Crazy is the New Normal

There was a time, not long ago, when most of my life was a lie.  I cloaked myself in corporate clothes, all buttoned up and acceptable.  I spoke only of tangible, earth bound matters and if anything came up that was slightly “out there”, I would comment with just the appropriate amount of disdain in my voice.

I had perfected my persona.  I was “Normal”.

Little did the people in my world know that I had a big secret.  I was nowhere near “Normal”.  In fact, I was crazy as a spoon, living in a closet of my own making, afraid to share my true self for fear of judgment.

Beneath my mild mannered exterior raged an awakening being.  Weird stuff was happening on a regular basis and while I found it all to be intriguing and life changing, I was afraid to tell anyone else about it.  What would they think if I just blurted stuff out?

“Hi, I’m Brenda.  I see dead people.”  Or “Hello, nice to meet you.  Did you know you have 3 Angels hovering around you and one is trying to unfold your wings?”  Or how about: “You were a Egyptian slave in a past life and are still working on releasing yourself from those blocks.”  No biggie.  I’ll just share my visions then pack a bag for my trip to the loony bin.

For a few years I kept most of the weird stuff to myself, quietly learning and growing with just a few people in the loop.  My American Husband, my best friend and my daughter to be specific.  I trusted them to love me, no matter what.  And of course, they did.

I took classes, learned to develop my skills.  I flew to New York to spend a week learning about Past Life Regression with Dr. Brian Weiss and told everyone I was going on a Yoga Retreat.  Liar Liar Pants On Fire.  That was me.

I finally began to share because I felt compelled to be myself.  But, true confessions:  the first few times sneaking out of the closet, I published and shared under another name.  Funny thing is that I got such a warm, heartfelt response, I actually got jealous of fake me and decided to let real me take over.

I published my first blog a few years back.  It was an account of my first past life experience.  I remember hitting the Publish button, then having a panic attack.  My American Husband talked me down, convincing me not to delete the whole thing, and from that moment on I began to inch my way out of the Spiritual Closet.

Now that I am out, I take huge delight in helping others to own their own brand of “crazy”.  With classes, workshops, blogs and facebook, we are finding each other, and as the community grows, we are becoming braver, sharing our visions and gifts.  Now it is rare to come upon anyone who doesn’t share something magical… some experience or belief… within the first few minutes of talking.  It’s as if by being authentic and letting it all hang out, others are given permission to do the same.

Crazy is the new normal.

Who would have guessed it?  And life is so much more fun since leaving the confines of the closet.  I highly recommend it.  Freeing myself to be who I am, authentically, and trusting that sharing my truth will open more doors than it closes, has changed my life on every level.  New friends, new experiences, a vaster understanding of the magic of life, plus never having to wear uncomfortable shoes… it’s all magnificent.

So bare your soles, and your souls.  Kick off the cloak of who you think you should be and become who you are.  We are all just waiting to welcome you to the fold.

 

8 Traits of an Empath

Living in the world is not easy for the sensitive souls.  Cruelty, drama, sickness, war and strife are hard enough to bear, but humanity’s inhumanity is untenable.  Many evolved souls are able to channel their frustration and rage into causes and rallies and righteous indignation.  But others are simply too sensitive.  They would prefer to hide in a box, in a closet, in a dark basement, shielding themselves from the horrors that exist in this world.  They feel things too deeply.  They seem to take on the sorrows of the world.  These sensitive souls are known as Empaths.

Empaths are emotionally sensitive people who absorb others’ emotions and physical symptoms.  They are sponges for the physical, emotional and spiritual junk that others carry around.

Do any of the following sound familiar?  You might be an Empath if…

  1.  You just know things.  Someone can walk up to you and start talking and your BS meter will be off the charts.  You know they are lying.  You don’t know how you know, but you know.  Being around anyone who is entrenched in ego becomes like nails on a chalkboard and you avoid them like the plague.  When you are cornered by somebody who is not coming from a place of authenticity, you freeze, like a deer in the headlights.  Can’t. Talk. Must. Flee…..
  2. You feel like the world’s biggest hypochondriac.  Walking through a gathering you will suddenly get a pain in your knee as you walk past someone.  That will pass and then someone will stop you to talk and your head will begin to ache.  They leave, and your head clears, but someone else will walk behind you and you will feel dizzy and off kilter.  Anxiety crawls up the back of your neck and you just want to hide.
  3. Your moods swing like a pendulum, making you wonder if you have perpetual PMS.  You can feel high as a kite, singing and dancing in your mind, when suddenly you will plunge into the abyss of darkness, verging on tears of despair.  Then the rage will pop in for a few minutes.  You circle around to manic panic, but it isn’t until you are safely alone that you will return to calm.
  4. The word “bartender” or “therapist” must be tattooed on your forehead, because no matter where you go, people stop you to tell you their life story, sharing detailed, personal problems and unloading all of their stuff onto you.
  5. While in large (or small) groups of people, you often feel as if you are about to swoon.  Crowds give you claustrophobic and you avoid them at all costs.
  6. You crave alone time.  Especially in nature, or with your pets.  You have fantasies about living on a desert island or moving somewhere remote and living in a cabin in the woods.  If not for indoor plumbing you might already be on your way.
  7. You have the disease to please.  If somebody is ailing, or needs anything, you tend to bend over backwards to make things right for that person, even if it is at the expense of your own well being.  You love to make people happy and avoid confrontation.
  8. Standing up for yourself is very difficult.  You can go to the ends of the earth in defense of anybody else, but when you feel attacked or mistreated, you tend to just silently take it.

Sound familiar?  If so, the chances are good that you are an Empath.

But fear not! No need to run and hide! There are tools and resources to help you Survive and even THRIVE.

Local folks, check this out:  Survival Guide for Sensitives 

Everyone else… stay tuned to this space.  A handy dandy list of survival techniques will be coming your way in the next week.  Don’t touch that dial!

 

Confessions of a Control Freak

I came crashing through 2015, successfully navigating a year of craziness and tumult.  2016 dawned and I breathed a sigh of relief, thinking the mayhem was over and now things might settle down a bit.  I made a plan.  I would simplify.  Slow down.  Focus on what I love.  Maybe even nap once in awhile.

Want to know how to make God laugh?  Tell Her your plans.

Sure enough, the universe had other plans.  Within a week of the new year my life began to move in fast forward.  A new job, more clients,  new partnership opportunities, added volunteer commitments and on and on…. the big wheel keeps on spinning, faster and faster.  It is exhilarating, but when the heck do I get to nap?

And then the other shoe dropped.  My American Husband got laid off.  His job, linked just a bit too closely to the oil industry, is on temporary hiatus.  Or it may be permanent.  We won’t know for a few months.

After regaining our breath from this particular  sucker punch, the voice of reason kicked in.  We talked about what a great opportunity this may turn out to be.  This could be the perfect time to recreate our lives!  We could start a business… write a screenplay… maybe sell everything and become RV nomads, wandering the continental North America in search of adventure, or whatever comes our way.

Or maybe the Great Divine has something else in mind.  The lesson buried in this is one I have been facing over and over in the past several years.  And for a control freak like me, it is a challenging one.

I need to learn to trust.

That’s right.  I need to let go and just trust that something better is on its way.  My ego loves to step in and start organizing, managing options, making lists and flow charts, and basically giving the Universe my versions of how things should turn out.  We’ve come upon a blind corner on our life’s journey and I really want to figure out what is around the bend.

But I need to let all of that go.  I need to trust.

Oh shut up, voice-of-reason!  What do you know?

Just let it go.  Let it go….. (you can’t see me right now, but I am humming and swaying, hands in zen meditation mudras)

So I will do my best to let go and trust that things are breaking apart now so that they can come back together bigger, stronger, better than before.  I will trust that we are being guided to the next big thing.  Life is a constant flow of change and growth, and even though I can’t see around the corner, I know that this time of uncertainty holds treasures that I am already grateful for.

Because I can trust.

No you can’t.

Shh.  Yes I can.

This is me.  Letting go.

Ah! I See You Have the Machine that goes ‘ping’.

There is a certain sense, somewhere between terror and exhilaration, that assails me each time I drive up to my brother’s cabin in Montana.  The cabin is nestled on rolling hills overlooking a lake, with an absolutely stunning view of Chief Mountain.  Arguably the nicest view in my world and certainly in my top 3 ‘happy places’.

So why the terror?  The exhilaration?  Quite simply because there is no cell service or wifi at the cabin.  None.  Nada.  The devices we bring with us, connecting us to our network of social goings on, become nothing more than clunky timepieces for the time we are there.

It’s exhilarating!  And it’s terrifying.  And I love it all the more because of that.

What started out as a convenience, being able to keep in contact with my family, has become somewhat of an addiction.  I carry my phone with me everywhere.  Any simple or silly question I have is instantly answered as I open google and thumb type my search.  My social network rarely goes more than a few hours without me jumping in to catch up.  And what is called a ‘phone’ is very rarely used as such.

It isn’t until I am in a place where the device I have grown addicted to is useless that I understand the depth of that dependency.  And I realize, during those blissful weekends at the cabin that the stress of being in constant contact is an underlying anxiety that has become a normal part of my day to day life.

A few days ago I talked about getting back on track, and the 3 C’s that will help me with that.  One of those 3 C’s was Cut the Crap.  The device that has become glued to my hand, drawing my attention away from everything (and everyone) else, has got to go.  Don’t get me wrong… I won’t be chucking it into the river like some scene in a movie, walking away with inspiring music playing in the background as I victoriously raise my fists in the air.  No.  I need to keep the phone, if only to maintain communication with my teenager.  She speaks fluent text, and I don’t want to miss out on that.

But… I will be shutting it off.  A lot.  I realized recently that during the winter months, when the cabin is not accessible, I really miss those technology vacations.  It isn’t so much that the view at Duck Lake is spectacular (which it is).  It is that I am actually looking up and seeing something other than the dancing pixels on my iThing.  I wonder what wonders await if I try looking up in my day to day life.

Please believe me when I tell you in the next few months that I am not ignoring you, my phone is.  The important things in life are not ‘things’.  And my device is a ‘thing’ I intend to close the drawer on as often as possible.

The prospect is terrifying.

…..And exhilarating…

 

Good Morning, Good Night

When I was a young lass, my family moved from sunny southern California to the wilds of northern British Columbia, Canada. The first few months were a bit of a culture shock, as it was the dead of winter when we arrived. Each morning my mom would come and wake me up while it was still dark outside. I would get out of bed, run across the cold floor in bare feet and stand over the heat vent.

My nightgown would billow out like a filled balloon as the forced warm air flowed. I would stand there each day, listening to my Mom off in the kitchen humming “Do you Know the Way to San Jose” plaintively. And my thoughts would just kind of fade away. Staring into the zone, I would experience stillness and peace for those few moments.   Looking back I realize that those were my first meditations.

Nowadays I try to meditate twice a day. I have a very busy life and most days I don’t have too many chances to just relax, so those first 20 minutes of stillness, and those last 20 minutes of stillness… they mean the world to me. They are the bookends to my crazy days.

Wrapped in the luxury of my soft robe, I let go of the tensions and anxieties and allow myself to just be. My thoughts don’t always stop completely, but even if I get a few good solid breaths where I am just in the moment, I feel like I have had a great sit.

If you haven’t tried meditating, or think it is hard, please pop over here and read this. I promise you that it is easier than you think. And I promise you that when you commit to taking those moments for yourself, you will reap benefits beyond your imagination.

It is dark midwinter, and yesterday the groundhog promised 6 more weeks of the same. I took the news calmly. I have become accustomed to the four seasons we enjoy in Canada. And it only took me 45 years.

And now if you will excuse me, I have a heat vent I need to go stand over.

Do you know the way to San Jose?

The Dawning of the Aging Aquarian

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I slept in this morning.  Well, it was nearly 8 AM when I got up, which for me is sleeping in.  I arose feeling quite self-satisfied with my lazy morning, walked into the bathroom and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror.  I froze, startled.  WTF?

“Who are you and what have you done with Brenda?”

And then I realized this was really me.  Again, WTF? When did I get so old?  And why do I look so dang tired?  Oh right.  I passed that ½ century mark a couple of years back, which also surprises the heck out of me.

They say that 50 is the new 35.  I have no idea who they are, but I am guessing they must be around my age.  Even though age shouldn’t matter and it’s just a number and all of that logical stuff people (I) spew every day, if they tell me that I can be the new 35 I will eagerly jump on that bandwagon, baby!

You see, I feel like I’m 17 years old. Or maybe 26.  35 at the most.  I still love listening to loud rock and roll and dancing <awkwardly> in my kitchen to the music. I refuse to wear Mom jeans and embrace most new fashions (as long as they don’t involve side boobs, butt cracks or anything that itches).  I am excited by new technology and I strive to learn something new every day.  I love Saturday Night Live and watch it faithfully, though I do PVR it because who can stay up that late anymore?

I may be growing older but I refuse to grow up.  It blows my mind that in 15 years or less I will be thinking about retiring.  I wonder what will happen to the Assisted Living and Care facilities when we 35-year-old 50 somethings begin to show up, refusing to wear polyester or get our hair fashioned into blue helmets.  I wonder if they will play real music in the recreation room, or if the piped in elevator music will still be a thing.  And I wonder if we will ever go gracefully into the aging process.

I doubt it.

I plan to carry on with the exuberance of my youth still clinging to me like a faithful shadow.  Others may see the softening edges and silver threads of age on me, but I will continue to bring my curiosity and wonder to every new day.

And there is a wonderful gift that comes with getting older.  With the earned wisdom and perspective of age I now no longer give a damn what anyone thinks of me.  This is the most liberating thing I’ve ever experienced and I highly recommend it to everyone.

So, if any of you young whippersnappers are reading this, take the advice of this old lady:  Start now.  Let go of the belief that what others think of you matters.  It doesn’t.  Chances are they are so busy thinking about themselves that they don’t have time to think about you at all.  Besides, what they think of you is none of your business.

Last week while viewing the 40th Anniversary SNL special I watched the parade of alumni proudly showing up in their aging authenticity and realized that there is beauty in every stage of our lives. We just need to show up and be who we are, regardless of how long we are in the teeth. Sir Paul still hits those falsetto high notes, Jane Curtin still delivers the best Weekend Update ever, and Betty White is still a sexy beast at the ripe age of 90-something.

I hear that’s the new 50.