consciousness

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

Big and Small at the Same Time

I had my star-chart read a while back.  You know, that thing where they draw all of those lines in the circle and write all of these weird symbols and then somehow magically tell you all about yourself?  Apparently, the idea is to map out exactly where all of the planets/stars/sun/moon are at the exact moment of your birth, so that you can understand yourself from a cosmic perspective.  Sound fluffy?  Yes.  I agree, but: don't knock it until you try it.  

If you haven't had one done, I strongly recommend it.  It somehow set me free in a way that I had never experienced before.  It allowed me to be "more me" than I had ever dared to be before.  I felt like it gave me permission to be who I am instead of trying to change who I am in order to better fit with my perception of societal expectations.  Basically, it gave me permission to be the beautiful mess of contradictions that I am.

You see, I am a Gemini.  A double Gemini actually, which means that my sun sign (the one that you look up in the paper) and my rising sign (the one that was rising at the moment of my birth) are the same.  Apparently, these are the two signs that have the greatest impact on your personality and yeah, that is a LOT of Gemini.  For those of you who aren't super familiar with astrology, Geminis are the "twins" of the Zodiac.  Given that many of us aren't actual twins, what this means is that we have "twin-like" energy WITHIN us… in other words: duality.  

What is duality?  Well, it is essentially contrast or oppositional energy… aka PARADOX.  Yes, us Geminis are the Zodiacal keepers of contradiction (and often confusion).

Which brings me to the actual subject of this post.  

The lady who did my star-chart reading has PhD's in both Astrology AND Psychology, specifically, Jungian Psychology, and has studied with Carl Jung's daughter.  Having a background in Psychology myself, this both impressed me and appealed to me, which is why I was willing to wait six months for a reading with this particular astrologist.  In my opinion, the beauty of her having studied in both of these disciplines is that they are inextricably linked, personality and astrology, and she was able to put my chart into language that I really understood.  Most notably, she used Archetypes to describe elements of "me".  

Not surprisingly, what came forward in my reading was a lot of paradoxical energy, however in particular, she told me that I seem to hold equal proclivity towards both the teacher archetype and the student archetype.

While part of me wasn't surprised by this at all (in fact, I can see how I have always gravitated towards these two roles enthusiastically), I couldn't help but notice that they seem to contradict one another though, don't they? 

Well, they do and they don't.  For one thing: I can be equally comfortable in each role.  I love to learn.  I absolutely love being a student.  Historically, I have been one who gets to class early, stays late, asks lots and lots of questions, does the assignments (even extra ones) and usually gets really high marks.  I have had a lot of success as a student.  On the other hand, I also love to teach.  There is nothing better than the feeling of being up in front a group of people sharing what I know/have learned.  Both of these roles are wonderful.

I also notice that these two archetypes/roles are complimentary.  One certainly feeds the other.  

That being said, there have been times when I have experienced them to be at odds with one another.  Times when I have wanted to simply walk away from one or the other (or both).  It is often the teacher role that I most resist, feeling like I have nothing new to offer anyone.  I feel like a huge fraud.  I feel like setting my e-mail/voicemail to a message that simply says: "I have no idea.  Life is beautiful and life is excruciating.  It just is."  

When I have sat with each these archetypes, it has become clear that what I actually find so uncomfortable, or painful, is moving between them.  Over and over, I have become identified with one or the other, and I am able to get comfortable in that role.  In my Master's degree, I had an outstanding experience as a student.  I really kicked butt.  And I thought, "Yes".  I should keep going and do my PhD… But instead I was called (aka forced) into USING my degree and putting it into practice (aka teaching)… and it was/is uncomfortable.  In my coaching, I LOVED the training course and I thought, what's next?  Oh yes, I will take the Master's training course… But instead I have been called (aka shoved) into coaching (aka teaching).

here is a passage written by Pema Chodron, one of my very favourite teachers, that beautifully describes what I am trying to say:

I was once invited to teach with Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, my teacher’s eldest son, in a situation where it wasn’t exactly clear what my status was. Sometimes I was treated as a big deal who should come in through a special door and sit in a special seat. Then I’d think, “Okay, I’m a big deal.” I’d start running with that idea and come up with big-deal notions about how things should be. Then I’d get the message, “Oh, no, no, no. You should just sit on the floor and mix with everybody and be one of the crowd.” Okay. So now the message was that I should just be ordinary, not set myself up or be the teacher. But as soon as I was getting comfortable with being humble, I would be asked to do something special that only big deals did. This was a painful experience because I was always being insulted and humiliated by my own expectations. As soon as I was sure of how it should be, so I could feel secure, I would get a message that it should be the other way. Finally I said to the Sakyong, “This is really hurting. I just don’t know who I’m supposed to be,” and he said, “Well, you have to learn to be big and small at the same time.”
— The Pocket Pema Chodron, Shambhala Pocket Classics, Pages 66-67

Time and time again, I have put the archetype of teacher/coach down.  I have willingly and whole-heartedly gone back to the student role - only to find myself being pulled out of that role and thrust back into that of teacher/coach once again.  

Part of me wishes that I could just STAY in one of those roles.  But I know I can't.  To stay is to get stuck, to stagnate.  I know that is not what it's all about.  It (life) is all about growth and expansion.  It is all about tides ebbing and flowing, seasons changing, death and rebirth.  

I must learn to be BOTH.  I must learn to be big and small at the same time.  I must learn to stop being humiliated by my own expectations.

There is no coming to consciousness without pain.
— Carl Jung

With kindness,

Maren

Nahanni, Dancing Coyote Woman