Fireworks & Solitude

I like to think of myself as a firework. Lots of short bursts of fiery passion. I am a Sagittarius aka a fire sign, lighting up everyone’s world until my nomadic self gets bored. My move to Snowshoe in late July only lasted a mere month before I decided I wanted to move onto something different. My life is now back in the Post-Snowshoe era, trying to adapt to the normalcy of everyday life.

This is my life, it’s always been an escape from loneliness eventually found in one place, carrying onto the next. It displays itself in boredom. I get tired of the place, and move on. People and places are the same everywhere. Nothing ever changes. Not until you do.

The universe works in funny ways, and my new job with WeddingWire has brought on a subtle loneliness. After spending hours poring over hundreds of wedding vendors and writing overly descriptive synopsis on them, I can’t help but wonder if I will ever get to that point in my life. It’s hard to ignore the absolute joy on these random stranger’s faces.

I see all these beautiful images of fairytale weddings, and I write the words that accompany them. I’ve written over 20,000 words so far on “perfect wedding days of your dreams.” It makes me think of all my friends of friends who have already participated in this ritual called marriage. And the ones who felt the need to bring a child into a world with someone they barely know. I think of sustainability of relationships and how to have faith in someone you’ve only known for such a short time.

I think of myself, the firework, with an inability to put up with anyone for longer than half a year. I think of my purposeful decision to not let myself get sucked into a romantic relationship anytime soon to protect myself from the possibility of falling in love with the wrong person. Because everyone seems to be that person after a couple weeks.

I think of all my failed relationships and all the hearts I’ve broken. It seems unfair for me to even play into the game of dating when my opinions on someone changes so quickly. But yet I crave the human intimacy these wedding photographers portray so well. Don’t we all?

I struggle with being alone. But I know it’s my only option right now. I am facing the loneliness instead of escaping it. It’s hard. But in the end, I have no choice but to be comfortable in my boredom. I have to succumb to stillness. It is only with this solitude and quietness that I can start to create.

New paintings, new websites, new blog posts. It all comes from solitude. Everything else is just a test of my endurance.

A Return To Love

I have spent years contemplating my purpose and worth. I have watched it evolve from a child who felt they could do anything, to feeling lost in world of societal standards that didn’t match up with my life. I have watched our fearful society destroy me from the inside out as I’ve felt too crippled with loss of hope to move forward. During a time of complete confusion and loss of purpose, I was gifted A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson. Through careful contemplation I have digested its teachings with the most intense care I’ve ever given a piece of literature.

A Return to love by Marianne Williamson is a spiritual book of guidance that leads us back to love. It uses traditional Christian terminology to explore the concepts of forgiveness, using the story of the bible to highlight the metaphorical nature of the text. Through A Return to Love we are reminded that we can choose forgiveness to move past previous circumstances, and use love to move us forward on our path. The basis of the teachings of A Return to Love are as follows.

  1. Love is real, it’s an eternal creation and nothing can destroy it 
  2. Anything that isn’t love is an illusion
  3. Remember this and you’ll be at peace.

A Return to Love explains how we were created in love and therefore it is the only fundamental truth me have. “Love is within us. It cannot be destroyed, but only hidden.” Any deviation from love is not real. The opposite of love is fear, and it is a projection of the mind. A Return to Love shows us how to overcome our anxieties and fears by replacing it with love. Because love is the light, and fear is the dark it will always overcome it.

I think back to myself in college when fear dominated my every move.  I felt like there was no hope for my future career in Journalism that was focused around reporting fearful news to the masses. Time and time again I let fear beat me down into a little ball of emotion. I wish I had known then that anytime I felt paralyzed by fear I was merely locked inside my mind. A Return to Love reminded me that because we are built out of love, fear isn’t something that comes naturally, it is something that is taught.

Now more than ever, our society is focused around a fear mentality creating a mass suffering of anxiety ridden lives. Mainstream media trains us to only see the bad, the deaths, the horror, making us feel as though there is no hope. This is not an accident. It is not an accident that Jeff Bezos, owner of Amazon, richest man in the world, is also the owner of The Washington Post. It isn’t an accident that with more people suffering from anxiety, the more opioids are prescribed to numb us from reality. We are addicted to anything that helps us escape the pain we feel in this world.

Despite all the chaos, some of us awakening to the realization that we have a choice and a way out of this collective Hell. People are starting to realize that the more you give, the more the Universe/God will bless you. It’s no longer about hoarding your piece of the pie, but sharing your crumbs with others. This society that once was built around dreams of becoming rich and famous is starting to crumble. Celebrities are using their status as a platform to promote equality among people. We are still facing the mega-rich elite trying to break us down, with people like Donald Trump using age old tactics of hate and fear to divide us. But we are too smart for that bullshit, we are too loving to let them succeed.

A Return to Love reminds us that the only way out of the dark, the only thing that can counter the fear, is love and light. Does this sound familiar? “The light shines through the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.- John 1:5” Jesus was pure love, and his selfless acts of kindness saved anyone who believed in him. It is through his leadership and pure love that we must follow if we want to move past this little blip in destructive humanity.  Love is the greatest defense we have and with its powerful light we can illuminate the fearful dark.

We can change the future of our society through changing our minds. A Return to Love gives us the starting tools to move towards a better collective reality. It starts with each and everyone of us, because we all equally hold an important part in this shared reality. With every person healed, we have a greater chance at creating a society we are proud of. A Return to Love is a book of healing, the only prerequisite to reading it is the readiness to open your heart and mind.

You can purchase A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson from Barnes & Noble (please don’t use Amazon)

 

 

The Circular Chase for Happiness

Moving back to Snowshoe was a last-minute decision fueled by a pressing urge to move out of my parent’s house to seek solace elsewhere. A spontaneous weekend trip turned into moving back for good and falling back in love with the lifestyle I had too easily forgotten. Since moving to Snowshoe I have acquired an abundance of free time which I have spent journaling and taking notes on a book called A Return to Love. Through stillness and inner reflection of this book I have come face to face with the circular nature of my life that has controlled me for the past couple years.

With a chase for happiness that I’ve been engrossed in since I graduated college, I have ended up time and time again in the same circle. The patterns went like this: I would strive toward a dream, get fed up or bored with the current situation, and instead of working through it, I would try to escape it by jumping into a new life. I went from living in Virginia, to moving to Snowshoe for the winter, to Mammoth Lakes for the spring and summer, back to Virginia, and now again back to Snowshoe. Anytime things got tough I would go into escape mode, successfully leaving everything behind for a new start.

Everything that was exciting at first, turned to hell once the thrill was gone. It would only take a couple months for me to trick myself into thinking my awesome life was anything but that. Once the newness wore off I felt like there always had to be someplace better I could be. My happiness depended on the excitement I felt in a location, and I was always quick to blame external circumstances when I got bored. I let myself be dragged around by my mind patterns of “you should be doing something better”, or “you’re too good for this place.” Every chase for happiness ended in despair as I watched my dreams of being in a place crumble in front of my eyes. I began to think that life was just circular, and it was just a big mean game that put me back to where I started as a cruel joke.

I started to analyze my past to try and find the reasoning behind why my happiness wouldn’t last. I led myself into the darkness trying to learn from my mistakes. I thought I was getting better, but I started injecting past situations into my present. Every new person and place was carefully and anxiously analyzed. I started to place the blame on others. This later turned into owning up to my mistakes and placing the blame on myself. I let myself slowly die inside as I took the blame for every mistake no matter how big or small. I was angry with myself for messing up so many times. Crushing disappointment followed. How was I supposed to move forward with all the mistakes I had made haunting me?

It wasn’t until I was painting vortexes and working a job that watches chairlifts go in circles all day, that everything was too blatant to ignore. The circular evil life view I created wasn’t created by the universe, it was created by my mind. Everything I blamed on others, and then myself, didn’t matter anymore because I could choose a miracle of forgiveness. I was free from my past and all the pain it caused me. With this newfound acceptance I was now able to move forward with the humbling knowledge that I overcame one of the most destructive patterns in my life.

Last week after an emotional debacle, I decided I wanted to escape Snowshoe. I was feeling disappointed in myself for moving back to the same place I had already spent three years at, and I felt like I was looping myself again. But after finishing A Return to Love my perspective changed.

This time I won’t run back home. Not yet. It isn’t time. Now it’s time to let the universe guide me to my next adventure. I am finally at peace with myself, and there is no better place to heal than a mountain far away from society. I am learning to accept my surroundings instead of fighting them, and letting go of the constant need to find the next best thing.

When I’m up here in the island in the sky, looking down at the valleys filled with clouds, I can’t help but wonder how this place even exists. I am overwhelmed with gratitude that I get to be back in this beautiful place.

 

My Life Is Better Than Yours

At the near end of my trip to Portland something hit me with more force than anything I’ve ever experienced. I was sitting in a hipster filled cafe in Portland across from Jacob, a new friend I met recently.

Jacob is one of the eight or so identical faces sitting with a scruffy beard and plastic framed glasses. We are having a conversation about a new app that he found that helps you gain instagram followers by following accounts and then unfollowing them shortly after they follow you. He is ecstatic that for $50 a month his social following has increased tremendously, which in turn has given him a successful ego boost and helped him seem more legitimate online.

Across the table I am steadily losing hope. My frustration over my unsuccessful job search is intensified by a $7 cappuccino that tastes like acid. Any excitement about Portland has subsided and been replaced with crippling anxieties about my worth. I try to verbalize my situation to Jacob, but emotionally we are on completely different ends of the spectrum. It is an uncomfortable see-saw ride of me trying to confide in someone, while his excitement about making Portland a forever home radiates accidental guilt. It is mid conversation about his successful roommate search that he hits me with a sentence that sends me into an existential crisis.

“I feel bad talking to you right now because my life is so much better than yours.”

My immediate reaction was disbelief and anger. But my usual uncensored tongue disappeared into a quiet stillness of complete surrender. I spent the rest of the day in contemplation not of a rebuttal, but of what his words meant in a broader sense of today’s world.

We live in a society that often times measures worth based on how successful you are for your age, or the places you’ve traveled to, or how well a particular season of your life is going.  In order to measure success we must have something to compare it to in order to determine success. But pushing all that aside, there is a fundamental similarity between everyone’s lives.

No ones life is better than yours.

Your life is the only life you will ever have. There is no amount of dreaming, time traveling, or instagram posts that will make your life better than someone else’s. It doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing, regardless of how awesome it is, because you are the only one who has the honor of living out your life.

Even though it has been a dark and stormy season in my life, I am still marveling at the beauty of being alive. We are so blessed to be here on this earth regardless of our circumstances. We cannot forget how special it is that we are living on a baby speck of dust in the this giant universe. There is no time to waste letting ourselves be broken down by other’s perception of our life.

Next time you try and compare yourself to someone else, remember how thankful you are for the combined memories of your life. Whether good or bad, every second of each day has brought you to where you are today.

I wouldn’t trade my life for anyone else’s. My life is my best life, because it is the only one I will ever get a chance at.