What is the root cause of this society that's focused on outward appearance? On what we own, instead of who we are?

The answer is that we don't accept what's before and what's after life. By fearing death, by fearing processes that involve detachment from physical and material forms, we cling to all that is physical and material. That's when, although our fixation is within form, we lose touch with the present. Being present means understanding and accepting the transience of life.

When we cling to material things, the bottom line is that these objects become an extension of us, of our identity, of what we'd like others to perceive us as. If we ascribe value to say, a bag, or a car, and we want others to know we own it, we are trying to instill a sense of value to ourselves that deems us worthy of some standard of treatment. What this actually does is it devalues us.

We are worthy, we are valuable as we are, because in our essence we are LIFE. We are consciousness. We are love.

It is perfectly okay to like things and appreciate them for their quality. That is part of the time we have on the material 3D plane. We must enjoy what we can touch. We must partake in the materiality. But we never lose touch with the fact that none of this can become a part of us, because then that's accepting the fallacy that we aren't enough as we are.

When it comes to appearances, aging is a natural part of life. Our culture is so scared of the aging process because it reminds us of our mortality, and that fear in itself makes us UGLY. Do you see the most spiritually developed person, the most loving person, and how he/she doesn't age? How s/he is beautiful in an eternal way, how his/her eyes sparkle? It's true that the quality of our souls can change the way we look. The person so afraid of age is so afraid of him/herself, and that's the person who literally looks like s/he is wearing a mask. One made of plastic. One made of self-hatred. Fear will age you faster, and I mean that in a physical sense. As you drop the dense emotions, the heavy baggage, you'll see how the lightness reflects off of every part of your being including your physicality. Radiance is light.

Leveling Up, Gratitude, Resilience

Today was the first day that I felt grateful for this grieving process. No one wants to grieve and most days recently I've wanted so badly for it to go away. It is frustrating to wake up facing anxiety, depression and bouts of anger and sadness that appear at random. It is frustrating to have these tension headaches, to feel so fatigued I can't move, and to feel like my heart and back are caving in on themselves.

But I realized, it gets tough only because it's signifying that I'm moving forward. Things only get hard because they are a challenge, preparing us for the next level. Once I am able to get myself through this, I really will have expanded in consciousness and appreciation for life.

When we grieve, naturally our hearts close. It's self-protection, like a barricade that not only keeps the pain in, but other people out. It's like our hearts can't handle more. But if we try hard to open our hearts and love ourselves, nothing is insurmountable. 

I met a girl in kundalini yoga who said to me that she developed her daily practice, and then her balance and joy because she had to. When life got so hard for her she couldn't handle it anymore, she turned to developing her daily practice. And now she's radiant, centered, full of love. If not for trials, we wouldn't find solutions.

And it really resonated that when it comes to making sense of how we feel about people who have hurt us, that it's not about just noticing the good they did and forgetting the bad, nor is it about only remembering the bad. It is about reaching a place of neutrality where we can not just thank them for the good they did, but for their shit too. Because if not for their shit, we wouldn't be who we are. And then I realized that the missing ingredient in this formula was my appreciation and love for myself. I forget sometimes to love myself. And if we do love ourselves, then we can appreciate other people for what they've done to contribute to us being who we are now.

Dropping Fear

I used to be so fearful. When I worked in a dungeon I could barely go outside sometimes for fear that someone had seen my photos online. I imagined that everyone was judging me and so I clung to my "other" life at the time, the socially acceptable one, the "student".

For years I felt this shame and fear of exposure. I kept the sides carefully segregated- no one in my vanilla life knew what I did because I feared rejection. Really, it was my own self-rejection I was afraid of. I think we can all understand the impulse to overcompensate when there's something that we don't like about ourselves, or want to hide.

And one day, I stopped caring when I realized that the structures that I was taught (i.e. don't tell anyone your real name) were rooted in fear. No one shared anything personal about themselves purely because they were afraid. Many of these people hoped to one day abandon their "shadow work" and go into the vanilla world, so I understand this fear of disclosure. I had thought that the only way to be acceptable would one day leave this behind and call it a phase. I was in denial that this was a true part of me. 

It wasn't until I decided to drop the fear to be myself did I start meeting people who were like me, who had stuck with this profession for the long haul out of love. They had normal, wonderful, open lives. And I saw my scope expand. I could be myself, without sacrifice, and by putting myself honestly, and openly, out there, I would attract just the right people who would encourage me along my path. Otherwise, by living a lie, I would do nothing except attract dishonesty, or people who would have a problem with who I was inside.

Of course I still struggled. I kept both sides of me down in order to not expose one another, in case it would upset someone. And in the end, I feel the fear slowly slipping away even more. Without knowing how much fear I had within me, it's something I can only identify in retrospect. There's so much change happening on an unconscious level once we set out to change that's gradual, but the days add up and we will never be where we once were even if we go two steps forward and one step back.

Now I'm ready to be public. I don't care if my identities blur. This is me, and it's alright if the world knows who I am. And you will see just how much potential for liberation is in you, too.

We deserve to be happy. It is a basic human right.