Connected Through Change

connection

A million miles away, through a stained glass window of change I’m still learning to appreciate, looms the landscape of my heart. The cement walls don’t cave in on me anymore, but the weighty doors feel ancient, and I need help pushing them all the way open. The sunlight of the universe’s infinite love shines down through my crown and warms my soul to the core. I finally feel connected.

Connection means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Connecting my feet to the ground didn’t seem important before I read some of Jeff Brown’s books. Who was this guy, walking barefoot through the woods? Turns out that it didn’t matter, because the guy walking through the woods is all of us.  Now, as I close my eyes and look up to the sun, crisp mountain air in my lungs, and firmness of wet dirt under my bare feet, I start to see what he meant. It’s not just “grounding and centering,” as I have been taught in meditation with the skilled David Stevens. It’s not just being in nature, absorbing every essence of the senses I can, connecting flesh to flesh or flesh to mud, or hands to heart. And it’s not only as I’ve learned from Pema Chödrön, breathing into the space, accepting and feeling until it expands and becomes bigger than you, until you are truly connected to all that is.

It’s all of these things.

The idea of organized religion never appealed to me because it was frowned upon to “pick and choose.” I was raised with the idea that if the Bible says it, then that’s it. End of the story. But when I started realizing that who I was contradicted quite a few bible verses, the shame rolled in and the fear dominated my life. As I was healed by the spirit of love, and as I grew stronger in recovery, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt…I was loved. I knew, I heard and I felt in the depths of my soul, when I handed my life and will over to my higher power, that I was loved exactly the way I was. 

I’m not here to describe what I think God is or isn’t. And I’m most certainly not here to agree or disagree with ANYTHING. I am here to connect, to bear witness, to carry my torch, and to surrender to the idea that we all have a story, and that story really matters. Hearing other people’s stories in my darkest days saved my life. And I am compelled to keep sharing mine, no matter how terrifying that may be sometimes.

Guess what? Your story matters too. I know this in the depth of my heart. Don’t ever think otherwise. You are so blessed to be alive and share this journey. Your unique and compelling journey to find who YOU are is universal. Don’t hide it under a mask or a in a deep crevasse…let your light shine through.

 

The instants where I am self doubting or insecure are more fleeting and less heavy. I have smiles, joy and exuberance, even when I am alone. The idea of any kind of mood altering substance seems extreme and worthless- now that I have found something different- an awakening.

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No artificial high could ever duplicate the intense passion that breathes life into my heart and soul day by day. Never have I felt so much gratitude. Never have I been able to breathe and be lighter. My priorities have shifted dramatically. I am taking action from a space of love and acceptance, not fear and shame. I am reaching out in the spirit of service- not out of obligation, but out of gratitude. I’m truly connecting.

To me connection is the reason we are on this planet. If I’m not real, I can’t connect with you, it’s as simple as that. The connection to myself has to first be established in a concrete way. My connection has to then expand to include the infinite love that surrounds us all. Before I can embrace you, I  have to embrace me, and vice versa.

You can’t buy connection; It’s priceless! And you can’t fake it. This is the real deal. The whole enchilada. I am so thankful I don’t have to lie about who I am anymore. I don’t have to fake a smile, or say what I think people want to hear. Today I have the gift of self awareness and authenticity. Owning up to exactly who and what I am opens me up to allow my creator to foster a deep soul connection on a daily basis. Being willing to grow and learning to trust my source means I can surrender and accept the change that makes connection with my family, friends, mentors, heroes, and greater community possible. Without connection my life is an empty journey through a meaningless vacuum. And I know for certain I am here on the planet for much more. You are too. ❤

Transparency

She’s frantic, running ragged in the tiny maze of corridors, stuffing all her tender bits of pain into the crevices and crannies, locking up in tiny lockers of her broken heart the things she’s sure that others won’t accept. She wonders how she fits into schemes, roles and scenarios instead of how she fits herself to be of maximum usefulness in a true and passionate life.  She nearly becomes open and true, only to furtively look over her shoulder for who might disparagingly see. The woman in this maze of secrecy, self-doubt and shame used to be me.

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On the outside I was confident, funny, wide-smiling, motivated and caring. But although I was able to be helpful to others, I had no clue how to help myself. Inside I was absolutely terrified. Being terrified of what others think is pretty common. I was also terrified of what I thought about myself. The scraping pain of knowing I was unloveable and unworthy ate at the depths of my soul. I had a sinking feeling that somehow I was broken. And because of that feeling, I couldn’t bear to be real. The lonely ache deep inside me, told me I was the only dysfunctional one and I had better hide the fact. I hadn’t the faintest inkling of how to even begin to be honest, transparent and true.

The amazing thing is that, even in my terror, latent miracles bloomed. I truly believe today that the amazing grace of love flows through us all, whether we are in our darkest hour or our shining reverie. That is the miracle of oneness. Paul Williams on a recent Super Soul Sunday spoke of this same miracle. He spoke of how his songs were a light in the dark until he had the courage to recover. I know this musical thread has not only saved my life but at times it’s been the only source of the hand and voice of God itself. Because of these experiences, I know in the depth of my heart, we can be a channel of light even inside our own darkness. Like Paul, this grace saved my life until I could find the courage to embrace who I was, and by doing so, embrace oneness.

I met a new friend recently who seemed a little surprised by my commitment to be transparent. I had to honestly admit that after all I have been through, the exhausting charades, the people pleasing, the melodrama and the unnecessary suffering, I couldn’t fathom being anything else. To me, staying alive directly depends on my authenticity. To be authentic, I must be transparent. I cannot afford to hide any part of myself any longer. I need the energy I used to use to manage my life to LIVE my life. I need that energy to BE. I need that energy to engage and feel and experience. For me, that means I’m no longer afraid of answering questions directly. “Yes, I’m writing a rock musical. Yes, I only have one breast. Yes, I’m single in my late 30’s after 2 messy divorces. Yes, I feel deeply connected spiritually and yes I believe God loves me whether I am GLBT, republican, democrat, straight, succeeding, struggling, or anything else.”

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The divine is our source of all love. The divine is our source of all beauty, and hope and faith. We don’t go out into the world to gain these things, We are born with them. To be loved and loving is every human being’s divine birthright. To follow our true callings in life and live our passion for the greatest good of the universe must be our focus. Anything that reinforces the ideas that we are unworthy or unloveable just wont do. It simply does not work.  Say no to “Not enough!” Refuse to drink that kool-aid any longer. I want you to know, honestly, from the depth of my heart and soul, and from the voice of the divine that you are worthy and lovable. You can feel divine energy all the way down to your bones if you just ask and you don’t need any human being to affirm that for you. We don’t need external validation for what we know to be true in our souls. For this gift we can be truly grateful. And as a result we can be fearlessly transparent.

Authenticity: Healing Remedy

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Authenticity is the most healing remedy I know. But it doesn’t start out roses and daffodils, with a sultry voice singing you lullabies as you sip the sweet nectar of the gods. Nope. It starts flailing, uncoordinated, verbose in silence and yet silently morose. It starts in the trenches as a fight. But it’s a fight that’s worth every drop of sweat and every blackened bruise.

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For me, it started with swallowing a hard pill I couldn’t choke down without help. Honesty. I needed solid mentors in my life that could be transparent with others, honest with themselves and true to every fiber of their being to lead the way. But all this shining light of the people I admire, like Jeff Brown, Panache Desai, Chely Wright, Oprah and Deepak… was just a catalyst.

I had to take action.

I had to change my life.

Hiding who I was was killing me, and living as a fugitive from my own heart was eating my insides to the point of emotional and spiritual death. I couldn’t even fathom at the time that I had painstakingly started on a journey of epic proportions. All I knew, in the depth of my aching soul, is that I would die of inauthenticity if I didn’t escape the harrowing torture. Shame and fear were killing me, well before my medical diagnosis put the exclamation point on the need for a clean slate. Doubt and obsession were close bedfellows, and my life was unmanageably messy as I sulked and shivered under the cold clamp of powerlessness.

I couldn’t be more grateful for that today.

…Today I am free.

Because I broke the chains of people pleasing and self hatred, I know you can too. Have your ever felt like your entire life was someone else’s? Like you were watching some half-slated TV Drama, and you were the fresh face star no one has heard of yet? I have. I’ve heard the canned music and narration, and I’ve said my lines brashly in the full force of my ego. How? I had to drown my heart. The only way to ignore the depth of your soul is to drown it. You can suffocate your own voice for so long you forget what it sounds like. But thank all of divinity, it never goes away.

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My name is Paula Verdicchio, and this is my first blogpost for AUTHENTIC PASSION. Why write? Because when I thought I would die of inauthenticity, the words I heard through others, verbally and on paper when I was too broken to leave the house saved me. I believe in love and life and Karma and passing on what is freely given. I am compelled to share this journey with you.

I hope it paves the path for you to share yours with me. Let’s heal together.

Namaste!
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