Sweet Freedom.

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Recently, I attended an event that I had a lot of anxiety about.  I kept telling a story over and over in my head, about how it was going to turn out; who would be there; and down to the details of where would I sit, who would I sit with, who would talk to me, and how long I would stay.  I was thinking about it on a daily basis for easily the last two months.  In that time, I thought of all of the reasons that the people there, the weather, the circumstances, were holding me hostage in a way that created discomfort for me.  Like the situation itself was making me unhappy.

 

Then, the event came, and went.  It unfolded in a pretty predictable way, the world didn’t end, and I actually ended up having a good time.  But the only thing that created that scenario was me; it was me, setting myself free.

 

You see, I was going to be spending time with some people that I haven’t, in a long time.  Things have happened. Bad feelings have moved in and gotten comfortable, among all of us.  I became resentful, judgmental, and felt hurt and judged in return.  It became an endless cycle of hatred of self, hatred of others.  I mean, if I am not loving myself, or them, it is hate.  True love has no opposite, but I wasn’t truly loving myself through this.  

 

In true love, I accept myself, and the other person, precisely as they are.  I let the events unfold as they will, and all I need to do is be present, and be myself.  So that is what I did.  I showed up; I was myself; and I found myself looking at others with softer eyes.  With loving eyes.  

 

I realized fully that nothing was holding me in chains, except me.  The longer that I held others hostage, wanting them to be who they were not, the longer I held myself hostage at the same time. The longer that I denied forgiveness, to myself or others, the longer that I would get to suffer.  The more that I could fret and worry and obsess over something that only needed to be let go.  To be set free.

 

And with that, I set myself free, to be me and let others do the same.  Which means, I set them free as well.  When I remember that I hold the key to my own cell, that I only need to drop what is creating suffering for me, and I will be set free.  Into a world that is bursting with opportunities for me to be with my dreams.

 

Freedom is sweet, indeed.  

 

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Moving Target.

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During various periods of my life and development, I have felt like a victim.  As a small child, when I was overweight and getting teased a lot at school, I felt like I was victimized.  When I came out to people and they didn’t accept, I felt like I was being judged and felt wounded by that.  As I got older, when things with a partner didn’t feel right, I rarely took much responsibility for the problems, and blamed the other person for mistreating me.

 

Now, being a victim had its payoffs for me, or so I thought.  That is why I held onto the identity for so long, and still do pick it up on occasion. When I felt like or saw myself as a victim, I got to get the attention of others, that either sympathized with my pain, could identify with it, or were just being good friends to me, or so they thought.  It also enabled me to NOT have to look at myself.  Even though when I was seeing myself as a “victim”, in those moments, I would have afterthoughts of my own role in it,  but would not think on it for long.  I knew it was a part of myself that wasn’t pretty.

 

The biggest way that being a victim was of benefit to me, is that I never had to actively say Yes to my life.  To say yes would mean to embrace whatever changes I needed to make to really, truly realize my dreams.  To focus my energies like a laser beam to that which I wanted for myself.  No, being a victim was a great excuse to stay inactive in the path of my life.

 

And, even though the other person seemed to be shooting the arrows at me, I was the one who was wearing the target.  There it was, on my chest, day after day.  Walking around in front of the weapon, begging to be shot at.  GULP.

Gratefully, I got sick enough of being a target, that I started to empower myself.  I started to take chances, to say both Yes, and No, powerfully and lovingly.  I remembered that being a victim is me saying no to my life and yes to misery and inaction.  The beauty of not being a victim, is that I get to fully embrace and accept the things that happen in my world as my own creation.  When I am not a victim, I am a Warrior.  I stand openly for what it is that I want, in a peaceful, strong way.  I feel firm.  I feel free.  I feel ready to take the steps that keep me in Light.  

 

Taking the target off my chest, and embracing that Warrior instead, brought me into the most powerful moments of my Life.  

 

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Circle of Life.

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I have been in deep study lately, not just of perspectives on life that I read in books, but more than ever, I have been in deep internal study.  Considering who I am, what this is, and why I am here.  Whether the world really exists or it doesn’t.  Things that feel worth considering at this phase in my existence, yet, disputes much of what I have learned in the past.

 

I really believe that our lives as humans is a process of taming, or domestication, as put by Don Miguel Ruiz, from the Four Agreements.  We are born wild, with no rules or structures yet put upon us.  Our needs are simple.  Our imaginations are forming.  What we see around is us brand new, so we see it freshly and excitedly, with a sense of curiosity, awe and wonder.  

 

Then, we realize that we have a choice, a voice, an ability to exert ourselves onto the world.  We start to say no, we start to run away from that which we were contained for so long.  We run toward things that seem interesting and worth exploring.  Then, we begin to be deeply educated in rules, laws, limits and expectations.  We learn that it is okay to do this, but not okay to do that.  We learn that it is important to be serious, and plan, and follow the rules as you are told.  We learn that to play is okay for a child, but when you grow up, play is something that is a thing of the past.  We learn to keep safe and not take chances and stay within the confines that have been put upon us.

 

These world structures, mind you, have no malice in them by those that put them upon us.  The persons that make and enforce the rules only want to keep us safe, and warm, and cared for.  Then, we begin to believe, maybe for a very long time, that the only existence that there is, the true reality, is that in which the rules define.  

 

Then, we come to the later years of our lives.  Maybe we are faced with death in some way.  Maybe some life changing experience alters our perspective.  Or maybe, we just have questions about whether or not this is all that there is.  Are we really just individual beings floating around in the same universe?  Or is there some aspect of oneness that exists?  

 

My life has become like a circle:  I was born not knowing; I learned; and then I began to unlearn that which no longer suited me.  Each of us was born wild and free; became tamed and domesticated; and then, sought to become wild and free again.  Yet, we have wisdom in the later part of our lives, so we are wise, wild and free again.  That is the journey.

 

Even though this is my journey that I speak of, no matter what book or philosophy I have heard about, learned or studied, this seems to be the path of many.  To come into this world as a clean slate; fill that slate with knowing that we believe is necessary; and then, cleaning the slate and going back to where we began.  Back to the egg.  Our Source.

 

Wise, wild, and free Again.  

 

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We Are Orlando.

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Sunday, June 12, I was at my son’s recital.  In between the time we were having breakfast, and getting ready for the show, I read on line that there had been what was being called a bombing, in a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.  At the time that I read the story, twenty persons had been known dead.  Many more injured.  Before we left for the recital that day, I would find out that the list of those that had died was 49, plus the man who committed the act of violence.  As many, if not more, seriously injured.  It was shocking, and so sad to me.

 

So, on Monday, when I saw this screen shot to display in support and solidarity on social media, I went ahead and used one of my favorite family photos, also used by my son, to visibly show my support.  

 

But I would like to take a moment to say why I  believe that We Are Orlando.

 

I have many aspects of my identity, and even though self identifying in the LGBTQI alphabet soup is not the only part of my identity, it is an important part.  To know that persons that self identify were in that building, probably scared to know that they were about to be killed, it sends a chill through me.  I feel connected to them somehow.

 

I say We Are Orlando, because I have spent many years of my adult life, in nightclubs and bars, that were safe havens when I was coming out.  It didn’t always feel safe to be myself in the world, and clubs were often my refuge, my cloistered existence away from the rest of the world.  And, there were always many friends there with me.

 

I say We Are Orlando, because I have been there four times in my life, and loved the city.  It was often associated for me with wonder, childlike innocence, and play.  I feel like some of that innocence feels less presence for me, yet I want to support a city that may take some time finding its footing again.

 

I say We Are Orlando, because even though it wasn’t just self identified LGBTQI persons that died that day, for those that are, it was their worst fears being realized.  So many days and nights, I have stood in my being openly with others, yet also been scared that I would be harmed in someway for being that self, by someone that didn’t understand. I am more frightened for my safety, and for the safety of those that I love, than I was on June 11.

 

I say We Are Orlando, because we keep killing each other as human beings.  Even though there is nothing that I could have done to prevent this from happening, I feel compelled to do my part, to shine my own light of peace and love into the world. And, I think that we all need to do the same for things to change.  Things won’t change just with gun restrictions, or condemning an organized religion, or in retaliating, with words or with actions, in the same way that our community, our LGBTQI, Latino/Latina, and HUMAN community was assaulted.  

 

Each one of us needs to hold our own accountability; to be kind in a world that doesn’t want to be kind all of the time.  Each one of us needs to see that we are not victims, but rather, persons that are here with an opportunity to shine in the world.  We each need to understand the impact of our words and our actions, and choose accordingly.  I am the only one that can change it.  You are the only one that can change it.  Each of us needs to do our part.

 

Because we are ALL Orlando.

 

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The Truth.

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There is a truth that exists that is designed to set us all free from our beliefs and madness.  It is not a truth that needs to be proven, as it is universal for all.  It is not a truth that can easily be described with words.  It can only be felt.  My words here attempt to come close to what I believe and feel it to mean.

 

Self care, self love, begins with a gentle spirit.  With a soft, still voice that speaks almost in a whisper.  It gently brushes my being like a breeze on my cheek.  It does not apologize or stammer about what it inspires, or where it comes from within us.  It softly reminds us of our own beauty and worth.  

 

It is the light within us that is always there, always burning, yet at times it is as if our eyes are closed, so we cannot see it.  Or as if our ears are covered with our own hands, so we do not hear it.  Yet, it keeps gently whispering to us, unhindered by a lack of response.  We are created, we are born from, a light that is eternal and infinite.  It is pure love, forgiveness, peace.  

 

It is always waiting for us to return, at least in recognizing its presence.  Its presence reminds me of my own light and innocence, that so many days I forget out of my own ego amnesia.  

 

I am light.

I am love.  

I am innocent, beautiful and free.  

 

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