Friday, August 16, 2019

Soul Full Crossroads. Letting Every Day Magic in Despite the Accusation of "Privilege."

"The ancient mystics venerated the in between and the interstitial as places where possibilities overlap, creating the perfect petri dish for synchronicity and magic. These places are often called crossroads because there, instead of continuing on your current path, you could choose to make a hard turn and explore the unknown."- Maia Toll

Life is full of paradoxes and polar opposites. Within them sits the insight into the in-between spaces. This is where the magic happens in life.

I am both a minority in some aspects and a person of majority. I have been the sufferer of many conditions for decades but I have also been in phases of healing and vitality. I wish the world would listen more to the actual voices of the sufferers (Autistics for Autism, Lyme for Lyme sufferers, Bi polar for Bi polar ect. ect.) and I wish that professionalism would marry experience. I would love to see mysticism marry street smarts and magical and positive thinking to marry logical rationality. However, those are ideals and negate the yin yang of life. There is an ever present balance of darkness and light.

Maybe the world needs the left as much as the right? Maybe it needs the in depth mystics and rational logicians? The anti religious and religious? Obviously dangerous extremes need to be avoided but maybe by the basic respect to differences, we can negate most of the extremist mentalities? Because the full throttle mystic can be friends with the hard facts scientist, and they can mutually give and take perspectives, right?

Maybe this is wishful thinking and my ever "perspectives INFJ" talking? I have been accused of having privilege...and yes I do. But so do you if you are reading this. We all do. So let's stop throwing that word around. I am sick of it. What good does it give to the larger global conversation as well as the individual other than accusation, blame, judgement or shame...none of which make the world a better place. Responsibility is important but so is acceptance. Maybe slapping the "privilege" word in accusation at someone else is ignoring the fact that we ALL have issues, and one person's privilege is another's pain and the cycle could go on into the millions. Comparison is the thief of joy and living authentically. It is also unjust to compare pain, joy, the circumstances one is born into or lifestyles. I'm not saying that awareness is a bad word. However, let me spin it another way. If a doctor studies medicine but never practises it- how legitimate is their practice? They can't just be aware of all the maladies without living their part. They can't simply preach about what they have learned and negate treatment or giving out individual one on one care. No. In order to be a Doctor that makes a difference they must, through trial and error, endeavour to heal by the Hippocratic oath. Unfortunately, that often does not happen but ideally, that is the intent. They MUST LIVE their stories. They must BE and not just SAY. I would also assume that in order to give optimal care, they also need to take joy in their personal lives that they are given and endeavour to heal their own suffering as well. These practises will enhance their intuition in giving to others.

Working to improve life with responsibility and positive thinking needs to partner with allowing life to just BE and knowing your worth simply because you ARE. Polar opposites exist to balance the scales. I sincerely appreciate all those who speak up for the underdogs or those who have no voices. I have been that person and probably will be again. But the most important aspect of living is LIVING and sharing our stories with those around us. Mother Teresa once said, "If you want to change the world go home and love your family." Or plants, or cats or pets or community or garden or blog or home or whatever you have....Give it your best. Live it fully for those who can not, without guilt of your personal privilege, but then pair that with listening to those who come to you for aid or those who are silently requesting community on some level. Give when you can give. Take when you are allowed to take (with intent and awareness of course but let it be without constant self judgement.)

"In mythology, crossroads have a guardian, because major life changes often require the death of an old way of being and humans need guidance (or a trial!) to help them through this rite of passage. If you you were standing at a crossroads today, what you would be willing to leave behind to take a new road?"- Maia Toll

What are we, as a society, willing to leave behind? Our platforms to only be seen as aware, well adjusted individuals? Media is great if it's used for connective encouragement or knowledge or daily inspiration...but there is always the other side. What are we willing to leave behind individually? For example, I have been told I have "white privilege" (Which negates my Native/ Hispanic/ Romanian history, as well as the melting pot I am, as well as how I am often discriminated against because of how I can come across as an Autistic, even if my skin is mostly white or olive.) How does it help society for a person whom is white to go around feeling constantly shamed and guilty? Aren't we just perpetuating a previous cycle? Allowing a white person to be whom they are without throwing the guilt of history upon them (that other cultures are guilty of too by the way if we dig deeper. Although, yes, there are many LAYERS to this story.) is probably a better way of having them take a look at respecting every one else. It is NOT that simple. We need to dig deeper.

I have grappled with this topic for a few years since that accusation was thrown at me. It's not easy. I don't have answers but I do know whom I don't wish to be. That is a start. I don't wish to be unaware but I also don't wish to be constantly aware of every issue that in days before social media, I wouldn't have even known about. My brain can't handle that overload. I don't wish to be labelled an advocate anymore. I just AM and that includes speaking out for causes or voices unheard when it applies in my life. That does not make me noble. It just is. I don't wish to accept that I am only a victim of my privilege. My soul knows more. It knows I was both born into greatness and also had to create it with each year that passed. Much was circumstance that I am grateful for, but much was also learning again and again to BE. Failing. Reaching. Pausing. Giving. Taking. Savouring. Crying out. Days spent in bed. Days spent euphorically living it up. It is all there. Within.

I also know the basics of what I want. I want to live the enchanted aspects of life. I want to reach for the magic in the every day and be grateful for the flower upon my path or the deep breath of rain. I want to take responsibility for my story and the stories of those put into my care for Seasons. I want to see beyond, into the depths and not just swim in the shallow end. I want a rest from all my thinking and will gladly take it sometimes. I want to not feel guilty for these phases because I know that I will find re balance. I want to continue to trust myself and have the few who know me to trust me and not question my journey either. That's the rest of the world's job and I will gladly ignore it for the most part. And when I can't I will write a post. Ha ha. I want to ignore the voices that do not know my inner workings. I want to be imperfect and make glorious mistakes while still striving to be a better human being. I wish to be on the edges of polarization while also re balancing. A paradox? Perhaps. As Walt Whitman said, "Do I contradict myself? Very well I contradict myself. I am large. I contain multitudes." I will LIVE while I live. I want soul and multiple crossroads with an insightful guide or guides. I wish for my soul to be FULL of life. Soul full and overflowing on to others when possible and sustaining me when not. I want a bit of mystery thrown into the logic of life.

The herb "Vervain whispers of enchantment and worlds not quite seen. She'll teach you to see beyond the ordinary and help you explore the liminal lands of the psyche. Through her easy access to the in between, she can call in the medicine of plants not present, making her a must for a healer's garden...but remember, even though she is wispy, vervain is powerful: a sip of her tea is magical, a cup nauseating. Why? Because too much mystery puts us off balance; think of it as a-motion sickness of the soul. So let Vervain dance lightly on the edges of your consciousness, reminding of the infinite possibilities that unfold when you let magic in."- Maia Toll

*Quotes  from The Herbriary pages 153- 155. This is a beautiful book and it comes with inspirational cards to learn the Herbs with lovely illustrations. The first card I ever picked was Vervain- Let Magic In. It holds a special place in my soul.*

They say a picture is worth a thousand words and to illustrate the goals for my life I wish to share what I am already living and loving. I will admit I am in an excellent phase of life that I feel is well deserved or maybe not...but I am glad for it after some tough years...I have enjoyed some travels, re decorating, incorporating new rituals and letting go of others, savouring outdoors in a Canadian summer as much as possible, baking amazing gluten free lemon cakes often! and paying attention to the microscopic magic that is all around. But I will let the pictures speak:

The 4 pictures below I wanted to add thoughts: 1. Even if its contributing to my battle with wrinkles and showcases my weight gain to anyone who walks by, I spend 20 minutes every sun filled day laying on our front deck with as much skin soaking up the sun as possible. I feel the heat. Watch clouds. Think. Savour the warm feeling. Watch the butterflies and bees and listen to the birds chirp. I don't care if it's considered lazy, inappropriate or privileged because I have the time. I MAKE the time because it is a priority. In a place where we have Winter for about 8 months, I wish to spend that carved out time every day savouring the gift of sunshine. It heals in moderation and it comforts me and makes me better. 2.) My nephew showed up at my door so proud with flowers for his Auntie Kissa. He was in the store with my mother and insisted on buying me flowers, which my mom thought was too cute not to do so she gave in and bought them. He is adorable. I don't see him often and sometimes do not feel I deserve such devotion from him but he teaches me, as all children do, that love is freely given sometimes just because. 3.)This Celtic knot was found in the oddest place. It was in a Mennonite town and establishment. We went the next week to see if they would sell it but it was already garbaged. I was sad as I loved the beauty of the unexpected even if it was coming apart. I wonder how it got there and what it's story was... 4.) The man who works by my side to make our dreams come true. He works hard so we can have the life we lead in many ways. I appreciate what he gives to our picture. He is my soul friend. My Anam's not just my's also him and the children within it.

Song choice: Ordinary Miracle -Sarah McLachlan

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Sure in My Own Skin. Enneagram- "The Bohemian Type 4 with 5 Wing" Based on 'Pretty' By Ingrid Michealson. And The 'Mirror Effect' From Empaths.

(Artwork by Terri Foss)

As soon as I heard Ingrid Michaelson's song, "Pretty" from her new album "Stranger Songs," I knew it could be the anthem for the Enneagram Type 4 with 5 Wing personality. The Bohemian spirit with the vagabond soul will find particular solidarity within the lyrics.
Often I can not fully explain my feelings or self fully without a song to help. "I love music. For me, music is morning coffee. It's mood medicine. It's pure magic. A good song is like a good meal- I just want to inhale it and then share a bite with someone else."- Hoda Kotb. This post is the bite I am sharing of the magic that has been swirling around me on repeat.

"I'm done- Spinning round and round. Planting my feet in the ground. I'm not afraid of the dark. I'm not afraid to get hurt."- Ingrid Michealson

"Fours almost seem to drown in their hearts as a way of relating to the intensity of their emotions. In their feelings they experience a magnetic draw toward deep sorrow and deep joy- feelings that remind them that they are alive, while everything around them seems to be dying. When Fours come home to themselves, they welcome the courage to explore the fullness of their hearts."- Christopher L Heurtz

4w5 wings are not afraid of the darkness that resides within. I'm not afraid to get hurt. I'm probably more afraid when I don't feel at all. I found it enlightening when Beatrice Chestnut wrote that 4 Types 'shadow,' which are the parts we deny or try to avoid facing, are actually the positive aspects of other types of self.

"It is the good things about themselves that Fours relegate to unconsciousness and don't own or see...One of the main challenges Fours face is that their tendency to focus on what is missing or lacking in situations can get them stuck in a negative cycles in which they can't make the transitions to accepting what is satisfying and 'good enough' in the present. They don't recognize or acknowledge their own positive qualities, like their capabilities for growth and positive change, their inherent lovability, and their beauty and power." - Beatrice Chestnut (pg. 282 The Complete Enneagram.)

I have been sitting on that chestnut since February when I picked up Beatrice's book. I admit to crying through my type's entire chapter. But it was good when I balanced the insights with my own experience, read a couple blogs by actual Type 4 people, and read the "Sacred Enneagram." After 6 months of reflection I can honestly say, "I'm done spinning round and round." I may have never been afraid to get hurt or of the dark, but I have been afraid of my own magic of self. I have been afraid of my beauty and power. I have been scared to embrace positivity and the emotions like "enthusiasm" or "happiness." And slowly, over my Spring season I have found my baby roots and I am blooming up to the sky.

"Head above the clouds. Mamma come look at me now. I'm not afraid of the world. I'm gonna fight like a girl." Ingrid Michaelson

I've realized that I am deserving of love and capable of being loved, just like anyone else. I often take on the darker feelings and parts of reality that most don't wish to acknowledge. "Fours make good targets for unconscious group projections of the Shadow, not because they are actually bad in some way but because they are highly sensitive to emotions like grief and pain. They make effective targets for others projections because they cant help but be aware of- and voice- the negative aspects that others do not wish to see or own..."- Beatrice Chestnut (pg 279.)

I'm not afraid of the world. I'm most often afraid of my self. And I have been in a place where that has suddenly stopped. I am embracing what I am again. Which honestly will be a life long struggle of ebb and flow. But right now, I'm going to fight like the girl that I AM.

"Running around with my long hair. Tearing my dress and I don't care. If you're looking for something beautiful..."- Ingrid Michaelson

I have realized that I can rest in my unshakable true self. Self actualization is my anthem and it's ok to be beautiful along with my other side.  "Along with Type Twos, Fours are the most emotional of the Enneagram personalities. In contrast to Twos, however, Fours tend to be more introverted and are sometimes more intellectual. Fours are also more likely to feel and be comfortable feeling a wider range of emotions, including hate and anger whereas Twos repress these feelings out of a persistent desire to avoid offending others."- B. Chestnut pg 281.

"Perhaps more than any other Enneagram types, Fours possess the gift of empathy....Fours have a natural comfort with a wide range of feelings, from joy to rage to fear to sadness...Their ability to feel their own feelings at a deep level gives them both a familiarity with and understanding of the intense emotional experiences of others... They have the natural ability to intuit what is happening below the surface of things on a deeper, emotional level."- Beatrice Chestnut pg. 281

"I'm pretty sure that I'm all good. Walking away from you like I should. Washing it all away. No, I'm not just pretty. No, I'm pretty Damn Good."- Ingrid Michaelson

The lyric above hit my soul. YES! When I walk away from expectations of what I SHOULD be, or from those who make me feel I am tough to love, I become cleansed. It's time to stop fearing the abandonment complex that Fours can struggle with as their inner childhood wound. As Elphaba sings in Wicked, "Too long I've been afraid of losing love, I guess I've lost. Well, if that's love it comes at much too high a cost."

"Rosy cheeks and lips. She talks but nobody listens. That's just the way of the world. I gotta fight like a girl." Ingrid Michaelson

At the same time, I have learned how to relax into ' good enough' for myself and for others. Instead of idealizing what I need or what I believe is missing from my life, I now see that I have all that I need. Perception is half the equation. Because the magic in the mundane can be found. I know, because recently I have discovered so much of it, and wake with anticipation! It used to drive me crazy when my INFJ perceptive, intuitive advice would be ignored by my close friends. I would talk but my warnings would not be listened to. But now I realize, people do what they wish. I can still advise or give insight when it matters, but maybe they need to learn their own lessons. That's just the way of the world. I have learned (mostly) when it is ok to disappear.

"Running around with my long hair. Tearing my dress and I don't care. If you're looking for something beautiful..."- Ingrid Michaelson

"I'm pretty sure that I look good, Walking away from you like I should. Washing it all away. I'm not just pretty, No, I'm pretty Damn Good."- Ingrid Michaelson
I am thankful to each soul that I have left purposefully or whom has left me. "Whether you pushed me or pulled me, drained me or fuelled me, stayed by my side or left me, loved me or hated me, hurt me or helped me, you are part of my growth, and I thank you."

This doesn't mean I have to be friends with them or have them in my life anymore, but it does mean that the prevailing emotion is gratitude. Of course, true to a Four I will cycle through anger, loss, pain ect...because Fours are comfortable with these expressions and to deny them would be to deny our own self. But, the key is for us to see the growth so we can feel those emotions in our Shadow. Which hilariously are every one else's light; The emotions of happiness, joy, enthusiasm, and lighter aspects of Being. I admit, I used to be a bit of snob to those emotions...I liked them enough, but I thought anyone who LIVED in them was slightly shallow. Now, I am learning they are part of the equation. Those who live in them, will have to learn the opposite lesson. Which is that anger, grief, jealousy, sadness ect. are also a needed part of living WHOLE.

"Sure in my own skin. Again and again and again. I am my everything. No, I'm not just pretty. No I'm pretty damn good."- Ingrid Michealson

The above lyrics are my favourite from the entire song. 'Sure in my own skin.' This lesson I learn again, and again, and again. But I truly am my own everything. Something I was taught was bad in Christian religion. But I have found true love from a Source that is within me and without. I no longer think it is a bad thing to be my own everything. I have become comfortable with Warsan Shire's quote, "You are terrifying and strange and beautiful, something not everyone knows how to love."

"I'm pretty. I'm pretty much a mess. But I'm pretty good. I'm gonna fight like a girl."- Ingrid Michaelson

I am often pretty much a mess...yet also accidentally magical. I am that paradox. Fours often are. Empaths can emulate what is known as "The Mirror Effect." This is mimicking back other's hidden behaviours, energy or emotions...attributes that often are unconscious to the other person. "If someone has traits that they don't like about themselves, they are often reminded of those traits when they are in an empath's presences. This is one reason there can be instant dislike towards an empath." Reflections of truths denied are often my forte. I have tried to dismiss this or avoid it with deflections, but lately, I have learned that it just IS what it IS. First I check myself for any reason to be disliked...for instance I make sure I don't need to apologize for something. Often I say things that others take as slights. But if I have scrutinized every interaction and taken responsibility for my own self, yet still feel the hate or blatant dislike, it is usually because of the Mirror Effect.

I have learned that I look good with boundaries. Walking away with confidence, even if there are mixed emotions, and seeing the possibilities in front of me, enable self love which translates to "looking good."

I love SOUL. Brooke Hampton wrote, "I like books that make me cry, intimacy, real talk, poetry, old music, unexpected messages to let me know I'm loved, growing things, and genuine people. I like things that make me feel. I like soul." This is the heart of an Enneagram 4 with 5 wing. When my soul feels withered, that is often a hint that it's time to say goodbye. This does not mean I do not appreciate a person, place or thing...or that it wasn't ever good...or that there wasn't beauty. Indeed, there almost always is a bit of previous magic. But life changes and we grow out of what once was or others grow...and sometimes soul requires hard choices.

"I'm aiming for the 'She's a badass and cute as hell but I wouldn't touch her without asking" look." That statement cracked me up. It's true on so many levels. Boundaries are my life long lesson. I have heard it said that often people write about their own eternal wound or goal. If a person is writing about logic constantly, it is often because they are aspiring to have some or admire that quality and know it is lacking in themselves. For myself, there are two parts of the human puzzle I constantly write about. These two aspects are not secret wounds. I readily embrace them and have seen the pattern. 1. Boundaries. 2. Knowing you are worthy simply because you Exist. I constantly tell people they are worthy because they exist. Even if they are not meant to be in my life or if I have a loathing at times (ha that wicked 1 percent of myself.) I STILL believe that. But why do I so adamantly believe that for others and not self? Because an inner wound of the Four type is struggling to believe that for their own sense of self.

I used to be so accommodating to others. I still am in many senses. It is impossible not to be to a degree when one's driver for life is "perspectives taking." With observance and intuition it is easy to see what ticks people off, what appeases them, what will drive them crazy and what will make them love me. I have two choices with that knowledge. I can use it to fit in and do all the "right things." OR I can be understanding, and use this gift to accommodate in certain situations but to choose to still be ME. For instance, I can see a few friends whom I send my blogs personally to, cringing at the language in this post. Most of the time I leave language out, even though I am comfortable with it. I don't love it when people use strong language to demean others out of anger, but otherwise I barely notice it...but I notice it for my audience. This time though, the lyrics and quotes require the language. Who cares if anyone translates that as a reason not to read me? I will never fully fit in and energy requires me elsewhere.

I am in a season of being sure in my own skin. Which technically, if one looks at all the facts, I shouldn't be. I walked away from my best friend and she walked away from me. The parting was mostly peaceful and mutual. But it happened a few months ago. But it was one of the best things that could have happened to me for this time in my life. I hope we can be casual friends later on in the future but time needs to happen first. I also know, without a doubt she lost a lot of intentional love and activated knowledge, losing me. Even if she never realizes it. I gave way too much energy the last few years that I should have been giving to my family. Now that I am- I see it needed to happen. We used to give equally and were equal in almost all our interactions for most of our friendship but at the end...the last two years- I clung on more than I should. Now, I know I look good, walking away, like I should.

I gained some weight but the reason why is so beautiful this time. I tend to gain weight randomly even on a restricted diet. This time I have decided to enjoy some foods and nurture the part of me that has said a firm, "No" for the last decade. I'm still pretty restricted ( I am Celiac after all.) I know I tend to go fully one way or the other and past a certain point I will get back on track. I have heard people use the expression, "She let herself go." But maybe she just let society's standards of beauty, weight, success and health go? I am healthier and stronger than I have been in the last year and I have consumed chocolate bars for the first time in 5 years regularly. I have eaten lettuce wrapped A&W burgers religiously, and I've even consumed sugar (gasp!) For a health nut, this is extreme. I still have sexy moments. I'm still pretty in a different way. And more importantly I'm satisfied and feel nurtured by food for the first time in years. Obviously I stay away from preservatives, Carrageenan, Diglycerides ect...but I have broken some of my own rules.

I have suddenly walked away from being constantly accommodating. Yes, I am perceived as not so nice to some people anymore, but that's been pure freedom. I used to be the first to text or felt pressure to text back immediately even if I was legitimately busy. I put so much pressure on myself to be the healer or to fix wounds. Or at the very least, to make sure I never caused harm. I still believe in harming none, however, I have slowly learned the difference in LIVING and BEING and purposeful harm. Sometimes, forgetting a text is just life and not a direct slight. Sometimes, if someone never initiates a text it means maybe they aren't receptive to my life either and it's ok to let it dissolve without my self pressure to make it happen. When I stopped texting or emailing some people- I never heard from them again. It's been over a year for some. That says something and none of it reflects badly on me. If they end up communicating again, I am fine tentatively adding them back in or responding but I won't give as much as I did without reciprocation. Because we all have seasons of limited energy. Maybe it's theirs...maybe it's mine...and that is ok.

I have given myself permission to enjoy without guilt. To savour. To take pleasure in activities that I used to have lingering christian guilt over. And I have found SO MUCH JOY. "Euphoria is a cosmic connection to the beauty around and within you, increasing sensitivity to your place in the mysteries of the universe. Breathing a moment of euphoria is the blissful realization that you have the opportunity to make each day better than the last."- Paulina Cassidy.

Sometimes, there will be pain, I found joy and euphoria in ritual which I often run away from. I dived into an aspect of Being I was always warned away from and found my inner witchiness in the best possible way. I learned to stop explaining. Writing about it in my own spaces is a process, but going out of my way to explain my behaviours, purchases or attitudes is exhausting. I was trying too hard to make my ways fit with everyone else's. I too often thought I had to explain. Take for instance cancelling an appointment. I used to always give a long explanation as to why I had to cancel. Now I just give a polite refusal and re book. If they ask I either say, "That is my business but I wouldn't be cancelling if I didn't have a reason." OR if I need to be more delicate I will give a lighter version of the truth. It truly is not their business. I used to think being godly or nice required me to give more. I realized how much I did this in my personal relationships too. I gave more than I got. A certain amount of mystery is ok. The most important people I need to give to are my inner self and also to those I deeply love who encourage respect and growth. Connection is integral to humanity but there is a balance to be found. I'm planting my feet in the ground. I'm done spinning around and around. Mamma come look at me now!

I am not afraid of the world. Planting my feet in the ground. I am sure in my own skin and I am smiling because I like this person I have fought to become.

Song choice: 'Pretty' - Ingrid Michaelson 'Stranger Songs' album. I am OBSESSED with this album 
and it plays on repeat in our home.

Confidence. Artist:Terri Foss

Post Note:
This post is for anyone who needs a boost of confidence or wants to find a new song anthem that gives it. But this post is also specifically for other type 4's who have not faced their wounds of abandonment based on whom they are. Read about your type. Explore books like Beatrice Chestnut's "The Complete Enneagram" (click) or "The Sacred Enneagram" by Christopher L Heurtz. (Click) The second is a beautiful book but it does have a Christian perspective. It is still one of my favourites. I simply translated a few of the more religious statements but otherwise, the book is a lovely balance to Chestnut's sometimes harsh look at each type.