Freedom of Mind, Body and Soul

Freedom has always been an elusive concept for me until lately.  When I was young I knew I was in a prison of sorts, and was even aware that some of that was within my own mind.  I put it down to conditioning, and wrote in my diary that I had to pull the old tape out and put a new one in.

I had a sense that I needed a teacher to help me put a new tape together, but since I couldn’t see one in my world, I decided I’d do it on my own.  I didn’t succeed, and I didn’t understand that my decision to do it on my own was about not wanting to trust anybody ever again.  I also didn’t know, of course, that I had already dissociated myself from so much of what I’d experienced.

When I was 19 and wanting to leave everything behind, I had come to also believe that there was a geographical component to my experience of imprisonment.  Somebody said wherever you go, there you are, but I didn’t have a clue what they were talking about.  I was sure by then that my freedom could be found outside of myself, that if I put myself in a different country and continent I’d respond differently to life.

But I didn’t, and the prison that stopped me from experiencing the real quality I yearned for wasn’t geographical. You have to have a healthy enough foundation – in the form of self esteem, entitlement, beliefs, learned behavior, socialization – to be able to go out into the world and build something that doesn’t fall apart.

If you don’t have it, it can seem as if the whole world is against you.  I did that for a while, but it only kept me a victim.  The only way out – straight is the gate – was to rebuild my foundation, and take it really seriously.  That meant facing myself.  If you haven’t been born into a family environment where you were protected and nurtured enough that inner freedom developed instinctively, you have to fight for it as an adult.

It’s been a long and often rewarding but sometimes arduous battle but it’s so worth it.  My foundation is a lot stronger now.  I’ve had more than ten years of being listened to and heard, protected, held, loved, given attention, celebrated, applauded, taught how to put boundaries down, how to listen to and express emotions healthily, how to meet my needs, how to take myself seriously.

I’ve had to play my part, of course.  I’ve had to be willing to take it seriously, to face uncomfortable and painful truths, take on demons, re-experience old traumas so I can finish the business and really move on.   Bring all of it into my consciousness and see what’s been driving me.  You can’t change what you can’t see or you won’t acknowledge.

My self esteem, entitlement and socialization skills have grown as a direct response to that experience, which has been consistent and trustworthy.  And the walls of my prison are melting away.  As they do, I’m beginning to understand how in a way, freedom has come, partially, from outside of myself in the form of the experience of that all-encompassing unconditional love and teaching I’ve received.  But that came to me as a direct response to my inner yearning for it that has burned at me all my life.

Man is not an island.

Home is Where the Heart is

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I’m having a GRRR moment.  I want to load slides onto photo place where I can sell them.  Needed scanner.  Landlady said use mine.  I hooked it up, got slides out, all excited.  Yes, this is a way to earn interim money and be creative!

The bleeding thing doesn’t work.   Keep getting infuriating message saying device isn’t hooked up.  So what am I supposed to do?  Send it to online dating?  Mmmm.  Have hit dead end.   Don’t like dead ends.  Tantrum impending.

Right. Love those tantrums.  So I need: scanner that works, and decent digital camera to take more photos.  Don’t know how I can get them but know I need them.  It’s all I can do for now.  Move away from what’s frustrating you if you can’t do anything about it, Jennifer.   Okay, okay.

I walked some of the way to therapy this morning.  It’s a cold quite rainy day, so beautiful.   The air crisp, the ocean a pale acqua, lots of white in the sky.   My heart felt full.   How lucky I am to have found a person to help me make sense of everything, and lead me away from my own dead end type of thinking and living.

What a painful nightmare if your life is twisting in the wind, your experiences are taking you further and further away from what makes sense to you, your world keeps imploding, and you don’t know how to stop the roller coaster.

It used to be my story, but it’s not any more.  Now?   I’m surrounded by amazing people who all seem to really love me just for who I am, and who let me love them too.   As far as dreams go, that’s been number one since I was v. small.   Suddenly am feeling that I have a home.  Flipping marvelous.

Never felt I had one.   I wandered around the world, trying to flee gruesome demons, riding my bicycle, doing adventurous things, trying to settle, trying to find home geographically.  Is it here?  Is it here? Nope.  Kept having to move from one place to the next; that small child within crying out where’s home, am I ever going to have a home?

Whoopidie doodah.  Wouldn’t you know, it’s not geographical.  It’s right deep within.  You know how to recognize it when you’ve cleaned up the inner mess, and can risk being real and people love you anyway.  It’s the love and the real connection, from heart to heart, that counts.  It’s my home.  I’m not saying I don’t want the physical one too.  Of course I do, I’m not that spiritual, but first things first.

What have I done with this day so far?  Haven’t sung, played piano, written script or anything.  Let’s see.  Getting to therapy and back – 2 hours, v. good, v. worth it.  Therapy – 1 hour, spectacular. Wrestling with dumb scanner – 4 hours, eugh. Tantrum – 1 minute v. high quality.  Blog – 2 hours, of which time spent writing and deleting – 1 hour.

Minutes spent contemplating how life doesn’t always give you what you want but it gives you what you need, so you can make that connection with people and yourself – plenty.   Gotta get that in place first.   Without it, anything else I build is a house of cards.  I’ve done house of cards.  It’s not all it’s built up to be.

My take on the Truth about Life and its Crises

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Thinking about crisis.   My take on it is that it shatters denial that everything’s okay right deep within and exposes the reality of everything that has created an impoverished self esteem.   Part of the denial is the material world we build around us, that tells us and everybody else we’re okay Jack.   That world was built on beliefs about Right and Wrong, and our deservability.   It wasn’t built on ultimate truth.

The thing is, they were our parents’ and society’s beliefs, not ours.   We just soaked them up unknowingly.   That’s what children do.    We learned to compromise ourselves, suppress emotions and needs, be unselfish, be practical, be in control, be spiritual, be nobody.   All for the greater good of humanity which never transpires, or to get to heaven which never happens.

It stands to reason that any world constructed on that basis is going to be limiting.   You think? It doesn’t allow you to breathe, let alone listen to your heart and soul’s desires and follow your dreams.   But this is the authentic you, the part that nobody can alter.   Not even you.   It’s that which is sacred and unique about everybody.   It has huge power.

So here I am with my sacred part shut in a dark room somewhere in the recesses of a world I’ve constructed that complies with other people’s rules.   I’m stuck in a tiny little box.   I force myself to do things I really don’t want to do.   I rationalize that I must do them because it makes me responsible, keeps me safe…   Then bam!   CRASH!  Crisis from out of left field. The world I’ve constructed falls apart.

When our little safe and stifling box gets shattered, terrifying as it may be, I believe there is the potential for something much, much better in the wings.   I don’t mean holy-spiritual.   I mean at every level of life – “this is more fun, it gives me more freedom, more love, more mobility, more pleasure, more joy, more creative expression, makes life more meaningful, makes me thrilled to be alive”.   And yes, I believe material reward is part of it.   I don’t buy this “got to be poor to be spiritual or enlightened” thing.   Can be if you want to, but that’s your choice.

So the crash is about breaking new ground.   Being a pioneer for your life, sorting through the rubble, working out what beliefs you want to keep and which ones you want to toss out.    Building a new foundation based on rules that work for you, and on which you can construct a bigger box that lets you live a bigger life, where you’re the boss.   Isn’t there a term for that?   Yess!   Stepping out of History.    Hah!

Pioneering is v. exciting and v. challenging.   Looks romantic from the outside.   It’s more like fighting bloody wars from the inside.   And they’re all inside your own head, which makes it even harder, because you have to deal with “am I just insane?” all the time as well.

Worth it, though.   My last thought on this: I don’t think anything happens for nothing, I don’t believe in chaos, and I think every crisis, no matter how small it might seem or how impossibly insurmountable, has the potential for a very brilliant outcome.   Just don’t give up.  That’s all, she wrote.

Foundation for a better life and making dreams come true

I have 2 basic dreams:  to establish myself as:  1) a vocalist/musician;  2) a film script/novel/blog writer.  I wanted to be a musician and writer as a child, but my belief that I was stupid, ugly, uncreative, unlovable and undeserving got in the way.  I couldn’t change those beliefs until I went bankrupt 8 years ago.   In that place of having nothing I faced the truth of my self esteem and what I believed about myself.

I set about doing the inner work I had to, to be able to change.  I also began to sing, play piano and write again.  Gradually, as I changed on the inside, my creativity developed, and my desire and ability to have healthy relationships.  Now I’m rediscovering my mojo, reconnecting with my dreams and people, and starting my life over, with the same dreams but a better foundation.   I’m claiming my life back.

This is what I’ve done on my own so far:

Singing: I’ve developed my voice with some lessons, but mostly on my own.  I have a jazz repertoire of about 100 songs, but I’m developing my own compositions too.   I play piano (classical for my own benefit, and am learning jazz) and acoustic guitar (only have a cheap one).  See my blog of August 24 for more on that.

Writing:  I’ve completed a TV series with colleagues;  I wrote a novel Meeting Robert de Niro (working title) then adapted it to a screenplay, which I got to Robert de Niro (haven’t heard from him, though).   The script ended up being better than the novel, so I need to rewrite the latter.   I’m on the 5th draft of my 2nd script, and have 2 others partially written plus 2 in early stages of development.  I’ve started on a book about my bankruptcy experience, what it taught me and how it benefitted me.  Finally I’ve started a crime novel, which will be the first in a series.  I also write this blog, and post articles on Searchwarp.com

Not having money has stood me in good stead in a way up to this point, because it’s forced me to focus on developing my – music and writing.   I’ve had help for survival up to now, and haven’t needed many material resources but now they are starting to be important for me to take the next steps, as I move out into the world.

Recovery from bankruptcy (to read the story in 6 parts click here) included overcoming my fear of the world, and beginning to earn again.  I  have some work that brings in money, but it’s often not enough to sustain me very well (I live off about US$650 – 700 a month, which includes $400 for rent), and definitely not enough to pay for equipment.

This is what I need right now:  I’ve quoted approximately.
1.         Good quality condenser microphone (Rode M3); US150
2.         Decent guitar (Tanglewood); US$400
3.         Piano overhaul (pads needs replacement); US$500
4.         Good quality digital camera (for my blog, and to earn with iStock);  US$600
5.         Good quality video camera (also for blog, and to earn with YouTube); US$600
6.         More memory for my computer;  US$60
7.         Cost of sending scripts to: Oprah, Charlize Theron, Matt Damon, Jim Carey, Gavin Hood, Sol Kerzner, 5 other US producers, Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, Renee Zelweiger.  US$630 – $45 per script
8.         Paper and cartridges for printing scripts and manuscripts US$210 – $15 per script
9.         Decent anti-virus / spyware etc.; US$519
10.         Get my car fixed (service, starter motor, new tires, and rust fixed); US$600

These items will give me better earning capacity, and allow me to take the next steps in moving forward in my two chosen arenas.  I’m looking for help to create a balance in my life between financial independence again and the development of my dreams.

If you have a suggestion, or something you don’t use that you’d like to pass on to me, I’d be so grateful.  If you want to donate some money that will also be wonderful.  Click on the “donate” button and follow instructions.  Choose your own amount.  I don’t get to see your bank or credit card details, by the way.

Thanks for reading this.

Blog Titles and Vagaries of Life

Lately I’ve been sometimes bothered about the title of my blog – or, what’s the word? – torn?   Yes, that’s it, but a more interesting word than that one.   Never mind.   Torn it is.   When I started, I was in the thick of a spectacularly stubborn impasse, feeling hugely disempowered, being super-dependent, becoming super-aware of my inner critic and the warped ideas that are hard-wired into my being.   Facing very uncomfortable truths.

The word I was looking for is conflicted!  Aaaaaaaaahhhhh.  V. Satisfying to suddenly retrieve lost word.   But I digress.

The past seven months – oops, ten months – have been filled with epiphanies, dark tunnels, moments of wild inspiration and thrill at being alive, potholes, rage tantrums, crying jags, plateaux, rants against members of my family, rage against god and the universe, confusion, moments of clarity, of absolute certainty that I’m effecting huge change within, building a foundation.

Time rushing by at the speed of light, my heart getting out of control.   Wildly angry angry angry, sore, discontented.   Feeling lost.   Terrified I’d end my life saying “I tried to change but I couldn’t do it”.    Gaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh.    Scary times.   Inspiring times.   Alive times.

So far I’ve been very sure what my blog is about – articulating this process for myself so I can see it.   But something feels as though it’s changed radically.   For a while haven’t felt like writing about it, not on a daily basis.   It may be time to get down and write the book, so it’s all out in one place.   Tell the story and be done with it.    I’ve tried writing that book a gazillion times, and couldn’t.   I’ve had lots of theories about the why of everything, but I haven’t been resolved about it.   Too sore, too angry and scared.   Probably still too trapped.

Now?   I’ve got a better understanding of my place in it all.   I wouldn’t be writing the book to blame or punish anybody but to show my understanding of what caused my crisis, and how it  lead to understanding what prohibits development of potential.

Hah!   Hahahahahahah!   Success!   Have truly become woman of substance, am finally really Turning My Life Around and Stepping out of History.   Feel v. calm and beatific.   Well, not really calm.   Not v. good at calm.

Thing is, what about the title of my blog?   It’s ironic: when I started, nobody saw the title as meaning “figuring out what went wrong and what part you unwittingly played, then learning how to change so the present and the future can be different”.   Seemed logical to me.   I thought everybody would say oh I know what that means.    Well, when I first Googled the title about 6 months ago, all the search results were about history.   125,000,000 of them.

Oh.

Now most of the first page of those results are either articles of mine or my blog.   And now I ‘m not sure any more that I can justify the title for ever!  Hmmm.   Probably don’t have to worry too much.   Probably haven’t reached penultimate ephiphany state yet.   Probably never will.