How I Got Here: 10 Steps to Inner Peace

Everyone wants to receive compliments, right?

Not me.  There was a time when I didn’t want the added attention and I certainly didn’t seek it. The more I remained under the radar, the better.  After all, that was a time when most comments leaned toward:

“I can tell you’re tired because your scars are showing.”
Or…
“You remind me of a caged animal.”

Not exactly confidence-boosting, right? It’s no wonder I became really good at rolling my eyes on the inside. I mean, why say anything at all if you can’t say something nice?

That was then. This is NOW.  And the huge shift that occurred in me that shook me from the days of feeling stuck and, I admit, caged in are ancient history. NOW I receive true compliments – and I welcome them – along the lines of:

“You look fantastic!”

And… “You seem so happy, you’re glowing!”

Those who knew me from before ask how I got from there to here.  They wonder what I do to feel this great.  So, I’m going to let you in on a few little secrets.  The road can be frustrating, filled with tears and obstacles that make you want to turn around and quit at times, but the end result is absolutely worth the journey. Put simply:

If the button you’re pushing isn’t working, try a different button.

Looking back, I recognized specific steps along my path and began to share my story with others who found themselves struggling with that same feeling of suffocating in a room full of air, like we’d forgotten how to breathe. I broke it down to ten small steps, some so easy it was hard to argue against them.

So here are my Top 10 steps for turning your life around from a place of feeling stuck with no energy and no growth, to having the most fantastic things happen to you all while feeling amazing.

Girls watching happy shows

Step 1:  Watch only comedies.  No violence or sadness allowed.  No exceptions until you are thoroughly and truly beyond the effects of watching any other genre, like horror or action films, and can emotionally distance yourself from those lower emotions.

Step 2:  Listen only to “happy” music. Everything is energy, including the songs we sing. When lyrics only speak off how depressed someone is after their lyin’, cheatin’ ex stole their heart, or of some gangsta that got shot, how is that serving you? Misery loves company. Soon you’ll be as miserable as the man in the video. Make like Pharrell Williams and Get Happy!

young man sitting meditating in comfy chair on white

Step 3:   Meditate.  Meditate. Meditate.  A regular meditation practice brings precious moments of quiet time to reflect upon stale habits and envision an abundant future. You may wish to enlist the help of a gentle guided meditation, go deeper with binaural beats, or simply sit in peace as you find the right style for you.  It can be for ten minutes or two hours.  Trust and listen to your intuition for insight.  Om.

fruit-vegetables color wheel

Step 4:  Boost your diet to include more fresh fruits and vegetables.  Eat a rainbow of colors and consume as many of these living, healing foods as you can. I call myself the Lean, Clean, Green Machine. Not only will your heart, arteries, and digestive system thank you, but you’ll watch your moods improve, too.

no sugar

Step 5:  Cut back on consumption of sugar, caffeine and alcohol.  Most of us know sugar is bad for us, but did you know it could be the real culprit behind vicious mood swings?  If you follow Step 4, your need for stimulants and relaxants will naturally decrease as you begin to take energy from whole, living foods. One rule of thumb: IF YOU’RE CRAVING SUGAR, YOU’RE NOT EATING ENOUGH FRUIT. Try it for at least five days and check in with yourself. Once your system achieves a stable balance without all the highs and lows of sugar and caffeine, you’ll sleep better. I don’t know about you, but when I get a good night’s rest, I’m golden!

people rebounding

Step 6: Move. Your. Body. Find an activity or exercise you like to do; one that makes the time go by faster. Better yet, dance to the song in Step 2. You’ll boost your endorphins – the “happy” hormone – and get in shape, too. I invested in a rebounder mini trampoline, because I’m not always motivated to get outside in extreme weather, I currently don’t belong to an athletic club, and it fits in my apartment. Just 10-20 mins a day provides good exercise and stimulates the lymphatic system, which benefits the circulatory and immune systems. When you’re healthy, fit, and smiling, you can’t help but feel more self-confident. Self-confidence leads to contentment. Contentment leads to peace.

Free Hugs

Step 7:   It’s an old platitude worth repeating. Be the change you wish to see in the world.  If you think the world has gotten to be a crusty place with no beauty or love in the world, do some guerrilla gardening or make a sign and give out Free Hugs. You’ll be surprised how quickly little acts of kindness can make someone’s day…. And smile more! Sure, you may be mistaken occasionally for a complete freak, smiling randomly at strangers, but I guarantee you’ll get strangers to smile back more often than not. Think of it this way: No one wants to be that first couple out on the dance floor, yet it never fails that once two daring souls start to boogie, others scramble to join in. Be that first dancer and get your groove on!

when you become grateful...Step 8:  Be grateful.  Let go and trust that everything happens for a reason. Everything you’ve gone through has gotten you to where you are today, so take a look at those relationships you thought were so terrible. Were they really so awful or did they force you to realize what it is you truly do want for yourself? When something didn’t go as you planned or hoped, did it allow for an even better, different solution than you’d imagined? If there’s a lesson in every situation we encounter, an attitude of gratitude creates opportunity. Breathe and be thankful.

follow your dreams

Step 9: Trust your intuition and follow your heart.  Life is what you make of it, I say. I’d rather make crazy decisions and fall flat on my face than live life so cautiously it passes me by. Don’t be the “woulda, shoulda, coulda” person. However large or small, be the person that follows her dreams. You’ll take peace and comfort in knowing you tried. While you’re at it, be happy for others who’ve done well with their lives. Their journey is not your journey, so don’t let envy of someone else’s success get in the way of your bliss. Keep the peace and watch life flow.

surround yourself with positive people

Step 10: As I wrote in ‘The Power to Manifest a Delicious Destiny‘, surround yourself with positive people… the kind of people who motivate you to become to type of person you wish to be. As you incorporate the nine steps above to increase your own inner peace, you may find that those individuals with whom you once had a close personal relationship no longer resonate with you.  Don’t worry. Those who insist upon remaining negative will gradually fall out of your life. One day, they’ll just be gone and you’ll realize you didn’t have to do a thing. Don’t be sad! Embrace the idea that the Universe is cleaning house for you, conspiring to bring others into your world that help you along your path.

If you follow these 10 steps, I guarantee that over time the small adjustments you make NOW will add up to big changes in your future.  How much you want to change is up to you, but I trust if you’ve read this far, you’re ready to try pushing a different button to create a more vibrant life and achieve that inner peace you deserve.  Many blessings for your journey.

In gratitude…

 

COLOR ME DELICIOUS

Orange - Sacral Chakra Energy
Orange – Sacral Chakra Energy

As I sat looking at recipes for dinner, I realized everything had an ‘orange’ theme: carrot ginger soup, sweet potato noodles… mangoes and clementines for dessert.

What does this all mean?

It can mean nothing or it can relate to the 2nd, sacral chakra, located in the lower abdomen just below your navel. Often, wearing the same color clothing or eating the same color foods repeatedly is a subconscious indication of harmony or a need to balance a certain area of one’s life.

Here are a few traits often associated with the color orange. Sound familiar?

• Divine Feminine energy (as opposed to red – the Divine Masculine)
• Creativity
• Friendliness
• Going with the flow
• Open to intimacy
• Focus on relationships
• Manifestation

What colors are you wearing or eating these days?

Chakra Foods Color Chart

A tout à l’heure!  Om…

Letting Go to Grab that Prize

Hi there!  What’s new and good?

It’s been a while, I know.  But between buckling down to study for an online course I’m taking with IIN – the Institute for Integrative Nutrition – helping my mom out after a surgery, getting away for my fabulous, long-awaited for vacation, and traveling for work in between… Whew!  It’s been a hectic eight weeks.

Some days flowed effortlessly.  Others started out the worst days EVER (First World problems).  Yet, every time I thought I saw a negative, I held fast to my old belief that “everything happens for a reason.”  I simply had to find out that reason and look for the signs to turn in a better direction, and invite that redirect to occur.  Fast.

I went from being on the verge of failure for non-participation to taking a proactive stance in my career future and being told I’m a natural at coaching others toward good health and wellness.  When I sort of declared my unrequited love for someone and had it go unreturned, I didn’t look at it as rejection.  I saw it as the impetus I needed to get my head out of the fantastical clouds and realize my true worth that someone, someday will truly appreciate, while allowing myself the freedom to finally invoke that perfect partner to come into my life and (re)connect with my heart.  And then, as I was denied board on a flight through fatigue and neglect, blaming myself for missing a special opportunity to hear a treasured music play… one for which I’d pre-paid… the artist wrote to suggest I attend a personal sound healing with him, instead; an experience I’d wished for but previously thought impossible.  Moments later, like fairy dust sprinkled on a dream, an appointment was scheduled at the magical hour of 2:22 pm, and I walked on air.

If there’s a moral to the story, it’s that we cannot always control what happens in our lives, but we have absolute control over how we react to those circumstances.  What seems like the worst thing in the world one moment can free you up to receive the most amazing gift in the next.  Just let go.  Let go and acknowledge that there is a divine plan, and there are plans within plans of which we have no idea, but be open to the truth that Spirit/God/Allah/Yahweh/Source only wants you to be happy.  Let go and create a space for that happy-ness to squeeze its way inside and light up your whole world.  And since Light is Information, you will receive that inner message, that wonderful opportunity, or that amazing prize you truly deserve.

When it rains, look for rainbows.  When it's dark, look for stars.
When it rains, look for rainbows. When it’s dark, look for stars.

Peace and Love.

À tout à l’heure…

The Power to Manifest a Delicious Destiny: 3 Days, 6 Inspiring People

I would eat kale chips and truffles every day of the week if I could, but I digress.

During meditation this morning in my hotel room in São Paulo, I prayed again, as I often do, to bring people and experiences into my life that inspire and assist me in moving along my journey as a fully conscious human being.

What does prayer mean to you? My agnostic and atheist friends would say it’s bunk. Speaking to an unseen, unproven entity while pinning all your desires onto this force is outright crazy-talk to them.  Me? I see prayer as a simple case of semantics. Whether I’m praying to an individual that represents perfection of spirit or sending out a request to a universal Source of energy in the All That Is makes no difference to me as long as my intent for change and living my own truth is pure. That said, in all things, one must be careful not to always “wish” for something. As Universal Law of Attraction teaches: you will be given the perpetual experience of wishing something to come true, rather than living that desire. Verbiage is critical here and I can’t stress it enough. Everything happens for a reason.

So, days later, it occurred to me that because I called out for these people to come into my life, it’s no wonder I sat in the Portland airport one early Thursday morning, a nervous wreck, wondering whether I’d get on the flight as a standby passenger, only to feel that sigh of relief, like I won the lottery or something, when the agent called my name and gave me the middle seat to LAX… saving me from missing my next work trip that afternoon. One of the last two people to board the airplane, I found my place in 11E between two women, one of whom immediately greeted me with a friendly ‘Hello’.

“Oh, jeez,” I thought to myself. “This one’s a talker! I’d better tell her how I’m operating on only two hours of sleep and need to rest before I get to work…. Where are my ear buds?”

Fortunately, in this particular case, my instinct for kindness was stronger than my instinct for survival, because Gwen C. and I ended up talking from the time I sat down till the time we stepped off the aircraft in Los Angeles, and it was one of the greatest conversations I ever had in my life. Gwen is a lovely, vivacious 73 year-old with an amazing attitude and she’s totally dialed in to the collective universal consciousness. We covered everything from the state of our current educational system to the care of aging parents; from needing to grow our own vegetables to finding our life’s purpose. Currently, she lives in Mexico but imagines a life traveling and meeting people while exploring new cultures. She’s well-versed in current affairs, dabbles in real estate, exercises, and eats healthfully to maintain her endless energy. Heck! I want to be like Gwen when I grow up and she’s interested in reading my blog. (Hi, Gwen! And thank you.)

I left that flight feeling jazzed and ready to go about my day, a luxury I’ve been able to re-create every time I think of her. I asked for this, right?

My 2 hours and 20 minutes with Gwen capped off an excellent few days of long flights, driving through the most gorgeous, natural landscape in America, meeting up with the newly dubbed ‘French traveling hippie’, eating raw chocolates, and listening to some Beloved music.

IMG_7223

Back in the day, I was known to travel for good music. If my favorite band was playing within 500 miles, I was in the car on the road to see them. Now as a flight attendant I can stretch that distance a bit further, so when my friend Brandy sent me a flyer of Elijah Ray playing in Ashland, Oregon, I couldn’t miss out on yet another opportunity to see him perform live and rearranged my schedule to fly over from France. Around the same time, a friend on vacation from Paris, Cécile, contacted me on Facebook to say that while traveling through Canada via the Trans-Canadian, she discovered she liked “hippie things”: yoga, meditation, nature and music, and that she would soon be trekking from Vancouver down to California on her way to see some giant trees. Wow! A girl after my own heart! Growing up in Detroit, I’d dreamed of taking the train across Canada and exploring the wilderness as Cécile was doing. And suddenly I felt ashamed to have lived so close to the redwood forest in San Francisco and never visited those majestic trees. Even though I’m a tree-hugger at heart, had I been that lazy ambivalent? I was a different person then. Although I practiced yoga and liked to putter around in the garden, I was caught up in the vicious cycle of television and shopping, living a superficial life at best. Cécile was living it, and traveling alone in a country where they didn’t speak her native language… an achievement I wished I’d acquired many years earlier than I did. I was proud and happy for her. We hoped to find a place to convene and see a familiar face while away from home. Perfect timing! Enter Elijah and the Peace Village music festival.

An in-flight road trip was born.

After landing in Boston, then Portland, and then Eugene, I picked up my rental car and headed for a little motel to crash for the night. It was nearly 10:30 pm, and I had to ring the doorbell to get service. A disheveled, middle-aged Indian man eventually appeared behind the glass in a pair of plaid boxer shorts and flip flops, buttoning his short-sleeved shirt over his tank top. I felt bad for possibly having waken him. Maybe it was the jet lag and sleep deprivation, but I wanted to snicker, too. A long way from Paris, I felt completely out of my element at this roadside stop in the middle of logging country. This called for a sense of adventure and humor…. He gestured for me to hold on a moment as he disappeared back into his apartment behind the counter, then the innkeeper’s vivacious daughter came out and took over the transaction. I hefted my bags up the stairs and squirreled away for the night. In the morning, I’d see exactly where I was.

It was lovely.

IMG_7303

Incredible groves of tall pines, as full as any picture-perfect Christmas tree, swayed in the wind along the road on the drive from Eugene to Ashland. I could see how the famous vampire and werewolf families would use them as thick cover to hide their secrets, but we’re not vampires and werewolves. We Are Human: a term used to describe this physical condition we’re in, as part of the great race walking the earth, connected and yet lost in the quest for self-discovery. We Are as invincible as we are vulnerable…. The opening set of music from the artist who calls himself Human was just that: touching on our vulnerability while embracing our aptitude for life experience. (Regrettably, I did not purchase one of his CDs while at the show and cannot find him on YouTube, so if you know how to get in touch with his music, please let me know.)

During intermission, Cécile and I wandered around the campsite venue in search of refreshments and found chocolates, instead. Kristina Pescatore is the delightful maker of Kilikina’s Chocolate, the lovingly created, silky smooth, raw bon bons in delicious flavors like hazelnut truffle, raspberry and lavender. (You can have them delivered!!) She is truly turning her creative passion into a living, where work is no longer a job and inner peace is the payoff. Cécile jokingly offered her to teach us how to make the chocolates so we can eat sell them in Paris, but we may have to settle on a visit and more samples. Not a bad thing, as this girl rocks feminine laid-back cool and I’d be happy to call her “friend” any day.

Kilikina's Chocolate by Kristina
Kilikina’s Chocolate by Kristina

 

Kristina is also the other half of flugelhorn specialist, Max Ribner, whom I recognized from Medicine and the People, but now plays with Elijah in the +Band of Light-. Munching on whole grain bread with avocado, Max declared our tribe “clean hippies” (❤️) and excitedly told us how he and Kristina would love to visit Paris; take his music there and live the dream, traveling. He was speaking my language! Music, clean living, chocolate, traveling… Max gifted me his latest CD, ‘Leap to Flame’ which is fun, upbeat and full of talent, just like the man, himself. It was an honor and a treasure to meet this couple, both living from the heart in service to their fellow brothers and sisters. At American Airlines, they form what we call TeAAm, with two As and an eagle in the middle. This beautiful pair will be a welcome addition to the City of Light.

If you’ve read my posts before, you may have noticed Elijah is my musical crush, and to be included in his +Band of Light- family is a blessing.  The man exudes grace and Love, and I’ve thanked him in return by sharing his tunes whenever I can (and will continue that tradition today).  Often, I refer to him as an Ascended Master, as I believe he is definitely one of the angels among us, with his lyrics encouraging us to ‘Give Thanks’ and honor what we have today while consciously creating the space for a brighter future. I think he’s deserving of a much bigger following, but those fans who know of him are wonderful and true; their contact with him genuine. Beginning the set with a sound healing meditation, we gathered round the stage and let the vibration carry us where it may. Once the official concert began with Elijah’s +Band-, Cécile found herself in Hippie Central, grinning from ear to eat as everyone rose to dance and gyrate around us in front of the stage. Much as their parents did, little children danced with joy and abandon, the atmosphere supercharged with L-O-V-E.

IMG_7308

+Elijah- and the Band of Light experience featuring Max Ribner
+Elijah- and the Band of Light experience featuring Max Ribner

I would’ve taken more photos but I was too busy singing and dancing, figuring it was far better to be in the moment than to record it for all time, so you’ll just have to make it to one of the band’s shows, yourself. 😉

As all good things must come to an end, though, the concert was forced to wind down as the curfew hour arrived. Even our raucous applause was too loud to warrant another encore, so the event organizer encouraged us to give silent appreciation and we chose… wait for it… JAZZ HANDS!! In return, we were treated to the celestial voice of an angel: Tina Malia in her precious duets with Elijah.

Life is what you make of it, and our time in Ashland was short but sweet. After the show, Cécile and I make our way back to our motel, where we’d only get three hours sleep before heading out. Loaded up on provisions from the Ashland Food Coop (vegan “Heaven”, she called it), as I headed for a flight out to LA where that divine reroute would have me meet Gwen, Cécile rented the same car and drove on to see some really big trees. Seated on the plane in front me: the incredible dancer I’d seen at the concert the night before, Elijah’s girlfriend, Amber. Reminding me of a more peaceful warrior, I imagine her the goddess of the Amazons, it’s no wonder they make a perfect match. (Reminder #2 – Google ‘ecstatic birth Amber Hartnell)

So, prayer. The power of intent.

When I left the familiarity of San Francisco fourteen years ago for the complete unknown in Santa Monica, it was to surround myself with people who were where I wanted to be in life. At the time it meant learning how to be a better writer by being around those who worked on screenplays, so I took a course and became a script supervisor. It lead to some eye-opening, fun, stressful, wouldn’t-trade-it-for-anything-in-the-world adventures. Am I a better writer? Only the reader knows, but I met some amazing people that taught me a lot.

Later, I’d call in others who could provide with guidance when I strayed off the path. I felt like I wasn’t accomplishing much. Financially and spiritually broken, I physically broke bones when I repeatedly said I needed “a break.” Words, thoughts, deeds, and actions are powerful entities, each with its own capability to manifest into something life altering. Choose them as wisely as you’d choose your friends or lovers. Trust in the Universal Law of Attraction that you will be given all that you desire, as well as be provided the tools and people who can help get you there. Be very clear in your request! When you are ready to make that call, the Operator will provide what you need. If you seek inspiration, ask and look for the signs. Suddenly it will be all around you. With any luck, it will come with a smile, a bear hug, and wisdom, all wrapped up in a delicious raw chocolate maple truffle with some fabulous music playing in the background.

Now, what will this week bring?

A travel update from Cécile: I’M ADDICTED!

Live your dream, French Hippie! Live your dream.

Cécile in Redwood Forest
A girl and her tree: Cécile in Redwood Forest

 

À tout à l’heure

A Tough Day to be a Flight Attendant

Aircraft wing shot over Oahu
Aloha Oahu

I Am a flight attendant.  Although I work for a legacy carrier in United States and a terrible incident occurred today in the skies above the Ukraine, I and my fellow crew members worldwide are part of a family.  When one of us is lost through tragedy, the pain is felt in us all and words cannot express our sorrow and anger.

My heart and light goes out to my colleagues and the souls who left us on Malaysia flight 17 and are on their way home. May they return soon and help us bring Heaven back to Earth.  Peace be with them.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-28354856

Candle heart

À tout à l’heure…

 

 

We Are Connected: What I learned from the science geeks

fibonnaci collage-spirals

I’ve been hanging out with some amazing humans online who are much more knowledgeable than me when it comes to that science-y stuff.  I’m the artist who uses photos, culinary skills, and words to express my creativity.  These guys (and fierce ladies) use numbers and quantum physics.  More specifically, Fibonacci numbers, platonic solids; the golden ratio and sacred geometry.  Thanks to books like The Da Vinci Code, I’d at least heard of Fibonacci numbers and even read up on them once, but it wasn’t till I saw a similar graphic like the one above that I was officially *mind blown*.  What can I say?  I’m a late bloomer.  Suddenly, what seemed like a boring, university-level math equation, became well, a universal truth begging me to discover its deeper philosophical mysteries.

Who Are We?  Where do we come from and why are we so similar to the leaves, flowers and the very storms that whip up the dust from which we were told we were created?

The eternal question, “Who Am I?”, has nagged us since the dawn of time (which is an illusion, btw).

The answer which lay before us all along, my friends, was that We Are One.

Examples of sacred geometry in nature
Fibonacci spiral – the natural order of things

We Are One with the stars, the Universe and everything in between… our DNA code swirling in an ancient dance than the oldest of the cosmos.  Endless in variety and complexity, we share a mathematical connectedness to the simplest flower.  We harmonize with great musical symphonies and every unborn fetus unfurling in the womb.  No one escapes it and to deny it invites a dis-connectedness, a dis-harmony that invites dis-ease into our systems.  Man has no right to claim dominion over earth, because Man is OF the earth.  To cause damage only harms the fiber of our being and that which sustains and nurtures us.

The day we band together and look deep into our hearts and minds and hear its calling, is the day our collective consciousness will wake up and sing.  There will be no need for fighting, because we would be fighting ourselves.  There will be no hunger, because we could not bear for our brothers and sisters to starve.  We will be good stewards of the land, because without a healthy environment, we are vulnerable and helpless.  We will know the truth that all life is intertwined.

We Are mere parts of a whole, dancing and swirling in the wind with the trees and the flowers and the storms.  We Are connected.

For a non science-y explanation on this ingenious study, please watch this brief video by Matthew Cross. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tAZe6pP-FM

Fibonacci Spiral in art

Till next time.

À tout à l’heure…

The Path to Enlightenment: Dark Nights Lead to Beautiful Sunrises

Why is it that the darkest nights of our existence seem to surround the loss of a cherished loved one?

War is filled with unimaginable horror.  Financial ruin is laced with despair.  Famine.  Homelessness.  Our Human condition is rife with struggle and difficulty.

But take any of the above and replace it with the sudden departure of someone you love deeply – a partner, a child – and life becomes hopeless.  Whether it’s through death or indifference, each passing moment feels like an eternity where an endless dialog loops through your mind: Why? How could this happen? How do I move on?

Are we nothing without this connection?  Heart to heart.  Soul to soul… Amor vingit omnia.  Love conquers all.

Love conquers.  Love does not destroy.

not until we are lost do we find ourselves

My darkest nights began not when my body was broken by a car “accident” or when issues stemming from strained relationships with both my mother and my father seemed to choke me.  I survived financial bankruptcy, multiple jobs and home relocations, and adjusted accordingly.  No.  The dark nights began when I “accidentally” discovered the love of my life might be gay.

I was in love.  The kind of love that made angels fly and birds sing when he walked near.  The kind that made my heart skip a beat and had me call a friend to declare, “I’m done looking!” after we first spoke.  This was the man I wanted to settled down with, build a life and have children with. Just like Jerry McGuire declared, “He completed me.” He made me laugh.  He was sympathetic when I cried.  And we told each other everything, or so I thought.

“M” and I met on the 07:39 train to Stamford, CT on the Metro North from Harlem in New York.  Every weekday morning, we’d show up to ride in the same car, hoping to get seats, but often standing next to each other at the door.  Once in Stamford, it was ritual to wait in line for our coffees at Dunkin Donuts in the Stamford station.  My work days were much longer, so I began to look forward to the morning commutes whenever this ray of sunshine appeared on the platform.  He vanished after a month of nothing more than eye contact and I kicked myself for not at least saying “Hello.”  Eventually, I began to forget about him, but the commutes felt empty.

Then one day, this Adonis reappeared, all smiles, and gave me an awkward “Hey” as he left the coffee line on his way to the office.  The next morning, M asked me out to lunch but, because of my grueling schedule, the lunch date moved to drinks on Friday.  Drinks turned into dinner.  Dinner turned into a long weekend and the deal was sealed.  We were both hooked, or so I thought.

Fast forward to Dublin, Ireland.

Due to M’s Stamford boss being unable to extend a work visa to my Dutch boyfriend, and us not quite being ready for marriage, M took a sweet job with Google (Google!) and Google took him to Dublin.  For the sake of Love and my desire to make the relationship work at all costs, I quit my executive assistant job in Connecticut and returned full-time to work with the airline, becoming a transatlantic commuter instead of one on a simple train, waiting for the day we would finally marry.

A few months in to our Dublin life, I flew in one morning and was greeted with nothing more than a sleepy hug.  After breakfast at our favorite spot, M went to work and I went home to use the computer.  Our bid requests were due at the airline and I often used his desktop computer rather than drag my laptop from New York.  As I typed in “Jetnet.aa…” the Windows history automatically kicked in and the address line read “homo.nl/christian/brandon/…”  You name it.  On and on.  Name after name.  Line after line.  Boy names.  My breath absolutely left me.

“Well, that explains everything,” I sighed, as my chest fell and my heart sank.

In hindsight, I could say that our troubles began long before Dublin, when we shifted from that honeymoon phase to one where M had a headache… or it was a “school” night… the big presentation the next day made him nervous… or he was just plain tired.  Days without intimacy turned into weeks.  And when there was intimacy, what once felt deeply connected became mechanical and emotionless.  Once, at the suggestion he get checked out by a doctor, he was found to be fine.

“Do you like having sex?” I worked up the nerve to ask him one day, walking down West 86th St.

If you think you know where I’m going with this, you’d be right.  I asked but there was still an excuse for everything and he assured me all would come to pass.  But things didn’t pass.  Not in New York, and certainly not in Dublin.  I questioned everything I ever knew about myself, about our relationship.  The irony of it was that M was me, ten years earlier (there’s another blog post for you) and I still had not seen the signs or ignored them altogether.  What did this say about my own character and the ability to judge what was best for me?  Did he plant this for me to see rather than break up with me?  Was there something I could have done better or different?  How could I have been so wrong?

I sat on it stewed all day, waiting for him to come home from work in the evening when I confronted him.  To say it ended badly and I was devastated is an understatement.  I had never even told M that I loved him until that night.  We’d never exchanged the words because he told me Love didn’t need to be expressed in words.  It should be shown in deeds and I believed him.  I trusted him. Now, the possibility of Love seemed unobtainable and although he confessed he never acted upon his thoughts of homosexuality, he could be making the greatest mistake of his life by letting me go.  We talked and talked about things we should have said months earlier with no resolution. Heartbroken and knowing it was a decision he could only make for himself, I went out into the night and walked the cold, rainy streets of Dublin for hours, unable to go home, unable to seek shelter and face the hundreds of revelers in the crowded pubs on Friday night.  My phone rang and rang.  It was M, worried, but I couldn’t pick up.  A homeless street punk hurled some choice bigoted words at me. I swerved and raised my fist to punch him, then shouted at him like I’d never shouted before, everything coming out of me at once.  He cowered and apologized and still, I walked until I was empty of emotion.  A cabbie stopped and offered to take me home to get me out of the weather.  I felt like a drowned rat but I was frozen inside.  Hours passed before I resigned myself to go back to the flat where I collapsed, unable to speak to my former lover.  Two days later and with barely a word between us, I left.

That was the beginning of the dark period.  I literally laid in the dark in (our) Harlem apartment for six days, crying my eyeballs out, listening to Chicane’s ‘No Ordinary Morning’, telling no one of my shame before I had to put myself together well enough appear at work.  Depression set in so when I returned to flying, I tried to work it out of me by putting in an obscene amount of hours.  Periodically, I broke into fits of tears on the plane and locked myself in the lavatory. One crew member who noticed my behavior that was completely out of character was especially kind. (Thank you, DZ.)  I kept telling myself I just needed some time off. I needed a break and then everything would be okay.  Well, I’d broken my foot early in my relationship with M, and soon I broke it again.  Two months off to think.  While home, I picked up books I’d never had time to read and one altered my entire perception: ‘Alchemy of the Spirit’ by Kryon, as channeled by Lee Carroll.  I felt as if Kryon spoke directly to me and knew me for who I was, and I began to feel hope and Love.

This time when I went back to work, I changed my habitual route from London to Paris because everything there reminded me of times I’d shared with M.  I allowed myself to have fun again and met a sort of okay French guy who took my mind off my life, but he frustrated me to no end and rather than break up with him to free myself, I slipped and shattered my wrist on ice.  Four more months off work to think!  Who was I to fathom old habits changed so easily? This time, between marathon episodes of ‘Clean House’ and ‘What Not to Wear’, I dove into all matters of consciousness, ended things with Pepe le Pew, and cleaned up my spiritual house.

I’ve since come to believe the truly lucky ones get to encounter the Dark Night of the Soul through Love.  Love being the one true emotion to its opposite of Fear, it is Love we are afraid to lose.  It is the lack of Love that makes us feel incomplete.  It is Fear that has us believe we will never love again or that we are unworthy of Love and Love will never return.  The Truth is, we are loved beyond measure from a place most of us can only dream of because it does not exist in concrete form.  The higher realms of consciousness where your purest Self dwells wants you to know the relative insignificance of Love from another until you have absolutely, without a doubt learned the significance of loving your Self.

Do you love yourself?  How many can honestly say that?  Allow me to rephrase it.  Do you love your Self?  All of you.  I’m not just talking about your hair or car, or your job and the great physical condition that you may be in.  I’m asking about the pain, hurt, addictions and insecurity.  To have a life sprinkled with the latter is a life lived, my friend.  A life filled with great stories to tell… the kind where the trout becomes the whale of a fish you caught in the eye of the storm when the boat pitched to and fro, and you didn’t have any help, so you reached over and grabbed that monster and pulled it on deck with your bare hands kind of story!  And you survived.

Now this time, imagine yourself outside that same boat, pitching to and fro in this enormous perfect storm, only the fish that turned into the whale is a metaphor for your Self, flailing away and drowning in a sea of Fear and despair.  Monsters of life swim around like sharks… that boy or girl you love lurks, ready to chomp your very heart to bits; your partner swims away without remorse; your child gets carried ever farther away by rip currents, never to be seen again.  You struggle but you don’t see the point.  You want to swallow water and drown.  And then, and THEN a magical light appears in the boat.  It is your Highest Self calling out to you to catch the life ring it sends out to rescue you.  Beautiful light surrounds this crystalline creature and you realize that is the light of pure Love.  Suddenly, as you grab the ring and place it around you, you see that you are this pure, crystalline being, too.  The ring is glowing pink from the energy of this Love and surrounds you with peace and the all-knowing that everything will be okay.  As your Highest Self slowly reels you in to safety, the storm dissipates until there is nothing but calm sea and blue sky as He gently lifts you to safety aboard a magnificent cruise ship.

The two of you sit down at a table nearby and drinks of the cleanest, freshest water are set down before you.  As you take in the water, you’ve never felt more comfortable with another Human and want to share all your previous troubles with your Highest Self, but He assures you he’s heard it all before and winks.  “Drink and be refreshed,” He offers, and your cares dissolve with each sip.  As if the water is infused with pure Love energy itself, you begin to see your life before you as your new friend smiles on.  You see your journey, from birth through childhood struggles, high school trauma, family drama, and beyond.  You have a window on that first, perfect love mate and the life you built for yourself based on what you knew to be true at the time.  You may even note the life you once held was not your own, but that of what others around you dictated you should have based on their own experiences and expectations.  And then you get to the part where all hope was ripped away from you and you found yourself struggling in that sea.

“Finish the glass,” your Highest Self says lovingly, while gazing as if He can see into your very Soul.

As you tip the glass toward you, you notice it is no longer filled with the same water, but now contains the brightest, most colorful juice you’ve ever tasted.  This is no ordinary juice.  It is shining like the brightest rainbow and sparkles in the light radiating from you and your friend.  And as you drink this time, you see a life filled with rich experiences, none of which would have been possible without having swam through that sea that existed before this moment.  You understand that all the hurt, pain, and anguish; the FEAR were all always encircled by that same pink glow of Love, like the one in the life ring.  You feel grateful that all that ever happened before brought you to this very moment, otherwise you may not have ever met this wonderful side of you that loves you beyond all measure.  Knowingly, He nods and it is you who smiles in return.

“Let’s order new drinks, shall we?”

The two of you sit for a while on the bow of that ship, cruising along a crystalline sea that appears as magical and divine as you and your own true Self chat until you integrate with one another.  The life once lived served its purpose to bring you to the place where you found your Self, the one that loves you and wishes you to understand there is no reason to look for validation with Love from another.  Love was within you all the time.  Now you can lift your glass and toast to a new beginning.

I Am Love.  I Am.

Free from the past, confident in your future, it is you who commands the ship now. Onward.  Across the sea of Love and enlightenment.

I hope this helps.

A tout à l’heure….