Taking Responsibility

The past week has been a roller-coaster.

Do you know the feeling when you know you’re doing the right thing, but everything you keep bumping into are obstacles upon obstacles upon obstacles? I sure do. I sure know how to feel sorry for myself. My mantra used to be: »I knew something was gonna go wrong.« I really liked that mantra. For a long time, it served me, because it saved me from responsibility. I hated responsibility and I never learned how to take responsibility … for my life. What does that even mean?

I liked my mantra, although the statement wasn’t actually true. I didn’t literally know what was going to happen, but I did always happily consider everything that could go wrong before everything that could go right. I was in the state of mind that Sara, my dear teacher, calls »God’s mercy«: when you think about the obstacle and you realize you really don’t want it to happen, but you feel like there’s nothing you can do to prevent it. You feel like somebody else is navigating your boat, while you sit silently under the deck; you’re small, yet you’re safe. And if the going gets rough, it’s not your fault.

I fell into that state a few times this week. I just stopped something and launched something new. I oh-so-know that what I started is the right thing. I can feel it in my body; I feel twinkles of excitement whenever I think about this project, and rushes of excitement when new ideas unfold and upgrade and reveal. It’s so right that it scares me.

So I go on … showing up late, not handling things, manifesting Svarun’s one-night-stand diseases, spilling chamomile tea all over the car, forgetting my laptop, forgetting the essentials, buying the wrong camera that the program doesn’t accept. There were approximately a million things why I could give up. But strangely my insistence seems to override my resistance. There have been a million instances when I could simply say: »The Universe is testing my persistence.« But I know that’s not the case. And another thing I know … I am responsible for my life. I take full responsibility for my life by always being in tune with what I feel. And I know that the obstacles I created are just my inability to accept … abundance. Abundance does not have one face alone. All that happened and nearly made me cry but in the end made me crack up open, is colorful and varied and very abundant. Oh, yeah.

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The Need for Rituals

I’m not a creature of habit, and I have never really made friends with routine. If anything, I found it scary because I usually felt so comfortable with change. But one thing is change, and the other is chaos and I was definitely leaning more in the direction of the second.

My best friend once told me: “Your middle name should have been Chaos, you know!” I don’t actually have a middle name, nor do I think Chaos would sit exceptionally well beside Tamara. However, if I take into consideration the meanings of both names (Chaos and Tamara, which in Hebrew means “date”, the fruit of the date palm), I come to think that I might just be here to find the sweet spot within my thunder, the calm within the storm.

*How do I do that? Daily rituals.

I’m not necessarily only talking about the morning routine, but a night one, and maybe a midday one, and before and after meals. What I’m talking about is Sādhanā. The word comes from Sanskrit, where it means “spiritual exertion towards an intended goal”. I have witnessed Hindus make poojas several times per day, each day, but I never really thought about the whys, until recently. It’s to keep the connection with God/ the Universe/ all that is/ Earth/ yourself/ life at arms’ length. It’s just that. No matter what your religion or no religion is, everyone’s “intended goal” is to be happy, right? In other words – peaceful.

There are certainly different paths to happy. In fact, I will go thus far as to claim that there are as many ways as there are people. It’s true. Blessed be our uniqueness, blessed be our equality.

I said Sādhanā was a spiritual practice. What that means is it’s a life practice, because all of life is spiritual, even taking out the trash, washing the dishes, freaking out, crying out loud, having sex. This only goes to prove that your rituals might include a warm cup of tea drank before going to bed, a blog that you read daily right before you start working, the walk that you take over to the grocer’, a stare at a night’s sky, a massage of your breasts at dawn, listening to that song, pulling those oracle cards, looking yourself in the mirror and saying out loud how much you miss yourself, going to pick up wood for fireplace, a green smoothie, a combing of your hair, a dance to the dark goddess. It may be anything and everything. The only thing that’s important is that you recognize it, and cherish it for it’s here to aid you.

It’s not like we lose the connection if we don’t pray/ meditate/ do breathing exercises regularly. The connection is always here because we are a part of all that is and that cannot be undone. However, if we don’t keep our rituals regular, we tend to forget about the connection more easily because there’s less (no) things reminding us of the sacredness of life.

I think that is what brings us peace in the first place: seeing, and feeling, and smelling, and touching, and tasting the sacredness of life and of ourselves.

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A Sense of Worthiness

When was the last time you asked yourself a couple of questions:

*What do I consider worthy?

*What is my worth?

I got to thinking about worth because I’m digging deep into my perception of abundance, and the two appear to be inherently linked, so let’s see.

I was talking to my grandmother the other day, when she suddenly asked me a question: “How worthy am I if your sister didn’t even come and say hi when she went away for her holiday?” My sister lives next door from her, so my grandmother expected her to come and greet before she set off.  She didn’t come, my grandmother felt hurt. Of course you’re not allowed to say out loud that you’re feeling hurt, because that would imply you’re vulnerable, which is totally unacceptable, so she asked me the above question to camouflage it. I told her that she was feeling hurt because she expected Jana to come and say hi and that Jana didn’t have anything to do with her worth; or rather, her sense of worthiness. That is something we decide for ourselves. You get to choose your worth by everything you do or say, every moment of every day.

She didn’t follow my lead. She couldn’t grasp the concept I was trying to feed her: “Me determining my own worth?! Bollocks.” I can understand that. She has after all been taught throughout her whole life that one’s worth is estimated by others given their attitude. External verification of one’s light is a domain that the patriarchal society and church have bestowed upon us.

In an attempt to change the subject, my grandmother went on to say she should have really cut her fingernails, but ran out of time because she prioritized doing everything else for everybody else instead. I exclaimed, eppur-si-muove-dly: “See, this is it! That’s the reason Jana never came to say goodbye! She doesn’t know your worth because you never affirmed it yourself.” Not only did she not affirm her worth, my grandma demeans it on every occasion. Whenever she invites us for lunch, she starts of my belittling herself and her work with: “oh, it’s not salty enough”, or “it’s too watery” and “this is only good to flush your bowels”. One can’t feel worthy when one says that. It’s just not possible. And when we thank her for the meal before leacing, she never says: “You’re welcome”. By that she would acknowledge her service and affirm her worth. Instead she always says: “Thank you? For that poverty?”

It breaks my heart to witness the suffocated feminine. But it’s us, it’s our generation who must change that; on behalf of our mothers, grandmothers and all of the generations of women who came before us. Only after we determine that we are the most important person in our lives, we start feeling worthy. And when we live out of that kind of worthy, others can see it and respect it, cherish it, monitor it, copy it. When we feel worthy, people around us can feel it, too, and therefore give us all the respect we want and need. But it is ourselves who must initiate it!

*What’s my worth?

To answer that, we need to get naked, both physically and spiritually, and ask ourselves: WHAT AM I …

… without my job

… without my flat

… without my family and friends

… without my money

… without my kids

… without the expressions of self, be it writing, singing, dance, macramé, yoga, ceramics, clothes or whatever way you find to bring the essence of self into something you can see and hold in your hands?

Worthiness is a big topic. It’s huge, actually. We’re not nearly done yet, for the more I am willing to open up and unveil the parts of me I didn’t know existed, the more vulnerable I feel. The more vulnerable I feel, the readier I become to shed off the shades. The more shades I disarm myself of, the stronger I stand in what’s remained.

And that is my worth, today.

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Commitment Yes, Commitment No?

Svarun is finally home! Boy, oh boy, did I ever miss that golden, fiery, talkative boy. Today we had an amazing day together; long and full, but amazing.

But after he’s gone to bed, the things that challenged me throughout the day surfaced. The things were many. I’m in the midst of my period. My mind is scattered all over, trying to figure a way out of what I would call “a mess”. I feel cranky and tired. I feel like there are things happening against my will. And I feel everything would be just fine if there were someone here to pat me on back. If there were someone here to say “there, there” or grab the reins when I need a nap.

Basically, what I’m feeling is very sorry for myself and just realizing it now. Whoa! Hello again, you, feeling. Feeling sorry for myself used to be my dominant way of feeling. It’s what I was brought up with. It goes something like this: I’ll take it if I get to complain about it. If I get to complain, I’m not happy. Not being happy is normal, so I’m in my comfort zone. All is well.

Being in the “poor me” is the easiest thing you could do, but it brings the least joy, if any at all. As my dear teacher Sara always says: “When nothing depends upon you, you needn’t take any responsibility for your life.”  Easy? Sure. Happy? Doubt it.

For example, me and Sara were talking for quite some time today. In the meantime Svarun found a two cups’ worth of oat flakes and got the inspiration to bake something on his own. He gathered oat flakes, organic baking powder, rice syrup, and water and came asking for permission to use each of the ingredients. I was like “yeah, yeah”, trying to divide my attention between the phone call and my son. Now, this may not have been the first time he decided to bake something, but it was the first time he committed to it. His commitment to pull it off, find a baking tray, put it into the oven and wait patiently for it to be done resulted in the very first time we got to eat his cake and, more importantly, a very excited and proud young man! It’s entirely edible and beyond – it’s delicious. But for me to see that took some strength. I could have stayed in the “poor me” and stick to my moth cashew tragedy, I could. But if I did, I wouldn’t realize how big this moment was for him. Seeing the victimhood game for what it was, I could shift the focus to the present moment and commit to being happy for my son’s rite of passage.

How do we take responsibility for our lives, then? By committing.

The other day somebody was asking me about my constant frequent updates here on the blog. I was asked about commitment and I remember using physics to explain my feelings. Now, I’m not a physicist or a left-brainer per se (two of my best friends are, though), but I swear I couldn’t find a more understandable explanation of what it feels like to commit than using centrifugal and centripetal forces to illustrate. Before you commit to your calling, you’re further away from the centre of the curve. You’re in the outskirts of the curve and don’t take responsibility for your life and your being. You have a job that doesn’t fulfil you and you complain about it, but feel you can’t do anything to change it. You don’t live your life, your life lives you. Then, once you realize you can’t afford such mediocre existence in this astonishing time-space reality, you commit to do whatever it takes to feel good and be the boss of your own life. You are then stepping on a whole new frequency, my friend. You’re coming closer to the centre of the circle, the rolling circle being you, your path and your calling. The closer you get to the centre, the more centripetal force you feel. The centripetal force stands for good feelings in the inertia that result from your decision to commit: fulfilment, calmness, happiness, feeling of being taken care of, and feeling of a cooperative Universe. Once you’ve had a sip of the fulfilment that you get when you carry out your soul’s desire, you want more and more of it because it just feels good. However, the more centripetal force you feel, the more centrifugal force there is. The latter is said to result from inertia and is “the tendency of an object to resist any change in its state of rest or motion”. There we have it, the perfect explanation of … fear. Right? The more you’re giving yourself in, the more fear you are feeling. Fear accompanies every creative venture, pushing us to either give in and commit, or give up and go back to the outskirts until we decide it’s time to commit to the inertia.

What will we do? What will ye do? Can you find something to commit to?

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Accept the Invitation

I thought I was going to write about the ego today, because I really delved deep into feeling the feels. You see, I promised my grandmother I would help her pick string beans from my parents’ garden, so we spent the whole morning together. My father’s mother is usually the first person to trigger me into reacting, but we ended up having a really nice conversation in the fields and it got me thinking what it takes to invite more flow into relationships. But since throughout the day my answer to just about everything was “I can’t say anything for I can’t find my wallet”, I just wanted to tell the Universe, here and now, that: “I accept your invitation, dude!”

You see, when Svarun was waving me goodbye, and I thought about the solo-week ahead, two things I want to in these seven days immediately came into my awareness. The first one is: “I’m not going to the grocery shop for the whole week ahead”. This doesn’t mean I was planning to starve myself, but rather to use up what I have in stock and the bounty from both mine, as well as my parents’ gardens. The second thing was: “I haven’t hitchhiked in at least four years, I want to do some hitchhiking!” Well, technically this isn’t true because me, my friend and Svarun did hitchhike in Tenerife last year. What I was probably after when the thought crossed my mind is: “I want that feeling of being open to an adventure and the feeling like I’m not rushing anywhere because I’ve got all the time in the world to get to my point B.”

The Universe said: Check. And Check.

And I say: I’ll play your game. Besides, thanks for setting this up for me. As ever.

With my wallet and my credit card being gone, I obviously cannot go to a shop or spend the money in any possible way. And with my wallet being gone, I obviously cannot drive, because I keep my driver’s licence there. So this is taken care of. Gee, thanks. I take the challenge, gladly. I’m going on a hitchhiking trip on Saturday to meet my sister at the seaside, and then I’ll turn 180° and go the other way to visit my best friend and her brand new baby boy, who was born six days ago. Sounds like a plan, doesn’t it?

Besides, if you’re getting worried – because I know a lot of people feel uneasy about hitchhiking – relax, please. It is perfectly safe to go hitchhiking here in Slovenia. Actually, I will go so far as to claim that it is perfectly safe to go on hitchhiking anywhere in the world, as long as you’ve tended to your mind beforehand. If you have a belief system that tells you that this world is a dangerous place, where bad things happen to people, I think you’d be better off buying that bus ticket. If your belief system is telling you that women are weaker and get hurt more easily, you’re better off staying at home. And if you think that hitchhiking is a great way to meet your next teacher in this life, I’d say sticking out that thumb is completely in order!

This reminds me of our last hitchhiking adventure in Tenerife last year. Me, my friend and Svarun went for a day trip to the other part of the island. We were showing up hitchhiking back pretty late, because Svarun had tantrums the whole day, so naturally the crying and the fussing were slowing us down. We were far up north and it was getting dark, when suddenly this dreadlock pulls over.

“Hi! We’re going to La Caleta,” we said.

“Sure, come on in,” he says.

We get to talking in the car and we were just telling him that we were staying on a beach and did fires everyday, when suddenly he stops: “Wait, which Caleta are you going to?”

“The beach, of course,” we said. He cracks up open and explains that the Caleta we are going to is in the other direction, but there is another Caleta nearby. Naturally he thought we were after the second one. He invites us to his place, where we can spend the night, he ends up cooking us dinner, and the next day he takes us all the way to our Caleta, where we spent the following couple of days camping together. And you may think that his invitation was a no-brainer, but actually I wanted to go on hitchhiking and reach our camp that same day.

I had a boyfriend over there and wanted cuddles, but then my friend said: “You can get cuddles tomorrow. I mean, look at this place, it’s amazing. And I really think this is calling for an adventure.”

I took a deep breath and said: “Yes”. I knew it was the Universe inviting. I accepted its invitation and went with the flow only to be left with feelings of gratitude, being cared for, being nourished, being loved and inspired. My acceptance turned into one of the best memories from last year’s trip.

Imagine we were accepting the things that are coming our way all the time. Well?

 

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This is him. Gabriel, thank you so much! You’re a teddy bear! Besitos a Luana.

 

 

Relax

I have a “spiritual running buddy” as Gabrielle Bernstein likes to put it. It’s a friend of mine, with whom we’ve been through a lot together. Our sisterhood started in high school, but not for the purpose of our supporting each other to be good to ourselves, so much as the exact opposite. We both had eating disorders at the time and were basically giving each other pep talks on how not to focus on eating, but exercising. Fast forward thirteen years, we found ourselves back on the same path, this time towards self-love, personal development and spiritual journey. And I couldn’t be more grateful that we are in this together.

This morning we talked about keeping that intangible connection to ourselves when the times are a-trying. She recently went travelling to this dreamy tropical destination, and being off work for three weeks, she was certain how she could really practice her presence over there. In the end what got in the way was her own mind, constantly asking: “Am I present now? Am I present now? How about now? And now?” Giving in to our thoughts is what keeps us from being in the now, right? Her mind was so obsessed with the idea of being in the moment, that she actually missed being in the moment because she was thinking about being in the moment. Absurd, isn’t it? And yet it happens to all of us.

It happens to me, too. The only difference is that I’m not pushing myself to be more present (although it might be good sometimes) but – happy. I come from a family where complaining is the norm. Complaining brings forth unacceptance of current conditions, which pushes us to fight our lives and the Universe, rather than accepting and cherishing it. We end up being cranky most of the time, and in that we forget how it is to be happy, thus accepting and cherishing of all no matter what. So I often find myself checking up on my happiness, and when I establish I’m not as happy as I could be, the very fact of not being happy as I could be makes me – unhappy. A circle, a vicious circle! This is not freedom. It’s like being anorexic and obsessively thinking about food all the time, even though you’re not eating it. That is not freedom.

Now what?  

Relax. Celebrate. I mean it.

Let’s celebrate our showing up for ourselves no matter what. The next time we find our mind being a total control freak, not letting us experience what we set out to experience, let’s thank it. Let’s really thank it, because it’s trying to help us. And then, let’s put the mind where it belongs: into a safe little nest, where it can watch over all of the experiences that enrich our soul, only speaking up when the soul gives our an S-O-S.

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Invitation: Let’s Do This Together

I’m not perfect. I’m not. Quite honestly, I’m highly imperfect. You can ask anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you how my insecurity gets in the way of my strength and will oftentimes. Or how my fears dare me to trust. Or how the hole from a belly button in my navel literally exploded when I was pregnant with Svarun and now looks like … well, as though it had exploded. So yeah, pretty much imperfect.

I’ve been thinking about “perfect” lately. What is perfect anyway? It means separate, actually. I had a boyfriend with a golden heart, a lot of compassion and an awesomely working mind, who could make a wonderful leader one day. But because he considered himself perfect, he was always in conflict and everybody eventually ran away from him. Us humans can’t relate to perfect because being perfect as we know it is not humane. I said “as we know it” because we use the word perfect as an outside evaluation of an internal criteria. Etymologically, the word perfect comes from the Latin word perfectus, which meant “to bring to full development”. What happens when we bring something, including ourselves, to full development? The end. When we are perfect, there is nothing more for us to do or be, and when that happens, there is no aim, no inspiration, and no path for us to walk. Nothing. Perfect is the ultimate end of the road.

And being human is about the road, it really is. Just think: what happens when you get somewhere you were dreaming or you get something you really desired? There is that initial flow of excitement, sure, but after that? You want something else. And the way you are going to get it will outweigh the thing, or place, or a relationship you’re going to get. It always does.

Before I became a mother, I would turn my back and go away whenever I felt restless. I’d go somewhere else and when the initial excitement there burnt off, I was left with myself, again. And then I’d go somewhere else, but nowhere else was fine, because everywhere else would tell me the same old thing: where you really want to go is INSIDE. And at first, I was left terrified at what I may find. But I’m here now. Are you?

Are you ready to dig deeper? The way within is the way to happiness, wholeheartedness, harmony. To love, to expression. And I’m here, inviting you on this journey with me, because we’re all in this together. Haven’t you noticed that the people around you go through many similar things? The fact that we’re all so intrinsically connected so as to bring into fruition the same sort of things at present … both amazes and inspires me. And forces me to stand up and stand out and share my experience of self-discovery. Through my writing, through my songs and music, through my motherhood, through my food and movement. Through all of it and more, but right here – through my writing. Sara, whom I take for my teacher, says: “Whatever I recognize in others, it’s because I own it, too. There are pieces of me in everyone else. When I realize this, I can be free.”

So. Do you wanna grow with me? Right here, ritually, every day?

 And you know what? Let’s ditch the word perfect for true. True is being able to look at the places in us that we’ve tried to hide. I’m talking about really looking, confronting the shadows. And then alchemically transforming them into … light.

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Bathing in the sunLIGHT at the river Dragonja. Photo courtesy of my dear soul sister Anja Orian, who made the wonderful linen skirt I’m wearing. You can check out her masterpieces on https://www.etsy.com/shop/InteriorHandmade?ref=l2-shopheader-name.