Gratitude and Affirmation During Times of Loss and Pain

In recent weeks, I’ve received aspersions to my character, questioning of my intelligence, and other undeserved negativity. I’m a radiant, awesome, deep, heartfelt, kind, and insightful being, always pushing myself to improve, learn, love, and grow. I’m working through all this and trying to move beyond, despite all the loss that circles through my life.

I feel that this is an opportunity to affirm and express my gratitude:
I’m grateful for seeing that we all are lost from time to time but that the way out is to admit it and work through with humility and vulnerability, to reach out to any involved and those you hold dear. Self-righteous proclamations and stubborn intention just continue a lost path. I feel the call here of Socrates saying that he is wise for knowing that he knows nothing – question what you know. Don’t assert it. Being reminded of this is one of the greatest lessons.
I’m grateful for friends and being reminded that they are those who challenge you to be virtuous, i.e. live up to your excellence (à la Aristotle). They are willing to point out the things about yourself that you aren’t willing to hear and love you in spite of yourself sometimes (as we all sometimes struggle and act poorly). They do so much more than just support you. They are partners in your life’s changes. As such, they keep you honest and authentic to yourself and your path. If you are not open to their criticism, your friendship is not as empowering and vibrant as it could be.
I’m grateful to be reminded that you should not make decisions out of fear and pain. Even when life throws you hard challenges, choose from a place of love, hope, faith, and intention for what you want to work toward. Do not choose from a place of fear, desire to numb pain, and what you want to run away from. Choose hope, not despair.
I’m grateful for all the self-care routines I have developed over the years. Loving others and the world starts with taking care of yourself.
I’m grateful for my personal strength. It’s amazing what you can make it through if you’re willing to face it.
I’m grateful for my health, my heart, and my short time in this mysterious and beautiful existence. It’s really difficult to affirm our lives at times, given the struggles we undergo. It’s so easy to want to escape it all, but in the end, I choose to stand tall and proud, and like Sisyphus, I aim to affirm my lot and love my fate.

Be Well!

Gassho!

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Heartbreak

I recently had a tarot reading to get insight into my life outside of the perspectives of friends and family, beyond the spheres of people who already know me. My reader, a middle-aged black woman with thick dreds, was an interesting voice to hear amid the many others in my life. She did several spreads to see where I am at and how to overcome my current difficulties. I initially was pretty quiet and vague, but as what she was saying touched on several layers that she didn’t know about/talk about, I opened up to her.

Her initial message, and it remained the most stressed throughout, was about my job and how to regain some personal autonomy in relationship to career. She said something about it that really struck me: I’m heartbroken about my job. She clarified that heartbreak can occur in more than just our romantic lives, and many never even think about heartbreak with a job.

As she spoke, and more so after the reading, I realized how heartbroken I am right now. I have heartbreak related to love, job, home, family, and friends. Everything seems to float without stability, path forward, or clarity for the greater flow of my life. So many things I love have been cut out of my existence, have been dramatically altered, or have consistently done me ill while claiming to do me well. How do you move forward through such miasma? I have by the only way I know how: nurturing myself. Hence, I have been writing so much, meditating, and exercising. I have been talking things out with friends, and I’ve even been developing my intuition more by using the I Ching and tarot as oracles to broaden my perspectives about my life. Finally, beyond my usual self-care in times of difficulty, I’ve tried to improve my situation. If I’m heartbroken, particularly about my job, let me remedy that.

A few weeks ago, I did a meditation. Although not intended, it too was about heartbreak. I sat on the floor and breathed deeply with my hands over my heart in the shape of a triangle. I felt the energy pulse out of these three sides, throbbing out and reaching into the world around me. After some time, I put my hands down and asked myself: “If my heart were planted, what would it grow into?” I saw a vibrant blue flower open up, both beautiful and melancholy, filling my chest. When it opened, a personal object (I’m not willing to share this detail here) was dark and lifeless in the flower’s center. It felt like the culmination of a sad message, emphasizing my separation and loss of love, indicating the death of a deep connection. Then, the object shattered and bright, spiky, red petals burst forth, making the flower vibrant and hopeful. However, this did not seem like an erasure of the old, rather a rebirth from/of it. Like the phoenix, the new grows from the ashes of the old. The object shattered and reformed a few times, telling me that the break offers the possibility of growing into something more beautiful, powerful, healthy, and alive.

As for all of you, I’ll let you make what you will of such a meditation, but to me, it says one thing about heartbreak: even when things are very painful and it all feels meaningless, the possibility for change, growth, and rebirth lies hidden within that experience. It may be hard to see it, and it may be even harder to continue onward towards that, but it’s there, somewhere, just waiting for the moment to burst forth.

symptoms-of-a-broken-heart

Something new could pour forth from that hole…

This reminds me… I recently read a friend’s linked article about how we should court heartbreak to grow; we should break up and leave relationships behind when they become difficult because we’ll grow towards something better, and we’re doing ourselves a service. What I’m saying here does not support that at all. One thing that’s become clear to me in the last few months is how deeply we get caught up in our stories about ourselves. Some of my other posts touch on this. Leaving relationships, courting heartbreak, for personal growth, for pursuing your own narrative can be quite a confused and lost approach. Perhaps there could be value in this, but it is something that should not be taken lightly and certainly should not be presented as a hard and fast rule. It should be something that is examined through work with a therapist, someone who can challenge and disentangle the bad faith of the stories we tell ourselves, the things we refuse to see about ourselves, and the difficulties for personal growth in our relationships that we are unwilling to show up to and face for our own improvement. The problem with the stance in that article is not recognizing the opportunity in the difficulty of interpersonal dynamics to grow and change for the better. Breaking away is not what presents the room for growth; it’s the challenge of facing change that presents it. You can either own up to your place in a relationship and ask your partner to do so with you, working together for growth, or you can throw that all behind for “my growth”, “my story”, “my truth”. I’m not saying that the second option is always confused and self-involved, hardly, but I think there is a much greater likelihood of that being the case than that path being an authentic, examined, and clear engagement with all of the issues I’m presenting here. The point: heartbreak, when it comes, can be an opportunity for growth, but you shouldn’t seek to break your own heart in order to grow towards something “more authentic to you”. There is already authenticity in your connections; otherwise, it wouldn’t break your heart to leave them (not that I’m saying it isn’t hard to leave relationships that are bad for you; of course it is, but there is at least something good in the ones that really break your heart down to the foundations–real heartbreak, not just loss), and if your connections are that meaningful, there’s something to be gained from them if you are willing to dance with your partner and they are too.

This post has become a much longer meditation on heartbreak than originally envisioned. Let’s summarize what I would like to share about heartbreak. 1) you can be heartbroken about many more things in your life than just romantic relationships. 2) if you are going through heartbreak, do what you can for yourself to survive and eventually thrive. If you can work toward changing your situation, do it. Be your own healer, and remedy yourself. 3) heartbreak does not mean the end. There is possibility for new growth in the death of the old. 4) don’t throw things away from a willingness to break your own heart out of some simple idea of it being your story. Really think about relationships and how to grow in them. They hold potential if you are willing to dance with your partner and love together.

A great and famous writer recently told me to experience heartbreak in order to improve my writing. He said that going through heartbreak would offer the opportunity to process things and write better. Whether that’s true or not, I’m definitely doing that now, and I thank you all for sharing in that process. I hope that this post gives you your own insight and inspiration, especially if you have your own pained heart to heal.

I know… The heart chakra isn’t directly about what I’m discussing here, but maybe your growth lies in this aspect of your relationship with All coming into a healthier alignment. Maybe your heart needs healing in more ways than one…

Gassho

Mantra for Moving Forward

Help me make the crossing.

Help me find the path.

Help me walk it gracefully.

(Repeat as many times as necessary)

Gassho

I’ve been drawn to Ganesha as a symbol of overcoming obstacles recently. Plus, he’s just rad! Perhaps he can be an image to keep in mind while reciting this mantra to help empower you and hone your focus on the intention. I was told recently that the secret of Ganesha is that he not only removes the obstacles for you but is also the one who put them there in the first place. If this is the case, the ordeal of the obstacle and the overcoming it have a meaning and a lesson for you. In getting beyond them, make sure that you are learning what you should from them. Don’t simply try to run away from the process. Good luck on your journeys!

Sacrifice and Change

As I left the house this evening to run to an esoteric shop, I thought briefly on tarot cards. With my last post being a discussion of transition, I flashed on the Death card—transition, change, the end of one cycle and the beginning of another. However, my mind soon shifted. I thought, “Right now, the Hanged Man is more important for me.” This card has come up for me in key positions in my self-readings of late.

I walked up the hill toward the shop and mulled this card over some more. The personal sacrifice of Arcana XII, the Hanged Man, comes before the great transition of XIII, Death. In the transitions I have been facing, I feel hanged, sacrificed, but not through my own choice. I too dangle by one foot, uncomfortably immobilized while the entire world seems upside down. If the sacrifice here is supposed to lead to spiritual salvation and transformation, some deeper realization or enlightenment, I have yet to see what exactly it is. I hang, watch, and wait—pending.

Hanging here through sacrifice, yet it is not in vain.

This all eases somehow into the transition ahead of me. Perhaps, in my case, one doesn’t so much follow the other as much as coincide with it. I, the fox, stand immobilized, hanging with the sacrifice of the stage before, at the river of change, Death, gathering my strength to learn from the patient sacrifice of my situation, and then, I cross, no longer impeded…

I got to the shop, and there was a Death card on the board by the register.

All things must end, and yet, “omnia mutantur nihil interit”.

Transition – The Great Crossing

I’ve recently been undergoing a lot of transition in my life. Love, job, home, family, friends—it’s all up in the air! When life goes through such phases, it’s really hard to find your way, to even make sense of everything that is happening.

I’ve sought solace in many ways, but one of the best has been asking questions to the “I Ching”. I have consulted the Book of Changes now and then for years, but around this time of change, one reading has felt more profound than any before—salient, powerful, and important.

I recently threw hexagram #64, the final hexagram. The allegory of this hexagram speaks volumes about transition. A fiery red fox stands at the bank of a great river. To cross, he must plan his way and adapt to the swift current as he carefully crosses. His fur flashes red above the cool, coursing water, a small patch of flame over this much greater deluge, threatened to be snuffed out by it. We all must make our great crossings at times. We, like the fox, can feel overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the obstacles, of the changes we face. It really does feel like any misstep could lead to us being overwhelmed and swept away by the water of flux.

Yet, like the fox, our strength is to be found in ourselves, and even the greatest obstacles are not too great. With patience and cunning, we foxes can see how best to get to the other side. With a swiftness of foot and an adaptability for plans, we can move gracefully through the turbulent flow. At the bank, it is a time to gather your strength, to find your path, and to brace yourself with the necessary courage to plunge in once you’re ready. This hexagram is titled “Not Yet Crossing” or “Not Yet Across”, but the title itself implies that the crossing is at issue and soon to come, so do it well!wp_20141003_16_22_56_pro

I think the deeper meaning of facing transition like this is expressed well in one book I have on the I Ching called “The Living I Ching” by Deng-Ming Dao. He writes of this hexagram as the ending of one cycle and the beginning of a new one. This is what great transition is: a crossing from the old to the new, a movement from one side to the other.  He speaks of the meaning for the person crossing through transition as such: “This, then, is the river we ford: the border between one cycle and the next. How amazing. How outrageous. All along, we have been striving to blend with change. We have used the river as a metaphor for natural and harmonious living. And yet here, now, is the crucial message: understand change not by riding the river, but by facing it, confronting it. Cross it.” In other words, gather your strength when faced by this kind of change. Break from one cycle to the next by really facing the river and finding your way across it through determination, cunning, courage, and adaptability. You are the hexagram’s fire over water, and you can make it to the other side. The only way to cross is to accept the risk of the journey. You have to believe in yourself and have faith in the process of transition. All is not lost, even though you are not across just yet. With proper action, this time holds the possibility within it of the completion of crossing (hexagram 63) and the birth of a new cycle.

I hope that this allegory and interpretation will help inspire you through any transition you are experiencing. Remember your strength and cunning when faced by the seemingly insurmountable. You have every ability to cross on into a new stage. You may just not see how yet. Be patient, look closely, and breathe deeply. Your path forward will soon be clear. Are you ready? Remember: you are just as cunning, curious, and swift as the fox.

Be Well!

Gassho