That Time My Entire High School Sociology Class Made Fun Of Me…

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I took a sociology class as a senior in high school. During one of the classes, the teacher asked us:

If you were on a sinking boat with your mother, your spouse, and your child, and you could only save one person, who would it be? 

We were asked to show our answer by raising our hands while the teacher wrote the number of votes on the board for each answer. The entire class was split, as expected, between child and spouse.

Except for me.

In that moment, I said I’d save my mother.

Everyone in class laughed at me – Every. One. – Except the teacher. And we ended up in a class discussion about how I could possibly choose my mother over my spouse or my child.

My teacher, thankfully, was gracious enough to stick up for me by saying there was a cultural group somewhere out there in the world where saving the mother would have been the most popular answer.

Whether this is true or not, I was grateful to my teacher for supporting me and being willing to facilitate the ensuing discussion.

You see, at the time, I was trying to help the person in my life who was having the most difficult, vulnerable time in hers – my mom.

It was all I could think about.

So, considering the fact I was someone who’s parent was in crisis and who had no idea what it was like to have a spouse or a child of her own, I couldn’t come up with any other answer.

Helping my mom was the only thing that made sense to me – even if no one else in the room understood.

And that, in a nutshell, describes how most of my life has been.

You see, I was gifted with the ability to be different. I never quite figured out how to fit inside the box.  I simply could not conform to popular opinion if it meant I couldn’t be honest with myself or true to my Soul.

I don’t blame my classmates for reacting the way they did. I equally don’t wish I’d reacted any differently. In fact, looking back at it, I think the day my entire sociology class made fun of me was one of the most powerful and empowering moments of my life.

I stood up for what was real in my life – as a teenager – in the face of ridicule and rejection from all my peers – because it was the right choice for me.

It was a hard, lonely lesson at the time, but being different is the role the Universe picked for me, and that classroom was the first real test of an adult strength and resolve at embracing who I would become as a woman.

When I think and reflect back on that experience, I now understand the bigger picture.

Which is this…

I was the teenager in the room reminding all the other teenagers in the room of how important their parents are. 

And I was doing it at a time when, developmentally, most of my peers were rebelling against their parents and trying to get away from them.

Can you imagine the backlash of having an opinion that goes against the very nature of human development? Try telling the average teenager they need be thinking more about their parents than their future partners or children. It’s not the most pleasant of experiences.

Yet, it was, and always has been, my Soul’s calling to go against the grain and challenge the status quo.

It’s what the Universe requires of me. I’m the person reminding everyone else that there is always another way of thinking, being, and loving on this Earth.

It was so very hard as a teenager to be this way. I struggled throughout my childhood to fit in and be accepted. Sometimes I managed. Sometimes, clearly, I did not.

But now – 25 years later – I wholeheartedly embrace my uniqueness. And I thank every single person in that sociology class for laughing at me. I wouldn’t have the courage to be who I am today if it wasn’t for them.

Not everyone will agree with you. In fact, I dare say, if you’re truly living in your authenticity, there will be times when no one agrees with you.

Be authentic anyway.

I’ve since moved on from my sleepy little mid-western roots. But I will always be grateful for my childhood and all the opportunities it gave me to be the weird one.

Why?

Because there are deep, meaningful lessons in being weird, different, or unpopular.

Never deny yourself the opportunity to be the only one in the room who thinks the way you do. You have no idea the implications it may have on your life or the lives of others.

Don’t let anyone else’s opinion shatter your self-esteem or gnaw at what feels true and right in your own heart.

The only person who has to live with you your entire life is you. People who make fun of you may or may not grow out of their insecurity around you. It doesn’t matter. As long as you’re true to yourself, there’s no stopping what you can accomplish or become in life.

I’ve had the best life I can possibly imagine – because I never let anyone else’s opinion of how I should live interfere with how I actually live.

If you’re different, weird, or unpopular – especially in your younger years – be grateful. Learn to love your uniqueness, honor yourself, and walk the unpaved path.

You will never regret learning to respect yourself or love your life.

** Thank you Mr. Kerns for letting me be different. You were my favorite teacher. 🙂 **

 

 

 

 

 

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What Do You Do When You’re Triggered?

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Have you ever read something on Facebook or Twitter that just annoyed the shit out of you? Made you say things like – who does that? What is wrong with that person? How can they think/behave that way? Don’t they know how ridiculous they are?

If the answer is yes, and I’m pretty sure it is – You’re not alone!

It happens to everyone. If not online, then at work, family functions, out in the general public – somewhere, at some point, you’ve been pissed off – or, as I like to say – triggered.

So have I.

So has everyone.

The question is, how do you deal with it? Do you lash out at the people who pissed you off? Do you use their behavior as a way to make judgements? Do you blame them, shame them, or expect them to change their behavior for you?

Or do you take the emotional charge that just happened, turn it around, and use it your best advantage?

Because here’s the deal. The Universe triggers us on purpose.

Why? Because it knows we have some shit to work out.

And we do. Learning, growing and working shit out is kinda the whole point.

So, how do you learn to take a step back when you’re triggered and use your emotional turmoil to actually help make things better in your life?

The first step is understanding that each and every trigger gives you the opportunity to be victimized or empowered. 

If you react to a trigger by blaming, shaming, shaking your head, and/or being angry at the person (or situation) that brought a cloud of dark, pissy, uncomfortable feelings to the surface, you’re being a victim.

Blaming someone else for the way you feel immediately takes every active choice you have away from you.

Stop It.

The Universe doesn’t make you feel uncomfortable to victimize you. Honestly. It really doesn’t.

And it’s up to you to stop victimizing yourself!

How?

By remembering that all triggers are there to help you. Using them to your fullest advantage depends on how you react to them.

When you’re being triggered, you’re making everything that’s happening all about you. And you should – Because it is. The kicker, however, is this – when everything is all about you – it has nothing to do with anyone else – so stop using others as an excuse.

Instead, use your emotional responses to the world as opportunities for empowerment!

The next time someone irritates the crap out of you – you now have a choice. You can focus on them or you can focus on yourself.

I say – focus on you!

Here’s how…

Learn To Identify Triggers For What They Actually Are

Triggers are messages from the Universe. They show you where you can learn more, grow more, be happier, balanced, and more in control of – well – everything in your life! They come to you – like signs on the road – to help guide you toward your best self.

The key is to remember that a trigger is an uncomfortable emotional response to something in your environment. Meaning – you’re not being personally attacked by someone or something, you’re simply seeing a behavior or action ‘out there’ that makes your insides go…

Ew. Why? or WTF. I can’t believe I’m witnessing the total opposite of what I would do, think, or say in this particular situation. Why aren’t ‘they’ behaving like ‘I’ would or want them to?

Once your WTF switch has been activated, you have to make a choice:

  1. Empowerment
  2. Victimization

We’ve already talked about how we allow ourselves to be victims of our emotions by playing the blame, shame, you make the change game.

How do we flip that?

How do we transform our pissed-off-ness from the typical reaction of ‘f-you, buddy’ into a resource for personal growth and empowerment?

Stop pointing fingers and start being emotionally responsible. 

You – yes, YOU are the only one responsible for your emotional health. Every single time you point a finger and say, ‘I can’t believe you made me feel like that!” – You’re giving your power away.

Because yes, there are people out there you’re going to feel shitty around. And yes, you do have a choice regarding how the shittiness affects you.

As long as you finger point, you’re giving away all your choices. If you feel less than stellar around someone or something, it’s time to create healthy boundaries and work with the emotions your body wants and needs you to deal with.

It’s up to you to find safe, healthy ways to express yourself and live your life. Emotions are there to help and encourage you to do just that.

If you’re angry – figure out where you’re not meeting your own needs.

If you’re jealous – look at where you might be cheating yourself or dimming your own light.

If you’re sad or grieving – what is it you need to let go of to find your happiness?

Giving yourself the ability to make choices is where your empowerment lives!

The more choices you can make for yourself, the more liberated you become. Uncomfortable emotions are the Universe’s way of saying:

Hey! Something in your life isn’t right for you. Take some time to think about how you feel and concentrate on where you can make changes in your life to stop feeling that way. 

Because that’s the secret behind triggers – or things that piss you off. They’re there to show you choices and how to make them.

Perfecting your ability to choose and change eliminates your need to be pissed. 

You can’t be triggered into the piss pool of life if you understand how to choose your way around it. There are great tools and resources all around you. The Universe never gives you a trigger without also presenting you with a multitude of solutions. You simply have to decide what you want to focus on – problems or solutions!

Find the connective, creative places in your environment that allow you to explore choice, change, and freedom from emotional turmoil.

If you like to read, start with these two books:

  1. The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
  2. Non-Violent Communication: A Language of Life by Marshall B. Rosenberg

If you need movement:

  1. Join a gym
  2. Dance
  3. Take yoga classes
  4. Go for walks

If you need a creative outlet:

  1. Start a journal
  2. Pick up a craft or a hobby
  3. Play an instrument
  4. Do some artwork

If you need community and advice:

  1. Find a good counselor or therapist.
  2. Join a church, mosque, synagog or other Spiritual community.
  3. Find a support group.
  4. Hang out more with your friends and family.

Whatever you decide – don’t give away your power to choose!

It’s your life. You get to decide if you want to spend it being an angry victim or a liberated well-spring of personal empowerment.

So, what’s it going to be…?

 

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Stop Putting Sugar On Shit.

I hate the saying, ‘fake it ’till you make it.’

Screw that. Don’t fake anything.

Be honest and authentic.

If life feels like shit right now and all you want to do is crumble to your knees and cry – crumble to your knees and cry.

Stop trying to sweeten up ‘shit.’

Why is it better to try to be something you’re not than to actually learn to deal with your feelings, your fears, your anger, your disappointment, your grief… or any other emotion that supports anxiety in your life.

That’s ridiculous – and unhealthy – and unsustainable.

If you’re angry. Work with it.

If your disappointed. Work with it.

If your anxious, depressed, or scared – Work with it!

Stop trying to put sugar on your shit and learn to deal with your issues in healthy, productive ways.

There are people out there who can help you – therapists, friends, family members, Spiritual advisors, and support groups.

There are activities that can inspire you – art, music, exercise programs, hobbies, and crafts.

There are so many other options besides fake.

If you feel like you’re being served a steaming pile of poo in your life – that’s your intuition saying loud and clear – This Situation Stinks!

The first question you need to ask yourself is:

Do you want to ‘fake it’ and prolong that shit, or do you want to get out your preverbal pooper-scooper and start making changes in your life? – the kind that smell better, feel better, and produce more positive results.

The choice is yours.

You can keep faking it.

Or you can get real with yourself and right with your life.

Question Two:  What are you faking and why are you faking it? 

Write down the answer. Then ask yourself –

  1. What fears prevent you from making changes in this area?
  2. How can you start to overcome those fears? (who/what/where are your support networks)

Question Three:  What would your life look/feel like if you could be authentic in this area?

  1. What would you actually be doing/saying differently if you were in a space of authenticity?
  2. How do you create the boundaries you need to be authentic?

Question Four: What are three things you can do right now – today – to start creating a more honest and supportive life for yourself. 

Write those three things down and start working on them. Every day. Until they are a natural part of your life. Then pick three more…

Keep doing that until you never have to fake a single thing – ever again.

 

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Does Your Life Have Meaning?

I’ve been a Reiki Master and Intuitive Healer for some time now, and one reacurring theme I’ve noticed in my healing work is how desperately people are seeking  meaning in their lives.

Many of the people I’ve worked with come to me feeling depressed, angry, lost, confused, hopeless…

And they’re looking something – anything – that will offer them comfort and relieve their anxiety.

I call these people Meaning Seekers.

Meaning Seekers are compassionate, loving, and kind. They want to improve their circumstances, enjoy their lives, and make the world a better place.  They want to be inspired and they want to inspire others. Yet, they feel lost – as though something is missing and they can’t quite put their finger on it.

That missing link is called Spirit.

Spirit is the spark of inspiration that helps people take pride in their environment and makes them excited about participating in life.

In high school, we called that School Spirit. In adult life, it’s called Community Spirit.

There is a incredible amount of frustration, depression, and overwhelm in the process of seeking meaning – especially on a Spiritual level – especially in our modern world – because what people seeking meaning often forget about is how wonderfully privledged they are.

If you are taking the time to search for meaning through books, podcasts, YouTube videos, or mentors – vacations or career changes – new networking groups, journaling, yoga, or dieting… – That probably means you have food and water security, a home you feel safe in, some sort of reliable income, and at least one trusted friend you can depend on. And that means you are priveledged.

If you’re searching for meaning – help the less fortunate.

Your Spirit – or Spirituality – is meant to be shared with others for the purpose of enjoying  life and uplifting the human condition. It is only when you stop sharing your Spirit that depression and detachment set in.

So, where in your community can you be meaningful on purpose? Where can you share your spirit?

Get creative. Like you would have in high school – at Homecoming – and you get to be the party planner.

If you want your life to have meaning, be meaninful.

If you want your life to have purpose, be purposeful.

Volunteer at or donate to local food banks, homeless shelters, animal shelters, churches, and/or any other organization that directly benefits your community.

Organize gift swaps and clothing drives.

Create safe, healthy places for the children in your neighborhood to gather and play, learn and grow.

Help your elderly and disabled neighbors.

Smile more.

Listen more.

Compliment people.

Get involved.

Give yourself a purpose.

Raise your Community’s Spirit.

And make a difference.

Life only has meaning when it is shared with others.

 

Inspire us!
Please use the comment section to share some of the ways you give your Spirit purpose by uplifting your community.

 

 

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How To Choose Kindness Over Anger, Hate, And Other Negative Emotions

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Being kind is challenging. Especially now – in the mists of incredible social and political discourse.

Being kind feels nearly impossible these days.

Why?

Because to be kind means to be united.

And how do you be kind to someone who is unwilling to be united with you?

How do you be non-violent when everyone around you wants to argue or fight?

How do you be respectful of others when respect is off the table?

Creating a world of peace when anger and stress are the underlying emotions most people are feeling right now is a daunting proposition.

Yet, it is entirely possible to be devoted to the art of kindness – if that becomes our priority.

So how do we do it? How do we let go of the anger? The differences of opinion? The moments that trigger us into uncontrollable rants of outrage, disappointment, fear, and righteous indignation?

Here’s an easy three step guide to get you started…

Step One – Find Out Where The Happy Is Being Sucked Out Of Your Life.

Figure out where the sources of discontent are in your life and stop paying so much attention to them. Turn off the news. Unfollow people on Facebook. Stop allowing your mind to repeat stories of past offenses – especially if they are there simply to allow you to hold tight to your grudges. Eliminate everything that causes you unnecessary stress and prevents you from enjoying your life.

Step Two – Focus On The Good Stuff.

What brings you joy in life and why aren’t you doing more of it? Teach yourself how to speak the language of kindness by surrounding yourself with what you like and what you love. Focus on the people, things, and activities where words like joy, happy, fun, awesome, and amazing are the adjectives you will most likely use to describe your experiences. What you experience in life directly determines your emotional health and stress level. Choose wisely and kindly.

Step Three – Share Joy Where It Is Appreciated And Needed

Love your family and friends – especially the ones who love you back. Spend time with them. Thank them for helping you keep your Spirits up. Volunteer at food banks, homeless shelters, and other venues where you can help uplift the human social condition in your community. Donate to causes you feel compassionately connected to. Pray. Smile when you are in public. Open doors for people and compliment strangers when and where it feels appropriate.  Create kindness and joy on purpose whenever and wherever you can. Let others feel what it’s like to relax, laugh, and connect to each other’s humanity. Connection is unity. Unity is kindness.

Often times we get so wrapped up in the horrors of the world around us, so reactive to the things that trigger us, and so stressed out by the demands we place on ourselves and others, we forget how to be joyful and kind. Joy and kindness are not a given. They are learned behaviors and acquired character choices.

Whenever possible – choose kindness and joy.

Wherever possible – turn away from anger, stress, hatred and grudges.

See how your world changes…

 

 

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The Empowered One

The Empowered One

I am not the right wing.
I am not the left wing.
I am the Empowered One.
Blazing the trail.
And if you are afraid.
Don’t Worry.
I will leave candles to light your way.
And water to quench your thirst.
My Earth will ground you.
And my air will whisper all the words you need to hear
To ensure
That You
Also
Become the Empowered One.

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More Peace. More Love.

Dear Everyone Who Is Struggling Right Now With The Current Social And Political Climate – 

I’m sorry you’re angry.

I’m sorry you’re afraid.

I’m sorry you feel the need to fight with each other.

I’m sorry you’re sad.

I’m sorry you’re being triggered.

I’m sorry I’m often the reason for your trigger.

However – And I Mean This –

I am not sorry for the conversations we need to have to get through this.

I am not sorry for the purging of old patterns of behavior.

I am not sorry for the incredible amount of healing that happens in times like these.

And In Times Like These…

When/If you cannot be in a place of love or peace.

I will do my best to be there for you. 

I will be strong.

I will be kind.

I will be loving.

I will be supportive.

and I will listen.

To the best of my ability. 

I will also be human.

So please forgive me – it helps me when you do.

Your forgiveness allows me to change my thoughts and behaviors.

It lets me heal, grow, and learn. It allows me to embrace you, understand you, and learn to live in peace with you.

Let me know it’s ok to feel emotions.

Because I do. I feel them to my core.

This is not my weakness, mind you. But my strength.

Because what I feel most – what I choose to feel most deeply within my soul –

Is an unapologetic, strong, compassionate, unabashed – LOVE

And I know, with every cell of my being, that my singular flame of love is stronger than everyone else’s hate combined. 

I know this because love is what I choose to focus on in my life. Every day. All the time.

Am I perfect at it?   – No.

Do I try anyway.     – Yes!

Why?   Because I deserve it. And so do you. You deserve the best from me. All the time. No matter what. With no excuses. No exceptions. No judgements. No witch hunts. No shaming. No blaming. No violence. And no aggression.

Again – if I falter along the way, please hold space for me in return. Don’t attack me. It doesn’t help. Forgive me and give me a chance. Let me move back into love as quickly and with as little damage as possible.

And I will be grateful to you.  So you can be grateful to me.

And now, as I move my Wild, Witchy, Druid-Bitchy, Fucking-Beautiful-Goddess Self forward in the most non-violent, peaceful, joyful, loving, magical, fantastical way possible – I will leave candles in my wake. To light the way. For more Peace. And Love.

Because that’s how I do shit.

 

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