Recognizing and Breaking Negative Relationship Patterns

Recognizing and Breaking Negative Relationship Patterns

Question from a reader:

If we meet our partners as a way to see ourselves through them and learn, how is it that you break up with someone because you don’t feel like being with them anymore?

Of course there are still things I haven’t learned so I am going to meet another person that is still going to teach me what the other person couldn’t. Should I keep trying to learn things from the first person? Why do they seem to always appear again? Does that mean something?

All relationships reflect back to us parts of ourselves. Sometimes ugly parts. Sometimes beautiful parts. Sometimes it brings out aspects of yourself you never knew existed. They’re all opportunities to know ourselves a little more, reflected through another.

Some relationships – karmic ones – are meant to give you very specific experiences that you’ve been working to heal through across lifetimes with that same soul. Others are just reflecting back to you patterns that were created in this lifetime.

You’ll always know a karmic relationship, because it’s not something you’re going to be able to shake easily. The allure will be irresistible. The chemistry palpable. It’ll be really, really good, or really, really bad. There’s no in between, you’re going to have strong emotions in one direction or the other – maybe even both.

Karmic Patterns

With karmic relationships, we often attract partners who feed our imbalances. For example, a person with a history of codependent care-taking will be drawn to partners who “need” them in some way. For men, it’s typically partners who require financial support or otherwise look to them as someone who can provide. For women, it’s often wounded men. The allure of the relationship is that, at least initially, it feels good to give. It validates a need within both partners – for the caretaker, the need to feel needed. For the one being taken care of, the filling of the void.

Eventually, the caretakers often give more than they receive in the relationship and end up feeling drained and resentful of their less capable partners. This pattern plays out over and over until one or both parties recognizes that their habits are not the result of love, but rather, a lack of self-love and seeking validation from an outside source.

Sometimes you break up because you learn all the lessons that relationship has to offer you – you recognize your karmic patterns and step into your true power. Sometimes you break up because one of you outgrows the lesson and one of you doesn’t, and needs to keep repeating it. Another person will come along to fill that role while you move on to something new and your partner remains trapped in a karmic feedback loop with the universe serving them the same shit sandwich they ate the day before, repeating the same mistakes over and over with a new person who holds the same fundamental energetic framework as the last person, but with a pretty new face and storyline.

Breaking The Repetition 

Becoming aware of your patterns is one thing – actively working to maintain that awareness in any given situation, understand what it’s showing you about yourself, and healing that is wholly another.

The biggest mistake I often see people make is thinking that simply because they became aware of the pattern that they won’t repeat it, or that they can somehow work through that pattern while maintaining a relationship with another person who is reflective of it.

The reality of the situation is that either both of you choose to grow, or you go your separate ways. There’s no in between, and the longer you cling to the attachment, the more suffering it creates. Eventually the universe bulldozes obstacles out of your life, one way or another.

Never stick around in a stagnant relationship. You’re going to know, in your heart, when it’s time to go. The tricky part is that sometimes “leaving” is a part of our pattern and we do it because we fear intimacy or commitment, or some other aspect of the relationship. Other times, clinging to it is part of our pattern. In either case, it’s going to keep happening again and again until you confront it and choose something different. Same story, different character.

The Universe is likes to give us little tests to see if we’re really committed to ourselves, our healing, and are ready to move forward. Will you slip back into old patterns? Or will you choose something different?

A Year Without Sex

A Year Without Sex

You don’t realize how much energy we, as human beings, put into sex – thinking about having it, thinking about how to get it, the actual pursuit of it, and then the glorious seven minutes of actually experiencing it – until you’re not chasing it anymore.

I stopped chasing it one year ago this week.

*Cue Record Scratch* Wait – But Why?

I didn’t consciously tell myself, “I’m not going to have sex for a year.” It was more so that after my divorce and subsequent reintroduction to human mating rituals after seven years of being in a long term relationship, I was confronted with the stark reality of what it was like to be back in the dating pool.

I was initially excited about the prospect of being able to date again, but when older, wiser, and with a much healthier perspective on myself and where I was in life. Then I realized that while I had grown tremendously, both emotionally and spiritually since the last time I dated, the vast majority of single people on planet earth were, unfortunately, mostly the same unconscious neanderthals they were when I was 26.

I wanted a real man. A conscious man. One that wasn’t afraid of depth, but more importantly, one that wasn’t afraid of me, my scars, my mess, or my insatiable desire to know and express myself as authentically as possible.

I realized I had no inclination to engage in sex without the kind of deep emotional intimacy that I knew was possible, and deep emotional intimacy is not something readily available on the market.

New York City is a lot of things, but a place where people take the time to connect with one another, it is not. It isn’t just that, though – I’m a high-functioning intellectual individual. Intellectually stimulating conversation is easy to come by here. Everybody thinks they’re a sapiosexual. But I also have an extremely high emotional intelligence, and that is not something many people on the planet have, much less a steely place like New York City. The type of emotional and spiritual depth I require to feel satisfied is a rarity to find anywhere.

I stopped having sex because I became disillusioned with the inevitable disappointment of being starved for the kind of connection I needed by men who were too afraid to be vulnerable.

I decided that the Universe would find a way to bring me into the path of the right person, and I didn’t have to deal with an onslaught of frivolous Bumble and Tinder chats to find them. I wanted to be truly seen. I wanted to be felt. I wanted the deepest parts of myself to be known – but how can I show that to someone if I don’t even know it, myself?

I stopped going to bars. I stopped spending hours on dating apps. I stopped settling for surface level bullshit. I stopped seeking something from outside myself to fill a void within me. I quit. And instead, I took all of the energy I would have normally spent in the pursuit of sex and some “other” to validate my self-worth and existence, and put it to use in the pursuit of finding myself, my own inner-worth, and understanding how that changed the dynamic of the types of people I attracted into my life. Through that process, I became crystal clear about what I wanted out of an intimate relationship, what I valued, and most importantly – who I was and what I was worth.

The result was that I consciously chose to never be with another man who didn’t truly see me. Who couldn’t meet me on my level. Who couldn’t show up with intimacy and vulnerability that set my soul on fire – the same kind that I am capable of offering.

I would rather live the rest of my life alone than let one more person touch my body without touching my soul.

Your body is your temple. You don’t let just anyone inside. I finally grew spiritually mature enough to fully revere it with the respect it deserves.

The thought of having a one-night stand, or even sleeping with someone that I’ve only been on a couple of dates with used to be an afterthought, but it is utterly repulsive to me now. I’ve realized that sex feels like meaningless, barely-enjoyable, animalistic copulation without the spiritual component of genuine love and spiritual connection.

Most people on this planet completely miss the full breadth and depth of what sex can be. They connect on a purely physical level. The quality of sex is measured by the number of orgasms had, how many positions you tried, and how many orifices were penetrated.

Sex is not merely an avenue for physical pleasure and procreation, but rather, a doorway to the divine. A way to commune with our highest selves and the greater creative force of the universe, and I do not mean that metaphorically. Sex is a legitimate spiritual practice.

Followers of various sects of Eastern religions have practiced sex as a meditation for thousands of years. Sexual energy is considered to be the essence of our life force and maintaining a prolonged state of heightened sexual arousal can induce a state of heightened psychic awareness, bliss, and oneness with the Universe. Sex literally becomes a shared spiritual experience.

In yogic traditions, the energy that is responsible for this is called kundalini, or shakti. Kundalini awakenings can happen spontaneously or during meditation and result in all of the things I mentioned earlier. Ask me how I know!

I’ve experienced kundalini awakenings during meditation a handful of times. It feels like the universe is making love to you from the inside out.

Imagine connecting with your partner physically, emotionally, mentally, energetically, spiritually, and psychically in a state of total surrender while simultaneously experiencing the psychedelic highs of an LSD trip, merging so deeply that they intuitively know your every emotion and desire without you ever speaking a word, and your goal is not to orgasm, but rather, prolong that state as long as is humanly possible.

I think about what it would be like to experience that and – well, once you’ve had unicorn sex, everything else is just… vanilla.

Collective Feminine Rage

Collective Feminine Rage

I had a fantastic conversation with one of my best friends a few weeks ago about the current political climate around sexual assault.

A larger collective theme that has been going on since this time last year when #MeToo first broke the silence is the core wounding of women and the feminine. Globally, for centuries, women have been violently raped, murdered, suppressed, controlled, burned as witches and enslaved as sex servants. We’ve never been truly safe. I’ve written about this on multiple occasions which you can find here and here.

I think a lot of women are beginning to feel the collective rage of hundreds of generations worth of suppressed trauma and fear bubbling up from beneath the surface, and that’s been building since this time last year.

Naturally, women are taught to suppress their anger because we are supposed to be pleasing, not assertive. It’s not helpful that many men have yet to accept responsibility for that core wounding.

What we, as women, have to recognize as this anger arises is that the men who have wounded us are also wounded. We are bathing in our trauma together. The only way the masculine will ever heal is to feel truly loved by the feminine. And the only way the feminine can collectively do that is to forgive.

In order to forgive, however, the pain must be acknowledged. And that is all every woman on this planet has been waiting for, asking for, and is now demanding. That’s right, and it’s fair. But we have our own healing to do as well.

We also have to accept our own role in perpetuating toxic masculinity through the way we raise the boys we birth. Here’s a link to a great article by Bethany Webster on how the mother wound is the missing link in understanding misogyny, and it’s worth the read.

Vulnerability, Intimacy, and Deepening Relationships

Vulnerability, Intimacy, and Deepening Relationships

I‘ve had a pretty magical couple of weeks. I’ve mentioned that I’ve been lucky enough to connect with a handful of really special, amazing, powerfully spiritual women since I’ve moved here. A couple of months ago, I decided that I should start connecting those people, so three of us met up in Brooklyn for a weekend brunch and the energy was amazing. I think everyone involved would agree that we all left feeling energized and amazing. So much so that we decided we needed to do it again, and make it bigger.

So last weekend, the three of us got together again and this time, yet another spiritual friend of mine who was in town for the weekend came, and the energy was even stronger. The four of us CLICKED like we’ve known each other our whole lives.

“I’m so happy knowing you. I can’t remember the last time I felt so alive and seen,” one of them recently texted to our now ongoing, daily group text.

Isn’t that what any of us really wants? To be truly seen as we are and accepted? To stop carrying around the weight of hiding ourselves? To let go of the fear of being rejected for who we are?

The farmer’s market in the park next to my apartment opened today and one of the vendors I recognized as a woman who lived across the street from me. She used to own the only metaphysical shop in Jersey City but closed it shortly after I moved here. We struck up a conversation and I mentioned that I’d moved here from cross-country and she told me that she’d done the same.

“It’s really hard to make deep connections with people here,” she said. And that’s true. It’s something that I became acutely aware of after moving here.

New York is a great place, but at the same time, it’s incredibly surface-level. Perhaps the pace of life is so fast that people don’t take the time to slow down and savor their relationships, or take them to a deeper level. And perhaps that’s why so many people here are so incredibly dissatisfied inside. So many connections, but so little depth to any of them. So many chances to be seen, and yet so many continue to hide themselves behind their masks.

Cultivating deep, meaningful relationships requires a level of investment – both in yourself and in those people and relationships – that not many people here are willing to give. It requires vulnerability and a willingness to allow others to see you.

I think a lot of people are honestly terrified to be truly seen. That means opening yourself up to the possibility of rejection. It’s too scary. And it’s so much easier to just keep wearing the mask.

But when you do connect with people who get you and love you and respect you for what’s inside, it’s the most amazing feeling. It’s freeing. You never realize how heavy the armor is or how exhausting it’s been carrying it around until you take it off.

“God I hope I can do this for other people!! So much love!!” continued my new friend.

Vulnerability is contagious. I think that it’s my willingness to be so open about myself that gives others permission to do it, too. If I can sit here and talk about how fucked up I am, and how I’m working to heal myself, the people around me can feel safe doing that, too.

Unless, of course, they’re not ready to take off the mask, and that’s happened. I met a girl on Bumble BFF shortly after moving here. We met for coffee, talked for three hours. I was just as open with her as I am with you, here. I texted her a week later to see if she wanted to hang out again. No response. And you have to be prepared for that kind of rejection. I open myself up to it all the time now, and it stings a little less each time.

When you finally do find people who are willing to accept you, to be vulnerable with you, and you create this sense of connection, you can’t help but want to give it to the world. To look for all of the other misfits who are just as misunderstood as you and let them know that they’re ok, too. Or at least, they can be, if they choose it. What we find for ourselves, we offer to others ten fold. This is how we heal the world.

I posted a few weeks ago about my own process of cultivating radical vulnerability. I see that there’s a need for this in the world, both in friendships and deep, intimate relationships. I’ve never seen the need for it so starkly as I see it here in New York.

It’s got me thinking – how can I teach others how to open themselves up to the world? How can I show others how to cultivate the kind of intimacy in relationships that they so deeply desire, but are so afraid of? I’m still figuring that out myself, honestly, but I think I’ve laid a great foundation so far.

As promised in my last post, I said I would post the results from my Johari and Nohari Window questions in my next blog post, so here they are. I realize that a lot of you don’t know me in person so it’s hard to choose, and I also recognize that it forces you to choose 6 traits and so you might have ended up having to pick random things even though you didn’t really feel they were applicable. That in mind, I tried to look at the ones that more than one person chose (which you will see bolded in the results) as being more accurate.

Arena

(known to self and others)

accepting, intelligent, logical, mature, observant, reflective

Blind Spot

(known only to others)

able, bold, brave, clever, complex, confident, dignified, friendly, happy, independent, kind, knowledgeable, organised, powerful, responsive, searching, self-assertive, self-conscious, wise, witty

Façade

(known only to self)

Unknown

(known to nobody)

adaptable, calm, caring, cheerful, dependable, energetic, extroverted, giving, helpful, idealistic, ingenious, introverted, loving, modest, nervous, patient, proud, quiet, relaxed, religious, sensible, sentimental, shy, silly, spontaneous, sympathetic, tense, trustworthy, warm

Dominant Traits

54% of people agree that In My Sacred Space is reflective

All Percentages

able (18%) accepting (18%) adaptable (0%) bold (27%) brave (27%) calm (0%) caring (0%) cheerful (0%) clever (27%) complex (18%) confident (18%) dependable (0%) dignified (9%) energetic (0%) extroverted (0%) friendly (18%) giving (0%) happy (9%) helpful (0%) idealistic (0%) independent (27%) ingenious (0%) intelligent (36%) introverted (0%) kind (9%) knowledgeable (27%) logical (18%) loving (0%) mature (9%) modest (0%) nervous (0%) observant (27%) organised (36%) patient (0%) powerful (9%) proud (0%) quiet (0%) reflective (54%) relaxed (0%) religious (0%) responsive (9%) searching (45%) self-assertive (18%) self-conscious (27%) sensible (0%) sentimental (0%) shy (0%) silly (0%) spontaneous (0%) sympathetic (0%) tense (0%) trustworthy (0%) warm (0%) wise (18%) witty (18%)

Created by the Interactive Johari Window on 6.5.2018, using data from 11 respondents.
You can make your own Johari Window, or view In My Sacred Space’s full data.

Arena

(known to self and others)

timid, withdrawn, distant, impatient, self-satisfied

Blind Spot

(known only to others)

intolerant, inflexible, aloof, glum, insecure, hostile, unhappy, cynical, needy, brash, blasé, chaotic, weak, loud, panicky, insensitive, passive, overdramatic, dull, callous, inattentive, cold

Façade

(known only to self)

vulgar

Unknown

(known to nobody)

incompetent, cowardly, violent, stupid, simple, irresponsible, lethargic, selfish, unhelpful, unimaginative, inane, cruel, ignorant, irrational, childish, boastful, imperceptive, embarrassed, vacuous, unethical, smug, rash, dispassionate, predictable, unreliable, foolish, humourless

Dominant Traits

60% of people think that In My Sacred Space is insecure

All Percentages

incompetent (0%) intolerant (20%) inflexible (20%) timid (20%) cowardly (0%) violent (0%) aloof (20%) glum (10%) stupid (0%) simple (0%) insecure (60%) irresponsible (0%) vulgar (0%) lethargic (0%) withdrawn (20%) hostile (10%) selfish (0%) unhappy (40%) unhelpful (0%) cynical (20%) needy (20%) unimaginative (0%) inane (0%) brash (20%) cruel (0%) ignorant (0%) irrational (0%) distant (40%) childish (0%) boastful (0%) blasé (10%) imperceptive (0%) chaotic (20%) impatient (10%) weak (10%) embarrassed (0%) loud (10%) vacuous (0%) panicky (20%) unethical (0%) insensitive (10%) self-satisfied (20%) passive (20%) smug (0%) rash (0%) dispassionate (0%) overdramatic (10%) dull (10%) predictable (0%) callous (10%) inattentive (10%) unreliable (0%) cold (20%) foolish (0%) humourless (0%)

Created by the Nohari Window on 6.5.2018, using data from 10 respondents.
You can make your own Nohari Window, or view In My Sacred Space’s full data.
Aligning With Your True Self

Aligning With Your True Self

I’ve always been fascinated with how other people perceive me and how closely or not so closely it aligns with how I perceive myself. I used to tell people that I actually wanted to see a psychologist because I was morbidly curious as to what he or she would make of me.

The more aware I become of who I really am, the more I recognize how some people have been spot on about me in the past, while others have been completely fooled by the illusion of who I presented myself to be.

I used to be extremely closed off. In certain situations, I still am. I didn’t share my feelings openly, but I was quick to share my thoughts or opinions. A friend in college pointed out how unemotional I portrayed myself. At the time, I didn’t think that was accurate, but the more I’ve grown into myself, I realize that she was right.

Up until very recently, I’d always led with walls and it took a very long time for me to allow anyone inside. I was reserved and evasive. I could easily avoid talking about my emotions by deflecting and steering a conversation in a more comfortable direction.

Many people who have known me for years laud me for how independent I am. “You don’t care what anybody thinks about you. You just do your own thing.” I realize now that what they perceived as independence was actually avoidance. It appeared as though I didn’t care what people thought about me because I never allowed myself to get close enough to anyone to care what they thought of me. I did my own thing, not necessarily because I refused to conform, but because I didn’t know how to connect, or was too afraid to, and never bothered to try. What they thought was ‘doing my own thing’ was really just me, wandering aimlessly on the outskirts feeling like an outsider.

People used to complimented me on how even-keeled my state of being seemed to be. My cheer coach in high school once told me how she envied me because I never let anything bother me. “You just let it roll off your back,” she said. She didn’t know that nothing bothered me because I was dead inside. It’s hard to be bothered by things when you don’t allow yourself to feel anything. My heart was frozen and I navigated life with cold, hard logic. I held all of my emotions in.

I had people in college who told me that they couldn’t believe I had been a cheerleader. Apparently I didn’t fit the “bubbly and energetic” stereotype.

Especially in my twenties, I gave people the impression that I was aloof and uncaring. “Cold and standoffish” were the words my neighbor used to describe me my senior year of college. In reality, I was painfully introverted and experienced a copious amount of social anxiety. I spent six out of seven nights a week that semester drunk or nearing it so that I could function in a social environment, so he must have been one of the unlucky people who caught me on a sober day.

My own blog readers used to tell me that they thought I had my shit together, and they didn’t think I had any problems. Wrong. SOOOOOO WRONG.

It’s taken me a very long time and a lot of hard work to lean into feeling. Allowing myself to talk about love and to tell other people how I feel about them has been a major accomplishment for me, as stated in my last blog post on cultivating radical authenticity.

I still have a tendency to swallow anger and avoid conflict, and that’s something I’m trying to push through in a balanced way. I’m slowly and surely, over the course of the last two years or so, allowing myself to be more open and vulnerable in the most intimate aspects of my life, relationships in particular.

It’s a bit ironic. I used to despise public displays of affection and loathed any showing of feeling. It made me extremely uncomfortable when other people would tell me how they felt about me, and when it came to relationships, I would completely shut down and run away. I told myself I didn’t need to be in a relationship. I was fine being alone. I was in total denial of the fact that connection was the thing I craved the most, and that I was utterly terrified of the prospect.

I realize now that having deep, fulfilling connection in my relationships is exceptionally important to me. I want to be seen and understood and loved, and I’m far more willing, now, to allow myself to be seen and understood, and to give love and allow it to be reciprocated. Touch is actually my love language, and I’m an exceptionally physically affectionate person, even publicly.

Isn’t it bizarre how deny ourselves the things we need most?

I’m still fascinated with how people perceive me. I wonder if more of who I am on the inside is now in alignment with how I present myself to the world. You might be able to help me find out! Visit this link and you’ll see a list of positive adjectives. Choose 5 or 6 that you believe most describe me, enter your name (or just put in “anonymous”) and submit your answers. I’ll be able to see which words others use to describe how they perceive me.

Next, visit this link and you’ll see a list of negative adjectives. Again, choose 5 or 6 that you believe most describe me, and enter your name (or don’t if you don’t want me to know who you are) and submit your answers. I’ll also be able to see which words you use to describe how you perceive me.

I’ll post the results in my next blog post.

 

Cultivating Radical Vulnerability

Cultivating Radical Vulnerability

It’s taken me a very long time to get comfortable with vulnerability. I knew what it was as a concept a long time ago when I wrote my first post about it, but I hadn’t yet put it into practice.

In that post, I wrote:

The truth is, expressing one’s vulnerability is the epitome of strength and courage. It takes far more strength to be open and vulnerable than it does to be hard and emotionless.

Being vulnerable is absolutely the ultimate show of strength, because it requires fearlessness and being vulnerable is usually the thing we fear the most.

I’ve been cultivating that kind of vulnerability for about four years now. It began with me writing a few emails to an ex from college and being honest, for the first time, about what I was really going through, how I really felt, and the kind of impact our interactions had on me.

Funny story about that first email…I knew I had to write it. I could feel my guides pushing me to do it, if for no other reason than to be an exercise in vulnerability. So I wrote it and I held onto it. For a full week, I read it. I edited it. I read it again. I changed it again. I was buying myself time before detonating the bomb. One night, I was laying in bed once again rereading the message on my phone, just to be sure it was what I really wanted to say when my cat jumped into bed with me, got all up in my face, walked across the screen of my phone and landed her paw squarely on the send button.

“Oh god…”

First I laughed. Then I panicked. Then I laughed. Then I panicked. Then I dropped my phone on the floor and beat my face into the mattress for a solid 30 seconds (which lasts much longer than you would expect until your face is actually planted into one).

Divine intervention via furball was not how I thought I would go down.

Much to my surprise, impending doom never came. Four months went by with no response and when a message from him finally did land in my inbox on Christmas Eve, it was about four sentences in length, full of completely surface level niceties, and not a word was uttered about the email that had been sent four months earlier. And, mind you, this was the first time I’d heard from him in about three years.

That’s how the vast majority of my experiences with radical vulnerability have gone down ever since. It’s either me pitching the raw truth of myself into a black void of nothingness, or a complete and total inability to handle it and a quick shut down. Such is my experience with relationships. But with each outpouring of the real me, and with every lack of response or stalwart rejection, I’ve become less and less reliant on the approval of the other person, and more accepting of myself. Not even just accepting… I’ve started to actually LOVE the real me.

The qualities that I once thought were points of weakness or sources of shame, I slowly began to see in a different light.

I was once afraid to tell someone that I loved them for fear that they didn’t feel the same way. It felt shameful to me, somehow, to have that kind of feeling for someone who didn’t reciprocate it. And when I realized that I couldn’t make that feeling go away or shut it off, but I also couldn’t make the other person feel the same way, no matter how much of myself I gave away to try and fit whatever mold I thought they’d be more apt to accept, it left me trapped in a place of eternal suffering. For most of my life, this was the only way I had ever experienced love. It was synonymous with agony and I began to wonder if it was even possible to separate the two. Hence why my personal journal was titled, “La Douleur Exquise,” or, the exquisite pain.

Urban Dictionary:

la douleur exquise

The exquisite pain of wanting someone that you know you can never have, and knowing that you will still try to be with them. Has drug like effects.

Kate: So you’ll sleep with him and then you’ll hate him for sleeping with you and hate yourself for doing it?

Lauren: Yea. I’m psyched.

That just about sums it up. Codependency, in a nutshell.

For a while, I thought I was an emotional masochist. I couldn’t stop feeling what I felt and the shame of that drove me to hate myself. Or, as quoted from one of those emails I mentioned earlier, “At one point I thought, ‘This would be so much easier if I could just hate him.’ But I couldn’t. Not even remotely. So I hated me instead.”

I hated myself for not being ‘good enough’ for love. I hated myself for loving someone who didn’t love me back. I hated myself for my inability to control that emotion. And so, for the longest of times, I kept my heart locked away in a safe little metaphorical metal box where it would never have to bare the shame of being unworthy to receive the kind of love I was willing to give.

Then one day, I decided to face that fear head on. I imagined myself telling him that I loved him, and I made myself sit and imagine how it would feel to have him tell me that he didn’t love me. I nearly had a panic attack during the process, but, watching myself do this from almost a third person perspective, I kept saying to myself, “It’s ok. It’s ok. It’s ok.” In that moment, my perspective shifted and I saw love in a very different way. I was finally able to recognize that love – real, unconditional love – is not born from approval found outside of yourself. Real love is something that comes from inside of you, from a limitless source that you can’t imagine. It’s unconditional, and it’s the greatest gift that you have to give another human being, and to the world.

That kind of love is unearthed and embodied only through radical vulnerability.

People talk about oversharing as a red flag. Emotional vomit, it’s been termed. But that isn’t vulnerability. That comes from a place of need and manipulation. Real vulnerability comes from a place of self acceptance and raw authenticity.

Only as I’ve been practicing radical vulnerability in my daily life have I begun to notice just how out of touch with self the rest of the world is, and just how horrifying most people find the thought of it. Rejection hurts, certainly. All any of us really wants is to be seen, accepted, and loved regardless of who we are or were. But the more comfortable I become with who I was and who I am, the less it stings.

I’m solid with my beliefs. I enjoy my magick. And I even love how it feels and the way I express myself when I’m being vulnerable. I love that feeling. It used to terrify me. It felt like being naked in a room full of people. Now it feels amazing. Like being naked in a room full of people. 🙂 But being naked in a room full of people isn’t amazing for everyone, whether it’s you or them that’s been stripped down. And those are the people who are going to balk at how you stand tall and comfortable in your own vulnerability.

You’ll know you’ve reached that place of radical authenticity and vulnerability when they balk, and instead of giving them a middle finger up the left nostril like you used to back when you were an emotionally immature thundercunt, you respond from a place of peace, compassion, and understanding that they’re just not ready for someone like you yet, and that’s ok. Because you and your radically vulnerable self have a heart that is an endless well of love for all things, most importantly, you. And you even have enough to pass some of it on to the person who couldn’t handle the all of you, and that’s ok, too.

Why should we even care to be vulnerable in this way? Why would we not? It’s exhausting, constantly pretending to be someone else, hiding parts of yourself to make other people comfortable. Imagine all of the ridiculous manipulation and confusion you could eliminate out of your daily life if you were just HONEST about your thoughts, feelings, experiences, identity, and intentions? The efficiency freak in me loves to cut to the chase. My blunt south node revels in the idea of brute honesty. The old sage in me loves sharing experiences with a grain of wisdom. And my heart is married to the concept of just being myself.

One day, hopefully sooner rather than later, I’ll find a guy who, after seeing my most intimate and raw self, instead of balking or clamming up, will step back and say, “God damn. I want that.” He’ll be the only other naked person in the room. Until then, I’ll keep pitching love bombs into black holes, waiting to see if anything comes back from other side of the universe.

In case you are wondering, my personal journal title has since been updated to, “And Then She Flew” as of a few months ago. I decided it was time to put old ghosts to rest, and old beliefs out to pasture. Love and pain are not one and the same, and I’m no longer completely at the mercy of the latter. The former, however, she is not a cruel mistress. No, not at all. She’s a much finer muse than pain could ever hope to be.

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