Blessed to Bitch and Moan

Life is so funny. Not “ha ha” funny (although, sometimes, indubitably it is – gutting you in that sweet, sweet, comedic way). Life is more like “what the actual HELL is happening in the world?” funny. More like “where did I begin to believe that I have any control whatsoever?” funny. I mean, do the bumps in the road ever stop coming?

Not to spoil the ending, but they don’t. They dot the road ahead. They do. But that’s not a bad thing, in my humble opinion. Wouldn’t it be so boring to know everything was just smooth sailing from here on out? No jarring mishaps or unexpected jostles to keep things interesting? Just plain, flat freeway. The kind that lulls you gently into a doze. We’re not meant to live unconsciously. I don’t know about you, but I’m not trying to fall asleep at the wheel of my LIFE.

I turned 27 this summer and am beginning to notice the shift into my mid-to-late twenties. Subtle nuances in behavior, interpretation, perspective and interest. I am also noticing a pattern of things going askew “just when everything was under control.” Sound familiar?

At first I thought it was a coincidence that things would go “wrong” all at once. I’d find reasons, breathe it out, relax once everything was handled and settled back into normalcy. But, as the years pass, I’m starting to see, and understand, that this is just life. To a degree. Ideally things aren’t constantly in chaotic motion, but for the most part, incessant change (read: GROWTH) is the very nature of life itself. The essence of being alive, on a cellular and spiritual level, is that “things” are always in flux. Each moment our cellular makeup is microscopically evolving; each lap around the sun our spiritual matrix is growing richer.

I found myself, just this week, chewing on this paradox. Mercury isn’t retrograde. It’s a New Moon, not a Full Moon. Things have only been “settled down” for a couple weeks, so it certainly isn’t time yet for the universe to topple the snow globe of my life and shake it all up again. What gives?

Then I realized: ADULTHOOD. Adulthood is what gives, sister.

This is life. This is being grown up. This is being a functioning member of society. Your car’s gas tank will need replacing the same week your internet goes out, and the week before you receive an eviction notice. Money will vanish into thin air and the crummy, dramatic people from your past (who somehow feel compelled to try and haunt you presently) will rear their seriously ugly heads, not caring that you have a million other “things” to deal with. You’ll get in a fight with the person you love most because, hell, they’re the only one in the world you are so shatteringly vulnerable with that you can unleash the vulgar underbelly of your loving Self upon them, knowing they will still forgive you; still hold you in your suffering. This will all happen within the same 168 hours because life does not operate on a schedule. 

I’ll be darned if there’s not incessantly something to fix, send back, pay for, drop off, pick up, buy, sell, settle or rectify. I used to think these things popped up neatly – one at a time, as if patiently waiting their turn – to be handled, with help, in a timely fashion. Now, I’m realizing, there’s no authoritative gatekeeper checking boarding passes, preventing them from tumbling in all together, ass over teakettle, ruining an otherwise perfectly organized and solidly structured week.

But then, in the midst of my situation(s), I’m struck down with the most powerful sense of gratitude. I’m alive. I’m healthy. I’m well. The ones I love most and cannot live without are, too. I have all my fingers and toes. I have a job (to pay for all this shit that’s hit the fan). I have a car (even though it’s threatening to poison me with noxious fumes). I have another car to drive while mine’s being repaired. I have someone to repair it. I have a house to live in (even though it’s only for another couple of weeks). I have a bed to sleep in (and I’ll sleep in it in my next house, too). I have rights and opportunities, I have an education and dreams, I have all the things that so many human beings would year for…and I’m complaining about the baggage that comes with it? SERIOUSLY?

I have been blessed and guided these 27 years to sit here now and have this revelation. So have you, to sit there and be reading this, too. Despite everything that has threatened our wellbeing, everything that has brought us to our knees, everything that has irked the living hell out of us…we are here. We are stronger. We are fiercely alive. 

All this “stuff”, all of these responsibilities and aspects of our lives that layer on the complicatedness like fragile layers of icing on a triple-tiered cake…stem from abundance. They stem from the simple nature of having something, having enough, being “okay.” They are birthed from the most organic space of a life well-lived. Making change in the world, showing up to do a job, coming home to build a life; making an effort, doing your best, showing…the…fuck…UP. And, in that moment, I realize: It’s a god-forsaken BLESSING to bitch and moan. 

I imagine people who have nothing find less to b & m about. Don’t you? Such simple matters of survival take up that space; a safe place to sleep, a warm meal to eat, preventing illness and injury, keeping life going, just one day at a time.

But with abundance, comes complaint. Now, that’s about as “funny” as life gets.

So, as I house hunt again, for the third time in 5 months, I will just smile. Slowly zoom out, in my mind’s eye, and take a gander at the bigger picture. When has life not ended up “okay”, really? Probably rarely, if ever. Learning to give up on the well-intentioned but poisonous desire to always have a blank slate “to-do” list. Learning to see it not as a success, but as that boring flat stretch of highway we discussed before. Yes, it’s satisfying to remove obstacles from our path, to see that stretch of flat up ahead. But what if, instead of squinting fervently, trying to scout out the bumps in the road to come, we instead turn our eyes to the rearview; admire the flat stretch behind us. We always make it over those bumps, obviously we do, if we’re here to share in this revelation together. I think a smooth rearview bodes more success than a sickeningly predictably flat future journey.

Learning to navigate the bumps and twists, the potholes and detours, are a rite of passage. It’s a gift. So the next time we, all of us, are burdened by the hectic dissonance that life sometimes serves…may we soften, and remember, one must be blessed to bitch and moan.

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Talk About the Shit You Don’t Want to Talk About

saracourter:

This. This is everything. Brava, dear girl. Never stop talking about the shit you don’t want to talk about. Bless your beautiful, brave heart. Namaste.

Originally posted on yogamaris:

School has started.

Back to school meant back to the mat, pushing me to brave rush-hour traffic, squeeze into parking Tetris behind Just Be, and squeeze my way into overstuffed classes just for 75 minutes of nothing but breath and sweat. I needed it, a chance to hit the pause button and regroup, like calling together the troops in my head for a come-to-Jesus meeting that says, “Get ready to go back to real life.”

Because instead of starting my day with a yoga class at eight AM, I’m starting my day in a room with a clock that doesn’t seem to move and a classroom of students who don’t want to be there. It’s the final year, and motivation is either skyrocketing as kids aspire toward college, or already taking a dangerous plunge toward a terminal diagnosis of Senioritis. My life feels like it’s taken a complete 180 from the summer-…

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From a Sweet, Juicy Place of Love

So much has transpired since my last entry here. I turned 27. There was a Full Moon. We nearly lost our patriarch, my Grandfather. His circumstances improved. I thought I had to move. I house-hunted like mad for a week. My cousin got married. There was a New Moon. I found out I didn’t have to move. I went on a couple dates. The earth did who knows how many pirouettes on her axis.

Life went, beautifully, on.

Despite the epic changes I have imparted on my life in the past three months, despite the uncertainty – a thing I bend over backwards, quite literally sometimes (on the yoga mat), to avoid – I have been brought to my knees in sheer gratitude for all the love and abundance that IS my life, lately. More so than ever before. I have been brought TO LIFE.

I find it so interesting, the concept of uncertainty and “the unknown.” I mean, it’s hilarious to me that I even look at it as an option. As if my perceived structures of control have any effect whatsoever on the chaos that is time and space! Things are going to happen, the earth keeps spinning, life goes on.

I recently joked with my parents, “Is this just how life gets, as an adult? One thing after another? You think you have everything all settled and then BOOM, car trouble. BOOM, something at home breaks. BOOM, something else pops up.” They smiled sideways and wrinkled their brows as if to say, “………Well, DUH.” The problem is not that life hurls “one thing after another”, I am now realizing. The issue is that I expect it not to do that! The story that I have is one of a child, where others take care of business for me, others help me through every decision and oftentimes make them for me. It’s kind of my autopilot, to be honest. I’m used to calling up my mom when I get a confrontational text message or email, when something happens at work, when someone wants to have a serious discussion – I need to carefully detail her advice before reacting. I do this. I don’t trust my own judgement, even though my life is lived by way of intuition. It doesn’t make sense, right?

I think a lot of us are like this. I am so endlessly blessed to have the support system I have, but I see now that I have taken advantage of their wisdom and advice so frequently, that when it’s up to me to make decisions…I balk. I worry that someone will say, “WHY did you say/do that???” I worry that someone is not going to like that I acted like a doormat or didn’t stand up for myself, or that I didn’t say the appropriate things during the conversation and now the moment has passed.

But you know what? WHO CARES! SO WHAT!?

If I’m in the driver seat and it’s up to me to make the decisions that only have to live with, then why wouldn’t I be most concerned with my reaction to my own life?

It makes so much sense, when I lay it out like this. But, at 27, I am just now learning how to carefully remove my training wheels and balance on my own. I am just now respecting and giving weight to my own thoughts, opinions and motives. It, is, SO, liberating.

I am also working more towards being more grounded and authentic (read: less of a people pleaser), and more trusting and content in the day-to-day (read: less of an “uncertainty avoider”). I am fiercely working on coming from a place of love rather than fear (have you ever taken a day to do inventory on how many times you move from a place of fear rather than a place of love? It’s astonishing, really).

No matter how much we plan, life has its own agenda. Don’t get me wrong, I am in no way demonizing planning. It’s awesome. It’s kind of my middle name. I always have a plan. But sometimes, just letting the fluidity of life take its course, can be so much more delightful than you ever could’ve planned. I’ve begun planning for today, instead of all week. Yes, there’s a rough outlined sketch of the week in my head, but by not calendar planning every detail of the week (in pen, no less), I suddenly can breathe so much more deeply. I have the freedom (as if I didn’t have it before…) to change my mind. To do things differently. To make my Tuesday plan my Thursday plan instead, and do something else on Tuesday. To NOT do things I don’t want to do, and to add in as I see fit. Why wouldn’t I live this way all the time?

In the well-intentioned act of planning so as to cultivate a structure of perceived security, we can often sink unconsciously into a fear-based way of living. Preventive. Frightened. Walking forward, tentatively, with our hands outstretched trying to ward off any potential chaos. 

BUT THAT ISN’T LIVING. That isn’t LIFE.

So now, I am taking another vow (y’all know how much I love those…). I am taking a vow to live life as it comes. I’m always going to scribble lists on post-it notes and write on my calendar. I’m always going to roughly sketch out my plan for the week, mentally. It’s who I am. There’s nothing wrong with being this way. But there’s something very wrong with going on autopilot and boxing out the potential for unexpected beauty. Unexpected chaos will enter our safe little emotional villas whether we invite them in or not. But unexpected beauty? It has a much harder time sliding through the cracks. We actually have to step outside, we actually have to look up, to see it.

And it is there, always.

I am committed to stepping outside, as often as possible. I am committed to looking up. I am committed to letting the beauty wash over me, shatter me, day after day. I am committed, in every single moment, to approaching my life from a sweet, juicy place of love.

Won’t you join me?

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Snakes and Saving Grace

I have dreamt of snakes three times in the past couple of weeks. Twice last night. Once I woke up with a gasp, lurching to the other side of the bed, my hands curling in fear towards my face. An orange snake was definitely slithering up the side of the bed towards me. Not threateningly, but slitheringly, enough to jolt my sleeping body sideways and “gasp” me awake. Snakes, in the Dream World, can actually serve as Spirit Animals, totems, indicating healing and intuition. They can signify transformation.

I’ve always been super keen on dream analysis. It’s been a large part of my intuitive processes, for as long as I can remember. So it comes as no surprise that dreaming of snakes or serpents shed light on the working through of difficult situations in one’s waking life, specifically in regards to emotional experiences. Hi. Are you, like, spying on my life?

My thrice snake dreamt subconscious is wailing, “I GET IT, WE HAVE SHIT TO WORK OUT, I’M TRYING!” But the snakes are hissing, trying? Clearly not. Pick up the pace, babe, I’ll slither faster to make you jump.

And jump I have. Jolt I have. Shaken awake, I have been.

I read this  a m a z i n g  piece last night from Pure Green Magazine, 6 questions with one of my teachers and greatest sources of inspiration, Elena Brower. Everything in our lives, everything in our bodies and minds, are a balance of the feminine and masculine. Two energies. They are not separate; they are one, one spectrum. One undulating, but often vacillating, span.

I have been struggling with this spectrum, or perhaps upon this spectrum, rather intensely of late. I listened to an e p i c  podcast yesterday as I strolled through nature, a discussion between two powerful women. A 20 minute conversation in which Ashley Turner, one of my other greatest teachers, soul sisters and sources of inspiration, dove deep into the very subject of balancing masculine and feminine energies within each of us. The importance. The threat we face when we don’t allow these energies to balance. The fear surrounding this allowance.

As a female entrepreneur, an experience which Ashley and Jackie Dumaine touched heavily on in their dialogue, there seems to require quantum leap for success. An illusion that we must abandon our soft feminine sides in order to succeed professionally, financially and stand alone in our power.

This has played a small part in my energetic tug-o-war lately. Part of it has also been rooted in the subtleties of yin and yang. Yin being the soft, slow, more sumptuous feminine energy; yang being the active, more vigorous, masculine energy. We need both. We need Rajas (get up ‘n go!) in balance with Tamas (inertia) to find Sattva (luminous “balance”), in the yogic teachings of the Gunas. There is no one elemental requirement, it is a recipe, a concoction, a desperate need for what I like to call operational balance. 

By “operational balance” I mean mobility. We are never truly in a state of stillness. Even when planted in deep meditation, our cells are changing, our hearts pumping, the molecules of air floating around us. Our atoms are vibrating. Our breath streaming. Part of my intention, as a yogi and as a human being, is to find a steady place of “operational balance.” Stillness within motion. A secure sense of serenity whilst the world moves around me, whilst my physical being tinkers away at maintaining life, homeostasis, within me. Sounds blissful, yeah?

I’ll be really honest here.

I’ve failed miserably at this intention for the past few months.

Yes, you heard me right, I said for the past few months.

It’s no wonder I’m jolting awake from dreams of reptiles invading my bed. No wonder I’m popping awake first thing in the morning, eyes blinking wildly, mind grasping at what day it is, where I’m headed, what I’m to do once my feet hit the floor.

I’ve been constantly mobile, even when still. Even laying in bed, in between dreams, planning, scheming, mentally penciling out all that I want to accomplish, all that I perceive to have fallen short of, all that I can do better.

I’m not ashamed to write it here because I believe, fervently, that to call ourselves on our own shit is to stand in truth. It is to seek redemption, healing, a soothing over of our own foundations. Even if it’s a quivering, knock-kneed, sulking and lackluster stance, it is one anchored in truth.

My feminine energy has felt siphoned and weak, lately. I’ve been bulldozing it with my masculine energy. Physically, professionally, mentally. This has left me depleted and super emotional (my femininity screaming at me to please nurture Her by making me weep at country songs on the radio, fall to my knees at my altar, adorn myself with protective crystals and keep flowers in my room to brighten the dimming flame of my inner Light).

So, what does one do, in a predicament like mine?

Turn to teachers. Read. Journal. Podcast. Seek inspiration. Draw from the well of creativity. Bask in the glow of the muse. What my life is made up of are all elemental necessities; all things, activities, beliefs, practices that I need, that I rely upon, for productivity, growth, wellness, health, balance and nourishment. I don’t want to rid my life of anything I’m doing. But I need to add to my repertoire more healing, balancing, loving practices. I need to call upon some of the balancing and replenishing coping mechanisms I so adoringly practice, but have let fall by the wayside. More yin to stand equally with my yang. What I’m saying is,

I don’t want to do anything differently; I want to do DIFFERENTLY what I’m already doing. 

Does that make sense?

It’s not about what we do, it’s about how we do it. It’s not so much what we say, it’s the attitude with which we say it. It’s the conviction with which we believe what we believe. It’s the energy with which we love, not the words “I love you.” It’s not the physical form, but the ethereal matter within that brings a person alive.

So bring on the snakes. I’m ready for the emotional healing. I’m ready to take on the swelling challenge that floats before me. It’s frankly easier to stop doing one thing and replace it with another. It is. It doesn’t sound like it, but it is. That’s easier that doing the same thing differently. It takes a cunning, articulate focus, an unparalleled depth of desire and commitment, to cultivate the very subtle finesse needed to recalibrate one’s approach to one’s own life. THAT is transformation.

Our human minds often resort to black and white thinking, I am no exception. It is the crux of my struggles in this life. While it’s difficult to change behaviors and patterns of any kind, it’s simply easier to go from black to white. Rather than white to ivory, black to ebony, shades of grey, varying degrees of sameness.

But this is my challenge for us all, dear serpent-powered Tribe: to fertilize the soil in which we have already planted. The earth from which we already grow. I believe in us, collectively and individually, I believe in our capacity to approach our lives, to inch towards everything we already do, think, believe and practice with refined tact. Reborn strategy. I believe we can renew the way already are, so as to better serve our highest purpose. I believe in us. I believe in our transformation.

Sometimes, what we perceive to be the scariest things, like snakes and spiritual elevation, are actually saving Grace we’ve been awaiting. Sometimes, it’s just the call of our own, sacred transformation.

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On the Other Side of Fear

I have news : we’re human. This means we are not, will never be, and have never been (nor were we INTENDED to be) p e r f e c t.
We fuck up.
We make mistakes.
We’re here to LEARN.
We trip and slip and curse and break. Things, ourselves, each other.
Anyone claiming to be perfect or holier than thou is full of it. They mean well, surely, but it’s bull.
I am flawed. Deeply. But you know what? I have learned that what I love MOST about others is often what they consider to be their own flaws. Crazy, right? That what I adore, someone actually feels insecure about.
So let’s stop chasing our tails expecting to wake up one day able to do it perfectly. Everything. We’re not INTENDED to, it’s not what we’re here to accomplish. Perfection. It’s an illusion.
We’re here to LOVE.
Bigger, harder; relentlessly.
We’re here to fuck up and then go, “Oh, that sucked, I’m not gonna do that again.”
We’re here to be messy, to be disciplined about some things and an utter wreck with other things.
We’re here to do what feels good, to injure as little as possible, to bond in our humanity.
We’re here to be REAL. Authentic. It’s kind of a rare trait these days. Especially in this little Narnia land of social media.
I am drawn to my brothers and sisters who share their vulnerability, who aren’t afraid to admit they’re HUMAN and real, who shake the world and do incredible work, but who also share their shitty days and biggest fears and most nauseating insecurities.
Does it make us any less mystical or spiritual or successful or capable to admit we’re flawed? To curse? To get heated? To love persistently? To gush adoration for every sentient being? To get pissed in traffic?
N.O.
We’re human. We all put our pants on one leg at a time. We can admire and adore and idolize and worship others all we want, but in the end, we all have a heartbeat. We are all temporally here, together, to do the best we can.
The moment we stop taking ourselves so seriously, the moment we start accepting and embracing ourselves FIRST, regardless of the “likes” or agreement – is the moment we step into our authenticity.
It’s a sweet space. Let’s meet there.

XO
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Be YOU

I love the image I shared below, but I have come to share a truth palm (I don’t know why but that phrase just feels right : like a face palm, but with the TRUTH).

I very rarely feel “able to accept all changes.” If I’m being really honest, getting really vulnerable, I will admit that no matter how many hours I spend on my mat, no matter how bendy I get and how far behind my head I can get my foot, I am psychologically inflexible.

There are occasions when I am naturally soft, flowing and open. Wildness and serenity are as familiar as the freckles on my nose, but mostly because I go to great lengths to craft my existence as carefully as I can. I bend over backwards to weave safety nets and build backup plans. I am undoubtedly pulled by the heaviness of the tides, affected by the tug of the moon; as thrashing and fierce in my emotions as the monstrous waves one moment, and then as placid and still as surface once the tide’s gone out.

“It is both a blessing and a curse to feel everything so deeply” is one of my favorite quotes. We are human beings. We are deeply flawed physical characters housing ineffably perfect bodies of Spirit, ruled often by intellect and irrevocably by emotion.
So what’s the big deal with admitting our perceived weaknesses? I spent so long feeling shamed by my inflexibility, especially given the field I’m in, but I now am exhausted by the shadow I myself have built around it…like a fortress of remorse…”I’m so sorry I wasn’t born more easy going, I’m humiliated by my internal (and sometimes external) reactions when things don’t go my way, when I’m taken by surprise and perhaps, even, don’t get my needs met.” I’m through with thinking like that. Because, you know what? We’re not “one size fits all.” We’re not hardwired for perfection. For so long now I have perceived this trait of mine as a hinderance, a deep flaw in my character that threatened to hold me back, cause me stress, set me apart from the “go with the flow” mass of humans I so lovingly admire. But no more. I choose not to hear that story and, even more, choose not to believe it.

For one person, flowing flexibility is inherent. For others, like myself, it takes showing up every single day with a little thing called courage. How (not so subtly) POWERFUL is THAT? Showing up each day, facing the fear that our perfectionist plans may get hitched despite our best efforts, and comforting ourselves through the uncertainty that is this chaotic, beautiful, blissful life. Cultivating the medicinal coping mechanisms that will soothe the unpredictability of the world, act as a balm when the precariousness of external forces chap our sensitive exterior.

I think that’s pretty damn AMAZING, if you ask me. Being able to harness an inner power that not only accepts our own soft spots (a kinder term for “perceived weaknesses” – like the soft spot on an infant’s skull; it’s not a flaw, it’s simply an area that requires handling with care, a very mindful attention towards not being dropped on that extra sensitive spot), is POWER. It is the predecessor to a practice of shifting and growing into the behaviors we seek and desire in ourselves. It IS possible to plant seeds of intention and gently curve ourselves into a different shape; but it takes practice, patience and acceptance. It takes knowing, and allowing for, the potential that we may never change shape.

It may never be in our ability to actually MORPH into an easy-going, “go with the flow” type individual; it takes embracing our rigidity and deep longing for order, and melting it with our love. It takes the steady, parental reminder to our inner child each and every day that, while change is uncomfortable, we are working hard in each moment to set up a safe space in which to rest, regardless of what happens on the outside. We are not claiming to be something we can’t be, we are simply allowing ourselves to flow in our own unique, sometimes inflexible, sometimes exquisitely rooted way. We are fighting fear with love, quelling anxiety with truth.

There will never be any way to wish ourselves into another form. There will always, enduringly, be only one way to proceed: acceptance. Love. Truth. To tell ourselves, in consoling whispers, the truth of our own understanding. To accept, and embrace, the parts of ourselves we have too long poked and prodded, wished into oblivion. When we come to a space of insight, of taking off both the rose-colored glasses and the hateful goggles of judgment, and see our true nature for what it is…that is when the healing ensues. That is when, no matter how flexible or rigid we innately may be, we find safety from the mercurial fluctuations of life.

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Permission to Write the Ending

Gaining closure. Easier said than done. Gaining closure from a relationship without the other person’s participation? Damn near impossible. Or so it seems. But this piece is intended to shed some light on how we, as sensitive beings with the sacred and painful gift of free will, can move towards closure without another person’s involvement.

Sound incomprehensible? Read on.

Now, first let me qualify “relationship.” By this I don’t just mean romantic partnerships. I mean any relationship had between human beings. Friendship, family, marriage, dating, work associations, childhood bonds, acquaintanceships, crushes, even toxic back-and-forth type connections. No matter how fleeting or lengthy an encounter was, ending relationships of any variety and duration can be tricky business.

I’ve written a lot here on this blog about relationships ending, moving on, making peace with endings. But what about the endings we didn’t plan for? We experience loss and the end of relationships for many different reasons. It’s not always a neat, mutual parting, tied with a bow. In fact, it rarely is.

What about when relationships end because of infidelity, rejection, sudden change of heart? What about death? Sometimes relationships end unexpectedly, irrevocably, and a conversation either isn’t offered or perhaps isn’t even physically possible. So what then? How do we process and move on?

Recently I’ve had two separate (and as polar opposite as can be, as far as breeds of partnerships go) relationships of different lengths and contexts, end. Actually, one has been over for quite some time, but I’m only now processing the ending of the friendship, and actually more through dreams and random thoughts than intentional thinking. The other ended abruptly and, heartbreakingly, On a physical level, it was a natural ending. On an emotional level, on a heart level, it was almost as if it ended without my consent.

I’ve reached out to one of these two people. Crickets. No response. Is there anything more frustrating in the world than one heart that yearns so deeply to thread together some semblance of completion to a ragged and jagged hemline, and another heart whose beating can’t even be heard from behind the wall that separates them? Than a friendship that spanned oceans and years and growing pains and celebrations, a friendship whose shooting star quickness constructed memories that now lie glossy in printed photo books but are fossils in real life? It’s strange. It’s haunting.

Even though I moved away from both of these relationships, I instigated the separation, even though I wouldn’t have written the endings the way they occurred (blast that pesky free will business), it really matters not. They ended. That’s the fact of the matter. And what am I left with?

EXACTLY WHAT I HAD WHEN I STARTED.

I am left with myself. My heart. My Spirit. My intellect. My yearning for human connection. The lessons I gained from these respective connections, tucked into the pockets of my soul, buttoned up beneath my heart and protected by its warm, pulsing beat.

So I guess the answer to how we find closure and peace around a situation whose ending we did assign our approval, all comes back to ourselves. Every relationship occurs as a learning opportunity. I believe everything is preordained. I believe we meet the people we meet, that we form friendships and fall in love and experience discord with certain people for very Divine reasons. I believe, as I’ve written before on “letting relationships end”, that not everything is meant to last forever. That sometimes we learn more from a six-week encounter than from a six-year encounter. Not always, but sometimes. Sometimes I think we learn more from a fiery, passionate, star-crossed love affair than we do a faultless romance that just cools down and tapers off. Not always, but sometimes. And man, do we have a lot to learn from the “sometimes’.”

My best answer to the question I myself posed at the start of this essay is this: all we ever have is ourselves. We have experiences with other human beings of the most amazing, glorious, wretched, wrecked, mind-blowing and heartbreaking sort so that we can better understand ourselves, our own hearts, and how to love more fiercely, fearlessly and furiously than we could have without them. When a relationship ends without our permission, it is a sacred reminder from the Universe to never hoard our love, to never mask our emotions and to never wait. It is a whisper from the cosmos to act now, to be authentic, to never play games. Someone can be taken from us or leave us at any point; someone can fall in love and then change their mind; someone can adore your friendship and then, simply, stop. We have control over our own thoughts, bodies, minds, actions and capacity to love. But that is all. We cannot control the world around us (no matter how often, and aggressively, we attempt to convince ourselves of the contrary) and the sooner we realize this, the more ownership we take over own lives.

So we cope. We offer ourselves what we’d offer the one we love most; solace, support, comfort. We can write a letter we’ll never send, fill it with words the other person will never read. We can weep and then laugh; we can spill the contents of our heart into a jar, bottle it up, and send it out to sea. We can let the beauty of our experience shatter us, we can really feel what it feels like to suffer a loss outside our control. We can empty ourselves of the confusion and pain and frustration by feeling it, by really being in it. Holding space for it, staying present with it, and letting it run through us – like the wild, threatening river that it is. That’s all we can do. Because life has a plan, and it doesn’t always match ours, but that doesn’t mean that anything that’s happened to us didn’t happen exactly as it was meant.

We can dream and think about and remember people we once knew all we want…we can attach whatever meaning to that longing sensation that we will, but it is always going to be our own projection. Which means we have the power to offer ourselves closure. Peace. Conclusion.

Everything we think and believe is a projection of our mind. Thus, our sweet, well-to-do hearts can rest in the power of the mind that thinks itself ruler. Because we can tune that station as we will. We can close the page, gently and with reverence, on a relationship whether or not it ended the way we “wanted” or “expected.” Because we have the insight, and the free will, to caption our own still shots. It doesn’t have to be “UNTIMELY ENDING.” Things that happen are always timely, no matter how difficult it may be to see in the moment. Someone not returning our calls or simply disappearing from our lives actually makes us way stronger than having all the answers. It provides us the opportunity to answer for ourselves, to write the ending for ourselves.

No matter the context, no matter the collateral, we master our own ships. We pen our own epics. We – every, single, time – have permission to write the ending.

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