I’d always imagined that there were three distinct, yet connected, parts of me to balance: my body, my mind, and my soul. I maintained this idea ... that I must work for my Spirit. Do spiritual work. I've said as much repeatedly over the past year or so: in blogs, at gatherings. I’m beginning to wonder about this idea. Does our soul require … work?
One friday night, with little to no preparation, going solely on faith and intention and knowledge ... I led a gathering for my local women’s group, because I felt called to.
I seem to have a knack for bringing people together at the right times, to facilitate something ... that will happen between us. I am no guru nor teacher nor galactic bearer of wisdom, and I make no such claims. I am a woman, and a mom, who after years of study and practice understands subtle energies and knows how to listen.
In the course of this evening together, these women and I shared so many stories. We laughed, we bonded, we found strength and similarities ... even though we were simply strangers before. We are women. We have connections beyond the visible. This didn't require work, it required that we showed up. And together, the night unfolded wonderfully.
Love came through, effortlessly. And when I say Love I mean the divine and quite magical energy that guides and connects us and all things ... this Love, this charged and connective tissue, this Spirit … is omnipresent. Love is benevolent. Love is pure. Love does not require cajoling, exploring, tinkering, proselytizing, or crafting. Love ... IS. Love is allowed, not forced.
In the days preceding this lovely get-together, I speed-read for a book discussion at the library. I prepared for our women's gathering. I took care of my toddler, I showed up at my full-time job. I began working out again, meal-planning, and I began reading even more books for a writer's workshop. And I continue to write everyday, as well. Meanwhile, in real life, my body and my mind were completely out of whack and overwhelmed.
And … The universe always shows us to ourselves.
I got some bodywork done last week: and I saw a possible reflection of myself in my practitioner. Exhausted. Overwhelmed. Tired. Conflicted and confused. Irrational in delivery, but pure in intentions. Wanting good, deep down, and somehow feeling lost about what that is. Drawn by the need to belong, despite the battle it might cause inside. Because of the seeking. And not ... allowing. Wow, have I been there, too many times.
Haven’t we all felt a little lost at some point? And was I … lost? I wasn’t sure. I didn’t feel lost spiritually, for me, I knew that God, whatever God is, meant Love and anything that wasn't of Love and Light and compassion and kindness ... was not of God. I knew that I felt that darkness and shadows are found in our humanity, not our divinity. And honestly, I felt lost … physically. In the here and now, in this physical body, I knew that I was off track. The train carrying my goals had derailed. Temporarily.
Here is a truth that I've discovered ... for our greatest selves to show up, and stay, we must keep balance in three things: body, mind, soul. The soul, the spirit, is perfect. Sublime. Our spirit self IS Love. It is all it will ever be, already. It just is. It doesn't require work. It requires healthy channels conducive to communication and flow. The mind ... needs practice. The mind must be given quiet time, restorative time, and peace. The mind must be focused, beyond chatter and destructive thoughts. Thoughts must be harnessed, directed, and focused toward our greater good.
The body ... must be cared for and nourished. It must be fed good, healthy food; exercised and rested, daily. The body deserves love, care, support, and attention.
I always say that I know nothing, which enables me to constantly course-correct as I go. Indeed, I know not what I truly know, but this:
I allowed myself to run so far out of balance in the quest to be all things, that I fell to pieces. In the seeking to prove my worth, I actually overlooked my inherent worth. I am. I just am, already. And being that I do exist, that I am here, it my responsibility to honor myself, tend to myself, nurture myself, if I wish to live a balanced life.
Why do we put ourselves last, over and over? Why do I? Is it neglect or scattered endeavors?
I love my creative side, I adore it. I love my son more than anything. I love my life, as it is, for the most part. But I let my desires, my passions, overtake my foundation. My health. My well-being. When we are out of balance, nothing works right.
I’ve been at home, with a double-whammy. Flu and strep throat. And even here, in this, deep in lozenges, tea, honey, antibiotics, ice packs, heating pads, feet up, throw pillows stuffed everywhere to alleviate sore joints and muscles, and all the rest of it ... I am grateful. I am experiencing some flu symptoms, but not all. My throat hurt quite a bit, but it's getting better every day. My body has suffered incredible aches and pains, and stomach discomfort, but no nausea. I think that this proverbial right hook was a gift: to show me my priorities, without distractions.
Me. Close up.
Without health, I can be nothing. To anyone. I can't be a caregiving mother if I am overwhelmed, weak, and unhealthy. I can't do well at work, or be there for my friends and family. I can't write, or sing, or do anything besides focus on getting well again. I can do nothing … but get well.
What a gift. What a kick in the pants. Life is a gift, and I often forget that in the pursuit of creative desires and art.
I'm glad to be here. To be someone who is, underneath it all, healthy enough to fight through two minor, yet complicated, illnesses at once. To have the knowledge that ... a diagnosis is composed of words that basically inform me that I am out of balance and need self-care. That I am sane enough not to Google symptoms that I ought to be having, as doing so would invite them in. (Trial and error, trust me on that one.)
I am under the weather, but feeling better and better, and seeing more clearly every minute.
I get one body on this trip. If it's not in good shape, there is no one to blame for that, but me. I am proud that I quit smoking six months ago. It's worth the temporary weight gain, the slow-down, the ups and downs as my body readjusts to life without those toxins. (Smoking affects just about every system in your body, and it can take quite a while for those systems to get back online.) I know now, that if I put my physical health last, nothing else will work. While I'm alive, I am in this body. That’s it.
I've made a declaration with myself: my health is worth investing in, and it is the cornerstone, the foundation for everything else. Health, first. And a balanced mind, a healthy mind that doesn't cram in too much, that doesn't overload itself with everyone else's needs and concerns. Keep it simple. Prioritize.
If these two, the body and mind, are functioning and are as healthy as they can be, then Spirit … Love ... is allowed in. It truly is that simple, I believe. Spirit ... Love ... is not something to chase, to seek, to master. It is ever-present, in waiting, for us to get our shit together ... so that we can see it is there, all the time. As the undercurrent of our lives. Guiding us, steering us, protecting us, healing us. Loving us. xo
Image from Disneyclips.com
We're inside today...travel plans halted, due to snow. Who wants to drive for hours in slippery snow with a toddler in the back? Not this girl. So we're home. A true snow day. Another reminder that Mother Nature does as she pleases, on her own time, regardless of our plans. Such is Life.
We slept in and allowed for lots of extra snuggle time in Mama's bed. (This is my most favorite thing in the world.) Then we made pancakes and ate breakfast. We went from window to window, front to back, over and over... "there it is...snow! I see it, Mommy, the snow! It falls on the cars, the trees, the grass, the porch...everything!"
So it does. I had a rough night last night, processing the big bad world a little too much, as I do sometimes. It just gets in, I just feel it, all of it, so hard. How...could a human being do such things to their own kind? I will never understand it, ever. What happens inside, what goes on, to bring a human being, an innocent...to such lows and depravity? And does our world, this society, create criminals and sociopaths? Or is evil simply born into some of us and not others? Big questions. Nature or nurture. I definitely won't answer it is in this blog, or perhaps in my lifetime.
So, last night, I read some happy, glossy tabloid news that cheered me up, I gazed at my peaceful, sleeping boy... and I drifted off to sleep. And I slept incredibly well. Deeply, peacefully, without interruption. Almost like I was under a dome, safe and away from all of it. The snow is always a welcome dose of perspective for me, always has been.
To awaken and see everything covered... pure, pristine, white, untouched. Innocent and neutral again. It does something, inside. A reset. It's like running sage over the entire swath of land where the snow fell. It just feels clean and fresh.
So today we relax. Slow and easy. Hot cocoa, maybe, laundry is in, we'll bake something healthy (ish). And we snuggle in bed watching a DVD that my son pulled off the shelf... The Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.
And my boy snuggles up with his stuffed doggie, wrapped in blankets, transfixed and is transported into the Hundred Acre Wood. Just as I had been, so often, in my youth. He recognizes characters... "Eeyore...he's sad. Pooh eats lots of honey, but he's funny. Tigger is so bouncy, and silly."
We watched for a while and then we had to go play with cars. I love that he won't watch more than 20 minutes or so of TV at a time... it's pretty great, in this overproduced, digital world.
But...the art. The archetypes, the stories, the emotions... the ART. The art, is the thing.
Art... is the thing that connects and drives us. That inspires and molds us. That understands us and pushes us forward. Cartoons, literature, song, drawings, paintings, film, poetry, sculpture...all of it. Art separates and defines us as individuals. Lifts us up and keeps us moving. To imagine, to sculpt new archetypes and characters out of the mind's eye and bring them to new Life, for generations to lean into and come to love. What a calling this is. What divine alchemy. What a...gift.
Moments most mundane can be swept up and away into new worlds, because another imagined them for us. Because another soul, somewhere, sat down and created them for us. To help us relate, connect, find joy, heal through sorrow. To laugh.
Art...is the thing. And to even have the blessed chance to have the muse tap your shoulder, to whisper into your soul, to sit present within you and have you create something new...is incredible to me. And to practice... to give attention to your gift. To focus and hone and sculpt it into its best...is paying respect to what's been given. Not everyone is creative in the same way, and each of us...has something special and unique in the way we deliver our creativity.
A writer not writing, is courting madness. I constantly have to remind myself to turn my energy around and focus it into the right channels...to create. Thanks, Pooh Bear and the gang.
“Don’t underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.” - A. A. Milne
Happy weekend... <3