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Filtering by Category: Love

Love: A Smug Tale Of Resilient Rib Cages

Amber Adrian

“Learning — slowly, slowly — to open up and love when I feel scared, rather than curl up like a threatened porcupine.”

That sentence was written in 2012 as my father was dying. I put his last days on Twitter because it helped anchor me as we floated around the hospital waiting for him to cast off into the next great adventure.

I’m thinking about it now because the anniversary of my father’s death is the day after Thanksgiving and I re-posted the tweets as a “Happy Death Day, Dad! You Were A Good One!” gesture.

Now I keep finding my eyes skimming over that one sentence - and worry that I’m back-sliding.

When we have these experiences, the ones that crack our hearts open, the raw vulnerability feels like it will last. Like this feeling of being broken open will last forever. There’s relief and even joy in it, as everything you’d kept bottled up comes flooding out.

But we rebuild. New experiences come in - like the explosion of three relationships in three years, whoops - and we start adding brick and new spackle to those heart walls.

As humans, we want to feel like we’re on a general upward trajectory. Moving forward, learning the lessons, growing. Onward and upward forever more.

But things just keep happening. Which is the definition of life, I guess.

Life: That Time When Things Kept Happening.

(Quick, someone give me a Pulitzer.)

After the implosion of three relationships in three years, I find myself being careful. Hesitant. Unwilling to blaze in the way I did the last three times.

I don’t want to curl up like a frightened hedgehog, but that doesn’t mean I won’t.

How do you continue to open up and love when it feels like the last few times you tried, your rib cage got caved in by a baseball bat?

I know it’s possible. People do it. I’ve done it.

But letting go of the old experiences to allow in the new ones feels scary. Like I’ll forget something important if I do. Like I’ll lose something.

But I don’t want to be that person who lets fear win. Partly because it doesn’t sound like any fun, but mostly because I want to be smug about trampling fear beneath my fuzzy boots.

Love may not win, but smug will.

DEAR LIFE, I WANT TO BE SMUG ABOUT HOW BRAVE AND LOVING I AM. GOT IT? K THANKS.

How do you throw yourself off the cliff again? How do you face down the baseball bat and say TAKE YOUR BEST SHOT! RIB CAGE OF STEEL, BABY!

Since I don’t know the answers, it seems I’ll just have to keep living life, life where things keep happening, and do my best to show up for the life I want rather than quaking at the mercy of things I’m scared of. That’s really all we can do. While taking whatever opportunities to be smug - and happy - that we can wrangle.

 This picture doesn’t have much to do with this post, aside from the fact that I adore these women and also my face is a fairly accurate depiction of my feelings on love at the moment.

This picture doesn’t have much to do with this post, aside from the fact that I adore these women and also my face is a fairly accurate depiction of my feelings on love at the moment.

Death to Happily Ever After

Amber Adrian

Happily Ever After has finally been beaten out of me.

It only took forty years and multiple loves, entanglements, mistakes, and Oh-Shit-I’m-Being-Weird-Again situations, but I made it.

It’s not as dire as it may sound to those of us who’ve been raised on Disney movies and romance novels.

The death of Happily Ever After means being able to appreciate each day with someone for what it is, rather than constantly grasping for Is This It? Is this The One? Are there babies and an engagement ring in my future? Will I finally get to update my relationship status on Facebook?

It means enjoying the person for who they are rather than what your relationship might be in the future. It means getting to know someone without mentally redecorating their apartment in case you move in one day.

I don’t think life meant to drag my Happily Ever After into a back alley and shoot it, I think life meant to show me how to surrender. How to take things as they come. How to be present in the moment-to-moment of each experience without regretting the past or grasping for a particular future.

When we love someone, it’s natural to want that love to last forever.

And, really, it does.

If I love you once, I will love you for the duration. A corner of my heart is annexed to you and you get to live there forever, like it or not.

I was joking the other day that I need to expand the physical mass of my heart because it’s running out of corners.

He replied, “Good thing your heart is infinite.”

Our hearts are infinite. There is no limit to the possibilities, up to and including Happily Ever After. Some of us do meet that person and choose to keep showing up and loving them until this mortal coil is shuffled, however imperfect and wounded it feels. Some of us have even mastered enough of this human existence to love with ease and pure joy.

Since I want Happily Right The Eff Now, I’m pulling the plug on Happily Ever After.

Because there is no past, there is no future, and my heart has more corners than I could hope to fill in this lifetime.

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If Your Love Life Is More "WTF?" Than You'd Like to Admit: Hi, Soul Friend!

Amber Adrian

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.)

Grief Anniversaries

Amber Adrian

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.

Allowing Fate

Amber Adrian

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.

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Meeting My Daughter

Amber Adrian

My daughter first stood in front of me on a summer day three years ago.

I was sitting in the Super Duper Burger near my house, eating a hamburger under a sunny window and minding my own business, when she showed up out of nowhere - eight years old with long blonde hair and wise eyes.

I’ve had visions before, especially when I was younger, flashes of downloaded information about how we all connect as souls and how the universe works. But this was my first holy-shit-I-can-see-her-standing-in-front-of-me vision.

She was my daughter. In my future, but already so present. Her name jumped right into my head as we looked at each other and I started sobbing into my lunch.

It shifted and rearranged me on a cellular level. Not having children was no longer an option, because I had seen her and felt her and knew her as mine. I loved this vision that, even a year or two before, I might have chalked up to biology-driven yearning or low blood sugar. Which is probably why she waited to visit.

When I accidentally got pregnant a few months later and my new boyfriend was panicking, my rib cage released a few terrifying questions: Is this my daughter? Will I have to do this alone if he bails? Will I have to make a choice that will break my heart? In a channeled session with my teacher, my daughter told me that this wasn't the only chance, she could always come in another time, another way. 

I ended up miscarrying, and coped by developing a rather intense attachment to a stuffed sea otter

So many relationship decisions have been drastically affected by that summer lunch I spent crying into my french fries. Can’t commit to children? Bye. Not ready to even have the discussion? Bye.

Sometimes I wonder if I should give those relationships more of a chance, if maybe the flesh-and-blood human in front of me should win out over the etheric vision. But she was so powerful - as an energetic being, as a part of my future - that if this man wasn’t ready for her, I couldn’t stay. Because I wouldn't be sacrificing my dream child, I would be sacrificing some essential piece of myself.

She looks like me, but lankier, with light-filled eyes she'll get from her dad. 

She left for a few years, as I struggled through that relationship and breakup, but when I was in Hawaii last April, my daughter started showing up again.

Wearing goggles and bumblebee wings and racing around a grassy farm fueled by a delirious hybrid of pure joy and epic sugar high.

A toddler, handing me a lollipop because she sensed I was sad.

In the last vision, she tugged on my hand, dragging me through the zoo as I ask, “Where’s your daddy?”

I cried a lot in Hawaii, is what I’m saying.

She’s been quiet for the last year or so. But I’m sure she’ll show up again. It would be super convenient for me if she really would point out her daddy. But I don’t think children are that biddable, especially spirit-realm-children you can’t threaten with loss of television privileges.

I turn 39 in July, which is terrifying on one level, but on a deeper, more peaceful level, I know I have time. I’m healthy, pretty damn fertile, and still working on healing my own wounds and releasing ancestral patterns so they aren’t passed on to her.

She’ll be like me, and probably even more so, a ninth generation sensitive with superpowers that will likely be both a gift and a terror. The more work I do before she’s born, the more I’ll be able to help her when she lands on this planet in the haze of forgetfulness that we souls sign up for.

Or maybe she’ll be born fully realized, knowing exactly who she is and how she’s here to contribute, and just needs me to feed her and clothe her, and drive her places. I don’t know. But I’m really excited to find out, and finally hold her in my arms.

When Love Goes Awry

Amber Adrian

If you’ve never seen your dead father staring out at you from a stranger’s face, I assure you, it’s an experience.

At this point, I'm just spending my life splatting face first into the space-time continuum of metaphysics. Over the past four years, I've worked with all sorts of coaches and mentors and healers who do really fun, weird, and often completely inexplicable things.

One day, my smoke alarm starts howling like a banshee of the damned while I'm on Skype with one of my coaches. My ears split and my eyes watered and I spent ten minutes trying to get the damn thing to stop – made more difficult by the fact that there was no smoke anywhere and I couldn’t reach the off button.

When the unearthly shrieking was finally curtailed, I hop back on Skype and my coach asks, “What were we talking about right before the alarm went off?”

Often, when there's a disturbance in the force - the phone cuts out, Skype hangs up on you, or fire alarms go berserk - it means something important is happening energetically. 

We were talking about my father and it was so intense, my coach sent me to his mentor - a man named Carl who does family constellations. 

Far better explanations of family constellations exist, but my understanding is that they call in the energy of the family and the specific family members, alive or dead, and whatever is needed to be released or healed shows up. People playing the roles within a family will begin expressing the emotions they feel – sadness, anger, relief, comfort – emotions that shift and change and vary depending on who is introduced into the constellation and what their relationship was in life. Family constellations often shed light on patterns and feelings and events that even the people within those systems don’t understand.

So on a summer Wednesday, I end up in a room where a circle of Carl’s students are waiting to call in the energy of my family.

Sitting in a gazebo under the stars of Northern California, I watched a small Asian woman in striped pants take on the role of my grandfather. I know nothing about my grandfather, except that he left abandoned the family when my father was very young. I don’t even know his first name, although I carry his last.

A blonde woman in a red shirt took on the role of my father. She started dancing. I dance, but to the best of my knowledge, my father never danced a day in his life. But there she was, twirling and spinning, before collapsing in a chair. Her eyes narrowed as she glared at my grandfather, and a deep anger began to radiate from her like electricity. “Rage comes in waves, I suppress it like it doesn’t exist. Turn it off, don’t look at it, eat ice cream.”

“So I push it down and create a new life,” she continues.

If I had any doubts about the process, they would’ve been laid to rest right about here. I’m well-acquainted with deeply suppressed rage – and my father’s favorite comfort food. Before he died, one of his last requests was for ice cream.

I know better than to think that a man abandons his family simply because he wants to – there are always reasons, deep and profound and unsettling reasons, why such a course of action is chosen. But when my grandfather, still in the form of a small woman in striped pants, turned to my father and said, “I’m overwhelmed by warmth and tenderness. I can’t look at you because my heart is aching,” I was surprised. Without ever really thinking about it, I reflected my dad’s anger toward the man who took off, leaving my father and his family in a very bad situation that lasted until my father left Pennsylvania for California.

What came through in that small room was that my grandfather was young, maybe not yet ready for the demands of a family. He loved his young son, but he was restless, he longed for adventure. He wanted to be at the bar with his friends.

As he was explaining the love that wrestled with his need to leave, a woman sitting in a chair across the room suddenly flopped face down, nose squashed into the carpet. “I just need to be here,” she said.

Nobody has the answers in a family constellation.

Carl has no idea what’s going on, the volunteers who assume the energy of different family members have no idea what’s going on, I sure as hell don’t have any idea what’s going on. We all just have to watch it unfold and put together the pieces. That’s why sometimes, when there’s an unknown element at work, a random person will flop out of a chair and squash their face into the carpet. Even when they’d really prefer not to because the carpet has been molding on the floor since approximately 1982.

Suddenly, the woman playing my grandpa begins to look guilty. “I did that,” she said, pointing at the woman on the floor. “I did that.”

That’s when it gets really weird. Like film noir weird. Like the moderator looking up from her notes and saying “holy shit” three times weird.

Turns out, my grandfather accidentally killed a man in a bar fight. So he and his buddy left the body lying there and skipped town, never to be heard from again.

Children, even when only a few years old, perceive things.

Looking at the dead body on the ground, the woman in the energy of my father says she feels a strange sense of peace. “You won’t see that,” she says to my grandfather. “You’ll run because of it. I’ll see it for you. It feels good, because it’s reliable. If this is all I can have of you, I’ll take it.”

“Shit, shit, shit,” says my grandfather.

A man who was accidentally murdered by my grandfather in 1944 in a small mining town in Pennsylvania made my smoke alarm shriek seventy-one years later.

Left on the ground in an alley, he needed resolution. The energy was called in so that my grandfather could acknowledge and own and apologize for what he’d done.

Carl makes a joke about dragging the body to a river. “It would’ve been a sign of respect to put me in the river,” says the woman playing the dead man to my grandfather. “Don’t just do this and leave. Put me somewhere.”

After accidentally killing a man when a fight got out of hand and then abandoning his family, my grandfather lived a haunted life. Death was all the only thing that brought him peace. 

When a parent abandons their child, the parent is left half-alive. Even when that decision is made out of love, out of fearing of hurting the child if they stay. Decisions made from a very deep love can do great harm. Simply because, at the time, there doesn’t seem to be another way. Fear consumes and makes it very difficult to make choices that will serve us well. On a deep level, this can impact the family for generations if those emotions are not fully felt and acknowledged and peace made.

“Just kill me,” my grandfather says. “It’s better than feeling what I’ve done to you.”

“This is the first time in any constellation when ‘Hey, douchebag’ is a healing statement,” Carl says.

The murderer and the murdered each turn to each other and say, “Hey, douchebag” and the ownership of accidental, terrible actions transform into something funny and heart-breaking and healing.

"Hey, douchebag" was their path to peace.

Emotion was deep and overwhelming, experiences described by these people who had never met me or any other member of my family so closely mirrored my own experiences – of being overwhelmed, stuck behind a wall, going blank with no words in times of great stress or emotion.

That’s why I love this stuff. It makes you question what you believe to be possible and nudges you into expansion.

After absorbing the energy of murder and abandonment, my father wasn’t very alive. All he wanted was to escape and begin a new life and shield his children. He wanted to shield us – and so my brother and I took that shield and divvied it up. For reasons I never fully understood, I couldn’t let things in while my brother couldn’t let things out. This includes money, relationships, connection, love. Not all-inclusive, but I’ve always felt a wall there.

At the end, my grandfather and the accidentally dead bar buddy lying on the ground behind us, my father turns to me and my brother and says, “We can breathe now.”

“You’re seeing your father for the first time,” Carl says. “Because of what happened, he could never be fully present.” Even as I write this now, I begin to cry. Because it’s true. My father had to maintain a certain distance his entire life. Less so with my brother and I than with most people, but distance nonetheless.

We received a blessing from our father that day from beyond the grave. Children receive a spiritual blessing from their father. If his wounds block him from giving that blessing, then our supply of money and of creative power becomes crimped, because it can’t run through the pipeline without causing Dad stress.

After his death, we received what he meant to give us while he was alive. Drained by circumstances beyond his control and without the tools to heal it, he simply didn’t have it to share.

Who knows what of this is true, what truly reflects what happened in my father's family. But on some level, who cares? More is gained from believing than disbelieving. More is healed by allowing the experience in than in shutting it out because it can’t be proven.

And it reminds me that love always comes through, even if circumstances and choices block love or the ability to give what we all want to give our families. That love is always held in trust for us, to be delivered when the time is right, even if it takes lifetimes. 

Drink water. Dream bigger.

Amber Adrian

What is needed today? 

Rest, care, whole foods that grew from the ground, water with lemon. What is not needed today is recrimination, self-doubt or amorphous worries about things that are beyond your control. Just for today, assume that everything is beyond your control - except your own self-care.

How do you best care for yourself? Do you meditate, do you get slammed into the jiujitsu mat, do you write, do you make a big salad with an expensive ingredient that makes your taste buds mambo? Whatever it is you do that is truly loving for your mind, body, emotions, and spirit - do it today. Allow time to be made. Allow whatever it is you truly need to be your first priority.

Because when we deeply love and care for ourselves - as a verb not a noun - we are coming into alignment with the fullness of the universe. When we are in synch with the powers that are both greater and completely integrated with ourselves, unimagined opportunities appear. Money knocks on the door. People flock to us in wonderful and astounding ways. New truths and clarity about ourselves and our lives float in on a quiet breeze.

And sometimes none of these things happen. Sometimes we must continue to care for ourselves - deeply, tenderly, and with loving intention - as we keep putting one foot in front of the other. As we keep trusting that what looks dark now will brighten and that what we would like to experience will show up. While keeping our minds and hearts and bodies open to the idea that there might be something greater out there than our current information allows us to imagine.

What is needed today is full and loving care of ours minds and bodies and emotions, while expanding our imaginations and allowing ourselves to dream bigger than feels possible.

Let Yourself Be Surprised

Amber Adrian

You are not as hemmed in as you believe. You are not a tiger roaming a tight cage. You are not required to perform for anyone. You have a great wide field to roam. You have plains and mountains and oceans to explore. You have more than you ever dreamed possible. The world is now new. Don't bring your old habits and feelings and patterns into this new place. Decide to check them at the door and then step out into the sunny field, ready to be surprised by what appears to dance before you and beckon you forward.

Let yourself be surprised. Let yourself love and be loved. Let new experiences find you. Meet it all with the excitement of a caged lion freed or a sailor meeting new horizons.

Everything is waiting for you.

Quest for Romantic Love

Amber Adrian

Sometimes I write letters for my friends, addressing whatever issue they're currently dealing with. The information comes from the same place as these blog posts, the voice in my head that's often much wiser than I am. A friend asked me to address his difficulty in finding a romantic partner. After I sent it off, I asked if I could share the letter I wrote him, because, while it is specific to him and his situation, it might also apply to something you're seeking or going through right now. So if you're in search of love, see if any of this resonates!     xo Amber

----

There is an illusion of control operating on you now. We cannot control when we meet our partner because too many decisions and the self-determination of too many people are also operating.

"When" is italicized because you can control - or, more accurately, choose - to experience that sort of relationship. You can ask for that relationship and decide that you would like to have that experience in your lifetime. But part of the choosing is to express your desire and release your attachment to the outcome. The outcome of what that relationship looks like, who it is with, and when it appears. Your desire to have it yesterday is operating as internal resistance within you that only slows the process down.

Your work now is to go into the shadows of this love that you seek and unhook the resistance, unhook anything that is slowing your flow.

Your work is to access that state of pure love and acceptance and delight that you hope to find in a relationship and create it for yourself now, independent of that relationship. You cannot receive the relationship - the one you truly want, that is - without doing this work. Because to receive it before would put your relationship at the mercy of your need. If you know how to fulfill your needs outside of any relationship than it will be healthier and stronger and full of the pure unconditional love you long for.

This is not to say that people can’t learn that unconditional love within a relationship, but that doesn’t seem to be the path you’ve chosen, that was chosen by you before your birth.

So find a space of feeling where you are already experiencing the emotions you long to feel in a relationship. That in and of itself will magnetize what you want.

There's No Need To Hide

Amber Adrian

Hi. Hello. I see you in there. Whether you're fully in the world or a moss-lined hermit, there may be some aspect of yourself that you're hiding. Because you're afraid, because you feel it should be different, because you're ashamed of it. Maybe it's your financial situation, maybe it's your relationship, maybe it's that you aren't doing what you truly feel called to be doing with your life. Maybe you haven't found a calling, maybe you have more money than you need but you spend it in ways that don't feel peaceful.

Come out of hiding. When you do you will see that there are so many others who are hiding that precise thing that you've tucked away and guarded so closely. Maybe you can help each other. Maybe you can begin to see yourself as whole, even though you aren't perfect, even though you aren't who you thought you should be, even though your life isn't where you thought it would be by this moment in time.

Emerge from the bushes, shine a flashlight into the shadow, talk about the thing that you're most afraid of. When you open your vulnerability up to the world, you will be surprised by the love and support and acceptance that flood back to you. For we are all afraid, we are all hiding some part of ourselves. We all have something that we wish would just die off already and leave us in peace. But peace is found in fully accepting that piece of ourselves. Building a relationship with it. Allowing it to provide us with more connection, rather than less.

If each of us pull out the monster hiding in our rib cage or our solar plexus or the back of our skull, we will lift each other up and the world will shift in indefinable but measurably great ways.

Show us your monster. We will love it, and we will love you. For you are one of the greats, monsters and all. 

An Ode To The Broken Hearted

Amber

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Let it hurt. Because the more you feel it now, the less you'll feel it later. Keep breathing. Keep air cycling through your lungs and let that breath reaffirm your life when you feel like you want to die. Care for yourself physically when your emotions are battered and exhausted. Drink water, nap, exercise out the pain and the anger. Keep breathing. Keep feeling. Care for yourself the way you would care for a wounded pet or a beloved child. Know that the shattering of something you wanted is clearing the way for something more, something better. Not a better person but a better fit, a better match.  Know that you are loved, even if it doesn't feel that way. Yes, your heart has been tossed onto the funeral pyre to go up in flames, but the old heart must disintegrate before a new heart can be born.

If you feel like your heart is a blackened, charred cinder of nothing in your chest - congratulations. You tried. You opened up. You exposed your tender bits and even though it feels like a tiger just ripped out your jugular - you won. Because you were brave. Because the only people who find victory are the ones who are also open to taking a beating. Letting someone near your tender, easily bruised heart is the ultimate act of courage.

So lick your wounds and keep letting those emotions rise to the surface because the power of that hurt, that anger, will keep walls from forming, will keep the arteries to your heart from hardening. That means that when the time is right and the person is right, you will get what you always wanted. 

Trust that whatever happens is leading you toward something better, something more suited, something more beautiful. The old and broken must dissolve before the new can sidle in. If you feel that you are the one who's old and broken, allow that to disintegrate too. Because you are as whole and perfect now as you were on the day you were born.

Yes, you loved that person, for their beauty, their foibles, their unique humanness. Of course you did. But they were not the source of that love you felt, they were only its mirror. That love came from you, when you decided to focus it on them and their beauty, their foibles, their unique humanness. Once you've grieved and felt all the painful things we'd prefer not to feel, once you've realized that feeling those feelings makes the feelings dissipate, even if it takes longer than you'd like - that's when you can open up again to the next gorgeous, foible-filled human who catches the strings of your heart.

Love is not limited to one person, one life, one source. Begin to feel love in everything that surrounds you - a home you love, a pet you adore, books that make you happy, the movement of the leaves in the trees. It's everywhere and the more you see it, the more it will find you. Because you were born to be loved and that love surrounds you, even now.

My Hobbit Hole

Amber

I've become the Goldilocks of trashcans. Two weeks ago, I moved into my new home. It's a little cottage in Mill Valley, just over the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco. After years of being in and out of cities and in and out of storage units, finally settling down means everything must be perfect, including the garbage cans. It's strangely hard to find just the right trash receptacle - you want it to do its job and fit in its corner. But I don't want to buy something just to fill the space. I'm willing to wait for the right one. The right garbage can is important, you know.

When I first signed the lease and posted a picture on Facebook, Zach said, "I didn't know they were still selling real estate in heaven." Tracking down your own spot of heaven is a bit of a holy calling for most of us. My heaven apparently comes with skunks plotting on the deck and squirrels tap-dancing on the roof. The floor tilts a bit to the left. Spiders fall from the ceiling. Sun lights the deck in the afternoon. When I open the sliding glass doors, I can hear water rushing past rocks in the creek bed. My storage space rests under a treehouse. It's like camping, but with my own mattress and internet access. It doesn't have everything I was looking for - there's no laundry or bath tub - but I'm learning to accept gifts as they come, without being too persnickety about checking off every box I concocted while dreaming of what I want next. So far, I've learned that I own too many books and that it is possible to coexist peacefully with many-legged insects. I see animals loving my home as much as I do as a good sign, even as I lose any and all remorse over killing ants.*

* All god's creatures, my ass. Get out of my sink, ants.

I've always treated my apartments like way stations between me and whatever was next. For the first time, I want to build a home. A home with a trashcan that suits me perfectly, yellow rugs and mugs, a home with the few pieces of furniture I've collected and the books I love. I don't know what my future looks like. Any wisdom I've gained over the years falls smack into the "give up on knowing what's coming because life will surprise the hell out of you" category. I don't know if I'll be here for five months or five years. I do want to get married and have kids and, since I'm turning 36 in a few months, it would be nice if that was sooner rather than later. But I want to build my home as though I'll be here for years - choosing things carefully, creating a space for myself, the kind of space that nurtures who I am and who I want to be, and looks pretty doing it. If I do up and move again soon, it will still be time well spent. Because this is a way of taking care of myself, of reminding myself that I'm worth the effort, even if it is just me. Especially if it's just me.

Maybe this will be the last time I can create a home that's all my own. If you have a family, apparently you sometimes have to let them choose things and, I don't know, take their needs into account on occasion. So maybe this is the last time I get to enjoy being psycho perfectionist about trashcans and having everything precisely the way I want it. Maybe this is practice for building a beautiful, useful space for me and my family. Maybe this is creating the space that will nurture and support me for years to come. I just don't know. So I will build it and trust that things will work out exactly as they should.

For now, home is a hobbit hole surrounded by redwoods and tucked into the curve of a babbling creek. Maybe it will be mine for mere months, maybe for years. But now is all we ever know for sure. So I will love it and care for it until it's time to love and care for something else.