The tidal wave and an index card.
I remember sitting in the back of my teacher's Santa Monica home. There were binders of knowledge that lined the walls in the floor to ceiling book shelves, some larger rocks that I now know were Rose Quartz crystals and oil blends behind her. There were two large chairs adjacent to one another with a small circular coffee table near the sliding glass doors. You remember the details when it is emotional. The space was simple, my mind was not.
As I sat down in my chair, I could already feel the tension rising. I was in my early 20s, I am going to say 24 to be exact. I had pedalled my heavy Navy Blue beach cruiser with a basket up the hill to her house and I wore a lite grey hoodie over my tank top to cover the stress break out on my back. Acne in my 20s was not in the plans (hell, even my 30s). Whose plans is it ever really? In this life phase, I went to two fitness classes a day, yet I was holding weight. I am tall, so it pretty much evenly distributed. But I felt puffy and I was working for a spandex company. Life is funny that way. I was uncomfortable in my own skin about 11.5 hours each day. So, needless to say I was sweating, anxious and overwhelmed in the present moment and well, in every moment.
She smiled and took a deep breath for both of us. She looked at me and asks how things are. I remember clenching my teeth to try to talk surface level small talk. I rehearse in my head, I am not going to cry over and over again. I talk about the bike ride over, the current work situation and the weather. When anyone talks about the weather, it is always a distraction. Always.
Asked again, how are you?
And so, I cried.
But not a normal cry. I cried one of those tidal wave cries where your chest heaves and your heart caves and your soul can finally breathe through all the bullshit walls you placed around it. Tears streamed. I sweat even more, keeping that damn gray hoodie on. And I told her that I feel like I am really good at pretending to keep it together on the outside and put up this great front but the inside feels like a storm in the ocean that keeps crashing down on me.
Life note to share, even when you think you are really good at pretending you have it together, you are not. Repeat, you are not. Everyone knows and they will tell you later.
In this moment in my life, the credit card company was calling. You know when they call you at odd hours, like 2:17pm and then again at 6:03pm and then again at 1:17am and then again the next morning right when you wake up at 7:27am. I was pressing ignore. Bad move, don't do that. You read the aforementioned confusion with the body weight and excessive fitness classes. To be real, I pretty much ate rice cakes and peanut butter every single day. Oh, and LUNA bars. They would drop them off at the store I worked at. I remember eating 12 of the lemon mini ones in one afternoon. No bueno. And then there was the back and forth with my ex-boyfriend. We make out. Then he is dating someone else. I meet someone. I call ex-boyfriend again, just in case. And all the while I have an apartment overlooking the Pacific Ocean, an accent wall painted neon lime green and I am living with my best friend. The Navy Blue beach cruiser and you know, the rice cakes. It is like the extremes of dream life meets what the F.
It is a blur really. A very detailed, emotional, chaotic blur.
Do you know what I mean?
About the blur?
In the midst of tears and blur focusing, I talked it out. I talked about money. I talked about wanting a promotion or potentially leaving my job altogether. Again with the extremes. I talked about my family. I talked more about money. I talked about boys, but not too much, that would have needed another arm chair session altogether. I talked about not being able to handle my own emotions and secretly crying in the bathtub, often. I talked about how I see it all working out, more so demanding out loud to anyone that would listen that it is my way or the highway with this future. Like when you set a vision for the future more as an escape from your present reality versus an inspired space you truly see for yourself in 5-10 years. (I know there are some lightbulbs that just went off there, I feel you).
Confession: I enjoy being somewhat in control, an unorganized control, if you will. And in this moment, I was so out of control. And when I am out of control, my ego steps in to prove to everyone that though you might think I am out of control, I am in control, okay? Let me list all the ways that I got my shit done and that I can go to yoga and run the stairs, and that we made goal today at work and that I can put that beer on my credit card. See! Starving for validation, I was.
Wow. I feel exhausted writing that. And sad. And honest. And real.
Looking back now, I did not have the resources to pull myself into alignment - whether it be the literal resources like financial or the more metaphysical resources like a spiritual practice or a toolkit of life practices to lean on (yes, I have these now and oh how I lean). I didn't have them.
Which makes me really get that quote, "we are all just walking each other home".
This amazing woman, my teacher, she sat, offered a kleenex here and there, patted my hand at times and offered knowledge. I don't remember much of what she said now. I wish I did, I am sure it was solid gold brilliance. However, I remember some weird drops she had me take. And I remember the question she asked me to consider, she asked if I could get into the practice of asking myself each morning, "What do you want to receive today?". Like go ask the World, go ask the Universe, go ask your morning, go ahead and ask yourself.
She wrote it on an index card with another sentence about peace. And our session ended.
I left her house feeling lighter, heaving sobs will do that to a 24 year old tidal wave of a human. I took the card and I took the notes and I took her listening and knowledge bombs and I practiced. I practiced receiving, I opened my eyes to other ways - be it ways to make money, ways to chill the fuck out, ways to stop avoiding and pick up the damn phone and answer the Credit Card caller and ask for help (cue anxiety, sweat, back break out), ways to receive truly....
And some days I failed. Let's be real, I did not go home and call the Credit Card company that day. And there were quite a few Fridays, maybe a Tuesday and a few Wednesday where I forgot to ask.
Yet I realize now the power in this question. The power in receiving versus forcing the same pattern you have been living day in and day out. Like a broken record, I had been trapped in this story, idea, declared reality that I am not good enough, I will never be good enough, I will never make money, it will always be hard and girl, you better hustle.
Literally, girl you better hustle. Over and over again.
The other phrase above the index card read "I constantly receive inner peace".
What is inner peace? I literally did not know.
To be honest, still searching. In my view, it is a daily search and daily find. Different every time.
Two sentences. One index card.
You should know, I still have the index card taped inside my bathroom mirror today. I almost wonder if it is the same tape, how crazy would that be? I am talking 4 California apartments, 1 Chicago loft and 1 Colorado house, this index card has travelled.
And now I share it with you.
What can you be open to receiving today? Remove the blinders, get in inquiry and open up to the possibilities you have literally been blocking with your old thought patterns. Try this: write down the story that is holding a little too tight and then if I were, I would rip it up or even burn it. Oh yes, I am talking set it ablaze.
Then go out there. Be open to receiving. And go see what it is. Something new, different, creative, way out there.
What do you want to receive today?