Off the Mic

Hello, friends!

I have a confession to make.

I am not a very good listener. I like to talk more than I like to listen and wait for my turn to talk rather than processing what the other person has to say and offer.

This prevents me from gaining a lot of  wisdom that I could have captured more easily had I listened. This goes for all things. Spiritual things have to hit me like a freight train in order for me to even notice them, making a still, small voice out of the question for me. I miss out on a lot of good insights in group discussions because I’m waiting to prove my point. I don’t pay attention to nature or my surroundings because my head is in the clouds constantly. I’m not grounded in “reality”, I have no patience for it, and as such I miss the magic of the everyday.

My dad didn’t miss the magic of the everyday, he reveled in it. One of my favorite things he said was that after he prayed, he had to stop talking, take his thumb off the mic and listen. A lot of the time, there would be an answer there somewhere in his thoughts or in his surroundings. This reminds me of something that happened in 2017.

I was at an Al-Anon (the organization for families of alcoholics) meeting place waiting for the meeting to begin. I was an hour early and I started missing my dad and crying and praying. As I was praying, I saw a cat appear out of some bushes, climb up on the bench where I was sitting, and sleep next to me.


This is the cat, and to this day I don’t know his or her name. Regardless of this, this cat was the blessing I needed in that moment. I took my thumb off the mic and I listened. The universe spoke.

I’m not here to say that I should be completely silent all the time, but when the time comes, I should not check out and instead be present. A lot of the time, my own mental noise drowns out a message quicker than the noise around me. I need to work on quieting my mind and being here. It’s not easy being here, and sometimes it’s easier to just check out, especially if it’s a hard conversation. But I think the hard conversations are the ones that need presence the most. This ties into my forgetfulness, I think. If I were more present, I’d remember more.

I’m not a failure for forgetting things, I must keep telling myself. I’m where I am now, and I must keep going. I haven’t come this far just to stop. Someday I will look back on the journey I have taken and think to myself, “that’s a long path, but it was so worth it. I have learned so much. I have been though hard times, but I have risen above what was expected of me, both by myself and by others. I am unapologetically myself. Nobody can take that from me.”

I thank the universe and God for bringing me to where I am. I am here in this moment, in this meditative time. I am a channel for goodness and hope. I am a child of God and the universe, and I am worthy of a seat at the table. Time to take my thumb off the mic and listen.

Love,

Meg

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The Great Constant


Hello!

Today is a new day, even though it is a bit young for me. I woke up at 12:30 PM and am kind of regretting my life decisions. So I have camped out in a super hip coffee shop and am just enjoying life for now.

There’s something I don’t think about often but am thinking about now. I don’t usually like getting out of bed nowadays unless there’s something that’s making me leap out of bed at 6 AM. That’s usually a lesson, to be honest. I like getting up at 6 AM, but there’s not been much getting me awake and alive. I am quick to blame that on my surroundings and lack of events in my life, but I honestly am not feeling super motivated internally and that is why it’s harder to get up and move, I think.

I’m not feeling depressed, is the weird thing. I am perfectly happy when I get up, I just feel unmotivated, like there’s not much to look forward to in that moment. In other words, I think that my reason why I’m doing things, why I am living and not just surviving, why I am happy, even, isn’t big enough. I have big dreams, but I don’t honestly believe in myself enough for them to motivate me. It’s not that they’re small, it’s my lack of faith in myself.

It’s funny that I feel this way, especially after I have discovered that I have a seat at the universe’s table and have a voice. I should be living this discovery, right? How can I use my voice? How could I possibly be bored with my life?

I find during these “boring” days that I overlook the little things that make me happy and make waking up worthwhile. One of my favorite little things is when my roommate leaves fresh coffee grounds in the coffee machine to be made in the morning. It saves me a step and I am always thankful for it.

I’ve got coffee in hand and I’m thankful for that, too. I used to make long lists of what I was thankful for in a day, and that got me through the final stages of my husband’s and my long-distance phase. I nearly filled up a journal with these thoughts. I keep thinking that I should do them again, but never get around to it. I make note of the bigger little things, but I need to actually write them down and properly thank God and the universe for these little gifts.

I was reading a book called Captivating, which is a Christian book. One of the chapters spoke about God-as-lover and elaborated more on how God shows people love in small (and big) things, like a gorgeous sunset, or for me, the entire state of Alaska. I see God a lot in nature and in the people I meet. I definitely need to do better at recognizing that facet of God.

It’s interesting to me that I generally learn about God and the universe one little bit at a time in the times when I need that facet. I didn’t believe in a God who could personally love me until I started thinking a lot about the process and practice of gratitude. When I started to take note of these things, my perspective shifted. YES, I was loved! Yes, I was protected! It made so much sense.

One of the things I struggle with in my journey with God and universe is that some things need to be taken on faith and that I don’t have to understand everything. I think of my journey with happiness, for example – a lot of the time I am happy and I don’t know why. I don’t always need a reason to have happiness as my default state. It just is sometimes, and that is that. I am a child of God, I am a child of the universe, their love is constant and a given. I am carried on their shoulders. So are you.

“Meg! What does it mean to be carried on the shoulders of God and the universe?” you might be asking.

Well, it means different things to different people. For me, it’s kind of like standing on the shoulders of giants, you can see more than an ordinary being. But it also bears a connotation of a child being carried on a parent’s shoulders. I am supported and seen, is what it means to me. I am loved.

Knowing I am loved is a powerful thing. Knowing that God and the universe watch over me and guide my path as I listen is a wonderful feeling. They are everywhere. I miss my dad, but he is always watching, too, but in a different way than he could when he was here in this plane. I don’t entirely know what the purpose was in him dying, but I know he was needed elsewhere. Some have said that he gave my husband the nudge he needed to talk to me again so that our journey could begin. That would make a lot of sense seeing how similar they are. I know my dad loves me. I know my husband loves me. I know that my husband came back into my life at the exact right time. God and the universe, in their infinite wisdom, knew what to do. I will always be mistaken in thinking that my life is boring.

I am needed and I am in need. It’s strange to think that we are never truly static, there is always something changing, constantly putting us in need of help or in a position to help others. We receive gifts and are gifts to others.

I have said it before and will say it again, we are given what we need in the times that we need it. We are loved spiritually, that is the great constant. Nothing we can say or do will change that, it was so from the beginning and will always be. It doesn’t matter who you are, you are given an equal chance and a seat at the table. Be seated! The meal is coming.

Love,

Meg

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On Your Parade

I’m sitting here on the couch and it’s raining.

I remember in Texas there was a terrible drought the summer before I really got to know my husband, the summer of 2011. My friend Amy was spending the night in the middle of it and I remember dying laughing because a guy texted her asking when she thought it was going to rain again and Amy replied, “on your parade.” We were fourteen and we thought that was pretty damn funny. It didn’t rain again for several months and we were one day shy of breaking the record for most consecutive days over 100 degrees Fahrenheit in one day. We were on track to beat it when a rain shower hit and cooled things off to 70 degrees on the very last day necessary. Whether that was on that unfortunate fellow’s parade or not, we may never know.

Sometimes things happen like that. I think I’m so close to something, yet I’m so very far away. Sometimes the drought is broken and I should have been hoping for that, yet I was hoping for the wrong thing. The universe has a way of correcting my course. The things I want aren’t always the things I need, and I know that.

There have been many things I have wanted that would have compromised my happiness in the long term – bad relationships, sour friendships, things that would have been good options but not the best ones, etc.. The universe/God knows what’s best for me and everyone else around me, and I’m thankful for that. Sometimes my world needs readjusting.

I’m a horribly impatient person, and I think the lesson I am being taught over and over is to have patience. One of my favorite quotes, oddly enough, is about patience. It’s from a poem by Rumi, “Craftsmanship and Emptiness”:

“Feeling lonely and ignoble indicates that you haven’t been patient.”

Rumi

I’m impatient in nearly every sense – if something isn’t happening my way, I get very anxious and on edge. There’s a reason I show up an hour early to everything – you don’t have to be stuck in traffic and nervous if you’re already there and nervous! I have a very, very strong tendency to dominate conversations, I’m an awful listener. I rely on brute force to do nearly everything in my life, and it’s only half worked. I get what I want, but only after bridges are burned and tears are shed. I have never been observant or even really logical in my doings, and that has been costly, especially lately. I’m not less of a person for needing to work on patience; this is a project, not a permanent failure.

It’s going to be a learning process for me because all of the things I’ve been discovering at once are piling up and not falling into place immediately like I would like for them to (see: impatience!). I have a lot to process and parse, and it’s a bit overwhelming to keep track of it all. It’s not that the rules are changing constantly, I’m in a new headspace and there are new rules because of it. I can’t come screaming into a shop and buy all the things I want because I’m happy and I have a fear of missing out, for example, I have to bide my time and wait until it’s actually wise to buy the things I want. This goes back to the point on brute force. It also goes back to fear.

As I have been saying a lot lately, I’m afraid of a lot. I’m afraid nothing will come of my life, I’m afraid that I’ll be stuck in sadness again, I’m afraid that my projects won’t ever get accomplished, I’m afraid that I’ll never be able to make any kind of lasting life changes to become a better person. It all comes down to one thing, really – fear of failure. I’m afraid to be left out, so I barge into every conversation. I’m afraid of being forgotten, so I want a lot of attention. I am afraid of being disliked, so I try and ultimately fail at muting myself. The failing is the interesting part. Is failing so bad? I rarely get embarrassed, what am I so afraid of?

I’m insecure. It’s the same inner bully that drove me before rearing its ugly head. It’s the part of me that would have me deny the seat I have at the table, to shrink into obscurity and be forgotten. It’s a strange clashing – the wanting to be forgotten and the fear of it. It’s easier to be forgotten, isn’t it? It’s easier to never take a stand, to never use my voice. It’s easier to give up. It’s easier to plunge into despair and be sad all the time. It’s easier to live beneath the shadow of death than to rise out from under it. The inner bully wants me to give up, to be insecure, to render myself unable to sit at the table. It’s the one that feeds me lies, says I am nothing.

It’s wrong.

There is such a thing as failure, but it’s not an ultimate defeat. I will be judged, especially by those who don’t understand. Unless I’m truly in the wrong, that sounds like their problem. There will be humiliating times. There will be times of loss and of sorrow. But those times are not the end. If the world will have you believe your life is over, it’s wrong. As long as you’re alive, you have hope and a potential. You have a place at the table. Do not let anyone tell you differently.

I’m still working on my own fear and impatience. I’m scared of many things that I haven’t even encountered yet. I’m worried about things that are irrational, especially those that are irrational. It’s going to be a long and hard road. It will be so worth it, though! If it rains on your parade, it’s not over. Sometimes it’s just the drought breaking.

Love,

Meg

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Synchronicity

My friend called me wise yesterday.

We had been on a call and I told her that I was hungry, so she almost commanded me to go eat. I listened. She would later tell me that as soon as we hung up, her supervisor called and she went on an adventure, for lack of a better word, and seemed to have had a very good time. I didn’t understand why that was wise, but if I had to guess, I think it was because I listened to her. I didn’t intend for there to be any kind of wisdom there, but I suppose by listening, I allowed for it.

I’m a firm believer that there is a plan for everything. A lot of times I have no idea what path my actions will take me down, but I do know that there are certain points – meeting a friend, moving someplace – where a grand plan is more apparent. Others, like being told to end a phone call because I’m hungry and sad, are less obvious, but equally as powerful.

I’ve been seeking to make a change for good recently, and what I seek has also been seeking me. That’s evident now. My Nana calls these moments where everything lines up “synchronicities”, and I’m getting better at noticing them. There are simple actions I take sometimes that cause powerful things to happen.

One snowy night, I was at a birthday party in Rexburg, Idaho, and I was not having a good time. I left early, driving through the snow as carefully as I could. That care didn’t stop me from almost colliding with two other students as I parked. I suck at parking. Everyone was okay, and I recognized one of them, a friend of mine I had made a few weeks back but hadn’t seen in a little while. The other was someone I had never met before. The three of us got to talking, and by the time I left Rexburg, I had gained two true friends who had saved my life a few times. They taught me how to trust again after my last awful relationship, and I am so thankful for them.

One of my strong beliefs is that we’re given the things and people we need in the time we need them. My husband arrived exactly when he needed to, for I needed him when I didn’t yet know it.

He’s taught me so much about how to love and how to be a better human. Marriage is a fun thing, but also very difficult at times. I’ll be the first to say that I’m not super great at working as a team, but I’m learning. It’s like sticking two rocks in a tumbling machine. The rocks lose their jagged edges if all goes well and both become shiny and smooth. That’s our goal.

And all because of a synchronicity.

I’m thankful for God’s (or your own Higher Power’s) wisdom. It’s infinite. They know how to guide our lives and know us better than we know ourselves, and know what’s best for us. I’m thankful for that. I’m thankful for the synchronicities that have led me here.

Until next post,

Meg

You and the sky

Hello, friends!

I have a song to share with y’all.

This is “Heron”, one of the simplest and most beautiful songs I have ever written. It came into being in fifteen minutes after a guy found me playing ukulele outside a party and we got to talking. I came home afterwards and wrote this song down. It contains only two chords, yet when I played it on street corners back in Texas, it would earn the most tips. It is powerful and beautiful, filled with yearning.

I no longer yearn in this way, but this song captured the moment perfectly. It’s interesting how songs can contain memories or the magic of moments. Some songs hold good memories for me, others bad ones. There are many ways to fill silence, and music is one of the best ways to do so.

When I write music, the best songs I compose flow out of me. There’s no forcing them, and they have minds of their own. I connect with them in ways similar to how I connect with God. It’s that same kind of rush.

However, I rarely use music to connect with God, and that’s beginning to bother me. I’ve been thinking so much about the magic and power of song and the power of God as almost separate from one another, when really they should be joined. I believe I spoke in another post about being commanded to write, and part of that could be writing things to play on my instruments or to sing. I want to include song in my worship because that’s a powerful part of myself I have been neglecting. Even if it’s only praying in a whisper over two or three chords or singing a phrase acapella, I feel like my prayers will be amplified.

I’ve been feeling empowered by God to the point where I am full to bursting with what seems to be spiritual power. I want to use it to bless others, but I don’t know how to do it. I don’t think I can perform miracles, though it honestly feels like I could if I had enough faith. Maybe that’s my manic side talking. I’m not sure.

To me, it all comes back for me to another sort of yearning, one to be closer to God and to listen to him to see where to direct this power and responsibility.

I think I’ve also calmed down a lot inside and become more secure as a human being. It feels like I have cleaned up a messy room. I’m still super hyperactive and excitable, but it feels like my mind has become more organized. There are still moments where the organization gets horribly wrecked, but I’m usually able to reorder it by taking a nap or sleeping for the night if it’s late enough. Eventually I manage to calm down.

My husband is a huge help, too. He brings me closer to God by the way he shows his love for me. When I’m sad and panicky, he holds me close and prompts me to talk about it. It’s hard sometimes, very hard. But he is always there.

I don’t talk to God much conversationally, especially when I’m sad. Perhaps times of sadness and anxiety are times when God wants me to talk to him? I keep prayers in my heart because I feel weird praying aloud. I hope the music will help me get out of that shell.

Thank you for reading!

Until next post,

Meg

I Hear You

I had a panic attack the other day.

It could have ended in despair, and I’m actually pretty sure it did end with me crashing in some way. What I do remember was this:

“I hear you.”

If you recall, I get spiritual impressions that make a profound impact on me. The only one that has ever come back for a second poke was an impression I had in June just before my husband proposed. This one sets a new record. It’s poked me so many times I have lost count. I feel known by God and that he is aware of me now.

I’ve felt known by God before, but this time it’s personal. I know people say that God knows everyone perfectly, but I’d never felt it that personally until the panic attack. I now believe that what he feels toward me is unique and made for me, just like he knows others in their own ways. He finds ways to speak my language, giving me clues and notes just for me. Part of being known is knowing how I think, and He often appeals to my intellect and gives me things to ponder or even take to the blog to sort out, like this.

This knowledge gives me a great sense of security. It helps me to realize that words of mine that are put in the right place have immense power. I feel comfortable speaking out on what I believe in because I feel Him backing my play, even when my writing becomes a little controversial, so long as I use my powers for good.

Using my powers for good does NOT mean that I will go around and thrust God as understand him down people’s throats or use religion as a weapon. I speak out against people using religion as weapons, but I do my best to not use religion for that same purpose. The God of my understanding is loving, kind, accepting, and does not use fear or shame to influence people. Am I always kind, loving, and accepting? No! But writing about and defending my personal beliefs has helped me define them further. Writing Byzantines and Button Downs has helped me to know, hear, and love myself more than I could have ever hoped for. It’s become a powerful phrase, “I hear you”.

Because I am heard, I, too need to hear. I do my best to listen to my friends and family and be there for them when they are in need…and when they are doing great. Proving that I am constant is important to me, even when I am feeling down. Listening to the people I love helps me get out of my own chaotic head and into the minds of others. More often than not, my head clears.

Part of hearing is a continuation of yesterday’s post. I want to become my own best friend and advocate. So naturally, this involves hearing myself out. When I wrote “I hear you” on the list of things I would say to myself, I almost cried.

I have a tendency to invalidate myself in everything from my gender identity to my struggles with mental health to how I look on any given day. That’s funny, because I first got the impression when I was struggling with strong dysphoria.

At that moment, I knew on some level that God was telling me that what I was going through was valid. At that moment, “I hear you” was God saying “I love you.” At that moment, that was exactly what I needed. He sees – loves – me as I am, glitchy brain and all. He sees me as I am and who I can become.

I know you are looked after and loved, too. Every second of every day.

I hear you.

Until next post,

Meg

Enjoy this fabulous post next!

My heretical impressions of James Chapter 1, part the first

Hello, gentle readers!

I’m going to go out on a limb here and write about religion again. As you may know from a previous post, I’m religious. But my religion is kind of unorthodox. I don’t go to church, large groups of Christians make me uncomfortable, the concept of heaven bothers me, people who don’t try to live their religion bother me more. This includes myself, and I can do way better about this. In short, my religion is trying to adhere to two big rules: love God, and love your neighbor as yourself. I’m not great at loving myself 99% of the time, and my inner bully is especially active right now. I hope I do better at loving my neighbor. The book of James in the New Testament was a game changer for me, and I keep going back to it.

Coming from the Mormon Church, organic religion and spirituality are freeing. If the Mormon Church works for you, I’m just as proud of you as I am of those who have left. I want everyone to experience faith and religion (or lack thereof!) on their terms, not mine or anyone else’s. Fear is not a good reason to practice faith, at least to me. The book of James, especially the whirlwind that is the first chapter, captured my heart and set me more free in a way. I got so much out of it, and I continue to do so! That was organic faith. I truly stumbled upon it by chance, read it, and it resonated with me. Enough talk. Let’s jump in.

I use the Passion Translation wherever I can, it speaks to me the most.


“My fellow believers, when it seems as though you are facing nothing but difficulties, see it as an invaluable opportunity to experience the greatest joy that you can! For you know that when your faith is tested, it stirs up power within you to endure all things. And then as your endurance grows even stronger it will release perfection into every part of your being until there is nothing missing and nothing lacking.”

This is James 1, verses 2-4. It packs a punch. A really big punch. The word “joy” can also be rendered from the Greek as “calm delight”. Some people think “OMG, you can’t do anything worldly” in order to experience this kind of joy, and there’s something to be said for that if that’s your style. I’d argue, however, that some days you’ve done all you can and joy for you is simply coping – petting a dog, taking a hot bath, etc..

For me, I’ve found that unless depression is crippling, forcing myself to get something done, no matter how small, starts a snowball effect that makes me feel a bit better. Usually I call a friend or a family member to get this snowball rolling. Self-care, to me, is another form of calm delight, or joy.

I’m not an optimist by nature, and I tend to dwell in the past and hurt myself in that way. This throws me into depression most of the time. My mind needs to be kept busy. My form of self care is doing things and keeping my mind active, like blogging daily or keeping in touch with people I love. I think I endure that way, too. Coping is also another form of enduring. It makes me stronger, and I’m proud of you for making it here to read this post. That means you’re getting stronger, too.

Healing isn’t linear, I need to remind myself of that often. But the bad days are teaching me how to handle the good days, and vice versa. My bipolar brain is sometimes glitchy and forgets the good times when I’m in a dark place. Remembering good times or planning for them are other forms of joy to me.


And if anyone longs to be wise, ask God for wisdom and he will give it! He won’t see your lack of wisdom as an opportunity to scold you over your failures but he will overwhelm your failures with his generous grace.[d] Just make sure you ask empowered by confident faith without doubting that you will receive. For the ambivalent person believes one minute and doubts the next. Being undecided makes you become like the rough seas driven and tossed by the wind. You’re up one minute and tossed down the next. 7–8 When you are half-hearted and wavering it leaves you unstable.[e] Can you really expect to receive anything from the Lord when you’re in that condition?

Gaining wisdom is something I long for. My dad was what I’d call a Christian zen master towards the end of his life, and I want to imitate that. People say that I give good advice, but I don’t take it for myself. I don’t like that about myself, but I’m never sure how to change this trait.

Lately I’ve started to simply ask friends and family to listen to me because I have all of the “therapist answers” somewhere inside my messy brain. Talking my problems out helps me find them. I’m thankful for everyone who listens.

I hope I’d be a lot more calm if I at least took my own advice. I think that owning who I am and being better at taking good advice will help me become a Christian zen master myself. I’m adding that to the list of things I need to do to make a home within myself.

Also, I get from this that God gives me what I need in the times that I need it, and I’m given the tools to process my gifts somehow. I have managed to hold onto the most precious things in my life, just as they hold onto me. I think it’s some variant of the phrase “the things you seek are also seeking you”. It took years of trying to calm down before I was given the love of my life, and he was indeed seeking me for awhile while I was seeking him and we reconnected. I did doubt – I doubted a lot, wondering if he was right for me, how in the world he could love me like he does, how I deserved such a marvelous human in my life, picturing all of the scenarios in which I could accidentally kill things, the whole nine yards. He stayed. He stayed. I am given what (or who) I need in the time I need it, even if there’s no rhyme or reason why I should be blessed with it.

I don’t deserve the things and people I am given. But differently than the love people show to one another, God sees me differently than anyone else, and loves me for – not in spite of – who I am. I will do better with being gentle to myself and others, because one of the pieces of my personal faith is to love others as I love myself. Some days I can do more than others. Others all I can do is ride out the storm. I need to stay strong. I’m loved, so are you.

Until next post,

Meg