An Ordinary Day Story

“She held herself until the sobs of the child inside subsided entirely. I love you, she told herself. It will all be okay.”
― H. Raven Rose, Shadow Selves

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You are peacefully reading, minding your own business or just waking up a Sunday morning slow and gently. Actively engaged in your “gratitude and appreciation” ongoing process, you do your best to focus on those “grown-up” intentions and changes you have put so much effort into and then, life happens…

Somehow you find yourself in the middle of a freaking out drama that you even did not know was going on and part of your family is there at your room’s door. The happy greeting and surprise turns into the inevitable  face’ expression before dreadful questions as…

What is going on? What is that you have done this time?-

After the shock, it is time for the slow-motion-movie to begin… You see yourself, frame by frame- lost, explaining, justifying, describing what you think the situation might be, confronting versions and trying to remember if there is any proof or alibi of your whereabouts the time in question!

I am sure you know what a terrible place to be this is for all – the accused and those granted as “executors of the will” and judges…

In milliseconds, the pain and anger start building up and you can only hear those dangerous words triggering a long story of powerlessness and loneliness. You are being dragged into that deep black hole of inadequacy and rejection, your eyes fixed in those real and imaginary heads moving one side to another in disapproval.

You want so badly to be the good and assertive person you know you can be, but an impenetrable wall rules against hope and trust, and tears replace the loud and messy allegations for fairness. Giving up seems the only way out…

The clocks moves and it dawns on you…

I inadvertently keep role-playing the little kid who wants to be done with unfairness;  the little kid who wants to be loved and chosen as part of the clan. It is incredible the strength this small thing can cast and how she is able to overrule the intelligent and supposedly mature grown-up I like to think I am.

It is hard to be “mindful and enlighten” when deep feelings of unworthiness kick in and the Orphan archetype shows up in all its overwhelming shadow and aided by the irrepressible verbosity of complaints and grievances of the Victim’ one!

I become so small… submerged in this world of fear and despair, where I am torn apart between fighting the monsters of resentment and victimization and trying to pull up my “boundaries setting tools;” with as much success as the one in the hands of my inner lawyer trying to build the case of self-love, self-compassion and mindfulness.

It all goes south, when the tiny girl in me, makes herself present and snaps. Yes, all becomes a painful and quick death…

At the precise moment when I am able to detach myself and play the scene back; self-loathing and shame get up mocking the entire “self-improvement” program I have voluntarily submitted to for many years.

The search to understand what the heck is going on, has many underlying currents messing around and silently eroding my attempts for better responses to this kind of situations.

In my case, asking others to put themselves in my shoes, becomes a sharp reminder of my failures and current circumstances, which not only does not allow many exits, but thwarts my feeble “self-loving” efforts.

The truth is that nothing someone can say compares to what I can say to myself, and how terrible I feel for not being the person I think I should be – or worse – the person I know I am and have not been able to put in charge of my life.

How much time of my life I have been wasting in this horror play?

How much time spent either depressed or overwhelmed by the circumstances and my poor “actions” or lack of them?

This can continue endlessly, and it will, if I do not assume who I am once and for all; because there are plenty of things in my “nowadays” life, I have no control over.

What then?

I went back to the wise words of the finest people* I have the gift share this time and space:

What is working, what do you have power over?

I have control over my choices.

Only for today, I chose to be compassionate about my lack of saintly-martyr qualifications and past failures. Just for today, I going to acknowledge that I did the best I could, and even if this is so tiny that get lost in the ocean of drama, and madness I find myself in… I am doing the best I can.

Thus, I am going to take thing less seriously. I cannot undo the feelings, thoughts or awful decisions spoken in a moment of pain, I can see them for what they are; a cry to be loved, accepted and feel safe.

I can focus on the kind words spoken, common experiences shared and things I do in my little “cave” upstairs that bring me solace and hope; and use all the energy I can summon to break the chain and build the life I deserve.

I can appreciate the effort and care of well-intentioned kinfolk and huge my little child. I can keep traveling the road of faith and trust in and tell her that I love her and everything is going to be well. We are being taken care of in a way that we might not understand, but surely much better than those we could ever plan.

Thus, I sit here and write and silently connect with all those who wrestle with self-love, unconditional acceptance and faith.

I am looking at the sky with joyful eyes and a trusting heart…
Grateful for this milestone in my journey toward who I am…

 

A Note of Gratitude to Ali Rodriguez, Betty Rae and Joseph Crane…

And to my brother for hugging me back…

 

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Goodby Soul

“A rebirth out of spiritual adversity causes us to become new creatures”.
James E. Faust

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It has been quite some time since I last visited this page. My life’s journey has thrown me into a spiral of emotions and events that require reflection, experience and change. I am not done yet… I have not even gotten near to an understanding of its impact and the turning point I feel is haunting me.

The only thing certain today is that I need to take one step at the time.

There have been many hardships and doubts in my life; yet I never, not for once; doubted my soul’s guidance before. I had lived with a sense of “Something Bigger” being in charge of the “madness” and the belief in an invisible Force in me worthy of a Sci-fi Trilogy.

I was used to “Dark Nights of the Soul” and to feel mine squirming and jumping as a dog before lying asleep. It could also surprise me with awkward and nonsensical ideas too.  Still,  I trusted fiercely that it would lead me into the light and I would be a better human being afterwards.

Not this time.

This time I felt betrayed and laughed at. I was angry and I have had enough of following blindly a quirky invisible thing that after all this time together, had had the nerve of leaving me hanging in the abyss and in so much pain.

Act One. The Unimaginable

If you are like me, a master in looking for any justifications to explain what is inexplicable or just plain awful, or so caught in your story of unworthiness that you are afraid to say enough is enough;  then you can understand what a huge deal was for me to feel such anger and sack my soul.

Oh, yes, I did, and I am not sure I have rehire it either. This time I am up for a better deal. If I am going to keep being the Ginned Pig, I want sound presence and loud answers.

For once in my life I stopped looking up, or within, with my head down and a begging whisper. I face it straight ahead with everything organic or not shaking and shouted – I am done. Whatever contract I have with you, consider it broken. I quit.

Silence…

Act Two

… A weird standing-in-the-void-kind-of-mourning-experience where I have no idea what to do with myself.

I had not realized that when you fired your soul, you run out of solid excuses for avoiding and resisting the earthy demands that fall into another bag of excuses labelled-“answering to my Grail Quest.”

Perhaps I am, and the darn thing not only hides, but jingles behind me to see how alert I remain.
(It does not feel as cruel as before; nevertheless, I am still angry).

Act Three. Spiritual awakening or breakdown?

No idea. I decided that I would paint butterflies and make origami animals, watch TV series and see if the character’s monsters under the bed are really scary shadows or, we have a comedian-soul-epidemic.

The worst part is that although I fired it, (and I am mad and…) I am speaking about it and even doing things regarding that old saying of mine -“follow your soul” (imagine a deep voice).

What if it does not know what is that is doing? Or if it is has become so “human” that ends like me, going from one “place” to another?

Can a soul lose it’s compass? A soul, you know? Light, divine spark… I am not talking about us, the mortal ones.

I always believed that the soul was in speed dial with the Higher Source. I might not be able to sneak in the conversations or watch through the keyhole or understand what surely  would be communication in code! But again, I trusted…

How could I be so lost and in so much pain? How could I have so uproariously failed following its lead?

Act Four. In the “Realm of Mysteries”!

I pride myself on being good at designing creative and deep learning experiences for my students, to go beyond paradigms into the vast Universal imagination to connect dots, lines, shapes and whatever, to depict the path of “knowledge.” This is ludicrous compared to what the Soul can come up with to bring you a well-designed-tailored-learning-experience!

Yes, I have come to think that this might have underlying currents too deep to be able to follow. In the meanwhile, I dance in the edge between the “old and new” Me. I cannot see before, past, up or down; I can only be here and answer to the impulse to write.

Could this be the lesson? I wonder…

I have no idea how many acts are there in this play; nevertheless, I am determined that the final act will be written  four hands!

Hush…
I have to leave,  I can hear my soul jingling!

 

Image Credit:
http://naomuack.blogspot.com/2010_03_01_archive.html

I Undid the Tie and Lift the Lid… Many Lives are Required to Describe the Gift.

To Ali, Joseph, Teresa, Debora, Patricia, Dave, Gary, Noam and Mick …

Gift Box

 

 

“The language of friendship is not words but meanings”.
Henry David Thoreau

 

 

 

Many deep and beautiful things have been said about friendship; is one of those things that linger across all times touching hearts and transforming them subtly and permanently. Friendship weaves itself without prejudices and enjoys entangling infinite shades of the rainbow colors in a shroud eternally woven and unwoven in infinite patterns of vulnerability, love and courage that infects the Universe with our humanity.

Friendship can pay a visit or stay forever, it can be abated by change, distance, disloyalty and betrayal and take flight in search of new horizons. But the land that guarded the seed and nurtured it shall not forget, and endure the wheel of life, providing support to ancient roots and making room for new seeds to come.

I truly believe that luck has nothing to do with friends, I see it as a sacred ritual in which The Divine shows up taking different forms to aid in the accomplishment of spiritual tasks and in return experiences life in its most primal and raw facets, those of imperfection and impermanence.

In Friendship, the simple and ordinary goes for a ride, unaware of the complex and extraordinary sitting next to it; is such a natural and generous abundant act that is easy to overlook.

Today we celebrate friendship.” Friend” might be a kind of wild card used in many settings as a collection of names, memories and events; a space for lightness and delightful sharing.

Friendship is so much more though. It is a language of the soul, written and read in meanings and actions. It lives in the pleasure of commonplaces and adventures, dreams and unforgettable moments and in the held hands and wiped tears of two souls locked in an embrace that forgoes separateness.

True Friendship does not hide behind excuses, is not threatened by the successes or annoyed by short comings. True friendship shows up, takes all patiently and courageously, speaks boldly when needed while and remains unchangeable. True Friendship is the macrocosms and all its mysteries contained in the microcosms of our hearts.

Friend is a word charged with possibilities, a sacred gift disguised as day-to-day life, bringing the best of us to light while dressing up with smiles, laugh and true caring.

I am then calling up to celebrating an ancient rite imprinted in Heaven and binding us together, today I celebrate an Invisible dwelling in the hearts of mankind, nature and everything in existence.

With deep gratitude I surrender to it…

 

Happy Valentine’s Day to all you my readers and companions, I thank you for bringing the best in me as well…

How to Tame Your Dragons… Or Train Your Adult!

“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.”
Edith Wharton

Candle light magic by Donal Zolan

There are times when I feel like no matter what I do, I seem to be glued to my circumstances, habits or moods. I am riding this invisible and “unfair” roller coaster with short high peaks and very long and steep descents. Fear is in charge and I cling to excuses to be able to bare my disappointment and guilt.

Guilty as charge! I know what I am doing, somehow the action button has stopped working and my I my inner charger have completely collapsed. My mind runs wild looking where to hide from the critic witnessing my failure and shouting to get over it and move on.

My heart jumps like a ping pong ball into the fired up field of “I “can do it!” and that of “why bother!” Yes, I am in the middle of an inner war, one in which present, past and future become an explosive blend threatening torn me apart.

Emotions are strong and ready to overpower me. I learned that I need to welcome them and let them do their job; still they remind me about where I am at this moment and it is not easy to accept and forgive myself.

A little bit ago a mentor invited me to register my choices and thoughts for a couple of weeks. Because I have a “narrative” soul smitten by metaphors, I decided to call upon my shadows, dragons and daemon to do so.

Long before my task was over I had discovered my tendency, or I should say “addiction,” to lean upon my faults and worse; a weird pleasure to go over every detail and edge of my shortcomings and disowned selves.

Nobody with that long “criminal record” and “monster-like” personality should be allowed to rise above herself, leave the dungeon and join the pleasant and pure environment of the world and the “others!”

While I share this, the wiser part of me smiles in astonishment, the jester makes jokes about the ridiculous thoughts and the critic gloats- “I told you so”. Faraway though, a little girl hides sad and afraid that I betrayed her secret and she will never be loved or forgiven.

This little girl truly believes that somehow she was born cursed and her task is to atone for the amazing baggage she carries. She has no idea how it came to be, only that she is not worthy of love, success, fulfilling her dreams and so much more. Her life space and time has been devoted to do everything in her power to change and learn to be “good” unaware of the high price she is paying for it.

What did I manage to see the little girl cowering in a corner of my soul?

Tracing back my fear of being exposed…
It is not about being ridiculed or criticized; is about finding out that “they” are right. A part of me is terrified of being a “fake” and as such, it prefers to stay invisible.

Why?
Because behind invisibility there is still hope…

How many of us settle for a small life to protect the halo of light still burning in our souls? How fiercely we hold to the idea that it could be irremediably taken from us?
I know I have…

You surely had heard about limiting beliefs and probably as me; have tried many techniques to get rid of them once for all.

How is that working for you?

Here is something I discovered a little while ago…
My limiting beliefs might suck, but many of my virtues and qualities I own to them. In my need to compensate I have develop strengths and tools that serve me well today.

They are part of me and they were born to protect me, to make sense of what I was experiencing at a time where nothing or nobody else stood up for me.

As well as the external influences, these internal ones have help modelling the person I have become in good ways. Thus, I am willing to update and reframe their utility.

This means finding balance between the lessons learned and the possibilities offered by more supporting beliefs and learning when to rely on the old ones to keep me safe and when to lean into the positive ones.

This, though, is adult work and as such it works in a slow and many times messy ways.

How I am training my adult?

The first step is to be aware of the moments where my old beliefs take over and fly to defend me without asking my permission.

In my case, they spill the beans all over the place. I become reactive, feel pain and see myself acting like the “monster” I am so against and afraid to be! Afterward, I get angry at myself, close my heart and go back to that place of hopelessness and dis-empowerment that started the … “thing.”

The second step: name it. Call upon the habit, “strategy”, behavior and allow the feeling behind to be. Then call upon the strength and breathe.

Disgusting I know! I am so proud of being smart and I so hate to prove myself wrong! Plus, I have to deal with the gloating brat telling me – you failed again! I am still looking for the volume switch to turn it off so I can hear my beautiful qualities signing along!

The third: afford yourself the same compassion you will offer others.

Remember, it is a process where many inner selves need to be listened to and comforted. Even if sometimes it feels like a kindergarten out-of-control-conspiracy or a teenage rebellion; they need to know our adult part is in charge and is taking good care of them.

Last but not least, trust that you are not alone and no matter how difficult things might seem, impermanence rules the Universe and the Sun shall rise again…

For a perfectionist like me, self-compassion and trust are quite a challenge, and as you saw above, I am still working on the other 3 too. Good old life school is resisting graduating me!

For a little kid scared of being exposed and rejected, this is a breaking point, one in which her soul whispers – you are not alone…

There more we dare to face our imperfections, the more our little lights come together and the greater the splendor.

Good to be back.

 

 

Special thanks to Noam Kostucki, for always asking for the best in me.

Image Credit: Candle Light Magic by Donald Zolan in http://abstract.desktopnexus.com/wallpaper/563035/

 

Returning to Words

“And now you’ll be telling stories
of my coming back
and they won’t be false, and they won’t be true but they’ll be real”
― Mary Oliver, A Thousand Mornings

Destiny Calls pic 1

Hello dear friends,

It has been a little while and I have missed you…

The New Year presented itself with cross roads, reflections and urges.
I must apologize for abandoning you, while not in my heart, I did so in these pages.

It has been a time to build resilience and courage to face the challenges and stand up to the opportunities ahead.
As the Phoenix, I am born again into a new Reality… Or perhaps, illusion?
We shall see soon enough.

For now it remains a mystery and that… That is part of what must “grow”…

Ready to take off?

Persistence

Persistence

“A river cuts through rock, not because of its power,
but because its persistence”
Jim Watkins

At times I wonder whether there is a secret to progress in our spiritual and day-to day existence. Some days, life flows easily. We cruise along enjoying the ride feeling energized and empowered; we savor our experiences and even test our luck. Others, we seem to be plunged in a dark cloud; our attention wanders and we lack motivation and drive. In those days the smallest of the efforts requires a real choice, a pure instance of will.

When the progress seems so slow that is almost imperceptible, what is the secret to keep up? Simple, Persistence…

Like most virtues, staying engaged for the long haul must be cultivated, practiced and valued. On less than perfect days, even a little inner effort can go a long way. If we stay with our intentions through thick and thin, storm or sunshine; each drop of effort accumulates and winds up, making a gradual but huge difference in our inner experience and goals.

In the “piano world” we know about the “slow-fast” practice; which stand for going maddening slow when facing a difficult passage and gradually pulling the metronome faster notch by notch. It feels like eternity! Nevertheless, if you have forced the speed before being ready – physically, mentally and emotionally – the passage will fall apart in the worst of moments and you will have not only to re-learn it; but fix the bad habits that came with being impatient. A real nightmare…

How do we summon persistence? What is behind it?

In my case persistence comes from remembering what really matters to me and what I fear the most. Both serve as sources of momentum to push me forward.

The former, has to do with the intrinsic value I draw from the activity and the joy and wonder I am rewarded with. It is not a secret that when we are passionate about something, it is far easier to persist, even if the results do not come as fast as we would like to.

When I play very difficult music or I am lost in a canvas, I can feel terrified of getting nowhere or of messing up the work already done. I find myself silently asking – What am I doing? What are you trying to prove? Who are you to do so? – It is just when I ask – Why; why are you doing this? -that I stop and connect with a deeper sense of purpose, the calling shaping the “Who” I must become.

I imagine and feel in my heart and soul the musical phrase already accomplished. I can actually hear the sound and the mysteries unveiling through it! Or I see a pictorial outcome that is far better that what I could have ever imagined; because I allowed the painting to speak to me. In those moments I know… I am looking into a threshold in time and space. I have been given a piece of eternity and to make it happen at will, I need to push forward, I need to persist.

The second alternative (what I fear the most); is focusing on the obsessive and nagging though screaming at me- what would have happened if you had actually conquered resistance and did not give up? Where would you be? I do hate this…. Fear of regret over lost possibilities, is powerful enough to keep me doing whatever is that I am up to, even if it means struggling forever.

Thus, when the muse of divine spark is missing and I cannot summon it; I think about regret. I go back to other occasions when I lost momentum or wasted whatever little effort I had put on. I think about having to start again, not with the fresh attitude of a beginner facing a new task; but with the annoyance and guilt of knowing where I might have been if I had persisted.

It sounds cruel?

Do not misunderstand me; I know that sometimes I will fail to persist. I would even fail to use any of the above alternatives. In those times then, I shall appeal to a third wave. I shall sigh and tell myself- Human, Mercedes. I am sorry but you are human –  I smile, forgive and start again.

What is your recipe for persistence?

Colored Veils, the Art of Dreams…

Wondering about life and its challenges, about those things that inevitably come to mind in the midst of inquiry and the quest for purpose; I found myself asking, why?

Why do I do what I do?

And because Art seems to have a bigger plan for me than what I am prepared to admit, I found myself asking:

Really? Art?

This time though, not from the point of view of what logic and experience have taught me, but from that fragile place of secrecy, where your soul and heart whisper and you are afraid that others might listen…

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Nocturno

My art is made of dreams
Is about finding the essence of things
Is about those lines, shapes, strokes and stains that bear the energy of creation,
The seed of becoming,
The muscle of life

My art dives in colors and layers looking for the authentic
Rescuing it from the veils of the constructed
And organizing it in a kaleidoscopic view of existence

My art is in love with movement and continuity
It travels space and time in its quest for the origin
And blends in the dream of transcendence

My art is not mine; at least not from the one in the mirror
Is the strange and magic exploration of my hands
With an unknown destiny
Is a refuge for my soul, or perhaps the way it speaks to me?

My art aspires to be a haven without blame for others and me to reside
A realization of our unique thread in the fabric of being alive
And how the Cosmos secretly stitches and weaves
Encounters and loses,
The farewell of the old
The fate of greatness we call hope

Sorry my dear reader, I got distracted again…

You were saying?

Why do you do what you do?

A magic question; no? Heaven can tell…