the village

Do you have a favorite childhood stuffed animal or toy? What was your comfort when you were a kid? Was it a stuffed animal? A pacifier? Mine was, or rather is, two blankets. Everyone who knows me really really well knows about these blankets. They are my favorite items from my childhood. I could never imagine tossing them away. I should have been embarrassed to have kept them past the age of nine. We are way beyond that. I grew up with a lot of turmoil in my home that really came to a head when I was nine and it just got worse ever since. My family was unreliable. I love my sister more than anything else but since she is the younger one, I always felt the need to protect her, not the other way around. Everything was so uncertain and I didn’t feel comfortable anywhere, except when I had my blankets.

This doesn’t seem like the most devastating problem. The blankets aren’t the issue, though the more I talk about it the more ridiculous it seems. The issue is that when we have something outside of us that we are deeply uncomfortable without, that is where all of our power goes. My sense of comfort and home for a long time was my blankets. My mom has this super embarrassing story of me where apparently I would stand outside the dryer whenever she had to wash them, waiting for them to come out. The attachment was next level. That dependence, whatever makes you feel comfortable, can be found in anything. It isn’t the physical manifestation that matters, it is the energy behind it. The form it takes it just a clue to highlight that you have that energy within you that is out of balance. I could see the same thing happening in certain relationships because I had the energy of dependency. Comfort food hasn’t really been my thing, but I completely understand it. Same energy, same issue, same power drain, different face. Having something in your life that makes you feel loved, nostalgic, and comfortable isn’t bad unless you forget where your power truly comes from.

You need to leave that comfort zone in order to let your Spirit* grow. Surrounding the mentality that all of the Love you could possibly receive is in whatever vessel you have become attached to are these invisible, unspoken boundaries. There are parts of you that will not want you to leave this space. Why would you? You are completely happy there. Whatever thing gives you that love and happiness is within arms reach. Why fix what isn’t broken? It is already broken if you would lose your mind and heart if that thing disappeared. As ridiculous as it may sound, there was a point where if I lost these blankets I thought I would never get over it. I would be completely destroyed. Sounds a bit melodramatic, right? Replace “blanket” with relationship, money, house, photographs, food, clothes, whatever and it will make more sense. Replace it with your “thing” and you will understand. As long as that “thing” has all of the power, you cannot grow and learn to be self-sustainable.

Consider what the personal vessel means to you. For me, my blankets meant not only softness, love, and comfort but also patience, compassion, understanding, empathy, and peace. It may sound insane to project this on two oversized pieces of fabric. However, when I was younger… and older… when I was really upset, the first thing I would look forward to is getting into my bed grabbing my blankets, and holding space for myself. The blankets just so happened to be there for me while I was being patient, compassionate, understanding, empathetic, and peaceful with myself in ways that I couldn’t find anywhere else. It was those energies that I needed, not my blankets. What I didn’t realize was that I was actually providing all of that for myself and I didn’t need my personal items to do it for me. Knowing that I could provide this for myself allowed me to heal the attachment.

Again, I am far from above it all. There was a time when if I even thought of releasing them, my mind would look like a circus. I would not be able to bring myself to do it, something else would have to happen beyond my control. Yikes. Sometimes I do think getting rid of the “thing” is necessary to see that you can stand on your own two feet. Other times getting rid of the attachment is enough. One summer while I was in university, I had the great privilege to travel for a couple of months. When I was younger, my blankets were in every car, on every vacation, at every sleepover… you get the point. It came to the point where I had a hard time sleeping without them. As I was packing for the month ahead, I looked at them and realized there was no f*cking chance I could bring the blankets with me. I went into panic mode. I was going to be gone for a long time. I had outgrown the habit of taking them everywhere, but this was going to be months! I was so used to just having them around in my room, just in case (of what I am not entirely sure now). But what if I was robbed? What if someone took them? I was moving into uncharted territory, traveling somewhere completely unknown and without the things that made me feel the most safe. I was going to be staying in a lot of shared spaces, so I really couldn’t take the risk. (I actually was stolen from and I would have lost my sh*t at the time if my blankets were amongst my belongings). Over the course of the trip, I learned how to be without them. It was way easier than I thought. I was so worried that I wouldn’t be able to fall asleep, since that is hard to do for me in strange places. I got over it. Some nights were harder than others (I am really sensitive to snoring) but I was just fine. It was just in my head that I would be unable to cope. It seems like such a small thing, but I learned that I am my own comfort. Suddenly, I didn’t need the relationship that I had with my blankets anymore.

Having my blankets served me, when I was nine. The mentality and energy surrounding served me, when I was nine. There was a time and a place for all of that. I still have them by the way. It is important to distinguish what is restricting you. I know that I will be fine if they disappear into thin air. Do I prefer that? Absolutely not. Similarly to anything else I have e.g. photographs are a big thing for me, letters, possessions of my ancestors, they are all nostalgic and have sentimental value to me. I wouldn’t toss them in the trash. I needed to be free from the need that bound me to them. I need to free myself from the unhealthy, dependent relationship I created. I created it out of sheer necessity and survival at an age when I didn’t know any better. I didn’t know how to deal with anything when I was nine. I know better now and when you know better you need to do better. I believe it is necessary to note that shifting the relationship with the energy of attachment is what is more important. If I were to just throw away my blankets without confronting the root of what was limiting me, it would just show up as something else. I would have put a bandaid on the symptom of the issue. The energy is within you and manifests as something that appears to be outside of you. That is what you need to heal. If you pay too much attention to the form, you may miss the core of what is happening. The form is there to guide you to something within yourself. If I just got rid of them it would have been painful for a moment and then something else would take their place. I would then have to deal with that over and over again until I made an internal shift. Something would still need to be done somehow because of my desire for true independency. It is so uncomfortable to shake up a part of your life when you are so comfortable with how it is. It will just cost you true freedom if you keep it the same.

You won’t be able to expand the way that you want to within the confines of your comfort zone. How big is your comfort zone? I am not saying you have to run two thousand miles outside of it. Practice expanding it a little bit. My example seems minor because it manifests as a childhood item. Notice what you have attachment to because that is what really matters, no matter how big or small it may seem. Don’t forget that different manifestations have different consequences. Think about whatever vessel this comes through for you as and pay attention to how things could change if you released it or the relationship. How is this mentality, this energy, being reflected in the different areas of you life? How could you be more empowered if you let it go?

Whatever that thing is that you love so much, you don’t need it to protect you. I thought I needed my blankets to protect me from all of the uncertainty and hurt I was experiencing. I didn’t need any of that. I only needed my own Love and support. I acted for the longest time as if my baby blankets were my personal shield and armor. It was the space I created for myself, where the blankets just so happened to be, that was my protection.

You don’t need anyone or anything to protect you. You are safe to leave your comfort zone. You are able to stay rooted within yourself and expand. There is room for both. Allowing that thing, whatever it may be, to be your source of love and protection will leave you trapped, restricted, and small. There is enough Love within you for you to care for yourself.

As I mentioned, you don’t always have to get rid of whatever it is that you enjoy. Just shift your relationship with it in a way that allows who you really are to expand and shine through. However, if you do need to release the physical “thing”, go right ahead. You will know what feels genuine. Also, it doesn’t have to be a physical thing, it could be a mindset you need to leave behind. No matter what it is that you are attached to, you will feel if it is restricting your soul. If it is, you don’t need it. You will grow and be okay without it. Practice finding that safety within the confidence of who you are instead of what is outside of you.

Every time you come back to your previously known safe place, you are able to embrace it for what it is and not what it provided for you (the blanket analogy may fall apart here). You will be able to appreciate friendships, romantic relationships, family, community, physical things, nostalgic items, etc. for their true essence, because you don’t need them to be anything for you. If it is meant to be a part in your life, perhaps playing a different role, you will be able to see how far you come every time you greet it. Within the journeys you have in-between leaving and coming back, use it as a reminder of what you learned since you saw it last.

with love, katie

*Love/Higher Self/God/Source/Spirit/Creation/Consciousness/Unmanifested/The Eternal/Soul/Everything/Nothing/All That Is/Infinity/The Unknown/The Witness/Being/… you fill in the blank…

the vow

What promises have you made in the past? Who have you made commitments to? Were you able to honor them? Did you need to break them before somewhere along the line, things changed? I am very weary of making such promises. It is not because I can’t keep them, but rather because I know when I make a promise I have to keep it. Though, I believe the most important commitments we make aren’t to other people, but to ourselves. When I was at a very difficult point in my life, a rockbottom that seemed to never end (seriously it felt like forever), I was really uncomfortable with the amount of uncertainty that seemed to take over my life. It just seemed so out of my control, which it was because I don’t have a clue what is ever going on here, and I really wasn’t sure what I could possibly do about it. That day I knew that despite the fact that I have no control, no means of prediction, etc. about anything that could happen to me, the only thing that I could do was commit to myself.

At the time this was worded a bit differently, but about a year later I knew that what I meant was I was committing to Love*. What does that really mean? I think it means something different to everyone. If you were to commit to yourself for the rest of your life, what would that look like? I don’t mean it in a selfish way, as if you are the most important person in the universe. When I say I made the choice to commit to myself or to commit to Love, I believe that they are one in the same. I chose to commit to the highest vision of myself held in the field of Love always. For me, that always means acting from a place of Love no matter where or when I am. It doesn’t matter what you identify with, this works well for me and it is always open to everyone because Love is for everyone. It just depends on how you define yourself and the way you want to experience Life. The wonderful thing about committing to yourself as an expression of Love is when you commit to Love, you are committing to the Love within everyone else as well. Could you imagine a more powerful promise?

That seems like a pretty lofty promise right? Yeah, I thought so as well. Especially in a time when it seemed like I could barely keep myself together, I wasn’t sure if I was really in the position to be making such deep, complex promises. I actually believe this is the most simple promise you could make. Love is there for you in every moment. You always have the opportunity to choose Love and learn from it. If you commit to learning from the Love within you, you are always your own teacher. The wisdom manifests differently, but the core is always the same. Be open to it and it will find you. It is our most natural state of Being.

All you have to do is follow your heart as your personal inner compass. Now not only is Love you greatest teacher, but it is always your greatest healer. In those moments when you really need support, you can look to your conscious relationship with Love. Similarly to any relationship, all it takes is your energy and attention. This not only serves you but those around you. In tricky moments where you feel you need the support of Love, if there is another person involved then it is likely they need it too. The compassion, patience, and understanding is now available for everyone because it is beaming out of you.

Faithfulness to Love within yourself is the birthplace of endless curiosity. You are now open to all of the guidance Love may be able to provide for you. The more you are used to committing to Love, the more you are able to understand the depths of your own Being. Who are you as an expression of Love? How could you put that into words? How would you describe it? When you are in your expression of Love, what do you look like? What do you hear? What do you perceive? If you don’t know the answer to one of these questions, then that dimension of description isn’t for you. For example, Love doesn’t look like anything specific to me. I have no idea what it looks like and that is okay. Love has a specific feeling and knowing. I recognize it this way. There are no right or wrong ways. I like the idea of feeling and knowing because it allows me to be more imaginative. Explore the questions. Create your own. Approach it with an open mind. Open a dialogue with this part of yourself. Get to know what you are dedicating your life to. Question it. No matter what it is, if this is what your life revolves around, it deserves at least ten minutes of thought. As you give it more space, you gradually shift towards the Truth of yourself.

Dedication to Love won’t always look like what you expect. I used to be a very linear thinker and so this promise wasn’t always for me. It was always available, but I wasn’t open. It came to me when it felt right, as it likely does to everyone. For awhile, I had to be very careful and discerning when making decisions. I had to take extra time to distinguish between whether I was committing myself to my mind or my heart. It becomes more natural over time, though there are still instances where I have to double check. Trust me when I say that if you are able to make this conscious effort to welcome Love into every trench or crevice of your life, anything and everything is possible.

Making a oath to the Love within yourself is felt everywhere. Do not underestimate its strength. When you make this very simple, yet powerful commitment, it is reflected everywhere. You will begin to see it in places you didn’t even think it could show up for you. You will see it in those you didn’t even think you were able to. It is within all of the seen and unseen realms. All of the visible and invisible forces of Love are supporting you. Feel the collective strength in your soul. They all become witnesses and supporters of your sacred contract. When you observe your dedication everywhere as it is being reflected back to you, you will be inspired to continue in new ways. The Love you give comes back to you not necessarily because someone else is providing it for you, but because you choose to see it everywhere and feel its effects. As it becomes more and more integrated into your Being, you will not be able to forget about it or leave it behind. It is a part of you. The different dimensions of Love that support you are within you. Feel these infinite connections with your heart.

This promise has protected me through the darkest moments of my life. In times where I couldn’t conceive of making it to the other side, there was Love to protect me. I was protecting myself by allowing Love to come in. Those troublesome moments were then transformed into a realm of timelessness and limitlessness. You are able to bear witness to the narrative your mind is experiencing and how everything is going to be okay at the same time. The world may be crumbling but you can see it through the eyes of Love. There is so much support in opening yourself up to your Spirit. You are empowered because you are showing up for yourself.

This protection follows you everywhere. You may see unfavorable things happening all around you. However, your secret armor is knowing that you have dedicated your heart to something greater. You are free to roam this world with confidence, as this sacred agreement follows you everywhere.

The Truth of who you are shines when this oath is always being honored. Others will notice it too. The inner beauty of Love radiates from you core as you infuse every action, word, relationship, thought, intention, with its magnificence. All you need to do is choose it. I have been running with this one example of a promise, the vow to Love. Yours doesn’t have to be anything like this. I only ask you to reflect on what vows you are living by, consciously or unconsciously. They are powerful either way and have a great impact on your existence. Do not underestimate this. What are they? Note all of the details you can. Do they reflect the Truth of who you are? Do you want to continue with them? If so, you may feel called to recommit in your own way. If not, don’t be afraid to make a conscious shift. It can be extremely subtle, but its effects will not go unnoticed by you or your loved ones. Or toss it all away and create something entirely new. Do whatever feels right. Make vows you can keep.

New forms of Love will open themselves up to you everywhere. When you are first begin with this sacred contract, consciously notice them. Pay attention to even the most subtle forms. Allow that to inspire you to create more. Eventually your world be filled with its immeasurable, indescribable forces.

with love, katie

*Love/Higher Self/God/Source/Spirit/Creation/Consciousness/Unmanifested/The Eternal/Soul/Everything/Nothing/All That Is/Infinity/The Unknown/The Witness/Being/… you fill in the blank…

the shapeshifter

I used to be a huge people-pleaser. There I said it. In some ways, I probably still am. I am sure the core of this tendency can be found in my past, like it could for many of us. Similar to so many on this Earth, I am the black sheep of my family. My parents, though they would deny that they are anything alike, are very grounded people. They are very material based, which is a beautiful thing. They are very connected to their respective homes, families, and community. They are very good at knowing their hearts and place in this world. With that comes great clarity, which I deeply admire. My sister, a sweet, loving, nurturing, extraordinary human being, has a very similar soul. I am not like this at all. I am way more up in the air, a total space-case, etc. I have a very different way of interpreting and connecting with this world than they do. They know what they can see with their own two eyes, I know the unseen. They believe in what has been physically proved to be possible, I believe in the impossible. So what do we all do when we are younger, when we think we need to earn the love and approval of our families? We adapt. Adaptivity ensures our survival and evolution. It isn’t bad at all. But at what cost?

It cost my Spirit*. I was so good at adapting that my life became a lie that was very out of control, very quickly. I was so disconnected from myself and Love* that I had no idea what even made me happy anymore. Naturally, deep depression followed. I was so sad all the time and I didn’t even know why. I thought that was who I was and that it was totally normal. I believe that power is the ability to be a self-sustainable being by filling yourself with Love. You are absolutely in your power if you can generate your own Love and don’t need it from anyone else. But what happens when you aren’t connected to Love? What happens when you can’t generate it on your own because you don’t know how? You can become exhausted and confused, yearning for grounding somewhere but you don’t know yet where. It seems like the tap has run dry. You lose your spark. However, the tap hasn’t run dry, you just need to find it.

I am not talking about those experimental phases we all go through. Those are essential. They are compasses that guide us home. They help us understand what feels right and what essences we want to carry with us. Through experimenting we learn how to navigate so many different expressions of ourselves which can also allow us to understand the infinite expressions of others. Eventually we settle into our own homes with a collection of different embodiments of Love that we have felt. Our existence is always changing. Our expressions of existence is always changing. This life is so impermanent. There is so much wisdom in embodying flexibility and being willing to move with the rhythm of the universe. The right essences and spirits find you when you need them. They can guide you through unknown realities that you may not understand at first. All you have to do is be open to them. The knowledge stays with you in your soul.

There is a balance in being adaptive and following your heart so you don’t get lost. If we didn’t have fun and play around with the different manifestations of Love, we would be stagnant. This also becomes a way for us to lose ourselves. Love is meant to be in motion. It doesn’t have to be rigid. When we don’t approach this exploration of self with care, the result can be illusion, deception, and lies. Truth be told, it doesn’t ever hurt the person that observes us lying. It hurts us and our Spirit when our Spirit is not seen and appreciated. Noticing what it is like when our Spirit isn’t being expressed can be a healing experience within itself. It is interesting how there aren’t really any “bad” choices. There are ones that may feel misaligned but those are also a guide. Be open to the transitions that feel natural to you.

The curiosity within us allows us to try on many different costumes. Depending on what they are and how we use them, these costumes allow us to learn while still remaining confident in ourselves. There is a way to be curious and retain your own vibrancy. Always know within yourself the intention of the form you are embodying. From there, the world is filled with opportunity. Be curious about yourself and what surrounds you. When you are open, loving, and curious, you are a better listener. When you are a better listener, you are far more open to deeply understanding those who open their hearts and souls to you. Know the complex stories underneath what you may perceive at a first glance. You know that there is much beneath your own surface; connect to this in every conversation. This is where the most wondrous connections are born. You are able to hold a space for the stories of others about their many different experiences and know yourself in them. Completely new understandings of Life are born here.

Adaptability allows us to move with grace, ease, and understanding through this world. It is much easier to be open to new ideas and possibilities when we aren’t clinging to whatever we need our identity to be. We are being reborn in every instant as a new embodiment of Love. Every moment is an opportunity to allow a new form of Love to fill our Being. This keeps Love moving around within us instead of it getting stuck somewhere. It also allows Love to flow through us. When we allow the many different forms of Love to be free within us and infuse us with its wisdom, we are always in this state of fine-tuning our own unique relationships with Love. This is where the most expansive creativity begins. Love is Love no matter how it appears. Anchor yourself here. Feel this within your heart. Isn’t it so interesting that we are able to transform and simultaneously stay the same?

Change is always happening. Being adaptable is essential. Be adaptable with the anchor of Love to guide you. It is important to pay attention to the changes occurring within you to see how that influences what is outside of you. This practice requires some relationship with Love a.k.a yourself. When you are grounded in Love, it is simple. You won’t ever have to worry about losing yourself, no matter what is happening around you. Always remember you have your own way of connecting to Love that is unlike anyone else’s. Listen to how Love communicates with you. You need to know how you know Love. Once you understand your own language, it becomes apparent how the shifts within are reflected outward. You will feel, see, hear, taste, smell, know it etc. At any moment, you can change something within yourself and then everything changes in the following instant. Imagine the kaleidoscope you may have played with as a kid. Remember when you would focus it on a scene and then move it ever so slightly? The entire perspective changes and may even be unrecognizable. Embracing the constant, powerful state of shifting allows you to understand that life is not just a single, simple lens. Rather, it is very colorful, filled with shapes and patterns that you can experience when you decide to alter your point of view. You are the kaleidoscope. Decide where you want to focus and when you need a change of scenery.

Share your stories of the different expressions of Love that you have embodied. It doesn’t even have to be with anyone else. You can always do so quietly with yourself. Notice just how many there are. What are they? Why did you choose them at the time? How do you feel about them? Appreciate them for what they are. There are so many versions of myself where when I think back on them I absolutely cringe. Sometimes the pendulum needs to swing in the opposite direction for you to be where you are now. Ultimately, I am here today because of them. Maybe I will cringe about this years into the future, but I will know that I was always coming from a place of Love. That is all you can ever do. You are always doing your best and so is everyone else. The more you acknowledge the different expressions of your Being, the easier it is to recognize in the future what you want to carry with you and what is something you are experimenting with. At the end of the day you are Love, as is everyone else. See this within yourself and everyone that passes through your life.

No matter what forms you are exploring, there is protection in being confident in who you are at the core. There is no illusion, deception and lies in experimentation when you are open and honest about who you are underneath. Know your own center. Ground here. Fun and freedom to travel within yourself follows. My anchor is Love. What is yours? How can you describe it in a way that you will recognize it instantaneously when you look back? This is your map, keep it close. As you continue to embody different forms, connect to it. Connect to it often and it will be like second nature.

Remember when I said that being adaptive can be a compass home? I think it is nearly impossible to pinpoint third dimensional identity. Every single time I have tried, I have come back to the same conclusion. You already know what it is: Love. However you want to describe it, we are all different forms of Love, ever-changing, ever-evolving. Allow this to shine through no matter where you are in your evolution. All of the shapeshifting lead me here. No matter what costume I tried on, I always came back to this idea of home.

There is so much to explore. When you choose to change form, make it a conscious choice. You can be formless with a purpose. Identity is a complex, nuanced spectrum. Enjoy the enchanting exploration. Fall in Love with the infinite different essences this world has to offer you. Feel the cosmic vibrancy.

with love, katie

*Love/Higher Self/God/Source/Spirit/Creation/Consciousness/Unmanifested/The Eternal/Soul/Everything/Nothing/All That Is/Infinity/The Unknown/The Witness/Being/… you fill in the blank…