I have twins. I also have daughter who is two years older. Add to that, I became a single mother when the twins were 21 months, and Kid #1 was three years old. People constantly ask me, “how did you do it?”
I just did.
That’s my constant answer. I just did. No magic formula. I just got myself through it. Full disclosure: I don’t always remember a the details of the really stressful times, but I got through it.
That’s pretty true of life, really. How do we do what we need to do? We just do. We dig deep. We find it somewhere. We figure it out.
We just do.
It’s something that I’ve come to trust. Even love. I know that no matter what gets tossed my way, I’ll figure it out. I’ll survive. I’ll just do it. (Nike was onto something, after all.)
But honestly, it’s kind of reassuring to me to know that I’ll do whatever it takes to make it through. It’s gotten me through a lot of challenges in my life. And obviously, I’ve lived to tell the tale. It has often been with the support of the people I love, and that is not to be discounted in any way. But when push comes to shove, we really do have to do the work ourselves. And now when shit comes my way, I don’t freak out about it quite so much. Because I trust that I’ll figure out how to get through it. I just will.
The down side to that is that I have also stayed too long, in relationships, in jobs, in situations I shouldn’t have, in situations that weren’t necessarily safe…because I thought I could just make it work. That I could just do it.
I was so committed to the end result that I wanted to force into being, that I wouldn’t walk away, even when it would have been healthier for me to do so.
I’m learning. Sometimes it’s a slow learning curve. Sometimes it’s a very steep learning curve. Sometimes it isn’t better to just do it. Sometimes it’s way, way better self care to not do it.
The true gift of age is wisdom. If we’re quiet, and listen to that still small voice, we always know when it’s a better idea to stay and put the work in, and when it’s a better idea to walk away. Even when that feels like letting people down or breaking commitments.
We don’t always have to just do it.
The challenge of age is hearing that still small voice…and choosing to act upon it.
That’s the biggest challenge for me. I hear the voice. I get the gut feeling. But I am not always willing to put myself first and act upon it. Especially when acting on it feels like letting people down. Walking away from a commitment. Not just doing it.
I’m a survivor. I’m resilient. I’m fucking hard to break. But it’s taken a lot of repeated lessons for me to start understanding that I don’t have to be such a survivor if I take care of myself to start with. I don’t have to be so resilient if I actually put myself first on my own list, right from the get-go.
So although I know that I can just do it – really, just about anything you put in front of me, I’ll figure it out somehow – I’m trying to honestly trust that I don’t always have to. That I can say no. That I can choose another option than the one that is right in front of me. I can make choices that don’t make sense to other people. They really only have to make sense to me.
I’m not afraid of hard work. I have learned to work within the confines of chronic illness, mental illness, family illness, memory loss, repeated voice loss, addiction, poverty of the working poor, single parenthood, challenging and loving children, out and out con men and the police investigations that came after, untrustworthy men, men who just couldn’t commit, men who were children in grown-up bodies, bad choices, bankruptcy, very, very expensive financial surprises, friendships that went south, relationships of all sorts that gave off serious potential stalker vibes (I always did listen to my gut on those and cut bait), moving continents with small children, sewage floods, the roof literally blowing off my house, rats, and customers who think it’s just OK to not pay their bills. Ever.
And I’m still here, and I still put a roof over my children’s heads (when it isn’t blowing away), and food on their table. I work hard to do it, and sometimes it’s precarious, but I do it.
Some things have been thrown at me, and I’ve just figured it out. How? Couldn’t tell you. I just did.
Some things have been thrown at me, and my gut has said no, and I’ve kept on anyway, and I’ve paid the price. Painfully. Sometimes very painfully.
I have also had amazing children, a great relationship with my ex, a supportive family and an abundance of phenomenal friends, a varied education, skills that I can turn into a career that I love (twice over), the ability to think on my feet and learn quickly, the astounding generosity of strangers and loved ones alike, some deep loves, fantastic lovers and mind-blowing sex, men who taught me true patience and some huge things about myself and relationships, really rewarding jobs, rock-solid spirituality, and an undying faith in humanity and my ability to figure it out (whatever it is).
I guess my point is…we all have great things in life, and we all experience enormous challenges. But we can figure it out as we go. How? We step up.
We just do what it takes.
Tell me in the comments below: what do you do to get through it all, make it all work?
There is a place, buried somewhere pretty deep right now, where I know I still love you. I’ve spent hours, weeks, months looking for it, but it’s lost for the moment.
I used to love you. I’ve loved you when, to any outsider, it made sense, and I’ve loved you when it probably seemed crazy to some. In my head I know I still love you. I just can’t find it in my heart.
You used to make me feel energized, motivated, and light on my feet. I used to bask in the positive attention that your love brought me. I wanted to run, I wanted to sweat, and I wanted to feel everything. I wanted to look like a million bucks for you.
Now maybe I want to feel nothing. Maybe that’s why I can’t find my love. I spend my days in joggers or running tights, but without the running. I feel no motivation to move, to be the best I can be…to look pretty.
Not that you ever required me to look pretty. That was just my own thing…when I loved you, I wanted to. For you. For me. For us. I wanted you to be as proud of me as I was of you.
And then it changed. A lot changed. He left. My migraine treatment kicked in and my eating habits…well, I started to eat. And slowly, so slowly, you left me too.
I left me.
The box of clothes that don’t fit anymore sits in the corner of my bedroom as a taunting reminder of what we were. How I felt when I was fully with you. It was a massive difference emotionally, spiritually…physically.
When I was with you, I could manage the physical pain when it showed up. And it did show up. Not only that, but I actually addressed the emotional pain when it came along.
Now there’s just a constant dull ache, and at times, a wracking loneliness. Now my back hurts. My knees flare up. My ankle gives me grief. My head – my head still hurts, but now I’ve learned to eat anyway. Eat through it. Eat because of it. Eat to dim the feeling…eat to dim feeling anything.
There’s still a huge void here. Not being loved like that, not being wanted…rejection is painful. Part of it is because he’s gone, and the loss of that closeness, that intimacy, that level of caring and love has left a deep wound.
But then you went and left too. You, body, you. The body I was so comfortable in. For the first time in I can’t remember how many years, I actually liked being in my body.
Now I weather being in my body.
Now I look at you with a thinly-veiled loathing. I talk about when you’ll be gone. I can’t find the love for you I once had. I can’t even find the love for you I had when I was much further down the garden path than I am now.
I can say it. But I can’t seem to mean it.
I know in my head that it will take loving you while you’re here before you’ll agree to move on. That how it works with you and me. That’s how it’s always worked.
So here goes….
Legs, I love you for carrying me everywhere I need to go, for keeping me moving forward, for supporting me.
Stomach, I love you for carrying my children and giving them a healthy home while they grew. I love you for using the food I eat to make me healthy and strong.
Arms, I love you for helping me reach for better. I love you for being strong enough to help hold others up, and enfold my kids, my family, and my friends with love.
Body, I love you for trying to protect me when I feel vulnerable and unable to protect myself. I love you for trying to keep a buffer between me and the rest of the world when I feel scared and alone.
And I release you. I thank you and I love you. And I let you go. Let me be strong for myself. Don’t let food and weight and this body dictate how I feel, nor how I feel to dictate the size of this body. Let me feel pleasure in moving, joy in connection, and at home in this vessel.
Let me love myself, no matter the house I inhabit.
I think we all have those moments. Those moments when we almost, almost, let our boundaries slip, because we feel nostalgic for what was. Even if what was wasn’t healthy.
We spend so much time and energy, blood, sweat, and tears, getting ourselves out of unacceptable situations, and in the process we learn to create healthier boundaries. Hurts so good, right?
And after all is said and done, we are left with this hole, this void. The place where the unhealthy relationship or situation used to be. And no matter how much we know with our logical brains that it was unhealthy, our hearts still feel shattered.
And so it is with mixed emotions that we keep those new boundaries in place. It is with the lightness of newfound freedom, and the heaviness of loss that we hold the space open, not filling it just to be comforted, but holding it open because we finally value ourselves enough to wait for what could be.
For what we are, in fact, worthy of.
And we are worthy of so much. We are worthy of all the love on the planet, all the shining radiance of the stars in the skies, all the fiery passions of the most spectacular lightning, and all the freedom of the vast liquid oceans.
And so we hold that space. We hold it because we believe in ourselves.
It would be a beautiful thing if it ended there, or if we waited awhile and then the perfect person or situation or job or creative idea fit our jagged edges and soft curves perfectly, and we knew it was the one.
But life is messy. And sometimes it doesn’t go down like that. Sometimes that void starts to feel lonely, or that space feels large and empty…and long. Sometimes there isn’t much forethought to it at all. Sometimes we just feel nostalgic for the good parts of the situation that didn’t work, and in our heads, we conveniently skip over the rest.
And in those moments, it’s hard not to fill that void. It’s excruciatingly difficult to keep the space open for the promise of something better to come at some unnamed time in the future. It’s hard not to eat, or shop, or numb out with drinks or TV, or whatever poison softens the jagged edges.
Sometimes there is an ungodly magnetic pull back to the thing you walked away from in the first place.
It’s familiar. It had its good points, which is why it created this giant hole you’re feeling now anyway. It fit for a long time. Or, it sort of fit. Or, the round peg was small enough that you could sort of jam it into the square hole…for a while. Or it made you feel great, until it didn’t.
The sex used to be great, it was the problem with commitment that presented the insurmountable hurdle. The job was really satisfying, except for the horrific hours and unrealistic demands. Controlling food used to feel like a modicum of control in a life that otherwise had no straight edges. Sex with strangers felt like approval. Overdoing it with booze or drugs used to allow an escape from real life.
It could have been any of these, or a million others.
And they are the easiest things to slip back into when that nostalgia rises up, and holding space for better possibilities in the future – ones that have not yet come to fruition – Feels. So. Fucking. Hard.
But we’ve gotten this far. And the goal hasn’t changed. Whether we’ve succeeded in holding that space and maintaining those healthier boundaries for an hour or a day, a week or a month, a year or ten years, these moments will arise. They don’t even get easier. We just learn better tools to help us stay the course. Bigger tool belt.
We learn how to make the choices that payoff in the long term, rather than gleaning for us that immediate gratification which too often quickly turns into remorse. Sometimes it isn’t remorse, but rather starting the learning journey over again.
And sometimes it’s just disappointment that we have to go through the possibility of once again not getting what we deserve, once again setting up those boundaries that we drove a slow zamboni over…and to what end?
If you are willing to look at things from a slightly deeper, slightly more woo-woo perspective, it is worth considering whether we change the trajectories of our lives when we make one decision over the other. If we choose to jettison all the hard work we’ve done and say fuck it, I want to feel that familiar feeling wrap around my bones and take me away, if only for a little while, does that alter the chances of something or someone showing up in our lives to authentically fill that space we’ve been holding?
On the flip side, are we tested at various intervals along the way to assess our commitment to ourselves and our belief in our own worth, and only when we have unlocked the expert level will the right person or situation show up in our lives to partner with us in a healthy way? There is a part of me that seriously wonders if we have to prove our ability to stick to the new patterns, or at least not fall back into the old ones, before the gold shows up at the end of the rainbow. Whether we are proving it to ourselves, to God, to the Universe, or to our dog, I couldn’t say.
Some may say that’s looking too far into it, and assigning responsibility where it doesn’t belong. Others may be willing to entertain the idea that we, for lack of a better term, have to attain certain levels of learning along the way in order for the next element to show up in our lives. I don’t know the answer, but I tend more towards the “I need to learn this lesson before I can move on to the next” line of thinking. It resounds with me.
And so, I do my damndest to hold space, even when all I want to do is fill it with the ghosts of Christmas past. With shopping. With mint Oreo Blizzards. With sex. With wine. With naps. With behaviours that don’t fit the person I am working so hard to be, the healthier person, inside and out, than I ever have been at any time before.
…The person who is worth more than what used to fill that space that I am fighting like hell to hold open-and-waiting for the better that’s coming my way.
Tell me in the comments below: what has your experience been with holding your boundaries, slipping into old behaviours, and holding space for new things to develop or show up in your life?
Unwinding is tricky business. Knowing I have to let go, and actually letting go, those are two very different things. As it turns out.
I feel like I am unspooling from the inside. But…in a good way. Not always a pleasant way, but definitely a healthy way. I feel like my insides had become that tangled ball of yarn – the one that isn’t really even a ball of yarn, just a big…well, tangle, and it’s all full of the tiny little action figures and army guys that the kids left littered all over the floor, and it really hurt when I stepped on them, so they got swept into the ball, and there’s probably a few dirty socks and single mittens, and maybe a really loud trumpet, and there might even be a few shiny, pretty things in there too, but it’s hard to catch anything but a little glimpse of the glitter buried in all that tangle… That’s what’s buried under the skin, inside my ribs. Right where the pain and panic live.
And that’s what I’m starting to untangle. Strand by strand. Day by day. Moment by moment. Army guy by glittery thing.
Each thing that I find along the way needs to be taken out and examined. Remembered. Analyzed, maybe. And then I have to choose to find a tidy place to put it, if it’s something that is still of use in my day to day life. Or I have to let go of it.
And I’ve always been a bit of a hoarder.
So the letting go is not so easy. But this tangled ball of yearning yarn and trinkets has just gotten progressively heavier over the years, the longer I refused to deal with it, and maybe I’m not as strong as I used to be, because I’m not sure I can carry it anymore. Maybe it’s not about strength. Or maybe the strength is in the letting go.
Maybe the strength is in learning to make clean, clear, open space for the things we actually want, rather than the things we collect by default.
Making that space requires doing the work of letting go. It’s an active process. It’s a conscious process. It is a gentle, mindful, constant process. There are no holidays from the work of letting go. That ball just starts winding itself right back up again.
When it feels like too much, there’s saying, “I can’t do this today,” and there’s being gentle with myself. And staying mindful and present that this is where I’m at, this is how I’m feeling, and I’m choosing to care for myself by being gentle, not by going back to ignoring my big tangle of yarn.
For me, the letting go means writing a little bit, every day. I seem to work my thoughts through that way, maybe better than any other. Whether it’s a computer and keyboard, typing into a document on my phone, or the fountain pen that I love to write with set to the spiral-bound journal that feels so personal and satisfying to write in, getting words out helps me work through my shit. Talking with a trusted girlfriends (I prefer one on one to groups, but both have their moments) can help me see things from a different perspective. My weekly appointments with my psychiatrist definitely have their place in the unspooling. And a whole lot of introspection. A whole lot of thinking – not judgemental bashing, just observational thinking. Seeing patterns is imperative to making different choices.
And more than anything, it is making the choice to stay in it, and not check out. And it is a choice to stay or to go. At any given time. We all check out in different ways – booze, drugs, sleep, sex, shopping, food, cigarettes, Netflix or TV, work – and when we are in the process of letting go, we have to make the choice, in every moment, to stay with the work of letting go, or escape into the numb.
Anaïs Nin: “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom”
It kind of comes down to the journey, in the end. Has your ball of yarn and trinkets become too heavy, so that the weight of carrying it is worse than the pain of untangling it?
Mine has. The time has come. And hallelujah for it.
So many great musical things coming up to round out 2014! Wanna come out and hear ’em? Here’s where and when:
December 5: The Ticket @ The Grand Villa Casino
DID SOMEONE SAY PARTY? Bring it to the Grand Villa Casino!!
December 6: THE TICKET @ The Grand Villa Casino
DID SOMEONE SAY PARTY? Bring it to the Grand Villa Casino!!
December 12: THE TICKET @ The Starlight Casino
THE TICKET at STARLIGHT CASINO!
December 13: THE TICKET @ The Starlight Casino
THE TICKET at the STARLIGHT CASINO!
I have Bi-Polar II. I had felt pretty good for a while now. Until about the last month…
I started noticing some hypomanic symptoms. Nothing earth shattering. (I don’t leap off tall buildings or anything…when I get manic, I can’t still my body, sometimes my behaviour gets a little unboundaried, I have trouble sleeping, I get kind of compulsive about some things. I CLEAN! Giant red flag. That kind of stuff.) But it feels like a long time since I had grappled with stuff on that end of the spectrum. So I noticed.
And then the pendulum swung.
I don’t know if it’s the change in weather, my time off of social media, an extra 20 lbs, or having a few drinks now and then. I don’t know if it’s the absence of a relationship that was incredibly important to me, or slowly watching my mum slip away. I don’t know if it’s the Bermuda Triangle of money, (self-)employment, and health. I don’t even really know if I can tease apart the symptoms and the cause. But I know I’m having an extremely hard time getting out of bed.
The weird thing is that there’s a shit-ton of stuff I want to do. I have great plans each day. Accomplishing any of them is a battle.
Maybe I need to set up a workstation in my bed. (I could make a lot of money that way! No…just kidding.) Maybe I need to make my ass leave the house and work at the library or something, just so in nowhere near nap-zone.
My shrink said no more meds. I’m already kinda up there with my mood meds. He said vitamin D (I’ve been taking it daily for a couple of years already.) A sun lamp – I need to sit in front of full spectrum light for an hour a day. (Clearly, I need to make a purchase…and they’re not cheap.) And exercise.
Ahh, exercise. I stopped being able to exercise in the summer, and I have had a helluva time getting back into it. I have done some…gone for a few runs, been to the gym a bit. But I need to have a regular routine. That would help immensely.
Finances are particularly fragile right now, for a few reasons. So now, more than ever, I need to be busting my butt. AND. My pattern is that my health becomes an obstruction to success.
Where do I get to interrupt that cycle? How do I establish a new pattern?
It’s all well and good to say, “Just do it differently.” And entirely useless. That’s a bit like saying, “Just stop having seizures,” or “Lay off the cancer, would ya?” Depression doesn’t go away just because we want it to. Good Lord, I wish it did.
It boils back down to what actually is in my control. I can have a few small goals that I aim to accomplish every day. When I say small, I actually mean small. To the depressed, small can seem insurmountable.
1. Get out of bed at X o’clock. (For me, between 8:00 and 9:00 would be reasonable.)
2. Write My Favourite Things each day. (A daily gratitude practice has been invaluable to me in the past…and funny enough, I’ve been a little spotty about doing it daily in the last two-ish months.)
3. Have a shower. That might sound ridiculous to some of you. But when you A) work at home and some days don’t see a soul, and B) can barely get out of bed, showering daily becomes more of an overwhelming chore than you’d think.
4. Eat. I go one way or the other with food. I overeat, or I barely eat. I have a real problem with eating a balanced, healthy diet, and appropriate amounts of food. And that’s at the best of times. And when depression kicks in, that all really goes into overdrive. I forget to eat (never thought I’d say those words), or it seems like too much of a chore to find interesting food, or I eat everything in the kitchen. This is compounded by the fact that I have recently gotten lazy about the no meat, no dairy, no gluten that has served me well the last couple of years…because starting to eat that stuff again hasn’t given me migraines, and eating it is easier than not eating it.
5. Get dressed. Again, I work at home, and sometimes I don’t see anyone for a few days. I can stay in Pajamas for a week. Except…bad decision. It’s really hard to find motivation in your Pajamas. Much easier to get motivated when you look presentable, if not totally rockin’.
6. Keep my surroundings clean. I know that I am a victim of “cluttered space, cluttered mind” syndrome. Unquestionably. The more chaotic my surroundings, the more anxious and less motivated I become. It’s hard when my kids are here to keep the house reasonable. But when they’re at their dad’s, it’s easier. Either way, it makes an enormous difference to me.
That’s kind of it. Probably seems like basic life to most of you. And to those of us struggling with depression, it seems like a full day’s work. Perspective is a funny thing, isn’t it?
Mental health is a massive issue in our society. Depression is not always talked about openly. We often feel like we have somehow failed or are less than if we are mired in depression. And it’s not the case. The only way we can make progress is to start having the conversation. The only way we can bring it into the light is if we open up. The only way we can support each other is if we know that something is going on.
Crack the door and let the light in.
Have you or someone you love struggled with depression? What worked? What really didn’t work? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments below.
I boldly declared that I was taking October off of social media. I did it on a whim, late at night on September 30th. But it felt right. In my gut, it felt right. And I’ve been learning to listen to my gut instead of questioning it.
And so I went merrily on my way.
I realized how much of my time I automatically reached for my phone to check Facebook or Twitter. Like, every spare second. And some seconds that weren’t exactly spare.
All of a sudden, I didn’t know what to do with myself. I had these blank chunks of time. And it was really, really hard not to pop on and just check…
But I held true to my word. And three things happened:
1) I started filling up my time with other meaningless shit. Solitaire and Bejeweled became big contenders. I watched a few more movies than I normally do (I usually watch one or two movies a month, maybe, and that’s it for TV time for me, so upping it to 3 or 4 movies was significant.) I did do some mediating and spend a little more time with my kids. But mostly, it just changed what trivial shit I was using to fill up the blank spots.
2) I realized that I use social media for business. A lot. I promote my band’s gigs so people know where to come and hear us. I promote The Studio school, and lessons and workshops I teach. That’s kind of important to me and my bottom line, yo. And it felt really incongruous and a little inauthentic to post about my business shit, but never engage with anyone who responded. Y’all know I’m all about being genuine. If I can’t feel authentic in something I’m doing, I’m not interested. That’s my gut cue that it’s time to walk away.
3) I began to feel very disconnected. From people. Not in a good way.
I made a very conscious decision a few years ago to stop watching the news. It makes me incredibly anxious to see all the bullshit going on in the world that I can do nothing about. And I have enough struggles with depression and anxiety without needlessly adding to the burden. So I made the choice to remove it from my life. My dad thinks I’m a fucking nutter for not being up to date with world events, but oh well. I can live with being a little more uninformed, and lot less stressed.
So I get most of my cues about world events – the really big ones – from social media. If something matters enough to me, I’ll google it once I’ve been tipped off by social media. That’s how I stay current. And sometimes if something is too horrifying (the Sandy Cook shootings, for instance), I will purposely NOT google it. And it works for me.
I also don’t cross paths with a lot of people on a day to day basis. I see my neighbours most days. But working from home, it’s just me and my students. (Obviously, when I sing, I see a lot of people…but that’s not on the daily.) And I like it that way. The introvert in me enjoys being a hermit most of the time.
I realized one very big, not-to-be-dismissed thing about social media: it is how I interact with many of my friends. Are they “real” friends? Hell ya they are, because I have very few people in my friends list who aren’t also real life, let’s-go-for-dinner kind of friends. But we all live such different lives, in different geographical spaces, and different stages of parenting, etc., I just can’t get to them all in person all the time.
Facebook is my playground. It is my water cooler. It’s my chit chat, my current events, and my daily dose of inspiration. I get to celebrate accomplishments in the lives of my friends, mourn losses with people I love, and extend myself in service of others.
I started to feel really depressed without my social media transactions. I struggle with Bipolar II, and this is the time of year I always have to watch myself for triggers and descending into that pit of depression that can lasts days, but usually lasts months…or years.
I watch those triggers really, really fucking closely. And when I found myself wanting to spend two days in bed, and feeling really, incredibly…meh? I looked hard at what was what in my life, and the biggest thing to change was my withdrawal from social media.
Here’s the funny thing. I didn’t want to come back on before my month was up, because I had loudly and boldly declared that “I was off social media for the month of October!” I didn’t want people to see it as a failure. (Fuck ’em.) I didn’t want people to think I couldn’t stick with it. (Screw ’em.) I didn’t want people to think was lazy. (Toss ’em.)
Then I put it in much better perspective: the only person I should care about proving anything to is myself, and maybe my children. And the big lesson in this is that I realized that the best way to take care of myself was to go back on my word.
Be true to yourself, not to your word. Tweet it.
After little more than two weeks, I made the choice to go back onto social media. (And someone commented on it with the very first comment I made on someone else’s FB post. Clearly people really do pay attention. But I think for the right reasons, not to point out my “failures.”) I’m hoping to keep it in a little better perspective now though, and not feel the need to pick up my phone and check FB or Twitter every 5 seconds.
So I thought I’d talk about it, loud and proud. What happened. How I felt. Why I made the conscious choice not to follow through. And why the only opinion of myself that should matter is my own.
Have you doubled back on any decisions you’ve made? Was it the rightest thing for you in the moment? If love to hear about your experiences in the comments below.
I’ve been terrible at sticking to my Tuesday schedule of posts this summer. I can’t lie. Terrible.
But this summer I have spent a lot of time with my children, a lot of time with my parents, time with my brother, time with friends. In the midst of my mother battling Lewy Body Dementia, my priorities are shifting.
I have always prioritized family and friends pretty highly. But it is so clear to me at this moment that that is the highest priority. And so other things have fallen by the wayside this summer.
Once my kids start back to school, I will have days that are structured differently, and more time for writing. Part of me looks forward to that…and part of me wants to live in this people-centric summer idyll for a long, long time.
Life will come at us, and present us with challenges. It is up to us to adapt. The one thing we can absolutely count in in this life is change. So I guess we might as well learn to ride the waves, become life surfers of the highest order.
I will be back to posting in short order. In the meantime, please enjoy every moment with your family and friends. We never know how many of them we will get…
Here’s what you need to know about your body:
- It’s doing the best for you it can.
- It is beautiful. Yes, with all of life’s scars and beauty marks. Your body is beautiful. You are beautiful.
- It’s trying to take care of you the best way it knows how. Sometimes that’s not how we would like it to take care of us. But it’s trying to protect us, nurture us, keep us functioning, give us downtime, get us through the impossible, and carry our burdens for us.
- It rarely looks the way we see it in the mirror. We see our flaws in the mirror. Our body wears our successes equally as well, even if they are invisible to us. Choose carefully which you want to portray to the world.
- It’s yours, and yours alone. Only you get to choose what you do with your body, with whom you share it, what you clothe it in, how you decorate it, and mostly, how you feel about it. You, and you alone.
- The things you despise about your body when you are 18 may become the things you adore and appreciate about your body when you’re 48. Hated curves because you aren’t a pencil-thin cheerleader become exalted curves when you realize how they work for you, and how they celebrate your Divine femininity.
- Every scar, every wobble, every stretched piece of skin, tells a story about you, about your life and your struggles. These are not terrors to hide and be ashamed of. These are your life trophies. Wear them with pride – you earned each and every one.
- It enjoys nourishment. Nourishment can come in the form of food, absolutely true. It can also come in the form of gentle self-care, great sex, exercise, communion with nature, connection to the Divine, love given and love received, staying present in the moment, and absolute joy. Nourish your body.
- It likes to move. Move it in a way that feels good in your soul. Walk, dance, run, row, ride, play, lift, throw, cartwheel, practice…find the things that feel good and do them. A lot.
- Yours is the only opinion that counts. Cultivate nice thoughts about your body. Change your inner dialogue. Write a new story. Nobody else’s opinion matters. Make yours a good one.
And for the bonus:
**11. It’s the only one you get. Be kind to it. It has to last you a lifetime.
What would you like to add to the list? What do you think we need to know about our bodies?
Where is your happy place?
Many of us can name our worst fear or most loathed moment as easily as snapping our fingers. Seriously. I mean, what’s yours?
But can you name your bliss? I’m talking about the place where you are so ecstatically happy that nothing gets in. Not pain, not illness, not bad moods, nasty people, or shitty circumstances.
We tend to spend our lives in search of happiness. Or so we say. But sometimes we get more out of staying stuck in the yuck.
Yeah, I said it.
Sometimes we get more out of our shit than we think we would out of its resolution. Don’t get me wrong – most of that is on a pretty unconscious level. But the fact remains….
When we’re in the shit, we get to complain about life not being better. If we actually did something about it, we’d be taking responsibility for it. And, you know, if it didn’t go so well…well, that would land squarely on our shoulders, wouldn’t it? And that process would take a lot of energy, and might be kinda painful. Better to just stick with the shit we do know. It’s safer.
When we’re in the shit, we can blame everybody else for our circumstances. “I never have any money because the big companies won’t hire me. You know, because I’m a woman, and they think I’ll go off on mat leave right away.” “If my parents hadn’t run out of money, I could have finished university. My life would have been so much better then.” “No man will date me because of this stupid baby weight that I still can’t lose, even 5 years later.” “Why do they have to show off how much money they have by going on vacations and driving nice cars? It’s really inconsiderate to people like me who don’t have money.” “He’s always such an asshole to me. God, I’m so sick of it. One day, I’m really going to straighten him out.”
But here’s the thing. You can only clean up your own backyard. You don’t get to play in anyone else’s.
When we’re in the shit, we get a lot of attention. It’s a little like parenting toddlers though…we need to distinguish between positive attention and negative attention. When we’re in the shit, we’re getting a lot of negative attention from the people around us, usually in the form of sympathy, although sometimes it comes in the form of criticism. (I’ve been on both ends of that receiving line, and I’m guessing some of you have too.) Regardless of exactly how it comes out, this attention cycle can keep us trapped in a weird loop that keeps us really plugged into the circumstances that create the attention in the first place. After all, most of us crave attention on some level. And it is only once we start to really tease the threads apart that we start to see where they serve us and where they block us.
If you choose to take responsibility for your shit, it’s scary as hell. And you get to claim both the crap, AND the awesomeness. You stop receiving negative attention, and you start creating positive attention. And you stop blaming other people for your shit and owning it yourself.
You put on your big girl panties. (Whatever style they may be.)
AND this brings you one step closer to bliss. Imagine that.
Recently, I figured out exactly where my bliss is. I’m pretty good at identifying my happy places. I adore the water – that’s definitely a happy place for me. Great sex can be a very happy place, with the right person and for the right reasons. Running in the trails listening to a great book, that can really be a happy place for me. Super fabulous bonding family time with my kids can be an awesome happy place.
But my bliss? My absolute B L I S S ?
My bliss is being on stage, singing with my band, whom I adore and trust entirely. Singing with Saffron, who’s voice I absolutely love, and who I love running around the stage being fun and silly and awesome and ridiculous with. My bliss is being on stage with those guys – so much so that I can show up after my car breaking down (which didn’t put me in the greatest mood), with a migraine headache, and have to take major painkillers (of the prescription required in triplicate form) to make it through the night, have gear breaking down on stage all night, and still feel like I am completely floating on air.
And still feel like there is nowhere in the world that I would rather be.
That is my bliss. Unquestionably. Music, performance, and trust come together to form my bliss.
What is yours?
Think about it. But in fact, you have to do more than think about it. You have to actually explore it with your body. With your being. You have to find that place where all the shit in the world doesn’t matter (the shit you’re in, the shit you create, and the shit you can’t escape), because in that moment, you sparkle.
Where do you sparkle?
The thing about sparkle is that you have to own your shit to find your sparkle.
You have to own your shit to find your sparkle. | Tweet it!
Because it’s really hard to find your inner bling when you’re still pointing a finger everywhere else, instead of standing in your own shoes. Those shoes may be uncomfortable, but once you learn how to wear them, I mean really learn how to get down in those mutherfuckers, you will positively glow.
And when you’re standing in your own shoes, suffused with your own light, you will know your bliss. You will find it, recognize it, let it find you, run screaming towards it, sing it from the mountaintops.
So go. Find your bliss. And tell me all about that shit.