Toxic Relationships, Love & Accountability

By Sheena Serrão
Posted on July 31st, 2017

From a spiritual perspective every relationship we develop, from the most casual to the most intimate, serves the purpose of helping us to become more conscious. Some relationships are necessarily painful because learning about ourselves and facing our own limitations are not things we tend to do with enthusiasm. We often need to be spiritually “set up” for such encounters.
— Caroline Myss, Ph.D., Anatomy of the Spirit

Just a heads up before you get to the good stuff, when I use the word relationship, I am referring to any type of interpersonal relationship; platonic, intimate, familial or otherwise. And when I use the word love, I am referring to the energy of love; the true essence and meaning behind that small, but powerful word. So please keep that in mind as you make your way through this!

Lately I’ve been having a lot of discussions about relationships of all sorts, with so many friends. Friends with varying backgrounds, who grew up in and around diverse tribal units (i.e. families and peer groups). They live in different parts of the world, and have completely different lifestyles. But the topics that have surfaced repeatedly over the last month have been uncanny; toxicity in interpersonal relationships, love and accountability.

I’m a pathological lying narcissistic manipulative problematic self centered sarcastic messy fucking bitch.
— Joanne The Scammer (@joanneprada) August 8, 2016

These are not uncommon topics, but the timing of it all and the opinions of everyone being so unanimous has made them stand out in undeniable fashion. There seems to be a lot of people channeling “Joanne the Scammer” these days!

I’m talking both men and women; friends, co-workers and lovers. They may not be running around lifting people’s wallets in disheveled wigs and fur coats, but they’re definitely wearing masks, disguising their motives and stealing energy (our life force) from others!

Issues worth addressing!

Overall, the conversations have revolved around a handful of key questions:
1) Should we be held accountable when we say we love and care about someone?
2) Should people be held accountable when their behaviour is hurting others?
3) What does that accountability look like?
4) How and when should we address these issues?

I can't expand on each of these questions in this post, but I will say a few things on the matter. I'll just be touching on the use of the word love, the choices we make, and the responsibilities that comes with that. Also, there are so many quotes from Caroline Myss that touch home for me, and tie in with this, so I've shared a few of them throughout this blog. Let's take this one below:

Choice is the process of creation itself…. Make your choices wisely, because each choice you make is a creative act of spiritual power for which you are held responsible….learn what motivates us to make the choices we do. In learning about our motivations, we learn about the content of our spirits.
— Caroline Myss, Ph.D., Anatomy of the Spirit

There’s so much truth to that. What we choose to think, say and do matters. If there is a disconnect between spirit, body and mind, our most well-meaning intentions are lost on the world around us. And the Universe loves nothing better than to wave huge red flags when we have veered off track! We may be thinking one thing, saying another and choosing to do something else! When the pieces of the puzzle don't match, the truth will always find its way back to us, because it is the natural order of things. We may try in vain to go against the laws of the Universe, but we will inevitably fail. That's when things become toxic.

Energy information is always truthful. Although a person may verbally agree to something in public, his energy will state how he really feels, and his real feelings will find their way into some symbolic statement. Our biological and spiritual systems always seek to express truth, and they will always find a way to do so.
— Caroline Myss, Ph.D, Anatomy of the Spirit

We often see these red flags, billowing in the proverbial sky of our mind's eye, and yet we choose to ignore them time and time again. Trust your intuition, always. Do not look to other people to validate your impressions. People lie, energy does not. The only way to trust your intuition and separate it from the dishonesty, opinions and beliefs of other people, is to get to know yourself. To really grow in understanding about who you are, what you need and how you give and receive the energy of love, you must learn to trust your own thoughts and feelings. Get quiet and feel. Forget other people. What feels true about a person or situation, to you? Go from there and remember, your intuition serves to protect you, always.

Clear intuition requires the ability to respect your own impressions. If you need another person to validate your own impressions, you interfere tremendously with your ability to intuit.
— Caroline Myss, Ph.D., Anatomy of the Spirit

You will tire of me saying this, but I can’t help but believe that no matter what we are discussing, if our intentions are not grounded in compassion for both ourselves and others, it will be very easy to lead ourselves and the people we claim to love and care for down a defective, and ultimately painful, path. I know this from experience. And to be grounded in compassion means that we check in with our spirits regularly to see where our thoughts, words and deeds are stemming from when interacting with others. And when we check in, we must do so vigilantly, because the choices we make are a reflection of the health of our spirits, the health of our hearts and the health of our minds.

As for our choice of words, especially the word love, I have always felt people use it too casually, not understanding the responsibility that comes with it. Words have so many connotations and I don’t think words should be used to imprison us, but if you really mean it when you use the word “love”, you should at least comprehend that there are some basic and ubiquitous characteristics of any kind of love.

And the basics start with being mindful of how your energy, intentions and choices are affecting other people around you. To be kind and understanding of another person’s feelings and points of view. To act from a place of integrity. To respect people’s feelings and boundaries, and either accept them fully and work to incorporate them into your relationship, or move on if you disagree or cannot provide what is required. These are fundamental to a healthy expression of love and consideration. Without really understanding this, it is unlikely that you will experience balanced, healthy relationships in your lifetime.

The opposite energies that surface if we are not in touch with the true energy of love are fear, blame, dishonesty, lack of empathy, energy vampirism, emotional abuse and co-dependency. In a nutshell, toxicity and drama; Joanne the Scammer loves nothing better.

Not only our minds and spirits but our physical bodies require love to survive and thrive. We violate this energy when we act toward others in unloving ways. When we harbor negative emotions toward others or toward ourselves, or when we intentionally create pain for others, we poison our own physical and spiritual systems. By far the strongest poison to the human spirit is the inability to forgive oneself or another person. It disables a person’s emotional resources.
— Caroline Myss, Ph.D., Anatomy of the Spirit

Drama is draining, steals our power and serves no one.  Over the course of our lives we must put ourselves to the test, hold ourselves up to the light and conduct rigorous self-inquiries. Because if you do not understand yourself, and recognize where you are disconnected and what requires healing, you cannot meet another healthy soul half-way and reciprocate the kind of love everyone deserves to have in their life. I leave you with one last quote from Caroline Myss and I hope my dear reader, that you find not only the courage and determination to heal, but also reciprocity in love, in all areas of your life!

Healing requires taking actions. It is not a passive event. We are meant to draw on our inner resources, to find the material strength to leave behind our outmoded beliefs and behaviors, and to see ourselves in new and healthy ways—to take up our beds and walk.
— Caroline Myss, Ph.D., Anatomy of the Spirit

Love is the Spiritual Cord

Love is the spiritual cord,
That ties me to you.
Severed in any place, it will only grow anew.

If this lifetime be my last,
May my love live on,
Like a seed in your soul.

Long after I’m gone,
When sadness bears down
And your world turns cold,
Or the tears
In the fabric of your heart
Won’t heal on their own,
The light of the Divine
Will shine its way through,
And my roots will spring forth
Strong enough to anchor in you,
A comfort that will deepen,
Then rise up inside,
Like the nine choirs of angels,
Singing your sorrows into the sky.

We will meet once more,
On the shores of your dreams.

A kiss upon the eyelids,
And your sacred heart
Will awaken to see, 
Love is the spiritual cord, 
That ties you to me. 

© 2014 Sheena Serrão. All Rights Reserved.

Blanc de Blancs

This precious love for you
Grows
Deeper and deeper
Into my earth.

Tap roots of empathy
Draw compassion
From every beat of my heart.

It nourishes my soul
With a fire that burns
Eternally.

I turn to your warmth
It strengthens me.

I look to the evening skies
The only reminder I have
Of the beauty in your eyes.

Sunset hues
Blues
Orange, pink, purple and gold.

Flesh and wood and stone
Trap and hold.

But the seeds of my Spirit break free
Scatter, disperse
Into your horizon
Every particle of you
Now part of me.

I cherish you as my own
Your very presence
Makes me whole.

No distance
Nor time
Can separate thee.

All I have
I offer
Graciously.

A safe place to catch your tears
Like rain
I use them, to water my despair.

They bear me great vines
The Queen of Grapes
This Chardonnay.

I press and dance it
Into fine wines
Of healing faith.

Blanc de Blancs
A taste of something true
Deeper and deeper grows
This precious love for you.

© 2013 Sheena Serrão. All Rights Reserved.

The Meditation

Witness in silence,
This,
Great and powerful man.
Beautiful, strong.
Brave and mighty stance.

An Aurora Borealis,
Burns inside,
His translucent chrysalis.
He slips into a trance.

Silver ropes,
Appear in either hand,
As the spheres,
Of this world and the worlds beyond,
Align.

One from the Heavens,
The umbilical cord,
Of the Divine.

With the left,
His muscles taut,
He prays pages,
From the Book of Life.

Right fist, clenched,
He uproots her arteries.
Mountains split in half.
Ouranos weeps.

Each foot a continent,
Great powers crushed beneath,
The soles.

Earthquakes reverberate,
Frayed ends bursting.
Resplendent.

Head leaning back,
Trapezius curved,
Like the horizon of the Earth.

The roars of strength,
Soar into the ether,
Hurtle past,
Venus, Mercury, and Mars,
Like a meteor shower,
Of shooting stars.

Rapid,
Shattering,
Rush.

Trembling,
His knees bend to the force.
Frightful blaze,
The re-connection,
Made.

Explosion,
Pure white light.
The magnificence,
Fills the atmosphere,
So bright.

Like the Crystal Child,
Of the Universe,
The invocation of Spirits, 
Pure.

They bow in unison, 
Eyes open the door,
To descendants,
Present, future,
Ancestors, past.

Facing the One,
The Source.
The First.
The All.

The Forever.
The Last. 

© 2013 Sheena Serrao. All Rights Reserved.

Roslyn and The Dry Chicken Sandwich

By Sheena Serrão
Posted on July 24th, 2017

I am fully aware that the story that follows is not the most flattering introduction of myself to those of you who don’t know me. But it is honest and it is very real. And I am of the opinion that we will not find our way, en route to compassion, if our journey does not begin with honesty and realness.

So here goes.

On the days when my family is busy or fed-up of cooking, they will order food or pick something up for me while they are out running errands. They think me a picky eater, but truly I mostly only have a distaste for junk food. Anything fried, overly fried, oily and gross is 98% of the time crossed off my list. But fried, fast food is usually the easiest thing for someone to buy when they are short on time.

On several occasions, because I was not willing to starve, I have eaten “chicken and chips” from the likes of Church’s Chicken (no comment), KFC (people with chronic inflammation know how this usually ends) and Royal Castle (the best of these three Dark Lords). I have felt ill on every one of those occasions. So I pleaded with my family to buy me either chicken sandwiches or nothing, if there are no other options.

They have since complied with my request, and I thought we had all moved on with our lives...until about a month ago.

Enter Roslyn.

Get familiar with this name, because you may see it crop up from time to time on my blog. Roslyn is the mother. Roslyn is also usually the lesson. Aside from lessons about being a more compassionate human, Roslyn brings with her a wealth of entertainment value that you’d better appreciate, because you get to laugh at it, whereas I have to live through it! For some women, like myself, our mothers are in many ways the greatest challenge we face from the day we are born, until the day one of us dies. I am crying with laughter as I write this by the way. But do not think me mean, unloving or unkind. Just know that there is nothing and no one to feel bad for whenever I write about Roslyn. My mother has a lot to do with the way I’ve turned out. So just keep reading!

Roslyn comes to me, what feels like a month ago, and says, “We bought you a chicken sandwich for lunch”. I say, “O.K., great. I will eat in a while. Thank you”. I go next door to my grandmother’s house to get my chicken sandwich (yes, one of my grandmothers literally lives next door to me). I heat it up, take a seat next to Roslyn and take a big bite, for I am hungry and looking forward to my sandwich. It is then that I realize that the chicken inside my sandwich is covered in mustard. Mustard. Everywhere. This has never happened to my chicken sandwich before.

I hate the taste of regular mustard. So I begin to complain to Roslyn while I eat (which is awful for your digestion and an ungrateful thing to do), that I don’t understand why there is mustard all over my sandwich. I went on and on, because life is troublesome enough, can I at least enjoy my lunch?

As I continue to eat begrudgingly, I lament, “Who did this?! They never put mustard before! Is this the new thing now!? I hate mustard! It’s all over my sandwich! There’s no way to fix this, it’s everywhere! It cannot be undone! I don’t like this! There’s nothing else to eat, that’s the only reason I’m eating it. Damnit. I appreciate you getting me a chicken sandwich, but next time don’t let them put mustard in my sandwich, Roslyn! God damnit! Tell them no mustard!”

Roslyn looks at me with raised eyebrows and a bit of a smirk on her face, and responds, “I don’t know why they put mustard in it. No mustard. O.K.”

Fast forward to a few days ago.

Roslyn: *knock, knock, knock.* “There’s a chicken sandwich for you, it’s in the microwave.”
Me: “O.K. I’m coming to eat it now.”

I’m in a great mood at this moment, but I’m also very hungry. Little did I know, my hunger would morph into unbridled hanger in just a few short moments. And here is my lesson, and my shame. It is my fowl temper when I feel cheated, especially when the thing in question is minuscule, that is my Achilles heel. Because it is the simple things in life that rattle me and cause me the most grief when people get them “wrong”. My thought pattern has been this way for a long time, “It’s so small, and it’s so easy, so why can’t people get it right?”

I open my sandwich to place it in the mini-oven to heat it up, and what do I see? Chicken covered in mustard? Ha! Yeah right. It’s never that simple. It was a DRY piece of chicken, between two DRY pieces of bread. I stared at my naked sandwich as I felt my volcanic emotions begin to rise within me. I thought, “Is this really my lot in life?”

Self-defeating and negative thoughts. They bring so much drama with them. I was hungry, but mostly I was disappointed. More than anything, I was tired of being disappointed. Hence my outburst. The more I angrily questioned why my chicken sandwich was dry, useless, no lettuce or mayo in sight, the angrier I became. It did not help that the answers that came to me were unacceptable.

One person said Roslyn told them not to put anything on the sandwich, that’s what happened. Roslyn then retorted that she never said that, she told them, "No dressing". She had forgotten what it was I did not like about my last sandwich, and therefore had not been more specific.

Me: "MUSTARD. I SAID NO MUSTARD. JUST THE ONE THING. I NEVER SAID I WANTED A DRY-A$$ CHICKEN SANDWICH! LOOK AT THIS. WHAT IS THIS?! I'M SUPPOSED TO EAT THIS?!"

And it was at end of that rant, when I angrily dropped the sandwich on top of the stove, that I realized I was behaving like an a-hole again.

I’m getting better at this though. On a lovely weekday afternoon last year, I was so stressed out by life and enraged by an order gone wrong, that I behaved much worse.  I had ordered an arepa with shredded chicken, black beans, plantain and cheese, only to realize as I was about to nom it, that there was NO CHICKEN in it. My order had been lost in translation. I roared like the prince in Beauty & the Beast, and slammed it so hard on my desk that most of its contents all but scattered. Again, I felt cheated.

I don’t slam arepas anymore. Not only because it’s childish to slam and throw things during a tantrum, but because black beans are really difficult to clean up. You’d be amazed at how many they can cram into those little round sandwiches! Days later I was still finding rogue black beans that landed themselves in bizarre places, left behind no doubt as gentle reminders of my poor anger management skills.

Since then, I had put an end to my food slamming ways. Until the dry chicken sandwich came along. And though there’s been a marked improvement—I gently dropped the sandwich, as opposed to destroying it— I clearly still have a way to go. I noticed my penchant for wanting to return to the Universe what it has delivered to me, when I don’t like it. Even if that meant symbolically throwing it back into the direction from whence it came. Maybe I slam things downward because that’s where Hell and Satan reside? 

I joke of course. And I also do not condone unwarranted hostility. But I am a realist. If you can’t cure the crazy, the least you can do is mellow it! And the sandwich drop was much mellower than the arepa catastrophe.

Anyway, I caught myself a moment too late, and regretted it. Not only had I riled myself up, turned myself off of my free meal, I had also caused a fight between the two people who had different recollections of why it happened. In truth, my anger was not because there was no lettuce, tomatoes and mayo in my sandwich, it was because I did not feel heard. Maybe I felt my request was not important enough to Roslyn for her to remember? Also if I can’t have anything else go the way I want, can I at least have a pleasant meal, Universe!?

When I calmed down, I remembered that Roslyn is ageing, and is literally deaf in one ear. It does not help that she is in pure denial and refuses to wear her hearing aid. I have compassion for all these things. I can forgive honest forgetfulness, and I can forgive the partially deaf. If only the forgiveness came before the annoyance. I just need to work on accessing that compassion, when my old brain patterns are urging me to act out. The only way to change these old impulses is to short-circuit them, and re-route my brain. It takes time, but I will get there!

At the end of the day, sometimes the mess we make when we cannot conduct ourselves from a place of calm and compassion is just not worth it. And in the end, my dry chicken sandwich was not as bad as the mustard-covered one. Just like my behaviour, it was not ideal, but there was a slight improvement. My goal is to be better than a dry chicken sandwich. I know I have it in me. Don’t be a dry chicken sandwich people. Somewhere, deep down, we’re all beautiful chicken sandwiches, with all the right vegetables and condiments. Unless you’re vegan, but we'll save that topic for another blog post. Happy eating! And try to be grateful for everything you receive out of kindness, even if it may not be everything you expected!

New Moon. New Journey.

New Moon. New Journey.

It’s a New Moon in Leo today, and with it comes the publishing of my New Blog, "En Route To Compassion" on this website, my passion project, Karuna Worldwide. The fog that’s been hovering in my mind for the last seven months has finally begun to clear, and I am so grateful. I’ve been contemplating what my next creative effort would be, since the latter part of 2016, and my energies have been slowly brewing since, bubbling up here and there, but not quite coming to a boil.