Why It Is Time To Take Off Your Mask

By Ariel Minter

It seems as though we have hit another season of “giving something up for the greater good”. With Fat Tuesday, otherwise known as Mardi Gras, there seems to be magic in putting on a mask and allowing yourself one last hoorah before some portion of you has to dedicate to sainthood for 40 days.

According to www.americancatholic.org/features/mardigras/ Mardi Gras literally means “Fat Tuesday” in French. The name comes from the tradition of slaughtering and feasting upon a fattened calf on the last day of Carnival. The day is also known as Shrove Tuesday (from “to shrive,” or hear confessions), Pancake Tuesday and fetter Dienstag. The custom of making pancakes comes from the need to use up fat, eggs and dairy before the fasting and abstinence of Lent begins.

So, there you have it. Masks, slaughtering, and fat. It seems a little barbaric. Perhaps that comes from the concept that you can “hide” who you are. It makes sense that anyone would want to remain anonymous on his or hers last night of binging; however, it seems to take away the humanity that could be left in the tradition.

At Passion Provokers, we believe that being truly authentic is the key to real intimacy. We ask people to strip off some of their masks. So there is the big secret, or should I say the big answer, to beginning a journey with yourself and your partner.

It’s a simple yet life-changing decision. It means not allowing yourself to wallow in your Fat Tuesdays, it doesn’t mean binging just to starve for 40 days. It means living in who you are every day of every moment. It requires work, because there is nothing more challenging than being who you truly are and having the confidence to know that whatever it is, it will be “enough”.

I encourage you to not be overwhelmed. Some people work hard so they can party harder. But we invite you to a Bigger Story and an even Better Party. When you allow yourself to live freely in authenticity and vulnerability, things start to change in meaning; masks are suddenly seen as cages as opposed to protection.

We all have masks. In fact, I have a few that I still use. As humans, we have a tendency to rely on them and the idea of losing that portion of our “identity” is like taking away a favorite toy from a child. These masks have become apart of who we are, what we do, and how we function.

It’s quite possible that when you begin the journey of recovery and authenticity that you will feel anger and not know why. Well, it is because you are uncomfortable without your masks, and therefore you feel anger because you feel as though it is something that is being stripped away from you. However, at Passion Provokers, there is no such thing as a “bad” feeling. So, when you feel anger, know that you are doing something right.

Maybe you don’t do the whole lent thing. Or the Mardi Gras thing. But whatever you do, I challenge you to give yourself permission to feel all emotions and to do it from a place of authenticity in your true self. 

I know you will feel a sense of freedom that hasn’t been felt in far too long.

What Kind Of Cage Have You Built Yourself?

By Ariel Minter

When I first met Holly Golightly, I was enamored. Being a self-proclaimed Wild Thing and slightly insane, while maintaining a classic beauty, made her irresistible. Watching this brilliant character unfold on screen I realized that slice of her insanity was what made her so appealing. She was completely unavailable and she made herself that way by abandoning anyone, or Cat, that dared to love her. This made her the ultimate controller.

In every relationship there are two people: one who is the controller and the other who is the abandoner. These relationships flip-flop and do not always remain constant, but the thing that we have discovered at Passion Provokers is that the person who abandons is the one who has the “power”, or “upper-hand” in any given situation.

I was having a conversation with one of my dear friends about being in a relationship where one person decides they want out. She looked at me and said, “You know, when someone decides to leave, even if the other person wants to fight for it, it doesn’t matter. The person being left just has to deal with it. They don’t have a choice. That person who is being left without a choice is the one who is left with a broken heart.” Her words hit home, because it immediately brought me to my moments of feeling heartache.

Some people build walls so high that the moment someone shows love and affection towards them (whole and healthy love) that person has to walk away. We see this many times at the end of a relationship.

Generally, the person who decides to walk away is the one who is getting the short end of the stick. They are rejecting before they are rejected, therefore ending any inkling of the idea of being loved. They’re jumping ship before the storm.

“You know what’s wrong with you Ms. Whoever-you-are, you’re chicken. You’ve got no guts, you’re afraid to stick out your chin and say ‘okay Life’s a fact’. People do fall in love; people do belong to each other, because that’s the only chance anyone’s got for real happiness. You call yourself a free spirit, a Wild Thing, and you’re terrified someone is going to stick you in a cage, well Baby; you’re already in that cage. You built it yourself.”

SPOILER ALERT: Even though it was against everything she wanted to do, Holly decided to take a leap and accept the love that was being offered to her.

We believe in eradicating the idea of letting the fear of brokenness stop you from truly living and loving. Get out of the cages you’ve built for yourself. Love freely, but with healthy boundaries.

Be a Wild Thing, but don’t allow yourself to live in a cage. Happy Valentines Day!

Edwards, Blake, dir. “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” 1961. Television.

Zombies and Happiness

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Happiness:
noun
trying to rediscover the happiness we once knew pleasure, contentment, satisfaction, cheerfulness, merriment, gaiety, joy, joyfulness, joviality, jollity, glee, delight, good spirits, lightheartedness, well-being, enjoyment; exuberance, exhilaration, elation, ecstasy, jubilation, rapture, bliss, blissfulness, euphoria, transports of delight.

Language is something we master. The funny thing about language (verbal and non-verbal) is that we master it and then, when we use it, often use it unconsciously. We respond in reaction: out of emotion, out of how we think we should respond.

When you become aware of the things that come out of your mouth, or how you’re standing while talking to someone, you suddenly realize you are coming out of a daze. Did you really hear what your friend was saying to you? And did you really respond? Or did you just mimic something that sounded right?

So in this daze, we can call it Zombie-land, you react in ways that are unconscious. And you make decisions in Zombie-land that the real-life version of you wouldn’t appreciate, and may even detest.

Is your Zombie-land Language coming from a place of pain or a place of love? Is it coming out of health or is it coming out of disease? You see…there aren’t many other places your unconscious language can come from. You are either coming from a place of dysfunction or growth.

Now, you may not know. But I can tell you how: how are your relationships? When you evaluate the level of “good” your relationships are, then you can gauge exactly where your Zombie-land language is coming from. I have a harder question to ask though…how is your relationship with yourself? If you are self-loathsome, depressed, tired, insecure, or anxious, then your Zombie-land language is killing your relationships.

A lot of the times, when you ask someone what he or she wants in life, they give a simple answer “To be happy.”

So the real question to ask is: How are you going to achieve happiness in your life? You cannot have happiness if you rely on Zombie-land language and dead relationships, especially if you are dead to yourself.

I challenge you to wake up. To dust off some of your dysfunctional shields, stand up, and get the hell out of Zombie-land and learn an entirely different language. This language is clarity. It is choosing to live the life you dream of NOW. I know, it’s hard to get out of your comfortable daze of mimicking what you think sounds right. It’s hard to choose to live in real-life.

There is no real measurement for “happiness” except for your own, but I don’t believe you can really be happy unless you choose to live consciously, and that takes time. Learning a new language is not easy.
~Ariel