Who are you? Speak your truth!

“Oh I could sing such grandeurs and glories about you; you have not known what you are. You have slumbered upon yourself all your life. Your eyelids have been the same as closed most of the time…Whoever you are, claim your own at any hazard! These shows of the east and the west are tame compared to you. These immense meadows, these interminable rivers, you are immense and interminable as they are.”Walt Whitman
I am a Contradiction
Are we all a contradiction? Is this something that rings true with you as you read this? There are so many times that I fear it makes me less perfect, less like everyone else, but I can’t be the only one who feels this way. Is it, then, what makes us so fascinating and indelibly human?
The truth should set us free. Right?
My Truths
I love the limelight—when I choose to turn on my “light,” my friends call me The Belle of the Ball. Generally I will take any chance to stand out and call attention to myself, sometimes taking it to a narcissistic level. Strangely, though, in my natural state, I am still, quiet, and blend in. Perhaps this is the reason I need that “switch” to turn me into someone else. I’m not sure if I feel that my value goes one way or the other when I am Belle and when I am Becky, but I have always noticed these two distinct sides of me.
There are times I feel lonely, and that is when I start putting myself down for being single. Damn you, society, for putting those thoughts into my mind. Damn you, subconscious, for letting them fester. Single is not a negative thing; it does not mean unlovable. In fact, single means not willing to settle for less than I deserve. So when I am feeling lonely, I should be celebrating my independence and cautious nature in choosing who I will spend my life with. Besides, I am constantly surrounded by loved ones. I know I’m ready for my big romantic love, but perhaps he is not quite ripe yet. Who knows? I can’t let it stop me from living an amazing life.
I am very physically active and live a healthy life, yet I still see myself as the “big girl.” I was uncomfortably overweight for a large part of my life, and it became who I was—how I identified myself. It’s been 10 years since my drastic weight loss, and still I have fears and uncertainty about how people view the physical part of me.
“You think of yourself
as a citizen of the universe.
You think you belong
to this world of dust and matter.
Out of this dust
you have created a personal image,
and have forgotten
about the essence of your true origin.” – Rumi
I dance on stage in front of dozens, exposing my vulnerability and body, and yet I cower in fear at the thought of approaching a handsome, confident man.
I am full of energy and life, yet I am exhausted much of the time. I often do not listen to my body when it says STOP.
And this whole recent breakup…the religion thing…I love the fact that it made me question the truth about my own faith. I’ve been delving more deeply into my Quaker roots, and I find it fascinating to study other people and their experiences, whether or not their beliefs match my own. My faith, though not always front and center in my life, has always been essential to me. I’ve found it helpful to read several books in the past few weeks, including a great one written by a Quaker kid I knew growing up, called The Unlikely Disciple. I followed that up with The Year of Living Biblically. Talk about contradictions.It highlights the ridiculousness of trying to live literally by all of the Bible’s rules. At the same time, it weeds out some very simple but eternally applicable lessons that the Bible deems important. Another useful text is one that my mother sent me at the beginning of my breakup, called A Quaker Book of Wisdom: Life Lessons in Simplicity, Service, and Common Sense. It has reconnected me with some of the testimonies of Quakerism that sometimes get lost in the fray of everyday life.
My truth is that I don’t fit into a pre-made box. My mold isn’t shaped like a puzzle piece; it’s more like a dodecahedron. So where does that leave me? How do I find my people? My calling? What drives me? Do I have to categorize myself in order to find someone that I mesh well with? In some ways, my versatility makes me very easy to get along with. In other ways it alienates me to a point where I don’t know how to define myself. Let’s be honest, sometimes questioning can lead to an amazing breakthrough, but there is always that fear that it will lead to nothing. I suppose all I can do, all any of us can do, is to stay open to the journey and experience it with gratitude and a true lust for life.
Whoever you are, claim your own at any hazard!
What is your truth?

14 in 2014 – Let's Do This!

The time has come to set some new goals. It’s quickly closing in on the New Year’s Eve countdown, so why not? Before starting my list, I have to note that my numerology number for next year represents Beginnings. How great is that? That may seem like a given, considering that’s pretty much everyone’s theme for starting every new year, but I really think that 2014 will be a year of astounding changes and new opportunities for me, in particular. I have noticed that many doors have closed this year, and people or things that were clinging to me have been noticeably slipping away—some sneaking quietly in the night, and some going out with a bang. All of them needed to go, whether I was truly ready to say goodbye or not. As they say, out with the old, in with the new! So, without further ado, here is the list!
1) Have my last first kiss
There are no guarantees in love or life, but I’d certainly love to have my last first kiss in 2014.
kiss
2) Trust my gut feeling – and always be proud of the decisions I make
Sometimes I let fear rule my decision-making. Sound familiar? If so, congratulations! You’re human. Let’s work on it together.
3) Take a vacation to somewhere completely new
My initial thoughts are New York City and Miami. Who’s coming with me?
4) Finish the novel I started
I wrote 33,000 words of this novel, tentatively titled “From Rich Soil,” in 2011, and now that I have figured out the ending, I’ve got to get the words out of my head and onto paper (or into Microsoft Word, as the case will surely be).
5) Run a new race
I’m all signed up for Cinco de Mayo Half Marathon and ready to set a new PR! Actually I’ll be running at least two new races next year. I’m running the Chocolate Run next year as well as participating in their ambassador program. This race and the ambassador concept is a first for me, and I’m very excited to see where it will take me, in my running and in my writing. Bonus – I will be running in a new racing city: Seattle!
HC blogger_dark
6) Salsa dance in a new city
Speaking of Seattle, I’m thinking it’s time to take on their salsa scene!
7) Go wine tasting at a new winery
Taking fantastic winery suggestions and applications to be my partner in crime!
8) Take a new class
Nutrition? Samba? Archeology? What exciting things will I learn this year? I am a student of the world, and I love to learn continually.
9) Use my new tent as much as possible + rent a cabin or yurt on the coast
I bought a new Kelty and I’m eager to use it!
10) Go to Crater Lake!
One of the most amazing natural sights, and I’ve never seen it in person. How can this be that I’ve lived in Oregon for ten years and not seen this monolith??
Crater Lake 2
11) Be gentle
This encompasses everything and everyone. I vow to be gentler with people who are different than me, and I vow to be gentle to myself when I am feeling critical of my own actions.
12) Be healthy
I’m not going to state a pound amount of weight loss I am shooting for (although I have one in mind), but I will tell you that I want to be more healthy and only eat when I am hungry.
13) Triple the love in my life
No, this does not necessarily mean get married and have a baby this year (Please don’t tell my parents…they will use this against me). I just want to surround myself in radiant, hugging, giggly, sometimes blush-inducing LOVE! That goes for familial, platonic, and romantic love. Help me share the glow!
14) Be grateful every day
It’s a pretty simple idea. Sometimes, it’s easy to forget how great I have it. Join me in remembering every day and treasuring the feeling.

Whole, Complete, and Lacking in Nothing

I found this article written by Dr. Christiane Northrup today on my Facebook scroll. She is always an inspiration to read, but this post in particular struck a very sensitive chord with me. It began with her describing a workshop with Jill Rogers that started like this:

Jill started the workshop with a ritual in which she looked deep into each of our eyes and said, “You are whole, complete, and lacking in nothing.” Tears welled up in my eyes as I felt the truth of this statement from both a soul perspective and as a deep sadness because I still hadn’t found the love (spelled MAN) I was looking for in my life.

I pride myself in being incredibly independent, but there are times when I break down in sadness because I feel I am lacking something in my life. These times may feel like despair at the moment, but actually I think they are a choice made by my body to acknowledge my emotions, which is a very good thing. So often I lose myself in my activities and other people, and while they are truly a blessing for my body and soul, I recognize that there is a part of me that uses them to avoid facing the emotions inside of me that are not so happy-go-lucky.
In the moment that my feelings overwhelm me, I have to remind myself that this is healthy. This is a part of my journey. Life is built on all experiences, not just the good ones. It is a comfort to me that others are on a similar journey, and their words help me work through the sadness by facing it and not running away, as well as by giving me inspiration for new paths. 
I will never stop learning. I will never stop building on this life. I will never be completely satisfied with the whole. This is what makes me human, it’s what pushes me to be great, what pushes me to keep looking for more. I love sharing my journey with my tribe, because connection with you is one of the most important parts of my foundation.
I urge you to read the post in its entirety, whether you are happily in love with a significant other or looking giddily forward to what the universe has in store for you next.

Scatterheart

In the past, I have had a terrible habit of asking anyone who will listen to solve my problems for me. I have done this for so long that I can be perfectly honest and tell you that there are some important topics that have yet to truly penetrate my thoughts because I listened to the advice of others and promptly executed their will instead of my own.
I have put my friends on pedestals, and have thought that their advice is golden. It is generally meaningful advice, given with love, and meant to be helpful, but I think this mutual indulgence has hurt all of us in a way. I can’t remember the last time I made a concrete decision without the input of another person. Scarier still, I’m not sure I know what my decision would be if I let myself actually ponder it. For the other person, getting sucked so far into another’s psyche can’t be healthy. Some things should be personal and sacred.
These decisions can be as petty as choosing between clothes to pack (I actually have a friend who comes over every time I travel internationally to pack my bags for me), to what drink to order at the bar, but as you may have guessed from my previous posts, much of this anguish centers on my search for love. You can see what comes next. Yes, I have indeed let outside sources sway my feelings for the men I date.
Why do I do that? I think what it all comes down to is that I’m fearful not of making the decision, but of the consequences. If I can place the decision-making on someone else, then that someone will be there to blame if it all goes sour. If it goes well, I know who will be the maid of honor at my wedding. No harm, no foul, right? Except, there is no one but ME who really knows who will be the right man for me. I must start developing my own thoughts! What greater decision can we make than that of who we will share our lives with?
What can I do right now to snap out of my fair-weather decision-making? Today, I will rewrite my dream man list. It’s something I’ve been doing for a few years. I write the qualities that are most important to me in a partner (No, not washboard abs and a perfect SAT score; things such as wanting children, the ability to challenge me, and, most importantly, being emotionally available.), and put them in the love gua* of my home. I find that consistently pondering what I want most in my potential mate helps me focus my search (even when, admittedly, I let my friends sway me). It has been especially useful while I’ve been on dating websites like Match.com. What’s the worst that can happen? If I have faith in ME that I can choose my partner, the journey will open itself to endless possibilities, and if I can understand that what will be, will be, then there are no mistakes; everything is a lesson. Each date is a lesson learned. (We can be real here—sometimes it can be a hard lesson!)
*Baguas are the map of feng shui. There are 9 parts (guas) to the map, and each one has a specific purpose. The love area should include colors like red and pink, shapes like hearts, lists like the one mentioned above, and anything that screams “love” to you. I used the book Move Your Stuff, Change Your Life by Karen Rauch Carter to lay out my apartment.
What else will aid me in this process? Remember my post where I listed the places I wanted to go most in Portland? One of them was the Japanese Gardens. Since I wrote that post, I have visited them, and they were absolutely exquisite! I think the Japanese Gardens would be a great place to sit quietly, open up my mind, and envision my future husband. I encourage you to find a special thinking spot and go there often.
I’ve learned some general things that can help on my journey of trusting in myself. One particular source of this “education” has been Wayne Dyer. Look into his literature for his excellent teachings. Following is some of the wisdom I have picked up:
I know that I am on a lifelong journey. I will, through much trial and error, learn many lessons in my life. There is no right or wrong answer or action.
There is no climax, though there will be many peaks and valleys. I will forever be a student of the world, even after I find the love of my life, write that bestseller, or go on a belly dancing tour. My decisions may not produce the result I am looking for at the time, but all of them will impact my journey. I must trust in that.
I am recognizing the value of letting go, delving into the mystery of life, and letting chance take me where it will.
Lastly, I am learning to be grateful for all of life’s adventures. I am also grateful for you.

Looking for love under a full moon

I wrote a short piece on being single this week. It started out as an “assignment” that had come out of a first date from Match.com last week. The purpose was to write about a funny/embarrassing date I had experienced. That would have been an easy one. I’ve had lots of interesting dates that have turned into something more along the lines of full-on mortification. But Monday evening, I was taking a walk in my beautiful neighborhood, and when I looked up, the almost-full moon spoke to me so loudly that I couldn’t ignore it. So I decided on a commentary about being single instead. Following is what I wrote:

On Being Solo. You’re an incredible single, solitary being. You’re cyclical and pulled by the tides, like the phases of the moon. Some people can only see you as an enigma, hiding in the shadow of the sun during those wan days, mysterious but needy; those people haven’t been single for a long time, and, let’s face it, they don’t ever want to see that side of the moon ever again. Those people, with their selective amnesia, look at you pityingly, as if you’ve been branded with the word SINGLE and truly believe that showing up to a party alone is a terrible burden or a fate worse than death. But you know that you’re holding all the cards…there’s a vast inventory of love epiphanies hiding inside the penumbra that can’t wait to powerfully emerge. There is light playing in the shadows; those little crevices hold much more than anyone could possibly imagine. The brilliant, beaming face of the man on the moon is just a front for a haven of love that hasn’t found a specific path yet, but who needs one? Give it freely and don’t be sparing with it. Moonbeams aren’t selective; their light blesses every face in all of creation. Know that you are a stunning body of light with a purpose of giving love. Being a single, solitary entity doesn’t sound so bad anymore, does it?
There is peace in this chaotic journey of giving your love—it’s all in the way you perceive it.