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I went Vegan after watching The Game Changers documentary. At this point in my life, cutting out animal product from my diet was not difficult. I welcomed the discipline as an opportunity to really focus my intention. The benefits were fantastic, I felt so good all over.

Did you notice? Past tense. Yeah, I am now a Felxitarian, my mom's term. Comfort on many levels is needed! Where do you get it?

A pulled pork sandwich worked some serious magic last week. Yummy flavors are a real gift these days.

Cooking is medicine. Eating is fun. Nourishment is important. Three meals a day, homemade, is a generous gift. Chili and cornbread are new staples. Baking has been resurrected. I am preparing roasts with root vegetables. Hearty and filling and just perfect for these days. There is a welcome indulgence here, I hope it lasts.

Three weeks later, it shifts. Am I tired of cooking? Or is it just beginning to feel mandatory. Yeah, that's it. "Have to". Not enjoying that zone much. Far from comforting. I went shopping yesterday and noticed that I bought a lot of snacks. Right now, in week 8 of pandemic, my household is preferring a grab-n-go approach to sustenance. Who am I to argue? Last night I forced myself to make dinner and it was disgusting. I began to feel guilty about the wasted food and decided to just let it go. Who cares really? Honestly, my kids did not blink, they just didn't eat it. Nobody complained except me (in my head).

I want to tell you about how my life is unfolding. I am feeling compelled to create a structure for experience, a new one that is closer to my personal calling. I refuse to be bothered by not doing this sooner because I prefer to be thrilled with the current privilege Covid-19 has delivered. I am reevaluating. And it is messy. I am a ridiculous combination of fried nerve endings and tumultuous emotions. I am habitually connected to aspects of my life that do not fulfill. Releasing burden is a practice that is all together unsettling and freeing. I am being called to step away from what I know as I know it. Big STUFF is showing up, I am faced with strong desires and real interests.

These are strange times.

A few quotes that have me buzzing:

It is not the answer that enlightens, but the question. Eugene Ionesco

Hell is other people. Jean-Paul Sartre

Pretending sucks, why pretend to be not you your entire life? from movie "The Half of It"

Exactly. I do not want to pretend anymore. I feel like a large portion of my time has been spent filling other people's expectations, or living out their dreams for me. I could think this was laziness on my part but not sure that is a fair assessment. I am more convinced that I just didn't exercise my own individual heartsong, that part of me that delivers my own ideas/calling with confidence. In many instances it just felt easier to follow someone else's lead. I no longer want to do that.

And other people with their opinions are no longer crucial to my existence. Duh.

Curiosity is key. I think I was afraid of it for years because I was stuck on believing I was supposed to know everything. I was living in a bubble of made up answers and I lost all ability to wonder, sincerely. I complained a lot too. It was a finite space of struggle.

So here I am, exercising curiosity. Who do I want to be when I grow up? (That is my new favorite) What really matters to me? What do I hold most precious? How do I want my life to feel? Where do I want to exercise my investment to self?

Whose presence am I leaning on for support? Bread and Butter.

Where am I finding sources for care, comfort and compassion? Learning, primarily. Expanding my world through online classes, connecting virtually, creating new support systems with like minded folk (amazing!), pursuing my dreams (finally) and giving myself a lot of room to pause and reflect.

I am not having thoughtful illuminating conversations all over the place. Not everyone sees and hears me as I do myself. In some circles I feel pigeonholed and held to an old version of me that no longer resonates. Not sure if that is a problem exactly, I just notice I go kinda' dead inside, disinterest and disconnection show up. This is where I fall into deep set patterns of communication that keep me stuck. In particular company, consciously breaking out of routine is necessary and I am not always able to do it. I keep forgetting when cruising down the rut. I really want to get derailed.

I am learning at this time in our lives it is super useful to give EVERYONE a lot of room to process, to offer compassionate understanding and acceptance all over the place. I can do this as a sign of respect, for myself and others, since we all need to express ourselves differently. And I can FORGET to do it often. Fear is treacherous and it can be an all encompassing black hole. The angst of not knowing what will happen is a non-love outward expression. It feels unnecessary and yet I cannot seem to prevent the chaos. I consider not feeding into fear, for a moment, and then my reactive brain gets hold of my body and when I choose to 'walk away' I end up taking the incessant chatter with me ;-/

Is this struggle or metamorphosis? Whatever it is, it feels healthy! Just sayin'. Recognition is a key and I have it. I do not mind the ping-pong, there is a dance happening, and this activation is a real sign!

Looks like I am living two lives, the one inside (growing bigger) and the one outside- to meet others' expectations in certain circles. Or it can just be my sense of loyalty to other, that is a thing for me. I don't like it, but it is real. I also know I can lessen it. I am yearning for integration, for my internal to merge and become my external. It is happening. I can feel it. I have begun the slow climb out of my dark, a numbed place, and I am shifting forward into an altogether brighter reality.

So my hermit phase is welcome and necessary. Yeah, my recluse is showing. I need to be quiet and introspective to cultivate my knowing. Intimately and courageously. Guilt shows up occasionally and I gently sweep it out the door ;-). I love this place of solo being. So do my kids as they prefer to be left alone these days.

What do I find most challenging? Holding onto my sense of hope, focus and determination. I have long pauses now, for reflection, where concern and worry can sneak in and dismantle. This is where I choose to believe that momentum is not the key. Trusting NOW is a much better touchstone. Not always easy and the more I practice the more it strengthens.

I am moving into the unknown, uncharted territory. It is a different type of creativity because there is no end in site, no goal per se. Paintings and writings and art projects get done, generally. This shift is bigger and entirely new, open. Exciting and terrifying.

And I am not alone. The world around me is changing too.

My mom, almost 75, showed me her gold tap shoes yesterday, she will be taking a class online. She was beaming when she told me, she looked five years old. Today she tapped her first lesson for me and her smiling dance was indeed a treasure.

How Freedom Became Free-dumb in America Why the World is Horrified by the American Idiot by Umair Haque

...Isn’t good education also just freedom from ignorance? Good healthcare freedom from illness? And so forth. I think that a century ago, trying to neatly cleave freedoms into the good kind and the bad kind, American thinking made a huge, terrible mistake. One which trapped it to circle a desert for a century — and then find itself in a dead end.

You can see that dead end everywhere today.

In the cruelty, aggression, rage, violence, hate which characterize American life as especially brutal. Americans are always trying to escape from any kind of obligation or responsibility to…anything. Each other. History. The future. Just common decency. Even just basic humanity. Who else makes their kids…pretend to die? And then pretends that doesn’t scar kids for life? What the? That’s why the world doesn’t know whether to be horrified, shocked, repelled, or astonished by America — and it laughs. Nervously, oddly, baffled. What Americans don’t know is that that laughter is a world being polite.

I do not want my kids to go 'back to school'. I have no idea what options we will have, but I am hoping something will show up. I am not opposed to academics in general. I struggle with a current system that is not actually preparing my kids for the world in which we are living, rather an antiquated model that no longer exists. I want my children to be wholehearted emotional humans, effective in being true to themselves amidst the wild. I school, two months ago, they were learning how to posture and navigate peer pressure by pretending. It was exhausting. Decompression on the couch was a regular after school program. The intensity of their unhealthy social reality negated their institutional learning. The pressure to excel with A's while meeting everyone else's expectations diminished their ability to know themselves deeply, this was not a reasonable goal. Forcing them to "fit in" as opposed to expressing themselves consciously still feels wrong. Personally, I want to hear and listen to what my kids have to say, they are the voices of tomorrow. I am deeply conditioned to squash them myself, as I have been trained to be dismissive and too busy to pay attention, I need to remind myself to "knock it off". I have no idea what world I am preparing my kids for exactly, none of us do. I need them to understand themselves first, so they can lean on strong personal values to guide them forward. Dr. Marc Brackett nails it with his work, interviewed here by Brene Brown: If I want to break out of the box I have plunged myself, I am taking my kids with me. I will find us a better way!

What are we holding onto exactly? There is no going back. And getting comfortable with the uncomfortable is a powerful place.

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