Sit In Your Shit

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Lately, I’ve been in this interesting emotional place. A lot of stuff from my past has been resurfacing. Stuff I believed, I had long ago put to rest. 

It's not that I'm in a dark emotional place, however. It is more like things are coming up so that I can finally shed them and release them. 

Lately, I've been waking in the middle of the night, shooting out of bed from a dream of a person from long ago I hadn’t thought of in years and the feelings it brings up linger for days. I know it’s not about the person. The person is just the messenger. It’s about the feelings.

In the past, I got really good at stuffing and dusted these feelings under the rug. I'd think I was acknowledging them with some spiritual jargon as if the words were magic and would erase the past. This is called spiritual bypassing and something I’ll talk more about soon.

I’ve conceded, however, that this stuff will never go away unless I really look at it face on.  I am being asked to finally and truly feel my feelings.

I am being called to sit in my shit so to speak. And honestly, who really wants to sit in their shit? 

I am also feeling called to take full responsibility for my part in all of the shit because even as I perceive things happening to me (hello victim mode), I know well enough that my perception, my attitude, they are all mine and at any moment, I can choose to see things differently.

Growth isn't necessarily easy, but I do know it's worth it. 

I also happen to be in an interesting place with my spiritual growth. Teetering on the line of wanting to dive deeper and deeper and finding safety in staying just where I am. Where I am is like a warm blanket wrapped perfectly around my naked body. Just enough warmth but not too much to suffocate me.  I’m scared if I commit to the call I feel deep inside, I’ll lose the grip of that warm blanket, exposing me in the most uncomfortable of ways.

I have no idea if that makes sense but put more simply, I’m scared of the vulnerability that comes with truly knowing and trusting in God’s plan.

But I don’t think I can stay where I am anymore.

And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t hold back from sharing more of this growth here, in this space, out of fear that you will leave. I know for a lot of people, the mention of spirituality or God or anything in that realm can evoke a lot of negative feelings. That is not my intention.

But it is what I’m feeling inspired to talk more about.

And I wonder, instead of potentially leaving, what would happen if you stayed? I’ve been applying this myself to all areas of my life as well. As someone who habitually runs at the sign of any discomfort, in many areas of my life I'm exploring patience and curiosity instead of be-lining for the nearest exit at the first sign of struggle.

What if you play with the curiosity yourself?  What if you are being asked to sit with your shit too? Maybe the uncomfortable feelings that come up aren’t a bad thing but really, leading you to something you never knew was possible?

I understand very well, the feelings that may come up when talk of spirituality and God comes up. I’ve wrestled for years with these ideas and concepts myself and have said, many times, that I just don’t need God in my life. And I, by no means, am trying to push God on you. So please know that.

I know very well that if you are going to get down with the G.O.D, you gotta come to that on your own. 

It also doesn’t help that there is a lot of religious and spiritual contradictions out there that make you question things.

There are also some really big and justifiable questions that cause a lot of us to be confused. Like; why do really good people die? And why do bad people get away with doing bad things? Why is there starvation and horrific deaths and illness and so much suffering?

I’m not sure we will ever have those answers until we come face to face with the creator ourselves.

All I know for me is that for a really long time, I’ve felt a deep void in the middle of my chest. And I filled it with drama and shopping and food and sex and TV and drugs and alcohol and gossip and anger and selfish motives...all because for a brief moment, those things provided the relief I was desperate for.

Lately, however, I’ve been called to sit in the shit rather than numb. And in those moments when I am desperate to numb I resist and feel it instead.

And in full transparency, it 100%, without a doubt, most of the time absolutely sucks. Honestly. It does. Emotional pain is by far worse than any physical pain I’ve ever felt and I’ve been in some pretty excruciating physical pain. Try having a major pelvic and abdominal infection right after having two feet of your colon removed. It was like stabbing a dull butter knife over and over into my pelvis and slowly removing it each time.

And the emotional pain, at times, has felt worse.

But what's been happening when I sit in my shit is interesting. It’s really painful but then the shit shifts (say that five times fast!) and starts to loosen its grip and I start looking at the pain in a different light. I don’t feel it as intensely but rather, feel it leaving my body, just a little bit at a time.

The actual practices I’ve been turning to have been getting still and quiet, journaling and just being quite uncomfortable. I’ll literally feel it coming on and sit in the middle of my bed, close my eyes and feel into the area that hurts.

And then I pray but not in the way I use to.

I used to only talk to God when something bad was happening and it usually amounted to me desperately begging for some kind of salvation. Or, I’d just curse God altogether for said situation.

I didn't realize at the time that God is seeking to know me deeper too. And how do you know someone? It takes time, good communication and opening up in a vulnerable way. 

I also didn't ever think God really wanted to hear me talk about my dating life or my money problems or something I deem less important because well, doesn't God have bigger things to worry about? 

But that is not the case and has become very clear. 

Lately, prayer has been more of a question and answer series or just a conversation. If someone was watching me, they might think I was crazy because I literally walk around my house talking to God as if He's just sitting on my couch having coffee with me. 

But those are the kinds of relationships I love. When I sit around with friends and family and just hang and chat for hours over tea or coffee and I thought to myself, maybe this is the kind of relationship God is asking of me too?

So my conversations with God have been more of me asking a lot of questions and listening for the subtle ways in which God responds. Sometimes it’s just a knowing inside. Other times it’s a song lyric or book that falls into my lap. The other day I was walking Rocky and came across a box of free books. I perused what was being offered and a couple jumped out and I knew this was one of the ways in which God was gonna shed some light on a few of my questions.

If you are curious, the books were When God Writes Your Love Story (because let's be honest, I should NOT be left to my own devices in the area of my love life. I always muck it up on my own) and Blue Like Jazz.  I’ve already read Blue Like Jazz a few times but Donald Miller is hands down one of my most favorite writers on faith and God and this book has so much to offer. I'm constantly in a state of "AH-HA!" when I read his work. 

And then God often talks to me through seeing the same random quote multiple times in the space of 24 hours or a Hummingbird flies right in front of my face and just sits there flapping it's wings staring at me for a good long while. As if to say, "I'm right here with you Amanda."

It's always a feeling, a deep knowing, that God is answering. 

Lately, I’ve been praying that God helps me deepen my relationship with Him (or Her) in ways that only I will understand. Not that my relationship with God is any more special than yours. I just know I can be incredibly stubborn and that I’ll only hear him if he talks to me in ways in which I can see, hear and feel. And then I ask that I be open to all that I discover.

A Course in Miracles, which is a spiritual text I’ve been reading lately, teaches a prayer I use often, “I am willing to see things differently.” I’ve written about this before but I’ve never felt it working more in my life than right now.

You see, A Course In Miracles states that God is waiting for the slightest invitation to help us heal and return to a place of love. We just have to ask and then surrender and let God do His work. And know that it may not come in the way we think it should, but it will come.  

So this is what I’ve been practicing.

Sitting in my shit, surrendering and chit-chatting with God in my kitchen while I make coffee. Oh if these walls could talk!

And let me tell you, it’s uncomfortable. Sometimes I feel a little crazy but mostly I feel a new sense of peace and like I'm shedding extra weight I've been holding onto for years.

I’ve been known to be a little neurotic when parts of my life feel out of control but what’s really interesting, is ever since I’ve started this practice, I’ve felt more peace and a deeper sense of trust that everything will work out and even better than I could craft up myself.

And that my friends, is how miracles work. They are not some big, self serving boom in your life. Miracles are a willingness and openness to finally change. Miracles are a willingness to see things differently. 

And God works in mysterious ways. Like nudging me to finally sit in my shit. 

12 Realizations from a Solo Road Trip

I asked life, "Why are you so difficult?" Life smiled and said. "You people never appreciate easy things."

Driving 1200 miles by yourself in two days, twice in one week gives you a lot of time to think. A lot of time to think.

Not that I really need any more reasons to think. I think, a lot. All day long. That’s why my RBF is near perfect. That’s Resting Bitch Face for those of you that don’t know the acronym. It’s not that I’m actually mad about anything that would cause my face to look that way. I’m usually deep in some analytical query, trying to solve the major problems of the world. Or more realistically, the major problems in my life.

However, a good long think in a car for seventeen hours all while being hot boxed by the horrific farts of a seventy pound Pitbull is sometimes necessary.  Especially when youre trying to find meaning in a few big things that have happened in your life in a small period of time. The past four months had flown by and the intensity of them hadn't really sunk in until 4:30am that morning when I got on I-5 heading north, towards Seattle. 

As I drove further and further away from Encinitas, I felt myself breath deeper and the tension melt away from the muscles in my back. And then it happened. Without any prompting, the tears flowed like wine. I say wine because well, I love wine and when I drink it, like Rosé, it flows pretty darn quickly down my throat. Crap, now I want some wine. 

Anyway, I digress.

I started, and proceeded to bawl my eyes out intermittently for the rest of the trip.  

As I watched myself feel the feels of the past four months, singing my heart out to my 'Seattle Road Trip' playlist, a list full of sappy love songs and melancholy top forty tunes, I felt tears run down my rosy (not rosé) warm cheeks and I gave myself room to be comfortable with everything coming up. Some of it surprised me, most of it didn't. 

I spent four days in Seattle which is always a mix of too long and too short of time and on the day I left to come back to Encinitas I was ready. I love that feeling, knowing you are exactly where you are meant to be. I'm always excited to get back to my life in Southern California.

This road trip didn't come without some big a-ha moments. Not surprisingly, the creative floodgates opened and all of the sudden I found my words again. That's been a consistent theme here, hasn’t it? I'll go weeks, if not months, without writing anything. Sometimes I get so busy and distracted in my life, I forget to make the time. Other times there really just isn't anything there, nothing is ready to be born and no matter what I do or how many times I sit and stare at my computer screen, nothing comes out the way I want, the way it should. 

However, as I drove down I-5 headed heading home, the words were flowing, once again, like sweet Rosé running down my throat, that I had to pull over and write out two separate posts. 

I think a lot of people will be able to relate to this list. I know, for a fact, that a lot of us struggle with the same things, and I hope, that you'll feel a little more understood and connected by reading it. 

12 Realizations from a Solo Road Trip

 

1. I'm enough, right here, right now, just as I am.

I've always struggled with feeling like I'm never enough. I'm never enough for the world, enough for my job, enough for my family, enough for friends, enough for a potential partner (This one is a dozy and probably a post in and of itself) However, slowly, over the last year, I've been really focused on letting that idea go and coming to a place of feeling enough as I am. Complete in all my chaotic, messy and imperfectness, right now.

I've been leaning into the idea of loving all sides of me. It hasn't been easy and I've definitely been met with one or more tests along the way, but every day I go to bed and practice this little thing called self-forgiveness and remind myself that tomorrow is a brand new day. I get the opportunity to try once again. 

2. Living from a place of love is far better then living out of fear. 

This is another extremely hard one for me. I've been hurt so many times over the years (who hasn’t?) that it has been easy to build a strong wall around my heart. I'm constantly battling between what my heart (my true self) and my head (my ego) thinks I should do. My heart wants nothing but to love and be loved in return. I really am one giant lover once you get past the rough exterior. I want to love no matter how someone else shows up, my heart wants to meet them wherever they are and beam them with love.

My head is like FUCK THAT. This person is a total and utter shit. Come on Amanda, let's push them away and run for the hills! Back up, back up, back up! This person is bound to break your heart or hurt you or break your trust. Back away and run. Save yourself woman!

I know that love is the way to go. In the end, love is all that matters, the world needs more love. and love always wins. The Beatles said it best, “All you need is love!” But it's hard for me. I'm ridiculously guarded at times, most of the time really, and it scares me to really let myself go and love. I'm a work in progress but aren't we all?

3. Worthiness is a birthright -- not something anyone should ever have the power to take away.

Ironically, my name, Amanda, literally means "worthy to be loved.” This makes me laugh because I'm pretty sure I popped out of the womb feeling a lack of worthiness and it's been a constant battle for me. Even with how much I've grown over the years, I find myself constantly being tested in this area. Worthiness goes so deep. 

However, on the drive it hit me, I've spent so much time letting my worthiness be dependent on external things. What other's think of me, how much money I make, how perfect I look on the outside, how skinny or fit I am, how people receive my art and the list goes on.  But listen to me closely as I whisper in your ear: WORTHINESS IS A FRIGGIN' BIRTHRIGHT! 

We give it away so easily though. We allow people and situations to determine what it means when really,  no one truly has the power to take your sense of worthiness away.

I was born worthy. I am worthy. And by God, so are you. 

4. Balance is everything. It's ok to love organic green juice AND whiskey neat. Even when you have cancer.  

When I was first diagnosed with cancer in March I got super strict and removed pretty much everything from my diet and a funny thing happened. At first I felt totally empowered but then I felt miserable. It reminded me of the days I struggled with a horrible eating disorder and was super controlling over what I ate and when I ate it. I hated that time in my life and I've come so far to be okay with feeling that way again.

I removed some of my most treasured rituals and found myself irritated that I felt I had to let them go. I tried everything to replace them with other, "more healthier" ones but I wanted my coffee and whisky neat. 

Don't get me wrong. I'm still very healthy. I love living that way. But after my surgery I realized that life is friggin' short. So I start my day off chugging a full glass of green mineral lemon water and then I have a cup of joe. I eat as alkaline as I can but I still give myself permission to have a cocktail too. And I know not everyone is going to agree with this but I'm ok with it and that brings me to my next one. 

5. Not everyone is going to like me, what I have to say or what I'm doing with my life -- I'm learning to give no fucks. 

I've lived way too long in the land of caring too much what other's think of me and my life and now I'm learning to not care so much (in a kind and loving way of course) and it is pretty freeing. 

I'm setting better boundaries and then fully owning what it is I want for myself without letting others influence my decision. I hope in the end, the happiness I'm discovering as I "give no fucks" is an example to others to own what what they, go after it and give no fucks too. 

And you know what, sometimes I like to cuss. I'm #givingnofucks.

6. Dogs may be slightly superior to cats-- but I will never let Oliver know. 

Considering my dog is currently drinking out of the toilet bowl, I'm reconsidering this one. 

7. No matter how lonely your path may feel, there is always someone waiting to help -- just ask. 

Asking for help is the best thing you can learn to do. Enough of this stoic bullshit.  People want to help but most of the time they have no idea what to say or do. So tell them already. Please, for the love of God, tell them. For you, for them, for me, for everyone involved. You’ll all be better off if you just speak up and say exactly what will help. Especially in times of need. 

8. I'm a vacationer, not a traveler. The truth shall set you free. 

My days of trekking from country to country, running from plane to train to automobile with only a backpack are coming to an end. I'm not even 100% sure I really enjoyed it to begin with. Give me a pool or beachfront, a good book and cool Mai Tai and I'm just about as happy as can be. 

Ah, it feels so good to be honest. 

9. Living in the place of maybe is a dangerous space -- more coming on that soon.  That's the other blog post. 

 Living from a place of maybe is dangerous. It lacks commitment. It's flakey. It's complacent. Too many of us live from this place now instead of one of yes or no. To live from this place you really have to own who you are and what you think you deserve and what you know you want. 

To be continued. 

10. Pain and hurt are great teachers. One of the best actually. 

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Yeah, I know, pain doesn't feel so good but honestly, it is one of the greatest teachers you will ever haveThis I know to be true from a lot of experience. You may grow a bit when you are all happy and in la la land but the real growth comes when you are down on your knees begging for it all to stop and then; what feels like out of nowhere, you find the strength to pull yourself back up slowly and you feel different, stronger from that experience. 

I'll write more on this later...

11. It’s okay to feel sad or mad, angry or disappointed and it’s definitely okay to cry about it.

It's okay to feel like shit sometimes. To sit there and just feel it. You really need to feel ALL of your emotions or they will fester inside and create a lot of turbulence in your life. You can't always affirm it way. Honestly, I've tried. Sometimes you have to really feel it first. 

 This allows for you to truly heal. Crying is actually one of the biggest stress relievers. Seriously. It’s science.

Personally, I went many years without really letting myself cry. I’d start, only to stuff it back down, feeling weak for allowing myself to surrender to a perfectly natural and healthy emotion. Now I cry a lot. I mean, a lot. It’s become the complete opposite. Allowing myself to cry makes me feel a sense of freedom when the tears dry up and I find it brings ease to whatever it was that was building up inside.

So go ahead, be a cry baby. It is good for you. 

12. There is an inner guidance that knows the way, listen to and follow it.

I know, the woo woo shit. I love this stuff. So here it is.  Everyone has had those moments of ‘gut intuition,’ where something inside of you told you to do this or not do that. That’s a good place to get used to living from. That’s the truth. When we allow our mind to take over and dictate what we do and do not do, that is when things get messy.

All my big decisions have started from me listening to and trusting that voice inside.The path isn’t always clear. In fact, it’s usually NEVER clear, but if I know anything to be true, whenever I’ve listened to that gut feeling, it’s always led to the very thing I’ve needed. 


And hey, if you enjoyed this post, share it, love it, comment below. I love hearing your thoughts. It gives me an opportunity to know YOU more.