New Birth

“Wasn’t meant to be this way, you know. We make our plans, sure. Life…life is what happens to you along the way. [Pan to: image of man holding baby]. You know, at first I didn’t want this. I didn’t want to connect, I didn’t want to get involved, but she kept on me – ‘this is what life is, this is why we’re here – to connect…to build’. We’re here to build something. And then we had Theo, and then I understood. She was right – we’re not meant to be alone. You know what she said to me? She said, ‘even the most damaged heart can be mended…even the most damaged heart’.” – Dead Man Down, movie, opening lines

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No matter what I do, the Universe finds a way of sending me messages. Even when I’m looking for “down time”. Thank you, Universe. I just went on a week-long retreat in the “mountains” of Los Gatos, California for graduate school (sorry Cali, but driving up Bear Creek Road for 2 miles doesn’t constitute a mountainous area – I am prideful as if I know what mountains are, here, in Colorado). August 15th, 11am, time to go back to the “real” world. I made my way down the “mountain”, drove into the city, watched short and angry passengers duel it out with TSA; I smoked a cigarette; I waited, got some coffee and a sandwich, ate, slept, waited, slept, waited… I eventually got off the delayed flight and took the every-ten-minutes shuttle to my car; I asked Siri where the hell home was after missing a turn (sort of); Siri found home; I drove home, unpacked and did some other mundane tasks to keep up with hygiene and life; finally, I ventured out in search of food and a movie to fall asleep to for the night.

I found the best of all possible movies available at one of two kiosks for Redbox at Safeway at 11:30, and I chose two movies: one, purely based on the fact that Colin Farrell was somehow involved; the other, some hilarious looking kids movie. The opening line to the Colin Farrell movie is listed above. I. Love. Colin. Farrell. And, his movies. And I just want one night to two…years with him. Please. Hah, fantasy happens.

OK, let me backtrack a bit. My birthday is August 14th. One of my best friends got herself knocked up with a baby who just so happened to have a due date I am familiar with: August 14th. So, naturally, me, her stepsister (another very dear friend of mine), and her other stepsisters’ fiancé made a bet: the baby’s due date relative to our birthdays = money. The stepsister is born 8/23; the fiancé is born 8/12; I am born 8/14. If the baby came in closer to 8/12, the fiancé would win the pile of money, the pot of gold; if the baby was born closer to 8/23, the stepsister would win the same; if the baby was born exactly on my birthday, I would win. Baby boy was born on  my birthday – and now my best friendship with the mother is officially solidified. Thanks baby Aiden Benjamin! :o)

I share all of that because while I intuitively “knew” what the Universe was up to when the new mama/best friend needed support in moving away from Colorado 2 years ago (so much so that I made money off of her child in what seems like a completely inappropriate but really just hilarious bet), I also didn’t know at the same time. The Life/Death/Life cycle really, really plays into this new birth for this very dear friend of mine – and for myself as well (symbolically). In short, though my intuition is usually quite accurate, I embrace the “not knowing” (and I embrace being reminded of that very thing with other synchronicities during these past few weeks surrounding this trip for school). The bet was a risk. But what in life is not?

I think it may be part of our jobs as humans to weigh our bets carefully. Is the risk of connecting, getting involved, being apart of a community, being in a new family…is any of it worth it? I don’t know. But I’m taking that risk, again, by finishing my graduate school degree in a community-based school. Yes, even after that dream I shared about going back to school. Why? Well, my fear of taking classes I hated didn’t pan out – truly, I got what I asked for in that post…! The thing is, I am used to being “alone” – and I am mostly OK with that. Sometimes, though, it is nice to have the reminder that maybe “we’re not meant to be alone”, like the movie suggests.

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Point: I am excited for all of the transits in this part of the Life/Death/Life cycle. I’m excited for the new births happening everywhere in my life…in the lives of those people I’ve touched as well as those that have touched me. Thank you Universe!!!

Death’s Masks

We all wear masks. Don’t try to hide it. Don’t try to deny that truth. I know you’re wearing one right now reading this post because some part of you, I know, is dying. And one of your new masks is waiting to be worn for the Halloween party this year. Most of you may be living – 98% to 99%% of you is on top of your game, totally in tune with your own rhythm, completely balanced, at one with yourself and at peace with the world (as crazy as it may be out there). Still, sometimes your birth control fails and new birth awaits. You totally have the choice of abortion – and I am totally pro-choice – but in order to have even the slightest chance at birthing something new, some part of you must be dying.

Death's Masks pic.1The Life/Death/Life cycle has been coming up for me a lot lately, and each time it comes through (whether it be in reading material, meditation, or literal deaths to a body), it shows up very magically – very synchronous or entwined in some sort of synchronicity-filled story that the Universe has composed like a song in D minor. It is all quite lovely, and I have a deep amount of gratitude and respect for this beautiful thing that we call “life”.

Here’s the thing. We all deal with this natural, universal cycle differently, and each of us has our own internal musical rhythm that for some reason others try to harmonize with. Maybe we don’t want them to. Maybe our time signatures are incompatible. Maybe they don’t get the jam. Maybe they can’t carry a tune, are off-pitch and out of line, can’t dance to the beat, and maybe, just maybe we don’t jive, we don’t gel, and the PB&J sandwich is really just a sticky and sloppy mess. Then again, maybe we make beautiful music together – and sandwiches too.

It never really hurts to try to harmonize either way – even if it hurts after trying because country roots never would’ve transformed into something like The Black Keys if we didn’t keep creating and progressing…shape-shifting through the tunnel of Life/Death/Life. Whatever form of creation a person is in tune with ought to, at the very least, be respected. Seriously, whatever form of creation. That guy is a lying liar? Cool, that’s his tune – and it may not jive with yours. That lady is a manipulative bitch? Awesome, she is teaching you that you are not and that you value different things – thank her. That fucktard idiot that just cut you off is not only a selfish asshole but also your boss and you hate him with all of the rage and anger you can muster because he is oblivious to the fact that he devalues not only your work but also your very being on a daily basis? Wonderful! Respect him, that’s all he is probably searching for anyhow – plus, he is showing you the way to a new job where you are both happy and valued. The way is out. Out of the drama. Out of the judgments. Out of the mind and into the heart. The way out is in death – creating space (or at least allowing space) for the things that don’t work for you to die. Whether you choose active surrender or passive surrender is up to you too, but the option is always there for you to choose to let it all die so that you may live again. That’s life, then death, then life again.

Still, I get it: for some, the middle part can be scary. Death – though blanketed by the two pieces of the bread that is life – is a cold, cold place to be. Death is the crappy jam when you wanted jelly on your annoyingly sticky and hard to chew PB&J. And for some, the fear of death itself does not even want to be faced. Perfect – that’s their choice. Because guess what?  It isn’t your choice! That ought to be acknowledged, recognized…understood first and foremost. If the understanding gets lost in translation, if the text doesn’t get sent and/or received, if the projector is incapable of owning their own projections or the skilled transference gets turned into the rabbit hole of countertransference, then there is not a single soul to blame. Truly, all you have to do is be. Be willing to be there, and just be. I’ve been taught this very thing over and over and over again, in school, in experience, in this song and dance with life/death/life:

“Dying is a profound RITE OF PASSAGE”, sometimes mysterious and often filled with changes, suffering, distress and refining realizations for all involved…Therefore, ‘caveat’! Remember you are facilitating another person’s spiritual process. It is not your process. Do not intrude. Do not control. Do not force your own needs and insights. If you do not trust another person’s process, that person will not trust you.” – The Denver Hospice, volunteer handout

So yes, it could take someone an entire lifetime to let go of someone who is literally and/or figuratively beating them to death slowly. Fine. That’s their choice! It could take someone an entire lifetime to let go of beating everyone else up – both literally and figuratively – because they are too stuck in some hurt from the age of 7 to let their anger die. Great. That’s their choice! It could take half of this country to realize that our values are completely fucked, misguided and misplaced, and that everyone is too deluded, naive, asleep, “busy”, heavily sedated, drunk and/or drugged to truly feel their own rhythm and find their soul groove for fears associated with death, dying, letting go and change – but hey! You have your vibe, they have theirs, so what? Go make a PB&J and get into some new music!

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“Imagine that you are a midwife. You are assisting at someone else’s birth. Do good without show or fuss. Facilitate what is happening. If you take the lead, lead so that the mother is helped, yet still free and in charge.” – The Denver Hospice, volunteer handout

(Top): Reading from Tim Barnes for Marlena McGuigan, 3.16.2013 “Future/Present/Past”. Images courtesy of Mellissae Lucia, Oracle of Initiation Divination Deck, http://www.oracleofinitiation.com/

(Bottom): Image courtesy of moggara12/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

**Check out this man’s AWESOME site: http://theseekersdungeon.com/2013/09/19/dungeon-prompts-week-6-mortality-and-unfinished-business/

Is it a “soul”, an “it”, or a “you/I”?

“The mind is everything; what you think, you become”. –Truly unknown source (not Buddha, google it.)

I love this quote. And, I think it to be true (so, now I am becoming this thought, right?). But is it that what you think, you become, or is it that what you become you think? Can I get a chicken? Or do I want eggs? (I think I will have the blueberry pancakes, please).

According to psychologists, we walk a fine line with this one; they call it a “self-fulfilling prophecy”. The belief there (ha – too meta?) is that people can (and do) make their beliefs true because they are already behaving as if their belief were true. So if you’re unhappy, and just consciously choose to smile more, will you be happier? Studies suggest yes. What if you just smile, but you think you are still unhappy – what then? Furthermore, what if you don’t believe in self-fulfilling prophecies in the first place? I’m going with blueberry eggs with chicken on top this time.

It can get confusing, but I think the difference lies in the ego versus the “true self” – the intuition, the “gut”, the soul. I’ll give an example. Let’s say someone calls you “dysfunctional”. Now, let’s say someone else just says you’re “being dysfunctional”. There is a HUGE difference in those two phrases; the first is an identifier – you actually are, at your very core, the epitome of dysfunction. Your identity (ego) = dysfunctional. Wow, ouch. The second phrase is more likely true – you are behaving with dysfunctional qualities, but that is not who you are. If someone calls you a liar, a thief, a cheat, an asshole, a moron, a bully, a good-for-nothing – is that truly who you are? Or did you lie a few times, steal a candy bar once when you were five, cheat on your physics exam in high school and now are wracked with guilt so much so that you have identified yourself as, indeed, a cheat?

Some people are these things – yes. And our psychological dynamics can truly confuse our “true self” with our external tests of conscience, will, power, courage, communication, trust and strength seemingly perpetually. It happens all of the time – just take a look at any given person with a history of abuse, trauma, neglect, and the like. But, there exists a level of conscience in all of us – from the low, to the middle, up to the super-conscience types. Some psychologists believe that psychopaths (not to be confused with sociopaths) are actually born with no conscience whatsoever – it is non-existent – but the jury is still out on that one. Regardless, it is all too easy for people to become so disconnected from who they really are that they do in fact become what everyone says they are or what they tell themselves they are.

From my experience, there are a lot of ways to handle the confusion that comes with being a human being in a world of projections and reflections trying to find themselves. Mediation helps. Forgiveness and compassion do wonders – for both yourself and others. And, if those are not up your alley to begin training your own mind (rather than having someone else train it for you), then I totally recommend Byron Katie’s book, Loving What Is. The bottom line is you don’t have to suffer. You may not be able to “control” your thoughts, but you can certainly reign them in and smile happily at the ones that exist but don’t work for you.

I blame misplaced responsibility

I was hearing some things in my head last week (no, I am not schizophrenic):

1. “Miss Mary Mack, Mack, Mack/All dressed in black, black, black…”

2. “No ‘good’ deed goes unpunished.”

3. “Don’t put your trust in walls/Because walls will only crush you when they fall”. -Ray LaMontagne

That first one up there isn’t a joke. In fact, it led me to some pretty interesting insights into the human condition, but that’s only because I follow my unconscious mind so closely that my conscious and unconscious are nearly one happily married unit. Most of the time. They do have their battles, but what married couple doesn’t?

It was pretty synchronous for me to have that rhyme sneak through my consciousness when it did. First of all, my name is “Mary” and “Elena” mixed together. My parents had to compromise a lot – just before they compromised on divorcing. The irony there gets interesting. Anyway, that day I was wearing a tank/vest I have that, in my humble styling opinion, is reversible – half of it is crocheted lace (either the front, or the back). This tank has silver buttons. This tank is black. Yes, you are following my lead here – I was wearing it “backwards”, so I had silver buttons all down my back, back, back.

I decided to look up the full rhyme because I couldn’t remember anything beyond the buttons thing. Plus, these seemingly minor “coincidences” (I don’t believe in those, hence the quotation marks) are the ways the Universe tries to get my attention (and I am always listening because I trust myself first and foremost):

Miss Mary Mack, Mack, Mack,
All dressed in black, black, black,
With silver buttons, buttons, buttons,
All down her back, back, back.

She asked her mother, mother, mother,
For fifty cents, cents, cents,
To see the elephants, elephants, elephants,
Jump the fence, fence, fence.

They jumped so high, high, high,
They touched the sky, sky, sky,
And didn’t come back, back, back
Till the fourth of July, July, July.

Lots of symbolism, lots of listening to my inner guide on what that symbolism means for me, and lots of easy connections/parallels/patterns to see. Bottom line that I gathered, though: boundaries are absolutely key to independence – not to be mistaken for walls. Walls are meant to keep externals out from the internal due to fear; boundaries are meant to create a world of respect, both self-respect and respect for those externals. Boundaries are placed with love – for self and others.

You’ll know the difference between boundaries and walls internally. When others are starting to try to choose things for you (usually based on ignorant judgments and/or manipulative tactics), you’ll feel it. You’ll hear it. You’ll sense it. Without asking for it, there will be underlying tones of illusive confinement – how you should live your life, what your identity is made up of, what is “good” or “bad” for you, etc. etc. It’s a form of ego-seeking and/or ego-defining bullying. If you’re aware of these subtle external control maneuvers, you’ll somehow become aware of the pain that such invasiveness causes. Then, you’ll either create walls because you are not ready to face your fear; or, you’ll create boundaries out of love and respect for yourself and for any other(s).

Regardless, the reaction usually erupts in one of two ways: deflect the projection and become vengeful (turn it around regardless of their potential truth, which you know nothing of), or deflect the projection and simply choose what you stand for. In my opinion, the best route to take is the one where you choose to worry about yourself and yourself alone. How? Create the boundaries that these potential others are, for whatever reason, not aware of and do what you need to do to feel safe, secure, and comfortable (and in some cases to survive).

Now, don’t get me wrong – I think it’s a lovely thing to take on others’ responsibilities when it is done with love and care and support. But, to step into a center where you have not been welcomed first is at the very least an invasion of privacy and goes up to and includes abuse (any/all forms: mental, physical, emotional, spiritual). Are you a victim? Are you a martyr? Are you a perpetrator? In my view, the blame target to shoot at is the “misplaced responsibility” target. So get out of that cyclical triangle; stop the blame game and create your boundaries, create your reality, create your Self.

Because you get to choose how to live your life – not others. You get to choose what you believe in – not others. You get to choose what is truth for you – not others. You get to speak for yourself. In fact, in this country, it is your right. It may not be easy, but again you get to decide your path – and you can absolutely choose the more difficult route! Truly – in fact, even though I said “you” a lot up there, this post is not really for “you” – it is for me. I choose my life – not others. I choose what I believe – not others. I choose what is true for me – not others. I speak for myself.

Secrets, Secrets

IMG_0779“There are those that like to investigate, dig deeper, and search for things that lie hidden below in the aim of truth, and then there are those that like to do the same things for their own egoic purposes (most likely to feel powerful or “right” or centered somehow). The latter will purposefully and consciously gossip at the very least and tend to exploit at their worst. Have some compassion; some can build their egoic strength from within, and some have lesser access to that strength for whatever reason.

I say, relish in that mystery, but keep searching for truth regardless. No one can take your power or truth in intention away no matter how hard they try.” -Marsnplato

Dungeon Prompts: Secrets

(Inner) Authority

Inner Authority - blog

“There is a difference between being judgmental, holding judgment…and having the ability to judge and yet accept at the same time. So that whether something is “true” or not makes absolutely no difference – whatever it is, that’s just it: it is what it is.

I hold the judgment that you can easily feel this distinction in a “judgmental person” (which is every single person on the planet, by the way) by how one communicates – and behavior is one pretty major form of communication. The person who holds judgment without acceptance will noticeably behave differently…they will consciously create or change a “game plan” in an effort to maintain their external reality or realities; the person who already breathes with acceptance internally will have no need to behave differently (beyond energetic resistance to the “game”) because they see, accept, and that’s it.

I did not ask for anyone’s permission to print this, and all of this is true because I say so – can you accept that?” -Marsnplato

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono/FreeDigitalPhotos.net