Having Faith.

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There’s this adage about how when you let go of something that doesn’t serve you, you create space for better things to to come into your life.

On some level, it seems a little woo woo…I mean, you can’t expect to just ditch everyone at any sign of discomfort and then expect “better” things to just drop in your lap, you know?

But when you are aware, paying attention to *why* certain things/people don’t serve you, and how you create more space for yourself to take care, and then also try to build connections with people that genuinely do respect what you have to offer, whether personally or professionally…

Well, it is somewhat organic, but not effortless.

It’s part of life work—and when we treat it as such, when we trust our intuition, it does work in our favour.

As a semi-nomadic freelancer, I feel like I have a little heartbreak a few times a week these days: a weird client, something that reminds me of a past lover being gone from my life…almost every day, there’s a little goodbye.

I’ve struggled to find the *hellos* the past couple of years; really there’s been a lot of transition and I have found myself extremely lonely on a regular basis.

I don’t mean to dismiss the amazing connections that I’ve made…it’s just been different.

Out of these transitions came a ton of space that I’m finding the courage to work with, and it feels like something is finally happening. I still have to work at it, and I still have trouble with the goodbyes.

But today I had that little (big) feeling of knowing that…yeah, I’m actually creating the perfect life for myself. There will be bumps, but maybe I can actually, really, do it.

So: Gratitude to the ones who choose to work things out, who ask how things are, who just take the time to connect, professionally and personally, those people who say “I know you are good, I know you can do it, keep going,” in some way or another.

You are the people that make me understand why I can’t hang out in the darkness of goodbye.

Thank you for letting me know that the space I take up in this lifetime, whatever life is, matters.

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Squeezing out Crap & Letting in the Good.

sidewalk in the sun july 2014

I feel it happening, little by little, as each slightly embarrassing bead of sweat that leaks out of my skin and hits the yoga mat.

I’ve been doing hot yoga for two weeks now and sometimes when one of those little suckers hits the mat I still instinctively think…ew. But I already don’t think it as often as when I first started. I am trying to think of each little teeny plopping sound that is made as a marker of progress…like I’m letting go of little bit of of myself that I don’t need anymore.

Little salty tear-like drops of myself, just coming out.

Our bodies are strange and unpretty things.

With every little push then it just falls away. But the pushing part is work. It’s good work, but not always comfy.

That that is part of the growth process, after all. That it is why we are all in that steamy stinky intense room together.

Those little sweat droplets are the pathway into the new life that I am building. Middle-aged. Single. Insular. Footloose. Unsure.

Free free free.

Maybe too free.

You could call this a kind of detoxing—but that implies that it’s possible to get it all out in one go. It doesn’t come out in one go. It’s much more complicated than that. It takes time to actually transform.

Even to “lose” one pound (change our body) takes time.

Squeezing my body (fat) into pretzel-ish formations. Looking at it in the mirror. Not being happy about what I see, but doing the thing anyway. Trying anyway. Knowing that after each class I can feel it getting there. Such small steps.

Drip…drip…drip. 

The scariest thing about changing your body is that to do it for good you have to step away from the habits that are so deeply engrained. Sometimes that means friendships, family, other things that make you happy.

With every little bit of trying, with every little push into dropping that sweat, it gets easier. What gets easier is not the yoga, but the understanding that the loving (ourselves, another) is in the doing, not the seeing.

It is not easy to know when that is not what you’ve really known for the past 36 or so years. I’ve figured a bit of that out, but mostly what I know, deep down, is not that. It’s not engrained in my psyche that doing something active daily (and leaving out a ton of other stuff) is what will keep me the most solid and genuinely joyful in the long run. We are taught that an 8 hour work day is the priority and then if we’re lucky/determined we get an hour on a treadmill every other day and that that’s enough.

Except this is absolutely not enough!

And that makes me mad. Nothing to do with my particular upbringing, but with how deeply we are generally conditioned to just do what we are “supposed” to do—which generally does not leave much room for deeply caring for ourselves or our space or our planet.

How are we living like this? 

So this is sort of a metaphor of all that most of us have to spend time unlearning in order to find the spaces where the real joy comes through. Exercise is just a facet of this, an example of the kind of thing that most of us just aren’t offered or taught or brought up with.

So with this as an example, what I didn’t quite know before is that the belief in self—in change—comes with the action of grounding down, of something that feels like pain but is actually just feeling.

There are so many bits and pieces to unlearn and let go of, each facet of life affecting the next. Each piece of crap that’s let go of affects the others. We have ourselves so deeply convinced that a specific thing is “good” that we don’t even know that it’s crap. Or maybe we know that it’s crap but we don’t understand how that one thing deeply affects the rest of our lives and the lives of others.

For instance: insisting on buying the cheap soap at Wal Mart because it’s on sale. It’s just one thing but over and over again it’s so much more.  Or not keeping an extra bag in your purse. It’s just one thing but it’s a habit that in the grand scheme of things is about so much more.

It’s freaking hard to unlearn the crap.

But it’s the only way we can let in the good.

For  me, a part of this was was releasing my hold on most of my possessions about seven months ago with the long term intention of not having much stuff. But with an influx of money and time that came with moving to a new city, that meant more money and time to buy stuff.

And holy crap is it amazing when I invest in something quality that I know I’ll use regularly for years to come.

But there is still lots of crap to be sorted through and dropped off.

So this is a lifelong thing, this getting lighter. But I’m doing it. It’s not a smooth road. I fell off the path a couple of times but I’m back (still) on it.

I know that the people that do and have and will love(d) me for real don’t care about the new creases on my face or the growing patches of cellulite on my body. Maybe I can change those too sometime. Maybe not.

That’s not really important in the long run but it’s a part of a bigger picture that is scary: aging.

Change is scary. I’ve read and felt that a thousand times in small ways. But actually figuring out what the crap is that you have to drop and admitting that it’s crap is the scary part.

With every real thing dropped I’m lighter and freer to actually live right, to do this life thing in the best way I possibly can.

That’s where I’m at.

Onwards.

Listing Out the Sore Spots

Today I awoke alone with the same old story running through my head.

I felt sore and sad and stressed out. I realized that I was overdue for a good writing session, but I didn’t want to write my same old story-not here anyways.

I figure, after all, that if I’m sick of telling it then I’d better stop telling it.

But I can’t stop telling it entirely, because it’s my truth. I can change my truth, but not overnight. Not all at once. Even all of that woe-is-me shit that I need so badly to let go of – it’s still a part of me. And it’s a part of me that signals the need for change.

So, finding a new way to tell the story (dear diary) and then maybe, just maybe, smile about it later, once I’ve let it go, is not a bad thing.

Maybe I can actually play with all this soul-stuff. Maybe I can be deep and true and even a bit dramatic and selfish and bitter and then laugh at it all later.

Maybe part of making art is letting go of these weights to laugh (later). Maybe the art of letting go is being able to laugh at yourself.

(The Martha Wainwright-the song/album above has been my main soundtrack of late and this song in particular evokes a sense of this ‘I’m bitter and I have reason to be, but I can laugh about it too’ kind of feeling-a certain playfulness).

Whatever the thing, I was feeling so-well, in it that I figured I had to do something that involved facing it, rather than running away.

So I decided to write a list of all the sore spots, of every single fucking thing that was bothering me right then (now).

I wrote it out so that I could look at it later and see what parts of the story has changed. And maybe some of it will seem absurd, then. Maybe some will be so different. Maybe some things not so much…but things will be different.

I can itemize it to work on each one and cross them off as needed. Tackle them one at a time.

One stretch at a time.

There is no way to write a new narrative without acknowledging these lingering aches and pains…even the ones that are just in our head.

Some of the things:

1. I needed to go camping this weekend but then didn’t/couldn’t.

2. I’m still in love with you but you aren’t with me.

3. You are with me all the time but I’m afraid that you won’t open up.

4. My phone bill is killing me and I’ve borrowed all the money that I can.

5. There is a hole in the wall of my bathroom door that I’m going to have to tell the landlord about when I leave.

6. I’m scared of selling my bike.

7. My bed hurts to sleep in.

The thing I’m sick of saying/hearing is that I need to just go.

But in this, I realized how easy it is to flip my perspective. I thought, for the first time ever: what if something or someone else out there needs me? What if it’s not about me going, but about me entering another place where I’m valued in a whole different way, for all new adventures?

Maybe this will happen in ways that I can’t even imagine right now.

And then after all of this was out of my system (and some coffee was in my system) I chose to see myself in a different light. I put on some nice clothes, I put my hair up. I placed some pretty earrings on my ears and some make up on my face.

I went over to the window.

I took a series of selfies in my living room, feeling a bit silly but spinning around and around to experiment with angles and lighting. It was amazing how different each shot looked, how the light came through my camera and hit my face and showed this space uniquely with each shift, with each click of the button.

As I spun around I started smiling in spite of myself.

I realized that maybe it is not so silly to feel like I matter, that documenting this moment in this space in this light is important to me and there is nothing wrong with showing it-with showing myself-in a new light.