Note to Self

Recently, I was introduced to the term “imposter syndrome” which is defined as “a concept describing individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a fraud.”

Since I don’t feel like I’ve actually accomplished anything yet I argued that it really doesn’t apply to me (“that’s the point” she replied in silence). I am, however, quite intimate with the “fraud” part.

There’s so much I want to say. So many things I want to write about. I have a passion in me that has been ignited in a way that is impossible to extinguish. Nor would I want to extinguish it.

But the words won’t come.

Instead all I hear is:

“Fraud!”

“Charlatan!”

“Liar!”

“Pretender!”

How can I write about those things I feel and the lessons I have to share if I am unable to create and maintain them in my own life? Why should anyone listen to me? Why do the people I know continue to come to me for advice? I have had no success in love (or in life, really) to point at as an example and what I have learned I have learned painfully.

Rather than expose myself as that fraud I have written nothing but in doing so I prove that sense of failure because what I write about most often is hope and gratitude.

Some time back I read an article in the Buddhist review “Tricycle” by the Zen monk, Shozan Jack Haubner, who says:

“The only thing worse than trying to look younger than you are is trying to look wiser than you are.”

So I remind myself that my only failure is in thinking I’d be wiser by now and forgetting that I am only as wise as I allow my experiences to make me.

It is the suffering that has taught me the things I write about and though I don’t write about them in a “woe is me” manner does not mean I am pretending, it simply means I am learning.

Today I recommit myself to sharing what I have learned and to expressing the fire that burns in my soul because to hide it, or to hide from it, would truly make me a fraud.

As Shozan says, “…we all must commit wholeheartedly, moment after moment, to the life we have…”

This is my life. I will live it to the fullest. Even if that means pretending a little.

This house of Love

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Truth
Hope
Faith
Honesty
Courage
Vulnerability
Compassion
Care
Passion
All intentions of Love
Gratitude realized
They are the foundation
Upon which we build
Each supports the other
Builds upon each other
Seamless
The mortar between
Made from their union
A blending
Truthful hope
Hopeful faith
Faithful honesty
Courageous vulnerability
Vulnerable compassion
Compassionate care
Careful Passion
Passionate love
Each stone with deep roots
Based in experience and understanding
All firm
None are loosened by illusion
Or fantasy
Each floor laid
With deliberation and purpose
With careful design
The plan determined
By each preceding
It grows
Stone by stone
Board by board
With every loving action
Every caring word
Touch
Kiss
Passion
Floor upon floor
Rising endlessly
The walls form
Where floors end
Yet have no limit
Rooms without walls
Walls without ceilings
One with Gaia and the Universe
It is a house of Love

 


 

Image: “Solitude” by Christine Lantz

 

 

 

 

 

Change

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Change is the only constant. Change happens. Which is just a nice way of saying shit happens. But change itself is neither “good” nor “bad”. It is simply change.

Sometimes that change is small, easy to deal with; a fender bender, a missed appointment. Other times it is larger and affects us in unforeseen ways; the work season, already too slow, comes to a sudden halt leaving us worried, possibly near panic, about how we will survive. Sitll other times it is dramatic, profound; our home is blown away in a hurricane so massive it clears the land, burned in a wildfire so out of control that the smoke covers 5 states.

Though change itself is often out of our hands, where those changes lead us is almost always up to us.

Do I give in to the panic? The rage? The fear? Do we rebuild our homes? These are choices. The choices lead to decisions. The decisions, if based on intentions of love and gratitude rather than fear and panic, can lead to unexpected new places. New lives. New love. All of them of our choosing.

It’s okay to be angry with the Universe for these things, She’s used to it. No one wants their home destroyed or to lose their job after barely scraping by, but it’s important to look beyond those events to the possibilities and opportunities they open. New choices. New paths.

I am leaving North Dakota soon. Change has opened new doors for me. Opened my heart and my mind to a new life. I’ll be damned if I sit here and worry about what I don’t have when what I can have is so much more.

Know that whatever change you are facing, we all face it at some level, all of us. In that simple knowledge you are assured that you are not alone. Know also that no matter how insurmountable that change may feel it is simply the Universe saying “I love you. Time for something new.”

What that something is, is entirely up to you.

This change will be good because I will make it good.

 

What you deserve

Life has been hard on you. It has given you challenges you never expected. Pushed you to do things you never thought you would do. It has kicked you when you were down. Stomped on you. At some point it convinced you that you are unworthy. Less than perfect.

Yet here you are, embracing those imperfections. Finding strength in courage and hope. You are authentic. Unafraid to be vulnerable. Honest with others and with yourself. Compassionate. When life knocks you down you simply get back up and proclaim, “You hit like a bitch.”

You have uncaged your wild nature and embraced the divine feminine.

You are a goddess.

You deserve the worship and love of a warrior. A god.

He will support you. Go out of his way to show his appreciation and his love in every way he can. He will dance with you while doing dishes. Kiss you long and deep without reason. Ride the stupid spirit wagon with you at your kids football game just because you are on it.

He will caringly touch and lovingly kiss all those areas, physical, mental, spiritual, that are hard for you to reach or uncomfortable for you to touch alone.

When you are down he will help you up. When you are up he will raise you higher. When life hands you shit he will make fertilizer from it, plant seeds in it, wash it from you, and put you to bed with soft words and hard passion.

He will reflect those things in you that make you a goddess without fear. You will see yourself in him and you will like what you see. You can be vulnerable around him because he will never take advantage of you. Never use your vulnerability against you. Because he is also vulnerable.

He will bring out the best in you by being his best. Only his best is good enough for you.

He will encourage and help you to grow and in doing so grow with you. Not separately. Not as competition. Together. As One.

He will do these things because he wants to. Not because he needs to. Not because he feels obligated. Because he wants to. He wants to because he loves you.

You are a goddess, you deserve to be loved like one.

 

 

 

Image: “The Fountain of Love” by Jean Honoré Fragonard, c. 1785

A Promised View

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She sits at the edge of the world
Unconcerned with my silent inquiry
In peaceful examen
Contemplating All
Serene in her surrender
To the known and unknown
Welcoming a future
She creates with intention
Every thought with purpose
Every movement decided
Every word chosen
Mindful and accepting
She gazes out upon her world
Created with the meaning she gives it
Surveying beyond the smoky skies
To a place where a promised view
Of the Milky Way
Conforming to her vision
Overlays the grey-blue background
With colors of her choosing
Where eagles glide
On winds that whisper the Sopurkh
While harmonizing
With the mystic forest below
Home to true magick
Where compassion is spoken
Not only when needed
Because compassion is always needed
But with consistent care and kindness
Where passion is more than a line in book
Or a poem
But resides in every touch
Every look
Every kiss
Because passion belongs everywhere
In everything
To everyone
Where Love is tangible
Something she can see
Touch
Smell
Taste
Drink
Something to be shared
.
I see her world merge with my own
It is a world
Where the promise of a view of the Milky Way
Is kept
If only in her heart
and in a picture I take of her unaware
.
.
.
.
.
.
If you’re not familiar with the So Purkh a good explanation and recording can be found here: http://www.spiritvoyage.com/blog/index.php/so-purkh/

One person at a time

 

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As published in Elephant Journal 8/5/17

 

I see a young woman punished by a mind that differs from my own pushing a shopping cart through the dregs of society.

The aisles of humanity staggered randomly like blockades of sheeple that spite or ignore or pretend she does not even exist.

She winds carefully through the labyrinth. A test of the gods. A test of her worthiness that she believes she failed long ago.

I wonder: What test? What god would be so cruel to allow this woman, who carries the spark of the divine itself within her breast, to live like this? Why threaten to extinguish the gift of that spark?

I step in front of this woman, only occasionally glancing behind, and part the cascade of ignorance like Moses in a sea of flesh so she can make her way to the hovel that is her home.

I see a man on a corner with a worn sign that says “will work for food” and I know, without a doubt, that he has neither worked nor eaten in far too long. I watch the constant flow of people pass by like a river of wealth that is just beyond his reach while he slowly dies from dehydration.

I wonder: Why should he work for what the planet gives freely? Why should he be reduced to begging for that which comes naturally?

I step into the closest convenience store, a place convenient only to those with means, and spend what little is left on my debit card to ensure that he will not go another day without that which is his right, and I bring it to him with one request—that if he knows another who has not eaten, he share it. He looks at me and offers a portion, and I gently refuse because I have a job.

I see an old man struggling to carry his meager supplies to his humble home. He staggers under the weight of the few small bags that are his sole source of sustenance for the next month. His “retirement” is barely enough to pay for the two rooms in an ancient building that could, at any time, be condemned and leave him homeless.

I cross the street, add my own bags to his, and carry them all to the crumbling facade which represents the dreams of his youth. Without a word, I leave all the bags, including my own, at his door and walk away in silence as he speaks the only word we shared in those six blocks, “Why?”

I wonder: Where did he work so hard that I can see the memories of his past etched deeply into his face? Why did the system he paid into for so long leave him with not so much as cab fare to transfer a true month’s worth of food? Why would my actions, which seem so natural to me, leave him questioning my motives?

When I return home, I see myself in the mirror: this man that proclaims love, who shares it freely with the hungry, who widens the aisle with his imposing figure and intimidates the sheeple with a glance so the meek can pass, who carries the bags for those who are too weak to carry them, and leaves them with more than they started with—where would he be if not for the love and care of the one person who first offered the very same compassion that he feels for others: his Self.

I see their faces in my reflection. I feel their pain, know their suffering, and, in fact, share it.

Where would I be? Exactly where I am now—with them.

I quietly acknowledge my gratitude to a universe that gave me the gift of this vision and know that I am home.

If you want to change the world, begin with yourself, and then carry that change into the world one person at a time.

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Author: J.M. Greff
Image: Pixabay/quinntheislander
Editor: Travis May