Hi. That's me. Baby me. Toddler me. Right about the age my son is now. The seventies, man. My brother had given me a haircut, *just before* school pictures. Mom was pleased. :sarcasm font: I think it worked for me.
1970s... Avocado greens and chocolatey browns and burnt oranges and that putrid vomit-colored maize-yellow. Bell-bottoms. My Mom's disco albums. Yeah, vinyl. I learned to dance the Hot Chocolate from one of them. I learned about (and fell in love with) Donna Summer from another.
I saw my grandparents a lot. I had one grandmother who delivered Avon, knew everyone in town (and they still mention her, to this day) and she lived in house dresses (look it up, they're like mu mus..) I had another grandmother who was a NOW (National Organization for Women) cardholder, worked in the city, commuted in sneakers and changed to pumps at the office, knew all the subways, and took us to see Broadway shows once a year. One was Grandma...one was Mimi. Can you guess who was who?
I loved them both, dearly. But I associated with Mimi the most. Honest. Eye-rolling. Sharp-tongued. A riotous and often inappropriate sense of humor, behind closed doors. She was the one who'd laugh so hard that tears would stream down. I get my fire, my sass, my passion, the marinara in my veins, my joie de vivre...from that side. The Italian side.
My other Grandmother, on my father's side (British/Dutch/Canadian)... had lessons to teach, just in her presence. In her stories. I wouldn't appreciate them until much later. They lived hard through the depression, my father's parents, and they both worked at Grumman. They had four boys, and they both worked, and rarely saw each other. They were scrappy, they had to be. They were thrifty, because they learned to be. My grandmother, boy, she could... make a dollar holler. She hit up garage sales, tag sales, thrift stores, and always gave to others the little that she could. We often got new school clothes from the rag bag (donated clothes that we got from the church in Glen Cove, cheap). So she'd often give us things to help out, even though they weren't Rockefellers, either. She wasn't a barrel of laughs or charm or high-fashion. She was a tough old broad. She got hit by a Mack truck crossing the street and broke a hip, in her... sixties? She was up an delivering Avon again, pretty soon after. That's how she was. Tough as nails. Vocal. Opinionated. In your face if you didn't submit. I get my grit and low-bullshit-meter from her.
My childhood was informed by some powerful women, although I didn't see it at the time. I won't tell you about MY mother, because, well, she's alive and well and reads this and it's just none of your business.
But my grandmothers: one was fighting the patriarchy, working, earning her worth as best as she could, trying to lift that glass ceiling up... just a bit. Caring for herself, putting herself first. She came from an Italian family that let the boys go to college and the girls... learned to cook and keep a husband happy. From the get-go, she said... "this stinks." She just knew how wrong it was, how it didn't align with who she was. My mother's side is where I get a lot of my... resistance to conform into a role. Like Becky Sharp, Scarlet O'Hara, Jo March, and so many other controversial figures of women in literature. I will hardly just go and be a wife... Because this fire burns inside... for more. For passion, for exploration, for challenge, for vibrance, for intellect, and color and travel and excitement. For a LIFE, not a sentence.
And I think, through most of her life, (I have a recording of an oral history I did with her, that I cherish), she silently stewed and let a fire grow inside, that would emerge later. And it did.
They're both gone, now, all of my grandparents are, and I feel it's okay to discuss them here.
So entwined with my current writing, Wild Horses and Mistakes, I set out on an intentional journey... call it shamanic, call it psychology, call it catharsis, call it healing the inner child, call it whatever you want... it's all the same to me, with different labels. We are but a story, and we can revisit our stories and pull meaning out, to inform the present. It's all a big spiral dance, around and around and around.
We go through childhood and collect all these stories, these ideas, that other people make up about us, and if we already feel small... we believe them. And it takes years and years of crawling out of those stories, and becoming our own people.
I can see it now, the whole pattern, as it's taught to us (of course, not everyone follows this):
birth: we're given a name, an identity, and put into the "system"
school years: our teachers teach us to memorize things, and often scold us for our originality or finding our own answers. We're often dumbed down for being resourceful or creative. It must be done their way, or we get "bad marks." So, we must get good marks, and so we conform. And often, if we're lucky, we find those one or two special teachers or counselors, that connect... and keep us going.
college: optional, but many take this route. To... fit the right mold to get the right job, to "be what they want," so they get hired to work for someone else's dream.
then...marriage, kids, two cars, vacations: and so we get out of school, we find careers, we find a partner to play this game alongside us. And for a while it's good, life is good. We played a good game, we got there! We did it! We ticked off everything on the card, look!
And then... those lost embers of glowing imagination, of magic, of dreams, of non-conformity start to bubble up through the cracks and demand change. This isn't what I thought. I did everything right, how come I'm not happy? I have a good life? Enter the mid-life crisis. Sometimes, if they're lucky and already have a healthy relationship, couples ride through it together and they both change. Often, they split because one will not change for whatever reason. Or worse, they stay together, yet grow apart, living a show within a show, for the kids, for the neighbors, and everyone is miserable.
Or... maybe you're still single, and none of that affects you at all, and you just feel like you're in a hamster wheel. Waiting for real life to start. For that ship to come in. For something to finally make sense and give you the unmistakable direction that you've been seeking. We've a got a wacky sort of society that breaks us apart and we scramble to put ourselves together again, later in life. And some of us don't make it that far, we become that system and lose our identities, altogether. (But not really, I truly believe that there is always a spark that stays lit.)
I'm not sure what I'm rambling about today, it feels a bit messy. And maybe that's the point, but it has to do with childhood, dreams, and how our fears and self-esteem are managed. I look at this little bright-faced girl and I wonder how she did it. How did she make it to now? And she can't tell me, because she had no idea. She was a child. Innocent. She just woke up and showed up. it was later that she started hiding and living in made-up worlds that made much more sense.
I've been doing this work, this self-study, this inner-journey for a few years now. And at the outset, it was about the present and the immediate stresses of life. And then it was about adulthood, in general, and then adolescence. And so on. It's like time-traveling, revisiting my life, all the way back to here... to early childhood. I think deep within each of us are these innocent children who want to play, dream, fly, sing, dance, and maybe see outer space. And it doesn't always work out that way, because we start believing in the limitations that others give us, throughout our growing up.
And this... is the mess. The bags, the burdens, the stifled dreams in our backpack, that we walk through life with. Unrealized dreams. Attention not given. Perceptions of love withheld. Mistakes, abuses, pain, trauma, fear. Carried forward, in our bones, in our minds, in our memories. Our...mess.
I first got into this intentional self-development, living with my eyes and heart wide open, fully aware, life-out-loud, hoping to heal. To get there. To that place, where I healed it all. And life would be a walk in the sunshine where nothing caused me trouble anymore, because I did all my work. Yay, I'm fixed, let's go heal the world! :throws glitter in the air:
:insert ironic laugh here:
No, unfortunately. And for me, freedom, epiphany, boundless creativity, inner change and transformation comes not in my ultimate and grand healing... but in deep acceptance that I will always have this pack on my back; my mess. My stuff. That stuff can change, things go in, things come back out. New experiences and joy go in, fear and pain go out. But then with adventure comes risk, and more sometimes more pain, so in that goes. And this, I think, is Life. That pack will always be there, it's my story, it's who I am and where I've been. And stories change... I'm constantly emptying and refilling the pack. But I'm owning it. Seeing it, knowing it, being with it. And traveling along anyway, open and trusting, knowing that pack will always be there. And that's okay. Because we've all got one. And I start thinking more about... searching through each other's backpacks rather than... feigning perfection. Because it's a lie. One I won't buy anymore.
And that little girl? That young, sweet, innocent little Stacie? She's still in there and when she's scared or nervous or overly exuberant or excitable, I just carry her too, with everything else. I pick her up, hold her close, and carry her with me (symbolically, of course). Because I can keep her safe and I can do my best to bring her what she wants. I think that's what all of our anxieties are about, really. That little young boy or young girl that has fears and anxieties and doubts and worries... but also, also... big dreams and hope and resilience and magic and wildness and that wonderful, playful, beautiful optimism.
Hello, heart. I see you. I'm listening.
It's been a minute.
I've been doing lots of reflecting, writing, regrouping, lately. As I reflect over the past year, what I've done and seen, what I've learned, where I've traveled, what I've come to see and understand about myself, and about my perceptions of others... I am just blown away, at the process. At who I am now, when I look back at who I was then. I've made another lap around the circle. The absolute truths I knew then, versus the illuminated and ever-changing perspectives that I have now. Oh, these blessed spirals.
And I'm writing through all of it:
Wild Horses and Mistakes: The Year I Followed My Bliss, Accomplished Absolutely Nothing, and How it Changed My Life Forever
(Subtitle is a bit long...it's in progress, but that's the feel of things.)
Meaning, I didn't "do" anything but choose myself, my priorities, my health, my joy, my creativity. I didn't have a list to tackle or a pile of to-dos and must-haves. I followed my heart, my intuition. My wild horses. And that's a concept, in and of itself. It's never just about the horses, is it?
Anyway, I know you'll enjoy getting under the hood, peeling back my chest-plate and seeing my heart and my reassembled guts in this new sacrifice to the Gods of Creativity and Musing. I can't wait to share it and set it free, but I am deep into revisiting, mindfully, each place, chapter, and section.
The Soul writes; the ego edits.
The past year has had me up in the clouds, soaring with birds of prey as they watched the wilds below. Galloping across rugged terrain, not knowing where I was going, stopping at water holes, weathering storms and fire, and just knowing that I'd get there. Somehow. It's had me waking in new places to new faces, smelling and sensing and feeling new things, absorbing new vibrations, and healing on levels so deep that I didn't think I'd ever reach them. It's had me shatter illusions and chase new ones, only to see them disintegrate in my fingers and drip slowly out of my hands, back into the seamless expanse of energetic alchemy that surrounds us. Constantly. And it does. We are, at all turns, exactly where we need to be.
Hold out your hand, take one step, and begin. It really is that simple.
We are sublime players and doers and crafters and actors and creators...who can, at our best, move effortlessly through what may feel like a heavy minefield of pain, disappointment, shattered hopes, dramatic fears, deep loss... and we can get through, easily, with all that we need... when at our best, most true versions of who we are, as living, breathing, dynamic, sensing, beings.
The past year in question began last fall with a trip out to the east end of Long Island, the furthest trip I'd taken solely and purposefully on my own... it was an hour or so away. I stayed in a bed and breakfast and unearthed a sacred chest full of memories, pain, stories, and experienced powerful growth. And that trip began a quest, a Campbell-esque journey of my own. Because I saw that not just solitude, but the allure of the new and strange and unknown, brought the most amazing spiritual insight. In the way of facing our own demons, our most disturbing beliefs about ourselves and each other. Because it's all thought, really. Perception and response.
And I can't possibly sum up in one blog post all the truths I've witnessed, the stories I've rewritten, the deep healing, the pain. The numbing, seething, darkest pain that I never thought I'd see eye to eye again. And meeting it, head on... and surviving through it. And the freedom in that. Finding the most special souls who understood what I was experiencing, as I experienced it. Possibly keeping me in one piece and lending me their strength. Flashlights. Candles and Light and Love and symbolism and reminders and guidance and whispers and hope... and faith. Always faith. Just... keep... going. And the passing of Life before my eyes as we got rear-ended and sent back to the starting gates, at the peak of Bliss and perfection and understanding. Always, the pendulum swings. And the gratitude for those setbacks, for those life-changing illuminating moments: that remind us in such a powerful, unmistakable way... what is truly important.
Self, family, friends, community. And living through to heal. When we take that often painful, scary and tumultuous journey within, to know ourselves, deeply... we begin to heal. In healing ourselves, we heal others. But also, we heal the karmic past, the residue, the eons of pain that lingered heavy in our bones. Women who came well before me and were stricken down and cut out for their wisdom. And the gift that these times bring, in carrying that wisdom forward. In never letting that Light die.
I could write for days about it, and I do, in this new project. I write about a lot of things, though, because really... it's about a divine and very human balance. It's about seeing energetically and intuiting and listening, but it's about using that insight to sculpt the present moment, here and now. It's about meditation and self-love, and also about using your voice and knowing when to let your tiger teeth show, just a little. it's about loving and doting and giggling and cherishing our babies and kids... and knowing that we can also plan and strategize, make the right decisions, and plant our feet firmly in soil, getting it all done, while we dance in the clouds, looking down upon it all in gratitude. It's about a healthy, grounded, free-flying balance of all things. It's about equilibrium, and what it takes to find the right balance, for each of us. Because it's different. That's the key. One doesn't suit all. That's why we do this work. It's why I do. To find what works for me, and to utilize it here, now, in my Life, in my world, for myself and for those that I love. it's about authenticity. Truth.
Wild. It's not about being reckless and obnoxious and surly and crude and promiscuous. Although it can be, without apology, but not always. For me wildness is about nature. That includes human nature. Just as a wild mare runs through a barren landscape, she knows to stop for water when she sees it. She knows to rest. She knows to protect and teach her little ones. She knows when to run and when to fight. Intrinsically, it's in her nature. It's in her wildness.
So, finding our wildness I think, is more about finding...ourselves. And listening.
In that quest, I've made a discovery. Any of you who follow me on social media have seen my fluctuating posts about health, fitness, different diets, and so on. Trying to get back to that more slender, more youthful, more exuberant "me," from my my youth. That in itself has been a journey. I had a lot of success with the Paleo diet, in losing weight and warding off sugar cravings. it was great for that. But in the process, I developed a lot of joint pain: bursitis pain in my hips, low back pain, well, I've fought that since my c-section. Knee flare-ups. And the crash over the summer, well, it set me back something fierce. All the progress that I'd made went out the window. I was grateful that we survived, that my son was okay... first and foremost. But the glimmer of that wore off and my pain got worse. Much worse. As the summer wore on, I felt crippled. Frustrated. Defeated and bit depressed. I felt, in body, like I was twice my age. I was wearing belts, taking salt baths, sleeping with special pillows.
i turned inward.
And I did get back up and back to the gym, for physical therapy, as I healed through it. But I still felt like a chronic patient, always hurting, wearing a cloak of perpetual sadness and feigning hope and joy. It was exhausting. I was depleted and felt guilty for not being able to be...me. The cheerful, light-shining, optimistic joie de vivre type of me that I can be. But I got through it. As people do.
So, here's what happened: it all caught up with me, as things do when we ignore them. I was knocked on my ass with a bug, a virus of some sort. My whole body shut down. All I could do was lay in bed. Everything hurt. I was completely out of control. And a friend recommended I... do an enema. Gross... thanks for nothing, I thought. Or... a juice fast. Hm...
I had tried the raw diet, the juicing, the vegan lifestyle, and it never, never worked. And I now know why: fat. Ten or so years ago, when I first tried to go vegan, I went low-fat vegan. And I never did processed food. So... that didn't leave me a lot to eat and I eventually went mad and started eating people on the train. No, I made that up. But I did invade a local restaurant and wolf down an entire rack of ribs, in a very not-demure fashion. I was completely deprived and starving. After that, I swore it off and kept eating the way I wanted to. I started eating seasonally: heavier in winter, lighter in summer. I tried to listen to my body, and it worked for a while. I found the Paleo diet and it promised all the solutions to my problems! Yay! Well, I don't know anymore.
I had a re-deux, with the juicing, about two weeks ago. To get my ass out of bed and healing, I lived on fresh-made vegetable and fruit juices and my old-reliable bone broth from my Paleo book, for a few days. No solid food, although I added some probiotics and supplements, too. And within days, I was up and at 'em and nearly pain-free. As of now, I haven't eaten meat in about two weeks and I've never felt better. Joint pains that have plagued me all year, are nearly gone. I can't explain what that means. To be in "chronic pain," and accept it as such, and for it to leave. It's...awe. A miracle. I'm a believer. Spiritually, I let Gaia heal me. Real-world speak: plant-based is no joke. It works. Get the sludge out, and your body will heal. Period. We are amazing, miraculous, self-healing machines.
So, for now, amid all the other changes in my life... I am living 80/20 plant-based. I indulge in some good cheeses and free-range eggs here and there. And my collagen-filled bone broth. And my raw wildflower honey with capping. So, Moby would still hate me. But... I don't. I love me. And I'm happy to say that I'm taking better care of myself than I ever have, which frees me to do so much more good in this world. And we need it. I'm just so grateful to be here, I don't what else to say. I'm just so fucking grateful, not to hurt. I'm like Oscar-speech-emotional as I write this, which sounds hokey, but for me... it's that big of a deal. I don't know if this is my forever lifestyle and way of eating. I don't make those promises anymore, because... Life. But I promise that I will listen to what my body asks for, and come through for myself. Because to let go of this... would be stupid.
So. Good things coming. Wild Horses is writing itself, and I'll not rush it. But it's coming, more every day. Writing it, living it, has changed me. It's brought me back to my natural, wise-woman-wildness in all the most beautiful ways.
And for all my readers still feeling the dark... keep walking. Please. It doesn't last, you'll get stronger, the Sun will come. The Light is everywhere, once you let the darkness fade. Let the pain through and then out of you. You can. I promise. You're okay. I see you. And woman to woman, or human to human, I love you. We're all in this together. xoxo
I thought I had come to California looking for horses. That's what drew me out here; the wide open land given to these majestic creatures; throwbacks to a wilder and forgotten west. I swooned for their photos, I fell into them. The wildness that was still in these creatures, the neighing and bucking and kicking and running into the horizon, manes in the wind. Unbridled. Free. Charging mares, leading herds, tending foals. And perhaps I will still find them when that time is right.
But upon landing out here, I was taken by the water, foremost.
The Atlantic shores are beautiful, but for some reason, these waters...the Pacific...are different. The shores she touches. The stories she swallows, the secrets she holds. Oh, these waters hold so much. They have seen and felt so much. And in that, as a whole, as a body of water, a being in its own right... she is that much more calming. It's a powerful, cleansing presence. A deep healing. Not to mention the sheer majestic and aesthetic beauty of the area; it's no wonder writers and artists flock here over the decades. The vistas are unmatchable.
But Steinbeck. I was first hit as I toured Cannery Row, which is now a giant consumer-wonderland. Which is fine. I bought a souvenir or two, some t-shirts for my son. A refrigerator magnet. I'm a sucker for that stuff, within reason. My first day there, as I was walking up and down the streets, weary from a few hours in the car after leaving San Francisco, I snuck around back, behind a closed shop, to the boardwalk. Or pier, whichever. All the chairs were turned upside-down on the tables; this particular deck was empty.
I considered Steinbeck's writing, his growing up in Salinas, and his visits to this very bay and other points along the coast. And the man, the good friend Ed Ricketts, who inspired Doc. His trouble with marriage and relationships, in general. And the water! Oh, it's impressive. Overwhelming.
I had read a little bit about Steinbeck the night before, because someone in San Francisco mentioned that the area was great for writers, being that it's "Steinbeck-land." Now, of course, I knew who he was, I read Of Mice and Men in school. Grapes of Wrath. I did the assigned reading, but never delved fully into the man that he was: his motivations, his sorrows, his dreams.
As I toured the area and the Steinbeck exhibit in Salinas, and as I read more about the man... I felt such heartbreak. Disillusionment. Internal battle. Here was a man who saw great injustices and great stories and he had to get them out. He had to. And they were good stories with great themes. What I found heartbreaking, nearly tragic, was how his novel The Winter of Our Discontent was received and critiqued, as it won the Nobel Prize for Literature. But it was more than that.
John Steinbeck was a highly sensitive man, it would seem. A deep, mysterious, brooding, Piscean artist, who felt that the world was spinning off its rails, losing its morality. He saw the coming of the fifties and sixties and to him it was a breakdown in society and decent values. He felt things deeply. He felt his world crumbling and wanted to write about it. Fight it, perhaps. But at a minimum, provide a chronicle. He went out on the road with his dog, Charley, and wanted to revisit and recapture the America that he once knew, after spending time away, in New York and Long Island. he wanted to see real people, small towns, local bars, not the affluence and facade that he'd been living in.
"I nearly always write - just as I nearly always breathe..." - John Steinbeck
And later, when his novel was shunned so hard, despite praise from others, he put his pen down and never wrote another novel. And to feel that kind of pain and humiliation inside, is just heartbreaking to me. And I could feel how soothing those waters were, and must've been, to him. And to so many.
In reading Travels With Charley, just now, being that I was so taken with the man and his story and his need to see the country... I can't help but reach back and pull some lessons out...or some parallels, at a minimum. It's what I do.
Steinbeck came from a family of Republicans, and changed a bit when he saw more of the world and got out his his hometown. His perspectives on Life changed. When he'd returned home, arguments would ensue:
"Let's just be friendly and loving. No politics tonight." And ten minutes later we would be screaming at each other.
And so it was, and so it still is. Steinbeck knew he was nearing his last days. He felt his world deteriorating. I can't imagine the ache inside. Well, actually, I can. I think so many of us can, which is why he and so many writers like him are so resonant. Particularly now, in this climate, when the world feels divided and torn up, much like it did then. Those of us who truly do feel deeply want to find things to mend; to help that ache. And it's a humanity-sized ache, a global ache. There is a real and dire need to heal someone, something, anything, everything. Or a touch of madness grows in the absence of that longed-for resolution. And in that madness, oh, does distraction blossom. Numb, numb, numb the ache. With a drug, a habit, a spoon, a television, a drink, an over-zealous need to disappear into something other than what is, rather than live a healthy balanced life. And it's not easy, we've all got our things. Hopefully our addictions don't harm and make us ill.
And how did moderation become such a rogue idea?
We seem to be commanded by a world that favors extremes. Extremes in diet, in entertainment, in lifestyles, in just about everything. Nice, easy, simple living has become a lifestyle choice, something that has to be taught and remembered, rather than...just how things are. We have to be told and reminded with blips and beeps and timers and gadgets to relax and breathe and sleep and eat. I get it, John Steinbeck, I get it. The players have changed, the scenery is different, but it's the same game. And now, we have the internet. And do you know how often you're meme'd John? A lot.
I walked the coast again, and thought, in imaginary conversation with this writer I'd become enmeshed and obsessed with...
Despite the flack you got about that one book, John Steinbeck, I mean... wow, man. You did it. Didn't you? Your books are required reading in schools and libraries. Iconic. Champion of writing the proletariat. Great sense of place and giving voice to the everyman. You are part of the canon, good sir. I wish you could've seen it happen, in the flesh.
It's a lazy Sunday.
It rained most of the morning. We stayed in, played with cars, danced to the ukulele, we sang. Threw in some laundry. We ate a quick lunch; leftovers. Don't feel bad, they were delicious. And now we're sitting in the living room. Some sort of golf is on.
And a commentator said something that just...resonated.
They were discussing Dell's $36m contribution to help support recovery efforts down in Houston. They all wore ribbons, for solidarity. #IStandWithTexas And this man spoke, after the razzle-dazzle they had to do (I'm paraphrasing, here, it's not verbatim):
"Americans are amazing. We may seem to have our divisions and difficulties, we seem to be divided on so many issues. But when disaster hits, when things like this happen, we pull together like nothing you've seen. Strings of experience and emotion that resonate within all of us. And tragedy and hardship bind us together."
I found myself agreeing with him. Nodding. "Yes," I said to the television screen, as if it could nod back.
These strings. These things, that bind us together. Even from the golf channel guy, this is just a truth. And a beautiful one.
And I can't help but reminisce; remember those weeks during and after Superstorm Sandy.
The fear, the uncontrollable and unknown that loomed, the anger, the petty violence when the gas ran out. The impatience, just... all the ugly things we saw. But also, the beautiful things we saw in each other. The way we all came together when we needed to. All of my friends that now bicker back and forth on FB about Trump and so on, back then, all equally chipped in and donated and cared and worked to help friends or strangers empty out basements. Provide blankets and gloves and jackets and clothing and soap and toothbrushes and anything else that you could think of...to the closest and hardest hit areas: for us, the Rockaways. The south shore had a lot of damage. Jersey Shore. There was a lot. And it took a while, for sure. I still run into families who haven't quite made it to even, financially, since the storm hit.
But, beyond that...in those moments...the Love that came through in the darkest times.
I began a novel that I've yet to really write, during that storm. When I had done what I could to get some useful goods to the Rockaways, via local friends with big trucks... and I couldn't find anything else to organize within my own space... and there were no more candles to assemble or devices to charge up, driving in circles...
I became still. So still. And how still my little sphere of the world was. Outside.
I was moved to tears when we lost power for days. It was autumn, and after the storm moved out, I sat outside and marveled at the sky. At the neighborhood. Others around were scurrying about, stocking up on water, reading by flashlight, praying together, feeding their neighbors, or anything to just keep warm and busy... but I was awe-struck with the night sky. The Northeast was dark and I couldn't believe how many stars were really up there. They were just pouring down on me, layers upon layers of them, billions of flashes light. They're up there and we just don't see it, beyond the haze of artificial light pollution.
I glanced up and down the street. And for a few moments, I was back in time. A past, before electricity. I could see, in my mind's eye, horses tied up and drinking water. A saloon, down the way. Lanterns, instead of streetlights. The scenery and the technology was different, but people...were the same. We're all sort of the same, deep down, at the core of things. Work, rest, eat, sleep, play, love. Repeat.
And in those same moments, I flashed forward. Looking back is easy. But what if our future looked like this? Seeing how a few days' inconvenience had rattled and disturbed people, so deeply, I began to wonder how truly prepared we'd be if we had to take care of ourselves. How dependent we'd become on technology. Our computers, phones, automobiles, all of it. How dependent. How disrupted we'd be.
Anyway. Always the artist...always finding the beautiful moments to boil down and take with me.
But I can't help but think back to how a-light I was, being among people-helping-people. Giving to give, and how that felt. The strength in numbers, the unity, the hope, the bounce-back, the community. It changed me. Naysayers and the dooms-dayers were running in circles with their hands in the air and bibles in their pockets, saying that we had it coming. 2012, this was THE STORM. We were done for. End of days. REPENT. No. Wasn't true then, and it's not now. That's all fear and nonsense and they are very convenient ways to take your money; from my perspective. Weather happens, it's part of life on this planet, but it doesn't target anyone over anyone else. I think most of us understand this simple concept. But then, many didn't, with all the Mayan calendar hullabaloo.
The only real change I'd seen was a change in consciousness. That, I believe in.
I just find myself feeling so invested in what Houston is going through, because we were so close to it, here. it brings a lot back. It's devastating to witness, even if you aren't directly impacted in a big way. To just be close to it, near enough to it, to feel all of that pain, suffering, cold, and fear. It's an ominous sort of can't sleep tonight feeling, that lingers. A wariness. A haunting sadness and grief, for so many. It felt crippling, for days.
I've been there. I remember. But I got by, back then, by doing what I could in my immediate circle. Finding bits of solitude, away from the noise. Finding hope and lightness again.
So many of us wish that we could do more, so we do what we can: we donate goods, we share information, we invest in benefit concerts, we help each other, we pray, we send love and light and peaceful blankets of energetic obliviousness to sleep beneath. We do what we can. It's a lot to feel. It's just, a lot to feel and process at once. But it settles. Water recedes. Economies adjust in some way, and people adjust. Big storms like this leave a huge imprint. They can be tragic and heartbreaking, but also incredibly inspiring, as they bring out the very best of humanity, as they follow their hearts to give and help, however they can.
Because people, in general, love each other. That's the deep-down truth. We just care about each other. And I wish I could do more. But I've done what I can. Donated where I can. And will always continue to. <3
Sending Love and Peace, Texas. xoxo
I've heard from quite a few astrologer friends that when Mercury is in retrograde, as it is now, that all kinds of things go screwy. Gadgets don't work, electronics misfire, everything just seems to not work right. Including our communications with each other. I can' prove any of that, but I do have a iPhone story...
My little boy is in hardcore potty training. He is rewarded for long stretches of success with...toys. Yes. He's not punished when it doesn't work, but when he gets it right...positive reinforcement. Tonight's win was made possible by Addicted Consumers r Us: the Disney store. We stopped to eat dinner first, he even used the big restaurant potty! Yes, score! All was well.
And then to Disney for a toy. I admit, I am a fan of Walt Disney, the Mouse, and its kingdom. I grew up with the characters, the magic, the dreams...and find it all wonderful for engaging the imaginations of children. Jiminy Cricket and wishing upon a star? The Lady and the Tramp, love on the wrong side of the tracks. Snow White and true love's kiss. Sleeping Beauty, my all-time favorite, could you tell? Sweet Rose, raised in the forest by three magical, enchanted Aunties....she was friends with all the creatures, big and small, and joins them all in sweet song, dance, and frolic? Once Upon a Dream? Oh, I was hooked. Fast.
The boy wanted cars. The CARS-cars. I indulged in a small dancing Groot for my desk. Because focus. (Just kidding, I just wanted one. It's cute and fun and silly and makes me feel sparkly. I don't need to justify my Groot to you, so get over it already. I AM GROOT.)
We even get a reusable Disney shopping bag, perfect. Back to the car. All tucked in...WHERE IS MY PHONE? :gulp: (expletive, expletive, expletive.) Back in the stroller, power-walkathon. Weaving, bobbing, Nascar-esque diva speed. We get back to Disney. Tear the giant mound of stuffed animals apart, because...he was there. Sorry, Disney. The pile of Woodys. Sorry, again. A kind Mom with her own gang of boys felt my distress, she heard the sister-call. "Hang on, put your number in, let's find it!" She dials...we wait. Older boy #1 thinks he hears it. "DISNEY, CAN YOU TURN THE EMPEROR'S CLOTHES SONG DOWN, FOR TWO SECONDS?" They...oblige. Thanks, Disney. Sorry. Again. Pretty sure my phone is on silent, because "work."
No dice. No sound. Nada. Zip. Silence. Stomach convulsions. Every joint in my body aches, because stupid tension. Because missing phone. Thanked everyone, left my info with the patient manager, who of course, was super-Disnified through the whole thing. (EXCELLENT customer service, they train 'em right.) Forlorn. Exhausted. Annoyed. Frustrated. Wit's end. Imagining what I had to do...call phone service, freeze, lock phone, all this stuff which is making my head implode. But breathing, it's just a thing. I can do this. Handle-able. My little dude: "it's okay Mom, we will find it. Let's do this..." Cool as a cucumber.
"I hope so babe, I just hope no one stole it. Sometimes when we drop things, people walk off with them..."
"Maybe not, Mom, let's just see..."
Me: silent eyerolling and cursing. Oh, the innocence. Praying. Dear Jesus, Mary, God, Buddha, interdimensional beings of Light and wisdom, Shiva and Shakti, spirits, grandmothers, Gaia, Gods and Goddesses and guides and angels and legos and faeries and GI JOE AND MARY POPPINS AND ANYONE LISTENING ANYWHERE... please help me find this phone. PLEASE. I need this win. I just do. Puh-Lease. I'll do a hundred crunches tomorrow. AND squats. And I won't complain about my neck. Or other stuff. Please. Just please.
Hit the restaurant that we stopped at first...on our way back to the car.
"Did anyone, by any chance, turn in an iPhone?" Girl nods.
"Yes!" Insides stand up at attention, in wait.
"With flowers on the case, and cracked safety glass in front?" Please, please, please...
"Yes, hang on..." :tears, lip quivers still praying to anything not nailed down: Manager returns... IT'S MINE! Good as new. In my hand. I hold it tight as it it might fly away, into the night air.
"See Mom, there it is! We found it, I told you..." This kid. And here's what Yoda baby says next. Listen:
"when we're very nervous, we don't get it. When we aren't nervous anymore...we get it!"
Smiles. Me...barrels of tension roll off onto the floor. Oof. Really sorry, Disney. You were great. I was panicked But you were great. Really. I'll send you a card.
And we think we're raising THEM. We had a great talk on the walk back to the car. People don't always take things when they see them, sometimes people return things, because they know someone is looking for it. Because really, people care about each other, really. We just forget, sometimes, when we get scared. But mostly, we take care of each other. Mostly people are good.
What an adventure. This boy. My heart. xoxo
Super grateful to have my phone and am seriously considering backing it up and using alternative photo/video storage. :) Just in case.
(Get your sh*t together, Mercury. Seriously. Sheesh. it's nice blaming a planet...)
I didn't want to write this story.
I've been carrying it around since Thursday night, but when I do that, when I don't write through these things, the world gets uglier, darker, and more twisted...fast. No, I'm not that powerful, I'm talking about perspective. Which is at the root of everything.
I was out to the movies with my brother (the new Ryan Reynolds/Sam Jackson. So good! Yeah, that's a truth. I love my blockbuster-blow-shit-up-eye-candy. Deal.)
So, yeah, we're super weird. My family is still close, we hang and stuff. We like each other. <----- effing psychos.
Anyway. On-line for some contraband: popcorn and I'm NOT TELLING YOU what else. Nunya business. So, there's a man with his little boy, around my son's age, ahead of us. This adorable boy looks over to his Mama and Aunties, who are walking toward the theater. He wants to go with them.
"Mama," he yells over to her, teary-eyed. She smiles and says nothing. He cries a little bit. Big tough Daddy-man looks down at his toddler with a stern face and points at him. "Ah....ah...nope. Not even."
He tries to suck up his tears. He looks back at his Mama and this time tries a different call, "Auntie!" Still, they walked. They disappeared around the corner. Full-on tears. Big Daddy-man gives the boy his Batman mask. And here's where it gets fun:
"Here, go ahead, put it on. That way we don't have to hear you cryin' or, worse, SEE you cryin'. Put that on, maybe Batman will make you feel tough. Pathetic. Huh, feel better? Feel tough? Will ya stop now?" If someone spoke to my son in this way he'd still be recovering from backlash.
Both my brother and I recoiled in silent disgust. Uploading pain and psychosis into innocent child...now. I don't interfere in another's parenting: I don't know the whole story, it could be a different culture and tradition perhaps...so many possibilites. But... he was a baby. A sweet, innocent boy, younger than 5, that wanted some love and attention from his mother. But he was forced to stay behind and learn his "tough act." This is where we learn to start wearing our masks. Literally! Wow!
Can you remember when you were first told to wear a mask? And why? And do you know that all of that isn't yours to carry?
Wow. This is where it starts. All of this that we're seeing. Denied self-expression, acceptance, love, and nurturing at a young age. Leaving young, impressionable children in the dark, to sort out their own powerful emotions as they grow and learn about their world. It's a kind of neglect and abuse, growing up in a cold home. And it turns human beings into monsters, sometimes, as they grow.
The Paradox of it All:
A child can learn self-defense and confidence and still believe in the goodness and tenderness of people.
A child can be strong and raised with moral values and honored family traditions, and still be able to express sadness, loneliness, vulnerability, and fear, in a healthy way.
A child taught not to cry, becomes an adult who never feels safe enough to cry, which creates instability. I myself have only recently learned how to truly cry, and thereby, heal myself. <---big one
A child can be taught self-sufficiency and also be able and willing to offer and accept help.
A child raised to be blindly obedient, without a sense of self, becomes a weakened and confused adult who then, if they're wise, must take a lot of time and effort to understand their past, and to heal. As so many of us do. But not all adults want to heal. Many want to perpetuate a damaging cycle.
Add years and years of stifled pain and emotion, and here we are. Watch the news. Raised in fear, to see the world in fear, to act and react in fear.
When does it stop?
I'm not saying raise your children to be spoiled, self-indulgent, and disconnected. Silver spoon syndrome helps no one. I'm not saying to raise them to be dramatic martyrs, either. Extremes make headlines and get attention but aren't the only page-turners and makers of change. There is a healthy middle, there is a balanced place where the best of strength and compassion and cool heads meet... and that is my goal. To teach from that place. To parent from that place. To live from that place. it's quite a place to strive for. And I'm definitely not there, yet.
I screw it up a lot. I still catch myself reacting in heated and emotional moments, wanting to cast out blame. It't that! it's them! It's her, it's him! Oh, but those moments when I can see it, step back, recalibrate? That's where the lessons fly in. Here's the thing though, if we're not screwing up and making mistakes, we're not learning anything. We're staying still. Safe. Bubble-wrapped. Our world will never change, if we don't.
I am far from perfect, I put my foot in my mouth daily among other incessant mistakes. (Sorry...everyone, ever. Full-on human. Still working on it.)
But I'd be wasting precious time if I stayed there, in the mistake. I learn, I adjust my behavior and thinking about that sort of issue, and I roll on. As does anyone. We hope.
Dear Little Teary-Eyed Boy:
I hope that you grow into a wonderful and happy young man. I hope that your peers and your schooling and the books you read and the places you travel to and the people you meet will broaden your perspective. I hope that you learn how to let your cries out in a healthy way. I hope that you get in touch with what makes you come alive and what grounds you and brings you inner peace. I hope that you know...it's okay to cry, when you feel the need to release powerful emotions.
Grown men who are well-adjusted, successful, and happy...do cry sometimes. When they are vulnerable, when they are moved, when they are saddened, when they grieve, when they are terribly frightened. They just don't stay in it, they don't prolong it and hold onto it. It's a natural and cleansing gift to us, it's a reset, it's a clearing out of stagnant emotion. And when dealt with, head-on, it cycles through quickly. But when ignored, stuffed down, condescended to, forgotten, or worse, punished...those cries get stuck inside. They linger and fester and rot and get absorbed into our flesh and bones and memory.
And this is an aberration. It's a fear that we carry our whole lives, that was never really ours to begin with. And yet, when it becomes us, we inflict it upon others, when it wasn't theirs, either. This is a cycle that must end. This suppressing of human emotion.
Just find the middle. It's where all the best things happen. In harmony, with balance.
what if there is no Meaning?
what if we are here, simply to Love?
To relish in what was once an abundant paradise?
what if...we had it all:
rivers, streams, wildlife, waterfalls?
conscious thought to appreciate it all
and to see and connect with each other?
and maybe somewhere,
in the realm of conscious thought,
we began to question and seek.
the seek for meaning, we had to assign meaning
great, grand, unquestionable meaning,
to such simple beauty and abundance.
we had to explain it to ourselves,
a prime reason for existence,
for what was once Heaven on earth.
to be sure, such paradise came with perils:
natural disasters and unexpected events;
the very wrath and ferocity of nature, Herself.
let us always remember that to be natural
is to be both beautiful and serene,
while also being savage and unapologetic.
utmost beauty and Light in contrast
with destruction and darkness.
this is Life. at its most simple, without pretense
and the delicious sugarcoating that we love so much.
the glaze that makes our lives so palatable and sweet,
the desire to magnify the beautiful
and look past the broken and raw and ferocious.
but we had to find meaning,
we had to, and we do still.
and so we created belief.
and then there were divergent beliefs.
this caused conflict.
and hell on Earth,
as humans battled with their beliefs
in their attempts to understand and explain what was given
in such simplicity and ease in Being.
we are here to work and to Love,
to care for ourselves and others,
to nourish and replenish,
to celebrate, to dance, to smile.
in our search to create meaning,
we've lost our true purpose.
what Life ought to mean:
Love, effort, abundance, celebration, creation, consolation, connection
what we've created in our time here:
conflict, judgments, illness, imbalance, cruelty, distortion, stagnancy, hatred, greed
we've also created:
progress, growth, art, masterpieces,
bold and unabashed testaments to our collective existence.
we bear witness to our searching hearts,
we provide proof of our existence,
we leave imprints, we plan and calculate memories
in a desperate attempt to scream out that
WE WERE HERE.
but what if there is nothing to fix?
what if this is who we are?
what if... Life... is simply this?
but not just to live
but to dive in deep
and live loudly.
to communicate, freely.
to express, to feel,
to move beyond,
to not conceal,
but to show, to share,
to glow, to be aware
of each other, so gratefully.
and how precious is this?
these strings, these precious things,
these tethers, these threads,
a simple tug, a lonely moment,
travels and connects us
to each other, but really,
back to ourselves.
because to see each other's eyes
and to breathe each other's sighs
above and between the
clenched fists and the cries
is to be Love
to be in connection
to be awakened
to know that we are all in it together
it's not how long Life is,
but it's what we do with it.
perhaps this is the question to ask:
not the why, and wherefore, and how-come
of it all, but the what.
deep into Life.
what are we doing with it?
It's been just about two years. Since it all went upside-down. Meaning, life changed, in a big way. My marriage didn't work, we were new parents already dealing with so much. And there is...a lot... that goes on when major life-changes like this happen. For sure.
It can be very traumatic, even when things end rather amicably. It can induce severe stress. Body systems, hormones, all sorts of things can go offline and misfire and wreak absolute havoc on the nervous system. On every system.
It can be absolutely maddening, even when it's "easy." (PS, it never is, it's always a last choice.)
But here's what I want to, perhaps need to, press on. Someone, somewhere, some little boy, much like mine, needs to hear this.
Mommy is okay. Your Mom is the strongest person that you've ever met. You know, I came from a home where my parents split, in the 8th grade, my sister in 4th, my brother a year older than me. But here's the thing...just open your mind, and try to hear this, regardless of where you're at:
I know families where they stayed together. For too long. And fought, and argued, and fell apart and raised children in an environment that stunted them, when they got older. Do you know why? Because their models of love were broken. They grew up and thought love meant pain. They thought love meant abuse and depravity and bad decision making and slow endurance of heartache, until death. They thought love meant suffering and stifling dreams...but together. This is very damaging to the childhood psyche, even if well-intentioned. It affects all of their later relationships and only spreads more suffering to those that they meet.
Now, consider the flip-side.
My parents split, yes. I was an adolescent, yes. It was rough for a time, but...but...
Soon thereafter, my mother met someone new. A man who saw her differently, treated her in the way that was...closer to what she needed. So, I have been blessed with knowing what love looks like, what spontaneous romantic dancing on the deck looks like, what intrinsically knowing the other looks like, and what ... suffering looks like. Growing up in a stoic household, with miserable parents who no longer love each other...is a fate worse than living through divorce. Ideals get twisted, and these kids grow up and look for the wrong things, they look for silent suffering and sacrifice, they pick up harmful addictions, they seek more and more pain...rather than a joyful, rocky, but adventurous exploration of love, compassion, sharing, growth.
So, I guess my point is this: Mom is fine. Dad is fine. We all move on, and then put all that love into the children, and heal...perhaps on the lookout for what may be someone, somewhere, closer to the love that we really needed. And maybe we just weren't ready for that big Love, the first time around. Divorce isn't always tragic, and sometimes staying together for the wrong reasons...is tragic, as well.
It's hard for boys to see their Moms "alone." I hear it a lot and people warn me about the psychology of it. A growing boy, feeling as though...he has to step it up, be the 'man of the house,' and take care of his Mama. it's touching, but not necessary. I'm lucky though, I co-parent. 50/50. My son has equal access and time with both of us. He has his Daddy, and he has me, we just aren't romantically involved and don't live together anymore. And we're getting good at it, I think. Our son is thriving with the situation, all things considered. He's got a great support system and he's surrounded with love all over the place.
Sweet, sweet boy, as you grow, know that Mom is okay. She's probably the strongest woman you've ever met and you'll never, ever know what she went through, what she held together, what she fought through, deep inside...for you. To be okay...for you. Because you are her heart, always inside, even when you're apart. You grew inside of her, her ribs and organs moved to accommodate your growing body. You're never apart, really. That's how Moms work. It's an unconditional thing, it's just built in. At least it should be, I know it doesn't always work that way, and that truly breaks my heart.
But all she really wants? Is for you to forgive yourself for something that had nothing to do with you. Nothing at all. She never needed saving, she was saving herself already...for you. Going to battle, inside, facing demons, slaying dragons, finding her strength, her resolve, her best...for you. To provide you with a safer and more loving space within which to thrive and grow and learn to love in a more healthy way. She wanted better and more open and healthy relationships...for YOU. She went to the mattresses, healing herself, to provide you with a healthy foundation.
I'll make sure my boy knows, as he grows, that he is immeasurably loved. On both sides of his family. That he is surely treasured, but is not above anyone else. That he is appreciated when he is thoughtful and kind and helpful, and will be taught to honor and respect women and their opinions, but not be expected to be a stand-in, ever. That he will one day, be his own man. Strong and sturdy in his own confidence, from having faced his own battles within, as do any of us. As do any of us. It's the human condition. We can't shelter and save our children from their wounds, just as sure as our parents couldn't shield us. They did their best. I'm doing my best. He'll do his best. That's it, that's life. Do good work, have lots of fun, take chances, use your vacation days, and love over and over again.
If I could fast-forward...to his questioning years, when he looks back and digs into his own childhood, as I've been doing...for me... I want to tell him...
None of this is your fault. You were an amazing, bright-eyed little boy, who only wanted to explore. You chased butterflies through grass, you blew bubbles into the wind, you marveled at the sky, you rubbed Buddha's belly, and all with a smile and joy for life. You dreamed and imagined and wished you could take flight, right there, with a blanket tied around your shoulders. You wanted to be a superhero, you wanted to save everyone, everything. And one day, in your way...you will. Not with tricks and illusions, but with your heart. With your sincerity. With your courage and big ideas. With your problem solving and big thinking. With your measured and thought-out actions. With your willingness to face your troubles, head on, and see them through to the other side. And your ability to make people smile and laugh and not take themselves so seriously. You were a goofball, a troublemaker, and you loved, loved, loved your hugs, even if you started smushing Mommy's face away when she kissed you too much. You saw a beautiful, magical world, and even then, you took up your plastic bat as a sword and beat away invisible bats to protect your Mommy. Not because you are born to fight, but because you are born to LOVE. To love and protect is in you, but so is joy and wonder and exploration. Trust both, honor both. Find your sacred middle, dear one. It's there.
You can do absolutely anything in this world, if you set your mind right, if you practice and work at it, and if you treat people well, as you go. Your people are your currency. if they don't give you good feedback, then you retreat and figure it out, until they do. People, other human beings, are your gauge. Not money, not wealth, not fame. Financial security is important, to a point. But it's humanity that will steer you to true success. They are your brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, mothers and fathers, friends and co-workers... human beings are your family, and they come in all shapes and sizes, ethnic backgrounds, they speak all different languages, and they wear all sorts of different clothes. And we're all in it together. See? We're all trying to figure it out. Make good friends, that you trust, and keep them. Friendships are important, family is important. Always honor and appreciate them, and remind them often, that you care.
Let them reflect you back to yourself, and dear one, pay attention. Stay humble, but be proud of the capable, dazzling, interesting, loving, powerful man that you've become and are always becoming. You are a miracle. I know, I made you in my body, I know what it took to bring you here. You can do anything, you can love anyone, you can help to transform this world into what you've always dreamed it might be. You can fly to the moon, maybe! Yes...you can. And you will, if you want it enough. If you're kind, if you're honest, and if you stay the course and do the work. Learn how to focus and hone your attention into your skills and passions, while balancing your time with honoring your heart, your relationships, your body, and your own inner peace.
Life is juggling act, it's all about balancing things out. You can have it all, but not all at once. Make time for what moves you, inspires you, heals you, soothes you, invigorates you, pushes you closer to what your want. Honor those people and experiences. Spend less time, or no time, on that which diminishes you, belittles you, takes advantage of or berates you, or takes for granted your beautiful, sensitive heart. Don't let the world turn you cruel, but build boundaries and guideposts for yourself. Know who to steer away from and who to let in. This discernment comes with practice and experimentation, and probably lots of heartache...as you learn. Unfortunately, this is a necessary evil. We have to get hurt to know what we don't want. Not everyone understands a heart like yours, be alert, and patient, but stay open. And love, always love, this is what your special heart was born to do This is why you feel so much. And it grows back, every time, even when it feels like it won't...it's never really gone, I promise. This Love is your superpower! Because this Love, it's everywhere, in everything. It's in you. It's in me, when I lay down to sleep and visualize wonderful things for you. And you'll make mistakes. You'll say stupid things and regret them. You'll make a fool of yourself and feel awkward. You'll trust and get hurt. You'll trust and find love. You try things and fail, you'll try things and succeed. You'll do all of these things, and it would be a lonely and quiet life if you didn't.
The world is full of beautiful and magical things, just awaiting your keen attention and time. You'll be just fine, I know you will. You've got a kick-ass Mama who's walked through fire and back. Of course you'll be fine. Once you understand...that she is fine, too. And that she loves you, and your time, and your attention...but she doesn't need to be rescued. You'll need to focus on you. That's all she wants. Is for her boy to be happy, healthy, well-adjusted, confident, and to feel so, so loved. To be the kind of man that follows kind words with sincere and true deeds. That handles his inner troubles and expresses them in a healthy way that doesn't hurt others. That loves his life and always chooses the bright side, but also knows how to empathize with his fellow human beings. You've got a whole world out there, waiting for you. And you deserve it, you really deserve all the good things that are out there. Stay kind, keep humble, reflect and be proud, and keep dreaming and falling and dreaming again. This is how to make a great, fulfilling life. Kindness, compassion, adventure, and tranquility. And love. Always with Love in your beautiful heart, amore. Ti amo, mio Principe, per sempre. <3
***Big props to all the single Moms, divorced Moms, widowed Moms, who had to learn how to saddle up with a tool-belt and put down the tiaras (let's be honest, we never really got to wear them...) and learn how to spackle walls, lift heavy things, hang TVS, drill holes, pack and unpack, settle accounts, open new accounts, inspect wiring, fix ceiling tiles, unclog pipes, call in support, get the right help, hang and unhang curtains, de-stain bathroom tile, remove scary insects, relocate rogue birds, fix baby's boo-boos, fix their own boo-boos, put their babies' first, not gain 1,000 pounds, not give up... and then showing up, getting to work, getting healthy, staying sane, fighting through hell, keeping our wits, keeping our friends, keeping our GOALS... all while putting on a happy, smiling face...ever-grateful for those minutes with those precious, little angels that make it all worth it. Ladies, I salute you. I honor you. I deep bow to you. You're fucking badass, and we're all in this together. My sisters. We got this.
And to the men who get it and don't choose to exploit these women at their weakest: you are treasures and are appreciated. Life will reward you in due time, for your thoughtfulness, caring, genuine concern, and far-reaching, endless altruism. You are the ones who remind us of goodness, trustworthiness, and it keeps us going.
And...breathe...goodnight. My Loves. xo
I woke up this morning still sleepy, having stayed up too late writing, as I do sometimes.
I would've slept later, but in remembering a dentist appointment that I had, I did my thing and rushed out the door. I had "cleaning, 10 am," in my planner. I was ushered right in, no problem. I sat down.
"So, you're here for a filling..."
Gulp. Uh, no...? "No, I'm not, I'm getting a cleaning, I thought it was a cleaning." I'm prepared for a cleaning!
"No, it's a filling. You had a cleaning last month."
Gulp again. The mind, the mind...the inner dialogue beings...
I'm not prepared. I'm not ready for this, I was counting on it being something else. This isn't what I thought, what is happening? This is all silently, mind you. On the outside, was, "hey, whatever, I knew I made an appointment for sumthin, haha...no worries..." Inner turmoil continues. Novocain. Jaw tightness. Pressure, drilling, numbness, not being able to eat... I haven't even had coffee yet!? Shut up brain, shut up.
And so it went for a minute or so, until the dentist and assistant started their weird conversation about Tiger Woods and all kinds of other weirdness. It began with a chat about Father's Day, and how my Pops likes to zone out in his chair and just watch the Open. All day. Golf, golf, golf. Then we went into Tiger. And behavior, and addiction, and cheating, and Hollywood and affairs, and the otherworldliness that celebrity-lifestyle can bring. It was starting to circle the drain for a bit, but the conversation shifted, quickly. In every conversation, every interaction, there will be whisper of deep truth, almost as if from the universe to you...if you listen. You have to wait for it, listen for it, but always something poignant and meaningful and worthy of exploration will pop out. And it's usually accompanied by a momentary shift in perspective. That rare glimpse when we jump into another's shoes.
Doc said, "although, I can't imagine...being so much the center of attention, not knowing what people truly want you for. For the fame, the connections, the money, the places they can take you... or are they being loved for who they truly are, the person beneath the image?"
Wow...right? Deep thoughts on the dentist chair, while the novocain set in. I can't imagine the challenges in identity, and how important it must be to stay grounded, and know who you are, who you can trust. I'm not excusing Tiger Woods' behavior, for even a minute, but rather...appreciating the environment in which celebrities and phenoms live. Life under a lens. I can mosey in and out of a movie theater, no problem, no one cares. If I were Tiger? Nope. Spotted, chased, hunted, reported on, judged, scrutinized. It must be quite a challenge today, taking the celebrity route. I can imagine it would be quite lonely, at times. Here's me! (Not really though, that's my image...) So the real person is tucked away and saved for friends, family, trusted folks. It's a kind of schizophrenia, it seems, if you've got to be on or off in different environments, am I me, or the real me? Goodness. It can't be easy.
But this is changing a little. I feel that as humans, regardless of celebrity status, wealth, gender, ethnicity, religious beliefs...that we are all learning to respect, understand, and know each other, moving ahead with kindness and compassion in our hearts, and speaking our truths, with reverence. Balancing rationality and emotion. Nurturing wholeness and authenticity. Healing together, as a world, as a people. Wave by wave. Ripple by ripple. I can absolutely tell you that it's a real thing that is happening. A transformation in the way we communicate, feel, empathize. I'm awed to able to witness and experience it. What a magical moment to get to live in.
So, back to the chair. The conversation got lighter, we cracked some jokes, and we laughed. And in that moment, letting the experience be what it was, rather than what I planned for, I released the anxiety about it. This is what they talk about, when they say, surrender. Giving over to what is. In doing so, the thoughts swirling around in our heads...just poof! Evaporate. As we step into the new moment, fully.
So, in a world full of unknowns, often uncontrollable circumstances, and all the rest...can we... truly prepare for experience? We can make plans, we can rehearse, we can idealize, we can imagine...but really, it's only in the showing up and surrendering to the moment, letting it be what it is, that we get to be fully present in any experience, leaving expectations at the door. It's those tendencies to revert back inside, into the mind, to analyze, mull over, calculate, emote frustration...and repeat, cycling over and over in receptive haze, until we work ourselves into just...wretchedness. This is where we hide from realities. Instead of simply...opening our eyes, diving into the moment, accepting what it is, and living in it.
I've decided / have learned that I can be grateful and delighted about all the goodness in Life, and still voice my Truth when things aren't right within it.
That I can adore, cherish, and celebrate the opportunity and gift of motherhood, and still enjoy my work, my creativity, and enjoy a vacation, on my own, as a woman.
That I can be noncommittal to any one religion and still seek, unravel, explore, and alchemize with Spirit, Love, Light, Faith, and the great energetic web of Life.
That I can Love all life forms including myself and still eat meat, sometimes.
That I can respect people and not have to agree with them.
That I can keep writing, always, even when I don't know where it's going yet.
That I can evolve and outgrow myself, in layers, as sure as I can outgrow others and they can outgrow me.
That I can make idiotic facepalm mistakes, often, and still be worthy of my place, my direction, my goals, my Life.
That I can like who I like, that preferences are allowed, that I'm allowed to want things, while always seeking to serve.
That I can follow my path into complete nihilism...and still rewrite my Universe into Love. Over and over and over again.
That I might not ever really know what I'm talking about, and yet, still feel called to share.
Because I choose to. Because it's why we're here.
Learn. Love. Repeat. 💜