The Island of Utopia

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We all live on a Mainland, filled with typical jobs, responsibilities, consumerism and shallow emotion. The Mainland is where newspapers need to be written at the 6th grade level, $800 iPhones are purchased regularly and people talk about the newest Star Wars movie or celebrities as if they’re gods. In typical hierarchy, the higher classes judge your value in whether or not you have MA or PhD at the end of your name and many others are constantly competing to “keep up with the Jones'”. That’s the Mainland. We all have lived here or currently live here. There are all walks of life on the Mainland, but the Critic, the Optimist and the Warrior are more common than others.

Some of us walk out to the Cliffs of the Mainland to appreciate the ocean because we know the Island is out there. We’ve heard of its beauty. According to legend, it’s a snowglobe of perfection filled with happiness, hopes, dreams and transcendence. Elders make it appear like a mystical utopia where enlightenment comes naturally. Here’s the thing though…the waters can be choppy, you can’t fly there, there are no hotels and its innocent beauty has been preserved. The worlds deepest trench is between the Mainland and the Island, new species are discovered all the time and its particularly dangerous because many predators breed there.

The Island tests our courage.

Some people rarely go to the Cliffs because the edge terrifies them, they can dream on occasion but it never goes beyond that. They are susceptible to gossip, conspiracies and fear mongering. Complaining is their way of life, dreaming is not acceptance of reality, that’s for the hippies and the rich. Their relationships are typically toxic, non-existent, superficial or co-dependent. A staggering percentage of the population on the Mainland are these types. These are the Critics.

Others are so fascinated by the island that they charter a small boat and go to a smaller, closer island. Although it’s not really an island but more like a big rock similar to Alcatraz, only, there’s no prison. They find it beautiful and intriguing so they return to the Mainland with stories of hope and gratitude, convincing themselves they have experienced enlightenment of the Island, even though its not the actual Island. These are our Optimists, always giving advice, always trying to help. But they, too, were fearful of the turbulent waters in the journey to the Island. So they settled for one with a shorter path, less risk and faster gratification. These people are happy and content, they lift us up, light up a room and make us feel connected.

Then there are those of us that build up the courage to journey to the Island. We are more curious than fearful and feel like we have to see this Island that our culture so highly regards. Starry eyed and fueled by determination, we begin. We encounter storms and sharks, fear of death and gratitude for life. Every day survived in these conditions we feel more blessed and more surprised at our own resolve. It’s terrifying and we wonder why the hell we thought this was ever a good idea. There’s a reason no one you know has ever actually been there, we think to ourselves. This really sucks. We get stung by jellyfish but learn that the pain eventually goes away. A shark bites off a finger and we learn to write with the other hand. We run out of food but learn to fish with dolphins. Every “bad” thing, teaches us something else. It’s long and arduous. When we finally arrive bruised, beaten and exhausted, we find the Island is nothing the stories spoke of. It’s no more of a utopia than the tiny Alcatraz-like rock. But that’s ok, we think.  This is beautiful BECAUSE of what it took to get here. We arrive different, changed, grateful. These are the Warriors.

When we return to the Mainland, we share our story. The Critics judge us and make fun of our missing finger, the Optimists think you learned what they did, but the still have all their digits and no idea how to fish. But the Warriors, they see you immediately. They see the waves of the journey in your eyes. They can relate with their missing toe and tales of near death. They don’t speak of the Island as a utopia, because like you, they have been there, and  know the utopia resides in you, every second of every day. They know that some lessons can only be learned when you need to learn them for your very survival.

 

 

Do you believe in Magic? 🎼

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Option Institute

 I can hear the song as I write this. Seriously though, do you? Do you believe that truly extraordinary things are possible? Things that you never saw coming or anticipated? I do. While processing my shocking divorce I went to the Option Institute above, it was a healthy reminder that I could choose however I wanted or needed to feel. I chose every emotion I could, it was liberating and exhausting. Boy did I go through it. I laughed cried, yelled and blamed. And not one damn person judged me for it. During that time a friend said to me, ” Do you believe in Magic? I do, it’s you.” I immediately told him how cheesy he was, at which point we both laughed our assesses off from the realization. He started to explain what he actually meant. 

Children have a certain magic to them because they are full of wonder and curiosity. 

Apparently, even as a grown woman, I have that. I was going to improv, hiking, meeting new people, letting go of old ones and stepping outside of my dark sadness that was my divorce. I’ve seen some serious shit in my life and THAT, my friends, is my coping mechanism. Oh, I wallow too. But I always come back to “where’s the magic?”. I start listening to my inner light, listening to my inspiration and coach myself out of pain and despair. I start reminding myself that the universe is benevolent and really only wants the best for us. I think of Pablo Picasso’s quote:

The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.

When I was teenager and later when I went through my divorce it was curiousity, tenacity and hope that separated me from the herd. At 15, I was an overweight dropout, severely depressed, that smoked a lot of different things. By 19, I graduated with honors, I had quit smoking, and I was a mentor and leader to other at-risk kids. I refused to be a statistic. I would magically have checks show up in the mail when I was dead broke but working my ass off to reach a certain amount. Old friends would always re-appear when something painful was about to happen and I always seemed to find myself a mentor. So, now, it’s time again for another chapter and while this whole flying-in-the-air-but-waiting-to-pull-the-ripcord-until-I-know-where-I’m-landing feeling is exhausting, it also reminds me I’m alive with wonder, curiosity and magic. Wherever I land, it will not be because I had too but because I picked my landing zone purposefully. ☺️❤️💜💚💙

I miss him…I’m trying to read and talk my way through it

This was a Facebook post. Before you even judge, I know. Feel sorry for me, I’m sad and pathetic. I get it. That’s totally what it was. One friend posted immediately, offering consoling words. Another phoned me, chastising me for the message I was sending out to the world. Apparently, I was saying “I needed a man and wasn’t complete without him in my life”. Even though the conversation was nothing like all the understanding women I’ve been talking to, it has its place. I hadn’t really thought about how it came off, I was just sulking. Underneath my sad sack post was…I’m hurting, anyone else been there? Anyone else finished a bottle of wine and want all the problems to disappear? I didn’t need the post to know the answer was “yes, we’ve all been there.” Or atleast most have. I wanted sympathy and a lot of it. I was trying to read but my focus was faltering. As my grandmother would have said “your on the pity pot!”. Yup, so what, it happened. It didn’t mean I was going to go running back. It didn’t mean I don’t love myself. It didn’t mean I was going to give up on staying true to my boundaries. And certainly didn’t mean I was going to be sad indefinitely. 

Here are the lessons I’ve learned so far:

1. Getting over a breakup calls for an understanding tribe. You must have more than 1 person to go to so they don’t get burnt out.

2.You will repeat yourself ALOT

3. Be careful with eating and drinking but feel free to have cheese and carbs and ice cream. Some indulgence is gonna happen so no sense in judging yourself, as long as it’s not a crutch.

4. If you talk to people outside your go-to tribe…expect judgement and “tough love”. They are doing their best too and your ass could use some balance anyway.

5. Everyone you talk to is going to want the best for you. The closer you are to each other, the more accurate the advice will be.

6. At the beginning its most important to simply put one foot in front of the other. One day at a time.

Contempt marries creativity?

 
Credit: I have no earthly idea but if you do, let me know.

We have ALL felt this way before. I will to to keep this short but you know how I LOVE to write when I have other things to do. I have shared with you all lately the things I have been going through, including my post “This is the part where I start taking over”. (Which I removed, then put back up because it tells a story and I’m trying not to feel ashamed) A friend recently read it and said, “whew, it’s good, but I hope he never reads that or he’ll feel really small.” When I felt pleased that she thought it would make him feel small or hurt him, I knew…

CRAP. I must be really pissed at myself

I sent my pain out into the universe, knowing that maybe one day he would come across it, or feel the anger I was sending to him intuitively. I was hurt and blaming him for my pain. That’s not the person I aspire to be. The truth is, I’m not perfect either. Our relationship moved at lighting speed and we should have taken things slower before I jumped in the deep end with an already established family. I felt like I failed, AGAIN. I already felt like a failure for my marriage falling apart. In the previous post I spoke about my ex-husband like he was a saint, and for much of our relationship he was. But at the end, he metaphorically lit everything on fire. He was spiteful and cruel, using every possible insecurity he could. That wasn’t my friend. My friend had left our relationship months before it ended and I hadn’t even realized.

My current/past/complicated relationship is highly emotional and confusing. I’ve never dealt with that level of connection in a relationship before and felt very unprepared. At the same time, neither one of us seemed able to live with each other. I feel less trapped now and back in control of my life and my surroundings. I meant

This is definitely the part where I start taking over

The post I wrote before was driven by my own temper, which in my mind, clouds your judgement and dampens creativity since it only tells part of the story. I felt empowered by contempt at the time, but I realize now that it’s not my only emotion and I have no absolutes or total clarity yet. I personally felt, in that instance, it was not a good thing. I don’t want to cast stones, even if I was hurting. So readers, please, accept my apologies, I’m not hurting like I was. Maybe there will be a redefined future for us, and maybe not. Either way, I will be ok and stand for what’s important to me. It took a friend to say what she said for me to realize how intense it really was.

Anyone who has an emotional reaction to one of my paintings, knows how I felt when I painted it.” Painter, Mark Rothko

Maybe some of you were able to relate to how I was feeling in that post, if so, thank you for understanding. However, my goal of this blog is not to be angry or blame anyone for my own emotions. Sometimes I will bring you with me as I process things. The original intention was not to be condescending towards him but open about my own pain. I had simply wanted to empower myself to feel confident in my choice to move out because I was heartbroken. Well, it worked. I did what I need to, propelled by anger, determination and self preservation. Has there been a time recently where you allowed your temper to guide your creativity and wished you had given it a little time to develop first?

Curly fries, trampolines, tears and unconditional love

There’s been an overload of carbs and cheese lately, believing that my pain could be smothered in cheddar and deep fried deliciousness. Unfortunately, then I realize I feel even less motivated to do anything and trapped by my obsessing thoughts because I’m about to birth a food baby. 

Then the tears come marching in, which momentarily leads to a full blown ugly cry. Time to call in the troops. At this point I usually spend the next several hours verbally processing with my support system. I laugh, cry, vent, blame and ultimately, accept my current choices. I really couldn’t get through this without them. It allows me to see different perspectives and pull myself out of the dangerous nostalgia that consists of failed expectations. I have had countless conversations filled with gratitude, love, appreciation, valuable insight, support, empathy and connection. My tears are short lived with so much love from all directions.

Tonight I needed more of a distraction than just conversations. My ex wanted to come drop some things off I left behind and I refused to see him for now. It took a lot of energy to resist and I needed another relationship to fill the void, but nothing intimate or romantic. I went to a friends house that has a family full of humorous, rediculous, entertaining interactions and a giant trampoline in her back yard. We chatted about big topics while I happily jumped my heart out like a bouncing Tigger. She knitted me more of my “love blanket” like a caring mother  and her 22yr old son joked that he was going to infuse it with a little judgement in order to balance it out. 

Me: Don’t infuse judgement, now it has to be cleansed.

22yr old: No, you need balance. It needs balance. You need balance. Are you gonna write this in your blog?

Me: Maybe. Why?

22yr old: Well, your writing is like that lady that wrote that Eat.Joy.Fuck book.

Me: You mean Eat.Pray.Love? Your name represents an entirely different book.

22yr: Yeah you write like her but there should be a book called Eat.Joy.Fuck

Me: Have you even read that book?

22yr: I’ve read pieces and a synopsis of it. I get the point.

Me: Well, thanks for sharing.

So, yeah, that’s been my night. It was gloriously imperfect and totally inappropriate. I loved every minute.

I’m Determined to Make Marriage Work: Valuable Lessons From Divorce

“This is it, though.” I said to my then-boyfriend when he brought up the idea of marriage. “I want to be married again but this is it. I’m not going through another divorce.” And with that vow, I decided to do some things differently in my second marriage. Because even though there is no such […]

http://lessonsfromtheendofamarriage.com/2016/02/15/im-determined-to-make-marriage-work-valuable-lessons-from-divorce/

Finding heart 

I’ve been searching for lately. Asking for strength, for signs that I’m on the right path. Yesterday, a friend pointed out the heart rocks on my stove. Then another friend  called me to tell me she understands and that love can be a roller coaster. Today I heard “heart of the matter” on the radio. My heart is in love. I’m having a love affair with myself. Taking care of myself as best as I can while still showing love, respect and consideration to others. I’m grateful that I have the ability to choose my life path and the ability to love with every part of my soul. I’m grateful for my blog, my friends and my unconditional support system. Are you having a love affair, with anyone or anything? What are you grateful for?