Happy New Year's

In a single moment of time, there is always so much to be grateful for. I was grateful in 2017 and I know I will be grateful in 2018. 2017 brought me trials and tribulations but it also brought me strength and courage to move forward into a better self. It made me take risks. It made me try different things. It helped me hone in and focus on the things I love. Like writing, family, reading, and learning. In 2017, this blog has done better than it has done any other year. I've reached people from all over the globe. I've created content worth reading and I know there's still so much this blog has to offer. I finished everything I've needed for university and will be attending in a couple weeks. I've grown as a mother and I've spent so much of 2017 with family and adventuring. 

And let's be clear, 2017 didn't do this to me. I did this to me in 2017. I took the risks, the leaps, the bounds. I am in control of this journey.

January is filled with a thousand promises, all of which can easily be broken like a vase sliding off a shelf if you're careless in your approach. 2018 won't come to you. It won't bring you any happiness or joy. You have to go to 2018. Become what you want and what you love.  Grow. Become. Bring happiness to 2018. Bring your entire self to 2018. Tell yourself: I am enough + I am blooming. Here you are, at the start. Full of soft beginnings and endless opportunity. No different than yesterday.

Make it what you want, friends.

Why the Positivity & Spiritual Movement is Bullshit

My father died when I was 18. My mind was in two places: the real and the surreal. His death wasn't tangible but I knew it was there. I knew I could no longer talk to him. As much as I felt the pain of his death, it seemed like a faraway dream that my fingers couldn't reach. One that I prepared for but wasn't truly ready for. Flashbacks of who he once was crawled back to me. The fishing trips, his laughter, picking out movies at Blockbuster, camping, all the things he taught me. There was a boulder in my throat and a river behind my eyes. 

Grief comes in many forms and although it's a universal feeling, everyone suffers differently and processes grief in their own way. For me, I turned to spirituality. I had two friends die within two years before my fathers passing and I had gradually began opening myself up to new-age spirituality in that time. I thrusted myself into a world of love and light. I meditated, I hula-hooped, I stopped using products in my hair and allowed it to knot up, I bought funky thrift store clothes, I hardly wore make-up, I obsessed over the universe, I read The Power of Now and Be Here Now religiously, I did yoga, I charged my crystals, I used singing bowls, I chanted mantras. I didn't always do what I wanted or how I wanted to do it, I did what I felt I had to do and what felt comfortable to fit in with a group of people. Yet, my pain and sadness didn't go away. 

Healing is not easy. It is chaotic and it is messy and it's not a quick fix. Darknesses need to be exposed in order to find the light. Healing deep unresolved wounds and trauma is painful. It is not something a simple stone will be able to fix yet the spiritual movement tries to pass it off as easy, as simple, as merely letting things go. There are lessons that need to be learned, questions that need to be asked, pain and anger and sadness that needs to be felt. It is intense and potent work. One can't just read self-help novels and believe everything is cured. Anger and fear need to be faced and this is one thing the movement attempts to avoid.

However, I learned a lot about myself by meeting these groups of people. I unlocked my heart to empathy and compassion which was within me the entire time. I learned how to calm anger and rage. I learned how to silence my mind. I learned how to flow with life rather than go against it. I learned how to naturally manage my depression and anxiety. I learned the importance of being present. I learned that not everything needs to be kind and that spreading love won't always help realistic issues. I learned that everyone's spirituality is different. I went through anger and sadness. I began to understand how the events of my entire life made me the person I was. I understood why I hurt others around me. I learned how to accept and let go. I've been on "spiritual" Facebook groups since and have found people dismissing others for certain beliefs, thoughts, emotions, and/or actions which, ironically, is a restriction of themselves on the flow of life, the flow of their consciousness, and only enhances negative energies within themselves. I tune into my intuition and many seem lost and fake and it's by no fault of their own, they were never allowed the chance to dig into themselves and know themselves.

Be aware of the bullshit to allow growth and healing for yourself. Tune into your intuition to recognize a lot of these extremely positive and spiritual people are still hurting and holding onto unresolved issues. Don't be fooled if "spiritual" people say the below.

Real World Problems Must Be Ignored

This is a big one I see. I've seen people bring up real world issues such as sexism, racism, politics, cultural appropriation, financial worries, etc only to be shut down and told their energies are "negative". People in the spiritual community are being made to feel as if they are less than others because they have realistic concerns. Those with heightened consciousness are able to balance the real world with their soul self and those with empathy are able to understand why these are still important topics to discuss. Living in one's own bubble and not worrying about what's going on around you will not help or change the world, it will only hurt it. 

Possessions Must Be Let Go Of

A decked out camper going cross country that smells like patchouli and has Mala beads hanging over the rearview mirror is the only way to be spiritual, right? Wrong. One could own a huge home, be wealthy, have three different cars, and still be spiritual. One could own a tiny home, have a small amount of money, go thrift store shopping, and still be spiritual. One could be a hoarder or a minimalist. It doesn't matter. It is something within us and we can make our external world how we see fit. As long as we don't attach ourselves entirely to our possessions and focus our identity on physical belongings, we can enjoy tangible items and aim to live a comfortable lifestyle. 

There's A Wrong Way To Do It

There's really no wrong way to be spiritual. There's no wrong way to meditate. A metalhead can be spiritual. A teacher can be spiritual. An ironworker can be spiritual. Someone who cusses in every sentence can be spiritual. Someone who drinks a beer here and there can be spiritual. There are no rules. It's not required to use crystals or read tarot or love tie-dye or wear natural fibers or lay in the dirt daily or go to festivals. Everyone's spiritualism looks different and will be personalized for each person.

No Anger Allowed 

I used to "nicely" nag people for getting angry and tried to halt their feelings. I believed anger was useless and unnecessary and somehow thought pointing it's uselessness out in the moment did good. Now, I understand it is a natural emotion and it's important to allow people to truly feel what they're going through. Anger is like a balloon. When it gets too much helium, it'll burst. Having people hide their anger away will only save it for another time. Allowing it to build up and eventually come out in greater proportion. Let people (even oneself) be angry, help them feel it, and then help them throw it away. The root of intense anger often stems from a trauma or pain and it won't change until that becomes resolved. 

Negative Energy Has to Be Avoided

Negative energy can be tiring but negative energy within other people cannot always be avoided and doesn't have to be. We don't always have to give up friendships, or quit our jobs, or avoid our neighbors, or never leave our houses. It's a lesson on how to put walls up, understand where their negative energy may stem from (their experiences in life), and continue on. It takes practice to learn protection and not absorb others energy but it's necessary. This is how you grow - by learning tolerance and acceptance.

Vegan Diets Only

Food is medicine but everyone's medicine will look different. A plant-based diet, while important and beneficial, isn't for everyone. Some people who are in tune with their body thrive better with meat and they can still have appreciation for the animal that gave its life. No matter what someone's diet looks like, gratitude is always needed for receiving nourishment whether it be from plants or from animals. There is no universal, spiritual diet everyone has to be on. We know what is right for us in mind, body, and soul.

What "rules" have you come across? Has the positivity and spiritual movement had a negative impact on you?

To the One I'm Spending My Life With

My limbs are stretched in different directions and I change just as often as the weather. I am here and there. I am in between and outside of. I am all around. I am a reader, a blogger, a mother, a lover, a cleaner, a worker, a learner, a cook. My mind is always filled with ways to improve our lives. Make things simpler. Make things organized. Make things fun. Make things fulfilling. Make things inspiring. It is filled with writings I forget to jot down. It is filled with song lyrics. It is filled with ideas. It is filled with things I hope we do together. It is filled with things I hope to accomplish. It is filled with doubt. It is filled with the present moment. 

I know some days I get lost in my own thoughts and ideas. I lose the stillness. I know there is worry within me, meshing with a constant joy I feel and sometimes the worry overrides anything else. There is this quiet, calm stress I feel throughout my body. Ready to break through at the slightest annoyance. It becomes soft tidal waves that crashes over me and tries to drown us both. Gently, silently. Like an assassin that you never saw coming.

There is this constant pressure I put on both of us to improve. Sometimes I want it all done with the snap of my fingers and sometimes I get irritated when it doesn't happen the way I want. But I know we are both trying and I know we both have skeletons to defeat and I know we are both growing. We are growing separately and we are growing together. As parents, as lovers, as people. Occasionally, we fumble and scrap our knees but we dust the dirt off one another and we get back up again. Stronger and more resilient than before.

I want you to know that I am here for you. For us. For him. I am here, even when I want things done a certain way or feel defeated when things aren't perfect or when my mind is made of fog and dust and spiderwebs. I am here and I am listening to your needs. I am still finding a balance for myself outside of motherhood, inside of motherhood, for our son, for you and week after week, I feel one is being nurtured more than others and the scales tip yet again and I collapse.

When things are falling apart, when things are messy, when things are organized, when things are beautiful, when things are busy, when things are exactly the way we could hope, when things are full of laughter, when things are full of tears, when things happen unexpectedly, I know you'll be by my side, holding my hand, and together we'll overcome. Who we are as individuals will overlap and occasionally we'll bare our teeth at one another like wolves standing our ground, but we'll always be intertwining as one and cultivating this adventure of ours, united and in love. 

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Shayna Shattelroe

25 years old. Mama to Maddox. Word weaver. Lover of love. Coffee addict. Psychological science student. 

A woman of curious nature, my name is Shayna. I am wild & reserved. Humbled & proud. Quiet & clamorous. Strange & familiar. I live in the trees of New England typing away as lifestyle blogger. You can always find me with a coffee cup in one hand and a book in the other.

Blogging since 2005, I’ve had an innumerable amount of blogs on a vast number of platforms. Finally, I’ve found one to call home: The Lovely Cicada. This blog is a piece of myself I extend to you.