Authenticity, Safety, and Purpose: Some Thoughts on the WHYs of This Blog

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Today I’ve spent a great deal of time in my head mulling over the virtue of being fully disclosed, vulnerable, and authentic as we reveal our humanity to one another, versus the way we’ve been conditioned to hide what we think will make others uncomfortable—so that we can pretend we’re okay, and just sweep things under the rug, and just get on with our lives. This blog has been a space where I’ve purposefully made myself vulnerable, 1)As a space to explore my feelings in what I considered to be relative anonymity, because, honestly, no one in my life has ever really given a crap about this blog, so no one I know personally has ever followed it, and 2)As a way to connect with other humans who are interested in exploring the depths of feeling and being along with me.

Recently, however, multiple people have cautioned me against disclosing too much, and now I’m grappling with the idea that I might have to succumb to this societal proclivity to play nice, whistle a cheerful tune, and lay low until the storms have blown over…or worse, I’ll have to just suck it up, push my difficult feelings down, and be on my own with them until the storms have blown over. In either case, I’ll not be able to express myself authentically as I have been doing, and that feels just plain wrong. I have come to look forward to this time of sharing, reaching out, and connecting with the humans in this space who are brave enough to stand with me in the truth of what it means to be fully, consciously alive.  I have come to value immensely the words of empathy and encouragement from those readers who have taken the time to comment and let me know that I’m not posting in a void, but there are actual, real people, reading my actual, real words, and my words mean something to them, evoke something in them…

Where do I go from here?  In light of the recent trolling, the sense of safety I experienced in the past has been dashed to pieces, and I’m being pushed to make decisions out of fear of legal consequences.  I’m full of questions and the answers aren’t forthcoming.  I was given the argument “But your blog is public,” as a reason for why I should never have felt safe disclosing my personal thoughts and feelings; I was always running the risk of someone I knew reading what I had written, a risk that hardly bothered me at all. I always thought to myself, “If someone I know reads what I’ve written, good then, they’ll know how I really feel.  They’ll know I’m human.”  To have the potential for unpleasant legal consequences thrown in my face in an attempt to deter me from honestly sharing my experience feeds into the belief that we shouldn’t be real with one another, being real is unacceptable, being real is criminal, telling the truth of our experience is undesirable, etc. AUGHH.  Or how about this one—we can only be real with certain people, safe people, and everyone else gets a persona, a fabrication of a false self that will do the trick of navigating social interactions while hiding the deeper truth that waits in all of us to be expressed.  

No wonder our society is rampant with addiction! We’re being told constantly that only some parts of us are wanted and acceptable. Only some parts are worthy of being shared.  All of the other parts get stuffed down, and while we’re pushing and pushing against them to keep them down, these unwanted, unacceptable, unlovable parts are pushing and pushing back at us to be expressed.  We use any number of addictive behaviors to numb those parts down so that they don’t give us so much grief, but they remain there beneath the surface, clamoring for attention and starting their push to escape once the anesthetic wears off.

I made a conscious choice long ago not to play the addiction game. Decades of journaling and seven years of therapy, over a year of twelve step meetings and lots of sharing on Facebook, Instagram, and here has given me a sense of absolute responsibility to show up as my full self, regardless.  This is my LIFE for God’s sake! Agreeing to back down now feels like a serious integrity breach, especially when, if you back away from the situation and look in, nothing that I’ve written is earth-shattering, nothing will sully anyone’s reputation…I’m just an ordinary woman writing about my ordinary life, and the fact that there are a few people out there who give a damn about it has been a beautiful bonus.  Give that up now, when most other outlets for self-expression have fallen away? NO!

I don’t know what’s next. I’m going to think some more about this and decide if YogaMom should go on an extended hiatus while I figure my shit out…and then I can come back as YogaMom 2.0…and focus more on healthy lifestyle crap instead of my mental/emotional crap. Ugh. Would that serve anyone, though? Would privately working through the ugly dark night of my soul and waiting until I got “better” to post again actually help anyone? I’m inclined to believe that our pain links us to one another and reminds us that in this crazy game of life no one is spared devastation and annihilation…and when Life wants you to transform, it will do it to you, regardless of how ready you are or not.  Sharing my story was a way for me to reach out and invite others to see that they are not alone in their own personal hell, but in fact, I am right there with them.  I’ve been operating within the vision that at some point I will get better, and anyone interested can follow along and watch as this happens, and that perhaps my journey will help others who are suffering to see that they can get through their devastation one day at a time, just like me.

Maybe, though, it’s time to just be honest with myself.  My posts may have helped nothing and no one.  They may have just been moments of self-indulgence, clear evidence that I don’t have enough maturity to process these difficult feelings on my own and therefore need to “over share.” I just don’t know. I probably need to back away a least a little bit to gain some clarity over what purpose my posts were truly serving.  If they are not bringing value to the lives of others, then it’s probably time for them to stop…

Do I Keep Going?

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Do I keep going?
I found out my blog has been infiltrated
by trolls of the one I loved,
the one who hurt me the most.
He read my words here.
Now he criticizes me for writing them.
He claims I could somehow be hurting my children
by being sad.
He says I need to take better care of myself
for their sake.
And I feel violated.
It’s crazy, I know,
but I thought I was safe here.
He never cared about my writing before;
in fact, he wanted me to stop.
He told me I wrote too much.
But now that we are estranged,
now he takes an interest in my words,
so that he can use them
as ammunition against me?
If I shut down my blog
he’d be winning.
I wish I knew how best to respond.


Yoga Mom friends…has anyone here been through this type of situation, where an ex-partner is trolling your online world? A part of me wants to continue to allow him access to the chronicles of my thoughts and feelings on this blog; maybe a miracle will occur and he’ll grow some capacity to feel some real feelings.  Another part of me believes that he has forfeited the right to see the depth of my pain, to gain entry to this part of my consciousness; he has expressed no remorse for what he has done to our marriage and family and shows no sign of letting up as he posts one year anniversary pictures of him and his mistress.  This is ugly and unfair. Do I leave the blog up or take it down? Do I start a new blog where I don’t talk about any of this stuff any more? Do I set this blog to private?  I resent this intrusion. Thank you in advance to anyone able to share their thoughts here.

By Myself

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Self-reliance.
Without my husband there to help,
getting a Christmas tree
seemed like a daunting task.
I cursed the tradition
as I arrived on the lot,
and inwardly resented
the happy couples tying their trees
on the roofs of their vehicles,
cheerfully chatting, 
working together,
getting it done together.
But I had help too.
Two young men put the tree on the roof,
and I figured out the ratchet straps
to secure the tree (mostly).
Back home I even managed to carry
that seven foot tall
fragrant Frasier fir
inside my house
AND set it on the tree stand,
by myself.
Someday, one day,
I may find a new love
who will delight in accompanying me
on Christmas tree expeditions…
Until then,
can I love the one in me
who was strong enough to get it done
all by myself?

Perfect Revelation

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For so long
I have seen my sadness as the enemy,
a sign that something
wasn’t working in my life.
And now, with this new perspective,
I’m being told that my sadness is a friend,
a sign that Life
is working through me
to transform me,
to peel away the excess
and reveal the essence of who I am.
I guess all of my prayers
and my hours of meditation
were really me trying to be good enough
to gain some leverage
and negotiate with God.
What if there were no escape?
What if this was all meant to be,
and what if all the answers
to all my questions
were locked up inside me,
waiting for me to accept
the initiation that will open
my consciousness to their
perfect revelation?

Devastation Transformat​io​n

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And then a friend sent me a link
to spiritual teacher Matt Kahn’s
video entitled The Pain of Loss,
and it rocked my world.
I thought of how I had been
trying to escape my pain,
seeing it as evidence of failure,
and here was someone saying
that our bigges mistake is
our attempt to bypass the pain
so that we can continue on our path.
Instead, if we can see that our pain IS the path,
if we can see that
our devastation leads to transformation,
we’ll join with the Divine as co-creators,
and live into our fullest destiny
as embodied masters.
What the what?
So it is in my enduring
that I come to know my greatest strength?
I can allow the Universe to
turn me upside down and shake me out
and I can emerge on the other side
more loving, compassionate and clearer
than ever before?
I’m going to go and digest this now.
Thanks for listening.

PS I would love to hear all about your stories of transformation following great loss and deep pain.  Have you learned how to see pain as a great teacher?  Have you learned to embrace painful experiences as opportunities for profound growth?  How long did your initiation take? How long did you stay in the crucible, allowing life to burn away what you no longer needed for the journey ahead? I welcome anything you’re willing to share. Knowing that I’m not alone in my profound suffering has helped me realize that I’m part of this big human family, and I’d like to think that somehow in the sharing of our stories we’re collectively helping the human race to grow and evolve.

Confessions

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I drank some wine tonight…
specifically to alter my mood.
I was feeling anxious
and exhausted from enduring
the difficult feelings.
I wanted them to change.
I want to escape these feelings.
I wonder why I had children.
Sometimes I wish I didn’t.
I wish I could run away.
My children are the only reason
I’m still here in this part of the world.
I’ve thought about leaving this planet
many times this past year.
I’ve had more thoughts like these
since the holiday season has arrived.
The anger is back and so is the depression.
I wonder how long I can make it
feeling like this.
I don’t want to have to take pills.
I want to lick this on my own.
But it is licking me.
I’m angry at life.
Then I feel guilty for feeling angry.
Then I’m ashamed that I haven’t
fixed my life by now.
I keep working to improve myself,
but the deeper I dig
the more faults I discover.
Why did I start digging in the first place?
I could go on forever,
but you probably wouldn’t read this,
and your reading this is one of the only reasons
I’m writing this.
I thought this was for me,
but really it’s because I long to be seen
and heard and understood.
Thanks for listening.

The Asking

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Who am I to dream,
to believe these dreams could be fulfilled?
Who am I to envision,
to see myself serving in a bigger way?
Who am I to imagine,
to fantasize that the Divine wants me
just as much as I want it?
I have no idea who I am,
but I know that I am not
who I once thought I was.
God bless this journey
toward the unknowable destiny
of my dreams, visions and heart.
Bless the questions that I ask,
that they may swell into
wide open doorways of possibility.
Let me surrender into this process
of asking again and again,
Who am I
until someday
I can understand
it’s the asking—
not the knowing—
that calls life
back home to life.