My Crow for Love

Loved… AHHHHH. Carmen and Peggy, I am most certain that you both are loved and capable of giving love, but allowing it to happen? Being vulnerable and accepting it? Giving it freely without expectation? Yes these are challenges we must face! How do you define it? When you think of love, is it something that you feel? Do? Think? Want? Need? Does it cause you stress just to think about it? What is it that makes it so powerful? So scary? How high are your walls and why? These are all questions I have posed to myself at times.
 I’m going to start by attempting to define LOVE, or my interpretation of it. Funny that the definition of Love lists it both as a noun and a verb. Ok, maybe its not that funny  outside my mind.
 
verb
verb: love; 3rd person present: loves; past tense: loved; past participle: loved; gerund or present participle: loving
  1. 1.
    feel a deep romantic or sexual attachment to (someone). “do you love me?”
noun
noun: love; plural noun: loves
  1. 1.
    an intense feeling of deep affection for example: babies fill parents with intense feelings of love OR she was the love of his life
I guess if you ponder it long enough, you could see how it could be both. I have never really set out to define it, but before I started looking around, I guess I generally classified it as an emotion. But does it really fit in the same category as Happy, Sad, Angry, etc.? So I continued on with my internet searching… that’s where we find all the best information, right? I found one reading with an interesting viewpoint about emotions and feelings and if they are the same or different?
Many people use the words “emotions” and “feelings” to mean the same thing.   However,  I suggest that you think of emotions and feelings as distinct, but highly related things —  two sides of the same coin.  One side of the coin is an emotion:  a physical response to change that is hard-wired and universal.  The other side of the coin is your feeling: mental associations and reactions to an emotion that are personal, acquired through experience.   Despite seeming interchangeable, emotions actually proceed feelings.   Like with coins, what you notice will depend upon where you are looking
 
Because emotions are physical, they can be measured objectively by blood flow, brain activity, facial expressions and body stance.   Because feelings are mental, they cannot be measured precisely.  Emotions are generally predictable and easily understood, while feelings are often idiosyncratic and confusing.   Feelings reflect your personal associations to emotions – the other side of the coin.”
But where does love really fit in? I believe that it could potentially be measured objectively through blood flow, brain activity, and so on, but could definitely also be idiosyncratic and confusing. FOR sure confusing, lol.
LOVE! One word….. 4 little letters that can mean so many different things, for me anyways, and it only seems to get more complicated the more I think about it. Regardless of the depth of my current level of cognitive energy spent trying to define it, I know that definitely…… I love love, in every form. Does it come with risks, most certainly. Did I have to learn to love it? Most certainly! However, when you feel it, and it overwhelms you and you are completely absorbed by love, I would say it outweighs most heartbreak. Maybe I’m just getting old…. getting soft.. but I feel love more than any other feeling. Maybe it started with the challenge of truly learning to love myself? How many times can I use the word love in this blog and still have it seem relevant and purposeful in each placement? *Devilish Grin*
I haven’t always loved love. It has taken a long time and a lot of work. Forgiveness has been monumental in my ability to love, whether its myself, my mother, kids, friends, family, or my lover. I think the hardest love for me to accept is that from a man/lover/partner. Loving my kids was easy, especially after I learned forgiveness. Mostly I needed to forgive myself for the shitty choices I made throughout their childhood. Like being 17 and taking a bong hit while I breast fed my infant. FUCKING BRILLIANT (dumbass) or the time I got wasted drunk while we were on a mini-vacation in Seattle with the in-laws and I locked myself in the bathroom all night. The kids pissed out the window of the hotel. Not that I think they minded, but looking back I think WTF? They turned out alright.  Ever since I first laid eyes on their squished little heads. I can recall the feelings of love pouring out of me when they were little, it still does.
Then there’s my momma, I can’t even begin to measure how much love I have for her. It took me a few years of being a mother myself to see her for her. I often told her I wish she could see herself through my eyes. Being “grown” and seeing things from a different side, I was able to turn the focus of my upbringing to highlight the positive awesome things we did. There was likely an equal share of terrible things that happened, but overall, my mom did the best she could with the tools she had. At one point, she was a single mom working 3 jobs and trying to take college classes. At another point, she was leaving her kids at the babysitter til 1 or 2 in the morning while she was out at the bar. These were her struggles. First, I forgave her without telling her. Then seeing that she was still struggling I forgave her out loud, to her. With further conversation over the years, it was like a big load lifted off her. She’s been gone two and a half years now, but I still am learning important life lessons from her influences. I treasure them. Love and acceptance are 2 of the biggest that are ongoing.   I believe that other than my momma, probably my children are the only people in my life that I was able to love when I couldn’t manage to even feel anything else, like when your whole world crashes, numbness sets in, nothing matters, fuck life, can I disappear now, kind of not feeling anything else. The attachment to my mother and kids keep me going. Its unconditional, its free, and even if they hated me and walked away to never see me again, I would still love them. How could I not? They were born from my womb and I from hers.
Can I love inanimate things, like the ocean – cuz I do. Watching the power of the waves and all the things associated brings the familiar sensation to the center of my chest. It’s an energy that is not easily described, only that for me, that’s how I know its love. I love my pets, does that count?
Ok, ok, I have been avoiding this long enough. The scariest form of love. Relationships. UGH!! (Insert walls here, like tall ones, made of the strongest stone, and a moat. Yes, a moat filled with the most vile creatures) My ex-husband taught me how to build walls. We were together from the time I was 16 til just before my 30th birthday. There were lots of fun times in our marriage, and for most of it I was head over heels in love. The butterflies stayed far longer than anyone ever mentioned they would, but were they actually butterflies or were they some nasty moth eating me from the inside out? BUT after the divorce and the next few years of hard work and struggles, its apparent to me that although we gave it a good try, that was not the kind of love I wanted. When we separated, I was beat down. I didn’t dare look at my face in the mirror, I didn’t know the power of looking myself in the eyes. I nearly turned into that Whore he always said I was through reckless sexual behavior. It was tough, I was a faithful wife, prided myself in this, never even kissed another man for the 13 years we were together, but I paid emotionally for being a girl with a vagina. I got fat while we were together because I felt it kept other men from wanting me and maybe he would see it as an act of my devotion to him. (I’m still fat haha) I have put in tremendous work, into me to get past this. I can look in the mirror. I do love myself, and when I forget to, I find a mirror and stare myself down. I look into my own soul and remind myself of who I am.
My current relationship is a new experience. I could tell from the start that it has the potential to be something awesome, but there will be a lot of work along the way. I have walls and I have let them down a few times, only to feel the heartbreak that can come along with that. But we are both learning. He has had some terrible relationships as well and has an equally hard time being vulnerable and letting people in. He has high walls. Having walls is necessary to protect ourselves, but I do not want to live forever inside mine. There’s something there though, a kinship I have never experienced. I am learning how not to push. I love him. We have come to a point where it gets mentioned once in a while, but its not something I say every day, I show it everyday, he shows it every day. Through all the little things. I think the biggest difference for me with this relationship is I keep a lot of it to myself. I keep the intimate things private for the most part. Every little detail, or fight, or awesome display of love that we share is not announced to the world, I don’t brag or bitch to my friends on the regular. Its between me and him, but every girl needs at least one closest confidant that she can be completely transparent with. Can fess up to her own bullshit and not just twist it to see his. I have this, its a good balance and keeps me centered. I feel myself growing more.
Hearing the call of the CROWS has allowed for a colossal shift in my thinking. I welcome it freely and look forward to the things to come. Who’d have known that a group of small town girls could turn into such influential women. I thank you for allowing me to be a part of this movement and hope to continue to feel the strength of CROWING LOVE.

A Glimpse of Self-Awareness

Me, a type 8? Are you serious? That was my reaction when I attempted some enneagram testing the first time. I was convinced it was wrong, surely I had to be a 2. The Helper. That was me, all nurturing and stuff. The woman who presented this to the office, a woman with whom I had also been doing some spiritual work with, laughed at me. Well, she told me, I was most certainly an 8. I groaned. Read the description, it doesn’t look nice at all. POWERFUL and DOMINATING… I was a nice girl, at least that’s what I always told myself. Now this woman who did the presentation, let’s call her Bertie, she knew me pretty well. I was able to share things with her that I didn’t even care to say out loud. I had hit a place in my life where I could feel the potential for some serious personal growth, which naturally turned into a path of professional growth as well.  The enneagram was the gate to a whole new world of self-awareness.
I started to listen and question myself, constantly gauging my reactions to everyday things in life. Through the next couple years I worked hard to pause myself and let people exist around me without telling them  when, why, and how to do it, etc., it was tough at times. I learned how to empower people by giving them knowledge and decisions, instead of telling them how they should do “life”. I basically put my opinions in the back seat where I could keep an eye on them, but keep them in check while I worked on figuring out the big question “who I am”
My work changed from the focus of just my personality, to being more aware of all of myself.  I noticed the more work I did, the more I was letting my walls down. Allowing myself to be vulnerable. It was weird and foreign, but I knew good things would come of it.
“Bertie” invited me to walk a labyrinth.  Have you walked a labyrinth? Its a pattern in the ground, a path that looks like a maze, but there is only one way in and one way out, no wrong turns or tricks. There’s multitudes of religious and spiritual meanings that are attributed to this path, but here was my instructions. We were both going to walk it. She would start and I needed to wait a certain amount of time to give her space to be far enough ahead of me that I would not catch up. There was no talking, no interrupting. Once you cross the threshold, your mind and heart are open, you are to receive whatever is brought to you and spend time in reflection for things that come to mind. There was a small task of working on something that was causing an issue in your life, but not allowing it to take over. This was my first real exercise in Mindfulness.
I don’t remember every little detail of my walking experience, but I came away with some very profound insights. The task that was my issue to think about involved relationships with men and how they all seemed to turn to shit at some point and I was tired of the drag it was putting on my life and most of all my kids. I spent a couple years in a relationship that took my attention from my kids more than I would have liked, but I didn’t see it until it was over and I was reflecting back during this walk. I could have delved deeper and deeper, but decided that this particular situation had taken enough of my time. I wanted to receive the energy of the earth around me. It was mid-april so there were birds and sunshine and beautiful greenery. The labyrinth was set on Bertie’s friends property so it was private, it was just her and I. Once the conversation had stopped and the walking had began, the birds came back to what they were doing before we arrived. Before stepping over the line into the pathway, I allowed for my instructed time to let Bertie get started before my journey commenced. I took time to notice every little thing, the sounds, sights, smells, everything. Then as I was in the depth of my mind, my soul, walking the pathway, something weird happened that stopped me in my tracks. I noticed an alligator in the grass, it was just there out of nowhere, but had really been there the whole time. It was part of the decoration, I had walked by it at least a half dozen times, looking in its same direction at the birds around it and the trees that were behind it, but never, NEVER seeing it. It scared me. I stopped. I think back to the physical reaction, (heart rate through the roof, short scattered breaths) and then the realization that as I thought I was so aware and perceptive of my surroundings, there was an alligator that I didn’t even notice, what else in life do I not notice? After a minute or so, I decided I needed to get walking and could further contemplate the relativity of the alligator to my life as I wandered the path. There was just one problem. I had no idea which way was forward or which way I had come from. I was standing in the corner of the path in which I had been walking when I got distracted and I was LOST! The effects were crazy. The world silenced as my mind raced.The physical feelings of being lost rose in the back of my throat. I wanted to cry and puke at the same time. Now I wasn’t really lost, I could look and see Bertie as she gracefully maneuvered the path, still going towards the center, but there was no way even assessing her journey that I could figure out which way I was supposed to go. I couldn’t just stand there forever, I had to move my feet. So I walked the path, not knowing if the direction I was going was right or not. The physical manifestations of panic and fear and insecurity were so intense I could barely get a full breath in. Not wanting to be a distraction, I forced myself to hold all this in, abiding by no talking no interrupting the journey. It the first time in my life that I stood, feeling completely defenseless to the world and SO completely lost, not knowing where I was going. I had been scared before, beat down emotionally,  left with nothing, questioned my direction, and had never felt anything even mildly close to this. Maybe because I never allowed myself to reach this level of vulnerability? I don’t know, so I walked. slowly. This time it wasn’t because I was absorbing the world around me, I was in a stupor for the first few sections of the path. Still frantically trying to figure out if I was going towards the center or back to the start. Well, as it turns out, I ended up back at the start. By the time I got there, my breathing and heart rate had returned to normal. The frantic, panicked thoughts subsided as I reflected on how great the impact of this lesson was. When I reached the starting line, I did not step outside the path. I stayed. Inside the labyrinth. My journey was not over. I turned around and completed what I had set out to do, still taking my time, still abiding by the rules, but with a new and raw sense of awareness.
I could probably write another 2 or 3 pages on the rest of my walk towards the center and what I found there and my journey back out, but I’ll savor some of that as my own and save you the extra long read. Bertie sensed my strange energy, she knew I had started over and we discussed it in depth after we both had stepped outside the path. Describing what I felt and how my body reacted brought involuntary tears to my eyes. She could relate. We finished conversation and left. I was high. On spirituality. This was new for me and I craved more.
 I should set the picture of the setting maybe a little more. During this walk, I was never out of sight of my vehicle, my Bertie, or the birds and bugs that were bouncing around. The labyrinth is set in a small yard that is secluded from onlookers, nestled up on the hillside with trees and fields on every side. The path laid out in the grass, identified by stones that line the grassy walkway, with a pile of stones and tokens brought there by the journeys​ of others marks the center. You can feel the energy of the land the minute your foot makes contact. I wish I would have walked it barefoot. Maybe its due time to walk it again….
labyrinth 1This is not the actual labyrinth that I walked, but the depicts the correct pattern and feeling of quiet and natural space.

Love and the Feeling of….

Oh man..   Loved?   Have I ever felt loved?   Goodness, what an arbitrary question. Many times have I felt loved.   Many times has someone released themselves energetically to myself. Many times are they that someone handed me the trust of themselves to share and be accepted. Many conversations have been handed to me where one might trust me with their truth and actions in intent. Many times has someone purchased a gift in my name and presented it to me with heartfelt intent. Many smiles and hugs. Ears listening… while I spew hate and emotion to get it OUT!   OUT!  Many times have I been blessed with an angel carrying a message that I alone needed to hear.  Many times has the universe sent me exactly what I needed to grow. Many questions answered. Many dangerous situations diffused. Many times has goddess sent me exactly what I’ve asked for. Many times I have felt all varieties of love. The amount of graces and acts of love are so many that I couldn’t possibly list or remember them all…….

However, those things never came complete with my acceptance and vulnerability.  I firmly believe that though, in small ways I’ve accepted these act of love, I have not ever fully emmersed myself into the truth of love itself.   Gifts come with opinions and rights. I have just begun to accept me and recognize that I live in fear where love is concerned.  To live in an abstract world where negative and positive are only words used as secondary labels in my love.  The question remains to me.  How can one feel loved? If they have not experienced it themselves, how does one accept love in a mundane sense? and comply with its limits?   I’ve always felt love from others  I’ve always been handed that opposite of fear. But not until recently have I been able to accept love as the concentrated whole that it is.   To accept love fully I would have to be able to look at loves perceived opposite and agree that it makes a whole.. My ego states that this would be ignorant.  Can you imagine all the things I would have to change about myself to accept that there is no negative in the foundation of my life story? That those things are love? AHHHH  makes me want to locate my gun just thinking about it.  I understand this in theory. HA   but in the physical world if you want to hand me something I’m scared of I will go insane on you. I am more willing to make chaos my game than I am for it to make me whole.. I have felt whole love but I have not yet danced with and experienced it… I have no faith….. in my ability to return whole (as love, with love, again ignoring the process)

 

I recently went on a journey to be the love that I believe in. I got cracked wide open. I stood bravely in the face of my own inner fears. What came looked something like The end of ” For Colored Girls”.

Being loved by others while ignoring love in its essence feels like fun. Ive spent many years accepting love from others in the form of gifts and intent…..  but they are different words for a reason.  Intent isn’t love and gifts have another definition of their own. I, in return, gifted and had wonderful intentions for others.

Khalil Gibran, a perceived father of mine, spelled out years ago what love is and what it will do to me.  I had made love my arch nemesis here in this life to avoid anymore pain. I had been unwilling to inflict anymore upon myself and was willing to accept my decision in this matter……   Khalil gave me a choice. I have recently chosen different..  I have chosen to take the ride and I do believe I came out a little more enlightend   but I’m not sure( I get to pay my shrink 300 dollars this afternoon to tell me wether I’m even on the right track.) I have felt loved and it is treacherous and amazing and beautiful.  The truth is, if love is what your experiencing you have no choice but to come back whole. The experience? HAHAHA  what does it feel like? FFFUUUUUUCKKK YOU!

 

“When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.
For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.”

A few sentences later, he hits on the need for vulnerability.
“If in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor,
Into the season less world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter and weep, but not all of your tears.
As for finding love, we cannot direct the course.
And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.”
As for your desires, turning into vulnerability, Gibran, who echoes Alfred Lord Tennyson’s sentiment when he said ‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all,’ writes:
“To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged hear and give thanks for another day of loving.
Love is process, not an outcome.”

Love is not the person loving you but the essence inside of them. When love shows up in another person who, in the end, still wants to hold you and grow with you and all of your ugly is hanging out and you’ve become real, like the velveteen rabbit…. ITs the scariest shit EVER..  I feels a little something like slow death.

 

 

 

 

 

Eating Crow

Tony Robbins and I cooled down after a vigorous run to down town Port Townsend from our motel by the sea. I was looking forward to the outsize Jacuzzi soak after the run, and also logically knew I needed a cool down before immersing warm muscles into the water. So Tony and I chatted. Well, he spoke, I listened. He asked me to think of one thing I want to change in my life. My staunch response was between “I don’t need to change anything because I am perfect right now” and pure panic and another voice saying “Shit. What don’t you want to change…”

And for 4 days, I had a migraine that took my soul out of my body and replaced the carcass with an ailing woman in a cave trying to not only find the light, but be able to emotionally and physically handle the light once I discover it.
Holy Fucking Analogy.

4 days of the worst pain, anger seething in my body and feeling imperfect and raw and ugly. Like a mean dog ready to take a bite out of anyone’s leg lest they show the slightest intent of kicking me somehow. I call this (in my now observatory state) a DEFENSE SYSTEM.

I crack myself up. The need for control, the projection of everyone trying to control me. The sadness, the empathy towards abusers because deep down I know I have that capability as well. The knowledge of how selfish and narcissist I truly am about my time. As though no one else worries about time, only me and I should be placated. Oh Tony Robbins, what did you ask of me?

Why do I feel like my partner will end up with someone else? Is it my historical past? Tony Robbins says if you’re going to blame someone for your past then you must also be honest about thanking them for the goodness they provided to you. Every time I began to speak about my mom, my exes, my old friends whom I have fallen out with, I challenged myself to say something good about them afterwards. I feel a little freedom here, and a total loss of control that also feels a little like something else…freedom?

I was a poor single mom, acting like a shithead for a long time. My need to be loved by a mate eclipsed the love I had from my children. I was a stupid kind of bitch back then, and on the other side my intention was pure in finding love, I know I lacked definition. In every part of my life. I wish I could rewind, and that will always be my biggest regret and sadness. The inability to be loved at that time by my children while they were so formative…This forgiveness of that fact will take a long time. Thanks for the motivation Tony Robbins. The pain I feel from this regret will motivate my change into a human who is beautifully aware of herself, her needs, and the needs of others.

What else? The cave from the migraine and the shedding of my inner lining was physically crippling and all I had was time to ponder what else I wanted to change to achieve inner joy and experience sadness honestly.
I went grocery shopping, a task I loathe but am learning to like (or at least tolerate) as long as I can wear headphones. Grocery shopping is intense for some reason, even though I like shopping. Something to explore another day; Anxiety in the grocery store. (My reward today was purchasing a Palm tree.)

Then I faced my credit. I hate my bank but to be honest I am screwed and have to stay with them because my credit sucks. This is due to a number of factors, and I would admit I am responsible for 2/3rd s of that debt. But no. Tony Robbins called me out again. Get real Peggy, he said, stop making excuses. This is your life. I am scrubbing the floors of my bathroom in my duplex we rent. The linoleum is mostly intact, but there is a weird yellow stain on the floor, paint and corrosion on the baseboards, and I can brush my teeth and take a shit at the same time. We are not homeless, this is great. But when did I decide that giving up and being prideful about my fucking credit was more important than providing a sturdy structure in which to live in with my family? Just pay the $43.02 to close the credit filing from your ex husbands account whose name you didn’t bother removing until he over drafted. Holy Shit Lady!!! Are you serious??? That guy hasn’t been around in years and here you are lugging that pain and pride around. Like I have ever been perfect. Hello two way street. Good to know you. Maybe I should start looking both ways.

Tony Robbins was shaking his head and laughing at me now. He said, “So, do you want to come out of your shame and fix your life? Do you want to be able to smile and mean it? Do you want to see the change? Then admit your human mistakes and move forward.”

I have always weighed 155 lbs and smoked cigarettes. My kids know me by my cough. That shit is real. The challenge was to find courage to change. One day at a time. One moment at a time. One brutally aware motherfucker. Right here. I want to represent strength, so I need to grow strong. I purchased Beachbody and secretly work out and eat keto. And cheat with ice cream or pizza once a week. I quit smoking all the time. I just keep at it. I will understand this relationship I have with impulses as I continue to listen.

I’ve been reading about the 8 Pillars of Joy. I highly recommend you check out this link, it’s a great description, and a great book.
http://www.keithedwards.com/2017/04/18/5-lessons-from-the-book-of-joy/
Oh Humility. Thank you for the lesson.
I called and paid off $1900 in debt. My credit score went up 89 points.

I’m an asshole. I have been for quite some time. Assholes Anonymous, right here. Confession; I no longer want to be an asshole. I want to be a vagina. JK JK. But you get me. I want to no longer further any hurt,with good intentions or not. I want to let go. I’m sorry. This is me eating Crow.

Disclaimer: I never actually spoke to Tony Robbins. I listened. Also, I don’t hear voices necessarily, this is more of an inner voice thing. I’m okay. I’m fine.
Cover Crowing Love

Self Awareness enneagram

https://www.enneagraminstitute.com/how-the-enneagram-system-works/  http://www.9types.com/rheti/index.php

First, here’s to meanruthie for Challenging me with self awareness as a topic. I am so self aware  HAHAHAH   well, until I take tests that show me myself to my face. Then I’m just Carmen living in a confused version of my own vertical prison. Much love to you. And to my lack of self awareness..

 

I consciously avoided this topic from the moment it was posted. As I read the assignment my eyes got big and my head spinned.  ( is spinned a word?)   DOUBT..  that’s all I’m aware of.

” What kind of bullshit can I come up with that makes me sound like I know what I am all about today?   None.. So, ill just put it off till I can oppose someone else…”

That never happened….

I finally crouched in and made myself not just take this test, but to research it and its intricacies.   TO my complete surprise this test gave me quite the overview.  Myself in a nutshell. My unhealthy self. My healthy self. My unhealthy reactions. How they hinder my progress, and  how I can intercept those actions to integrate into the loop of my higher self. Yes it brought me down even into my spirituality.   AHHHH the road to self actualization

As it sits I am  a frim 8..  8 with nothing following closely. The Leader. This… 100%… I can agree with. This we knew. What I didn’t know was how I lead and how this always causes me to strive for independence and knowledge as well as fearing co dependence and ignorance.

The 8 has wonderful qualities for healing humanity and inspiring change through their action in the world. I’ve always known that this was my job.  Giving people permission to be whoever the fuck they want at their own will. With ” lead by example” as a motto.

However, I will say that, it also explains my line of work and the fight.  HAHAH not to mention many of the issues I run into in relationships.   It also explains how to work within them to make them work.

I think I need to be more aware of my judgment and my narcissism. This is not a fault of all 8s but it’s not hard to see, finally, how I , in lower levels of my type,( when I’m not fulfilled) go to work on others or mistakenly use them to fill my ego, and even perhaps, with partners take their own beautiful characteristics as weakness. When the ” weaknesses ” often , in fact, compliment me perfectly.

Basically when I’m at the top of my vertical lines I’m powerful , unstoppable and a great advocate for empowerment and truth in my peers and partners world. At the bottom I am a controlling obsessive, insecure, violating overachiever looking for kudos.   That is very hard for my ego to swallow!  But its true.  I was stoked to read that these qualities coincide directly with my astrological charting and make perfect sense.  I am, as of right now,  on an immediate path to higher self.  Ive looked for this specific map of me and can clearly see what I need to work on to become what I view as an appropriate 8.

Thankfully, the enneagram shows exactly were to go from there and how to break my fearful circles.  I am appreciative of this opportunity and will write more later when I’m not questioning the fuck out of why I have been such a pompous dick. I really hope every crow takes the hour or so to look into their test and find the charts on the web page.  It was very eye opening to be handed such a clear picture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Johnny

Johnny
Little Sweet Johnny

Johnny died today, eleven years ago. Well, it was probably today. He was found sitting peacefully against a tree by some hikers. They thought he was sleeping until they came back hours later and noticed he had not moved and had a needle in his arm. He had overdosed on an eightball- crack cocaine and methamphetamines.

I like to think he was smiling, that he had his most euphoric, happiest memories at the last moment and all the beauty flashed before his eyes, none of the ugly. I like to think he thought about how much I loved him, how he was my best friend and that he remembered before the drugs when he loved me too.

I don’t want to think that he remembered our last words: a fight on the phone a week prior. When he called he asked if he could go to our family cabin in Alaska and I said no. I told myself it was because I was worried he’d get in trouble there again. He had already been in prison for armed robbery that occurred when he was there last. It was another user and Johnny’s desperate attempt for meth money. I was scared of him traveling from Arizona to Alaska.

The last time I saw him, he drove up in a beat up old car with candles on the dash for defrost because it didn’t have a working heater. He had a girlfriend with a two year old son in tow and they spent a week sleeping on our living room floor, only getting up to eat chips and hot dogs, while I cared for the baby who had burned both hands on our propane stove right away while under their supervision. The poor little guy was miserable with gauze wrapped hands and diaper rash. He melted onto me in need of affection and love. He wanted me to hold him constantly, even when his mom was awake. I knew they had been on drugs and were crashing. My husband and I frantically thought of a way to keep the baby. We had already blown our grocery budget and were struggling. Then they were asking for gas money to leave and I was honestly relieved, although terrified for their safety. I regret that I didn’t save that baby. Or my little brother. I didn’t know what to do. I was in denial then. I stuffed the guilt away.

When he was found, I was on a fabulous, all expenses paid, 3 day wine tour with my coworkers and friends, our bosses, and our wine rep. We wined and dined, visited wineries and grape fields, had lessons from expert growers and were drinking expensive, beautiful wines from 8am until the bars closed. I was having a great time. On the long trip home in the rental van, I recounted the story of how Johnny and I had recently talked on the phone and it ended with him angrily shouting “Forget you ever had a brother, you fucking cunt!” then slamming the phone down. I told them that I felt so guilty because he had been living on park benches or in shelters in Phoenix and he hated it there, and called it the armpit of America. They all agreed that I’d done the right thing, forbidding him from the cabin. Little did I know what I was about to walk into.

As soon as I got home, I was so excited to see my family and give my little girls their presents. As we were hugging, I sat their dad’s gift of a few nice bottles on the table, noticed an alarming look on his face, then turned around with instant foreboding. Right in front of me on the counter was a scratch pad with the words Maricopa County homicide detective, a name and phone number. The last thing I remember was an inhuman howl coming out of me and falling to the kitchen floor. Later, I recall few moments of lucidity as I was in a sedated state in bed for some time. I saw my babies’ scared faces as they cuddled me in bed and gave me so much love. They took such good care of me.

Eventually I came back to life for my family’s sake. But inside, in the darkest place, I was hating myself. Our last words were vile and I realized that the reason I said no to Johnny about the cabin was because I was afraid he would steal everything and sell it. He had done that already when my grandma and dad were alive and had not been in their wills as a result, which is why he was asking my permission to go up there. I became aware of my ugliness, my selfishness. And I started to hate myself in earnest. This awareness started a downward spiral for me. I did anything I could to numb my feelings. I started to think my life would be better if I got a divorce and my husband was willing to support whatever I needed. So I looked at apartments and got really scared. Then cheated on my husband. I hated him then, unfairly. I turned everything that was miserable about my life into his fault. But I stayed and after awhile of hating myself and my husband, we reconciled..without ever discussing what had happened, although he clearly knew. I think he pitied me so much that he allowed all of my bad behavior. He took care of me and the kids when I was hungover in the mornings. I slowly returned to a stable place, but it was short lived.

It took a long time and a lot of struggles to get to where I am now. He’s been gone for eleven years. I can say that I’m happy that he’s not hurting anymore and I believe he is somewhere that’s better than here. I think he has that infectious smile on his face and giggles all the time.

When he died he was thirty-five and only 2 years younger than me. Emotionally and mentally, he was like a teenager, which is when he first started using anything he could to numb his feelings. There was no substance he would not eagerly and repeatedly use. From cough syrup to meth. I picked him up once at a crack house in Portland’s notorious Columbia Villa, a 1942 housing barracks for shipbuilders in WWII turned gang ridden ghetto to some 400 households, where drive by shootings were common, and I was terrified. When I parked my car and went into the dilapidated apartment, several people including Johnny were smoking crack on a sofa.They passed the pipe to me and I refused. The air was thick with smoke and I got him out of there as fast as possible, took him to inpatient treatment, and he soon ran away. There were so many of these incidents with Johnny, and they broke my heart over and over again. He abused my boundaries time after time, stole from me, and conned me in every way. But I still loved my brother fiercely. As much as when I hid him in a drawer to save him as a baby. As much as I do today.

I have forgiven myself because I could not save him. It was never in my power. I still feel ashamed that I didn’t do something for the toddler he brought to my home because I was ignorant and afraid to make Johnny hate me. I have forgiven myself for how I reacted to his death, for how I wronged my family. I accepted that my feelings of selfishness for preserving what was left from our ancestors were real, but forgivable, and that it was my great responsibility to protect the land they left. I have forgiven Johnny for leaving me alone. I know he was not meant for this earth. He was too sweet, loving, and hurt. He could never seem to hold onto a wallet or identification, but he always carried a picture of me. He would show it to his friends and say “You want to see the most beautiful girl in the world? My sister”. I know he loved me as much as I loved him. And I know he’ll be waiting for me one day. And we’ll build forts and climb trees, and it will be worth our time apart.

Self Aware of a Crappy Attitude

I was busy being self aware the other day by telling my husband what to do.

“What you SHOULD do is…” and “What you’re not doing is…”

Look at me having all the answers.

As life often time will hand you your own behavior, life spoke up and I realized in a moment of husband awareness that every word I spoke to him was meant for myself. I apologized and began noticing my pattern of self-awareness through projection.  This is not a quality value nor an endearing trait. I was being a real asshole.

I listened to my advice I gave out so freely to friends, my family, the world. Every word had my own beliefs wrapped inside safely and delicately and was delivered to the wrong recipient. I have to stop talking to become self aware, and with that glaring obvious detail, I wrapped up cozy in a blanket of self and observed.  I did not even know what the problem was arising, but I felt my third eye opening, and it felt like salt water on a wound. Somewhat painful, somewhat delightful. What I want to be reality is a persona of Peggy, walking around and letting the world’s problems roll off the shoulders like a Buddhist practice in understanding and empathy. Instead, my anger would build and build and my response was in the form of an explosion.

I began to observe my habits like a psychological experiment. I monitored (through my FitBit) the variables that contributed to the anger feeling. How much sleep was I getting? How much exercise? What is my BPM when I get the warning signal that my patience is about depleted? What did I do in those times of emotional distress? The answers were pointed.

I need more sleep, I cannot talk to anyone after 113 BPM with a logical brain (therefore, I take a 5 min time out to breathe and return to resting BPM), I need 1.5 hours a day for workouts and hygiene. I need to eat clean (no unnatural sugars).  The questions and the answers were simple enough, but bringing self awareness to these habits helped me to make decisions concerning my own “treatment” plan.

I also learned that Full Moon and my emotions are directly linked. I have been studying this data for 1 year now, and I believe a nice cave is needed when a full moon is in play. This is the time when I need to be especially nice to myself. I listed comforts on little sticky notes and placed them around my work place as a reminder.

My moods are directly linked to frustration out of lack of planning. A simple meal plan quells my soul. The food nourishes, the exercises builds strength and self esteem and is a natural anti-depressant. I need to take better care of  myself.

This exercise in self-awareness was beautiful and I truly thank MeanRuthie for the blog prompt.

In order to be, we must practice.

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