Dancing in the Dark

The Earth perpetually turns: Light follows shadow, and shadow chases light. We can become a slave to these cycles, and simply accept them and ride their waves. Natural though they may be as day turns to night, we must ask ourselves: What do we do in the dark?  How do we handle our dark cycles?

The night is where we hide our secrets, and our demons come out to play: dark thoughts, bad habits, a full spectrum of self-harming behaviors emerge.

Shadows slip down the face of day

And darkness overtakes her former light.

As naturally as time shifts from dusk until dawn,

cycles of light and dark run through her soul.

Enslaved by their comforting monotony and easily lulled to sleep,

She dreams whilst her demons run freely through the night,

Entranced by how much they thrive in the dark,

Dancing with them to the brink of sick ecstasy.

Moonlight fades and dawn breaks

To find her still under shadow’s spell.

But, upon light’s return she is left with nothing,

An empty, bottomless void unworthy of holding its loveliness

The devils’ trick—

Deception of mind and body prevails.

But what if we can shift the cycle? Shadows cannot help their nature, but one thing to remember about shadows is that they come and inevitable go.  Sometimes their darkness is irresistible, but what if we slip into shadow with a different purpose.  In darkness, we can find a certain peace and respite if we do not give into its heaviness.  If we could only investigate the roots of our darker side with curiosity and a desire to understand ourselves better, we could find rest instead of torture.  Inspect each thought, decision, and behavior and unravel it’s meaning instead of just punish oneself for it. 

There have been times in my life when I have felt that I was swallowed by shadow. And while I often still find myself in a cycle of darkness, I am beginning to see it as an opportunity to learn instead of to wallow in guilt.  I want to know what bring me joy instead of pain. It has taken a lot of reshaping my thoughts and behaviors and finding out what nourishes me instead of sickening me.  The journey is and will continue to be an untwisting of my soul and unbinding of my mind from ideas that I thought were branded upon my being forever.  They are not, and I am free to choose.  Free to be me.  I am in control of my thoughts and actions.

I seek to understand the thoughts of self-doubt and unworthiness.  I chose to forgive myself for the choices I’ve made that were more harmful than good.   I refuse to participate in the hateful self-talk.  Thoughts may come and go, but I will keep only the ones that serve me.  I will remind myself of these lessons each time I shift towards shadow and remember what I have learned.

I will dance in the dark instead of being defeated by it.

We Make Time for the Things that Matter, Don’t We?

I have spent some time this week poring over a questionnaire that’s purpose is to help me determine my values, my priorities.  However, my responses are pointing to the exact opposite. Honestly, I found myself becoming agitated as I thought through my answers to questions. “How do you spend your time? How do you spend your money? Your answers should be reflective of your values.” Examples were given like writing, travel, and researching.  I would love to be doing these things!  That fire in my belly grows stronger as I read more.  Who gets to live a life where their time, money and energy are allowed to be put into the things they value most? Not me!  I thought whilst angerly gnawing on the end of my pen.  It feels like a privilege that is out of my hands, but is it?

What it all boils down to is that I am not living a life that is in alignment with what is truly important to me.  I think the more productive questions to be asked are: What are my values, and how do I see they ways in which I live my life now fit into those areas. What energizes me and adds balance to those areas of life that are inevitably draining?  Admittedly, there are times when I feel so absolutely drained that there is nothing that can revive me, or at least this is what I think. 

In our most exhausted states, doing anything is struggle, yet we still manage to trudge through the necessary chores.  Work, home and family life maintenance, paying bills.   These things, understandably, take precedence over what is deemed “unnecessary.”  Writing, travel, communing with nature, art. . . living! When and how has the art of living life, my life included, ceased to be important? I can pinpoint a few times in my life that I could blame, a few other people, too. But, fundamentally this is about me and claiming the life that I want to live, and then empowering myself to seek it, work for it, bring it to fruition.   

It is not about being stuck in my job or getting tied up into the mundane trappings of home.  At its core, I love my job.  I, a lover of books and words, seemingly have a dream job in a library.  I also have the privilege of being a writing teacher.  Helping others find their voice in their writing is incredibly rewarding. But, cast under the spell of being “work,” I find that my job can be uninspiring when it should be anything but. Is that the work’s fault or is it my perspective? Do I rebel against work in general because of how I have classified it in my mind—as the anthesis of art and passion, and not for what it truly can be?

Clarissa Pinkola Estes tells us that “Art is not meant to be created in stolen moments only.” We are trained to believe that art is a frivolous indulgence; therefore, priority is automatically given to what has been deemed important (by whomever that might be: your family, your religion, society in general. . .).  Those stolen moments, if you even found them to begin with, often become less frequent until they are nonexistent.  Our passions, representative of our true values, get pushed aside, and those fires dampen until, if you’re lucky, only a tiny spark remains. It is true that our art should live in the daylight (or moonlight, if it is your preference), and exist in our daily lives just as much as any other life sustaining task.  It is necessary to our souls to create and experience beauty whether through our own hands or simply by looking to the wonder of the magical world we live in.  Wonder, beauty, and creation—those are my true values, and I will be determined from here on out to never starve those senses again and live these values in all aspects of my life—the magical and the mundane.

Luck is a Relative Term

What is it about the allure of a four leaf clover that will make us drop to our knees to search through the green? Is it the elusive nature of it- the appeal of a rare, strange mutant of its species?  Is it the promise of good luck? Perhaps it is a bit of both and these reasons are intrinsically linked. 

While I was walking this morning, I happened upon a little cluster of the familiar looking leaves of three (of the non poisonous variety), and on a whim thought, “I’ll just have a little look …”  So, I knelt down into the shade of an oak and felt my way through the inviting clover patch growing in its shadow. One patch, two patches, and then three, my fingers swept in search of treasure without finding their prize. But, I persisted. I found a cluster on the other side of the path, and again searched to no avail. I felt disappointed, but then I began to wonder why I even looked in the first place. 

First, there’s the intrigue of finding something hidden and rare. That in and of itself comes with rewards: you feel special and singled out by the universe who decided to bestow this gift upon you. But, then with the four leaf clover, there’s the promise of luck. The egoic benefits of finding the un-findable with the added promise of good luck is a quest I could not pass up especially considering the venture took little time or trouble. But, soon, I gave up. 

At the core of the quest, I wanted to harvest a blessing and then keep it as a token to remind myself that I am blessed-  a wish might come true, or a dream to fruition. But, why do I need a plant to tell me this? And why don’t I put in the effort to see that these wishes and dreams come to pass in the physical world? 

Just like the hunt for the enchanted four leaf clover, I’ve got to get my hands in the dirt—Stop waiting for my dreams to come true with no action behind them. I will manifest my own luck because I put the work in to bring it about. We aren’t just given gifts. They must be earned. Karma must have her way. You get what you give.

Oh, you’ll still find me sifting through a patch of clover on occasion, but I won’t be depending on finding my four leaved friend to give me what I need to make my dreams come true. I’ll make that magic all on my own.

You Are What You Eat

I invite you to step back and consider all of the information you consume: what do you listen to, what do you read, who do you talk to? Whose words are you absorbing into your brain and being? What do they say to you, and how do they affect your thoughts, actions, everything?  Have you ever paused and pondered all of the words that you have absorbed in a day? 

There are those amongst us who listen to dangerous ideas of evil and go down the rabbit hole of dark information in the name of some hidden truth that they believe is only for them and a sacred few.  They make videos, write articles, and share with their friends their ideas about doom and war.  I am not a participant in this culture, though I have danced around it a few times trying to understand its appeal.  And the conclusion that I have come to that just like any other type of consumption food, drugs, etc., is that it is addictive. 

If you are devouring video after video, theory after theory, word after word based in evil, then YOU are giving it power.  YOU are making it stronger.  YOU allow the information you consumed to grow and fester in your mind, and it makes you hungry for more.  Holding this knowledge may make you feel powerful, like you have some secret key that no one else has, but what it truly does is give energy to the very notion that you cry against. The words you sought are now devouring your every free thought.  

But, you are now the vessel of the words you consumed, and you must spew them forth because you just can’t help yourself. Ego has taken hold. By spelling out your new found theories into the world, YOU help usher those realities into this world.  Obsessive consumption and subsequent use of your own words as you attempt to indoctrinate others is how it lives. You have become a part of the magic that gives the darkness its power.

Maybe all of the nightmares drawn out by conspiracy theorist are true, but I am certainly not willing to be a participant and/orletting those ideas disrupt my own ability to think creatively, critically, or hold any power over the energies I put into the world.        

Words whether they are spoken, written, listened to, read, or thought have power. I caution everyone to use and consume words carefully.  Try to speak with truth and integrity, and consume words of the same quality.  Look outside of your worldview with empathy and a will to understand when you chose your daily diet of information. Please, be careful out there. 

Harvest Moon Rises, and So Do I

There is something about September.  Strange, wonderful, terrible, heart breaking, beautiful, incredible, life altering things have happened to me in my thirty something years of Septembers.  Some of the events have been beyond my control, but some, I am convinced, are purely sourced the universe.  Is it the approaching equinox? The bright harvest moon enchanting my night sky? Is it because we are nearing the end of the wheel of the year?  Could it merely be the crispness of the air, or the mold from the freshly harvested corn that makes me sneeze? I do not know, but I do know that I feel exhilarated.

September makes me brave.  September makes me bold.  September 2015 changed the course of my life forever.  The effects of the changes made that fated month are still something I contemplate daily.  Now that two years have passed, one would think that the significance would fade, but it does not.  It only becomes more complex.  It is possible that the complexity is primarily due to the over workings of my mind.  I just seem to notice more this time of year, and my observations make life as I know it impossible to continue in its trajectory.  Certain negative elements become intolerable and must be eliminated.  The leaves begin to change and fall along with my ability to accept my negative influences and attributes.

With releasing the negative comes, hopefully, an influx of positive.  This has been my experience anyway.  Once again, I am shedding light upon the old, and wishing for the new while making changes to my life that will lead to a healthier, happier me.  One September at a time, life and love are renewed and realigned to my true path.  I am being brave and bold once again to harness the energy and momentum to achieve my dreams.  Passivity be damned.

Out of Body

I live outside of my body.  Bodies are deceptive.  Bodies are mortal.  They grow weak and cancerous.  I do not trust my body to not betray me with disease, so I deny it my attention.  But, in this denial, I am not allowed to be present, and to experience this life, the full spectrum of it, full of pleasure and pain.  I stay out of my body, and trapped in the anxious madness of my mind.  It is my mind that tricks me into believing that my body is its traitor, but truly, my mind is my ultimate betrayer.  The only way out of its control, is in.  Into my body, that is.

Learning to trust my body is even more difficult, I think, than learning to trust another human.  We are our own worst enemies after all. Trusting one’s self is essential, I would assume, but I feel that I do not even trust my self enough to trust myself.  How do  I sooth my troubled mind enough to ease itself back into its container?   I’ve tried meditation (panic), I’ve tried yoga (close, but still excited my inner perfectionist), I’ve tried various other physical activities that one must be present in their body to be able to participate in and enjoy.  But, my mind escapes me and goes where emotion and feeling cannot affect it.  The base feelings and sensations of my body are too raw.  They do not exist in my cerebral lifestyle of avoiding emotions.  I am slowly discovering that they way I am to go out of my mind, is to go into my body.

I want to dissolve

and let every atom of my being disperse

into the air.

I can no longer be contained

strung together by hopes

easily obliterated by thoughts.


Destruction is their intent

So, I will save them the trouble in



And when all my pieces are carefully reconstructed, I will have peace of mind and body, and they will work in harmony with one another.

Trying to Hang a Shining Star

I have spent this holiday season inundating my brain with an endless stream of romantic (and sadly, typically Hallmark, the sappiest of the sappy) movies.  They promise a certain magic surrounding this time of the year.  Snow, mistletoe, etc.  I have believed in the magic of the winter solstice for as long as I can remember, but despite my belief, spawned by a childhood vision of Santa (lol, I know),  I have never been a personal witness to its enchantments but only an outsider hoping for just a little spark.

Obviously, I have given to false expectations to hope for a holiday miracle, but this year, of all years, I was really, really hoping for one.  It never came.  Does that mean that high expectations are my problem?  I constantly read that I must give up on all expectations, or else.   Sure, expectations are a disastrous source of disappointment.  In fact, they are quite possibly, the root of all disappointment.  So, maybe I should give them up.  But, what does that mean exactly?  Give up all my hopes? All my daydreams? All of what my intuition tells me because all is uncertain, and my future is forever hidden from me? I have to wait for it to reveal itself in time?  Really? It feels impossible.

That is when I have to realize that all this “holiday magic” is a self-fulfilling prophecy.  I have to make the magic for it to exist at all.  Which, in reality, does not feel very magical at all.  It feels like work.  It feels like waiting.  I don’t like how either of those feel.  But, I must learn patience. I must learn to let go.  Maybe then I will be in tune with all this supposed abundance that awaits me upon relinquishing everything.

I’m Not Cookies Yet.

My loneliness has become palpable, like a second skin with a separate set of nerve endings from the one’s I was given at birth.  I feel it look out into the world hoping, waiting, looking for love.  It is strange to me because I have lived a life of hiding from and distancing myself from love because it is too painful, but this newly shaping shell of vulnerability (odd how it has shaped itself upon a once impenetrable shield) looks for new sensations whether they be of love or of pain.  Extreme vulnerability is a terribly fragile state to find one’s self in though vulnerability, in and of itself, can be quite beautiful.  It is navigating the stream of emotions that is difficult for me.

Soft on the outside, soft on the inside, with a hard layer in between.  Sounds like a fucked up new candy bar, but no, its me.  These extremes of desire to love and be loved are contrasted by my distrust of love and my inability to allow myself to feel it.  It is a strange and horrible way to live: to always be wanting something but to also continuously deny it to yourself. or allow yourself to have it, then feel desperately guilty about it.

Sometimes I feel that my loneliness is insatiable. No amount of love will ever fulfill its needs.  Maybe that is true.  Maybe that is why I will possibly never be happy.  Because I do not let myself.

Happiness is too fragile to be trusted, but it’s joy is endlessly appealing to those who feel they can never achieve it.  Is it as nice as it appears to be?  Something tells me no.  What I call happiness is un-achievable perfection, apparently.  But, it’s not.  It’s merely knowing that I am seen, respected, desired, and loved.  Nothing more, and nothing less.

I can bravely face a world of love twisted by pain on my own, but I would so much prefer to have someone beside me who understands me to endure it with during the good and the bad.  But, getting to the point of acceptance between my extremes is the key.   The wise Buffy the Vampire Slayer once said (yes, Buffy.  Shut up.),

I’m cookie dough. I’m not done baking. I’m not finished becoming who ever the hell it is I’m gonna turn out to be. I make it through this, and the next thing, and the next thing, and maybe one day, I turn around and realize I’m ready. I’m cookies. And then, you know, if I want someone to eat m- or enjoy warm, delicious, cookie me, then that’s fine. That’ll be then. When I’m done.

I’m just not cookies yet.

Modern Fairy Tale

I still believe in the fantasy of love. Fairy tales, white knights, the works. I want someone to pick up my broken pieces and make me whole again. But, reality tells me that my prince will never come. Fairy tales are not real.

I am the one who will mend my splintered soul with time and perhaps a little starlight (and probably a few glasses of wine). Learning to love myself is going to be my greatest love story. But, will this ease the constant feeling of wanting and waiting?

I want someone to see me, to respect me, to challenge me to be my best. See, the modern Prince Charming is not looking for a damsel in distress to kiss and magically make everything better. This prince accepts that everyone is always growing and learning. He is supportive and accepting of his princess’s current state of distress and he proudly stands by her side while she slays her own dragons. (Ok. He would help if the situation warranted. You get the metaphor)

I won’t stop believing that somewhere out there there is someone who can accept the challenge of loving me, and love me wholly. Somewhere, under the same moon and stars as I, he exists. The question remains: Where the hell is he? Until then, I will be appreciative of this time I’ve been given to pick up my pieces, examine them, and decide which ones stay and which ones go. It’s all part of my modern fairy tale.

Lights in the Night

I see the tractor lights illuminating the fields late into the night this time of year.  I don’t know the circumstances of the particular farmer I am seeing as my guardian tonight, but the lights make me think of my grandfather. He would work the fields after working long days in a dismal courthouse tax office. My grandmother worked equally as hard at keeping the home fires burning. They worked and lived many of their hours apart, but their love for each other, for their family, and for their shared hopes and dreams held them together despite their physical separation.

This is the love I thought I had. An enduring love. A faithful love. But, I was fooled. Maybe my love was never real, maybe it was a victim of addiction, or maybe it was manipulated away by the deadly song of awaiting sirens. I don’t know. I never will.

Somehow, I am supposed to submissively accept my fate. But, I won’t. It’s not in me to give up all I believe to be right in this world and to completely void what has been my life’s purpose these last twenty years. I will not quietly acquiesce to the hand I have been dealt. I rage against it.

My rage, however fiery it feels to my soul, does not reach out to burn those who have wronged me. Believe me, if it could, I would gladly let it. But, their hearts are too cold and calloused to be touched.

Let the fire inside of me be then a beacon to the lost and the loveless since it cannot touch those who lit it. Change this burning hate into love.

Love for those who have lost hope, love for those who are left behind, those who offer their their entire beings to aid another. Let’s leave those who defile the pure hearts of the vulnerable to feel the true darkness of life without the kind and good for they will never know real love.