Spring in my Step

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It has been feeling like spring and I am loving it. We are getting down to the last couple of months of school, my birthday is coming up, and it’s warm and sunny. I have had a hard couple of months. Lots of stress has taken its toll, and I am finding myself in desperate need of a reset.

I have been seeing a therapist again and I am very grateful for the support and perspective she brings to my life. We have been talking about ways to get energy in, instead of having all my energy drained out. Upon reflection, I’ve decided to take a month to really concentrate on self-care and do what I can to fill my cup.

I had a hard time embracing the idea of self-care when I was introduced to it. As a people pleaser, type A person, the idea of down time seemed ridiculous. As a recovering people pleaser, I’ve learned over the years that time to rest is almost more important than the work I do. I’ve learned that I need to listen to my body, my energy, my spirit, my heart and take time when it is asking me to. Even though I have learned this, but I am not always good about slowing down.

That said, this thirty-day reboot is an opportunity to do just that. Take a break. Do things that are good for me. Do things that fill me up. Be around people who support me, where I am right now…not people who drag me down or expect me to give my all and not give me anything back. I’m reading some books, doing a yoga practice everyday, trying to create a bedtime ritual that promotes true rest and writing.

Yep, I said it. Writing is a big part of self-care for me. I ignore that fact from time to time, but I feel more grounded and stable as a human when I’m writing regularly. I have recently started working on a freelance content writing portfolio with a graphic designer and I applied to an online magazine I really admire and respect.

For a couple of weeks I was really stuck. Paralyzed by a fear of not being good enough and daunted by the task of writing the samples and resume. However, I jumped in over Spring Break and worked really hard to finish my submission on time. Writing vulnerable and honest essays about my life and editing them over a week, opened up a door in my heart that I hadn’t realized was closed.

Now I’m getting a rush of ideas and am feeling excited to be writing again. It’s hard sometimes to come to a blank page, but so is trying harder yoga sequences when I’m still a beginner. Not quitting and doing my best is really invigorating.

I am excited to see what these thirty days of reflection, intention and rest bring. I am only four days in, but I’m already feeling a difference.

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Evolution 

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Welcome to the fallout. Welcome to resistance. The tension is here. The tension is here. Between who you are and who you could be. Between how it is and how it should be…Switchfoot

I recently went through some of the old CD’s in my car. Yes…I still listen to CD’s in the car, don’t judge! I found one from six or seven years ago and as much as I enjoyed going back in time with those songs, I also was humbled by a profound realization. Every single song on that mix was about me being lost…the lyrics were about owning who you are, finding love, finding your voice, loving your life, becoming the person you were meant to be. 

Growth happens over time and so gradually, that it feels subtle to the person experiencing it, most of the time. Yet, listening to those songs again, was a huge reminder of how far I’ve come. I am not perfect. Far from it, in fact, but I have worked hard to slay most of those dragons. I will always love the songs on that mix, but they are no longer my anthems. They are memories. They aren’t me anymore. 

I used so much energy not being good enough for so many years, it’s a wonder I accomplished anything. It has been difficult to see that I was the one blocking my path forward in many instances, but it felt incredible to listen to those songs and know that I have changed that. Stress and the unknown always make me want to sabatage again, but I’ve learned to see those triggers for what they are and I have strategies to avoid those old pitfalls. 

I am still learning and growing, I don’t think that will ever change. According to the dictionary, evolution is a gradual development, especially from something simple to more complex. I still have areas to develop, that’s for certain. I’m still learning to balance my work life and my artistic leanings. I’m still learning balance in romantic and family relationships. I’m still learning who I am as a writer and performer. However, none of that discounts how far I’ve come already. 

Maybe redemption has stories to tell. Maybe forgiveness is right where you fell. Where can you run to escape from yourself? Where you gonna go? Where you gonna go? Salvation is here. I dare you to move. 

Dinner is Served

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I  love to cook. This has always been the case, but it was very difficult to cook for one for many years. It took a while to figure it out. I also have two major food allergies that make it difficult to eat out and be satisfied. I can modify just about anything, but if I want it, I have to figure out how to make it happen in my own kitchen. This could have been very challenging, but it’s actually been a positive thing. I had to learn how to cook again and it has opened me up to another form of creativity.

I have been listening to podcasts recently as I cook dinner. One  in particular has been incredibly juicy. Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic. Her book of the same title came into my life at a critical time and it has helped me dispel some of the myths I had held about myself and my ability to create. The most recent episode really hit me, as did the episode with Neil Gaiman. These podcasts have quite literally been food for my soul.

The podcast I listened to tonight spoke of many important things, but most importantly for my journey, was the concept of showing up before you’re ready. Knowing that you are never going to truly be ready, but here is the Universe offering you an invitation anyway. I cried as I sautated my Brussels sprouts, hearing my thoughts and feelings expressed through another woman’s voice. I think this is why I create. To find meaning and find myself in others. It helps me feel connected to something bigger than I am. It helps me makes sense of the world, when it is so often senseless.

My life has been topsy-turvy the last few months. I made a major change for my good, but I am not someone who handles change well. Even when it is what is best for me. Creative endeavors ground me. They lead me home and I discovered later than I care to admit, that when life feels overwhelming, the best thing I can do is create. I might never write the great American novel or headline Red Rocks (although  I’m still working on making those things happen) but I can make dinner. I can take ingredients and use my magic to create something special and delicious. I am going to continue trying to find meaning. I’m going to start accepting that invitation.

Hello Autumn

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Today is the first day of fall. I realize that I haven’t written here in a really long time. I think of it often, like a childhood friend. However, that was not enough to get me here. Many things have contributed to this, but I am starting to get my sea legs again and felt compelled to write today. Autumn is so yummy. I have written about it here almost every year. I have written a song about it. I take dozens of pictures every year. The weather cools to a perfect degree. The light is spectacular all day and the world perks up with deep hues on every leaf. 

It also signals an internal change. I go inside and reflect. I take stock of the year, the previous seasons, and think of the trials and the triumphs. I remember that soon the world around will get darker and cold. Maybe this is why fall is so beautiful. To remind us that not every moment can be bold and colorful, there has to be reserve and stillness for balance. 

I have been slowly making my way back to a writing practice. I am making real head way with a book that has been haunting me for years. I am doing yoga and dancing and meditating. I have been okay with saying no, when it needs to be said. I changed jobs. I planned to move, only to learn it was best to stay put. I went on an amazing adventure with one of my best friends, and got to see some things I had been dreaming to experience since I was a little girl. I promise to write about it soon. 

Autumn teaches me important lessons. It has ushered in new love, and guided me back to my heart time and time again. It is magic and I’m exited to see what it has to show me this year. 

Fertile Soil

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Black and White Garden 2015

Black and White Garden 2015

It’s hard to believe that I have to go back to school in less than a month. This summer has been filled with storms (literal and metaphysical), rest, reflection and growth. I planted an epic patio garden that has flourished from all the rain, I suspect. I have been reorganizing my house all summer. It has been waiting for me for quite some time. It feels wonderful to get things in order.

I know why it’s taken me so long to actually tackle this project. Most of this “stuff” has a great deal of emotional weight and shame attached to it. It also helped that I could shove all of it up in the loft of my apartment, and conveniently forget it was there. I have planned to deal with it for the past two summers, and couldn’t. My procrastination reached rock star level.

I think the possibility of moving in the fall shook me into action. I will not take all this with me somewhere else. I think enough time has passed and I have changed enough, that it is finally possible for me to edit and organize with more distance, less sentimentality and actually move on.

It hasn’t been much fun, but growth rarely is. I will say that I feel lighter when I complete a task and that feeling is leading me to continue and finish – finally. It reminds me of a WIP I have been avoiding as well. I discovered recently that most of what I’ve already written needs to be thrown out. I haven’t been able to get momentum and start back up again with it, but I think that getting my physical world in order is helping my creative world as well. I’ve been brainstorming and plotting. Mulling over changes and character motivation. My imagination is free to roam, now that there isn’t so much clutter.

It seems ridiculous to be sad that I only have 27 more days left of freedom this summer, but I plan to get this organization done and then spend some time among my plants, blossoming.

Finding Renewal

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I have loved peacocks since I first saw one when I was a toddler. In the early 80’s, peacocks would wander independently around the grounds of the Denver Zoo. As a two-year-old, I started chasing one and I was in hot pursuit through many a picnic, much to my father’s amusement and my mother’s embarrassment. I was hooked. I’m not sure what got my attention initially, but I am still enamored with the opalescent glory of the feathers and the brilliant colors that never cease to amaze me.

I have received peacock items for gifts over the years and the feathers especially have been a powerful symbol for me over the past couple of years. Upon reading about the symbolism of peacock feathers, I discovered that they have historically been a symbol of renewal and resurrection. This has definitely been true in my own life.

I have been reflecting a lot on how I spend my energy, both personally and professionally. I am understanding that some things need to change. I can make different choices about my time. I can look to the peacock as an example of renewal. They change their feathers every year. I need to change some feathers too.

Coming Back

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Hello again…

I can’t believe my last post was in October. For some reason, I thought I had blogged, but apparently, this was an illusion. I made it through the holidays, fairly unscathed. I didn’t make resolutions, but I have been thinking a lot about habits and the stories we constantly tell ourselves about our lives that feel like truth. I picked this grainy, out of focus photograph for a reason. I have felt very out of focus these last couple of months.

My fog, in hindsight, was necessary. I needed to learn some important lessons these last couple of months. I have been processing and growing, digesting what to keep and what to leave behind. Just in the last week, I am feeling my focus returning. I am continuing to hold opposition and acceptance, love and hate, balance and excess.

Last week I had a very difficult conversation with a trusted adviser about my attachment to outcomes. I am still not sure how to move forward with this new perspective, but I am holding it anyway, letting it weave its way into my life.

I am shifting again and even though it is always uncomfortable, I know that it will resolve and I will feel at home again.

Every day, tasks push me to run, they attempt to keep me on this mouse wheel forever…but I am trying to find some time, even a couple of minutes, to step away and clear my head, come to the page and focus.

We will see, won’t we?