Week 1: What If We Are Attacked by Zombies? Irrational Thoughts In a Giant Tent

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“Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live.” - Dorothy Thompson

Someone asked me recently if I get scared of living in the middle of nowhere in a giant tent. I paused and thought about this for a moment remembering that sometimes I’d leave my doors unlocked at night in my house in the suburbs of Encinitas yet here, I double and triple check my locks before crawling into bed.

The funny thing is, I know logically I am safer here but the years of binge-watching horror movies have me convinced otherwise. I can’t help but think that where I currently live is the perfect setting for a horror movie.

Overall, I feel pretty safe. Except for the horrific noise I woke up to the other night which resembled what I would consider a cross between a velociraptor and…a zombie. If you don’t know what a velociraptor sounds like, I will kindly point you in the direction of my eight-year-old nephew Henry and he will happily educate you.

I can assume this noise, however, was the proud grunts of some animal consuming something it just caught and I couldn’t help but wonder if it was dining on my beloved cat Louie who never came home that night. (Don’t worry, he came home alive and well)

When I first moved here a girl I know by acquaintance sent me a message on Facebook suggesting I get a gun because “although it’s mostly safe, there are some weirdos!” Not much of a gun person, I brushed off the suggestion with a slight eye roll for what I thought was a bit of an overreaction. Admittedly, I did have a brief thought about how much more efficient it would be to ward off zombies if we were, in fact, ever attacked by them if I had a gun. A gun would come in a lot handier than my already dull kitchen knife. But other people live on the property so, at the very least, I know someone will hear me scream. (just kidding ma. take a deep breath)

But sometimes I do think about Zombies though. Like, what would I do if I looked out the window and saw something that resembled a human but with gaping wounds, a slight limp and an eerie discoloration that resembled the leader of the free world because let's be honest, I’ve questioned if Trump is a zombie too, hobbling my way from the bottom pasture? You think I’m joking but if you see one Walking Dead episode, you start to mentally prepare and pray to God that if it does come true they’d at least be the slow kind. Fast zombies, like in 28 Days Later, and well, we are all F#*ked. The end. Story over.

The short answer though is no, I don’t really get too scared living in my yurt. Other than occasionally, as in, cough cough, every night, double and triple-checking my locks, I feel pretty damn safe. Sometimes I remember that I live in a giant tent and I start to laugh at the realities of my current conditions and how if someone really wanted to get in, it wouldn’t be too terribly hard.

But mostly I feel safe.

But this makes me think about how much we are subconsciously conditioned by things like media and movies and pop culture and how what we allow into our lives greatly affects the reality of our thoughts. And it makes me ask: how much of what we allow into our awareness really does influence our irrationalities?

Like, I know very well that zombies don’t really exist but the idea still scares me. I was a horror movie buff when I was a little kid after all. I have no clue why but I frigging loved scary movies but I can’t help but wonder if that somehow contributed to some of my irrational fears. Hello JAWS. Thanks for making it almost impossible for getting in the ocean water!

But I loved horror movies when I was young. Often my parents left me at my God family’s house and my mom remembers walking into the living room when it came time to pick me up and my three or four-year-old self was standing about two feet from their big-screen TV. Remember those back in the ’80s?. Those big, oversized square things that protruded out into the middle of the living room? These things did not mount from the wall. They sat there, big and intrusive and at Christmas, your mom used the top of the TV to create the perfect little Christmas Village.

So image my younger self, standing two feet away, my big blue eyes wide open and fixated on Jason in Halloween slashing some young, blonde twenty-somethings big perky chest.

I’m not sure what shocked me more, the blood and the act of slashing or the boobs. At that time, both horrified me (and kind of fascinated me) because well, why would one human ever do that to another? As for the boobs, I was mostly confused because mine did not look like that.

Flash forward thirty some odd years later and I can confirm that my boobs do in fact look like those now. But definitely not as perky. Or big. But wait. We aren’t talking about my boobs, are we? If you want to read more about those I suggest you read this post here.

I digress. Oh yeah, irrational thoughts about zombies.

Today, I can’t watch The Walking Dead. I can’t even watch Criminal Minds which was a show I used to love. Something started happening when I started to “wake up” a bit. I found it harder and harder to be around or watch things that pushed violence or a lot of darkness. Stay with me here. Yes, I’m about to go all woo woo on you.

I’ve read this many times. That a spiritual awakening of sorts often brings a deeper sensitivity to energy. That is why it can be an extremely lonely experience. As you raise your personal vibration, your consciousness, things, and people start to fall away as your sensitivity to it begins to heighten.

So as I started to take more inventory on my internal landscape several years ago and pull back some layers, things like shows with zombies biting the jugular of a human neck became harder to watch. Call me crazy but it makes sense.

It is amazing to me how many shows that glorify torturous acts are on TV and how a lot of us watch these shows before going to bed. So much happens on a subconscious level when we sleep, if you wake up with anxiety, may I suggest you take a closer look at what you watch before turning in?

It’s not a cure-all but it definitely has helped me.

However, for the past two months until about two weeks ago, I noticed that my irrational thoughts, anxiety, and worry started to really creep back in. I suspected, and now know that the internal upheaval from the transition of my move created a lot of inner chaos and decided to shine a big spotlight on all my unresolved trauma, limiting beliefs and low self-worth. And there is nothing like sitting all alone in a giant tent in the middle of nowhere with all of that to keep you company.

Now I understand that most people would read this and ask, “Amanda, why would you ever subject yourself to that?”

My answer? Because it’s what I’m being called to do. I don’t know how to explain it but in the pit of my stomach I know that the main purpose of this move is to get me to finally dive deeper into all that unresolved stuff and find some freedom from it.

But first, I have to feel it to heal it.

Because truth be told, all that unresolved trauma, those deep-seated limiting beliefs, and areas of crippling low self-worth are holding me back from living a life on purpose. My true purpose.

If I’ve learned anything over the last year it is that when we don’t truly believe we are worthy of something in the deepest part of our subconscious being, no matter how bad we want said something it will never fully come to be until we truly believe we deserve it. That’s just basic energy 101. But THAT is for another post. In the meantime, if you want to learn more about it read this post from the woman I’ve learned so much on this topic.

So, for the last two months, I’ve really been in it. Even deeper then I have before and in an entirely new way.

I’ve been sifting and assessing and analyzing and trying my very best to rise up into my worth by learning to let things go. Like, let things go in a totally different way. In a way, I’m not even sure how to explain it yet. Old stories and beliefs, people, places, and energies.

But every now and then and irrational thought creeps up and out.

Like, what if we are attacked by zombies?

And I have to wonder what’s worse, zombies? Or all the trauma, most of which asn’’t even mine, that has been lying dormant inside me for all these years…

The Deafening Sounds of Silence: On Being Alone

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“I do not understand the mystery of grace -- only that it meets us where we are and does not leave us where it found us.”
Anne Lamott

The other night I woke around 2 a.m., sweat dripping down my back and chest, which I speculate is due to fluctuating hormones as the temperature in my yurt is rather cool in the middle of the night.

I woke from a dream. I was surrounded by my childhood friends and their husbands of years and there I stood, completely encircled yet utterly alone. I lay there in the pitch black of night ruminating on the length of time each of them had been with their spouses and comparing my constant singleness with their holy matrimony. Then it came, pangs of envy crept up as the self inflicted judgments I’d been stuffing down with affirmative pleasantries surfaced.

How am I still single? What is so wrong with me that no one ever wants to stay? Why do I keep attracting men who don’t really want me?

Another recent relational “ending” has my childhood abandonment issues fiery hot and the sadness that had been empaling my heart for the last few days finally starting to loosen and bubble to the surface. The old and deeply engrained beliefs flashed in front of my face in the dark of the night.

They all leave. Every one of them always leaves.

This belief, deeply buried in the pits of my subconscious mind, has been on repeat since I was a child and has been the driver in most of my relationship choices. My father, although physically present until my teens when he wasn’t gallivanting around with mistresses or spending his time at the local bar numbing his own emptiness with Bud Light or Vodka, emotionally and mentally never really was. This taught me all I was worth was emotionally disconnected men. Or men who loved other women. Or men who loved other shiny objects more. Or men who liked to energetically steal everything from me until I am frail and weak and lying on the floor as they finally walked away. Or, Or, Or….

At one week shy of thirty-nine, this storyline is getting really old. However, the depths of it’s roots is only now obvious to me.

And it’s accompanied by silence.

Silence, can be mighty painful. But so can sitting in a room full of people.

A conversation I had with my mom right before I moved comes to mind as she shared the worries of my family with me. “Honey, we think it’s great. The only thing we are just a little worried about is how isolated you will be.” I listened as she shared her concerns and thought about the irony of what she was saying. If only she knew just how alone I’ve felt in a room full of all of them.

And I am reminded, combating aloneness, is an inside job.

I’ve been in enough settled relationships to know that the void is full only until it no longer is and the unhappiness and abandonment we are often running from eventually starts to resurface.

At some point I fell back to sleep and woke later feeling a bit better. Another day, I think as Baker slowly inches his way towards me from the foot of the bed. I’ve always been a morning optimistic. A new day means a chance to get it right. My sadness doesn’t creep in until the sun sets and I reflect back on the days failed promises to myself. This is mostly due to overcommitting and thinking I can do more then I can in a day. Something I am working on.

Baker and I both eagerly escape the clutches of the warm comforter and begin our morning routine. I’ll never know who is more excited about the break of a new day, Baker for his breakfast or me for my coffee and a chance to start over.

After Baker’s belly is full and my coffee is pressed, I stand staring out my back french doors at the vastness that is now my backyard.

Sometimes being alone hurts I think and other times it doesn’t. It’s that simple. That’s the ambiguity of life. The conundrum. And often it can fluctuate throughout the day.

The lyrics from a song. The change of the wind bringing a reminiscent smell of longing. A quick wondering of thoughts wondering what they are doing right now. A deep missing of someone long gone.

It can creep in and twist the emotional dial just a bit until your loneliness is present once again.

Sometimes I relish in the silence and other times it’s as if someone is stabbing tiny needles into my skin over and over and I would do just about anything to crawl out of it and not have to be alone with myself for one more minute.

Other times I imagine what the inside of my loneliness looks like. Slices of Swiss cheese. Full of many holes desperate to be filled.

There are times when the idea of having to fill all those holes myself seems daunting when it feels so much easier to stuff them full of insignificant and meaninglessness like I use to. The downside of growth is it’s just so hard to go back when you now know better.

So I don’t stuff and I just sit. I sit knowing it will rise up and out and pass, often, like a painful kidney stone. But pass it will and once it does it’s gone. And that hole, that hole is somehow magically filled. With what I still don’t quite fully understand but I think it’s called God’s Grace and it looks a little something like peace.

Peace and love and grace.

And sometimes things like sugar and spice and all things nice.

And it’s new to me, God’s Grace and peace, but I like it. I like it better then the suffering and the stuffing of meaninglessness.

I like it so I don’t stuff anymore.

Instead, I wait.

For the peace and the love and the grace.

I just wait and stare out my french doors and sip my coffee.