Spiritually Bananas

Life has been a bit off lately which has left me feeling a little less than inspired to write. On 1/29/16, my father passed away suddenly from a heart attack.  A week after the funeral, my uncle passed away from the same fate.  The first two months of 2016 have been a time of transition as my family and I settle into a new normal.

It’s also played havoc on my schedule.

Now that death has introduced itself — this is the first immediate family member to pass away — I’ve been trying to spend as much time with my one remaining parent.  After work, I visit my mom on a regular basis to make sure her needs are being met.  She’s been coping pretty well but sometimes I’m afraid she wants to give up.  I’ll blog about it in a later post.

My mom and I at the Wisteria Festival at Sierra Madre.

My mom and I at the Wisteria Festival at Sierra Madre.

I’m currently on Spring Break and the last two weeks have been a much needed time to regroup and recenter my spiritual practices.  I pressed into them a lot more recently and started to reflect on death a little bit more than usual.

I just finished the audio book of When Air Becomes Breath by Paul Kalanithi.  I don’t think I was ready to listen to a memoir that was left unfinished by a successful up and coming neuro surgeon who passed away from cancer.  It was a bit too early to early for me to delve fully into the subject.  I struggled my way through it and I wasn’t really actively listening while it played.  I’ll give it another try at a later time.

bpjm-square-1536Angelina is currently on Spring Break as well and is hiking and eating her way through Oregon.  Gosh, now that I’m blogging again, there’s a lot of interesting stories coming to mind that I’d like to share.  I recently started dating a guy who has really caught my attention…I believe he feels the same way too.  I’ll ask him if I can blog about our relationship.

Things are looking up as Spring Break comes to a close; with only two months left of the school year and glorious summer vacation on the horizon, I believe we’ll be posting a lot more spiritual stories in the future.

Spiritual Bahana and I at my recent book party.

Spiritual Bahana and I at my recent book party.

I’d like to close this post with pictures of my dad whom I miss terribly.

Rest in peace dad!

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That's me in the middle, hiiiii!!

That’s me in the middle, hiiiii!!

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Ed

 

 

Fun with Make-Up

I love make-up. I have an unbalanced relationship with make-up.

I am working on it.

There have been times in my life where I wore tons of make-up. I explored why in this post and realized I was trying to cover up my insecurities and self-doubts. I would spend more time painting my face than exploring my heart and doing the work that made me feel OK with or without my make-up.

Then there came a point where I threw out all my MAC make-up because it was tested on animals and I started all over again. For about a year, I wore pretty minimal make-up and spent a lot more time working on my inner beauty.

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I am slowly re-building my make-up collection with some great cruelty-free brands (Too Faced and Kat Von D being my new favorites) and having fun with different looks. I have been reminded how fun make-up can be for me, but I still remind myself that I should not be skipping my morning meditations to have time to contour. This may have happened last week.

Here have been some of my favorite new looks:

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Just kidding. That was me after hot yoga. That class made feel pretty amazing though.

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Too Faced’s Cocoa Contour is featured here, as well as their eyeshadow and blush from Le Grand Palais palette. I love how the blush in the palette gives a natural glow and there is just enough color pop for added FUN!

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This is my chola look and inspired by Kat Von D’s Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Vampire. This look says, I am educated but still down for shit.

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This look features Obsessive Compulsive’s Cosmetic’s stained gloss in Hedonist. I wore all black to a wedding but made up for it with a colorful face. My message was, I hate weddings but that’s no excuse not to look amazing.

I will keep seeking a balanced relationship with make-up, but still keep the process fun and versatile.

FUN

Vulnerability Part 2 of 2

amy poehler

Part of becoming comfortable with vulnerability is also accepting it from others. It is recognizing and accepting someone else’s vulnerable state. I have found it to mean being OK with someone who is not at their best. Being OK with someone who is asking for help. Being OK when someone is showing themselves a weaker side of you.

Here is something I am embarrassed about.

When I first became a school counselor seven years ago, I was very uncomfortable when working with a male student, and he would start to cry.

I felt panicked. I felt like I should do something, but I did not know what to do. I was ashamed by their vulnerability and my reaction to it. I really just wanted them to stop crying, because in my world, boys did not show that type of emotion.

I soon discovered that they boys would cry much more often and harder than the girls. What I begin to realize is once the boys felt comfortable and safe, they let it allllll out, because it was not socially acceptable for them to do that anywhere else.

And, I needed to be prepared for that.

I had to work on it, but I am now in a place where I am much more comfortable and competent to handle these situations.

I sit with them in their vulnerability and let them explore it safely and express their feelings.

I am OK with not rushing to “fix” their problems, so they can go back to being the males others expect them to be.

I hope I am showing them it is acceptable to be vulnerable and show emotions. It is OK to feel and express weakness with those you trust.

I am working on becoming better with both showing and receiving vulnerability.

In love & openness,

~Ang Catching a friend’s vulnerability can sometimes be tricky.  It depends on how well you know the person’s facial gestures or what the change in their tone of voice signifies. Recently, I was having dinner with a very dear and long time friend. She was telling me about a guy she was seeing who happened to be engaged.  A majority of the conversation dealt with trying to figure out whether the guy was really interested in her or just playing games.  In my head I was thinking, uh he’s engaged, he’s not interested in you.  I allowed her to do most of the talking because I’ve been in that situation before, and when you’re in it and can’t see out of it – it’s fun. So I ended up saying, he’s comfortable with where he is and isn’t going to give up that security for you or his fiance.  

I could have torn her down if I wanted to; sometimes people need to be hit upside the head with words in order to wake up but I chose not to that night.  She was in a vulnerable place and I had to respect that.  She may not know she’s in a vulnerable space but having been in her shoes before, I know I was at the time.  When you really want to believe in something, you follow your delusion.

I know some people would argue that if I were a true friend I would have been truthful but the reality is, she really wants to believe what she has going on is real and nothing I can say will change that.  We all have to learn that painful lesson sometime but if you can come out looking like Charlie XCX, we’re all the better for it.

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~ Peace,

Ed

To Feel and Catch : Vulnerability Part 1 of 2

“I spent a lot of years trying to outrun or outsmart vulnerability by making things certain and definite, black and white, good and bad. My inability to lean into the discomfort of vulnerability limited the fullness of those important experiences that are wrought with uncertainty: Love, belonging, trust, joy, and creativity to name a few.”- Brene Brown

When it comes to the subject of vulnerability, I’m a novice.  It’s been one of those human emotions I’ve heard about but never really experienced in my own life because I wasn’t conscious of it.  Actually, I was completely numb to it.  Now that I’m becoming more aware of it and looking for moments of it in life, the more I realize I have been feeling it all along; I just didn’t know it.

I’m going to share the following scenario that happens to me on a regular basis while I’m at work.  If someone were to ask me what I do for a living, I’d do my best to give a detailed description of what I do as a teacher.  After describing the ins and outs of teaching along with a couple of sentences that begin with, and research shows, I believe the person would be convinced that I knew what I was talking about.  The reality is most of the time I have no clue what’s going on.  But I would never admit that to my family or friends. It’s safer to tap it out on a keyboard hidden behind a computer screen.

If I were to say it out loud in front of a friend, I’m all too familiar with my inner reaction or feeling that comes right along with being vulnerable.  I’d suddenly feel myself shrink inside. Shrink, shrink, shrink until the person sitting on the opposite end either finishes me off with a catty remark or catches me with a reassuring sentiment.

Is that being vulnerable?  From the definition above, I believe it is; I’m opening myself up and by doing so, I’m allowing myself to either be understood or wounded.  I believe the art of vulnerability comes from knowing intuitively who to trust and who not to trust with your insides.  And that’s what I’d like to write about next week.

~ed

The following post was an entry on my personal blog from last week. I believe it sums up my current feelings of becoming more vulnerable, so I am re-posting here:

The past week turned my life a little topsy turvy and I was presented with the opportunity to practice all the heart opening I had been doing on the mat and everything I had been talking about on this blog last month, during the Heart Opening Project.

This month marks three years since my dad was shot and killed (you can read a little more about that here). There was an arrest made in this case and it is looking like it is finally making it’s way to trial, hopefully,….maybe. There is always the chance there will still be more continuances, extensions, and whatever other legal nuiances out there that can make this judicial process extremely inefficient and frustrating.

I have tried, I mean really tried, not to get too caught up in this case. I have tried to separate it out from my healing journey. But, this week, as I entered the court room to begin this process, I felt so much of the trauma, fear, anxiety and panic flooding back.

Instead of trying to be a pillar of strength, instead of trying to pretend like I was OK and “over” the grief, instead of trying to be strong for others, I asked for help.

This was not easy. It is not my natural tendency. I generally try to handle hardships on my own, in my own head and with my own resources.

But, I am (hopefully) past that point in my life. I have good people around me and I cannot do this on my own.

I sent out text messages to friends to tell them how I was feeling. I immediately took my husband up on his offer to take off work and be by my side, when normally I would have brushed that off and pretended I would be OK. I did the same with my mom when she offered, because even at 31, some situations still call for your mommy. I took time after I left the court house to take care of myself, eat healthy, get a massage and sweat it out at hot yoga. I talked about it, journaled, cried, felt and gave thanks for all the support I found.

Although it was not my natural tendency, it begin to feel acceptable and I hope I am finally getting to the place where I can open my heart up to others. I am learning the good people out there will know how to treat your heart, but you need to let them in first.

Thank-you to all my friends and family who offered their love and hearts this past week, and a special thank-you to one of my caring students who wrote me this lovely note, reminding me of advice I had once given here and making me some beautiful hand-made gifts.

love letter In love & sisterhood,

~ang