As mentioned in my last blog entry, I was granted a Catalyst Session from my generous friend Jessica Beckwith: https://www.facebook.com/Thecatalystsessions. It was pretty eye-opening.
Jess asked a ton of compelling questions, which led to insights that I hadn't expected. It got very deep and I found myself getting emotional over childhood stuff that made clear the reasons behind sometimes questionable adult decisions that have led me to where I am now. It wasn't therapy, which I've experienced enough for this lifetime, but more a stroll down the trail of one's career trajectory.
Jess has given me some easy assignments for the summer, which are all pretty fun and involve scrapbooking and other creative means of discovering what kind of life I want to lead and how to allow creativity to flow in order to get me to that life. I remain hopeful and am enjoying much of it. I am very grateful to her for the insight and highly recommend you check out her services if you are in a similar place in life.
Writing featured prominently in our session and seems to be the direction I am most leaning toward taking. But the practicalities are nebulous. I know I can write, but what do I do with that? I have been stymied for years by what I assumed was laziness and procrastination. I can see now that the big block is fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of sucking (which is kind of what procrastination is anyway, isn't it?), and a new one I hadn't thought about, fear of being TOO BIG.
Perio-menopause, which should be called HELL ON EARTH, has lately driven me into a corner of foggy and depressed confusion in which all of my past notions about who I am and what I want have been blown into smithereens. Happily, especially for Drew, I am now on good old fashioned Western medicinal hormone replacement therapy, which has helped considerably, much more than all the herbs and hippie-dippie mother goddess crap that I had been dutifully ingesting prior to the gift of some lovely and sanity-bringing prescription medication. I am finally able to sleep through the night without waking up every two hours to nuclear flashes that bathe one in sweat and despair, and my mood swings are not quite so lethal. But there is still an underlying existential sadness that has yet to be deciphered and/or conquered.
On a side-note, it still pains my ego considerably to speak of this publicly, so here are a couple of sexy, estrogen-rich photos to help me regain some sense of dignity.
2014...Thank God for Robert Butcher...
Okay, that makes me feel better. Thank you for your kind indulgence.
Whenever I go through something painful or expansive I feel the need to go inward to find means of coping. Plus hormonally-induced depression offers the opportunity for lots of laying in bed or on the couch staring at the ceiling. Consequently, I have been doing a lot of meditating, praying, and listening to endless lectures from people who seem to be wiser than myself--anything to help feel a little more grounded and less anxious while in the middle of the maelstrom.
One of the meditations I did was created by my new favorite lightworker, Kyle Gray, to discover what your spirit animal is and what it has to tell you. Before I continue, I want to say that I understand that many of you are not as new agey inclined as myself, so I will not be offended if you think this is all a load of hooey and pass on this entry for a more entertaining one down the road. But these kind of exercises help me, so I offer them up for the like-minded.
Side note: I'm hoping that the new Borderlands game that comes out in October lives up to the other two and will make my brain less squishy and back into blowing stuff up mode. And on that tip, I've been asked to write a gaming column for a friend's fanzine, so that should balance out the quotient as well. I'll keep you posted.
I would prefer to expand my consciousness with a glass of wine or a new pair of shoes, but sometimes that doesn't do the trick and you have to work a bit harder. And I have always been pretty lucky with meditation when giving it the proper (and sober) time and energy. So far I have worked stuff out with my dead dad, met aliens and prevented myself from obsessing into criminal behavior, so I don't know why I'm so resistant to it.
This is a conversation I had with Michael Schmidt last week:
ME: I really, really, reaaaaaaallly want to go to a Cher show with you.
MICHAEL: You've never seen her?
ME: Never! Isn't that sad? I mean she's everything. She's practically...
MICHAEL: Your spirit animal?? I know!!
So I did this Kyle Gray spirit animal meditation and to my surprise and momentary disappointment, Cher did not show up on top of a mountain, full of sage advice and looking fierce in her half-breed outfit.
Instead, after following a little mental walk, I found myself standing on a beach with a panther. I have always been attracted to panthers, starting with a childhood crush on Bagheera in the Jungle Books and flowering wildly on a day that I was really irritated with a high school boyfriend who took me to see the 80's version of Cat People right after I caught him on the phone with another girlfriend. I was royally pissed off but once the movie started I forgot about him and became mesmerized by the idea that the spirit of a more powerful than us animal could live inside a person. I was quiet for the rest of the day as I imagined myself ripping his heart out with my teeth. It gave me a sense of power, I guess, that maybe I didn't feel I had on my own.
So it made sense that my first tattoo would be a panther. I very much wanted to be a badass instead of a nice Catholic girl from Michigan, and to make a statement to the world with something that was old school tough guy in an era when women didn't have tattoos.
At the same time, I've always felt like my love of the cats was a bit corny and obvious, and maybe a bit presumptuous on my part, if that makes sense? Like who the hell do I think I am to claim this fancy animal as my own? Maybe my spirit animal should be a badger or a meerkat. But I went with it and listened.
The message that I got was to accept my power and to stop diminishing myself into these corners of survival jobs, fear of aging, fear of being too little, fear of being too much, fear of not being loveable. Which is pretty much what the catalyst session with Jess told me as well: that I am an artist who has continually tamped my creativity down with choices borne out of fear. Conscious fear of not making a living and unconscious fear of the chasm that could suddenly open up if I allowed myself to be more successful, and thereby more public than I am right now. Which might seem very public to the naked eye, but this blog hits mostly friends and family who aren't going to hurt me or judge me in the same way that a larger space might.
When I was in the Cycle Sluts and things were happening in a big way, I felt uncomfortable with questions and interviews. I liked the stage part, but I didn't like the scrutiny part. I can see now that I shut the fame thing down on my own. I wasn't ready for it, it scared me. I'm comfortable being a big fish in a little pond, where there are no sharks. So I wonder, maybe most of us do this to ourselves unconsciously? What if the parameters we are confined by are primarily of our own making?
I have been lucky enough to know many outrageously talented individuals from all walks of life and in many career fields. The question often begs itself: why aren't they more famous, more successful? Why are some people who seem less talented more fortunate? The answer might be destiny and that the lessons in one particular lifetime aren't about learning through great outward success. But what if it's also that our varied fears keep us from shining as brightly as we could? And another question: is success the joy that we expect it to be? I have a friend who is a very popular performer and it has created tangible problems that don't garner much understanding or empathy from most, because people can't get past the "enviable" fame and finances. I have observed that it is difficult to feel safe or loved when everyone wants something from you.
I don't have any answers for anyone, just questions right now. I do know this: my soul will wither into a dried, cranky, mean ball if I have to bartend or office manage or bookkeep for the rest of my life. I am not knocking any of those things, I am good at them and enjoy them sometimes. But it is not my purpose. I love, LOVE this information about the path to purpose from TD Jakes--
Still, I haven't a fucking clue as to what my true purpose is. And how does one get to discovering or fulfilling that purpose in a world in which rent and dental bills must be paid? The thought seems so daunting, impossible even, the chasm so wide. As much as I've enjoyed bits of my random trajectory, I envy people who know what they want to do and got on doing it as soon as they got past childhood. So many of us live and die doing jobs that merely pay the bills. That voice in my head sometimes says, "Who am I to expect more out of life? Why should I be any bigger or happier than anyone else? There are people without homes or friends who would kill to have half of what I have been given. "
But another, newer, more loving voice says, "There is enough for everyone." I need to believe this is true.
So I'll leave you with that today, along with Navin Johnson's discovery of purpose...