the fairy tale we dream of is now

the fairy tale we dream of is now

Sometimes you need to meditate; sometimes you need to cry.

Sometimes your thoughts and feelings will pour out of your fingers, and sometimes they sit in the dark, stalking through shadows while you peer into the eerie pools of shimmery gray water that rest on the stone-cold floor, trying to make sense of the shapes you see.

In Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, Anne Lamott says to never write on a Monday in December. Mondays in December, draped in the dreariness of post-freedom chains, are simply impossible for writing.

So now here I sit at my computer in the still-dark morning of the last Monday in December, allowing the words to catch the tears as they stream, effortlessly, down my cheeks.

Sometimes it’s meditation, and sometimes it’s Yoga practice, and sometimes it’s a salt-bath pool made up of those very same tears. Sometimes its music, and sometimes it’s the latest trend of an adult coloring book.

December, with all of her Mondays, has got me in the spirit of reflection, contemplating the past year and where it’s taken me. All of the battles and hard-fought lessons and, time and time again, returning to the love that makes up the core of it all. Because nine times out of ten the battle is with myself.

Last year, around this time, I set a New Year’s intention. We were in a cabin in the snowy mountains, and someone brought wishing paper. So we wrote our New Year’s wishes on slips of bright red and lit each of them, one by one, allowing the sparkling embers to fly away into the cold, dark unknown.

Because that’s what you do with wishes. You hear their whispers from the center of your heart and then stir them up with your breath, giving them meaning and form to release those whispered wishes into the ether, where a magical spirit of the Universe, the ruler of desire, transforms them into reality.

At least, that’s what I believed.

Last year, I set my New Year’s intention to fall in love. Maybe fall is the wrong word. I didn’t want some kind of damsel swept up by a horseback-riding prince scenario. I was in the process of getting over someone, and I was hurting a lot more than I allowed myself, at the time, to feel.

I came face to face with the reality that you can grow, slowly, bit by bit, one word at a time, in love with someone, and because of something as trivial as timing, it will never work out.

I had to face the cold, harsh reality that sometimes the sparks stemming from my intuition lead me toward certain individuals not because we are going to be together in any of the traditional senses of that notion, but because, for whatever unseen reason, in that moment of time, we were right for each other.

And then, just like my wish, any inkling of the two of us must be burnt to a crisp, and set free to float away into the night sky. The moment will last forever, but the two of us will not.

So I, all high-hopes and fantasies, set my intention. I felt confident that I was ready. I was done with the learning experiences, the pain of unresolved issues working themselves out. I was ready for the real deal. Someone who addresses his own shortcomings and humanity in general, and wants to go deep.

Someone who wants to feel.

At the time, too, I had all the other pieces seemingly in place. My living situation was ideal, and I was about to embark on what I considered my dream career as well. The missing piece to the puzzle seemed to be, quite simply, love.

What I learned, pretty quick, is that no career is perfect and sometimes the devil comes disguised as a fairy tale. To live in what appears to be paradise, you must swap blood with the gruesome, control-gripping monster that reigns over those very lands. And the learning experiences, they never end. Nor do we want them to.

Because as soon as you stop learning, you die.

As soon as you stop growing, you wither.

As soon as you stop carving through the caverns of your soul, trying to find something more, the world, and all of its high hopes and searches for meaning, will simply cease to exist. We will walk around, empty shells under the palm trees of delusion that this picture of paradise is all we have to live for.

Needless to say, this year, my New Year’s intention did not come true. I did not fall in love. What I did do, instead, was begin a Mysore-style Ashtanga practice. I learned to stand with my legs straight. I learned to keep moving to my own internal rhythm. I learned to balance my soul’s work with intelligently-sequenced days of rest.

And most of all, I learned that each of the spiritual disciplines that I engage in, whether it’s Yoga, meditation, reading ancient texts, or journaling, is a means to an end. And as soon as I begin worshiping the act, well, then, I have completely missed the point.

So now I sit, as light dances off white-brick walls and the tips of green begin to show themselves out my window, swaying ever so slightly until I feel the itch of invitation to join in their wind-drawn movement, and realize that I am no further along than the starry-eyed child who daydreamed her way through each and every day.

I am no readier than she for some kind of happily-ever-after ending, nor will I ever be. I have never stopped daydreaming, nor will I ever stop. There is no such thing as ready. There is only right here and now. And right here, and now, I am alive.

I breathe one cold, December breath at a time, and my fingers continue to make their way through raw, wildly beating canals. And that sense of aliveness is the only fairy tale that I will ever need.

This article was published on Rebelle Society.

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dear empath, we need you

dear empath, we need you

To those who soak up the world’s energy like a sponge…

You play a critical role here.

You may not feel it sometimes. Sometimes it feels like you’re drowning in a sea of other people’s feelings, uncertain which waves have poured over from foreign waters and which come from your own deep center, far too immersed to reach, at least in this lifetime.

The part you play in this drama of human life is absolutely essential.

You are one of the truth-tellers.

You are one of the strong ones.

You are one of the believers in magic. You dance in the shadows to bring life to the light trickling in from cracks in the board that others fail to see.

Without you, chaos continues to ensue.

Sometimes you play the role of match-striker, sparking the fire that burns away the dust that has settled on top of the shell.

Know that the work you do, in stoking the flames, is not a bad thing. Rather, it is remarkable. It signifies your immense potential to get at the heart by pulling at the threads of bullshit we have wrapped our true selves in.

We all wear sweaters tangled with lies of who-we-need-to-be and what-we-need-to-prove, and you are often the sole being who sees the snags, unafraid to wrestle your pinky fingernail into the hole, however minuscule, and rip and pull and prod until the whole web, the false exterior, comes undone.

This is not easy work. This is the task of a fighter. A wolf. A truth-seeking ninja who will stop at nothing.

By most conventional societal standards, you are, without a doubt, the underdog. You receive none of the glory. People will not know to thank you, for waking them up. They may not realize until years later it was you that so gently (or sometime, when the direness of the situation calls for it, more urgently) removed the shambled cloak they lay sleeping beneath, to stir them back-to-life with a burst of cool air.

They may never comprehend the depths of your mission, the gift that you have so selflessly bestowed upon them.

You see, most people don’t notice the things you see and feel with clarity. Most others live in cheerful omission of the felt sense that simmers throughout your entire body, down to the root, remaining hidden by the tangibility society places on a pedestal.

For the survival of your empathetic soul, you must understand that these others exist on a different plane of being altogether. Not a lesser-than plane, nor in a higher state, but just in a different place.

Like originating from one country versus another.

These people cannot comprehend what it means to feel all the things, and to feel them to the core of their very being. They do not carry antennas flickering with messages at the faintest signal of emotion. The sensitivity of your feelers is not limited by physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual constraints. No walls, nor technological barriers, can prevent you from taking in what those around you feel.

You can try as hard as you like to put up invisible shielded boundaries. You can seek the protection of black panther guardians, use crystals and healing rays and countless other grounding techniques.

No matter your mechanisms to prevent the absorption of the energy around you, it is time for you, brave heart, to relent, and recognize that this is your gift.

You may never have the thick skin they will forever tell you to grow, but you wouldn’t have it any other way. Because with your power comes the ability to touch a child’s hand, and realize that while you have been bitten, in true zombie-apocalyptic fashion, with the detrimental effects of his lack-of-sleep foregoing nap time, you see the spring in his step amplify, and you know you have made him all the stronger, even if for only a moment.

And these small moments, of lifting others by sharing their afflictions, expand, one drop at a time, until the ripples of a creek fight through the hard, drought-ridden cracks. And then, one day, the trickle accumulates and grows strength, becoming its own, majestic waterfall. All created by your ability to shed other people’s tears on their behalf.

You will cry out in the meeting in which no one else would raise a hand, shining light on the vibes underlying the entire group. You will speak up for the whales, the ocean, even the air, which has been so violently ripped of life by those around you. You will not stop shedding your tears until they have washed away the world’s darkness.

Know that the others do not mean to leave you in the dust, nor do they intentionally thrust you into the fire without a helping hand. They do not mean to cause you to be the sole voice screaming the injustices from the mountaintop.

They simply do not know how to consciously give words to these deep-felt emotions. They cannot fathom sweeping the dust to form the bones of what matters. They do not understand what has been brimming underneath, nor can they hear their heart-song’s murmur.

At least, not yet.

But with time, I believe, we will all, gently, give way to the song within, and slowly reveal the flower as yet budding in the deepest interior of our core. One by one, given the right ingredients of nurturing, our petals will expand until we wave at the sun in unison, providing refuge to the bees to produce honey sweet enough to overpower the bitterest of earthly fruits.

You are one of the early ancient ones. Bringing us back to the ship from which we most recklessly jumped. Showing us the crooked, twisty, overgrown-with-grass path through the forest, toward the life we are all meant to live. The path straight to the source. Do not for one second doubt your mission here. We need you, in all of your strength and lack-of-glory.

We need you, fearless tear-shedder, to continue your song for all those who have forgotten they have a voice.

This article was previously published on Rebelle Society.