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I don't have time to write well or to say things in the best way. And, if you don't know me, I don't think you'll get a thing out of reading this. I've mostly written for myself so I can follow my process later.

I feel quite odd tonight. I don't know what to make of the last few days! A good part of me though is not attempting to make anything of it, but rather just appreciating what is happening, and doing what feels right (which, much of the time, is just standing and appreciating a field with trees or something of that sort). Something other than the usual aspect of mind that tells me "everything is going to go wrong if you aren't on top of everything all the time" is present.

I've procrastinated taking care of my business for a full week longer than I usually do. I still don't understand what that's about, exactly, except from this perspective it isn't really a problem. Perhaps I’m trying to create something as a catalyst. Maybe my organism knows when and how and why to do things and I don’t need to worry about that so much. What is meant to happen will happen. Either I lose clients or I don't. Really, what's the worst that can happen? Either way, it’s just life.

Even losing my business: if that's what *wants* to happen, well then, let it happen. Maybe I've been sabotaging it. If I need to let this fall apart and then fix it (or accept that it's fallen apart and do something else) then that's just what I need to learn. At the moment I’m just not too worried about it. I don’t know if words convey at all the state of mind I’ve been in. I don’t feel as identified by or as trapped by my business or by other things in my life, right now, as I usually do. So it’s like, either I do or I don’t, and rather than coming from a have to, when I choose to work on my business, it’s more like, okay, now is the right time for it. I choose to. No matter what I do, opportunities and obstacles will come.

Last night, when I finally decided it was time to deal with my business, I just sat with it for what felt like hours in this state of utter stuckness and where do I go with this? A voice of clarity -- not the usual voice that would be speaking -- said, "Dude, even the spreadsheet you created to be helpful is a mess. You need to organize! Just organize and that will help so much!" So, I decided to start organizing. It felt like all this was going to take forever. And then, last night, when I was going to spend some time continuing to get up to date with my business, an unexpected voice told me, "What you really *need* to do to take care of the business is not all that much. Just organize the files that have already been done and get started on the ones that haven't. Simple." And I figured that, when I needed to get back to take care of the business, my body would tell me rather than my mind; in the same way that, coming back from Easter, I found myself automatically transitioning into pre-travel activities like cleaning and locking the chicken coop before my mind was aware that I had begun preparing. When something is important, it tends to just happen (of course, some degree of organizing doesn't hurt!) It wasn't procrastinating so much as, "There are things going on inside of you that require attention right now; when it's time to shift out and into a different mode of being, that shift will happen, don't worry." And that’s where intentions can be really helpful -- because the sorts of things that I’ve truly intended are the ones that will just start happening when the time is right, and I don’t need to think about it!

There have been a lot of insights over the last week or two. Some just really simple: if I want my life to change, there are such simple things I need to do. I don’t need to mystify it or make it into a big thing. Just: write my memoir, spend time in nature, get in touch with my body. Take care of my body. If I do that, something is telling me right now, so much will fall in place for me. That, and organize! I don’t know where a lot of this insight comes from lately; it just appears and I know it’s more than just a thought but something I can really trust, that feels true.

I've spent so much time just admiring the beauty of nature and feeling like the entire world is timeless and open to me. I've spent a lot of time just being and letting whatever sort of crazy process -- as much as it feels like it's a forever process -- I'm going through unfold. Trusting it, not trusting it... ultimately, I’ve read a lot of stuff about experiences like this: spiritual emergency, kundalini/spiritual awakening, etc. and so much of what I’m going through is really not unique. Others go through it, too, and ultimately, as crazy and chaotic as it can often seem, and as chaotic as it can be for *years*, the consensus is that it *can* be trusted, that something very beneficial and healing is actually going on even though it often feels like I’m just stuck in the same stuff forever!

I’ve been in a place of not knowing anything at all about who I am or anything really and it’s scary. It’s really horrifying at times to not know what anything is -- things that were dear to you, you can’t say that anything is quite what you once thought it was. As I read, the book suggests that very few regret the process in the end, though it may take years to unfold. My kundalini awakening started in 2004. I wonder if it’s really starting to unfold now in a big way. Maybe it’s time to seek out and network with people who are familiar with spiritual emergency. Seek out conferences, healers, people who get this stuff, you know?

A number of things stand out for me as I read this book. It is suggested that falling in love for the first time, especially as a teenager, at a fragile time in development, or losing that first love, is a common cause of kundalini awakening. That's me; what more can I say? I also read that such experiences tend to happen most intensely around Easter. It was precisely that time of year. Something about the mythic story of Jesus and death and resurrection seems to bring out all these energies in people. Well! Maybe that’s especially true for someone who branded Jesus Christ Superstar on her soul as a teenager! Then, the book talked about Jung's Red Book as an excellent account and guide through such experiences -- it was just last week that I found myself in a bookstore, unexpectedly enchanted by the words of the Red Book. Of course when Jung himself is involved in one way or another, synchronicity is bound to happen. All I can say is, I feel somewhat validated that my experiences are not really all that uncommon; that they’re a natural healing mechanism; that, though people in my life might not get it, that doesn’t mean I’m alone. This is one aspect of my loneliness, I think I hear a voice speaking. Go to a conference, meet people doing Kundalini / spiritual emergency stuff. One thing that I really need is to stop feeling so alone and so weird and if I can meet others who have gone through similar things, that can help.

And now, as I’m researching Kundalini conferences, a woman who is a friend of a woman I met in Michigan comes up. Dorothy Walters, a friend of Patricia Lay Dorsay. It reminds me that there are people in the world with such wisdom and caring. I’ve been thinking about Michigan a lot lately. For example, many moments of my life lately remind me of little magical moments I experienced there.

I wrote, "I don't trust that this chaos of insight and paradox which results in the end as emptiness or ego loss CAN integrate. Adyashanti says that people don't trust their natural selves, their non-manipulated selves. And yes, one of my fear is of doing something crazy and not being able to trust myself." I have such a hard time explaining to friends what I'm going through. Often it feels like I'm going crazy. I don't trust myself to act in ways I want to be acting, etc. I'm afraid of getting so disconnected from the ego self that people won't recognize me; that I will be dysfunctional in the world; that I will unintentionally cross some boundary. People are likely to respond, "Well, if you don't trust yourself, how can I trust you?" And that's the thing: I need them to, and I can't quite explain to them how this works. The process is to be trusted, one way or another: that I know for certain. A deeper part of me trusts it even when the ego reels against it. There's the ego-mind-me that does all this manipulation to keep everything 'safe'. Feeling like you don't know who's acting, like you're not in control of yourself, that you might do something that absolutely horrifies your ego self -- these are apparently such common aspects of spiritual emergency. And this rightly scares a lot of people. Not in control? People are scared of anything unbounded. People are scared when someone says, for example, that the same potentials of Hitler are also present in me. We are simply expressing a universal truth that we’ve become aware of in ourselves, and actually, though it’s uncomfortable, people who are able to admit it are probably actually safer than those who keep such truths locked away in some closet.

I can’t say what this process will do. I have no idea. That comes out of humility and knowing how powerful this process is. None of us knows what the process of our lives will do; how we will be changed tomorrow or next year. None of us knows whether a few years down the road we’ll find ourselves locked up in a psych ward and acting in ways altogether unfamiliar to us. We just don’t know these things, though we can think we know. This is the awareness that becomes acutely clear to me in spiritual emergency. It’s not just theory anymore. In the end, admitting that “I’m” not always in control -- and that I don’t even quite know who this me is that’s supposed to be in control is -- may be a higher level of awareness, and ultimately safer, than someone who thinks that they’re totally in control and know exactly where things are going and they have the best intentions. That’s how I was before I messed up my relationship with Crystal: my ego thought that it knew what it was doing, that it had good intentions, that it wouldn’t let anything get out of hand, but my ego which kept saying it was trustworthy found a way to keep deceiving itself! It was my love for her that shocked me into realizing what I was doing, and now, I feel in a sense absolutely incapable of the same kind of emotional abuse because I have awareness of what I was actually doing and how far from loving it was. I love. I know that. Because I love so much, I’m afraid of not being in control, of hurting people.

So how do you explain the sometimes messy dis-identification with ego, the sense that the you that you've always known yourself to be is not in control of this entity you've always known to be "yourself," in a way that doesn't frighten others? Whenever I've tried to explain, it leads to mistrust, and I want to say -- don't you understand? This is the same dilemma we *all* deal with -- can we trust ourselves? Who is it that we're trusting? -- if any of us looked a bit more clearly, we'd discover the shocking fact that there are parts of us, besides the parts that we typically identify with, that sometimes have plans for us that are very different from what we would consciously intend. It's not that I'm any less trustworthy or more likely to do erratic things than anyone else, perhaps; it's that I'm more aware of this potential. And even this beyond-ego-beingness part of me would not do anything it knows to be ultimately unloving. There is the level of ego that wants to control everything; and there is the level beyond that where sometimes the ego’s control is thwarted and who knows what will happen? This is the part that frightens me. There is an even deeper knowing, an understanding that this process is to be trusted, whatever it is, and that yes, I will mess up in life, and all of that, but it’s all actually okay and as it should be. That’s the part that it seems people don’t get when I try to explain this to them. People are horrified that there is a part of them that might simply fuck up, or do something that would terrorize their ego; and yet, I’m simply aware that this is what life is. I know this process is to be trusted because ultimately it comes out of love.

I wrote: “So much repressed stuff is being released and not wanting to be repressed anymore that I’m afraid it’s coming out in odd ways. The sudden desire to, for no reason, send Denae a marriage request on Facebook is just one benign example. I don’t know why I did it -- in some ways, I was trying to recreate something, I’m sure -- a sense of being loved, maybe. I remember that sense I had, a very subtle sense, when I was with Crystal, that it isn’t me doing these actions. Feeling stuck in a role, one that had all the inertia to play out inside of me, and I stood there, horrified that I kept falling into the same traps. Some of them were social scripts, like how a man was supposed to be towards a woman. That I had to save face, could never be wrong. These roles were in control, as much as the part I considered the “real me” wanted to change that. Even then, even before Kundalini, some of this stuff was happening, but I had no language for it.”

And then, I had these insights into the part of me that I don’t trust, the part of me I think is going to sabotage my life, and I recorded my thoughts -- or its thoughts. Here’s a rough transcription of what came out:

***

So I’ve been thinking to myself, oh man, it’s really deep -- just going through my process and saying, OK, I connected to the process in myself that wants to destroy everything in my life. There are a lot of competing forces that I wanted to have dialogues with because they’re not working together very well. So I decided to connect to the part of myself that wants to destroy and sabotage my life -- it tells me it’s the same part of me that enjoys being a trickster, glamourbombing, throwing things out of sorts just for the sheer pleasure of it. It delights in the unusual and unexpected but it’s also the part of me that will create pain and suffering to get me to see -- it’s telling me it has a message for me. As long as I’m not willing to accept the part of me that is willing to destroy everything -- I guess that’s Kali energy -- it’s the same part of me that had dreams when I was younger about smashing down malls with baseball bats. It’s the same wanting to break free I’ve always had. And then these school dreams that keep coming up... this part of me that wants to sabotage my life is a part that wants to break free from constraints, to be consequence free, to let go of the pressure, and just be free.

But that doesn’t mean I have to break everything. Ultimately, this part says, it doesn’t matter if you break anything or not. As I write this, a part of me really wants to smash in the window of my car. That would certainly be unexpected and a stepping out of ordinary boundaries. Am I going to do that? No. On the one hand, what amazing power it would be to fuck up something in my life like that, so easily. Creating pain. I don’t know why I want or need that, but this part of me is saying, you need pain in your life to grow! It says: it doesn’t ultimately matter to me if you break a window or screw up a relationship or don’t check your business emial for a week. I mean, yeah, I want you to do something scary and dangerous with your life. Breaking a car window is certainly a metaphor of that! I want you to go out there and take risks and say fuck you to the naysayers. That’s what I want! I want you to just be in yourself, be who you are. Be who you fucking are and don’t give that up. Just be that! It seems like the way there for you is breaking things, getting in trouble with the law -- it’s all about breaking things, never a wanting to hurt another human being. It says to me, that’s not beneficial. It wants to screw things up in my life but it doesn’t want to hurt others -- it might disappoint others, yes, but it would never intentionally hurt them. It wants to destroy things and structures and create pain for me in a beautiful way. It’s not trying to kill me. It’s trying to get me in touch with what really matters and what really wants. It’s trying to connect me with what really matters: to destroy my relationship with that school I found myself in in the dream, to just walk out, burn my bridges, and live my own life! And to get there, maybe it’s just part of my makeup -- I need to be a rebel. I need to transcend boundaries.

It’s also really turned on by all of this stuff. The dreams of smashing things in the mall were actually really erotic. And now it’s like, what is left but to break my whole fucking life?! I made a list of things I need: one other thing I need is, to go through a really powerful experience, maybe a metaphorical experience, an ordeal, I suppose. And I’m going to seek all sorts of ways to create that rite of passage for myself -- ways that may sound kind of silly, like intentionally destroying my car window. Re-enacting past trauma in subtle or not-so-subtle ways. And now I need a ritual, an ordeal, a rite of passage, in order to satisfy this part of myself -- it doesn’t really care whether I really destroy my life so as to shock myself into making changes, or if I go through some sort of ritual which I can then integrate into my life. I’ll get to the same place in the end. And it’s what BDSM is, too -- feeling all this stuff in a highly charged metaphorical way, and integrating it.

Create or destroy something with a really big, magical, powerful ritual process. One of intentional destruction and letting go. Ritual pain, perhaps. Symbolically going through this process will have the same effect on the trauma as actually playing it out.

***

There is trauma in my back, mid to upper spine, and when I shake it out, this feeling of terror comes over me. If I want to feel this primal terror all I need to do is wiggle my spine back and forth and I’ll get there pretty quickly. How odd. I first noticed it when I was rolling around during the shamanic process at the retreat with Jon and LJ. I went into this terribly vulnerable rebirthing experience which was probably prematurely interrupted. This is a key to releasing it, if I want to. Keep shaking it out. I get numb when I shake, too, so the numbness is connected to it. It feels connected to why I feel myself in a double bind, unable to make decisions about anything, feeling so stuck, the dream of being stuck in school, etc. If I can pay attention to this, and start to work it out, who knews where it will take me...
Last night, I smoked about the last of the marijuana that I had, and I stood there in a position that released some of the trauma in my spine. And then, suddenly, out of nowhere, for a half a second, I blacked out. The next thing I knew, I was falling down. I stumbled from here to there, trying to get myself not to fall -- being terrified of falling, of losing control, of possibly hitting the ground and making a loud noise, waking everyone up, etc. So here was the battle, between the part of me I have no control over, and the ego trying desperately not to fall and lose control. And it was like, I just fell, and I lost the battle. It’s like the part of me that I dialogued with above orchestrated this fall as one way to experience myself as not in control and to surrender to that experience. All of a sudden, I was on the floor, and I had to accept that. I had fallen. In an instant, I DID lose control of my body and my actions -- I fell down -- and there I was, lying on the ground, having gone through the experience, and feeling somehow okay about it. I surrendered something. Somehow this fall had shaken something loose in me. It was terrifying, blacking out and then being in a place of just trying to stay up and realizing I had no choice but to fall. There is so much metaphor in that! I’m reminded of Freud’s The Psychopathology of Everyday Life: his discovery that so many of our accidents are coordinated by our psyches. Well, this fall feels that way. It was, as in the dialogue I had with the destructive part of me, a way for me to grow and let go of old forms.

I got myself to lie in bed. Then, I had this blissful experience, that wasn’t just fleeting, but a sense that I don’t know who I am at all, and it’s okay, and it doesn’t matter. I just couldn’t connect to the part of me that thought it knew who it was, it all felt illusory.

And it was like, ah, at last, I’d gotten there, to the other side! The other side of what, I wasn’t sure, but I knew I was on the other side of something. On the other side of all my resistance, maybe? I had spent so much time terrified of losing control and then I find myself right in the middle of a situation where I do fall and it turns out okay. Was this the other side of my kundalini crisis where things would unfold more easily from this point? It felt like the energy had shifted to the left side of my body. I kept getting these symbolic messages that something had shifted and in some sense things were going to be different now. What am I on the other side of? And the sense of the energy moving through me suddenly changed. It was this warm, electrical erotic energy that started flowing through me, not connected to anything in particular, but just an energy moving through me. I feel it right now, this warm erotic cleansing energy, a lot more than the tension and blockage that I had experienced before.

And today, too, I kept feeling this erotic energy flowing in the world and interacting with life and the ego normally in control just wasn’t really there. I kept seeing these images, these scenes, in nature, and it would fleetingly occur to me: “Now this reminds me of being in Michigan,” or “Now this reminds me of a moment I had with Crystal,” or “Now this reminds me of Anna,” or “Now I feel like I’m right back in Ireland.” It was as though everything was reminding me of all sorts of times in my life, and I was just noticing this. I didn’t feel traumatized by it, I was just noticing how my experience of this moment took on so many different forms. And yet, I was also present in the moment, to the scene that was happening. And then, I started thinking about this sense of being on the other side again. What am I on the other side of? About a minute later, it made sense, there was a big rainbow, I could see from one side to the other.

Somewhere over the rainbow? Of course, this was my next rainbow, and it made perfect sense that this would be the time that it would emerge. I was SO connected with all of my past at once as all these ways of seeing scenes emerged for me. And it’s somehow out of that, that rainbows decide to take shape. I drove to the park and found myself standing pretty much at the middle of the rainbow. I walked towards some water, stood near some robins... I bowed in the midst of the rainbow, but it didn’t feel any more or less amazing than anything else in life. It just was.

And right now I don’t know what any of this means except -- something *has* changed. I feel more integrated, somehow. I am experiencing something really big, something too big for most people to understand, and that can be lonely. I don’t know where I’m going. But at the moment...

Hiding

Mar. 22nd, 2013 05:13 am
lilywolf: (Default)
I spent a couple days last week pretty much sleeping all the time; I would wake up for an hour or less and then go back to sleep. I knew I didn't need more sleep and yet, I just lay in bed, unwilling to get up, not finding any reason to get up, and all it took was focusing on my heart for a couple minutes and I was able to fall asleep again. It felt like a drug, almost, to be able to sleep so much and make myself tired when my body probably didn't need it. Nowadays I really can't distinguish between physical and emotional/spiritual illness; I don't know what this was, if it was just a stage of hopelessness about life that I had to go through. Part of it was that I had a couple -- just a couple of small, insignificant things -- to take care of with my business. But I was so disorganized with it, and maybe that disorganization reminded me of how disorganized my life is in general, and somehow I resisted doing any work at all. Sleep was my way of resisting.

In order to really wake up and feel myself present in the world, I need more than usual. I go to Ichiban and order a bowl of wonton soup and an Alaska roll, sometimes. Or I will go to see something at the Amherst Cinema. I love that place. So far I've seen Amour, Quartet, The Pirogue, Castle in the Sky, Like Someone in Love, and My Neighbor Totoro. I saw each of those films alone. I enjoyed them all. I love having a cinema where, no matter what I chose to see, I know I'm going to get something out of it. Sometimes going to the Amherst Cinema is what gets me interested enough to engage a little bit with life. And though I really wish I wasn't alone in everything I do, I kind of enjoy going to the cinema alone. It's something I can give myself. Still, it's hard, not knowing anybody. It's hard, not knowing if I will end up knowing anybody in a way that feels sufficient, or even if I'll be in the area for long.

I'm wondering what is even possible as far as feeling fulfilled? I think I feel hopeless at times because I don't even know what I can expect: from friendships, from future relationships; so I don't know how to gauge if I'm settling. And I want to run away a lot. I've avoided Natalie and George. We had a talk last night. They told me they were feeling really uncomfortable; they don't know how to approach me. They want me to take up space so I'm not taking up energetic space -- I think? -- and that's hard to wrap my mind around. I'm not used to living with people who are sensitive to energy. So if I'm feeling something, like this avoidance, and not putting it out there, not naming it, it may make others uncomfortable too. We talked about all this, though; I cried, which was an unexpected surprise; and I feel better about this now. I feel less lonely here simply because we've named what was happening. This is the safest place in the world to experiment, to try things out, George says... and I'm trying to listen to that. Well into my second month of living here, I'm finally starting to be able to see things for what they are -- see Natalie and George for who they are -- without all the projections I put on them. I project to protect myself and I don't see this unique situation or these unique people.

After an amazing retreat with Rebecca, there was the gender outlaws retreat two weeks later, and... well, I'd opened up so much on the first retreat, I was actually contracting during the second retreat rather than opening up. And I just kind of isolated myself a lot. It went from so much love that I didn't know how to handle it, to "I need a bit of a break from this love stuff," to "where did the love go? I'm lonely," to "nobody likes me anyway." I'm still trying to figure out how this works: how I can feel an abundance of connection and then feel like there's never enough. What is the reality of it?

I stumbled upon a poetry reading a couple weeks ago at Amherst Books. I met an Irish poet and his American wife, and they invited me to a poetry open mic the next evening in Northampton. So, I went there, I had a burger and fries, drank a couple of beers, and I read my poem. I had no friends there with me but somehow I got up there and, my first time reading publicly, I read one that was way too erotic for my own comfort. The other, safer poem that I wanted to read was too long.

I'm starting to get tired, which is good, because I woke up after only a couple hours of sleep and certainly need more (I got over my sleep-all-the-time thing yesterday). I'm not quite sure what to say. Spring is here, it's getting warmer, and I'm going to ride my bicycle soon? I've been working on my memoir, going deep into the Vermont experience. I found Sara on Facebook. I hope she ads me back. I have grieved losing touch with that beautiful group of friends and I wonder if any of that is salvageable after all these years. I didn't lose touch because I stopped caring; life, and more life, and more life just got in the way...
lilywolf: (Default)
A couple days ago Luna came into my room, very serious, and told me that her sister was upset because she thought I took her clay face off a candle and made my own. And then she told me with such seriousness that she doesn't like going to her grandparents' house because they yell at her for peeing on the floor. She said she did that when she was three but now that she's four she doesn't anymore. She defended herself, and we both agreed that everybody makes mistakes and that's how you learn. That her grandparents don't get it. It was such an intimate moment of sharing. I'm getting how hard it must be when you're bringing up your children in a beautiful way where they learn to trust and love and honour themselves and then even little interactions with people on the outside can have this huge affect. Natalie told me she thinks Luna will be the sort of girl who will experiment with drugs and sex because she has such depth and such openness to experience. I don't like to make predictions about what people will be, but I definitely see Luna's many-faceted expression. She's kind of a kindred, and I guess I've felt that ever since Natalie said Luna said her gender was purple. I see how playful and rough and whimsical and serious she can be; and when she's naked I noticed right away she seems to have great fun flashing her body parts. I'm glad these kids live in a place where that's not shamed, where they can be who they are... it's so natural to me and it's frustrating how most of the world doesn't get it. I know even one little message or subtle sign that something is not okay could have a huge affect on a child. I think I'm pretty good at not programming damaging superego messages into their consciousness...

Bellasky is kind of quiet but very loving and has a great smile. It's harder to get to know her in some ways; Natalie says she's more of a one-on-one person than a group person. Trinity is the most independent and distant of the three. She just does her own thing. It was really touching when Natalie left and Trinity asked me for help spelling things when chatting with a friend on Facebook. And then, tonight, they were watching Avatar: The Last Airbender and then they were going to bed; I put on Dr. Who and Trinity got *really* excited, more excited than I'd ever seen her, talking about how she cried when Rose left and all that and... she actually asked, "Will you watch Dr. Who with me tomorrow?" Wow, Trinity never asks to do anything with me. I told her I was going on retreat tomorrow but that I'd watch with her when I got back.
So right now I'm... close to being done with what I need to do for retreat, but not quite ready to wrap it up and go to sleep. I've got to clean my room a little bit, pack some clothes and such, clean some things that might expire out of the refrigerator, send out the last bit of transcription work to transcribers -- soon we will have *no* work in the pipeline for the first time in over a year and that's kind of scary, but it also gives me an opportunity to focus on building the business in other ways.

I've been anxious all day. This afternoon I went to an Ichiban, an Asian restaurant that I find very reasonable -- I tend to get sushi and a combination plate and the meals come with soup and ice cream / bread pudding at the end, and that came to about $12 today. (The first time I went there, I was so surprised by the dessert, like, "I didn't order this!") When I got back, I was just a mess. I had work to do but couldn't get myself to do ANYTHING. So I took a nap. Then, I woke up, and just lay curled in bed, still resisting doing anything. It occurred to me that I could try going downstairs and being with people, and that's where I caught the end of Avatar and watched Dr. Who. It helped. So yes, I was feeling scared and totally resistant to doing anything, and community helped... now I've gotten *most* of it done.

So there are three themes that are coming up for me, for this upcoming retreat: 1) body image issues, 2) feeling young and sensitive and vulnerable. 3) money issues (terrified of not being able to make more money and then being essentially blocked from living the life I want; and, feeling like a four-year-old, it's so hard to even think abut this!) I don't know how it will all play out. Alexis suggested maybe a tantrum? Yes. Maybe I really need a tantrum and what better place to have one than at Shalom Mountain? I don't know what's bringing up this really young part of me, and I don't think it's completely to do with being around three kids. Maybe. If being here is affecting me like that, it's going right to deeper places in my unconscious, because I don't *feel* it's affecting me that much. I just feel in general, what is my life? Regret over what it might have been and wasn't. Regret at how different my childhood might have been. No, what's deeper than regret. If I really felt that, it's huge.

And then the money. I have all sorts of hang-ups about accepting money from people, etc.. It feels yucky and then when I get rejected I wish I'd never asked. I feel like they should just go with the cheaper transcription service, that I'm a fraud, all sorts of things -- even though plenty of people ARE happy with our service! So I recently got Morgana Rae's Financial Alchemy book and I'm ready to try that out. It seems to have worked some miracles for others and I have a hunch it may be just what I need.

I've also signed up for Howie Jacobson's telecourse on Time Mastery. So I guess over the next few months I'll be working on developing a better relationship with both time and money!

So, I think I'll answer some of the questions in Morgana's book: "What negative things have you seen, heard, or experienced around money?" Well, money causes fights, resentment. Money makes people oblivious to what's really going on in the world. Money is hard to earn, it goes too fast, there's never enough of it. Then there's the idea that money can't make you happy; and that without it I'll be miserable and unable to live the life I want to live. Money is superficial... "What are some of the negative ways Money has shown up in your life and in the lives of those around you?" Well, taxes, bank fees, credit card debt, and all of that stressful stuff. With my brother money is, or has been, almost an addiction. The need for money keeps people working jobs they hate and keeps them from their fullest potential. "What beliefs get between you and prosperity?" Well, despite having had a number of clients who have paid me quite well, I still have this belief that it's impossible to make money. That if somehow it happens I'm just really lucky! There's a belief that money is a drag, that it causes stress... and again that it's really hard to get. I shouldn't NEED money. I'm resentful of it. I don't deserve it. It's a huge responsibility.

So, now I get to personify money as a monster -- and today I've been thinking that money is like a pirate, and sort of like the creature that I had nightmares about as a child, who lived in my attic. A pale pirate ringwraith type figure whose job is to cut you down to size and take whatever he can from you, like a pirate... and yeah, I guess he really smells, has warts all over his face... he likes to pick fights and is such an energy vampire! So now I guess I have to end this relationship... and create a new relationship with money... a sexy money! This will be fun! And if you don't know what I'm talking about, don't worry.

Time to go to sleep. I'll wake up around seven, maybe a little before, and make some final preparations for my weekend.
lilywolf: (Default)
I just lost an entry I was about to post but thankfully it wasn't anything so important or that can't be rewritten. I was sharing about the last couple weeks, how Natalie gave me a day-and-a-half notice to move in, how I bought a car in the course of a day, how I've been sort of freaking out about how much money I've put out (not just for the car, but for rent and retreats...) But I'm supposed to be here, I think. This worked out for a reason. And I have a sense that there's something more to why I'm here than is readily apparent. The apparent reason is to get away from my family and to be mirrored by others who see me and love me; to get away from this dark place where I spent much of December and January. But I feel like there's something I have to share or receive or both, some sort of gift, and that will be revealed in time.

My first couple weeks here have been rough. I've been out of sorts, had a hard time relaxing and settling into myself. I've been tense and scared of being judged or making a wrong move. A lot like I felt when I first got to Ireland. Just spacey in general -- forgetting to close the boot of my car when I brought a space heater in the house. I'm finding it harder to move in with people I already know and care about because potential conflicts are even more terrifying. I don't want to be a burden. I don't want to be a disappointment. I don't want them to wish they hadn't invited me to live here. It's easier to take things personally when I know the people I'm living with so I'm scared of screwing up. I already did: I fell asleep early one night when I was supposed to have locked up the chickens. A predator got one of them. I felt horrible like I had screwed up life.

So I've been slowly getting more used to living here, but in a lot of ways I've been too closed, too focused on not rocking the boat to really be ME. I wish that could come right away -- that I could just move in here and I could be all of me -- but I guess sometimes, it takes longer than that. I think by the end of these three months a lot more of me will emerge. It's strange sometimes when I can't be all of me right away with people; I feel like I'm doing something wrong when that happens. I told Rebecca that, as close as I feel to her, there's still so much of me I haven't allowed myself to be with her. And that's after sharing two retreats together! It takes time, and I guess this is true not only for me.

I had a conversation this evening with Natalie that was very helpful. We haven't really talked so much. I was trying to give her space since she was taking care of her kids and doing a lot of things, and she took that as me wanting my own space, so we just kind of tried not to get in each other's way. She had a lot of stuff coming up and didn't know where it was coming from, stuff that she hadn't felt in years, and since she's an empath, she wanted to check in to see if it was me. It was so validating to hear her say exactly how I've been feeling. The first part, I've been feeling but hadn't been able to put into words: insecure, vulnerable, very young. That's it! And then she said, "body image issues," and I just laughed. Yes, she's definitely getting this stuff from me. I feel very young. I don't know if it's because I've been spending a lot of time around kids. I would have never thought to put it that way.

I feel like a little kid waiting to be reprimanded by his mother, terrified of losing love and affection. I feel scared. (I don't often recognize fear enough to name it.) I feel like I have to be what someone else wants me to be to win their approval. I feel shy. I have all these childhood memories coming up, such as when I "broke" the head off my friend's doll and hid it, because I was terrified of the consequences. I was always so afraid of the consequences, say, when I broke something. My mother told me if I was honest it wouldn't be so bad, so I don't know why I was still so terrified, why I consistently hid things or lied when I broke something. Maybe if I dug around enough I'd figure it out. I don't remember any negative consequences of being honest but maybe I was just really sensitive to my mother's disappointment and that alone was too much to bear. I'm guessing there's more there that I needed, more validation that I was still loved that somehow I didn't get -- I somehow never got the felt sense that it was okay to make those mistakes and that I was still loved despite them. And being a sensitive kid, maybe I needed a lot more of that than other kids...

I thought that this new stuff coming up was sort of replacing the body image stuff -- I didn't want it to, because I really feel I need to get down to the depths of this body image stuff which has been terrifying and incapacitating -- but now I'm thinking it's all the same somehow. I'm feeling like a vulnerable little kid and I have body image issues and... we'll see where that goes. It will probably all come up on retreat on Thursday.

Two empaths living in the same house could be interesting...

It's so helpful to have a name for this experience: feeling young, scared, insecure, vulnerable. Before, I had no idea what to do with it. Now that I know I'm probably about four years old, I have a better idea what to do: take care of myself, be gentle, give myself the sorts of things that would make my inner four year old feel loved. I've done that, a little bit, maybe unconsciously. I watched Uncle Nino, lying in bed, with hot chocolate. It's so rare for me to sit alone and watch a movie and really enjoy it. I've also been reading Neil Gaiman's Stardust. I guess I was in the mood for something that reads like a fairy tale.
lilywolf: (Default)
I've been swinging back and forth as far as emotional/mental health. When I'm with friends, I'm okay for a bit, and then they're gone and I so quickly spiral back into self-absorption. When I didn't hear back from Natalie for a while, that was hard. I considered the hospital again; and Julie called me. She explained that she'd often felt the same way, but the reality is, if she checked herself in she'd be pathologized and wouldn't be heard. And the truth is, last time, I wasn't heard -- not by the professionals. They seemed to be suspicious that my story wasn't the whole truth, I think: that I was running into these issues because, say, perhaps I was abusive, or... who knows. They didn't know me a bit, or the complexities of my inner world, and so how could they see me? It took the therapist there having a long conversation with someone who knows me very well, Renee, in order for them to realize that, yeah, my story was accurate and I really was just royally screwed over in a lot of ways. I needed an advocate before they'd trust me. (And honestly, I know it must sound like I'm reading something gendered into everything -- and I sort of am realizing how much of an effect it's had without my even realizing it -- I feel like they must have never seen a male with such sensitivity, caring and all of that, so they assumed something else must be going on. If I were a girl, perhaps they would have more easily bought that I was just screwed over. But as a boy?)

But to go into a place like that and be met with distrust from the start! "Hmm, if you're having these problems, something must be wrong with you!" No, it wasn't said outright. I could handle that then. Now that I'm dealing with issues that I don't think most people would get even if they trusted me, I don't know if I could handle that kind of thing. And I told Julie, what really helped the last time I was in the hospital? Community. Laughing with other people. Sharing our lives. The same thing I'm looking for now. I wonder if that's all so many of us are looking for: just a place to be held in love. So I think psychiatric hospitals sometimes are a replacement for something very simple and very necessary that for some insane reason our culture rarely provides. It's tragic that I feel the need sometimes to check myself into the hospital; but it's even more tragic that the solutions are so simple and don't cost any money and yet our culture seems at a loss to provide them. And me, I'm damn committed to providing them, if my friends come to me and need that. It's the least I can do...

Natalie finally got back to me about the room. I'm grateful I have at least this one possibility. Two of her kids are okay with me moving in; the oldest one, who is a bit more territorial, isn't sure, but they're having discussions about it and Natalie says that she's realizing there are "solutions to her no's." It's great that rather than just asking and taking no as no, they're having conversations about it, opening up possibilities. Trinity (the oldest) likes to sleep around the house sometimes and I mentioned that I'd be happy to sleep on floor/couch occasionally to accommodate her. I hope this works out as it would be a step in the right direction for me. Actually, living with children would be a huge step in the right direction. Luna is adorable. I'd be able to gather myself and my strength and start healing. I'd be so excited to learn more about what they like and create experiences with them. To live with an unschooling Shalom family! Being so close to so much nature -- right down the street from Mount Holyoke Range State Park, within biking distance of Rebecca and Quinn...

Three months. If I could be there three months, get stronger, work on my business, spend time in nature, play with kids. Three months and I think I'd be good. Three months and it wouldn't feel so daunting perhaps to head off to Madison and look for a room in a city where I only know one person.

I've been talking to Phoenix, the girl who sent me the wonderful explanation as to why she hadn't responded to me. It's kind of an amazing thing. I feel comfortable sharing and bringing up pretty much everything with her. Like, I don't have to censor myself at all, and she feels like she can share openly. All parts of ourselves.

She wrote in a chat: "I have a request....please never prevent yourself from writing just because you are in a particular 'space'. Interacting with me is free range. The only intentions I have with people is to allow them to be whatever they need to be and allow me to support in any way they need. There is nothing that you can say to me that I would not honor. I would like for us to have that kind of openness, it is the one thing I am not afraid of with you."

I responded, "Yes, I agree. And, having to only be able to share parts of ourselves with certain people and all that... it's exhausting, and being able to be all of you, it's very healing. so let's do that!"

"Right on! I am so down for that. Its so refreshing...."

None of the people I'm getting to know seem like romantic soulmate connections where it's like, yeah, I want to totally be with this person, live with them, share my life with them. It's friendship and sometimes romantic friendship. I wonder if I'll find that again. I haven't felt that way about anyone in years. I'm wondering what's in the way.

Sometimes I'm amazed at all the connections I've been forming, even with people I rarely see. A lot of it is Facebook. It used to feel draining, harsh, competitive. Since I started my new account a year ago, committed to only accepting people I loved and trusted, whose energy I felt good about, how much has changed. All I ever read or see on Facebook nowadays is inspiring. I'm floored by how often people leave messages filled with love. Honestly, I rarely get anything else. (If I had to live one day with the way my Facebook used to be, ugh!) And then, it's a way to build connections with people who I don't see very often. And it works. Like Natalie. It was just a couple of really simple but soul-level interactions with her and I felt a bond grow. And now there's a possibility of moving in with her. People I've only met once that I'm getting to know so much better and feeling deeper connections with. Renee wrote how much she missed the deeper, intimate community of Live Journal when it was vibrant. I miss it too. Facebook isn't a replacement for this, at all, but I wouldn't say the sharing that happens there is superficial. It's all in how we choose to use it.

And then, sometimes I feel like all that is not enough. So many connections, yes, but scattered all over the place! Which means I'm still alone a whole lot more than I want to be.

Is it odd that what seems to turn me on the most, in a sexual encounter, is a person's eyes? I can't get enough of them. Energy flowing back and forth. Eyes are amazing. I have trouble explaining that, on the one hand, I'm attracted to a person's energy... but on the other hand, I'm still very turned-on visually. Beauty matters, but it's the energy that infuses the flesh that makes the body beautiful. I see very physically beautiful people with no spark coming out of their eyes, who seem to have a cloud weighing down on them, and it's hard to get excited about that. But when I see someone with good energy, it doesn't matter so much what their body looks like, it will be eye-candy to me because their energy lights them up. I can't quite explain it.

While I'm on the subject, I also find it fascinating that, more and more, I get turned on when someone says something very romantic or that just resonates with my soul and I feel a deep heart-to-heart connection with them. Except it doesn't feel like getting "turned on." There's absolutely nothing sexual about it -- I mean, it doesn't turn me on in the way something typically turns me on -- just pure heart connection, but somehow that frees all of my energy and it's like, "How odd, I have an erection!" And it's more powerful than typical ways of being turned on.

I've been thinking about what I want to do this year, or what I need to do, for growth and healing. What's coming up in a few days is the work week at Rowe Conference Center. I've been so sedentary lately. I think it would be good for me, work and community. Of course, if I do move in with Natalie, it's during the week she'd be away -- and she suggested I could move in during that week so I can settle in and have the house to myself. So it's a trade-off... but I feel like meeting and working with people at a free weekend at Rowe would be good for me.

Also, in an effort to take care of myself, I have an appointment with Ron today. He's been a friend since university but he's recently taken his massage business to new levels and I signed up for a two hour session. Sounds like he integrates a lot of different modalities. It will be good to see him. It is slightly awkward, since I'm also a friend of his ex, Erica. She has said some surprising things about Ron, how he could be manipulative in certain ways, and Ron has said things about Erica. So it's odd to be in the middle of that and not make judgments and such. All I know is my experience with each of them.

So, today. I want to call Fenway Health and see what I need to do around informed consent to get prescriptions for HRT. There are still questions but I feel about 75% sure I want to try it. If it's right for me, I think my body may just know. I think my major concerns are health (I have a suspicion that HRT contributed to the death of a kindred soul) and sexuality (I'm fairly comfortable with my genitals and how they work; it's other things that I'd like to change. I don't know how HRT would change things.) I'd like to make a list of things I want to bring up with Raven Kaldera when I see him; maybe that will clarify things.

And thanks so much to darkfox_uscm for finding my journal and your lovely, validating messages. I'll respond to your comments soon!
lilywolf: (Default)
This weekend has brought so many gifts. It was hard to honour my intuition -- even to recognize the difference between it and shoulds/expectations -- but when I did, all sorts of things started falling into place.

I love my oracle cards. When I was deciding whether to withdraw from the retreat, I got the card "Wait." That deck always works for me. Once the same card came out about five times in a row until I actually listen to the message. A few of the same cards seem to come up all the time and I feel like there are plenty of cards I haven't really seen. So, it tells me wait, and that's the hard thing, but it confirmed my intuition. It told me that if I waited, other opportunities would arise. And they have!

Going to Natalie's and spending time with her kids was wonderful! I played with her little girl Luna who was in the bath and we made up all sorts of stories with toy animals. I was a seahorse that looked like a seal. She was a sheep and we both wanted to be able to fly like the birds. We took a potion and then we could fly! It was actually really healing narrative! It was also healing because, I had mentioned fears of others being suspicious of me because, first of all, I have a male body, and to add to that, because of my gender identity. I'm always afraid that someone will not want me around their kids because of this. And yet, here I was, completely trusted, loved, seen for who I am, and even allowed to play alone with her daughter taking a bath. To be trusted... wow, that's healing. I need that.

And her kids. So beautiful, so open to me, and called me "she" like it was the most natural thing in the world. I know kids have less hang-ups about gender than adults, but I thought it might be hard for them to use gender pronouns differently than they had learned!

Natalie said she has to discuss it with her kids first, but if they're okay with it, I can move in with them for a few months. What a wonderful location (biking distance to Rebecca and probably Quinn) and situation (living with awesome kids, with people who see me and allow me to be who I am.) If I had gone to the retreat, I never would have talked to LJ, she never would have suggested that needing mirrors is part of the issue; I never would have asked for a room, and I never would have seen Natalie. It all feels like it's unfolding according to a purpose now.

Right before I got to Natalie's, I called Rebecca. She and Alexis were on retreat together and they bonded. I thought they would. I could feel their energy on retreat and felt so open to it. I'm starting to own my sensing of energy as a gift. I'm starting to realize that, because of the way I sense energy, I know things, just intuitively. I often have an intuitive sense of what a certain connection can turn into. I can trust/distrust a person right away based on their energy. To think that most people don't have that! That they don't even sense energy which is pretty much my primary orientation to the world!

I told Rebecca I loved her, that I was gushing love for her. She was with Alexis and we all sent each other love. I think they were on speakerphone. I said I wished I could have been on retreat, and they said like it was the truest thing on earth, with an energy that made me totally believe them, "You were there." And they said, now, "We're all together." It took me a moment, but I felt it. Even though I was in a car talking to them on a phone, we WERE all together. Someone who doesn't feel energy might not get that, but it was true. I could feel their love beaming at me during the retreat, and I could feel myself getting what I needed from it, though I wasn't there. Somehow, that I could be held in such love even when I wasn't present, that was healing for me.

Alexis and I both want to get Rebecca to Shalom Mountain in February to meet LJ. It's amazing that, having just met Rebecca, she was willing to put down lots of money to make sure she got there, to help her out, and I was too. I was amazed that we're both willing to do that, to give a beautiful experience to a friend, and that she'd be willing to do that having just met Rebecca. That's the kind of love I love. Not time bound. So we're going to do what we can to get her there, and I hope she's open to that.

I mentioned to Alexis what this energy feels like, and I've only felt this sort of thing once before in my life. That time it was a lot messier. Between Amy, Anna and me. We called it our triangle, that couldn't be broken. Yeah, right, in retrospect: especially when there were romantic entanglements between me and the both of them. That's what you call a messy love triangle. Alexis said, "I've always wanted to be in a love triangle! A clean one!"

It felt like we are the sort of passionate, loving souls that can make something like this work. You know, I'd drive five hours to give someone a hug if they need it. Alexis, I feel that in her, too. Rebecca is maybe a bit more... independent in a certain sense... but I'm hoping she gets it and wants it. This is my passion. This is the sort of thing I live for: this creating space for such fierce love to emerge, space for belonging. It's what I so love about Dumbledore's Army. When I sense that the energy of others is ripe to do something crazy -- crazy love -- I cultivate that. That's my gift.

A love triangle, the strongest shape, where we support each other, and support each other in supporting each other, which is so much more powerful than one-on-one. I told them, if you want it, all we need is to name it, to claim it, and to love love love. Naming it is important. I think a symbol is also important. I'm not sure what that would be -- a pendant that we all share? Or, a photo of the three of us that we frame or something? I've realized that I need visual reminders that I'm loved and not alone, so this year, I'd like to get a lot of good pictures with my friends. I'd like to frame some of them, put them up on walls...

And then these messages I'm getting from people I haven't even met yet! Someone I was getting to know online a few months ago, who seemed really interested in writing but then didn't, sent me a message, and I read it over and over because it didn't feel real:

"I want to start my response to your email by stating a few obvious points that will hopefully shed light into why I have had such a challenging time responding:

"One: As much as I love writing letters I have never taken so long to write someone back in my entire tenure of emailing, my apologies I offer in place of this inconsistency.

Two: I have never come across a faint glimpse of a person that could make such an impact on my existence, to the point where I am rendered speechless or in this case 'typeless' and yet this is in fact what has happened.

Three: Are you aware that an idea, about an idea of a person, can in fact cause an unexpected shift in one’s entire realm of consciousness? This is also, in fact, what has happened to me."

And it goes on and, wow, to think that my energy can transform somebody that I've never even met and have hardly talked to!

From where I was a few days ago, where I've been for the last month, now I have the perspective that in so many ways my life is a romance, so much bigger than any romance most people know. So many friends feel like true love. And hopefully, someday, I'll really feel that in the trees and the snow.

And then, I found this song. Other than the fact that it was written before I took the name Lily, I half wonder if I was somehow the inspiration for this song. Not only is it absolutely perfect -- eerily perfect! -- for me, more specifically it's perfect for the experience I had this weekend, having to withdraw from a retreat because of prejudice around my name. And what's freaking amazing is that it's a male-sounding voice singing it!

And, since I was on retreat in spirit, I'm pretty sure spirit sent this to me as my retreat mat trip song.

Listen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9EviVnKaqUs

Lily Song by Foreverpanderings

Yeah maybe I should have started in a lower key
but then you wouldn't have even noticed me
I can be whoever you want me to be
I can be him, I can be her, why can't I just be me?

You can hate all you want but you'll never get to me
it all goes through me, I'll do just what I please
Criticism for the soul, now just grow

You thought you brought me to my knees
I guess it's time I start writing the obituaries
Goodbye envy, goodbye sorrow, you were legendary
There's no time for being shy when we're acting silly
Goodbye bad times, hello Lily

Yeah maybe I should have made a better first impression
Dwelling on the past is for the week
Other men and women they will try to drain you out
Don't try to scream, just try to speak

You can hate all you want when you have no name
It's all the same
Just try to rise above the name, it's all the same
Just try to rise above the noise

And criticism close to heart
rife from the start
but I just want to hear your voice
I guess it's time I started writing the obituaries
Goodbye envy, godobye sorrow, you were legendary
There's no time for being shy when acting silly
Goodbye bad times, hello Lily
lilywolf: (Default)
"We totally bonded. She's amazing!! I Love!" -- Alexis to me about Rebecca

So, the retreat that I withdrew from is almost over, though I feel the love of two beautiful people, Alexis and Rebecca, I feel their energy healing me even in my absence. At the same time, I know that my connection to both of them could have deepened so much on this retreat -- these connections feel RIPE to deepen -- so I'm somewhat doubting my decision to withdraw. Still, perhaps my intuition to withdraw is allowing other gifts to come into my life. We'll see!

I needed especially Rebecca to witness me now, and to witness her, in this vulnerable healing space. Now that our friendship is becoming something even deeper, so much more can unfold in that space. But Alexis and I have a sort of conspiracy to get her to the Mountain in February. I feel the possibilities.

Alexis and I have a sort of conspiracy to get Rebecca to the Mountain in February. I'm so excited to talk to Rebecca, I'm overflowing with love for her and I want to express that. I hold back with her. But her energy is so open right now -- I can feel it psychically -- and I don't want to hold any of it back right now. My energy, my excitement, my love for her is okay. I need to allow that. I hope I can see her tomorrow. I hope I can see her and not hold back and just gush love. I pray for the courage to stay in this totally open, loving space where the immensity of my love for her can be expressed and known.

So many friendships are unfolding. I'm impatient because I see the possibilities in them way too early perhaps -- maybe my psychic gift is to see early on the hidden potentials of a friendship -- and then, in certain magical moments, they start to become what I knew they could be. And perhaps it's both a gift and a pain in the arse that I'm so sensitive to what my love/energy and that of another person can become if we really trust and embrace it.

I posted on Facebook, "Need hot pink stainless steel wire for some mayhem," and Kat responded, "I love every word in that sentence, and put together? Sounds like a bloody good time." She sees me. She gets it. I love her.

OK Cupid. Not necessarily my favourite place, though I've met a couple of good friends through it. For some reason, though I did my best, hardly anyone contacted me and those I did contact didn't message me back. It was really bad for my self-esteem! I don't know how I did it but I've finally got my profile so it really reflects me in a down-to-earth way. I wanted it to convey who I am energetically and not just a list of interests or whatever. I put up all sorts of pictures that I felt reflected different aspects of who I am. (I thought before that lots of pictures would make people see how ugly I am and not want to write to me!) But suddenly, since I activated my profile again, it's getting lots of attention! I've had several people tell me how much they love it. Some people I never thought would have been interested in talking to me ARE interested! One said, "ohmygoodness, I love your profile ... I totally get the gender fluidity thing, too - depending on the day I can be anywhere on that spectrum. I could write a small novel in response to your profile, but I'd rather do that in person (where I can drool over your bookshelves). :)" I mean, if that's not a way into my heart, what is? Not only drooling over my bookshelves -- THAT'S a fetish! -- but the audacity of saying, well, I just messaged you and this is crazy but I loved your profile so meet me maybe? (Okay, that was lame.) And I'm not putting any weight on OK Cupid as far as my self-esteem, but wow, I've somehow managed to make my profile reflect myself, with no bullshit -- not giving a shit if people like me, and happy when it repels the wrong people because it would be a waste of time anyway -- and the right people seem to be drawn.

A couple months ago, when we did my naming ceremony at the yurt, we sat around a campfire and asked each other some questions. "What are you most proud of?" I think was one of them, and I mentioned that I don't like that word and all the baggage attached to it. Yesterday LJ told me she was proud of me for stepping into my name, for choosing to be Lily and standing in that. I didn't feel that sense of "proud" when she said that. I heard it as, "You did something courageous and inspiring." But what am I proud of, if we're going to use that word? Right now, it's my ability to connect to people, to love people, to connect with people in a deep way. It's being capable of giving and receiving all this love all over the place. It's coming into my own as a fierce lover, just like LJ. :)

And it's also, well, they say that what you most admire and find beautiful in others is also part of you, and I'm discovering that's absolutely true. There were certain qualities in people I would drool over but they would feel so far from my world. I'd be attracted to that sort of person but I just wasn't on their radar. As these parts of me come out of hiding, and I realize that they are ME and I own it, as I know myself better, I find these very people interested in me. When we let go of our old stories, things happen!

Somehow despite all the stuff I wrote about in my last post, people aren't altogether repelled by me. Or, I hope not. I still wonder.

And the line from Linda Marks' article keeps running through my mind: "We hunger for intimacy in a way most people can't imagine, not necessarily because we get less of it, but because we think we do."
lilywolf: (Default)
On Thursday I finally met Nate Bixby. When I did a natural building internship with Deanne a few years ago, Deanne told me about him, someone I could connect with closer to home, doing sustainability stuff in New Haven. We'd tried to arrange a date to get together but our plans always fell through – this time, when my mom's car wouldn't start, that almost happened again, but AAA arrived in time and I was able to meet him at an Afghan restaurant in Worcester. I'd never had Afghan food: it seems pretty much a hybrid of Middle Eastern and Indian food. It was my first real social interaction after the Outlaws retreat, so I was a little bit closed, a bit nervous. Here I was meeting someone I'd known online for years and I wanted to make a good impression! I was also meeting a guy, something I'm not so used to – though I identify as female, I also really do want to fit in with the guys. I like when guys can see my masculine parts and feminine parts and commune with my masculine parts, if that makes any sense! I've thought of joining men's groups, though something about that never felt completely right – like I'd be hiding this secret that I didn't really feel like a man at all, and fearing that if I felt that way, I wouldn't be welcome. Lately Denae has been talking about wanting to be just one of the guys, and I guess I can identify as female and feel the same way. I want to be able to relate to men without always having to put on such a mask with them, and without the awkwardness on their part of not knowing what to do with someone who looks male but calls herself Lily.

We had a very good meal and the beginnings of some good conversations in the 90 minutes or so we got to talk. He told me how much he loved my Luna Lovegood icon on Facebook (I liked it too; I may have to bring it back.) He said, completely seriously, head tilted downward with a sort of regret and longing in his voice, “She's the girl I've always wanted to be with...” It was kind of awesome hearing that from a 54 year old guy. We talked abut a sense of ramping up in synchronicity over the last few years, and whether it's just our own personal evolutions or something bigger going on in the consciousness of humanity. A Celestine Prophecy sort of consciousness. Everything that's happening with me – this growing in shamanic, indigenous consciousness, kundalini, you might say, or who I really am – it didn't come out of the culture. It was like I've been called by something deeper, from within this culture, to transcend it and somehow serve to heal it. And, that somehow some deeper something may be calling us forth to be what our culture would never let us be... that it may have some stake in how things turn out... that's comforting. And it seems that so many others are having the same sorts of experiences, of a sort of calling that seems to transcend the very culture in which we were conditioned...

We talked about how our organism works better when our heart is allowed to lead, when the mind is a tool in service of the heart, whereas we are trained to put our mind first. Nate told me he was experiencing me as very yin, and I tried to understand this: he talked about how, though from one perspective something may be yang, for example -- a wave crashing upon a beach -- this is only perspective. There is something behind the wave, pushing it, and from this perspective the wave is perceived as yin. Then he had me put my hand against his, and we moved them around, played with pushing against each other, giving and taking, yin and yang, and then I found something inside of me push. He had been asking me what I like to do and I didn't know how to take the question. I took it as a question he wanted me to answer in a certain way, not an open invitation – and I really didn't have the psychic energy to explore myself much at the time. But then it just came out of me, that I want to hold space for people to grow, to be nurtured, to love and be loved, to celebrate life. He said he noticed my energy totally change when I said this, and he said excitedly, "Hello!! Good to meet you!!!" I had finally spoken my truth. "We need space-holders in this world," he said.

He also pointed out how elusive it is, how people don't get the importance of it, or see that anything's actually happening. I told him about how I am with children and animals, how I sense we communicate on such deep levels, levels where so much of what really matters happens, where real healing happens -- and yet, I don't know if anyone else is aware of what is happening. It's happening on a level that can't really be seen. And the world would be such a better place I think if this kind of unseen work were valued, if our economy didn't need to substantiate everything. So, that's the struggle: living into a calling where your work is powerful but can't be seen or even appreciated even sometimes by the recipients of it. Where the benefits can't be laid out in bulletpoints... and yet, just spending a day with a child and letting him/her/hir be exactly who they are... that's the most valuable work I know how to do...

He also asked me, "Are you transitioning?" It was a scary thing to talk about, and which I'll be more open to next time, because I can see he flowed with it, didn't require me to explain myself. He talked like it was the most natural thing in the world about a friend's son who used to be her daughter. Partly it's scary to talk about this stuff because I don't trust men. I fear being ostracized even by men that I respect. I guess I feel a bit of shame that I didn't turn out to be a “real man.” Men probably are much less likely to get this sort of thing.

Transitioning also is a tricky thing for me: for me the term is loaded. I am who I am and I don't need to change my body in order to affirm my gender identity. I changed my name -- that's a sort of transition -- and I wear some more feminine clothes now, which is also a transition. Is there a beginning point or an end point? Is there a final goal? The goal is certainly not to pass in every way as society's narrow definition of a girl. I don't have anything to prove to anybody. I don't need to fit into another box. As far as whether I will take hormones, that might be clearer a bit down the road -- I do wonder if my energy will feel more right if I have hormones balanced corresponding to my gender identity. A lot of people seem to have amazing even spiritual experiences with this.

And then, I kind of feel like I should have breasts. I think that's what I miss most. Maybe that's partly why I pierced my nipples -- unconsciously to make up for something that should be there that's missing. It was a whole rite of passage thing, so much more than that, but maybe it's part. I'm pretty okay with my genatalia. It would be easier to have a sort of receptive sexuality with a vagina but it's not something that I sorely miss. I do have the parts for receptive sexuality (and I was just talking with a Jei, a F2M friend who wants a penis, and I realize, I can use my parts to be receptive or penetrate, but he can't use his to penetrate...) I sometimes wonder if there's any connection between this gender stuff and kundalini -- because Kundalini is often active in just the place that a vagina would be. The way I can bring the energy up into my body during orgasm feels very feminine to me. And I do have a clitoris. How you name things makes a big difference. And I'm happier with my parts, I appreciate them more, when I name them appropriately. And, when I think of it that way, hmm, maybe I actually have a pussy, too – we'll see, I don't think I'm there yet.

Then I went to Spiritual Haze, the hookah bar in Worcester, with Kit and Denae. It was nice to hang out with both of them together; sometimes I feel a little self-conscious with Denae alone, like I'm not sure what she wants or how to respond to her, but I feel like a comfort is building when it's the three of us together. It was an amazing conversation. Kit just came back from I don't know how long in Chicago and she's here for 14 days. Her first night back, she and Denae call me and ask if I want to go to the hookah bar, which I introduced Kit to before she left.
She said she wanted to thank me, because it was experiences she had with me, like leaving at 3 am to the beach to watch the sunrise, and going to Firefly, that shifted something in her and helped her realize she could be more. That she didn't have to stay in Marlborough, that she could go to Chicago, that she could apply to college. I had no idea I had anything to do with it! I guess we so often don't know the effect we have on people's lives. I'm wondering if I had anything to do with her deciding to use the name Kit, that she didn't want to go by Sammi anymore. It's odd how Denae and I have been having discussions about gender, too – I didn't think this was a thing for her – and coming more and more into her maleness. Now, sometimes, when she feels like a boy, she goes by Alfred. More on that in a bit...

I remember after I got back from the hospital, shortly after Kit left for Chicago a few years ago, I didn't hear from her or get responses to my texts. I was starting to fear that she wanted nothing to do with me – that she noticed I was socially awkward, that I didn't seem to like to dance and party as much as she did, etc. So many stories we have about how things are that are just wrong. She had just gotten a new phone, that's all. Now, at the hookah bar, she tells me how she'd met a few people online, and mostly it was awkward and she didn't want anything to do with them. And then there was me. We met in a cafe, and she kind of talked and talked about her life and said how nice it was because she didn't get to do it so often; now, she tells me that she just felt some sort of trust and comfort with me immediately, and she didn't expect to go off like that... but it was because something about me made her feel she could reveal herself... I didn't know that, either. And I remember at Firefly, walking with her in a field one night, she saying she didn't know why, but it was like she was meant to meet me. To think in some ways I sort of changed the course of the life of someone I didn't think I'd affected at all... that probably happens to a lot of us a lot more often than we think...

She and Denae have been so good about calling me Lily, and Denae even asked me a couple nights ago which pronoun I would prefer. I just can't believe having so many people in my life who get it, no need for explanation. And then, a subtle sense that I have been a catalyst for others exploring their own gender issues. Kit said that the name Lily suits me far better than Jason, actually – and I remember how silly I felt when it first occurred to me to try on the name Lily! She said I seem more settled in myself with the name, like it allows me to be more me. And it does. More of me feels welcome to come out and play when I'm Lily. I feel this little burst of love in the name every time someone calls me that. Far from the tenseness and “who do they want me to be?” feeling when someone uses my given name. Somehow, it's me. I can't imagine feeling this connection with any other name on the planet. Over the years I've tried on some of my favourite male names but they never felt right. And I'm not sure there are many female names that would feel accurate either, but Lily is just beyond right. It's amazing what a difference a name makes, how powerful it is. I feel my identity shifting. At night I when I'm sleeping I can feel my body adjusting to Lily energy and leaving Jason energy behind. Leaving those old stories behind. I've gotten back in touch with Amy, and somehow, being Lily now has made it much easier. I don't have to identify as much with how she hurt me, with all the good times we had together, because that was him, not me. Choosing a new name has been like cutting a karmic cord to a lot of stuff that hurt me and bound me in the past. It's amazing how well that works.

The more risks I take with self-expression, with being myself, the more others seem to see and appreciate me. Well, those who matter do. I've struggled with this: in a sense, I want to be able to relate to the whole world, to be able to offer something to everyone. I want to write a book that all sorts of people will read. It's a story I tell myself: in order to really make a difference in this world, I can't just be some fringe freak, I need to have "broad appeal." And that, first of all, is never going to happen. I don't need to change the world from the middle. The more I come into myself, the more I feel distanced from the mainstream world, the less I feel like I need to be there because I belong with my particular tribe. I don't need to be able to relate to everyone; in the eyes of so much of humanity, I don't belong, but that's them. That's maybe some of my fear with this shamanic consciousness emerging: fear of being judged and so not heard on the merits of what I actually have to offer. Fear that people will see me as fluffy or out of touch, fear of not being able to make a difference because I'm perceived as too different. Fear of not being taken seriously. Fear of people really being receptive to what I have to offer, but then because of one thing – gender identity or consciousness of energy or whatever – shutting me off.

This story that I don't belong is sometimes so pervasive, but spending time with friends makes such a huge difference. They are models for me, that I can belong as just who I am. Kit was telling a story about her friend Gypsy. A guy came up to her and – I missed the details – but told her she was overweight. Her response was one of relief. She simply laughed and said, “Oh, that's it?! I thought it was something important!” To me it's so powerful to see models of people who are able to do that, who are able to deflect the prejudice and judgment of society. I'm not always so good at that. Seeing people who don't take it personally helps me to be okay with more of who I am, too...

I was feeling like I wanted affection, especially in the vacuum post-retreat, and – well, with all the learning that happened on retreat, I decided to simply put it out there and ask for what I needed. Kit, Denae and I had plans to see the Lord of the Rings trilogy marathon in the cinema and so I texted Denae, mentioned that I was feeling like I really wanted to be held, and asked if she would be open to that at the movie. Her response was, well, I kind of wished I hadn't asked. Something like, “I don't know. I think I'm all right with it.” I kind of wanted to say, in more tactful language, “If you're not 100% sure you want to give that, then I don't want it.” It just feels yucky and condescending to get something from someone who's doing something half-assedly and not because they want to. But good to get this out in the open early rather than face the possibility of struggling with this conflict throughout the movies! We're watching them, and she takes my hand during certain parts of the movie, but not much touching is happening. I assume it's because she doesn't really want to, though there is some reaching out from her, so at one point, when the desire for affection has really built up, I ask, “Would it be okay if I get a little closer?” Her response here wasn't so comforting either. “Yeah,” she says, shrugging, almost defensive, seeming kind of flustered. During the movie wasn't the best time to negotiate and make sure it was a solid yes, so I just kind of put my head on her shoulder and snuggled a bit, paying attention for any sign that she might be uncomfortable. I'm snuggled on her shoulder and holding her hand, and soon I'm closer, we're holding both hands, or caressing each other's faces, slowly getting more and more comfortable with each other's bodies. I can tell she's really enjoying it now. She's actually being a little bit assertive: I move my hand, and she moves it right back to where she wants it, on her shoulder near her neck. I like this! I can feel her wanting to kiss me, and then she does, and we start making out. Short sessions followed by more cuddles.

She had wanted to kiss me before, and I reluctantly agreed – it was a short, awkward kiss – I wanted to kiss her, too, but I was afraid of what kissing her would mean to her. When I was at Georgina's dorm at Harvard, she went down on me, and well, when I left her dorm that night she asked me if I would go out with her. I felt like I had to say yes because of what had just happened. So I'm a bit concerned that my love of affection and kind of free-love spirit could get me in trouble; I could trap myself in a relationship that I don't want, I could break someone's heart. This time, I'm okay with it, as I feel better boundaries around Denae than I did before, and she mentioned how open she is about kissing – to her it doesn't necessarily mean she wants to be in a relationship either. Throughout it all, I kept analyzing: does she want this, does she want that, what will this mean to her, what will that mean to her? Then I realized that I could just go with it, be in the moment, and it was so much better, so beautiful. Later she texted me, “Just wondering... did you mean that platonically?” I didn't know how to answer because I don't think that way. I was as honest as I could be at the moment, telling her I didn't think about it either way, that I just went with the energy of what was happening. I added, sort of jokingly, “It was kind of hot, if that's what you mean by Platonic.” She told me she definitely wouldn't mind repeating it.

Next, a couple days later, Denae decides to use the name Alfred for when she's feeling boyish. I take her and Kit to Northampton for the day. I'm getting Kit a septum piercing for Christmas and we're going to explore shops and such. I see Alfred and s/he is, wow – hair spiked up, wearing a vest and so boyish. It somehow suits her/him so much better, and I can't stop looking. I don't think s/he gets how amazing she looks, how s/he could control me... She asks me how she looks, and I just say, “You look fuckin' hot, man.” In Newbury Comics, we're hugging each other and then she starts making out with me, and I am weak in the knees. “I need to go lie down now,” I say, sighing as I walk away from the intensity. I know I'll be back for more. I start to remember what it was like to be in a relationship, to be so attracted to someone, to want to hold them all the time... and though I knew there are a million things about Denae and me that just wouldn't work in a long-term relationship – personality clashes, differences in how we communicate, and a doubt that we can relate on a level beyond being geeks (e.g. Spiritually) just to name a few -- for the moment, it's wow.

I don't really understand it. I have a lot of conflicts around it – I “should” reserve this kind of thing for someone I want to commit to for the rest of my life, for example. I need to be “loyal” to the person I share this kind of thing with. I'm also afraid I could feel so much and enter into a relationship I don't actually want and which wouldn't be good for me just because in a moment and on a whim it feels so right. And then there's the fact that my friendship with Rebecca seems to be approaching this level... and it's like, such beautiful love, and not just with one person. And, who knows, I have a feeling I may kiss Jei this weekend. It's not how society says it's supposed to be. Can I handle it all? Maybe there's my head trying to make sense of it again. But there's judgment, like, slut! Judgments that I'm selfish, for example, or that I can't choose, etc. And I know all these judgments, and my actual experience, are very different. In a way I love the word slut; reclaiming it, to me, it means sexually uninhibited, alive, and unafraid of the experience of pleasure. If I call someone a slut, it's a compliment. Maybe there's a longing for things to be simpler, and so much love all over the place can be quite messy!

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September 2015

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