Category Archives: Shivaya

some help here?

there’s a picture of me at the age of four. i’m at my grandma’s house. my light brown hair is swooped into lop-sided pigtails, and i’m standing next to a table smiling with a big cup of yogurt and spoon in my hands.

my smile is huge. it’s toothless and bright. it’s purposeful and knowing.

my eyes are squinting and gleaming.

the ties of my sundress have fallen from one shoulder. the late-day sun is shining behind me and lighting up the bursts of blond in my hair.

i don’t even have the picture in front of me, but i can tell you exactly how it looks. it’s one of my favorite pictures of myself as a kid. because of the glint of unabashed stubbornness i can see in my eyes.

as a child, my mother tells me, i was ferociously independent. “i can do it myself” was my daily dictum. if i wanted to go outside and swing, i did it all by myself. if i wanted some juice, i poured it myself. if i wanted to draw a picture, i got my crayons and paper and i sat down to draw. no help for me, thank ya very much.

when my mother did offer me help, i was offended. mortified. disgusted.

and this independence, this desire to do everything “by myself,” followed me through life. it made for some interesting times as i entered junior high, high school, young adulthood. it seemed that accepting any help from anyone was a mortal sin and a sign of weakness to me.

through two marriages, “i can do it myself” was difficult to surrender. i didn’t want to depend on anyone, even someone who was supposed to be my equal and a sharer of my life. every time i was offered help – whether in the daily minutiae or in problems that weighed heavy on my heart – i seethed at the thought of someone insinuating that i was incapable. that’s how i saw it.

that glint has gotten the best of me. it has made me weather many situations alone when i didn’t have to. it has made me shoulder troubles without having a trusting ear in my vicinity. it has put me on the floor of my bathroom sobbing because i felt that, if i couldn’t do it myself, i was a failure.

within the last year, i have been learning to ask for help… or at least to realize when i am over-burdening myself. though reaching out to another person – a trusting and loyal person – is still quite a relinquishment of power for me, i am gradually, slowly beginning to understand that i can be an independent person even during my vulnerable moments.

i can ask for help, and knowing it’s there will only serve to strengthen my spirit.

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Filed under attitude, journey, Shivaya

a little perspective.

this is my first post of 2010.

and i’ve prepared for it, appropriately, by reading through my archives dating back to the beginning of this blog in september, 2009.

i feel as though i’ve been trying to tell myself so many things. about myself. my life. my work. my relationships. my passion.

i’ve been openly embracing what i’ve learned about myself, not just since i began writing here, but also in the five months leading up to that time.

today, as i was reading through, i realized just how far i’ve come (metaphorically and realistically) since my first post. even in four short months, life can change so drastically, so unexpectedly. and i am at a good place.

my loneliness has become an opportunity for me to speak with myself, to understand who i am, what i want and when and how and why. all of the answers to my questions are slowly becoming available. every time i do something for me, i get to know me on another level, i can hear the clicking and unlocking of a long-closed door.

there have been many doors creaking open in my life recently. where once i could only tell you what others thought of me, i can now tell you what i think of me. it is refreshing, liberating and wildly overdue.

i am learning that i can only be who i am. and who i am is perfectly flawed.

my goals and dreams are not exorbitant. but my expectations to stretch and create while also maintaining the “me” are resolute, steadfast, impenetrable. that’s me. that’s that.

i dislike when people say they feel “lucky.” i don’t really believe in luck – good or bad. but i do believe that we all have the ability to manifest (most times, subconsciously) the roads we travel and the stops we make along the way. and we most certainly choose our attitude. of all the things in life i am thankful for, it is that i’ve surrounded myself with positivity. even when negativity tried to pry its way in, i addressed it, turned it back around and kicked its ass out the door.

i don’t need it. because i’m discovering, slowly and benevolently, that i am everything i will ever need.

and life itself is just a bonus.

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the time to finish is never.

a few weeks ago, i got tired.

tired of feeling/being stagnate. tired of getting ideas and never following through.

and so, so tired of breathing but not living.

i felt stuck. and frustrated. and determined.

so i opened microsoft word and typed three words:

“the being list”

because i feel too young, too eternal to think about dying. (however, i’m not delusional and do realize it is inevitable.)

but the idea of preparing for death seems a bit… morbid? dramatic?

and maybe it’s just the thought of “kicking the bucket” that displeases me.

regardless, i wanted this list to encompass those things in life that make you an addict of living. nothing dangerous, or illegal, or moronic.

just simple, yet complex pleasures that make me want to soak in every drop, expend every ounce of myself and still leave me feeling… whole.

finished… but not yet finished.

the being list is about nurturing the soul. it’s not a race to accomplish as many incredible tasks before death finds us. it is a guideline, a plan and a memoir for finding ourselves — a list of those things we believe are important, significant, life-worthy.

the goal is not to finish. but to keep going.

because even when we feel as though we’ve accomplished all there is in life, we should search for the next thing and the next and the next.

life stops when we want it to. as long as we are being, we are living.

and i began typing all the things i could do that would nurture me. that would wrap me in a metaphorical snuggie and serve me love in a cup of hot cocoa.

and here it is. a work in progress, just like me.

because life is about expanding our selves, our minds, our hearts and filling our days with moments that allow us to open our eyes and be…

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the hardest thing i’ve never done.

we are all careening through life.

we are trying to be successful, be loved, be happy.

we grasp at anything that gives us the smallest glimpse of the right direction.

i’ve never been good at direction.

not in driving and, some might say, not in living.

but i’ve always felt like i’ve given it my best shot.

and that’s all that’s really mattered to me.

i’ve prided myself in having not regretted the decisions i’ve made – even the ones that may have gotten me lost.

because i’ve always found my way home, in the end.

it’s never been difficult for me to find light in the dark or smile through tears.

because i’ve always known that the wrong turns don’t really matter. they are simply there to lead us back to where we need to be. and they give us a new purpose: to focus our energy on what does matter.

today, i closed my eyes, let the sun hit my face and cleanse my thoughts.

then i asked myself what has been the most difficult thing for me to do.

of all the experiences i’ve had, when did i feel the most lost?

the answer didn’t surprise me. or thrill me. or scare me.

but it was simple:

the hardest thing about life, my life, has been the times when i told myself i couldn’t do something.

i told myself that it was too big for me. too great for me. too good for me.

the most significant battle i’ve faced in my life has been to believe that i can do it.

whatever it happens to be.

and, when i opened my eyes, i sat there with this revelation.

and i held it in my heart.

and i told myself that i am good.

deep-down, good.

that i deserve good.

then i asked myself to start believing it, trusting it.

and making it the first step in a right direction.

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love and its multi-faceted ways.

i told you i’d be honest.

and, the honest thing is, i contemplate love a lot.

real love… what is that anyway?

when we’re infants, necessity is love.

when we’re toddlers, need is love.

when we’re children, things are love.

and some people never outgrow this phase; to some people, things will always be love.

for those who do mature past this stage, physicality becomes love.

i’m not just talking about sex. (although that’s certainly a part of it.)

i’m talking about presence. presence becomes love.

parents want their children to be present.

friends want their friends beside them.

lovers want their lovers near.

close. alongside. nearby. proximal.

it’s the love vicinity.

as long as we are inside it, we have peace.

except, it’s not real peace. and it’s not real love.

because, it seems to me, real love stretches over space. it cannot be defined or confined by parameters or by any other uncertain thing.

and real love can only be found inside of us, where our true Self, our soul, exists despite emotion, without attachment, regardless of expectation.

it’s the place within us that recognizes that we are never alone and never in danger. the place that allows us to breathe, exhale, let go.

the place where we can give ourselves freely without fear of disappointment, embarrassment or failure —where we can walk amongst others and feel a kinship, a connection.

this place is not something to attain, and it’s not a physical journey we make: we are always there.

in the moment we make this peace with ourselves, we become the love we seek.

then, and only then, can we step outside the vicinity and realize we are never outside the vicinity.

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let me tell ya about being lonely.

and i don’t mean the nobody-loves-me-and-nobody-cares, pitiful kinda lonely.

i mean the trying-to-find-peace-in-being-by-myself kinda lonely.

[side note: i watched an episode of oprah a few years ago about single women and their attitudes toward singleness, their self-talk, etc. one of the tips i remember the expert giving was to, instead of saying you’re going to do something “by yourself,” saying “with yourself.” which i assume is supposed to help negate attitudes of loneliness and self-pity through increased thoughts of self-worth. “i’m doing something with myself!” it’s all about connotation.]

now, back to the business of being lonely…

i realize i am not one of the world’s foremost experts in loneliness. i’m not even close.

and i know that i have technically only been “alone” for approximately one month, 12 days and five hours. (who’s counting?)

but before aug. 26, 2009 at 5:30 p.m., i had never been alone. EVER. throughout my entire life, there has always been someone lingering nearby — family members, boyfriends, husbands.

i have never come home to a house when i wasn’t expecting another human being to be there.

i am nearly 28 years old and i am living alone for the first time in my life.

and, i’ll tell ya, those first few weeks were pretty painful. i did a lot of thumb-twiddling. and napping. and talking to myself.

and there are still moments when i think that i might go out of my motherfucking mind.

i have cried and i’ve chastised myself for crying: “goddamnit, an adult person should be able to be alone with herself!!”

with herself.

but even in this short time, i have been learning. patience, mostly. which, regrettably, i’ve never been good at.

i’ve had a lot of time for a lot of thoughts to flow through my head. everything from traveling to dinner to relationships to spirituality.

and, one evening about a week ago, i turned down my thoughts, turned up my radio and danced in my underwear. in the middle of my living room. i made a total fool of myself… and i loved it.

i loved it so much that i held out my arms and i began spinning in circles, just like i did when i was eight years old.

i continued spinning — arms outstretched, eyes closed tight — until i couldn’t stand it anymore.

then i fell to the floor and laughed with myself. i laughed ’til i snorted, ’til tears were rolling down my face and my sides ached.

and i thought, this is only the beginning.

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crossroads in a clear-cut path.

i was in a work meeting today.

a long work meeting.

one of those work meetings that seem as though it will drag on into the depths of infinity.

people were talking, discussing, lingering, deducing.

and i thought, at one point, i would have to excuse myself to puke. because all i could feel was the spinning.

i could see mouths move, but i couldn’t keep up. my eyes flitted from face to face in desperation. i lifted outside of my body and attempted to slow everything to a tolerable level. but it didn’t work. i tried to breathe deeply and focus on anything else. but it didn’t work.

i was surrounded by people who were invested in things, in projects, in energy that i couldn’t create space for. i could make out a few sentences here, a few words and phrases there. but mostly i just tried to stop the spinning.

the world was moving too fast for me. it was bombarding me with things that i didn’t want to hear or see or be a part of. i was an alien on my own planet.

and i just wanted a slow-down.

it filled me with both frustration and joy.

joy, because these things were not my things. these things were not the occupation of my mind, my heart.

projects, assignments, duties.

i didn’t want these things invading my life.

and it just made me realize that i have so much further to go on this path.

and that, to get there, i must clear my mind and start over.

just me and myself.

slowing down.

becoming acquainted.

on solid ground and with firm footing.

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