YOU CAN HAVE IT ALL.

I stare out the picture window at the gentle, trickling water. Lush, emerald green pine trees closing in on it, with nothing but blue sky serenely peeking through the needles. Well groomed flower beds with fresh bark flank the perimeter of the house. It’s perfect, and I know I can’t have it. I’m crushed.

But also relieved.

Because I don’t know what I want. Or maybe, more accurately, I don’t know what I don’t want. I want it all. And yet, I still try to argue my husband into making an offer on the drive home.

The elusive “they,” which is a conglomeration of many writers and speakers, told me if I could dream it, I could do it, have it, be it. Just picture yourself living the life you desire, every day… think good thoughts… it’ll come. Caviar wishes and champagne dreams.

Woman, having it all.

Woman, having it all.

I’m not sure I’ve manifested anything yet, other than a major sense of FOMO frosted with desperation and lingering discontent. Although, I did pray for big boobs all through elementary school. They don’t tell you that you need to keep praying for them to stay after pumping out and breastfeeding three kids. Now I wear training bras again.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy the current state of my life, but I’m so busy picturing what it could be, I often feel an emptiness billowing beneath the surface- trapped by my own constant state of yearning. Disenfranchised by all of the “successful” people, the books, the podcasts, chirping in my ear about what’s possible. Why shouldn’t I be able to bring in millions of dollars in passive income? Tim Ferriss… I simultaneously love and hate you. You’ve created a couple of insatiable monsters named Sean and Angi. 4 Hour Work Week my ass.

In spite of feeling at peace in a way that I never had before, I started a business 6 months ago. Why? Because of the pressure to perform, to hit big, to be impassioned, and to immerse myself into something/anything. To add to our family income so that we can do all the things. You know, travel the world while we churn out a few email responses each day to keep the bucks flowin.’ I won’t go into the human aversion to stillness. That’s another blog.

I’ve learned a lot from this business. And I’m grateful for all of it, but the problem with owning something is that it’s never enough. There’s always a next step. It’s like taking a test in college. Post exam, you’re totally relieved for a day or two and then you remember you have to study for the next one. That vague sense of relief gone as quickly as your celebratory beer. Nothing is going to grow itself. What are you willing to do to get there? How many followers are enough on Instagram? How many staged pictures of your faux life do you have to post to win a sale? How many new products do you need to come up with to be fresh enough to satisfy the second long attention span in today’s world? How many heart emojis are adequate to express appreciation of a comment? I don’t want to think about this shit. It feels incredibly trite and inauthentic. But, that’s the buy in, the trade off for the alleged American dream at the end of the tunnel.

The “Tim Ferris conundrum,” coupled with the infinite level of pressure to perform while simultaneously feeling like a failure, because it will literally never be enough, has turned me into a certifiable nut job. There’s always the next new thing to keep up with. What you’re left with is a desperate housewife who feels like she can’t control a damn thing, right down to her own kids, cuz can anyone??? After gaining weight from eating too much kale, because I’m 41 and that’s my life now, I went grain and sugar free for one month and then keto for 2 more weeks and weighed more afterwards than when I started. I've been doing an intense weight training program for 45 minutes per day, 5x per week for 6 months and there is literally no perceptible difference in my “progress pics.” F progress pics, btw. My baby stopped napping a year ago, and I haven’t been alone for more than a few minutes since. So, basically my body, my business, and my children have decided that I can’t be trusted with myself, and they’ll make the decisions for me from here on out.

I think this must be what a midlife crisis is. And, the kicker is that I don’t actually have a problem, aside from those 7 pounds, which are more of a nuisance than an actual problem. I don’t want to buy new pants people. Well, I do, but not bigger ones.

The real problem is me. My thoughts. My expectations. My lack of feeling in control. My unrealistic longing, and Tim Ferris. Goddamnit Tim.

I have a lovely home, in a lovely neighborhood, in a lovely town that people come to for vacation. My children are happy and healthy and relatively complication free. My husband and I are solid and in love. I’m healthy and strong and get to stay home with my 3 year old except for a random Saturday or two. My business could go away tomorrow, and we wouldn’t be worse for the wear. We eat organic food and take a cool trip each year. Life is fucking good.

I just need to let it be, take my paws out of everything and breathe easy. I need to let this be enough, to take respite in the adequacy, because while I’m busy upping my game, my kids are growing at lightning speed. The sun is shining outside, and I’m not basking.

We live in an age of possibility and if we can’t contain it, we’ll be destroyed by it. While we make vision boards and picture what could be, what is takes leave. The moment, the only time we own, no longer belongs to us, because we’re in a faraway place plotting and scheming about how to be “better.”

It’ll take some mental exertion with lots of checking in and personal accountability, but let’s flip the world the bird and want what we have while keeping our ambitions manageable. Save the daydreaming for the millennials. And Tim Ferriss.


-Angi


(I’m sorry for those of you who don’t know who Tim Ferriss is. He’s an amazing, brilliant, childless, 40 something year old man with more business savvy in his pinkie than the rest of us have in our whole bodies. He’s filthy rich, uber driven, and penned the book “The 4 Hour Workweek.” In spite of my constant jabs, he’s incredibly impressive, and I wouldn’t undo any insight I’ve gained from him. Everyone should read his books.)


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ANGI

I was an oddity in high school, obsessed with the CIA, the supernatural, aliens, basically all things mysterious. As an adult, I've moved on to being captivated by human nature, my own and everyone elses. Exploring the whys and hows of my own psyche and trying to create connections that have depth and meaning brings significance to my experience in this school we call Life. I've gone from being a full time working mom, to a part time working mom, to a stay at home mom and the breadth of that experience has shown me the value in all of those roles. I am riveted by the complicated genius that is the female intellect and sharing insights with other engaging women has become, for me, an essential symbiosis. 

 

I SURRENDER.

Control is a funny thing. It masquerades as something that it’s not, allowing us to feign safety in an unpredictable world… but what if we surrendered to each moment? How would we feel? How would our lives change? If you didn’t get anxious about the things that could happen, would they escalate or evaporate? If you didn’t try to step into each situation but instead leaned in, would your world crumble?

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I could tell you to step off, but that would be classic pot callin’ the kettle. I’m not one to have text book anxiety, but I like to be a bossy pants. Leaning in is not among my special gifts. I step in with my actions and my mouth, on the regular. I’m mama-bearing everyone in direct vicinity because my level of faith in others to do it quickly, efficiently, and cutely is slim. And, I know a lot of really weird shit that other people aren’t/shouldn’t be interested in but sometimes comes in handy. Having said that, I’ve been making major efforts in this department for a year or two. It’s finally starting to surface in my behavior and not just my head (that takes time, right?!). My unsolicited advice has nose-dived and my internal motto is “not my circus, not my monkeys.” If it isn’t done quickly or cutely or even at all, it’ll be okay. I’m saving my energies for those who mirror them, but that’s the next blog…


I recently finished “The Surrender Experiment” by Michael Singer. He’s also the genius behind “The Untethered Soul.” In a very teenie tiny nutshell, he essentially vowed to take his cues from the universe. He didn’t actively make too many decisions, other than those based on intuition, and more or less said yes to every opportunity that came his way, even when it sounded utterly unappealing to him. This wasn’t saying yes doormat style, he wasn’t giving his neighbors daily foot rubs. This is the type of “yes man” attitude that has to do with life opportunities. He didn’t actively decide anything that he wanted, he just followed the path laid before him by God, the Universe, whatever… whomever. He followed each road to fruition with diligence and integrity, putting his all into what presented.


And you know what happened?


He got more than he ever could’ve dreamed… everything he thought he wanted and then some. Not that money is the measure of content, but he happened to become a billionaire to boot. And all he thought he desired to do was meditate in a one room, windowless cabin in the middle of the forest. Alone. Forever.


He got his meditation, err cake, and to eat it too. Read the book. It’ll come together. The story is too amazing for me to do it any shred of justice in a mere paragraph.


So, the moral of his story, the one I’m trying to incorporate, is that God, Jesus, the Universe, the flow, is a miracle worker. It made you, right? It made trees, oceans, flowers, puppies… and we’re questioning its ability to guide us? That’s tomfoolery in its highest form right there. We’re doubting that God has a plan for us? Phooey. God has a plan for pine cones. She has a plan for you. If you think you can do better, fine… but when’s the last time you made a puppy… or a pine cone? When’s the last time you orchestrated a thunderstorm or a snow fall… If you’re a mama, you managed to grow a baby or two just by eating and sleeping. Straight up miracle.


So give it up… to God, Mother Nature, whomever. Stop worrying about Trump. Stop worrying about the clunky noise your car is making (me). Stop worrying about your weirdo relative. Stop worrying about your bank account (me again). Stop worrying about your kids when they aren’t in your arms. Just stop all of it and breathe. You were never meant to take it on. It’s not for you.


Your job is to listen. To observe. To respond… with faith in the intricate flow of your life.


So, today, I’m not going to scour Craigslist for a car I don’t have the funds to buy or try to strong-arm my husband into any of my hairbrained schemes for becoming a traveling family or Airbnb hosts (dreams, people). I’m going to believe that Sean will join my bandwagon if and when the time is right, and that the car or the money or the Uber will arrive exactly when and how it should because the stars aren’t currently aligning, and it’s not my job to step in and rearrange them. They’re perfect and beautiful just as they are, lighting the sky when it’s too dark for us to see… but maybe we aren’t supposed to anyway.


-Angi


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ANGI

I was an oddity in high school, obsessed with the CIA, the supernatural, aliens, basically all things mysterious. As an adult, I've moved on to being captivated by human nature, my own and everyone elses. Exploring the whys and hows of my own psyche and trying to create connections that have depth and meaning brings significance to my experience in this school we call Life. I've gone from being a full time working mom, to a part time working mom, to a stay at home mom and the breadth of that experience has shown me the value in all of those roles. I am riveted by the complicated genius that is the female intellect and sharing insights with other engaging women has become, for me, an essential symbiosis. 

 

SHOWING UP- Moving Beyond Judgment, Pain, and Fear.

This past year, although not rife with tangible metamorphosis, has been one of great internal change. Almost two years ago, we moved out of state and I began my journey into stay at home motherhood. That was a year of transition and acclimation. This year has been about personal exploration. It began with feelings of self-assurance that slowly devolved into self-doubt and insecurity.

The inception of Mindful + Mama started on a higher note, with support from friends in the form of verbal positive reinforcement. That eventually waned even though readership did not. If I were advising anyone else sharing my thoughts and insecurities, I’d tell them that this is of no consequence. Fanfare for a blog is destined to become old news. That’s a natural phenomenon for anything. It doesn’t relate to whether or not it’s successful, being read, or appreciated. After one year of writing, we’re a fixture, expected.

I tried to convince myself that I wasn’t writing for accolades, but it turns out that was a bit of a lie. Endeavor as I may to separate from ego, I was failing. Not knowing how people felt about each blog was riddling me with doubt and insecurity. When I took my month of “soul-solitude,” I found massive relief in not being up on the chopping block I imagined myself. I’m incredibly vulnerable and personal in my writing because it’s so important to me that we remember we aren’t ever alone, a feeling I’d wrongly clung to in earlier years. We all struggle with different versions of the same challenges. But that level of vulnerability, without any feedback, was eating away at belief in myself. The little girl in me was questioning if she was good enough.

I decided to give up.

I conjured lots of personally acceptable reasons to do so, things that didn’t leave me questioning my insecurity surrounding the decision. It was effective enough to remove my desire to put pen to paper.

Simultaneous to all of this unfolding, I was having personal struggle with friendships, feeling in subtle ways as though I wasn’t important to or understood by people I cared for, women I thought I was close to who had been in my life for years. It seemed as though all but a few friendships crumbled away in the span of months, for reasons unbeknownst to me and in a variety of manners- a situation I was unfamiliar with. Already a relative newbie to town, I couldn’t emotionally afford those losses. The deluge of self-doubt I incurred, experiencing the onslaught at once, really shook me. I’m a giver by nature, it’s how I show my love and appreciation, and I innately close in on myself when things aren’t reciprocated or I'm misunderstood. More questioning, more looming inadequacy. The desire to protect my heart via inaction was greater than ever. Sharing myself with others wasn't an option.

Feeling alone, judged, hurt, unworthy, and insecure does not a confident writer make.

 

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But I don’t have to be perfect to share my feelings, my lessons, my strife. Today, I opened “Light is the New Black” by Rebecca Campbell, to the chapter entitled “Show Up and Shine.” All of this blog business had been heavy on my mind and this book has been a special gift lately, an oracle of sorts. I only pick it up when compelled and the words that pour forth are exactly what I need in the moment, every time. The Universe shows up for you when you promise to have faith, when you vow to look for the lesson, when you choose progress and responsibility in the midst of pain. Here’s what it said:

          “The thing with you is that you are waiting for some kind of permission to share your message. You’re waiting to be invited to               some invisible table, to some imaginary club. There is no table, there is no club. The only approval you need to seek is your                 own. Don’t assume your message isn’t relevant until someone else says it is. Don’t assume your message isn’t relevant until                 someone else deems it to be. It is relevant. It needs to be told. Stop holding yourself back.”

         “Tears began streaming down my face as I realized that I had been holding myself back, waiting for some kind of external p                  permission before I shared my gifts. I was seeking approval from an external force that didn’t even exist… I made a pact with                myself. I would stop focusing on getting published and instead focus on showing up to my writing every day.”

         “After all, I love writing; it’s what lights me up – why would I wait to do what lights me up? I vowed not to give a f**k what other              people thought of my creations. If they didn’t like it, well, I’m not for them and they’re not for me. So I committed to allowing my            message to flow through me as it always had without knowing where it would lead. Regardless of the fear. Especially because            of the fear.”

         “So I’ve decided that it’s none of my business who reads my writing, only that I show up and write… All I know is that if I don’t                show up and write, I will feel uncomfortable in my skin, and the niggling feeling and the ache will never let up.”

         “Writing is how I unravel my thoughts. It’s none of my business if it’s a bestseller, or if only one person reads it. Only that I show            up and shine my light. And so, now my affirmation… has changed to ‘I show up and shine my light as far as God sees fit.”

         “This small shift has changed everything. Since then the writing process has been the most fulfilling experience of my life. I                  cannot wait to wake up every day, fire up my Mac, and let my soul sing.”

         “It doesn’t matter how far our light shines, only that we shine it.”

         -Excerpt from “Light is the New Black,” Rebecca Campbell

You can show up and shine at whatever makes your heart sing.

And so, here I am, showing up. For myself. For my love of words and the growth they gift me, whether read or not.

As far as bygone friendships go, it's still a bit of a mystery, but I recognize that I’m leveling up and making space for women who can show up from the place that I do, with offerings that will feed my soul. I open my arms to the pain of loss and the glory of possibility, because I know each closed door beckons another to open.

-Angi


 

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ANGI

I was an oddity in high school, obsessed with the CIA, the supernatural, aliens, basically all things mysterious. As an adult, I've moved on to being captivated by human nature, my own and everyone elses. Exploring the whys and hows of my own psyche and trying to create connections that have depth and meaning brings significance to my experience in this school we call Life. I've gone from being a full time working mom, to a part time working mom, to a stay at home mom and the breadth of that experience has shown me the value in all of those roles. I am riveted by the complicated genius that is the female intellect and sharing insights with other engaging women has become, for me, an essential symbiosis. 

 

THE MOST IMPORTANT BLOG I'VE EVER WRITTEN.

The tears rolled down and I welcomed them, imparting salty trickles into my mouth. I’d committed to myself, and anyone who might have stumbled upon my last blog, to spend a month without my psychological creature comforts. Those included reading, writing, exercising, meditating, Google, and social media. I run to these things, daily, as sources of “personal progress.” Maybe not social media, but it’s a time suck nonetheless, and the name of this game wasn’t to confront modern and seemingly benign addictions but instead to create space in the form of time and silence, something most of us have absolutely none of.

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When was the last time you sat alone in a room with no devices, no book, and no agenda?

Yeah, me either, until a month ago.

The first two days, when my toddler blessed me with a nap, I sat alone and basked in a sense of relief. There was no pining. I just felt as though the weight of the world had been lifted, the self-imposed pressure to perform, to move, to check in. We live in a culture where we call this “lazy.”

I began to ask guidance for epiphanies, for opportunities to heal, knowing I had some long-standing emotional wounds surrounding things that had origins in childhood, stuff that I’d carried with me and imprinted upon my adult interactions, further blistering my psyche.

I could feel the senselessness of this little girl business, the suitcase of irrational insecurities I’d chosen to tote around with me from year to year. You know the one, we’ve all got em, some heavier than others and necessitating wheels with that handle thingy, no matter how loving our families. I don’t think we actively choose to hold onto these trinkets requiring a reckoning, they’re instead like tangles in the hair, growing into unmanageable frizzy knots if not eventually addressed, sometimes mandating scissors and impetuous removal, inevitably rendering us incomplete.

Sheep in wolf’s clothing.

We have to address our in-authenticities, we can’t bury them and continue on with much sense of fulfillment and peace. That suitcase will find you… or whatever is left of you, even if you ditch it at the station, and you’ll do crazy things to evade it.

According to the book The Sacred Science, by Nick Polizzi, which inspired my month of soul solitude, avoiding those tangles can ultimately lead to physical and emotional illness, although I’d consider them one in the same. Attempting to separate mind from body is a futile cause in this human condition unless you’ve reached enlightenment.

On the third day, I had an exchange with a friend, one in which she called out my inauthenticity. It grated at that inadequate little girl, tucked deep within, hurting at abyssal depths. My ego born personality protections couldn’t save me from this because she wasn’t allowing it. Usually, we’re non-confrontational and everyone pretends they didn’t notice. Most of us require this anyway because the “other”, signifying us and them, has to be in the perfect space to receive and that’s rare, at best. At first, I played dumb, although my reactions and defenses are so ingrained, my response didn’t feel premeditated. I had to sit in silence with this, alone and undistracted, to allow the pain and mortification to linger, to permit fessing up to the infraction. If I’d instead grabbed a book or popped in a workout video, I could’ve glided through it unscathed, shoving the little girl into submission… but I didn’t.

Cue the aforementioned waterworks. They flowed for the better part of an hour, and although I knew my friend was also operating from little girl injustices that were somewhat unfair to me, I went back and owned my in-authenticity with her. It was so hard, I felt practically blind as I forced the words forth. I had to really step outside from myself and that angry lil’ ego to get the job done.

And afterward, the Universe (for lack of an all-encompassing word… you can say God, Jesus, Buddha, whatever speaks to your heart) rewarded me with the most gorgeous release. That child within harbored so much fear, anger, and hurt, she used judgment for years to protect. She’d learned that judgment spared her from empathy and empathy spared her from true connection and true connection spared her from possible pain. If you allow yourself to love and respect others, seeing their inner child, if you open your heart to that degree, hurt is a risk you run. She’d also learned that placing herself in a position of authority, the well-intentioned helper, imbalanced the equality of her friendships- more protection, less connection.

It proved to be a sad and lonely space, even with friends to fill it.

And I took a moment to love that child, to remember why she had to do this. I could feel myself as that little girl all over again. I cradled her. I wept for her. I wept as her.

I forgave her.

And just like that, it felt over. The judgment was gone, with only love and understanding left to replace it. The Universe required far less from me than I’d assumed, just transparency, self-love, space, and willingness.

I repeated this experience, but with different situations and people, a number of times during the month. I couldn’t pull it off daily. I required time to assimilate in between, long pauses to decompress and reflect, to re-energize. Each time I left with complete and utter forgiveness of other and self, with an understanding of why each of us must operate as we have and do. This is THE thing we are missing, absentmindedly tiptoeing around it with our busy-ness, feigned or otherwise.

During the last week, my husband showed me a book by Ram Dass, Grist for the Mill. As generally happens for me with books, it called to me on every level, beckoning me in, and I could not turn my back, in spite of the self-imposed reading hiatus. I was immediately mesmerized. I found myself stopping to stare at his face on the cover, taking absolute comfort in the knowing of his eyes. His words encompassed every bit I needed solidified, my hungry soul feeling more satiated with each sentence.

I speak to you now as a less encumbered woman, holding hands with my inner child, gently pulling her forward when she needs prodding, acting as her mother now, only wanting the best for her, even if that means she needs to leave me. I’ve carried her for so long, impregnated with her fears, just the symbolic thought of her taking leave crushes my heart whilst I type this sentence, eyes beginning to moisten and again stream.

Our journey is not over. We have more battles to face together, more pain to relinquish. It’s safe to say the only addiction I’ve come away with is to creating space, even if it’s only 30 minutes for a few days per week. This is the best medicine I’ve ever taken, more miraculous than any drug, more healing than any workout. The key to liberation lies within. Don’t be afraid. She’s waiting for you.

-Angi


You are all that is right in this world.

You are love.

You are beautiful, in every sense of the word.

You deserve everything you want and more.

You have touched so many souls on this journey.

It’s time to hold your own.

There are no cosmic mistakes, every human exchange is an opportunity for love and growth, which are never mutually exclusive.

Trust that all decisions you make at the soul level, inspired by true loving kindness to self, will be shrouded in protection and, in time, rewarded.

Do not make the journey of others your own. This is yours and that is theirs. Allow them to stumble and learn… even your children. Loving guidance followed by space for growth.

 

How to carve out soul space:

  1. Removing social media isn’t imperative, if you can keep your hands off of it during the designated time, but I recommend it, because your mind will be less encumbered with other people’s business (and busy-ness) and you’re likely to create more time.

  2. No need to stop exercising, if you can fit both in.

  3. Quitting reading seems important, if you’re a book junkie. If you like fiction, the inability to run away into someone else’s life will be helpful. If you are a self-help fiend, making sure your thoughts are your own and that YOU guide yourself through these uncomfortable emotions is a must.

  4. Meditation didn’t prove fruitful for me during this period since I wanted to hyperfocus and retain ties to the ego/personality.

  5. It may be helpful after a particularly emotional session to take some notes afterward. I wanted to remember other issues that came up for future sessions.

  6. Most importantly, know that you are taking this space to emote, to dig deep. Ask spirit to enable that for you. They’ll oblige. Set your intention and all will eventually unfold.

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ANGI

I was an oddity in high school, obsessed with the CIA, the supernatural, aliens, basically all things mysterious. As an adult, I've moved on to being captivated by human nature, my own and everyone elses. Exploring the whys and hows of my own psyche and trying to create connections that have depth and meaning brings significance to my experience in this school we call Life. I've gone from being a full time working mom, to a part time working mom, to a stay at home mom and the breadth of that experience has shown me the value in all of those roles. I am riveted by the complicated genius that is the female intellect and sharing insights with other engaging women has become, for me, an essential symbiosis. 

 

THE SACRED SCIENCE OF HEALING- Is Illness all in Your Head?

Assuming my toddler blesses me with a nap and my oldest two have made it to school, my general routine is to work out, meditate, bathe, and then read some form of self-help book or write. In the midst of the last bit, I usually hear a “Mommmmyyyy, where are you?” cuing me that personal time is over.

I’m aware that not all mamas are fortunate enough to have time for themselves. I was counted among them for a spell, and I thank my lucky stars that in this moment, I’ve been graced with a gift. Knowing that it’s limited, that nap times are soon to come to an end, or that life may shift in unexpected ways, I feel pressure to make every second progressive, worth its weight in gold. I don’t do chores, watch TV, nap, or scroll social media. No time sucks, no energy drains, only activities that I know build me up.

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But recently, I’ve had a book-induced epiphany. I am in the midst of The Sacred Science by Nick Polizzi. It's one of those rare reads where you feel like your life is changed two chapters in. Polizzi had a debilitating health ailment, for two years in his 20’s, that modern medicine couldn’t seem to touch or understand. Somewhat by accident, during a particularly low moment for him, a friend called and guided him through tapping, also known as EFT. During this experience, Polizzi uncovered an emotional experience he’d been unknowingly holding onto anger about for years. That realization essentially cured him of his illness instantaneously. He then became somewhat obsessed with researching natural healing, which led him to shamanism. A shaman is a medicine man or woman who uses herbal remedies and energy healing. There is an assumption that all physical illness is a manifestation of spiritual/psychological issues that need tending to, as was the case for Polizzi.

Sometime after his rather spontaneous healing, he was moved to make a documentary about modern-day shamanism, hoping to share the information with the world at large, allowing people to explore alternative healing methods and raise awareness about how quickly the Amazonian jungle (which holds key medicinal plants) is dissipating. It’s worth noting that 25% of pharmaceuticals are made from plants in the Amazon (documentary fact), and that thousands remain unclassified and yet to be researched.

He selected eight individuals from 400 applicants, who were willing to go with him and his camera crew to the Amazon. They would be in the care of three shamans, each specializing in different areas and having proved their healing abilities time and time again. These shamans are normal guys who either fell into healing through bloodline and ability or via curing their own chronic illnesses with the help of a medicine man, then realizing that they too were called to be shamans. They live simple, spiritual lives and don’t advertise their skills. Most shamans have day jobs and tend only to their immediate communities when people are in need. These men and women are deeply spiritual, without ego, and helping others is what drives them.

The eight volunteers had a range of illnesses, from depression to stage four cancer. They were each to stay alone in an isolated individual hut, for 30 days. No running water, no electricity, no books, no contact with family or friends, no electronic devices, just a notepad and pen, with a hole in the ground for bathroom breaks. They were very removed, deep in the jungle, with every variety of creature one could imagine, making noises of all kinds through the dark and solitary night. They were to mostly stay in their extremely modest huts all day, only seeing the shamans two times for healing work and receiving very basic meals of quinoa and vegetables. The healing they underwent was nothing short of miraculous.

The only company each person had was their own thoughts. Here’s where my epiphany comes in, and I think it'll resonate with most of you. I’ve got this solo time a few days per week, but how often am I truly alone with my thoughts? Um, pretty much never. I’m filling those spaces up… even if it’s with “progressive” activities. And are these activities truly healing (because we’re all in need of healing one way or the other) and progressive or are they really just a distraction from such.

I’ve got demons I want to battle, buried emotional pain (like everyone else), some health issues that could use mending. No matter how many self-help books I read, will true healing occur without me giving it space?

It’s no accident that one of the most important aspects of the eight patients healing protocol is solitude. They have to create space to feel all the amazing emotions along with all the ugly ones, facing fears head-on.

So, I’m saying sayonara for four weeks, as of Monday. I won’t be checking into any social media. Google is going to miss it’s number one fan. My spam is going to pile up. There won’t be any book reading or blog writing. Removing things of comfort is also important, the things we run to out of avoidance, so my favorite tea is going. Favorite foods are out. I’m eating for sustenance. Exercise, out. I’m going to spend those nap times alone in my room or on a quiet walk. I may try tapping or meditation, but the rest is gone, baby gone.

Peace out. I’ll see you on the flipside and let you know what I’ve learned.

-Angi

*If you’d like to watch the documentary "The Sacred Science," here is the link. Nick Polizzi is so passionate about preserving the Amazon and ancient healing practices of Shamanism, that he ultimately elected to make the documentary free. It’s definitely worth watching, but the book is incredibly insightful and has a lot more background information about the patients, Polizzi, and outright gems from the Shamans themselves. I felt that a lot of important information didn't make the movie. Your best bet is to read the book and then watch the documentary… time well spent.





 

 

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ANGI

I was an oddity in high school, obsessed with the CIA, the supernatural, aliens, basically all things mysterious. As an adult, I've moved on to being captivated by human nature, my own and everyone elses. Exploring the whys and hows of my own psyche and trying to create connections that have depth and meaning brings significance to my experience in this school we call Life. I've gone from being a full time working mom, to a part time working mom, to a stay at home mom and the breadth of that experience has shown me the value in all of those roles. I am riveted by the complicated genius that is the female intellect and sharing insights with other engaging women has become, for me, an essential symbiosis.