compassion

Moving into RAGE

It is not an emotion that I am comfortable with, nor can I say that I have felt it often… but this morning I woke up feeling, well, rage-y.  

You see, someone who used to be in my life (who shall definitely remain unnamed) ghosted me a few years ago.  What’s that?  You don’t know what ghosting is?  Oh.  Well, let me tell you.  Ghosting is an act of bullying.  It is when someone in your life completely stops talking to you, calling you, texting you or whatever the deal was between you for seemingly NO REASON AT ALL.  They just cut you out of their lives.  No explanation.  No answers.  Nothing.  I believe it is a form of bullying because it is all about power and control.  The “ghost” is using absence/silence (as opposed to aggression) in order to feel powerful by inflicting pain on the other person.  

And HOLY MOTHER OF GOD is it painful.  

I have been ghosted now exactly twice in my life, both times by people who I would have called my “best friend”.  Even now, every time I see the word “bestie” attached to some beautiful Facebook photo of women friends I feel like someone just sucker-punched me in the stomach.  

Because of these ghosting experiences, I have a HUGE WALL when it comes to close friendships in general, but especially friendships with women.  I am finding myself absolutely dead set against the idea of letting any woman ever get that close to me again.  Like HELL-TO-THE-NO.

The first time I was ghosted, I mourned for that person/friendship for a good ten years.  Actually, I still miss her.  It was like a death in my life.  But more like an “unsolved missing person” kind of death.  To this day, almost twenty years later, I have no idea what I did wrong.  The worst part about this is that I feel like I am someone who, when given the opportunity, takes full accountability for my actions.  The problem with ghosting is that you have no idea what you need to take accountability for, so you are simply left wondering (and wondering and wondering)… and that just plain sucks.  

With this latest ghost, I have spent many long hours over the past two years in mourning as well, my grief mixing in with denial, confusion, hurt and eventually a lot of shame and guilt.  (By the way: It is NOT lost on me that this is now officially a “pattern” and that I am responsible for calling it in and creating it.  But, due to the lack of feedback that is inherent in ghosting, I can’t seem to figure out what exactly I am doing wrong and therefore how to fix it!)

Anyway, today for the first time, I woke up angry.  No. I woke up enraged.

Now, I need to tell you that it is extremely rare for me to feel vengeful, but that is exactly how I feel.  I want for this ghost to hurt the way that I hurt.  I want them to feel like they want to melt into the floor every time we have the god-awful “pleasure” of running into each other (which is, unfortunately, way too often).  

I know that this is wrong.  And the farthest thing from “spiritual”.  But it is honest.  It is real and raw.  It is transparent, and transparency is something that I truly believe in and that I am good at.  

Ironically (or probably not), I just finished reading Brene Brown’s latest book, Rising Strong, in which she describes feeling similarly rage-y towards another human being (or beings).  She then moves into realizing that “everyone is just doing the best that they can”.  So, this morning, mixed in with my feelings of rage and revenge, was this underlying thought, “What if Person X is just doing the best that they can?”  

Sigh.

I know that this is true.  I know this because I truly believe that that’s what we are all doing: the best that we can…. which (unfortunately and absolutely) precludes me from doing anything to retaliate against this person, or confront them, or hold them accountable or anything at all probably.

This idea that everyone is just doing the best that they can is an important one.  When you can call it in to your being, even a just a little bit, it can transmute these shadow emotions.  It inspires and cultivates compassion, something that is vital to our survival as an interdependent species.  Even as I write this, I can feel the rage ebbing, its edges are softening as the compassion starts to seep in. 

One of my favourite quotes is by Ram Dass - “We’re all just walking each other home.”

I guess we don’t always get to choose who we walk beside, or why and when they leave when they do.

Nahanni, Dancing Coyote Woman

Game-changers

You know that feeling when you first reunite with a good friend that you haven’t seen or spoken to in a very long time?  There is that pull of urgency in your belly, you feel a bit flustered and slightly overwhelmed because you aren’t sure where to possibly begin in order to fill them in on all that has happened since you last saw each other.

That, kind reader, is how I feel right now about writing this blog.

I take comfort in the fact that I have been in the above-mentioned “real life” scenario quite a few times in the past, and from what I can recall, things just worked themselves out.  The sense of urgency begins to gently subside, the explosion of words that you feel compelled to vomit somehow manages to fall out of you, and somehow, a vague sense of order emerges from its chaos.

I am taking this sense of urgency, overwhelm and flus-tration (new word!) as a good sign… a verrrrry good sign.  You see, it means that I WANT to re-connect with you (you = the outside world).  And this is the first time I have felt like this in a very long time… about three years (give or take).

The tricky thing here is that it is often (not always, but often) a one-sided conversation on the old blog.  You see, I have been blogging for seven years.  You might recall that this blogging adventure began with “MareBare Necessities: A Year of Living with Less”, which was a one-year project in which I gave up being a consumer of new goods.  It turned out to be an epic journey, and somehow, unintentionally, it became quite well read.  Like 50,000-readers-per-month well read!  (I know, it still shocks the hell out of me too!) 

After the “MareBare” project was over, I quit blogging for a bit, but then I was pushed,pulled and practically dragged back into it because of people like you: you see, my blog had started a CONVERSATION.  (I know now that this is no small feat – I have been trying every since to “continue the conversation” with my “on-line community”, only to discover that as I shifted, morphed and changed, so did they).  Today?  Not so much of a conversation.  Not so much of a community.  And so, I find myself once again in a very much one-sided, somewhat awkward, I’m-really-excited-but-overwhelmed-to-tell-you-stuff social situation.

(And after yesterday’s post… you can just guess how I feel about that… cue the sweat).

However: I’m doing it anyway.  You see, when I started MareBare Necessities, I couldn’t friggin’ WAIT to write my posts each day.  I was SO excited to connect with “my tribe” (which started off as one or two readers… one of whom was my mom).  And that is, once again, how I feel about connecting with you kind folks (there are about 8 of you all told)…

So, where shall we begin?  Ah yes.  The title of this post: GAME-CHANGERS.

Because of the overwhelm/excitement/flus-tration, it occurred to me that maybe I should just tell you what the biggest, most epic changes, challenges, self-discoveries/uncoveries have been over the past three years.  This post then, can kind of serve as the “index” for the rest of the blogs to come.

Here they are, in no particular order of timeline or importance (and please note, I shared the first two with you yesterday):

·Giving up alcohol (for 510 days and counting) and moving into “recovery” (I love this word – it means: to regain possession of something lost and return to a normal state of mind/health)

·Discovering that I am actually a very introverted/shy/socially anxious person

·Going through a divorce (duh). We have done this in the most conscious way possible and although it has been unbelievably painful, it has also been a phenomenal journey of self-discovery and growth.

·Working as an educational consultant (turns out that I really love this work and it continues to change and expand as well).

·Taking charge of my mental and physical health through a life-changing dietary program called Whole30 (look it up.  No seriously look.it.up.)

·Moving (several times) and finally settling into The House With The Red Door.  Lately we have been “Tidying up” our home (via the work of Marie Kondo) and so far this has involved disposing of 45 garbage bags of “stuff”, and we are only about ½ way done.

·Learning about co-dependency and moving into recovery from that sticky mess (this is also connected to learning how to set boundaries).

·Continuing to learn more and more about mental health and depression and continuing to navigate recovery (through WHOLEistic methods)  (I call this “taming the dark dragon”.) In other words, this has meant freeing myself of my behavioral addiction to and pattern of being “dark and twisty”.  This has meant taking FULL accountability for all areas of my life and letting go of my victim story (again and again and again).

·Facing ALL of my deepest, darkest fears, (most of which surrounded mortality and death) and emerging on the other side.

·Discovering a different way to be in an intimate partnership, and re-discovering the different forms/roles/shapes that can exist in a “family”

·Taking my medicine wheel training, travelling twice to Peru to study shamanism and beginning to practice and share my gifts as a shamanic practitioner.

·Changing my legal name back to my birth name.

·Claiming a medicine name (more on this later).

·Navigating intense survivor guilt (this is truly a one-day-at-a-time journey).

And there you have it: the list of “game-changers” and the likely future index of this blog.

Any questions?

Nahanni, DCW

How This is Like That

Photo by Jody Goodwin Photography

Photo by Jody Goodwin Photography

One of the tools we use as Martha Beck-trained life coaches is what we call the Metaphor Tool.  It is based on the premise that we can get more information about something that is happening internally by looking at something that is happening externally.  This idea also runs through shamanism.  We create ceremony/ritual on the outside using concrete objects found in nature (visible), so that we can have a clearer view of what's happening on the inside (invisible).  

I was pondering this during my morning practice, and I realized that this website is a perfect example or metaphor for what is happening in my life.  My old website (aka my old life/identity at www.marenhasse.com) is not fully dissolved - in fact it is stubbornly evading deconstruction, while my new website, this site, is not fully formed.  And that is ok.  I am not fully formed yet.  I am still emerging.

I have chosen to publish this site in its unfinished state.  Why?  Because I am not sure what "finished" looks like.  I have been on this inner journey for so long that I am starting to see that there isn't an "end".  There is no "fully formed".  There is only expansion/contraction, re-births/deaths, periods of change and stagnation and on and on the spiral goes...  

In FIERCE Integrity, I talk about the "perfection of imperfection".  Seeing ourselves as totally perfect, even though we are far from what we might consider our "ideal selves".  What this is really about is compassion.  Having compassion for all of the ways in which we aren't where we think we should be.  

In the  past, I have had a relatively easy time of feeling genuine compassion for other people, however when it comes to offering that same level of compassion to myself, I haven't been able to do so.  This is changing.  This change has been almost imperceptibly (and unbearably) slow, but it is happening.  

I acknowledge that I am not perfect.  I can be selfish, entitled, ungrateful, lazy, and inconsiderate.  I can (and have) spent a lot of time agonizing over these traits… pouring over my past (and current) transgressions and mercilessly punishing myself for them, over and over again.    But that doesn't help.  Actually, the only thing it does do is beat me down deeper and deeper into a state of depression and self-loathing.  

What I have realized too, is that in order to truly free myself from the darkness, the reprieve that I am seeking has to come from within.  In the past I have spent a lot of time looking for external feedback and validation.  Funnily enough, I have received a lot more positive feedback than negative, and yet it is those negative comments that I hang onto, that I read over and over again, until I am practically wearing them like a crown of thorns.  "See?  See?", my inner critic delights, "You really do suck!"

My point is:

In order to create a true and lasting shift out of the darkness, compassion needs to be an inside job.  

Be kind.  Be gentle.  Be compassionate.

Maren

Nahanni, Dancing Coyote Woman