Monthly Archives: November 2013

We’re Not Cattle: Bowing Out of the Branding Game

000 Branding

I wanted to be someone else.

Fierce winds rattled my door tonight. The road so dark, even the brights seemed insufficient. Each curve I drove as I went to pick my daughter up, even the ones I knew well, surprised me.

Night can be blinding in a different kind of way. It consumes all that lies outside the circle of headlights, jealously guarding its treasure. Though hours earlier I’d seen the foliage surrounding this long stretch of blacktop, now my chest thumped some sort of never more rhythm. Would I make it home? What about the deer? Which passing car would travel just close enough to push us both into untimely terror?

Too many questions on such a dark evening, and not the ones that mattered.

My recent past has been a struggle of confidence and conformity… or nonconformity. With such strong personalities surrounding me, I’ve spent more time questioning every decision than I do making them. And everyone has a very strong opinion, which is fair because I have a habit of asking for them.

By the way, popular vote is no way to actually live a life. Trying to be everybody ends up making a person nobody pretty fast.

Tonight the quiet resoundingly thrums against my eardrums. It speaks of change and certainty and life that will burst forward with Acme rocket speed. The wind has come to push away the deep cold of a too soon winter… or perhaps pull it near. Either way, the tingle spreading up my back and down my arms isn’t chill, but the swift current of something new and ancient.

I wanted to be someone else. I fought so hard to be anybody else, but in the thralls of a transforming season surrender is inevitable. We can only run so long before the vibration of the world throws silken tendrils around us. Not to envelope, not to control, but to allow wisdom we avoid to catch up and sink in.

Tomorrow came twenty minutes ago with this message:Somewhere in your life now, you may be feeling pressured to fit in and wear some kind of label. But you don’t need it.”

When I walk through the nearby forest, there are dozens of plants, trees and flowers. Not a single one has a label plastered to them, so I couldn’t begin to tell you exactly what kind they are, but I appreciate the beauty of each one. Their varied shapes and colors offer wonderment, peace and pleasure. Nature doesn’t require a label to exist, and long after we’ve screwed everything up, then disappeared, it’ll still be going strong… without our carefully planned categories.

I thought I wanted to be someone else. I thought I needed a label – author, coach, developmental developer person, writer of spiritual fiction, young adult urban something or other.

But it’s time to give up on those illusions. Not the words or the support or the passion, but on the need to fit in somewhere so I can be something to the right people. Does anybody know who those people are? If you do, make sure they don’t get my number.

At some point we have to draw a line. Not the chalk kind that dissolves after a heavy rain or the magic marker kind that fades with time and a good scrubbing. This one has to be a freaking monument of stone and steel with a diamond shield nature can’t break down through elemental persistence… and neither can anybody else.

The time of identifying people by their profession – the cobbler, the thatcher, the mercantile, the author – is long gone. The time of using more snark and profanity and sharp jabs to get attention should be. And sticking a label on me or imprinting my backside with a red hot iron thingy makes me no more or less effective at what I’ve chosen to do.

After spending a third of my life (because I plan to make 120) trying to be everything to everyone, trying to figure out the exact label so people will instantly know who I am and what I stand for, I’m bowing out of the branding game. Mostly because hot pokers make me nervous and I’m not fond of being considered cattle-like. 

I help people get things written, but only if they’re willing to take personal responsibility for their passion because I can’t want it for them. I work with structure and flow and making words count because I have an unending passion to clean up stuff and support people. I write, and sometimes I do it well… sometimes not so much, but I won’t ever stop. I like classic Winnie-the-Pooh and bubbles and helping Spirit when it comes knocking on my door.

These are things about me, but they don’t define me because categories are illusions we use as security blankets so people can decide at a distance if we’re the right people.

When all the paperwork is finished my name will be Kassie (sounds like Casey) Ranee Dillon. You may know me as Ranee. It’s a pleasure to meet you. Hope to see you again soon.

Advertisements
Categories: branding, conformity, conscious choices, labels, opinions, professional identity, what once was, writing, Writing Process | Tags: , , , | 8 Comments

When the Universe Conspires to Teach Us

“Five for ten, and I’ll spot you something that looks like a soul, but feels more like thinly stretched taffy from Coney Island,” I said to the face in the mirror.

My face in the mirror. Took me long enough to recognize her, but I tend to like the hard way when it comes to lessons. The only way to learn something from the inside out is to throw yourself into it completely, twist crap around, then jump in deeper. Sooner or later the bottom reveals itself in colors of ‘oh hell no’ or ‘bring it on’.

My latest project, No Name Lane, thrust me into the spiritual deep end to take a solid look at completeness. I ripped apart illusions with a fine pointed pen, then strolled through the wisdom of incredible teachers, all of it ending with a very stark realization.

I am complete within myself.

What does that mean exactly? Well, as best as I can figure I don’t need the presence of another human being to make me whole. While I’ll totally conceed it would be nice to have a romantic partner again, the lack of such won’t destroy the foundation of who I am. Whoa. Yeah, made my eyes uber wide with something between shock and glee. Not the kids singing musical numbers in high school. But actual contented happiness.

As writers, 90% of the stuff we write is usually for us. It has nothing to do with narcissism. More like because we’re so prone to living in illusion due to our craft, the universe finds any way it can to get the point across. For us, it’s words on a page. For that guy hiding in the back, it’s his obsessive need to listen to Donna Summer albums. Hey, I don’t judge. We all got our thing.

My thing is to break down everything over and over and over and… you get the point. I like to see events from every angle possible, then I ask three questions.

What did I gain?

What did I lose?

What did I learn?

Those twelve words are the way I evaluate every past and present experience. No judgement for anyone involved, no assigning right or wrong, just a comprehensive walk through the lessons of really good teachers. Yeah, I was that annoying person in college who had a file box full of research for a 20 page paper. Being thorough never killed anybody, unless they got a paper cut, then it turned into an infection and…

I’m getting off track. #ADD

The current wisdom is not to look back into the past because they say depression lives there. But how can you avoid repeating the same cycles if you don’t take the time to learn from the class life has already offered? I’m not saying stay back there forever. That’s just plain insanity because you can’t actually live in the past, but The Lion King had some pretty darn good thoughts on this subject…

Adult Simba: I know what I have to do. But going back means I’ll have to face my past. I’ve been running from it for so long.
[Rafiki hits Simba on the head with his stick]
Adult Simba: Ow! Jeez, what was that for?
Rafiki: It doesn’t matter. It’s in the past.
[laughs]
Adult Simba: Yeah, but it still hurts.
Rafiki: Oh yes, the past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it, or… learn from it.
[swings his stick again at Simba, who ducks out of the way]
Rafiki: Ha. You see? So what are you going to do?

We can’t run from who we’ve been or the events in our lives. However, we can absolutely learn from them if we’re willing to put aside blame, ego, and the part of us that loves to judge ourselves. If perfection was a human quality, the planet would be empty because there’d be no point to living.

Life is a journey of lessons through our experiences and choices. We need the contrast of lack to understand fullness, of darkness to appreciate light, of no love to embrace the beauty of unconditional love. Without delving completely into the depths of absences we may know fullness, light and love, but will often fail to understand the precious nature of such gifts.

After many years of relationships with no real break, I hadn’t been able to see, in the constant presence of others, what I’ve found in complete aloneness. I am enough all by myself, and contented in that realization. My past, my teachers, and a heck of a lot of contrast taught me that. How fortunate a gift to be given from a universe that conspires for our greatness.

If your path takes you into the arms of another loving soul, then embrace it because love should always be welcome. But know, in the arms of that person, you are complete within yourself with or without them. Completeness only requires we recognize its existence, not the presence of another being, no matter how wonderful they are. When we truly see past the illusion we are broken souls into the truth our wholeness, we can love on a level of unconditional that will make the universe blush.

 

 

Categories: angels on earth, belief, breaking illusions, conscious choices, spirituality, the universes we create, unconditional love | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

My Broken Road of Blogging and Social Media

Blogging has been a love/ hate relationship from the beginning. When this all started I used it for very personal reasons. It was a vehicle to break illusions, confront fear, and meet other people because words are good for all three.

In my life, I often tap out events to see them from a different perspective. I’ve found they look completely different when I get them out of my head. The result is that I learn far more about myself and other people. If these posts help someone else in the process, then so much the better because we grow from other people’s experience as much as our own.

That’s the purpose of a collective consciousness, to share each laugh or tear and in the telling of life stories become more of our true selves through these teachers. I’ve had many who’ve opened my eyes to a larger universe and helped me avoid otherwise painful lessons. Not always because I’m as human as the next person and, sometimes, very stubborn. But eventually I see the light of wisdom in the advice I receive.

The problem I recently faced with all of this is one I hadn’t anticipated. This tool for breaking through illusion and fear has caused a fair bit of turbulence in my personal life and relationships. Though I explain time and again the purpose of writing out my life and struggles, they eventually offend or upset someone.

So I have two choices — walk away from social media or stop worrying about what people think. The second being the more difficult because I have big love for the people who are or have been in my life.

It’s an excruciating decision.

“You’ve become an amazing woman,” a good friend recently said. “When I met you two years ago, you were this unsure girl who accepted everything everyone did and let people walk all over her. You’ve grown so much, and I’m happy I got to see it.”

These changes were forty years in the making and took every ounce of strength and courage. It nearly broke me, and by that I mean I was ready to send my daughter back to California and fade off the face of the planet.

It’s interesting people say, “Love yourself and do what’s right for your life.”

It’s a double edged sword, isn’t it? Because what they mean is… do it so long as it doesn’t change anything with them. We admire people who blaze their own path, but demonize them when they fall short of our expectations. No one is immune from this human failing, not even me. But over the past several years, I’ve come to understand that I won’t understand why or how people do things, but I respect their journey, even if it’s far from mine. And I’d hoped for the same respect in return.

But when I started saying:

“Hey, I want to help, but I just can’t.”

 

Or… “Look, if you want to be here you need to start contributing because I can’t afford to support you.”

And… “I’m not going to be your part time playtoy, so if you want a relationship let’s do this thing.” 

That’s when I found out who was here to be part of my life and who wasn’t. I found out who truly respected me and who didn’t. I thought I’d be more angry, but not really. I mean, sure I’m sad because we’d put a lot of time and energy into those relationships, but they also created a lot more turmoil than I’d realized.

I have many fond memories, and they’ve all been wonderful teachers of one kind or another. So none of the time we spent together was wasted, at least not from my perspective.

 

Looking back serves one purpose, to see my strengths and failings in any given moment, and possibly do it better in this one. In my mistakes and successes, I find lessons and teachers. In my words, I cut through the crap and find the reality outside the complicated mess of thoughts and emotions twirling through my head. Though these posts have evolved, this process hasn’t changed, but I have through it.

So, I suppose I answered my own question in the course of writing this post. It isn’t a big screw you to world, but rather points me back to something I wrote this summer.

Authenticity because anything else is slow death.

Just as I don’t have the right to tell any of you who you are or should be, no one has the right to tell me either. We might be able to try on other people’s shoes, but we can’t walk in them because their road is paved by a lifetime of experiences we can never know.

Ultimately, we have power over one thing – Choice. Not the outcomes or consequences, but we choose the path to our next lesson. And mine is a dirt road where maps or GPS have yet to conquer. Though I may hit a pothole of two, I have a feeling it will end up being one of the biggest adventures of my life.

And in this very moment as I write these words, I’ve decided you’ll find out about it right here, if you choose to join me. 🙂

Categories: answers, breaking illusions, Choice, love, relationships, the universes we create, what once was | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.