On Thursday evening, I was going through my notes when I stumbled upon a stream of consciousness I had penned down back in late August. It solidified the extraordinary utility in developing a journaling habit and its role in driving metacognition. Journaling allows us to keep track of our mental state and recognize ongoing turbulence. Journaling allows us to take a step back and take a hard look at ourselves. Time cultivates detachment which, in turn, facilitates a more effective and partial review of ourselves and our thoughts processes. Reading my own words turned out to be exactly the kind of pick-me-up I needed. Back then, I was basking in unreserved clarity and plenitude. Doubts had little to no leeway in getting me off balance. Coming into contact with my energy at the time powered me up. Note that energy is both fluid and timeless; it does not die. What I mean by “accessing” my energy is that I essentially teleported back to that state of being by simply communing with my own words and engaging in an act of remembrance. Reading your own journal is like standing in front of a portal of your own emotional history, ready to jump from one personal account to another - from one feeling to another. It’s a remarkably potent tool for healing. It’s not only empowering, it’s also quite comforting to be able to go and retrieve yourself from within yourself, and pull yourself out. A bonafide inception hack that really works. Don’t take my word for it; try it for yourself, if you haven’t yet.
Increased heart rate. Racing thoughts. Unmitigated restlessness. Trouble concentrating. Muscle tightness. Poor sleep. I was feeling depleted. Earlier on Thursday I had gone to my hair appointment for a proper switch up, needing a break from the high maintenance routine required by my hair. I got to spend most of the afternoon in close quarters with two strangers, discussing life challenges and bonding over a gritty HBO drama chronicling the rise and fall of the Baltimore Police Department’s gun trace task force, a unit riddled with cases of police brutality and corruption. It turns out that “We Own The City” is a true crime story assembled by reporters at the Baltimore Sun - but hey, what else is new… In my personal experience, reality is in fact much stranger than fiction.
My stylist was based in Hollywood, not too far from a grocery store “we” would frequently shop at, back when I lived in the Dell neighborhood/ Beachwood Canyon area. That particular store isn’t available near my current address. I had been meaning to grab a handful of essentials from that spot as soon I’d get the chance therefore I decided to walk there for some quick shopping and book a Lyft ride back to Westwood while waiting at the cash register to check out. Also, if I ever use the person plural pronoun “we” in quotation marks know that I am referring to my ex spouse and myself. My anxiety had been building up from the previous day, putting my self esteem and rationality to the test. I was once again engaged in a vicious mental conflict, battling self-deprecating thoughts. Except I was aware of it and consciously keeping myself in check. I noted that my highest self was highly responsive and persisted on setting me straight. This may sound strange to some but, although I was caught in a tumultuous wave, it didn’t feel to me like I was directly involved in anything. I had automatically adopted the role of passive observer, simply taking in the action, observing the thought clouds and focusing on what was fueling them. I sensed them building up to a full blown anxiety attack as my ego was psyching itself out. All the physical symptoms were present, steadily growing in intensity.
On my walk to the supermarket, I stopped by a convenience store to buy a fruity beverage. I was craving a Mighty Mango smoothie by Naked juice. The day had flown by and I hadn’t yet have an opportunity to enjoy lunch. The banana I had for breakfast had been burned out and my sugar levels were probably low. My brain was siphoning all of my energy away with its worrisome innuendos and I felt I had to quickly address my physical needs in order to prevent a crash. The store carried the brand but not that specific flavor so I went for a pineapple juice instead. I left the convenience store and stumbled upon an apocalyptic scene moments after. Some sort of shed or ADU type of structure, right next to this very tiny house, was completely charred. A fire had burned through and through, leaving behind an amalgam of black tar and partially melted household items.The car parked next to it had also sustained significant damage. It was a pitch black expression of chaos. It caught me by surprise. I stopped, looked closely, snapped a photo, and carried on. I kept on walking and came across a sleek dispensary off of Melrose. The storefront was noticeably polished and modernized sporting all glass windows. Neatly organized shelves with a beautiful selection of products could be spotted from the street. No crowd whatsoever. I thought to myself that I should go on walking, but my curiosity was piqued and the temptation became too great. I passed by it and immediately turned around to take a peek. Why not? After all, I was in no rush. I was warmly greeted by every staff member as I presented my ID and I instantly connected with the store attendant who checked me in. Over the 20 minutes I got to spend chatting with her, she said a couple of genuinely kind things that stayed with me. Her energy was stellar. I found out that it was a newly opened female owned dispensary taking wonderful initiatives as it relates to the sourcing and promoting of their inventory. I was also sold on some THC and CBD infused stress relief tea that I’m probably going to review when I can as I am truly looking forwards to giving it a try. Other than that, I picked up two very different strains of medicinals, paid, and made my way to the grocery store right around the corner.
Countless memories came to mind as I progressed through the very familiar aisles. I had been there so many time… Morning, afternoon, evening trips. Too many times to count. I had no desire to run into demons of the past but couldn’t rid myself of the thoughts that it may very well happen. I was in fight or flight mode all over again. I started feeling very uneasy, my hands were shaking, I couldn’t think of what I needed to purchase. I gave myself a mental beating for deciding to step into that particular store, wondering why I would do such a silly thing to my nervous system. I gathered what I could and called for a Lyft as I entered the register line. I kept on checking the store entrance for who was coming in. I swiped and pushed in my debit card the wrong way a couple of times, nervously apologized, thanked the cashier and hastily grabbed my bags. At that point, I just wanted to return home to my dogs, play some music, make dinner and roll a fat one. I wanted to relax in pajamas and conversate about art and childhood mischiefs with my housemate.
As I waited for my ride to pull up, it dawned on me that I was starving. I reached for a snack. Bananas weren’t ripe so I popped opened the strawberry container and swallowed a handful. Yum! Just divine… My driver arrived soon after. I noticed as I hopped in his vehicle that he was playing Christian pop. I took to it and paused my Spotify playlist to enjoy it for a while. I lowered my window and took in the brisk air. Driving down California state route 2, the sun was setting, streets were packed with colorful pedestrians, traffic was partially jammed, alternating between slow motion and swift descent down Santa Monica blvd. I was feeling a whole lot better. I focused on taking in deep breaths as I observed the early evening actions in the streets. Before I knew it, I was home to two hyper excited and curious fur babies who expected threats to fall out from the shopping bags I was carrying. In no time, I was swarmed by Rio and Maya who got what they rightfully deserved for being home alone all afternoon and for showering me with love when I need it most. After I put all the food away in the pantry and fridge, I washed my hands, grabbed a pre-made caesar salad, added tomatoes, olive oil and sea salt to the mix - with dressing. I lost the hat, the pants, the boots, and the socks I was wearing. I opened up the notes in my phone and scrolled way way way down, skimming through post, intuitively looking for the right something to land on. I needed refreshment to pair with my meal and this is what came up - thought I’d share it:
“I’ve been immersed in this energetic field for some time now. I have fully surrendered to the process and, although it bears great physical pain, it is the most blissful, most peaceful, most magnificent time of my life. I can finally relax within myself. I feel like I’ve discovered my language, my voice, my tempo. I only express what I feel and only ever say what I mean. I’m seeking out the beauty and truth in all things. What is void of either is more than likely also stranger to love and authenticity, which does not appeal to me. If it isn’t genuine, it tends to get intercepted and casted away. I can hold my own but it doesn’t fall on me to carry what isn’t mine to carry. I will hold my own, and nothing more. It truly and most definitely starts with you… You cannot control the past but you get to decide what happens now. Healing is a slow process and it’s at times a very difficult one. Be gentle with yourself. Be patient with yourself. There is no timeline - is there? Time is an illusion. The timeline you’re on is that which matters most. There is no destination. Really! You couldn’t even fathom just how potent your manifesting power is. It is pure magic. If you can think it; you can be it. Likewise, if you can see it; you can be it. For that very reason, I vehemently agree that it is crucial to recognize and honor those who have come before us and endured grueling hardship in the pursuit of self realization - those who volunteered as tribute and paved the way for us to enjoy even the most minute privileges are our own personal heroes. The bold. The unafraid. The doer… Is a jewel. We are mirror of each others. When you step into your own, you instantly become a model for someone else who might have not recognized your beingness as a transcendent possibility for their beingness before coming into contact with you. Your job is to be exactly who you are, to the full extent. To see you harnessing your power may inspire someone else to gain the courage to take their shot in life - to go for it, to walk it, to speak it, to develop a very specific skill, to try it, to get it done, to be it, whatever that ‘it’ signifies. There could be a wide array of “it” for a single individual for there is no limit to what one can become. We are multidimensional beings with access to an infinite number of tools. These tools allow us to evolve and expand in ways that stretch our potential far beyond the current borders of our imagination. Don’t listen to anyone who promises to help you find yourself. There’s nothing to find darling; it’s all in here. Your soul knows what it wants. Your soul is aware of the correct path to take. Strengthening your intuition and listening to its whispers is the same as allowing your soul to guide you towards manifesting your soul’s desire. It’s not a matter of finding yourself, but a matter of tuning it. Searching for yourself outwardly will keep you stuck chasing your own tail for the rest of your life. It’s about waking up to the wonders that you hold and aligning with your truest authentic self. It’s about reviving your inner child and mothering that child as if it was yours. It’s about loving yourself, embracing your strengths and weaknesses, appreciating them both equally for what they stir within and out of you. It’s about diligently working to change what can be changed and accepting what is for all of your genetic and behavioral makeup is worthy of love and compassion. Perfection is a trap. There is no manual for this. Everybody else is down here learning and pretty much free styling - no one’s got a clue. In all honesty, it’s not about finding yourself. It’s about awakening to who you really are. What do you gravitate towards? What brings you joy? Have you asked yourself those questions? How have you been feeling lately? What needs to transform? Are you doing your best? What can you do to redirect your attention towards the things, concepts, practices, and people that help you grow? What steps can you take to live a more fulfilling life? How can you leverage your talent, your skills, your intellect, to create your ideal reality? How seriously have you been dedicating yourself to cultivating those skills? In what areas can you improve? What are you most grateful for? Who are you most grateful for? What is something you’re most proud about yourself? Take a moment to acknowledge that. Acknowledge the progress you’ve made. Acknowledges the times when you pushed yourself to do consciously go about something in a different way, as opposed to reacting in a predicted fashion. Self-inquiry is incredibly brave. To recognize your triggers is to begin to understand them. The more your understanding deepens, the greater the chance for your triggers to dissolve. There’s a saying I absolutely adore. It was adapted from a well known Jungian precept and later repackaged by Neale Donald Walsch: “What you resist persist. What you look at disappears.” Think about that for a second: “What you resist persists. What you look at disappears.”There is nothing to fear - is there? There is nothing to be ashamed of. Divorce yourself from the expectation other people may have when it comes to you. Dig your way to unreservedly full acceptance of who you are. With the ugly. With the strange. With the loud. With the disruptive. With the setbacks. With the hurt. Honor all that you are for it all has played a magnificent role in your evolution as a human being. Although it may feel that way at time - there are no losses. There are no mistakes in life - none. There is no such thing as “random” - no accidents. There is no such thing as “bad” - only opportunities to learn. For as long as you miss out on the lessons, you are bound to run into the same exact troubles, conflicts, and challenges. There is no escaping it until you come to see it. Train your mind to see everything and everyone as your teachers. In doing so, you will cultivate more compassion for yourself and others. Everybody around you has experienced some form of trauma. Everybody is in pain. Whether or not they are conscious of it is another debate but suffering is universal - what is personal is how we choose to react to what distresses us. Everybody is trying to make a way. Everybody, I feel, responds to love*. There is truly no need for perceiving anyone as your enemy. Instead, allow everyone to be your teacher. It’s about integrating new perspectives. It’s about determining your values and aligning your actions with those values. It’s about priming your thoughts to serve your best interest. It’s about instructing your thoughts to work for you, not against you. It’s about being your own best friend and accountability partner. No, you will not walk into a practitioner’s office to “find” yourself. You most certainly won’t discover yourself in someone else’s love. It won’t happen here, or anywhere else for that matter. No substitute is good enough to supplant inner work. As brilliantly put by Jon Kabat-Zinn, in attempting to run away from your malaise you will sooner or later reckon with the fact that “Wherever you go, there you are.” There is no such thing as escaping from yourself, your reality, or your problems. It’s as vain as trying to escape your own shadow - you can’t. Don’t have a grand ole time hanging out with your own thoughts? I hear ya. I’ve been there myself. I’ve been in the trenches, the mud, the filth. The darkest of places my mind could go, I’ve gone, I saw, and I stayed there longer than I should. I’ve contemplated my own goo, up close and personal. I’ve locked myself up in torpor and lost the key many times. Eventually, one has to break out of that shell. Growth is rarely pretty in its unfurling stage. It’s painful, vulnerable, messy and terrifying. Still, you have to embrace the most challenging parts of your story and move past them. You’re not meant to discover yourself, you’re meant to express what is already within you. You’re here to design yourself and embody whatever expression of life you wish to be. You’re here to create and honor yourself through the rhythmic battles of life. You’re a dynamic being, encouraged to explore and shift your perspectives. Once you set a goal, and know it feels right, give yourself permission to go for it despite the opinions that others may hold about your chosen trajectory. Stay with the present moment, wrapped in the knowingness that all is working in your favor. Every breathe allows you to take a different path, if you choose to. You are free to explore, change your mind, recalibrate your mission and reinvent yourself as many times as you see fit. Tune in. Investigate yourself, your likes, your dislikes, your strengths, you weaknesses. Differentiate the things you must grow to accept from those you can change and focus on the latter. It is never too late to start over. Energy doesn’t die. Energy doesn’t lie either. Pay attention to what you are naturally drawn to. What causes you to light up? What motivates you? What excites you? Notice how your body responds to that. Go for that - find a way. If there isn’t one - make one. Listen to your heart. Lead with it. Let love be the determining factor for what is worthy of your attention. Time is a finite resource. What do you want to be doing with your time? Don’t worry about having it all figured out; take the first step and the path will unfold. We don’t know the destination because there isn’t one. The journey is the destination. This trip called life could come to an abrupt end forty four minutes from now, or eleven, or one. Don’t let it pass you by. Don’t keep yourself stuck trying to fulfill someone’s else’s dream; manifest yours and watch these thoughtful accomplishments blaze the trail for someone else. Take a chance on you. Invest in you. Believe in you. Allow yourself to unravel as you wish. Forgive yourself for what you didn’t know when you were less knowledgeable and less aware. Learn from those experiences in order to extract the gift of wisdom that they bring forth and express gratitude for them - missed opportunities and failures are fuel for your betterment. Your resilience gets forged in the fire of perceived loss - perceived as such only because it feels that way as it occurs. I say this often but I must say it again, in reality, there are no losses - only transformations. Likewise, there are no mistakes - no coincidences. Keep that in mind as you move through life. What is destined to serve your growth will reach you, one way or another. Accept the fact that you are most attracting exactly what you need, at all times. Uncover the reason for these occurrences whenever you can. Get to the core of it and see that everything has a purpose. There lies freedom from all your mental servitude; once you really believe that you can, just like that, you will. It doesn’t matter how fast you move, what’s important is that you stay moving in the right direction. Shift your perspective as often as necessary. Challenge yourself. Re-examine your values. What triggers you? Why? Investigate it. Everyday. Spend time with yourself. Everyday. Get to know yourself. Get to know what you like. What makes you tick. What is it that you want to share with the world. That’s right. Sing it! It starts with you. Be a voice in your community. Share your talents with the world - that’s exactly what you are here to do. Be the change you wish to see. Don’t limit yourself to dreaming about it. Don’t limi yourself to talking about it. Embody it as fully as you can. Grow and relax in this new form. Branch out to touch others. Honor your vision. Do what must be done. To be your authentic self is your supreme duty. Claim it as your birthright. Devote yourself entirely to the divine project that is your life. I mean, what else is there to do?”
Well, all I could say after reading this was “Thank you Spirit”. Thank you for sowing seeds of inalienable truth in my heart and allowing me to count on myself for advice. This was a mighty powerful read which immediately balanced out the energetic scales. These words encapsulate what it is I think about, write about, and talk about. After crystallization, these words reinstated me in my power and trumped my anxiety. I had found my center again. I said a prayer aloud and reflected on how lovely it was to be able to once again return home to myself. You know what else did it for me? Long hair and bangs. Getting pampered has a way of turning things around for the better. I walked out of my appointment with a pep in my step. I didn’t get around to cutting the bangs until I returned home, which brought me back to a very familiar routine. I was indeed rocking bangs through all of high school and resurrected the look for many years during my twenties. I thoroughly enjoy that youthful and awfully seductive version of me and I’ve got to say I’m happy she’s back! Right on time for summer and birthday shenanigans. After spiraling for days, I had found the remedy: an afternoon of beautification at the hair salon, a walk in the city, fruits and veggies, cuddles with my dog, soulful music, and a deep dive into my good brain. I could finally smoke one in peace. I was home, safe. All was well. I saged my room, played a sultry record through my headphones, sprawled on the bed with no pants, wrestled my dogs for a bit and counted my blessings. All throughout the day, I had sensed my turmoil, pushed through it, and given myself exactly that which I needed to reset. Per usual, it had worked wonders. I was in charge. I was doing just fine. Learning how to self soothe has been a key factor in my healing journey. There are many ways to get there. Journaling, in my case, is one of them. Journaling is this portal which allows you to access different timelines and receive perspectives from different versions of yourself. Journaling helps you retrace your steps and retrieve sponsoring thoughts. Journaling is not only therapeutic, it is also a powerful tool for personal growth.
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