Say Yes To Your Adventure (part 1)

This year had been really … unexpected in ways. It’s been challenging. Sometimes beautiful, sometimes grand, sometimes just lost in a forest.

Granted, I’ve also had some of the best moments ever.  Feeling crazy alive, totally in love, and completely in sync.  Moments of seeing people and myself with more compassion, beauty, and openness than ever before.

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I’ve also faced some places inside myself that were really messy, and spent a lot a times stuck in places that felt really strange. I often found myself in unchartered territory.  That lead me into some interesting situations and difficult conversations and being in the not-knowing for a lot longer than felt at all comfortable.

Along the way, stuff got real! I lost my job,  figured out (sort of!) what I want to be when I grow up, travelled, stayed out all night,  took trains planes and automobiles, and faced some big fears. I met amazing people that blew my mind and my heart open, deepened and shifted my relationships (both with myself and others), laughed hardily and out loud even when things felt the worst, and burst into tears at both joyful and sad moments.  I played. I thought my Beloved cat was gone, and grieved and prayed, and then he came back (after thinking he was dead for almost a month!)

I created room for conversations, and people, and places.  I started working with kids again. I worked on teams with healers and coaches that fed my soul and mentored me and opened doors for me. I opened doors for myself that I never thought I could.

(And then, of course,  as a nice bonus/ cosmic joke, the transmission in my car died last week.  OH WELL! Funny/not Funny, Universe.)

It’s been a trip, but the part that keeps sticking is: This is my real life. I’m in it now. I’m on my way. This is the life that’s been waiting for me. The one I am here to really Live, even if I don’t always know how it’s going to come together.

“The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty yes to your adventure.”

Joseph Campbell

More than any one thing I’ve done,  I started to really ask different questions. I think I said Yes to my adventure (AKA started following my bliss and got on my “path’) when I stopped asking “What should I do with my life?” or “When am I finally going to get a “real” job?  and started asking myself instead:

“What turns me on? What excites me? What are my deep gifts I can share with the world” and

“What do I need to be happy? What am I doing when I feel really, really good, and how can I do more of it?”

To step into your purpose- your calling- your own adventure is really big stuff. It doesn’t matter if your life is already really “together” or not. It doesn’t matter if you’re already successful or totally at loose ends. Or whether you are single or have kids or a million dollars or none at all. (Yes, money often helps us get resources to fuel our adventure, but sometimes it can also hold us back and keep us where we’ve always been. I did some of the most growing when I lost my job earlier this year.)

Whatever the external circumstances, it  requires a lot of willingness to be in the unknown. It takes a lot of following the breadcrumbs, and feeling really vulnerable along the way. It takes a lot of hanging out in coffee shops when you “should” be doing something productive. It takes detours and risks and flights and fancy.

It takes working a lot of different jobs until you find something you like doing. It’s allowing yourself to feel whatever you want to feel sometimes, and also insist that you have the right to feel good. To feel pleasure. To express yourself in whatever (hopefully healthy-ish but sometimes messy) way you want.

It’s being in relationships that feed you, and letting go of the ones that don’t. It’s giving yourself deeply to the relationships that really mean the most.

Mostly, it’s really listening and being with whatever comes up, and going from there. Right in the present moment.

It’s hard stuff, man. But it’s so so worth it. Because you get to be you. You get to do what you want to do. You get to be around the people you want to be around. You get to write your own ticket.

Even if you don’t even know what you want to do with your life, the opportunity to really be YOU- and live from the place inside of yourself that is deeply yours- it’s an experience that will change you from the inside out.

We are, always, in the great unfolding of our life’s journey. This journey is mythic, and also very moment to moment. It doesn’t matter if what you want to do or be is something very small, or very big, or both at the same time.  It’s the opportunity at every turn to experience more of your life, your truth, and connect that to a vision and making meaning of that.

It’s about being more in the moment, and also, more in the expanse and in the mystery.

It’s your secret longings. Sometimes, it’s the forbidden. It’s the dreams that fill you on those certain nights and never leave, the feelings we can’t always explain that persist until we listen to them

It’s the fear and the excitement of taking risks you never though you could.  It’s WILD.  It’s freedom. It’s really, really loving yourself, or finding people that can help you love yourself (because sometimes, yanno,  we hate ourselves, too.)

I don’t know how it all comes together. I’m still figuring this part in my own life.

But I do know that when you say yes, ( or maybe your yes is more like a whisper: ok god whoever you are,  i am ready to be in my life and in my power) and even if it’s just yes to YOU in a moment, or to a feeling deep down you know is lighting something up inside of you, then you create something. You open a door to a certain dream you’ve always desired, (but don’t know yet how to realize it).

You say yes to falling madly in love again, even if you don’t know with who (and in the end, it’s with yourself and your own life, anyway.)

You enter into a place of your life, where you- the real you- with all the magnificent and brimming-with-life possibilities that carries, begins. You really do feel alive in a different way.

And it’s your job, as much as any other work you have in your life, to begin tap into what this is inside of yourself, feed it, and assist it in coming alive.

what if you could love yourself through this?

I was at the beach a couple weeks ago.  It was beautiful.  There were dolphins swimming just off the shore, and doing flips, and flirting with us.

We swam in a sea of phosophorescents one night, after midnight, and communed with the elements. We ate like kings, and drank cocktails, and rode bikes through the live oaks. We played with kids, and slept, and bummed around.

There was a rooftop deck where we could see the milky way. The breeze felt like being wrapped in silk, and I was with some of my best friends in the world.

And then, out of the blue, I got sad. Really sad. I almost felt like I wanted to leave and just go home. As Lana del Ray sings, “I got that summertime sadness.”

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I don’t know why. The feeling didn’t seem to come from anywhere in particular. I got into overwhelm. I was worried about a new job.  I was distracted. Then my heart was achey about a person in my life that I felt really close to for a moment, but felt so far away. I felt like I’d “worked so hard” and still wasn’t where I wanted to be with my {insert one of a million thoughts: career/family/relationship/creativity}

It was one of those sadnessess that would have derailed me at another point in my life. Like maybe ruined the whole trip.

One of the things I’ve struggled with a lot in my life is … emotions. I feel funny even writing that, because, haven’t we all? Life is hard! We don’t just DO things as humans, we actually F-E-E-L things!

I don’t know if everyone goes through this, but the truth is for me,  I feel almost everything really deeply. It’s one of my gifts, but it’s also been really challenging at times. Yes, I get to feel ALL of it. I get to feel moments of joy, bliss, and deep connection that make my heart want to split open and literally shout to the world how crazy.awesome.amazing everything is (umm, or something like that! Yes, I get a little excited now and then.)

I get to feel and experience energy that is loaded with excitement and brimming with possibilities.  I laugh a lot, and as much as possible. Sometimes  I can capture all this joy, and I can then use it to create a lot of momentum, and then  push back into the world and my life.

But I also feel all the “bad” stuff.  I can put it off sometimes, but as they say, the highs are high and the lows are… low. I’m going to have to go through it. If something is “off” in my relationship(s). If I’m just having a bad day. If it’s the winter and I’m tired.  If I’m unsure of myself. If I haven’t taken care of myself, or I don’t feel grounded. I feel shame and sadness and fear and unease, sometimes from a long time ago, come back when it’s ready to be seen or felt.

I feel other people really deeply, too, so sometimes I get confused if I am feeling them, or myself.

Sometimes there’s a reason. But sometimes I just FEEL. And that’s beautiful.. and also sometimes really painful. It can put me deep into my life, but also sometimes pull me out.

But more and more, when there’s that wave of sadness, or dark emotions, I try to ask myself “what if I could love myself through it?”

(Sidenote: Sometimes when I travel, all my stuff comes to the surface, and fans itself out, and it’s like whoa. Where did that come from?)

So for awhile at the beach, I just I tried to just get over it. (That almost never works, but sometimes when I’m lucky it does!)

Eventually, in the middle of the day, I went into my little beach room, with the green walls and funny beach art, and the huge, comfy bed. And I cried. Like really cried. I talked to myself a little, yes, even out loud. I let it hurt. I let the loss of connection surface.  I took that feeling, and brought it even closer, and let myself feel it.  I think I fell asleep for a little bit. And then I walked out onto the beach, and sat down beside my friend, and cried a little more.

And then, something happened. I felt OK again. I didn’t push it away to feel OK, but I also didn’t stay in it so long that it wore me out, or ruined my whole trip. I didn’t hate on myself.

One of the things I realized is that I if can show up for whatever is happening- as it’s happening- and get deeply into that moment, it will shift.  I can feel totally sad and filled with what seems like despair one moment, but if I can feel it and be in it, and create a little more space and acceptance, it often time will… lighten. Get easier. Flow again.

So whatever it happening, let yourself feel it. And then also let yourself shift, if only for a moment. Even if you can’t come all the way out of it, you can let that place inside yourself open into another layer. A deeper layer.

Things I do to help it shift the energy/feeling/stuckness:

*Connect with the feeling fully. Stop pushing it away. Let it in. Receive it. Even thank it. Let whatever comes, come.

*Feel in my body. What feels good in my body in this present moment? What feels stuck? Just listen to my body and be with it, even while I’m feeling whatever sticky or ‘bad’ emotion is up.  Not try to force it, but also just noticing the differences.  Some places feel good, some places feel not-so-good. Some places feel heavy, some place feel cool.

*Love myself. Yeah, but really. Instead of saying, “WHY am I feeling this way? I hate feeling this way” I try to feel into: “What if I’m feeling this way because it is bringing me even deeper into the truth of who I am? What if I could love myself through this instead of hating this away?”

“What if there is a gift in this that I can’t see yet, but I will receive in another moment?”

*Go outside and walk around.  Call or talk to a friend if I can. Feel gratitude for someone or something in my life.

And then, often, I’ll notice things start to shift. I might not feel COMPLETELY better right away, of course, but I am more in the moment, more in my body, and more in touch with the gifts right around me.

Because I’m in it.

your gifts (the ones you never knew you wanted)

Someone once told me my deepest gift was connecting with other people.

 

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The woman who told me was a cool, mystic, energy sort of worker with lots of wisdom. She had beautiful, long dreads and bright eyes. We sat together for a couple hours one time.  She made me lemon balm tea and told me things  about my life.

I can’t remember a lot of what she said. Mostly she told me not to worry so much, and to just keep going.

Some of it made perfect sense; other parts didn’t at all.

But I do remember the piece about deeply connecting to people.

I don’t know whether it was the light in the room, or the overall feeling of calm and synchronicity, or her eyes, but she seemed like the sort of person who you might want to listen to: “My gift is being able to tap into energy and information and translate it. But you? Your gift is with connecting deeply with others.”

I realized later that I  had spent a lot of my life resisting that gift. I tried often to shut it down. Minimize it. Throw it away. There’s a lot of pain wrapped up in our deep gifts.  Getting to the root of it, to the center,  and finding out how to express it and let it come forth usually isn’t something that comes easy. (At least for me it hasn’t been easy!)

I think I wanted this “deep gift” to be something casual, something I could do on the side. Something that didn’t really matter very much.  Something that I would eventually outgrow when I discovered what my OTHER real gift is.

It isn’t that there is anything wrong with having this gift. I love people. Always have. I love talking to people, and feeling into people’s mojo. I love their quirks and their songs and their sadness. I love laughing and creating and being with people.

I love when people light up.

Sometimes, being in that light, and sharing that light is all I ever want to be doing.

But connecting with people as my DEEPEST GIFT?  I want my deepest gift to be more concrete. Like being a writer, or an organizer, or a Celloist. Or somebody who runs companies really well and makes a lot of money doing so, or baking.  Or being an herbalist.  Or a prize fighter.  Or anything, really, besides such an obtuse gift such as this one.

It just doesn’t always  feel like a “gift” to me.  It’s raw and real and prickly to connect with people. It’s weird. I’m sensitive! People have issues and put them on you, and when you’re also hurt (yes, me too!) all that hurt can collide. And you want to make it better, and fix it, and sometimes you can’t.

The thing about gifts though is: Even if you don’t want them,  they want you. They won’t leave you alone. And they are just waiting to meet you, someday, somewhere, and deliver to you something even greater than you might have expected.

I decided the past year to let myself experience  that gift- the gift of connecting- in a different way. Just being with people. Just opening to what it feels like to love, and long, and be together.

It’s in that space I realized what that amazing, mystical woman was talking about.

I began, slowly,  to sink into what that would be if I could just experience it.

There’s something that happens when you really connect like this.  It’s magic. It’s potent. It’s dangerous.

There’s risk. The risk of what might emerge. Of intimacy.  Of separation.  There’s shadow. There’s gold.

There’s the things around the edges that are waiting to happen, that you can’t yet name (and that you don’t know if you ever will.)

The things you learn when you feel something open between you, if only for an instant. Sometimes, though,  it’s that one instant that lasts the longest. It’s the instant when you feel the connection bloom and shiver and make it’s way to the surface.

There’s your heart on the line. There’s no promises.  There’s vulnerability and ridges.

There’s just hanging out in the essence and power of a moment, and letting things go where they need to go. (Sometimes that’s connecting even deeper; and sometimes it’s not.)

To be in those  places with other people, to receive them in the moment they show up, with all the brilliance, and the shadow, and the uncertainty, and the wisdom…that’s the stuff right there.

That’s when I realized: Connecting like this really IS a gift. It may be a gift to others. But mostly it’s a gift to myself. To be able to feel and fall into that place where the possibilities roam between us.

So whatever your gift is: connecting with other people,  or writing books, or building planes. Or physics, or making movies, or just showing up with the you of who you are:  it’s what the world needs, and it’s actually what you need, too.

 

Love,

momo