Ashes To Ashes

The grandmother of D. died at the beginning of the corona crisis. It’s best for her. She was 86 years old and very sociable. The lockdown would have been fatal for her if she had been still alive.

The ceremony was intimate and short. They scattered her ashes in the small corner of the cemetery and I thought: there you go. One moment you are alive and laughing and the next day you’re gone. They will mix your remains with others in the secluded little corner of the graveyard that looks suspiciously like a place where dogs are allowed to deposit their excrement and that’s it. That’s your whole life is amounted to, a handful of dust on the scraggy patches of grass littered with dried up flowers from previous occupants. Sad I thought.

I know After the game, the king and the pawn go into the same box. And dead is dead but still…

I watched her husband suffered the same fate four years ago. That was the first time I was really confronted with my own mortality. My parents were both dead but that is different. I had a connection with these people. I have lived with them longer than I know my own family. She was kinder to me than my own mother had ever been. I genuinely liked her.

D. and I made a pact that if one of us died, our ashes will be planted together with a sapling of our choice (Tebitan Cherry or Prunus serrula for me, Magnolia for him) so we can grow and be a part of nature instead of disappearing into nothingness like a dried up turd.

Be unique. Be memorable. Be confident. Be proud.

Gifted people are sometimes called Zebras (a term proposed by French psychologist Jeanne Siaud Fachin). This is in part because zebras are non-domesticable by humans — they are too free-spirited and unpredictable to be tamed and controlled. It sounds like many gifted people we know!

Zebras also stand out from other species because of their loud black and white stripes, much as gifted people stand from the crowd out whether they want to or not. The interesting thing about zebras’ stripes is that they each have a unique stripe pattern – as fingerprints are unique to each human. This brings to mind the popular saying, “If you’ve met one gifted person, you’ve met *one* gifted person” — we are not a homogenous group!

Stripes serve zebras to protect themselves, by blending in with each other when predators are around, as predators cannot make out individuals when all they see is a group of stripes. Siaud Fachin said that gifted people tend to blend into the “herd” when they feel threatened too, which in one way is healthy; however, this can go wrong when a gifted person feels *constantly* threatened and is unable to feel safe enough to find their unique pattern, voice, and expression. Unfortunately, that’s not an uncommon experience for many gifted people.

Zebras are highly sensitive and perceptive animals, with excellent eyesight and night vision, excellent hearing with ears that turn in almost every direction, and acute senses of smell and taste. They have very high stamina, are fast, powerful, and resourceful. Every gifted person knows what it’s like to have an exceptional perception, speed, stamina, and resourcefulness in one area or another (or in many all at once).

Today we’re featuring zebras, as it is Endangered Species Day. This is an important time for us to remember that our lives, and even our metaphors and self-concepts, are intertwined with other species. We can understand ourselves better in a context of rich biodiversity around us, and it is up to us to protect that biodiversity (and rich intellectual diversity across species). And just as human “zebras” deserve a dignified life, so do our animal counterparts – many of whom are threatened with extinction due to our high consumption lifestyles and political and economic choices and ideologies. Among zebras, the Cape Mountain Zebra and the Grévy Zebra are both at risk of extinction. It’s estimated that 50% of the earth’s species are currently at risk of extinction due to human action.

It’s equally important that we extend this dignity and responsibility to our fellow human populations which are endangered — namely many indigenous groups. Indigenous people and their cultures bring rich sources of knowledge and connectedness and contribute so much to the beautiful intellectual diversity of our interconnected whole.

Let’s do all we can to protect the animals, our fellow humans, and all other endangered beings on this planet.

(Source: InterGifted via Facebook)

Why Being Estranged From Someone Is Nothing To Be Ashamed About.

When blood is thicker than water, but it’s so thick and so toxic, it’s drowning you.

Most everyone has a family member, friend, colleague, neighbor, or some person who is a strain to get along with.

Getting on a mutual wavelength just doesn’t happen. Communication is clunky, awkward, and uncomfortable. You find yourself making excuses to stay away or cut contacts short. You can never seem to enjoy being in the presence of one another. Your connection with that person becomes weaker and weaker until sometimes, you avoid or fade it out completely.

Yet something lingers. Perhaps you could have done better; maybe there is some key to connecting that you couldn’t figure out.

Family, by definition, is a group of people related by birth, marriage, and legal parameters. The expectation existing all around us is that these relations are a good thing or meant to be a good thing. Blood is thicker than water and all that. The simple reality I encounter is that no matter the birth lineage or inheritance of relations, it does not necessarily mean these individuals relate or fit with one another. Some families are like jigsaw puzzles whose pieces got placed in the wrong box.

Figuring out how to navigate differences, misunderstandings, and balancing individual needs in a group environment is a lot. It takes so many skills to get good at it while also requiring the temperament and constitution to tolerate the ruptures. When problems multiply, affections become deeply alienated; we can become estranged. It is painful when people you expect to support you don’t. Unexpressed, unresolved feelings can wreak havoc.

Estrangement, by definition, is a relationship that has soured and turned distant, even somewhat hostile. An estranged relationship causes discomfort. No one likes to run their fingers along splintered wood, and unless you find an emotional lathe, there is almost always some hurt.

AUTHOR: MARTINE J. BYER


Though this article in my personal opinion is somewhat incomplete, there are some points here that resonate with what I’m going through that, in the end, I decided to share it here. If I am the one who wrote it, I would elaborate and go further with details and give it a proper closure which seems to be lacking. Just a thought.

The Pursuit Of Happiness

Not all addictions are rooted in abuse or trauma, but I do believe they can all be traced to painful experiences. A hurt is at the center of all addictive behaviors. It is present in the gambler, the Internet addict, the compulsive shopper, and the workaholic. The wound may not be as deep and the ache not as excruciating, and it may even be entirely hidden—but it’s there. As we’ll see, the effects of early stress or adverse experiences directly shape both the psychology and the neurobiology of addiction in the brain.

– Dr. Gabor Maté

And what if one doesn’t have an addiction? Just a momentarily diversion that dwindles over time and starts again in another form?

I have that with things… One day it was shawls, another week bags, could be pizza also or smoothies. Then I get tired of them all and forget. During my wildest years, I used to drink ten screwdrivers on a Saturday night but never had a craving during weekdays. It went on for at least eight years or so and then from one day to another, I just woke up not wanting to touch alcohol anymore. No reasons, no purpose, just like that.

My momentarily “addiction” always starts with “liking” the taste, the touch, the looks… Then I want to have more of those. But no matter how hard I tried to be addicted to anything, I always get over it after a time without trying. The novelty disappears over time and it always never comes back.

Perhaps my addiction is (if you can call that an addiction) probably books. I can’t live without. And taking long walks and discovering new places. I become agitated if I can’t go out there and wander. And writing of course. I have got to write. I will go crazy if I would not be able to express my thoughts in writing.

For the rest, like a butterfly that flutters from bloom to bloom, I will continue to dance from one fleeting interest to one fleeting interest savoring the momentarily pleasure that the experience gives.

Till it is time to move on again___

when I lost the enjoyment.

The difference between a drinker and an alcoholic is; the one merely reads books, the other needs books to make it through the day. ― Gail Carriger

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Infinite Jest

“If by the virtue of charity or the circumstance of desperation, you ever chance to spend a little time around a Substance-recovery halfway facility, you will acquire many exotic new facts […] That certain persons simply will not like you no matter what you do. Then that most nonaddicted adult civilians have already absorbed and accepted this fact, often rather early on […] That sleeping can be a form of emotional escape and can with sustained effort be abused […] That purposeful sleep-deprivation can also be an abusable escape. That gambling can be an abusable escape, too, and work, shopping, and shoplifting, and sex, and abstention, and masturbation, and food, and exercise, and meditation/prayer […] That loneliness is not a function of solitude […] That if enough people in a silent room are drinking coffee it is possible to make out the sound of steam coming off the coffee. That sometimes human beings have to just sit in one place and, like, hurt […] That there is such a thing as raw, unalloyed, agendaless kindness […] That the effects of too many cups of coffee are in no way pleasant or intoxicating […] That if you do something nice for somebody in secret, anonymously, without letting the person you did it for know it was you or anybody else know what it was you did or in any way or form trying to get credit for it, it’s almost its own form of intoxicating buzz.
That anonymous generosity, too, can be abused […]
That it is permissible to want […]
That there might not be angels, but there are people who might as well be angels.”

― David Foster Wallace

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Understanding Addiction

“I understand addiction now. I never did before, you know. How could a man (or a woman) do something so self-destructive, knowing that they’re hurting not only themselves but the people they love? It seemed that it would be so incredibly easy for them to just not take that next drink. Just stop. It’s so simple, really. But as so often happens with me, my arrogance kept me from seeing the truth of the matter.
I see it now though.
Every day, I tell myself it will be the last. Every night, as I’m falling asleep in his bed, I tell myself that tomorrow I’ll book a flight to Paris, or Hawaii, or maybe New York. It doesn’t matter where I go, as long as it’s not here. I need to get away from Phoenix—away from him—before this goes even one step further.
And then he touches me again, and my convictions disappear like smoke in the wind.
This cannot end well. That’s the crux of the matter, Sweets. I’ve been down this road before—you know I have—and there’s only heartache at the end. There’s no happy ending waiting for me like there was for you and Matt. If I stay here with him, I will become restless and angry. It’s happening already, and I cannot stop it. I’m becoming bitter and terribly resentful. Before long, I will be intolerable, and eventually, he’ll leave me. But if I do what I have to do, what my very nature compels me to do, and move on, the end is no better. One way or another, he’ll be gone. Is it not wiser to end it now, Sweets, before it gets to that point? Is it not better to accept that this happiness I have is destined to self-destruct?
Tomorrow I will leave. Tomorrow I will stop delaying the inevitable. Tomorrow I will quit lying to myself, and to him.
Tomorrow.
What about today, you ask? Today it’s already too late. He’ll be home soon, and I have dinner on the stove, and wine chilling in the fridge. And he will smile at me when he comes through the door, and I will pretend like this fragile, dangerous thing we have created between us can last forever.
Just one last time, Sweets. Just one last fix. That’s all I need.
And that is why I now understand addiction.”

― Marie Sexton

The Joneses Don’t Deserve Your Attention.⁣⁣

Success isn’t about how your life looks to others. It’s about how it feels to you. That’s what it means to be true to yourself.

I am my biggest critic. It’s me I have to please, no one else. If I am not satisfied with anything, I will continue to work towards improvement regardless of what others think or say. It is my life after all. It is me that has to live with myself till the grave, day and day out. I have to be comfortable in my own skin before I can be any use to anyone. Same with designing your own space. You are the one who is going to live there not other people. So why should you try to impress others when it’s not even their own abode. Do what you like, follow your feelings, decorate according to your taste, design according to your needs, dress up according to your personality and live the way you see fit. As long as your not harming anyone by being yourself, who cares?

Let them judge and let them talk.

It makes me think of something I’ve read somewhere. That coins make a lot of sounds while paper money is silent or something like that. And bells ring hard because they are shallow or something along those lines. What it is that Steve Jobs said:

Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice and our time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. 

Isn’t that great?

We are all born terminal. We are all going to die sooner or later. We are living on borrowed time. Don’t you think we better spend it on experience than accumulating earthy possessions? I remember what my then friend M. said to me a long time ago. She said: “With all that money you are spending on globetrotting you could have been a millionaire by now.”  I just looked at her because I didn’t understand her point of view and I didn’t bother to explain mine because she would not understand, and I mighty glad I did what I did because with my current condition and limited situation if I did not follow my heart and invested on experience, I will not have something to remember and fall back on when the going gets tough. Those cherished memories keep me sane and I’m grateful for that. I said to myself then: I don’t want to lie on my death bed wondering about ifs and what could have been. At least now I could honestly say to myself that I’ve been there done that twice over and back. No regrets.

Oh, I know, some people are hard-set to accumulate material things for the sake of legacy. To leave to their descendants, to give them a fair start in life as my aunt used to say. Granted. But I personally believe that the best foundation you can give to your own children is the gift of one thing no one can steal and they can never lose: education. Coupled it with a decent upbringing and nuggets of wisdom here and there, proper morals and values and they will be okay. Earning and finding their place in the world has to be the fruit of their own labor, not yours. They will follow their own paths anyway no matter what we told them to do. I, for one thing, don’t want my children to live up to my expectations. I rather that they live up to theirs. I will never live through my children. I don’t want them to make my dreams come true. I want them to realize their dreams no matter how disappointing it is for me because it is their lives. As long as they are happy, I’m happy. Isn’t it what love is all about, seeing someone happy?

The bottom line is:

We have just one life, why not live it the way we see fit?

Live and let live.

So forget about image and keeping up with the Joneses because:

After the game, the king and the pawn go into the same box.

Things They Don’t teach You In School

Happiness is an acquired taste to which you can eventually become accustomed, but despair is something surprising each time you encounter it.

Not true.

When bad things are happening for a long time, you’ve come to expect it.

It’s happiness that surprises me the most. It is seldom and far in between___

If it indeed shows up at all.

I would not even recognize it if it comes knocking on my door.

To Scrape And Scratch

Character — the willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life — is the source from which self-respect springs.

Unfortunately, not so many people want to own their mistakes. They rather blame people and circumstances (or even God) for whatever misfortunes that befall them. I know there are events that are unexplainable and bad things happened to good people and God doesn’t always work in mysterious ways and things don’t always happen for a reason, but those are exceptions to the rule and not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about being mature enough to take responsibility for one’s own actions, one’s own life, being able to admit to oneself that we are not perfect; we stumble and fall and do mess up sometimes but it is all part of the growing up process. Stand up, dust yourself and move on. Life doesn’t always deal us with fair cards and they say fate is not even-handed  Life isn’t fair, so you have to play the best game you can with the cards you’re dealt. It’s up to you what to do next. Either you keep lying down where you fell and moan and complain or charge it to experience and start all over again. Your choice.

Remember, Destiny plays its cards in a way that no one can comprehend. It’s okay to be down sometimes (or all the time if you wish) as long as it doesn’t stop you from making the most of what there is. Blaming anyone will not bring anybody anywhere or anything but sorrow, self-pity, hatred, and bitterness. Those are dangerous preoccupation. It eats you from the inside and hinders you from living up to your full potential. I am not a happy person and very far from satisfied but those little inconveniences don’t stop me from moving forward and taking pleasure from what is worthwhile. I never allow myself to be beaten by the circumstances no matter how difficult it could be sometimes. Adversity builds character but much depends on the individual also. Either you will let the experience beat you or make you into a strong capable human being. Again, your choice.

Someone said adversity builds character, but someone else said adversity reveals character. I’m pleasantly surprised with my resilience. I persevere, and not just blindly. I take the best, get rid of the rest, and move on, realizing that you can make a choice to take the good. – Brooke Shields

Hardships build character. Character equals backbone. Backbone means strong. Who likes invertebrates (people)? Lack of character means a whole load of unsavory traits nobody could live with let alone tolerate in the long run. Those are the ones who cannot stand for themselves and always need others to fall back on or to blame. They are either always go with the flow, don’t have their own opinions, or disrespectful, dishonest, unreliable, backstabbers and manipulators. The ones who stand on other people’s backs to look tall and belittle others to feel good about themselves. Don’t get me wrong. Character doesn’t mean being self-absorbed and strong is not equals to being a bully. Character includes compassion, empathy, courage, patience, humility, and doing things with heart and soul. My father always said: put your heart and soul in everything you do or don’t do it at all. I agree. The difference between chefs who have given exactly the same ingredients to cook is the way they execute the task. The one who prepares the food with respect and put their heart and soul into it is the one who is going to produce a delicious meal. Love what you do no matter how small and unimportant the task might be and you will be surprised how great the result is.

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” ― Maya Angelou

As  Roy T. Bennett once said, always remember to:

Focus on your strengths, not your weaknesses.
Focus on your character, not your reputation.
Focus on your blessings, not your misfortunes.

Now, let’s go out there and practice it.


  • Scrape – Learning from the challenges that come our way (or those we create) and then proving what we learned by doing much better than before.
  • Scratch – The act of working our way back when we fall down and gaining strength of integrity from what we experience. (source: Jon Mertz)

 

Carpe Omnia

You oughta be thankful a whole heaping lot for the people and places you’re lucky you’re not.

Indeed. There is a lot to be thankful for. But_ we don’t always do that. We tend to take everything for granted and complain when it rains. Maybe because it is easy to get used to trouble-free and unchallenging existence that a little bit of change in the weather can put most people off. Especially the ones who never have to fight for survival. But it could be applied to anyone regardless of background and status in life. For example, people always say I have a nice house but to me, it is something normal, ordinary. I live in it and see it every day that I get used to its appearance that I don’t see the beauty of it anymore. Likewise with those men who are married to beautiful women and still eyeing other pretty females or even having affairs. They wake up every morning next to those pretty faces that after a time it becomes common. When the novelty is over, we quickly get used to good things and tend to take them for granted. We forget that there are so many people in the world who will gladly be in our place. Even when the media made us aware of those less fortunate, we watch them from our living rooms in a detached manner thinking, believing their fate will never hit close to home. You know… the “it could never happen to me” attitude?

Till it happens, then, suddenly our (petty) problems become the center of the world because it’s us and not somebody else. All of a sudden, the things we frown upon and disregard become important and we want, we demand that the world show compassion and understand our situations and offer us a helping hand or even bail us out.

Like I said before, happiness is not meant for me but I take pleasures in little things. Most of them don’t cost money. Whatever happened in my life, I hold myself responsible and never blame anyone. Though I severe connections with people who cross the line over and over again, I don’t hold grudges and never allow myself to be bitter and vindictive. In fact, I don’t do so much effort in that area, I just been made that way. I see the world in the eyes of a child and each day is a tabula rasa waiting to be explored and each person is innocent unless proven guilty no matter what others said about him. I don’t judge appearance, I judge character. I never lost my sense of wonder and enjoy new places and new things. I am thankful for what I have and acknowledge that compared to some, I am indeed very fortunate. I never experience jealousy or envy towards others because I believe that each and every one of us is unique in our own way. I never let bad experience dictates my frame of mind and never linger on it. I always pick myself up and move on, stronger than before. I don’t need confirmation of others of my worth and don’t need anyone to be whole and complete. I don’t crave people’s approval and don’t seek admiration. I know myself.

How about you?

Are you satisfied with your life?

If you could change a thing, what it is?

HOW TO CARRY YOURSELF GRACEFULLY AND REALISTICALLY INTO A NEW YEAR

I must confess I am still finding my way around this new year. In my mind I know that 2019 is a thing of the past, gone, never to be seen again. But deep down inside part of me is still there, reluctant to leave, wanting to know if there is nothing I could have done better or change.

Maybe because like any other year, the turning of the calendar from old to new bears a significant resemblance to each other, nothing special to mark the changes, everything seems the same but then again not. It’s like time passes quickly in a very slow manner it’s almost boring.

Here you are pumped to the max with resolutions and good intentions, seemingly inspired dreaming of all the things that can be done differently just to wake up each morning to find out that despite all your efforts nothing change at all and nothing will likely to change unless you make a drastic decision to suddenly quit your job, drop everything and move somewhere else.

How crazy is that?

I came across an article that is related to what I’m thinking about the new year and changes. It says:

Please keep what happened in 2019 in 2019. Put a lock on it. Bury it if you have to. Make a list of things that make you happy youre alive and breathing. Things that make you want to get out of bed. Do something this year that youve been thinking of doing for years. Its okay to feel bad at the beginning of every year. Even if it was a bad year, it leaves a hole in your life. It wasnt a waste. Really. So much happened, so much didnt happen. Turn your head to the front. New chances are here; new beginnings are here, a new year. Dont fall into the same routine. Just dont. Whats done is done. Whatever happened happened. What will happen from now is in your hands. What are you going to do now?

It was written by Oshin Ahlawat and Submitted to ArtParasites. You can read the whole article here.

Maybe one of these days, I will wake up one morning to find out that I finally arrive in 2020 and ready for battle. Clear-headed, no hangover…

(I wrote this post originally in 2015 and came across it again accidentally when a viewer clicked it and I saw that it is still current. I changed the date, but the rest is the same.)

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Mirror, Mirror…

Do Not Define Me

Bohemian…
A person, as an artist, who lives and acts free of regard for conventional rules and practices. A free spirit and open-minded thinker.

Hmmm… My son once described me to his friends as a MILF. To my face he said I’m a bohemian. My ex said to one of his ladies that I was magic, but to me, he said I was a short fat and ugly gold-digging flirt head hunter who was holier than thou one of a kind spirit who got nothing to offer to a man. A man-hater frigid who pretends to be intelligent but otherwise stupid who got a limited taste in music and to top it all manic-depressive. Let’s not talk about how my daughter sees me. That would be a long and complicated story. The point of all of these…

The point is_  we are a lot of things to a lot of people. Each of them has their own version of us. None of those matches the image we have of ourselves in our heads. Not even close.

I see myself as a plain Jane of average intelligence. Aloof and introvert, shy melancholic and highly sensitive.

So many people will disagree. For most, I am confident, assertive smart outgoing social.

Alpha they say.

I’m not an Alpha. I’m not even Bravo Charlie or Delta. Just kidding. I’m more of an Omega. Really.

No. Seriously, I don’t give a damn how people see me. As long as their opinions are not interfering with my existence, they can draw/paint every picture they want.

Oh.

My husband puts me on a pedestal. For him, I can do no wrong.

Easy you might say. No, it isn’t. You don’t get feedback that way. You don’t get constructive criticism which helps you to grow and improve as a person.

He was brought up in this fashion, believing he is a shining golden boy who is perfect in every way. The result? He has a problem with anything that defies that image of him, hindering him to grow to his full potential and evolve as a human being supposed to be through years of experience and making mistakes. The consequences of that upbringing he is still reaping to this day via his work, social contacts, relationships in general. Whenever troubles reach his shore, he automatically assumes that it is because of an external factor, others, not him, never him.

I don’t want to be like that. Just hand me a mirror.

I want the truth.

But what is the truth?

Everybody has their own truths.

You know… That image again we have in our heads? That doesn’t match with the ones they have in theirs? That.

Now, the circle is complete.

Real Growth Happens In The Darkness

However the descent into the darkness begins, it always perfectly contains everything we need to heal and grow.

Perhaps it’s a veering off course from the things that nurture us, a harsh trigger from our environment, a perceived setback, or a reaction to pain. 

Any way it happens, there is an inner knowing that something is out of balance. This little voice is then followed by the cascade of the fear response, and the struggle against our perceived “negativity” often commences.

That struggle was borne when our ego won the argument with our intuition. It started as a negotiation, then we made a misstep. We probably chose the thing that would feel good right now. We probably threw out the thing that might be uncomfortable but will have a true payoff to our well-being, later.

We probably weren’t feeling very well when we made that choice. We may have done it out of real desperation from being ground down into a pulp by difficult circumstances or feelings we don’t want to deal with. 

Next, the battle within breaks out. The rebellion. “I don’t want to feel this way!” we may moan. “This shouldn’t be happening to me!” we protest. “Why can’t I just be positive?” we scream at our pain. We are off to the races at this point, spiraling downward in a parade of self-pity to avoid the emotion beneath it all: the fear that our darkness will swallow us whole.

The waves and triggers start crashing down in quick succession as we struggle against the storm within us. We let go of self-nurturing and care as we succumb to doubt and futility once again. The darkness takes hold and actually begins to swallow us, anyhow. We feel like we are drowning when the reality is that we are still swimming. 

How long we stay there, flailing with the breakers crashing down upon us, depends on many things. We are pulverized until what was always meant to happen finally does. Until they shatter us so hard that we remember to surrender, turn to face our pain, and let it take us where it needs to go. Until we allow our awareness to shine like a beacon onto that difficult thing we have been judging as bad or wrong, probably for decades.

The irony is that the “bad” thing we are fighting to repress is always that which needs our immediate attention and love. The shift to nurturing and supporting the self in this state of duress (aka, negativity) allows for relaxation into it, and our fight-or-flight response finally begins to let go. Because the real process of letting go means embracing the thing that hurts, not forcing oneself to bypass it with toxic positivity.

It always results in the same miracle, eventually. The nervous system calms, the sands beneath us stop shifting for a while. The sun rises, and we gain some deep and truly valuable insight into ourselves, which allows another layer of our false identity to shatter and fall away.

The struggle with and surrender to our inner darkness is the catalyst for our metamorphosis, for the deep journey to our core.

It never fails to dazzle me how each and every time we get sucked down is really just another “perfect storm.” How the wisdom contained within suffering can carry us closer to coming into alignment with our truest selves, no matter how convinced we were it would ruin us. Because perhaps that was what was meant to happen all along. The thing we were holding onto so tightly and pushing away simultaneously was always our salvation.

There is nothing I have found, in all my pursuit of pleasure-seeking distraction, that can compare with feeling at home in one’s self. The surrender to the wisdom in our darkness is alchemical and breathtaking. It brings us back to our integrity. We stop stumbling to put ourselves back together because we realize that we were never broken in the first place.

Anxiety is simply the perception that something is “wrong.” Depression is the weight of the futility of buying into that too heavily. Surrender to reality, however painful, taps us back into our innate wholeness and the flow of life. Nothing. Feels. Better.

We felt like we were dying, but we realize that we are still here, that we are capable of surviving anything, except our false identities.

This is when the warrior is born. The one who understands that surrender to reality was the only way to ever win. That the battle against the inner self is futile. That the keys to freedom lie in pain and discomfort.

This process is nonlinear and repetitive, like a spiral. It often feels like madness and negativity. We may think we have finished, only to find ourselves back in the perfect storm once more. 

There is no right or wrong way to heal, only our own path. It’s a deeply personal journey based on exactly the lessons which we are here to discover, uncover, and expose to the light so they can begin to take us deeper and deeper down that spiral toward who we were always meant to be. These lessons are contained within our darkest pain.

The negative is the path to uncovering our true selves. It is in that struggle and surrenders that we find our deep reserves of inner strength and the resilience to live a life of fearlessness and courage. To truly set ourselves free. To follow our bliss. To experience the joy that lies in a well of gratitude when we realize we can weather any storm.

It is through embracing the darkness that we find our way back to the light. So, f*ck positivity, and embrace your deepest pain. It’s always been there, waiting beneath all the new-age spiritual platitudes and shame to bring you back home.

AUTHOR: JANELLE MARIE BROWN