Fear

Shut Ins: A Guide

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Uhm.

Wow.

What a week, right?

Between scary and confusing news segments about COVID-19, you may ALSO be hearing messages about using this time to be UBER productive and accomplish every goal you’ve ever dreamed of, drag out art supplies, re-wallpaper your living room, organize the garage, clear out the attic, get BUFF and RIPPED, re-invent calculus, write a New York Times best-seller, design your own home-school curriculum, order backyard goats and chickens, CURATE your home photographs– 

AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

If you’re feeling ANY pressure to have this whole new version of life figured out,  I’m here to say, whatever you’re doing or NOT DOING is A-OKAY.

I mean, how many pandemics have you experienced in your lifetime?

None, up until now, right?

YOU GET A FRIGGIN’ MINUTE TO ADJUST.

It won’t last forever, but with so much uncertainty all around us, what’s called for first and foremost is TRUCKLOADS OF PERMISSION to be exactly where you are.

Wear pjs all day! Stare into space! Refresh twitter over and over! Look at pretty pictures on Pinterest! Watch movies or as Glennon Doyle says, ‘the sports’.  Eat standing in front of the open refrigerator! Don’t make the bed! 

It’s really okay. You get to transition. To whatever this is for however long it is. 

Rather than pile on the To Dos during this time of so many To Don’ts, give yourself some time. You’ll move into new routines. Your kids will learn things. You’ll get to that pile of laundry eventually. You’ll pluck those brows before the hair marches down to the lash line. 

I promised you a guide. Here it is:

1. Give yourself permission to be wherever you are.

2. Don’t compare what you are doing or not doing with anyone else. This is always a helpful tip but it’s critical now when so many of us feel rudderless and without purpose. Kindness is key.

3. Notice when you’ve left your body and climbed into your head where all the scary stuff goes round and round and round. Mind loves drama. That’s its jam.  But these days? Man, it’s like the mind’s best birthday present ever! It’s sitting in a pile of ALL THE THINGS TO PANIC ABOUT! I get it. Every night I have the Covid-19. Every night. And then every morning, I awake healthy, relieved, with a new lease on life. 

What helps? 

Coming back to the present. Coming back. Over and over and over. Coming back to your body, to your breath, to your immediate surroundings. Try this amazing practice by Josh Pais. 

Also, self-compassion. Here’s a bunch of free meditations from Kristin Neff.

4. Connect with one other person. Download the free version of Zoom. Start a new meeting and invite a friend, a neighbor, a sibling, etc.. Put your face very close to the camera. Show each other your fat rolls. Put on music and dance around. Stay on for 5 minutes or 3 or 1 minute. It doesn’t have to be a big thing. Just connect. I did this with my family recently and we all basically talked at the same time while my Mom kept saying, WAIT–WHERE’S KYRA??? OH. THERE SHE IS!

5. If you want a little cul-cha, watch plays online.

6. If your kids are climbing the walls, have them learn to doodle with my neighbor Mo.

7. Need something to listen to while you eat an entire box of Mint Milanos? Download a new podcast:

8.  If you need something to do after you’ve organized your gloves, wipes, and hand sanitizer, this Wednesday at 6:30pm ET, When We All Vote’s Instagram live feed will teach us how to register voters online so we can GET RID OF THE DANGEROUS CRIMINAL IN THE WHITE HOUSE COME NOVEMBER.

9. Stare out the window.

10. Or just shuffle around the house in your undies or the fanciest gown you own.

This is big, Dear Reader. Yes. It is.

And we will get through it. 

We will. 

Sending tons of love to each and every one of you. 

Courage

What you really want

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I had a dream that I was carrying around a placenta in a leaky fabric pouch.

It was warm and very Waldorf-y and kind of a mess.

I began to feel dread. I had done something wrong. Been negligent. Cause irreparable harm.

Then I realized the placenta belonged not to something coming into this world but to a little girl who was already here. I saw that she was holding the placenta bag, peacefully carting it around as it drip-drip-dripped everywhere but never ran dry.

You may be saying Cool or Gross or Kyra? Ah, maybe keep your weird placenta dreams to yourself. 

🙂

Listen, no matter how you feel about dream analysis and placentas, this is clearly a dream right up my alley, especially lately.

It’s about creativity, nourishment, dependency, self-sufficiency, seeing and then birthing new aspects of ourselves.

In the chapter on reclaiming one’s sense of possibilities in The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron writes, Pray to catch the bus, then run as fast as you can.

Now, I think that could be used in an unhelpful way. It could be used to drive ourselves hard, feel that we must be nose to the grindstone all out 100% of the time.

No. To me, it speaks to the partnership we all have inside of us. We get to notice what we want and honor it, speak it out loud (at least to ourselves) and then we get to take concrete steps toward that thing.

Not in a gripped fist way where nothing can be received or released. In a working hands way where hands open and close and reach and let go as needed.

And we begin by discovering or acknowledging what we want, what bus, if you’ll allow me to cram in this metaphor, you want to catch.

You may find that as soon as you say it, all sorts of noise erupts.

Oh my god! Buses are so stupid.

Yeah. I used to want to catch the bus.

Listen. Buses aren’t for everyone.

Oh, you missed it. That bus is never coming back.

A bus? Really? WHO CARES ABOUT BUSES???!

YOU? Catching a bus. That’s a laugh.

BUT I WANTED TO CATCH A BUS.

YAWN. Buses are boring.

HOW COULD YOU? You promised me you were done with buses!

We’ve called you in to calmly explain how foolish, and frankly, embarrassing, this bus-catching business is. 

Ugh. Buses are sooooo frivolous. How is catching it going to help anyone?

Wait–what did you say was your heart’s desire? I wasn’t listening.

That’s okay.

It’s just noise, the panicked chatter from a bunch of misunderstandings born out of fear and faulty information.

We don’t need to sort through any of it, gather counter arguments, prove anything or anyone right or wrong.

We can let the noise be there knowing we carry something bigger, stronger, sustaining and inexhaustible.

Love.

Love is your own leaky placenta. You have it even when you don’t think you do, when you fear it’s lost, gone, or damaged beyond hope. It’s messy but strong, loyal, inexhaustible, full of possibility.

It wants what you want.

It wants you to pray which is really about opening to what’s possible.

It wants you to move toward it, tuning in to signs and symbols, messages, detours, u-turns, coincidences, slight or drastic course-corrections.

Because, Dear Reader, what I know for sure is this: what you really want to do is what you are meant to do.

Insights

Is that how you want to live?

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Is there some part of your life that feels unsettled? Unfocused? Unresolved?

Is there some issue that feels confusing, fuzzy, something you think you’ve put to rest only to have it pop back up again, staring you in the eye?

What’s that doing there? You may say, I thought I was done with that.

No, it says. We are still here.

You can push it down, like an old balloon in the ocean, back to the unconscious or subconscious waters of your mind but sooner or later, it makes its way back to the surface. 

You can ask other people about it–What should I do about this situation, this relationship, this decision, this idea? I’m all for brainstorming, but what do they know, really? Are they you? No, they are not. They can’t know what this thing really means, what listening to it could gift you and the world, what ignoring it could cost you. The best they can do is ask good questions and reflect back what you say.

This can be helpful, for sure. 

AND, I say, you can do that for yourself.

Because you are two people. 

You are the person who doesn’t know and the person who knows.

You are the one who’s confused and the one who is crystal clear. 

You are the one who’s lost and the one who is found. 

You are the answer to your own question.

Actually, you are more than two people. You, we all, are multiple people at once, clanging with these various aspects of ourselves at different ages. (I wrote about this here.) We are the baby reaching out for my immediate needs, warmth, sleep, nourishment, touch, the toddler, insistent, impatient, impulsive, curious, the teenager, mercurial, rebellious, visionary, the adult, kind, confident, flexible, forgiving, vindictive, competitive, capable, stingy, generous. 
 
The one with the answers, is always with us. All we need to do is ask (which we often do, over and over) AND THEN LISTEN. 

Really listen.

Let the thing we hear be there. 

Let it stay on the surface, in the air, bobbing along.

Let it hang out as we move through the day.

Don’t jump to the HOW and let that stop us.

Don’t dismiss it as stupid, grandiose, ridiculous, silly, outrageous, embarrassing, flaky, selfish, too hard, or the one I hate the most–unrealistic (HOW I HATE THAT WORD.)

Make a little room for it.  

Write about it. Set a timer and write about it for 3 minutes without pausing or editing. Write about all the ways it can’t be done. Write about all the ways it COULD be done. Write about why you aren’t allowed to do it, have it, try it, make it. Write about it as if it was guaranteed to happen.

Imagine it as having already happened. Close your eyes. See yourself doing it, having it, experiencing it, living it. How does it feel? Where do you feel it? What other ideas, thoughts, images pop up on the water right next to it?

Pay attention to what happens in your environment–internal and external, to what you see or hear or read or think or imagine. 

These are your answers, from the universe, (if I may), from the mystery and matter-of-fact mind, body, heart of you and every other part of this world. 

Your job is to ask and listen. 

Of course, you can always not ask or ask but not listen but those things? They will just keep popping up in the water next to you, insistent, unnerving, unwilling to drown, cluttering the ocean, blocking or obscuring your true path. Is that how you want to live?

I think not, my Dear Reader.

I think not.

Courage

Saying Uncle

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I took myself on an artist date the other day. I went to see Clemency because I wanted to see powerhouse acting and that I did (Whoa–that Alfre Woodard and Aldis Hodge!), but ultimately the story was too unrelenting for me, without redemption, justice, or release and that day, I needed a feel good ending—not a Hollywood ending, but a human ending that breaks through a shell tamping stuff down, keeping stuff in.  

After the movie, I sat in the car, looked at the time, looked at the schedule of classes at the Y. I hadn’t met my challenge of getting to a movement class that day. I could have dragged myself to one but, you know, that didn’t feel like love, didn’t feel like support. What I needed was not to drive myself harder but to drive myself home, sing at the top of my lungs and then lay down in my husband’s arms and cry about what feels scary and possibly too hard for me to do.

Do you have that in your own life? Anything that feels too big to move through? A shadow in the corner that you can edit out of your vision, almost pretend isn’t there or isn’t that important but when you become aware of it, feels certain to swallow you up if you dare to challenge it? If you believe it might be possible tackle it, at least get some traction? I think this one has beaten me, I thought that day. I think it’s won. I think I have to just figure out how to live with not being up to the task. It’s time to call Uncle.

Now, there are Uncles that bring freedom, fights let go that leave us lighter. There are other Uncles that take something from us. Initially, we may feel some relief–okay, well, that’s just off the table. But soon a stickiness descends, coating everything in duller, slower, sadder tones.

Sometimes a rage begins to boil.

Sometimes we feel that anger. But sometimes we aren’t really even aware of it. It goes under cover as depression, apathy, disinterest, confusion, or more often irritation, envy, resentment.

It can shut us up, shut us down, shut us off, from the creative spark, the trickle, the positively gushing stream that is inside us, straining against the dam that feels like a cement wall but is actually made of twigs and leaves and mud, in other words, something that has holes, has spaces, has paths to let the water through. 

See, anger is actually a map. As Julia Cameron says in The Artist’s way, “Anger tells us that we can’t get away with our old life anymore. It tells us the old life is dying. It tells us we are being reborn, and birthing hurts.” 

Birthday is painful, a clean pain, a productive pain, a necessary pain, even a good pain.

It’s uncomfortable, to be sure–feeling insecure, uncertain, in over our heads, like the only one who doesn’t have what it takes, who can’t hack it, who is missing a fundamental something or who had it ONCE UPON A TIME before time and opportunity passed and left us permanently disabled in this area. It comes with constricted chests and narrowed vision, with warped perceptions and literal shaky legs. It robs us of our mojo. We stand dripping with discomfort, possessing neither mo nor jo,

It’s just excruciating. 

What’s more excruciating, though, is ignoring it, shoving it down or away or off on someone or something else. 

What’s more excruciating is staying in the dark about what might happen if we just walked right through it, tripping and falling.

It’s not that we are guaranteed the big WIN in terms of outside recognition or a particular outcome.

But refusing to let go of the life we have outgrown, refusing the new life that is trying to be born, will rob us of our aliveness, and that is the most precious thing we have–our aliveness, our realness, our truth.

At least, that is what I am counting on as I take this heavy shadowing things’s foot off my neck.

Not saying Uncle today.

Nope. Not doing it. 

❤️

Body Compass

Delight

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These days, I seek antidotes to the despair I feel given our current political situation.

These days, I need ways to manage the rage and sorrow that erupts from near-constant assaults on truth and justice, the erosion of morality, the absence of courage and real leadership in the face of astounding criminality and bigotry, wrong-doing and wanton avarice and selfishness.

These days, I deliberately stop reading or listening so that I can pull myself back from the brink and remember to tend to my own nervous system so that I can (A) care for my one wild and precious self, (B) enjoy my one wild and precious life, and (C) stay in some sort of meaningful action that aligns with what matters to me in this one wild and precious world. 

It’s work. Good work, worth it, to be sure, but work none the less. I can’t just tune things out nor can I be in a constant state of panic or outrage. One will dull me. The other will flatten me.

I need to laugh, to make things, to open to what’s beautiful and funny, inspiring and interesting, to what soothes me, to what brings me pleasure. 

This word, pleasure, can get a bad rap. It can sound selfish, hedonistic, superficial, too focused on momentary satisfaction, like chasing the feel good. 

First of all, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to feel good. (!!!) Our best guide is our body, how it feels when we think of doing certain things (or think of being with certain people).

The body is our compass. When we feel open, expansive, light that’s a yes. When we feel closed, constricted, and heavy that’s a no. It’s well and right for us to pay attention to this, which I would characterize not as chasing but FOLLOWING our feel good.  (Chasing, to me, implies running from something we fear as much as running toward something we want.)

Listening to This American Life’s episode, The Show of Delights was an antidote to despair. I like this word, delight. Yes. That’s more precisely it, isn’t it? 

The episode features poet Ross Gay’s and his book, The Book of Delight which came out of a year-long challenge he gave himself to pay attention to delight as a practice, to notice the things, people, and memories that bring delight, and then write about it. 

Gay says it’s a kind of negligence to not pay attention to delight, to not notice and then share that with others. The noticing leads us to joy. The sharing spreads the joy.

“Come gasp with me,” he says, and isn’t that how feel less alone? When someone drags us outside to look at the rainbow? 

Isn’t that how we remember the magic of this world that can too often become a dirge of laundry and shoveling and washing dishes and figuring out what the hell to make for dinner? 

What delights you, Dear Reader?

I think it’s vital that we pay attention it, to the way the light hits these trees, the droplets that hang on branches like a row of jewels, the peels of a child’s laughter, the surprise of the fart sound that goes on and on and on forever getting thinner and quieter but never seeming to end.
 
It might be something in your immediate surroundings, the photo album on your shelf, the song from 30 years ago that you used to sing over and over, that ridiculous hat, the memory in a pocket of your mind.

If you have no idea what delights you, try not to panic like I sometimes do– MY GOD! ALL IS LOST! I’M A DRY WELL!! NOTHING BRINGS ME JOY! 

Try getting gently curious. 🙂

A discovery is said to be an accident meeting a prepared mind, said a wise person once upon a time.

How do we prepare our minds if the whole thing feels too big?

Just carry the question.

And how do we do that?

Just do the next thing and know that if you’ve read this far, the question already lives inside you. Know that the question is already finding its answer.

Body Compass

The truth of who you are

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Today I have a simple message: We are all creative.

Every

Single

One

Of

Us.

Creativity is our birthright.

There are not creative people and uncreative people. There are only people.

Connecting to our creativity is a spiritual practice.

It is essential.

It feeds the soul.

If we don’t feed it, we get sick–a physical sickness or a soul sickness.

This soul sickness cuts us off from our vitality, from the fire of our innate curiosity. We end up feeling flat, cut off, numb or angry, hurt, resentful, or tight, pinched, brittle.

A mild disappointment settles in. We try to make do with how things turned out, shove ourselves into the itchy pantsuit of What Isn’t Meant to Be. We distract ourselves with plans or purchases, justifications for our inaction or worse yet–harshly criticize ourselves for the ways we came up short. 

There is a whole faction that wants us that way, wants us feeling worried, wanting, looking over our shoulder or over here and there to quickly figure out what we’re missing, what we have to do or say or wear or purchase to catch up or to matter. 

I fall prey. I do. I sit down to write and then next thing I know, I’m on the Instagram, clicking through an ad for a new lipliner or wearable silicon glove-sponges! Oh! I need these things! My lips aren’t okay! My sponges are killing me! 

I forget that I’m a creator not a consumer, that my job here, maybe my only one, is to plug into what lights me up and then move from that place, that place of fullness and spark rather than of emptiness and a low grade panic.

It can be a subtle shift but man, I think it’s radical, subversive even. 

This world has powerful transformation and evolutionary forces and powerful pulls of resistance that are really not personal. I’m not a Let’s Make It Always Be Sunny kind of a person. There is darkness and difficulty and pain and the constant unknown as well as beauty and joy and ease and grace and it’s all some kind of a pulse, is’t it?  Like the breath, the ocean, the breaking and ending of day.

We get sucked into the other plane and the best part can be what gifts we bring when we return. Isn’t that why we love stories, dance, music, art?  Isn’t that why we need them? 

I think the trick is not eliminating difficult situations or feelings but remembering who we are: creators. 

What lights you up?

What tickles your fancy?

What makes you smile, giggle, laugh out loud?

When do you feel open, light, expansive, excited, inspired, joyful, engaged? 

Those are all clues to your creative impulses, your creative pulse, your creative stream. 

No matter how long its been since you dipped into those waters, know they have not run dry.

They can’t. Not as long as you’re alive.

They are a spring, your spring, bubbling up from the mystery of life itself. 

It might be in the work you do or in the simple but profound ways you live your life, in how you treat yourself and others, in how you make your home, your food, your nightstand, your peace.

Dear << Test First Name >>, carve out five minutes today for something that sparks your inspiration. Five minutes. Okay, ten. 

Walk around the block and notice the exquisite beauty of a naked tree.

Beautify one shelf.

Buy fresh flowers.

Browse art books, cookbooks, garden books, craft magazines, travel magazines.

Walk through a yarn store, a spice shop, a garden shop.

Light a candle and watch the flame.

Watch funny previews.

Have a bath.

Read poetry.

Write a haiku.

Boogie around your living room.

Sing your heart out in the car.

Draw something. 

Play something.

Make something.

Daydream something. 

If you haven’t a clue, set a timer for 3 minutes and write. Try finishing these sentences:

I love reading about…
I love learning about…
I love imagining…
I love when I see…
I love when I feel…
I love when I hear…

Remember how radical it is to simply remember the truth of who you are.  

Experiments

Everybody got a plan, until…

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“Everybody got a plan until they get punched in the face.” –Mike Tyson

Before I had a baby, I had the whole sleep thing figured out. I was going to co-sleep and then gently move the baby to a bassinette by the bed in our room and then to a crib in the next room by which time, he’d be sleeping through the night and my husband and I would have quality ‘us’ time, weaving new threads of intimacy and togetherness while simultaneously knitting the new fabric of our beautiful little family.

Then the baby was born.

(Sound of needle scratching across a record.)

We brought this little 5 pound sack of sugar home and, well, I had no idea that something so small and miraculous and innocent and delicious could lay waste to my household, my body, (my marriage?), and my plan in a few short weeks.

He never slept. He cried a bunch. My boobies were the only thing that soothed him (while my husband got slapped like a giant mosquito if he went anywhere near them).

Within a few months, we’d dismantled the bed and the crib, put the mattresses on the floor where we could (theoretically) safely place our sleeping son and tip toe away for a much-needed break.

But truthfully? For well over a year (or 2) my husband and I kissed goodnight in the hallway, he’d go to our bedroom and I’d go to our son’s room and read books for 3 hours, nurse for another 5 and then sleep in 3-hour increments on a twin futon mattress tucked against the wall.

He couldn’t sleep unless he was physically ON someone, preferably me, and could startle awake at any moment. Occasionally I could transfer him to the futon (on the floor) and extract myself for a few moments of liberation. The first thing I would do was high-step it to front door to tape up a BABY SLEEPING DON’T RING THE BELL sign. The second thing was to stand in front of the open refrigerator and eat handfuls of salami.

There were many glorious, hilarious and even holy moments of being a mom and then times when I would look at the world through eye-slits, times I could set the air on fire with my dark thoughts.

It brings to mind this quote from Instagram account, #Fuckology:

I have two moods:
1. Namaste
2. I will cut you

Why am I telling you this?

I guess because I am suspicious of systems that promise smooth sailing, a time when it’s all figured out, when doubt and hardship and uncertainty can be eliminated or reliably managed, controlled.

Mike Tyson is a difficult character to be sure, but his quote really hits it for me. Everybody got a plan until they get punched in the face, by trusted people, by mother nature, by calamity and cancer, by our own maddening minds.

We’re affected by things. The water is never still, still, always still. There is a point of contact when something hits. There are ripples. They reverberate. We meet those reverberations with Namaste and I will cut you and everything in between.

What I want is a steady stream of things that resurrect my sense of humor when it goes underwater during a plunge.

Laughing is key. As a dear friend said recently, laughing is a value.

And it doesn’t have to be the HAHAHAHAHA gaffawing pee-in-your pants laughter. The quirky, absurd, tender, awkward, unexpected, relatable, all soften and chip away at the hard edges of fear, perfectionism, a certain kind of industriousness and righteousness that really boils down to a false fortress of protection against the truth that all of us here are falling, falling, falling and spinning to an end that is surely coming.

What makes you laugh? Or giggle, or sigh, or remember?

Make a list. Put it up. Sometimes it won’t help.

But sometimes it will.

Courage

Terrible Reviews

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When I was 18, I went to an acting conservatory. There were about 20 of us in my class, ranging from 18, me, the youngest, to some in their mid-30s.

The director of the program, one of our acting teachers, was a gritty, straight-talking, chain-smoking theater veteran who paced around, asking very personal questions, laughing lasciviously which typically morphed into a coughing fit. We were scared of him. And looked up to him. Daddy Larry. We wanted to learn what he knew. We wanted him to be proud of us.

One day, early on, we did a movie theme exercise. Two people were to get up and improvise a scene from a movie style, using gibberish–a film noir, a tragedy, a slapstick comedy. After a time, he’d call out a new genre and you’d both have to switch. Smack in the middle of me doing my English farce scene, he called out, Bergman.

I froze.

I had only the sketchiest notion of who he meant, but was it Ingrid Bergman, the actress? Or the other Bergman, what was his name, Ingamar? Is that Swedish? Dutch? And what kind of a movie is that? I could vaguely picture a lot of serious talking, a bleak landscape, everything in black and white..?

I had no idea.

I lurched around, doing terrible Swedish gibberish. (All I could think of was an old lady in a rocking chair eating Swedish meatballs, murmuring, Urnka burnka.) After what felt like an eternity, he said,

What are you doing?

Uh. I don’t know.

Well, do you know who Bergman is?

I don’t.

Can you even name one of his films?

I can’t.

He looked at the ‘audience’ (the rest of the class) then back to me, then back at them as he launched into a rant, One must do one’s homework, know one’s craft! How can you call yourself an actress if you don’t, blah blah blah…I shrank to the size of his lucky strike cigarette ash.

I stayed at the conservatory, learned a bunch, saw a Bergman film or two, but I carried it with me for years, this humiliation for not knowing what I simply did not know, until one day I got it. Ahhhhhhhhhh. All that talk about ignorance, about not knowing one’s craft? He was talking about himself.

No, Larry, I could have said. I don’t know. That is why I’m in this ACTING SCHOOL. So why don’t you cut the shaming and chop chop, TEACH ME, hmmm?

But.

I knew only what I knew. Until I knew more.

This is how life goes.

Now I wouldn’t stand there blinking and turning red, feeling exposed for the imposter I clearly was, mortified that I wasn’t already an accomplished actress, theatre expert, improvisational genius.

Now I would say, Hey, why don’t you fuck all the way off? Or more likely, Gee, I’m just not familiar with Bergman, or possibly I would have waited out the tantrum saying nothing, taking a small step back so as to not get any of it get on me.

🙂

Dear Reader, has anyone ever put you down? Dismissed or leveled you with unhelpful feedback on something that mattered to you?

If so, here are two things to remember:
They are speaking about/to themselves.
“Part of the job is to get a terrible review from someone who doesn’t understand you” (or themselves, I might add). This is a nugget from Steve Martin whose agent told him early in his carer that he would never make it in stand-up.
Consider the crap thing they said to be a sign that they don’t GET YOUR GENIUS and also a rite of passage, sanctifying your path.

Mindset

Practice Makes Imperfect

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The following is an excerpt from my meditation this morning:

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

I really need to bring that chair to the studio. Should I do that today? Maybe I better wait until tomorrow.

(Notice I’m planning.)

Say, I’m back. Open my eyes. See the flame, really look at the shape at the top, the milky yellow color. Notice my heart beating in my chest, my sticky breath.

Breathe deeply in and out.

Think: Let it all be there. Make room for it.

Close my eyes.

Breathe in slowly, like sipping through a straw.

Breathe out slowly.

In.

Out.

I wish I had gotten up early. I still need to walk the dogs. Maybe I can walk them after this. Oh, but I want to stretch. I’ve really been on a roll. Okay, so afterwards. I wonder what time it is…I have to write, too. Okay. Let’s see, I’ll meditate, then stretch, then take the dogs out.

(Notice I’m planning.)

Say, I’m back.

Open my eyes. See the spot on the wall in front of me. Breathe in.

Close my eyes. Breathe out. Feel the heaviness in my hips, feel my butt on the cushion.

Breathe in. Notice the cool sensation in my nostrils as the air comes in.

Breathe out.

I really need to eat something first. Maybe a salad? I have all those vegetables from last night. Take the dogs out after? Or should I write first? And the walk will be my reward?

Open my eyes and see the timer on my meditation app, counting down the seconds.

Close my eyes. Adjust my position.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Hear the doorbell ring, the dog start to bark like a maniac. Think, don’t answer the door. Just let the dog bark. Let it all be there.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Oh god. Is someone going to get the door? Jesus. What is the matter with that dog?

Etc., etc. until the timer goes off.

🙂

I don’t share this because I think YOU think I’m a master meditator. I share this because the point, for me, is to show up and do what it is important to me.

I share this because the point, for me, is to keep going, even though I’m NOT always going to generate the relaxed and alert peaceful restorative theta brain waves that connect me to the vast ONENESS of everything.

I share this because I know that a meditation practice is just that, a practice. No matter how much I LOVE when my mediation is magical, deep, profound, and flying by in what seems like seconds, that experience is no ‘better’ than one above.

I share this because maybe there’s something you want to show up for and maybe you’re judging yourself because you’re not doing it perfectly.

Maybe you think you should be better at it already.

Maybe you think, at this rate, I’ll never get there!

Maybe you already missed a day (or 5) and you’re about to throw in the towel.

Maybe you need a remember that whatever it is you want to do this year, this quarter, this month, this week, this DAY–you will be in the forever practice of it.

Each day, each moment will be different, because YOU will be different.

Your only job is to Show up & Practice.

Let it be good, bad, frustrating, exhilarating, interesting, dull, surprising, derivative.

But let it be something by bringing yourself to it.

Again.

And again.

And again.

Action

Now is the time

Posted on

I’m sure by now you’ve been inundated with YEAR END posts. It’s coming! The end of 2019! And the start of not only a new year but a new DECADE!

!!!!!!

What do you want it be BRING you?

What do you want it to TAKE AWAY?

What NEW HABIT will you form?

What OLD HABIT will you drop?

What NEW VISION will you call forth?

What INNER SUPER POWER will you harness?

What NEW CAPE will you don??

What are you ready to say YES to??

What will you finally say NO to??

OKAY OKAY CAN’T A GAL JUST SIP HER COFFEE IN PEACE?

🙂

Actually, I’m FULLY involved in all of the above–taking stock, taking heart, taking notes, taking a fresh look inside to see what it is I REALLY want to create for myself.

I have my systems (I LOVE SYSTEMS!). I have my Commit30 planner, my Goal Tracker sheet, my laminated list of daily activities that matter to me, my new #365 challenge. I’m excited about it all.

But not because it’s going to make me okay. I’m already okay (as are you) right NOW as I sit on the couch writing this.

None of my systems are going to turn me into a more worthwhile person.

I’m worthwhile just because I am. Worthiness comes with the bod pod. If you are currently inhabiting a body, you are worthwhile. Period.

But I will say this–

We are all here to bring ourselves to the world, however large or small our worlds are.

We are here now. We will never be here again.

We are here to evolve.

We are here to contribute.

January 1st, 2020 is about to happen. It’s an arbitrary marker but it can be useful. It can be a reset. Not a DO OR DIE DATE. Not as a way to set ourselves up to fail and therefore cement the notion that we are doomed and fatally flawed and why even bother…

No!

January 1st can be a fresh page in the typewriter.

Yes. It’s not completely blank. It comes with a history, a backstory. Things happened. He hurt you. She let you down. Opportunities came and left and you weren’t able (FOR WHATEVER REASON) to reach out and grab them, or hold on or stick with them.

It didn’t turn out the way you hoped or thought it might or were promised it would.

I GET IT.

All of that is true.

AND.

It is also only part of the story.

Think of it like words written in invisible ink. They are there, but it’s also possible to write new words on the very same page.

I’m not being a pollyanna.

I’m being a possibilitarian.

The best part? You don’t have to be ready or confident or clear or focused or steady.

You can be not ready and insecure and foggy and scattered and quaking in your boots. (Those words just correspond to feeling states which are actually molecules moving at different speeds in your body!)

Try loving it. It means you are alive. One day you will not be and when that day comes, you will feel no things. Eek. I prefer stage fright to no things. Don’t you?

Love it like this: Say, I’m lost and I love that.

I’m scared and I love that.

I’m heartbroken and I love that.

I’m out of ideas and I love that.

I’m fat and I love that.

I’m furious and I love that.

I feel nothing and I love that.

Love that blank/not blank piece of paper.

Crank it into the typewriter.

It’s sort of exciting, right?

What if everything that happened has led you to this moment? I mean, it has. It (whatever it was) happened. And now it is this moment.

(By the way, I think it’s important to say that I am NOT an “everything happens for a reason” sort of a gal. I am a ‘freedom is possible no matter what shit has hit the fan” sort of a gal.

Freedom.

What if now is the time for you to step closer to your own personal freedom?

What if now is the time for you to be truly, deeply, and unabashedly you?

What if you’re ready, even if you don’t feel ready?

What if your version of ready feels PROFOUNDLY UNREADY?

What if you can go into this new year with full permission to bring ALL YOUR HUMANITY–your fear, doubt, grief, confusion, hurt, hope, love, envy, rage, beauty, yearning, joy, power, grit, weakness, brilliance, inspiration, determination, apathy, your fuck-ups, your badassery, your WONDER.

That’s a story I want to read!

Lastly, THANK YOU.

Thank you, Dear Reader, for reading. Thank you for being part of my community. I hope that you’ll stick with me in 2020 as I have some new things percolating. But if you don’t, know that you being here has mattered to me. I am grateful. 🙂

Blessings.