Realizing 

 

I was stuck.

I wanted something so bad, but my linear thinking made it impossible for me to move, let alone to move in a direction that would actually get me where I want to go.

So I stalled out.

Last year was a heck of a year.
ALL THE THINGS came up. (For details you can read my blog entry down below 👇 titled, Sincerely, 2023.)

I was being uncomfortably directed by the Universe to look at everything, and either let go, reshape, or allow it dissolve into mySelf to become a part of my expression.

I lost my social media accounts for some inexplicable reason, and I thought, okay well I don’t need social media, it’s just something they say I have to have. Maybe I’ll just forget that and see what happens.

So I did. I let go of my presence on social media for almost a year, and most parts of that were glorious. I was actually inside my life instead of trying to avoid it or show it off.

I shared what I was doing via email and text, and the circle was really small.

It felt real. But I didn’t have any influence or reach beyond my circle of friends.

So, that’s what that feels like. Okay.

I traveled back to Austin to play a songwriter festival in Dripping Springs, and to finish the vocals for the full length record I had started in 2022.

My first performance at the songwriter festival felt like my most terrible performance in years. I was stacked on stage with these 3 other incredibly powerful voices, and by the time I got to my turn, my little ego had collapsed in on itself, the sound was poor, the audience was disengaged.

It was triggering. I know why.

I’ve never felt like I belonged in the Austin songwriter scene. It’s competitive and it acts like a caged animal. There’s not a lot of room for odd ducks.

I’m not, like, a super odd duck, but I’m strange in the sense that I do care more about building community than I do about the ladder, and most people just don’t really seem to trust that.

That’s okay. I know where I’m coming from - most of the time.

At the festival my ego was in charge.
The ladder builder.
It had something to prove.

“You’ve come so far,” it said, “you have to show these people that you belong here.”

Well. I didn’t belong. Again. Still. Because I still felt like I needed to belong.

I tried lamenting to some new friends about my struggles after I got off stage - still triggered - and nobody wants to support someone else’s ego.
So I lost touch with people. There I was, helping to build a ladder, and I wasn’t even welcome on it.

That ain’t who I am, ma’am.

I can be that way, but thankfully I know myself beyond that.

So, I was learning to forgive myself for my ego, and moving on.


Then I had to record the vocals for my full length record - the one that was gonna make me proud.

I’m tellin you guys, the stars really did align back in 2022 when we recorded this thing.
The musical production is DAF, the arrangements, everything. And all I needed now was the thing I was scared of most - MY vocals.

Back in 2022, I had so much faith in this record.

I chose to make it with Sam Rives, Jordan Matthew Young, and James Gwyn - the band.

I had played music with Sam (bass, vocalist, ultra musician). I knew he got what I was going for.
Sam suggested James for drums. And I asked my hero friend, Jordan, to play guitar.

They’re astounding musicians, and I had faith that it would come to pass just as I knew it could.

When we went in it was magic.
We had so much fun!
It was totally connected.

Y’all, between then and now, I had built this project up SO HIGH in my mind. I was planning to use it to speak for the entirety of my musical self.

What a fuckin setup.

Of course when I recorded the vocals in October, they just were what they were. It’s just me.
No matter how you cut it, I’m always there.

The problem is I’m always just not good enough.
I never seem to be able to get on my own side.

I came out of that session (after handing over a stack of cash) thinking:

How in the world am I going to make this worth it?
It’s just a record.
Nobody listens to records. Nobody cares about 40 year old women tryin to make their dreams work out.

These were the thoughts. It doesn’t mean they’re true, but I sure believed them.

I had a three day drive back across the country to my small town, and I had a giant queue of YouTube videos to listen to on the drive.

One of the very first videos I listened to was Dan Koe’s One Person Business Model.

In 2 minutes in I was hooked.
This guy was talking straight to my face.

Dan’s content is so motivating, so paradigm shattering that it enabled me to draw a completely new map for my future reality. A map that had broad, sweeping highways, intricate cross sections, intimate dirt roads, and a fuckin chunnel.

I finally began to see myself as more than a songwriter.
I began to see myself writing. Creating a path for myself through the work I already do.
I saw that I just needed to organize.
Follow my own plan. Package it up.
Sell it.

KNOW MY WORTH.

Not everyone wants to buy your product. I don’t even have a product. But I’m building one.
I’m learning marketing. Persuasive writing. Social media strategies. Content creation.

In that 3 day drive, my entire life changed. Not because my circumstances had changed, but because my perspective had shifted to encompass the most expansive view of myself I had ever seen.

In the span of an hour I decided to I wasn’t going to use this project to complete me.

Y’all - I just LET GO of that.

Why not think of creation as a simple allowance of the expression that’s already there?

I got home. I started writing. I started to film myself.

Wow.

Talk about triggering. I had a real problem with the way I look.
My sense of worth has long been tied up in what I look like. [Sorry, dad, but I do have a memory of saying to you one time how I thought Janis Joplin was so beautiful, and you said to me - “Janis? Well, you must have been looking at a good picture, because Janis is a dog.”]

Janis reminds me of something deep inside myself. What am I supposed to do with that judgment as a 12 year old girl? I layered it on.

Of course I don’t blame my dad for his programming either - it’s passed down. It’s simply something to be recognized, so that I don't have to live by it.

I do know that there is something inherently beautiful in each unique expression.

Beauty standards get people to conform and buy into a system of self-doubt and self-hatred.

Well, I bought in from childhood.

Trigger, trigger, bang!

But it was a few short weeks of recording myself, figuring out the lighting, camera angles, makeup, blah blah blah, before I realized the other day, I just don’t really mind how I look anymore.  

Haha, wtf? How did that happen?

I might never have come to that if I didn’t just start filming myself. Really taking myself in.

Of course there was a ton of judgment at first.

Tears, annoyance, fatigue.

But all of that was me figuring out how to love the expression that I AM.
That I AM allowing.
In each moment. What a difference. What perspective.

This is just a simple little update, and an answer to my own question from 3 months ago - How?

LIKE THIS.

Watch Yourself (Wake Up) 

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WHAT IS PRESENT MOMENT AWARENESS?

I remember some of the first times I heard people talking about presence, I just couldn’t really understand the depth of their words.  The idea was there, but it felt like vapor - it had to be more than what I was thinking, otherwise it wouldn't be a topic of conversation.

At the time I was identified with my thinking mind, believing that I was the accumulation of all my thoughts and experiences.

 

Presence is an experience.  It is not possible to understand from inside the mind.  The mind is only able to recognize facts or details about experience, and to form concepts - ideas about experience.

 

THE MIND CANNOT HAVE AN EXPERIENCE OF SOMETHING.

IT CAN ONLY RELATE TO SOMETHING THROUGH THOUGHT.

 

Presence is so simple that the experience is often overlooked.  The mind is busy talking about the stuff we experience in the present moment, and so we do not build a recognition of presence, we simply allow it to be covered over with thought - descriptions, opinions, comparisons, labels, and judgments.

I once heard a popular music artist talking about how performance is greatly enhanced by being present. I didn’t understand what that meant at the time, but it always stuck with me, as though some part of me understood the impact of her statement.

Several years ago as I was reading Eckhart Tolle’s book, A New Earth: Awakening to Your True Purpose I became completely at one with my true identity - for a few days at least…

 

⭐️ FANCY ⭐️

 

All this means is that I awoke from myself as a mind-made personality, and into myself as PURE CONSCIOUSNESS.

This connection with the true Self isn’t something new in my experience - I was very aware as a child, and had the recognition of myself as that awareness.

I didn’t have a real understanding of what the awareness was, though, since I had never experienced a contrast to enlighten my understanding of it.

 

IN ORDER TO KNOW PRESENCE
I had to experience the turmoil of living one step removed from all of my experiences.  
I had to pay closer attention to the dialogue in my mind than to experiencing reality.

 

It was only after living inside the prison of my mind that I could experience the contrasting simplicity of living in present moment awareness.

 

I had long wondered where the magic that I felt as a kid had gone.

 

It was buried.

Underneath heaps and piles of conditioned behaviors that I identified with.

Being “good”.

Being “right”.

Being a “know-it-all”, since that’s really what the mind is/does.

 

When I finally re-experienced that familiar state as an adult, and felt the impact of letting go of all the conditions of my mind for a brief moment, I was able to truly understand the value of being aware of the present moment.

OF BECOMING CONSCIOUS.

A whole new world opened up right above the old one, and I was able to experience the glory of present moment reality as it truly exists - another dimension -  heaven on earth.

I was able to experience the timeless dimension of eternity - something the human mind cannot experience.

It was profound, connective, and completely unconditioned.

 

Amazing.

 

After a brief moment of dimensional juxtaposition, I gradually fell back into my mental patterning.

My mind became identified with frustration at the inability to regain consciousness - something it hadn't even experienced, yet found no problem taking credit for. 

Of course, this is just a trap the mind sets in order to get you to buy into it, and keep energizing it to keep it alive.

 

I have been able to reorient myself back to that place of awareness through some practices I’d love to share with you.

 

I hope there is something in here that will help you play with your awareness, too - and remember, play is something filled with joy.

When we play, there is no expectation of particular outcomes, and the mind is ripened with curiosity at where things may lead. Your mind is not IN CHARGE.

You’re not catching, trapping, forcing, or condemning. These are not playful states.  These are characteristics of the ego, or the mind-made self.

 

If you find yourself there, cool 😎
Just WATCH YOURSELF being those things. 
Become aware of your mind-made self, and simply allow the experience to become curious again.

 

It can actually be fun to recognize the ego, and to subtly learn to pacify it with a gentle, loving awareness of it - that's really all it takes to put yourself back into the seat of the experiencer.

 

You can once again find yourself as

THE CHILDLIKE ONE WHO EXPERIENCES LIFE

Rather than thinking you are

The mind that endlessly covers over experience with words

 

Go gently, my friends, it is a practice.  

You will miss it a lot - Eckhart so beautifully illuminates that the word sin, actually means “to miss the mark”.  

The point of experience is not to nail it.  The point is to recognize it.

 


 

A favored practice to experience present moment awareness is to:

 

WATCH YOURSELF PHYSICALLY ACTING WITHOUT COMMENTING ON IT MENTALLY.

 

1. Practice doing an action that you can watch from inside your SELF.

  • Watch yourself doing the dishes 
    • Look at your hands
    • Recognize them as your own
    • Feel the water, notice the temperature, recognize the small details of your task, and let the sensations in your body be the experience of this task
  • Watch yourself walk
    • Look at your feet as you cross the floor 
    • Watch the perspective shift as you walk
    • Notice the subtle shift in space between things as your position changes
  • Watch yourself drink water
    • Watch your hand grab your glass of water
    • Lift the glass to your mouth 
    • Feel the water in your mouth
    • Follow the water down your throat and into your stomach. 
      • If you wish, believe the water is fueling your energetic body - after all, water is highly conductive of electricity, and we are ⚡️electric⚡️

 

Oftentimes during mundane chores, we go completely unconscious.

Maybe you begin mentally complaining about the task - how long it will take, how boring it is.

Maybe you shut off your experience of the task by spinning some internal story about a conflict you believe you’re currently experiencing, and so you generate internal dialogue with someone, and energize the conflict in your mental body.

 

2. Practice feeling the sensations in your body while you do an action.

  • This step is as simple as feeling what it is that you’re touching
    • Notice the sensation in your fingertips as you type
    • Feel your connection to the chair
    • Feel the bottoms of your feet on the ground
  • Feel yourself breathe
    • Feel the breath fill your lungs 
    • Feel it pass back out through your nose or mouth
  • Internally feel for the electric pulse of your body 
    • Sit still and see what you can feel inside your body (closing the eyes can be very helpful here)
    • Try to feel small points on your body

3. Watch your thoughts

  • Chances are you think without noticing, so just try to notice what your mind does
    • Are the thoughts normal to you? 
    • Do you reprimand yourself for thinking?
    • Do you pretend to be perfect because you're not thinking?
    • What is the voice saying?  Is it familiar to you?
    • Are you annoyed?  Itchy?  Hungry?  Just observe - nothing is wrong or right here, you are simply here to WATCH YOURSELF

 


 

If you are having trouble connecting to the sensations in your body, you are not alone.

 

Alexithymia, described in an article in Stat News by author Shayla Love, is essentially a condition where people have difficulty understanding and interpreting their feelings.

It effects a lot of people to varying degrees, and it is believed to be a learned behavior.

In another fascinating publication, The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma, Bessel van der Kolk says:

 

“People who suffer from alexithymia tend to feel physically uncomfortable but cannot describe exactly what the problem is. As a result they often have multiple vague and distressing physical complaints that doctors can't diagnose. In addition, they can't figure out for themselves what they're really feeling about any given situation or what makes them feel better or worse. This is the result of numbing, which keeps them from anticipating and responding to the ordinary demands of their bodies in quiet, mindful ways. If you are not aware of what your body needs, you can't take care of it. If you don't feel hunger, you can't nourish yourself. If you mistake anxiety for hunger, you may eat too much. And if you can't feel when you're satiated, you'll keep eating.”

 

 

Essentially, people have been taught to override their body’s natural feeling responses to things because of external pressures.

 

Begin the practice simply. Please note that everything in life is a practice, and if you are not able to embody something on the first try, this does not mean that you will never experience it.

Showing up with curiosity in practice will lead you farther down the road to yourself than judgement and frustration - although these are natural experiences along the way, too.

The experience of frustration, or even hatred, is not wrong. 

If you wish to experience something new, you must recognize when you are energizing repeated patterns that are intended to make your experience familiar to the mind made self.

Make a decision who you would like to be at the helm of your life.

You, or your mind?

S P A C E 

 

There’s something called “space consciousness”. This is when you become aware of the space that you are.

The first time I truly recognized space (something the mind cannot comprehend) I awoke from my programmed state.  I was stone cold sober, and I have never felt more alive.

I BECAME AWARE OF, AND PRESENT IN, THE ETERNAL DIMENSION.

You should try it.

Right now you’re either interested in what I’m saying, or you’re completely identified with your mind, casting judgments on this line of contemplation, and cutting yourself off from the potential of experiencing something BRAND NEW.

If you are interested in unlocking this dimension in yourself, I will give you steps to practice.

But first you should understand 2 things:

  1. You are not your thoughts
  2. You are consciousness itself

Self-awareness is your greatest tool for unlocking deeper dimensions within yourself.

Your mind pretends to be you. It is not interested in the recognition of reality as a whole because it simply cannot comprehend it.

The mind is a material tool, it only comprehends the material world.

But this reality is both physical and nonphysical.  You are both physical and nonphysical.

An easy example to illustrate this point is how human beings feel emotion.

This doesn’t mean that all traces of emotion are nonphysical - some effects of our emotions can be measured. Some aspects of emotion, however, are only for the experiencer to comprehend, and this experience cannot be measured.

It has to be felt and interpreted.

 

Experience itself is not physical.  You can talk about it, but talking about it is not the experience.

See what I'm getting at?

 

Your mind functions like AI.  
AI can know a lot about stuff, but it cannot experience.

 

The mind is very, very good at organizing facts and arguments, and IT IS NOT AT ALL SELF-AWARE.

You are.

You are able to observe your thoughts, and contemplate the idea of yourself.

If you were your thoughts and the concept you have of yourself, you simply would not be able create the space between you and your mind to make any kind of observation.

Once you recognize that you are not your thoughts, your idea of yourself, or your beliefs, you will be able to access other aspects, or dimensions, of your being.

Did you ever wonder why we’re called HUMAN BEINGS?

 

Half of the self is simply being. What does this mean to you?

 

It is imperative for humanity to awaken to the deeper dimensions of reality in order to fulfill our destiny.

I WILL GIVE YOU SOME STEPS TO HELP YOU BEGIN ACCESSING THE DEEPER/HIGHER DIMENSIONS:

  1. Notice the things in your room
    • Are you sitting on a chair?
    • Where are you in relation to the window?
    • Does the room have a floor? What’s it made of?
  2. Notice the space in between things
    • Don’t determine the distance, just notice the space
    • Focus your attention on the nothingness
    • Recognize what may or may not exist in the space
  3. Notice the thoughts in your mind
    • What are they saying? Are they commenting on the validity of this exercise?
    • What is the feeling inside your body? Can you see how the feeling relates to the thought?
  4. Notice the space in between thoughts
    • Breathe to create space in your body
    • Pay attention: thought OR no thought
    • Use observation to keep the mind from filling in the space.  SIMPLY RECOGNIZE.
    • Can you create longer spaces between thoughts by observing your surroundings, and not labeling anything at all?
    • Recognize the sensations in your body. See if you can feel them without naming them.
    • Listen for your heartbeat. 
    • Feel your heart beating in your chest.

The type of awareness gained by practicing these steps may start out fleeting, or you could have a complete awakening like I did.  No matter what, you will begin to notice the space more and more.

Spaciousness will become a way of life.

In order to experience this as a way of life, you have to be diligent in your self-awareness. This means that any time you have the awareness to observe spaciousness in or around yourself, recognize it.

THAT’S IT.

It is so simple that most people overlook it.

If you want to unlock the deeper dimensions within yourself, you will look into it.  You will practice.

You must be intentional, otherwise your uploaded programming will continue to run on its own. The space in your awareness will be filled in with your story and all the problems that go along with it, and your main function will be problem solving all the little issues your false self creates to keep your attention focused on keeping it alive.

The artificial intelligence of your mind will continue programming your reality in a way that gives it a purpose for being here regardless of how it effects you.

It does not care about you. 
It is not interested in you. 
It is here to serve itself.

Do you want out or not?

Self-Actualize. Save the World 🦸🏻‍♀️ 

 

 

Self-Actualization - what a luxurious idea. 

In case you didn’t know, though, it is included on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.  It’s at the tippy top of the pyramid, and it feels like it could just be an afterthought - something only trust fund spiritual gurus of SoCal could pretend to experience. 

Maybe that’s right.

But maybe it really is something to consider as we map out our lives, and move forward toward the vision of ourselves within an emerging new world.

SELF-ACTUALIZATION IS THE DISCOVERY AND EMBODIMENT OF YOUR TRUE BEING.

Rather than constantly finding things to add to yourself in order to feel whole, self-actualization is an uncovering, or "dis-covering", of your true nature.

You do this by shuckin’ all the shit that ain’t actually you.

Most of us know that human beings have an ego identity, which is essentially the identity of the mind.  The EGO is all the things you believe yourself to be in this life. If you’re not careful, your mind will invite you to believe that you are it…  

And you’re scared of AI?

Your mind is like a computer.  Like it or not, it has been programmed. 

For the first 7 years of your life, your brain alternated between alpha and theta states - theta is the go-to state of mind for programming. It is a less active, more receptive state of mind. Your mind also enters into a theta state during times of relaxation, thus your mind is particularly vulnerable to “software updates" while you are passively watching television programming.  

Dude, look it up.

In the first 7 years of your life, you were programmed with the software that creates:

the reality you experience, and 

your ego identity 

for the rest of your life

That is, unless somewhere along the line you discover that you are something other than the programming in your mind.

 

So if you aren’t your mind, then who are you?

Let’s begin here:

Do you remember if there was anything that existed in you before your mind got a hold of things?

I do.

I remember vividly observing reality before I had much thought about it all. I just took it in. I enjoyed seeing all the different materials present in my room - quilted and stitched fabrics, the glow of soft lights. I remember hearing things that jingled, smelling talcum powder, knowing the love of my family.  

These things were all so simple, so engaging. Yet, I just observed them in the beginning. I simply saw them, touched them, heard and smelled them. The staunch opinions of my personality, and the conditioning of my generational programming had not tucked in to my psyche yet.

It was pretty glorious to live happily, and without a personality.

However, once I had a personality, I seemed to become my personality. Arguing for my opinions and beliefs like my life depended on it. Arguing for the survival of the idea of myself.

 

Well…

Who do you think you are?

What are some attributes of your personality?

I bet you have beliefs that you live by - most of us do. What are they?

What are the things you like most about yourself? How about the things you hate?

Chances are you’ve never looked in the mirror - looked straight into your own eyes - and said, “I love you.”

 

Why would you do something like that? 

Who does that?

My question is, how have we grown so disconnected from ourselves that we can’t even speak to ourselves in a brief, authentic, loving way? It’s not wrong. It’s not right. It is what it is.

 

IT IS PROGRAMMING.

 

The first time I tried to look myself in the eyes and say, “I love you,” I was so disgusted I could have punched the mirror.  Some people would punch the mirror.

To hurt themselves. 

Because they believe they deserve to be hurt. 

For who they believe they are.

Maybe that’s you.

I want to invite you to recognize something in this scenario:

 

If you were to punch the face in the mirror, you would be punching the idea of your face, but you would be hurting your actual hand.

 

This is what happens when we interact with our idea of something. We hurt ourselves or someone else in real life because we are thinking about hurting our concept of something.  We act out our thoughts in this reality.

When you look at the chaos on the news, don’t wonder why it is this way.

Recognize that people are interacting with their idea of things in the real world.

 

This is what is referred to as UNCONSCIOUSNESS.

 

People don't recognize what they're doing in reality because they are listening to the programming in their mind, they are thinking about something that is not actually happening, and they are interacting with the thoughts in their mind. 

 

The idea gets acted out in this reality.  We are UNCONSCIOUS of what we're doing.  

This is why Jesus said, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

 

I’ll tell you a true story. My regret is that this kind of thing happened throughout my entire life without my noticing, unconsciously, and there's no way to go back and change it.  I can only move forward with forgiveness for my unconscious actions, and recognize these movements as they come up in my life.

I have aligned with animals my whole life, and along with many other programmed qualities I’m gaining awareness of, frustration in my emotional body has been present for a very long time.

Within the last 8 years I began to notice that if I was having an internal dialogue where I was arguing or angry with someone in my mind, and I was on a walk with my dog, who was on a leash, I would sometimes wake up to myself angrily snatching the leash with impatience as my dog was sniffing or checking something out.

 

This was a real world action

because I was

experiencing an emotion of frustration

as I engaged in an

unreal argument in my mind.

 

Have you ever done this? Maybe someone has done it to you.

Maybe you’ve done it, but you haven’t noticed.

Maybe you’re beginning to recognize this in yourself.

 

If you add this as a fault to the list of things you think you are, you cannot help the situation.

If it is your intention, you will begin to notice yourself in the moment, make a choice to do something different, and learn to forgive yourself for having done it before.

 

FORGIVENESS is as simple as RECOGNITION.

 

Accept the facts as they are. Observe without opinion. It is the quickest way to become who you truly are.

I have to accept my programming as it is, so that I may deprogram myself to be who I really am.  

Unconditional.

This process is not a denial of my prior self, or a denial of any expression thereof.

Self-actualization is a path of transcendence, which means we encompass and surpass our prior expressions, we do not deny or mask them.  The mind denies, masks, pretends, justifies. 

If you feel the need to justify something, recognize the movement of programming in your mind.  What is it telling you about your beliefs?  About how you view yourself?  About what you think you deserve?

This is a key to unlocking the programming in your mind that keeps you stuck in patterns you don't enjoy, situations you can't seem to find your way out of, and a constant state of lack or loss.  

You're the only one who can save yourself, and you are the light of the world.  

Actualize yourself.  

Save the world.

 

Look in the mirror.

Do you accept what you see? 

Your true Self is untainted by the program your mind has been running.

If you have done unlawful, unloving, unforgettable things, you are not those things.  

You have been covered over by those things.  

It's time to dig yourself out.

 

You don’t have to say it out loud.  

You will know by how you feel when you find your eyes in the mirror if you truly accept yourself as you are.

 

You are not wrong if you don’t accept yourself

You have been programmed

But what does it take to accept yourself so you can truly be yourself? 

It is repetition that programmed you, and repetition that will reprogram you. You choose the reps.

 

I started with affirmations.

I love yous in the mirror. 

"I AM" statements of all the things I wished I was brave enough to be.

I AM willing to change. I AM a beautiful singer. I AM healthy. I AM strong. I AM enough. I AM gifted.

Then I moved to more specific statements.  

I LIVE in a house that I love.  It is filled with light.  I know my purpose.  I bring beauty to whatever I touch.  I heal myself.  I love unconditionally.

 

My current affirmations goes like this:

 

Thank you, God, for giving me a complete understanding of how to use my voice. (I write this on a piece of paper and tape it to my water glass, and I drink the words in).

 

Your mind is your tool to use.  It is not meant to be controlling you, you are meant to be using it to create a life you love to live.  Why wouldn't you reprogram a system infected with a self-destructive program?  

 

REFURBISH YOURSELF

 

I expect my affirmations and prayers to be created.  I don't wish for things.  I know that what I love exists, and I am willing to change so that I may align with it.

 

I understand what it's like to be afraid of what you might change once you open your mouth to speak your true desires into existence.  Don't you want the choice?  If not, you probably didn't make it this far down the page.

 

You don’t have to believe the things you have been programmed to believe.

You must begin to see the programming in order to choose whether or not to change it.

THIS IS UNCONDITIONAL LOVE

THIS IS SELF-ACTUALIZATION

Let Me Go 

There's always a gap before entering a new chapter.

Turn the page.

Re center your eyesight on the message.

Recently I traveled to Austin to finish a full length Alt/Country record I started in early 2022.  I played a songwriter festival, and a few other shows around town.  My network has dwindled.  My performances were not great. On my two day drive home I felt exhausted, moody, scared, let down.  

I have a habit of holding things up high and developing more meaning around them than what's actually sustainable.  

I'm sitting with the songs, and, again, I'm letting go.

I'm letting go of the ideas I have held about them over the past year and a half.  A realization I keep having is, no matter what I do, or how far it seems I've come, I'm always just right here.  

It's just me.  

I'm the same as I've ever been, albeit with deepening understanding and experience, but I'm the same.  How, I wonder, is that going to carry where I believe in my heart that it will?

The answer I'm hearing from my guidance within?  

By letting it.

I would say my greatest obstacle to following my true path is my own opinion about myself.

Who is that in there?  The one demanding perfect pitch, the “right” songs?  All the best angles?  Well, who or whatever the fuck it is, it makes me feel bad about where I am in this moment.  BUT IT'S WHERE I AM.  Why should I feel bad about that.  It's a liar.  I've tested it.

I do know that when I look at that part of myself from a compassionate perspective, I can see what it's trying to do.  It's trying to save me.  In that way its job is to poke holes in what I'm doing before anyone else does.  

But the truth?  

Nobody else is even interested in poking holes.  They just want to see the creation.  They want to hear the song, see the picture, watch the video.  And if they are interested in poking holes, it's probably because they're listening to their own shitty version of the thing inside that's trying to poke holes before someone else does.  

So what happened this week?

I played an open mic with one of my very dear songwriter friends who I haven't seen play music in a long time.  I made some new connections, too.

Brandon Greathouse - GR8 - is a rapper and producer living here, in Truckee, came to the open mic and performed his original music, and it was elevated, joyful, inspiring, and it totally landed with me.

We exchanged info and got together last week and made a song.  In an hour.

The process invited me to stop overthinking.  I didn't have time to second guess.  He was so encouraging, and he just kept helping to propel me toward the next line.  Now the chorus.  Now the finished track.

When I came home, I thought of it as a rough draft.  

I showed it to my partner, who told me immediately to post it.  Release it.  Give it up.

I didn't believe him.

Then my longtime songwriter friend said the same.

Then I started to hear it from that perspective.  What if it is kinda good?  Not because it's perfectly crafted, but because it's not.  

What if I embellished that?  What if the version of this song is so special because it just hasn't been handled too much?  What if it's perfect in its imperfection?

I made a video 👈 

Same thought process.  It's not enough.  It's too small.  It's imperfect.

Let me go.  Those are the words of the song.  

I don't think too hard, I don't wanna fall apart, and almost as an afterthought, reminding myself again, I don't think too hard.

Welcome back.  Every step is new, and you're doing what you want, how you want to do it.  You're inviting back all the aspects of yourself who love you as you are, and truly want you to be yourself.  

Raw. 

Unedited.

Simple.

Imperfect.

Beautiful AS IS.

Okay.  Thank you.

 

 

 

 

Sincerely, 2023 

Finally.  Here is a moment of relief.  

It's been a difficult year.  

I've let go of so much.  The challenge seemed almost impossible at first, but I'm really beginning to understand how reality likes to work. 

You don't keep anything in the end, so what is the point of holding on to everything until then?  Especially when the things you're holding onto aren't even real, or essential to experiencing joy, love, peace, or the fulfillment inherent in truly living life.

PART I

In November 2022 my partner and I moved from Truckee, CA back to Austin, TX, and upon moving back into our house, we realized: 

⚡It was infested with cockroaches.  
⚡The sewage wasn't draining properly.  
⚡The water heater broke. 
⚡A tree fell on the roof.  
⚡In January, we adopted a kitten, and he had ringworm.  He gave it to everybody. 

Things were not going well. 

I woke up in the middle of the night to a cockroach bolting across my face.  Like, DID IT HAVE TO CHOOSE THAT ROUTE.

Not too long after that I was brushing my teeth before bed, and I unhinged the lid of my retainer box.  There were two cockroaches inside. 

ON. MY RETAINERS. 

Okay, it was personal.

I'm not gonna lie, I gained a lot of respect for cockroaches during that time, but we cannot live in the same house.  I'm lucky that my partner is a master at reality, and he was so determined to evict the colony that it only took about about two months to exile them completely.  

⫸ By the way, Jesse started the entire process by putting on YouTube videos of cockroaches - cockroach farms, cockroach facts, people who eat cockroaches, and I think it kinda helped.  They're actually really social and sweet creatures ⫷

But that's beside the point!  I still have PTSD when I see a dark spot on a wall.

•          •          •

We had just come from Truckee, where the land is public and almost infinite in its sprawl, there's clean water everywhere, and our pitbull, Ellie, was 

👑 THE QUEEN OF FREEDOM 👑  

When we got back to Austin, she was hot, restricted, lonely, and bored so we got her a kitten to help ease her back into her life in the big city.

Enter Lincoln, so cute and tiny and sweet, and we all fell madly in love with him 😻

As nearly all of the kittens adopted out from Austin Animal Center do, he came with ringworm.  I had had one prior experience with the fungus from another adoption of a shelter animal 10 years prior, and thought it would be a small issue.  

It was not.  

The ringworm was all over all of us (and our house), and we were on the internet several times a day trying to find ANY new information on how to eradicate it, but all the same sites had all the same noncommittal information, and we were relegated to following steps in a nightmarish sequence, where each thing only minimally helped, but all were essential to the process of eradication.  

⚡We separated them 
⚡We covered all our furnishings with sheets and changed them twice daily 
⚡We did 🤔 ….a thousand loads of laundry every day?
⚡We scrubbed walls and mopped floors twice daily
⚡We bathed both animals daily 
⚡We invested in a Woods Lamp (which showed us where the ringworm was growing in the hair follicles) 
⚡We applied Lotramin to ourselves and the ringworm sores on the animals every few hours. 
⚡Ellie and Linkie were given an oral medication daily, which, the vet explained, would take 3 WEEKS to kick in.  

One day, since we knew that ringworm effects the hair follicle, we lit up our trusty Woods Lamp in the darkened bathroom, and found all the spots on Ellie where the ringworm was beginning to grow into the hair, and we shaved those sections before they could into sores and spread even more over the furnishings and us.  

HA!  Got out in front of it.  

We put her out in the back yard.  She got a sunburn.  Her skin was sore to the touch.  We began apologizing and applying coconut oil to her ringworm spots and sunburn several times a day. 

WHEN WAS THIS GONNA END???  

The ringworm tried to rear its ugly head a second time after 12 weeks, but we went to some backwoods vet in Garfield, Texas who prescribed us THE REALLY STRONG STUFF, and we finally got rid of it.

•          •          •

Around the same time, early in February I got a message saying that my Meta accounts were suspended, and if you want to know more about that, you can read my first blog post titled, “Quantum Disentanglement”, but eventually both profiles were permanently disabled.  

•          •          •

In late February, I got the news that my longtime sister friend, Liz, who lives in Truckee, had been in a terrible car accident, and that she was unconscious, and had suffered a diffuse axonal injury (DAI), a type of Traumatic Brain Injury. 

PART II

Jesse and I moved back to Truckee.  

For the prior two summers I had worked with Liz at her wedding venue, Dancing Pines.  Two other gals had been her core staff since the beginning, so it was determined that we three, along with Liz's husband, would run the venue for the summer of 2023.  There were 18 events on the books, along with a slew of tours for 2024 bookings, venue clean up and general operations.  Their beautiful site is located in the Tahoe National Forest, and operates off the grid, which is challenging in a normal year.

Consolidated and planned seamlessly by our fearless 2023 leader, and Liz's second coordinator in command, the season actually happened with very little upset.  No brides cried, at least not by our doing.  

I cried a lot.

Lizzy came home from rehab in July, and so fortunately I was invited to be one of her primary caregivers.  This was all thanks to the generosity of her family to make it possible for me to be there.

She came out of rehab labeled a high fall risk, and she could not hit her head at this stage of her recovery.  It had been very clear - she cannot have another injury to her brain.  She will not recover from it.  

⚡⚡As she climbed into bed for a nap on that first day I was with her, I was trying to help her get her body into the bed.  We were both laughing as she finally got her knee onto the side, and then flung herself into it, her head just barely missing the wall.  
“Oh, my god,” she chortled.  I was shocked at how that could have gone. 
“Elizabeth!  You have to be so careful, dude.”  
“I know," in her hoarse voice as she laughed, "can you imagine?”  
In our disbelief of her situation we laughed until it hurt.⚡⚡

I began to recognize little ways she was lacking in self-awareness.  I could see how much she was becoming herself, but this also kind of clouded my ability in the beginning to see her deficits for what they were.  She really didn't have the cognitive ability to understand the gravity of her situation because of her brain injury.  

She needed constant help and eyes on her at all times.

Eventually she was able to start taking walks around Dancing Pines, and inevitably, because she's a boss - like, the kind you want to be - she would see things that were out of place, messy, or just felt wrong, and we would work to move things, clean up, and figure out organizational solutions.  

She has always been super organized, so I took this as a very good signal that she was coming back to those skills.  

We would spend several hours every day between Liz's therapies going through things at the venue, but the caveat was that she didn't have much memory from the prior year, and she was not retaining much in the way of new memories.  She would move or throw things away that she didn't recognize as essential, and I would hear later that the item was needed by someone else on site.   

Sometimes we would do something at the venue, and she would forget that we had done it, or why we had done it, and the next time she might make a request for a different solution.  

I realized in the moment one day that we don't just have patience.  We practice it.  

Liz is a leader.  I would have unquestioningly followed her into a fire before her accident, and I wanted so much for her to be able to gain back her ability to lead as soon as it was possible, so I had to be really careful not to get frustrated with her in these moments.  

It was kinda hard.  

One day she didn't remember how I had previously moved 80 reception chairs from one area to another, and when she thought about having me move them back.. I cried.  

Luckily, she did have an understanding of what was happening, even if she couldn't remember everything, and we learned to laugh about those things, too.

Every time Liz sails a new hurdle, I beam at her in admiration, inspired by witnessing someone I admire so much shine a light in her moment of darkness, and I'll say, “She's back!” 
“She's back,” she'll reply, her smile shaded with introspection.

PART III

Lizzy is cognizant now of what a long recovery she is undertaking, and no part of it is easy.  There's always some reminder she isn't who she was, but then again… are any of us?  

What is the point of holding onto our prior selves?  Our achievements, our goals?  When they don't apply to our current situation, don't they just hold us back from accomplishing what is in front of us?  

I believe that all of the situations over the past year have been literal riddances of parts of myself that were not real.  They were made up. 

The cockroaches, while admittedly very fucking real in the moment, were also illustrating something overgrown in myself - something unhealthy.  Because a few cockroaches here and there are not all that bad, but an infestation of creatures feeding on decay within the walls of your home is an indicator of something much deeper.

The ringworm, same.

The sewage drain, same, same.

The tree falling on the roof?  Maybe it was to knock me over the head and get my attention. 
“Hey!” It might have shouted,  “What's going on in there?”

Same with the cold water.  WAKE UP.

The expulsion of me from the social media platforms I had been relying on for over a decade to source my sense of identity was a real blow.  I knew it was an identity crisis by this point, but I had no idea what that even meant.  Who am I now if I'm not even allowed to participate in this?  

What really riled me up about it was that I was expelled with no explanation, apology, or indication of my wrongdoings.  It felt like I had just been erased with no explanation, and it felt like a different kind of death.  

It felt like murder.  

Ego Murder.

Yeah, I'm guilty of finding fault in myself based on some concept I have about my identity that I'm failing to live up to.  That's so pre Two Thousand Twenty Three.  

Ego Identity.  

I'm sure I'll go back there some more, but I'm understanding the message now.

Sincerely, 2023

Out of the most challenging situations, we can either learn to rise from the ashes, or be blown to the wind.  

I don't believe either is inherently good or bad, so long as we are choosing what it is that we want.  At some point, we may eventually succumb to the wind, but so often I've allowed myself to be blown this way and that, with the thought that I'm just dust, not the wind itself.  

I am ready for a new paradigm.  Limitless belief in what I can accomplish from my true identity.  Unlimited frames for viewing who I am by what I am interested in learning and creating, and by how I process the reality around me.  

Sure I'm a songwriter, and for a long time I've looked at myself through that very limited frame.  But that means I'm a writer, too.  I'm a generator of ideas.  I'm able to relate what I've learned to others, which means I'm also an educator.  But these labels don't do much more than to enable me broader frames with which to view myself in the world.  

I AM A CREATOR.

I know how to take what I've experienced and synthesize it into something meaningful, and I can grow out of the stage of dust I've been in, so that I may feel the wind of my own current brush past the pedals of my flowery face.  

I AM IT ALL. 

For the first time in a long time, I have a clear path forward, and I am applying all the skills I have acquired to who I am, and expressing it. 

And I trust that this process is showing me to my true identity.  The identity of my soul.  Something that can never be evicted, exiled, eradicated, disabled, expelled, murdered.  I AM something to be shared lovingly with the world. 

Head Trauma 

On February 22, 2023, my longtime sister/friend - a woman I've shared endless support and humor with over the past 18 years - wrecked her car into the back of a box truck driving home to Truckee on Highway 80.  Nobody seemed to know if she would live or die, and if she lived, how she would come back from it - a traumatic brain injury holds so many unknowns.  It was a fragile first week, I checked in with her husband as often as I could to try to fill in the picture with any new information.  Nothing.  Nothing.  News:

The swelling in her brain had necessitated the draining of her cerebral spinal fluid, and at some point after the first week, they thought the swelling had gone down enough to allow the fluid, a huge healing property, to be re-circulated within her skull.  

I flew out to Reno be with them, and when I walked into the ICU room, she was lying in a complex looking hospital bed among tubes and wires and pillows and bags.  She was dressed in a gown, and had a boot on one foot, her limbs frail and her body moist with sweat.  The room was cool.  

I was shocked into recognition of the facts:  My best friend was in the worst condition of her life, and I couldn't even tell if she was inside her own body.  Within the few days I was there, we saw improvements.  She was experiencing neurostorming, which is the body responding to the trauma in the brain, firing nerves and muscles in an attempt to stimulate the body into action.  

At times, her husband would take her hand and ask her to point her finger, and seemingly on queue she would move the muscles in that hand.  Sometimes it seemed very deliberate.  Her eyes were closed, and she had a tracheotomy, the worst of the worst necessity, which had to be suctioned a handful of times each day, and it was painful to watch, and must be an excruciating experience.  Luckily, they told us, she wouldn't remember any of this.

I flew home, and she was moved to the top neuro-rehab facility in the country to begin her rehabilitation.  Every day there were small improvements, and when I flew to Denver in March to visit, I saw glimmers of her there.  Her eyes were open, and she could track objects, and when they said my name as I walked in the room for the first time, she watched me walk over to her.  I helped with her tubes as she was lifted to standing, assisted, but just three weeks after her accident.  

Within those few days I visited her in Colorado, there were more monumental improvements.  After the first day I spent with her, the nurse assistant dressed her, set her in her wheelchair, and walked me down to the hospital entrance to say goodbye for the night.  I knelt down before her, told her how much I love her, how happy I was to be there, and that I would see her first thing in the morning.  She looked me in the eye, and smiled her big toothy smile, the one she is famous for - I couldn't believe it!  I asked the nurse assistant, “Did you see that??  She just smiled at me!”, and I threw my hands into a rock and roll sign, and she smiled even bigger and tried to imitate my hand gesture!  I was ecstatic!  Elated - there was my girl, strong and determined, and I couldn't stop smiling.  I'm still so proud of how much she had to put together to share those huge gestures with me that night.

The rest of the weekend followed in a less profound way - as many of the days of her recovery have done.  Some forward leaps, and much treading water to stay afloat.  She was less lucid most of the weekend, and experienced more agitation with all the stimulation she was experiencing.

I had to return to Austin, but my darling life partner and I planned to move back to Truckee in May to be there for Liz's return.  I wanted to be there to help her.  She was going to be putting everything back together in a foreign mental landscape.  This is a woman whose determination and will characterize her - she will do whatever it takes to accomplish what she wants, and she doesn't give up on herself, or anyone else, for that matter.  In fact, she had been the first one to encourage me to move to Austin to pursue my dream of creating a life focused on music.  Her words in a note were, “Go to Austin and kick ass.”  

For now she is regaining herself - she returns home at the end of June, and she is looking forward to being done with rehab and getting home to her family and her life, although the return will bring a lot of new hurdles for her.  She continues to improve every day, her sense of humor is beautifully in tact, and she is regaining a lot of emotional fluency and memory.  

This is the most difficult thing I've ever witnessed someone undertaking, and, as ever, my friend is one of the biggest inspirations to me.  She is such a crucial part of myself, and as she recovers, so does my heart.  As she fortifies, so do I.  I am in awe of the journey she is undertaking, and I am seeing how she will come through this journey in full strength and grace.  Come home and kick ass, Lizzy.  I know you will 🤘

A Candle in the Wind 

 

Tell me, does anything ever truly stand still?  I have felt at times as though the world is falling - so fast - and I'm hanging in midair, the parts and pieces of everything slicing through the space close to me, my hair suspended, my limbs floating.

Even then, when I am most still, I am moved by my breath.  And by the subtle lap of my own emotions playing quietly upon the shore.  I am moved by the rich landscapes of my imagination, which imitates my wishes, and brings them to life.

Always in nature, a stillness precedes expansion.  This does not mean there is no movement, but nothing to excess, and all movement is within arms' reach.

It's not easy in this climate and culture to accept the value of inertia, and even parts of my own psyche gather in droves to condemn it as laziness, apathy, or resistance. But there is a little flame inside which knows its own fragility within the movement of things, and at times it's best not to disturb it with too much airflow.

 

 

 


 

The Cycle  

 

We rode our bikes around the east side when the sun finally showed.  A sweet scent of magnolia blooms and roses and wet ground - all the moisture, summoned upward by the light, was carrying their essence.  Isn't it alarming how quickly things dry out in this heat?  And the clouds hang overhead in vast heaps, reminding you of what you've just been through.  A promise of the cycle.  

…..

I'm always delighted when I see a church steeple.  Its simple beauty is cliché, but it works.  Its purpose - to direct attention to the sky, where the end doesn't exist, and the vastness goes on forever.  Where the point is, there is not an ending, as it might seem, but a continuum, and one thing just leads right into the next with hardly a gap in between. 

….. 

Perhaps all the beauty there is in the world exists simply in the pointed attention we joyfully dole out as we roll by.

 

 

Quantum Disentanglement 

I don't want to assume that you've come here looking for me after finding my Meta pages dead. You’re probably my mom, or a distant friend I haven't seen in 10 years - hi :) - but if you have been searching, here am I.  A part of me, anyway.  My presence on social media has been truncated.  In its place a sign from the universe - perhaps my time is better spent living life in real form.  I've suspected it, but somehow the shocking prod of modern pressures and the pursuit of myself as some distant version of me out there on the horizon have driven me - an innocent cow - through the chutes of a present day (meta) reality to be branded and vaccinated, cleansed of my essential nature, and commoditized for your consumption and someone else's profit.  Well, fuck that. 

In February I got a message through Instagram that I had violated community guidelines with three of my posts. I wasn't informed what posts had been flagged, and I think that my Facebook account must have been hacked, but none of this was told to me, I had to piece it together on my own.  I uploaded my ID to prove my identity as required by the site.  After checking back occasionally over the next 8 weeks, I pulled up the page one day and was blandly informed that my account has been permanently disabled.  I experienced a moment of grief, silently flooding with tears.  I got angry.  Mostly because it seemed very unfair that all the work and care that went into building something on that platform could be switched off with such sterility.  For over 10 years these profiles were how I stayed connected to a community of other musicians, artists, friends and family.  

My partner thought that I could get my profiles back if I wanted to badly enough.  There are avenues I could have taken to get in contact with someone at Facebook to prove that I am who I say I am, but the biggest part of me - a part that will never need to be proven to anyone - told me to let it go.  Let it fall off and see what happens.  What about the argument that I need those profiles if I want to play music and book gigs, to be legitimate in this endeavor?  The deepest part of me feels like something bigger is happening.  

What do I need?  What do I deeply desire, miss, long for?  The real thing, baby.  I care about the things that connect me to this earth.  Things that connect me to others and bring out the humanity in me. I don't need something that quantifies me into groups of data, as though all the information that could be collected on me could make up the whole of who I AM.  No.  Those systems are tools that humanity has created, they are not That what creates us.  I am willing to let go of the parts of my identity that don't give me what I need to live a strong, healthy, balanced life.  And I'm curious what I'll create from there.  I'm happy to share what I'm doing on this platform, and I am committing to showing up for my crafts - singing, writing songs, music, prose and poetry, taking photographs, painting, working with animals, and moving my beautiful physical vessel for the good of my soul.  

As my good friend Brent Guilbauldt says, “Thanks for lookin and listenin!”  Thank you for your support, I hope you feel free to comment and let me know how you're doing and what you're up to.  I miss you.  See you in the real world real soon 😘 

Love ,

Megan