24 July 2013

Be Gentle

It is that time of year...July...almost August. I am so excited for Michfest I can barely focus on anything else. I love Michfest because it is women only. There is just something about female energy that is soothing and healing to the soul...but there is something about female ONLY energy that is magic. Hard to describe.

One of the things I crave about fest is the gentleness. I'm not trying to make a correlation between male energy and violence, I'm simply saying...at fest we have an intentional community. Meaning we all agree with the intention of the festival. (This is not about the trans inclusion intention)

The intention of festival is to create a community built by women for women to share like experiences, learn from each other and heal from the day to day stress of living in a world ruled by male energy.

Whether you believe in that or not, not the point here...

The point is, part of our deliberate intention is to be gentle. To the earth, to each other, to the world around us.

This comes to mind more frequently for me in the months of June and July because I am not the most gentle person on the planet...by far. I am a tiger most of the time. Well meaning, but not gentle.

At fest, I get to be gentle, to others around me. To myself. I get to allow myself the breakdown that inevitably comes and not be ashamed of my tears or my pain or my happiness for that matter.

My life has not been gentle. I don't know what gentle looks like...except at fest. I've never felt gentle hugs of reassurance, gentle strokes of loving kindness, gentle words of encouragement. Except at fest.

I walk through July on the brink of tears and cry at the drop of a hat it drives me crazy...mostly because I am preparing for the journey home, to my magic place of Michigan Music where I can sit and cry and still stand strong.

So today, again..life was not gentle and I was faced with something I really am not prepared for and have no idea how to fix or if it can be fixed or if I even want to fix it. Someone was not gentle to me and I didn't want to reply with gentleness but then I think...I have to be a model of what I expect from others.

So tonight...Be Gentle. Give gentle hugs, gentle strokes, gentle words. Hopefully you can receive the same back.

If not, be gentle anyway. Most of all, be gentle to yourself. It is through your love of yourself that you will show others how to love you.

11 July 2013


Thought I would update a bit on my personal life since I've just been posting rambling things and not really updating anything...

I am a hospice social worker currently. Also in school for my doctorate. I started my dissertation (insert panic attack here)

My dissertation is on gaps in services provided to foster youth emancipating from foster care which is fancy for "how come foster kids are homeless all the time".

Obviously it has personal ties to me and the fact that I was a foster kid and then adopted and I finished high school homeless.

My daughter is doing well, and doesn't seem at all messed up which is amazing because there are a million mistakes I make all the time....ALL THE TIME. She's amazing though.

I am currently living in the same place I've been living in all through grad school etc but looking to move to another state soon(ish). Stay tuned for that right? Who knows it could be another 4 years before I update haha.

So that's me in a nutshell. (and believe me, this shell is nutty)

Hasta luego!

You cannot fix what you will not acknowledge

To me, growing up is about personal accountability. In other words, own your shit. It was when I looked back and realized my behavior was horrible that I realized I had grown up. When I could honestly say to my mom "Sorry for being such a shit" and mean it. When I could look at feedback and criticism and not stomp my feet and throw a fit but listen to it, acknowledge it, and actually be THANKFUL for it. It was the day I realized that at the end of the day, it isn't about what was said to me, done to me, or not done for me...it was about what my response was...it was about owning the role I played in what happened to me.

Now I'm not talking about random horrible things that happen...I'm talking about realizing that choices, decisions, activity or inactivity drive me to whatever destination I arrive at.

In the Air Force we were taught the USAF core values:

1. Integrity
2. Service before self
3. Excellence in all we do

I take that kind of seriously...well actually I do take it seriously and I find myself repeating those to myself throughout my life...just randomly they pop into my head. I try really hard to be honest with everyone. Do I succeed every time? No. Not at all.

Recently I was accused by a friend of doing something I didn't do. Not only did I not do it, it hadn't even occurred to me to do it. At first I just simply told her "I didn't do it". Then she was still suspicious so I explained to her that I didn't do it and that I didn't even think along those lines with her. Then she accused me again and AGAIN I told her I didn't do it.

I considered explaining to her all of the reasons why I didn't do it...I was too busy to even THINK about doing it. I had no reason to do it or motive to do it. I have been preoccupied with far more important things than doing that. I don't even know HOW to do what it is she thinks I did.

I didn't do that. Why?

Because she isn't worth it. She knows my character and how important her friendship was to me. I told her the truth when I told her I didn't do it. So the last words I said to her was some day the truth will out and you will realize that I have been innocent all along. I have never lied to her. Ever. I have owned and acknowledged my role in everything that has happened throughout our knowing each other, she has no reason to think that I would lie to her now....but she refuses to accept the truth...why?

I think it really comes down to integrity...

In order to have really good integrity, we have to be honest...with ourselves first, then others. Because integrity is really something internal to each of us. We have to decide whether something breaks our moral and ethical principles or not...which means we have to deal with reality. 

The problem is, when you reject the idea of ethical principles, you begin to think that nobody else operates under them either. My friend couldn't believe that I wouldn't have done what she thinks I did because if the role was reversed, SHE would have done it. She CANNOT accept that someone else may have the integrity NOT to do it. Because of her refusal to be honest with herself, she cannot accept that I am being honest with her.

In a similar vein have you ever noticed that people who cheat always think people are cheating on them? This is because people think that everyone would do to them what they would do to other people. They don't want to acknowledge that they are alone in doing to people what they are doing. It is much easier to think that everyone else would do it, or everyone else IS doing it.

One of the basic tenets of therapy is that you cannot fix what you will not acknowledge.

The same applies to life, yes?

You cannot fix what you will not acknowledge.

I can tell you that there is a wall in front of you and that you need to take exactly ten steps and then jump to clear it. If you don't acknowledge that wall, you're not going to make it over it. You're going to hit it every single time. As soon as you acknowledge that wall, and accept ownership of what you have to do to get over it, you're going to hit it every time. Saying to yourself "that wall doesn't exist" doesn't change the wall. Only acknowledging the wall allows you to get over it.

You may be wronged by someone...someone clearly wronged my friend. You may accuse other people..you may destroy a friendship over it...and that may or may not be justified...but You alone can acknowledge the role YOU played in whatever wrong was purposed against you.

In December, I was sexually assaulted by a friend when I traveled to help them out. There were a million things wrong with the situation. I knew going into it, something wasn't right. As soon as I arrived, I knew. Instead, I was worried about hurting this friend's feelings so I stayed and in the end, she assaulted me.

I can look at that situation and say it is her fault, she assaulted me. That is true. She violated every boundary and committed a crime against me. However, I played a role in that. I walked into a situation with every single alarm bell in my head, gut, hands, feet, heart screaming at me to run back home. I chose to stay. That is my role. It wasn't until I acknowledged that role that I played that I was able to stop having nightmares about it and sleep soundly once again.

Accepting your role in things...doesn't change the responsibility of the other person to accept their role, but it allows you to learn, grow, and not make the same mistake again. It frees you up to forgive, forget, move on, heal wounds, release bitterness, accept reality, fix it, own it, change from it.

Once you do that, then you can be free...and freedom is a good thing.