Freedom

Freedom.

Oh sweet freedom.

If I sit with that word long enough, tears of gratitude come to my eyes.

Gratitude that one could only feel if they had been caged. And I was.

Freedom has become my number one aspiration, my prayer, and my wish. To be lifted and liberated from my own bondage, and the bondage I allowed others to place on me, free of limitations, open to the blank canvas of my life, wind in my hair and sun on my back.

I have it. I am it. Ahhh.

I can only laugh when I look back and see the things I put myself through in the pursuit of freedom… none of which delivered it to me.

  • Divorce.
  • Job loss.
  • Depression.
  • Moving in with my momma.
  • Eating disorder relapse.
  • Buying into other people’s bullshit about God.
  • Hours of therapy that dragged me deeper into pain.
  • Books.
  • Webinars.
  • Treatment Centers.
  • Psychics.
  • Healers.
  • Sweet Lodge Ceremonies.
  • A Psychedelic Experience. 

Need I go on?

The point is, none of that stuff brought me my answer. But each did lead to greater clarity of what I wanted. You want to know what did give me my answer? JOY. GRATITUDE. APPRECIATION. Recognition of how good life already is. Learning that this is an emotional journey and I am the captain. No one and nothing controls how I feel, or what happens to me. Not even God. I create my reality. And so do you.

In a twisted way, I am proud of that list, the same way we show off our scars. Look at my suffering! I am so hardcore. I’ve LIVED. As if now I have been seasoned, turned real like the Velveteen rabbit. What I do know is that I have been through some real shit, but we all have. I didn’t need to suffer, but I thought I did. I now have a full understanding of the infinite potential that flows through us as human beings. It was there ALL ALONG. But I suppose the trials and tribulations have contributed to the unshakeable trust that I have in this universe and in myself.

And I have a freedom and strength that I have never known. So thank you for it all. 

The power and freedom has always been mine, but I forked over fractions of it to the opinions of others, toxic relationships, outdated belief systems, and the pursuit of other nonsense. This year, I got really clear and quiet about what I wanted. My children spent two weeks in New York at the end of 2016, and I was alone in Indiana, on the cusp of turning 30 and ending my marriage.

It was time to say ok soul, what do YOU want? And give myself an opening of quiet time, creativity, and contemplation. Every time I have ever done that, miracles followed. I would recommend it, daily!

Springing forward into the unknown with complete abandon, silencing the voices of the world long enough to converse with my heart, and then continuously moving in the direction of my own guidance system, my inner being, was the answer. I am getting pretty damn good at practicing it, too. 

Something miraculous happens when we let the larger part of us lead. Even if it is done imperfectly with big gaps of time where our fear takes the reigns back, it has a massive, pivotal effect on life as we know it. You just cannot stop the momentum of freedom once it starts. Even if you fail, that’s what grace is for. Lifting you back to your feet, and you stand a bit taller each time you rise.

I experienced a year of what I would describe as the DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL. Dun dun DUN! It’s ok though, really, because I was just getting what I asked for. This is how twisted it can be to be a seeker. I read Marianne Williamson, Thomas Moore, Saint John of the Cross, and many other amazing spiritual teachers and somehow came to the conjecture that anyone with any real clout has had seriously dark times in their life. In order to rise into my identity as a healer, I needed to face and conquer all of my own darkness and demons. Riiiiiiight. But I thought so! And my 10+ years of alcoholism and bulimia, past trauma of abortion and rape, and series of issues with men and the law were simply not a good enough pain story.

I needed to travel the the shadow of my psyche. I said “Universe, SHOW ME MORE PAIN! Give it to me, please. It Is how I want to learn!”

ed51b280d54297e86fcfaa59447db2b4

Shit needed to get really dark. I am smiling and shaking my head as I write this, because it really didn’t need to, I just thought it did. My being had yet to experience the roar of joy. But we will get to that…

And so it got dark. Holy hell it did. I now believe that we create our own reality. And I had created hell. Complete and total hell. But don’t worry… the universe has a predominant stream of wellbeing, not illness, so plenty of light got in even in my dark night of the soul. It was not all pain and suffering.

Here’s what happened; I thought that I needed to dive deep into the realest rawest trauma of my life, dissect it and discover repressed memories, and find the taproot of all of my problems and pull it out at the very basis of its existence. Essentially I was looking for a soul lobotomy. I could not stop torturing myself, because I really could not see that that was what I was doing. It was all in the name of HEALING, for crying out loud! And it was because in my mind there was always some self work to be done, so many stones left unturned, some new fears and childhood pains to discover, some problem with WHO I WAS. You can see now that that was a bunch of boloney. 

e8cbfad7701efd82680c907942a956d4So I went to therapist after therapist, healing modality after healing modality, searching like a nomad for a quality that was free and abundant within my OWN heart!!! Do you hear this people?! FREE AND ABUNDANT. Found conveniently WITHIN YOU!

I was getting so close to sniffing it out… but I couldn’t see it until it was all I could see.

Now I look back at all of this with a smile. I got my lobotomy! I got my healing miracle. But it was up to me to actually allow myself to feel joy. Allow in the wellbeing that had been given me the first time I asked for it! Ask and it is given, but its up to me to let it IN!

I now have clarity. Nothing was wrong, I was just looking in the wrong direction. I was looking for my inner being in my past, but that’s not where she lives. She lives in a state of appreciation for what is and a state of eagerness for what’s to come. The dark night was simply my own disconnection from her. Much like Tekah on the children’s movie Moana, when she is the nasty fiery volcano until Moana plugs her heart back in, and she turns into the plush green Mother Goddess Tefiti. That’s just like me. I have my heart and my freedom back, but they were only stolen by bondage that I unknowingly chose.

We are so free that we can choose bondage! Isn’t that incredible? Trapped in our own stories, we feel powerless to escape. I felt such despair that I self destructed with food. Some people deal with negative emotions by lashing out at others and some lash out at themselves- I was the latter of the two. I couldn’t deal with the feeling that I was in the wrong life, disconnected from my purpose, passion, and freedom, so I sabotaged my health through the form of bingeing and purging.

But the stream of wellbeing is SO STRONG. I want you to get that. Write that shit down. I don’t care what you believe yourself to be sick with, wellbeing is dominant. You can heal yourself from ANYTHING. All of it begins in your mind! Once you enter the place where all is possible, and you see yourself through the eyes of your inner being, life turns upside down in the BEST WAY. 

Even I could not take myself down. And I now know that if I had, I would have returned to pure positive energy, joining back with love which is where I came from. But I don’t have to die to get back to that stream. It is available NOW.

I had some very intense moments of suicidal thoughts. I now understand that every thought that has ever been thought still exists in mass consciousness, so whatever emotional disc I am on, that is the vibration I am emitting and the universe responds by bringing like thoughts. Hence the reason that when you feel powerless and desperate, you often think of dying. It’s the law of attraction at work!

On the contrary, now I have some very intense thoughts and feelings of happiness! When you feel free and powerful and creative and tuned in, tapped in, turned on by life, you feel a flow of joyful invincibility so great that you know without a shadow of a doubt that all is well. You are on a high flying disc of joy and appreciation and abundance and clarity, and so the universe brings you blissful thoughts and inspired ideas and basically everything you ever wanted, piece by piece. When you realize that you have the power to influence and change your emotional state, well then, shit gets REALLY fun. You get to plan a retreat to Costa Rica with amazing people, an amazing man comes into your life who wants to be with you, and every day unfolds with its own brand of magic.

Do you want to know what life is like for me  now? Ok, I will tell you. Every day, I wake up and appreciate where I am and I am eager for where I am going. All darkness has fallen behind me, and I do not fear it coming back because if it does, I am equipped with the tools to put myself back on the high flying disc.

The light is turned on, baby.

And because I live predominantly on that zooming disc, I get to play with other creators who are having fun molding the clay of their lives. I see possibilities that I never before could see. I spend a lot of time enjoying my health, my beautiful body, and my sense of freedom by moving and playing in nature. I give and receive love like never before. I uplift those around me just by being me. I have stepped into my calling and it keeps evolving and expanding. In my heart of hearts I know I am a teacher and a coach of all I have learned and continue to learn. I teach people about THEIR inner teacher, I show them how to close the gap between their physically focused self and the larger part of them which has access to ALL OF THE WISDOM that ever has been. I have an amazing relationship with the man of my dreams! My children are happy and healthy and stronger than ever. People often tell me that they are inspired by me, that I am a great teacher, and that I am the most positive and optimistic person they know. This is why I have to smile. Because it hasn’t always been this way, but I am so glad this is how it is now. I stand in my greatness. I bask in it. That’s not arrogant, that’s the truth of who I am. AND of who you are.

So I am writing my first book. I am spreading this inner knowing like wildfire because its who I am now. Freedom and inspiration and clarity and power are YOURS for the taking. It’s natural to feel good and when we don’t, we have simply pinched ourselves off from the stream of wellbeing. It’s time to open those valves, baby. You can have a life of loving relationships, fulfilled by passion and joy, and drenched in abundance. Your body and mind can be restored to health completely. You can find your creativity and curiosity and playfulness. You can be happy.

1cd16c878c3c6e00dd56c9da8a0f0139

 And the good news is, it doesn’t take painful work. This new work is joyful and expansive. It makes you feel better than ever before. Best of all, it will make you FREE. The captain of your ship. You are the writer of your story, the architect of your life, the molder of the clay.

If you want to roll up your sleeves and get dirty, get in touch with me. I have no doubt that if this works for me, it will work for anyone. You just have to have an open mind and an open heart. You have the menu of life laid out in front of you. You can choose joy. 

ad8b70db2e92c4c371974876f96e1610
My Freedom Ship

Shortly before I experienced my breakthrough to freedom, I dreamed of myself In a ship that had crashed on the ragged rocks in a storm, and I felt stuck and powerless. A gentle, loving force visited me and pointed the direction to freedom and peace- and I could see that the waters were clear and blue and the sky in that direction was painted in a beautiful sunset. I managed to free my boat and begin sailing in the direction of the beauty. The ship has become a metaphor, and my soul has turned into a fleet of powerful ships. Summoning the strength and wisdom and power of the universe, I am sailing forward towards beauty, freedom, creativity, and love. I never have to look back now.

 

Onward, always. That’s where our inner being is waiting for us.

Advertisements

What is integrity?

This year, I asked the universe for 3 things. I thought long and hard about each before I asked. They were as follows.

  1. Freedom
  2. Empowerment
  3. Integrity

The first two showed up in amazing ways. I feel like I have a grasp on both like I have never known. (Because… ask and it is given. Really. Just be careful what you wish for. Because it’s coming!)

Freedom? Check.

:a0d08e82e8fcc435201a62cd340201e5

That’s not me, but it is how I felt when I left my marriage, was let go from a job, and drove to Florida with no agenda or itinerary other than… ocean.

Empowerment:

These images speak volumes to me. All the power I’ve ever sought is within me.

Check empowerment off the list!

So, let’s talk integrity for a second. (I saved it for last because, honestly? I thought it would be the most boring. But luckily, I am working with a VERY skilled teacher. My inner being.)

About 3 years ago, I realized that I needed to do something with my life where I could be fully ME. Glennon Doyle Melton taught me that with her book Carry on Warrior. I realized that I could come out of the closet as a recovering alcoholic/bulimic and still be loved. That the presentation of my vulnerability could liberate others the same way her story liberated me. I knew that my story was my power, a force to be reckoned with, and something that no one could take away from me. My greatest challenges had presented themselves to me as the key to my awakening, my soul’s chosen path to finding my Self. It is no coincidence that the universe gave me quite a few more hurdles to clear, (divorce, eating disorder relapse, depression, job loss, just overall devastation) leaving me a hell of a lot stronger and frankly, ready to ask for something other than pain for a while. I discovered somewhere along the way that the pen was in my hand. I was more than the main character, being tossed about by whatever random plot the universe decided to throw my way. Now I am the creator.  And now, joy is my teacher.

(I like her better.)

I came to know over time that I am not a pawn in a giant game of destiny, I am the one moving the pieces. After living my life up until 3 years ago wearing different masks, dancing like a monkey for whoever was around, and trying to jam myself into a mold that didn’t feel good at all, I knew my days of wearing masks were over. I simply could not have a “work” me and a “vacation” me and a “yoga” me and a “mother” me, and a “wife” me, etc etc.  I wanted to just be ME. Integrated, whole, honest, child of the universe. I wanted to step into the light, be seen for who I really am, and know that I am so loved. When I came to know and understand that some people chose to live and move that way in the world, I decided I would not stop until I found that type of integrity. Knowing that my wounds gave me wisdom, only I could turn my pain to power, and rise up as the wounded healer that I am.

SHOUTING TO THE SKY, “God, USE ME! I want to be one of your workers. Help me nourish and grow the seeds of purpose that have been planted in my heart.”

There is nothing I have ever wanted more in the entire world than to co-create with spirit. In fact, I named this year “My year of Co-Creating with Spirit”. It’s been seriously FUN watching God and the angels wink at me.

Spirit is fun, playful, wise and true. When source is flowing to me and through me, I am invincible. I tap into a well of inner strength and intuition, I become a vessel for the power that creates WORLDS. Yes, worlds. YOU are capable of holding that same power. That source energy is flowing towards you and all you must do is open your MIND, eyes, heart, and hands and say YES! I want to flow with you. Show me where to go and what to do because there is no experience on earth quite like frolicking with your inner being, playing with the spirit world.

I have been divided before so I know what it feels like to have an internal split. This is precisely why I wanted the universe to deliver me INTEGRITY. I wanted to cease fighting myself. I had always wondered if this shadow aspect of me- My Demons, was self-created or actually real. I wanted to be in the light- to align my heart, mind, and gut and go in that direction. No more internal battles, no more war against me. Amnesty. Inner Peace. Integrity.

I’m going to give you a recent example of when I was not in my integrity, and how my emotional guidance system brought me back in alignment. Friday night, I arranged to have my mother watch my children from 8-10 PM. I had an internal agenda to stay out a bit later, but to wait to ask for that extension until about 9:30. Sneaky, right? Obviously, I had my own motives. I’m sure my daughters will repay me for these shenanigans one day. When I got no response, and it was after 10, I began to feel uncomfortable. I was enjoying the company I was in, but part of me was not fully there, because I knew I was not in my integrity.

I apologized to my mother, but that’s the thing about words. They mean nothing when your actions are not in alignment with them. Even saying I was sorry felt like I was rubbing her face in my bullshit. What real power is is when your thoughts, actions, and way of being align with who you really are. That’s what feels best. That’s when you know that you gave your all to a situation, and it does not matter how others respond because you are good with you. It’s very freeing to know yourself, and BE yourself. What’s not so freeing is when you are not 100% honest and so you know a negative result was caused by you not being in your integrity. It’s just not worth it, no matter what you are bending the truth for. Even a very charming young gentleman.

b6e9cebdea4e6550520aa40a410b24b6

So I realized, spirituality for the sake of it is really nice, but when its just for you and you don’t allow it to flow through to your relationships, its pretty meaningless. Learning how to love and be true to who you really are within the spectrum of relationships is the hardest and holiest work there is. Integrity is being about it. Fully pouring yourself into your life- your craft, relationships, and your actions without attachment to the outcome. Joy for the sake of joy. Love for the sake of love. Doing what feels good, because if you are honest with yourself, doing what you say you are going to do really feels the best.

Integrity is the sweat that goes into life. It is the preparation before a test or a workshop. It is knowing you gave a wholehearted effort and for that reason, you are ok even if you got a D+. It feels better inside than when you wing it, and you get a B-. At least the D+ was earned!

Guilt is like those bumps on the sides of the highway that let you know to get your ass back between the lines! Get back on the track of who you really are. Get in your integrity. Be kind and generous and loving to those around you. When you make the best of what’s around, the best gets even better.

We are meant to feel pure, unadulterated joy in this life. We are created to feel good, and there are plenty of reasons to do so. Feel good about your eyes opening, being aware enough to be reading this, an abundance of oxygen to fill your lungs right now, and enough sustenance physically. Your limbs move, your lungs inflate, you are here and you are alive and you have GREAT PURPOSE. Just breathe in and enjoy that. Get used to appreciating everything and the universe will send you more to appreciated. Wait with eager anticipation because the blessings are about to RAIN DOWN my friends. Inspiration will start playing with you. Life feels so frisky and fun when you are ACTIVELY ENGAGED with that inspiration. Inspired action leads you to a life of passion and purpose, of aliveness and eagerness and enthusiasm and love.

We are free beings, meaning we have full access to the entire realm of human emotions. Nelson Mandela was held prisoner for 20-some years, and yet he managed to stay free on the inside. To project love and peace to all he came into contact with. This is why a human being who Is in alignment with who they really are is more powerful than a million who aren’t. We are all meant to deliberately create a life filled with meaning, purpose, joy, abundance, and love. If we are short of any of those, it simply means we have deviated from our highlighted route, taken a detour to a rough patch when there is really no need for that. As soon as we are willing, honest, and open, help can get in. Our angels, human and celestial, can descend and help us out of the tangles, back in our integrity, back in a feeling good place of who we really are. But again, that cannot happen until we get honest about our state of being, are open to divine help, and are willing to take inspired action.

Spirituality and joy are BEST WHEN SHARED.

Have you ever prayed with someone and felt the shared energy expand exponentially? Or played or sang with someone when you were both in alignment with who you really are? There is nothing like it! It’s engaging and explosive and entertaining and FUN. We all become these beautiful vessels of spirit, playing off and increasing one another’s energy, lifting the collective vibration.Then it becomes natural to pour it out! A vessel is a container. That’s what you are.

Once you are open, so much goodness can flow through. To keep that flow going, we must be willing to go where spirit takes us. Willing to say YES when the universe nudges us. That makes life so rich and delicious and fulfilling. When we can be the light, the light is all we see.

So are demons and shadows and darkness real? Not for me, not anymore. The largest part of me, my inner being, never separates from source energy. Sometimes, the physical aspect of me takes a little while to catch up. But that doesn’t make her evil. She is human, beautiful, expanding, empowered, integrated, and free.

 

20108115_10101491046427829_3133272753044594098_n

SaveSaveSaveSave

Perfect, Whole, and Complete

The most revolutionary and bold thing anyone has ever said to me is “You are not broken.”

Followed in a close second by “You have all the answers you seek.”

Why are those two statements so hard to accept? Why do I toss and turn them, allow the world to tell me who and what I am and should be, why do I fail to act upon the wisdom of my heart? Something inside me knows they are true. But I still need a permission giver. Someone who tells me its ok, I’m enough, and I am worthy of love.

My heart wants to bloom. It wants to soar. It wants to create. It wants freedom. It wants unconditional love flowing to me, from me, and through me. It wants to liberate others. It wants to beat authentically to its own drum. It wants every day to be a dance, and it wants to dance every day.

Most of all, it tells me to remember. Remember what it has taught me. Remember who you are and what you have asked the universe to bring you. On New Year’s Day this year, I asked for Freedom, Integrity, and Creativity. The universe has been showing me that I can have all these things, but they are all things I have to choose to be. They are freely given, but require me to participate in their manifestation. God has healed me and continues to heal me, but I have to keep asking, keep reaching for healing. It’s not something I arrive at… it’s something I actively create with God every single moment of every single day.

There are moments when I am pulled away from what I truly want. Moments that I resort to painful, self-abusive coping mechanisms. Moments that I cling or magnetize to the world’s words and opinions of me instead of seeing myself with my love goggles on. Moments when I allow someone I love to direct my sails instead of the still voice within providing me direction, and then I wonder why my boat has crashed on the beach.

My boat has crashed, sunk, and been smashed to smithereens. This comes in the form of pain and suffering. It comes in the form of forgetting who I am, and symbolically and literally ending up with my head in a toilet. If I don’t get the truth out of me, it finds a way to come up out of me in a purge. If I abandon my truth in favor of what any person or any book says, I abandon God. I leave the little girl inside me locked in a closet with no lights on. My heart gets starved, so I run to food. Though it’s not a physical hunger that I am experiencing, my mind tells me it will fill the hole. The hungry ghost within yells “FEED ME”, and I do.

When the separation from my soul occurs, and I feel cut off from my voice and my light, I fall prey to the insidious addiction, the strange mental twist that is the voice in my head. She tells me it’s ok to face plant in a gallon of ice cream and a tub of peanut butter. It will be such a thrill to eat and eat and eat, and then get away with the ravenous, animalistic, violent binge with an even more intense purge. She wraps her arms around me like a warm, black cloak and whispers sweet nothings in my ear, masquerading very skillfully as the truth.

Bingeing takes 20 – 30 minutes sometimes. Purging takes 3. All that food that took so long to gobble, when I open my throat, can come flowing out much faster. My mind races and tries to make sense of it all. My head spins and I can’t breathe. I decide I don’t deserve to live. I want to cry, but often no sound comes out.

 

Then sanity eventually returns, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. I remember that no matter what, I’m not giving up. I remember that I am on my side.  I don’t know in that moment what the next right thing is, because I’ve forgotten that the answers lie in my heart. So I scroll facebook, read spiritual books, call friends, and eventually run right back to the cycle that broke me. This is the nature of addiction. It is insanity in the mind, an afflicted physical body, and an inability to deal with basic human emotions, especially pain. And it is a spiritual sickness that tells me that I’m separate. That my actions don’t affect others, which I am not worth trying to heal. It says that I am full of guilt, shame, fear, grief, lies, illusion, and attachments. And that I will never be free. I will never have the things I want because I never stick with anything. I’m always oscillating with the winds of change, always falling prey to my emotional nature, always weak in my flesh, and completely powerless over my mind. If those things are true, then why fight it? Why not just surrender to the reality that I am sick and always will be?

 

Because I have a choice today. I must surrender, that is for sure. But it is my choice whether I surrender to the voice of ego and fear, the voice that I am separate, bad and wrong, self-centered and selfish and afraid. I have surrendered to this voice many times, and it brings a lot of bad, wrong, self-centered actions and plenty-o-fear.

OR

I can surrender to the voice that says I am perfect, whole and complete in God. I am not separate from you or anyone, or God. I am in the vine and the branches, I am a child of God. We all are. Anything that suggests otherwise is ego, my small separated self. All the great spiritual masters have derived the truth that we are all connected, we are all one. We are one with the father, we are one with the mother, we are brothers and sisters, we are mirrors of each other. Physically, we seem separate, but this is an illusion of the 3D world. When we close our eyes, and slip into the spirit realm, we meet other on that same level. We see ourselves with pure, infinite, unconditional love. Only then can we discover that those around us are also made of that one love. We are gods with skin on us. That’s what Jesus showed us we can be. He said the Kingdom of Heaven is within. That WE would create greater miracles than him. But somehow we say, not me. I’m not capable or worthy of the life he calls me to step into. So I’m going to play small. Self-sabotage is a hell of a lot more comfortable than success. It’s also a lot less risky. I’m good at failure. Success is just too unfamiliar.

So if I choose to focus on my brokenness, my fear, my weakness, then I’m going to dwell on the time I snapped at my daughter, or let a work commitment fall through the cracks, or dropped the ball in a relationship when I should have showed up as love. I can choose to focus on the fact that I keep falling back into this bulimic hellhole. But if I allow space for another voice, then I can hear grace and forgiveness say, I don’t have to do that today. It gets to be ok. By my stumbling, the world is perfected.

I’m ok and on my way!

I am perfect, whole and complete IN God. He is in me and I am in him. God is love and so am I. God is all there is of me. God I am. As I empty myself, I can fill up with the Holy Spirit.

That was a mantra I was reciting during teacher training 2 years ago. The same day, lightning struck my tree in the front yard. No damage was done, but the spiritual significance to me was striking. It was without a shred of doubt,  a sign from God.

God sends me signs that are just as amazing, although often a lot more subtle, every day. Sometimes I am paying attention, but often I am not. I find that the most amazing and fascinating part of this journey is simply becoming more and more awake and aware that I am in fact NOT alone. I never have been and never will be. Any thoughts of separation or brokenness are a trick of the ego, smoke and mirrors. And God uses fear and ego to help me grow. He’s in charge, and my job is just to trust.

I had a vision that I was in a small row boat, it was dark and stormy, and my boat had become jammed up in some high jagged rocks. I was stuck, afraid, exhausted, and completely ready to give up. I yelled out, “GOD!!! HELP ME!!!” And he did. He pointed the direction to go. But he didn’t pick up my boat and place me in the safe waters. I had to push away from the shore, I had to row my boat to freedom, peace, sunshine, and truth.

Most of you know that I have had a very up and down battle with bulimia over the last year. Just when I seem to feel like I’ve left it behind forever, it sneaks in the back door, ties a rope around my feet, and pulls me back to the depths of hell. Heaven fights back though. Love always wins. If its not ok, its not the end.

Today I stepped on to my yoga mat, and then I asked my angels what I needed to do physically to contribute to my healing. I was in the gymnastics/karate room at the gym, and I ended up doing somersault after somersault, cartwheel after cartwheel, handstand after handstand, dancing and freeing up all the accumulated energy that I have repressed that the little girl inside me wants to express. Then I laid on my back with a hand on my soft belly, and I cried big huge little girl tears. My inner parent and my inner child held hands and cried. I told her I was sorry for hurting her and I told her she was safe now. And I truly mean that. I know she won’t come out and play unless she feels safe. I want her to feel safe. I want to learn to love the little girl in the closet who hides in the darkness. Who holes up and shuts out everything and everyone. The crazy thing I just realized is that I did this whole practice in the darkness, because I could not get the lights to work! Perhaps that was symbolism of my shadow, to not be afraid of my darkness anymore.  I don’t know how it’s all related, but I know that when I separate from truth, beauty, freedom, and radical self-love, she retreats to the darkness. And then I practice bulimia INSTEAD of LOVE to somehow escape the pain of being separated from her.

Addiction is like beating your head with a hammer when you have a headache. It’s like jaywalking in busy traffic for fun. It’s truly a death wish in the mind. A cancer, a parasite drawing all the life force from its host, until the host finally gives up. And God can kick the cancer’s ass, the angels can boot it out like nobody’s business, but I have to remember to keep the door locked. Because it’s a sneaky, insidious little fucker. And it will be back.

I have to remember to trust my inner knowing.

Be still and know that I AM GOD. And God tells me there is nothing I will find within me that is bad, or wrong, or undeserving of love. He simply wants to shine the light in ALL my dark shadowy spaces. And to give me the healing modalities I need to extend love and a safety net to the parts of me that have separated. I am perfect, whole, and complete IN God.

And so are you.

hug yourself

 

Free indeed

I don’t know how many times I’ve gotten my hopes up that I was “healed” from bulimia. 

How deeply, desperately, hopefully and hopelessly I’ve searched for a cure, a healing method, a way of any kind to climb out of this hell hole. I’ve been 100% certain that it was lifted from me, and then when I wasn’t looking, it snuck in the back door. 

I’ve tried 12 step groups, yoga practices, guided meditations, Angel card readings, healing books of every sort, time alone, time in nature, smoking cigarettes, drinking caffeine, going to inpatient treatment, following strict guidelines from a dietician, excercise therapy, psychotherapy, talking to others in recovery, vision boarding like a fool, breathing, praying, crying, hiding, running, replacing it with a romantic relationship, getting a dog, getting a divorce, and having hands laid on me in prayer. 

It’s still haunting me. 

It says “you just haven’t tried hard enough. You never stick with anything. If you were just more willing, more disciplined, maybe I would go away. But you don’t really want me to. You are more comfortable with your darkness than you are with your light.”

Evil is very convincing. It’s extremely difficult to discern the true from the false when you are wrapped up in its grasp. As I have grown spiritually, I felt more and more attacked by it. As I grew, so did the problem in my mind. The battle between light and dark is real! It is within and without. 

 I’ve come to understand that sometimes God doesn’t change my circumstances because he’s changing my heart. Because he is. It has. I’m changed and still changing. 

Even though I stumble, I KNOW without a shred of a doubt, God is with me. He is teaching me to have faith on my best day, faith on my worst day. Now when I mess up, I run to him instead of hiding from him. I grab his hand again. He has his healing hands all over my life. I am not alone. 

My job now is not to obsess over my condition, but to spread the lovely light of Christ to everyone I meet. Evil will continue to attack, but I have the single greatest power in the universe protecting me! Of whom should I fear? Not the voices in my head! Not my demons. 

 I know God can do ANYTHING. I know he’s going to heal me. For a reason I can not yet understand, that hasn’t happened fully yet. But that doesn’t mean I’m not healing.  I believe he wants me to have faith even in the trenches, perseverance through any obstacle. Even in sickness, even in weakness. Maybe to show others that we must have faith in every step of the process, not just when things are going good. I know he knows my heart. All shall be well. 

I realize that I want to live my life with Jesus as my teacher. His perfect love can cast out that spirit. He can cast out all fear, all my demons. He does that regularly for me. But that doesn’t mean they stop going after me! In fact, they attack more readily when I grow in faith. This is how we get stronger! 

He is the only way to true and lasting peace. I used to pray to God, the spirits and the Angels, and sometimes at the end I would whisper Jesus’ name. When I said it, I would smile and get chills as if I were in on life’s best secret, and it was just between him and I. 

My soul yearned to know him personally. 

There were moments, the thin places, where the veil between me and God seemed almost impossible to detect. Experiences so vivid and transcendent that I was sure I needed to become a renunciate or a mystic because God wanted me all to himself. I was so sure of how much he loved me and wanted me close to him, but then my mind became tangled in a web of pain about food, body, depression, and bulimia. 

I read so many books to try and solve the issue and met many friends I’m certain I was destined to travel this journey with. Out of the dark night of the soul has come a light, a hope so beautiful that it has made all the pain completely worthwhile. 

I’ve reconnected with people from the past who have had messages for me that I’m certain were sent from God. Every day, even while in the depths of the pain of bulimic episodes, I didn’t stop reaching. I still haven’t stopped. I won’t stop

Friends, I really want my story to be a healing story. I want my headline to say “woman miraculously healed from eating disorder”. But I think God has a different working title. 

That’s not to say that miracles don’t abound, because they do. Jesus has made me new. Every time I say his name, I smile. He is the well of love, the cornerstone of strength, the fountain of hope, and the stream of peace that flows endlessly into my heart. He tells me I’m forgiven. Even when it feels like the demons have got me. He casts them out and makes my heart pure AGAIN and AGAIN. Grace is sufficient for me.

Even though I’m still stumbling, I know the answer now. And that gives me such a profound sense of relief and joy. That the work has already been done. That he wants to hold my hand until the day I take my last breath. That he thinks I’m perfect. He wipes away my tears and says “lift up your head, I’ve got you now. Unconditionally!” And I know nothing but love. Even when I’ve fallen prey to temptation, which happens all the time. 

When I fall short as a mother, and I know the parents out there know how painful that can be, he forgives me. He takes away my struggle and my stress. He says, step into my flow. Let’s see how we can love in this moment. How can we serve? How can we carry this message of freedom and strength? 

I’m crying as I write this, because I can’t understand how or why I was chosen for something so beautiful when I am so very flawed? I’m not sure. 

I know in each of us there is a yearning. A question of the heart. A desire to be full of a divine, pure love. I know that God meets us where we are. God shows up in infinite forms, different for each of us. This is the way he has revealed himself to me. For me, I feel like I’ve struck gold. I’ve found what I’ve been looking for! And I’ve been seeking for a long time. 

So I accept that it’s not gone yet. But who knows what God has planned today? Perhaps it is gone. I sure don’t feel evil’s presence in me at the moment!

Fall down 799 times, get up 800. I know that’s not how the saying goes, but it feels slightly more accurate than the 7, 8 ratio. I did not have the strength to do get back up on my own resources. Relying on my own strength had me basically on my knees praying for it all to end. I wanted to die. 

And in a way, I have. I have died to who I used to be. I am not a bulimic. 

Jesus gave me new life.

I am a child of God. Free indeed!

In the trenches

I don’t know how many times I’ve gotten my hopes up that I was “healed” from bulimia. 

How deeply, desperately, hopefully and hopelessly I’ve searched for a cure, a healing method, a way of any kind to climb out of this hell hole. 

I’ve tried 12 step groups, yoga practices, guided meditations, Angel card readings, healing books of every sort, time alone, time in nature, smoking cigarettes, drinking caffeine, going to inpatient treatment, following strict guidelines from a dietician, excercise therapy, psychotherapy, talking to others in recovery, vision boarding like a fool, breathing, praying, crying, hiding, running, replacing it with a romantic relationship, getting a dog, getting a divorce, and having hands laid on me in prayer. 

It’s still haunting me. 

It says “you just haven’t tried hard enough. You never stick with anything. If you were just more willing, more disciplined, maybe I would go away. But you don’t really want me to. You are more comfortable with your darkness than you are with your light.”

Evil is very convincing. It’s extremely difficult to discern the true from the false when you are wrapped up in its grasp. As I grew spiritually, I felt more and more attacked, from within, but also it felt like a bad spirit had attached itself to me. 

BUT, I’ve changed and grown more during this period of my life more than any other time in my life. I’ve come to understand that sometimes God doesn’t change my circumstances and that doesn’t mean he isn’t changing my heart. Because he is. It has. I’m changed. 

I realize that I want to live my life with Jesus as my teacher. His perfect love can cast out that spirit. He can cast out all fear, all my demons. He does that regularly for me. But that doesn’t mean they stop going after me. 

He is the only way to true and lasting peace. I used to pray to God, the spirits and the Angels, and sometimes at the end I would whisper Jesus’ name. When I said it, I would smile and get chills as if I were in on life’s best secret, and it was just between him and I. 

My soul yearned to know him personally. 

There were moments, the thin places, where the veil between me and God seemed almost impossible to detect. Experiences so vivid and transcendent that I was sure I needed to become a renunciate because God wanted me all to himself. I was so sure of how much he loved me and wanted me close to him, but my mind was tangled in a web of pain about food, body, and bulimia. 

I read so many books and met many friends I’m certain I was destined to travel this journey with. I’ve reconnected with people from the past who have had messages for me that I’m certain were sent from God. Every day, even while in the depths of the pain of bulimic episodes, I didn’t stop reaching. I still haven’t stopped. 

I will share with you some of the most amazing resources that have helped me find the next stepping stone on this very bumpy road. Friends, I really want my story to be a healing story. I want my headline to say “woman miraculously healed from severe eating disorder”. But I think God has a different working title. 

That’s not to say that miracles don’t abound, because they do. Jesus has made me new. Every time I say his name, I smile. He is the well of love, the cornerstone of strength, the fountain of hope, and the stream of peace that flows endlessly into my heart. He tells me I’m forgiven. Even when it feels like the demons have got me. He casts them out and makes my heart pure AGAIN and AGAIN. 

Even though I’m still stumbling, I Know the answer now. And that gives me such a profound sense of relief. That the work has already been done. That he wants to hold my hand until the day I take my last breath. That he thinks I’m perfect. He wipes away my tears and says “lift up your head.” And I know nothing but love. Even when I’ve screwed up, which is often!

When I fall short as a mom, and I know the parents out there know how painful that can be, he forgives me. He takes away my struggle and my stress. He says, step into my flow. Let’s see how we can love today. Who can we serve? How can we carry this message? 

I’m crying as I write this, because I can’t understand how or why I was chosen for something so beautiful when I am so very flawed? I’m not sure. 

I know in each of us there is a yearning. A question of the heart. A desire to be full of a divine, pure love. For me, I feel like I’ve struck gold. I’ve found what I’ve been looking for! And I’ve been seeking for a long time. 

So I accept that it’s not gone yet. Fall down 799 times, get up 800. I know that’s not how the saying goes, but it feels slightly more accurate than the 7, 8 ratio. I did not have the strength to do that on my own. Relying on my own strength had me basically on my knees praying for it all to end. I wanted to die. 

And in a way, I have. I have died to who I used to be. I am not a bulimic. I am a child of God. Free indeed.  

 

12 Songs That Saved Me

      

  
      There are times in our life where the only moments that we feel even relatively stitched together come when we immerse ourselves in a song. When we are sinking, but then a song floats up like a life preserver and in the moment prevents us from going under. The music gives us both permission and an outlet to feel these powerful feelings that can otherwise overwhelm. 

This is a list of songs that sang to me in my darkest moments, like a compass pointing me back toward my heart when I felt so separated from it. 

As my soul sister Glennon says, our soul is like a canary in a coal mine. It sings it’s little heart out until the air grows toxic and poisonous, and then it stops singing. At that point, you either get out of the coal mine or you die. 

  
Real life is more subtle. The death is not always a physical destruction of life, but more of a slow erosion of spirit. My canary had definitely stopped singing this year. The air was poisonous most of the time, and I felt isolated, afraid, and incredibly stuck. They helped me survive a horrific relapse into bulimia, a stint in treatment, a move out of state, a separation from my husband, and a year that rocked me to my core.

This collection of songs saved me in a way. They reminded me of my spirit’s song, of my canary. 

So I thought I would share my list and pay homage to the artists and lyrics that have shaped this period of my life. 

1. “It is Well” Kristine Demarco. 

There is no song that connects me to my faith like this one. This has been the chorus of my life for the last few months. It begs the question, can it be well with my soul even on the dark nights? Even the most frightening times when comfort and connection feel so far away? Most powerful line-

“And this mountain that’s in front of me, will be thrown into the midst of the sea.”

Listen Here 😍

2. “There Will Be Time” by Mumford and Sons with Baaba Maal

I feel the power of the earth, stars, and moon running head to toe when I hear this song. It is a piece of art that is both adoration and lament- a deep desire to be open coupled with the inevitable stumbling that we all do. Here’s what cultural commentator Matthew Becklo had to say:

“The result of this musical meeting of the minds is a powerful, almost ecstatic piece of world music about the tension between an all-consuming faith and human frailty.”

Damn I love this song!

Listen Here 😍

3. 3 Things by Jason Mraz

Ok, admittedly, this one is best if you are already in an upbeat place. It’s a bit happy-go-lucky for real struggle. But I love how he says, there are 3 things I do when my world falls apart:

“Number one I cry my eyes out and dry up my heart…

…The second thing I do is I close both of my eyes, and say my thank you’s to each and every moment of my life. I go where I know the love is, and let it fill me up inside, gathering new strength from sorrow, I’m glad to be alive. 

The third thing that I do now when my world caves in is I pause and take a breath and bow and let the chapter end. I design my future bright not by where my life has been and I try try try try try again.”

😏

Listen Here 😍

4. Bird Set Free (live from the village)-Sia 

Every. fucking. Word.

Want your canary to sing again? Belt this song one time or ten. Cathartic🙌🏼

Listen Here😍
5. Scars- My Brothers and I 

“I know your heart- it’s time to carry on.”

Yes it is. This song reminds me that we’ve all had hurts and pain, we are not alone even when we feel lost. It still moves my heart when I hear it. 

Listen Here 😍

6. True North- Jillette Johnson

I’ve always connected with this idea that we all have a true north- an inner compass that leads us exactly where we need to be. We can tell when we are centered in ourselves as well as when we are not. This song is about going off the path, but knowing that you’ll eventually stumble home. 

“Am I air or am I water will I dry or will I drown? I built everything I wanted then I tore it down. I am sure, As hot as cold, The more I learn, The less I know. 

I’ll find true north, and settle down. Release the lowness of my doubt. I’ll call my friends, and wipe my nose. I’ll find true north, and stumble home”

Listen Here 😍 

7. Rise Up by Andra Day

This song gave me courage and strength that didn’t originate in me- it moved through me when I heard her amazingly powerful voice. We will rise, we will rise, we will rise up. 💙

Listen Here 😍 

8. & 9. “Come Home” and “I lived” by One Republic

“Come home” is sad and sweet, a lament to my spirit that says it’s ok, it’s safe to come back and live in my body. Where my inner oak tree says to my inner acorn, it’s ok. You can put down roots and open your buds. I’ll take care of you.  and “I lived” is the victory lap song. It’s the song you sing on the other side of the fire. 

Listen Here 😍 

And 

Here 😍 
10. Redeemed by Big Daddy Weave

I’ll admit, I still struggle at times to connect with Christian Pop music. I never once thought I would listen to any of it. But the lyrics of this song have carried me a time or ten, and they describe what happens when one awakens to the Christ- self within. His essence pours through the words of this song. 

“All my life I have been called unworthy… Named by the voice of my shame and regret. But when I hear You whisper, “Child lift up your head”, I remember oh God, You’re not done with me yet”

That last line gets me every time!

Listen Here 😍 

11. Saturn by Sleeping At Last

When I hear the violins begin to play at the beginning of this song, my whole self sinks into a place of reverence and sacred awe. Sometimes instrumental parts of songs can invoke more emotion than the words and this is an example of that. This song reminds me of who I truly am- how jaw-droppingly beautiful, magical, and rare this life is. And it reminds me of that every time I listen. 

“How rare and beautiful it is to even exist…  I’d give anything to hear you say it one more time, that the universe was made just to be seen by my eyes.”

Listen Here 😍

12. Let it Be- Carol Woods

Ever since high school, I’ve felt a deep connection to this song. It’s that welling up from the pit of the belly to the top of the chest, it is HOPE. Peace. Beauty in the face of frightening conditions, internally and externally. It is a rallying cry for peace. Plus- mother Mary is a queen of the sacred feminine!  😍

Listen Here 😍

Thank you so much for reading, and I sincerely hope these tunes give your heart comfort- or maybe just get you thinking about the music that has carried you through tough times. 

Here is the whole playlist on spotify-

Songs that Saved Me
And the playlist is collaborative, meaning that if you have spotify, you can add songs to it! How cool! I want to know what songs have kept your canary singing in trying times?

Feel free to comment or add songs you like. I trust you all😊

Peace, friends✌🏻️

  

The Forbidden Fruit, and My Decision to Go to Treatment

  
 I have been thinking a lot about the story of Adam and Eve, from a metaphorical standpoint. I really like bible stories but that wasn’t always the case.  A chamber of my heart used to be locked shut to biblical wisdom for a myriad of reasons, but the inner work I’ve done pried open that old rusty door and now I’m able to bask in the wisdom that this old book has to offer. 
Anyway, Adam and Eve, stay with me on this one. So the two of them get to live in this beautiful garden, unified with their creator, free to frolic as they please. Only one instruction- do not eat the forbidden fruit. The fact that they ate the fruit is the only reason any of us can relate to the story, am I right? They got kicked out, banished from the Garden, right? I believe this directly correlates to my own forbidden fruit, for if I give into temptation, I am serving the wrong master. I am always serving something- I am either evolving or devolving, growing closer to love or drifting away from it. Either I am trusting or I am doubting. Either I am succumbing to my personal will or I am surrendering to divine will. Either I am eating the fruit that will ultimately banish me from any chance at serenity, or I am free to frolic in the fourth dimension. 

But what happens when I get stuck with a foot in each world? What happens when I eat the fruit, but want to live in the garden anyway? 

  
As St. Paul says, 

“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do, I do not do. But what I hate, I do.” 

My ego desires the things which are despised by my spirit. Run on self will, I search out fleeting pleasures like sex, booze, food, wealth, succes, power, and earthly things. The spirit desires something more holy, heaven on earth to be exact,  and this road is quite narrow. Renunciation is often the beginning, for without it, I am a servant of the  ego, I am eating the fruit. 
Let me explain how this translates for me. For the last month or so, food has been my master. After some solid recovery time from my binge eating and bulimia, I relapsed. Last month, I fell hard into the food, exhibiting the same behaviors drug addicts do with their heroin or speed. I bought things in secret, with cash so no one would know. I ate in isolation, hiding in closets with my drug of choice, desperate to experience the sense of ease and comfort that would come from the sugar plunging into my bloodstream. While devouring one donut, my mind would be racing to the next thing I could eat. I would tell you about my binges but honestly? I’m not exactly sure it’s helpful to me or anyone. Suffice it to say that ice cream, peanut butter, and donuts played a starring role. 

I now have awakened a beast that lied dormant inside me for months. The crazy part is, it’s not the huge violent binges and purges that pose the problem. It’s the tiny, seemingly harmless things, like a stray French fry or a packet of stevia or a sip of Diet Coke or a slice of gum that fuel my mental obsession to binge. 
Food addiction is quite a strange thing, very hard to explain unless you have experienced it yourself. What I notice is a Split. A battle. Inner warfare. Between my addiction- the gremlin on my shoulder- and my soul. 

   
These images perfectly depict the split I feel internally. Plus they are awesome. 

 The wiser part of me who truly just wants to heal and be free is still in there, even when my disease is driving the bus.  What scares me is that in those moments of obsession, of extreme pull to the binge, my wisest self retreats. She knows she has no chance. She loves me. She will hold my hand no matter what, even if I am digging my own grave. But she can’t save me. She would have already if she could. 
  
My spirit can’t save me either. My creativity, inspiration, desire to dance with the universe- none of that has a chance of saving me. It must come from something infinite, boundless, and pure. The part of me that is indestructible, the part of me that is pure awareness, pure bliss. The part of me that is God. I need a big God for this job. I need all the angels and Saints, sages, spirit guides, Jesus, Buddha, ones that have gone before, earthly Angels, healers, teachers, Mother Earth, father sky, the Holy Spirit, the spirits of North, South, East and West. All of them. 

Though I deeply desire to abstain from my disordered eating behaviors (compulsive eating and bulimia), I simply cannot. No amount of willpower can overcome the mental obsession that comes with this disease. I ate the forbidden fruit and have since been banished from the serenity I find at the center of the kingdom of God, which is within. The price of admission to this beautiful, expansive inner paradise is releasing the ties that bind me to the material world, letting go of my addictions so that God can open another door. 

With each release, my soul becomes freer, my spirit is able to soar, and I am permitted to live where my innermost being desires to be. 
I have lived inside and outside the garden, and I know where I truly want to be. The pain of being a slave to the addiction has to be great before I’m willing to change. I have to have lots and lots of suffering, pain, and sickness in order to even consider giving up the thing that has granted me ease and comfort since I was a little girl. Now, bear in mind this is the case for folks like me- addicts- but may not be the case for all of humankind. (If you’re not an addict, it’s fairly easy to give up things that give you ease and comfort.) When I became ready to relinquish alcohol and accept some sort of higher power as my master, I was granted permission to live in a 4th dimension, one where the sky was bluer, words moved my soul to tears, and I experienced life in a true and open sense. I began to see the way I was designed to live, free of resentment and fear and able to co-create my reality in a dance with the divine. I loved life.
But with new awareness comes new answers, and sometimes the answers are not what I would have chosen. The path gets narrower. It gets easier to fall off the spiritual beam. The path I was led to was one of abstinence from my binge foods and the work of the 12 steps. Through The steps, I established a relationship with a new master and was granted admission into the garden of Eden, the only caveat being that I do not eat the forbidden fruit and I take action to enlarge my spiritual life. 
But I am always doing what I don’t want to do, and what I hate, I do. So I’m in this cycle I cannot break free of. My flesh is weak and my mind has been invaded by disease, and no human power can stop this thing. My only hope for a defense must come from a power greater than me. 
So I’m not going to stop praying. I’m not going to stop reaching for the light. 
I did yoga for the first time in several days after moving to a new state, and thank God for that beautiful practice that reminds me of my own divinity, reminds me that my body is not such a bad place to be. That I can love myself through this shit.  
I understand now that there is a difference between being cured and being healed. Lots of things simply cannot be cured. It’s just not the way they were designed. Addiction is one of them. It will always be in my DNA, it might seem to lie dormant but that is one of its many tricks. The truth is, it is watching and absorbing my every effort to get well. And it is waiting for an opportune chance to sneak in the back door… And when it comes in, there’s a good chance I will be swallowed entirely. It uses everything I learn about recovery against me. And there’s no telling how much pain I will have to endure from it before I give up the fight. Each time emerging from a painful binge and purge, and it tells me “Why didn’t you fight harder? What’s the matter with you?” 
I teach yoga. I love it. But leading up to my classes, I often feel extreme trepidation. I often want to run away. The ego tells me to. The disease tells me to. I briefly consider it almost every time, looking for a way out. But, somehow, I show up. I get through it. And people tell me it’s good. They enjoy it. They feel better. They thank me. The disease tells me to filter out that nonsense. Not to allow myself to believe that I could be capable of anything worthwhile. You see, the disease would like me to die, but it will settle for me binging and purging. 

 Much like cancer, it attacks me from within, it eats away at my health. But I have something looking out for me. It might be an inner force, but I believe it’s also outside of me. There were so many times I could have or should have died. Drunk driving incidences where I was blacked out, just for example. Times I placed myself in harms way and came out without a scratch. My angels have been working overtime. They just wait and watch patiently because they know that one day I am going to be one of their number one workers. That’s my deepest desire. I just have to sift through my own shit before I can get to that point.

  
Jesus said the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. There are so many people out there in pain, who need to believe in something. Who need to find meaning and purpose and faith! There are more of us who are lost than found. The crazy part is, I’ve been found. I know spirit, it moves through us in much the same way as inspiration does. I know my soul. I know An amazing God. Jesus is awesome, the single best teacher who ever lived, and he lives in each of our hearts, if we awaken to that Christ consciousness. 

 The virtues of honesty, hope, faith, courage, integrity, humility, peace, wisdom, devotion, and service are things I read about, strive for, and consistently fall short of. 
I know my dharma. My life’s work is to create and serve with God as my master. Lately, however, I have been eating the forbidden fruit. I am not where I want to be. But hopefully, I’m on my way there. Thank goodness for grace, for infinite chances and infinite forgiveness. 

I will be in treatment at Shades of Hope in Buffalo Gap, Texas for six days (July 17-23). I am looking forward to crossing back over to the light, but I know from experience that it won’t be painless. I would appreciate your thoughts and prayers if you have any to spare. This is an incredibly selfish disease, and I won’t be able to help create heaven on earth until I stop self destructing. 

*** I wrote this yesterday. As of today, Saturday July 2nd, I have not eaten the fruit. I have been abstinent from bulimia and compulsive eating by the grace of God. Today is what I have, and it’s a good day.***

May all beings be healthy.

May all beings be happy.

May all beings be free.

May all beings live with ease.
Namaste

Shadow and Light

“The soul journey begins in darkness. The journey progresses by clearing away an obstacle to the truth every day. At times, we make leaps into the light, great bounds that free us from the grip of an ignorant belief. More often, revelation proceeds by tiny steps, one insight at a time.”

-Deepak Chopra
For a long time, especially in my addiction and early sobriety, 100% honesty evaded me. It felt vague and slippery, as if gazing through a translucent mucked up veil that somehow kept truth slightly out of reach. What WAS my truth? Which voice in my head was telling the truth? I would experience wisdom and grace, but these intervals were quite brief, and I’d end up asleep at the wheel of life again and again. I know I had experienced feeling this amazing vibration of unconditional love. 

But then where did it go?

I needed one insight at the time, because you can’t swallow an elephant in one bite. 
I am a seeker by all means of the word.  I can find wisdom on the pages of books and from the mouths of spiritual teachers and fellow addicts, and gas station attendants. 

But there is a MAJOR difference between searching out and recognizing truth, and ACTUALLY living and experiencing that truth on the inside. What happens when the voices in my head are not reiterating the wisdom I’ve come to know to be true? Do I turn on them? Do I try to destroy the fearful voice?

I thought so. But now I see that this is not the essence of shadow work. What I’ve found to be most healing is experiencing my fear and depression without trying to escape from it. Approaching the shadow from an interested and curious perspective, as you would a child who was telling an imaginative story. Because that’s essentially what my mind is doing all the time. Instead of covering my ears and singing “LaLaLa” as loud as I can, pausing in wonder to watch the storm. 

There’s no need to label emotions as positive or negative. They are simply energy in motion. And I attract those on a similar vibration. Ever heard the saying “your vibe attracts your tribe?” It’s true. 

“Any feeling fully felt is bliss.”

-Lloyd Burnett

One practice that has been healing for me is transformational sharing- Telling the truth about who I am. I attend 12 step meetings, write, and speak about the scary stuff that used to fill me with shame. A friend reminded me that shame cannot survive proximity, it only thrives when we isolate and hold the truth inside. 

But there’s two sides to that coin- it would be a disservice to the universe if I only honored and spoke of my lower vibrations. The pain, loneliness, separation, despair, and death that comes when ego runs riot. 
It would be only talking about the crucifixion and skipping the resurrection. Where’s the hope in that?
So for this truth-telling session, I’m going to do this in a totally different way- I’m going to intersperse a higher truth with a lower truth. This will help me remember my humanity, both scared and brave, both serving and selfish, painful and yet healing. We can be And/both people. Fear and faith can and do ride in the same car. 

shadow AND light


1. I am a heart-centered entrepreneur who is just making her beginning. I believe I have been called to write, teach, and talk about things that delight and ignite spirit.

2. I am a recovered alcoholic who began drinking at age 15 and binge drank for 12 years. I have been arrested more than once, and my drinking and using could have killed me on multiple occasions.

3. There is a part of me that is completely innocent and miraculous. Anything is possible when I align with this place. This place is my heart, where the light of the entire universe resides.

4. I am currently recovering from bulimia, binge eating disorder, and exercise bulimia. For the majority of my years on this earth, my body has been my enemy

5. I have entered into a new contract of peace and friendship with my body. I see now that it is indeed a well of wisdom and has always supported me and kept me alive despite my actions to the contrary. Thank you, body.

6. I was raped on two occasions, once at 17 and once at 20. Because of these events, I disconnected from my body for many years. I touted myself as being sexually free when in reality, I felt deeply broken and forever scarred internally.

7. I have found healing through the twelve steps and yoga that I never thought possible. Shame and guilt have been replaced with a deep peace and freedom, a true awakening of my soul to a higher being who loves, nourishes, and accepts every hair on my head.

8. I had an abortion 6 months before I became pregnant with my first daughter. This was another shame story that deeply engrained itself in my inner world and led me to seek the oblivion that the bottle, food, and exercise could bring.

9. I have forgiven myself ENTIRELY for that choice. God has forgiven me, and I have peace with the soul that I carried very briefly. An understanding has been reached, healing has taken place, and I know today that everything happened exactly as it should. 

10. I still struggle almost daily with waves of fear, self pity, and depression. Sometimes it feels like hands wrapping around my ankles and pulling me into the quicksand of despair and doubt.

11. I don’t have to do battle with those demons today. My fierce warrior spirit, my angels, all the gurus and teachers who have gone before, my fellows in recovery, and my divine director have my back. There is absolutely no reason for me to feel alone today. I can just ask to be shown my own light, and I remember that it resides within, and it is always brighter than the darkness.

12. I get jealous. I have hungry ghosts that can’t get no satisfaction. When I like something, I always want more of it. I’m an undisciplined procrastinator. I judge myself and others harshly sometimes. The gremlin on my shoulder sometimes gains the upper hand.

13. I’m a creative being, full of enthusiasm and passion. I remember to turn to this current of vitality and wonder that flows through me. I am inspired and I ground myself by taking action. I align myself with a higher will than my own, and I proactively engage with my own godly nature.

14. I make a lot of mistakes. I forget to pay bills, I miss appointments, I snap at my daughters and my husband, and I freak out about little bitty things. My car is always full of random crap, old kid snacks, books, papers, and spilled drinks. Sometimes it feels like this is a reflection of my life situation. 

15. I earnestly try to love those whom I come into contact with, including myself, and especially my girls- reminding them that I love them and there’s nothing that they’ll ever do that will take that love away. I try to forgive as soon as possible, for I know that one puff of resentment fills the lungs with black smoke.

16. As a child, I felt strangely uncomfortable in my skin. I remember when I was 5 having diarrhea and not wanting to tell anyone about it because I felt so ashamed of it. I don’t know if that’s genetic or karmic, but I do know that I always felt the need to hide the truth, to hide myself. I knew the voice well that says, “If you tell anyone about this, you’ll be destroyed. Keep it inside. You’ll only make others miserable and uncomfortable if you share.”

17. As an adult, I’m working on healing that child, mothering her and nurturing her and loving her big and fierce and strong. So I do the things she didn’t know how to do, like sharing my insides. And I do things she loved to do, like dance and paint and write and sing. 

18. As a child, I spent a lot of time on my bunkbed, pencil and notebook in hand, writing page after page of elaborate short stories that my big sister would loyally read and discuss. She held space for my creativity, and it all just flowed without obstruction. As a teen, I became focused more on achieving than on creating. My spark went out.

19. Today, I light a candle for the gift. I read all about these gifts and come to find out, they are indestructible! Gifted people reunite or recreate their creativity at every stage of life. So just because my gift was not honored or cherished then, does not mean I shouldn’t start NOW. 

I could go on, and I bet you could make your own list, too! This is what it is to be human, to be half-God, half-beast. Feet on the ground, head in the stars. The Union of soul and spirit. When I think of soul, I do think of the shadow, I think of the earth, the way we grow from pain, “the dark night of the soul”, “soulful lyrics”, “Free my soul”… Etc. 

  
So My shadow grounds me. It is my roots, it is the experiences that push and evolve me, that require me to go past a certain threshold only by taking a leap of faith, a trust fall into surrendering to what lies ahead. The even numbers above are events that have shaped my soul and my shadow. And I’m grateful to the pain today because it’s been a tremendous teacher. 

  
 
Then there’s spirit, which lifts me. Spirit is the sky, the open, airy realm of consciousness and heavenly awareness that bathes me in grace. The root word of inspiration is spirit, so enthusiasm and creativity are the dance with the divine. Think “my spirit soars”, “Spirit Bird”, “Spirit of the Universe”, Crown Chakra, open up to pure, white light. This is the angel on my shoulder, my bliss body, my heart. My spirit speaks in all of the odd numbered truths above.
Today, I intend to remember my roots and to lead with spirit. I need both. This, I believe, is the nature of humility. To see all the ways I’ve erred but yet not to forget to tell the story of the redemption. That I’ve been rocketed to a fourth dimension where I don’t have to self destruct anymore. And if I do pick up an old pattern or behavior, I can simply and compassionately love that part of me and let it teach me what I haven’t learned from it yet.

I think it does a disservice to the shadow to give the light all the credit. This is just not the planet for that. So today, I know that I can love both, and experience both aspects of me. 
  

a letter to God

  

Dear God,
Why do I feel so out of whack? Alone? Depressed? In the Wrong? Cut off from the sunlight of the spirit? 
I know you are an incredibly loving and ever-present force within me and around me. So why is it that I can’t find you? Have I forgotten how? Have I chosen the shadows instead of the light?
Where do you want me, God? What is my work here? I don’t believe that you are a punishing God. That has never been my experience of you. But I am afraid. I’m afraid and I just don’t know what to do. 
I have so many thoughts, God. Most of them are generated from a not-so-loving place. I know that these thoughts are creating my reality. But I can’t seem to get past them. I do want to turn the care of my life over to you, today and every day. What would you have me be?
The two most repeated phrases in the bible are “Do not be afraid” and “Remember”. So I think you would want me to allow my fears to fall from me. To remember my powerlessness and to stop the struggle. It is only when I acknowledge that my way doesn’t work that I can walk with you. I don’t want to lead the way. When I lead, I seem to fall through endless trap doors, dropping deeper and deeper into oblivion. 
I used to eat and drink for oblivion. Now I think myself into oblivion. Somehow, I don’t think this is the design you want for me and my life. I know you are overjoyed when one of your lost sheep comes back. I know that this acknowledgement that I am spiritually bereft is a step up from thrashing around wildly trying to do this thing alone. 
I ran into my daughter’s bike yesterday in the driveway. I have left the stovetop on 3 times in the past week. I am finding myself buried under laundry and student loan debt, unable to keep up with life on life’s terms. And part of me believes the lie I’m telling myself. Part of me believes that my disease is going to kill me. That I have no chance, it’s just too strong.
But you told us to remember. So I will try. I remember the tears that poured forth each time I got on my knees and wailed out to you. I remember the cathartic waves of peace, freedom, and unconditional love I felt after surrendering. If I could live in that surrendered state with you, God, I would. I remember seeing your son Jesus’ face in my heart and mind and being overcome with pure amazement. I remember studying his teachings in the wee hours of the morning, and you joined me, God. I remember considering becoming a nun because being close with you was the best feeling I had ever experienced, and real life might not do it for me anymore.
I remember becoming fascinated with the Mystics, who truly became love drunk on you. I remember deeply meditative states where it felt like I left my body, and I got a little scared and wanted to come back. I remember deeply prayerful states, especially heart-centered meditations, where it felt like my whole body radiated light. 
I remember getting perfectly clear signs from you, God. When I asked, you appeared. You struck my tree with lightning! You saved me from my own destruction. I believed, that every single thing that happened was part of your plan and was meant for my eyes. I felt attuned to a higher plane of wisdom every time I truly tried to connect with you. Faith was never a question because I SAW and FELT and HEARD you at every single turn. You placed people, places, bad things in my life that I needed at exactly the time I needed them. How could I question you? It made more sense to me to deeply trust than to ever second-guess.
And I wanted it to be true, anyhow. This life was revealing to me a 4th dimension, rocketing me into this place where absolutely nothing happens by mistake. And great things were happening for me! “See to it that your relationship with Him is right, and great events will come to pass for you and countless others. This is the great fact for us.” (AA Big Book page 164)
I have a feeling the signs are still there. That you are sending me inspiration after inspiration, lifeboat after lifeboat, but yet, I’m letting my disease win. I’m believing it instead of you. I’m allowing negative thoughts to take up residency in my body, mind, and heart, and they want to kill me. They rejoice when I am doubtful, feeding on my fears and multiplying exponentially when I am blocked from you. If you say “Do not be afraid” and “remember”, my disease says, “Forget that” and “Just quit trying, you are doomed, anyway.” 
Which wolf do I feed? Well, I think it’s pretty clear what the answer is. My disease even tries to invade my relationship with you, God! Can you believe that? It tells me that I have failed, I am blocked, and it’s hopeless. Unless I can get everything perfect, I really don’t stand a chance. And right now, I feel like I can’t get a damn thing right. So it does, at times, feel like my disease is winning. Even when I affirm good things to myself, even when people reassure me, even when I’m doing my very best, it’s just not enough for the hungry ghosts, the insatiable demons. They are thirsty for my life force, and I’ve allowed them to hang out long enough that I feel their heavy chains dragging my body down every day.
That is no exaggeration. I feel tense, tight, and not energetic. I sleep well, eat right, and am active, but it’s not enough to arrest these bad boys. I need you, God. I need you to direct my thinking, to pull me back from the gates of death, to turn my life into what it was designed to be. To transform my heart like you have so many times. To love me so much that I simply cannot question whether I am cared for. 
I love Jesus’ teaching about the lilies and the sparrows- how you watch over them and love them, making sure they are cared for. So what makes me think I am forgotten? Human beings are made in your image. Of course you love me. Of course you are here. When I take one step toward you, You take ten steps towards me. 
So this is my one step, God. I am here. I turn my life over to you, I welcome you to have all of me, to transform my thoughts and actions so that they align with your will. My way is not working! Relieve me of the bondage of selfishness and fear, relieve me of the chains of my hungry ghosts, take away my difficulties, so that by overcoming them I can be a vessel for your Power, love, and way of living. May your will be done.

I affirm this with my whole being.

Amen. 
Love Your daughter,

Amanda

a letter to God

  

Dear God,
Why do I feel so out of whack? Alone? Depressed? In the Wrong? Cut off from the sunlight of the spirit? 
I know you are an incredibly loving and ever-present force within me and around me. So why is it that I can’t find you? Have I forgotten how? Have I chosen the shadows instead of the light?
Where do you want me, God? What is my work here? I don’t believe that you are a punishing God. That has never been my experience of you. But I am afraid. I’m afraid and I just don’t know what to do. 
I have so many thoughts, God. Most of them are generated from a not-so-loving place. I know that these thoughts are creating my reality. But I can’t seem to get past them. I do want to turn the care of my life over to you, today and every day. What would you have me be?
The two most repeated phrases in the bible are “Do not be afraid” and “Remember”. So I think you would want me to allow my fears to fall from me. To remember my powerlessness and to stop the struggle. It is only when I acknowledge that my way doesn’t work that I can walk with you. I don’t want to lead the way. When I lead, I seem to fall through endless trap doors, dropping deeper and deeper into oblivion. 
I used to eat and drink for oblivion. Now I think myself into oblivion. Somehow, I don’t think this is the design you want for me and my life. I know you are overjoyed when one of your lost sheep comes back. I know that this acknowledgement that I am spiritually bereft is a step up from thrashing around wildly trying to do this thing alone. 
I ran into my daughter’s bike yesterday in the driveway. I have left the stovetop on 3 times in the past week. I am finding myself buried under laundry and student loan debt, unable to keep up with life on life’s terms. And part of me believes the lie I’m telling myself. Part of me believes that my disease is going to kill me. That I have no chance, it’s just too strong.
But you told us to remember. So I will try. I remember the tears that poured forth each time I got on my knees and wailed out to you. I remember the cathartic waves of peace, freedom, and unconditional love I felt after surrendering. If I could live in that surrendered state with you, God, I would. I remember seeing your son Jesus’ face in my heart and mind and being overcome with pure amazement. I remember studying his teachings in the wee hours of the morning, and you joined me, God. I remember considering becoming a nun because being close with you was the best feeling I had ever experienced, and real life might not do it for me anymore.
I remember becoming fascinated with the Mystics, who truly became love drunk on you. I remember deeply meditative states where it felt like I left my body, and I got a little scared and wanted to come back. I remember deeply prayerful states, especially heart-centered meditations, where it felt like my whole body radiated light. 
I remember getting perfectly clear signs from you, God. When I asked, you appeared. You struck my tree with lightning! You saved me from my own destruction. I believed, that every single thing that happened was part of your plan and was meant for my eyes. I felt attuned to a higher plane of wisdom every time I truly tried to connect with you. Faith was never a question because I SAW and FELT and HEARD you at every single turn. You placed people, places, bad things in my life that I needed at exactly the time I needed them. How could I question you? It made more sense to me to deeply trust than to ever second-guess.
And I wanted it to be true, anyhow. This life was revealing to me a 4th dimension, rocketing me into this place where absolutely nothing happens by mistake. And great things were happening for me! “See to it that your relationship with Him is right, and great events will come to pass for you and countless others. This is the great fact for us.” (AA Big Book page 164)
I have a feeling the signs are still there. That you are sending me inspiration after inspiration, lifeboat after lifeboat, but yet, I’m letting my disease win. I’m believing it instead of you. I’m allowing negative thoughts to take up residency in my body, mind, and heart, and they want to kill me. They rejoice when I am doubtful, feeding on my fears and multiplying exponentially when I am blocked from you. If you say “Do not be afraid” and “remember”, my disease says, “Forget that” and “Just quit trying, you are doomed, anyway.” 
Which wolf do I feed? Well, I think it’s pretty clear what the answer is. My disease even tries to invade my relationship with you, God! Can you believe that? It tells me that I have failed, I am blocked, and it’s hopeless. Unless I can get everything perfect, I really don’t stand a chance. And right now, I feel like I can’t get a damn thing right. So it does, at times, feel like my disease is winning. Even when I affirm good things to myself, even when people reassure me, even when I’m doing my very best, it’s just not enough for the hungry ghosts, the insatiable demons. They are thirsty for my life force, and I’ve allowed them to hang out long enough that I feel their heavy chains dragging my body down every day.
That is no exaggeration. I feel tense, tight, and not energetic. I sleep well, eat right, and am active, but it’s not enough to arrest these bad boys. I need you, God. I need you to direct my thinking, to pull me back from the gates of death, to turn my life into what it was designed to be. To transform my heart like you have so many times. To love me so much that I simply cannot question whether I am cared for. 
I love Jesus’ teaching about the lilies and the sparrows- how you watch over them and love them, making sure they are cared for. So what makes me think I am forgotten? Human beings are made in your image. Of course you love me. Of course you are here. When I take one step toward you, You take ten steps towards me. 
So this is my one step, God. I am here. I turn my life over to you, I welcome you to have all of me, to transform my thoughts and actions so that they align with your will. My way is not working! Relieve me of the bondage of selfishness and fear, relieve me of the chains of my hungry ghosts, take away my difficulties, so that by overcoming them I can be a vessel for your Power, love, and way of living. May your will be done.

I affirm this with my whole being.

Amen. 
Love Your daughter,

Amanda