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Waking up at 5:30 in the morning instead of 3:30 is a significant triumph these days.
I will take my significant triumphs as they come.
Last night was a blissful pass-out-at-ten, wake-up-at-5:30 experience. When I squinted blearily at the clock, I thought it said 3:30 in the blessed am and I was all set to groan and feel put-upon by life when I realized it was actually 5:30. That’s a decent chunk of all-strung-together sleep. I can work with that.
At 5:30, it’s reasonable to get up. By the time you’re dressed and in your car, coffee shops will be open with brewing beans and warm interiors. Not so at 3:30 am. Get up at 3:30 am and all the coffee shops have to offer is dark doorsteps and sadness.
Sleeping is a weird biological imperative. We spend half our lives drooling and snoring into a pillow. Go without it for awhile and innocent passersby beware. Go without sleep for too long and it’s actually dangerous to our health and sanity.
But it also makes complete sense. Sleep is when our brain gets a true rest. Even if our brain is swimming in the murky subconscious, at least we don’t have to paddle with it. We just vaguely remember something the next morning about being chased through Nordstrom’s by a giant lady bug in roller skates.
Sleep is when we drop out of the fight / flight space our nervous system is so often caught in and allow our bodies to heal. Sleep is when our body repairs itself, when our energy knits itself back together.
Sleep is when our higher selves and guides have a chance to work with us - especially if we ask for it, invite it in. Bypassing the whirl of my brain is one of my higher self’s most dire challenges, I expect. So every night before I go to sleep, I ask my angels to bring me my highest reality. To assist me in whatever I need to call in my highest good.
Then I drift peacefully off, trusting that they’re taking care of me as I snore and drool. Trusting that my body is healing and my energy is shifting so that I can wake up the next morning and step back into whatever it is I’m meant to be doing on this spinning blue marble.
One of my less charming traits is that I get impatient and frustrated when things don't happen the way I think they should, in the exact timing my brain has chosen.
I've been wanting a dog for ages. Years. One could make a solid argument for decades.
Earlier this year, I fixated on it. Determined it was Time for the Dog. Looked at ways to move into a pet-friendly place, even though I love my house and my town. Whined about it more than was really attractive.
Mostly it was because I was lonely. My relationship wasn't going well and, in my efforts to learn how to operate as an empath with good energetic and emotional boundaries, I was spending a lot of time alone, to better sort through what was mine and what was everyone else's.
Moving didn't happen, dog didn't happen, things I was deeply determined I wanted didn't happen.
Instead, I watched a neighbor's labrador puppy a few times over the summer. Sweetest, most adorable dog you could imagine. Also the most exhausting. I could not keep up. I worried about her, gave her too many treats in hopes that she wouldn't notice that she wasn't getting adequate exercise, and eventually crawled home completely worn out.
And I realized I don't want a dog. At least not right now.
Yes, I will have a dog at some point in my life. But for now, I think I just want a lethargic cat. One that will nap with me, and encourage me to stay in bed. One that will lie on top of my computer and nose my book out of the way so I pet it. One that will be 100% fine with too many treats in place of exercise.
I still can't go out and adopt a cat, at least without moving or begging my landlord, neither of which I'm really in the mood for.
But I can go to the cat cafe in San Francisco and spend an hour with a bunch of kitties and drink a bucket of green tea.
Maybe tomorrow will have a different answer but, for now, borrowed cats. Lots of them.
I'm having the kind of breakdown I tend to have before a massive breakthrough.
Going gently with myself in these moments is key. Don't push too hard, don't expect too much. Now is not the time to expand.
It's the time to soften in.
Notice the present moment, the cloudy sky, the orange leaves scattered through the green, and how lovely it is that you have the ingredients for sweet potato soup and a cashew pumpkin spice latte without having to get in the car and go somewhere.
Tidy the house but don't scrub it like the queen is coming for cinnamon rolls.
Write random song lyrics instead of pages.
Know that the money is coming and you don't have to push for it.
Know that love is coming and you can delete Bumble after a brief spiral through the Human Shopping Network.
You can take it an hour at a time. You can breathe into whatever the experience is right now rather than trying to blast through to the next one.
You can just be. Get excited about the breakthrough without trying to force it. Like a skittish cat, it will come out from under the bed in its own good time.
I want everything in my life to be as easy as getting my new car.
Florence is the unicorn of Mini convertibles. She’s everything I wanted and what I didn’t think was possible.
Perfect condition, a price I could manage (not a guarantee with Minis, even a little), and drives beautifully. Apparently, the people who make cars keep improving their products. So if you’re used to driving a 2005 and are suddenly behind the wheel of a 2012, it’s like your entire vehicular world has just been blown.
And everything about the process was easy. None of it should have been.
The very nice car dude who was consistent about handing me snacks, something I deeply appreciate in a person, kept saying, “I’m not really sure how this is happening, but it seems to be working, so let’s just go with it.”
He said it when he showed me the car, which had just been traded in a few days ago by a couple who just used it to drive to the beach. (Hi, Marin County. You’re hilarious.)
He said it when they offered me more for Penelope (my 2005 Mini) than anyone could have anticipated.
He said it when we sent in the financing and it was approved in record time with a super low APR. (I work for myself and that is what it is, but can make financing things weird.)
Here’s how it unfolded, and I’m saying this mainly to remind myself how easy creating the things I want can be, if I just let the process happen:
Know I’m going to need a new car at some point, so keep feeling into what I want (Mini convertible) and being open to something else (any other car in the world).
When the time came and I knew I had to get a new car - not just for my vehicular safety and that of everyone around me, but because my heart couldn’t take the stress any more - I didn’t think too much about it, just decided to visit the Mini dealership as a first step and see what the possibilities were.
Got the strong hit to go Saturday morning, as early as possible. So I did, where “early as possible” = “almost 11 in the morning” and was the first to look at the Unicorn of Mini Convertibles.
As I drove away in my New To Me car, bonus Toad the Wet Sprocket CD I found in the player blasting, another couple was looking at convertibles too, about an hour behind me in the process. Had I been any later that day, they might have scooped up Florence.
But as Nice Car Dude With Snacks said, “Sometimes the person chooses the Mini, sometimes the Mini chooses the person.” And Florence chose me.
I want everything in life to be as easy as getting Florence. I want to let events unfold, follow the intuitive nudges, and know that everything will happen perfectly, however that looks.
Because, voila! That’s how Florence appeared out of nowhere, in the easiest and most joyful manner possible.
Thank you and more of that please.
This is how I want my next relationship to show up. This how I want my next work project to unfold. How I want my new white winter jacket to show up, the one I saw last week and absolutely loved but didn’t buy because it was full price and my frugal little soul sometimes struggles with full price. (Please note, new-winter-jacket-that-will-be-mine-soon matches Florence. Not really on purpose but also not not on purpose.)
When Sally and I had our first adventure with Florence, we fell in love. She drives like a race car (I say, having never been in a race car) and I couldn’t stop smiling as we hurtled around the bends and loops of the California coast. Neither could Sally. Though, admittedly, it can be hard to tell with her.
Welcome to this weird little family, Florence. Thank you for showing me how easy this life thing can be when we allow it.
You know how sometimes you make a grave tactical error and then have no choice but to soldier valiantly on and pray you don’t die?
Yup, me too. More often than I’d like to admit.
My intuition is bang on target about many things.
Just a few days ago, I was walking toward the town square and thought “Maggie’s here.” Maggie is a lovely woman I have met maybe twice at a friend’s house and know very little about except that she has cute kids and does not live in Marin County. So there was absolutely no reason to think she would be sitting in the square I was about to pass. But, sure enough, 15 seconds later, there she was. It was a random and very efficient intuition barometer.
Just a few hours ago, I was sitting in a coffee shop reading Harry Potter - my favorite autumnal activity - and drinking a pumpkin spice latte - my favorite autumnal guilty pleasure - when I looked up and smiled at a woman walking past. As I did, I felt her energetically hook into me and thought, “Whoops. This is about to get interesting.” Sure enough, a few minutes later she initiated a rather bizarre interaction that showed me my energetic boundaries are doing better than I generally give myself credit for, because I was able to be kind without allowing her to pull me into the fear she was swimming in.
But sometimes - usually when I’m thinking too much - my intuition fails me quite spectacularly.
My initial hit was to rent a car for my jaunt from Mill Valley to Half Moon Bay, a journey that’s about an hour too long for the current health of my 13-year-old Mini Cooper.
But trying to wrangle a rental car would have meant driving 25 minutes in the wrong direction and ultimately became annoying enough a process that I just didn’t want to deal with it. So I thought, “Eh, it’ll be fine. Penelope will make it.”
To be fair, Penelope did make it. Both of us are still alive.
But about twenty minutes into what turned into a deeply harrowing day, I realized I had allowed my optimism to get the better of me.
A few hours later, I was flat-out praying. To god, the angels, the flying spaghetti monster, anyone who would help me get home in one piece.
Again, to be fair to my intuition, I did get a very strong “We will get you home safe.” But, as my car made grinding noises on mountains and dials flailed wildly in the ominous red zone, I wondered if perhaps I was confusing intuition with optimism again.
I wasn’t. I got home. It was fine.
But deciding not to pay attention to the “let’s make life easier and rent a car” intuitive hit bought me one rather terrifying day.
However, it did convince me that it’s time for a new car, something I had been steadfast in avoiding because I love Penelope and don’t want to give her up.
But our heart-pounding, hair-raising journey across bridge, through city, and over mountain is not something I’m ready to repeat. And there’s no point in paying California rent if you’re not going to go gallivanting through all the abundant beauty she’s got on tap.
So, after five years, Penelope and I have had our last long adventure together.
I’m sad to say goodbye. She was the car I wanted forever - and finally got after my dad passed away and buried a lot of money in the ground. Buried treasure which helped me snag Penelope when my old car died so soon after my dad. So she feels like the last thing my dad ever bought me. In a piratical sort of way.
May my next car bring me as much joy as Penelope did.
(And may I never experience a drive like that again. It was the vehicular equivalent of spending an afternoon with the albino in Princess Bride. It didn’t actually kill me but it definitely shaved a few years off my life.)
Make friends with any and all neighbors who have baby goats.
If you want the pumpkin spice latte, drink the damn pumpkin spice latte.
Ask all your first dates what they would do if you accidentally got pregnant. This will save a lot of time.
If you can’t make it to a friend’s birthday party because your car is acting sketchy, and your friend’s husband offers to pay for your Lyft across four towns, a bridge, and back again, take him up on it. It will have surprising effects on your life.
Don’t worry about how well you love. You love just fine.
Take your triumphs where they come.
Do more of whatever makes you happy. Wear the unicorn t-shirt, swing on the swings, chase the seagulls, eat the burrata, put your stuffed otter in the front seat, buy yourself flowers, write love notes and scatter them wherever you go, text your ex, dance like a muppet on a pogo stick, make beef stew, read your favorite book for the seventeenth time.
You’re also allowed to be cranky whenever you damn well feel like it. It’s fine.
This morning, I woke up super grumpy.
It probably has a lot to do with waking up at one in the morning several nights in a row and not going back to sleep until around 5:30 and being woken up 90 minutes later by obnoxious noises. (I felt bad for momentarily hating people who were just doing their job, but power saws before 8 a.m. inspire deep hostility in the under-slept and under-caffeinated.)
As I walked downtown to get some coffee and a waffle with more sugar than is good for me, I decided to revel in the grumpy. Resisting the grumpy tends to make me even crankier, but sinking into it like a warm bath helps. Exaggerating the grump always makes me feel like the curmudgeonly old muppet hecklers, and that’s just funny.
But when your baseline for the day is set at Cranky Jerk, it takes a bit more effort to keep yourself from creating more Grump-tastic situations. (I already failed at the coffee shop by taking someone else’s drink which made the drink maker person cranky which - curse of the empath - made me have to fight off their cranky along with my own.)
My best tactic for shifting into a higher state - whether it’s up a few notches from cranky or fear or whatever human experience I’m swimming in - is looking around and noticing the small, lovely details around me.
Steam rising off my chamomile citrus tea. A gnarled old tree reaching its branches toward the sky. The silky black and white puppy straining against its leash on the sidewalk outside. My pink jeans. A striking girl in an outfit I’m certain she just threw on, but still looks like she stepped out of a magazine that sells beard oil and single source coffee beans. Sun glinting through the redwood trees. The clock on the square that’s been there since 1926. The preponderance of pumpkin coffee now that the calendar says autumn. Giraffes on my phone case.
It really helps, whether I’m trying to feel happier or more abundant or more taken care of or just less grumpy.
If that doesn’t work, I walk to this:
Being as cranky when you walk away from this as when you walked toward it is statistically impossible. That’s just science.
Honestly, all I can really say about my romantic life at this point is: WTF?
After being single for six years and then cycling through three breakups in three years, with a bonus miscarriage just for fun, I got no clue.
(On a date once, someone said, "It seems like you were born to be a wife and mother. So why aren't you?" My head almost exploded all over the bagel shop.)
That said, I do feel like I’m preparing for something.
I do know that this divine partnership wouldn't be calling me so vehemently and relentlessly if it wasn't part of my path.
I do feel something big on the horizon, even if I don’t know what - precisely - it is.
If you're feeling this too - fist bump, soul-friend.
While all my guidance is around surrender and prepare and don't-worry-about-the-details-little-miss-wants-to-know-all-the-things, I have gotten that October is going to be a BIG month for those of us on this divine partnership path.
Who knows what that actually means, but it sounds fun, so I’m game.
This morning, it popped in that I should do some group healing and guidance sessions with Mary Magdalene and Jesus on this, because they have that divine partnership thing down. They love this stuff. They live for it. (However multi-dimensional ascended masters can be considered to live for things.)
So here’s a here’s a healing session Mary Mags and Jesus, to get some clarity, some heart clearing, and hear what they have to say about stepping into divine partnership:
We teach what we need to learn and, oh-my-flying-unicorn-cakes, romantic love and partnership is a big lesson for me.
(So is money! And work! And self-love! I GUESS I'M JUST SUPPOSED TO TEACH EVERYTHING. Haha, sigh.)
We are all balancing between our human selves and our divine selves - this merry ascension process is about merging them into one. Just as the divine partnership path is about balancing our shadow and our light and peering over the precipice and into the sun.
(Or something. I honestly have no idea what I’m talking about.)
(At least my human doesn’t, which is why I’m doing channeled sessions on partnership over the next month, so hopefully my divine self can get my Amber self up to speed and help us all find some light and clarity and peace and excitement around our love lives. If you want to join me, message me here and I’ll give you the details.)
On Monday, the little voice in my head - the one I trust, not the one with brain hamsters that shoot spit balls at unsuspecting parties - told me to get the hell off social media.
Since I make it a practice of following these little nudges - said little voice has magicked me up a garden cottage in Hobbiton (or Mill Valley, if you want to be strictly linear about it) and is good at reminding me to pay bills and go hang out with redwoods - I got the hell off social media.
I haven’t had such a nice time in ages.
Yesterday, I made myself some beef stew in the crockpot, stared happily at my sunflowers, napped with crystals (hippie healing tip! put crystals on or around your body in any way that feels right and close your eyes for a bit and you will feel splendid upon waking), and generally enjoyed the utter freedom that comes with not feeling compelled to check instagram and twitter every 33 seconds.
We’re in a major clearing phase right now.
In the past month, I’ve started eating vegetables, taken eight bags to Goodwill, made sure my storage closet can’t attack anyone ever again, started running, culled my lists, and am generally lining my ducks up in a neat little row.
I’m preparing for something, I just don’t know what.
We all are.
So if you’re feeling the limbo: fist bump, my friend.
Here’s what keeps coming through for me:
Trust that everything is happening perfectly.
Surrender to whatever the present experience is.
Feel deep gratitude for whatever lovely things happen to be in your life, like sunflowers and beef stew and tasty avocado. Even if it feels exasperating. Like feeling grateful that everything you need is within walking distance when your car decides to sputter and die on a road where lots of people are following you.
Accept it all, with a lot of love for your imperfect-yet-glorious self.
I’m doing my best to listen, even when I forget for awhile and go all triggered and weird. Because, human. Yes, we are divinity in human suits, but sometimes the human suit gets itchy and shit goes down. No worries. It’s fine. We’re clearing old wounds and old stories, and that is not the easiest proposition in an itchy human suit.
Anyway, because of my social media fast this week, I’m not posting a zillion things in a dozen places all over the internet, so I’m funneling it all to this here blog for awhile.
Writing here instead of elsewhere feels like part of this clearing process. If I post some rambling exposition on Facebook, I’m assured of at least a few thumbs up. Maybe even a heart or two, and who doesn’t want a heart? Posting here holds no such sweet ego assurance.
A big part of the last few years has been about incinerating my ego. Absolutely torching it. Burning it down to the ground. Blazing it into ash.
(And the phoenix chuckles. My higher self shakes its head and says “Ah, that feisty phoenix.” My human self says, “The phoenix is a major jerk.”)
Not letting myself have that pleasant hit of dopamine feels like a good practice for me. In the same way that not obsessing over the perfection of my writing has been useful. For the past few years, I’ve been doing my best to let things go out into the ether without obsessive rewrites, because sometimes it’s good to give a jaunty middle finger to perfectionism.
So here we are. If you’re reading this, I hope you’ll hang out with me this week on this random corner of the internet!
As much as I congratulate myself on understanding grief - hey, take the wins where they come - there are still so many pieces that elude me.
Someone posted on Twitter about how today would have been her three-year-old's birthday if she hadn't miscarried, and that struck a rather resounding chord so I did the math and realized HEY ME TOO.
Perhaps that's the cause of all the emotions today. I don't remember what happened this time last year or the year before - I'm so emotional most of the time that this stuff honestly doesn't register until I'm sobbing wildly and it somehow clicks in that "Oh, it's my dad's birthday" or "Oh, the baby I miscarried would be three today" or "This was the day I finished reading the final Harry Potter book."
But I do remember the first year, and the first year was bad.
On my actual due date, I went to a dance class to make myself feel better. It was with a teacher I didn't know, and she was one of those who walks around the room, yelling at people to smile. (Which is super obnoxious, no matter what your gender.)
When she got to me and I couldn't smile - like, literally, couldn't, even if I had wanted to or was willing to, which I 100% was not - she stopped the whole class and started yelling at me about how I was what was wrong with Mill Valley and just because you all have money you think you can do whatever you want.
First off: Sister, have you seen my bank account? I had to use a credit card just to get into this $15 class.
Second: That all sounds like a personal problem that has no place in a dance class you're supposed to be teaching.
So I walked out of class and the tears that are always pretty close to the surface on a normal good day rushed up, post-miscarriage and random admonishments from a short she-demon in yoga pants.
As I was sitting outside sobbing, an older woman came up to me and crouched down next to me and just kept saying "Jesus te ama, Jesus te ama."
I didn't retain enough high school Spanish to read the Taco Bell menu, but that translated.
For every she-demon, there is someone who will send you love and sit with you as you cry.
On July 11, I turned 40.
Over the last ten years, I wrangled a lot more grief than I expected - and learned how to drink that particular cocktail without choking.
I learned how to feel.
I adopted Sally, my stuffed therapy otter.
I learned that I was an empath - and how to take care of myself so that I wasn’t spending all my time trapped in other people’s emotions and completely drained of energy.
Instead of doing what I expected to do - get married, have kids, maybe buy a house - I learned that riding the grief roller coaster clears space for joy. I learned that if a stuffed otter makes you happy, take her with you when you go. I learned that if there’s something you love to do...do it.
It wasn’t how I expected my thirties to go, but it was exactly what it needed to be.
I learned who I am and how I operate and what I’m here on this spinning blue marble to do. I learned that I'm happier when I'm exercising and sporting colorful fingernails. I learned what love looks like and what joy feels like.
Not too shabby for a decade.
So for my next ten years, I’m surrendering all my ideas of how I think things should go and allowing things to happen as they do. I’m making joy and following my soul the priorities.
So this is what I want my forties to be:
Riding giraffes and writing love notes (and more books) and snuggling Sally and going on adventures and allowing the chips to fall where they may. Because that feels so much better than trying to wrestle the world into doing my bidding.
I'll keep asking for what I want, of course, and doing anything it occurs to me to do to help it happen - but I'm going to be so grateful for what I do have and so fueled up by random delight that whether or not I get it will be barely a blip on the radar.
Because that's what freedom looks like to me.
My last date ended 20 minutes in after he asked "What would happen if you accidentally got pregnant?" and I said "I would want to have it" and he said "I would not want you to have it" so we shook hands and walked back to our cars.
This true ass story perfectly illustrates my current stance on dating. Which is: hahahahahahaNOPE.
Dating was actually going better than it's ever gone before - aside from that random 20-minute misalliance, I've never before been able to basically snap my fingers and have amazing guys pop in like magic.
But, as it turns out, I have zero interest in dating.
I don't want to get to know you. I want to get to know ME.
Even though I just turned 40, I still have so much about the interior of my soul and brain to discover. There's a multi-verse to play in, within me and in the other dimensions. Healings to do, dragons to channel, books to write, coffee to drink, friends to meet, goals to dance with.
So no more playing the numbers game, no more going out with random strangers in the hopes of finding the partner - I am now relying 100% on fate. Maybe fate will deliver, rom-com-style, maybe it won't.
It's amazing how much space in my brain this has freed up. I feel like I'm able to really truly enjoy being single for the first time, possibly ever.
There's nothing to do, nothing to worry about, nothing to strive for.
My future relationship is entirely in the hands of god, the angels, karma, my higher self, destiny or pure unadulterated chance. Whoever makes these decisions, I surrender entirely to you.
In the meantime, I'm going to take singing lessons, work a lot, FaceTime giraffes, dance as I clean my house, write animal stories, drive anywhere I please on weekends, take myself out to fancy meals, get my nails painted wild colors, go out in the city with my girlfriends, lie on my bed and heal the cracks, eat crackers for dinner, and genuinely enjoy the hell out of my life.
I’m feeling doors shut all around me - doors to past relationships, doors to former options, doors to old worlds that used to feel so comfortable.
All the doors needed to shut, but no new doors have opened up. I can’t even see the doors yet.
So I’m in an empty hallway.
The question is always, Do I transform the hallway or just keep walking it?
I have a lot of tools for empty hallways - flood it with light, create new worlds, call in the dragons, call in Mother Mary, dive into the dark pits that suddenly yawn beneath my feet, re-code the entire structure.
But maybe I’m just supposed to be in the hallway.
Maybe I’m just supposed to be with myself.
Maybe I’m just supposed to breath in the uncertainty without trying to change it.
Maybe I’m just supposed to trust that the part of me that can see more than I consciously understand in this moment knows exactly what it’s doing and I should just allow everything to unfold.
But I was definitely supposed to get a breakfast sandwich with bacon, so I’m glad I did that. Empty hallways are easier to face on a full stomach.
One of the perks (or downfalls, depending) of being a channel is that we tend to see our children long before they’re born.
The first time I saw my eldest daughter was the summer of 2014. She was standing in front of me at Super Duper Burger - which makes sense, because Super Duper Burger is basically my church - and I started crying into my lunch.
But until a few days ago, I had never seen my younger daughter.
She showed up while I was in Shasta, gave me a quick hi, and then she bounded off into the woods, probably chasing a unicorn or something.
This afternoon, I was hiking on Mount Tam as a hot, dry wind blew, and I dropped into some future where my second daughter gave me a bit more. By yelling, “FRIENDS AREN’T FOOD, MOMMY” before storming off as I sat on the grass holding a chicken.
I started laughing, because she sounded like a Prius bumper sticker, and then had to wonder if I threatened her pet with the soup pot? Or if the burgeoning little psychic had seen me, circa now, digging into a chicken sandwich with relish.
I suspect the latter.
Both my children are going to be sensitive little psychic powerhouses - and I’m going to have my hands full. My eldest daughter is connected with the angelic realm - and whoever decided “angelic” meant “sweet and cherubic” has likely never met an angel. Angels can be a serious pain in the ass. So can fairies. So, naturally, my younger daughter is connected with the fairy realm.
I’m really in for a ride with these two.
Me as a baby witch. My brother looking basically normal, which is misleading.
I think that’s why they haven’t shown up yet. They’re going to be born consciously understanding what’s taken me decades to develop and learn. I wouldn’t have been ready to help them until now - and I’m probably still not ready, which is likely why they’re holding off.
(If “angelic and fairy realms” sound like a bit much, I’m totally with you. Whenever I receive these things, I have to go through a period of “REALLY? Come on” before I end up just going with it, because my life would be so much less interesting if I didn’t roll with what shows up.
Because if you're offered a life with dragons or without dragons, who the hell says "No, thanks, I'll pass on the dragons"?
NOT ME. OBVIOUSLY.)
I have no idea when or if these spirit children will show up, but they keep dropping in to say hi, and other channels and healers keep picking up on them. I've had to go hardcore on releasing expectation and desire (hi, fortieth birthday while single) - which feels good and freeing. We'll see if they ever drop into the real world, the one where I'll be required to feed them and change them and keep them entertained.
They may choose to stay with the unicorns, as unicorns are infinitely more fun than parents who make you clean your room and eat green stalks grown in the dirt.
Naturally, as I typed that, they both yelled, "NOPE!"
We'll see, kiddos. In the meantime, have fun with the unicorns.
Which may be yet another cloud of hubris encircling my head, but I'll take it. Since my thirties yielded none of the things I expected (marriage, nope; kids, nope; career success that makes sense to my mother's book club, nope) and I'm now staring down the barrel of a brand new decade, I will take what I've been given and like it.
(While also sending up a request that my forties feature exponentially more fun and exponentially fewer grief cycles. Thanks.)
Here's what I've learned about grief:
Grief is the heaviest emotion.
As the grief rises through your system, it lifts every other emotion up and out with it. Misery, fear, sadness, anger, loneliness, you name it. It's a feelings cocktail mixed by one of Satan's underlings and served with a maraschino cherry.
So you think, "Well, hey. This royally blows, but at least I get a maraschino cherry." Then you bite into it and have to hack it into your napkin because it's so damn foul. You didn't even think it was possible for maraschino cherries to go bad, but then your horned bartender turns to you and grins the grin of someone who ruined a maraschino cherry on purpose.
I joke about hell's minions, and that's often how the process feels, but my father's death was one of the best things to ever happen to me. I say that feeling like a grade A twisted asshole in my human self and like it's 100% true and perfect in my higher self.
Being forced to drink the grief cocktail is nothing you'd ever want to put on your calendar, but it swept me clean of so much emotion that I'd been carrying around my entire life.
I think of my dad's death as my Cracking Open Moment. Those are the moments that shatter you, but in the breaking, you let all the sticky emotion flow out, everything you were holding onto and protecting without even realizing.
After you put yourself back together, you realize that there's so much extra room now. Room for joy, room for love, room for peace.
Grief comes in waves.
Sometimes when you're angry, you're really grieving. Sometimes when you're lonely, you're really grieving. Sometimes when you're pissed at the world and especially everyone currently driving a car, you're really grieving.
Sometimes you think you're done, and you aren't - and the grief wave knocks you into the sand.
See: grief cocktail mixed by Satan's minion. This time with gritty sand in indelicate places.
Don't beat yourself up for riding the emotion roller coaster.
Be extra careful with big financial decisions while you're in a grief cycle.
Everything is all over the place, so stay out of your bank account and away from your credit cards if you can.
But since life happens, you may need to sell a house or something. Call in someone you trust with a dispassionate perspective to help you do whatever needs to be done.
But also trust yourself. If you need to take some fancy trip, maybe that's the exact perfect thing for you to do.
(But don't do what I did, which is try to take a trip and then end up not taking the trip after paying for half of it. Whoops.)
Love doesn't die, it only changes forms.
I believe the more of the grief cocktail we drink, the more room is created for this to make sense.
Do whatever you need to do to get yourself through.
If that means developing a weird relationship with a stuffed otter and taking her on road trips, so be it.
Go on long drives with your therapy otter, take classes in things you're terrible at, read anything you want, eat fried chicken in bed, upgrade to first class.
Ramp up your self-care exponentially. Shower every day. Treat yourself like a toddler, making sure you've napped, eaten, cried, and played with crayons.
Let yourself feel without making it mean anything.
One of the grand challenges of being a human is allowing your feelings to be felt.
Feel them as physical sensations, as something passing through, rather than something that needs to be stuffed into your spleen until one of you dies.
As the feelings are rising, your brain will frantically try to give you reasons why the feeling is happening, and it doesn't care if those reasons make you feel better or not. So your brain might make those feelings mean something about you, something about your life. Do your best to disengage your brain from the process. Just feel. Let the energy move through your body. Up and out. Hush, brain.
Keep crawling through the tunnel of sewage, Shawshank Redemption-style.
Keep going, keep crawling, keep putting one foot in front of the other.
You've got this. It will pass. You will feel better. You will feel joy again.
You just need to move through this season of your life until the next season arrives with cherry blossoms and red convertibles driven to Mexico by Tim Robbins.
I have quite a history with frustration.
As a wee one, I would lose my EVER-LOVING SHIT if things weren’t exactly as I wanted them to be. I appeared in the world fully expecting it to conform to my whim. When it didn’t, I became confused and upset and, more often than not, a holy terror.
While it must’ve been quite challenging to raise me (sorry, Mom), I’m not sure I want to eradicate that tendency completely.
Because I see the world as a place where we’re all loved, all valued, all supported - simply because we exist, simply because we’re here, and we’re all our own weird and awesome expression of love and divinity. If I hold strong to this vision, the world will rise up to meet me. Kicking and screaming, but it will happen.
Despite all evidence to the contrary, I can’t help feeling - all the way down, in the deepest pockets of my soul - that this is truth.
Maybe if we all keep seeing the world that way, it will shift in that direction.
Because we create the world around us. My two-year-old self felt that (and she really wanted a world where her lacey socks never wrinkled - bless my dad for putting rubber bands around my ankles in an attempt to make it so). My 39-year-old self is finally catching up to what I knew as a child.
In the mean time, I’m working on my tendency toward frustration. Because it doesn’t improve anyone’s experience, least of all my own.
Thanks, world. You’re constantly doing your utmost to help us humans create your highest possibilities. We’ll keep trying til we get it right.