During these summer months, there’ve been hundreds of lightening-strikes in remote wilderness areas of California. So many fires, I’ve lost count. It feels like Mother Nature is doing some kind of crazy Cleanse. She’s so done with feeling up-to-her-armpits (if she had armpits) in what she doesn’t want: decades of “fuel” buildup on her forest floors. I feel Her angst. I’ve had more than a few ‘lightening strikes’ in remote parts of Who I Am lately: a sudden self-awareness of what needs to change. And now I’m doing my own slow burn: whatever I don’t want or need anymore to feel happy and healthy.

I can’t pinpoint when my personal cleanse kicked-off, but it’s been a minute. The first little spark ignited in my closet. I walked into that small space, did a quick scan of everything. It felt like all the clothes in there belonged to someone else. “What was I thinking when I bought that sweater??”

Duh: I was thinking how good it looked on the model, on the website where I bought it. It wasn’t a sweater; it was a fantasy of how I thought I wanted to look. And the hot-pink corduroy pants? Really? No explaining those.

Anyway, after snatching uglies from my wardrobe and bagging them to donate, I turned my focus to other rooms. I began purging slowly, with Marie Kondo detachment. But pretty quickly the whole thing gained momentum. With new eyes, I saw my entire collection of clutter as “not me” anymore. I also felt the weight of all of it. Heavy with memories that I’ve outgrown and am ready to let go of.

Furniture. Pictures on my walls. Kitchen items. I’d become obsessed with new recipes and new cookware during Covid. My cabinets and ‘fridge were crammed with industrial-sized spices and flours (bread, pastry, durum, artisanal and wheat).

In my main living space, way too many houseplants now felt like a burden to care for. Especially with cats and a dog already in the mix. But then came the really interesting part. As a kind of follow-up to my clearing away of “stuff”, a few relationships came up for review.

Some personal connections just felt less…meaningful? Relevant? Joyful? I didn’t consciously stop calling and texting certain friends. Mostly, we just sort of drifted apart. But there was also a key person in my life that recently did something really weird. And there again — a lightening bolt of clarity. Seeing the truth — sketchy character, and motivations — was a shock that took me a day or two to digest.

Polarizing events (our January 6 trauma; Covid; masking, and vax-ing) also lit-up, then torched an important relationship of mine. One that seemed solid, in the Before Time. It’s usually more than just a red flag when strong beliefs clash. Powerful new revelations about someone can bring a sense of loss. Even if there’s outrage or anger in the smoke and flames between us, there’s also pain and a sense of betrayal poking through the ashes of “what was”.

Things change. People change. Life’s a journey. That’s the whole point, and I get it. I’ve heard it, lived it, and grown through it. It doesn’t matter if the changes were voluntary or random. It takes time to adjust to how things look now. To how things feel now, from my new perspective about who I am, what I want, and where I’m going next.

Boldly looking at what I don’t want, or need anymore to be happy sparks emotional chaos. I’m breathless, excited, and anxious all at once, already second-guessing my decisions! But as I dug through my older Journals yesterday, I came across a much-needed reminder (author unknown), whispering wisdom and reassurance to my heart.

“Be Creatively Adaptable in Life”

  • Stay rooted in the Present Moment
  • Explore choices & opportunities as they pop up.
  • Acknowledge & accept your Fear of the Unknown
  • Feel-into whatever’s making you uncomfortable about the Present Moment. Sit with it.
  • Surrender all doubts, fears & worries to the Higher Power (God, Divine, Universe)
  • Accept that this is how things will be for a while.
  • Don’t wish things away. It doesn’t work.
  • Be gentle with yourself: ease-into your New Reality.
  • Be yourself! Listen, and live to the beat of your own heart. Never stray from that tune.

I’m always learning new things about Courage and Bravery. Sometimes Living Bravely is not only about being able to power-through whatever’s making me feel uncomfortable. Sometimes it’s more important to acknowledge and accept my own vulnerability. This realization turns everything I was taught on its head. Vulnerability doesn’t mean weakness; it’s pure strength, in its softest, most receptive, and exalted form.

The Challenge of ‘Personal Upgrades

How Was I Living My Life Before the Pandemic?

Our Pandemic Relationship Issues

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