If you decided to give this article a read based on its title, there is a chance you want to give your life a facelift. Or, maybe you’re seeing where I’ve been hiding for over a week. Not like me to NOT publish, six days a week, I know. If you are a Tangled Lights Warrior, you know I speak often of the importance of being the best version of ourselves, living authentically and the sometimes painful and grueling effort required to fully understand all that “being genuine,” entails. What a complex bunch, the human race. Seeing as how we are fluid and dynamic beings, it’s not fair to refer to last year’s “you,” when I lend so much value to staying in the present. What IS important about last year is usually what we fail to recognize, completely. Some folks have it figured out- choosing to recall the good memories made vs reliving the bullshit. I struggle with reliving the bullshit. Not everyday. Not every situation. But, it happens. I’ll have (seemingly) healed from a deep emotional wound. I ignore self-care for a few days, or weeks, and, just like that, I’m walking backwards trying to find that one cow patty in a green field of flowers, until, whaddayaknow…I found the cow patty. I share this part of my brokenness with you so that I can share how I heal, also. I didn’t know much about much until I hit 30. Then, I knew a little about a little. Something happened between 29 and 31 that I can’t quite articulate. I grew up a little. I got sober. Hella sober. I went back to school, started traveling again, got a divorce, sold my house, bought another house and basically went crazier at 30 than I’d ever been. It wasn’t a mid-life crisis. It was a CRISIS. I was doing NONE of the things I wanted to be doing. Why? That’s a damn good question. While it’s easy to sit and tell you with utmost conviction that I had little control over my own life, then, is only a sliver of the truth. What IS true, is I didn’t know my power. I was unaware of my abilities. I am so over the saying, “We have free will.” We don’t. Not always. And, that’s ok, today. There are some things we simply cannot change, and it impacts us. What I learned some years later, was that the crazy bit I mentioned when I turned 30? That was actually sanity kicking in. I know, because I was coping with an astounding amount of stress, without alcohol…my crutch, my lover, my master…I was making choices about some of the most significant events in my life, to date. I was self-sustaining. I was truly independent. I was consulting MYSELF without taking a poll as to what everyone ELSE thought I should be doing. I was raising two little ones. And, I was terrified. It was all so raw. People love that, by the way…to be asked what they would do when you’re in the midst of a critical phase of life. Most are quick to dispense advice, because they don’t have to live with the consequences. They get to prattle on about how they would systematically set about the obvious and are eager to relay to you, just what you should do, and in what order. Are these your people? Maybe. Maybe, they are…I know that my most trusted friends will lend an ear before they lend a voice. They consider what I’ve shared and will weigh in after they have thoughtfully explored the viable options. Sometimes, they have a word of, “What if you…” did this, or that..But, the quicker someone is to present you with a set of solutions, the more I would urge you to ask yourself if this person has your best interest at heart. Some of our dark times are partially self-inflicted and we can’t see the forest for the trees. Then, I can expect a rather quick response from this same small circle…what is obvious to them is eluding me. I need to hear simple things from those who know me best. But, big stuff? Life changing stuff? I hope we (the collective, as humans) sleep on it before responding to the statement, “I need your advice.” It’s one thing to offer a short term, “next simple thing,” to see us through the day; it’s quite another to unpack our LUGGAGE (that’s a step above baggage, in case you were wondering) to another human for perusal and be offered a potentially lasting, impactful, “If I were you,” statement thrown around nine seconds after we’ve stopped talking. About the title of the article…First, nobody has it all figured out. Those who pretend to are the most dangerous. They can inflict further damage to our already flailing perception of ourselves, as a person. Be especially guarded with those who show up ONLY when your life is in a spiral. And it will be. Eventually, it will be your turn. I’ve had a turn this year, and I had a turn back in 2015. It’s the space between that we are hopefully taking out an insurance policy against the next spiral. But, too often, life throws us a curve ball and we’re screwed, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. We lose our inner peace and we forget that the waves ebb and flow. We panic. We link problems and discomfort to our identity. We have incredible difficulty seeing where we stop and the spiral begins. We feel like we ARE the spiral. Nope. It’s not true. I also must remind myself of this fact…that my value as a person is not commensurate to the quality of my state of mind when I’m in the mire. When I am emotionally or mentally upset, I have to step back and take in a much wider frame than my limited view of the situation allows. Kind of like putting your thumb in front of your eye and covering up the sun…but, extend your arm fully, and that same thumb that just blocked the sun seconds ago leaves you blinded by the rays’ intensity. You can see it, because now, there is more of it to see. The same analogy is true of most any problem in my life. I can draw careful and straight chalk likes demarking the beginning of an issue, because I don’t want to back up and see what, exactly, LED to the issue. There’s always more to the story than most of us are willing to tell. When we aren’t hyper-focused on me-me-me-me-me, we can start to incorporate the world, at large, into our frame of reference and decide that our headache at that moment isn’t actually more significant than a child who just died of starvation somewhere in the world. We really do place more importance on the little things irritating us than the big things plaguing the globe. If you have examples of how this is not true, please comment so we may all benefit. Our attention turns inward. The goal, for me, is to have given enough of the right kind of attention to myself that I am then capable of filling another’s cup. The first step is simple, yet incredibly difficult, acknowledgement…that, yes, this is how we think…and, no, our sudden emergency does not become the center of everyone’s universe. So, when I form the phrase, “Unfucking yourself,” it will mean something different to each of us. Most importantly, (and this can be a thin line, here…) you are NOT F’d up. You need work. I need work. They, he, she and we need work. Some are martyrs about it, while others are in denial. The objective is to undo the wreckage enough to see that I am NOT the wreckage. The biggest, most important step I can offer to anyone, anywhere, is to differentiate yourself from whatever has you downtrodden. We don’t equip ourselves to insulate our energy, our mental health, our perception…our total BEING, from the highs and lows life promises. The goal, for me, is to always remember that the un-effing I must do, is to remind myself, as needed, that I do not require “fixing.” What I must work on, rather, is the decades of lies I’ve been told and that I’ve told myself. About myself. See, when you are down, it’s so effortless to see how easy everyone else has it. It’s warped, isn’t it…when we need it most, we kick our own ass by comparing ourselves to what we perceive others’ lives to be. The most prominent example that arises in my memory is a couple that everyone adored and hated, all at once. You know them. The happily-ever-afters…but, really… ARE they happy? And, you wonder why you can’t find a love like that. Then, they announced their divorce. It wasn’t some Hollywood, “We’re still gonna be friends and we will continue to support one another..” BS. It was, “We haven’t been happy in a very long time. We both want out.” Wow. Shock made its way through the mutual friends, little was discussed and we were all heart broken, for them both. Since then, I can’t count how many times this same scenario has unfolded. Happy, happy, happy…look how happy we are…here’s 20 pics of how ecstatic our daily life is…and 20 more…” My take-away from that? The happiest couples I know don’t splash us with 20 pics on a regular basis of how happy they are. Some of the happiest moments are when it’s just the two of you…no one can possibly conjure the love being expressed in silence. Not exactly the time for a selfie. Remember that next time your lonely ass is scrolling through Mr. and Mrs. Happy Pants. No. We release ourselves from the BS when we internalize, fully that we are not a defect. We can (and should) set about correcting our toxic characteristics. Those STILL do not define our SELF. We are sacred. We are conduits of good that we sabotage on the daily. We get in the way of the best life has to offer, because of our thoughts. Our brains can be total jerks. My most favored phrase that has saved me countless, fruitless, combative hours is: “I am not responsible for what you think I think.” I don’t know if it’s been coined. I haven’t Googled it. But, when I had that moment of clarity, I sure as HELL clung to it. It absolves…just about everything. If you speak your truth, live your truth, converse in truth…and are accused otherwise? Oh, well. Isn’t that so much easier than beating your own head, and then theirs, and then yours, with that worn out brick? If I’m asked a question, even one that seeks to illicit ill feelings, regarding a topic or a person, or even myself, I reply. It’s brief. It’s not flowery and if you accept it, you do. If you want to challenge my thoughts and beliefs, that really is not my place to correct you. It IS my place to say, “You asked. I answered. That’s all I have to say about it.” We can play the blame game, all day, into the next week, but if we are active participants…sorry…you have a role. The only way out of the snares of those who lay traps is to identify them, trust your gut, live your truth and carry on. Butbutbut…they’re wrong. Ok. They’re wrong. Are they hurting you? Are they harassing you to manipulate the answer they seek? Put a stop to it and refrain from vengeance. You have more important shit to do. Your mental health demands it. Stop falling for it. It has the propensity to make us feel F’d up. Will you lose friends? Nope. Because, if this is the interaction norm, they’re not your friends. I know somebody just gave me a, “Hallelujah.” So, how, Dawn, do we UnF ourselves? At the tip of the funnel, you clear away the garbage that has made you believe you’re a lost cause, a failure, a problem. I am embarrassed to share it, so it probably means I am supposed to. I was shocked to feel envy upon watching a total stranger go into a graceful, “effortless” slow-motion handstand, and proceed to send her legs into a full on lowering of each, in opposite directions, until motionlessly, she stopped time, itself. It was the most powerful, graceful, infuriating thing I’d witnessed in a long time. Because (here’s the embarrassing part) I have felt some weird draw to do exactly that for over 6 years. But, ask me how many hours I’ve put in the work. So, guess what I “get” to do? The work. My yoga mat is out, permanently. And, I know it is in the journey that I am to discover the why. The how and the end result is beautiful, but, it won’t be as beautiful as the story I will have written in learning that type of balance, that measure of discipline. In walking my path to a handstand/split…I know I will learn things about myself both beautiful and dark. I will learn balance OFF the mat. I will grasp discipline on an entirely different level. I know these are the very reasons I’ve successfully procrastinated this goal for over 6 years. I will post updates, as that will keep me accountable. If I don’t, feel free to call me out and ask how that slo-mo hand stand is going. I am currently removing rocks from my heart. The rocks that have delayed every dream I’ve ever abandoned, or neglected, altogether. I will accomplish this “simple” thing…I’m not doubting it for a second. I’ve doubted my ability to clear away the things that make me erroneously buy the lie that I’m a mess, or that I have to have other things in place before dedicating myself to this feat. What has you believing you must un-f yourself? Something does. If it doesn’t…congratulations? I don’t know if that’s due to denial or that you are enlightened beyond my imagination. I hope to get there. The best I can do, today, is work daily to separate the two. Not being where you want to be is the best motivator of change. Don’t grow comfortable with an uncomfortable situation, mentality or way of life. Take out the trash. It doesn’t belong inside you. Little by little, we excavate our authentic selves. As we grow more spiritually aware, the trash starts to take ITSELF out. Cross my heart. Whatever is standing in the way of you and what is is calling you, own it. Claim it. And, then begin the overhaul of removing the things and people that have taught you to believe you are f’d up, to begin with. A step at a time, an hour on the mat a time, a faceplant here and there, we’ll get there. Get your proverbial mat. Lay it down. Stare at it for a moment. And, get comfortable with the idea, that you’ll be spending a lot of time there. You aren’t messed up. I’m not messed up. We are infinite beings having a finite experience as humans. I really gotta get on that handstand/split thing… Peace and pathways, Warriors.