my halloween costume

Screen Shot 2014-10-31 at 6.39.30 AMI don’t dress up for Halloween.

That’s just how it is.

It seems, to me anyway, that most people love to dress up for Halloween and when I tell them I don’t, their exclamations deflate. Thud.

Maybe I’m not playful enough, maybe I don’t like to have fun, maybe…I don’t like to dress up as someone else.

When I try to explain, sometimes I get strange looks or random comments.

Why is not okay to say, “I don’t want to and I don’t like to” – and have that be enough?

Because it’s SOOOO much fun for everyone else that I must be missing out. And I seem like someone who would be SOOO much fun to go to a Halloween party with.

Trust me. I am not.

No. At over 40, I can say no and explain and leave you to dress up on your own.

When I was 7 or 8, maybe even younger – this was the early 70s right around the time that people stopped making their own costumes and started buy store-bought plastic thingies that looked like cartoon characters we didn’t have the money to do that so – we put on someone else in my family’s clothes, remember there were 10 of us, that were too big, or too small in some cases, tied the pants around the waist with a piece of rope, opened the coal stove, rubbed some soot on our face and called it Halloween. Going to school or trick-or-treating with my family of hobos, wasn’t so far from everyday life. So maybe that’s where it all started?

Then there’s the time when I was 11 and I lived alone with my two brothers (you remember that story), I really wanted to do something fantastic for Halloween. I had the best idea that I could make a mask out of oatmeal and plaster oatmeal all over my face, hair and head.  OR they could buy me a mask.  They opted to buy me a mask, but we waited until the last day to go look at masks, so all that was there was a hairy-faced ape mask, so I settled for that.

I pulled that on after school and ran around the neighborhood with a giant pillowcase, hoping to come home with it full of candy. What happened though was that I couldn’t see out of the mask and I ran right into a construction stake with a bright pink tag on it that was in someone’s yard and tore my pants and gashed my leg open.

The next year, I was back living with my parents and my Dad told me that at 12, I was too old to trick-or-treat. So, after that I didn’t. Maybe that’s it?

Or, maybe it’s because all those years all I wanted was to look like everyone else with normal clothes and not hand-me downs and to just be me.

Throughout my 20s, I never did Halloween parties. I was spending so much time trying to figure out how to be normal in the world and desperately trying to figure out who I was. I went from mini-skirts to dresses with white flats, to button downs, to argyle sweaters and socks, to short shorts with combat boots – a complete train wreck of an identity. I couldn’t imagine trying to create another persona that I could dress up as for one day out of the year.

Some people might say that’s the release, that’s the great thing, you can be whoever you want for one day!!!

In my 30s, I finally settled in and really started to figure out who I was and what I wanted in the world and figured out that I’m really okay. Me. I’m good enough and I’m ok with that.

So, if you want to dress up that’s awesome. DO IT! FUN FOR YOU! But I don’t and I won’t and that’s okay too. I’ll dress up as Me today. I spent half my life trying to dress up as someone else or someone I thought I should be, so I’m done putting on the mask.

So, if you invite me to your Halloween party, I’ll come as Me. If you say COSTUME ONLY, I’ll come as ME. It’s the best costume and character I have.

And I’m totally fine with it.

 

Before you are_believe you are.

Screen Shot 2014-10-28 at 6.00.54 AMBefore you are whatever you are – you have to believe you are whatever it is you want to be.

I used to say I could never be a consultant or work for myself. There was a part of me that knew I could and I’d be great at it, but some small part of me doubted it could work.  So, I didn’t do it.

When I started to shift my mind around the whole idea of working for myself, I’d wake up every day and think I’m a consultant and every day I focused on that. That’s where my energy went and today – my business is almost two years old and I’m doing it. Making it.

Sometimes it takes a small shift to make a big shift.

When I was working at a design studio, an art director who was struggling asked me. “Do you think I can do this job well?”  I replied “That question is not for me to answer, but do you believe you can do this job well?”  My response was not what he wanted to hear. In fact it made him furious. So furious he quit that very day.

If you are looking outward for acceptance, you may not get it. Accept yourself where you are FIRST.  It doesn’t mean it can’t change. It can. It will. Believe it.

What do you want to be – feel, know? Before you are, you gotta BELIEVE it. GO!

Big CANvas type of WORDS.

It’s fall and I suppose I need to get back to writing.

~

I’m not a poet, but every now and then I write something that sounds like poetry. I imagine it written on a big canvas.

She was mysterious
Wondrous
Thinking of things she could have
If only she would have
Thought a little less
Pushed herself under
Peeled back one more layer
Took something deep into her heart
And let it loose
Gave it freedom
If only she might have
Been a little less strong
A little more vulnerable
And in the end she became those anyway
Who she had been designed to be
Because she wasn’t willing to go on her own
The turn of fate
Dealt its own hand.

~

And then I imagine another big canvas that says

KEEP GOING KEEP WRITING – KEEp PainTING keep on. GO>!

Sometimes you have to get knocked down, knocked back, knocked under to save your own life.

~hiatus over.

The past is passed.

Screen Shot 2014-05-29 at 7.18.10 AMThe past is passed.

I’m reading a book called Hauntings by James Hollis. It’s not about ghosts, like dead people haunting you, but about ghosts of experiences haunting you. There are many words in the book that resonate with me, but 3 ideas are the most powerful. Paraphrased here: How often has our failure to show up in our lives revealed immaturity on our part, a failure to grow up, an active participation in victimhood? Wounding moments hurt, sometimes for decades, but our willing participation in those wounds perpetuates them. What new values or opportunities may appear if we stop serving the message of the haunting? Reflecting back on experiences shapes me and sometimes heal me. No knight in shining armor can do that for me, no one is going to come and save me, if I am not willing to save myself. Sure, people can help and people will help, but the hard work is mine. For me it’s about growing up. Looking at the past, using discernment to sift through what happened, why and how it impacts me or limits me now is not always easy, but in doing so I’ve found I’m able to live more fully. I’d like to look at all the good parts of me and ignore the “bad” parts. But at some point realizing that the bad parts aren’t actually bad, they are just parts of me that I’d like to change or maybe embrace or just let it be and move on. My hauntings are almost always based on fear. Sometimes a rational fear and sometimes an irrational one. I used to, and sometimes still do, start sweating bullets when I have to get my blood drawn. Why?  Well, rationally I can say it shouldn’t be a big deal, but when I think back – when I was a kid  – if any of us got sick or injured – my Mom’s “guts would start rolling” and she’d be out on the front porch puking, because we didn’t have any money to pay doctor bills or a way to get to the doctor without having to ask for help. Her anxiety about all of this and the puking and crying – THAT made me hate getting sick and pretty much made me deal with every illness, broken bone, blah, blah, blah as if it was no big deal. Nothing to see here, my leg’s falling off, but please don’t be upset Ma! Because of this and other instances related to medical issues, my fear was in overdrive. It wasn’t rational, but it was still real. I took on my Mother’s anxiety about it and eventually had to be held down to do a simple finger prick for a glucose test. Then I learned I could take a Xanax and I could tolerate the blood draw – IF I was laying down, turned my head, and I counted to 20, while they were doing whatever they were doing – which I could not speak of. I couldn’t walk through a hospital. I couldn’t think about going into a hospital. I could go to the doctor, but the mention of a blood draw would make me woozy. What did I do with that? This was no way to live, eventually I was going to need to get a blood draw and at some point visit a hospital, eventually there would be an emergency and I was going to need to be present. I needed help. I needed to take care of myself. I read somewhere that the Dalai Lama passed out once when he was having his blood drawn and started to have anxiety about blood work because of it. So each time before a blood draw he would visualize the needle going in his arm and also allow himself the luxury of passing out if he needed to. Give it up – go ahead and pass out. So, I took up the same practice, because I was having to get blood draws more frequently for a thyroid test. At first it stressed me out more, I was so worried about passing out. I also still took the Xanax. Sometimes we get stuck in a childhood memory or haunting that doesn’t allow us to let go, to face it, to grow up. So, I kept focusing on growing up, I kept facing it, kept understanding and sifting through all the memories of the instances that contributed to this childhood fear. I’d ask myself, What are you afraid of? What’s the worst that could happen? I’d remind myself, you have insurance, you’ve always paid your way, you always find a way through if you run out of money. I kept having the conversation with myself. I realized this haunting was holding me back. It took a long time to uncover it all, but in the last few months something has shifted, maybe I’m desensitized or maybe I’m willing to grow up a little more and say, I can do this and am no longer haunted and stuck in a childhood nightmare of blood and guts and dying and someone puking off the front porch. Now, I can get a blood draw without a  Xanax, sometimes.  And while I was working on this fear I realized that other fears were dropping away as well. I do feel more grown up. As if I evolved somehow, have a greater consciousness of this fear and how it haunts me and how to work with it and not against it. And at the same time work with kindness with my 10-year-old self, who still trembles at the thought of a blood draw, telling her that this fear has no place here anymore, I’m a grown up and I got this. Sometimes as children or after some experience as an adult, we make a decision to protect ourselves out of necessity, but we also need to know when that protection is now holding us back. What’s haunting you?

the opposite of survival – part TWO

Screen Shot 2014-04-23 at 7.22.17 AMSee part 1 - here

The story didn’t end there? Why? Because I was not ready for abundance – YET.

With my necklace clasped around my neck – shouting, but delicately shouting, because I was not yet ready to be shouting anything so life affirming: “I call for your abundance like an armor of ships.”  ~ Leonore Wilson

I wore it everyday. So proud. I also wore it next to my other Jeanine Payer necklace: “She looked at her own Soul with a Telescope. What seemed all irregular, she saw and showed to be beautiful Constellations: and she added to the Consciousness hidden worlds within worlds.” ~ Samuel Coleridge

I wanted abundance, there is no doubt about that, but I was still looking inward. WHY? Because I needed to make some changes to be able to BE in abundance, but I didn’t make many changes when it came to abundance. I went back to doing what I was doing. And THREE times that necklace broke. And I could say it was just shoddy workmanship, but I have other Janine Payer pieces and none have ever broken, only abundance.

Life’s metaphor for me. Abundance – kept breaking. As beautiful and horrible as it was there I was breaking abundance. I didn’t get it.

The first time the necklace broke, I was miserable. What is the meaning behind this? I thought to myself and I discovered, I was not living in abundance, I was afraid of what bad thing might happen, I was worried about worry and still trying to protect myself from being hurt, killed, or fail – old habits die hard.

I was surviving. So, I continued to look inward. Things don’t change until they change, so all I could do is keep looking. I got the necklace fixed and it broke again.

I left it broken for almost a year.

Each time it broke, I had it repaired by Jeanine Payer’s studio in San Francisco. I’d send it back to them. They’d repair it and send it back to me.

This time, I put it back on and it broke almost immediately, within minutes. This was too delicate of a subject for me. Man, what is the lesson here? What do I need to know about myself that will allow me to believe in abundance and not fear it. To live it?!  I was in a miserable job, I was not living the life I really wanted to live, I needed to change, but I was stuck.

I sent it back again and after a few weeks, it came back to me and I wore it carefully. This time, I also removed the other necklace – the looking inward necklace. I stopped wearing them together.

It’s not that I stopped looking inward, but I stopped dwelling on the looking inward. Something shifted, it always does, but it took time, took patience took me doing the work to get there, shifting my thoughts from surviving to abundance. Not standing still but GOING and DOING looking to change. Not at a frantic crazy pace, but at the pace I could do it.

Sometimes your friends push you to be a better you, like my friend pushing me to get that necklace and sometimes, most times – you have to do the work yourself to actually live what you’re pushed to do. When you’re ready. You’re ready. Don’t stop trying.

Boom. Again. A message from the universe. The necklace has not broken since.

What do you want?

Screen Shot 2014-03-26 at 9.00.08 AMWhat do you want?

You have to do things for your family, your friends, your work, your life, but What do you want?

Someone asked me once – What do you want in life? My reaction – a blank stare. I couldn’t come up with anything and me being me – I spouted off a bunch of things and while doing that I realized all of them – EVERY single one was not what I wanted, but what my work wanted, what my family would have wanted, what my mother would have wanted, what my partner wanted, what I should want and what I was doing in life to get the things THAT I DID NOT WANT! I was not living my own life, but someone else’s. I don’t know whose life I was living, but it definitely wasn’t mine.

That was a moment I’ll never forget. I had lost myself. Lost it all – in the mess of the day to day. I believe that’s why people get depressed. It’s not the only reason, but one of the reasons. Life becomes meaningless.

I’ll quote Joseph Campbell again, he’s one of my go-to guys for wisdom about getting clear on things.

“People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances within our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive. That’s what it’s all finally about, and that’s what these clues help us to find within ourselves.”

The clues are how you feel and the way you are behaving or the things you are doing to succeed or to sabotage yourself.

Sometimes it’s best to give up on things you should want, but don’t. It’s hard, but necessary. That moment for me was 11 years ago.

Start today. It’s just one day, but the first one in the rest of your life. It’s crazy how doors start to open when you finally decide what you really want and agree to begin that conversation with yourself.  What do you want?