The Holy Grail

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Pixabay: bluebudgie

“You have chosen wisely.”  I am reminded of the scene in “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” (Lucasfilm Ltd, May 24, 1989) when Indy crawls into the cavern after surviving a series of challenges and encounters an immortal Knight Crusader.  He then watches the bad guy guzzle from a jewel-encrusted chalice and then shrivel to dust, while the aged Knight states that he had “chosen poorly”.  Indy picks a crudely-hewn mug, scoops up the Holy Water, guzzles it down and feels nothing, or so he thinks.  The Knight approves his choice and Indy goes on to save his father and gets the rest of the team out and on down the road.

The Holy Grail is said to have been the cup that Jesus the Christ drank from at the Last Supper and then later held his blood.  Arthurian literature imbues the cup with miraculous powers.  The term “holy grail” is often used to denote an elusive object or goal that is sought after for its great significance.  (Wikipedia)

Theology and legends aside, what if the Holy Grail and all the variations of its cups represents the choices in our lives?  If each one of us had a different set, number of, shape, size, contents or whatever to choose from for our own quest?  With the ultimate, and perhaps elusive, goal of returning to Spirit.

The cups might represent opportunities or challenges, and we could try any or all of them in our journey through life.  Would you choose wisely or poorly?  I’m sure we would all pick wisely if we knew what the cup held.  Would you automatically choose the glitzy, jewel-encrusted, gold goblet that could hold a gallon?  Or does the moldy looking mug with green slime boiling out of it intrigue you?

When you look at a cup do you view it as half full or half empty?  Do you always choose the ones with the crack?  Do you mix it up and pick a different one each time?  Do you fill your cup or do you suck down every last drop?  Does it taste sweet or sour and nasty?

Life is a quest, a journey through time and experiences.  It is your quest, with your choices.  And only you can decide if you have chosen wisely or poorly.

You’re Stuck in the Pit of Misery, and You Hate Bud Light

il_340x270.1363166986_24kw[1]With all the chaos and negativity running rampant in the world, it is difficult to keep a positive state of mind.  Dilly-dilly, seems pretty silly when you try to focus on the Light.  Or is it Lite.  (poorly written puns, I know, but thus is the state of my mind)

All silliness aside, I’ve had my share of dark times this past year.  I have a stressful, highly responsible job managing a government department’s funds.  I don’t mind the work, just the demands that go with it and the difficult people with rigid ideas.  I have had a skirmish with someone who decided he knew more about my work than I do, even though he has never done it, much less asked any questions.  It is an ongoing issue, with his passive-aggressive attempts to make me look bad.  He has enlisted a couple others in his quest, who love to make demeaning remarks in group meetings.  Lest you think I am delusional about my skills, I have grade A reviews accompanied by high compensation.

Alongside these passive-aggressive attempts to demean me, these people also want to suck all the knowledge out of my brain and automate everything I do.  It is crazy-making and I am beyond ready for retirement.  My manager does the best she can to defend me, but she is also taking hits from these people.  I have no idea why this is occurring.

It is bad enough, that my sweetie thinks I need anti-depressants.  I won’t even self-medicate with alcohol.  It doesn’t help though, when we get into these repetitive conversations about family members, ex-spouses and our past history.  I have literally felt as though I have been sucked down into the oubliette, otherwise known as the Pit of Misery.  (horrible place, really, look it up)  Enough so, I am considering prescribed meds. 

This morning, however, I woke into a different frame of mind.  I told him that we need to have a cease-fire on such depressing topics, unless it is necessary or relevant.  Such as, I can discuss my work if only to explain why I come home mad.  All of the other is behind us and, instead, we need to talk about how we want our life to look.  None of the rest of it serves any purpose.  He was totally with me on this.

I have a bit of a theory on this, personally anyway, because of my age.  The 2nd Saturn Return occurs during your late 50s.  The first one occurs around age 27 and, well, you’ve all heard of the 27 Club.  Serious sh*t.  The 2nd one ain’t no picnic either.  It’s Life Review time, people, and you might be staring down the hole of the P.o.M.  If you haven’t healed and released your sh*t yet, it’s going to come crawling out of that dark place you’ve stored it and poke you right between the eyes.  What are you gonna do about it and how are you gonna live the rest of your life?  Do you want to stay in the sh*tpile or do you want to shovel it out of your way?  (just remember, sh*t makes flowers grow)

You don’t have to know every single detail of how you want your life to flow from here on out.  Start with today and set the intention that you are improving your life.  Stop talking about the sh*t and focus on the good stuff.  Can’t get past that?  Call upon the Universe for help.  Ask for help with more positive thoughts.  Ask for a peaceful day.  Ask to be protected from a$$holes.  Ask for a good parking spot at the grocery store.

Ask for a pretty mug to pour your Bud Light into so you can toast your peaceful day.

That Which Does Not Kill Us, Makes Us Stronger

arnie-920x584[1]A quote attributed to the German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche.  It was also used in the movie “Conan The Barbarian” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, released May 14, 1982.  In the movie, Conan’s family is killed when he is a child.  He grows up, training to be a warrior so he can then ultimately avenge his family.

Sometimes the best revenge is just setting yourself free from those who have harmed you, but ultimately it is to become stronger from the experience.

I was recently discussing a situation that had happened a number of years ago.  It had to do with extremely disrespectful behavior from a distant family member.  In short, their behavior towards me was to snub and ignore me at every possible opportunity.  At the time, I wasn’t really in the emotional space to blatantly tell her to “f*ck off”, although she really deserved that.  I harbored the resentment and suffered through it.  Time passed and I have since been able to tell my story, have the situations acknowledged and gained defense on my behalf.  Her punishment, if you will, has been to lose favor and attention.  Something that pisses her off more than anything.  I refuse to have any contact with her, and she is not allowed in my home, and this is respected by my sweetie.  We can’t cut her off completely, due to the complicated family dynamics, but she doesn’t get her Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving either.

I never did anything to deserve this treatment, which is acknowledged and defended by my sweetie.  If anything, I was kind and thoughtful of her from the very beginning, even when she acted anything but.  She’s rude and mean and that’s that.  And yes, I’m still pretty pissed at her for her actions.

What I have come to realize is that I can be thankful for the way she acted.  Because of her, I am stronger.  The various encounters taught me that I do not have to be someone’s stomping ground.  My feelings, my very self are important and I MATTER.  I don’t get to be beat up by anyone any more.  I picked up the sword of Conan to avenge myself.  A sword doesn’t need to be used to hack someone’s head off.  I sword says “I am protecting myself.  I am strong and powerful, but I am a peaceful warrior until I am harmed.  Then you will suffer my wrath.”  (Again, without the severing of heads, although that can be done metaphorically.)  

Even though we are spiritual beings, it is important to remember some truths.  Looking for the good in everyone does not mean you should be blind to their faults or allow them to misuse your kindness.  Some people are just inherently mean and you don’t have to suffer them.  Protecting yourself and being assertive is a spiritual practice.  Saying No to peoples’ demands and bad behavior is honoring yourself.  If you don’t honor yourself first, you cannot honor someone else.  You cannot fix people.  When you stand your ground, people will learn to respect you even if they don’t like you.

And, whatever doesn’t kill you, will make you stronger.

For What It’s Worth

vw-camper-336606_1920“There’s something happening here
What it is ain’t exactly clear
There’s a man with a gun over there
Telling me I got to beware

I think it’s time we stop, children, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down”

Buffalo Springfield, Atco Records, December 23, 1966

The 1960s were a time of great happenings and much turbulence.  Not much different than what we are experiencing in today’s times.  During the 60s, we witnessed these events:

The Vietnam War
John F. Kennedy elected president and assassinated
The Cold War
Bay of Pigs
Cuban Missile Crisis
Senator Robert Kennedy assassinated
Richard Nixon elected president and later impeached
The assassination of Martin Luther King Jr
The Charles Manson cult murders
The violence at the Altamont Free Concert
Protests, protests and more protests
And yet,

We put a man on the Moon
Johnson establishes Medicare
The Beatles invade American music
The rise of the Hippie culture
The Summer of Love
The Woodstock Festival
Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have A Dream” speech; wins Nobel Prize
Civil Rights Act
Shirley Chisholm, the first African American woman elected to Congress
The birth of the birth control pill
The first airing of “How The Grinch Stole Christmas”
Daylight Savings Time enacted

So much crazy and so much good.  Think of the fabulous music that came out of this turbulence and the impact it still has on us today.  No to mention all the other major events.

It is difficult not to freak out when life is just downright nuts.  We fear for our safety and survival.  We fear for our children.  We fear for our health.  We fear for our money and our property.

We fear for our very lives.

But when we fear, we let the Dark take over and bring even more things to fear.  During these times, we must go deep within our soul and promise to care for our self.  We must draw upon our inner well of courage and determination.  We must look to Spirit and ask that the Universe bring about peace.  We must continually give gratitude for all the good we have, because it is only when we are grateful do we bring more into our lives to be grateful for.

“There’s something happening here”, and it’s drawing everyone together, making the commitment to build a better, more peaceful life for all.  For those of us who have lived through the 60s, we know things get better.

And for all those on Veterans Day, thank you for your service.

November-r-r

Fall has dug in and is flirting with Winter.  The mountains are getting snow, which makes all the skiers and outdoor people delirious.  I prefer the “apres-ski” version, where you sit in front of a fire in a cute outfit and fuzzy boots and drink warm, alcoholic beverages. Oh and I can’t forget, dip a hunk of bread in warm, melty cheese.  Yum.

Fondue pots aside, the weather is slowly shifting to chill.  When I take my daily walk, I wonder why I haven’t uncovered my selection of faux fur coats.  Maybe I just haven’t forgiven summer for leaving.  When I get home from work, I want to crawl into bed instead of sitting outside in the sun.  ‘Tis the season.

Cooler temps make us want to hibernate, or at least cocoon inside.  There is definitely a biologic aspect to this, but also a spiritual one.  As we move inward, it is the time to turn inward and take a view of this season of your life.

Have you let go of people and things that no longer serve your greatest good?  Have you set goals and intentions, if so, what progress have you made?

Winter is the time when we look into our soul and envision new things.  We take action steps in the Spring to plant the seeds.  Summer, our plans grow and mature and blossom.  And Fall is where we look back and harvest our dreams.  Did they bring us all we asked for?  Did we allow them to grow beyond our imagination?

Or did you let your field of dreams lie fallow?  Like reclaiming farmland, letting your dream field regenerate can be healthy, especially if you have been overly productive with your dreams.  Maybe Fall is the time when you sit back, sip your peppermint hot chocolate, and thank yourself for all the work you have done to make your life better.

Don’t forget the fondue.

Me Who?

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I hesitated to write this article for fear that it would come across as a political and/or hate-filled rant, so I decided to address it from my own experience.

 

I, too, am a victim of sexual molestation.

 

The first time was when I was 13, and the second at age 16.  Both times were perpetrated by a family member (not the same one).  The first event was more profound and many of the details are as clear in my mind today as they were at 13.  Do the math, I’m 58 now.  Trauma imprints details indelibly on the brain.  Why do you think it is called Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder?

I don’t remember all the details, just specific ones.  I don’t remember the exact day or time.  It was a hot, sunny summer afternoon.  I specifically remember the where, the who, the jeans I was wearing and exactly what occurred.  And I remember the secondary event that followed the next day.  I remember feeling that I was mature enough (at 13?!) to handle the situation and that I could stop it.  Some bizarre part of my brain felt sophisticated.  I even remember asking the perp if he had done this to his younger sisters.  Yes, really.  I don’t remember his answer, nor do I really want to speculate.  I’m not the judge of that.

The emotional whirlwind that came after has followed me to this day, even as I write these words.  Initially, there was a mind-numbing sickness due to some books he showed me of perverted acts.  Shame, fear and even guilt that I had somehow caused this.  Ridiculous as I was 13 and he was an adult.  Now I know that as Person in a Position of Trust and could have put him in jail.  I couldn’t tell anyone; my family life wasn’t very supportive.  At some point, I mentioned it to my grandmother without really telling her anything and her reaction was something like “I don’t want to hear this.”  So I lived with the shame and fear until sometime in my forties, when I decided that I needed to make changes in my life.

Sexual molestation creates life-long damage.  My sexuality suffered.  I experienced difficult relationships with men that played out from deviant behavior to smothering.  When I finally acknowledged my pain and did the healing work, I was able to enter into a relationship with a man who helped me find my sexuality in a normal, natural and loving way.  My sweetie is a good man.

There are hundreds of thousands of women AND men like me, who are ashamed and afraid to speak out.  Many have and I hope many more will.  Imagine the global healing, and hopefully change this will create.  The trauma will always be with you, but doing the healing and therapy work brings acceptance within.  You must do the grieving.  You must forgive yourself for being in the situation and not being able to do anything about it.  Shame is very much about self-hatred; you didn’t take care of yourself.  Only then can you put the trauma in a neutral place.

Why do people perpetrate sexual molestation on others?  I don’t know.  There are plenty of theories.  Family conditioning, societal pressure, having been a victim and on and on.  How about “because I LIKE it”?  There are mean and predatory people in this world, who are not necessarily socio- or psychopaths.  When they are confronted, they deny or throw a tantrum like a spoiled child who got their toy taken away.  It takes an enormous amount of self-will not to get outrageously angry when I see antics like this.  The urge is strong to want to give them a swat on the a$$ like a tantrum-throwing child deserves.

However, I do believe in karma.

I was probably in my thirties when I heard through the family grapevine that the perp had an industrial accident.  Something hit him in the groin hard enough to blow out a testicle.  Feeling vindicated, I gave thanks that day and I really think that was what started me down the road to healing.

Karma can be a real bitch when she’s been wronged.  Allow her to help you heal.

Oz-tober

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Photo: Pixabay, Efraimstochter

Last night, Ozzy Osbourne played at the Denver Pepsi Center.  I didn’t go because it was a work night and I just can’t stay up that late anymore.

Ozzie and many other musicians have been out on epic tours, some for several years.  Why the significance as that is no different than any other year?  Because most of them are over the age of 60.  They are still out there rockin’ it and kickin’ a$$ long after the rest of us are snoring in our beds.

Some ask “why?”  “Do they need more money; don’t they have enough?”  “That’s old news.”  “Sick of that music.”  (Seriously?!)  Or “they are too old to be doing that”.  The reality is that they are out there doin’ it because they LOVE it.  Music is their passion, their reason for living.  They live to make music, play music and perform music.  And why not?

I recently saw a photo of Klaus Meine of the Scorpions that said “this is what 70 looks like”.  If that’s 70, then everyone should aspire to that.  70 is no longer seen as the bent-over, shuffling wrinkled person with overgrown nose hairs.  Check out Ari Seth Cohen’s “Advanced Style” and you will see photos of [yes, real] kick-a$$ older people living life to the fullest.  “Old is the New Black” is the motto.

Older people have had enough of being pushed aside, told what they can or cannot wear, think, do or anything else a bunch of under-experienced brats have decided.  Older people live, love, wear purple hair and have sex on a regular basis.

We are not dead yet.

It is a time to embrace your passions, to do the things that you barely had the time for when you were younger, to play, to have a loving relationship, to think, to feel, to honor yourself and speak out for what you believe in.

Or rock it at an Ozzy concert.  Just remember to wear your ear plugs.

Life’s A Beach

IMG_0510We just got back late in the night from Grand Cayman.  Got a little jet lag settling in along with the urge to eat.  Travelling is exhausting and I often wonder if the destination is really worth the effort.

Life’s a beach and you need to be on one.

IMG_0511Our flight from Grand Cayman to Charlotte was delayed for 2 ½ hours due to a bird strike on the incoming plane.  I know that is fairly common, sad for the bird and stressful for all the humans involved.  Fortunately, our connecting flight to Denver had a three hour layover so we made the connection with minutes to spare.  This is an all-too-common story and many of you have worse tales to tell.  Still it makes you begin to wonder if travel is worth it.

Life’s a beach and sometimes you’re not sure where it is.

IMG_0547Being the anxiety driven person I am, I really have to want the destination to go through the effort involved.  We had not ever been to Grand Cayman so we looked forward to the trip.  Beautiful beaches, lush vegetation and pretty homes dotted this little paradise.  Sunshine, palm trees, blue water, what was there not to like?

But something was lacking.  WTF?!  Am I crazy?  (I think we have already established that.)

I longed for home.

Haven’t you ever prepped and packed, lugged and carried, rode cars and trains and escalators and glides, stuffed you and your things into a tiny space, and endured the drone of the jet engine, all in a mad dash to get somewhere so you could relax?  And then when the cortisol wore off, all you wanted was to be back at home in your own bed?  I’m quite certain I’m not alone in this thought process.  Sometimes the best place to be is in your own home, your own space with your own little beach. 

So click your heels, Dorothy, because life’s a beach of your very own making.patio tiki bar

Droid-ful

p1135496_e_v8_ab[1]Are you one of those people (like me) who continuously feel responsible for everyone and everything?  It gets to be exhausting, not to mention it just pisses you off when other people blissfully let you do their work.  You get on this endless treadmill of work-work-work and you never seem to have any time for yourself.  But you do have time by yourself, you are on that treadmill alone.  How do you get off?

Maybe you don’t really want to.

You have the power, after all.  You are calling the shots, and yes, it is controlling and enabling.    But none of this really makes you a terrible person.  There are often deep-seated reasons for your actions.

Behind control lives fear.  You have fear and anxiety of what might happen if you don’t keep control.  You like, no Need, your environment to be a certain way.  People who have experienced trauma, especially childhood trauma, often use control as a coping mechanism to avoid repeating the trauma.  If you do things to make your environment safe, or take on other people’s responsibilities to keep you safe, then somehow this translates to not repeating the event or issue.

But you will never feel safe until you give up control to the Universe to guide the outcome.

Another aspect of controlling actions is energetic sensitivity.  Maybe you perform the duties of others just to avoid being around them.  You know, that crabby complaining-about-everything person you have to work with.  You’ll do anything to keep them away.  Or the flip side, an under-performer who is a really awesome person and you don’t want them to get fired.  Neither of which serves them or you.  You are just an energetic sponge.

How do you protect yourself from this stuff?

First of all, you must let people be responsible for their own stuff.  How will they ever learn to be self-sufficient and thoughtful of others if you continue to interfere with their life lessons?  You are here for your own, why heap their pile on top?  Stop enabling and suffer through the outcome.  The reality is that it is never as bad as you imagined.  Sometimes those people really pull through and just surprise the hell out of you.

Secondly, deal with the trauma.  You will never heal if you don’t.

Anxiety is just obsessing over an unknown future.  You could get hit by a truck tomorrow and it will be all over and look what you missed out on.  If you focus on the now and doing whatever you need to do in the now, the future will become the now.  Practice grounding.  Grounding into the Earth keeps you connected in the now.  Create an energetic boundary.  Imagine yourself completely surrounded by an egg-shaped light.  It should be about three feet outside your body.  Imagine that it is impenetrable except for only love-based energy, which flows in and out.  Know that you are safe and secure inside this light.  This is great protection for the energy sensitive.

And know without a doubt, if you ask, the Universe will keep you safe and give you red-flag warnings of action steps that keep you safe.  The Universe will also provide you with the best possible outcome for your highest good.

Me, I’m thinking of getting a droid.  Sort of a clone of myself.  I’m going to program it with all the nonsensical, enabling, controlling behaviors that rule my inner world.  Then I’m going to lie down on the sofa, take a nap, and dream up ways to make my world lesson free.

Fall-ing

autumn-1655915_1920Summer is giving its last big push before giving way to Fall.  There is still warmth in the air, yet a crispiness to the edges of the breeze that speaks to cooler days ahead.  Flowers are blossoming riotously, vivid colors, as though to give up their very last gift before collapsing spent into the mulch.  Leaves compete with the blossoms with rich tones of yellow, orange and red.  The smells of chlorine and coconut oil are diminishing to be replaced by the smoky scent of fireplaces.  It’s quieter outside as children return to the classroom and summer festivals are packed up and moved back to indoor venues.

summer-814679_1920Oh, how I love summer, sunshine and fun every day.  I feel a sadness deep within as I, too, give way to the tug of Fall and the time of turning inward.  And the inevitable demands of winter cold and snow.

Fall is a time to savor the dreams we worked to achieve.  We birth them in Spring, nurture and grow through the lazy days of Summer and harvest what we have sown in the autumn season.  As difficult as it is to let loose of summer, it is equally so to release the nurturing of our dreams.  Harder still to move into winter, where we along with our dreams, must hunker down to focus on the next stage.

Everything has its seasons, including our dreams.

poolWe must look at Fall as truly a time of harvest.  What joy, what gifts came with summer that we can ripen and grow into something bigger?  If summer was full of fun, how do we continue to pull more of that into our lives?  The clues are all there if you are willing to take the time to look and see what brought you the most joy.  I learned many things this summer.  Where I live, what provides both fun and relaxation, what activities are readily and easily available, and how I want to live my life.  I think this has been the best summer I have experienced for all these things. 

And as the leaves begin to crackle beneath my feet, and the chill in the air reminds me of the approach of winter, I don’t mind too much because I know that next summer will be even better.  So bring on the harvest, I’m ready to Fall-in.