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.

Un-Masked

man-1461448_1280Happy Halloween, Samhain, All Saints Day, All Souls Day, Day of the Dead and whatever else you might celebrate on this magical evening.

October 31st has long been known as the time when the “veil” to the unseen is lifted.  In other words, the opportunity to be more psychic.  For those of you non-believers, consider it the time your inner bullsh*t detector is activated.  However, since the time of December 21, 2012, the veil has been getting ever thinner.

The un-masking is taking place.
Awful people can’t hide anymore.  They’ve held their tongue for too long and now the dirt is rolling out.  They can’t hold back and their actions are giving away their inner demons.  The world is their stage and they are acting out.

It’s a very volatile and scary time here on Planet Earth.  Battle stations, ready, from our surrounding planets.  No wonder they keep going retrograde, anything to stay out of the line of fire.

Take heart, while all the sh*tty people are alive and stirring up trouble, the really good people are also coming out of hiding.  That shy, sweet server at your local restaurant.  The neighbor across the street who watches out for your home while you are away.  A coworker you shied away from because they were very reserved.  These kind people are also pulling off their masks and standing up for others.

Light always overcomes the dark.

It will be a battle for a while yet.  More fighting, more awful news, more everything.  But for each and everyone of them, comes another who will stand up and demand what is right.

Because the Light always overcomes the dark.

True Grit

Whether you prefer the original, 1969 film version with John Wayne and Kim Darby or the exceptionally well-done remake with Hailee Steinfeld and Jeff Bridges, the message is the same: having true grit.

What is True Grit?

The simplest of the definition is firmness of mind and unyielding courage.  Some people would call this stubborn or hard-headed.  Well, yes, but what is so terrible about that?

If something you are doing or want to do is important to you, and it is not illegal, immoral or unethical, then you should stand your ground and pursue it.

The character in the film, young Mattie Ross, was determined to avenge her father’s death and obtain what was stolen from her family.  Nothing illegal, immoral or unethical about that.  Well, maybe the fact that she was carrying a gun might have made it illegal, depending on the use, but certainly necessary for a young woman who planned this trek.

Mattie’s single-minded intent carried her through the film, no matter renegade lawmen, high water, creatures or outlaws.  She stood her ground even when she was told that she was too young, too small, and well, female.  Her courage and unrelenting determination won her the respect of the two men she was partnered with on her quest.

Most everyone needs a good dose of true grit.  When you do something appropriately, in service, and with integrity and someone attacks you (not necessarily physically), then you need to stand your ground and defend yourself.  No one has the right to demean you or make you feel less than who you are.  No one has the right to silence you or invalidate your values.  No one has the right to push you into doing something that crosses your value system.  Defend yourself, even if it means putting yourself on center stage.  You matter.  Your values matter.  Your integrity matters.  No one can take that from you, but they will learn to respect you.

If center stage is scary for you, call upon your inner Rooster Cogburn and let fly with “fill your fists, you son-of-a-b*tch!”  I can almost guarantee that they will back down.

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.

He Said, She Said

silhouette-2480321_1280There is a lot of finger-pointing between the sexes these days.  No one is right, yet no one is wrong.  It appears to be battle of control, when what it really should be is a balance of power.

Energy must be balanced in order to flow.

In every effective relationship, there is a balance of feminine and masculine energy.  This is not limited to gender nor sexual preference.  Feminine energy is receptive and sensing-feeling.  Masculine energy is giving and thinking-doing. 

Women can be masculine energy, and that doesn’t mean that they look like men or lack femininity.  Likewise, men can be feminine energy and still look and act masculine.  It is only how the energy is processed.

I am a masculine energy, very feminine woman.  I have friends and acquaintances who are similar.  I am in a heterosexual relationship and am a total fashionista.  I am highly intelligent and get more sh*t done in a day than many people do in a week.  My sweetie is a feminine energy male, who is also very intelligent and a creative former ironworker.  He appreciates my forward thinking.  Neither of us is weak and neither of us is in charge of the relationship.  Because we have a balanced energy relationship, the energy can shift back and forth depending upon our needs, desires and skills.  Good relationships have this ebb and flow.

The problem comes from two same-energy people in a relationship.  Two masculine energy people will constantly fight for control.  Two feminine energy people will passively want their way.  In either situation, neither get their needs met nor get sh*t done.  Trying to pretend you are one type, when you are not, does not work either.  Just like coloring your hair, the dark roots will always grow out the blonde.  Why create more conflict to an already conflicted situation?

The first step is to acknowledge your energy type.  Forget the male-female, masculine-feminine typecast for a bit.  Ask this question instead: are you more offended if someone calls you stupid or if they call you ugly?  If being called stupid sets you off, then you are more likely masculine energy, whereas you don’t give a rat’s a$$ if they call you ugly.  You might also get irritated and impatient by people who cry all the time.  If being called ugly makes you cry, then you are likely feminine energy.  Your feelings are more important than whether or not you know how to calculate the return on investment.  Again, neither energy type is right or wrong.  Just learn to be happy with which one you are.  You will have a happier life if you do.

I almost wonder if what we are seeing in the world today is from real energy types finally emerging.  Perhaps the conflict is more from within and easier to project on someone else than to acknowledge what is.  Internal conflict can turn nice people into alien life forms from hell.  Figure out what type you are, but throw away the label.  The energy will settle down and fall into balance.

Because it is better to be happy than to be right.

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.

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.

False Evidence Appearing Real

fear-2019930_1920Today is the 17th anniversary of the 9-11 attack, when terrorists crashed into the World Trade Center and brought death and destruction to many. I can look out my office window and watch emergency workers prepare for the memorial taking place in the community where I work.  I listened to Sammy Hagar’s song “Remember the Heroes” playing on the radio.

I remember the skies being silent that evening, no airplane contrails other than military jets on patrol.  A rather surreal silence, and underlying sense of unease because we knew not what was yet to come.   Disaster mobilized people into action and many heroes pressed through the smoke and debris to draw life from the rubble.  It was a day of shock for all of the United States, a day that changed many things forever.  A day that we all learned that Fear was a way of life.

What is fear, anyway?  In a lesser degree, it is the anxiety of not knowing the result of an anticipated outcome.  In a higher degree, it is allowing someone or something to have dominance over you.  Understandable, if they are holding a gun to your head.  When I think of fear, I think of the acronym:

False Evidence Appearing Real

Most often, fear is just that.  We believe something, we’re told to believe something, we make assumptions, we lack the knowledge or understanding of something.  I think ignorance is a great factor in fear.  Many equate ignorance with stupidity, but that is not always so.  Intelligent people can be ignorant, if they choose not to have understanding.  Ignorance can create hate too.  Refusing to understand someone or something with an underlying fear can totally erupt into hate.  And with 9-11, outright violence.

If you are afraid, ask yourself why?  Is it because you want control and feel you are lacking that?  How do you get control?  The only control you need is over yourself.  Your thoughts and beliefs are your own.  If you are afraid because you don’t know something, why don’t you ask questions?  Most people won’t get angry with you if you ask politely.  If not the direct approach, seek answers from other sources.  (Multiple sources, please, not just one social media posting.)  Knowledge is the best armor you can have.  It won’t protect you from everything and everyone, but it will keep your monkey mind from conjuring up more false evidence.  Knowledge helps to open your mind.  An open mind connects you to the Universe.  The Universe fills you with light and the more light we bring to the planet the less room there is for fear.

And fear will no longer be real.