Loving does not mean self-sacrifice, loving is the ultimate self-care.
The world we live in today is so strange
From the old days of only meeting those within close range
You mean to tell me that I can meet the girl of my dreams
on a device, through the matrix, and the internet streams?
We scroll, we tap, we can see the images unfold
How do we know if what draws us in is what fate has foretold?
What is it that allows us to feel connection through the devices
And know the difference between real love and the superficial crisis?
There must be something cosmic for how we have access to the masses
An interconnecting unification of the world as it spins on it’s axis
I trust this integration and I believe in love
And beyond the screens on the phones, our hearts desires will rise above
I will know you, my love, when I hear you speak my name
And I know that however we came to meet will not be in vain
Photography by Ashley Burnstad | Jewelry by Amanda Hunt
I gotchu baby girl, I am your own best friendI am your teacher, your healer, your loverI am simply you-- your higher self summonedFrom the depths of you within, I am you, your soulI am always near my love, even when you seem to lose controlFind me, feel me, for I am always hereI am the stillness within with a voice that may seem quiet like the windUntil you stop to listen the way you would the treeslike the sound of the rustling, the turning of the leavesThe more you tune inthe more I become aliveThe love, the self, the you within-- together we will thrive
I never knew a first kiss could contain so much
The first moment our lips touched we remained there completely still for what felt like an eternity that I did not want to end.
I felt that if I could stay still in this lip lock, I could live in the moment just a little longer
I could taste the vices of the night on our lips
As we breathed heavily, I felt my heart lighten, in the floating tenderness of the being of us
“I like you.”
Each next movement of our mouths felt like sitting on the edge of a seat waiting for the next mysterious note of this intoxicating melody to be pressed― I was listening with my lips intently.
We shook our heads no and shook our heads yes as we kissed and kissed. Our faint cries for the labor of all that it took to finally be us and do this. I felt like crying and laughing all at once, at the beautiful madness of love and lust.
You put me on the counter, I wrapped my legs around you. Even though we fit perfectly it was as if we couldn’t get any closer. I could smell the leather as our jackets twisted and writhed wrapping into each others warmth.
“Come home with me.”
There wasn’t anything more that I wanted to do then to go home with you. But the intensity of ‘this’ told me to let this just be our first kiss.
I walked you out of the kitchen and outside to the street where we would wait for you to be taken home without me― and we embraced once more. Unrequited lovers meeting again.
You came onto your bended knees on the ground in between my legs. The crickets chirped and the coyotes howled while you tenderly kissed me. You pulled me onto you and we laid on the freshly paved asphalt, with me on top of you on a quiet street, with your beautiful mind cradled in my hands, at the top of the Hollywood hills, under the blanket of the twinkling night sky, under the stars in a place where people go to become them.
I just made love to myself with the memory of you making love to me.
In loving yourself, you show people how to love you.
The silence of the bath house.
Soft whispers. Water. Ripples. Drops. Deep inhales and exhales, wet feet on the ground.
The smell of cedar, the taste of cucumbers in spa water. Eucalyptus steam.
Bathing naked ladies of different shapes, sizes, and colors-- but all with the same relaxed expression. We move about and lay about in a dreamy steamy haze. Together we soak, we breathe, we relax, we release, we sigh, we sweat, we let go. We wash away all of our troubles and soak in the divine feminine that we are. Unbeknownst to some of us, we are all sharing this collective worship of us.
After bathing bliss I make my way through the ammenities. Bottomless lotions and potions. The dreamy haze starts to lift and I notice that as the women put on their clothes, I recognize their familiar presence less and less. We layer on the filters of fabric that garment our naked and soft bodies, we dress our personalities in patterns and colors, sealing our exibitions with buttons and zippers-- and we come back to our clothed and civilized selves.
A dear friend wrote me a handwritten letter, and part of her intention in doing so was to spark answers to some very important questions that we should sometimes ask ourselves. In this case, she was wanting to know more about a project that I am working on. She asked me, "What fuels you?"
I sat for a moment and the single most important thing that came to me was LOVE. It all comes back to love; to loving and being loved.
For example, when someone wakes up in the morning, puts on a pot of coffee, takes their children to school, goes into work, goes to the gym, cooks for their family, and pays their bills-- it all boils down to love. We can certainly bring other reasons to this like responsibility, survival, and shrug our shoulders and say that this is just what we do. But it is greater than that, it is because of love. It is because all we want is love and all we need is love. And if we rememeber that, it brings life and vitality to some of the most mundane things we do. Because ultimately, when we take care of ourselves, others, and all the in betweens, we are ultimately loving ourselves and loving others. Sometimes we lose the purpose of what we do in our every day living and feel that sense of void-- all that is signaling to us is that we must tap back into that love. If ultimately I am fueled by love, and I am seeking to receive and give love, is what I am doing condusive to that? When we do something as simple as washing our face and brushing our teeth, if we can bring that sense of, "this is me loving myself, taking care of myself, of my body that serves me so well" we can bring such immense purpose to everything we do.
Even when we are doing things that don't seem like love or behave in ways that are destructive, those are simply gestures that ultimately seeking love. At the bottom of a whiskey bottle, at the poker table, under the botox needle, at the puff of a cigarette-- all of these things that we are fueled to do is a representation of seeking love and loves fulfillment. Wholeness, happiness, feeling good-- these are all side affects of that love that we seek and that we are. We try to find the fullness, the quench, the comfort that love gives but sometimes we just have a roundabout way of doing it. This is where the aimlessness comes from. We feel lost when we dont know what we are looking for. It's like searching for something but not remembering what it was that we are setting out to look for. So, in realizing that we are ultimately fueled by love, by getting love, giving love, connecting to love, feeling loved-- we can fully understand our intentions behind why we do the things we do.
Koi No Yokan
A Japanese word that is untranslatable by the English language. But it so eloquently illustrates my connection with you.
It’s not love at first sight. It’s not the crazy whirlwind of seeing, meeting, and falling in love with a wild and reckless abandon. Love at first sight happens so intensely and so fast that often times, you are left dizzy, bewildered, and nauseated by the time it loses momentum. It stops and ends just as suddenly as it began.
This is different. It is gentle, it floats lightly, it’s this soft wave of an inclination that washes over you, speaking to you that this person may possibly change the course of your life.
The first time we actually spoke, I noticed the words you chose and how you put them together, and in something so subtle-- I sensed that you were going to be significant in my life.
How is it that when we spoke about our lives, I felt the nostalgia of ours together?
How is it that without even having touched you, I could feel the grounding weight of your hands on my hips?
How is it that without even kissing you, I knew I would melt when we did?
How is it that without having sex, I already felt our sensuous tantric pleasure?
Sometimes we just know, we have a sense, a premonition of love.
I felt very reluctant about getting vaccinated for my trip to India. Something about vaccinations has never felt right and it has nothing to do with needles. Granted, I've had to have some vaccinations in the past because of the nature of the work that I am in with hospice. However, for whatever vaccinations I could opt out of—I have. I was being urged by some of the people who care about me to at least look into the vaccinations, so I decided to take a gander at what I was up against. My primary physician recommended that I get vaccinated and sent me a list of all the possible diseases and illnesses that I could encounter based on where I was going. I was looking at some pretty scary names like Hepatitis A & B, Measles, Mumps, Typhoid, Zika, and the list went on and on. I started to notice fear creeping up and panic setting in. What if? What if I regretted not getting vaccinated? What is so bad about it? Wouldn't it be better to be safe than sorry? What was I resisting? I called my dad and he said, "well why don't you look at the alternatives?" We sometimes forget, in the face of fear, about other options.
What I found was that many of the vaccines have some pretty gnarly side effects. I personally know people who have gotten the flu shot and got severely sick because of it. Also, many of the vaccines prove to have pretty low success rates, even in the event of being contaminated. In the event of contracting any of these viruses our bodies can eventually heal themselves and it can also be treated. I looked into holistic approaches to traveling without vaccines and found a wealth of knowledge and some incredible remedies and preventative homeopathy that I already had in my tool kit, as well as some that I would not have otherwise known of.
For example, Phosphorus covers the symptomatology for Hepatitis A and B, Typhoid, Malaria, Yellow Fever, and a variety of digestive disturbances including vomiting and diarrhea. Phosphorus can be considered a global remedy to prevent many diseases. Who knew? It also helps with cardiovascular diseases, repairs cells, improves kidney function, helps with metabolism for anorexia, fatigue, obesity, the musculoskeletal system, fibromyalgia, oral health, the nervous system, male impotence, premature ejaculation and so much more.
The fear subsided and I couldn't help but notice how much my fears and worries spiked. I sat with the feelings that came up as I played out both ways I could go with this. I thought about how much more important my thoughts are in connection with my body and it's well being.
I went and got myself a few of mother nature's very own creations as well as a handy and affordable device. So far I have collected these items for my trip:
- some activated charcoal in case of emergencies
- super lysine with shiitake extract
- my DoTERRA essential oils physician’s kit
- and a handy dandy LIFE STRAW
Last, but certainly not least, I truly believe in how powerful our thoughts and attitudes are that we carry. As a human beings with a universe that exists within, I feel strong and tuned into myself. And when that wavers, all I have to do is get grounded and connect to my serving belief in the intelligence of my body and the resilience and adaptability it has-- that we all have. I will give my body the natural exposure to the world, as intended. I will be mindful of what I consume and how my body feels. I trust myself. These things are such a personal choice as it is our own bodies that we are making these decisions for. Ultimately, my state of soundness without being vaccinated is just as important as the person sitting next to me who is in a state of soundness because they did vaccinate themselves. The moral of the story? Our state of soundness is what matters most.
the ache of missing you
hurts like the birthing of absolute love
i savor it and exhale
"Giving space in your relations means wrapping them in warmth and love until you return."
I stared at the screen, reading over the titles, subtitles; the long endless list of hundreds and thousands of links to websites, videos, articles, studies, books, and stories of victims who have survived Narcissistic Abuse. I stared at the screen in absolute dismay as I read, watched, and processed this new reality. It was a reality that I could have never considered or fathomed. It was the only reality that made sense of all the madness that had consumed me and left me in a disoriented fog for the entirety of my relationship with her.
As I read the stories, the cycles, the patterns, and the cookie cutter ways in which this pathology called narcissism plays out-- I felt myself having an out of body experience. The stories were all the same. All I could think was, “That is me, that just happened to me.” I could have written their story and they could have written mine. I was bewildered.
Are you fucking serious? This is a thing?!?!
Yes, Kayko, it is a REAL thing.
I was in a textbook relationship of manipulation of almost four years. I was one of those women that I watched from a Lifetime movie that I watched from my adolescent room, snacking while in my boxers and oversized t-shirt. I would root for the woman in the movie to escape her sociopathic abuser, outsmart his vengeance, and for her to gain her power and freedom back with her head held high.
How could this be? How could something that felt so real, that went on for so long have been an illusion? What about that time she told me how much she loved me? What about those grand gestures of love? Where was I this whole time? How did I let this happen to me?
With each sentence I read, this pathological understanding of this sickness was destroying everything I had ever thought I knew and felt in my relationship. Suprisingly, it was actually liberating me. It was the only thing that made it all finally make sense. It was the only thing that could thread all of the screams that I had shouting within me, it was the only thing can could validate all my confusion, it was the only thing that could diagnose what just always felt so fucking off.
I was in her movie and in love with her character. I was the co-star and she, the narcissist, was the star. She acted out a role of a passionate and intense lover who had never felt the way she did, as she did for me. I was her girl, the love of her life. We fell madly in love and despite all the things that could and would go wrong—our love was all that mattered.
Were there red flags? Absolutely. Did the role and character she played ever waver? All the time. She fell out of character and would pull a stunt that was quite disappointing, disrespectful, and inconsiderate. It would leave others including myself, hurt and confused. Her mask would slip and it left us questioning her integrity and intentions. Then she pulled the mask back up, would do a grand gesture, a thoughtful act, and eventually once again we would all be on board—hey we are all humans right? Some would walk away and never come back. Looking back, it seemed she knew it was a movie because she always believed and thought people were watching us. She always wanted to be “ON” and when our movie wasn’t playing out as she desired, I was “ruining it.”
She was a pantomime, she was a hologram, she was a regurgitated projection of all the mannerisms and personalities that she studied from movies and observing others. She would take on the interest and traits that she thought people would love. Sometimes I would catch her quoting me or others without giving any credit. I remember it giving me an uneasy feeling but I brushed it off thinking it was her absorbing and growing and I should be happy she is learning.
As all narcissists do, she was merely here to feed off my soul, I was food for this gluttonous lover. Perhaps my romantic notions of vampires and love were actualized in this pathological way. The empathic good hearted mortal, a hopeless romantic, falls in love and self-sacrifices with a sexy, dangerous, unattainable mystery without a soul.
It is a character study much like an actor would do to win the audience, gain admiration, to capture the emotions of the watchers, and to reap the benefits of such an Oscar winning performance. I felt so in it. I was engrossed in the love story, feeling every emotion, following every twist, sitting on the edge of my seat. This was a romantic comedy that would occasionally flash into a psychological thriller. I was left disarrayed in lies that I did not know how to get back into myself, my body, my vessel, who was sitting and watching the movie in the audience.
When the reality of my relationship with my partner began to reveal itself to me, when her mask completely fell away, when the jig was finally up, the credits started to roll and the lights came on. I hauntingly recall looking into the eyes of my lover and seeing an emptiness that terrified me.
The Terms & Definitions
Educating myself helped me to identify terms and definitions for what I went through. Words and names for the experiences that many others were also having. I was being seduced by a histrionic, charming, narc. Wooed and pursued, love bombed, and then slowly but surely being relied on for help and survival, creating an enabling and dependent dynamic. In the moments of disillusionment you are then gas lighted then drowned in pathological lies. I was ambiently abused, projected upon, given the silent treatment, dosed, bait and switched, and just when I was feeling loved, it would suddenly be withheld leaving me confused and wondering what I did wrong. When I could not take it anymore and would try to distance myself and leave—I was hoovered back in because she so desperately loved and needed me. I was needed as supply for her survival. I was put in positions where I had to carry her weight and responsibilities. When I would create boundaries, she would pull a vanishing act and eventually leave me discarded like a piece of trash. And don’t forget the flying monkeys they recruit to do a smear campaign on you to make them look like they need saving from your relationship and controlling ways. Many who are in relationship with a narcissist suffer from Stockholm Syndrome. It ends so badly and abruptly that you are left wondering if you ever meant anything to the narc. I went through the cycles several times. It was psychologically, emotionally, spiritually, and even physically abusive.
Typically the victims of the narcissist are high acheivers, have great reputations, are intelligent, kind-hearted, giving, empathic, and nurturing. The Narc needs to choose persons of high value so that their own stock can go up. Of course we must also recognize the shadow aspects of these traits that the victims have as they manifest into the need to be needed, of co-dependency, and the martyr with poor boundaries. The Narc is drawn to people who are understanding and have potential to being a doormat simply because they are more likely to tolerate and forgive them. Narcs need someone who can make them look good. The more popular, the more successful, the more rich, the more respected-- the better.
How a Narc becomes a Narc
The narc typically develops in childhood. There is usually a narcissist adult and this becomes fertile grounds for a child becoming either a narc themselves or a magnet for a narc. The potential narc child doesn’t get the love, attention, or validation that they felt they needed. At some point the child discards their true selves similar to the metaphor of selling their soul, and commit to getting their needs met at all costs. This insatiable desire to get their needs met can never be actualized because they seek it from the external and not within. Sure, many of us will do this, search externally for our happiness but the narc does so without any regard or empathy for others. If you can’t give them what they want, you are useless. They carry a grandiose sense of entitlement to absolutely every aspect of their life because they were so wronged as a child. They spend their lives externally seeking to meet their unmet needs at the expense of anyone who may be able to supply it. This need for supply is survival and the world is against them and it is everyone’s fault but their own. Because they felt so robbed as a child and carry much anger toward their caregiver for not providing it, they project that same anger and resentment onto the world and all the people in it.
For the victim, the honey moon is eventually over, followed by the gaurenteed whirlwind of drama, betrayal, and confusion. When the Narc is confronted the victim is then discarded into what feels like a room with no doors, no lights, feeling as though they are on the brink of insanity, imprisoned in a spiral of what feels like a bad batch of drugs that got slipped into their drink. That is hopefully when they realize—this isn’t and never was, LOVE.
When The Viel is Pulled
I got lucky. My life was falling apart, she was cheating on me again, lying to me again, and the lies were finally catching up. I went through great lengths to discover the truth and when I did, I no longer recognized the person I was living and sharing my life with. When I told my director that I needed some time off to make some major changes in my life and that all jokes aside, I think I might be in a relationship with a sociopath, he looked at me with a knowing glance and sat me down. He pulled out the DSM 5 and told me he was going to bookmark a few pages that I could read when I felt ready. He had his own experiences with a NPD mother and a few NPD relationships before finally becoming an expert on the matter.
Being in a relationship with a narc can be the most absolute destructive experience of psychological warfare that one could ever experience. They leave a trail of people in shambles behind them without any sense of remorse. It is not until you have personally experienced narcissistic abuse that you could ever possibly wrap your head around it. The biggest tragedy of all is that some victims never find out that what happened to them is an actual thing. That is why knowing and educating yourself about it can be so extremely healing and liberating. Many victims of narcissistic abuse go on living in a state of disoriented depression for years until they one day became enlightened to what actually happened to them.
Awareness is key. Knowledge is POWER. Truth indeed, will set you FREE.
It is an absolute nightmare to have been in bondage with a narc. But like all nightmares, you eventually wake up, catch your breath, and come to realize that it was just a dream. You are still you and there is something to say about the symbolism that lies in the dreams that we have that can provide us with so much cues as to what we can start to begin to understand about ourselves. Sometimes the most extreme of experiences is what catapults us into radical transformation.
Take the quiz: http://www.melanietoniaevans.com/quiz-npd.htm
An Interview with Ms. Fanny Kahlo
It is important to grieve in order to move on
It's a love game,
Ready, set, go.
For many, love is a test, a trial and error subscription. A multiple choice exam, a waiting room, a scratcher game, scratch off information to reveal if you're the lucky winner. For some it's a maze where you can find yourself lost, looking for an exit for a hour, a month, a year or a lifetime.
If you're like me, and grew up in a household where love was a broken concept, you grew up with misconstrued ideas of what healthy love was supposed to be like.
You always hear that everything is better with age. In your late twenties you're told you will find the right job, right person, right type of partnership. But there are so many layers and types of love. The good and bad you can't plan for let alone when it'll come to you or if it comes at all. Regardless, at the age of 26, I am grateful to have experienced good love and bad love that continue to shape the person I am today.
There are many people who will never suffer the act of betrayal by another being, but there are a wide variety of us who have and will. Is toxic love as good as healthy love? I argue yes, without one you can not have the other, and by other I am referring to yourself. You are never wrong about your intuition, you are never wrong about your gut feeling, trust the vibes, even if they are not necessarily good ones. For those of us who have experienced betrayal from a friend, a partner, and a lover, you know the feeling I am referring to.
I want to create awareness and break the taboo that surrounds betrayal, as it involves pain. Pain is a feeling that we hardly discuss as it creates discomfort. Over and over, I have the urge to break down these mindsets and to create community for those who are going through the hard journey that comes after a love ends.
I sat with a friend of mine this week, Kayko Tamaki who holds a background as a grief worker as well as being a certified Hypnotherapist, we discussed our journey after being betrayed by a romantic partner. Through my conversation with Kayko I was offered a new insight to viewing the closure of another chapter in my life, as well as navigating the different ways which we move past essentially the death of a toxic lover and the relationship. "We are wounded by our understanding of love", Kayko explained, which lead the conversation into the different levels of understanding and acceptance that have to happen in order for us to move past the denial stage.
The unbearable pain that one endures as they deny the reality can hold one hostage, the not knowing how to act or feel after you discover the truth leaves you questioning how to properly act around others who are not experiencing your despair , " Fuck it, go and be exactly what you're feeling, it's OK, your anger, especially for women who don’t embrace it very much, is your fuel to take action. My anger was allowing me to carry boxes over my head that were more than my own weight, and I was consciously aware of this strength that manifested even physically, that allowed me to take action. It feels so good, it fuels so good. " expressed Kayko allowing us to navigate the good and bad of how bad love can fuel you.
Exploring yourself and your strength after it is robbed from you is not easy, but K encourages us to see beyond that, " The pain carves deep, but it also carves an even deeper understanding of ourselves".
After allowing myself to grieve in a place where media could not influence me, I found a new way of loving, a way that I did not know I was capable of doing. A way in which you feel free and reborn. You navigate who you are, what you are worth, what you will never settle for again in life. You let go of the person who did not make you priority, who did not think you were worth the smallest effort of letting you go before dragging you on with endless excuses of why they cheated on you, and you begin a journey they will never be a part of. Through experiencing good love and bad love I am free and ready to be with my future self, without lies, without expectations, just me.
Kayko ended our conversation with a word of advice to those who question the closure of a bad love or a good love, a form of motivation that I've immersed myself into "when we look at impermanence, when we look at the fact that everything has an end, there is a point that without a doubt we will have to grieve a loss. No matter what I am going to experience loss, regardless of its form, it's going to happen with every single person I love, and so right now it's just a form of a break-up. But even if you get to spend the rest of your life with someone, you would still feel that same pain, whether I'm going or she's going, it's inevitable..."
You can read more about Kayko Tamaki and the ways she empowers those who are entering their self love journey as well as those who are struggling with how to grieve the death of someone, something at: http://www.kaykotamaki.com/
Two years ago today, my Mama left her human vessel. We get triggered by such things like dates, places, smells, and other traces of evidence and memory that are significant to the LOVE and sorrow that are two sides of the same brilliant coin that I call my heart. I didn't know what to do with myself so I am spending it by my self. I found my way into a Buddhist temple for a calligraphy class taught by a Buddhist monk and a fellow student, Chi, who told me how doing this practice clears her mind and heart. I told her I came for the same reasons. So what clarity came from this? To dance with my brush, to be light in my strokes and push down only when it is necessary to be bold. That how I sit in my body and how I hold the brush is more telling of how I will create my strokes then the stroke itself...
My dear sisters and brothers, and all sentient beings,
I embrace you with open arms and an open heart.
Sometimes Life comes with an ocean of intensity with waves that seem to keep rolling in, sometimes without giving us a moment to even catch our breath. These intense times asks us what we want to resolve, embrace, and transform. Our pain and suffering demands that we claim who we are at the core. We can’t afford not to make this claim because life itself will always bring us to the water, and it is up to us swim and float… or drown in it. As a girl who grew up on the shores of Hawaii, I had to learned what it takes to be one with the ocean, the tide, the waves, so not to be consumed and trampled by it-- but to roll with, dive, duck, and swim under the under tow.
The road to self-possession is always paved with good intentions and they can and will have slippery roads, twists, turns, and detours. It can be an arduous journey at times—but don’t let that keep you from taking it. The darkness of life is not to be avoided but to be walked through with trust of your own light and that of the sun that rises each morning. The moon, too, casts a light if you just let your eyes adjust. The road to self-possession demands humble diligence and self-forgiveness.
Everything is found within:
Close your eyes and let’s take a journey through the dark night of the soul…
Forest, trees, the sun is going down-- it is dusk.
Dusk, stars, cold air…
As you walk through the forest you hear the leaves crunch beneath your feet and the smell of trees and dried leaves soothes you.
The skies are getting darker, the birds have quieted…
It is dark out but the moon gives just enough light for you to make out the path that lays ahead of you. Creatures stirring nearby, the sounds of night coming alive…
The path leads you to the edge of a lake where you throw your blanket down and sit along the bank.
There is not a soul in sight.
How does it feel to be in the dark? To be completely alone? To be in your own company?
What is your pain? Look at it. What does your heart yearn for? What have your tears been shed for? Feel it. Notice where it is in your body.
As you stand at the edge of the lake, where earth meets water, and peer into the reflection of the water, seeing yourself, water meets soul, what do you feel? How do you see yourself? How are you being reflected in your own eyes? What does she fear? What gives her joy? What is her purpose? What can she heal? What can she celebrate? How can she love herself more? What can she let go of and release right now?
This is the time to reflect, as you look across the still lake in front of you, you realize that even in the darkness there is majesty. You see the lake reflecting the dark sky and full moon like a mirror. That the moon sheds her light on us, even if it is slight, and it is her light that is gentle, and it is her light that gives our food their flavor, and it is her light that brings the silver lining to the infinite darkness.
Enter the darkness and the fear. Enter your pain and despair. For it is that very suffering that gives you proof that you are alive. It is that very sadness that honors your joy and allows you the gratitude to smile.
Death is necessary for a re-birth.
The darkness is there for us to learn to move through and navigate, and as we continue to do so, we become trusting in our selves and all our senses.
Now, we will allow this reflection to show us who we truly are, and not how we are seeing ourselves. Bring your index finger to your third eye, and see your reflection ripple with that single touch… allow the ripples to expand outward… circle after circle… until it is finally still. See again yourself, in the light of the moon, as your true, beautiful, whole, and perfect self. That is you.
Your ever well wisher,
Sarah, a young talented lesbian film photographer from New York, contacted me to shoot a few rolls together. My trip to New York was nearing it's arctic cold end and upon reading her message, feeling a kind energy from her, and seeing the beautiful raw journalistic images she captures around the city-- I immediately knew that this would be a wonderful opportunity to have her join me and document my experience exploring Mama's old apartment in Queens. She was game.
It was fashion week in New York and the city was bustling with models, fashionistas, cold winds, and snow. It was the coldest time I have ever spent in this city-- much less anywhere in the world. Being an island girl, I had never known what zero degrees felt like. It was bone chilling and I was having a ball. I visited with my thick New York accented friend Sasha, that I made friends with on my first trip to the city years ago. I spent the majority of my time with Tanya, a beautiful Hapa New York local, who was newly dating and in love with my dear friend Mariano. She invited me to come hang out and spend the night with her while I was out there and my overnight slumber party ended up turning into my entire trip being spent with her.
We were becoming close friends quick and both felt that our friendship was entirely meant to be. We shared a lot of our stories and self with one another and she showed me the city through her lens. It was healing for both of us to be present for eachother at this time. I was getting away to explore my hearts desires and she was getting ready to move out of New York and come to California. We had magical nights celebrating the city and would return to her beautiful SoHo loft where we took hot baths every night to escape the cold. We listened to music, cooked Japanese breakfasts, and shared our dreams. I met her family that owned and lived in the building and felt at home. We had a lot of similarities spiritually and culturally; Japanese moms, American fathers and we were two women who were empaths as well as hopeless romantics who could talk to eachother in Japan-glish.
In planning this trip, one of my intentions was to visit the apartment that Mama and Asami once lived in. It was after her divorce from her first husband, that she moved there. My other sister Karina, was separated from her from her and remained with him while she had Asami. She was a single mother, estranged from her other daughter, and moved to the Big Apple. Together, Asami and Mama, lived in Queens in a quaint apartment with a siamese cat. Upon booking my trip I asked my Asami if she had any way of finding the address to their old apartment. She didn't but she mentioned that she knew it was close to her school. At this point I figured that it would still be great to walk around the general area. It was incredibly significant for me to visit a time and space from her past. It was especially significant, the synchronicities that would lead me to get there.
I have had several trips to New York and whenever I travelled anywhere Mama had been, I would always ask her for reccomendations. She absolutely loved New York and was always excited for me when I travelled, it was definitely something we both loved. She always produced wonderful lists for me of places to visit, things to eat, and sometimes even, people to see. Upon recalling this I searched my email inbox for our old emails that I could re-read and with wonderful synchronicity-- alas, her address to her Queens apartment. I was sitting at my computer, overwhelmed with tears of joy streaming down my face. That incredible feeling you get when you experience the intangible feeling of knowing you are being guided and spoken to by spirit-- it is surreal.
Fast forwarding to my last day, Sarah offered to come meet me at Tanya's loft. Together we took the Metro and she pulled one of my suitcases through the snow. She knew exactly where we were going and when we arrived in Queens, it continued to beautifully and lightly snow. We took some shots outside of the building and Sarah asked me if I wanted to go inside. The building was secured but I decided to try the door anyway. To our luck, the door didnt shut entirely so I pushed it open and there we were inside the lobby. I walked around observing the mail room, imaginging her during this time of her life. We took the elevator up and decided to go onto the roof. We got to the roof and there was a sign warning that opening the door would sound an alarm. As I debated the truth of this sign I turned around to see a window. We crawled through the window to the snow covered rooftop. We both remained silent as we wandered around and looked out across the neighborhood. Leaving the building we went to go in search of somewhere to sit and share a meal together. Sarah, a stranger to my life, listened to my story, I cried in front of her and she too, shared her story with me. She rode with me in the taxi to the airport and walked me to the security checkpoint. I gave her a hug and was so grateful for our newfound friendship.
It's beautiful how even after someone's death you can still carry an ever growing relationship with them. If you allow yourself to notice it, they're always somehow divinely orchestrating connected moments and leaving evidences of their presence and love for you.
Mother Earth is home to all of us. We aren't separate because we share the same air, water, and space. And because this is our home and the divisions are invisible and made up-- we are all responsible for one another. When a fellow human being is in turmoil, we all are. If any part of the world is having a disaster then we are all having a disaster. Yes, your own happiness is ultimately your own responsibility-- but we are also collectively here having an experience together. Our own happiness is a contribution to all. Be kind to yourself, our home, and each other.
This is another track from the album that my dear friend shared with me some time ago. Music in this form, for me, has been incredibly healing.
Relax & Listen.
This compilation is done by a Bulgarian Women's Choir:
I was conceived, born, and raised on the beautiful island of O'ahu. I chose two wonderful loving parents who gave me a lot of contrast to work with while living in paradise. I lived suspended between two worlds. And while it wasn't always a harmonious agreement-- I can say with complete certainty that it served my growth and learning in so many ways.
My Papa is a Hare Krsna and his main prerogative was for us to embrace and live a life by the Bhakti Yoga principles. My Mama was a very independent workaholic who’s main prerogative at this time was to give us our freedom to be kids, provide a nice home, an education, and a future that could provide us security.They lived seperately and shared our custody until they decided to move into a 3 story home together while living on separate floors. This house was like a magical castle to me. I was convinced that there were secret walls and doors that existed in this home and I was determined to discover them. I was also happy to be with the people I loved all under one roof.
You will hear most people say this and I think it is rings true for most of us; growing up, I felt so different. I remember the moment when I realize that what was a "normal" life for me was very strange to my peers. "Who is that blue guy in that picture on your wall?"
It was 2nd grade at age 7 when I went to a public school for the first time down the street from our new home. Prior to this my experiences with other children were with children who were also from alternative lifestyles, free thinking institutions like Montesory and Waldorf, and homeschooling. Upon entering a public school setting and observing the reactions of other children to me, I started feeling shame around "being different."
Being a vegetarian kid today is hip, its trendy, and I hear kids talking about being gluten free-- it's a trip and it's wonderful to see this awareness today. This, however, wasnt the case when we were growing up. It was very strange to be a vegetarian and especially in Hawaii where the pride of the islands delights were Hawaiian plate lunches, kalua pork, bbq, fish, seafood, and such. I would attend birthday parties and I couldn’t eat the cake because it had eggs in it. I am naturally slender and I remember the parents of the other children would look at me with concern and pity and remark that my vegetarian lifestyle was the reason why I was so malnourished. I felt angry at them for demeaning my parents choices and I felt left out because I could not participate.
Looking back, Mama was quite tuned into the struggles that we were having without us ever having to say it. She made efforts to provide us experiences that would enable us to know what it was like to do what other kids did. I appreciated her for this. She did what she could to help us feel like a “normal” kid and one of the ways she did this was by taking my little brother and I to get a happy meal at McDonalds. My guess is that she wanted us to be able to at least know what a happy meal tasted like and to feel the joy of getting a toy with it. I found myself having trouble joining in on conversations that my classmates would have over the current events of what an average child knew about, ate, and did. I believe that Mama did things like this for us so that when kids talked about it we could relate as well as to give us the free will and choice to have a buger if we wanted to. We were overjoyed. We would pull through the drivethru, order, open our toys and eat while she drove us around the neighborhood until we were done before discarding the evidence-- it was our little secret.