Letting Go of Relationships: How to Give Yourself Closure

Letting Go of Relationships: How to Give Yourself Closure

So many of us experience a hangover with lovers. I refer to it as a hangover because it is akin to one—a hell of an experience—one that we must power through but ultimately will pass. Hangover dysphoria with alcohol is from the depressant component interfering with our internal rhythms; it creates loads of anxiety. There is a similar experience when we form attachments to people—withdrawals create weird after-effects where we convince ourselves we need “closure” in whatever capacity to feel better. How we actually seek closure, even if it is just a mental scroll of ideas, perpetuates the suffering and discontent. We struggle with our emotions surrounding the situation—feeling rejected/abandoned, disillusioned, sometimes used, confused, or feeling as though we cared more than the other person did (if they even cared at all, we balk). Sometimes it is merely a power struggle, needing to have the “upper hand” or the last word—also exposing that ego is running the show and not gonna get us anywhere. When there is a breakdown, it is common to go into control mode, needing to control the outcome (by unconsciously attempting to control the other person), and we cloak this in the idea of closure.

I’ve always believed that closure is an illusion and is something we have to provide for ourselves. If we are fortunate later on, the closure we thought we needed usually transpires as a result of having done so… for ourselves… with time. And if it doesn’t ever arrive, then the good news is we were already well on our path of moving on and had distanced ourselves from the pain of the past—by closing it within ourselves.

When we are experiencing withdrawals from a lust hangover, the suffering is usually a result of an attachment that has spun out where the only way out of it is to change. It is a clear indication that our attachment has reached a level of toxicity, regardless if any of the mental sparrings are true or not. It is a representation that we are seeking outside of ourselves to alleviate and make the ick go away. When we feel a sense of loss or feel out of control, rejected, confused, and or frustrated—it’s a sign we’ve turned to the wrong outlet to make ourselves feel better. We’ve based our needs on a person outside of us, and whether or not we will feel better becomes dependent on their actions. This is an obvious recipe for disaster, yet we so often fail to recognize this and don’t take the proper steps to get out of this space of toxicity and back into a space of love that is fed to us by our creator. *(check out my guide to meditation for self-love breakthroughs). 

Some things I’d like to offer to those experiencing such uncomfortable moments—

Obsessing and over-analyzing or rehashing the narrative over and over—trying to find some new piece of information as reasoning to make ourselves feel better—is only going to perpetuate the momentum of negative energy that exists in our space. It is important to clear out this energy so we can ground back into our own energy that is washed over by unconditional, divine love. 

Some different things to try to transform the energy—

  • Write a letter. Say any and every little thought that you want. Speak as though it was going to be the last thing you will ever say. Say a prayer and terminate the letter in whatever way resonates for you—burn it, freeze it, tear it up. 
  • Be present in nature, feel the world around you and ground beneath you, notice animals (these can be messengers), take in the sounds.
  • Clear clutter, get rid of shit, burn palo santo or sage your space, and your personal space as well (your body). 
  • Cleanse your energy, take a bath with Epsom salt and water-friendly crystals or pink Himalayan salt.
  • Make a plan/create a self-care regime. Putting the energy back into YOU is how we attract what serves for our highest good.
  • Dance—literally move energy—this one doesn’t resonate for everyone. If you fall into the clan of more modest folks, or hey, maybe you’re just not into dancing, but sometimes opening ourselves up to something new is exactly the attitude the universe is looking for. I danced my whole life and just recently I’ve been walking over to a court that is not often frequented just to let loose. This grounds me in my body and connects me to my creative energy.
  • Speaking of…. Try something new. Learn a new skill, take up that new activity or practice you’ve been going on about but haven’t yet done.
  • Keep yourself busy, but not repressed—hang with supportive friends, read a book, go to a yoga class—keep vibration raised. It’s important to acknowledge your feelings because they tell us a deeper story, but make note that we can also become addicted to the story. Be aware of this tendency.
  • Find a crystal to support you in the process of releasing and healing

*I love to ask my higher self to pull a card for what crystal serves in my highest interest at the moment. My favorite crystal deck

  • Light a candle, set an intention, pray, chant mantras. Pray to be changed. Offer this pain to the force that created you. Ask to be changed in trusting that its source is the ultimate source of abundance.                          

*Check out these amazing intention candles with all kinds of different themes from House of Intuition in Los Angeles.

  • Remember the bread crumb rule — every time your mind wants to veer off to those nostalgic good times, don’t forget how we settled for less than we deserve
  • Cultivate a vision of your highest version and who would be in your space as a result. Most importantly, envision the FEELINGS you want to specifically experience with that person(s).
  • Try a session with me — an energy reading & guidance for learning to understand yourself as a spiritual being. 

Cocina Sessions: Hard Place (H.E.R.)

Cocina Sessions: Hard Place (H.E.R.)

“I’ve updated this, which I’d posted a wk or so ago. My friend, in true Sagittarius form—blunt but still with unwavering loyalty—informed me the sound was shit and she preferred it when I sang it live in a video. Preferred a video over the Yeti? Damn, it really has been a long time…

After my brother passed I stopped singing for a while. I’m a pretty bad instrumentalist, but sitting at the piano transformed a lot of that energy. But I did not sing. It’s been about that long since I’ve plugged in my Yeti mic. I never enjoyed producing music, but I’ve forgotten how much I love producing and mixing vocals. So, after my friend said the sound sucked, I played around with it a bit more to relearn some thangs and now she approves. She’s been my die-hard since I first played for her, so I value her opinion greatly, that’s all. I hope you enjoy it too. It was being so inspired by another artist’s words and music that I was able to plug-in again ( Gracias, H.E.R.). I recorded it—en mi cocina—just the #Yeti, shitty guitar playing, y los sonidos de Oaxaca. :)”

The HEART is Where Home is. (wild card pick)

The HEART is Where Home is.                 (wild card pick)

IMG_20190129_123809
Chakra Oracle Insight deck

“I’ve been changing like the seasons / Can’t get no sympathy for my demons

I’ve got plenty of scars to show / From all of the many wrong roads.”  – my song, Home

When my brother passed away the year before last, I felt compelled to speak at his funeral. I am a writer obviously, but because of the spiritual limbo I was in, it was important to me to share a message about what life and death had taught me. It was unconventional because, of course, we were there to honor him. But, I’ve lost both my brothers now, and I know that Patrick would have wanted me to do what my heart felt called to do.

It was an enlightening perspective that a healer I worked with a while back had bestowed upon me. I had a history of reliving abandonment by attracting it to me through my interpersonal relationships—more specifically romantic ones. Control has been a life long lesson. Just like all of us, I’ve had many things stripped away from me to be reminded that I do not control the greater plan—much of which happened through tragic and traumatic circumstances. I’ve learned the long, hard way about relinquishing control through surrender, and where my real power actually lies—within.

What this healer brought to my awareness was—I aligned with the sides of people that triggered my wounds and allowed it to dictate how I interacted with them. This was an unconscious form of control. We all have our baggage, and my baggage was creating a superiority over others’ baggage. I became vulnerable through the behaviors that made me afraid and pushed them away. I self-sabotaged, so essentially, it was over before it even began.

My motto was along the lines of—in that condition, you are unlovable, because I can not deal with you like that.

What I’ve had to learn to do is reframe overtime—that’s a version of you that I don’t want to line up with, so I’m going to line up with this version of you.

Perpetuating a vibration of what I want and lining up with one’s highest version, instead of a version I want to fix.

Our minds are powerful, yes, and it is important to be mindful of what is going on with our thoughts, because our thoughts create feelings. Really though, our emotional state of being (our hearts) is actually the most powerful of all. Our emotions create vibration, and there is a momentum generated by our vibration. (*This was my prior attempt to explain the importance of having a high vibration to create the reality you want.)

The feeling generates a momentum of vibration that goes out, bringing back its match. We know like attracts like. I had a habit of manifesting the same story, different face, because I was allowing my wounds to align with the unwanted versions of people, rather than their highest versions.

We are all divine beings; we are also all human. But, what this healer offered to me was to integrate the unconditional side of myself so that I could become “one” with the conditions of others. We don’t have to self-sacrifice to accept people as their total imperfect selves. We assimilate what works in our lives through healthy boundaries.

I spoke about this newfound understanding of “conditions” at my brothers funeral, because when someone dies, the conditions of their reality here in the physical plane all of the sudden mean nothing to us. My father spoke about all the wonderful attributes of my brother for the sake of memory. I wanted to share the awareness that these wonderful memories are exactly what we remember when our physical selves go and the beauty of our spirit remains. His flaws became irrelevant as he transitioned to the other side. So, why do we hold each other hostage to our humanity so much here in the now?

My intention to share this was in hopes that on behalf of my brother’s life, we could all then appreciate the preciousness of life… a little bit more. And, not only life but each other—our connection as divine equals.

The truth behind the vulnerability of my wounds was abandonment. I was looking for a feeling of “home,” but I was looking in all the wrong places. The heart is where home is. Learning to understand our wounds of the past helps us to be more conscious when creating our realities now.

 

I later wrote a song called “Home” that was inspired by this conversation about looking everywhere for this feeling… this feeling of home. When really, just like Glinda the Good Witch once said,

 

You‘ve always had the power my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself.”

The WILD CARD pick is from the Chakra Insight Oracle deck:

INSIGHT

The color purple is associated with the Third Eye Chakra that rules our spiritual paths and highest selves.

Reflect on areas where your wounds may be dictating your life. How can you integrate your unconditional side without sacrificing your boundaries? Where can you set stronger, healthier boundaries? Where can you forgive and have more compassion? Remind yourself that we are all divine, yet, we are all very much human. See the purest form in others and set an intention to align with that version of them.

We’ve all heard it before—if you are living with a grudge towards someone, how would you feel if they were gone tomorrow? The unconditional side of you knows…the answer is where the heart is.

Follow my newsletter for more Wild Card picks ❤

 

 

WIDE OPEN. (Wild Card pick)

WIDE OPEN. (Wild Card pick)

Liquid Crystal Oracle

Spent too much of my life, livin’ in the dark

‘Til you made me see I’d rather be livin’, than not livin’ at all

Sometimes it’s hard to keep the faith, but you know it’s all we’ve got

Better to let love take over than to be afraid to fall

‘Cuz I have learned a thing or two, from you

If I let your love in my heart, it’s gonna carry us through

and if we are all just mirrors, I wanna be more like you,

I wanna be wide open, with you

I am about as Plutonian as they come; I’ve always had an undertow of intensity. I also lived much of my life with massive walls. Of course, this was a means of control. It was easier to keep everyone at bay than it was to do the work necessary to heal my heart. Experiencing a tremendous amount of pain meant doing whatever it took to prevent more pain. Of course, this actually caused me more pain.

I was fortunate through a series of events to have hit a crisis period in my twenties that woke me up to see that my fear of intimacy was at the root of much of my chaos. Pretty much everything was a means of control. When trying to control we close ourselves off from the blessings of the divine. I began the uncomfortable process of change and healing by doing the work to face my pain and to learn about building healthy boundaries as a means of keeping myself safe.

I am a survivor of abuse and I’ve used abused dogs as an analogy many times to give insight behind the walls of a survivor. Imagine how timid a dog is that has been rescued and clearly mistreated. A dog can go years, sometimes forever, afraid of people or certain things/situations, and you are not going to get close if so. You can sense fear all around the dog and it will definitely remain in fight or flight mode, ready to fend or flee. It doesn’t know you! It doesn’t know what you’re capable of, alright! All it knows is what happened before.

Obviously, it’s the same for people. However, we have the intellectual capacity to recognize that in adulthood we have the power of choice. We get to choose who we are now in the present moment. We have the ability to rationalize and understand that we all operate off of our capacities—what we know by what has been modeled for us. Through this acknowledgment, we can ignite the current of forgiveness. We can forgive those that have hurt us or were bad examples. We can choose to develop the tools to honor our worth and protect our hearts—again, through healthy boundaries, not walls. We don’t have to keep our hearts closed, because we have the power to assimilate through self-trust.

I met a man in Bali that I experienced love at first sight with. He was so open emotionally that it was confusing to someone like me that had lived closed off for so long. Naturally, I made him my muse; he inspired the lyrics I wrote above. He mirrored to me at the time, what I wanted to be more like. I wanted to be completely wide open.

Coincidentally he was from Brasil.

Today’s WILD CARD pick is from the Liquid Crystal Oracle deck:

AMAZONITE

(The Middle Road)

Amazonite is derived from the Amazon River in South America.

The color green is associated with the Heart Chakra.

Set an intention to forgive the conditions of yourself and others by lining up with the unconditional. How can you open your heart just a little more, forgive, and grow? Consider how far you’ve come in your life and celebrate the middle road. If negative thoughts creep in, see it as a reflection of your humanity and use that as an opportunity to cut others some slack as well. We are all representations of God and through this understanding, we remain connected to our spiritual selves. Open your heart to see beyond judgments and dichotomies—yes/no, black/white, right/wrong. Allow yourself to see all the colors of life. Be brave enough to tear down walls and learn to live life… wide open.

“…[make] windows where there were once walls.” – Michel Foucault

I’d like to offer—try smiling or saying hi to everyone that walks by, at least for a day. Don’t give with an expectation to receive in return, do so because you are making an effort to open your heart. Trust that when you give love, it will come back to you in some form or another.

 

Join my newsletter for more Wild Card picks

//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({
google_ad_client: “ca-pub-1030586278884954”,
enable_page_level_ads: true
});

ENOUGH. (Wild Card pick)

ENOUGH. (Wild Card pick)

Chakra Insight Oracle deck
Chakra Insight Oracle deck

Just as I faced the bridge leading me into another year, it so happened that some events near the end of the year led to a projection of an old wound staring profusely back at me. In a moment of desperation and a plea for change, I chose to sit in the uncomfortable feeling of outdated energy and charged emotions that no longer represent who I am, but instead where I came from. I knew the only way out of it was to walk right through, straight into the wound.

It’s amazing how quickly we can actually make it out to the other side when we allow ourselves to feel, understand, and accept the pain. Already I feel I am walking on new ground. My mantra that has set the preface for cliche resolutions—the simple, but powerful notion—I am enough.

What occurred at the end of the year was that I walked away from a burning reality that I had, yet again, settled for less than I am worth. How could this be after all I’ve done to heal myself? The old wound that reared its ugly head was an exhausted one of abandonment. I let somebody back into my life that had already demonstrated their lack of capacity to give love. How convenient—I chose the person that does not have the capacity to give love because clearly, I had not fully acknowledged my own blocks to receiving it.

Before I had initially broken ties, I looked for distractions and diversions outside of me to fill the void in the interim. When I consciously cut everything out to make a change, I found myself alone. And, true to love-addict grappling, I battled grief over a commitment-phobe. There I was suffering over someone unable to give love instead of giving it to myself. I was upset that I even felt pain at all having known this truth.

But there ya have it, an old wound. It wasn’t even about this guy—same story, different face? Fortunately, I had a lingering awareness to be grateful for, so to end the cycle I broke down to break through. I had to forgive myself, for the wound is there to stay. I accept it as part of who I am because I have a choice. I choose to say, enough, to settling.

“Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could have been any different.” – Oprah

The more I began to envision something better, knowing I am worthy of it, the lighter I felt and more gracious I felt in forgiving the pain altogether. For-give to- get love, as Iyanla has spoken. Clear out the old through forgiveness to make room for the new. If we are seeking love outside of ourselves, chances are it is because we don’t believe we are enough. Trying to understand the pain can leave us trapped in it. Realizing it is there and accepting it for what it is, something that happened to me a million years ago, I could begin to step out and away from the perpetual experience of it. When we know we are enough and invest in our worth, our vibration will bring us our match. We don’t need to look. By investing in ourselves so that our cup is full, we can begin to let the extraneous surplus pour over into that special someone’s cup—and no, not just the closest available thing.

The Wild Card Pick is from the CHAKRA INSIGHT ORACLE deck:   

Self-Esteem

Ruled by the Solar Plexus Chakra

Set an intention to empower yourself by knowing you are enough. Vote for you, first. Begin healing old wounds through the practice of self-love. Line up with those that reflect your highest version. 

Know that as you focus on yourself, you will draw the right person to you. Believe in their arrival—they are worth the wait because you are worth the wait.

How Abuse Gifted Me Trust… In Myself: My PTSD Story

How Abuse Gifted Me Trust… In Myself: My PTSD Story

flower colors

“You say you’re too damaged, I still say you’ve got the goods.” – from a song I wrote many moons ago

Out of all the things that I have been through, one of the greatest complications to resolve has been the ramifications of abuse throughout my adolescence. I was physically abused and verbally assaulted by masculine rage on a concurrent and regular basis. My experience of the abuse at times felt like torture, was unrelenting, and my space never truly felt safe.

Trust has been profoundly challenging for me to invest in, that of which I have learned must first begin with myself.

Due to my crippled capacity to trust in others, and a sense of self oppressed by an abuser, over time my ability to develop trust in myself became stunted and plagued by static noise and doubt.

It is interesting though the complexities that have come about as a result, the product being the woman I am today. What I’ve become is a woman with a presence of impenetrable strength, which of course, in a society infiltrated by a masculinity crisis, hasn’t gone over so well.

I have attracted great opposition from those that struggle with their own masculinity, or another way of looking at it — one’s repressed/rejected, misunderstood, and/or unacknowledged femininity.

Throughout my twenties, I strived towards a path of healing. I was blessed enough by the grace of divine intervention and my own willingness to change that resources flowed regardless of my external means to begin this process.

Yoga and meditation were definite introductions that changed my life and in many ways saved my life. I discovered that I am not actually held hostage in my body, that I do have control and that my power is always there. I discovered that no one can take my power, but realized out of programmed habit I was throwing it out like expired produce.

It was through the crisis of many unhealthy relationships and my absolute plea to not suffer from the pain of power struggles that I began to see the signs. I didn’t want to hurt anymore so it became unavoidable that I had to dig in and do the work.

It was during a heartbreak from a very damaged Pisces lover, and coincidentally a potent Pisces full moon, that in my typical woo-woo fashion I sought out not a therapist, but my version of such — I wanted to see a healer that cleared chakras… yep. I was ready to wipe the slate clean, but unbeknownst to me, this man had a profound purpose. As agonizing as it was to dive in, he was a gift. He served as the beginning of an awakening. He was a Marine veteran struggling with PTSD; he was also my mirror.

The next day as I was walking down the street, there was a massive sign outside of a crystal shop nearby where I lived that was not usually there. In all its colorful glory stood the flag of chakras promoting sessions with a particular healer. I tend to be like The Fool of the Rider-Waite deck, springing forward, acting on leaps of faith when such moments present themselves. With a chart full of Aries, this generally rules in my favor.

My session with a self-proclaimed clairvoyant doused me in the cold hard reality that I had not so much been in denial about, but rather completely oblivious to. I knew I had been abused as I had shared it prior. I knew it was wrong and that I was in fact violated, but I had no idea the magnitude of wreckage it caused. As a little girl knowing nothing different, essentially it became the only normal I knew. And while living it, I was battered into believing I’d deserved it.

When I first entered into the backroom to proceed, a typical aroma of palo santo engulfed the space. The stillness of the room’s aura rested as rainbow lights (also known as color therapy) swirled above the bed, while a gorgeous array of gongs and singing bowls aligned it. I always look forward to these sessions. My total openness to them is how I’ve been fortunate enough to reap the wanders.

I have worked with countless western healers and now a couple of eastern ones; although, this was one of my earlier experiences. I was anticipating what she would pick up on. I felt sure the foremost would be mention of my brother’s death, or my absent father, or possibly the turbulent codependent relationship with my mother… never did I see coming the yet mentioned.

I will say that I am able and willing to share the account of my abuse; however, for deeply personal reasons I am not ready to share by whom.

“Did you have [****] that was very mean to you?” she delicately asked.

I sat there stunned. An instant surge of tears burst forth like an appropriate tidal wave. Out of all the shitty things in my still very privileged life, I couldn’t believe that’s what she pointed out. Her take on it was that we were bound together in this lifetime due to past life events, but I’ll spare you of that for now.

I went home feeling like the earth beneath me had been shaken. How could I not have seen this before? The light had not only gone off, but it was also about to blind my eyes. What ensued from there was an all-nighter of research on the unique relationship of abuse I experienced. Limited information was available on my specific circumstance, but nonetheless, a turning point of acknowledgment transpired — abuse is abuse. I was a ripe candidate to all the possibilities of aftermath as anyone else that’s survived it. Wait, so I am one of those people? It wasn’t until I accepted that I am that, a survivor of abuse, that I could begin to move towards a healthier future. It was through this discovery that I was able to understand I was also living with my own degree of PTSD. It had been the underlying factor to so many complications in my life. I didn’t know that my usual somatic experience was not normal. I thought the out of control sensations in my physical response to situations were my fault, that it was simply who I am and that I was doomed to be a prisoner to it.

For many years, I attracted lovers that did not physically abuse me, but I was in heavy, emotionally tormented relationships. The real moral is PTSD often controlled my life.

After the eventual breakdown of these relationships and my own chaos looming overhead, I strived to transcend my experiences. I couldn’t control what happened to me, but I could begin to heal the consequences. I chose to kill the script and say, fuck that. I chose to shift from victim to survivor. I began my transition from bondage and everything happening to me, to being wide awake staring into the mirror — recognizing the patterns and the common denominator. This was not an overnight fix, of course. It was an incredibly painful process that took years and years of resolving. Still, till this day there are remnants I have to work through. Scenes, lines, and characters from the old script all like to come out to play every now and again, and it is my work to not get disheartened by this reality. In the past, the discouragement of its existence would send me down a spiral of self-loathing.

I spent years unable to communicate how I actually felt. I had zero sophistication as far as emotional intimacy was concerned. I would panic, cognitively disassociate and shut down. And, I would hate myself for every bit of it.

Almost a decade later, it is bizarre to even recount those memories — from total physical overwhelm to perpetual fears of the rug always being pulled out from under me. By always assuming the worst, I attracted it only to prove itself true.

Now, it’s almost as if I don’t even know that girl anymore. Yet, again, there are still those tiny remainders of the script wanting to come to life on stage once more. But, I harnessed new tools and coping mechanisms that overtime have integrated.

Most of all, my journey was to silence the noise and experience a life of learning to trust myself. Despite being figuratively pummeled into believing all the things that had derailed me before, I began the journey of discovering my light, my power.

Of course, none of this would be possible without also learning to forgive my abuser, and to forgive the masculine rage that permeates throughout my culture and our world. I have had to send love and light to the beautiful, divine feminine energy yearning for reciprocation from us all.

I guess when you think about it, we can be so cruel to our dear Mother Earth. If we can’t respect our own mother, then I guess in a way that sums it up, doesn’t it?

It’s a shame, this reality. We have so far to go on a collective scale. I can only hope my story of forgiveness, resilience, and journey of self-love is emblematic of the new script we can write together.

 

 

Story originally published on:

6c83e-1fqu81iavbgiwfxznvbtndq

Be Yourself

Don’t instruct, share.

What Angels Want Us to Know: Life After Guilt

What Angels Want Us to Know: Life After Guilt

Even when things seem so grim & a realization of so much loss pierces deep within, it is these moments that my angels are there to rescue more than ever. Without fail, the dragonflies come out to swirl around, reminding me I’m not alone.

When I think of the confusing and complicated guilt I experience for being the last one left to stand, I take my evening strolls out to the azul water that is my backyard, siempre in search of peace. The other day while in a dark head space, I thought, maybe my angels actually got the better end of the deal. This world, as beautiful as it is, can be so very painful… at least they are together, in peace. But, just as I was beginning to slip down the rabbit hole, the dragonflies began to dance against the masterpiece of a backdrop, a pink lit sky and blistering ball of solar energy beaming over the water.

As I returned back from my evening with the divine, my best friend that channels had reached out to me. She said my brother, unclear which one, had softly contacted her to send me a message. Just some days before, I had been suffering then as well from a plummeting feeling of feeling lost. I was seriously questioning my own existence in the very scary kinda way. My friend shared with me the message of simple and touching relevancy, that I am ‘right’ and to keep doing what I’m doing. So just when I was feeling the crash that is life with a mood disorder, and or just life… I realized what a blessing it is to have angels intervene when I’m pleading to know if I’m going to be okay. And, how miraculous it is to have that sort of love surrounding me at all times, protecting me, and sending me clarity when the fog moves in. To let me know I am still here for a reason. To let me know that I am indeed shielded by love.

I do have to say, I’m pretty fucking ready to leave this experience behind… that is, the first one-year anniversary of my brother’s death… and basically, all the terrible memories that coexisted with this time last year. As much as my guilt may want to hang onto them, I know to move beyond surviving to thriving is to release the guilt. The present does include pain that has yet to fully heal, so the reality is the past, unfortunately, exists within the present. However, I can stay there, or choose to try to move forward one more step of the way, as the pain stays one step further behind.

What I’ve discovered is the guilt keeps me “safe.” The guilt, the pain, the story… it is all a toxic high that of course is superseded by a crashing low. It’s moving out into the unknown space of joy that is the real work. It has been easier for me to be afraid of more pain so that I stay in my excuse of pain.

I started dating again a few months ago after moving literally and figuratively into new space. I have vaguely shared already that I went through a pretty bad breakup as well this time last year, which naturally was what exacerbated the already gut-wrenching period of mourning. It was the core-shaking, yet illusive experience of love-at-first-sight, in which crashed & crumbled during the time one would presumably need support the most. The truth is though, I had everything I needed & still do. But, those lessons were to be learned in the most hardcore of hours. When you’ve lost that much, it’s kinda like, fuck it… I guess I’m sorta liberated now. Or, so I thought…

As I found myself back on the dating scene and after meeting someone I was actually interested in, I was overwhelmed with vulnerability. Bombarded by a surplus of “what-if’s,” I didn’t know if I was capable of enduring more pain, so instead I would not let myself leave the pain behind. I was bound to it out of survival, without realizing it was keeping me from living my life… it was keeping me from joy. Even as I proclaimed that I wanted otherwise, I was actually avoiding joy by avoiding imagined pain.

I was self-sabotaging because of survivor’s guilt. It’s a difficult thing to articulate, but perhaps it’s as simple as this… I have felt guilty for wanting joy. I felt guilty for believing there could be joy without my brothers in the world. Or, that I owe it to them to stay in the misery of their loss. Which of course, though, this I know… a life full of joy is exactly what my brothers want for me.

To live the life I have left. And if anything, for them, that is the way to truly honor their loss —to live so fiercely & courageously on their behalf.

So today on August 1, it is my brother Patrick’s birthday. This time last year I was thousands of miles away saying my last I love you over the phone, as he was bedridden in the hospital, struggling to speak. A week later after his 33rd birthday, he was gone.

The months that followed thereafter were a nightmare, yes. Those days and nights where I felt like a walking zombie, unsure if I was going to come back to life or not… I really didn’t know if I was gonna make it through. But it is these memories that I must no longer attach to so that I can grow with my brothers in a new way. By putting my hand out to accept a dance with the divine is how I get to experience… the magic of the dragonflies.

And you know, it’s really fucking hard sometimes. It really is, but I have to believe I am still here for a reason and they are not… AND THIS IS OKAY. I have to trust the cards were supposed to be dealt this way, and that yes, at least they are together in peace. A life left full of guilt will never bring them back to physical life…

But the magic that is pure love… will always keep them alive.

A Happy Birthday to my late brother, Chef Patrick

Right Where He Belonged, RIP Chef Patrick & Chef Bourdain

To Those I Have Judged, for This I Apologize

To Those I Have Judged, for This I Apologize

aaron <3
Aaron

“Forgiveness inevitably leads to acceptance. It is a demonstration of your willingness to move on. Acceptance does not mean you agree with, condone, appreciate, or even like what has happened. Acceptance means that you know, regardless of what happened, that there is something bigger than you at work.” – Iyanla Vanzant

aug 2012
Patrick

I guess it may seem inevitable after this last year - enduring the death of my brother - the end of my romantic relationship amid my brother’s funeral - then to take on full-time Gringa life outside of the USA - I am very much on a spiritual journey. Life is always a spiritual journey whether we see it or not, I suppose. And, this time I choose to be the hero.


Holding my brother as he was left to lay brain dead humbled me to the core. The brother who once held me as we both cried and struggled to process what was our oldest brother’s funeral. We became bonded to a whole new level as siblings since that experience. So, to now lose him and hold his physical body that no longer had life left… it’s changed me forever.


My relationship to the man I was in love with crumbling at the most difficult time in my life added more confounding whip-lash. Yet, it set me on a path to uncover what was underneath the black molten rock that engulfed my heart - my strength.


The last two years have basically been the on-going funeral of my ego. Leaving Los Angeles and the world of music already humbled me as I walked away from the only identity I’ve known: my identity as a musician/performer. This departure exposed a masochistic nature to expectations and attachments to outcomes. By letting go of the way I insisted it ought to be, I began finding my way back home unto myself.


After my world ripped out from beneath me, pressure boiled to understand it, igniting yet another confrontation with God. The insistence of freedom from attachments I could not escape, as nothing is truly ours. God has reminded me many times of my lack of control, teaching me to trust that life is as it should be. And, to have faith that no matter what has happened to me, as messed up as it may seem, is somehow in my highest interest. It’s begged me to reckon with my capacity, that I am capable of facing it all. And, to realize that I have the strength to survive life as it unfolds, because we know, life is going to do just that.

“Regardless of how hard, challenging, frightening, or difficult an experience may seem, everything is just as it needs to be in order for us to heal, grow, and learn.” - Iyanla Vanzant

To do so, my spiritual journey of seeking peace commenced, as did my faith in the possibility of joy. I learned its roots begin with a life lived not from the ego, but instead the heart. My ego was annihilated the day my last brother died. A greater understanding of life summoned me to appreciate each moment with more profound meaning. For so many years, I was driven to prove my importance to others, to myself. I wanted to be something… you know, all the things. What’s proven itself now is that while staring death (or life) in the face, not once did those things matter. Accolades will never bring my brothers back or fill the volcanic crater of a void. The only way I accessed the strength buried somewhere within me is by embracing a life of higher vibration. I discovered this is possible through forgiveness and acceptance of what is. I can choose to deny or fight reality, or I can choose to trust.


I take responsibility for the people that have come into my life in which triggered me. I own projecting onto them the things I may not have seen or wanted to see within myself. I realize that every interaction and relationship is a reflection of the one I have with myself. I ask for forgiveness for times I held beliefs about others, when they may have been judgments I held against myself.


To open myself to the liberty of trust, I trust in a plan beyond me. I free myself from attachments to people, places, things, and from beliefs about these people, places, things. I stand in my power because of all the hard work I’ve put in to honor myself thus far. I strive to act with self-respect and therefore to respect others. I solidify a life lived trusting in myself and in God because, without this, it is a life of suffering. For I know that if I can be the last one standing amongst my siblings, then I will keep going. No matter what, I will be okay. With forgiveness, the actions and or beliefs I formed around others fade into the distance. I pick myself up off the ground to sit up in my seat once more. I put my hands on the wheel, and only for a moment, I glance back to remember how far I’ve come. But, that mirror is small. I choose to look out the big window ahead of me, because through forgiveness, I found the road to joy.

road.jpg
Fré Sonneveld

 

*I would like to note that after all the chatter about Eat Pray Love, I finally read it about eight months after I returned from Bali when I moved to México. I happened to resonate and agree with Elizabeth Gilbert’s interpretation and analysis on her choice in the use of “God.” Whatever your God is is cool with me.✌️

It’s Not Goodbye, It’s Hello.  

It’s Not Goodbye, It’s Hello.  

A few months ago when my brother Patrick died, somewhere in the midst of the funeral haze, I drifted off by myself to collapse on a bed and sob. My eyelids lifted to watch my consoling cousin pull back the tear-drenched hair off of my face. I recall my faint, yet bitter voice emphatically saying to her, “You know, I could be standing in the most exotic, stunning place in the world right now and I’d see no beauty. I’d feel nothing.”

I meant that. Much of the declaration was because world travel has become an invigorating passion of mine. But, sadly, it’s because this is not my first rodeo of tragic death. I lost my oldest brother Aaron when I was a teenager. After a decade of soul-searching and finally feeling at a pinnacle, losing both of my brothers has been a bizarre actuality to wrap my head around.

To say this year was one of the most formative years of my life would be an understatement. Then again, it has been so transitional that I am not sure taking form is even the right description. As per usual with the ever-flowing tide of life, it has been accompanied by soaring highs, followed by one of the greatest lows. It was a year in which I left behind my California identity of the last decade to embark on a new story. I confronted changes occurring within me while adapting to those outside of me. It was a year where I went to the other side of the world to feel back in the world. An excursion to the magical island of Bah-lee completely changed and redirected my life. I had never felt more alive than traveling solo in such a foreign land, and I had never felt more dead shortly thereafter.

As days have gone by, each one feeling as though there’s a little more life inside of me, I reminisce back to what I said to my cousin that day. I recognize it as a reflection of my internal experience at that moment in time. My apathy towards the aesthetics of the external solely mirrored that I felt dead inside. My reality was a belief I created based off of the numb feeling that nothing could make me feel alive again. Of course with good ole time, this experience has shifted. Since the loss of Patrick, I’ve returned once again from traveling. My thoughts have centered around a prevalent theme that emerged — an embrace of transitions.

In retrospect, there are so many chapters in my life that were remarkable periods of transition. Yet, if each changing moment is one transition to the next, then isn’t everything a transition? Reminded by all chapters left to the past, one final page after another, it got me thinking about my perception of goodbye. As someone who has long struggled with goodbyes, I’ve come to discover why traveling has been healing for me. The temporal experiences that unfold, only to fade, have been a powerful teacher. It fascinates me, really, the incredible forces at work when I step into the unknown to allow the divine to intervene. In my experience it has been one of the greatest agents of change, accelerating rapid growth and bringing forth much clarity. The big picture, so to speak, becomes a lot clearer.

One of my favorite parts of traveling is always the people I meet and connect to along the way. It’s interesting, being the person that’s never liked goodbyes. There’s an inherent understanding when traveling that while I may meet others on the journey, there’s no guarantee for anything further. In fact, there’s more the likeliness we won’t see each other again than there is otherwise. The respect of the present moment and allowing it to be is the lesson. It is recognition of a willingness to embrace the new moment and the ability to gracefully let go of the last. The beautiful temporal qualities of life teach us that there’s no way to foresee that which is to stay or go. It’s a hard thing to master, letting go, especially when shocked or traumatized. The go-to of fight-or-flight is to clench with all one’s power. Yet, we fail to realize the giveaway of power when struggling to make something stay that is to end. Things forever continue to strip away in life. The more I’ve grown and the more goodbyes I’ve had to say — I’m learning to consider a new perspective. I’m learning that maybe it’s not goodbye, it’s hello.

It’s been a year of many goodbyes and many hellos. As my various grief becomes interwoven, all I can do is stand in it. Feel it. Face it. Loosen my grip, and let go.

Endings are hard, but as it is often practiced in yoga — the transition between each pose can be the most enlightening of all. It is the power in awareness of each transition. How do I respond to the changing moment? Am I present? Is my ego holding onto something that happened in the last that no longer serves me? Am I moving forward into the next with total embrace of the new? Can I trust that what is gone is as it should be? Can I be content with the plan that is out of my control? Can I trust myself to be okay? Can I have compassion for my grief along the way?

So, life is one transition after another. It is a transition from one moment into the next, a city or career to the next, a profound love, or from one dimension into the next.

It is challenging to accept both of my brothers’ fate and their transitions from birth to death in this lifetime. Still, I ponder my own transitions of grief and have learned something. In one moment I thought I could see no beauty in the world, that I was dead inside. A few months later I was on a gorgeous beach in Mexico, and I was feeling things; I was feeling a lot. As the lucid, turquoise water slipped between my ankles, and the warm wind danced on my skin, there I stood in my grief. And, even as much ache as I may still feel in my heart, I was able to look around and feel some peace that day. I could acknowledge gratitude for the new because I could see my progression. So, I was able to accept goodbye a tiny bit more, and this time I could say, hello.

ea222-18ou08nehm0-1mz1edi6psg
Tulum, Quintana Roo, México

#Grief&Glory