Thursday, May 31, 2012

What is the gift?

Most of my life, I have felt compelled (and obligated) to meet the wants, needs, and desires of others. I actually can’t think of too many relationships in my life where I have felt comfortable asking for my own wants, needs, and desires to be met by others. I used to think that being so giving was a way of being super loving and compassionate…it felt like the only way I could show someone else how much I cared. “Oh you can’t do it? Let me do it then….Is that what you want? OK. Sure…..No let me get that for you…No, I’m fine, I can do it myself….Well, whatever you want.” I didn't know how to connect in any other way...and making others feel good made me feel good about myself, plus I thought that it ensured their love for me, and that made me feel safe.

It's not my intention to say giving is the evil of all evils….it can be a beautiful part of connecting with others, and I feel that it is a way in which we show love through action. I guess I just didn’t ever think of receiving as an action as well. Being able to receive, ask for help, and listen instead of tell or teach or preach or blah blah blah, are all actions too. In some ways I feel ashamed that I didn’t realize this sooner…because of course now I am in a situation that requires me to sit still, observe more, receive more, and really listen and tune in to what my body’s needs are. I can choose to feel like a fool for how I have lived my life up to this point…for all of my fears…all those times I shyed away from people I loved and experiences that seemed to risky, the pains and hard times that I took on so that other people would feel more at ease…and so on. Or – I can choose to feel like life has given me a great gift.

I have said before that I believe that every wound comes to us bearing a gift. I have also expressed in the past year all of the many opportunities that have come through this challenge. So….it’s really my choice now. It’s a choice I am faced with every time I wake up and feel pain from my waist down, every time I bend forward and feel pins and rods in my spine pulling on my back muscles, and every time I think of my past and my previously desired future. Decision-making has never been an easy task for me because my choice was never centered or grounded in me…it was always dependent on someone else.

So what is the gift…

Well the gift in this wound can’t really be put into words. Maybe its humility, or compassion, maybe its truth…or self expression. Maybe it’s possibilities and self empowerment instead of control and force. Whatever label I choose to use, I know I have been taught many lessons and I am humbled to realize that every experience in my life has been a lesson…now- whether I learn it or not is the bigger question. Rather than life taking me away from, I have been brought closer to the people, experiences, work, and places that I needed, wanted, and desired in my life. What’s also humbling is that sometimes what I think I want/need/desire/ is not what is best for me.  I’ve often been upset - feeling like a failure, not good enough, or just plain ignorant because I was unable to achieve those "goals." I see that each time I felt that way, I created a little break in my heart…which turned into a giant hole...and I never allowed myself to grieve any of them. Sure- maybe the goals were not “right” for me, but it doesn’t take away that feeling of loss inside that I refused to acknowledge. Nope…it’s better to just get into something new and forget about the old…that should make it go away. Yeaa Right.

So for all of this, the good and the so called “bad”…I couldn’t be more grateful. I’m beginning to finally believe in my heart, instead of just in my mind, that all things are connected and serve a purpose. I try to practice daily… staying centered and grounded in my heart instead of my analytical mind (or you know, at least find a good balance between the two). I have always been a silent dreamer…content to stay safe in my imagination where l am so so free. I choose to embrace that part of me now rather than resent it…and I also choose to develop those parts of myself that have been waiting to be born.

I could also call this gift a re-birth. I remember thinking in the hospital last June that whenever that day came when I would be able to walk, dance, and feel again…it would be with a new body, mind, and spirit. Of course a year ago, I could never have imagined the work it would take to get to where I am now, but I see that imagination and time do not exist together. Time and space exist in the conscious mind…the mind that schedules my therapy appointments and skype dates and plans vacations or pays bills. My dreams and imagination exist in my subconscious mind…well if I stayed there I would be walking, dancing, and feeling the dirt under my toes right now. So I come back to the word balance because I know there is a way for me to use both parts of my mind as one unit…each serving a purpose to the greater whole of my consciousness…

“There's a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in”  Leonard Cohen

I come back during this time of my life to all of those little heart breaks that never had the chance to be expressed. I have been given numerous opportunities to “start over” or “try again.” It’s empowering to know that I have the ability to choose now how my life continues from this point. It’s something I have pondered about for years… “what does conscious evolution look like?” I feel that it’s becoming awake and aware to the choices we make on a daily basis and on a micro scale… as individuals who serve a community by becoming self empowered to the gifts they carry within. I question, what would the world look like if everyone knew their gift and purpose..with clarity in their hearts and minds? It’s a vision I hold onto like a mama holds her baby…curious about the little spirit that exists behind those big, sparkling eyes.

I've come to see that we inevitably experience times when we feel the darkness of grief and sadness and pain. I know it’s bound to return as I cannot control the fate of my loved ones, my experiences, my work, or the places I live in. Nature is the one I can turn to when I think of the fear of loss…because when I observe appears as though it lets go of everything without attachment. Leaves fall, water flows, landscapes erode, rocks break, rain falls, snakes and geckos shed their skin….and caterpillars turn into butterflies. It’s natural to transform…and I can choose to re-define my experience of loss and letting go as a transformation.

In Nature, we have much left to discover and explore. In Nature there is a balance that seems not to require a consciousness…it simply IS. I know that my body is natural and yearning to align with that source…so I believe in transformation. 

Namaste, Blessings, and Love.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Dark nights, Shame, and Perfection

"I believe that we are all mirrors of each other...and I am ready to take another look at myself...although this time I will pull my head out of the clouds and plant my feet in the ground. I believe that every wound has a lesson, a gift....even if it takes years to realize. Last night's mediation was and IS big for me....I'll be working on this one for the rest of my life because I don't think forgiveness is one of those quick fixes. You may be able to take a pill to hide your emotions so that you can avoid the forgiveness...but why not just begin the process....and free yourself from the resentment over that someone or situation from the past. Living with acceptance in my breath and forgiveness in my steps.....forgiving in every moment...staying open to possibilities...and accepting all of the mirrors that cross my path..."
- Laurie K., an excerpt from my blog written February 13th, 2011

Hm, it's funny when I look back to when I started this blog....I'm both inspired and disappointed by my own words. Inspired...because I am still today learning and by reading what I myself had written just a little over a year ago...I can remember and share with empathy for my "past" self that still exists in this moment now. Disappointed...because I know that every time I have admitted something on this blog, or exposed a new layer of vulnerability within me...I have this expectation that I am now free to move on and be done with whatever it is I have just admitted/expressed...I "thought" I was letting it go. Well, once again, I am humbled to say that even when I express those insights doesn't mean I have mastered my life. I am a human being just like you. Plain and simple.

I say that because I have wanted to believe that I am "the best." It was something I heard a lot growing up in a society that pushes expectations on you, and I feel that it's been a high expectation that can never be reached through words and intellect. My last blog spoke of being enough. How can I possibly be the best if I'm not clear on what that means to me? Getting clear on what I truly want in my life has been a topic I've avoided for years. I'm truly gifted to be able to spread my interests into so many different areas. I'd be content in many professions as long as it allowed me to express creatively. Problem is....that's a hard job to get when you're not clear on your own sense of worthiness. Being "the best" and believing in myself mean the same thing to me now. I don't actually want to be the best at one particular thing. I just want to FEEL that no matter what task life brings to my table, I will FEEL that I am enough....that I am doing my best....and that I am worthy and deserving of whats true for me....whatever that ends up looking like!

I'm really good at imagining what I want it to look like, and not saying or doing anything about it. I am content to keep it a fantasy...because most of the time my imagination is far from what I actually end up getting. It's rough...I keep it all to my self...the hopes, the fears, the wishes, and the let downs, the grieving, the frustration and anger. It's tiring to keep my dreams a secret. It's sad to feel I am not worth getting what I really want. But I hid because the fear of being let down would be even more terrifying and humiliating if I were to tell best to just keep quiet right? Eh. I'm feeling NO is what my Inner Wise Self would say. I'm thinking my heart wants me to trust it's be finally heard and vulnerable even though there is a risk involved. So, Inner Wise do I begin to trust you? I made a commitment way before I began writing this blog, to find purpose in my evolve myself and finally feel empowered, feel truth, feel real, and feel love.

I've read about...and heard about whats called the Dark Night of the Soul. Those words really scared me...I remember thinking to myself, "but I don't think everyone needs to experience that in order to evolve! No way, not me...I'm gonna get there through rainbows and need for the dark and scary stuff. Besides - I don't think I would keep going, and I may not survive if I am faced with that darkness. Well...becoming paralyzed is certainly a dark shade of gray...but the pain and the waiting and the amount of unknowns has been a darker storm cloud...wait, where did my pie in the sky go!? At first I thought, no problem I can handle this....I will persevere and I will conquer and I will, I will, I will. As time passes, I have done a lot of so called "conquering" but the pain is still there and those unknowns have not gone away. It's been almost a year now, and I'm still struggling. In fact, the last few months have been the hardest, the most painful - to the point of absolute exhaustion. I needed an I began to paint...the only colors I wanted to use were red and wasn't pretty, it wasn't happy, and it certainly was not a rainbow or a unicorn. It soon became completely looked like dried lava... hot coals...a fizzled fire. Yup, I felt as though I had finally come to my darkest hour...and I finally admitted it to myself. This is what it feels like in the Dark Night of the Soul.

With every day I am still just as committed as those winter days of 2011 when my worst pains and discomforts were sore muscles from yoga and a yearning for something more. I feel as though life presented me with an opportunity to slow down enough to finally address the core of those surface pains and complaints. It's like God wanted to turn up the volume so I would finally begin listening. I look back on my life and my experiences and see all the times I was hustling for others to approve of me, always thinking I had to be the best, the rule follower, the pretty girl, a great yogi, an awesome performer, a beautiful artist. All those unachievable attachments to the word "perfect." I didn't know then that my inner ego was pretending to be my inner self love voice...Now I see that all my life I have lived with the shame and grief that comes from never feeling allowed to be truly myself because what if that wasn't what other people wanted?

This journey is laden with layer upon layer of darkness. Yes of course it is. I see that every life on Earth knows that at some point in their life... what it feels like to make a mistake or appear imperfect. I see that its part of life that actually normal and human. Then why is it so hard to admit our flaws or let others know that its ok? Why do I shield, run away, or push back? Paralysis stems from fear is of being truly seen and not being accepted...meaning that I wasn't perfect. this was a very rough and touchy subject. I guess I've been wishing to expose the girl that hides behind the mask because I think she has a lot to say. Even if she isn't polite or beautiful or poetic or inspiring....she's real and deserving and she's worth my time. Learning how to love myself on the inside is, uh, well let's just say it's not like you can put make up and hairspray on your inner self...(eww hairspray..). I'm still full of fear...and shame lurks inside my heart. But like I have expressed before....I am committed to myself. I choose to continue the practice of self love, of worthiness and empowerment. I accept that it may take a lifetime. The darkness always gives way to the light again....I can trust in the cycle and claim my story.

I seek the truth within and I love and accept myself exactly the way I am. How can I feel worthy of someone else's love if I do not claim my own self worth? How will this statement finally rest peacefully inside my heart?

Here is by far the ugliest thing I have ever allowed myself to create that is a true expression of what it feels like to live with fear, shame, guilt, pain, more shame and more pain, imperfections, disabilites, and a whole lot of questions fogging up my once beautiful horizon.

After sitting with this image in my space for weeks (this was over a month ago), I decided to start making moves again. I wanted to allow myself to experience that darkness because I had never acknowledged it before. I didn't know that people could hurt on such a deep level because I had developed an awesome and automatic pain blocking system. Eventually I sought out help, which wasn't took many conversations with loved ones to coax me towards trying a new medication that would help ease nerve pain, depression, and anxiety. "What will everyone think of me then?"....ugh "enough already!"

 In the last month, I've felt my pain subside slightly and my mind and heart feel quiet. Not always peaceful but more contemplative and patient with the subtleties of life. I stopped trembling, and when I feel anxious I recognize it immediately. I'm focused on myself again and I'm enjoying learning new things. I covered my image with my niece who helped me crumple and rip origami paper....WOah woah woah...that was a hard thing to do for someone like me who is obsessed with folding perfectly cute paper cranes. I've also started gardening and it's fulfilling a dream I've had all my be closer to nature.

I'm just beginning now to see how much fun being imperfect can be =)

I love you exactly the way that you are. You are worthy. You are deserving. Look at your reflection and find love there. Namaste ~

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


So, when is Enough, ENOUGH already? I seem to be struggling with this word in all kinds of ways lately....

My nerve pain and overall bodily functions have been more challenging in the last few months. My emotions have gone all over the place. I've been supremely blissed out, extremely exhausted, and trembling with anxiety. I've felt myself want to run away from the things that bring me fear and challenge...but also those things that fulfill my dreams and bring me the help and joy I seek.

In some ways I feel "I've had enough!"... in others I feel "I'll never be (fill in the blank_____) enough".... or I burn with that question...."When is Enough, ENOUGH?!"

Learning to allow myself to experience these....experiences....has brought me into a strange and new territory....and any new territory is bound to bring up all those fun things like self doubt, fear,  anxiety/excitement, and a seemingly endless stream of question upon question upon beliefs.

This injury didn't just break my back. It broke my whole universe and everything, everyone, and even my environment. What's interesting to me is that I am finding this to be a commonality to others who have also sustained some kind of paralysis. It feels like this giant re-organization...a complete's traumatic in so many ways and it's incredibly humbling. Yes, I'm comforted in knowing I have others I can turn to who understand what it feels like to have burning nerve pain in half of your body...what it feels like to stare at a set of stairs or enter a crowded room where all you see are butts and legs....or the loss of people you thought were your loved ones, who would always be there....and yet here I am. Here I am sitting in my chair with burning nerve pain, a backed up digestive system, and a tired heart.

I'm preparing myself for a big change as I enter a new stage of therapy through the research at Kessler. I am still actively seeking ways to manage the pain, the depression, the anxiety, the digestive system. I am so passionate about being healthy and yet I still find myself fighting off those inner cravings that really come from a desire to finally be "enough." I think to myself, maybe if I were not in so much pain, I wouldn't need this or that....or maybe if I weren't so scared, maybe if I weren't so tired, sad, blah blah blah.

I'm not sure why I wanted to write's been a while since the last post about the challenges I face as a paraplegic. It still baffles me sometimes...and I occasionally forget that when I go to open the car door, I can't just hop out.

I guess my intention now is..."I am enough." For now, it's an intention...and when I read it, speak it, think it, I feel the inner turmoil of "but.....!"

What a challenge it be "broken" be "imperfect" be "vulnerable" ~ I want to be open to accepting that even though I am these things...I can learn and continue learning how to be more forgiving, more compassionate, and mostly more loving with myself. I've never wanted to be that kind of courageous...I always thought that strength meant being able to do everything on your own...not needing other people to help you.....nope Laurie....that's feeling like a very rough way to live.

I sing about community. I've drawn pictures of what my dream home would be...a community life with a community garden...where my children would be raised by a village, by a group of people who were conscious and open and healthy and evolving. It's beautiful and "perfect" in my fantasy world. And hey....ya never do know...I've been shown that no matter what...anything is possible. BUT, that doesn't mean that when things that don't come out exactly the way I imagined, they aren't "perfect"... because they are the reality.  I feel they are exactly as they are supposed to be and whether I label them as good or bad doesn't actually matter. I'm seeing it is all a perspective shift. I can choose. I can choose. I can chooose!

Rather than blaming my body for my pain, blaming my mind for my thoughts, or my heart for my emotions, I want to choose to be worthy and be enough.