back when she’s ready to introduce herself.

To all the introverts out there that I’ll never meet because you and I are way too busy avoiding parties:  I get you, homies.  You know what?  We can’t all be extroverts and that’s a-ok.   Those of us who are not are gonna be just fine.  Preferably over lunch for two at a cozy, non-chaotic restaurant.

Elephant In The Room


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The Art of Moving On

Over the years I’ve become a seasoned expert in the art of transient living.  Or as the uninitiated might phrase it:  moving.

I am gradually making my way from room to room sorting through belongings.  Inventory time.  What will stay with me and what will go?  This pile for packing.  That pile for charity.  A pile here for selling.  A pile there for recycling.

Rule #1 for a frequent mover is to maintain a firm non-pack-rat-itis policy.  Collecting too much stuff or becoming overly attached to material things is danger zone territory.  Avoiding this trap makes it that much easier to part company with the goods when the time comes.  Even then, a certain level of ruthlessness is required when sorting through everything that originally passed the keeper litmus test.  After pile decisions are made, the lovely lightness of being that generally accompanies the liberation from unnecessary crap makes it all worthwhile.

This move is decidedly different.  This time, I’m struggling.  Deciding what goes has been painstaking.  I’m resistant to sealing up boxes in case I change my mind.  I feel unsteady and unsure.  Certainly not my usual characteristically focused self when it comes to changing residences and today I was reminded in a forceful way of why that is.

The person I expected to share my life with snuck up on me.  As I opened an envelope in a shoebox, I came face to face with forgotten photographs taken during the first year we were married.  Smiling, happy, shiny faces – his and mine.  Arms wrapped around each other, heads magnetically leaning in, expressions reflecting a moment that could not possibly be any better than it already was.  Photos of us together, with family, alone and smiling into the camera for one another.

I sat down on the floor with those images held close to my heart and cried for a very long time.  Who were those glowingly contented looking people?  Was that joy genuine and consistent, or simply a snapshot capturing a fleeting moment in time?  What did they really mean to each other?  I don’t know the answers and must accept that it is unlikely I ever will.

Yes, this move is different.  I am not merely swapping one address for another.  I am leaving behind all the hopes and dreams that were kept alive in this home for those two shiny, happy people who existed in those photographs but not real time.   A future dreamed, never to be realized.

This move means so much more than adopting a new postal code.   It marks my stepping forward into a brand new life.  Different dreams and uncharted terrain await.

In the leaving, I am taking a gigantic leap of faith into the unknown.  Letting go of old stuff.  Letting go of all the parts of myself that no longer fit. Letting go of the dreams that died within these walls.  Letting go.

It is time to take new photographs.

paparazzi sis

photo credit: eleventhbeatnik


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Spring Cleaning the Soul

I recently decided at the last minute to attend a yoga retreat in Northern California.  As it turns out, it was one of the better decisions I’ve made in quite some time.   It was truly a gift to myself.

The retreat center was located in the mountains in a gorgeous setting near Nevada City, California.  People came from all directions, from many different walks of life.  Our days were spent practising yoga, meditating, chanting, sharing divine vegetarian cuisine, and uncovering the mysteries of natural medicines through the sciences of aromatherapy and ayurveda.   Yep.  A hippie chick’s dream.

Spending time with so many other people on healing journeys brought home the idea that we are never really alone in our struggles.  Our stories may be different but our challenges and how we deal with them is often a common denominator of being human.

My heart was touched hearing how others were overcoming illness, loss, confusion and loneliness.  In that time and space we were connected to each other through compassion and caring and it was a beautiful thing.

There were a few people who I instantly connected with, and it feels as though we will stay in touch and remain in one another’s orbits for a while.  We shared great conversation, laughter and tears and I suspect we will see each other again in a similar setting in the not too distant future.  In my view, there really are no accidents.  We cross paths with certain people for a reason, and it is interesting to watch the lessons around such meetings unfold as the days pass.

This experience brought many emotions and thought patterns to the surface (as kundalini yoga frequently tends to do!) and it felt a lot like taking out the mental trash.  How wonderful to do it in a supportive environment where others totally get what’s going on because they are experiencing it too.

I will definitely be saving my pennies to embark on more journeys like this in the future.  Annual spring cleaning of the soul?  Sounds like a grand idea.

IMG_0432


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You broke my heart. Thank you. Goodbye.

You whispered in my hair while I rested my head on your shoulder.  “I love you deeply, more than you will ever know or understand”, you said.

My heart swelled with immense gratitude and joy to finally for the first time in my life, in all my flawed beingness, feel so cherished and loved.

In that moment, I believed in the depths of my soul that I truly had everything.  No amount of money, or success, or material things could match the value of that feeling.  Nothing.

Since then it seems that you’ve forgotten that moment, transcended that place in time.  Perhaps those words are now whispered into the ear of the one that is not me.  The remnants of what I thought belonged only to us shredded and swallowed up by darkness, the dead zone of your heart.

Now, here I stand, the one left behind.  Remembering every word, every kiss, every embrace.  The tears come, unbidden still.  In the beginning, the pain flooded in with the starkness of betrayal.  Now it feels different.  An aching emptiness.  Deep loss.  My memories expand in the realization of all that we shared; and my heart shrinks in recognition of your willful erasure of all that passed between us.

What was will never be again.  It will never be the same for you and I.

That, I suppose, is the foundation of acceptance.  Avoiding the truth of what is guarantees prolonged suffering.  So I now make a conscious decision to sit with whatever emotion comes; breathing in the knowledge that the only way forward is refusing to look back.

There is nothing left to do but say thank you.

There is nothing left to do but say goodbye.

You loved me once.  And I learned how to open my heart again.  Thank you.

You stood by me once.  And I learned that I need not stand alone in a difficult time.  Thank you.

You were my best friend once.  And I learned how beautiful it is to open up and trust; to accept the risk that inevitably accompanies vulnerability.  Thank you.

You broke my heart.  More than once.  And I learned to allow myself to love freely and passionately.  I learned how to let go fully and deeply.  Thank you.

You forced me to say goodbye.  And I learned that without endings, there are no beginnings.

Thank you.

Goodbye.


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Giving up, Giving in

The past three months were an exhausting emotional roller coaster ride.  Despite chronic transition fatigue, lately I find myself feeling as though I’m waking up to the truth of the entire situation for the very first time.  This morning a strong and insistent voice in the back of my mind started saying:  “That’s it. Give up.  Surrender”.

What am I giving up?  Anger.  What am I surrendering to?  Acceptance.

It seems that I am finally beginning to understand that my futile wish to change an ending that has already happened is holding me hostage to hurt and despair.  The last chapter was finalized, printed and circulated without my input.  An opportunity for a do-over never existed.  At least not for me.

This basically leaves me facing the hurdle of acceptance.  Simple idea.  Complex process.  Surrendering frees up space for peace to grow; eventually overcoming the chaos churning inside.  Not easy, but a necessary part of grieving.  Doing so makes room for hope to blossom and healing to set in.

It seems fitting at this time that I am attending a yoga retreat in California.  What better way to give up, give in, surrender.  A path of outward transformation must begin within.

I’m curious to uncover the latest version of myself as I move on to the next chapter.  It feels really good to contemplate fresh pages of writing appearing in my book of life.  Authored by Me.

Om Shanti.

surrender