self help

Secrets of a Professional Snake Charmer

Seated safely behind glass, an audience of  twenty-five onlookers watch as Carl and Anne Barden mindfully bring out six plastic boxes to a well-lit table. Each one is labeled respectively: cobra, coral snake, cottonmouth, rattlesnake.

Carl removes an angry five-foot long creature from a drawer labeled “monocled cobra” and lets it loose on the table. Instantly it rights itself, “standing” with its tell-tale hood flared, its eye on the crowd.

cobra snake.jpg

Carl moves about like a Kung Fu master, shifting gracefully, fearlessly around his “opponent”. Then with nothing but a modified golf club, he secures the snake to the table, just below the head. He then grabs it by the throat and brings the snake to the window for the crowd to see up close. Mouth open, fangs displayed, the snake is clearly pissed off.

That’s exactly what Carl wants.

When he knows the cobra is sufficiently worked up, Carl dips it’s fangs into a glass jar. Onlookers gasp as the yellow liquid is excreted into the vial. Carl swiftly returns the snake back into its warm little drawer, tucks it away, and pulls out another snake. According to Carl the snake has “paid its rent” and won’t be asked to perform for another fifteen days.snake coral milk

The Reptile Discovery Center, in Deland, Florida is home of Medtoxin Venom Laboratories, where Carl and Anne educate audiences on the nature of poisonous snakes and allow guests to watch as they collect venom samples for research and anti-venom purposes.

My family and I have seen this venom extraction here five times now and honestly, it never gets old. What impresses me more than the snakes themselves is the gentle, fearless dance that this “snake charmer” and his assistant do time and time again.

snake carl assistant.jpg

After the “show” Carl was asked about the number of times he’s been bitten.

“Eleven, but every time it was my fault, not theirs,” he said, making clear that snakes aren’t the bad guys. He explained further, “All the snakes want to do is curl up safe and cozy in their warm boxes and then I come around and bring them out into this bright room…” Carl clearly feels deep compassion for his venomous friends.

This last time we were there, as I was watching these snakes ooze venom from their mouths I was struck with a realization…

This relationship Carl has to his snakes is not unlike our own relationships–both with the people around us, and more importantly with our own “snakes” within.

Like the charmer’s snakes, each of us is simply trying to get by with the tools we have been given. When we are not mindful of our actions, we are animalistic in our behaviors, reactionary. Most of us do not go seeking trouble, however if we are prodded, our snake-like emotions emerge and we behave in ways that can hurt others, as well as ourselves.

But as our friend the snake charmer showed us snakes are not inherently evil. They simply are what they are: Snakes. He expects nothing less, nothing more. Treating a rattle snake like it was, well, let’s say a kitten would simply be foolish.

Our own snake-like tendencies can be brought to the surface merely by the complications of day to day life. When this happens our dark-side emerges and sometimes, when it gets bad enough, we strike. For humans “striking” can be lashing out at others, but it can also be lashing out at ourselves, acting jealous, greedy, needy, or hopeless. We each have our own personal snakes. There’s no reason to be ashamed, angry, or afraid of these parts of ourselves. We are what we are.

The trick however is to recognize is that we are also the snake charmer.

It is our job to keep our personal snakes in line. How is this done? Just like Carl does. Understand the implicit behaviors of our own inner snakes and those around us. When we can learn to do the dance of the snake charmer, our serpents are kept at bay.

A good snake charmer knows all about his snake’s venomous dark side, yet is not scared. He shows up and does his work every day. He loves his snakes, for they are his life and livelihood. The secret? The more he charms them, the more balanced and mindful he becomes…and the less he is bitten.

The greatest part of the snake charmer’s journey is that as he develops the skill of taming his inner snakes, he also acquires the greatest skill of all—the ability to transform the most toxic of venom into something that has the power to help and heal.

Now that said, the snake charmer will make mistakes. Of course he will! He is only human. Errors happen. All the time. In fact, the other day, I watched a cobra lunge uncomfortably close to Carl’s leg. But Carl did not falter, instead he reacted with kung fu deftness and gently corrected for his error.

The goal is thus to keep learning, dancing, and developing our skills and in doing so we are able to “extract” wisdom from our errors and eventually heal ourselves (and others!) along the way.

Listen closely to the calling of your own soul and the dance of the snake charmer will be yours for the keeping.

Peace and love,

Becky

Advertisements

The Best Book Ever Written

32579867_s

 

I was sitting on the beach this morning, watching the sunrise, drinking my tea when a pesky question arose in my mind:

What do you want?

Oh great, I thought, not this one again. Sometimes I’m too existential for my own good.

What’s funny about this is just a few days ago, as I was working on my new book  I asked this question regarding my main character:

What does she want?

This notion  is the core of my book—all my books. What is the single driving factor for each of my protaganists? Everything in my story that happens from beginning, middle and end points to the central desire of the leading role. This driving force is what keeps the reader engaged. It’s why we read… to see if the characters get what they want in the end.

Isn’t that all we’re looking for in life as well? To follow our desires and ultimately leave this planet finding what we came for?  That’s why this element is key to good story telling.  Desire seeking is a key component to the human condition.

In the case of my novella (working title:Oz Sucks) Jane, a cynical, spitfire has been blown to Oz in a hurricane and wants nothing more than to get home. Thus I am creating a story dedicated to Jane’s quest. Every scene in the book in some way points towards her desire, either bringing her closer or farther from her goal.

My secondary character, the cocky, romantic interest, Kansas transplant Nick wants one thing and one thing only—to have Jane. So, my story is a dance of sorts between these two characters, based on a basic premise: Jane wants to go home and Nick wants Jane.

Think about the “characters” in your life. Are you not also doing a dance with them as them as well? A push-pull of I want, you want… we want?

A great example of this comes from Lord of the Rings. The premise is so simple. Frodo, wants to get rid of the ring without being sucked in by its power…and of course Sméagol wants the ring. Such a modest premise for such a rich, complicated story.

We are no different than the characters in the books we read. We are all driven by our desires, thus our lives unfold according to the path we choose. If you want to be a wealthy person, your life story will show you acting in ways either to make money.or in some people’s case spending money haphazardly in order create the illusion of wealth. If your reason to live is to make your children happy, all of your core actions will be to give them what they need for a happy existence.

Of course our desires change over time since life is full of many sub-stories…not quite as clean and crisp as a book. However if you step back, pretend you are the reader instead of the leading role, you can see what drives you, why you do what you do.

It’s a weird exercise, seeing yourself as the reader (or the writer) instead of the actor, but I find it fun and fascinating.

beach sunrise.jpg

Sunrise near my home in Flagler Beach, Florida

I’ve probably sat in this spot on the beach five hundred times in the last five years and each time my surface desires have morphed and changed, but this morning I felt something different. Beneath my multitude of wants, something stayed the same.

What do I want? I asked myself. I knew the answer. Like a character in one of my books, the core of my desire has been calling me all these years.

I want to bring love to this world…and so, for me, as I write this life story I know it’s about becoming whole, so I can help others in their journey.

So if I’m to stay true to my writer’s code, every action I do from here on out should reflect this desire to not just give love, but be love.

That’s one lofty book, but I think I’m up to it.

Remember you’re the author of your own book….your own personal masterpiece.  Make it a good one.

In love,

Becky

PS. Here’s a great talk by Andrew Stanton the creator of Finding Nemo who talks about the key components of story telling and the power of asking ‘what do you want?’

 

 

 

Night Vision

36184736_s

 

Author’s Note: I was having trouble sleeping the other night, so I got up and started writing.  I have to say I was a bit surprised when this came out….

Once there was a princess, who had everything she ever wanted, but her life still felt empty. So, one night, while the palace was asleep, she slipped out the iron gate into the woods. The girl followed a trail of silver light along a path, lead only by the beckoning call of frogs within the wood.

Deep in the forest of pines, she stopped and stared at the moon. Away from the castle, this moon was much more beautiful than she ever knew. There beneath its brightness, she found herself smiling, experiencing a happiness she forgot she knew. So, alone among the oaks and pines, she danced in her shimmering gown of gold, her lithe body making silhouettes against the moonlit ground.

Every night, intoxicated by its greatness, she went into the wood and danced, sure that she could feel the moon’s silver kiss on her skin. In her gratitude, she brought her dear moon gifts: a white feather, a beautiful stone, and a deep green leaf. And although this celestial being did not speak, she decided she needed no thanks, for its constant glow alone was all she asked for.

Then one night, when she stepped out onto the trail, she could not see. The frogs did not sing, the crickets did not chirp. Her path was total darkness. Stumbling her way out to her space in the forest, she looked up to the sky and called out.

“Oh, moon? Moon? Where have you gone?” But there was no answer, only the cool breeze of the whispering wind.

The princess in the golden gown went home and wept. She cried, angry at herself as it dawned on her thatperhaps this moon, this creature of the night, was never hers to begin with.

What sort of foolish girl falls in love with the moon? she thought.

In her grief she was left empty… just a hollow girl, alone.

One night sleep refused to come. She lay awake in bed, her curtains open, looking to the black sky. Breathing long, slow breaths, she felt as if every golden spark of joy she ever knew was lost in the woods during the nights before.

As she lay there gazing at the subtle movement of blackened clouds, she heard a distant call.

Hoo, hoo, hoo….

The call of an owl.

She had heard once that owls were messengers of death, and in her sorry state death seemed dully appropriate.

Death of love, death of hope… she thought under a heavy dose of self-pity.

Hoo, hoo, hoo, it called again.

She covered her head with a pillow, but the owl kept on calling.

Fed up, she went to her window and opened it. On a nearby oak stood a white owl, its yellow eyes looking at her. It ruffled its feathers as if mocking her sorry state.

“Go away,” she called to it, but it merely flapped its wings and flew to a closer branch.

Determined to scare off this harbinger of death, she ran out of her room, down the stairs, out the palace gate, and onto the trail. The owl up ahead flapped its wings and glided in complete silence to a tree ahead. She followed.

And so it went–the owl, moving from tree to tree and the princess following behind, determined to scare it far away from the castle. This went on for quite some time until the princess paused and looked around. She was deep in the woods, alone, in the dark, without her moon.

However in that moment something strange happened. She realized that even without the moon above, she was not blind.

Far from it!

In fact, her eyes had become so well adjusted she could see the details in the bark of the trees, the dancing leaves on their limbs, and the tiny movement of small creatures on the ground.

Hoo hoo, the owl called again.

Then there, in this subtle darkness, she felt a change within herself. A warmth grew from within her chest. Her own heart was alive with radiance. This loving energy flowed outward towards her hands, her legs, her feet, until she was wrapped in that same luscious joy she felt from the moon, but tenfold!

As she stood in rapture, she wondered if maybe it was not the love she received from the silent moon that had driven her dance, but something grander, something that reached beyond the sky, beyond the forest…outward, full circle, then back into her own heart.

And so that night, beneath the cloud covered sky she danced, bathed not in moon light, but at light that came from within.

To this day, you will still find the princess in the golden gown out dancing in the forest. Sometimes it will be with the wise, old trees, the playful frogs, or the noisy crickets, and sometimes it will even be with her dear old moon, but regardless of who accompanies her each night, one thing stands the same: you will always find that princess dancing with joy, illuminating her world with her own golden heart.

 

Authors Note: To me this is a story about being pulled by our own desire for happiness, and the mistake we make grounding it in material things–people, objects, places, believing that they will cure your woes, but in the end all  these things are fleeting. Like the princess in the golden gown, it’s not until we learn to find that inner joy-that love of Self that we can be truly content with ourselves and our world.  The moon didn’t have all the answers, only the girl did, within herself.

All you can really work on is yourself.  That’s it. As my friends Tim and Marybeth say, “It’s an inside job.” 

That it is.

May you  dance everyday of your life by the golden glow of your heart.

Peace,

Becky

 

 

 

Beautiful and Broken: Redefining Depression

47274072_m

I have been depressed…well, I think that’s what you call it. I have felt unmotivated to write, uninterested in finding a job, failing to eat right, or care for my home. I have detached myself from my family and opted for time alone.

Then this morning I woke up at 4:30am, as I do sometimes, and I simply starred into the blackness of the room. Rather than overthink and brood (like I do so well), I just breathed in and out and allowed myself to shed myself of all the noise, the guilt, and the feelings of inadequacies that stirred within.

As I did this I tried something. I let the darkness speak back to me.

With gentle, loving firmness it said:

I see you running around in life, chattering away in your head, trying to make something of this little existence of yours.

“Ta da!” you say. “Look at me. I’m a writer!”

“Ta-da! Look at me I’m a good mom!”

“Look how lovable I am!”

But it feels empty doesn’t it? Because these labels, these actions are less about You as a human being and more about what you want people to think of you.

“I am a woman who writes good novels”

“I am a woman who organizes events”

“I am a woman who makes people happy”

or on the flip side what you tell yourself when you’re alone….

“I am needy”

“I am a disaster”

“I am mentally ill”

…and on and on and on…

These definitions are you if you choose, but really, if you ask me? I think you’re just using these labels as a disguise for the real wonderful YOU that you are.

Be depressed if that is what you want.  This is your choice but recognize that darkness is only what you make it. Perhaps this “bad” feeling you have is simply the sadness of letting go—letting go of who you think you should be.

Depression is about fear, but I know you, you’re not really afraid, not deep inside. Inside you know the Truth of who you are. Depression is just another mask you wear.

Picture this—Imagine those marvelous little selves that you have created, each a beautiful work of art. Imagine all these versions of “you” hanging as paintings in a gallery, on the walls of a museum. You’ve got one titled “Mom”, one titled “Writer” one titled “Fun loving”, one titled “Clever” Look how nicely you’ve treated these images your whole life, with their nice golden frames, so perfectly placed for everyone to see.

But think of this, maybe they are not You. They are likenesses, merely facsimiles of you. The truth of it is that your “you-ness” is constantly changing, a moving target. You will never be the image on the wall, not really anyway, and the more you try to preserve yourself as those exact paintings you will fail, because those pictures are static and you, my dear, are not.

So now, as you stand there in front of your masterpieces, imagine yourself, one by one pulling them off the walls, as aggressively as you’d like. Imagine even, if you’d like, splitting each of them over your knee, sending an echoing crack through the museum.

And when you are done, settle yourself on the floor around the broken frames, the torn canvases, the paintings you called “you”.

And as you sit there, looking at the mess, let yourself feel sad. Feel that loss, that realization that maybe you’re not really who you said you are. Maybe you never even were. And as you look at the debris let these words come to you:

“Without those paintings I am nothing,”

Pause for that for a second and say it again: “I am nothing.”

It feels scary, maybe?

BUT What if…just what if… in that nothingness you are in fact everything…an absolute duality of all and nothing. What if as you shed these “supposed to be’s” you become simply YOU.

Look around at how beautiful and broken you are: a glorious, glowing fragment of all that there is.

Yes, you are mom, you are writer, you are friend, you are fun and clever but you are those things not because someone told you that’s what you are, you are those things because it reflects your essence, your Truth. In the end people don’t care about the “ta-da” they care about You.

Don’t be afraid to be nothing…because out of the rumble of emptiness comes beautiful, glorious You.

You are not depressed my dear, just walking the path of continually letting go.

I Am Not Me

18535064_s

I’ve always been skeptical of epiphanies…you know, those shining moments when the world finally makes sense? Frankly I’m not an epiphany sort of gal…I’m more a mull and worry until something vaguely resembles a solution, but here I’ve been this past year and something has changed—radically. I’m not me. I mean I’m very much me…but not quite the me who I was raised to be. This emerging self is comfortable with who she is. She’s forgiving and loving and sees her life as not a series of failures, but a series of triumphs. Shame, my greatest enemy is just an echo. For the first time I am not in the passenger seat, but behind the wheel, making choices. In control.

So, I know if my old psychiatrist read this…or my dad for that matter (he was a psychiatrist as well) he would say “We better check your meds. You’re sounding a bit manic.”

I mean yeah, I suppose that diagnosis could fit. Tragically mania has been my go-to explanation for the times when life was going well.  Honestly, I find it hard to believe these feelings are caused by illness. This new mental state is grounded and steady…and in fact I feel healthier than I ever have before. I’m the one in control of my mood, not the other way around.

So, if it’s not a misfiring of a mentally ill brain, what is it?

Things started opening up when I picked up Neale Donald Walsch‘s Conversations with God. I won’t go into it all, but I will tell you two key tenants 1)There is no good or bad. Everything we are, everything we do is a part of “God”. 2) Everything in life is a choice. We have absolute control. Our decisions can be broken down into love or fear. Which you choose is entirely up to you.

Since then I met a woman who is a certified hypnotist. I must say I was skeptical, but when my friend with excruciating pain returned pain free I decided to give it a try.

I was scared, but somehow I also knew it was time to try.

The day after my first session with Sue, I felt strong. I was refreshed, relaxed and at ease. Now, for someone whose mind is like a grazing rabbit, always on the lookout for danger, this feeling was liberating—if not a little bit perplexing. But you know what? The feeling has stuck. I’ve since been practicing hypnotism on my own, resolving inner turmoil by visiting the dark parts of my mind and I realize I AM in control.

I see now there is no need for fear, nothing to be ashamed of because we are 100% beings of love. That’s it—just pure love and if we treat ourselves as such we can become powerful, compassionate beings without the baggage of fear and hate to weigh us down.

Now I must say, these revelations didn’t come by just picking up a book. These are ideas I’ve had with me my whole life. They are things people I love have shared with me, but it’s just now that it has clicked and ceased to be merely ideas. Now, I feel as if these concepts are embedded in my soul.

I’ll keep blogging about this wonderful journey I have found myself on. I’m expecting there to be snags along the way.  I’ll share those too.

In the meantime I’m going to keep up with the self-hypnosis and let go of the shame I was taught as a child. I am no longer afraid of my own power. I am not a helpless daughter, but a woman with the strength to do amazing things in her life. The power is in my hands, what I do with it is yet to be seen.

Have any of you out there experienced life revelations?  When is it mental illness and when is it personal growth?

Peace to you all!!

www.beckypourchot.com

Have You Hugged Your Soul Mate Today?

soulmate

So, I was talking with a new friend of mine, Victoria. She’s a wise lady with wild, wavy blond hair in her fifties with a great deal of knowledge on a favorite subject of mine—sex. Victoria is a sex therapist, and a good one at that.

What makes Victoria so interesting is that she gets relationships implicitly. I’m sure sitting across from troubled couples for years helped in this matter.

And so the other day I asked her about a topic that has plagued me for decades: Soul mates. Yes, we’ve all seen the memes, read the books, believed the lore and I bet most of us at one point or another yearned to find our own, but I’m going to confess something to you. I don’t buy it.

Way back in the nineties I was deeply in love with a man, so much so that I was sure he was my soul mate. I devoted myself to this long haired musician who walked around campus barefoot and told jokes that made my heart sing. We were meant to be—that is until we weren’t.

My long-gone hippie soul mate now resides in New York City somewhere teaching college with perhaps his new and improved soul mate and kids of his own. This makes me happy to know.

I still wonder though. What about these lost loves? What about these soul mates who ended up just being soul-burdens? In our lifetime are we allotted only one of cupid’s arrows?

I’m married now and although I never reached that insane intensity I felt with my college beau, I connect with my husband on a very deep, soulful level.

So, here’s my question: Who in all this crazy life is my soul mate supposed to be? My wonderful grounded husband or is it that long lost college hippie dude… or maybe it’s one of the other sweethearts I have known along the way?

I posed this question to Victoria and she explained, “We have many soul mates.”

Upon hearing this I smiled, relieved. Now that made sense.

Throughout our lives, if we’re lucky, we fall in love numerous times, take new lovers, and romantically immerse ourselves in other people’s worlds.

Maybe the love we find in this life is not binary, but cumulative, each soul mate giving us something treasured that we can carry with us as we move on. Could life be a series of soul mates, each one showing us new things about ourselves? How wonderful to think we might pass through this existence intimately sharing a piece of who we are with many people.

And so I say, to hell with the old concept of a soul mate. Love finds its way into all the cracks of our existence. No need to limit your fate to one perfect person, because I promise you that perfect person will never exist. In fact, under Victoria’s paradigm, your soul mate can show up anywhere.

Your soul mate could be a current lover, but maybe it could also be a sister, your best friend, a beloved pet, or someone you loved years before. Wherever there is love, there is the potential for a soulful bond.

So, here’s my assignment for you, look around and think about the people you love. Look for those who get you implicitly, who smile when you shine.  Look for the people who can challenge you in ways no one else does and aren’t afraid of getting in close and revealing who they are. My guess is, without looking too hard, you will find that person (or people!) loving you deeply back.

I’m curious, do you feel you have found your one true soul mate? Do you have many? Or do you not believe in the concept at all. Comments are welcome below!

Peace,

Becky

www.OpenSoulsBook.com

Never Doubt the Power of your Own Advice

yellow-brick-road_1454491c

My higher self has a lot to say these days…and it seems to do it in Wizard of Oz metaphors.  In fact, while writing in my journal tonight this thought landed on the page:

“The yellow brick road is right in front of you, Becky. It’s time to take that next step towards home.”

These days it’s not just my subconscious talking to me.  Those who love me are practically screaming: “Becky, you have the power. Listen to it. It’s calling you to greater things.There’s nothing to fear.”

Never in my life have I been surrounded by such positivity. I’m watching the people I love dance the dance of life with confidence and joy, unafraid. They are breathing in all that is good around them, taking the negative and harnessing it into something powerful and strong.

I plan on taking my own advice…and the advice of people around me and move forward, no longer shielded by fear.

So here I go guys, I’m doing it, taking that next step down the golden road headed straight in the direction of my heart.

1,000 thank yous to Daniela Behler of Engaging Social Media and Tim Baker of Blindogg Books who hear my heart and never doubt me.

Peace to you all.

P.S. Tomorrow is my birthday, so I’m wishing myself a happy day. 43 years on the planet and each one is better than the next.  I am so very grateful!!!!!!

Oh, and if you like what I have to say check out my books

www.beckypourchot.com

Thank you!

When Life Gives You Flying Monkeys

flying monkey

I’m sitting in bed with my favorite blanket on my lap listening to this silly Native American flute music hoping it will elicit something deep and meaningful for my blog post… maybe some spirit guide will pop in for a visit, I dunno. So far I’ve got nada.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of “Being Who You Are”. This isn’t just “Ta da! I’m the cute girl in the spandex pants.” This is the core You on the path you’ve been on since the day you were born (or before!)

Imagine you’re lost in a foreign place and all you want is to go home. You’ve got this yellow brick road in front of you and you have been told (by some adorable munchkins) if you follow it good things will come.

On this road you meet some interesting characters and they decide to join you on your journey (as all good friends do!).

Staying true to You, you persist even though there are some nasty things along the way: flying monkeys, poison poppies and giant trees that throw apples at you, to name a few.

oz tree

So,here you are with apple size bruises all over your body. You just want to turn in those slippers that nice lady gave you and call it a day, but you keep going because this is your role as a traveler, to be there in that moment, even when it sucks. You don’t know exactly what waits for you up ahead, but that doesn’t matter, because you have a single goal: to find your way home.

The irony of this story comes at the end from the lady in the puffy dress: “You’ve had the power all along.”

glenda

That’s right… YOU were always there. All that strength you wished for was always there. Every moment of that journey you were right where you needed to be.

I am realizing now, we all have ruby red slippers and every day we walk a yellow brick road. Even in the crappy moments we are living out our story, just as we are meant to.

Yeah, Dorothy had the power to go home…but maybe home was an illusion. Maybe she was already there.

Peace,

Becky

Credit to author Tim Baker of Blindogg Books, whose reminded me of Glenda’s words many, many times.

film_wizardofoz002

Dance of the Spider Webs

web

I’ve developed a new technique to manage my worrying. So far it seems to be working.

First, I picture every anxious thought I’m having as a strand of a spider web; these are sticky, strong lines that over lay atop of me, holding me down. The more threads, the more difficult it is to move.

Then in my mind, I let go. I stop fighting and picture that web releasing, sloughing off as my muscles relax. My breath gets slow. I watch as the web falls to the ground and dissolves into grey nothingness.

It is then that I remind myself that the web, literally and figuratively was never real, nor were the feelings. It was just an illusion keeping me in place. All the thoughts that I felt were so important were nothing but wisps of my mind.

I find if I do this exercise when I start feeling caught (before it gets too big) I can step away from my emotions and refocus on joy rather than pain.

The webs we weave feel very complex. The feelings we have towards others, towards ourselves can be all consuming (and for me they often are), but when we can step away and see that this web we weaved is simply a construct of our minds, we can relax and accept the Truth, that beauty and love are all around us, always.

Confessions of an Agnostic: Why I Believe in God

Twice in my life now have I had the odd feeling of waking up…not in the literal sense, but more, I suppose in the metaphysical sense.

It’s very weird, and difficult to talk about because it is so personal. We’ve all experienced it, I’m sure, we just deny it because it messes with everything we take to hold true.  I’m not crazy, though I have certainly been treated as such for most of my life. In fact its the exact opposite of crazy.

The first time it happened it was very abrupt.  It was terrifying.  I literally thought I was dead.  I was sitting on my boy friend’s bed talking with him when I was hit with this sensation of divine stillness. The chatter in my mind stopped and I was just there. Purely Me. It was beautiful and frightening at the same time.

The self I had spent 19 years with, listening to her strive, worry, and grope and  was gone.  I mean completely gone, leaving me with this thing, this feeling I suppose one could equate with God.

I remember two friends of ours knocked on his dorm door and we let them in.  As they spoke I could hear everything.  Beneath their words I could hear their fear, their need for love and acceptance.  They soon left and I told my boyfriend what was going, crying for the loss of self.  He assured me I was okay.  He had known this feeling himself.  This in fact was something to welcome, he told me.

The months went by and like a good student I l asked questions to my boyfriend who seemed to know exactly what this was all about. But time passed and the magic of his insistent wisdom wore off.  It was all replaced with a new fear–a fear that I was loosing God, that it was slipping out of my hands, leaving me in the world alone.

Anxiety engulfed me like a raging fire and I plummeted into my own personal hell.  Suddenly no choice seemed like the right one.  I was paralyzed with the fear of failing God.

The boy friend and I went our separate ways and I eventual found my balance.  I did the only thing I could do, resorting to the comfort of psychiatric drugs and talk therapies that brought me back to this world.  I do not look back at this period of my life as not good or bad.  It is what I needed to do at the time.

So life went on.  I grew and learned, and continued to hold the unspoken knowledge in the back of my mind that this God-ness I experienced might very well be real, that love is all there is, but whenever I thought too much about it I was sent literally into panic attacks, for fear that the demons wouldn’t slip in again.

So now 20 years later I have an amazing family and devoted husband, life couldn’t be more perfect.  But for a long time I was not satisfied.  I wanted more.  I wanted the other, not what I had, but everything else.  I complained incessantly about people..my friends no less.  I didn’t just expect perfection from myself, I expected it from everyone else.  While I could feel God on my walks on the beach I couldn’t control my fear and anger.

So, this next part I’m hesitant to say, because it just feels so odd.  In the reality I help for 20 years this was not supposed to be.  I was not supposed to feel God every second of everyday, to look at everyone I meet with compassion and love.  These are not things meant for this little neurotic Jewish girl. My story went like this: you are helpless, the world is out to get you, you will try but never suceed.  Yuck!  I’m done with those thoughts.

I’m letting go of my need to be good. No, I’m not turning into some crazed sociopath.  Good is something that is my essense, I don’t have to try  I am good, because I let myself be…and sometimes I’m bad. If you saw what I ate for dinner, or what thoughts jjust crossed my mind, you’d see) But bad is all part of it…so ultimately that’s good too.  Does that make any snese?

I am the one writing this book. I choose where I go.  I have control because I have faith in myself.  I am God!  As are you! We are beautiful.