Sunday, January 29, 2012

Seven Other Things to Call a Breakdown


this is a little more “article-y” than i usually write, but it’s still just something i’ve been thinking about :)

so, breakdowns!  they totally happen.  we all know.  and some of us know that they can be totally healthy and helpful if we know how to look at them.  instead of seeing them as some sort of failure, or sure proof of our weakness, here are some of my favorite alternatives!
1. BREAKTHROUGHS!  
instead of visualizing a DOWN-ward movement, how about a THROUGH movement?  you were pushed up against a wall, of stress or old beliefs or whatever else we think the wall is actually made of, and you broke through it.  and it was hard, and scary, and you got a little bruised and shaken up in the process, but that’s par for the course, right? :)
2. RELEASES!   
you were building up steam inside, and in order to maintain your amazing creativity and purpose and hard work, you just had to let some out.  
3. RE-EVALUATIONS!  
is something really not working?  is it serious?  does something need to change?  what would you like to be different and what can you do about it?  “breakdowns” are a great time to check in, and make changes accordingly.
      
4. CLEANING THE SLATE! 
really, just wash it away!  i don’t know if everybody is a cryer, but man oh man it helps me!  i just visualize whatever it is being washed from my mind, body and spirit.  the good stuff is always there “underneath,” and a good cry is like a shower for your heart (or a bubbly candlelit bath :).
5. REST PERIODS!
resting is important, and sometimes when we don’t do it voluntarily, our body makes us do it involuntarily!  anyone who’s gotten sick from working too hard knows that.  a breakdown is sometimes just our unconditionally loving higher self saying “slow down!  you need a minute to catch your breath (and just trust me, would you already??)”  
6. RISING ABOVE!  
whatever it was, and however bad it was (we all know how bad it can be!  i swear!) you broke through the ceiling and now that ceiling has become the ground beneath your feet.  i like what Christine Kane calls it: Upleveling.  because really you can’t ever regress, or backtrack, or fall.  you can stand still, but any movement is a movement forward, and “up!”
7. SHEDDING SKIN!
there it went!  we determined (voluntarily or not! :) that our load needed to be lightened, so we lightened it.  we were holding onto something that wasn’t working for us anymore, so we let it go.  brand new skin, rising to the surface, to shine and be beautiful!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

sad songs happen, too


i’ve always enjoyed ‘roses are red’ poems, in my later years especially.  they can pretty much say anything that you need them to say, in a stripped down simple way, like a framed photograph.  the very fact that it’s in a frame makes the morsel in it that much more wise and special.
i have a very special relationship with sad songs, because they are a true joy to write.  the sadder the song, the more satisfying the victory.  and it is a victory.  you have taken something destructive and difficult and turned it into something beautiful, something creative, something forward moving.  you’ve created breath, or, more so, simply allowed the space for it.  
sometimes i wonder if the only true sadness comes from creating nothing.  life is creation; breath is creation.  the very act of creating is nourishing to us, regardless of what we are making.  
it’s trust, it’s surrender to the incredible force that runs through us.  it’s believing that things can change, that things are change (some just go slower than others! :)  it’s taking a chance that you can make something worth having in the world, something that someone, somewhere will find some good in (even if it’s just you :)  
will found some bumper sticker paper in a box the other day and i am quite joyful to anticipate making one that says: 
sad songs happen, too.
and i’m so, so glad they do. 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Thomas Rucker


on a twenty minute commute from work there is only one gas station that’s easy to get to.  i work in a neighborhood that is predominantly black and i enjoy stopping at this one because i’m usually wearing something tye dye under overalls and covered in paint, and i like the interactions i experience.  i’m often called sweetie, and once held the door open for a man coming out who practically scolded me to “get on in here” with an assertive wave of his hand.  
it was about a month ago that i was approached by a young man asking for change.  sixty cents, to be exact.  he said he needed it to buy pencils.  “oh now i’ve heard it all,” i thought.  i didn’t in a million years believe him, but he was polite, and sixty cents--no big deal.  
the next week i was approached by the man again, and as i was getting sixty cents out of my wallet i commented, with a hint of “oh really...” that it was the same amount he asked me for last week....for pencils.  he remembered, and said he had gotten those pencils.  he described them somewhat awkwardly to me, saying he preferred the mechanical ones for his art.  i asked him about his art, and am forever grateful that i did.
he said it wasn’t on him but it was around the corner.  i said i’d love to see it, and said i would wait.  he came back with a collection of drawings unlike anything i’d ever seen.  they were truly remarkable works of art.  the way he described his methods, and seeing how he had gotten from beginning to end, was utterly fascinating.  he was so humble that i was having a hard time believing what i was seeing.
i don’t know Thomas Rucker that well yet.  i stopped by on christmas eve to ask if i could buy a print from him and was grateful that he agreed.  he signed it and everything.  
everyone has a story.  everyone is someone, deeper than circumstance, deeper than the hands they’ve been dealt, and the hands that they hold.  it’s a lesson i’m glad to learn over and over again, until i wonder, with awe and respect, who everybody is.  
who are you?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

there is no other life



we were talking about the new year last night, as people do on new year’s eve and we both acknowledged and agreed fully that it’s just another day.  every day is, though every day a new beginning; every moment a new beginning.  
what i continue to learn is that no matter what transformations i go through, no matter how difficult a thing i conquer, no matter how deeply i learn to love and let go, here i am.  i still see with the same eyes, hear with the same ears, speak with the same voice.  my hands don’t change, my face doesn’t change.  not until i look back, over a lifetime of infinite moments and intangible evolution.
i am a flower in bloom, and as petals grow forth from the center they eventually reach the outer rim, and fall silently to the ground.  new ones push forward, through heartache and joy, through certainty and doubt, through winter and spring, through breath and through song.  
we live here and we live now.  there is no other life.