Au revoir for now

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I’m not really sure why I’m not writing as much here. It could be that I am more busy and much less lonely, and it oculd also be that maybe I’m growing beyond fillefrancofun as I had claimed so many years ago soon after I started the blog.

I think a lot of my demons have vanished into a puff of smoke, and while I definitely am in the experience othe Buddhists call “groundlessness” as in, I’m nto really sure which way is up and I have no f not no but not so many fixed beliefs and hangups,

I think with Buddhism I have found what I was looking for, and in France I’ve gotten a somewhat blank canvas to decide who I want to be.

I also think a lot of my healing is done. The scars are disappearing, and there’s a new person here I didn’t know before

A girl who likes mountains, surfing, and deadlifts;

A shrewd non-self hating business woman who doesn’t hide behind self contempt and fake moral outrage over the global capitalist system;

A woman who accepts her past, warts and all;

A single lady, and kind of fucking proud of it;

A person who is giving her gifts to the world, and in healing herself, helps others find their path

A self transformation junkie always searching for the final door who realized at long last that the path doesn’t end and once you are on the journey, you never real come back, or cross the finish line

A seeker who has learned to live, not comfortably, but bravely, in the questions and no longer obsessed with a response

A native daughter of middle class Catholic central NJ who is now a certified wanderer, a global citizen, and who has seen too many tribes to take her own seriously anymore

Someone who has lost her identity too many times to count, plans to lose it again and again, and has learned to find peace and comfort in that

There will be no settling, no final destination, no moment where  I click my heels together to go home. There will be no person, no love who justifies my existence or who comforts me in my existential woe. There is not even a spirit in the sky of a God who hears my cries, nor a dumb materialist universe without poetry either. There is cause and effect, the infinite wisdom of the compassionate heart, the free play of space, and that’s all there is. And to know it, and accept it, is enough. No nothing will ever comfort my sad ego need to know everything, to be in control, to be the center of the universe, to have something outside of myself save me and make sense of everything.

 

Self responsibility is about more than paying your bils on time, and it’s more than taking a leap of faith and accepting the consequences. Self responsability means accepting that even you yourself are a construct, a product of the mind, and that training that mind to do no harm is your highest duty.

Yes, to live a full life on earth, even if joy is suffering, to have a full human existence, sparing the less pleasant bits as much as possible, that is something to aspire to as well.

And maybe they are one and the same, the punk rock post colonialist explorer and the blissed out monk neither taking the world too seriously but aware of beauty, inside and out.

This blog was about France, and mostly about Paris. It was about my renaissance as a thinking human being, coming of age in the cradle of post modernism, finding my passion and still being depressed, healing the wounds from feeling different and unworthy, not pleasing enough, and most of all, getting over the existential fear in not believing dogma, but rather trusting one’s own experience.

The sacred is a glorious human invention, and it exists as much as anything. As love, as romance, as glory and grandeur. But like any form of meaning, it does not exist from any objective viewpoint. It exists because we choose to believe in it.

We search for God, but instead we find the seeds, the raw material beauty in a pit filled with offal. We look at the stars, at Van Gogh’s starry night, and we know we are here, and that’s it, and know we are neither alone nor is the mystery and grandeur of the universe something that comes in a box. God cannot be separate from His Creation- as we created God he created us.

Yes this world is an illusion, and full of pain and suffering and maddening impermanence, but i is the free play of space, and so are we. And I love it, in open hearted surrender, knowing my heart will be broken again and again, that the ground will shift beneath my feet, that every castle is built on sand, that one desire will always succeed another- I will keep climbing mountains just because they are there and I want to know what’s on the other side, I will keep spinning the globe and going to wear my finger points, that once every calling is answered, every Grail Quest is completed, another will spring up like a mushroom in its place. I will russle up the courage to create even though today’s creation might seem like crap tomorrow and will never in any case match all that I imagined.

I surrender to the creative process of life, the joy of connection, and the bliss of the journey.

 

Namaste and thank you for following me.

 

 

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On Growth

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When you always strive for the path of greatest growth and possibility, there are bound to be some growing pains at times, particularly if the hunger for growth is not accompanied by the patience and self compassion of a growth mindset.

A growth mindset, if you are not familiar with the term, is about believe it’s not about innate potential, it’s about deliberate practice and learning from your mistakes. And the fact you don’t get it on the first try doesn’t mean that you never will.

I have never had a growth mindset or that much kindness for myself. For a long time, I’ve struggled with all-or-nothing thinking and also the belief that I am no more than my successes, that I don’t have any worth outside fo that.

I believe the past approximiately five years of struggling with depression in various forms and amounts is a pretty clear picture of the end result of that. if my choices didn’t lead to roaring success and happiness on the first try, and if I fucked up one bit, I blamed myself and believed I was no good, which just created a vicious cycle of mistakes I watched almost as a bystander and I couldn’t take my foot off the gas pedal watching myself self sabotage. I also felt I just didn’t deserve so many good things given that I didn’t take the riskiest most fantastical route to success, I made soem strategic accomodations to practicality, that made  me feel like a sell-out of the first degree.   I then fantasized about all kinds of ways to escape and made escaping my mind and its gloom a first priority over self care, self love, and self respect.

That meant eating food that didn’t nourish me, spending money I didn’t have for moments of temproary relief, blocking myself off from the possibility of a real love relationship, and in short, believing the answer was somewhere out there and I just had to find it. That there was an ideal job, an ideal man waiting for me, that once I found myself all would ecome clear.

And as I understood myself, I felt more and more trapped by my previous decisions. With the self knowledge I have now, I am not entirely certain I would have made the same choices- but then, isn’t that how I learned who I was? To an extent, no amount of navel gazing could have  saved me, but on the same hand, I had such fixed ideas about who I was and who I should be that blocked me from envisioning those possibilities. And let’s face it, my mistakes have given me strength, experience, and wisdom I wouldn’t have had if I had gotten it “right,” on the first try. If I was some kind of explorer journalist or travel blogger, I would not have the lived experiences of being in business which for good or bad defines so much of our world. I don’t know if I could have had such wisdom if I had gone straight into a communications or education focused career. My greatest weakness or worst mistake in my mind will set me apart- I am a lot more than a communicator or explorer, I am a decision maker and a leader and will have learend the highest arts of persuasion adn a damn good bit of how the world works.

So long story short maybe I am not a dirty sellout who doesn’t deserve true happiness and maybe I should stop being so hard on myself. Even all the debris created by my depression is nothing compared to the person I have become. And I believe, though I could be wrong, that with the beliefs I held, there was no possible outcome but depression. It was my very strength and willingness to be hard on myself that drove me into the ground. If I was an inch less of a rigid person, I would not have suffered quite so much. And thorugh this, I learned the suffering comes from the mind.

Which is a priceless insight and the only one that can lead to enlightenment.

In terms of the Buddhism/Christianity thing, I would say they are describing to an extent two different things. Buddhism is taking about the mind and awareness, which we can observe. It teaches there is no creator god or external savior, that only we can save ourselvs by working with the mind. There is no good or evil, just consequences that arise from our level of awarness of the true nature of things, namely that there is nothing real beyond the free play of space and time and even we ourselves are stories being experienced by mind.  Mind is reincarnated countless times before reaching understanding.

Chrisitanity is concerned with the soul, with a god who has always existed and who judges our souls before death, a god who was loving but also righteous in that the only way mankind who had chosen to sin could be redeemed was through the form of a blood sacrifice, which God made himself in the form of his son. Sacrifice for others is the highest good, and the best we can hope for is to reconcile us to God to avoid eternal punishment and achieve salvation.

So the units of understanding are much different. Christianity is the story of the universe, yes, but specifically our planet and the human race, with a focus on the Jewish nation until the birth of the son of God at which point the religion becomes more universal and less focused on norms within an ethnic tradition dedicated to monotheeism.

One demands very specific articles of faith, in events that happened in a physical place and time of a very supernatural nature, namely the death and ressurection of the Son of God. The other presents a path to deeper understganding of oneself and the universe through the examination of mind. In either case, actions have consequences. THough one merciful forgives sin, good and evil exist as distinct entities, and to serve others one is denying oneself in order to fulfill the will of God. So the most important thing is to sacrifice the self in one form or anything to achieve holiness. In Buddhism, there is no real distinction between self and other, and bad actions arise frm confusion, not evil. Self denial just reinforces the belief in the self, which is in the end just another story distracting from the reality of things as they are. In Buddhism, the whole point is to avoid suffering which comes from this lack of understanding of reality, whereas in Christianity, suffering is a virtue that can lead to eternal salvation through the miracle of God’s mercy.

I think I stopped really being a Christian last year when I went to Christmas mass and was reminded of nothing so much as animal sacrifice by animist people. That being said, I had met many people who mixed Catholic and animist beliefs and practices, which might not exactly be orthodox but both kind of agree that things exist in a solid form. Buddhism is kind of the opposite, pointing our attention to the space from which the galaxies arise. From nothing comes everything, because nothing and something are one and the same- one field of possibility. And there is no thick black line separating me from you , God from man- we are neither shadows playing on the wall of Plato’s cave, there is no purer world beyond this, there is nothing sacred nor profane, nor are we simply matter with no hope of spirit, because there is no real difference between them, both are an illusion. We are matter, we are spirit- we are awareness coming to understand reality beyond the forms.

A long time ago, I thought that even if Christianity were a big lie, and there was no god, I wouldn’t be disappointed that I had did my best to do good things in my life, or even that I was stepped in incarnational Western Christianity which is really about the spark of divinity in man and man surpassing his individual self. I think there is really something to it.

The thing that seems most interesting to me at this point, is that Christianity could be 100% real in all its claims, including the ressurection of the son of a creator God, Heaven and Hell could really exist, and I don’t think that even really poses a problem for Buddhism. Buddhism can let them all exist, and also pass away, because all compound things are impermanent, and even a creator God cannot be eternal, unless that which is called God is rather the field of possibiliy that is the union of space and bliss. I also personally think that there is not really that big of a conflict between a mind that reincarnates and a soul that is judged. Of course awareness will continue; the soul, the story of me, the essence of me that is an illusion anyway, that can exist on some level and then go to Heaven or Hell I suppose. What’s even more interesting is that Jews at the time of Jesus did believe in reincarnation after a fashion and asked Jesus if He was Elijah returned. I think the image of God as judge/compassionate father and human worth as a score card/legal record with the possibility of sublimation if one professes belief in the love of God for man in the form of Jesus and His ressurection, which in a way is a form of non-duality and the union of God and man, is quite interesting. If all sounds are mantras merely for the fact that they exist, why is this any different tahn the Buddha forms one meditates on to gain awarenss? It is an image that can bring some degree of understanding and freedom from selfishness. And I thinkt aht both truths can exist simultaneously, if one drops the Western/Christian habit of dualism. If you can lose your concept of a paternalistic, solid god that was a patron of a particular tribe which to a large degree hijacked him to codify their customs (see Leviticus) and became a universal God (largely due to contact with Greek thoughts particularly Platonism) coming to save Jews and Gentiles alike but still being something of a judge on his throne, and one single, exclusive truth, I think you can have your Christianity and eat it too to a certain degree. Whether its helpful or not for realization and enlightenment beyond it is a separate question.

So those are the things I have been thinking about. I did think I would go back to Christianity, but I think that even if at first I just thought I was a visitor, then a participant observer, my real aim is to believe Buddhist and to give up some of the old beliefs and sometimes flawed ethics. I don’t blame Christianity for my depression, but I don’t think it gives a critical mind a partiuclarly robust hold on things. Everything rests on whether there is that one absolute truth or not. I believe this insistence on knowing the absolute truth of things sets us up for frustration and insantity to a degree, as not eveyrhing is absolute and black and white. Perhaps there is a richer Christinaity than that which I have experienced, but I havne’t discovered it yet. I have heard it said that God expects us to sin and loves us anyway and we are meant to depend on him for forgiveness and that’s how he wants it, which I suppose is a bit non dual, but for me the insistence on figuring out which action is good or bad and trying to figure out the best option has been really hard on me as an adult. Christianity isn’t that kind to business, unless you’re of the sort that thinks God loves rich people and so blessed them on earth because they are divinely predestined according ot Calvinist doctrine, even though the Roman Catholic Church is one of the most successful and long standing organizations on the planet. Maybe I should go learn more from the Jesuits.

As my perspective has expanded from being an ethnocentric American who really believed in eternal progress and that there was one beste way of organizing society and something along the lines of captialism was it, to a globnal citizen, with quite a bit of Frenchiness in me, seeing America as just another power flowering and fading onthe world stage, it has led to a lot of deep questions. And as I’ve realized the relativity of beliefs and just how long time is, the chants coming down from the early Christians who were perhaps in their way, the “deplorables” spoken of by Hillary Clinton, the unlettered masses unable to grasp nuance who were willng to get thrown to the lions for their beliefs, seem much less old when you have been in contact with civilizations much older like that of the Indian subcontinent, whcih also had something that came before and is considered not even that old by some. It’s hard to exist in this kind of relativity if one is holding on to some absolute truth or other. Perhaps the thing that I needed to hear most during business school, which completely tore me apart, was “there are many truths,” from the woman who accompanied us during a part of the study abroad portion.

I think there is a lot in Buddhism that is just ethnic and not particularly that helpful, but I think every religion gets confounded with culture from time to time. And perhaps monotheism to non theeism is an interesting leap for a human like me to make. From polytheeism to monotheeism and from tribal to universal religion are meant to be quite important leaps in the story of humanity, and the accomplishments of Western Christianity, particularly Protestants, in subdoing the rest of the world have been menat to be proofs of its superiority, but now in todya’s world, I don’t think that’s the end of history. I think all things are born, grow, mature, fade, and die. The West is losing power on a relative scale, although I hope some of our better ideas stay and influence the rest of the world and our legacy is not just McDonald’s. It’s interesting that China is takig back its historic place in the world, although my money is that it will collapse in its current form. Maybe the West will come back stronger than ever, and the US will be able to fundamentally adapt itself.

I’ve shared with Buddhists taht I don’t know if I could have made the leap of mind to Buddhism without my experiences living in France, but they said there is something in me that would have called me even if I had stayed in the US. Perhaps. But for me its hard not to notice this part of the story. ANd while I love France, I love that which is not French as well. I also struggle with my identities as American, Parisian, French, and global citizen. As a Buddhist in a way I am not even properly Western anymore. I am a do gooder who got disenchanted in a way and went into business and I don’t want to hate myself for it anymore, taking care of myself is important too.

And taking care of myself is taking care of my own small section of the world, one of the few things I have much power to control or influence, and making the most of the blessing of another day.

It feels good to write.

 

I’m a buddhist and I’m unstuck

Hello friends,

It’s been a while. Life has been mostly pretty great since I recovered from the parasite I caught in India. I feel less fearful and down and conservative.

I’m back to Buddhist meditation and I love the sangha and I really feel good in buddhism, so I am going to stick with it. I am ok with he fact this makes me perhaps not very Catholic at all or just a very unorthodox Catholic that at least believes in the Beatitudes if nothing else, but I’ am trying ot get over the guilt thing.

Secondly I am working on a travel blog, I feel inspired to write and create and I am really excited abou tlife again. I’m still getting things in order but wow, I truly do feel like a new person.

Being perfectly honest, I do want to take a sabbatical and just fuck off and see where life takes me, I don’t care that much about moving up in a big corporate organization, and I do want to choose my job based off the experiences it gives me and feeling excited to go there in the morning.

I love the people at my job and my job itself is not so bad, but I came back to work after a week with my family and I again felt not quite dread but reluctance telling me there’s more to life and I need to do more to align with my deepest values.

And yes, if I can let go of status and hierarchy and comfort to an extent, I can do amazing things a bit outside the norm, which is where I want to explore anyway. I have given corporate life a chance, it’s not too bad, bu tthere is a whole lot more I can give the world.

So it’s been a while

I feel like a different person since the last time I wrote this blog. In the meantime, I’ve travelled to India on a spiritual quest, thought I would convert to Buddhism and then pretty much decided against it after calling on Jesus and letting myself be guided by the maxim “we walk by faith and not by sight,” in my time of need, stayed with a Muslim family in Srinagar, camped out in the mountains of Kashmir for five days, learned to sit on the floor instead of  on chairs, caught a parasite, drank from mountain streams, was violently ill very far from home, came to quesetion the valeu of travel, and finally took the last few steps out of depression and witnessed the death of the voice of self sabotage in my head. I also realized I would like to have a family, that is, children of my own some day, and I am on the right career track, no major transformation needed at this time, and just how grateful I am for my little life here in Paris.

I am not sure if I am going to keep up on this blog. I thinjk I really should start a new one perhaps and be much more serious about it, whereas this has captured my musings and word vomit from a very confusing time of my life. Now I see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I truly believe the worst has passed. I feel in some ways like I am back to my old self.

Another thing I believed I have learned is that suffering is not necessarily helpful or necessary in the quest for personal growth and to realize life’s truths. It is not something we should seek out, and we don[t need to constantly put ourselves in the most uncomfortable positions in order to grow and realize things. And sometimes, there’s nothing wrong with staying on the tourist track and just enjoying yourself. Another thing I realized is how much I want to walk through life with other people beside me, and that includes travelling with friends not just desperation for a relationship.

And travel isn’t necessarily the gateway to greater happiness or understanding, and a life of nomadism, at this time, is not what I really want. I want to be happy in Paris and stay in a corporate kind of job. At the present time I want to be a leader of an organization, not a full time freelancer. I want to go to CrossFit and do hiking etc regularly, but I odn’t need to go live in the mountains. I want to write, and take it seriously, and hopefully even earn money from it, but I want my career to give me the opportunity to be a leader and make strategic decisions, not just communicate the choices of other people.

I want to make really good money, both in my regular job and when my first book flies off the shelves. Having money gives more freedom and choices, and means I can help people more and enjoy my life more, there is nothing wrong with that. I want to own an appartment in Paris. I want to be able to help my family and to spend money for adventure activities on holiday. I want to have money in the bank that I can fall back on. I want to pay off all my debts including my student loans. I want to accumulate wealth. Someday I want to have a million dollars in the bank, why not?

And I want to spend money wisely and save it. I want to deal with the present realities of my financial situation without borrowing from my future self. I don’t want to be alarmed when I look at my bank balance. I want to know that even in the case of an unexpected expense I have enough and then some to stay in the black. I want to have a bit of cushion so even if I don’t transfer money to the US on the right day there will still be plenty to pay my monthly bills.

And yes, I do want love but I think I need to let it go in order to receive it. First of all, I need to stop making compromises before a relationship even starts. I need to go for guys I’m really excited about, even if I’m afraid they will reject me. I need to go for guys who are completely crazy about me and make me feel special. I need to just have fun and not worry too much about the end result but yeah, I need to go out with guys I am really attracted to, on all levels! I need to stop settling. I need to know that I deserve to get what I want.

In terms of my health, I don’t want to be obsessed with my weight, but I want to take care of myself. I want to live a long and healthy life where I can do adventure sports even when I am retired, and that includes not putting too much strain on my body by being significiantly overweight. I need to love my body as it is and appreciate its strength, and maybe not pay too much information to the number on the scale but really focus on my fitness and all that my body can do. Health is so important and my daily choices need to reflect how much I value it.

In short, it’s time to stop playing small and to dream, think, plan, and act big. It’s time to create the life I really want, understanding that it’s not a big transformation or a change of place or career that will give me satisfaction, it’s doing the absolute best I can going after what I want in my current situation, which I do already really like and is a solid foundation. It’s about trusting my intuition and allowing myself to be and do my best. It’s about taking one step up the mountain at the time and believing in myself that I am going to reach the top, and having the everyday courage to face the things I fear.

Good luck to you all in your endeavors.

MJ

What it means to write your own story

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Five years and one day ago, I moved to Philadelphia to begin business school. I had been interning in DC, and I envisioned having a career that touched on public service or at least public affairs. I had met a man that I thought would be the love of my life, who would fit into my family, religion, sense of humor, even though inconveniently he hadn’t wanted to pursue a long distance relationship and showed some signs of bro-iness I didn’t love.

I remember moving into the apartment hotel where I would stay for six weeks before moving again to Paris, where I would study for four months before returning. I remember feeling completely overwhelmed by the much greater work experience of everyone there, and the stark contrast between my life as an English teaching assistant in the French countryside and an intern paid just a bit more than my rent, and my experience-seeking, idealistic, slightly do gooder self compared to the seemingly cold nad corporate world I was about to enter, which had never held a lot of interest for me. And yet, my greatest mentor had suggested to me to come to business school, I applied to programs with a connection to France, and was accepted with a large scholarship. I was the second youngest and the least experienced of anyone in my group, and I had never held a full time permanent professional job, but perhaps I was also the bravest and most open.

A few weeks into the program at Philly, just before going to France, there was a cocktail party, as is often the case in business school, and we talked about where we would end up after. I said Washington DC was my home, I had never felt better anywhere, and I had a strong conviction I would return to live the life I’d planned and this was just a last taste of France before becoming a real adult.

Within a month of uttering those words, I was deeply in love with Paris, despite having visited it several times before without forming any great attachment. I felt truly at home and like I belonged for the first time in my life, and I nearly left the program to stay there and just get a French degree. I didn’t take that leap of faith, and was plunged into a crisis of whether I had completely abandoned my ideals, and what those ideals were, as I found myself in America feeling like a misfit more than I ever had before, going to school with people who did not see the world in at all the same way as i did, which made me fear for finding my professional path through business.

About a year later, I returned to DC and it was just a ghost of the city I had left, feeling both provincial yet oddly particular in its obsession with politics, which I at that point realised are not the center of the world for the vast majority of its citizens. I got a job offer in NYC to work for a think tank dedicated to studying corporate responsibility and globalization, but I turned it down, because I wanted to continue the search for something to bring me to Paris.

I was willing to take anything, even another crappy English teacher job.

Out of nowhere, an offer to work with a blue chip French company came along, and I took it.  It took six months to get the visa and I seriously considered abandoning the offer.

But I wasn’t happy. I thought of leaving. All my friends had gone and I never saw the boyfriend I had during study abroad. My best American friend seemed like a bit of a lost soul, and I continued to wonder if something was wrong with me for wanting to live outside of where I was supposed to, for rejecting my country and abandoning my family, and not being the person I planned on being. My mom made it really clear she was not a fan of the move, although she supported me, and I lost yet another cherished role- dutiful daughter.

It took me a long, long time to finally come back to the surface, and I”m almost there now. Depression is no joke. Therapy is the best investment I’ve ever made. And through it all, I’ve struggled to be my best self, because I wasn’t sure of who that was or if I was truly the second string player I believed myself to be.

In short, I’ve been afraid of my greatness, and it hasn’t been pretty. I have made a lot of mistakes along the way. Depression has colored many memories that had all the elements to be beautiful and enjoyable at the time. And yet, it was my human experience.

The feeling of losing my ground as Buddhists say really affected me. I am not the person I planned to be, and my greatest fear has been the changeable nature of myself and my desires, and the fear that everything I worked for was in vain.

This journey has taken me a long way and will take me farther yet. On Friday I’m going back to India, which was one of my dream destinations that I really enjoyed during business school. I am going in large part to decide whether I want to commit to the path of Buddhism.

Something of my Catholic self remains, and the Sermon on the Mount is engraved upon my soul, and I don’t think that’s such a bad thing. And yet, I don’t know if I can pretend to go along with the Catholic hierarchy anymore, and to what extent i want to remain culturally Catholic. Can resurrection and reincarnation cohabit? I don’t know, although I can say I’m pretty sure my beef is not with Jesus.

In the meantime, I’ve come a long way from sub clinical anorexia/compulsive dieting as a teenager to binge eating as an adult to CrossFitter, sometimes with or without the overeating, binge eating, and emotional eating issues. But now, I am an athlete, that’s for sure, and i want to be healthy, I want things for my own good.

Through all this, I have pondered every road not taken, and tortured myself with what ifs. If I had become a teacher, if I had stayed in the US, if I had become a digital nomad blogger person, anything and everything. It’s just this week I put the digital nomad dream to rest. I want to travel, but I also want to build a home in France, and my current job allows me to do that. And that’s why I haven’t taken any real steps in that direction, despite a bit of talk. Yes, I would like to hav ea travel blog and all, but it doesn’t have to replace my daily life. I don’t see it with rose colored glasses anymore. Same with taking a long pause from work. It could change something, but I dont’ think th echange I need is so dramatic.

The change I need is just to take care of myself, eat well, sleep well, work well, have friends, have lovers, and hopefully find my one steady boy someday. And continue to travel! Just keep grinding and moving and dancing to the beat of my drummer, who did not indeed lead me astray.

so today I have to clean my apartment, wash clothes, and get ready for India. I have to breka through the mess I’ve creaed because I couldn’t deal with the pain from all the unfounded regrests and all the fears.

Throughout it all, I have to say my desire to find love has not wavered. And my faith is slowly coming back.

For the past few years, I have felt a victim of change, and my shifting desires.

But now I know, I am the one writing the story- not in charge of everything that happens to or for me, and many thngs are out of my control. But I wrote this story, and I do have the life I want most of the time. It’s not radical change, just a shift in perspective that is needed. There’s no where I would rather be…

And so dear readers, wish me luck !

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The monster that isn’t in the closet

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so I’ve been pretty afraid to try my best at things, because that has often been linked to rebound eating, hunger, bingeing and overdoing whatever behavior it was that I was trying to curb when my inner self destruction, mean girl, inner critic, what have you, Demon of Low Self-Worth appears on the scene and ruins whatever I was trying to create.

This feels deceptively like a very authentic part of me, like something that is fighting for the real Megan to come through, to be loved for her faults/with her faults in a way. It is deceptively human, and humanizing. I think, I deserve to be loved for not being perfect, I deserve to not be perfect, and I deserve to indulge myself. loving becomes indulging and is more about giving in to impulses, especially when they are ill-considered and unlikely to actualy satisfy true need.

Like sure, have that hamburger. If you give yourself what you want, you will be happy and authentic. If you do something you don’t want to  get a result you claim to want, you are a cold bitch Machiellian, so eat the goddamn sandwich or next time i will get you with a dozen cookies two sandwiches and a bread bowl.

I have long, lonve feared this part of me. Because this part of me is what gave me limits, and comfort.

But i didn’t want to let it go, it felt too much like home. Not that my family isn’t proud of me in their way, but they are people who have built their lives with trying to be happy with what they have and mostly focusing on relationships, friendly and in their marraiges.

so what I am doing is completely authentic , to leave, and not even for a relationship, which also wouldn’t have been tolerated from me since my role in the family these days is badass independent woman adventurer- is she selfish or just fearless?

does she even really love us?

She only sees us once or twice a year but she always finds the money to travel.  When we’re gone, then she’ll regret it but i wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

But i’m a dutiiful daughter and that didn’t happen to me, guess there was some perks of staying at home.

No wonder she can’t find a man if she’s always traveling and never stays in one place. SHe cares too much about her career.  Acually she doesn’t care enough, all she cares about is travel, and what is that but an escape- where is she escaping to, isn’t France enough?

 

She was always the strange one anyway- that’s why she fits in so well with the frogs.

It makes me sad that i think people do sometimes thin this way about me, and even more sad that I can particularly

remember the instances of some of the above coming out of someone I respects male. Ouch, that hurt.

No wonder I don’t want to go back, and I”m not sure if I want to go home for Christmas.

But I do because I love them and they love me, and a lot of this is just my inner critic talking- who they did in fact help create, much as they will say I always had that “drive” and they didn’t expect anything great out of me.

But they did, I think, and this life while fun to tell the neighbors about is not what they expected. Oh well, sucks for tehme.

 

As for me,  know I do well enough in the making people jealous of my life contest.

Because I don’t give a fuck anymore.

My childhood babysitter says I’m not the little girl she used to take to the library- now I’m out traveling the world. I”m ure no one would have seen me doing it, least of all me.

I feel like I’m speaking out of turn, too much about me, too much about what’s importat to me than what category I fit into, and if I’ve checked the boxes, and if there can be some schaden frude about the fact that I, while living a prety authentic life ahat I really enjoy, have not crossed off all the milestones yet

 

ANd I will sometime. That I feel pretty confident abou , because it is a part of what I desire. A part.

Maybe f I was a full time traveller I wouldn’t like it as much.

 

I am happy that i’ve been going on quests of my own now, rathe rthan just oging to see something that didnt know what I wanted.

 

But anyway, back to the demon.

The demon is the tempestuous God outstairs who bangs the broom on their celing to disturb me when I”m having sex, or a moments peace.

That’s just how it is.

But no more.

There is no more reason to be afraid of the demon than there is to be afraid of the monster in the closet.

But you will continue to be afraid of the monster in the closet unless you can see that it’s not real.

Like the creatures in M N Shaymalan’s the Village.

When you are loved by people, and truly taken care of, it helps light back up the star within you. And I’m not talking about validation, I’m talking about love, the kind of love that can be tough and adjust you back on your right path. The love of a coach or teacher, not a sycophant, not a positive affirmations specialist, not that person taht doesn’t respect or care for you enough to tell the truth. More than likely this person will witness both good and bad things about you, and will reassure you you that you are only human and it’s ok, and you are still worthy of effort and love.

And little by little, your spark will be reignited, and you will start to be shiny.

And only by your own lifht, which it might take months and years to grow, will you see that there never has been anything in the closet–

That when you came out of the closet of your own making, of your limitations others false beliefs and iill intetions imposed on you, the revenge of the weak amongst the strong, the resentment that causes you to write a song like Jenny from the Block because your success threatens everyone around you, especially if they have helped you on your path. It stings, and if they are not entirely happy with the life they lived and they lacked the courage to live the one they wanted, which more or less might resemble yours.

And love is making love in the light of a dying fire, of being together in a rough corrugated metal shack, two souls in the middle of no where, just feelign each other.

And love is when you have to trat yourself better than you have ever treated yourself, because someone believes in you and has invested in you.

And you know, because of them, that you really deserve it. And you don’t do it for them, you really truly do it for you. And that’s a reason.

You stop wanting to change the world adn start wanting to live your life. You stop grasping for control and want freedom more than power.

And that my friends’ is how to tame the green eyed monsters, inside and out, wherever they may be.

 

Pssst turn on the light.

PS and maybe it’s all called into being by dualism, and the beleif there has to be an eternal battle of dark and night, live and sun. And es, all is well.

 

Best,

MJ

 

The day I figured out what life is really all about

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Blessed are the poor in spirit, for they shall inherit the (truth) earth.  Beatitudes

Today filled with hope I read a blog post about an Indian woman who has chosen to live without a permanent physical home and to change countries and or beds every few weeks or months, and to own just a bit more than what fits in her backpack.

It sounded paradiasical to me, like that feeling of freedom I have been craving. And she makes her living travel blogging and other entrepreneurial stuff. Living life completely on her own terms, within the limits of the material resources available to her.

The past few weeks have been tough for me. I have been considering looking for another job, which has been the only really stable thing in my life for the past three years, and for better or for worse has been my rock, the only thing that hasn’t changed. It’s the only full time job I’ve ever held for more than 7 months.

I also know I have to find a new apartment because my landlady wants to sell the one I have, which caused me such anguish I almost wanted to move heaven and earth to buy it. It is the only place I have lived as an adult for longer than 15-16 months, the only bed I’ve slept in that long besides the one at my parents’ house. It came furnished and it’s not really my stuff, but man, it does feel like home and I am so happy when I see my metro station.

And then, I had that special feeling of loving my life in the transient moment that I had when I was a student here. I guess that’s the official moment my depression ended. Boy, I was happy, and felt like I was home, and meant to stay, although I had perhaps in the back of  my awareness i would have to leave my apartment in the next year.

This after a gym session that had left me entirely wiped but so grateful for the community and for the fact that finally, for the first time in my 28 years, I no longer feel ashamed of my body, I’m proud of it as it is today, Which doesn’t mean I won’t try to get healthier and fitter, but it does mean I can be genuinely happy for myself and where I am and how far i’ve come.

About four years ago my first trip to India had already taken place, and I was still missing Paris and my boyfriend and depressed I gave up a once in a lifetime opportunity to live in Paris. I also filled in my visa request truly believing i’d never get antoher chance to get to india. And now, four years later, i can’t wait to go to India, and leave paris for a little while.  In fact there are times when I wonder if I will leave of my own accord one of these days.

But then, today, it just hit me so hard. Yes, I love my little routines, my favorite lebanese sandwich place, the bookstores i particularly love to browse in, all of it. And the idea of being a digital nomad and leaving it all behind just hurt. Working for the amazing company i work for, i have a fair bit of vacation time and in a few short years, I could go to many of the places on my ever expanding bucket list.

And yes, living in Paris has given me a taste for remote places close to nature and traditional culture which I never preferred before living in the world’s greatest city. I do vacation in Paris’ opposite in a way, and yet, it doesn’t mean I love Paris any less. Nor does the fact I love where I live diminish my wanderlust. For a time, I truly believed it would go away as I got happier, but as the case has occured, it seems to have only gotten stronger. As I fantasized about taking a year off, or even three weeks, i realized just how muh I would deeply miss paris. Not that it’s not a reason for doing it, but that yes, I have more reaosn to  stay than perhaps I really imagined, and they are very salient ones I migh tnot have realized before.

So anyway I finally realized that life is the train and not the station, and buying a piece of property to save myself from moving house a million times and an attempt at premature identity closure, is not such a great idea or a particularly helpful one. Life will continue to change, and that’s a good thing!

I dont even necessarily need a cabin in the mountains to call my own in retirement, but even if I did have one, it wouldn’t matter. Life is the train and not the station.

Everythign we have is on loan. One day, we will all be called in to give up all that we have ever known and acquired, every accomplishment, every love. Not of it can be sure ot make it past the grave, al the physical achivements even more so. all we have is our fleeting, ephemeral memories, but then, that’s gone to- and all anyone ever had was the present moment. And that’s all any of us will ever have, despite all our plans, dreams, and schemes. Really.

So I don’t need to sell all my belongings or give them to good will, give up my stable job for a freelance lifestyle, choose not to marry or date in a commitment relation ship because people are never truly owned.

I can appreciate the things that are on lend, and I can share them with others. I hcan share my stories, I can share what I think of what you study, to an extent.

I have my stories, for the mmoment, while memory is kind.

And even if I commit them to hard drive someone in fifty years or so will be charmed by how quaint things were back in the day, My memories doesn’t have to be my prison. I can walk freely, freely.

And now the point of all of us s that life is sweet.

And we are just here from the party, and aftterward we don’t know how we are getting home.

Love you all

 

Hello again world! From a new computer :)

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So I finally made the investment and got a new laptop as my old one wasn’t very portable.

I’m so happy to have this new tool to facilitate my writing life.

and so grateful to you beautiful people, I’m so happy to know that the messages i throw out in a bottle arrive somewhere and sometimes even speak to someone.

A virtual toast-

A la votre, et a l’art.

Gros bisous

Namaste

MJ

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I don’t think love will be neat and clean-edged, a bingo game,

crying out to Wheel of Fortune that you’ve solved the puzzle,

no neat Monopoly pass go and collect 200.

 

I think it will be sweet, not quite so cruel as nature-

But a force too sttrong to understand, nonetheless.

 

I don’t think he will always make me happy

but he will mostly try.

I don’t think I will always be his dream come true,

but I will support him.

 

I don’t think we will have everythign in common

But he’ll be my best friend anyway.

 

Maybe I won’t tell him all my secrets-

but he’ll guess them, and forget them,

And love me in all my splendour, not blindly.

 

Maybe i won’t know rom teh first time I hold his hand

That he’s meant to me mine,

or that we will always be happy.

 

But I think I will always want him laying next to me,

And that migh tbe all I need to know.

Neither flowers nor birdsong

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Maybe love is not a walk in the park

On a summer’s warm bright sunny day.

 

Maybe it is a hurricane

That makes dry leaves swirl in its path

 

Maybe it is the Fall

That makes the fruit ripen on the vine

 

Maybe it is a mountain lake

Deep and cold

 

Or a brushfire

Destroying everything in its path.

 

Perhaps it is as cruel, and real

As Life

 

As sweet, as ephemeral–

 

A force of nature.