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.

5 Powerful Tools to Getting Unstuck

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I wrote this post out the first time and then read it over and thought, “Amanda, this is not you. You are not using your true voice. You are writing to please others.” Which is ironic as you’ll read. So I hit erase and started over. When I finished I thought, there she is. There’s Amanda.


Who would believe what I have to say?

Who even wants to hear what I have to say anyway?

I suck. I’m not creative.

I don’t have a creative bone in my body.

I could NEVER do that! They can but not me.

The stuff I write, it’s shit!

I’m such an asshole.

This is all too hard. Why is everything so hard?

Work hard, play hard., that’s the only way. So why does it feel so wrong to me?

Hustle, hustle hustle. It’s the only way to be successful. I just can’t anymore.

I hear these things all the time. They are unconsciously swirling around everywhere affecting our energy, our drive, our dreams, our gut feelings, our motivation.

In fact, I’ve said these things (and more) over and over to myself. I still battle this tape recorder. It has been hardwired in us, one that’s hard to erase. Although I work on it daily, these thoughts circle deep in the back of my mind.

I’ve learned that nothing kills your creative life force quicker then the voice(s) in your head. This voice however, isn’t really ours. It’s the stories we’ve picked from the time we were born. These are called formative years for a reason. This is when we pick up our beliefs and values, how we learn to set boundaries or in my case, none at all. It’s when our parents and siblings and educational system and peers all influence us the deepest.

I know it’s easy to think they are our own thoughts because we are the ones thinking them day in and day out, but how often do you stopped and question, “Is this even what I believe? Are these thoughts even mine?” Or are you on autopilot just living out the life you’ve been told you should be living?

About six months ago I had a series of mental breakdowns that shook me to my core and made me realize that I had to make a choice: stay the same and not address what was happening within me and turn into someone I really despised or acknowledge that I really needed to make some changes and I needed help for my health, wellbeing and overall sanity.

Honestly, I felt like I was living a lie. So many parts of my life still didn’t feel true to my core. I was not accepting the truth of what I am here to do in this lifetime. Needless to say, I was left untangling a messy web of thoughts and ideals and beliefs, trying to decipher which ones were actually mine and what were stories I picked up a long the way.

Do this — get love.

Be this — acceptance.

Stay small, don’t speak up — fit in.

Wear this — please others.

Work 9 to 5 — security

I couldn’t see straight. Literally. I would lie in bed hyperventilating to the point nothing made sense and my vision would go blurry and I knew enough from watching a mentally ill father growing up, living a lie involves serious repercussions.

This one particular morning I sent me therapist (more of a spiritual advisor) a text:

“It’s time to go deeper.”

I knew that all this conditioning and past traumas were preventing me from living what I believed to be my truth and the anxiety and panic I was feeling from deep within were messengers that it was time to get radically honest with myself, my past and the way I processed the traumatic events in my life. I needed to take responsibility for my choices, my decisions and stop blaming others. I needed to accept that my parents did the best that they could with what they themselves had, really learn to forgive and relearn how to not care about what others think.

“Fuck.” I thought. “I don’t want to do this.” But it was time to roll up my sleeves and really get to work. And that, was terrifying.

We are so afraid of our pain, aren’t we? Most of us are so full of guilt and shame and every other emotions related to these it seems. Or, we spend our time chasing this illusion of happiness and we desperately run from those things that cause or have caused us pain.

But I’m here to tell you, right under the pain is the good stuff?

It’s called…TRUTH.

Right under the lies are our longings and dreams and aspirations. The things our heart and soul knows we are here to do.

The pain and guilt and shame — they hold the answers. Wake up, don’t go back to sleep.

“The breezes at dawn have secrets to tell you
Don't go back to sleep!
You must ask for what you really want.
Don't go back to sleep!
People are going back and forth 
across the doorsill where the two worlds touch,
The door is round and open
Don't go back to sleep!”

- Rumi

I didn’t go back to sleep. Instead, I dug in.

Going back and addressing traumatic events and memories isn’t fun. I’m never going to tell you it is. It actually sucks balls if I’m honest. But you know what sucks balls even more?

Living a lie.

I don’t care how old you are, if you want to find freedom from your suffering, if you want to live a life of truth and honesty and authenticity, you have to actually dig into the pain and the lies. Because no matter how many times you look in the mirror and speak affirmations, if you don’t believe it on a deep subconscious level, those lies are the storylines that will continue to play out from deep within.

If you ever wonder why the same thing keeps happening to you…there you go.

The affirmations are wonderful. They feel good after you get over the initial discomfort of feeling like you are piling more lies on top of the lies you already live with. But if you follow me on Instagram you may remember the analogy I talked of scooping ice-cream on top of shit. You can keep piling ice cream on top of your shit, but eventually you will bite into the shit again.

Or you can get in, get the shit out of there so you can eventually just enjoy the ice cream without worrying if and when you may bite into shit again.

And the shit, is exactly what keeps us stuck.

Now who’s hungry for some ice cream?

5 Powerful Tools to Getting Unstuck

1. Slow Down & Create Space

Nobody likes to hear this but slowing down and getting intentional with your time really is the hidden secret. We love to distract ourselves. And by we I really mean WE. I right there with you. My numbing and distraction go-to’s are: social media, aimlessly wandering around my house, podcasts, used to be dating apps and sometimes it was sex (when I was dating someone) and occasionally drinking. But in the last 6 months I got still. I got really uncomfortable. And I just listened to what was trying to come up. You know what it was? Anger. And then shame. Then sadness and hurt. And it sucked but it provided a lot of clues and answers and when I started doing more work around these things, peace.

That is when number two came in to play.

2. To Be Magnetic

I first turned to To Be Magnetic because if I’m honest, it was a manifestation process and I was really just looking for a quick way to get what I want without having to work for it. I thought sweet! Another tool to help me magically manifest all my hopes and desires.

Then I realized this program is a bit different then all the other manifestation teachings. This one involves a lot of honest and actually showing up and doing the (your) work. So I got super resistant to it until the last mental breakdown and I realized I couldn’t keep doing things the same way and expect different results.

It all comes down to self-worth and if you are vibrating (from DEEP WITHIN) high or low self-worth. So this is why when we just do affirmations they don’t really work all that well. They are, for many people, ice cream covering up shit.

Law of Attraction and The Secret are great but as Lacy, the creator says, unless you get in to the subconscious that holds all the stories and lies and trauma and blocks, you wont ever believe you are worthy of the things you truly want.

I can’t speak more highly of Lacy and To be Magnetic. I’ll write a whole post on what has transpired in my life so far soon.

If you are interested in really doing the work to live a life that feels totally in alignment and manifest the things you truly want, you can get $20 OFF when you use the promo code AMANDA.

The Pathway, which gives you access to ALL of her programs, is only $25 a month. It’s literally 5 coffees out. I didn’t want to spend the money either but this has literally saved my sanity in so many ways.

3. Present Over Perfect

I have a thing for books and I really have a thing for books that involve raw honesty. This book, I think, needs to be read by everybody that struggles with feeling like they are enough (hello almost everyone). Those who have questioned what the hustle is really about and wondered if there is a more simple way of living and reaping the rewards of true happiness.

This book literally fell in my lap after consciously choosing to slow my life down for mental health reasons over the last six months.

It gave me permission to be human and to not get caught up in the do more to be more mentality. It gave me hope and it gave me a sense of feeling less alone.

Read it, I promise it will make you breathe out all the air you’ve been holding onto because you’ve been so busy for so long you forgot to read.

4. The Qapital App

I’m going to be totally transparent here. Money has been one of the biggest sources of my pain and shame over the last ten years. In my twenties I was really “responsible.” I had a great savings, little to no debt and I was setting myself up for success. And it felt really good.

Then just after my twenty-ninth birthday I moved to Taiwan on a whim and went through my savings rather quickly. Fuck it. I almost died I thought. I just want to live. And that has been the story I’ve been living out this whole time. (PS - totally working on this storyline in Opulence, one of The Pathway programs). And it’s preventing me from really stepping into a side of me I need to feel secure — financial free.

So how does this money managing app help?

I came across Qapital and saving and investing became fun for me. It’s actually making me look at money in a whole new light. I also love that it’s kind of a ‘set it and forget it’ thing. And while I’m not making as much money as I’d like to right now by any means, this gives me the feeling of doing something to set myself up for the future.

You can set up different goals and apply different rules to each. For the last six months, I’ve been watching my savings grow as money is withdrawn from my banking account and put into each goal.

These are what my goals look like:

Taxes (independent contractor here)
Downpayment (House)
In Case of An Emergency Fund
40th Birthday to Italy (whoop whoop, Sept. 6th 2020!)
Investments (so confusing to me)

When you sign up and when you refer someone else, you both get anywhere before $5-$25 depending on their promotion. Honestly, it’s turned savings into a fun game.

5. Human Design

If you’ve been in my company within the last few months Human Design has definitely come up. I don’t even know how to do describing it justice to be honest but basically, it’s the contract your soul made about who you came here to be, our unique gifts to live out and the karma you are to experience.

In laymen terms; straight up permission to be exactly who you are. When I first started learning about my desgin (4/6 Generator with an Emotional Authority, Right Cross of Consciousness (3)) it was like EVERYTHING I ever felt intuitively about myself made sense. I used to be so hard on myself about this weird need I had to share things with the hope of inspiring others. But it’s literally my purpose.

This energy is the ability to seize power through the use of your mental prowess. You are here to transform your mental pressure to figure things out and communicate effectively to others, turning them into followers. Not everyone can push forward ideas to lead, but you have the energetic design to do so.

This stuff blows my mind wide open and if you feel called to learn more, my friend Ilona read my chart to me and she’s incredible. You can reach out to her or myself if you have questions. (I chat a bit about it but she’s got it nailed down!)

Full transparency, if you click on an affiliate link and choose to purchase I will get a small commission but it’s really important to know that I will never under any circumstance promote anything I do not use myself or truly believe in.

creativity is in the eye of the creator

 

For years I wished so badly to be a "creative" person. I wanted to paint with such beauty and majestic qualities that my art would touch the souls of those looking onward in a way that left them longing for more. I wanted to write stories with characters so vivid and wild that they came to life at night dancing in the dreams of those reading. I wished that I was brave enough to stand on stage, singing and dancing as I embodied the persona of someone that had been crafted by the imagination of someone with wicked creativity. 

My lack of confidence and insecurities got the better of me however and I soon bought into my beliefs that I wasn't creative at all. I would sit in my room for hours drawing, never quite able to capture what I really wanted. I'd write stories but never felt like I could think of the right words to express what I truly wanted to say. And in the quiet hours when no one else was home, I'd turn my music up and theatrically sing and dance throughout the house but never when anyone else could see. So, like a lot dreams left uncared for, I let the idea of being a "creative" person die too. 

It wasn't until sometime in my late twenties that I started to hear the calls to tap back into my creative side. One day in the late summer of 2009 I was sitting at the dining room table of my friend's beautiful early 1900's West Seattle home, a place I was fortunate to live, when I heard a voice. I was nearly in tears, frustrated with feelings I couldn't quite figure out. I felt like I had betrayed myself. I felt lost and confused and all I could do was ask for help. With my head cradled in my arms resting on the dinning room table I cried out, "what do you wish for me to do?" 

As if on cue, I heard a very loud and clear voice that said, "Amanda, start a blog."

I lifted my head, confused as to where the voice came from and asked out loud, "What do you mean start a blog? I'm not a writer! Who, besides my mom, is going to read anything I have to write?" (no offense mom...you're my most cherished reader!)

And I heard it again, "Amanda, start a blog."

Exhausted and tired from the self-inflicted fight, I decided to give in and listen.

As I was just about to move to Taiwan, I figured that was a great great transition into blogging. I barely knew what blogging was but I would capture my thoughts and experiences with words and photos and in doing so, the craziest of things happened. The very process started to feed me in a way I'd never been fed before. I would leave my house and spend hours, completely unaware of the time, walking around the streets of northern Taiwan capturing everything I could. I felt a shift inside and an openness in my heart I hadn't felt in a long time. 

Then when I moved to Oregon I started a new blog, Bullfrogs and Bulldogs, and documented my life transitioning from the city to living on 50 acres of farm and vineyard. What was intended to be a platform to share the hilarious stories of a chuck wearing city girl navigating her way around country life turned into a creative outlet that allowed me to use my house and the land as my canvas. I felt pulled to start exploring home up cycling and gardening and would share those projects on my blog. My canvas was big and I was fortunate to have the means to dive deeper into the things I was being called to do.  I learned to paint and sew and explore my greenish-brown thumb. 

The more I did, the more I felt pulled to try new things. 

Since then I've continued to be open to whatever I feel called to do and it has totally changed my perspective on what it means to be a creative person.

After many years I realized something really important. The problem wasn't my lack of abilities. It was my definition of creativity. It was very black and white. I thought I had to fit into a perfect little box. Worst of all, I thought that to be creative I could only love and spend my time focusing on one craft. Was I so wrong!

Isn't it interesting what we allow ourselves to believe? I completely shut off such an integral part of who I am as a person all because I thought I didn't fit into a mold. 

If you are anything like me, you are a multifaceted person with many interests and passions. One minute you think you've found it, that one thing you are supposed to invest your life doing, then five minutes later something shiny and pretty catches your eye and you are left confused and wondering in a different direction

It's really not so black and white though. There really are NO rules. We are the ones limiting ourselves by this convoluted idea that creativity (and life mind you) have to look a certain way. 

It makes me sad to think that so much creativity is not being shared with the world because of this preconceived notion of what creativity is supposed to look like. So many people are afraid of making a mistake that they never try at all.  Creativity is vast and big. Creativity is something you do that makes your soul and spirit come alive. Creativity is taking risks and letting go of the fear of not being perfect. 

Creativity is your souls way of communicating to the world. 

And my dear, your soul needs to be heard.  

That's the key to creativity, figure out what lights you up and do that. 

What are the things that you are excited to do that you can you get lost in where hours slip by like they were merely moments in time? What makes you giddy excited to rush home to or spend any and all free time you may have doing? What gives you butterflies and makes your heart beat a little faster? What is that one thing that if you could not fail, you would do forever? 

We are all creative beings. The sooner you can believe that and start breathing life into that side of you, the sooner you will find a personal freedom that makes you feel truly alive. 

What are you longing to create? 


And without further ado...it's now open. My Etsy shop is officially up and ready just in time for the holiday season. Make sure you check back often in the coming weeks as I'm working on some awesome holiday signs that I think you and your loved ones will adore hanging on their walls.