As I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts this morning (The Positive Head Podcast by Brandon Beachum), I heard a passage from the book Oneness, channeled by Rasha. It was about self-love and how we must love ourselves, not despite our mistakes, but because of them. For it was our moments, the ones that we’re not so proud of, that helped us to transform and become better versions of ourselves. Without these so-called blunders, and without our ability to see and grow from them, we would not be where we are today.
Any piece of healing work out there – be it in the form of a self-help book or art – came about because the author was willing to see something “negative” about himself or his experience, decided to get up close and personal with it to heal it, and in the process, gained valuable insight on how to help others with it.
The passage from Oneness stuck with me because I was feeling a great deal of shame as I had been attempting to write another chapter in my book last night, and I am at a part of my story that requires me to be very vulnerable. I look back at old journal entries and conversations to remember things accurately, and it is challenging to go back and see the naïve person I was, how immaturely I handled certain things. I presumed so much that wasn’t true, or wasn’t being confirmed as true. It is easy to look at these instances from the past and fall into the trap of self-loathing, to spiral into a mood so glum that I cannot write. Instead of writing, I settle in front of the TV to re-watch episodes of The Crown, wallowing in my misery and embarrassment. But even the process of wallowing, of allowing myself to feel those things, is a part of writing the book – for I must sit with them long enough to be able to write about them. What I resist persists, and these feelings are demanding to be felt fully before I write about them.
The very character traits I have tried so long to escape, hide, and deny are parts of my mission as a human, but I cannot be of any help until I can accept these parts of myself and even love them. It is through pure, unadulterated soul love that we see clearly and gain the perspective needed to heal another.
If we come to others from a place other than soul love in our service, it will be impossible to help them in any lasting manner.
It has been difficult for me to put my ego aside and allow this project the time it needs to be written from that place of love. I see poetry books by emerging authors on the shelves at Barnes & Noble and feel the need to “keep up.” I want to push myself to write, to go on, even when I can barely see my computer screen from the tears that blur my vision. I hear of people being alive one day and dead the next, and I wonder if they had been in the middle of unfinished books, songs, poems, or paintings. One of my worst fears is dying before my book is completed. But I can only see my own process unfold, painstakingly, day by day. I can only succumb to my desire to do nothing some days when the pain in my heart is still too heavy. Even when the writing process is not joyful, it can be rewarding to gather the revelations like the one that came this morning.
I can enjoy thinking of how this may help someone like me some day, but I must go about it with integrity and self-forgiveness.
Even if this book never reaches another set of eyes, I know I am on the right track. I am learning to love myself, warts and all.
I will leave you with a story I read in The Sacred Rebels Oracle guidebook by Alana Fairchild:
The great French Impressionist painter, Monet, sat in his garden on a warm afternoon. He was napping lightly on his garden bench, with the sunlight dappling gently through the straw hat resting over his face. It was soft and warm on his closed eyelids. He sighed contentedly.
A nosy neighbor poked his head over the fence, keen to know what the brilliant artist was up to now. “Sir, you are resting!” the curious neighbor called out.
“No,” responded Monet, wriggling to get even more comfortable on his reclining garden chair. “I am working.”
Monet returned to his garden the next day. Consumed by the urge to translate his feelings onto the canvas, he painted with great energy and focus. He was inspired and the paint flowed. Again the nosy neighbor poked his head over the fence. He called out, “Sir, you are working!”
“No,” said the artist, barely pausing with his brush, “I am resting.”
In some professional environments, it is not enough to show up and say good morning. You must mean your good morning; you must smile; you must say clever things to make the clients laugh; you are expected to participate in conversations when you’d rather keep your head down and work. If you meet these expectations, you’ll be making the cut, but you won’t always be considered above average.
I have found that, as a collective, we are becoming increasingly sensitive to vibration. It bothers us a little more than it used to when the cashier at the grocery store seems aloof or when someone, even a total stranger, acts out their frustration on us. We do our best to brush it off when this happens. “I know I shouldn’t let it upset me,” we say, as we continue to be upset. This was my experience at the arts and crafts store recently, when an employee gave me a gruff answer and vaguely pointed off in the distance in response to me asking where the sketch pads were. “Hello!” I said cheerily first, and my smile faded as she looked at me as though I had just spoken to her in a foreign language, her expression a mixture of confusion and annoyance that said: “Get to the point.” It took me a while to shake off those few seconds, and yet I could understand the factors that may have driven her to answer me the way she did. I understand not having a smile readily available. I understand, perhaps more than the average introvert, not wanting to interact with another human being in certain moments.
I have found that, if I am genuinely at peace in my environment, it is easier to smile or seem sincere when doing so. (If I were running my own business, I would certainly drop the expectation of being a silent worker bee.) Even if I am reasonably content, I still go through my days and moods where it is easier to say as little as possible and focus on my tasks. When I am in a sad or worried mood, for example, this is soothing to me – focusing on what I can control, one item at a time, while releasing worry about what I need to be or do for others beyond the scope of my job and the sake of professionalism. Writing holds such a draw for me because, for a writer, it is acceptable to be wound in deep, existential thoughts and to spend a great deal of time alone.
Sometimes, I long for the days when I could show up to work and speak minimally without being thought rude, cold, or impersonal. I have always had a good work ethic, and that used to be enough. People used to praise me for my silence or tell me that it was calming to them. Someone I knew in Los Angeles told me, “I like it that you don’t feel the need to fill every second with talking. It’s comforting.”
I remember riding in the car with my dad as a teenager. He was often away from home, so when I had the chance to see him, I had saved up in my head all the things I wanted to tell him or show him when I saw him again. I tended to talk his ear off when I was with him. As an adult, I am more like my dad – quiet, unassuming. I remember asking him back then, “Why don’t you say much when we’re together?” He told me, “Sometimes it’s just about being together, not talking.” That has always stuck with me. Now I love to just be with people.
Before that experience, I used to associate silence with getting the silent treatment or a similar punishment. Silence was meant to say: “I’m pissed at you.” My dad made me realize it could mean: “I’m calm and content in your presence.” It could mean: “I love you.” I understand where people are coming from when they interpret silence negatively, but I say all this to make the point that our minds do not need to go there by default. If a silence is negative, perhaps we can focus on compassion for the person (or for ourselves) instead of thinking about what should be different or feeling irritated at the other. Giving the other person space can help them too, perhaps more than you realize.
Some people enjoy confiding in others about their problems, but I don’t. There are a very select few I will turn to when I have something deeply troubling (or exciting) on my mind. When what I feel is too deep to be shared, or I am incapable of communicating it properly, comfortable silence is extremely healing for me. When someone can feel me out and understand that I don’t want to talk in a certain moment, I consider them golden. I trust that. When people are not looking to needle what is going on inside my head or expecting something of me, it creates the effect of me wishing to open up to them more.
I have never liked to talk for the sake of filling the void, even as a child. I mentally stored items to tell people that I connected with and felt excited to connect with them when those opportunities came up. But at church, school, or around strangers, I kept my answers to the point. As a little girl, if someone said, “That’s a pretty dress you’re wearing!” I said only, “Thank you.” I meant my words but did not feel as though I needed to do anything further to deserve the compliment or please the person who gave it. I did not feel the need to chat about the store where the dress came from or give them a compliment in return. Many children, I have noticed, are like this – and that is what is so refreshing about them. They do not fill the air with pretense or feel the need to be anyone other than who they are.
We do not put the same expectations on children that we put on adults. Expectations can stunt growth, while openness and acceptance can help others to blossom. When I can tell that someone is resisting something about me, I feel reluctant to change it. We all resist certain behaviors and vibrations to some degree; we cannot always help how we feel. In those cases, it is better to be upfront without being accusatory about feelings in hopes of helping the other person (but not forcing them) to understand us.
For those of us who believe in comfortable silences, or prefer silence for working and thinking, interacting with the rest of the world can be a struggle. It is a challenge not to seem aloof. It gets tiring to be so aware of what others feel, even to the point of codependence. There are some that say the label “introvert” is just a hall pass for being an “asshole,” but this is not practicing compassion or cultivating a sense of understanding for the inner worlds of others. I have moments where I feel physically tired after having certain conversations. Everyone carries a different energetic vibration – some are uplifting, and others aren’t. Not everyone is as sensitive to these vibrations, or even if they can pick up on the mood of the person, they don’t necessarily take it on or feel exhausted after dealing with them. Sometimes I need a nap after being around good energy – my talking stamina eventually wears out, even if I am with someone I love very much.
It has taken me quite some time to write this entire blog, which brings me to another point. For us strong and silent types, it does not always come naturally to put the workings of our minds into words. Sensitivity creates an entirely new language within the soul of a person – this language is highly individualized and difficult to teach to another. Every now and again, you may encounter a person with the same inner language as you, but chances are that you will not need language to communicate with them, only intention, perhaps your eyes and your touch. Talking will be an option, but it will likely not be your preferred method of communicating the most important concepts. When you have a soul bond like this with someone, treasure it. Just be, together, as often as you can.
To close, I will leave you with the concept of Yugen. Yugen is a Japanese word, and it means: “An awareness of the Universe that triggers emotional responses too deep and powerful for words.” It is the sort of experience in which words fall short and cannot do it justice. I have many of these moments in my life, and they have been occurring with greater frequency and synchronicity since I have started to notice them.
“To watch the sun sink behind a flower-clad hill, to wander on and on in a huge forest without thought of return, to stand upon the shore and gaze after a boat that disappears behind distant islands, to contemplate the flight of wild geese seen and lost among the clouds…” – Yugen as described by Zeami
The increase of Yugen in my life has resulted in less talking. Of course, I still understand the need for pleasantries and small talk. My inner and outer worlds have not yet fully aligned, so these things are necessary. Sometimes I sacrifice my authenticity for keeping up appearances. I do not do what I want to do to avoid angering or upsetting others.
I do not think of myself as the aforementioned hall pass “asshole,” but I do hope that my words can help those who may find trouble being compassionate toward those who do not meet their expectations in social or professional settings. Many of us strong and silent types are here to make the world a better place, but we can be held back by the unkind images that people hold of us.
My cup is overflowing with compassion and understanding, the kind that can only come from true non-judgment.
Many times, I have wished I could stop the sun from setting. Sometimes, it was because I wanted a moment to last forever, despair setting in as a speck of bliss receded further and further into the past. Sometimes, it was because events inevitable as a sunset would unfold over the subsequent days, and I worried that I would be forgotten. Forgotten, my lost soul would wander the universe, looking for somewhere to place the energy that rushes just beneath my skin. I wanted fiercely to give my heart to a person, to house it in a concrete place, but I have realized it is better to give it in varying amounts to many people, channeling my pent up sacral energy into the abstract.
I have become obsessed with the sun and moon in my writing – subconsciously – but perhaps we are all similarly occupied with the objects in our physical world that bring on or signify change and cycles. I seek ways of describing my experience in a way that makes sense to all. People who point out over-used metaphor are perhaps missing the point. Everything in my life is art, and the symbols that are meaningful to me (and collectively) may change over time. I know this.
But why should I not be everything I am, with at least some measure of reckless abandon? Even knowing that change is inevitable as the movement of planets and our shifting sky?
I celebrate the times that my bliss vanished behind the clouds, for they have taught me to appreciate warmth to a degree that I never have before. They have taught me to savor love but hold it with gentle hands, leaving space between my fingers. They have taught me to be fully in my feeling without being attached to it or drawing my identity from it. At the same time, detachment is not shying from peace, contentment, and love because they may change forms or seem to disappear over time. To the contrary – it is embracing them along with the acceptance that some day, you may be called to let them go, for a time.
The body can be a canvas, just as the mind and heart can be. I lovingly assume responsibility for mine. I don’t search for meaning anymore – searching implies that something is missing – but sometimes it chooses me.
The rune on my wrist is called Sowilo. The sun. Holy fire. The passion that burns inside me. A flame that may seem to falter on occasion, but that ultimately cannot be vanquished. “…the sun sets; the moon sets; they are not gone.” (Rumi)
The impermanence of phases is folded into the permanence of strength that is faith-borne, a quiet knowing of purpose that never goes away despite external appearances. Its meaning is very deep, but this is the best way I know to describe it, for myself.
Jealousy is something that has plagued me for most of my life, and as I was meditating last night, I decided I wanted to rid myself of this green-eyed monster. This is the level of understanding that I came to.
Jealousy occurs when someone else has something (or someone) we want. The desire usually boils down to attention, understanding, a good relationship, which can be further broken down into love. Love is our essence. It is something that can never be taken away from us. How can we lose that which we already are? Before you say, “I’ve heard that a thousand times,” and roll your eyes, let me go on to say that when I examined my jealousy, I realized I was getting caught up in the human story based on separation. This story was accompanied by unloving thoughts like, “I cannot believe I wasted my time on this person for so long.” (To explain all that is wrong with this idea would take another blog post, so I won’t go into it here. Suffice it to say, nothing is a waste of time. Nothing.)
When we become jealous, we are telling ourselves a story. The story usually goes that someone else has something that we do not have, because they are somehow better, and we should beat ourselves up for not being like them. If we were more like them, maybe we would have what we want by now. Furthermore, that other person is very happy with this thing they have that we don’t have, even if we don’t have proof of that and have never spoken to them once. Even if all we know about them is their name (or less than that), them having what we want is definitive proof that they are better and more deserving than us, and we should go crawl in a hole and die.
See how silly some thoughts become when they are observed? And just like that, they lose their power.
Spirit relayed to me the concept of mirroring in answer to my thought that this other person is better than me. We are all mirrors for one another, but different types. Have you ever noticed how different you look in mirrors at various places? I have looked at myself in dressing rooms, hotel rooms, and my own room, and I have seen many different versions of Holley. I tend to like myself best in the hotel room mirrors, because they make me look thin and even a bit taller. I bought my home mirror on the cheap from Walmart and sometimes feel like a troll when I look in it. People are like this, too. Some of them trigger us and show us our shadow selves – the anger, jealousy, inadequacy, abandonment, etc. Others show us the light. When someone tells you, “You are beautiful,” and they hold space for that, you see your light and find it easier to act in ways that show your light. If someone tells you, “You are worthless,” it will likely spark a reaction in you that will cause you to act in a way that reflects this idea to you and the other person.
People will not often come up to you and tell you these things in such a straightforward manner, but they will reveal how they feel about you with their energy. If their energy is not ideal for supporting the best version of you, then even if you hold the very best intentions toward this person, you will not see proof of this reflected by your interactions with them. If you still feel drawn to this person, perhaps it is a lesson in self-love for you. I have noticed my interest in interacting with him diminished as I perceived deeper levels of my value. The love I feel has not faded, but I want to be a better person, and it is extremely difficult for me to be that person with him.
This realization can hurt, and that is okay. It is only natural to miss what was when you have loved so deeply, even if “what was” was not so great. But you see, there is no need to be jealous about any situation. If you were supposed to be “better” with the one you love, then you would be, because they would be holding space for that energetically. Chances are, if they are not going to change, life is going to put someone in your path who is going to help you see your goodness. It is important to have an open heart when it does, and faith that the universe/God/Source is loving and wants only what is best for you.
When jealousy comes up, it is difficult to think rationally enough to remember these things. Within these words is an energetic transmission of deeper understanding that I know will stay with me and you.
Spirit woke me tonight, placing an important message on my heart that is to be shared with others. Sometimes, it does that – and so I am speaking to you as Holley, since I do not have the energy to channel at the moment, and also because I hold a perspective that found this message useful. This perspective will be helpful in relaying the message to you. It relates to love and its connection to the physical realm, how we express it, the longing we feel when we cannot bring that energy to physicality with our Beloved…
Put very simply, it is this: Sex is not love. Attention is not love. This message is specifically for those who seek love in these mediums but have repeatedly fallen short of finding it. This is also for those who look for their Beloved to love them in these ways, but feel any kind of lack from this seeking.
Sex and attention can be ways we express love, but they are not always, and I would venture to say that they often are not. Look at what you’re seeing in the news lately – sexual gestures have been used to express just about everything but love. We give our attention to this and all kinds of ugly things each day to rant about them and thereby perpetuate that energy. We give our attention to our loved ones, friends, coworkers, but we are not always doing so in a way that is present and kind. When I started to truly listen to some of the couples I know, I noticed that they often spoke to each other in demeaning ways that were masked as jokes. Just about every other remark was intended to “tell” or make small. Very little of it came from what felt like a true place of love. Many of us view this as normal, because we grew up with it. That was just “how things were.”
Going back to sex – even if we are or were in what we believe to be a loving relationship with someone, we are not honoring ourselves when we have sex just because our partner wants to or we worry about losing them or hurting their feelings if we do not. Many times, for me, sex has been an escape, a way of grasping at a relationship that was on its last limbs, or a way that I looked for something outside myself. I wanted to feel a certain way, or I wanted to get high, and I believed sex could help me achieve that. It never worked. I have held on to so much shame over the years, shame that I am finally releasing so that I can talk to you about this now. I was having sex for many reasons, but love was not among them, even when I was in a relationship.
There are so many of us – myself included – who may say that we no longer believe love needs to look a certain way, but feel as though something is “wrong” when we are unable to express love through physical intimacy or cannot access the attention of our Beloved at a given point in time. The way we love is changing, and if you are reading/resonating with this now, you are a pioneer of this new way. Let the old fall away. Do not buy into the idea that something is “wrong” with you because you are not in a relationship or not often physically with the one you love. If you are alone a great deal of the time, God is not punishing you, so please try to stop seeing it this way. (I find affirmations helpful for this – “God loves me, and I trust in His love.”) If something is not coming to fruition, it is either because it is still developing or there is something better intended for you.
Sometimes, a period of spiritual gestation can feel like a “no” when it isn’t. What feels like a “no” may be a “wait.” If it is time to move your attention to something or someone else (that someone being YOU), you can do so lovingly and without burning any bridges.
I will say it again, because it is so important: being alone for any length of time does not mean there is something wrong with you or that you are being punished. The ability to be alone takes exceptional mental and emotional fortitude. I have lived through two cross-country moves, one of which I did alone, and experienced crippling depression and suicidal thoughts as I did so. But would I take any of that back? No, because if I did, I would not be writing this now; I would not be on this healing path; I would not be learning the lessons my soul chose for me to learn. However, I did not understand that until recently, and much of the time, I did see it as God punishing me. I wondered what I had done wrong and wanted to undergo a past life regression to see what sins I must have committed in another lifetime to deserve this. But that’s not necessary – all that’s necessary is to tune into NOW and ask, “What am I learning from this?” Whatever comes through is what your soul chose to help you experience humanity at its fullest and to make you stronger and wiser.
If you are alone and learning to love from your heart rather than your ego, magic is intended for you. We’ve had to go through this heartache as part of shedding the ego and coming back to unconditional love – yes, coming back, because somewhere along the way, we forgot. But we did it once, so we can do it again.
If we are physically separate from our Beloved, we can always learn to energetically connect and lift our energy for better physical experiences with that person. Look for evidence of the truth that we are all ONE. If we yearn to make love with that person, but cannot, look for ways of channeling that energy into something that makes you feel good – be it art, healing, learning, service… or exploring your sexuality more in spiritual ways.
We could spend every day of our lives with a person and not truly love them. Many do, for many reasons, with fear chief among them. That is not to say your Beloved is choosing this, or wrong for not choosing you, or “unawakened.” There are many reasons that we do what we do as humans, and the best we can do is try to understand but face up to the fact that we know nothing.
The point I want you to take away is that your love is not any less “real” because there is no physical evidence of it, or you’re not in bed with that person, or seeing them every day or even every month or year.
I have spent much of my energy looking for confirmation of my love or wanting to see it returned in some way. Had it been returned, I would not have discovered my soul. I do not believe I am meant to always be alone, but for now, this is where I am and I trust it. The people I have loved and still do love are my muses, unlocking my soul’s truest words, cheering me on in spirit as I become the best version of myself. The people you love will do the same for you. You just have to let them – even when they aren’t doing what you want them to do, or what you think they should do.
Let the old fall away. Just like that.
I pray that you have found peace in my words and love you, always,
Happy New Year, friends! Lately, God has been speaking to me through this Lennon & Yoko song. I found myself referencing it in a poem, and then it showed up on my social media feed several times in just a matter of days. Granted, this is a popular song around the holidays, but it has spoken to me particularly since I understood the power of choice. I’ve always thought it was interesting that the subtitle is “If You Want It.” Who wouldn’t want war to be over, after all? This was my naive manner of thinking when I first listened to Lennon’s solo material at the tender age of thirteen – now, as I am reading our President’s tweets about his “nuclear button,” I am seeing that, indeed, not everyone wants war to be over.
Some argue that everything is a choice, including emotions. I do not agree that we can choose our feelings, although we can choose the stories we tell ourselves that influence how we feel. In every moment, we have a choice between fear or love, peace or clamor. Some may not realize they have the power to choose, for they may have patterns of response so deeply ingrained that they feel at a loss to choose differently.
I saw two quotes, one right after the other, as I was on my Twitter feed today. One said, “This year, I hope you choose self-love instead of self-improvement.” The next was printed on a photo of Steve Harvey lifting weights, and it said, “Don’t stop when you’re tired. Stop when you’re done.” Seeing the two so close together further reinforced the power of choice. One does not need to be better than the other… but they are two completely different thoughts. I know many who would resonate more with the Steve Harvey one, and many would think that resonating more with one thing means that the one thing is “better than” the other.
It is human to see things in this way, as one truth being superior to another. I shake my head at most of the President’s tweets. I catch myself judging people – for instance, the neighbor who walked outside in her Mickey Mouse pajamas this afternoon. I judge myself, my own clothing choices, my food choices, and I even judge my judging. Judging is a choice, too. Sometimes we have to choose not to beat ourselves up for our choices. We can choose to be peaceful with ourselves, and then carry that out to others.
We can disagree with someone and remain peaceful. We can be heartbroken and remain peaceful. There have been times that feelings of loss or disconnect have been utterly gut-wrenching, and the times I chose to stare quietly off into the distance over attempting to control the events that led to the heartache, I felt much better about myself and the situation afterward.
There has been a war going on inside me for so long now. I felt like it was my job to make people love me, and if they didn’t love me, I felt that there must be something more I could do, or something that I must not have been doing. It finally clicked into place toward the end of December, after a powerful Reiki session, that it is not my job to make people love me. I can express what’s on my heart, but if it does not resonate with the other person, it does not have to mean that I was wrong to express it or that there is something unlovable about me.
War can be over, if you want it, too. We have choices every day about what we consume mentally and physically. Sometimes we will make choices that we’ll wish we had not made, and that is okay too. In any moment, no matter what you have done, you can choose peace. If you’re not choosing it now, you can choose it… now, or now… or now.