Something funny happened last night. My little one was with his Dad, doing fun stuff with cousins, I presume. I had every opportunity to go out and be reckless, or even just...cozy and lush and jazzy with bourbon in hand. To go a-drinkin. Hangin' out. To mix and meet and mingle in loud and numbing, pulsating rooms. I could’ve. I had places in mind. Venues. Some money in the bank. I’ve done it so much, so many times. Free! And I’m not one of those who are introverted and shy about strolling into a restaurant, club, bar, venue alone and chatting up who’s there. I used to joke that: “after two drinks, we’re all best friends anyway!” Ay... :cheers:
And I do still enjoy a nice bourbon cocktail, or a glass of wine, or a cold beer, here and there, every few months or so with family and close friends. I'm not a big drinker by any means, it's never been a drink-to-get-drunk thing for me. And no judgment, always do you.
But I just hadn’t the desire last night. I wanted peace. I wanted easy and lazy and yoga pants. I had nothing to prove and had no interest in pretense or small talk or overpriced plates. And I wanted to wake up rested and ready and feeling good for another day off. So, I watched Gone with the Wind, had veggies and yogurt ranch dip, a few chocolate covered strawberries, one indulgent piece of tiramisu (so worth it), and later on did some blissful rocking-chanting-sageburning-beadholding-mantra singing-soulpartying for all the Peace and Love on Earth.
It’s been a while. I've had a lot going on.
I’d forgotten how good it felt to just connect, vibe, appreciate, hold space, stretch, lay flat in shavasana, and celebrate the very notion that we’re here. Now. On this beautiful rock, together, lighting it up with love, all over the world, as millions gathered and celebrated and chanted and rocked out and danced hard and held great hope for things to come. A consumer extravaganza? No question, but still.
Optimism can be a drug, too, and a healthy one. It just feels good to feel good, doesn't it? And how much more kind, open, and trusting are we... when we feel good? When we're gathering, when we're at ease?
If you’re sensitive to group meditations and infectious energy and how it all resonates and ripples outward and connects us all, you know NYE is very special in that regard. So many cities, in succession, around the world, celebrating life and opportunity. Together. Regardless of any other beliefs. And yes, there is sadness, loneliness, hardship all around as well. But also, so much hope, joy, wonder, gratitude, and peace. Unity. Uh, I live for it, when we all just vibe and get along. BLISSSSSS...
Oh, I do run on. I know.
This morning I slept in, woke up refreshed and rested. No hangovers or drama. Just pop out of bed and go. How nice? So, I went for a quick chilly hike, I felt great and wanted to move around. I drove up the Hudson and stopped at a favorite riverside park and walked around. I stopped at a local coffee spot there and got a mocha-something, guilt-free. Delish. And I drove home, my mind free to release things and consider things and let go of things and make room for more things. Creative ideas. Dinner ideas. Big, beautiful future ideas.
I got home, made a bite, and took out the vacuum and started cleaning up. And mid-vacuum, I had the best cry. Out of nowhere, like it finally had the room to pour out. You know when it just won't stay in anymore? Days and days of pent-up who knows what that didn't really bother you at the time, and it just picks these weird moments to squeeze out of you. And I forgot how great it feels to allow that. Those cleansing moments, letting it all go. The release. Life is full of moments that stress us, upset us, confuse us, gut-punch us, snicker at us. No big deal, but sometimes it lingers, festers. And hormones are a joy, too. And that release is so important. Stagnant emotions cause health problems, something I'd learned all too well.
And I only mention it to stress that... emotion is human. And healthy. And right. And so many of us stifle and silence our emotions in the pursuit of appearing perfect or all-together. Sometimes it's taught to us, from young. Suck it up, stop crying, get a hold of yourself. You're so dramatic. Oh my God, but you're SO normal though, really. You're supposed to feel. Feel all the things, feel them! And also, a reminder that emotions are full of charge and information...they teach us things. To feel so strongly and powerfully about something, or a circumstance, or a someone, is an indiction that they are important. Emotions move us closer, deeper, into ourselves and away from what isn't for us. Toward what's really true and really worthwhile. Emotions show us what we really care about. They have so much to say and they can help us create beautiful art, as well.
In the digital age of instant gratification and "don't catch feelings," and "stay up," and all the rest... I'm here to remind you that it's all so very okay and human to feel and have joy and sadness and long stretches of awkward reality to deal with. It's life. The clouds are lovely, but we've got to walk through the dirt, sometimes, too.
Always listen, when your heart starts to speak. In cries or screams or contented sighs or sweet, singing, intoxicated bliss. Listen in. To all of it. It all matters. The emotion exposes the true desire, the root, and then a plan becomes the solution, the map, to fulfilling that desire. And then, an action starts the journey toward it. The emotional outburst is the clue, the whisper, the inner-inclination that you've been ignoring for too long. So it got louder. That's what I think, anyway.
It's all on time. So, don't fear the feels, my friends. Observe them. They carry wisdom, from you...to you. You truest strength, and greatest contributions are built from your own inner wisdom. Even when it's just normal passing ups and downs, it doesn't have to be deep grief and soul-healing to be lesson-worthy.
Oh, and that peaceful moment when the stress leaves the body and you know... you've answered your own questions. You just had to give the space. All that's left... are the next steps. One foot, then another, then another, then another...
Happy New Year <3
You might not believe this...
But it won't always hurt the same. One day, not far from now, you'll be able to simply hold your sadness, like a cherished stuffed animal, without apologizing for it. Or hiding it away. Walking over it, like it's not there. Numbing it back, just enough.
Sometimes we've got to do that, to stay afloat. I've been there so much and for so long. But it doesn't last. Waves wash in and out, I've found. And I promise, one day you'll see how much strength it gives you. To stand. To not run. To feel the weight of it, as the tide washes over your toes, your ankles, your shins, and you simply stand. And then, you're just okay, that's all. You're still okay, see?
And how naming it helps to heal it. To release it. To free it. And to free your heart. Someone will need it. I promise you that, it's not that far off. So write it out, get it out, purge it out, sing it out. Over and over and over again until you can stand, a little more each day.
And you might not believe it, but it's happening. You're healing. Every single day.
You have no idea how bright you shine when the world gets to see your heart. xo
“Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it's having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it's our greatest measure of courage.” ... “People who wade into discomfort and vulnerability and tell the truth about their stories are the real badasses.”- BRENÉ BROWN
I get it and I don't. I am someone who constantly, idiotically perhaps, tries to push things out. To try things. Go out on a limb, push it, test my anxieties and self-love-meter out. Trigger therapy. Get to the other side. And I seldom feel like a badass, though I love to learn and grow and improve. And I do love how far I've come in the past few years...
I've never had a problem being creative. Writing songs, poetry, short stories. Books. Inspiration abounds, always. But when it comes to the showing up and sharing part...the visible part, the performance part...I have mixed emotions, I always have.
I've recorded myself on video before. Take after take after take, until it was perfect. Usually while doing something fun and light, like singing. Playing guitar. Hanging out with my kid, being silly. Maybe because I don't take these things so seriously, I just enjoy them. But still, the right lighting, angles, the right outfit, good hair... And tonight, I pushed way out of my comfort zone, and did a live video without much thought or preparation. I felt good about it, it wasn't a big turnout, but that's okay. It was good practice...
And then, I watched it back...and all sorts of things happened, inside...it was turbulent...and emotional...
My inner dialogue went like this:
I don't look like that. Sound like that. Why did I make that face, my boobs are hanging out, the scrap of ribbon to hang up my shirt is loose and dangling, and oh, swell...dry, split ends. My roots are growing out. I need to get my hair done. That crease in my forehead...I need Botox, don't I? And on and on... Complete and utter contempt for this strange creature who didn't look or feel like me. I don't do this to others. I look at other people on video and I just enjoy what they have to say, I notice their very human expressions and smiles, and a light in their eyes. I find beauty past any flaws or imperfections.
Yet, I tore myself apart. I looked up this phenomenon:
And do we all do this? They look great, they can do it. Me? No... who even is that?
Perhaps writers ought to stay writers. Or perhaps I need to put more effort and planning into video making. Or perhaps I should stick to pre-recorded video. Or perhaps, better yet, it's a great time to zone out and watch Eat, Pray, Love.
Dolce far niente. - The joy of doing nothing...
Even as I lay here, cozy in blankets, fighting the urge to self-loathe after such a vulnerable and awkward display, life speaks to me. It's enough now. It's enough. Enjoy yourself, you work enough. "Dolce far niente..."
And in these passing moments I feel so far away from myself. Could I find my way back to that return...of "doing nothing?" Of sitting blissfully, freely, in a rose garden. Finding poetry in all things. Living art. Is it a rather remarkable and rebellious idea to opt out of the race? And to simply love your life? Mm. Right. What happened to that? To celebrate. To stand where you are, in each moment, with the joy of being alive? And I'm looking at this scurrying, proving, busy creature... trying to do what? For what? And for whom?
Hm. And when I ask myself what I want, it's more self-care. It's a life worth savoring. Enjoying the fruits of labor. Simple pleasures and live music and daily gratitude and the shimmering bliss of just being healthy and alive, with nothing to prove to anyone. But to breathe. Smile. And know that I am all I need, that I have all I need. And why do I feel the urgency to do and try and produce so much more, more, always more... because that's the culture, now. Fast. And I'm exhausted. Again. I've got a few events in November and December, and the holidays, and I just want to enjoy them. Feel them. Be present, fully present, for them.
Mm, whatever happened to...slow? Heart-full. Free.
And is this deeper inclination, this stirring inside, to pull back and slow down and focus on home, health, and heart... is this laziness in such a fast-paced, purpose driven, better-than-your-best environment of chasing perfection? And for whom, and for what? And... Sacred Mother. And re-connection. And surrender. And a coming home...again, wiser.
And sometimes courage is being exactly who you are without apology. I'm reminded of my days in Monterey, CA... slow. Indulgent. Patient. Pleasing. Relaxed. Feminine. The magic of otters - slow down, play, enjoy life, trust your magic. I found my heart that year, journeying through layers of myself, years of pain and false beliefs set free, and how easy it is, how easy... to drift right back into busy-ness. Proving. Pleasing. Grinding. Producing. Protecting and guarding, instead of flowing and feeling.
Creating...has always felt free, inspired, divine. Magic. Living in harmony with all that is and capturing it, in some sort of art. And I can get lost in the busy, sometimes. The searching. Seeking. Instead of remembering, knowing, and believing in something greater and bigger, guiding me through.
I saw Liz Gilbert, who wrote Eat, Pray, Love, on an interview somewhere recently...in a sound-byte, a quick passing moment, faster than lightning, in my Instagram feed somewhere. And she was talking about...women who know how to relax. How much that would inspire her... And wow. Me too. And why can't I, for more than a moment? Or why won't I? And why don't we, in general?
Oh, to simplify. Once, being free and grateful was enough. Until I was enticed with more. I'm reminded to unclench my fists and to cherish what matters most:
"All my surface worries and preoccupations evaporated: instant clarity. My boy mattered. Health and well-being mattered. Family mattered. Good and true friends mattered. Experience, love, joy, art, human compassion, and adventure mattered. We waste so much time, on this earth. So much precious, valuable time is given to nonsense and fear and unworthiness. How quickly it could all be gone..." - Wild Horses and Mistakes
Grateful for that clarity.
November. Darker. A deeper release. Another shedding. And further inward...may we all find the courage...to relax. And let Love find us, healthy, whole, and at peace. And so wildly enough.
PS...sometime in the nineties, I wrote about adults being this busy. And all that working Mama wanted to do was Slow Down and put her feet up. Life is funny.
© 2019 - 2020 Stacie Hammond