Notes to Self #1: Dresses

Dear You —

I saw you the other day hanging all your dresses up on hangers that didn’t match.  Some of them were plastic, others were metal.  Some were bent or rusty.  It looked like their wear and non-uniformity perturbed you, and that took up your energy.  I saw you fighting not to care, but it still showed a little.

You had to take a break from putting your dresses away to lie on the bed and release the constriction that was slowly gaining on your lungs and your throat.  You rolled around in the fabrics of the dresses that had yet to be hung, everything soft and light and quiet.  I know you were working on a way to let go and keep going, to stay inspired even though there was a very loud and bitter voice in your head stuck in a loop saying “You can’t even get through a simple tidying task without breaking down.  What will you ever truly accomplish?”

Here’s what I wanted to tell you:

All of the things that you do are accomplishments.

They come in different shapes and sizes and energy fields.  Some of them give you a sense of self-empowerment while some feel more like failures.  Maybe a more accurate term would be experiences.  Each experience is an accomplishment, regardless of whether you add the good story or the bad story to it.  In the end, your definition of it can change its texture but it won’t change its shape.  It’s still something that you carried to completion, and that is worth something.

Honor these passages of time.  Even the ones that consist of completing half a task and then collapsing on your bed in obsessive anxiety.  You did that – it was a thing on your timeline – and from here on out, it will never not be a thing on your timeline.  It will always and forever be something that happened.  And though it may not make you feel proud or capable, it made you feel something, and feeling things is a valuable component of the being that you are.  So you see, nothing is wasted.  Everything is a key.

So go ahead and take some time to stare at the ceiling and wallow.  You will be filled to the brim with clarity and inspiration in a few days’ time, I promise.  How do I know this?  Because I know that’s just how this all works.  An ebb and flow, a rise and fall; a cycle, a cycle, a cycle.  Some things die, some things bloom.  Some things come around again and again, not only until the lesson has been learned, and even sometimes after that, just to remind you that all is a cycle.  That is the nature of things: You will die, but you will bloom again.  That is the only lesson you need to know.

With love,
Me

Woolgathering

Hi, blogfriends!  I haven’t posted anything new in a while because a) I’m a perfectionist, b) I’m a procrastinator [in large part due to reason a], and c) it’s all just been a very interesting thought process as far as answering some Important Questions:

How do I want my blog to feel?  What purpose do I want it to fulfill?  Why is the sky blue?  What is the meaning of life?

You know, Important Questions.

One of the big things on my mind has been my “voice”.  I think because of reason a stated above (an ungodly amount of things in my life come down to that reason, as you might come to learn), I’ve been really stressing over publishing quality content that’s valuable yet authentic.  Then I remember why I started this blog: Because I already have a voice and I wanted to start using it in the best way I know how – through writing.  And not only that, but I wanted to build a loving, curious community around the things I choose to explore with my voice.

So with that being said, I resolve here and now (with you as witness!) to release perfectionism and embrace the chaos.  Because as Miles Davis said, “do not fear mistakes.  There are none.”


STREAM-OF-CONSCIOUSNESS
—  The first song on my Discover Weekly playlist on Spotify this week brought me to tears it was so good.  [Recommended listening: watercolors – machineheart.]  I was literally crying as I walked home from dropping my daughter off at school.  The opening guitar strumming was perfect with the 8 AM sunshine illuminating rooftops and the May breeze with its slight, refreshing chill.  I live for those first moments of musical discovery, man – when everything just aligns and you can’t help but breathe a little deeper.

conversation op:  Do any of you keep up with your Discover Weekly playlists?  Send me your favorites!

—  I passed a bee struggling to move on the sidewalk and pouted a little.  I read somewhere about how super important bees are to our ENTIRE WORLD and that you can revive them by feeding them a bit of sugar water.  On the less-cool end of the spectrum, I also read that honey is basically regurgitated nectar that is passed from one bee’s mouth to another.  I’d be lying if my initial reaction wasn’t “ew”.  So.  There’s that.  But for real though, let’s remember to save the bees!

—  A poem I wrote at the bus stop yesterday:

how to be the love you are searching for

first,
stop searching.
there is no need to look
for something that can be found
in all things:
in the air,
in the clouds,
in the traffic;
in the slowness,
in the rush;
in the music that you hear.

next, listen closely
and the notes will sing your praises
as the wind rustles your hair.
look curiously up
at the everyday magic:
the leaves on the trees,
the words on the signs.

there is all of this
out beyond your mind
and it looks and feels
expansive, infinite,
as love is.

all the lifetimes
of all the seeking
will bring you back
over and over
to this place.


Well, that was fun.  A little messy, a little experimental.  Until next time.  ❤

 

Stories on Shuffle: A Weekly Feature

You know how when you close your eyes and really immerse yourself in a song, all kinds of magic happens? Memory, feeling, wildly imagined dreamscapes, runaway thought trains, three-minute sensory journeys?

I love these experiences, transitory as they are. Finding a way to translate them to the external world can be hard sometimes. There’s nothing quite like getting lost in your inner landscape as notes soar up and down through your system. It feels private, luxurious, transcendent. How do we share something so inexplicably profound?

The irony is that everyone knows what I’m talking about. I trust that you have an inkling [or more] of the effect music has on a soul.

As for me, I am certain of two things: 1) I love music. 2) I love writing. I’ve been thinking on ways to combine my love for both into one creative exercise that I can practice and share on a regular basis. Here is what I’ve come up with:

Five songs on shuffle, five one-hundred-word stories [or drabbles, if you will*]. Fiction, memoir, poetry, prose, avant-garde e.e. cummings experimental shit – it might be anything. I’m throwing convention out the window, save for one rule: No cheating by skipping songs. The first five songs inspire the first five stories. Pinky promise.** I will just write what I feel when I listen. Pretty simple.

I plan on posting a full five next week. Just for now, I’ve done one to test-drive. Feedback utterly and entirely welcome.


*Using the phrase “if you will” always makes me feel 20 years older than I actually am.
**Pinky promises are the ultimate. I never go back on a pinky promise, I pinky promise you that.


Sea Lion Woman – Feist

Sporadic sips of jasmine tea fuel her violent keyboard tapping. She sits with a perfectly straight back in the bistro corner. Spoons tinkle against ceramics and a pair of eyes across the way watches her. She’s oblivious to all.

The eyes belong to a man who is curiously absorbing her silhouette. He thinks she feels familiar. He’s racking his brain trying to recall where he might have seen her before.

Her fingers fly over the keyboard.

His thoughts grow fuzzy. He pays his bill and leaves, vaguely unsettled.

She doesn’t miss him. You never miss eyes you never look into.

Inspiration Isn’t A Daily Guarantee

This morning I read a blog post written by one of the creative mentors I follow online about how she schedules her week as a creative business owner. It was an incredibly valuable & informative post for me on multiple levels, but one particular bit stood out to me and it was this:

Inspiration isn’t a daily guarantee as a creative – sometimes creative business just looks like doing the work and getting things done, we can’t rely on inspiration to fuel us every single day.

It hit me with the truth tingles (I have my sister to thank for that phrase), which essentially is that full-body sensation that something you’ve just experienced resonates deep within you as your own personal absolute truth. Oftentimes it’s even something you knew before experiencing it – you just couldn’t find the proper outward expression until now.

Having been immersed in creativity my whole life, I did know this about inspiration. It’s like taking public transit. You wait at the station and sometimes the train comes and sweeps you away on grand journeys and other times it just doesn’t show up. It’s a tricky, spontaneous little sprite. [So is it a train or a sprite? I’m getting carried away with analogies again. I will argue that it’s both. And neither. And all things. And nothing. As inspiration sometimes goes.]

My goal is to do something creative every day, but sometimes my head is full of nothing but boring adult things – or it’s stuck in loops of obsessive anxiety – or it’s just plain tired. Some days the most creative thing I do is wake up in the morning. I am a huge advocate and a daily practitioner of the “life is art” concept, but sometimes the mundane is nothing but the mundane. It doesn’t sparkle and shine with possibility; it only sits there, dull and heavy and dry. And to feel differently about it, all it takes is a mindset shift – but on some days, even that is a lofty goal requiring amounts of creative energy that I don’t always have access to.

But I’m learning this is okay too. The dullness provides contrast to the days my heart sings with ideas and aliveness. If every day I was filled to the brim with inspiration I think I’d probably collapse from the weight of it. I’m learning to feel my way around the ups and downs, more so than thinking about them. That place of emotional over cognitive is severely underestimated and under-utilized.

I’m fascinated by the shifting tide of everyone’s creative process. For me, it feels like a never-ending journey. I’m constantly learning new things about the ways all the different pieces of my Self operate. Sometimes I get it and there is harmony, and sometimes I don’t and there is discord.

But regardless of the tune, it’s a song that’s always in my head, and I’m determined to commit the notes to memory.


Art in featured image by Valerie Guardiola

Coasting: An Introduction

For the past week I’ve been pondering an introductory post.

Being the meticulous, thoughtful Virgo I am, I promptly conducted research.

  • I combed through my favorite blogs to observe their humble beginnings.
  • I Googled “how to write your first blog post”.
  • I wrote down sparks + snippets on my morning commutes to work.
  • I hoarded half-baked, dissatisfying drafts.

Here is what I learned:

  1. There is no “right” way to start a blog. You just post something and trust in momentum.
  2. You figure things out by doing them.
  3. Your own ideas are powerful. Always give them a voice.
  4. Half-baked is a necessary part of the process. [Here’s a favorite blog post from Raptitude that talks about the importance + value of your less-than-stellar work.]

And a bonus lesson:

5. Things will fall into place. Trying too hard sometimes becomes precisely what you are trying to avoid: a lack of results.

So – to use an analogy that doesn’t really apply to me because I don’t own a car but will still illustrate my point – I ease up on the gas pedal and I choose instead to coast, knowing that while both ways may take me to where I want to be, only one of them will allow me to enjoy the scenery along the way.

And I do love me some scenery.

“Instead of trying harder, try softer.” —Eleanor Roosevelt

 

A Signpost

Hi! Thank you for coming. I’m glad you’ve arrived.

There’s not a whole lot to explore around here just yet because I’m currently in the process of reviving this little ol’ site. I have big plans for it, but:

0404-signpost-nogreatthing(and that’s what I’m reminding myself of daily.)

I hope you come back soon! Your company is desired, lovely mysterious reader.