346: The Love I Am (A review of emotions, joy, fear, and pain)

I remember sitting on my bed in my early twenties and realizing with a sudden revelation that I did not know how to feel joy. In fact, in analysis, I concluded then that in the past several years I had not recognized many emotions. Generally I felt anxious, nervous, over-concerned, shy, out-of-place, insecure, depressed, sad, and worried. That was all I could feel. I could not feel anger. I could not feel love. My feelings for my significant other were all wrapped around fear of abandonment. I could feel fear.

I went from extreme emotional highs to extreme lows. I now believe this was not biologically induced. I think I made myself purposely cycle through thought-processes. If I was not extremely high (overly-anxious, overly-obsessed, overly-concerned), I was extremely low (unable to leave the house, fatigued, depressed). There wasn’t a manic high of joy, elation, grandiose thoughts, and magical-viewing of the environment and self. In the high-state there was only this inability to let go of fear, which led me to act out (OCD-like behavior, rituals, non-stop analysis) in order to eliminate thoughts. In the low-state there was the same inability to let go of fear, but my efforts to eliminate the thoughts were displayed through withdrawing, sleeping, and retreat.

I still go through these same states. Though I now know what the middle ground of emotions feels like. I think I “make” myself go through these states in an attempt to feel joy. I used to only feel joy when I was transitioning from one state (low) to the other (high). And even then, only for a fleeting moment.

In the past, and at this moment, I cannot experience this sensation of fleeting joy/happiness without the anxiety tagging along and questioning me, like some annoying tailgating friend I attempted to shake of millions of times before: “Are you sure you’re happy? Is this happiness? Will it last? How do you know it is happiness? Why are you happy? Are you being selfish? Is this self-based?”

My being seems incapable of holding onto this type of joy, and joy alone. This joy has to have companions of suspicion, dread, over-analysis, and such. And I utilize the word “have” because that is how the experience registers for me.

In the same line of thought, my extreme lows which include the inability to move, the discomfort of being me, and the fatigue of simply thinking, comes too with a posse of entities—emotions garbed as “why again,” “what is happening,” “why can’t I control my own self.”

This doesn’t feel like a mood disorder to me, though I see how my behaviors, and possibly thoughts, would present themselves as so. To me, this teeter-tottering is always pinpointed to an exact spot of awakening to the highest step of anxiety or lowest step of deep sorrow. I can find a reason. I can in retrospect see where I was switched from one extreme to the other.

Typically, I feel the mixture of joy and dread when I have 1) Accomplished a goal that I was afraid I would never accomplish; 2) Accomplished a goal in which I was fixated from the start and glad to be done; 3) Completed something I was dreading for days; 4) Received good news after worrying about bad news; 5) Received a compliment about my appearance, as I am insecure about the way I physically look.

In review, each of these supposed “joys” is accompanied by a fear or “negative aspect.” For example, in number one, “I was afraid,” and in number two “I was fixated.”

For a long time, this was the only way I could feel sporadic spurts of mixed joy: by attaching a fear or negative aspect, and then with some stimuli (another person, place, thing, event, words) the negative aspect is momentarily released and that moment of release feels to me akin to joy. For me, when the negative aspect I placed on self is temporarily removed, joy steps in.

In fact, in my mind, and in my scenario of feeling, I cannot feel this type of joy without first attaching an element of “negativity” and/or “fear.”

In contrast, in my moments of fear, in my low state, I have attached hope or the “best case scenario.” I create in my mind the release, the escape, or the rescue and I wait. I set myself in a cage, much akin to a prison, where I’ve locked myself away in darkness, and then wait. What I am waiting for is the removal of deep pain, and I have decided, somewhere deep in my mind or spirit that this removal will only happen in a specific way. For example, in sighting past experiences, this might be, this release of pain through the removal of a stimuli: an illness going away, a person coming and going, a meeting passing, a phone call received.

Here seems to be the tipping point, or the starting point of where my fleeting joy begins. While I sit readily in this cage of misery, I am creating the future of joy I hope to see. Whilst worrying immensely in a non-stoppable way and running through all the possibilities and strings of variable outcomes I can, I am in a direct way preparing to feel release and joy in the near future. This is to me, seemingly like a junkie in need of an adrenaline high. I am making myself increasingly low, so when the event or stimuli arises that apparently lifts me from outside of my self-inflicted prison, I am brought to a state of infinite fleeting freedom. In extreme emotion, I am brought high above myself and able to at last feel beyond suffering. I am creating my own high.

It is only in the in between state, between the middle part of prison and the freedom of elation that I feel the fleeting joy. I quickly rise past the joy to the state of high-anxiety, as the doubts and questioning sets in. This is why, after much processing about a possible scenario that could lead to my demise, failure, rejection or the lot, I will appear momentarily elated with relief when the scenario does not turn out in the thousand terrible ways I thought, but then I will quickly switch of the invented and created false feeling of joy and question my emotion. This will then put me in a state of shutdown, where I am wondering why I worried to the degree of physical and emotional, even spiritual ache, for the gift of fleeting fake joy brought on by a self-invented high.

Is this indeed a process I have created in an attempt to feel human? In an attempt to feel what “I am supposed to feel?” Am I lacking something or some chemical? I don’t think so.

I think this is the way my mind works itself out of confusion, in an attempt to unravel all the thoughts that are bombarding me, including all the stimuli, constant awareness, and confusion. I think this is my mind’s way of putting me into protection. I think in my cell of worry is the only time I feel safe from the world. To me, the fear-state is more liken to protection and safety than the joy state. For joy crashes and fear remains. Fear is predictable and stays with me as I loop and over-think; joy emerges as this falsehood and leaves me abandoned.

Do I like the cell perhaps more than I acknowledge? Is the cell the darkness I need to retreat to in order to renew? Am I, like the caterpillar, in need of continual metamorphoses? And if I am turning into a butterfly from the retreat out of darkness then why do my wings suddenly disappear?

In living, I have gained some recognition of middle emotions, the more subtle emotions of: satisfaction, contentment, serenity, connection, gentle-anticipation; but as these subtle emotions surface and are identified, I analyze where they have come from. I wonder which came first, my own thought, or the emotion; and often conclude my thought brought this emotion; and then I go into a place of deep thinking of when and where this thought came into existence that caused this emotion, and if this is indeed an emotion I welcome; and if this emotion comes from a place of selflessness, ego-release, and love. If the emotion/thought, both spun out together with thought in a slight lead, are not from a place of benefit for me and others, I then review why I have created these non-beneficial thoughts.

Where before for four-decades I was highly unaware of my own thoughts and emotions, and felt numb to the world, unless in a place of extreme anxiety or extreme low, now I am highly-aware of my experience, each moment analyzing and questioning my experience here, in this place I have been told isn’t really here at all. I have fed myself with so much factual data, through various sources and through moments of awakenings, that I cannot help but to try to place my own emotional/thought experience into a category.

My mind categorizes. I was built, I believe to a degree, to sort and categorize, to circumvent my emotional wiring and dig beneath and pull out what is occurring. I am a computer analyzing the computer-self. The mind boggles and I am left, wishing to do nothing but to be simple in the extreme, to wash away the complexity and start again anew and refreshed.

In an attempt to pull myself out of myself, I continually study and analyze, not just words and visual sources, but thoughts and happenings. I analyze the trees, the sky, the movement of all, even the invisible and untouchable. I analyze because I am attempting to take the moment I am set free from prison, to capture that fleeting flicker, and rise with this moment in true form of butterfly.

The dilemma is in finding myself lost in self, and reviewing the past data (Eastern philosophies of escape from mind), and then trying to understand this absence of thought, as I am built to a degree where the past ways of transcending (absence of thought; deep meditation in silence of mind) and completing the process of thought (silence and retreat after reflection) are foreign. I seem incapable of mastering my own mind enough to sit in the stillness of release. My brain appears so high-powered by some high-force that I am suited best for the prison of darkness as my retreat.

But there is hope, always hope.

And this hope is found in one way.

I have been able to at last find rescue from my own self in the act of giving of self. When I come from a place of pure intention to give without recognition or reward, I am set free. This is where the butterfly is meant to fly.

What I have been doing for so long is releasing myself from the cage and giving myself the imagined joy. I have been trying to hold onto a joy for self, and to build up self with joy, as this is what has been demonstrated by society: to make myself happy; to be happy; to find happiness. But this is not right; at least not my right, if right was to be.

I am not put here to make myself happy. I don’t need to be happy. Innately, beneath this façade of thoughts that generates a façade of emotions, I am happy. And I know this. I am not confused by self. I am confused by the thoughts and emotions, because beneath I am a spirit having a human experience. But my suit, my human suit is not adjusted, it is open enough so that the experience of human is confusing, debilitating, and disconcerting; I have spent eons, or what appears eons, trying to master my thoughts and emotions, when the freedom is not found in mastery of the invisible and illusion: mastery is found in the release of this humanness.

There is no direct way to self, as I am already self. There is no direct way to free myself of thoughts and emotions, as they do not even exist. They are not real.

Yes, I feel. Yes, I experience. But ultimately after a lifetime of analyzing my own experience, I see the illusion I have created. And though I stand in a lonely place at times, in reality, in my reality, I am finally able to grasp joy, and this joy is not fleeting. This joy does not bring out invisible scissors that eventually clip and remove my wings. I do not bleed from this joy, nor do I suffer.

I am attuning self enough to know that false joy will not last, and thusly this false, self-created, and self-wanting joy feels poisonous to me. I want to spit the falsehood out, and bring out the reinforcement of armies with swords in hand and slice away at false joy with question. I feel attacked when the questions come, when the illusion of joy is destroyed, but I am not attacking anything but illusion upon illusion. I am not attacking anything but selfish want and selfish joy.

Joy to me is only found in giving. This is my place of joy. This is how I am wired. I have been trying to live like the rest say to live, to fill myself in order to be fulfilled. But I am ultimately fulfilled when another is fulfilled. I am filled when I am able to bring joy to another. I am filled when the love I have for another is received. I am filled when I know in my deepest knowing that I am not wanting for self and self alone. There is no way around this for me. I still take comfort in the fineries of good food, decorative clothes, and good friends; these can bring me happiness. But this is not a happiness that stays. I see this. I recognize this. And thusly, my mind creates a stage of battles, where I am once again made supposed victim as the questions slice away at the supposed joy. But I am no less victim than the tree pecked by the woodpecker. I am made home for the world, for the flying birds, when I am carved out and hollowed. And in this place, when the world slips inside of me for shelter, I am joy.

And so it is my journey begins with intention. If I set out to love the world, to give of myself freely, without motive for self, then I shall receive endless abundance and joy that I can time and time again return to and tap into. This joy might waver with the wavering of my thoughts and emotions, but this joy is there always. This joy is always there. This joy is love of others, and in so loving other, love of self. There is no non-benefit to giving and loving freely. There just isn’t. When I come from a place of love, I am free. When I do not, I am imprisoned. There is no other place for me than from a place of love.

I think now that I was made the way I am to force myself into finding love. Here I have been searching to love myself, to change myself, to change my thoughts and emotions, to change my way of being, when all along the key was so very simple: love.

Here I was searching to understand love, to understand love through ownership and misinterpretation, and needing and wanting, and sometimes constant desiring, but that is not love. Love is not found in the one or in the self. Love is not found through the desire to receive. Love is not fleeting. And so often the love I have thought I have found, though unrecognizable, unidentifiable, and uncomfortable, still did not fit. No matter how hard I tried to make love fit, it did not. That is because I was searching for a suit of love for me, something to wear to soothe and protect the suffering beneath. But garments age; they tear, they break; no matter what we do they disintegrate, they become outdated, they eventually stink. The only love that can complete me must be outside the self and unattached from the self, something so immense and immeasurable that fear escapes in the infinite abundance.

I know now how to be happy.

Happiness is found in the detachment of love from self, so that love may fly freely. For it is not the butterfly I am that needs to find and wear her wings, it is the love I am that needs to soar.

342: Joy Sings

Yesterday, I saw the cover photo

The brief moment of joy quickly passed to confusion, then sadness, then balance, and then back again to sparks of joy watered-down by questioning.

I was confused by the emotional and spiritual process I went through. I had been published! My words in print. Was this not a vision come true? Was this not a distant dream?

But still, with the news, with the confirmation, I felt a lingering sorrow.

I know I was battling between what is ego and what is self-satisfaction. I wondered if they were indeed the same.

I know I battled with humility. I know for an instant I felt proud or pride, or some related cousin. And I didn’t like the feeling.

At first I thought I was feeling guilty–guilt for feeling good about an accomplishment. I reasoned I was stifling happiness with the guilt of pride and the fear associated with losing humility.

I compared myself to others, and what I “should” be doing; how I should be celebrating. And then I logically debated all the reasons why this publication was not celebration-worthy. I questioned my capacity to feel “good.” I questioned my adequacy as a being. I went round and round in this circle of mixed emotions and deep, complex opposing thoughts. I searched out the caverns of my mind, until exhausted. And then I sank into body submission of fatigue.

Last night I prayed for refinement and serenity. And for much of today, I have found peace. I understand that I do not have low self-esteem—to me this is illusion. I understand that when I am confused about how to feel, it is because I have based my emotions, like much things in life, on a rule-book that I created founded by personal experience filtered through my senses. I realize, too, that yesterday I was no further from the truth than I am now.

It’s not that I had or have low self-esteem. It’s not that I don’t think I am unworthy or worthy. It’s not that I am acting prideful or humble. I am none of those labels or names.

It’s not what I was or who I was. It was where I was. I was lost. I was lost and pulled away from my faith. I was momentarily swept out of the presence and present. I was enticed by outcomes and promises.

I recognize when I am tuned into the collective universe, when I believe in the magic of the world, in the magic of you and me, and in the beautiful infinite possibilities for love, it is then I am whole and complete. The feelings don’t get jumbled and the thoughts don’t get all twisted, when I am clear in my connection to my higher power and higher good.

On reflection today, I spent some two hours reviewing joy and reviewing sorrow.

In my mind I saw the illusions.

Even though one of my visions has been realized (being published), I am not as joy-filled as I had expected, or perhaps as others might have expected. And that is okay.

Today I am recognizing joy’s partner: sorrow.

I couldn’t have completed The Ten Traits without decades of suffering. The words would not have been searched out by others had they not first had cause. My message would not be whole without first being carved out through pain. Both yours and mine.

And thusly, I am left wondering if indeed I do understand joy quite well. That if in fact, I am in a state of continual joy. But only through recognition of the ashes of suffering.

Joy Sings
I am joy.
Squeezing me out of me.
Releasing being like some over-expired lemon.
Disappointed in the bitter sour that remains.
Squeeze, squeeze, squeeze.
Some ravenous fowl picking away at barred plumage.
My substance an existential shell of resistance, once labored to create.
Inside whispers: Complete though illusion.
Outside weeps: Unworthy in existence.
Naked, though cloaked in tattered rags, I waver, from one to the other.
Bemused, as sadness quakes, I sleep soundly through unawareness.
Forgotten upon shallow waters.
Until waved onward to deeper grounds.
Still bearing witness to starlit nights.
Though standing erect in dissatisfaction.
Invited by command to denounce self.
The suspicion of being, the suspicion of joy, scoured.
Incomprehensible happiness holding the hand of the lingering voice of no one.
“The obsoleteness of temporary. The absolute of change,” clangs the bell of the imagined captains.
I respond without breath.
And I question.
In accepting misery to circumvent suffering, did I not modestly forbade self-joy?
In rendering joy denied, do I accept misery in completion?
Thusly moves the wheel.
One axle: Seeker of non-truth whom claims found truth righteous.
One axle: Seeker of truth whom believes found truth not-righteous.
Who is this joker? This shadow? This phantom?
This awkward misrepresentation set down.
Left to squander in misgivings.
Where does this joy I am speak?
When not formed in shape and drifting.
Where does this joy live?
When unseen unless trapped.
Captured fleetingly in passing moments when invisible brother is silenced.
When the suspicion is eased. When the noise erased.
There I sing, this joy released to captivity.
Caged amongst the residue of sorrow escaped.

Sam 3-20-13

I found this a day after I wrote this post. Made me feel better. ❤ http://drarorasclinic.wordpress.com/2013/03/02/happiness-tips-13-experts-weigh-in-on-the-pursuit-of-joy/

281: I Wish It So

The greatest weakness of most humans is their hesitancy to tell others how much they love them while they’re alive

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

I Wish It So

I choose love. I promote love. I radiate love.

I choose honesty. I promote honesty. I radiate honesty.

I choose hope. I promote hope. I radiate hope.

I choose leadership over victimization.

I choose knowledge over ignorance.

I choose to vanquish all negative thoughts.

I choose to reflect the goodness of the world.

When I feel lost I will point the way for someone else.

When I feel alone I will assist those in isolation.

When I sense hopelessness and despair, I will rise out of the ashes of my own tears and shine brightly.

I refuse to be anything less than authentic, genuine, and real.

I refuse to believe that happiness exists in anything or anyone.

I accept I am enough, and that where I am is where I need to be.

When all about me voices are tarnishing and raping the beauty of life, I shall stand up strong in my worth.

I shall not falter; I shall not fail: for these words no longer exist in my vocabulary.

My voice is my truth and my truth my voice.

What is spoken is from source and heart alone, and what is left unsaid I release into the abyss to be transformed into stars.

I, myself, am fiery passion. I shall not allow shame to shadow my cause; nor shall I allow my cause to shadow my passion.

I am in completion entirely, perfection in my mind, body, and soul.

All else deemed wrong or incorrect is an illusion.

I surround myself with people who love me and choose to see me as a source of beauty.

I surround myself with the innocent of heart and warriors of purpose. A purpose that is not singular onto themselves, but collective for the good of the all.

I quench my insatiable desire for more, knowing I have enough.

I stop in my steps, still within, and acknowledge the blessings around me.

I know who I am, what I am, and why I am.

I refuse to let anyone else create me into another.

I shall not fail myself, nor my sister or brother. When I follow the light, I cannot fail.

I sacrifice myself as a vessel, knowing my sacrifice further grows my love and my light.

I cannot be vanquished or put out. There is nowhere I can be placed where I will not shine. There is no punishment that shall whip the light out of me, and equally no man to extinguish my flame.

I stand, whether alone or together, as an equal to my fellow beings, in the line of any happenstance.

I trust my road is paved with the intention of wholeness and the gifts of peace.

I trust my truth to be my guide.

I shall not be weak and suffer, for there is nothing I cannot transform into joy.

I am but clay, and I choose moment by moment to mold myself into a shape of glory.

Where my edges were once sharp, now they are dull.

Where whispers once haunted, now there is silence.

Where distaste erupted, now there is sweetness.

I see no ill will inside of another. I see no blame. I see no wrong. I see only myself standing as observer.

My scope is neither limiting nor vast; my vision is only as I wish. If I choose to see the narrowness of man, then that is what shall appear before me. If I choose to see the limitlessness of love, then this is what shall bathe me.

When I splash in your goodness, I too splash in my own.

Together we are united; yet even in times of distance and separation, I remain with you.

For I have carved you into the vessel of myself; each blade inflicted so that I may carry you in times of isolation.  I do not ask that you carry me in return, but that you only let yourself shine, so that I may be warmed within your love.

If there ever comes a time I am unable to answer you with warmth, trust that I am cold, and offer me comfort.

If there ever comes a time I am unable to answer you with laughter, trust that I am dancing with sorrow, so that I may emerge reborn with further joy.

Trust that I am here to love you for no other reason than to love.

Trust there is nothing you can do or say that will tarnish my love for you.

For I have seen my beauty, and know this beauty was birthed in you.

You are my form doubled and multiplied. You are blessed and my blessing.

There is no end and no beginning; you are infinitely adored and beseeched for your goodness.

When you feel depleted, ask yourself whom or what you have given your power to. And return this power onto yourself ten-fold. Believe you are of worth and feed your own soul so you may be nurtured and whole in your journey of light.

Step outside the fantasy of tomorrow and yesterday, and breathe in the moment of now, for there is nothing outside of this moment.

If ever there comes a time that you are in doubt, reach out your hand and know I am waiting to take hold, to touch what is both me, and not me, an intricate creation that both lives and breathes within and without me.

I am nothing but your sister, your brother, but in this I am everything. And as I am everything, so thusly be you.

Do not bow your head in the misery of the world, instead lift up your eyes to the miracles of life. Search for me in the echoes of the valleys, in the sunrise and sunset, in the flight and in the fallen. Search for me, and I will answer.

There is no one before me more worthy than you, and no one else less than you and your needing. For we are filled with hope when we recognize we exist as hope.

In everything we do, be hope.

In everything you are, be beauty.

You have the power to change all for the betterment of creation.

You only need wish it so.

~ Samantha Craft December 2012


Day 212: Joy in the Morning

Joy in the Morning

I kiss joy in the morning as thoughts of you bow down in gentle gratitude

And affection she dances lightly through the bedcovers, spreading rose petals, red above

How sweetness falls upon the day, fresh crimson, rainbows soft

And handsome tiptoes through merriment, his puckered lips smiling

Beauty she blushes, and gathers love in baskets woven by the twinkle of dawn’s amber eyes

Feathered pillow springs forward and welcomes tickles from hope, chuckle laughs wearing a shy pink

And bold blanket, he harnesses the voluptuous dream of the night, his treasure to marry

The floor becomes ocean and reins in a guild of seahorses made to roar with indigo passion

Folded in dreamland, bed castle winks and mattress plays cymbals in orchestra duvet

Strong faith appears, in this space between, where wishes wear sparkling ruby crowns

Tomorrow, she laughs and splashes butterscotch clouds at strawberry-popcorn glee

While always and forever tango close beside the groom of starlit night and bride of chamber music

Come find me here, beneath the giggling moonbeams and peek-a-boo painted bed sheets

Come find joy, before reason slips beyond the kaleidoscope guard and sleeping disbelief awakes

~ Samantha Craft, August 2012

Photos and Words by Samantha Craft. All rights reserved.

Day 174: Best Birthday Surprise Ever

When I came home from my birthday massage, I arrived to find

Please read all signs

…both stairways blocked with signs and tape.

I ducked under and climbed the stairs.

I arrived at the door and read these signs taped to the screen door.

Happy Birthday Mom We Love You


Knock. Then wait for one minute.

To the left on the railing were chips and fresh water!

The chips were covered with a paper towel….a surprise for me!

I knocked.

There was a timer, so I would be sure to wait one full minute.

I heard: “You can come in now!”

I opened the door to a neatly wrapped laundry basket.

And out popped…

My youngest boy!!!!

Shouting “Happy Birthday!”

And throwing messages in the air!


By Far the Best Birthday Surprise EVER!!!!!

Wouldn’t you agree?