The Story of My Nude Photos in the Age of Transparency

Today’s post is incredibly fitting given the civil rights issues surrounding women today. Society has created an environment where women are suppressed, and only the strongest can fight their way to the top. Many men at the top have firmly established their masculinity in the suppression of women, and they program this into people at all levels using marketing, the media, cartoons, movies, newspaper articles, fashion, and yes, even schools. Even women are infected with this horrible programming, and they try to overtake other women. Starting at the age of 2, little girls underwear are scratchy, thin, uncomfortable and usually are trimmed with lace versus little boy underwear which often provide significantly more coverage, are made of thicker material, and don’t have scratchy lace. From there, it all goes downhill.

So, in order to understand this story, I need to take you back to my early 20s. I was a very different person than I am today. I wasn’t engaged, I wasn’t married, I didn’t have children, I didn’t have a career or any kind of serious profession, I hadn’t finished college, I didn’t know that women were allowed to have boundaries on their bodies, and the internet wasn’t what it was today. There was no Facebook, Twitter, and smartphones were a twinkle in someone’s eye. Growing up in a rape culture environment where I was groomed from early childhood that I wasn’t allowed to have boundaries on my own body created a young adult that thought my whole worth was in my sexual desirability. From the age of 5 uncles would hold me down, one in particular used to put my head right between his legs and fart until I was vomiting, and no one stepped in to stop him and save me. I was a kid who got spankings and soap in my mouth for disobeying, reinforcing that adults were allowed to hit me when they didn’t like what I was doing. When I heard about sexual assaults in town, my family members would immediately blame the woman and say things like, “well, I heard she runs around,” or another line was, “well, look how she dresses.” These were things I specifically heard in response to a woman being attacked at the Holiday gas station. Although the attacker had a past criminal history and he admitted he did it, people I loved and trusted still blamed the victim. When I was brave enough to tell people about my own sexual assault, I was accused of lying, and then I was heckled through email, text, and disgusting, harassing voicemail messages – from family.

There was a popular website that my boyfriend used to frequent because of its random and funny content. Once a year they would have this internet boob contest. Basically, women would submit their pictures, they were judged by people on the website, and the winners would get cash and prizes. I loved the way my body looked, and I realized that I had pretty amazing breasts using current societal standards, so I had him take pictures of me, and they were uploaded for submission. I won first place in the contest that year by a pretty wide margin. I got some cash and prizes out of the deal, and then I went on my way through life.

For the record, I’m not ashamed of these pictures. I’m proud of them. They are a beautiful snapshot in time illustrating my life at a certain point. I loved the way my body looked then in the same way that I love the way it looks now. These pictures are a reminder of who I used to be, and they are absolutely part of my life journey.

…and now let’s jump to today…

This morning I woke up to a text message sent by a woman named Michelle that lives in Florida. Not so ironically, I made a post on Facebook about my frustration with people who are cyber bullies, and I used an example from Michelle in the post. Whenever Michelle is angry at me she likes to throw out threats. She has told me that I deserved to be raped. She regularly calls me an idiot, a liar, tells me I spew shit out of my mouth, and if she doesn’t like my factual responses, she tells me to “just go suck some dicks in a parking lot.” This morning she sent me a text message that says, “P.S. (Name of sister’s ex boyfriend) has all your nude photos from the internet on his tablet.” I didn’t respond (because I was sleeping), so she continued with, “Do u realize that (ex-boyfriend) has those photos of you on his Ipad? The nudes, you posted on the internet?? Wants to make 1,000 copies, and circulate. At your local stores? Office… now do you see.” These texts were part of an overall blackmail attempt. She wanted me to take her abuse and shut up about it, or she’ll unleash my sister’s ex-boyfriend with my nude photos. Whatever.

Here’s what I learned from these texts:

  1. If Michelle is telling the truth, my sister showed her boyfriend how to find these nude pictures. Believe me when I say you have to really search and know exactly what you’re looking for to find them. I would consider it strange if my sister would want her boyfriend to see these pictures, but whatever. Different strokes for different folks, right?
  2. The fact that Michelle knows about these is because my sister is using her friends to try and shame me as a deflection and diversion technique to take the spotlight off of her.
  3. Michelle is programmed with rape culture, and she actively uses it in a predatory way as a weird negotiation technique to get me to do what she says/be on her side.
  4. Michelle is attempting to assassinate the character of my sister’s ex-boyfriend because she doesn’t want him talking to me about current events in my family’s life.
  5. Although Michelle is accountable for her own actions, she has been manipulated to contact me with this information because the person hiding behind Michelle doesn’t want to admit that she’s directly related to these text messages.
  6. The United States could probably include Michelle as part of a torture protocol, and it would be significantly more effective than the programs they have now.
  7. Cyber bullying is an epidemic problem, and people like Michelle are so full of stress, fear, anxiety, and pain that they try to make others feel as low as they do. This is also called “leveling.”

In some conversations with Michelle, I have reminded her that she doesn’t need to scream at me over the phone. She usually apologizes and just admits that she’s angry, and I tell her that her anger is her own, I’m not responsible for her feelings of anger, and she needs to work on redirecting it to the place it came from. I also remind her that the lowest common denominator to her severe stress is the person who’s sending her to harass me. Michelle allows herself to be USED as a phone and keyboard gangster – a full fledged cyber harasser.

I’m sure many of you have experienced people just like Michelle. They come to try and break your natural state of happiness and bliss by trying to create chaos. They gain power by destabilizing their victims, and that temporarily makes them feel better about their own problems without actually addressing or fixing their problems. Besides the fact that blackmail is illegal, this whole slut shaming and rape culture stuff has to stop. Trying to use photos someone took 15 years ago to illustrate who we are today is exceptionally short sighted. We grow and change dramatically between our early 20s to late 30s. The best response to blackmail is complete transparency and honesty, because it shows predators that there’s nothing they can do to block out our sunshine. As the information age continues to evolve, I believe we’re moving into an age of transparency. The webs of lies that people spin will be dissolved, so if you don’t do your work, you’ll be left with a some really bad feelings and sensations.

Here’s my advice (and believe me when I say, I take my own medicine):

Do your work. Clean out your closets. Wash your dirty laundry. Hang it all out to dry. Be authentically who you are and have been. Own it. Take responsibility for it.

…and ultimately, accept who you have been, who you are today, and get excited for who you hope to become tomorrow.

With all my love,

The Guru Girl

 

 

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New Year’s Resolutions – No More Alcohol

Staying Healthy and Bringing Awareness of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

I have a short list of resolutions that I’ll be making this year, but the first one is the easiest. I’m dumping alcohol from my life completely. I wouldn’t say that I have any kind of a dependency on alcohol in my adult life, and I don’t drink daily or even weekly (unless I’m nursing a bottle of wine over a week at the rate of 3 ounces a day). However, during my life, I have become awakened to the way alcohol is used in our society, and I’m going to stand firm as someone who has decided it’s not for me.

My relationship with alcohol started as a very young child – second grade to be exact. I had it at church, but we called it the Blood of Christ. I was served a sip of white zinfandel at least twice a week. It felt warm in my mouth and belly, and knowing that I was receiving this blessed sacrament brought me great comfort. As I’ve been thinking more about this first encounter with alcohol, it’s undeniable that this pattern sowed seeds that led to my alcohol dependence in high school. Receiving this sacrament was telling me that this warmth and comfort from alcohol is good. No matter what sins I had committed or how bad I felt, a little wafer of gluten and a sip of wine makes it all better.

I have a lot of addiction in my family. I grew up among people who are alcoholics or have alcohol dependencies (we call them “big drinkers” or just “drinkers”) or are addicted to drugs, toxic food, bad relationships, and gambling. A few years ago I found out that an uncle had molested his children too, so sex addiction is also likely. The truth is that humans are not perfect. We make a ton of mistakes. Addiction has roots in both nature and nurture, and in my experience with addicted family members,  they often feel deep shame that they either deny for purposes of self-preservation, or they keep it all hidden to prevent others from finding out. In some cases, they just don’t give a shit. They drink and drive (sometimes even getting caught and shamelessly blaming others), post pictures of themselves drinking on social media, do things that are dysfunctional, dangerous to themselves and society, and do things they wouldn’t do unless they are drinking. Some family members have walked away from their entire family to seek out relationships with someone they believe will give them more love than their spouse or children, only to wind up with an abuser. Some spend all their money on gambling and go into huge debt. Some are very ill from being overweight because they seek food for comfort instead of using tools to comfort themselves from within by exploring and exposing those wounds with a therapist.

If someone is an addict, it’s easy to feel ashamed or afraid, but from a logical perspective, shame and fear don’t produce right action. Shame has a basis in fear, and it only perpetuates the cycle of addiction. If an addict can recognize these feelings of shame and fear, they can begin the process of acceptance and understanding. That’s how they can move to right action. When people acknowledge their problems, they become receptive to finding resources to help them live without hurting themselves or endangering those around them. I don’t mean to oversimplify addiction, because I know it’s very complex. With most addicts, they have to hit some sort of a rock bottom to realize that they don’t want the life they are living, and in that, they recognize their life is made worse because of their addictions. Even after a family member was caught drinking and driving multiple times, lost her marriage, family members and full rights to see her child, she still hasn’t hit rock bottom, so I know that these things are complex.

Our house was dry growing up. As a rule, we didn’t have alcohol in our home. It was only in my early teenage years that my dad would have some beer around, and it wasn’t much. Maybe he’d show up with a six pack here and there because they were damaged cans from work. My parents only really drank alcohol at our grandparents’ houses, and that was usually limited to a cold beer on a hot summer day or holiday festivities. Man, did my family throw some wild parties! My parents rarely went out drinking. When they did have a rare date (like literally going years between dates), it was usually for a wedding or other family event, or maybe an outing when certain family members came to town. There were a handful of times my dad came home slobbering drunk, which I found completely repulsive and disgusting when he couldn’t stand up straight and was throwing up in the only toilet in the house, but again, that was extremely rare. He didn’t know his limit because he wasn’t a well-practiced drinker, and he was also on medication that didn’t mix well with the alcohol. For the most part, daily life was dry.

I’m glad our house was dry because from the perspective of modeling good behavior for us as children, I think this is where my parents did an excellent job. They were forced to deal with daily life without using drugs or alcohol, and I think we had much better care than some other children I know that didn’t grow up in a dry house.

As I came into my late teen years and was packed with compounding adult problems I was forced to carry, I began experimenting with alcohol. Honestly, between my use of alcohol and caffeine pills, I’m pretty sure that’s the only way I was able to graduate. I was in ballet, I was learning and playing four instruments, I was in three choirs, and I worked as a professional singer while taking college courses full time and working a job at McDonalds. I tried out for the cheerleading squad, but dropped out after being unable to attend practices because of my crazy schedule. In December of 1999, I sang for 17 funerals, I had just gotten out of an abusive relationship, my dad was out of the house, my mother had disowned me and turned my family against me for breaking up with my boyfriend, and I was taking some of the most difficult classes in school. White zinfandel became my coping mechanism. When I drank it, I was pacified physically and spiritually, and the more I drank, the more I didn’t care what pressures I had. White zinfandel turned into beer and shots. Pretty soon I was drinking at least 4 days a week, and at least two of those days I was having more than 3 drinks a day.

Moving to D.C. was the best thing I could have done for myself. Although I was going from one stressful situation to another, I didn’t know anyone here besides my boyfriend’s family, so I had plenty of time to catch up on sleep, read my bible, and abstain from alcohol. I worked three jobs: I was a substitute teacher for the Loudoun County school system, I had a part time job at a bank in the evenings, and on weekends, I worked the front desk at the Sheraton Hotel. I ate healthy again. I exercised. I didn’t have to be around dead bodies while trying to keep my shit together singing for people who were in the depths of despair and mourning. Leaving my hometown and family was the end of my major problems, and thus, I didn’t need to use alcohol. Although I continued to drink in a social way, I didn’t do it daily.

Skipping forward to life today, I’ve become much more aware of alcohol and its effects on humans. First and foremost, alcohol is toxic to the human body. After three years of doctor appointments, voracious reading post-car accident, and learning about alcohol’s extremely toxic effects on the brain, I’ve become a quasi-expert this area. Here’s the short story: there’s no human need for alcohol, and we’re not going to suffer alcohol deficiencies if we don’t drink. We can argue about resveratrol in red wine, and I can give you Japanese knotweed which has more resveratrol without the toxicity. You can say that it’s used as medicine to calm your nervous system, and I can give you magnesium rich foods which will calm your nervous system without damaging it. You can tell me that you like how it cleanses your palate with creamy pasta, and I can give you sparking water with lemon or lime. You can tell me that your baby is still feeding from the yolk sack so downing a box of wine in your car while driving won’t hurt your baby, and I’ll tell you:

  1. Once alcohol is in the bloodstream it can diffuse into nearly every biological tissue of the body – including your unborn child.
  2. Drinking and driving is not only illegal, but it has the potential to kill YOU, YOUR UNBORN CHILD, AND OTHER INNOCENT PEOPLE.

I CAN ALSO TELL YOU THAT THROWING YOUR BOX OF WINE OUT ON THE ROAD IS LITTERING. But if you cared about yourself, your unborn child, or the people on the road, you wouldn’t be the littering type anyway, so I digress.

So I have a couple of confessions to make. First, during my three pregnancies, I had about the equivalent of 2.2 glasses of wine. That means I consumed some alcohol during two of three pregnancies. I remember those times clearly. Once I had a drink of my sister’s wine while on a double date (she was dating Sean Banks the now imprisoned Christian Mingle Rapist). …talk about a horrible experience… The second was when I had nearly a full glass of wine during that same pregnancy during a Valentine’s Day dinner. Then when I was pregnant with my third child, and I had a glass with Thanksgiving dinner.

The second confession is that I’m not only writing this blog to talk about what I’m going to do in 2017, but I wanted to explain why I’m giving up alcohol in 2017. It’s to compensate for my complete helplessness watching someone drown their unborn child in alcohol nearly every day. That whole drinking and driving story above? Yeah, I’m compensating for her.

“Why are you so obsessed with my life,” she asks? It’s because I care. I care about the child you say you want to mother, but you choose alcohol over every day. I care about the one you’re supposed to be growing in your body, but you binge drink while driving regularly. I CARE ABOUT YOU, AND AT THIS POINT, I FEEL LIKE I’M THE ONLY ONE WHO DOES BECAUSE I’M THE ONLY ONE WHO GIVES A SHIT TO TRY AND GET THROUGH TO YOU.

So, I’m going to be a dry mom the same way my mom was a dry mom. I’m going to do this so that I can make damn sure I’m dealing with my problems like a grown-up instead of turning to something that could make me feel less pain about what you’re doing to your life and your children. I’m not going to regress by making the same mistakes like when I did with an immature teenage brain. As an adult, I have the tools to do it like a grown-up – without alcohol or drugs or food or gambling or any unhealthy compulsions. I challenge you to be adult enough to quit too.

In times like these, I often dive back into my roots and look for comfort and confirmation in the bible. If we were created in God’s image, shouldn’t we honor God by taking care of this temple that houses this Holy Spirit? If you are a manifestation of God’s divinity, don’t you have a responsibility to honor this manifestation? For me, that answer is yes. That means I protect myself from toxins, and I definitely protect my children (born or unborn), as well as those around me.

I’m not going to make lame excuses like “relaxation” or “resveratrol” or “palate cleansing” because I know there are non-toxic alternatives. I’ve given it up to set an example to myself and to my kids that Mama can get through life without alcohol, and that’s a point that I’ll be making regularly so they understand why I’m dry. Although I don’t have a dependency, I know that I’m taking all this pain that I feel for those innocent victims of alcoholics, and using it to be sure my own house is in order.

Please keep in mind that this blog is about my experience, and yours may be different. You may have an occasional glass of wine or beer, and it may not affect you. However, if you drink to unwind from the day, or to compensate for feeling bad, or you have more than one drink a day, you may have a dependency. Emotional drinking can creep into dysfunction really quickly, so if you find yourself pouring something to ease negative emotions, check yourself and see if there’s something non-toxic you could use instead of alcohol.

I’m going to end this blog in a different way because my intention is to communicate directly to those who still believe they need to hold onto their addictions, specifically to alcohol, and specifically while pregnant, to get through life. The links below contain resources to  help you understand what you’re doing and how you can get better. I’m here to support you in your journey, but the first step is acknowledging you have a problem.

Alcoholics Anonymous

National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

This Mother Drank While Pregnant – This is Her Child at 43

Please stop drinking. If you can’t do it for yourself, do it for your children.

 

 

 

 

I Am Worthy

“Lord, I am not worthy to receive You, but only say the word, and I shall be healed.”

Does that sound familiar to you? If it does, you’re probably Catholic, and recognize that line as something we recite prior to receiving the Eucharist. I heard this line in my meditation today, and then I clearly heard a voice tell me, “Don’t believe the things you have said. You are worthy. Take this. Eat this. Drink this. It has been given up for you. You are forgiven. This is the covenant I have with you.”

When you tell yourself and a WHOLE congregation that you’re not worthy, how does it make you feel? Small? Sinful? Less than? Why in God’s name (pun intended) would we recite that we’re not worthy to receive something that the New Testament – humanity’s new covenant with God – tells us we already have?

If God loved the world so much that He gave His son to carry the burden of our sins, AND take them to the cross to be sacrificed for all the wrongs we have done, than why would He want us to confess that we’re not worthy?

Because he wouldn’t. Men have made us confess that. Not God.

How can we become pure of heart when we are sin conscious and constantly burdening our heart with the guilt and shame of our ignorance? How can we know that we are forgiven when we constantly confess that we’re not worthy unless God wants to forgive us. God has already forgiven us. The real hurdle is forgiving ourselves and those around us.

Christ Consciousness is a state of consciousness where your kundalini energy reaches the fourth chakra – the heart chakra. Many people who experience Christ Consciousness witness Christ appearing to them, and their heart begins the expansion process to move into the space of unconditional love for themselves and everything in creation – humans, animals, plants, and even a plastic baggie you use to wrap a sandwich. How can you experience Christ Consciousness and open your heart when you believe that you should be burdened with constant guilt and shame? Here’s a hint. You can’t. You can’t both be burdened with guilt and have a clear channel in your heart chakra. Guilt creates physical blockages to the microchannels in your physiology, and like a bad wi-fi signal, you don’t get to experience love in the fullest way.

Do you know what else clogs your heart chakra? Bad food (like cooked honey, animal products), polluted air, alcohol, drugs (even some herbal supplements and vitamins if taken incorrectly), toxic relationships, and lack of self love. These create physical and spiritual barriers in your heart. When someone’s angry at you, do you ever feel that contraction in your chest? When you think of something you’ve done wrong, do you feel that guilt in your heart? Sometimes, people experience asthma from emotional stress. Sometimes, in severe cases, it manifests as congestive heart failure or breast cancer. When you’re feeling emotional, where do you feel it? In your eyes? In your hands? No. You feel it in your chest – the seat of your heart chakra, and the home of your physical heart.

I remember when Christ Consciousness touched me. Jesus manifested before me directly out of the ether, and asked so very sweetly, “Will you follow me?” His love penetrated my being, took me to my knees, and although I felt so unworthy of His love, I just cried and whimpered back, “Yes, yes, I will follow you.” Then He was gone. I have completely oversimplified this experience trying to use the grossness of language to describe this amazing event, but it’s the best I can do. I will never forget that love. It’s something I strive for and practice every day.

Ever since that day, my heart has been expanding in a greater and greater way. My meditations bring me deeper into those little stresses from life and phrases that I was expected to recite at mass. I recited my unworthiness thousands of times over two decades of my life until I realized I was called to leave the church and follow a different path. I was led to follow my own spiritual path where I found all knowledge was within me.

…and I’m still a work in progress. I’m still undoing the failed parenting strategies and patriarchal and stifling society that tried turning me into someone who felt undeserving of love. Just the other day, I realized in a meditation that the anxiety that I experience each night before I sleep is related to hundreds of days sleeping alone in a dark, creepy basement. Once my adult brain was able to grab that memory, I was able to comfort myself into a space where I only felt complete love and protection. It took me 20 years to find this memory and work on healing that emotional wound, and each night since that meditation, I’ve felt more comfort and safety before I drift off to sleep. I’m sure this will only continue to grow as I mother myself to wellness in this area of my life.

I’ve been done with this whole “I’m not worthy” business for a long time, but today was the day I needed to write about it. Today is the day that I’m being called to share this with anyone who needs this in their life. I’m here to tell you that YOU ARE WORTHY. You always have been, and you always will be.

Lord, I am absolutely worthy to receive You, and through Your work, I am healed.

The Guru Girl

 

I Can’t but God Can: Recovering from Racism, Sexism, Bigotry, and Hate.

Warning: This blog may contain words and stories of experiences that trigger strong emotions, so please read it at your own risk.

The last few years have been pretty volatile for my extended family, and I played a huge part in triggering their emotions. I want to start this blog by apologizing to my family members, especially to my sisters and mother, and additionally my aunts and uncles for the things that I have written over the last couple of years.

I now know that some of you were not ready to see the world through my eyes and hear about my experiences. This isn’t something that is easy to look at. It look me many years of self-work to unpack the baggage of my childhood and write it all down. I didn’t know it was going to be so emotionally triggering for all of you, so I’m sorry about that.

I now know that in my writing about my life so publicly, you are feeling like I’m breaking cardinal rule of family – “don’t air the dirty laundry.” I had mixed feelings about blogging, but I was encouraged by some people who had similar experiences, and they felt that connecting with my story and the progress that I’ve made helped them get past some big hurdles.  I’m sorry that you had to see my past so blatantly. It’s not shameful to me anymore, and I was ready to write about it, but I didn’t know that bringing up the past would be so painful for you.

The truth is, until I experienced enlightenment, and re-remembered that everything is right and good and lesson-oriented, I thought I was a victim. I know how hard it is to come to terms with my openness about the rough stuff in my life, and it’s probably really weird that I see it all as grace. Hearing my life stories can be emotionally draining, and it’s enough to make anyone really feel shame, guilt, abandonment, invalidation, pain, anger, disgust, denial… all of it. I felt those feelings during my life too. People who are very sensitive can be triggered by the things that I’ve written, and I apologize for being the stimuli for your own emotional triggers.

So, I’m sorry.

Now on to the meat of my blog:

A really nice man at work recently gave me a copy of a daily devotional by Pastor Joseph Prince titled Destined to Reign. This decorated military veteran always seemed so grounded, and coincidentally he always had this book open on his desk. When I would pop by, I would read a page, and the words were so meaningful. He finally just gave me my own copy of the book.

While reading this book, I started experiencing more memories of all the things in my life I said or did that were associated with the feelings of shame and guilt. Like many people around me, I was programmed to see the world in a very judgmental way – ironic, considering a core teaching of Christianity is not to judge your neighbor’s sins, because that’s the work of God.

I was programmed to say racist things and put myself above people of other races. Our town was mostly white, but it was clear in the thinking of my social circle that we were above the others.

I was programmed to think in a sexist way. I remember unfairly slut shaming women – in one case a victim of sexual assault. I remember having a conversation about abortion when I thought it was okay for a doctor to permanently damage a woman’s uterus while performing an abortion because she deserved never to have children. I believe my quote was, “scrape her deep, doc!” It makes me cringe when I think about it.

I was programmed to invalidate the experiences of others and be completely intolerant to opinions that weren’t part of the family opinion or the town opinion.

I thought gay people were sinners destined for hell.

There was a time in my life however, that I began to listen to my thoughts and actually questions why I believed these things. I met a girl who had an abortion, and she told me her story. While I was with her, I also experienced her deep sorrow through the story of why she had to make that choice, and I understood she wasn’t a bad person. She was a person who made the best choice she knew how to make based on her situation. That’s all.

I also observed hiring managers in corporate America make racist and sexist statements and decisions about employees, and I saw how much less women and minorities were paid for the same job. You think white women are paid less then men? You should see how companies pay black women, or *gasp* native women. Black women get a label of “lazy” and “angry” although some of my favorite colleagues are black women, and they’re amazing workers. Native women get paid even less. It wasn’t until I started experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace, and in one case was blamed for a man inappropriately touching me at a work event, that I realized what it was like to be a woman in today’s sexist world. I also finally saw the pay gap when I became a hiring manager, and minority women were asking for salaries far below the market. Even when I went to get equity increases for this minority women, I had a harder time justifying the extra money than a white male employee.

In addition to abortions, racism, and sexism I also had programmed views of homosexual people. “They have AIDS” or “it’s a sin.” Yeah, well so is getting drunk, gluttony, greed, etc., but the same people who were programming me against homosexuality were alcohol dependent, had binge eating disorders, or were greedy. A couple relatives and a few friends from high school ended up in same-sex relationships or marriages, and I couldn’t be more happy for them. …and it’s not a sin. I’ve read, and re-read the parts of the bible that my Christian roots have pointed out, and it doesn’t actually say homosexuality is a sin. ..and it doesn’t matter if it is or isn’t, because it’s not our job to tell other people how to live their lives. Now that I know better, and I’ve been able to reprogram that improper thinking, I’m totally supportive of love in whatever way God has created.

I grew up in the Catholic church, and St. Thomas was one of many Christian churches in the community. One thing was certain – I didn’t belong to the “CCC.” That’s what we called the Covenant Church – or more specifically the Covenant Church Cult. The people that attended that church were referred to as the “Covies” and I was always put off by the things they thought. I remember hearing about a man in their congregation announcing that he was gay, and they shipped him off to a gay camp to get him straight again. When I was a kid, I didn’t really understand what was going on, but in my mind a gay person should be booted from the church, not rehabilitated. Obviously I was wrong on both accounts. He should have been accepted by his church and left to live his life the way God intended.

The Catholics probably would have done the same thing as the Covies.

I came to understand that the only people who were really “sinners” were the intolerant, judgmental, racist, sexist, bigots and xenophobes. I fell into quite a few of those categories, and I realized that it was me who was incorrect in my thinking. It was me. I had bad beliefs, and they weren’t experienced based. They were fear and hate based, and I was living like a computer with bad programming and viruses. Ick.

One of the greatest lessons that I’ve learned in this daily devotional by Pastor Prince is that our sins have been forgiven though the blood shed by Christ on the cross. Whether or not you’re Christian or believe in that teaching, the practice of self forgiveness and acceptance creates a mindset that frees you from those icky densities where your actions are tangled up with emotions like shame, guilt, and anger. That stuff weighs heavily on your heart, and if you don’t “take it to the cross” it can build up and create a miserable life.

Today, more than ever, the political environment is thick with people who think the way I used to think. It’s not right thinking. It’s destructive to society, and it creates problems. Right thinking is acceptance of others despite our personal beliefs. Right thinking is love for our neighbors and enemies even though they do things that make us feel they’re not deserving of love. Right thinking is compassion for those who are suffering. Right thinking is protecting our environment which has been given to humanity to care for, not destroy.

On the level of my individual self, I can’t change the world. I can’t make my family help my sister who is going through a really rough spot in her life – no matter how many times I ask and they tell me to fuck off. I know I can’t save the water protectors in North Dakota from being hosed down with freezing water. I can’t stop people from being xenophobic against Syrian people. I can’t, but God can.

In the same ways that God – my greater Self – has transformed my life by pushing me in the throws of experience and hard lessons, I know the same can happen for anyone in the world. I urge everyone who reads this blog to question your thinking, and ask yourself if your belief system has overtaken your direct experiences. If you know someone who is different than you, experience who they are, and let your belief system become one of direct experience. Only you can undo programming that is destructive, and I pray that God lends a gentle hand in that process.

So on that note, I’ll wrap this up with a Rumi poem.

This being human is a guest house. 

Every morning a new arrival. 

 

A joy, a depression, a meanness, 

some momentary awareness comes 

as an unexpected visitor. 

 

Welcome and entertain them all! 

Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows, 

who violently sweep your house 

empty of its furniture, 

still, treat each guest honorably. 

He may be clearing you out 

for some new delight. 

 

The dark thought, the shame, the malice, 

meet them at the door laughing, 

and invite them in. 

 

Be grateful for whoever comes, 

because each has been sent 

as a guide from beyond.

– Rumi

I love you all!

The Guru Girl

 

10 Ways that Empaths Can Thrive Post-Election

First, let me begin by saying “wow.” This energy is unbelievable, right? It’s overwhelming our whole physiology, and we’re feeling all kinds of uncomfortable sensations right now. Let me give you a taste of faith – like every earth rattling change, things will re-balance themselves, and that means you (and I) will also start feeling better soon.

I, like many of you, have the gift of sight, so I’ve known Donald Trump would be elected from the beginning. After my first vision of him winning the election, I started to experience the feelings of Trump supporters, so I understood the psychology and state of physiology that led Trump supporters to make their decisions. I would talk with those closest to me about this, and I was often met with disbelief. The problem with clairvoyance and clairsentience (or all the “clairs” for that matter) is that you can’t prove it to people until it actually unfolds, and even at that point they see it as nothing but a lucky guess. That’s a whole other blog entirely (10 ways to thrive in a world of non-clair people). LOL! Anyway, back to the point: I had advanced time to start processing a Donald Trump presidency.

What did I do to prepare? A week before the election, I took a day off of work and spent the whole day meditating, fasting, praying, smudging my house and all my crystals, diffusing essential oils, and cleaning my house and my body. Basically, I prepared by clearing my physiology, nervous system, and my space to make sure I could digest the energies as they started to come at me. Many of you didn’t get the chance to prepare, and now you’re digesting this energy as if you are putting a brick of cheese in your guts. Am I right? It’s stagnant and full of densities, and you just need to clear it all out. (Where’s an energetic laxative when we need one.) <==that’s my idea. Don’t steal it. LOL!

Although I did a lot of preparation, I’m still getting hit, and it’s brutal. Have you seen Facebook and Twitter these days? Wow. Lucky for me, and anyone interested in reading this blog, I’ve created a 10 point plan to get you back on solid ground. Let’s dig in!

  1. Establish a morning routine. Empaths are susceptible to two major emotions: anxiety and anger. Routines are grounding in nature which can pull you back from an anxious state, and the routine itself can diffuse anger. I personally use an Ayurvedic routine that is helpful. You can read more about it here: Ayurvedic Morning Routine If you are feeling out of sorts, focus back on your routine.
  2. Use oils. I’m not talking about the essential oil craze here – I’m talking about regular oils that you might use for cooking. Oil is literally the “love” of the plant, and if you apply the plant’s love in and out of your body, you will begin to experience a sense of grounding and nourishment. In the morning, I apply about two tablespoons of warm oil to my entire body before showering. If I’m feeling angry, I use a cooling coconut oil, and if I’m feeling anxious, I use organic sesame oil. Start at your head and work your way down to your feet. When cooking, choose a neutral oil like organic sunflower oil, or drizzle extra virgin olive oil on avocado toast for a grounding lunch.
  3. Sleep, and do it at the right times. We are nature, and that means our bodies work the best when they are tuned in to nature’s rhythms. Make sure you wake up before 6 a.m. in order to have the best start to your day. The hours of 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. is the time your body detoxes from the previous day, so get your butt under the covers and close your eyes before 10.
  4. Temporarily limit exposure to news and social media. I’m not saying give it up, but during times when you need to work though big stuff, the last thing you need to do is take on additional stress to digest. Give yourself a day or two to focus on  your own healing before you go back into the world and take on the energies of someone else.
  5. Meditate! If this list was in order of importance, I would list it as number one! Meditation, especially the transcendental type, specifically helps to keep you grounded and resilient. In addition to the serious anchoring it provides, a twenty minute session is nearly the same as two hours of deep sleep. Any type of meditation is better than none at all because it can clear those densities quickly and get you back on your feet again.
  6. Eat regularly and healthfully with warming foods (not spicy!). There’s no doubt that food affects and pacifies emotions, but picking the right foods at the right times will keep you in the best shape. Anxiety is usually airy in nature, so if you’re feeling anxious, eat sweet, salty, and sour foods that are well cooked and spiced without being too spicy. Cinnamon, ginger, cloves, coriander, turmeric and black pepper are all good picks. Soups and stews would be perfect for you. If  you’re feeling angry, choose foods that are grounding and cooling. A great lunch might be mixing up two tomatoes, an avocado, a bunch of cilantro and olive oil with salt and pepper to make a topping for warm, buttered toast.
  7. Evaluate your friends. When the going gets tough, your “friends” might act more like your enemies. You don’t need toxicity in your life, so it’s ok to cull the “friends” list on Facebook when you see abuse. Besides, are those 3,000 people really your friends?  Take a look at your social circle. People are in various stages of evolution. When a group goes hiking, people hike at various speeds, and they may take different paths. Eventually we all get to the top of the mountain, and we might all take different paths, but it’s ok if you want to take the path that is the best choice for you. You all end up at the top together – they’re just gathering different experiences at different times. No need to harbor negative feelings. Live and let live.
  8. Read and listen to good things. In the same way that you digest your food, you also have to digest what you see and hear. Take the time to read inspirational books like daily devotionals. If you’re religious, pick up those religious texts and remind yourself about the love and knowledge that was imparted by other saints and prophets. Listen to praise music. If you’re not religious, read feel-good news or whatever gets you in a good mood. Turn on a song like this and dance: Happy – Pharrell Williams
  9. Clean and clear your house. Cleaning is the act of removing physical clutter and dirt. Clearing is removing other energetic and spiritual clutter and dirt. Use cleansers that are safe for humans and the environment and are biodegradable or nature neutral. Clear with singing bowls, sage smudge sticks, and incense.
  10. Remember this: As the age of enlightenment changes from dawn to day, the sun shine is brighter. As the sun shines, we see things more clearly, and sometimes it looks really ugly and makes us feel bad when we see the reality of the mess that had been hidden in the shadows. On top of that, bright sunshine creates darker shadows, and it makes us think and feel like the shadows are scarier than before. Nevertheless, the sun is coming up, day is here, and now we do our work!

There you have it. Believe me when I tell you I’m taking my own advice! I’m off work today, and I’ve been throat deep in laundry and sandalwood incense! If you have any ideas you’d like to share, feel free to post them here.

I pray for a world filled with only love, light, and unity!

The Guru Girl

To My Beloved Bernie Supporters – Together We Heal

To all my beloved Bernie Sanders supporters and non-supporters:

Right now, many of us are working through an unbelievable loss. This loss is no different than a death. We are in pain, we are hurting, we are asking ourselves all the questions, we are trying to dig ourselves out, and we’re finding it hard to be functional given the news that Bernie is not running for president. Well, I’m here today to tell you that you don’t need to make a decision about what to do right now. Right now, the only thing you need to do is work through the emotional business of this loss by picking up the pieces and laying them all out on the table so that you can see the picture of your life right now and decide how you want to put that puzzle back together. If you want to change your party so that you can vote for a different candidate, then you can put the puzzle back together that way. If you want to follow Bernie by voting for Hillary, that is also your choice. If you want to go green for Jill, or vote libertarian for Gary, or move to the red for Trump, that decision is yours and yours alone.

You don’t ever have to feel guilt or shame for any decision that you make, and you never ever have to defend that decision to anybody else no matter how many names they call you, or how manipulative they try to be getting you to go for their candidate because that vote belongs to you. My friends are already pushing me to vote for Hillary, and the manipulation tactics have started. I say today, and continue to say, that I have not yet made my decision, and when I do, the only person who needs to know is me.

On a personal level, I always vote based on my principles of unity, love, and compassion for all human beings, animals, and this planet. I know this is not for everybody, and I respect you if you vote for Trump or Hilary, Gary, Jill, write in Bernie, or any of the other options including not voting at all, because in the United States that is our right as citizens.

We are united in that we are all Americans. We are united in that we all love our country, even if we don’t like the way it behaves. We are united in that we want what we think is best for the people of this country, and in that thinking we need to be supportive of all of our neighbors for the votes that they cast.

Each of us are infinitely powerful human beings capable of changing the world. To me, the most beautiful part of this revolution is that Bernie has led us to a place where we’re coming into our own strength, and we are learning just how powerful we are. Bernie united like-minded people in a way I’ve never seen in my life. I truly believe he had divine inspiration and friends like the spirit of Dr. King to guide him on this incredible journey – which is not over.

Over the last year or so, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading all of the posts on all of these Bernie groups. I’m so happy to be part of this movement, I’m so happy to be doing it with all of you, and it doesn’t matter who you vote for as long as you do it with an open, BERNING heart and in line with the thinking that brought you to Bernie in the first place.

As we continue to move on and digest our emotions, let’s take time to give thanks and have gratitude that we live in this great country, let’s get extra rest and make sure our meditations are regular, and let’s focus on nourishing our bodies with the healthiest food which will be supportive of healing and give us the energy to take on this inevitably bumpy road that will lead us to our next president and beyond…

I love you all and hope and pray for the healing of everyone.

The Guru Girl

 

 

 

Photo credit: http://www.openheartedtransformation.com.a

The Day I Woke Up

I’m not exactly sure where to begin this story, so I’ll begin right here. In the present. The only time that has ever happened is right now, but in another now it also happened that I was in a car accident. In the space of February 15, 2014 at approximately 1 a.m., my life changed completely. I thought I was walking away alive, but that was the moment I lost myself again. This wasn’t the first time I lost myself. No, I’ve lost myself so many times as a child trying to run away from things that frightened me and throwing myself into something that brought me relief. I lost myself early in my marriage. I lost myself with the birth of my third child. This time was different.

I remember about six months after the accident lying in my bed after waking up from a nap. I looked up and observed my room, and it was difficult to make sense of it. I picked up a book and tried looking at words, and they didn’t make any sense. I got up, walked downstairs to the laundry room, and attempted to put in a load of laundry, but when I stared at all the buttons, I couldn’t figure out what to do with them.

At this point, my neurologist had already written my symptoms off as self-manifested, so I just stared at that washing machine and wept. As a mother, I had never longed so badly to do a load of laundry in my life. I saw the piles. The visual input of the mess was so maddening that I could feel the anxiety storm literally short circuiting my brain. The more I tried to work the washing machine, and the more I saw the mess, the less I could do. My symptoms flared, my head started pounding, all I could hear was what sounded like loud AOL dialup in my head mixed with clanging pots and pans – the sound I later began to call “my music” and which remains with me today, albeit quieter and sweeter now.

It was at that present moment of weeping that I finally gave up and just surrendered. Even though I wanted to fight for my health, I knew that fighting wasn’t helping me. I was always taught to keep getting up and keep fighting, so obviously this surrender was against my nature. “Fuck it,” I thought. “I’m going to be a sad vegetable with a goldfish memory. This is who I am now, and I need to just be ok with it.”

When I met people or when I interacted with friends, I’d start by telling them or reminding them about my brain injury.“Just so you know, I’m (still) dumb as shit with this brain injury, so if you tell me something right now, it might fall out, and you might need to tell me again.” Naturally people would get frustrated and impatient with me. I was always held to their standard, or they’d forget that because I looked like the same old Jessica, not the sad vegetable version. My quick wit was gone, so I couldn’t make people laugh. My ability to find words was gone, so I couldn’t have intellectual discussions with anyone. I was constantly embarrassed and felt worthless, and in each instance of failure, I surrendered deeper and deeper.

Despite my continued surrender, I felt. This level of feeling was deeper and more intense than anything. I’ve heard that when people lose a sense that the rest of the senses become more perceptive to compensate. My sense of hearing, sight, smell, taste, touch, and feeling were getting stronger. The deeper I felt, the more sad and empathetic I was becoming. Everything felt so overwhelming and everything was charged with emotion. That by itself was incredibly challenging, but I embraced this new me and accepted it as I accepted being impaired in all the other ways.

During a regular check-in with my general practitioner, I asked her about hooking me up with some Valium so I could have a little something to get me through life. A few days earlier, Kathleen from the Transcendental Meditation (TM) center had dropped off some pamphlets about the practice. I discussed this with my doctor, and instead of giving me something that might further impact my cognitive problems, she wrote me a prescription for TM.

On October 2, 2014 my better half and I went out on a date to celebrate our anniversary. We had a lovely dinner at Clydes in Ashburn, and then we went over to an introductory talk about TM. I immediately signed up. At first I gasped at the cost, but after spending literally thousands on specialists that hadn’t helped me, I figured I’d just add this to the pile. Although I had stopped fighting to get better, I was still an active seeker, and in my seeking, I was open to trying new things.

The weekend before I began TM, I was standing in the kitchen getting some breakfast, and I heard a voice in my head calling “Lakshmi! Lakshmi!” Auditory “hallucinations” weren’t new for me. They’ve been around since my earliest memories as a child, so I just accepted it. Greg was across the way in the family room folding clothes, so I asked him, “Who’s Lakshmi?” He did his typical Nova Scotia mumble and I heard him say something like, “I think she’s a goddess or something.”

Hmmm…

On Saturday morning, I drove to the TM center. I brought my flowers, fruit, and white handkerchief. As I followed Kathleen up the stairs I blurted out, “This is the first day of the rest of my life.” I wasn’t really sure where those words came from. It was a spontaneous thought that didn’t make it through any kind of a filter, and it just burst into the air. She smiled and looked at me in a curious way. I wasn’t sure what she was thinking, but I just reiterated again, “I really think this is the first day of the rest of my life.” This is what my “feeling” was telling me. The words were coming from my chest – my heart, not my brain. It felt like I was truly thinking and receiving these thoughts in my heart, and the words came from that area before coming out of my mouth. At this point, with all the crazy symptoms I had experienced, nothing was weird anymore, so like everything else, I just surrendered to this new version of myself, and went on to learn the TM technique. When we got to the top of the stairs she smiled and said, “that’s beautiful,” and I smiled back at her. It was a very sweet and honest moment between teacher and student. In that now, with my mind in that space, I had no idea what those words even meant…

If you’ve ever practiced TM, you know how powerful it can be – especially in those early days of unstressing. For three days I couldn’t get out of bed. Literally. It felt like I had been smashed in the head all over again. The sounds were so intense, and it felt like I was going insane. I wanted to quit, but Kathleen encouraged me and instructed me to get plenty of extra rest. So I did.

Day four came. I woke up. I meditated. Then I felt like I had this great wind of energy at my back. I went down to the laundry room. I looked at the clothes. I looked at the washer.

No anxiety. No storm. No freak out. I was alone in the silence.

I picked up a pile of whites, put them in, filled the soap dispenser, closed the door, and pushed the buttons to begin a load. And then I broke down in tears of joy. What a glorious moment!

On day four of the follow up, I met with the other students that had learned TM the same day. We each talked about our experiences. When I got to my turn, I couldn’t help but burst out laughing when I said, “I could actually do laundry today.” I’m not sure anyone could possibly know how monumental that was for me after months of struggling with pushing the “play” button on an LG washer.

So my journey began. At the 10 day follow up I was able to be in a grocery store without shutting down. It wasn’t a big store like Wegman’s, but it was Mom’s Organic Market, so it had everything I needed. At the end of the first month, my eyesight improved to the prescription I had when I was in second grade. At the end of the forth month the so called “permanent hearing loss” that I had sustained in the accident was so much better that my left ear (the bad one) tested BETTER than the right ear. I went outside without sunglasses. I went shopping at Target. I had dinner with my family at the Silver Diner – although I still needed ear plugs when the sound was too intense. I was sleeping better. I was getting less frustrated and angry. I felt more grounded and anchored. I felt connected.

Then one sunny day, everything changed again. I awoke from a nap, meditated, got up, and walked down to the kitchen. While I was making my salad for lunch, carrot and peeler in hand, I had what can only be described as a mystical and divine experience. For a moment, which felt like all time and eternity, I was.

I. Was.

All of it.

Everything.

I was the carrot, that gave its life for me. I was the peeler. I was the bowl. I was the wall, the couch, the chairs, the fridge. From my little finite awareness, I began to experience the consciousness – the spirit – which ran through everything, and I was in union with it all. I fell to my knees with the carrot in my hand, and held it to my chest. I cried and laughed in cycles. The sound in my head was that of an infinite sea of concert bases all playing the same note, but that note was simultaneously, infinitely diverse. It sounded like, “Om,” and it undulated and oscillated. It pulled me in, and pushed me back out of myself. “Om my God!” I blurted out and followed it with more laughing.

I had awakened.

Every question I ever had about anything was answered in that one moment. I was experiencing pure, unbounded infinity. Deathlessness. Infinite silence and dynamism. Unconditional love. Bliss. Joy. Ecstasy. It poured through my entire physiology. I felt the most incredible love and power crawling through my entire nervous system destroying everything that was blocking its path. My heart was on fire with love.

I can’t help but laugh when I think that THIS experience is what Maslow was talking about when he put “self actualization” on top of his hierarchy of needs. I have realized the self – my Self. THIS is enlightenment. THIS is being more awake than I’ve ever been. This is like waking up from a dream when I thought I was already awake.

How beautiful.

Once the power of that moment passed, I was left back in my materialistic, dual thoughts which were exactly the opposite of this Earth shattering non-dual experience. Now I have come to understand that awakening is nothing more than a re-remembering before my separate self decided to overlook the ever present awareness, The Self unfolding itself to itself. Being, and the infinite space of pure silence, creativity, intelligence, and infinite potential. Once my thoughts came back, and I refocused my awareness on objects, the experience continued to fade. Now that I’ve immersed myself back into activity, I can easily dip back into that field of consciousness and stabilize it in my waking states by meditating.

The best part is that nature supports me, and it feels amazing!!!!

PEOPLE, LISTEN UP! This experience is our birthright as human beings. Imagine the disappointment I felt when I realized how robbed I was by a Catholic education and upbringing that went on and on about faith and didn’t lead me to a direct experience of it! True faith is based on direct experience. Everything else is just hope. Here I was, looking faith right in the face with this HUGE and very direct experience of unity! Bible verses and hymns and songs and poetry rushed through my mind. All of it finally made sense.

My hope is that all seekers go on to “overlook” the material and the ego and find themselves in everything. I can now say that I have faith that if you seek, you will find, and if you knock the door will be opened unto you. …and know that this isn’t something that you achieve through belief alone. This requires direct experience and practice in your daily life. Of all the different ways to achieve this state, you can pick any type of yoga you want, but TM is a royal path, and it’s a path that I would choose over and over again if I ever had to make a recommendation. You can pray, meditate in your own way, practice acts of kindness, be a servant leader, etc. Pick a yoga – any yoga, just start something, and it will take you down the path you seek.

Now, I’ve surrounded myself with seekers whose hearts are set on pure knowledge and understanding. As our group becomes bigger and brighter, we clear away the cobwebs of those who are lost, and shine our sunshine onto them. Not only do I continue to have amazing and profound experiences, most of which I don’t share publically, I’ve noticed the sweet spirits living in my house, at work, and in my social circles are having their own as well. Right now, my whole family is on fire, and each day just gets better and better.

…and about that brain injury… Well, it’s been two years, and even in the last month or so, I’ve noticed such dramatic improvements that most of my days are “normal days.” I still feel gaps here and there, but I know I’ve come a long way and continue to progress. Without this head injury, I wouldn’t have adapted in all other perceptive areas to compensate for my bad brain, and I definitely wouldn’t have found TM. Without TM, I wouldn’t have this amazing brain, body, and heart. Learning it was definitely the first day of the rest of my life. My heart knew it from the beginning.

You should also know that heaven is on Earth for those who seek to experience it. It’s not in the clouds up in the sky or far away. It’s here. I pray for the enlightenment of all human beings, the world peace it will bring, the fear it will erase, the senseless killings and death it will prevent, and in the meantime, I’ll keep writing and shining in this incredible world.

Loving you all,

The Guru Girl

P.S. If you’re a seeker, know that you are safe to share your experiences with me! I’m excited to hear them! Someday, I will share my story about Lakshmi. 🙂