manic

2015: The Year I Found my Heart

9972380_s

I reclined back in a big, lazy boy chair in the office of Sue David, an 85 year old hypnotist who I had met a few weeks before. I didn’t even know why I was there really…curiosity I suppose.

Sue’s voice was even and calm and my mind easily followed it as she led me through a healing exercise. Guided by her words I envisioned my blood pumping through my body bringing nourishment and health throughout it.

I was listening, feeling calm and to my surprise completely in control…in fact I remember wondering what all this business was on focusing on healthy blood and such, when something she said, I don’t remember what exactly, triggered something deep within me.

It felts as if my heart burst open…flooded with love, like liquid gold pouring out in a perpetual ecstatic flow. Warmth covered my body and in that moment I knew all was good. All of it. Even in the suffering, I was loved.

I don’t think Sue’s intent was to send me into a euphoric journey, but for whatever reason it worked. I spent the next few days feeling a gentle, blissful high that no drug, no medication could equate with.

The thing is it kept going. I started doing self-hypnosis daily and because I’m not good at listening to what anyone tells me, I crafted my own version that somehow melds hypnosis with mediation, shamanistic journeying and prayer. Really, I’m just sitting alone in my bedroom, breathing deep and letting myself be, dropping the pretenses of all my fears, simply speaking to the darkness and the wisdom within. Maybe I’m talking to God, maybe I’ve connected to my soul, or maybe it’s simply mild psychosis….I don’t know…frankly what you call it doesn’t matter to me. Whatever it is, I go back to it whenever I can and let life flow through me, reminding me of who I truly am.

I could end the story there and you’d think “Well then, this chick has it all figured out” but quite the contrary. Life is life and the pendulum always swings, and I will tell you, glowing heart or not, this has been one f%*@ing hard year.

Probably too existential for my own good this golden outpouring of my heart opened me so far, so wide, that I was left no longer knowing which way to go.  I questioned everything…my purpose, my destiny…but instead of rewriting my book entirely, abandoning the solid path, of all things, I bought a motorcycle. So now rather than giving up on everyone I love, I not only have my devoted husband, my kids, and the strongest, most fantastic friendships I’ve ever had, but I also have a cute little Honda Rebel 250 that reminds me I can do whatever I set my mind to (plus gets me to 70mph on the open road!)

I have learned through my dear friend Marybeth (aka Marydreds!!) the phrase “let go, and let god”. I use it almost daily. And I tell you, when I let go of my need to control, my need to micromanage all the little outcomes in my life, miracles happen. These aren’t big miracles, like the parting of the red sea or anything, but instead they are little messages, signs, as if the Universe is saying “ yes….yes…you’re doing everything as you should.” It is in these moments I feel an out pouring of love towards myself, my friends, strangers, “enemies”!! I see their struggles, their fear, the pain, and love them unconditionally.

I’m just a baby on this road. I’m making it up as I go. Like all of us, my karmic path is thick with crap I’ve accumulated over a lifetime (or more!). Most the time it feels like I have no idea what I’m doing. I’m saying the wrong things, getting upset over silly stuff, feeling jealousy, greed, rage…but something has changed, just a little. I’m not taking it all too seriously. I’m standing a few feet back from my problems looking in and smiling, because for the first time I see the whole of it…like seeing the yin and yang, not for it’s separate pieces, but for its whole.

A few months back my wonderful friend Tim was teasing me incessantly for my overuse of the word amazing. Life is amazing…and it’s beautiful…but it’s also horrible and hard. The trick is as I’m learning from him is to walk the line, not get so swept up in the extremes. Bliss is fantastic.  Joy and euphoria are the things that make life sweet, but the higher you climb, the harder you fall.

The Buddhists, as I understand it, try to remove themselves from the wheel of life, the incessant spinning, the ups and downs. And so, following this logic, I go into this new year, standing back…ever so slightly, fully participating, yet also aware there is beauty and joy in letting go and not holding too tight onto the “should be’s” and the illusions of “ever afters.”

As I rode my motorcycle the other day over the huge bridge that crosses into Flagler Beach, looking at the expansive Atlantic Ocean I once again felt that ecstatic outpouring of joy.  As the blissful sensation filled my being I smiled knowing everything is perfect, just as it is.

Life is hard, but it is also magnificent.

I don’t have all the answers—not in the least, but I know right now, in this golden moment, life is good.

Peace.

May the wisdom of your soul whisper sweet words in your ear…and may you always be ready to hear it.

Happy holidays!!!

Love,

Becky

Advertisements

The Reason I Keep Falling off of Chairs

Charles-00121

Me standing on a chair circa 1973

My mom has a story she likes to tell.

I must have been about one and half. I was wandering about our little two bedroom house when I discovered my little rocking chair in the living room. Being new to the whole world of furniture and my toddler capabilities I decided I would climb it.

So I pulled myself up, got my chubby feet on the seat and stood. Ta-da! I could see the world from a whole new perspective. Now, keep in mind that was probably one of the first times I had climbed a chair in my life, so this was a Mt. Everest achievement.

My mom clapped and I smiled at my victory… I then proceeded to fall off, right onto the floor. I laid there and cried and cried, and then as the story goes, I picked myself up and climbed again.

But the show wasn’t over yet . After doing my little victory dance at the top once again—I fell a second time and cried, of course.

My mom says this cycle went on and on, over and over.  Climbing…victory…tears…crying…climbing…victory…tears…

I can only imagine this must have been funny—if not heartbreaking—to watch.

I tell this story because I feel as if I am that child again. Over and over and over I fall back into old patterns, heart broken, aching in confusion and doubt, yet here I am standing up again, climbing, climbing, climbing. I keep doing it no matter how hard…or how many times I fall. And let me tell you I want to give up. Many times I want to go running back into my mom’s arm and say “I quit. I can’t do this anymore.”

However what I instinctively knew as that toddler was that everytime I climbed that chair my muscles got stronger, my coordination got better, and I grew as I person. I became more of who I was supposed to be. And in spite of the bumps and bruises and the seemingly futile activity I pursued, I was going somewhere—somewhere big—not just to the top of that chair, but I was paving the way for the real mountains I would climb, for the miles I would run, and all of those other insurmountable tasks I would achieve in my 43 years thus far.

I keep “climbing” in my life now because I know in the depth of my heart that there’s purpose to this madness. Honestly I’m not even sure of my end goal, but I’m going to keep trying and eventually master the art of the fall.

I understand now that that the act of failing, suffering, and hurting are as important as the victory on the hill. These are the times we stand back and say “whoops, maybe I need to take this next climb slower” or “maybe I should try a different approach.” The power is in  process, not just the victory.

Ultimately I know my life is about more than just standing high to see the world, its about the bruises as well. . Maybe someday I’ll look back at to where I am now, and be able to say “look at all those marvelous times I fell….and climbed again.”

May your falls be graceful, your victories grand.

Peace to you.

Becky

P.S. I wrote this blog post and went into my photo files hoping to find a cute baby picture and lo and behold there’s me standing on a chair. I don’t even recall ever seeing this picture before. How weird is that?

Serenity Now!!

serenity

I never quite got the mantra thing. Don’t get me wrong, I was right there with all the suburban housewives in my yoga pants doing the downward dog, all of us trying to squeeze the dissatisfaction from our lives with a pretzel pose. It may have worked for some of them, but after class I’d always get that taste of dissatisfaction lingering in my mouth.

In some classes we’d chant. This was the worst for me. It was like going back to my Jewish synagogue when I was a kid, trying desperately to divine something out of words someone handed me on a sheet of paper. In fact as a kid this sort of thing just made me feel more detached.

I often think of the episode in Seinfeld where George’s Dad went on a kick, trying to reduce his anger. He was told if he just said ‘serenity now’ his problems would go away. So, in true Seinfeldian fashion, George’s dad, misinterpreting the purpose of his assignment exploded in anger passionately shouting “Serenity Now!!!”

That was me in yoga class some days.

Yoga was nice.  It made me limber, I learned how to breathe, but I often found myself like George’s dad, arms to the air, on the verge of a heart attack, frustrated that I still wasn’t fixed.

So, as of late I’ve tried something new. I’ve been doing hypnosis, and oddly enough—it works. Hypnosis works under the principle that all those conversations we have with our thinking mind—the busy, crazy, fretful entity that it is—are unproductive. We tell ourselves “Stop eating all that crap” and we do it anyway because our subconscious desires are out of whack with the great, steadfast logic our conscious mind.

The head knows that eating a whole box of Little Debbie snack cakes is not a good idea, however if the subconscious mind, let’s say, is heart broken over a recent break up, it may think that eating all those oatmeal pies is a good idea.

sue hypnotism

My teacher Sue David

In the case of the Little Debbies our subconscious and conscious minds are in disagreement and according to Sue, the subconscious wins.

In hypnosis, you talk to your subconscious mind and you go straight to the source of your problem. The theory is that because you’re communicating with the highly suggestible subconscious, in a state of peace, you embody the solution deep within you, and bypasses the noisy, neurotic  conscious mind.

I know it sounds like a gimmick to some of you (Tim Baker!), but I tell you it has affected me profoundly.

For me, hypnosis is powerful because it bypasses my anxiety ridden head games (for which I am a gold medalist!) and instead goes straight to my heart. It in essence shuts me up and says “cut the crap and just be.”

Several months ago Sue David my hypnotherapist (who does Skype calls if you’re interested!) told me that while I was under I would hear a message. She said to listen for key words that I could use to bring me to that mellow state.  Essentially she was telling me to find my mantra. This made me nervous. What if I chose the wrong one? Would it be good enough? How am I to know? (THAT’S the conscious mind talking!)

One day while I was relaxed and under self-hypnosis, I heard this: “I am Beauty, Love and Light”

Of course this wasn’t magic. It was just me—but a very relaxed, chilled me, that didn’t have the regular BS running through her head.

Here’s the cool part, with these words I felt an emanating force of love surrounding me, streaming from my pores. It was divinity, but not scary divinity like I was taught as a kid.

This was just the sheer understanding that it all makes sense. All of it.

All the stuff I worried about,  all my maddening seeking for perfection–it was all quiet. It was just me, these three words, and this beautiful, calm place I had created for myself.

And so, apparently I now have a mantra. When I go into my state of relaxation, ride the river of my subconscious mind I say those words to myself. It is in these moments that I am reminded of who I truly am…and the coolest part–when I come out of hypnosis and my kids are whining or I didn’t get enough sleep I still feel the power of the mantra.  There’s no magic, just quiet time with my heart and an understanding from my depths that I have the power to make change. I no longer need to be afraid.

I am beauty, love and light…. and so are you.

Peace,

Becky

The Paradox of Wanting

Dalai-Lama-Remember-that-sometimes-not-getting-what-you-want-is-a-wonderful-stroke-of-luck

After my most recent book came out my friends and family thought they had me pegged, “Olivia is clearly you,” they’d say.

Olivia is my female protagonist– A sexually uptight, neurotic owner of a cupcake shop in St. Augustine, Florida. Now, if you know me at all you know I’m far from sexually uptight, I don’t live in St. Augustine, nor do I own a cupcake shop. Neurotic? Well, maybe.

1333x2000 open souls cover

Olivia has a problem in Open Souls. She found a box, opened it up and now she and Brad, a complete stranger, are both watching their identities dissolve as they slip into their own Pandora-like journeys.

At first Olivia finds herself in a state of spiritual awakening, suddenly aware of the beautiful details of the life, completely liberated from her fears. With this comes a sexual awakening that brings her an exquisite sense of self-awareness and freedom.

However after getting a taste for the divine, she is hungry for more. Crazed and manic, she finds herself a hopeless being of want, lust and desire.

While Olivia is not me, her story is my own; tasting happiness, but never being able to quite hold on to it.  Her story–our story is one of never ending desire.

The things I want: appreciation, love, attention, understanding… good food…sex! They are all ethereal. Moments in time that pass. In fact, in my experience, the act of wanting repels the exact things I want. The more I want, the more the more my desires run away, like a child wanting a rainbow so much she chases it to exhaustion, only to watch it fade, never to return.

Such a paradox we live in! Wanting, wanting, wanting in an endless loop. What an exhausting job it is to be the child chasing the rainbow.

I don’t know much, but I do know that we can never truly have what we think we want.

However if we sit back, let the breeze blow against our skin and simply BE, we might just realize that everything we truly desire we’ve in fact had all along.

oz shoes

I am proud of Open Souls. 

To help spread the word of my little book, Open Souls is free on Kindle between July 16th and 20th. Check it out!

Get Open Souls Free Here.

May your wants be little and your hearts be full.

Peace,

Becky

The Day I Stopped Trying….

eventually-you-will-come-to-understand-that-love-heals-everything-and-love-is-all-there-is1

I woke up yesterday morning sure as hell I was leaving. I was going to go to Marrakesh. I was going to pack my bags, kiss my kids and my husband goodbye and head overseas. Oh, I’d be back, maybe in a month or two but in the meantime I’d be off wandering open air markets, riding camels for fun, and eating all the humus my heart desired. That’s what one does in Marrakesh, right??

Frankly I knew nothing about this city. It’s in Morocco, right? But I did know- if I could throw a stone over the ocean, from the beach where I mediate each day, I’d hit this far off land.

And flying over the Atlantic to a distant world, where I wasn’t me, where my problems didn’t exist seemed like the best solution…because frankly I was sick of me….this me anyway.

“Traveling Me” wasn’t failing her family, her friends. “Traveling Me” didn’t have a house to keep clean, children and a husband to keep happy. She could make mistakes without causing a whole household to tumble. Traveling Me wasn’t needy, insecure, a victim of her own imaginary tragedies.

For months…years… I told everyone I was going to fix things… that’s right, everything I hated about myself. I was going to erase horrible Becky and bring in a better one….no…a perfect one!

I had a plan. I read books on how to be a better person, made motivational charts, wrote blog entries, gave myself mantras, prayed to the sun. Yet in the end I always failed.

The pain of imagining how horrible and unpleasant of a person I must be was getting unbearable…but somehow when I looked around, I saw that everyone still loved me, deeply. They didn’t care about my motivation charts, the mantras I chose. They loved me. Just me.

The only person who thought of me as a failure was me.

The day before my imaginary plans to Marrakesh began I was unloading cans onto the pantry shelf in our kitchen. …Actually I was shoving cans into the shelf because I had failed to clean it off, for weeks. It was overflowing . Yet another reason to loath myself. And so as I rested a can of chicken stock onto the stack, CRASH! The shelf collapsed causing a cascade of other collapsing shelves….and what did I do? I collapsed too. Right there in the kitchen. I cried and cried and cried. My eight year old twins came running into the room asking what was wrong.

What was I to say? I’m a horrible person? I’m sorry I failed you again?

I went upstairs to my room and sobbed until I reached exhaustion. I was so tired of failing.

Now here’s the thing about me, when it comes to emotional intelligence I’m not dumb. I understand my psyche quite well. I know I’m not a horrible person. I know people love me. I know this.  I  know I’m not depressed. It is just I keep playing forty year old “tapes” in my mind, tapes that say ‘You will never be good enough for the people you love.’

That’s one crappy burden to carry. In fact, it’s become a self-fulfilling prophesy. I get so sick of trying to attain imaginary heights that I say “fuck it! It’s not worth it anyway. ” Why bother?

And so yesterday in the face of my Marrakesh dreams I looked at my husband and said, “We need to leave.” He looked at me confused.

“I’m getting a hotel room in Daytona,” I said

So, we set the twins up with my 16-year-old son and we drove the 30 miles to Daytona Beach.

And during the drive, I poured it all out…all of it…about my struggles to be “good” and the “voices” who are telling me who I should be.  I talked the poor man’s ear off, and he listened, saying little, as I shared my bare ugly truth.

But here’s the deal, at the end of my soliloquy I felt better.  I realized maybe it all wasn’t so ugly. This needy, tired little girl was just a piece of me.  She is the one who tells me love is conditional, that love can only be attained through song and dance, though saying and doing just the right things.

But the truth is, love is not based on the state of your pantry, the nutrition content of the food put on your table, or for me as an author –the number of books I sell. Love permeates it all.

In the end the act of trying is useless. The true secret is being, because love doesn’t care how many hoops you jump through, love just is.

May you, in your journeys know that you too are loved by just being beautiful you. There’s nothing to prove. Love is all there is.

And hey, who knows, maybe I’ll see you in Marrakesh!

Peace

The Return of the Osprey—a Love Story of Sorts

I used to joke with my husband that I was like a kite in our relationship. He on the other hand was the guy on the ground with a roll of string in his hand. Under this model he was the one who kept things stable. When I start getting too high he reeled me in, and when I needed a boost he sends me outward.

This is the story I told myself for many years and for the most part it was true. As a creative sort, assigned a slew of mental illnesses, I had been told I would always need someone grounded and stable to reel me in from time to time.

This model worked for many years, and in some ways it still does, but it became problematic when I would feel the need to tug on that string and see just how far it could go. This just ended in sadness and frustration and resentment on both our parts.

So a few weeks ago I decided to rewrite our story.

In the new version my husband and I are on the beach. Once again he is the one with the kite and I am the kite itself, susceptible to breezes and shifts in the wind.

As I fly high, I spot on the skyline a bird—an osprey, flying towards us. I admire its strength, its focus, and its sense of freedom, but it causes me to wonder.   Could I too be more than just sticks, paper, and string?

As this thought passes through my mind the chord between he and I dissolves, fragments of string scattering in the breeze. I am scared, because I have been attached to a string all of my life. Aren’t I just a kite? I can’t do this on my own.

I panic as this man I love is getting farther and father away as I drift alone down the coast… but then something happens.

I feel myself changing, my support braces begin to crack, my flimsy paper tears and I feel myself shifting, muscles forming, bones developing, wings spreading outward.   As the wind blows, I lift up, flap and dive. I am no longer a kite, but a beautiful osprey.

I fly against the breeze to where my husband stands alone. I give him a nod. He is not concerned.

He knows I will return.

As this new being, I am my own agent. I am an explorer, a master of sky, sea, and land. I am now in control during the strong winds and the gentle breezes and though I am free I have not forgotten the man below. I picture myself finishing my journey, returning home, bringing gifts. In my talons I hold a white sea shell, with a small hole in it, symbolic of our love that is both perfect and imperfect simultaneously.

In honor of this story I have envisioned in my mind, in real life when I go for a walk on the beach I always return with a white sea shell with a whole in it. He’s got quite a collection growing on his desk. I have even tattooed a little osprey on my arm, wings outstretched wide, open and free.

WP_20150521_007

How lucky I am that I have found a loving partner who understands the importance to me of being able to fly down that coast alone…and you know, maybe he is equally as lucky to have found an adventurer, a lover of the sky who will always understand the importance of coming home.

Peace,

Becky

www.beckypourchot.com

When Joy Slips In

17741439_s

I walked down to the beach this morning.  We live just a few blocks away in a wonderful, small beach town in Florida called Flagler Beach.

As I walked I felt this welling of joy.  Absolute happiness.The conditions were right, the air the perfect temperature, the sun hanging low in its morning position…but this feeling wasn’t coming from the outside, this was welling up from inside, percolating like a bubbling spring.

As I stepped barefoot on the asphalt, it hit me, like it always does. The fear.  The caution. I have been taught for most of my life that ecstatic joy is in fact a bad thing–a symptom of a mental illness.  You know, the M word: Mania.  Up until this past year I’ve been the most dutiful of bipolar patients..constantly guarding against the “craziness” that might slip in.

But something happened when I went out on the beach this morning.  Out there with my toes in the sand I did my routine sun salutation, like a yoga prayer to the rising sun.  And as I brought my arms upward and gazed at the crystal blue sky I heard a voice.  Not a crazy voice…just me in my most open state.

The voice said simply, “Don’t be afraid of joy.”  And I smiled.

This was not a crazy feeling.  In fact, it was the exact opposite.  This was being truly alive.  Connected.

So please, tell me what you think.  Should us bipolar folk regulate joy, our connection with the divine in order to protect against a treacherous down swing? Do you “normal” people out there temper your happiness in order to protect yourself from hurt?

I’d love to hear your input on this one.  In the meantime I’m going to savor this joyous glow…..

Peace and joy to you,

Becky

http://www.beckypourchot.com

The Upside of Weakness

14016267_s

I’m going to start this blog with a question…

What is your greatest strength?

Sit with your answer for a minute.

Now think about this…

What is the downside to that strength? Does that strength ever turn against you?

Sit with that a minute too.

For me, my greatest strength is my openness. I’m open with everyone I meet, open to the workings of nature, to the workings of life! I fall in love easily. To me life is luscious. I approach it with open arms I mean, holy crap this life thing is fun!

Openness is a pretty good trait to have, but ask my husband and he might tell you otherwise.

According to him I take on too many projects, let people in closer than I should, reveal too much about myself, plus I need lots of refuel time. Being open all the time is exhausting. I’m sitting here writing this from my cozy, dark bedroom, with my toes tucked deep beneath the blankets, because being “out there” in the craziness was too much for me. I’ve spent all day taking in life and I’m so, very exhausted. I know we all go through this, but I have to say if I don’t refuel, my anxiety becomes unmanageable.

I think this is why the people around me call me bipolar. I open up to the world with intense passion, then exhausted and spent I recoil and hide, recharge, then do it all again. For my poor, blessed husband this must be exhausting to watch (Although I secretly think it’s why he likes me!).

My mom has this story she tells about me when I was just about two. I was in the kitchen and had just figured out how to climb a chair all by myself. When I final made it up to the top, I stood, but only for a moment; off balance I feel to the floor. I cried like it was the end of the world, then climbed that chair again and yes, proceeded to fall again. I apparently did this over and over.

Me and my mom before my chair climbing days, circa 1972

My climbing and falling routine is no different than what I do every day of my life. Although it looks fruitless, it’s not. I do it because the joy of climbing and the joy of standing up high are more powerful than the feeling of falling. To this day I choose to keep climbing higher and higher, knowing full well I will occasionally take a plunge. The only difference between then and now is now when I’m down I know it’s not the end of the world. I will eventually get up again, open my arms and swallow the world whole with the same passion and joy I did before, because to me this is the only thing I know. This is who I am!

We are our positives and our negatives. My husband loves boundaries and limits and he is amazing at them. He can watch the world at work from the sidelines and not be swayed by the chaos (can you see what brought us together?) He is a thinker, and controller.  He’s got a great head for business and a keen understand for patterns and numbers, but who do you think gets us out of the house? Yep. Me. His greatest strength causes him to protect himself, if you ask me, a little too much.

Now, returning to your greatest strength. Is it also your greatest weakness? Do you have such great control over your life that you find it hard to open up to people? Or do you care so much for others that you forget to care for yourself? Are you such a good “fixer” in your life that you forget that sometimes things are okay left alone. Or are you like me? Does your openness leave you so raw and exposed that you make yourself vulnerable?

Whatever way you live, I think ultimately we’re all just two-year-olds climbing chairs. We’re striving to be better people, demonstrating for the world our amazing skills, but sometimes all that performing gets the better of us and we land on the floor.

Floor-landing is okay. It’s part of the game. We all do it. Never be afraid to love your strengths, but equally so, never be afraid to love your weaknesses. They’re part of what makes you amazing!

Peace,

Becky

Find out  about my upcoming book at www.opensoulsbook.com