On Purpose

It is so easy to live passively. Even if we set goals. Even if we achieve goals. So many moments are just lived in reaction to what happens to us. But if you just move one letter, reacting becomes creating. And I believe true happiness comes from living a life of creation versus reaction.

I spent a long time and a lot of hard work learning how to live with intention, to live on purpose… to live with purpose. And my purpose is simply to do my work and tell my stories about it, with the ultimate intention of helping others. That is why I am here. My soul has whispered this to me too many times for me to believe anything else.

Every moment I possibly can is chosen– which requires vigilant presence. I’ve lived passively. I’ve lived in reaction. Now I live a life of creation.

I’m not perfect. I don’t claim to be. I fuck up. I forget. I lose sight and get off track. But that is the great gift I have received over the past couple years of holding my words in. I have learned to accept my imperfections, in a very deep and loving way. Instead of holding onto them so tightly, and beating myself over the head with them, I watch them come and go. And I let them. Then I work a little harder, and love a little wiser.

And, I always come back- to this knowing, to this purpose, to this life of and on purpose. And I am so much happier for it. All of it.

 

~Maktub~BEING AN ARTIST

Starting Over

I often joke, when referencing my past, saying things like “that was several lifetimes ago.” Or, “I’ve lived a few lives since then.” And I believe there is truth to that. I believe in reincarnation, because I have reincarnated so many times already.

I have lived so many versions of myself. There have been so many “starting overs.”

And yet again, I find myself starting over. Here, on this page.

I stopped blogging a while back, for many reasons, most of which I can’t quite put my finger on. And so I’m trying doing it again.

Starting over.

Not knowing where I am going or what will come of this. Maybe it will be yet another lone blog post infused with the hope that it will spark momentum. Or maybe it will be a whole new journey for me. I have no agenda this time. Except vulnerability.

I am re-learning how to be vulnerable again (in this context), so that I may practice being vulnerable with you. Because I miss that. I miss exposing myself in this way, showing you parts of myself that allow you to see YOU in it all. I miss connecting with people in deep ways over what I have to say and what you feel from it.

“Lack of inspiration” is one of the many excuses I give myself for not blogging. But inspiration is infinite, and if I really want it, I can find ways to tap into it. I think lack of courage is a more fitting excuse- closer to the truth.

But the theme of my life these days is “moving towards fear.” Because when I revisit Who I’ve Been, I can see that the happiest times in my life, the most powerful and fulfilling times in my life, have been when I have been actively doing things that scare me.

It is a constant practice. And when I found myself stuck, complacent, lost, confused, and anxiety ridden, the root of it all was fear. Not the existence of fear, but letting fear control me- paralyze me.

I doubt it’s any coincidence that next week I will celebrate 36 journeys around the sun. A new year. A new cycle. A new age.

Starting over.

I have to say, this past year has been a challenging journey. It’s felt a little more like a detour, which has led me back to where I diverted from.

Starting over.

And where I am starting from, and where I have ended up- is always Me. I Am the journey. I Am the destination. I Am Who I Am, and I always come back to that.

And so I step into the light once again, and allow myself to be seen. I’m reminded that even though it’s scary, it’s also so very beautiful.

And so it is.

 

~Maktub~

Onward

*Originally published 1/1/2016

Perspective. It is a new year and a new day.

For the past month or so, I let myself get so caught up with how detached I’d been feeling recently, from myself and many of the things that matter most to me- from what gives me a sense of purpose. I got stuck comparing the current “pause” I found myself in, with the vast movement I have made throughout this past year.

But luckily I got some time and space to hear myself think again- to see myself, my life, and my path a little more clearly. And to pull myself out of the victim mentality of “how did my life happen to me like this?”

Life does not happen to you. No matter how passive you may be. Even passivity creates some sort of result. And usually it’s not the result you want to see/feel/experience. So why not be proactive?

Here’s the thing. I think a lot of people avoid what’s in their highest good simply because it’s hard, or challenging. Believe me, I’ve been there. But seriously? What a bogus excuse. Really? It’s hard, so you’re just gonna give up? Or not even try? Daunting as it may be, when you really strive for all that your heart and soul desires, the challenge is an important part of the journey. If it came easy it wouldn’t feel as sweet. Once you go through the challenges you understand why you needed to in order to get to get to where you want to go.

Look at the Wizard of Oz for example. The Cowardly Lion went in search of courage, but in the end it was the challenging journey that brought him many opportunities to demonstrate the courage that already existed within him. And the Tin Man with his heart, the Scarecrow with his brain, Dorothy learning what Home really means.

You don’t become strong by merely picking up a barbell. You have to lift it over and over again. And put it down for a while. Then keep lifting. And keep giving your body a chance to rest in between.

In meditation you don’t just sit on a cushion and achieve inner peace. You don’t just close your eyes and instantly experience presence- and just stay there. It is a practice. Of pulling yourself back into the present moment, over and over and over again.

In order to reach our highest ground, we must demonstrate, in each moment, our ability to climb, even the steepest, most challenging, and sometimes treacherous mountains.

In order to learn, we must pay attention. In order to grow, we must nurture. In order to shine, we must become vulnerable- open ourselves up.

You pickin’ up what I’m puttin’ down here? Our lives and our dreams require action. Loving, kind, patient, dedicated… and compassionate action!

Here’s what my goal is: To continue to work on making myself, my life, and my world more healthy and beautiful every day, to inspire others to do the same, to encourage each person (especially women) to heal themselves, so that they may bring all of their brightest light into the world, and to help guide those towards themselves, when needed (and requested).

I do my work. I share my words. That, simply, is what I am here to do.

Sometimes it is daunting and confusing and challenging and discouraging. But I never give up. I put one foot in front of the other. I keep lifting. I keep breathing. I keep demonstrating courage when I need it the most. I keep listening to my heart when I need guidance. I keep using my mind as wisely as I can. I keep reminding myself that I will never find what I’m truly looking for outside of myself, that all I ever need is already within me. I keep sharing my experiences.

And sometimes I rest.

~Maktub~

 

What If…

*Originally published 3/23/2015

I believe the root of all fear is uncertainty. What’s funny is that we tend to think that if we don’t know what’s going to happen or how things will turn out, then it must be bad. We start running a long loop of “what ifs”. “What if something terrible happens? What if I get hurt? What if I am humiliated? What if everything goes horribly wrong?”

We rarely ask ourselves, “what if something wonderful happens? What if everything was completely ok? What if I was totally at ease with myself and my life? What if I was truly happy? What if I was capable of handling anything that came my way?”

What I’ve found is that asking the positive “what ifs” opens us to possibility. I’ve tried positive affirmations- like telling myself  “everything is going to be ok. You got this!” But what ends up happening is that I can’t know for sure that everything will be ok, so I start to doubt it and I question it and those nasty “what ifs” start harassing me.

There’s no way to have any sense of certainty for what tomorrow may bring. The only thing that is certain is uncertainty. But the possibility of something wonderful happening, and my life turning out better than I ever dreamed, is as likely as everything turning to total shit. And since life doesn’t happen to us, but is the creative process in which we are all engaged in, then we all have the power to make it beautiful.

Ultimately, the real solace comes from focusing on what is, instead of what if (for better or for worse). The present moment is all there is. And it just IS.

But if we do focus on “what if”, I find it much more constructive to shift the focus from dread to optimism.

So when I override the terrible doomsday “what ifs” with the encouraging “what ifs”, I start to feel totally open to the possibility that everything can and will be ok.  That life may turn out better than I ever expected. That I can be totally at ease with myself and my life. That I can handle whatever life brings my way.

And then, miraculously, my heart-space opens up, the wrenching anxiety subsides, and I do, in fact, feel at ease with myself and my life.

~Maktub~

 

A Slice Of Life

*Originally published 10/16/2014

If you’ve ever made pizza from scratch, you know that the dough has a certain elasticity to it. In order to get it from a ball of dough into a pizza crust you have to stretch it out quite a bit. When you stretch it, because of said elasticity, the dough springs back. So you have to stretch it out to a bigger size than you want it to become, because it will spring back to a smaller size (although this can vary depending on the temperature of the dough, and how big you stretch it, but for the sake of the story I won’t get into that). Stretching the pizza dough just a little bit will result in pizza dough that is bigger than it originally started out as, but still not the size you are trying to achieve. In order to really get it to the size of a pizza you have to keep stretching and keep stretching further and bigger until you stretch it out enough for it to bounce back to the size you want.

Do you see where I’m going with this? Life.

Progress and growth can be a lot like that pizza dough. What I’m talking about is what Sigmund Frued defined as one of the ten defense mechanisms we use to “provide a refuge from a situation with which one cannot currently cope.” Regression.

Regression occurs (in adults and children) when a new mode of being is currently “unacceptable” on some level, and one falls back to an earlier stage of development seen as “less demanding and safer.”

For children, this might mean wetting the bed even though the child has far outgrown that stage of development. But for adults this can show up in many ways. We can see/experience it when we make major changes in our lives. Like let’s say we’re trying to lose weight. After the initial challenges, we find ourselves on quite a roll, gaining good momentum with this new lifestyle and habits, loving the way we look and feel. But once we reach a stride, we might find ourselves reaching for the chocolate cake, even though we know it’s not really what we want. Even though it might even make us sick and set us back on all the progress we’ve been making.

This has been happening to me lately. I’ve found myself in quite the strange regression (that’d be a great name for a song!). I haven’t been trying to lose weight (although I might need to soon because I have certainly been reaching for chocolate cake).  What I have been doing is making all kinds of huge leaps forward over the past few months, moving through life-long fears, and diving into the uncertainty which usually causes me immense anxiety. Because of that, my life has been progressing at rapid speeds. And it’s been amazing!

I’ve experienced my fears dissipating, and my anxieties have settled. I tapped into a wonderful energy that, instead of catapulting me into high states of being, from which I eventually come down from, have just continually projected me forward, with my feet on the ground and a marvelous sense of self-assuredness. And that assuredness has moved beyond just the self (which is incredibly important), and has turned into a great trust, in all that is and all that will be.

Then the regression hit. Actually, it’s more like it slowly crept in the back door when I was sleeping and I didn’t notice it was there, or rather, pretended not to notice it there, until I found that it had tied me up and… stuffed my face full of chocolate cake.

I love health. Physical, emotional, spiritual, thriving-life-health. Health comes from an Old English word meaning “wholeness, or being whole.” I devote my life to this.

But lately, as I hit a lovely stride with all of the immense progress I’ve been making, I have found myself in some of the unhealthiest physical habits I have had in a really long time. Eating terribly, not getting any exercise, forgetting to take my vitamins (which I thrive on) and even my morning stretches, which have always been the bare minimum of my health habits, have been totally half-assed.

It hit me hard today, and I realize- it’s time. I’ve had a lovely little trip down junk-food-couch-potato lane, but it’s time to get back on the right track.

The good thing is, like the pizza dough, even though I’ve regressed, I’m still stretched so far beyond where I began. I just need to keep stretching and keep expanding into Who I Want To Be.

And maybe next time I’ll choose a metaphor that doesn’t involve pizza.

~Maktub~

Call Me.

*Originally published 10/2/2014

There is an energy that exists within all of us. Call it what you will- chi/qi, intuition, instinct, life, love- whatever name you give it, it is the breath that breathes us, the life-force that lives through us, the energy that calls us towards what feels right, and away from what feels wrong. It was what called animals to higher ground before tsunamis, what birds use to navigate their flights south in the winter, what guides butterfly migrations, and draws animals towards food and water.

Most of us ignore this subtle, delicate energy. It’s easy to. Especially with all of the distractions we have in our lives these days. Jobs, social lives, technology! We’ve strayed so far from our animal nature that we forget that we are, in fact, animals. And that we do, in fact, have this energy within us.

I’ve felt, in extraordinary ways lately, so tapped into this energy. A big part of that has to do with the fact that I have been doing a lot of things that scare me lately. I’ve been learning so much about my fears and how to move through them. Because unless our lives are in immediate danger, fear is just a contrived idea. And when we let these contrived ideas hold us hostage, we are denying ourselves the experience of actually living our lives, and knowing what it feels like to let that energy guide us.

It is an indescribable feeling, but an incredible one.

Acting in spite of my fears has helped me to eliminate fears in areas where I was once debilitated by them.

I speak of the animals because when I see the cat get up and walk across the yard and stop to look around, or notice the southbound geese in the sky, I realize that these animals don’t think about what they are doing. They don’t make “logical decisions”. They don’t make decisions at all! The cat didn’t come up with a plan of how and why it was going to get up and walk across the yard. It wasn’t strategizing on anything as it stopped to look around. It just moved where it felt pulled… by this energy. Just as the birds and the butterflies and the elephants and the orangutans. They just follow this flow of energy that guides them to where they need to go. They have full trust in this, so much so that they don’t have to do anything to have this trust, they just live in it.

We humans have to work so hard to find this trust in ourselves. And the funny things is, we already have it all within us. We just have to get out of our own ways. It’s not about obtaining this energy or trust. It’s about eliminating all of our shit in order to access it where it already dwells inside.

I have learned recently, that the key to “achieving” this is to move through fear. Joseph Campbell famously said, “the cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.”

I’ve seen and heard that quote hundreds of times, and it always strikes a “Yeah! Right on!” kind of reaction. We all know there’s truth to that statement, but most of us are looking at that truth from afar rather than experiencing it. And my god- I am really experiencing that first hand these days. Entering the caves I fear, some of which I have feared my entire life, feels so. fucking. Right.

And now that I have been taking so many of these leaps, towards unknown places- in the direction I feel pulled, and entering scary caves in which I feel drawn, I settle into this space of trust- in myself and in the Universe. I’m finding all sorts of treasures and treasure maps that lead me onward, towards grand adventures and curious odysseys- my own migration, where I may spread my wings and fly.

I let this energy guide me. I slowly, gently tune into its flow. It’s what calls me to write, when I feel the words being pulled from me, to the page. It’s what calls me to quit my job when I know it’s no longer right for me. It’s what calls me to speak my truth when I know I need to. It’s what calls me to send messages of hope and love and inspiration, so that each message may reach who it needs to when it needs to. It’s what calls me.

~Maktub~

There’s something right with me

*Originally published 9/16/2014

I’ve spent most of my life being told I was wrong by the people I trusted. Therefore I went on to trust people who continued to tell me I was wrong. This manifested as an internalization of believing that there is constantly something wrong with me- for the way I think, the way I feel, the way I speak, the way I look, the choices I make, the choices I don’t make, for what I do, for what I don’t do, for being exactly who I am, how I am, as I am, flawed and imperfect… there is something wrong with me. I am unworthy of having all that  I want and being all that I wish to be, because there is no way I can achieve greatness with all of the things I have wrong with me. There is no way I can have loving, healthy, nurturing relationships- I’m flawed, I’m imperfect, and those I’ve trusted have assured me of this. Those I have trusted have taken their love away at the slightest exposure of flaws or imperfections. They have assailed me with their ideas of who is right and who is obviously wrong. I learned to hide who I was, what I wanted, where I wanted to go, even from myself. I lived in a prison within.

And then I woke up.

And everything changed.

I stood up, I walked away, I put up boundaries, I bent in the storm, I broke, I put myself back together,  I climbed, I WORKED, I enforced my boundaries, I found new people to trust, and I LOVED.

But then, even though I learned that I am ok just the way I am, that what I think, feel, say, or do is ok… as long as it’s ok with me (because that’s all that matters), and what other people think doesn’t have anything to do with me; I continued to internalize “there’s something wrong with me” in new ways. Body twitches- “there’s something wrong with me!” Congestion- “there’s something wrong with me!” Lethargy- “there’s something wrong with me!” Sore muscles “something’s wrong with me!” Dizziness- “there’s something wrong with me!”… Hypochondria! “THERE’S SOMETHING WRONG WITH ME!”

And still I dig deeper. Uncovering layers of past garbage that still pollutes my psyche at the deepest levels. I dissect, I operate, I reprogram, I LOVE. I find the ways that people continue to tell me there is something wrong with me, and try to convince me they’re right. Only this time I don’t believe them. I know my truth. And I know they can only see me through the polluted filter of their own past experience and lack of unerstanding. And even when I am being the most loving and caring and healthy human being I can possibly be, they will still find ways to tell me I’m wrong. And when I’m not being the most loving and caring and healthy person, they most definitely will find ways to tell me I’m wrong.

I continue to make mistakes, because I am human. I continue to learn from those mistakes and solve any problems that arise, as best I can. I continue to move forward with hope and intention for better luck next time.

I continue to right my wrongs.

~Maktub~