June 11, 2013
I’m typing this on May 5, 2013 [Happy Cinco de Mayo!] but I’ve scheduled it to post on June 11th, exactly one year after the journal entry I just found.
Today (May 5th) I’m doing spring cleaning on my totally full hard disc. I need to make room for my many new projects, or else my computer freezes up and I can’t Skype with clients or upload the iMovie movies I’ve been filming and editing for Youtube.
As I’m hunting, researching (can I delete this file, Guru Googleji??), deleting, and organizing, I’m coming across old bits that I’ve written over the past few years.
The post from June 11, 2012 that I’m sharing today was especially moving because I wrote it in the moment of sadness and confusion that comes in that moment of suspension between hearing your heart, taking a leap into the void/unknown, and landing exactly where you’re meant to be. (Another friend calls it “the dangle zone).
On June 11, 2012, I was dangling. I was renting a bedroom for a month in Buenos Aires, Argentina, having left Patagonia and waiting in the city to get my passport renewed. I’d already purchased a flight to Italy, based entirely on a Goddess card I’d drawn – Fortuna, the Roman/Italian Goddess of Fate – but I didn’t know yet exactly WHAT I was going to be doing in Italy.
I was trusting enough to have bought the plane ticket but I was still afraid. It was a strange time to be in Buenos Aires because almost all my friends from when I’d lived there before had left – gone home or moved on to other destinations – and the closest friend I’d had there and I were no longer speaking.
The amazing thing is that in this post I asked for community. A few days later I came across an interview about the Academy of Art, Creativity & Consciousness, and my heart knew – it SHOUTED – I AM GOING THERE. I thought it was just an awesome-and-exciting-sounding Academy. Little did my mind know that The Academy of Art, Creativity and Consciousness was adjacent to the intentional spiritual community of Ananda Europa.
My conscious mind had no idea. But my heart knew.
And when I arrived, I found a community, a large extended family of wonderful people.
I guess I’m telling you this story backwards, giving you the happy ending before the frightened beginning.
The following is an unedited journal entry. I’m not really comfortable sharing unedited work – it makes me feel exposed and vulnerable – but f#@% it, I’m doing it anyways.
Monday, June 11, 2012:
A woman in Kundalini class today made my day – she brought her son, who I estimate was about 9 years old. I love that age, 9, 10 – when children are getting old enough to begin to engage like adults, but with none of the rejection and sarcasm – they’re still open and eager. This boy participated in every pose. Occasionally I’d take a peek at him and would always end up grinning widely – when we were smacking our mats shouting ‘har,’ he was flailing away with gusto. And he stayed with every pose too – never gave up. It gave me such joy to see a young boy completely open and accepting to what 99% of people (Westerners anyway) would think was insane.
I love Kundalini because it’s one of the most spiritually connected forms of yoga I’ve found. It’s not always a physical workout – it’s generally more mentally challenging, holding poses and doing repetitions.
The other day I felt one of the strongest pangs of loneliness I’ve felt in years, at least since the great breakup of ’09.
It was my second day back in Buenos Aires. I was attending an Acro/Aerial Yoga/Dance class, one that I used to attend with friends. Those friends were now no longer in Buenos Aires. So there I was, the English-speaking beginner, surrounded by Latinas who’d been doing the class for some time. Occasionally I would attempt to pull myself up the fabric a few feet, on the red strip, the “easiest” level as it was the firmest. But most of the time I sat on the mat, watching the other girls climb and spin and drop gracefully to the mats. And then, out of nowhere, a sharp stab of sadness, of loneliness. My eyes began to fill with tears and I quickly blinked, not wanting anyone to see me sitting there, about to cry. How would I explain that in Spanish?
As I said, it’s been a few years since I felt that alone. And I’m noticing that I’ve been having bouts of sadness since returning to BA. I thought I was adapting to it fine but am beginning to see how hard this is on me. My closest friends are no longer here, and on top of that I’m not speaking to Jonas anymore. I think that’s the main thing – Jonas. I miss him. I want to meet up with him, to walk with him, to talk to him – or to listen, really. He always did do a lot of talking. Sometimes we’d be riding bikes and I’d wish he would just be quiet for a few minutes, as I tried to navigate cars and adoquniado and enjoy the ride without straining to hear and comprehend what he was talking about.
I’m feeling a little lost. What am I doing with my life? What’s my meaning, my purpose? Why am I here, not just here on planet Earth but here in Argentina; why am I going to Italy? I want to feel important. I want to feel like I know why I’m doing what I’m doing. I want to feel safer.
I do not feel safe. I feel expose, alone. I feel like I might be making a huge mistake. I feel like I might be making the wrong choices. It’s all me now. What do you want, Michelle? And why? Are you sure? Are you sure all this traveling won’t just leave you alone? With no husband, no children, no friends, no family, no community?
I’m scared. I want a community. I want to share things with people I love.
I guess the world is my community now. I can share things with everyone. I can love each person I meet.
Starting with myself.
I can trust. Trust that it’s all ok. Trust that if I follow my bliss, it will multiply and expand and support me. Trust that this fear is just me moving to the next level. Sit with the fear, sit with me, sit with my inner child who is terrified of being abandoned, being alone. Sit with my ego that fears that it’s incapable of having a real relationship. Well, I did. I had a fantastic, loving relationship that was more joyful and respectful and affectionate and passionate and connected than anything most people experience in their lives.
And it wasn’t him. It was me. It was me loving the reflection of myself that I saw mirrored in his eyes. IT was me connected with my highest self, my self that is eternal unconditional love and joy and enthusiasm and passion for life. It was me. I don’t need to fear anymore that I won’t find that again, because it’s not about finding. IT’s a bout living. It’s about creating. It’s about being my authentic self. I loved who I was in that relationship. I can be that person all the time. I can deeply love everyone. I can deeply love myself.
And my biggest challenge: following my heart. Not my mind, my heart. What does my heart want? What does my intuition want to do?
I would like to sit in silence and ask myself, Michelle, what do you Want to Do?
Michelle wants to get in bed for a bit. And read “Free Play“.
May 9, 2012
Advice on how to find more happiness in my life, from my 110-year-old self, who is colorfully dressed, quirky, lives in an adorable house, has traveled the world and created joy and beauty and has a wonderfully smile-creased face. She also still does yoga and is quite limber.
31*-year-old Michelle, here is my advice to you:
Don’t worry so much. Don’t be so scared. Everything works out perfectly.
Live your own truth – protect your body and your mind – they’re the only things that will stay with you your whole life. Well, your mind might go, but you’re stuck in this body. Nothing else stays – not your spouse, children, clothing or friends, not your house or your money or your pets. Don’t drink. Don’t eat toxic crap. Don’t burn your neurons up on drugs that aren’t even that much fun.
Listen to yourself. You already know all the answers. You don’t even have to ask anyone else.
Stop sleeping with guys. It won’t give you the connection you’re looking for. Only you can give that to yourself. Save your emotional, sexual, and mental energy for someone who will reflect it back to you evenly and is committed to co-creating more of it with you. Otherwise it’s a slow leak. You’re never gonna fill your hot air balloon enough to lift you to your highest heights unless you conserve all of that precious, lovely energy you create. Look at all that emotional energy that’s been drained out of you by boys. Not their fault, they were (mostly) sweethearts, but you know you don’t need it.
Feel your feelings, mourn your sadness, and don’t be afraid of pain. You’re strong. You can take any amount of pain, and you are so wonderful and creative that you know how to catalyze that pain into growth and learning and ultimately, more happiness. So rejoice in pain. When you feel pain you know you’ve got a golden opportunity for heart and soul growth. You’re one lucky bitch.
You ARE one lucky bitch. Everything always works out in your favor. And I mean everything. The universe truly smiles on us. You are sooo lucky that you got this beautiful charmed life. Enjoy it, trust it. You are loved and supported always.
Live beyond your fears. Squeeze every last bit of love and joy out of this sucker. What’s there to be afraid of? You’re immortal. Your fears are just psychological constructs, remnants of the lizard brain that thinks that if you make a wrong move, you’re caput. Well guess what – #1. You won’t die of ANY of the things you’re afraid of, like honesty and karaoke and vulnerability and having messy feelings and looking like an idiot fool, and #2. There are no wrong choices. So go ahead and follow your impulses – do whatever the hell it is that you want to do. It’s your life, there are no wrong choices, and NONE of the choices you make are gonna kill you.
Love more. Love more. Love more. ESPECIALLY yourself. You are gorgeous, sweet, talented, kind, intelligent, caring, trustworthy, dependable, strong, loyal. ANY person is lucky to have you in their lives, and you are lucky to have a great travelling partner like yourself. So love yourself more, every day, as much as your huge heart can.
Create. Creation is your intellect combined with attention combined with love combined with divine spirit. The things you create are as beautiful as you are, because you have a beautiful soul. So you are creating beauty and sharing it with the world – what better gift could you possibly give? Your creation is your love made manifest. And you’ve got a lot of it. The only thing that stops creation is fear. Don’t let fear win. Don’t listen to it. NONE of it is real.
Prioritize. This life is long and it is short. Spend it doing what makes you happy. Figure out what those things are and build a map for your life based on that. Otherwise you’ll end up living someone else’s version of happiness (or fear). That’s a waste of your beautiful life.
Accept the now. Be grateful for the good (and there’s a lot). Release your fears. And trust that everything will work out perfectly. It always did.
*I am now 33; I wrote this back in 2010 or 2011 while while on retreat at the Metta Forest Monastery near San Diego, CA. Apparently I meant to post it to my other blog, www.amicamore.com, but never did. I’m so glad I found it, and I’m glad to report I have taken my own advice – I stopped sleeping around and drinking since this writing.
January 22, 2012
This is comprehensive and profound. However, my advice wouldn’t be to quit your job.
My advice would be to be so honest and authentic that they have no choice but to fire you; then you sign up for unemployment to support a minimalistic lifestyle while you heal your heart and learn to hear the messages it’s been trying to tell you all these years. Preferably in another country.
As I sit here typing this post at Baraka cafe in Palermo Soho in Buenos Aires, Argentina, a Ladybug landed on my table.
I’m sitting inside. What is a Ladybug doing inside of a restaurant? Maybe waiting to order. Waiters are slow in Buenos Aires, Ladybug. Hope you’re not too hungry.
I have blogged about Ladybugs twice prior to today:
once on August 8th 2010 (the date on the blog is wrong for some reason), and
once on January 27th 2011.
At the time, my research indicated that Ladybugs are supposed to portend the arrival of true love. I’m guessing in these cases it must’ve been true love for myself, as there aren’t any men in my life (not in a sexual way, anyways), I haven’t even dated anyone since November of 2010 (!!!), but I HAVE been working diligently the past few years on allowing true self-love.
Back to the poster.
I love this bit, and I feel like I’ve been following it:
If you are looking for the love of your life, stop; they will be waiting for you once you start doing the things you love.
And here’s one I’d like to start doing:
Ask the next person you see what their passion is.
Here in Buenos Aires, you meet a lot of travelers and nomads and expats. Inevitably we ask each other, “What’s your story?” to get a summary of where they came from, how they got here, what they’re doing now, where they’re going next. It’s fascinating but does get repetitive. I think I’ll start asking “What is your passion?” instead. More fun for them to answer, and more illuminating for me.
Back to the Ladybugs.
I just found this assertion of Ladybug symbolism that has nothing to do with true love:
When ladybugs appear they are a sign from the universe that you are being protected and that you are safe as you work hard to promote yourself and your ideas. Ladybug tells you to be cheerful in your work and to share the joy of your creativity with others.
Alright. That sounds good. And more suitable for what I’ve been doing since August of 2010.
Or there’s this:
Ladybug’s medicine includes carrying the golden strand that leads to the centre of the universe, past lives, spiritual enlightenment, death and rebirth, renewal, regeneration, fearlessness, protection, good luck, wishes being fulfilled, protection.
Damn. That pretty much covers everything. Also found this:
Though small in size the ladybug is fearless. As fear cannot exist amongst joy, the ladybug brings a message of promise, for they get us back in touch with the joy of living – we must let go of our fears and go back to our roots, to love. We are also taught to restore our trust and faith in the universe, we have to get over ourselves, our egos, and allow life to take its course going with the flow.
Ladybug showing up in ones life foretells a time of luck and protection, where wishes start to become actualised. Worries will quickly disperse when ladybug appears as they shield us from our aggravations, paving the way for new found happiness – aim high, you will get what you focus on. However, ladybug also cautions us not to force things or try to hard to fulfil your wishes, go with the flow and let things take their natural course. Your wishes will come true when they do – in their own time!
January 19, 2012
“The key is to listen to your heart and let it carry you in the direction of your dreams. I’ve learned that it’s possible to set your sights high and achieve your dreams and do it with integrity, character, and love. And each day that you’re moving toward your dreams without compromising who you are, you’re winning.”
– Michael Dell – this quote was one of the awesome daily quotes on www.TheDailyLove.com.
“It’s simple – we were sent to GIVE the Love we think we missed or that we think we aren’t getting from someone else. We see where the Love is lacking and so it’s up to us to fill that gap! The same is true for you. You were sent to give the Love that you think it missing in your life and in the world. That’s why you’re here.”
– Mastin Kipp – author of www.TheDailyLove.com; subscribe for daily love delivered!
“Every day is a microcosm of the larger vision and macrocosm of your life. For us to really live our truth, we need to insert the activities every day that mirror our priorities and goals.”
-Ashley Turner – frequent blogger at www.TheDailyLove.com (every day, besides sending you incredibly wise quotes and his own daily blog, Mastin has THREE guest bloggers that share truth and insight).
How are you living love every day? Living love means doing what you love, loving what you do, AND actually being and doing love; which means giving. I’ve realized recently that love = giving. Giving attention, giving time, giving affection, giving compliments and kind words, giving energy, giving inspiration, giving another person access to your fears and dreams and truths. Love is opening, expanding, sharing, trusting. Love is the opposite of fear because fear is closing, contracting, taking, doubting.
In every moment, in every Now, we have a Choice between Love and Fear. That’s the elusive thing that separates us from animals. That ability to make a conscious choice between the two. Love or Fear.
Which are you choosing Now?
How about Now?
January 5, 2012
When you wake up in the morning the first few days after someone has died, it takes a few minutes to remember that they’re gone. Other things snap into place first.
Where am I? Click. Who am I? Click. Your life story and the continuous timeline of your awareness of your life snap into place (unless you’ve had too much to drink the night before; then there may be holes). But the first few days after someone’s died, you might be awake for a few minutes before that segment of reality clicks into place. Oh yes – they’re gone. It’s a new part of your story that you have to unconsciously remind yourself of – that person is no longer breathing somewhere on this planet.
My father died a few days ago. To be honest, it was a relief. After I’d gotten the call I spent a few hours grieving, but I think it was more for myself than for him. Well, now that I write that, it seems obvious that grieving is never really for the other person. They’re dead. It’s for you, or it’s a show for those around you.
There was no one around. I made a playlist of the Motown, Soul and Pop music that he’d played throughout my life and was the soundtrack of the time we spent together, and like I did when I was young, I lied on the floor by the stereo, and I cried.
I grieved for the little girl who was subjected to her father’s drunkenness and manic rages, to his threats to kill her mother and threats to leave her an orphan who would live on Skid Row. I grieved for the girl who witnessed a man crippled by his fears and addictions and inability to express true feelings or be vulnerable; I grieved for the little girl who learned from his example, internalized it, and has lived the painful lesson:
Being invulnerable doesn’t protect you – it destroys your chance of having the thing that humans long for most deeply: real, true intimacy with others, and the ability to love and be loved.
And I did grieve a little for that baby boy who was born at an orphanage, bastard son of an unwed Catholic servant girl in Ireland in the 1940s – a time when sexual and physical abuse perpetrated by priests and nuns was an epidemic more insidious and incapacitating than any communicable disease. That little boy was adopted at age four by Americans who I’m sure had no idea how to manage the emotional scarring that a little Irish redheaded orphan had endured, regardless of whether he’d escaped the odds of abuse. Being abandoned by a mother, whether she had a choice or not, sets the stage for life-long and profoundly painful questions of self-worthiness and lack thereof.
I felt relieved when I got the news that death had freed him from his suffering; relieved for him, and relieved for me. Since the age of 13 or so I’d wished he would die so I wouldn’t have to deal with him anymore. Over the last three years, since he fled the state of California to avoid a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by a student, he lived in motels and steadily drank himself towards his grave, as have many of his Irish ancestors. So by the time he died physically, I’d already let him go, and let myself off the hook for being an ‘unworthy’ daughter.
He may have believed that his mother abandoned him because she didn’t love him enough; but his daughter abandoned him because she loved herself too much to continue to allow the choices he made for his life to affect her in negative ways.
I find it poetic that my alcoholic father passed away a few days after I’d made the decision to give up drinking for good. The synchronistic timing of his death will give me the impetus to stay sober, present, and conscious for the rest of my life. I don’t want to lose another moment of awareness to alcohol, and I don’t want to continue believing that having a drink somehow makes my life better.
I don’t want to live my life like my father did, tormented by fears, controlled by cravings and aversions. Unlike my father, I’m not going to wait for death to arrive to free me.
I choose to be free while I’m still alive. I choose to live.
August 25, 2011
The past three years, my mom and I have taken on the 50 Mile Multiple Sclerosis Challenge Walk. Yes, fifty miles, over three days – 20, 20, 10.
It’s an incredible experience, and I love doing it with my mom (though one year I did it alone as she had a seizure and couldn’t participate). But this year, back around February, before I knew I would be leaving LA or starting a company or moving to Argentina, I decided I’d take this year off in order to focus on other projects.
So I’m not walking this year, but my mom is! And she is competitive. She’s aiming to be one of the top fundraisers and has already raised over $5,000 – go mom!!!
If you’d like to help her get even higher, please go to http://www.MyMSChallenge.com , click on DONATE TO A WALKER and then type JOYCE SAVAGE.
I want to thank everyone who’s donated these past three years. Your generosity and kindness mean the world to both me and my mom.
I hope you’ve having a fantastic summer and that you are healthy and happy!
Below is my mom’s fundraising letter:
Dear Family and Friends,
Once again (against all odds), I’ve decided to take the challenge! Yes, I am going to walk 50 miles in three days to raise money for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. This will be my fourth year of major fundraising! A few weeks after the first walk, I shattered my elbow in a fall during a ½ marathon; before my second walk, I had a grand mal seizure caused by a reaction to a combination of medications (which I will never take again) followed by shingles and the permanent loss of hearing in my right ear and couldn’t do the walk; and last year two weeks after the walk, I had glaucoma surgery to put an shunt in my right eye to regulate my pressure since years of eyedrops couldn’t control it. I am now recovering from the same surgery to my left eye which I had done on Valentine’s Day!
You are probably wondering why in the world I want to do the walk since it seems I end up in the hospital either before or after the walk. In the words of Mother Teresa “Life is a challenge, meet it.” I am accepting the challenge because I can! I want to walk for those friends of mine who can’t. My MS is being held at bay by the grace of God and my Ayurvedic lifestyle.
I realize that times are tough economically right now, so any contribution will make a difference. If you cannot contribute money, please keep me in your prayers. I have to raise $2,500 to be able to participate in the walk, but my goal is $5,000. I am working to make a difference and I need your help. Over 400,000 Americans wake up each morning with the unpredictability of multiple sclerosis. MS is the most common neurological disease leading to disability in young adults. The cause is unknown and there is no cure. This disease brings uncertainty to those living with it and stops people from moving. The National MS Society is here to make sure it doesn’t. Together we can turn the uncertainty into hope.
Please use the link below to donate online by credit card quickly and securely and keep up with my progress:
Click on DONATE TO A WALKER and then type JOYCE SAVAGE.
All donations must be in BEFORE THE END OF AUGUST, so please do not delay. If you would like to join our team, just email me soon so you can start training!
Thank you in advance,
Team Captain, MSchievous MooSe
Life is tough…but I am tougher
April 26, 2011
“It might seem scary, but showing emotion and expressing your needs is how you build intimacy. And having high standards and the courage to maintain them is how you make sure that only the best kind of relationships remain in your life.”
That wisdom nugget is from Mastin Kipp, whom I lovelovelove for the daily love he shares at www.TheDailyLove.com.
And yes, I have issues with intimacy and vulnerability. I didn’t actually know what vulnerability was until about a year or two ago. Ditto for intimacy.
Well, used to have issues with, anyways. Now I don’t have “issues” so much as an uneasy coexistence with them. Workin’ it out! Let me know if you want to practice. I may squirm and grimace and protest and hold my breath…but I’m willing.