The Survivor

What I Learned From Siddhartha Part I

12YDF00Z What I Learned From Siddhartha Part I

Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse came into my life at the perfect time.  My soul was yearning for something deep, and Siddhartha delivered.  It’s been on my book list for over a year – sometimes you wonder how those serendipities work themselves out.  It’s magical.

Background of the Book:

To give a little background for those who have not read it, Siddhartha is a young boy who leaves the faith of his father to go on his own spiritual journey.  It follows him through five major shifts in his life and through to his old age.  He experiences and leaves beautiful relationships along the way, always remaining loyal to his purpose and ideals.

At one point Siddartha feels very, very alone.  He didn’t belong to the Brahmin’s anymore, nor the Samana’s.  He had nowhere to say anymore, “I belong here.”  He felt like something was gone from him, he had shed his skin like a snake does.  It left him lonelier than ever.  Yet it allowed him to see the world new for the first time… things that were always there, but now viewing with new eyes.

My Own Story With Loneliness:

I know this pain of loneliness.  The first time I felt this level of loneliness was in my first marriage.  I had entered into this contract with my boyfriend, and God, to be married and become one.  But we never became one… not physically, not spiritually, not emotionally.  I didn’t believe in divorce.  So I did what I had to… I lived the lie.  I lived a quiet, lonely death, where the outside world saw the facade, the life we wanted them to see.  (I can’t go here right now – it’s too deep, too much for right here in this post.  For more of this, please subscribe to The Virgin Wife Chronicles.)

The second time I experienced this level of loneliness was when I was converting to a faith not of my family.  I was transitioning from feeling like I belonged in my family, my tribe, to not fitting anymore, and grasping at straws to learn how to fit differently.  And then I was in this transit space where I felt like I didn’t belong in my family and I wasn’t part of this new tribe that I was converting into yet.

I can tell you that these dark chasms (and that is what they are) are where we find ourselves.  No longer do we get to parade a banner belonging to this group or that tribe… instead we are left alone, with only our own thoughts, demons, prayers, and epiphanies.  There are no coattails to ride, no thoughts to borrow, no cloaks to cling to.  It’s a space that will either lead us to death and despair, or to life and joy.  Our choice.  Our courage.  Our bravery.

I wish I knew how to help others choose the path of life and joy.  But I don’t know how I did it.  I don’t know how I went from my path of destruction to my path of life.  I was headed for death.  Truly headed for death.  (Do I have to say it?)  And then, after years of disconnected prayers, stacks of books, torrents of tears, depths of despair, something gave.  I found courage.  I took baby steps.  I chose life.  I survived.  I’m living.  I’m breathing.  That world I left behind feels like some remote incarnation.

But I can’t tell you ‘how’.

It’s an answer I seek diligently.  I want nothing more than to be able to tell you ‘how’.

In the meantime, keep moving.  Keep breathing.  Keep praying.  Keep reading.

Maybe that is the ‘how’.

Just keep going.

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When There’s Nothing Left to Lose

Lately I’ve had lots of people tell me how much they appreciate my vulnerability, my rawness, my way of putting it all out there.  Some tell me that they couldn’t do the same.  So I’ve been asking myself, how could I be so vulnerable, now? Why have I not been so vulnerable before now?

And then it simply came to me: when you’ve lost everything, there’s nothing left to lose.

IMG 1104 1 e1298498616279 When Theres Nothing Left to Lose

A Stormy Sky | A Stormy Life

Of course I say that tongue-in-cheek.  I still have my family, shelter, a car, my dog.

I’m kind of over talking about all the things I’ve lost.  It’s getting boring and old.  So if you don’t know, just know that I lost my business and the income to go with it, my house(s), cars, and lots of things that are usually found inside a house.  I went from living in my 4000 square foot home, to living out of a bedroom in my parents house.

Yeah, it’s awesome. (Again, tongue-in-cheek, I’m very grateful.)

Out of my enormous losses I have found treasures far more valuable.

Prior to my losses I lived only half truthfully.  I kept hidden the parts of me that I didn’t think would fit in. Whether with my family, my church, my neighbors, the boogyman.

Why?

Because I wanted to be liked.  Was I liked by all of my family members, church members, neighbors, and the boogyman?

No.

You know the old saying, you can’t please everyone?  I tried to please everyone, anyways (come on, don’t we all?). As if I knew what would really please, and as if they really cared.

NOW, I’m in the practice of ‘being’, with nothing to prove and without placing my value in results.

My value is in being.

And if I am being an imposter, or only a shadow of me, then the value that anyone places in me is erroneous, invalid and an applaud that is not mine.  And maybe that is why life could feel so lonely sometimes… when we’re only second-handers.

It’s lonely to be unknown, don’t you think?

I’m sure you’ve heard this one:

It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for something you are not. ~Andre Gide

I’m sure my being so open about my life makes some people very uncomfortable.  Or it embarrasses them.  I have no judgment about that.  I acknowledge it.  I get it.

What I know is that I can breathe easier than ever before.  Since I’m no longer resisting, there isn’t anything pushing against me anymore.  My creativity is flowing and finding a groove to rest in.  This shift makes me feel genuinely happy.  I feel free, without a cage around me.  I’m not so exhausted second-guessing myself.

I’m NOT second-guessing myself.

I’m just being.

And my being is the only way to truly reach others, to connect, to relate, to empathize.

“We are so accustomed to disguise ourselves to others that in the end we become disguised to ourselves.” ~François Duc de La Rochefoucauld

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” ~e.e. cummings

“Every time you don’t follow your inner guidance, you feel a loss of energy, loss of power, a sense of spiritual deadness.”  ~Shakti Gawain

I know why the caged bird sings… because her heart is still free.  I could technically be considered caged with my present circumstances, but I’m freer than I’ve ever been.

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Free Bird*

*Photo credits: http://i242.photobucket.com/albums/ff52/BrokenMarionette_AngelicScars/omgbird.jpg

And if I am being an imposter, or only a shadow of me, then the value that anyone places in me is erroneous, invalid and an applaud that is not mine.  And maybe that is why life could feel so lonely sometimes… when we’re only second-handers.


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Call For Assistance on My BlogHer Syndication

IMG 1561 e1297808509159 Call For Assistance on My BlogHer Syndication

Angela DiGiovanni | Living Out Loud

Just a few days ago one of my most popular posts was syndicated on BlogHer.com!  It is an incredible honor, as BlogHer has a reach of 20 million women a month.  I’ve been touched by the comments and private emails I’ve received of those who can relate, and it reminds me once again that risking vulnerability is a worthy endeavor.  Else how can we connect on anything but superficial levels?

The more Views I get, Sparkles, Comments, and Facebook shares (all at the bottom of the post), the longer my piece will stay on the homepage if I make it into “The Most” categories.  I’m currently in the most Sparkles category (third from the top), and am very close to getting into the most Views (500 away) and Comments (five away).  Thank you to all of you who have gotten me this far!

So if you feel at all inclined to View it, Share it, Sparkle it, or Comment on it, I would very much appreciate it!
Here is the link: http://www.blogher.com/captain-my-ship-master-my-destiny

Writing has been such a healing process for me all my life.  And I’m happy to finally be writing out loud – for all the world to see – so others may be healed, too.

BH Syndicate 2 1 0 Call For Assistance on My BlogHer Syndication

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My Memoirs Beckon to be Written

sf library collage small e1296712032597 My Memoirs Beckon to be Written

Downtown San Francisco Library Collage

Today the hubs and I went to the San Francisco library downtown.  What a grand library it is!  Some six levels.  I parked myself at a table with some writing books… “Writing as a Way of Healing”, “The Writer’s Mentor”, and “Get Known Before the Book Deal” by Christina Katz, the Writer Mama.

Many, many thoughts are germinating in me as I think about writing my memoirs and I’m looking for all the guidance I can get.

Is it too personal?

Where does my story end and others’ begin?

Where do I start?

How do I balance honesty with respect?

How different would it be if I knew it was for my eyes only versus publishing it before the world?

And will the latter allow for the maximum healing through writing that I so enjoy?

When do I look for a publisher?

How do I look for a publisher?

Do I look for a publisher?

My mantra as I’ve been writing has been the famous quote by Anais Nin:

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.

I know that I am supposed to write this.  It’s nagged on my heart for years.  I’ve asked for the blessing of my ex-husband.  He gave it to me.  He’s a good man.

Today I watched a clip of Brene Brown talking about those who are “Wholehearted” and those who are not.  As a social worker who has spent years of research on this subject, she concludes that those who are Wholehearted, believe they are worthy of love and belonging, and they have COURAGE.  The Latin word “cor”, means heart.  Courage means to act from the heart, to tell your stories from the heart.

She also shared that in order to form connection, we have to allow ourselves to be seen.  I’ve spent far too much of my life feeling disconnected and on the fringe.  I’ve got to share my stories to connect with you.  To let you know you are not alone.  To give you hope.  To heal.  To be me.  To live out loud.  To be free.

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What I Love About Teeccino Herbal Coffee

IMG 1032 What I Love About Teeccino Herbal Coffee

Teeccino Herbal Coffee

There’s not too much I don’t like about being Mormon, but not drinking coffee is one thing!  I was a coffee drinker before I converted five years ago.  Not the kind that had to have her coffee every morning, but the kind that really enjoyed it with dessert. Especially cold, windy days called for a visit to Starbucks or Peet’s to get a cafe latte, and an iced Americano was a favorite treat on hot summer days.  Breaking the habit was hard.  Very hard.  Even today when a roasting pot wafts my way, I am delighted with its distinct smell and fight the urge to have a cup.  But today, my friends in similar quandaries – or those who are just trying to give up coffee for other reasons, I have great, great news.  It’s called Teeccino Herbal Coffee.

Here’s why I love Teeccino Herbal Coffee:

  • It’s not coffee.  There is no coffee, whatsoever, in it.
  • It smells as good as coffee.
  • You brew it in a coffee pot just like coffee.
  • It has the same texture and consistency of coffee.
  • It tastes strikingly similar to coffee.
  • You add your normal creamer and sweetener as you would with your favorite cup of joe.  (I use raw milk and Stevia)
  • It tastes great hot and cold.
  • It’s mostly natural, containing barley, carob, and a variety of other nuts, figs, and fruits to simulate the coffee taste.
  • I can drink it.  And I do… oh, I do.  Lots and lots.
  • There is no caffeine.
  • It’s non-acidic.
  • It restores an alkaline balance in your body.
  • It’s safe before, during, and after pregnancy.
  • It’s good for you!
  • It’s GLUTEN FREE!!!!

The one thing I cannot say is that it’s not ADDICTING.  Because I happen to think it is.  I start a pot in the morning, drink several hot cups, chill the rest, and have an iced-coffee dessert, or two, at night.  Mmmmmm.  I am in love.  So, so in love.  Maybe just slightly less than with my husband.

It comes in light, medium, and dark roasts in a huge variety of flavors from Vanilla Nut, to Chocolate Mint.  I’ve been sipping the Mediterranean Java, which I hear is a little sweeter than some from the Maya collection, which more exactly imitate the true taste of coffee.

Some things to know:

  • Despite there being Barley in it, it IS Gluten Free.  A study confirms that BREWED teeccino does not contain gluten.
  • The makers of Teeccino only deal in fair trade.  (yay)
  • Teeccino does not taste EXACTLY like coffee.  But it is a DARN good alternative!
  • You can buy a whole Teeccino sampler pack before committing to a one-pound bag.  Free shipping.
  • This is VERY hard to find in stores.  I did not see it at Whole Foods or Trader Joes, but I did find some at a local no-name health food store by my house.  I do believe Sunflower Markets carry it.
  • The best place to buy is from Amazon.  A one pound bag is normally about $10.  You can buy a 3-pack for about $22 on Amazon.  Buy that book you’ve always wanted at the same time to get your total up to $25 and get free shipping :-)
  • You can drink it now, and thank me later :-)
IMG 1082 e1296531220997 What I Love About Teeccino Herbal Coffee

Brewed Java Teeccino

 

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