life, Women, writing

We Cannot Force Change

But we CAN ALLOW it.


by Kaia Maeve Tingley


What will we choose?

Pain? Or love?

The struggle is real, sisters. The pain hurts and the slights are never-ending. The patriarchy is death by a million papercuts.

I get it.

But…

We cannot force this change that we all want so badly to happen.

We cannot make ourselves successful.

Goodness knows we’ve been trying long enough.

How many years have I been striving and pushing and digging to know what to write? I had to learn to yield before I could feel my flow. Can you feel it flowing now?

I can. But I didn’t start this way. And I know the flow I have now will falter if I don’t get the support and nourishment I need to sustain it. I’m far from there. Just sharing the clues I find along the way.


Patience is something you earn.

Having kids helps, but there are many other ways too.

The word Islam actually means surrender, did you know that? The epitome of male domination and the subjugation of women, to our western minds, is based upon the principles of surrender. The Arabic word for mercy shares its root with the word for the womb. Who would have thunk?

At the root of all the dysfunction, perhaps once there was love. But it got twisted. We humans are pretty good at doing that. Just ask the religions.

Yes, there is clearly an imbalance between the masculine and the feminine in our culture. It’s impossible not to see it. We have been RIGHT to call it out. The light is shining upon the inequity, now… what shall we do with it? How can we give it good death and allow the scales to rebalance?


Can we find mercy?

We cannot make our menfolk change.

Nor can we debate with the women among us who stand shoulder to shoulder with the domination hierarchy. Be it Stockholm Syndrome, or the simple fact that these women benefit personally from their association with the old ways, we cannot force them to change.

We can write forever on this platform about who the president should be and why. We can call out toxic masculinity seven ways from Sunday. We can debate the ethics of the economy. We can seek solace for our pain. We can use words forever.

But all of this is in our minds. It pulls on our hearts. It never gets close to the womb.

It never gets down into the soil.

We cannot force transformation. We must work WITH the life force. We cannot master her.


Change from within.

What does that even mean?

We cannot even force OURSELVES to change, honestly. Goddess knows I have tried. We can only allow change to pass through us.

We hear the phrases, “change from within” and “be the change,” and our brain blocks the true meaning from entering our hearts.

We think, “Oh right, Gandhi,” And then we dive right back into our story.

We let our mind project narrative thoughts onto our consciousness, and then we think that is real. We never leave our heads. We drive our cars on autopilot, the dreams in our minds more real than any movie. We don’t even see the road. Not really.

No, we must allow this knowing to enter us from our roots. From deep within the earth.

This vulnerable and honest piece by Shannon Ashley gets to the heart of things. She’s got the secret sauce in her writing too. That’s why she is so successful here.

In this piece, she gives a true name to the futility of trying to force herself into something she is not. She talks about beginning to find the freedom of learning to trust herself in a way that she has not been able to trust information alone. No matter how well researched. It’s a brilliant piece.


We cannot alchemize the life or death of things while we are in human bodies.

But we can access the exhale.

We can feel the power of letting go. We can learn to stop dreading death.

We cannot force love.

We cannot force pleasure.

We cannot convince people our truth is better than theirs. Not with just our words. Words have been emptied of meaning in the current milieu. We can no longer trust words or videos, or photographs to show what was really there. We live in the era of the deep fake and photoshop and partisan media.

But it doesn’t really matter. Because that’s NOT actually where the change begins. One domino will topple the whole structure if only we push on the right one.

We can only allow for the turning of the wheel. We can only make space for transformation to proceed in its one time. We can accept our place in the universe and learn to enjoy it.

We are the portal. They are the pipe that holds us.

If we try to force it, we will block it. The life force, that is. Relax. Change. Create. Andrew Johnson

Forcing it is like faking an orgasm. It’s probably more disappointing to us than our partners, though we never admit it. It still feels good in the moment, but ultimately we know we want more.

Grant us the patience to wait until we are truly ready. And when we allow ourselves the time, then hold on to your headboards, ladies. It feels completely different.

Forcing it means ONLY using our big brains and our strong hands to make things happen.

Yes, and…

We can apply these tools to change ONLY AFTER the passageway within us is cleared to make way for the work. The masculine sides of our natures are powerful, let’s not forget. And so is the feminine side of our men. Let us remember.


Yes, the anger is real, sisters.

Yes, he did just do that again, and he didn’t even notice.

Yeah, that sucks.

Yes, we did just watch those old men bluster and lie and puff up their poor bedraggled feathers in an attempt to hold power.

I KNOW how you feel when this stuff happens. Your anger is justified and you are not wrong to feel it.

But flies are attracted to death and decay. I didn’t watch the debate, but I heard about the fly. Nature won’t lie. There’s a reason a fly landed on his head. (If you’re lost on this one, read about the vice-presidential debate.)

We hold on to our anger at our own risk. Like the proverbial coal, ready to throw at our transgressors, it is our hand that will be burned.

Stay closed and tight and righteous, and that which is crying out to be born will never crown and pass through.


This is where we choose.

Shall we become Darth Vader? Or Darth Mater if you will?

Shall we believe the elegant lies of the Jedi that tell us we must abandon our emotions and our connections to one another? Shall we forsake our mother? Shall we surrender our children? I don’t think so.

But… we can let go of our rage. We can choose to act differently.

Or can we choose to balance the emotions of the dark side with those of the light? This is the ring of fire, my loves. The choice point for all of us.

Will we allow? Will we soften? Will we find our grace once again?


Forgiveness is not approval.

And it isn’t easy to give.

But forgiveness is more for the giver than it is for the receiver, in my humble opinion. And at this point, if we do not choose to learn how to forgive, then good luck to us all getting out of the Anthropocene alive.

The choice is within you. It’s within me. It’s within us all.

How shall we choose, ladies? Will we learn to forgive and allow, or will we continue to insist on trying to make them earn love?

To make them pay us back for the pain of the patriarchy?

They are its victims too.

Like a wayward child, arms crossed, face set in an angry frown, they have shut down. Our pleas for mercy are interpreted as slights to the ego.

That boy was abused. This one was abandoned. That one was taught from birth to center themselves right in the middle of the fucking #manbox. They have pain too. They just hide it behind their anger. They hide it behind their numbness, their videogames, and their blustering locker room talk. It’s generational.

Our emotional superpowers have curdled and turned our souls toxic. Our hormones are all out of whack. We try our best, but we are so easily triggered, my sisters. It’s so hard to sleep. These wounds have been passed down by our mothers to us for ages.


It isn’t fair.

Life isn’t fair.

Life is wild and free, and we may choose to enjoy it on our own terms, if… if we let go. Let go of what blocks us from the light within.

We have asked. We have threatened. We have stomped and shouted and abandoned things. We are righteously upset at all the trauma we’ve had to undergo.

But…

We are now the sticking point because of this. We are choosing to be the closed sphincter that doesn’t allow the shit to go back to the earth to be composted. We are choosing to be the locked pelvic bones that do not allow for the child’s head to pass through.

And Gaia is about to either cut us open to get this baby from our wombs or wrap the cord around the baby’s neck. I see your pain, ladies. I’ve been there too. I am not afraid to make you remember.

And still, I ask you…

Can we just relax? Is it possible?

Watch the joy of children playing if you want to remember what it looks like to be in the flow.


You.

Yes, you, the one reading this piece.

The one who stuck with my spiraling words all the way to the end. The woman who feels these words in her wolf bones and her long, wild hair. The man who is willing to lay down his armor and cry long-suppressed tears.

What can we do today to release? To forgive? To choose to ground ourselves in the truth of the soil? To relax into the warmth of the sun. To enjoy the sound of the rain.

To find mercy for the uprooted trees, the flooded streets, and the shattered high rises of places like Lake Charles, Louisiana. It wasn’t mentioned much in the news, but the pain is still lingering there. I am certain. To find mercy for the crisped cinders of the west coast, the outback, and the Amazon basin. To begin the process of healing.

Can we choose not to yell when your kids piss us off in their infinite phase of not listening-ness? To choose not to get angry when our partners bristle at us when we tell him how we feel? Or show him what we wrote?

Can we relax into deep breaths?


Let your belly hang softly.

Unclench your shoulders, unclench your jaw?

Soften your passageways and undulate your spine.

Can you feel the energy that wants to flow through you?

This is the life force, remember? Does it feel familiar to you? It’s been an undercurrent our whole lives, but most times we are too up in our heads to feel it.

This is our sexual and creative birthright, oh humans in women’s bodies. I call upon you to remember the feeling. To remember the mystery, and to honor it with reverence. We do not need to understand.

It does not devalue our brains to open our hearts. It will not kill us to soften our wombs, though it may feel like it at the moment. Can we be brave and be willing? Be vulnerable and find trust?

We have the capacity for boundless flow. The patriarchy cannot stop this.

That choice is up to us.


This piece was inspired by Sean Kernan’s lovely paean about Diana Nyad. It was also inspired by the meditations of Andrew Johnson. Finally, this piece springs from the determination of the feminine to test what is possible and do what our minds tell us we cannot.


Kaia Tingley is a writer, artist, podcaster, digital strategy nerd, and sometimes hot-tempered supernova with a wild, free soul. You can find her on Instagram here or on LinkedIn here.

This post was originally published by Living Out Loud on Medium.

Standard
Uncategorized

Change in a Pandemic World: Who’s Complaining?

Everything has changed.


I went to the store today and the shelves were almost empty. Toilet paper, tissues and paper towel supplies were nil. They’ve placed quantity restrictions on the little items remaining, and all is carried out beneath the scrutinizing stares of security.

Did I complain?

No.

I can’t source hand sanitizer; although they’re selling an 8-pack of 100ml bottles for $60 AUD on Catch of the Day and toilet paper is going for somewhere in the hundreds.

Some catch.

Strangely enough, the thought of running out of toilet paper doesn’t faze my husband. In fact, he seems to find the idea amusing because while he grew up in Holland, his father is Indonesian.

If you are familiar with how Indonesian’s tackle the matter of anal hygiene, then you’ll know that they seldom have the need for toilet paper.

Here’s a quick overview of the process from Wikipedia:

“Anal hygiene, or anal cleansing, refers to hygienic practices that are performed on a person’s anus, usually shortly after defecation. The anus and buttocks may be washed or wiped (typically with toilet paper or wet wipes) in order to remove remnants of fecal matter.”

My husband was raised with a bottle next to the loo and practiced using a “pencuci botol gelandangan” or bottle bum washer until the age of 17. They used the tips of their fingers and a squirt of water to finish their business.

Each time he cracks another joke about how we might be forced to change our bathroom habits to more primitive (and gross) practices, my insides cringe rebelliously. It is this thought driving my quest to seek out toilet-paper on an almost daily basis.

Still not complaining.

I have a mother who likes to hunt more than me. She does me a solid and brings rolls each time she visits. She even haggles with the toilet paper street hustlers — who knew that would ever be a thing?

The good news is that I did manage to score an extremely overpriced pump bottle of hand soap today. It smells like orange and almond and the label states that it’s “Nourishing & Life-changing”.

Now, that’s ironic.

I wonder if the soap manufacturers knew something that eluded the rest of us. Albeit, I’m using the life-changing soap not to ignite change in my life, but because life has changed beyond my control.

I often speak about change and how the only control we really have is the way we choose to respond to it. Sometimes, we can stick our heads in the sand and pretend a thing never happened; we think if wait long enough the issue will just go away.

Then, there is a time when we are faced with a pandemic disease in the form of COVID-19 that no amount of sand-head-sticking can erase.

Nobody gets to escape the change taking place in the world right now, but we all have a choice on how we deal with it. It is crucial now more than ever to become aware of ourselves; our actions and reactions.

We can stop complaining about it.

It’s natural for us to become agitated from time to time and need to vent in some way. Even the calmest among us still blow a fuse every now and then. But given the drastic shift happening in our lives and communities, it’s important to keep tabs on our mindset and be aware how our energy affects others.

People are fighting over toilet paper, bribing grocery truck delivery drivers and pulling out knives in supermarkets.

Welcome to the new reality.

I grabbed a coffee at a local café a few days ago. I was inundated with people complaining about how the out-of-towners are showing up to scour “our” grocery store for necessities. Like toilet paper.

The conversation grated at me. I drove home questioning the mindset of people who are usually quite open and giving in their nature.

Why is it that when the world begins to show us our fragility that we resort to out-of-character behavior?

It’s unsettling and scary. I’m here and listening, and I’m thinking that we are being kept in the dark for the most part.

Do I complain?

No.

But my heart is hurting, my oldest son is remotely interstate, uncertainty rims and my home is far away.

Pandemics have a way of kickstarting our “survival mode”. People behave in ways that they usually wouldn’t. Don’t be one of those people. We get to choose how we react — choosing fear and panic will only breed more of those emotions.

Then what?

We’re going to encounter people who will be driven by fear, or maybe even the complete opposite — nonchalance.

Just the other day, hundreds of Sydney-siders flocked onto Bondi Beach to enjoy one of the last of the season’s warm days. It was a scorcher, and it was clear that no one was thinking about “social distancing” or taking the matter seriously.

Until the authorities showed up and sent everyone on their way.

Did they complain?

Probably.

The point is that neither fear or indifference is going to cut it right now.

If we’re going to overcome this, we need to be informed and prepared to do our part in helping to keep the virus contained as much as possible. Better times await us, but we have to wait it out to get there.

Now is a good time to practice the art of minding your own business. The noise from the outside can be deafening. Choose what you allow to infiltrate into your sacred sanctuary and focus on keeping the love alive.

These are the times when our love, patience and sense of empathy are being pushed to the edge. When what it is on the inside will reveal itself to you and to others. This pandemic is going to change you — but how it changes you is completely in your court.

And there’s no point complaining about it; unless we have to resort to practicing “pencuci botol gelandangan”.

Be safe everyone and much love,

Kim xx


Standard
Uncategorized

Changing Life Chapters – it’s Easy to Resist Change.

“Love is friendship set on fire.”

~ Jeremy Taylor

What lights you up inside?

Have you ever looked back and imagined your entire life as chapters of a book? And that each chapter began with an inciting incident that eventually led to a critical point that became that one moment when you stood at a crossroads? You remember that one – the time when you knew your decision would determine the way your life would unfold over the months and years to follow.

Of course, we experience more than one of those pivotal moments during a lifetime. It’s how it’s meant to be; how we grow and evolve as individuals and as a species. Besides, life would fast become mundane if we were not periodically presented with new possibilities. It’s as if the universe peels back to reveal a crack every now and then – a sliver wide enough to illuminate a path brimming with alternative prospects of a different life.

Our bellies may flutter as we peek through the doors of a mysterious future. We might slide on our dark shades to peer into the uncharted hours of a life spreading before us like the light of the moon trailing across the ocean’s surface. Thinking … pondering … mulling over the would-be path while we analyse and sift through the possibilities until we decide whether to embrace something different or stay put and play it safe.

Sometimes, it might be a work opportunity or a crazy idea that entails a certain amount of risk. Other times, it might be more personal life choices like love and relationships where the stakes are raised high enough to warrant a vault pole if we decide to take a leap of faith. Whatever the moment is, one thing you can count on is that it will usually show up when you least expect it.

It’s easy to resist change. After all, the future is unpredictable and uncertain. No one can really foretell what the future holds; freewill takes care of that. Gifted psychics and mediums can only take you so far. Their visions are always confined by a higher order. In other words, those intelligent beings existing in the higher realms looking out for you will only allow you to uncover so much about the future. The rest is left solely to your own discovery in order to strengthen your personal growth and life lessons.

Makes sense. If we knew without a doubt the events yet to unfold, how would we really be able to relish those moments as we experience them? We wouldn’t, and that’s the beautiful mystery of life – to be present and participate fully; to feel and resonate with our emotions as our paths wind through rocky waters and soar at wonderous heights, and to anchor ourselves in the present while keeping a firm vision of our ambitions and desires in our mind’s eye.

And this is why the present is all-powerful, because the present is all we have to ground our feet in deep and practice assuming that our desires are fulfilled before we leap into the future. Does this not excite you as it does me? That your dreams and aspirations, desires and hunger to create are as real as you want them to be; as real as the power you decide to extend to them. The energy will always go where it is directed so direct it wisely.

I love the way Neville Goddard expresses this notion in his book The Power of Awareness when he states, “All transformation begins with an intense burning desire to be transformed. You must want to be different before you can begin to change yourself. Then you must make your future dream a present fact. You do this by assuming the feeling of your wish fulfilled.”

We can’t stop change from happening. Even when we think nothing is changing, it always is. The invisible wheels are always shifting in the background of our lives. We change even when we don’t want to change – physically and emotionally, our circumstances, environment and relationships. So, if our lives are always changing, why not embrace the all-powerful present to manipulate your future into your most burning desires?

If we’re being honest here, it is through our relationships that offer us the most value on the everchanging wheel-deal. This is where things can get tricky when thinking about our future, but without those rich and transformative experiences relationships provide, we cannot reach our full emotional potential as evolving human beings.

We are mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, aunts, uncles, grandparents, friends and lovers. We wear many hats for many different people. Each relationship has its own authentic current pertaining to the two individuals involved; each provides layers and experiences that enrich our lives in some way, even when we are confronted by conflict within those connections. Yet, of all the relationships we experience, it is through the ones we connect with at the heart that really shape and cultivate our lives – the ones that burn like an exquisite flame to light us up on the inside.

Have you ever felt your breath thin and your heart explode when confronted by that special someone? Or told someone that they were the best part of your day and meant every word?

Love. Messy, scary, exciting, beautiful love. Everyone experiences it differently, and each time it happens, it is never the same as the time before. Anyone that has experienced it knows it is the best feeling ever. Love is like a rainbow; even when it’s not returned, it is still filled with glorious colors that shade your heart with beauty. Love is never wrong. Never. But the thing about love is that it is subjective and intangible, and it’s different for us all.

It can grow and flourish, making us feel smitten, crazy happy and utterly delirious with all things wonderful. And sometimes, it can take a turn and produce the opposite effects – it can sour and hinder your happiness, clip your wings and make you sad. Sometimes, love just runs its course for the length it takes for that relationship to reach its full potential. This is when the two in question become passive within the connection; when they no longer challenge and fuel one another at the deep levels required in order to continue evolving and learning from the union.

I know this situation well. We probably all have at some point or another. Remember earlier when I mentioned imagining the everchanging sections of our lives like chapters of a book? Here’s the super-short version of one long chapter in my life, and it all started with a guy…

Love was the inciting incident. I fell in love with a guy I had known during my childhood years. He reappeared into my life like a lovely blonde vision with a cute smile and a gentle demeanor, and every part of me succumbed to his blue-eyed, boyish charm. Yep, I totally melted while my heart sang and other parts went wildly crazy. It wasn’t long before he took me to the beach, produced a diamond and asked for my hand in marriage. Truth be told, it scared the bejesus out of me. I was 21 years old with plans to travel and see the world before thinking about marriage. But he was so damned vulnerable and sincere in that moment that I couldn’t bear the thought of turning him down.

My bad.

The usual entailed; we set out to make a life together. We moved around a bit until eventually buying a house, cars and furniture; a cat came along … then children. Travel emerged too. We cruised the south Pacific, visiting cool places like Vanuatu, Fiji and New Caledonia. We flew to New Zealand to spend time with his Kiwi family, and he bought me stuff – lots of stuff. I was buried beneath so much stuff, I didn’t know what to do with it.

Hmm.

Progressive complications are … well … complicated. Not all things are what they appear to be. Come to think of it, most things aren’t what they appear to be. On the outside we appeared to be the perfect family. Lots of stuff and travel makes for a convincing veil. Yet there is truth to that old saying about what happens behind closed doors. You know those kinds of people that don’t possess the ability to recognize their own toxic behavior and the effects it has on others? They are the worst kinds of bullies because you cannot reason with them no matter how much you try.

I tried hard.

For many years I over-stayed my welcome in a marriage with thoughts of making it work. I was really kidding myself, but we’re all pretty good at that, right? The idea of change was terrifying. There was our jointly owned home to consider, combined assets and finances, and of course, the cat and the children.

Life happens…

The months turned into years and more years, and I knew in my core that that relationship could no longer serve me in the ways I yearned to be served. The connection had faltered, waned and had become a shadow of the beginning. I longed to be able to connect at a meaningful level; needed to relate and expand in ways that he was unable to reach – through soul, spirit, intellect. Which naturally spills over into producing the ultimate bedroom experiences, by the way.

Sigh.

We all do the best with what we have and what we are capable of in the moment. It took me a while to realize that he wasn’t capable of taking a hard look at himself and readjusting accordingly at that time in his life. But these were my lessons too, and I strongly believe that we never get more than what we can take.

I took a lot, and lots of stuff doesn’t come close to filling the void within.

This really was nobody’s fault. He was physically and emotionally abusive, controlling, and extremely difficult to live with. Yet, that was his hang up; his own demons that would become his undoing. In the early years before we had children, there were times when he would lock me in our apartment before he’d go to work his night shift. He would lock me in there with no way out, only to return home and demand to inspect my nether region.

Was it fresh, plump and pink this day? Or had it taken a serving?

God forbid had I decided to serve myself while the cat was away. Have you ever been subjected to that line of questioning as someone has their nose buried between your legs with a microscope in hand?

“Uh-hum, it appears you are somewhat swollen.” Dark frown raises with suspicion. “Who’s been here?”

“Huh? Are you out of your mind?”

Yeah, someone was losing it and I’m certain it was me. He actually didn’t have a microscope, but considering the amount of effort he put into these inspections, he may as well have. Besides feeling utterly violated at such a derogatory treatment, I had no idea how he thought another man could get in. Too bad if the building caught fire too. I would’ve been toast.

The Crisis eventually arrived in the form of suffocation. Over the years our relationship had disintegrated to the point of disparity and existed for the sake of familiarity, the vows we had taken and the children we had created. Discordance dominated the connection; the pages in our book were verging on an entirely different series. Emptiness replaced the meaningful exchanges and delicious intimacy we had once thrived on – and yes, that was there in the beginning. But intimacy and connecting had become something of the past and I needed more for myself, and yet, I buried that internal need to grow for the longest of times.

The universe offered a crack. I had a choice.

If I continued to play it safe, I would be better off financially and the children would not have to endure the reality of a broken home. Stay and I wouldn’t have to endure hardship or raise three children alone; stay and I would remain miserable and oppressed, and in doing so, I would inevitably deny myself of my own truth.

Climaxes are not always earth-shatteringly exquisite, but they always bring change. I’m not certain what finally broke the final piece of resistance, but suddenly, something clicked inside of me – I couldn’t deny what I needed and craved in order to nourish my soul. It was then that I began the change by anchoring myself in the present and daring to see my life differently; a life that he had spent years trying to convince me that I was too weak to create.

 So, one day when he was condemning and criticizing me, I looked him in the eye and told him that he could try as hard as he liked but he would NEVER break me. Then I did it – I made the first moves to make a change that I had thought was nearly impossible.

He wasn’t an easy man to escape. Those who thrive on controlling women never are. He even threw things at me as I held my terrified two-year-old and stuffed my belongings in boxes as I prepared to shift myself and my children out of there.

Resolutions are like a breath of fresh air asthe new normal settles in your bones. I had resisted change because I was afraid of the unknown, but it was when I peeked through the crack the universe had provided for long enough that I believed that I was able to place my faith in an uncharted future. It was either that or continue on the same path that wasn’t lighting me up on the inside. And that is what it comes down to – knowing when to embrace the mysteries of an unmapped future and when to play it safe.

The future is there regardless. Playing it safe and hiding from exciting opportunities or unbridled passion, or just a change for the better might be terrifying, but it won’t enrich your life in the same ways that owning your truth will. We are here to carve our notch on the surface of time. If we don’t write our chapters with our authentic selves, then we cheat ourselves more than anyone.

It’s like being faced with a field of blooming daisies and the universe cracks open to present you a rare wildflower. Picking the wildflower could be risky and exhilarating, but it could mean the beginning of the next chapter in your life if you are but game and brave enough to pluck the stem from the universe and step into the uncharted future.

Standard