To Purge or Splurge?

My senior citizen cat, who normally lets me sleep, decided to touch the tip of my warm nose with the tip of his cold, wet nose at 2 a.m. this morning. He didn’t even want me to get up and let him out. He just wanted to kiss me and go back to sleep. I know. Sweet, huh? Except that I could not go back to sleep. “Hello darkness, my old friend,” as Paul Simon would say. (Was that song about insomnia or depression? Either way, it was fitting.)

Nighttime is the ripe time to ponder atrocities of life on the planet and in my household. My not-so-common common-law husband of 16 years is a hoarder. Ok, that’s not exactly true. He’s a collector. No, that would indicate many of one item of value, like coins or baseball cards. No, he’s an amasser. “Amass,” according to Webster: to collect for oneself; accumulate. Bingo!

Last night we met with the landlord of a defunct bakery that had sadly gone under. Covid was the straw. The owners of the building were selling off leftover items for the bank to recoup losses. My Common-law was interested in finding (read: amassing) a stainless steel rolling cart for his latest hobby: baking.

What we ended up with instead, stuffed in the back of my Subaru, was a mish-mash of professional baking items of every size, from silicone brushes to 60 lb. bags of flour and a supersized tub of brown sugar. A lifetime supply, depending on the shelf life of the contents…or the human.

I’m only shocked that he didn’t insist on lugging home the Hobart 6000 professional mixer floor model!

Ok, to put things back–or at least back in perspective–he is a man of many hobbies and side hustles that come and go. Currently, he seems to be caught up in a virtual bake-off with his buddy, Jay, that they boast about and post on Facebook. Jay bought a propane-fired pizza oven. My guy bought a bigger one. They both make the dough from scratch. Jay made molasses cookies stuffed with a cream cheese filling made with micro-brewed stout beer. My guy made them with bourbon.

The problem is, I’ve long ago adopted a gluten-free, no sugar, low carb diet for health reasons. I have successfully overcome my cravings for all three…over and over again. Now I live with a baker. So, my Common-law is baking for how many? One.

Really? A 60 lb. bag of flour?

I’m a periodic purger, one who purges. In fact, earlier that same day, I happily got rid of items we decided we didn’t need. I turned a small cabinet into $25 cash, gave away an extra rolling pin (I had to convince him we didn’t need two), and an unused cat ladder. Aaaah. That felt good.

But, the more I purge, the more he amasses. It’s a win-lose. Too bad I love him.

Becoming a Match to Your Soul Mate

(You can find the audio version here.)

Dear Universe, I see lovers all around me. I myself have fallen in and out of love, or what I thought was love. Where is MY soul mate? When is it my turn to meet someone that matches who I am?

You may be having these thoughts. We’ve all been there. We’ve known heartaches. We’ve had relationships fire and then fizzle out. We wonder: what am I doing wrong? Why do I keep choosing mates that I outgrow or who outgrow me?

Manifesting anything in this creative life requires a unique recipe of letting go, unlearning the past, and reclaiming the future. It sounds daunting and mystifying, doesn’t it?

But if we take it one step at a time, and begin where we are, we can create a life of fulfilled desires. Bear with me here, this is not a fairytale of happily ever after. It will take a bit of work on your part. Let’s explore it together.

Let’s start with Step 1. Letting go. What does that even mean? Am I to let go of all my dreams, hopes and desires? No. Letting go means releasing any sense of urgency or desperation for what you desire. You may have heard people say, “As soon as I stopped trying, caring, or focusing on something, it happened, effortlessly.

So, let’s keep that in mind as we go forward. Let go of the desperate need and the feeling of urgency. Try that for a moment. Just take a breath and see what it feels like to just let go of those “must have” feelings and thoughts. [pause] Good.

Now, the next step is to unlearn the past. Here’s where the real work begins. Are you up for it? Before you answer, let’s see what we’re getting ourselves into. What are you asking of me, Janniejoy?

Let me start by saying that beliefs and expectations are stronger than hopes and desires. This means that the beliefs we have about ourselves and what we actually intend, will win the day every time.

We may desire a more loving relationship, but have no intention of doing the inner work it may require. We may want better health, but are not willing to give up the foods or drinks that can help us achieve that.

Let’s see if we can strengthen our beliefs and expectations about our ability to manifest what we desire.

One of the Laws of the Universe says that it will consistently prove our beliefs to be right. If we believe we are not enough, that we are unworthy of Love and respect, the Universe will bring experiences and relationships that support that belief.

Equally, the Universe will bring us experiences and people in our lives that match a belief that we ARE lovable and worthy of respect. How we treat ourselves is how we will be treated.

Are there ways in which you dishonor yourself? [pause] Do you say “yes” when you really want to say “no”? Did you feel dishonored as a child by parents, caretakers or family members?

We can’t change the past, but we can begin to change the pattern that was set forth before we felt empowered to make our own way in the world. We can unlearn how we were dismissed or not loved as a child so that we can begin to recognize how we do this to ourselves without even realizing it.

Start to notice the small moments when you discount your own needs in favor of those of others. This can be a difficult role to change, especially if it is so engrained that others have come to expect this of us.

Only when we learn how to honor and love ourselves will we find someone worthy of our love. We attract those who are equal to how well we treat ourselves. How we treat ourselves is how we will be treated. How much we love ourselves is how much we will be loved in a relationship.

What can we do right now to show ourselves Love, kindness, and respect? Make a list. What thoughts can we entertain to support self-love? Self-love is not narcissistic or selfish or egotistical. Those shortcomings result from a much deeper insecurity.

Love and honoring oneself is how we are meant to be. We were born of Love, held by Love, whether in someone’s arms or in Nature’s heart of which you are a unique and significant part.

Rather than chip away at ourselves in the mirror, we can focus on what we love about ourselves. Our eyes, our laughter, our smarts, our resourcefulness, our resilience, our intention to be loving and helpful others.

We are so much more than what is reflected in the mirror. We know love, we know pain, we know empathy, we know what we’ve endured, and how far we’ve come. We know what lies within that is waiting to be called upon, to be recognized, to be loved, unconditionally.

And last but not least, let’s reclaim our future by being present in the present. Be happy now, not I’ll be happy when. Let’s not give away our power to some future by tossing our happiness up ahead somewhere on our path. Count blessings now. Find joy now. Make a list of what’s going right. Jot down the things you love about yourself. Be happy now.

Becoming a match to your soul mate in this creative life requires a unique recipe of letting go of urgency and desperation, unlearning our childhood past, and reclaiming the future by finding happiness in the present. Not daunting at all. Let go, and enjoy the journey.

I will leave you with a quote by the 13th century poet, Rumi, who said: “Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere. They’re in each other all along.”

Cognitive Dissonance

“Wisdom is tolerance of cognitive dissonance.”  ~Robert Thurman

Lexico.com gives this definition of “cognitive dissonance:” the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude change.

I had a dream last night that I was to take dictation from a classmate when they call, type it up, and hand it in when I get to class because they are unable to go. This may have been a message from my Spirit Guides to “take dictation” from them.

Over the past several months, I had been extremely irritated by two family members. Different issues, but my ruminations about both were the same. How do I deal with their constant negativity and critique of me? Not blatant critique, but subtle and underhanded, the kind of criticism that’s not obvious at first, but over time erodes my tolerance of their every word.

The most recent exchange drove me to block one of them on Gmail–which I had to google having never done that before. But, immediately afterward I questioned myself. Did I overreact? Am I a bad person? Isn’t the answer always Love? Love thine enemy? But how do I weigh Love and care of myself against Love of their “lost” souls? Shouldn’t I protect myself from constant attack or at least take a respite from my inner work? Is it wrong to evade self-reflection about what each of them is showing me about myself: old hurts that I’m tired of feeling?

A messy scene. My baggage clashes with their baggage. A jumble of backpacks and suitcases thrown open with our contents strewn about and mixed up until I can’t tell whose stuff is whose. This is the only time I wish my baggage would get lost or sent to Hawaii or Curaçao so I could go there to claim it!

They’ve both burned bridges with other people: friends and family. It’s not just me. They both thrive on conflict. They seem to get pleasure out of stirring the pot and inviting arguments for argument’s sake over politics or over…any subject will do.

So, no. It’s not wrong for me to disengage from petty unwinnable arguments with people who believe only they are right. They don’t like to be wrong. They prefer to prevail. I believe they’d make great lawyers if it weren’t for an over-inflated sense of entitlement in one, and alcoholism in the other.

I don’t enjoy being wrong either, but I am open to other opinions and discussions to reach a new understanding. I draw the line at personal attacks that buzz in like haloed hornets with smiles sweet enough to boil my blood. I am more than willing to let down my guard if/when they stop giving me reasons to keep it up.

Meanwhile, I’ll keep my distance. From here, far away from the flying barbs, I can try to find in my heart an iota of Love and compassion for them at some point. I can ponder–or not–what might have made them like this. I can dwell on truths about myself.

            Dear Self:

            Remember that how others treat you is telling of who they are, not an indicator of who you are. It’s ok to take a respite from the battle. It’s ok to feel anger, hurt, and rage. No, you are not a bad person, and, dear one, neither are they. It’s just a clash of baggage.

            Take all the time you need to return to your own peace of mind. Once there, you can choose to allow your heart and Higher Self to sense compassion. You can’t change others, you can only change your response to them. But do know that All are Loved.

P.S. So, yeah. A few days after originally posting this, I opened the book by Gay Hendricks titled, The Big Leap. My mind was far away from the issue of this post. I opened to a random page using both thumbs, as I often do when I feel a message is there for me. Reading the passage felt like hearing musical dissonance resolve into harmony:

“If we’re in the grip of worrying while someone around us isn’t, we seem to have an almost uncontrollable urge to criticize that person until he or she jumps into the stream of negativity with us.”

Ahh…so that’s what’s going on. This message from my Spirit Guides answered my original question: How do I deal with their constant negativity and critique of me?

Answer: With understanding and compassion.