Creative Ideas: The Good vs. The True

I feel all creative people share in the same common problem, what are we supposed to do with the plethora of good ideas? How do we know which ones are good ideas, true to our essence, and which ones are just improvements on someone else’s idea? What sort of filters can we create in our minds to collect the good ideas? Filters are necessary to creation. Without them we will send ourselves in a million different directions without a focus. Progress means heading in one direction and that’s what I have been determined to figure out for myself.

The basic filter I have towards creating is following my inspired actions. Good ideas come all day for me, but what am I actually inspired to take action towards. I have a list of things I would like to create, but when I look at that list, I can only do the things that stand out to me and inspire me to create. This blog is an example of that.  I was ruminating over these filters this morning, without any sort of understanding (because I need to write to understand) so when I sat down at my computer and asked myself what I’ll write, this was the blog I was inspired to create. I have other ideas that are good, but this is the only idea that is true to me at this moment. This is the only one where I emotionally connect to the essence of what it is to communicate.

Here are some filters I like to use when sifting through good ideas and true ideas.

  1. What is the emotional cost of creating it?
    • Everything we create has an emotional price tag. All my paintings are inspired by deep overwhelming emotions. Sometimes I’ll be completely overwhelmed by a feeling, like confidence or sadness. That’s when I can begin to paint and I can create something decent. Today when I sat down without inspiration, I did not make a painting I was proud of. Most paintings I’ve loved were created in feverish passion. As if nothing could satisfy me at that moment but putting paint on paper. There is an equal exchange in the excited passion to create it and the pay off when it is finished. Not monetary pay back, but emotional satisfaction and fulfillment. I have not sold these paintings but every time I look at them I smile and am proud of myself for following through with the inspiration.
  2. Is it true to the essence of who you are? 
    • I will never write stories of low income, crime ridden neighborhoods because I have never lived it. This is a very easy filter to impose upon ourselves as artists. Have I experienced the situation I am attempting to recreate? Do I have an emotional connection to this idea? Even those with sheltered childhoods have experiences with confinement to draw upon. This will narrow the scope of creating drastically. Write what we know. That is called focus. So how does a writer or artist begin to expand their topics of work?Experience more. Leave your house, explore, meet people, read, learn, listen to others experiences. That seems easy enough to me and yet how often does an idea of something float into my head that is conceptually creative yet completely untrue to the essence of my artistry. Too often, so I must stay focused on myself and what I know.
  3. Am I motivated by love?
    • If you don’t love what you are doing why are you doing it? I believe the art I create comes from a well inside me filled with emotions. Anytime I am in emotionally negative situations, surrounded by complaining miserable people, doing something that I really hate, or am doing something motivated by desperation or fear, I poison my well. I need clean water to live. I need clean emotions to create. If an idea comes, a simple filter is Do I love this idea? Perfect example, is a new blog idea I had that seemed like a really good idea to try. It seemed easy to manage, it seemed easy to market and it was true to who I was as a person. However, I didn’t love the idea. I didn’t believe in it. I didn’t have the emotions behind it to carry it through to possibly generate any income (another reason why I consider it a good idea but not a true idea)
  4. What would happen if I didn’t create it? (Aka powered by fear) 
    • I know you have heard it before, if it scares you, you are probably meant to do it. That’s only half true but there is something valid behind it. I think of it this way, if I were to let this idea slip away and not create this piece of art, how would I feel? If it seems as if I’ll regret not making it (a couple novel ideas I have on my back burner until I finish my current piece of work) I must create it. I am now powered by the fear of not doing it. I am powered by the fear of the idea being picked up by someone else. I must hold on to it and create it. This to me is being powered by fear. In simple terms, FOMO.
  5. Is it an original thought? 
    • This hits on something important to me when creating anything, if it wasn’t your original idea it’s not worth creating. If I watch the movie Training Day and think it could be rewritten so much better with two female cops, its not my original idea. If a creative friend tells me their idea and expects me to create it, its not my original idea and not worth investing the emotional labor into it. If it didn’t come to me smack out of the blue its probably not worth creating. Anything inspired by something else is a copy, a replica, non-original. Ideas had in the quiet stillness of life are ours to create and invest ourselves into. Don’t take another persons idea and recreate it. That being said, sometimes we have friends/support system who understand our vision of what we are attempting to create and they offer ideas that go with our flow that can benefit us. But these are trusted sources, people who understand us emotionally, and typically easy to discard if it doesn’t work with who we are.

Creative people should avoid putting themselves into boxes at all costs. There is no “I cannot” in creating, however filters create concentrated focus. Most creative people are not in lack of good ideas, they are normally in lack of true ones. This is when the filters become helpful. I am in a time in my life where I am only pursuing creation. If I want to do something with myself and it is not based out of creating something I will not do it. I am determined to generate income off of my creations only. Working for corporate America is for people who don’t believe in themselves and their ability to generate their own income. I am capable, I am willing, I have focus and that’s what I’ve got right now. We will see if its enough to carry me and mine through.

Whatever the case

Do something creative

Because you love it

and because you can’t not create it.

That is a true idea.

Hard lessons I learned from my (dead) garden.

This past winter it snowed in Las Vegas after an unusually rainy winter. Because of all the extra wetness in the desert, my yard and everyone else’s were invaded by a strange type of weed. My neighbors weeds started to flower with tiny purple flowers, mine with white. While most responsible homeowners started to pull their weeds before they started to take root, I was more impressed by how quickly mine were growing. I was curious. I wanted to know what would happen if I didn’t pull them. Eventually I noticed white desert butterflies started to show up to our yard to snack on the flowers, and then little red sparrows came to snack on the butterflies. Spiders, beetles, flies, bees. Tons of bug started to come but so did the birds, and then the cats came too. I realized an ecosystem was growing here around my gigantic towering weeds. They grew as tall as me. I have never seen weeds so tall and so strong.

At one point I considered the idea of watering my weed garden to keep them alive and thriving for the insects and the neighborhood animals they would attract. But I didn’t because of what I thought my neighbors might think. So I didn’t water my weeds, and I didn’t water my trees, and I didn’t water my tiny vegetable garden I set up last fall. I let it all die because the weeds had taken over. It’s a big job to go in and take everything down. I wanted to throw money at it, hire someone and not think about it. But I don’t have the finances for that. I thought I’d go buy a weed whacker and chop em all down that way, but I watched my neighbors landscaper do a similar job and he used a lot more tools than just a weed whacker to get the yard clean again, so I didn’t have the finances for that either.

Then a couple days ago, I was gifted some plants that I really was hoping to grow successfully. It’s funny how when I ask the universe for these things and they literally show up on my very doorstep. I set them up in my backyard after not having even stepped on to my patio in weeks and I was immediately depressed. After a day of looking at these vibrant plants that came from a healthy yard, slowly start to wither and loose their vigor I realized I was trying to grow something in a completely dead environment.

Huge dead weeds that once attracted birds and butterflies were now brittle and dying covering my dog in sticks and thorns every time she went outside. Bad bugs started to move in and eat up the new plants I put out there. I had the wrong amount of sun, my patio was a mess. What had I done with my dream yard? Why had I let it all die.

I have quite a few Italian cypress trees in my yard. Over 20’ tall, and they cost a lot to maintain. Every landscaper I had called to come clean my yard no showed our appointments. Once I let them die they became even more of a problem because cypress like to fray as they die. So instead of a tall maybe gruff looking green tower of spiders, (because cypress become invested with spiders) Now I have these frayed ropes of death that literally are bleeding sap. When I got up close to them recently I cried. I felt bad for the tree. I was watching it bleed to death and I was emotionally destroyed to see the effects of my own negligence.

I was neglected as a kid. Ignored, locked in a room, separate from the world. I didn’t know how to tell people I was in pain, but there I was, bleeding. If only my parents came into my room and talked to me I would have been able to tell them.

Without thought, I grabbed the largest pair of paper scissors I had and began cutting down what ever weeds I could. I have been working on it for three days now and I’ve made progress but there some weeds I literally feel I’ll need an axe to take down (I’m not even exaggerating).

Today was a breaking point for me. Gardening is inherently emotional. Depressed people garden. Unhappy people who don’t want to be unhappy grow things. There’s no way you can dig through dirt and not dig through your own emotional bullshit. I cry every time I do a big project outside. Not because it’s hard, but because I see all my failures so clearly as I try to turn hard ground and weed out the enemies of the healthy environment.

This weed project has got me staring at myself in a mirror asking myself why I keep letting myself die.

My life as a bipolar person is a roller coaster. It’s hard for me to maintain stable moods. Weekly my life is a new phase of highs and lows. I get excited, I become depressed, I feel charitable, I become irritated, all within the span of a couple hours, some days, lately.

I let myself slip far down this last phase of my moods. I let myself go. I stopped doing all the things that make me happy. I stopped being disciplined, I stopped trying. I gave into fear and overwhelmed myself with anxiety. I let myself get depressed this time.

Just like my dying garden. I hoped the sun would come. Scorch the plants and they would shrivel back into the ground. Like a cartoon or something. I was naive and ignoring the reality of life. Everything takes work and maintenance. Everything has to be kept up with. Homeownership, gardening, spiritually growing. It all requires work.

In the shower I began to cry. I realized the weight of my own actions. I realized how neglectful I had been to myself and in turn began to neglect others. I wanted to be better than that though. I’m not someone who will die without a fight. This time of my life is so scary though. I’m in a season of total uncertainty. I’m lost and have absolutely no idea what happens tomorrow. And yet somehow I have faith that if I put my nose to the ground and create all this art I dream about I will save myself from this scary place I am in. No God is coming to save me anymore. No Heavenly Father is reaching out his hand and guiding me along. No one is here for me but my art. Praise be.

There is a beautiful facet to nature that I will always hold on to no matter how hard my life gets. Everything that dies, can create new life with hard work. The trees in my yard dying (if given their own time without human involvement) would eventually fall to the ground. That brown matter could then be mixed with green matter and that would create compost, that would create healthy soil. Death brings new life.

I am someone who struggles with the idea of death given the sudden death of both my parents triggering an existential/identity crisis in my life. However, this is the new idea I am attempting to embrace. Death brings new life. In order for things to be reborn, they first must die.

I have died many times in my life. I have let myself go completely dark and given up entirely. I have brought myself back every time. I’d like to think I’m smarter now, I’d like to think I know myself better than I ever have and I can actually maintain my own life, but in case I’m still learning I will hold onto this blog and remind myself, if you put in the hard work your situation will change.

I’m writing like a mad woman, yet not giving myself the credit. I’m (finally) finding my painting style, after 14 years of searching and being too afraid to experiment. I’m gardening again, keeping my house plants alive and thriving and expanding to my back yard now. I’m trying. That’s all I can do. Try. I don’t give half-effort. I’m an all in or all out type of girl.

I hope you’ll take a look at your yard today.
I hope you’ll ask yourself hard questions.
I hope you’ll be brave enough to work hard for change.
I hope you’ll stop getting in your own way.
I hope this all for me too.

Good luck.

Knowing the Truth.

Today’s blog is brought to you by another one of my weird cryptic dreams. I don’t always dream, but when I do… normally it means something to me. I don’t dream of flying or being in alien space ships like I did when I was a kid. I dream about deep stuff that’s effecting me on a emotional level.

Last night I could only remember a vague detail of what I dreamed. Selena Gomez was criticizing me for some reason and where normally I would cower and think she was right about what someone might be critical of me, I just looked back at her and said “Fuck You, Selena Gomez.” Which felt good. I don’t do that to people normally. I tend to take everything to heart. I tend to think everyone around me sees me for who I really am, and I am some how deceived by my inflated ego. But I don’t think that’s the truth anymore, I think I am just myself. I am arrogant but I’m also intelligent and well read. I am dramatic, but I’m also passionate and believe in myself (sometimes…) I’m confident and insecure at the same time. I am just a human. I am learning who I am and what about me is true. So, who cares how people perceive me, I’m only trying my best to present myself true to whoever I am at the moment. The only problem is that I am always changing and different in every situation. Embracing and accepting this about myself, that I am neither good nor bad just perfectly neutral and swaying from one side to the other, is the reason I could tell Selena Gomez to fuck off with her criticisms. To realize I have been a good person in some situations, and a terrible person in others, to realize I am passive when action was needed and took too much control when I should have let things be. That sounds like a perfectly normal human to me.

But for some reason I knew this dream went deeper than just Selena Gomez being a jerk. I just couldn’t remember.

Yesterday, was the Partial Lunar Eclipse and Full Moon. I don’t know if you caught the moon last night but it was GLORIOUS. So bright, so full. I felt inspired for good things coming even though nothing feels that way right now. I want to play with and read some tarot cards for myself and my best friend and my husband in the wake of this energy I was feeling. That last spread I did, an interesting message came up…

“You know the truth of how you experienced what you went through. All you have is your understanding of what happened, how that hurt you, and how that effects you today. That is the truth.”

That’s when I remembered the rest of my dream.

I wasn’t being criticized by Selena Gomez, I was being criticized by my step mom. She was upset because I was telling a room of people with her in it what had happened to me as a kid. She got upset because she’s responsible for a lot of the emotional wounds I do have that effect the person I am today. A lot of the bad things I think about myself and others are tape recordings of how she spoke to me as a kid. She might not see it that way. She might not have even been aware of how emotionally abusive she was as a parent, but that’s not all there is too it. I kept thinking I needed to forgive her and come back to peace love and acceptance of her. But that was proving to me too difficult. Because the truth is, I’m mad. And right below the surface of anger is sadness. I was very sad for most of my life and that had to do with the fact that I was being treated poorly. Like a plant, growing without proper sun and water. That plant might grow, but not well. It wont be strong or vibrant or look happy. I wasn’t given proper emotional care and it matters to me to explain that to people. My motivation simply being I wish parents were nicer to their kids. I wish parents were more aware of themselves so they stopped using their kids as their punching bags. I wish parents offered more love and acceptance than judgment and criticisms. And this goes for my parents as well as most people I interact with.

I think a lot of people my age were raised in the dark. Treated a certain way that we were expected to just accept and grow from. There’s those of us now though who are coming to the light and saying, “No. I don’t accept the way you treated me. I won’t accept that you were unaware of yourself. I expect to be treated better and I won’t accept less than I know I deserve.”

Maybe I haven’f fully come to that acceptance until right now though. I think it’s ok for me to say, I was treated poorly by my step mother, I think it’s alright for me to talk about it. Not to slander her, or expose her like I wanted to because of how angry I was, but to tape into the deeper emotion of grief and sadness and hope that I can open more people’s eyes to just how damaging and covert emotional abuse is. It happens everywhere. In homes, in churches, in work places, in friendships. We emotionally abuse each other and I think it’s ok to begin talking about that. We all benefit from honesty. We all deserve the chance to change ourselves if we acted harmfully towards others and we all deserve the chance to tell our stories, even if the culprit isn’t listening. Even if our abusers refuse to hear what really happened. Even when they deny. I’m allowed to understand what happened to me based on how I experienced it. I understand with all the facts given to me. So that means, I do know the truth. I do know the truth of the situation based on what happened, how I felt about it, and who that made me.

I have been working on writing my personal story for 8 months now. I have come up disappointed with every draft because I couldn’t move past myself and make it an objective point of view. But my focus in honing in now and I think I finally know how to talk about these deeply personal and painful things without dragging the reader through the mud of my life. That doesn’t seem fun for them, so now I’m onto idk… the third or fourth draft of my story. Maybe I’ll like this draft better.
Understand for yourself.
You know the truth.
Think for yourself.

Spirituality Vs. Religion

As I have begun working on a novel recently the stark contrast between religion and spirituality has been glaringly obvious in the words I have been writing. It is my intention with the following paragraphs to begin exploring what that idea means to me.

Spiritual law and Religious Law do not align. There are very obvious differences between what Religion requires and how spirituality naturally flows from us. I started reading the book “the Tao of Physics” by Fritjof Capra and it was interesting to me to see how Western thought, shaped western science, which shaped western spirituality. Eastern philosophy saw the human as the mind/body/soul as one and Western philosophy separated it. I have always wondered how eastern philosophies that shaped China can co-exist together peacefully (Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism)   and how being raised as a Christian I was told there can only be one true belief. Why though? Wouldn’t it make more sense to embrace everyone’s individual philosophies? Wouldn’t everyone have a different view of the proverbial basketball and be able to tell us what lies on the other side of our narrow perspective? (I might need to explain this metaphor more later)

This here is where I see the contrast between religion and spirituality. Spirituality says, all ways are good ways if goodness is the motivation, and religion says regardless of your motivation, act in this way and God will be pleased. I think my religious family believes that I was more pleasing to God when I was attending church, leading worship, and mentoring high school students. And they would be right to an extent because I did what the Bible told me to do. What they didn’t know was the secret life and ‘sins’ I was hiding behind the perfect religious exterior. I had a great religious mask, ask anyone who knew me then. I was intelligent, confident, prayerful, I studied scripture and took pride in regurgitating verse with references. I was a good christian on the surface. I was miserable, confused, self-harming, addicted, and egocentric on the inside though. Finding my own spiritual path has led me to the point of desiring to be completely self-accepting, being able to create from an honest place with a clear vision.  I don’t struggle with my addictions like I used to, I haven’t willingly hurt myself in what seems like forever (not even with food), and I have no motivation other than love. I am more pleasing to God now with my middle finger in the air to him, than I ever was with my hands lifted to the heavens repenting for God’s acceptance. No need for him to accept me now that I accept myself. I don’t care what any religious text tell me I should do. I know how to be good because I know what is good and I am motivated to do good. Even if it’s not dressed up that way. 

That leads me to another point, all religious people in my life have rejected me and I’m more spiritual now than I have ever been. I think there is a point to spirituality that is hard for religious people to come over to understand. Religion = conforming to what a book tells you is acceptable. Spirituality = totally accepting yourself regardless of what anyone says, even God. Spiritual people know how to accept goodness and reject negativity. Religious people breed more negativity by focusing on all that is negative about “non-believers” while ignoring their own flaws because “Jesus has forgiven” them. Spirituality accepts all and excludes none. Religion is much more focused on who is in the club and who is not. I don’t enjoy living that way. I don’t like boundaries naturally because vulnerability is comfortable for me, but creating them is what has allowed me to truly connect with people. Religion doesn’t understand boundaries, they are shamed for keeping their struggles a secret (“secret sin”). I honestly believe no one cares how I fail myself on a day to day, so I won’t keep talking about it. When I stopped talking about it, I started to really struggle with my failures because my religious conditioning told me I need divine power to overcome these things. I was “powerless to help myself”. Once I stopped believing in Jesus as a savior, that unfortunately led me to seeing other stronger people as my personal savior. Friends can help you out sometimes, but they cannot save you from your own misery. And seeing them as stronger than you only entitles you to their care and attendance. No one could possibly save me from the misery I created, I had to find my own way out. I had to get stronger, I had to be my own savior. And guess what. I did it. I can honestly say, I saved myself from depression (and continue to save myself every time I slip into that soggy pit of hell), saved myself from addiction, saved myself from self-harm. Because I chose to be different and I didn’t need a God to help me do that.

I used to think there were true Christians and pretend Christians, when my world view was limited to only one religion. Now I see that I was identifying the spiritual folks and the religious folks. I have nothing against any person’s personal faith (even though I have to stop myself a lot from getting triggered by the way Christians talk about the world and each other, and at times I fail and become arrogant in my distrust and pain) but truthfully in my heart I think its ok to believe in whatever spiritual path you want to believe. I just seriously hate religion and any person who I encounter who thinks everyone should believe in their personal religious beliefs is proving the simple fact that they are ruled by their ego and not their spirit. We are allowed to believe in whatever higher power we chose (I like the ideas of Taoism, but pray to my higher self), we are allowed to worship whatever we chose (you already worship things anyway, mine as well pick something useful. I worship art) and you are allowed to practice any sort of rituals to bring a centered focus to life (prayer, meditations, spells, I like it all). All of these things should encourage us to connect to the truest version of ourselves, to be totally who ever it is that we are, and no book should tell us who we are is unacceptable. Hopefully, a decent spiritual practice will help to ease the suffering of this life. I think that is the whole point of spirituality to begin with. Life is bitter like vinegar and a spiritual practice helps us take our vinegar with a smile (the three vinegar tasters.)

The mistake I made early on was getting on the religious road instead of following a personal spiritual path. The religious road is paved and comfortable and safe, it is marked, there are road signs and clear direction on where to go and what to do. You have a road map, a safe spiritual vehicle and there are even attractions along the way. The Bible is very cut and dry on the life to live in order to be happy, but the spiritual path is less obvious. The spiritual path is rough, dark, lonely and only vaguely marked by the people who have passed this way before you (your past selves maybe). There is no direction, there is no clear way, there is nothing to help you but your gut. The spiritual path requires focus, humility to learn, boundaries, and a daily personal practice. Religious people need church on Sundays and they good!

I wonder if my dad was still alive if we would have conversations about this stuff. He was a deeply spiritual man, who might have agreed with Christianity, but he did it his way. He is the reason I know how to act or how to treat the spiritual being that I am. He is the reason I have opened my mind, because even though he probably didn’t mean it to the extent that I took it, he taught me to question everything. Unfortunately, I started first with questioning the Bible, but regardless, I am here today with more knowledge, more wisdom, and more inspired to create because I questioned everything that came my way and learned all that I could from the white rabbits who crossed my path. 

I don’t know whether or not these are clear thoughts I have laid out here, but thank you for exploring with me.

As always,

I leave you with the only advice you will ever need…

Think for yourself.

Healing From Religion

Regardless of whether I like it or not, I was made to be a spiritual person. I have been praying since I was 6, I have been thinking existentially since I was 15, I am deeply moved and connected emotionally to the world around me. Despite my best effort at being an atheist, I just cannot deny this invisible personal journey I have been on for most of my life.

Reconciling my spiritual nature and the spiritual abuse I have gone through has been my greatest challenge to date. Learning to trust myself and my inner voice again is something I suspect I’d ever have to live through. I couldn’t open up spiritually again because previously ‘religious leaders’ in my life had used my open willingness to please God as a way to steal my money, my time, and use me as free physical labor without any form of compensation, not even verbal. I explicitly being reminded that this is what it meant to suffer for the kingdom of God. Why suffer though? Isn’t the pain of existence enough?

When I was a Christian, I considered myself a ‘prayer warrior’ but truly all I was was an incessant worrier who knew how to dress it up in fancy language and I called that prayer. Begging God to change things in my favor, tightly gripping the reigns of my life attempting to steer myself in a way I was truly never meant to go. Missionary? Not likely, I am agoraphobic and hate leaving my house. Pastor? Couldn’t be.. I have issues with people who assume they are authority. Worship Leader? The greatest hand job my ego has ever received. So what if I was just a church attendant. That’s probably where I was truly meant to be. I’m a sit in the back and watch everything happen without my involvement type of person now. I don’t want to be involved in the social circles I just want to see how they operate. I’m not a part of this, I am the observer, the writer. My true calling.

Religion fueled my ego like no other. Not only was I right (with just about everything), but I served a God who assured me I was right besides any scientific evidence to the contrary. I was hard headed, small minded and willfully ignorant. I was explicitly taught to be bigotted, intolerant, prejudiced and critically judgmental of any life style that wavered from mine. Truthfully, with all the shame I can muster, I believed any one who lived differently than me was not going to get to Heaven. I believed any Christian who didn’t get as deep into things as me was a shallow, luke-warm Christian and God was not pleased with them. I believed I knew the truth and anyone who disagreed with me was fatally wrong. (I still have this problem… see… in need of healing…)

The day the Christian God died for me, and the day I finally put him to rest in his grave, I felt the deepest emptiness I’d ever known. More than most of my identity was tied with religion. I was a Christian first and foremost. The most important thing about me was that I read my Bible, prayed (it wasn’t real prayer I just worried out loud constantly), and attempted to ‘act like Jesus’ everyday. I wanted nothing more than to ‘advance the kingdom of heaven’ and ‘fight for souls’ to ‘return to God’. I put all this in quotes because this is what Christianity taught me was spirituality but these are just fancy words that mean nothing.

I had to fill that empty part of me with something. I couldn’t be an atheist, my spirit and I were to well acquainted. To deny her existence was poisonous to my life and this is when I started to become a truly toxic person. Spirituality was the antidote to all this venom. I began a journey of learning. I opened my mind to all possibilities. I entertained any philosophy that popped into my YouTube recommended videos. I bought a couple philosophical books that had world views I aligned with the most (which are incredibly difficult to read and understand but I figure in attempting to do so I’ll become smarter, one day…) When philosophy brought me the intellectual understanding I needed to back this spiritual life I was living inwardly, I began to branch out to world religions. I started to compare and contrast and try to choose which was the best for me. Until I realized something actually quite wonderful. All religions are equally wrong about most of this life. All religions try to label that which cannot be labeled or understood. All religions attempt to intellectualize that which is truly emotional. The mystic and the scientist, two halves of a whole person. You need the scientist who does her best to grab hold of reality, facts and evidence and you need the mystic who tells you, “that’s enough understanding now just believe and be happy.”

I could be wrong, but this is who I have become thus far.

It took me a while to even begin to open up about my spiritual life. I still am nervous to do so, but I consider myself stronger now than ever before.  Thankfully, the great mystery of what the universe is gives us enough grey area to decide to believe in the magic of divinity, or the magic of ourselves, or the magic of anything really. So much happens out of our control we can still believe in something bigger than us that orchestrates all that happens around us. I love cosmology for showing me this. Everything is so big and spins so perfectly, I can trust everything else about life will just work out if I do my part. At least this is what I tell myself to ease my crippling anxiety.

I want to share how spirituality has changed for me since abandoning all religions. I want to talk about how things like prayer and rituals and journalling has connected me to my spiritual nature. I want to because I remember the deep emptiness I felt letting it all go and how long it took me to fill that hole with something worthy of consideration and how hard it was to find ideas I aligned with. It’s been a lengthy seven years at attempting to understand myself, my upbringing, my absurd existence, and how I can use all that to make art. (Art is my god now, art is what I worship and serve and obey.)

It all started with me deciding to think for myself.
I hope you’ll do the same.
Have a great day.

A Thing About Mental Illness.

The thing about mentally ill people.

Do not ask me

“How are you doing today?”

Because the truth is I probably don’t know.

I have no concept of good and bad

Healthy and unhealthy.

I only just feel.

A better question for someone like me is,

“Does the world make sense today”

Because then I would tell you no

No, the world does not make sense today.

I love more people than I am supposed to.

I care too deeply about situations that do not matter

Doing the thing I thought was right

Got me a bad result.

Doing the thing I thought was wrong

ended up being a missed opportunity.

I cannot trust my feelings

Yet, they are the loudest voice in my mind.

I cannot move forward

because my mind is obsessing over my latest mistake.

In fact the only steps I make are mistakes.

the only movement in my life is failing forward.

I keep going down the wrong path and finding dead ends.

I keep trusting my gut and hurting people I love.

maybe I’m manic

maybe I’m high on my own smell

Maybe I’m super charged by my own power

Maybe I can’t sleep because I AM energy.

To you, I’d be unstable

To me, I’m right as rain.

I am all powerful – all knowing – all seeing.

But maybe I’m depressed.

And I’m stuck in my bed

And I’m weighed down by existence

And I can hardly give myself enough food to eat.

Maybe i don’t feel like feeling ok

and yet nothing around me is truly wrong. 

I wouldn’t tell you I’m ok, but I am.

But my manic self thinks the world makes perfect sense.

I can explain any action

Any conspiracy

And anomaly, I already know what happened

If you talked to me you’d know I’m not here today.

I did not swallow the bitter pill of reality

or my medications.

And to my depressed self

the world is pure absurdity.

Existence is meaningless and pain is inevitably forced upon us.

Even if we avoid it.

In fact the pain gets worse if we avoid.

That does not make sense.

If you talked to me, You’d know I’m not ok today.

So please don’t ask me

and don’t ask people like me

“How are you doing today?”

Ask me if the world makes sense

and listen for my response.

How I Feel About Myself

There have been times when I have been sure of myself, to the point I’d put my last dime on myself on a bet between me and the world. There have been times when I have believed in myself so much, I felt no need to even announce what I was doing. As if magically I could manifest whatever success was coming my way without lifting a finger because I believed in my own personal magick that much. I know now that is wrong. I know now that manifestation and creation go hand in hand. Manifestation is in the hands, and the work you do is how you create the life you want.

The future is unsure. The future is always unsure, its always a black abyss, but I cannot even pretend to have a plan. I have a list a mile long of things to do and places to call and money to move… but I haven’t done a thing. I’m paralyzed with fear.

But this is the whole theme of my life. Fear. I’ve been terrorized by my own mind since I was 6 years old. I have been overcoming, conquering and braving my fears my whole life. But somehow, this is the scariest thing yet. So much could happen, and right now, the place I am at spiritually/emotionally is to not form attachments to anything except what is important and let go of all outcomes. Nothing has happened yet. No big breaks, no huge amounts of money in my lap, no savior has come and knocked on my door. No one can save me from this. Only I can create a way out.

I do not feel safe or secure. What was once a moon lit path is now the darkest night. It is a New Moon tomorrow after all. Nothing has illuminated a way forward for now.

I’m an artist, through and through. I am not meant to work for anyone, I’m not a servant to anyone else’s vision. I serve and worship my art. I pray to my higher self for divine inspiration to write and create and express. But I have been doubting myself. If I was religious (like I was formerly) someone might tell me doubting god is a sin. Doubting god is wrong or unhelpful or harmful to my being. And if I believed in a god that might ring true. But I don’t believe in that anymore. I don’t put my faith in a deity, because its just not practical to me any longer.

What can I put my faith in? Myself? I scrolled facebook last night to when I started this blog, I had a vision. I had things I wanted to share and write and say. I had support and I knew there were people who believed in me. But something changed, I don’t know exactly when it happened, but fear and doubt seeped into the cracks of my mind, anger moved into my heart and stopped believing I could do what I wanted to do. I don’t want a job…. I want to write. I want to support myself with writing. I want to create and manifest my own world and my own reality. Typing these words I feel sick. I became so addicted to hope that I stopped moving forward. I binged my heart out on dreams and imagining and when the time came to do, I froze.

I’m a shy type, I don’t have a lot of confidence in myself, I have been wrong about far too many important things and hurt/altered people’s mental in ways I no longer agree with and wish I could go back and change. I listened to a talk the other day about making penance for what an individual has done wrong and maybe that’s what I hope I can do. Maybe I spent so long spewing comforting religious bullshit, that my penance is to now spread the bitter cold truth. Maybe that’s all I’m trying to do here, tell you the truth.

I know I write well, when I’m trying and not just rambling. I know how to communicate clearly. Maybe my fear comes from intimidation. I know I understand things that I didn’t understand before, but maybe I’m wrong. I have been very very wrong. Am I now afraid of being wrong? (“And I’m scared that I talk too much about what I think’s going on / I got away with this, they might drag me away for this / Put me in a cage for this, / I might pay for this / So I just say what I want like I’m made for this / But I’m just afraid some days I might be wrong..” Run the Jewels starts ringing in my head) Maybe I am wrong about God, maybe I am wrong about the abuse I went through in church, maybe I am wrong about the mental torture my step mom put me through. Maybe I’m bitter, maybe I’m blinded, maybe that’s why I’m afraid to write my story. It’s been nearly 8 months now, and I still cant bring myself to talk about it all. I don’t know if anyone cares, I don’t know if I care.

I said something out loud to a client of mine recently. “I may be vulnerable but I don’t like to be perceived as weak.” And maybe that’s just insecurity, and maybe that is weakness after all. So maybe I should just say it, I should just tell you about my religious experience and all the ways it broke me. Maybe I’m alone. But that can’t be true. I cannot be the only one who’s pain was constantly denied and belittled (physical and emotional) I cannot be the only one who was set up to be sexually assaulted and then blamed for what happened. I cannot be the only one psychologically terrified of demons at night (still at 27 years old). I cannot be the only one who had an entire identity crisis because my parents never gave me reality.

I fear being denied. I fear someone lessening my pain, I fear not being believed, because that’s what my only experience has ever been. No one has ever truly understood or believed the depths of the pain I have felt. Not that I need this to be a competition, I just wonder if I can learn something from all of this that can help people like me. I haven’t figured that out yet.

Where is the confident side of me I used to know. There was a time when a microphone was not intimidating and a stage was inviting. I cannot even karaoke anymore.

Maybe I’m afraid because so badly I want to change things bigger than me. Maybe I’m intimidated by that. Maybe I have seen the right things, and experienced the wrong things, and maybe I actually do have the power to blow the whole thing apart. But how does someone take down Christianity. That’s a big bite, babe.

So, how do I feel about myself currently?

I feel like I have potential. I feel like I know the truth. I feel like I have all this material and no direction, no confidence to channel it in a way that makes an impact. I feel like I’m trying to hard while simultaneously not trying at all. I began the rough draft of my novel (finally after 1+ years planning) and I cannot pick it up again… because I feel like it’s not saying enough and I don’t know yet how to save more. I feel like I have electricity in my fingers, but truthfully I am a daughter of lightening.

Then, I feel like nothing truly matters and what I have been through doesn’t truly matter. Mostly because, I have healed a good portion of my own pain. But then I meet some new people all questioning their religion and I think, I know how to help these people, if only I had written down everything I learned. I know this pain, and I know how this pain can be healed. Not by me, but maybe I know the way in which to point people.

Now, I’m kind of seeing my problem. I have this big gigantic cake that I have baked for myself and no idea how to break it down and serve it in bite sized pieces. It all bleeds together. I need concepts, talking points, subjects to expand my mind on. I know a lot about what I know, I just don’t know how to serve it to you. And I don’t know if I can do it, but I do know I can try. That has to be enough for now. I don’t know where to start, because I don’t know where it begins.

My hopeful intention moving forward is just to progress with this story. It’s a mess, and my life is a mess and I cannot seem to get it all organized. I feel like I couldn’t even tell you what about myself matters.

Who am I? Maybe I can begin there.

 

Good Mom/Good Person

I was re-reading some of my journals from earlier in the year, and one in particular about my children. I wrote “I don’t know what I’m doing all the time, but paying attention to them is how I figure it all out. If I keep a hold of my emotions and stay present, I can focus on responding appropriately” I don’t know how past me got so wise, but present me really needed to hear that today.
To parent from a place of observation and gentle guidance, allowing my children to bloom into who ever they want to be, has been my goal for the last couple months and I think this is the key here to doing that. Acknowledging I don’t know what to do (which is hard cause I’m mom, ya’know) causes me to stop reacting and start listening to what my kids need.
This has been the strangest revelation for me personally. Motherhood is learning to translate a language of whining and crying and tantrums into knowledge about how to meet the unknown needs of others. A mother makes her children whole by meeting the needs they cannot meet themselves and the needs they do not know they have. My kids don’t know they need water, but they know they are thirsty. My kids don’t know they need rest, they are just cranky. Mom’s job is to recognize the action as a sign of an underlying need. That’s when we step in to fulfill that underlying need 
I tend to do this with everyone. Seeing someone in need causes me to act. My problem comes when someone is an adult and not a child and refuses the help. This caused me to question myself entirely, forgetting that I’m not everyone’s mother. (embarrassing to admit but true, nonetheless) Maybe in wanting to treat the world with the same love and emotional care I give my children is noble, but its also draining and tiring. Motherhood is exhausting on every front. I guess my challenge now to dealing with difficult people is to just watch, observe and reach out with love. See what they need and realize its not my job to meet that need. I can only meet the needs of my self and my children, and some of what my husband needs. Even still, he is responsible for himself. 
In learning to be a better mother, I feel as though I’m also learning to be a better human. The daily challenges of putting aside the ego and operating in love, as often as humanely possible, is what has grown me to my greatest extent. I feel incredibly grateful to have this life of learning every day. The more I learn about how to grow love here with my family the more love I feel I can give to the people outside of my home who I interact with and care about. That seems like what I have been supposed to do all along.
Life is about learning, and I am a student always and forever. It’s hard for me to acknowledge, through my ego and pride, that I did not know and did it wrong. I failed my way to good parenting. I failed my way to good relationships. I failed my way to happiness. I like knowing and seeing this now.
I think some artists types like me are so sensitive we cannot share our failures. We get so afraid that people will only see the fault and not the beauty of the creation itself. We feel the world telling us to be better and all we’d like to do is be acknowledge for all the effort. We want a mom to come in a say, “Good Job, proud of you, I saw you trying and you did it!”
I somehow always strive to be a good person. Whether its good to myself or good to others. Not to appear good, but to actually do good. For me. Because doing good makes me feel good. I believe in goodness, because I am goodness… sometimes, I’m still an asshole when I’m hungry and lonely… but that’s what makes me human and not holy. The most important fact of life, something I wish I could pass on to everyone, is to be a person you like. For me, being a good mom and a good person is someone I like. Being good is easy when you realize its all about operating out of the love you feel. And feeling love is easy when you cultivate it with children, the most lovingly pure source of goodness in this world.
There probably needs a more summarized ending to this, but I’m leaving it here. Love someone today, even if its yourself.

No where to go, nothing to do.

My mom has been wanting to make plans for the summer and I just can’t bring myself to decide on anything. Mostly because I like the thought of having no where to go and nothing to do. Suddenly, the world is full of opportunity. People with no where to go take leisurely walks, and read books, and cook breakfast. All my favorite things. People with no where to go plant gardens and dig holes and sweep. People with no where to go drink tea and smell flowers and pet cats. People with no where to go clean up after themselves and organize everything. People with no where to go take their time and do only what inspires them. People with no where to go sit and listen and understand. People with no where to go, finish things. 

This is what I want out of my life. No where to go, nothing to do. That way I can do everything I want to do. This summer I want to plant an herb garden, I want to take many morning walks with my kids. I want to cook with them and clean with them. I want to get wet. I want to read and watch movies and eat ice cream for lunch (maybe once). I want to paint rocks and make bird houses and dream about the beautiful garden we hope to grow one day. I want a lake vacay and a beach vacay too. I want to make shadow puppets and fall asleep tellings stories.

I want to be free to be together, without an obligation forcing us apart. I only want fun, laughing, and freedom. I don’t want posed, or planned, or staged, or paid for. Give me free, and easy, and willing, and remembered.

My son starts Kindergarten in the fall, and my daughter starts first grade. My life changes come end of August and I want to enjoy these last couple months of life the way it is. I want to be here, wholly, committed to the moment. I want my eyes open, drinking in the summer, so I will never forget what it was like to learn to be a present mother. How hard I worked to focus my attention on my family. That is all I have time for. Being a totally awesome-committed-healthy-loving-inspirational-patient-giving mom. Not for anyone other than my kids. I just want to be what they need, what I think the world wants of me. I want to be tailor fitted to suit their needs, not draw attention on instagram. I want be their safe place and that’s it.

The Beginning of Healing…

For me, it all started hurting when my parents kicked me out of the house when I was 19. They would probably describe it has me moving out, but they made it clear I was not welcome in their home. They gave me no other option but to submit to their will or leave. So I left. They called me selfish, I was. They called me immature, I was. They called me young and naive, I definitely was. But what they failed to recognize is that I was hurt. I felt like such a bad kid to be leaving my stable family unit, but I couldn’t allow myself to continue to fight people for what was making me happy. I had met my would-be-husband that year, fell in love with him immediately, and my father was not happy about it. I saw a future with this guy but all my dad could see what his emotional issues, coming from a single-parent household. That’s all my dad knew about him, and that was enough to want to violently prevent me from loving who my heart had chosen. I was told it wasn’t God’s will for me to form a relationship with him and that God would not bless me or protect me since I was being disobedient to my father. I chose love over the cage they tried to keep me in, thankfully. It took a lot of strength to tell my parents they were wrong, but I did it because I felt like I knew better. I didn’t fully recognize how we were two puzzle pieces, our broken pieces aligning nearly perfectly. But eight years later, I can tell you, we are star-crossed lovers, soulmates, always meant to be. 

I was an open bleeding heart for years. My relationship with my dad and step mom had completely crumbled to the ground. My safe place was now a pit of snakes. My step mom passed within a couple years of our breaking, before we ever got the chance to talk about things. In the wake of her passing, my father reached out to apologize to my husband and I, but we never got to clear things up either when he passed a year and a half after her. Without their existence, I was now bottling up all of my anger, brokenness, and pain. That relationship could never be repaired. So, I imploded. For years. I upheaved my entire life, changed my world view, my morals, my values, changed my career path, changed my hair, my home, my style. The worst part was when I began acting out my anger and becoming dangerous to the people I loved. I acquired bad habits, addictions, obsessions because I wanted to be distracted from my own bullshit. I went on hurting and hurting and hurting for so long that I soon began to get calloused to the ways in which I was now hurting others. 

I couldn’t be the mom I wanted because I was so distracted by my own emotions. I couldn’t be the wife I wanted because I was distracted by the lives and problems of my friends. I couldn’t be the creative person I wanted to be because I was distracted by social media and politics. I couldn’t be the healthy person I wanted because I valued pleasure over discipline. I couldn’t be the productive person I wanted because I was consumed with fear. 

No one could love me because I hated myself for everything that happened. I abandoned morals, I could see no purpose in existence. I needed there to be a reason for living through all this pain. I sunk into a very deep depression, the lowest I’ve ever been and I continued to hurt and sabotage myself. I think every person deserves a couple years to sort of fall apart and put yourself back to together in a way that can help you survive a human existence. I just wish we didn’t have to hurt ourselves so much to be able to do that. I knew it was my time to start cleaning up my mess when I made a really important mistake that nearly cost me my marriage. Thats when I knew I needed to change. I saw finally that I was now the bad person hurting everyone. My villains were dead, I couldn’t go on blaming them for all the ways in which I was a violent, explosive fuck up.

Realizing I was hurt is not where healing began for me. Realizing how I was now hurting the people I loved in the exact same way I had been hurt was when I began to heal.

In order to change my direction, I had to tap into something no one had ever taught me how to do. I had created a shit hole of misery in my mind and I needed to reprogram the messages I was telling myself everyday. To do that, I changed the content I was consuming, I limited my distractions, I thought, and read and meditated and took long long walks. I talked to myself and my loved ones, I opened up about the scary sides of myself that I didn’t like and I kept exposing my darkness so that I couldn’t be consumed by it. 

Healing takes brutal honesty with yourself. It takes a lot to look in the mirror and ask “who am I truly? Is this who I want to be?” it takes a conscious awareness to realize how the world experiences you. Did I like this person? Hell no. But I could not even begin to heal when I hated myself. I could only begin heal when I accepted my broken self the way I am. I became committed to fixing all those cracks and holes and wounds with the salve of self love and gluing myself together with the discipline of being true to myself. Further, I also needed to allow the time, space and solitude to do so. I have to take every day the way it is, no matter what happens or what mood I’m in. I just have to sail the seas. 

For a long time I was waiting for something to inspire me to change. I would sit in my miserable emotional home and hope that my depression would pass, or my anxiety would settle. At one point I asked myself.. what am I waiting for? Is that thing or person ever coming? I was waiting for a savior… but I needed to be strong enough to save myself. I had to realize I was heading in the wrong direction and I was the only one with the power to change my life. 

Healing has not been easy, or quick, or fun, but its worth it. It’s worth it when I see the relationship I have with my own kids. How we are connected and present and full of love for one another. That could never happen when I was broken, so that is why healing is necessary for me.