Never Give Away Your Power

I met someone today I really admire, because she has a talent that I have never possessed in my life. She tells everyone exactly how she feels when she has those feelings, and she tells people what she needs. If you pronounce her name wrong? She corrects you. If she wants you to hold her hand, she says “Hold My Hand”. How many people do you know, including yourself, who never ask for what they need and give away all their emotional energy to maintaining the feelings and patterns of others?

This week, I’ve felt like I’ve been giving my power away – the stories I read on Facebook or the Internet, emotional boundaries that I constantly let people cross, Deadlines I’ve been meaning to meet but have given them to the time needed to devote to others. Patterns are popping up that I realize have been imprinted over YEARS.

Your emotional energy is like a free goodie bag from the drugstore. Most of it is crap, and everyone gets the same bag – fear, jealousy, anger, love, compassion, happiness. Usually the stuff you get in this bag has been handed to you based on previous emotional purchases you have made. Sometimes, you can make a really cool discovery – but beware of which drugs you wish to take and which drugs will make you break out in hives. They come in the same kind of package, and they make the same promises.

I’ve made a discovery this week that I have given a lot of my emotional power to those who are emotionally unavailable. It hurts to find this out, especially since all of these people from my past have understood me where most find me obtuse. In an effort to continue to treat myself like royalty, I have to turn my heart into the hope diamond. Keep it safe, let people admire it for what it is, but only let those who are truly qualified to handle it put their hands on it. 

Alright, now you might be thinking – well that’s HARSH. But what would be the worst part about shutting out those people who, whether they know it or not, are hurting you? I’m not saying cut off all contact or turn off every emotion you have towards someone. But limiting your exposure to the part of that person that hurts you? Might be the best thing for both of you. 

If someone toxic is calling? Don’t answer. If you know you don’t want to read something about someone you have been thinking about? Stay off Facebook. For fuck’s sake, don’t let anyone get away with making you feel like you have to do or be something you are not. If they threaten to leave you, let them.

Never give away your power. Ever. I’m not saying don’t love people, or feel things, or let people into your heart. But your heart is the Hope Diamond, more magnificent than any other gem on the planet. Let those who would admire you, admire you, and those who would try to break the glass never get in. Only let the gentle hands of the open-hearted and emotionally qualified scrub the surface of your already glorious soul.

May you stay away from all bullshit this week. That is all.

Sat Nam

 

Carl

I made someone cry today. In the middle of Starbucks. Personally, I hate crying in public and the fact that I put someone through that seems a little heavy. It started because I needed to plug in next to him, and we ended up sharing a table. He told me he liked my nose, but it was probably just because it was a nose that looked like his. 

I know what you are thinking – He’s hitting on her. He’s a psychopath. She’s naive. She doesn’t understand dynamics of men and women. She thinks this is neutral. She’s too trusting. He’s too open. Well let me address this before I continue – to a certain degree yes to all of these. But there is a grey area in between where, if no one is doing harm to the other, real conversation can happen between strangers. 

If for whatever reason, you feel safe opening up to someone and know in your heart they won’t take advantage? Do it. Practice vulnerability and magical things will happen. 

I mean, come on people, you fell for that black and white video of strangers making out, but someone chokes up in a Starbucks in front of a stranger for a real reason, and you are skeptics? Read on. 

Today is the anniversary of Carl’s father’s death. Carl’s father was the pastor, he his son. Carl’s father was hard on him, in his own way, he tried to show love. Carl would disobey, try to change his father’s mind and his dad wouldn’t change. My nose was his father’s nose – the Norwegian (yes, I am half Norwegian) nose that he recognized but couldn’t talk to…it was something he wasn’t expecting.

Nor was I. 

I never know what to say in these situations. I’m not a therapist, guru or advice columnist. Earlier today, a religious group knocked on my door and asked me to consider if money was the root of all evil, and if I would be willing to look at pamphlets. The unemployed sass monster in me wanted to tell them that if they had any evil lying around, I would put it to good use. But I don’t want to hate on people who feel so much joy in something they feel bound to share, so I politely told them I wasn’t willing to listen today. 

I NEVER want to be one of those people who forces their lifestyle or beliefs on others. I don’t want to pretend like I know the answer to everything, because like our conversation life seems to exist in a grey area of right, wrong, intimacy and truth. I don’t want to pretend like my answer to how I deal with problems is the universal answer, the universal healer. Because I don’t think what works for me works for everyone else. 

So I told him what I was feeling. Lucky, because I have two parents who are still alive and healthy. Blessed, because I know people who, right now who are setting an example of how to be a solid partner when someone goes through times of grief.  And I told him he should go home, tell his wife a sincere and truthful compliment because of all the sincere truths that his father gave him. In honor of the relationships lost, he should value the relationships present and blossoming. 

Carl didn’t seem too convinced. I texted a therapist friend of mine and asked how much I should charge him. She told me to bill him $100.00 an hour or repo his car. As an unlicensed solicitor of free advice, that just doesn’t feel right. But still, we live in a grey area.

May your day be filled with random connections that open your eyes. May you open up to someone and say what you need to say. May what you do to feel good be shared in a way that doesn’t limit, but open everyone’s pathways to kindness. May what you do to feel grounded and safe allow you to make positive changes in yourself and the lives of others. May you find ways to connect to people that you never thought possible. May you live through change. May you be at peace.

Sat Nam 

Bang Head On Desk – Staying Present

I am a daydreamer. Always have been, ever since I was seven and my mother signed me up for youth soccer. I spent the entire time playing with my pigtails, chasing butterflies, and making cut-grass angels. As I get older the problem becomes that the daydreams have taken over to include entire lives that I’m not sure I’m capable of leading. There is so much part of being human that is constantly dissatisfied, so we are given to these fits of fantasy.

For example: 

I’m applying for a job that I might actually be good at. I find it on Craigslist, and I open an email to describe my skills. This has been a long search for jobs that I am not at all qualified for, but this one has software I am familiar with, an environment I might do well in, and skills that may transfer. Hallelujiah!

But then, I start the fantasy. If I work at this job for 30 hours a week, then that gives me some flexibility and time to apply for production manager positions, to expand my career, to write more, to travel, to live the FULL EXPECTED LIFE OF A CAREER WOMAN ON THE VERGE OF FINDING HERSELF!! YES!! 

Send.

Without, of course, the resume attachment. 

Image

So what do I attempt to do? 

Bang. Head. On. Desk. It’s an acronym, of course for act of remembering how to take it back to where you are.

B, H – Be Here. All Present Sensations. All things that can be are here for you now. If you are having trouble feeling this, try to breathe through your nostrils alternately closing one side each time. Left, then Right, then Alternate. Do that for as long as you need to until you feel present.

O, D – Open, Divine. Once you have finished maintaining present consciousness, feel the process of opening. Feel your heart creating your present situation for you. Close your eyes and connect to that heart, and imagine that energy expanding until it reaches around the city block. Then the sky. Then across the seas. Then through space and time. Feel that divine energy inside you.

May all of your fantasies be present with your conscious self. May your fantasies be seen through the lens of your current reality. May you become present and real. May you believe in the power of your open, divine self. May you have infinity in the presence of your soul.

Sat Nam. 

Ending a Relationship: Thank You, Buddhist Chef.

Sometimes the all at once is exactly what we need to see what’s right in front of us.

Let’s take a look at what happened to me last week.

1. Finish working on a movie, have wrap party with cast and crew.

2. Find amazing opportunity at a non profit organization. Apply video skills, make friends.

3. Get a day job at a wonderful bakery. More support for creative endeavors, closer to boyfriend’s house. Yay!

4. Celebrate one year anniversary with boyfriend, eat good Italian food.

5. Count blessings, be grateful.

Now let’s look at this week:

1. Have crazy, sudden, massively upsetting exchange with boyfriend.

2. Cry relentlessly while avoiding all contact with boyfriend, as well as Mariah Carey songs.

3. Wander around my house like an invalid, cry large donkey tears. Think things over.

4. Have a breakup conversation at Starbucks. More tears.

5. Count blessings. Be grateful.

The truth of the matter is, catalyst events like these happen in everyone’s lives. But they are meaningful in the sense that they tell us what is working and what is breaking apart. Usually things shift in our lives and we feel rushed by them, like they all happen at once and flood our mental inbox with emotional spam. What happened? Things were going wonderful and then all of a sudden? BOOM!

The feelings that I had at the moment of our breakup were flooding. But the truth is for both of us they were the rush of reality that we had been avoiding. We are wonderful people with love to give, but we can’t live the life the other wants to have. The more I lived my life the worse he felt, and vice versa.

I heard a parable of a buddhist chef. He serves in a diner, and all people come to him for meals. One diner sends him compliments, says it is the best meal he has ever had. He responds “thank you”. The next diner sends him complaints, swears he hates the meal and he will never return. He responds “thank you”.

One thing I learned from my relationship with Brandon was that all things, when present with them, are teaching moments. Even our parting, although extremely painful to pursue. All satisfaction exists regardless of the fact of “we are together” or “we are not together”. We are, and will always be what we were: present and loving with each other and ourselves. And even though our problems are unfixable I am always grateful what he taught me about sustainability. Yes, I learned how to sustain a relationship from one that eventually broke up. Whoa.

So the next time everything is happening all at once? Surrender. Be the chef who serves every diner at the table. Be the one who embraces all things that come to you. Even at brunch, when the wait is long and the food is overcooked. Take whatever people give you and say thank you. Because that is where you learn how to resolve your differences within your soul. Embrace all the chaos and none shall make you suffer. Love your soul above all else and that love shall be returned. And fall for people like Brandon who hold a mirror up to you and force you to confront your dark side as well as embrace your light. They will be your teachers, and you will say thank you…eventually. 

ImageTo Brandon. Thank you, Buddhist Chef.