Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Getting Tats!

All my life, I never thought I'd ever get a tattoo. I just felt like they were too permanent.
Then, something weird happened. Just like how the Angel Project calling hit me, suddenly I felt almost like an urgency to get tattooed, and I wanted more than one! It was surreal for me to have this sudden desire. I knew exactly what tattoos I wanted and where too, because I finally felt like I know my purpose and what I'm supposed to do.

I had tried to get them done in Texas during my last visit, but it never worked out even though I tried visiting several tattoo shops and being in contact with two independent artists. I returned to LA a little dismayed that I wasn't able to get a tattoo when I wanted one so bad.

I suddenly came into contact with a tattoo artist who, just like me, lives in both Texas and LA. I thought that was ironic.{His name is Henry Hollywood on Facebook}. When I reviewed his Facebook page of his work, it felt symbolic and I liked his work too, especially this one colorful peacock tat he'd done. We got into contact and tried several times to coordinate, but we were both so busy it was tough.

Then Monday 7/22/13, I felt too tired to go to another event, and needed a day to myself, so after I got groceries, I let the tattoo artist know I was available and he came over with his wife and tatted me up!

It was a cool experience. Glad I got to have the experience of getting tatted in this lifetime when I never thought I'd do it!

Why did I choose my wrists for the tattoos? Because I wanted people to see these images openly. 
I have been out on the tough streets of LA dressed like an angel with my posters sacrificing myself and my time on a busted foot for over a year for this cause.
Here's my video about my CALLING: 


I have a dove with an olive branch on my right wrist. Throughout history, a white dove has been used as an international symbol of peace. The dove with the olive branch is emblematic of peace, innocence, virtue, and hope. I got it because I am a messenger of peace out and about doing this Angel Project.

The lamb is on my left wrist. I got this image because of all the sacrifice I've been doing, and will continue to do, in an attempt to make this world a better place and wake more people up to the more important things in life. I have also been thrown like a lamb to the wolves several times in my life and just had to get through the chaos. And lastly, because in so many ways I have been innocent and naive like the lamb symbolizes.
Symbolism of the lamb: The lamb is a symbol of gentleness of character, and patience under suffering. It signifies purity, meekness, and sacrifice. The lamb is also a symbol of Christ. It is an emblem of faith. The holy lamb was granted to a brave, resolute spirit, who would even undertake war in Christ's cause.

Traced images on my wrists

~Mandelyn Reese
The LA Street Angel

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Conditioning: The ultimate mind-fu*k

Going through spiritual enlightenment isn't easy. It starts to shed light on your mental processes and how they came to exist based on your upbringing, your past, and your life experiences. Once you start having a higher awareness of things, there's no going back. And for many, there's an insatiable need to keep finding out more about spiritual growth and exploring the phenomenon. There can also be times where you really wish you could "go back" to "ignorance is bliss" mode. You are a spiritual entity, a soul, in a physical body having a human experience. One of my favorite new awarenesses, is that when I find myself judging someone for whatever characteristic, I am able to notice it now and make myself disengage from that judgement. I now tell myself that everyone and everything is an extension of God/Source and the Universe, to appreciate all things as they are, and tolerance is important.

My friend sent me an article about thinking back over your childhood experiences to examine what thought patterns (conditioning) that your parents (or whoever raised you) put into your psyche. After reading it, my friend wanted to know what I thought, and my response to him was this:
"It was good. The thing for me is, having the awareness of it doesn't make shedding all those years of harsh conditioning any easier. Where do we as individuals draw the line between what's been conditioned into our psyche versus how we respond and act after going through difficult life experiences that we learned from."
https://www.facebook.com/groups/245723538019/permalink/10150554687668020/ (Link to article)

Basically, REALIZING all the crap that you have been exposed to that has narrowed your views about life, shaped how you view and feel about yourself, and possibly created all different ways to judge other people, can be very difficult to undo. It's a daily effort. 

Enlightenment is like taking the red pill in the Matrix

For me, I was raised by a very strict, controlling father who followed rigid religious principles and standards of personal accomplishment that measure self-worth. The problem with all that was, by the time I exited my family circle, all those years of conditioning directly effected every interaction and relationship I've ever had in a rather negative way, because I wasn't aware of their effect on me and most of the conditioned principles have more of a negative connotation to them.

My mother was always subdued and subservient to my Dad, because this pattern is passed down through generations. There was just so much strict control and manipulation present in our family structure, and it was very damaging to us women. Unfortunately, this kind of patriarchal thinking was thoroughly ingrained into my brain: 
*The man is the head of the household *Women are below men *Whatever the man says goes
*A woman's needs and wants are below the man's *A man's sexual needs and desires supersede a woman's *Whatever the man wants, he gets

Having these patriarchal laws drilled into my head, even deeply into my subconscious, has proven to be rather disastrous for me in relationships, mainly because I lacked the courage to speak up for myself, and allowed men to control, manipulate, and treat me like crap because I felt like I wasn't worth better or that's just the way things are. It didn't help that most of my life boys told me I was ugly and I wasn't attractive. Combining the way I was treated by my Dad with being rejected by boys my whole life, led to serious self-worth and self-esteem issues that I've had to face and work on for the last 2 years. (Read my blog titled "Beauty: The Double-Edged Sword" for my story on being rejected and unattractive).

I mentioned being held to strict "standards of personal accomplishment that measure self-worth". 
Basically, my Dad put the fear in me that if I didn't excel in school and piano, I'd face punishment of some kind. In some ways, I am actually thankful that my Dad drilled personal advancement into me, because I ended up busting my ass in school and college, and got to the point where I was able to play Beethoven on the piano. (I gave up piano years ago because playing would stir up memories of my Dad yelling in my face to "play it right the first time" and forcing me to practice by use of threats and intimidation.) As for school, I was always getting great report cards, mainly A's, some B's, and making it into honors classes and clubs. I graduated high school with a 95 GPA, top 10% of my class (Magna Cum Laude), and had a bunch of scholarships dumped on me lavishly. I made it into the Honors Program at my college, which came with a full scholarship. I bulldozered through college in exactly 4 years by going full-time every semester, including summers. I made the Honor Roll and Dean's List every semester, and by the time I graduated college with a 3.8 GPA, I had amassed $25,000 in savings because I got so much scholarship money on top of the full scholarships. So while many other people were graduating with $40,000 in student debt for a Bachelor's Degree, I actually finished with a nice nest egg to get and furnish my first apartment.
These are things I'm proud to speak of, because I put in a lot of hard work and effort to accomplish it all.

Since my Dad has a serious case of random anger outbursts, we all lived in fear (even at a subconscious level) of him. My sister and I were constantly subjected to verbal, mental, and physical abuse (in the form of sometimes excessive "corporal punishment"). Because of this, my whole life I learned to stay quiet and not speak up for myself (which was called "back talk" and resulted in retaliation that I feared). Sometimes I would try to stand up for my little sister against his abuses (she got it way worse than I did) even though it was terrifying to stand up to him, but I would try, usually to no avail. I've carried around a lot of guilt my whole life feeling like I couldn't protect my baby sister from harm, and not just from my Dad, but from other men who've hurt her. I realize this guilt is unfounded, because none of it was my fault, but it's there. When I feel the guilt arise in my mind and body from the past memories, I have to really work at releasing it. 

During my upbringing, I was told to not date outside of my race. (Yes, this kind of thing still exists today!) The funny thing about that, was my first significant boyfriend was a Hispanic guy. I could tell that my Dad never approved of me dating him and was unhappy about it. But love transcends all traits, which is why I wrote that one blog called "On the topic of Love". When I went up to my Dad to tell him I was engaged to the Hispanic boyfriend (after 3.5 years together), he didn't even look at me or say anything. I could FEEL his negative reaction. It hurt to not have his blessing or approval. I even did an official photo shoot related to this issue for my Angel Project:

I have really had to work at forgiving my Dad for the way he treated us all. He was raised to believe and act that way. He was subjected to a lot of abuses from his parents. Although he has evolved to a certain extent in present time to not be as harsh as he used to, he still follows much of the rigid belief system he's carried around his entire life. He's 60 now, and it's usually very tough for older people to change their belief systems after an entire lifetime of following them. 

-One of my "Yoda" masters in my life told me that "Forgiveness is one of the keys to the universe".-

In my Dad's defense, I know he loves and cares about me and my sister in his own way. He did give us hugs, play with us, and take us to cool places. But his Dark Side definitely took its toll on us.

Hopefully this blog helps you to start examining your own upbringing and what conditioning you may have been exposed to, so that you can start to unravel it and find your true self beneath all the rubble.

~Mandelyn Reese
The LA Street Angel

UPDATE 5/30/2014: Since I have written this blog, my Dad and I have actually been spending more quality time together and building a better relationship, which is helping me to heal from past abuse. He is not on Facebook and doesn't know I wrote this blog.
Here are some of my videos about Conditioning and blowing open your mind
Video #1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=seGRLSIDMSk "Enlightenment & Conditioning"
Video #2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92IM08XE2Vk "Elaboration on Conditioning and Fear"
Video #3 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFIzcvK9StI  "Blow open your mind!"