Life Goals: Become a gypsy…

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be a digital nomad

become a teacher again

facilitate cross cultural understanding

start that travel blog

share your beautiful thoughts with the world

do a pull up!

stop forcing your body to be a certain size or shape

be happy

don’t wait till its all figured out, we live in an ever shaking kaleidoscope

do those morning pages

do a ten day vipassana meditation retreat

stand on that surfboard for two seconds more

do a multiday hike

let yourself be seen and loved

don’t judge books by their cover

focus on friends, health, and creativity to be happy

remember the best things in life can’t be bought or earned, they are only possible with grace

step out of the shadows and be your real self. a winning outcome is not turning shaving off a square peg so it fits in a round hole it is that you cast off the mold entirely and let the creative energy of god through you, and believe every second you deserve it!

When you see the face of God

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writing this to: https://www.facebook.com/laboratoriumpiesni/

So I guess the point of this post is that I didn’t expect, or particular want, my spiritual journey to take me to the place where I’ve ended up, for now at least.

Right now the Muslim edict against making visual representation of God seems incredibly apt. Sometimes you show things best by not showing them, if you’ve seen the Blue Mosque or Taj Majal (which to be fair is a memorial, not a mosque but still feels like sacred to all that’s holy about the love between a man and a woman interrupted only by death). Sometimes it’s the negative space that makes the picture.

I’m not sure how I feel about the ressurection of the body. However, I do think that the conduct of Jesus during his life is holy, and I think it’s quite true that He was the son of God. And why not? All things are possible from God. But I guess the important thing for me is what Jesus taught, not His supposed power or expecting to get a return on investment by going to Heaven. He did say we were supposed to be building the kingdom on earth.

I think there is a lot of truth in Buddhism, and a lot of suffering comes from mistaken mental schemas. I don’t necessarily want to be part of institutional Buddhism, and I certainly feel the presence of the sacred more in a traditional Catholic church than I did in the elaborate temples I’ve seen in Asia.

I considered goign to Israel to see the sacred sites of the New Testament, but it seems quite unclear how much is truth and how much is myth. ANd I’m sure the religious tourism with the tacky plastic Rosary beads, religious sects fighting over control of sacred sights, the dogmatic pilgrimage groups- would be nothing I’d like to write home about.

It is a huge relief to admit I’ve stopped going to Church, and unless my heart tells me otherwise, I don’t plan to go back at least not in a dogmatic way. I love myself as a woman too much. It’s not that i don’t believe in the importance of ritual and all that, but there’s definitely more out there and the Church does not have a monopoly. While I believe God is present everywhere, I don’t really think the Pope is the one and only bridge between humanity and GOd is the Supreme Pontiff. I don’t think God would make gay people if he didn’t want people to be gay. While I think God is present in every moment of our lives, I don’t think that biology is the destiny He/She intended for us and we were created to be independent actors.

I believe the universe is vast, we are nothing but stardust and to dust we shall return. I think there’s more to us than physical matter and brain function, I believe that spirit has real existence even if we can’t measure it, and by the way, reality as we know it is just the product of how human brains function. I do believe there’s something more to this and our consciousness doesn’t end after this life, but I don’t know where it goes. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn we exist as awe and wonder in the infinite universe. I hope we retain a personal consciousness but are stripped of our egos. Perhaps that is what is meant by in the Kingdom of Heaven none are married or given in marriage. Keeping in mind at the time marriage was an economic arrangement.

I think the biggest relief is to admit I don’t know, and I am not going to trust only one source to tell me. THere are some things I know though- how to act, at least 99% of the time. I trust my wonder and awe.

I think the biggest source of the sacred for me in Catholicism is the love and family that I associate with it. I think there are a lot of great things about Catholicism. But I would rather be a Francis of Assisi or Joan of Arc kind of Catholic, that is to say, ones that weren’t really appreciated by the hierarchy.

I think there’s a lot to the idea of rituals and religions needing to be transparent to the eternal, and that we have to keep in mind there could be some level of metaphor going on. I do think water could be turned into wine and miracles happen every day. But I don’t believe that holy books are written without a secular agenda and we should be cautious of them.

I don’t believe women are evil, and I do believe that God sometimes has a woman’s face.

And that God is not an old man making sure the hierarchy is respected, sometimes he is a young woman full of questions too.

It’s time to let magic into my life again

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So I’ve started Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way and I just posted in a group about practical metaphysics. I got in touch with my old beau that I met as if by magic, and I’ve become newly amazed at the grace of living in my dear beloved France, much as all I want to do is travel! not to mention that my work lets me be part of an amazing team and I continue to grow and progress in my career. My life is literally bursting with blessings, not least of which is my therapist who plans to come to my play in a few months.

And the fact that I’ve given up binge eating and am mostly on the path back to the straight and narrow road of self care.

But why not let a few truth bombs explode in cyberspace? I don’t want to be a straight up Catholic anymore, I feel closer to Buddhist teachings. But I still love the Virgin Mary and what Jesus really taught. I want my life to teach people and open their minds and hearts. The main possession I care about is a heart full of memories and wonder. And yes, travel is a secular form of worship though I’d say it’s more mystical. I’m a pilgrimage for no reason other than the pure desire for pilgrimage. It’s not always a god or a saint I am going to see, it’s most likely just beautiful, flawed humanity and the raw beauty of nature. Yup, pretty much that. And I think that’s beautiful, wonderful, perfect.

If my disease comes from losing my sense of God, maybe the answer is to create one. Or rather, accept where I have found God, which is everywhere, even where he/she/it wasn’t expected to be. Maybe I won’t go to mass anymore, but I need to create my own ways of worship, and find communities that support me to live the life my deepest truth calls me to.

Let the miracles begin!

Update: Waiting by the phone, waiting for my heart to be moved

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So the guy was apparently working until 1 am with no access to his phone. I didn’t hear from him until the morning. He didn’t directly say sorry he just explained, and I said it was not a lot to ask for a word here and there. No response to that, and I can tell on whatsapp he really didn’t look at his messages until late afternoon. The joys of consulting (his job).

I’m really genuinely deeply sad because I realized that I did trust him that he was not to blame for whatever happened and he wasn’t doing it on purpose, although I am not happy that I didn’t yet get an explicit apology and that he didn’t respond to me after I specifically told him that it bothers me and he agreed.

I think the truth is that it’s not about me. But it remains to be seen if I can fit in the picture.

It occurred to me as I waited for him to eat dinner just how much I wanted someone to eat dinner with. It occurred ot me how much I was hoping that this relationship might take off and give me someone to kiss at New Years and buy a Christmas present for. I imagined cuddling and soothing him after a long day’s work and admonishing him to take better care of himself.

That being said, there hasn’t been a moment that I’ve felt my heart leap out of my chest. I am approaching this relationship o so soberly as much as I might affect or try to affect a devil may care attitude, because the truth is that it’s not everyday you meet someone smart and adventurous and bold and directwho seems to be genuinely kind and responsible towards others. But for various reasons despite quite a lot of speaking online in the first few weeks I’ve only met him in person once, and yesterday was planned to be the second time.

Maybe it’s for the best. I’m actually relatively glad of the virus that took over his phone that prevented the first meeting, it gave me a chance to heal from depression in ways I didn’t even realize I needed to heal.

And now I feel so grounded, like I have an unshakeable, deeply rooted care that isn’t planning the self worth how is this my fault that I am not loved game, at least not as i would have before, but I am really genuinely sad because I want a relaionship very much.

I want to make joint vacation plans and discover new things with someone who sees the world a different way. I know I can have a blast by myself but I want a new adventure, a new person to challenge me, and someone to share the highs and lows with.

I have always wanted this, and coming out of depression has made it all the more clear.

Because while travel has become very important to me and understanding other cultures and stretching my mind always was, I have travelled far enough to meet myself. And the Megan show, while amazing, needs not just an audience but a co-conspirator. And a bit of romance, seriously.

I get that no one is going to be perhaps, but it will be hard to move from judging on how inadequate my friends boyfriends are to consciously accepting the flaws of my own. I don’t know how much is too much. I do know that feeling ignored is very painful for me, and it’s important for our flaws to fit each other.

It doesn’t have to be this guy, but man, I am fucking tired of looking. And there’s never going to be anyone perfect.

Despite how open I may seem, there is now a guardrail around my heart. I’ve blamed my heartbreaks on myself, for trusting too fast, for not being circumspect enough. Now I wonder if mature love is a boring ass feeling that mostly consists of coming to terms with the fact that life is disappointing so you might as well accept flaws you can tolerate.

I do think there’s some magic to it, somewhere. ANd the magic is probably rather latent, in hiding, and has to do with remaining an interesing person.

All I know is in my heart of hearts, and I don’t think i’s p;urely biological, I genuinely don’t want to be single anymore and I really want to be part of a healthy couple.

And soon. I resigned myself for waiting as long as it taok, but to a certain extent that’s procrastination and the refusal to participate relentlessly in the manifestation of our own blessings.

Damn I am disappointed.

I didn’t know that the process of getting into a relationship had to be so difficult and trying. I feel so freakin exposed. I let someone know I give a shit. I lost my cool.

I am not in control.

My first and only serious relationship, I was definitely in control. He was devoted to me like a puppy ad i ended up nagging and mothering him. people asked me why i had to be the better half in my relationships at some point.

but after that i was always unrequited “love” with someone who didn’t respect me. just last year i went round a round with a guy who kept cancelling dates at the last minute or just not telling me when he couldn’t come. i kept giving him chances though but eventually he unfriended me.

i just want ot dance with somebody who loves me and feel something again.

maybe that means things ahve to go slower.

i was really happy about this guy because i asked him in my direct but joking way if we were seeing other people and he said no he’s not when i told him i wasn’t. with his work schedule i don’t doubt it.

but i can’t be with someone who doesn’t have the time and energy for me.

i hope that’s not the case.

i’m sad.

also today i became obsessed with doing a silk road vacation and had the feeling that perhaps i’ve been outdoing myself in the travel department as i feel making the kind of home i want in paris is just so completely and utterly out of my control. up until my last trip, i feared misisng out on things because of a significant other. now, i know that i want a signficant other more than i want to get to all my dream destinations.

maybe someday i will feel like that about a baby, and i don’t think this desire for a man is a purely biological one. i’m sure it’s just coming out of depression and admitting how human i am.

and perhaps i need to be compassionate and realize not all men are trying to manipulate and gain the upper hand. i think i need to go back to the psychologist to get some toxic stuff cleare dout.

please cross your fingers for me. i want to make love out of nothing at all, for real this time.

i even recognize the calmer steadier feeling instead of the heady rush of something that can never be. we’re not in love yet but i think if the right circumstances and conditions and respect can be created we could be.

namaste and wish me luck.

MJ

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So I am waiting by the phone again, hoping for a man I’ve let into my life to be worthy of the space I am making for him, and the effort that will go into a last minute scramble to put my apartment to rights after nearly nonstop traveling.

There’s definitely a metaphor in there somewhere.

The table is not set, the clothes are not washed, some bills are not paid, I don’t look like I thought I would look.

And he is good, even great, but not perfect.  Traveling for work himself, we haven’t had a proper conversation in a few days.  I asked him to confirm our meeting tonight and I haven’t heard anything from him recently, although I can tell he is not ignoring me and just hasn’t looked at his phone. When I reproahced him for not responding early, he apologized in the best possible way. I of all people can understand some times are difficult, and there’s more to a connection than constant contact. That was how my first love reassured my fears, but maybe it’s not about my fears and to be honest, it’s not that big a deal.

It is a not a soul shattering, self-worth questioning, where did I go wrong, shouldn’t I have followed the Rules, something is wrong with me feeling. Because deep inside, I know I have done nothing wrong, that this is just one verse of the powerful play.

Whatever happens with or without this guy, for the first time in my life, I’ve learned to show up for myself.

To love myself even though nothing is ready, nothing is perfect, and I’m recovering mentally, physically, financially, spiritually, socially etc from a depression so insidious and so linked to my social conditioning since birth that I am a little groggy as though walking up from a long sleep.

But I believe I am beautiful with my morning breath and old yoga pants and messy apartment. I can love me even though I am far from perfect, and that’s what I have always sought outside, but was not surprisingly never able to find.

It could be that the dog that growls in a room full of mirrors sees only a multitude of growling dogs, or it could be that love begets love. Even my mother’s love seems more unconditional now that I have fully come out, or rather, committing to the continually process of becoming more and more myself.

Not about a best or perfect self. Just a healthy, fully human self, radiant as a goddess.

For my entire life, I’ve been waiting for the weight to fall off, the money to come, the elusive “success” to be achieved, the adulation of the masses after feeling like an outcast for large portions of my life, and to come “home” to a place where I’d find that hero’s welcome.

Well, it seems that my actions were not entirely misguided, but I was like a dog chasing its tail.

And that’s why it’s an afterthought, just a coda to a love song about me, that I have no doubt that I will find the love that is in inside me out in the world somewhere. I accept nothing less, I deserve nothing less, and the world, in all its craziness, cannot fail to offer up at least one person to really love me.

I found what I was searching for climbing up and then down into the crater of a sulphurous crater with its bushless burning of blue flames in Indonesia. A miner who earned around 10-20 euro per day for winding his way up treacherous paths with baskets of sulphur took care of me amidst a group of 20, staying behind and urging me on, holding my hand during the difficult spots never making me feel judged for being overweight, out of shape, a born a cosseted princess by the injustice of being born in the right place, unprepared for the climb through extremely dangerous paths in the dark. I realized that kindness and lack of judgment as well as perserverance and encouragement to be my truest, bravest, boldest, greatest self was what I wanted in a man. But then I realized there was no need to wait around for a man to give it to me, I should be doing that for myself. It changed my life.

No wonder so many men I attracted and allowed in my life were just as critical and persnickety, or actually somewhat less, than my own incredibly harsh and never satisfied inner critic.

That’s probably one of the turning points of my depression ending.

And a few days later, I heard from the special person I am waiting to hear from, who I realize explained to me that he is giving a conference at a hospital and will be getting out late so I am going to chill the fuck out.

And realize there is always a risk in giving your trust, and it’s never been in my nature to be miserly. I give generously, because I trust myself, and inside me, as Pearl Buck says, there is a place inside me where I live all alone where I renew my springs that never dry up. And I have good judgment, a good  gut.

Even if you love with all your intelligence, even if you choose carefully and enlist all the wisdom at your disposal, you will slip into love even if you don’t fall into love.

There is an element of losing control, of something like dependence. There is an acceptance that you can be hurt, even if your core is solid and grounded and your roots go deep. There is an acceptance of change and chance, and joining a game that is bigger than you, that if you don’t want to be alone any more well honey, you have to let someone in.

There are guys that are worth stressing over, and growing with, and bending for, just a little bit. There are guys that are capable of dancing along to my beat.

It becomes all the more clear why I have taken so many vacations alone, why I have eben afraid to try to find someone to come alone, why I feared wasting a moment in company that ruined it. I know why I have been on my own, and the reason is simple- I wanted to enjoy my own company, and to not need anyone.

But now I have beenaround the world andback again, and my tenderest dreams have true, I will have to step into the fire, like Sita of the Ramayana, like the Javanese ballet I saw in Indonesia, and trust, that either his love will be so pure I  will not be burned but instead be transformed to a truer and shinier, intertwined and yet more genuine self  or to rise again, as I have so many times, like the phoenix into one of the myriad versions of the same, becoming me one way or the other.

This is what it means to trust life- not that there will be no pain, but that all choices lead to the same place, and that place is LOVE.

That’s what it means to be capable of giving and receiving love, and more importantly, of creating it where it wasn’t there before.

I want to stay wild

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I don’t want to be tame, there I said it.

But how is a woman to love or be loved in this world, how is she to live a fulfilled life as part of a community, can she ever use her godgiven power to give life, to become a mother, if she keeps her wildness?

Can a free woman love or be loved?

Can a woman stay free and yet take on the responsibility of giving life, nurturing it, tending it?

I want to travel, have a career, climb mountains, surf, and be full of sexual desire all my life.

I don’t want to give up this part of myself.

I don’t want to become a virgin or mother or crone or whore. I want to be all of them.

I don’t want to choose between Athena, Aphrodite, Hera, Hecate.

I don’t want to be a sinner or a saint.

I want to be a well dressed business woman who can offer herself all the comforts of life and the reward of building a career, becoming a leader, responsible, masterful.

I want to be a backpacker who left the pearls at home and wears the same pants for a week in a row sometimes, who carries all her possessions on her back, who owns very little except for the world unfolding at her feet, who is so unbelievably free.

I want to own a house and have a full 401k and travel the world continuously. I want to carry my baby in my backpack and stay childfree forever a girl in my heart. I want to take a lover when I fancy it, and to love one man for the rest of my life.

Freedom and responsibility are two sides of the same coin.

But wildness, the deep knowing that stability is an illusion and there is nothing less stable than your own illusory, transient self, that is more priceless than gold, and it could fit in a backpack or a briefcase, it could take me to the top of Mt Kilamanjaro and the top of the corporate ladder, it could sustain me through orgies or maybe, make every day an adventure till death do us part.

I want to be wild, I never want to be tame. Does this mean I will never give life? That my breasts will never give suck to an infant? That no one will ever truly love me because I refuse to sacrifice my deepest self for him, for the family, for the community?

Does wildness mean living alone in the woods of my own solitary heart forever?

I hope not.

Maybe wildness is the deepest root, the longest love.

 

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the guy i wrote about in my last post dropped off the face of the earth for a week, so i decided to call him. when i called him, i was pretty sure it was already a lost cause but i try to give people the benefit of the doubt. and maybe someone who was really good for me wouldn’t mind me making the call.

what happened is he called me back on whatsapp and then blocked me. i sent him some text messages asking what happened but telling him i’m not going to chase him.

no response.

it’s so bizarre. earlier this week i was supposed to meet someone who has the same first name, and who didn’t show. this is the same name as the guy that i fell in love with the idea of, spilled much digital ink over, and who cut things off with me rather abruptly. i haven’t spoken to him in about two years, and i think this is what made me lose all hope and faith in fairytale endings.

not a bad thing, i guess. i guess these things have to happen not because you will them to and persist in wishful thinking, but because they do. you can’t beleive in the goodness of someone and will it into existence.

i guess this latest and greatest case just shows once again that maybe there really isn’t anything wrong with me for the fact i have not yet attracted being in a relationship. at a subconscious level, i thought it came down to the Rules, and how i wasn’t following what my mother would do. but what i really think it comes down to is self respect and to finally really believe that it is really not me, it’s them.

I didn’t do anything wrong, and I didn’t deserve to be treated that way.

With the original C, I enabled and pushed and prodded his behavior and strung it out literally for years, holding on to the hope of a Disney ending. I was in love iwth the idea of him more han the actual him, and he knew it and fled.

I have to believe that these guys know themselves better than I do, and they are doing me a favor by getting out of my life. I do earnestly believe that.

I think what’s holding me back the most from love is my inability to receive it from myself, and a persistent feeling that I don’t have it all, that’s something’s missng unless I get the final brass/diamond ring. That if someone doesn’t want to own me, I must be defective, and if I attract/am attracted to shitty guys then the problem really is me.

I do believe that I am the common denominator of all my problems. I also acknowledge I’ve eben depressed for at least 3 of the last years, and that’s not the ideal time to meet someone since no one, absolutely nothing and no one, could lift you up out of your own mire. Someone can throw you a rope, but you have to clutch it. I have to believe life threw me many ropes over the course of that time, and while I didn’t get out of it, at least i controlled my descent somewhat.

Love is not a cure for depression. In fact, I’d say it was probably an accelerator of it.

I’m not really sure how or where I got the idea that I was unlovable, but it was probably from the fact that I couldn’t rearrange the universe to make someone who both loved me and had to let me go, because he could see we were heading in different directions, and was also a dick enough to keep stringing me along to some extent. it was probably before that, when i left my first love and saw him colllapse, or in his long slow decline before I finally left him. He was depressed too.

things got more poisonous with the rebound guy, nearly three years of toxicity and believing I deserved it because I didn’t play by the rules, and hen I finally realized that my friends fed into the system too and it was no wonder I bounced between both, one form of toxic more obvious than the other.

and then there was C, the knight in shining armor who wasn’t. The man who could have been my husband, I told myself. The one who got away because I didn’t stay at home, I dind’t follow plan A, I didn’t save the world, I didn’t go to Washington, I wen tto France. The guy who pushed me there and supported me sometimes, the one who helped me be sure I was on the right path when I doubted it the most. The guy who left me completely rather than see me run after him. The guy who couldn’t cross town for me when I crossed a country and would ahve crossed an ocean for him, and all the Captain America righteousness he represented. Like the comic Captain America, he was working for the other side all along.

Or something like that. Because even comics aren’t morally black and white these days.

And then the past two years of empy, broken, healing heart. Just nothing, no feeling, just a tad bit of crush from time to time, and disappointment. My heart has stayed pretty broken, but not in a way that would let someone new in. And no one seems to love em either. I rallied at the sight of this new guy’s name, another one sharing a name with the patron saint of travellers, another one who seemed to share so much with me. I didn’ have particuarly high hopes.

The truth that I’ve known all along is that I don’t need a man, I need a super hero. But I need to be a super hero first. I cannot attract the love of my life when I’m in the depths of depression and spiralling out of control, much as I want to beleive I am lovable then.

But I’m not going to attract the best partner if I’m not working towards being the best partner.

The flawed belief that’s been hiding inside me is that I think I deserve what I’ve gotten from these guys, because I should be in control, should know better, should always have the right thing to say, should be a better manipulator, should be better, thinner, richer, more put together.

And also that I don’t deserve it because who am I to be both a strong, independent woman who follows her dreams, and a loved, feminine, romantic girlfriend who is treated like a princess? Why can’t I be a princess and a person at the same time?

Maybe I can or cannot combine, work, travel, and family- I actually think I can- but I know I deserve love. I deserve the happy ending. Not because I put in the work of dealing with a bitch ass guy and manipulated him into it, not because I waited a million years until my dream of having a family was no longer possible, not because I decided to pick someone whose flaws don’t fit mine just to have someone.

Being in a couple is important to me, as much as it scares me. I am mostly scared about making sacrifices for someone and not having it work out. I am scared about not following my path and all the things I would have missed had I stayed with my first boyfriend.

But I guess I have to trust life a little bit. Life intervened. And admit that love and partnership are not my highest values. They are really not.

It’s not so much that even travel is, or career. It’s beign the best person I can be and living my life ot the fullest. And I do believe there’s many possible partners out there who could help me do that.

Maybe the most important step though, is to have the courage to decide what it is I want, at the moment at least. Which is becoming a French citizen, for me. This is the battle I’m in, that I want to win, so help me God. This is my major life goal for the next approximiately three years, while travelling and working.

After that, I don’t think I want to necessarily travel for 6 months at a time, or radically change careers. I want to make my life in Paris as rich as it can possibly be. I don’t need to become a long term traveller, and I don’t think that lifestyle would fulfill me. I need to write, take photos, live healthfully in mind, body and spirit. I don’t think a radical lifestyle change is the answer is this time. I just need to win the battle I”m in.

And as for the kids question, I have to surrender it to a higher power. If it’s meant to be, it will come.

This is the faith that has been lacking in my life during these years of depression, the feeling I had made some kind of choice that was fundamentally wrong and because of this my world had fallen, the world was fallen, and I would never get back to a state of grace.

instead I’ve found the basic goodness of things, and that I’ve been good, and even great, all along.

Instead of wondering how I’ll achieve greatness or map my ideal life plan, I need to plan my days. Instead of trying to change careers or countries, I need to flourish where I have planed myself, with good reason. The lack of self trust has been the biggest torture.

When I find a relationship, it won’t be the be-all end-all sign that I’m on the right track. It will be another pillar of a flourishing life, another flower in a garden that is green because I watered it.

I know, when I am in Paris, I am in the right place. That I shouldn’t move to the suburbs, or change countries, or think it will be any better anywhere else. It won’ be. This is my place, and it wasn’t an illusion or selfishness that I made it my mission to come here. However strange and vain and unglorious it sounds, this is my fight. To stay, to thrive, to make the place itself flourish. To be happy here, to let myself finally be happy.

And it has nothing to do with getting away from my family, or the US. I just fell here, a seed carried by the wind, because this is where I am meant to flower. This is, it is good.

And just like I had faith that I would come here and things will work out all right, I have faith I am going to find hat special person. That life will put him on my path the way I landed in Paris, and I will have the grace to receive that love when it comes to me, and to give it uback.

I don’t want to be depresed anymore. i am not depressed anymore. My depression was based on the idea that I had made mistakes in my life and I was not where I was supposed to be, and everything in my life was suboptimal and I couldn’t be trusted.

But yes, I can, I can be trusted, I am wise, and my happiness, my joy, is the singing of the stars.

Namaste

MJ

 

 

 

 

When you realize depression was a gift

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All the money overspent, all the extra pounds gained, all the ambitions self-thwarted, all the pleasures indulged to try to keep the darkness away for one second, all the despair, the loneliness, the unworthiness, the direct contact with the coldest circle of hell and seeing where it exists in your own mind, realizing hell is not other people nor a place anywhere outside of yourself, that you bring it with you, even to Paris, and that no amount of striving or accomplishment can keep the hellhounds at bay, only the deepest and most prfound self acceptance, and acknowledgment of the past, and gradual deblurring of your truly deepest desires, with all shoulds finally shed, all the monsters out from under the bed, no more skeletons in the closet, a great Flood that has finally, with all the tears shed and unshed, washed the Doubt  away.

And what is left when fear has passed- nothing, no superstition, no God on his throne in Heaven above, no magic ritual,no sacrifice, no altar,  no waiting for it to finally all click. No dogma, no priest, no illusion, not even hope, no “visions” of the future.

All there ever was and will be, eternity, a clear sky with no north or south, east or west, just a path that is a destination, just God everywhere, neither above nor below, a koan without an answer, a love that knows no bounds or conditions, salvation from both Heaven and Hell. A ring of endless light, beautiful and terrible.

You seek God forever, gladly, blissfully, gratefully, even though you know he’s right here.

 

Just this once

… I will admit how much I actually care, actually hope, actually want something special to happen. I was starting to believe, and how I fear instead, and I know that hope and illusion cannot change what is, it can only be accepted.

I’ve told myself life is a sad and lonely reality, come what may, and that I must be okay being alone. I am okay, but I thought just maybe I’d be better with you.

I guess this is vulnerability, and in the past, the second that doubt has crept in, there were good reasons and it never worked out.

But really, just one time, I really want it to work out.

France is not the center of the world

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So I spent most of last week in London, and it was a blast. Colleagues were really fun, one actually owns a bar that we shut down, and the feeling of energy and optimism was palpable. Everywhere I turned there was a new kind of nearly de-exoticized ethnic cuisine, vegan burgers, burger and lobster, canary wharf, brixton, 70s disco style party to stumble upon, shipping container bars, and just plain diversity and innovation, so many foreign people, such a feeling of worldliness and so many immigrants and people with strange accents my American accent wasn’t even remarked upon. In one word, dynamic.

So it could be that work might take me there, for a time, and I’d even have the possibility of returning to France.

France has been disappointing me as of late, when I call to mind it’s been three years and I’m still struggling to have a social life, have a date with a guy who doesn’t have a wig and does have a job, and there’s really nothing in particular to keep me here. I can love the city and think it’s beautiful, but I have to concede that outside of la Francophonie, it’s not the center of the world.

And that’s ok.

A lot of times, places a bit off course are more charming, that’s what I find in travel at least.

The anglosaxon dream of more work for more pay and responsibility strikes a chord in me somewhere, but the last time I left France, despite the ultimate wisdom of the decision, I fell into a pretty deep depression (when I asked my therapist if I was depressed before, she said, “YES” without even hesitating) that even the beauty and romance of Paris couldn’t heal.

And yet, life is more than likely no sweeter there. I’m just disappointed in myself, and yes, in France, that this hasn’t become the home that I dreamed of my whole life, and I am forced to admit it and perhaps uproot myself just as I’m finally beginning to settle in.

Cool people come to Paris, but money hungry and ambitious and open people go to London, even among the French. Those who try the anglo saxon life tend not to go back, but I guess that’s because they have an escape patch. I tell myself that if I didn’t have student debt, I wouldn’t care about money and would be perfectly happy where I am, but I think the point is just to grow, change and evolve.

But not just escape blindly, opening up one trap door after another, believing in the myth of anywhere but here, and thinking that a change of scnery will save your life.

I don’t hope that for myself. Just learning, and being rewarded for it.

Today, knowing what I know now not just logically but from what I’ve seen of this world, it was in no way at all a mistake for me to leave Paris to continue my program and see Asia and get an American degree the last time around. I did the best possible thing. Without my American degree, my negotiating power woul dbe much less.

And yet, does 45 days of vacation during the prime years of my life without attachments merit a slightly slower climb, and a bit of income foregone? It probably does, as long as work continues to progress and I learn and am trusted and given credit and reward for what I accomplish.

I also ask myself whether the fascination with travel will cease or diminish or just get stronger over the course of my life. Would a more open friendly society make up for the days of traveller friendliness out on the road? Would a change of pace in a financial capital with ambitious people who are drawn to London to make their fortunes from all over the world suit me better than the economically stagnant but solid and sweet life in Paris?

Future me says if I  go to London, I won’t regret it, but also maybe you can take your time.

As of now I don’t actually have an offer, and I want to make sure I am not using it as an escape hatch. My boss in France just decided today to recognize how I’ve grown and essentially give me a promotion. Might take a little longer than in other places but hey, you pay a price for everything in life.

I’m just excited to get out of depression, clear the haze from my life, pat myself on the back for keeping on, and let life be an adventure.

Hopefully with someone special and brave at my side.

 

Perhaps the greatest gift France has given me is making me a true world citizen, and giving me perspective not only on my own society but also others. And so many places I’ve been and people I’ve met and the blind loyalty I felt to Paris, just clinging to it, believing I was so close and this had to be my place. Maybe it is, for now, and to a certain extent it always will be. All I know is I’ve only lost the things I’ve tried to cling to.

Like government, like non profit work, like Washington. Like saving the world. And yes, like the idea that I can only be happy in Paris and Paris must be the center of the world, or at least my world.  Catholicism, family as the center of the universe, me believing I’m an awkward nerd, and perhaps most of all, my imposter syndrome. Now I own my power, and use it. Yes there are difference in power nad privilege between people, but handicapping myself does no good to help those in need, and I am born to use those talents and most of all, to be myself.

Saying goodbye to this worldview, if not the physical place, at this moment, is  a rather bittersweet goodbye.

Namaste