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Lay Your Body Down;What To Do When You Don’t Know What to Do

faintingI’m not the kind of gal who runs from trouble. What I mean is, when the going gets tough, I stick in there. Always have, and likely always will.

You see, for the people out there who don’t know what it’s like to be ‘free’, I direct you to a line made famous by Janis Joplin but written by Kris Kristofferson;

Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose

In other words, I’ve never had anyone who’s had my back and the only ‘thing’ I have to lose is my sense of self. Even though I come from a long history of a-holes (that’s French for lunatics and weirdos),  I’m the woman who always shows up, smiles and does what needs to be done.

Some days I hate it. I hate that people have so much damn faith in me. Some days I’d like to be the southern-belle who swoons and takes to her bed until the villain knuckles and offers her an icy mint julep and the keys to happily-ever-after.

Anyone who knows me knows that I would never do that. I’d be the southern-belle with mud on her skirts and a villain by the balls short and curlies with a shot of bourbon at the ready, and a poetry salon going on all the while in the parlour.

I live and love in a fiercely loyal way. It can be heartbreaking and it can be beautiful. As my darling cousin reminded me, “When you love, you love BIG, and there’s nothing wrong with that.” In other words, I fall completely head over heels and give 100% of myself. If I’d only invested in a tissue company, I might be able to stop my nine-to-five and open my home to artists and their muses…alas my sweet peaches, I digress…

Coming from a painful upbringing, I value ideals more than I do material things: friendship, honesty, loyalty, and stick-to-it-ness. I fight for what is good and right. I fight for the ideals and people whom I love.

Lately I’ve lost a lot. A lifetime of lost hope, and maybe even a future I was so looking forward to.

A wise grief therapist, in a Southern Baptist drawl reminiscent of an old-time, passionate, protestant preacher once said,

You will need to lay your body down

Walking up the stairs to my office a couple of weeks ago, those words came to me.  I realized that I have not had the opportunity to do this. More importantly, I’m out of practice and I’m not very good at it. But I try.

You see, when you’re ordained with the heavy knowledge of the human soul and its suffering, it’s not a job you can retire from, or hand to anyone else. It is simply yours to hold with all of the suffering and joy that comes along with it.

But you can rest. You can lay your body down; for ten minutes while you try to calm your mind, or two hours while your physical self recovers from being at battle with your anxiety. You can take time to feel the pain that you had no control over coming into your life, and you can release it. You can choose not to carry what is not yours and to replenish your own self in order that you may continue to love those whom have earned a place in such a completely loving heart.

There have been many, many tears lately. Years ago I thought that I didn’t have any left. I was wrong, but as I allow my emotions to wash over me, I remember my Sifu’s story of a woman weeping in meditation. She said nothing, simply rubbed the woman’s back until she stopped sobbing. This kind of emotional release is exhausting, and soon wears us out. Like meditation, we are aware of the rise, the expression, the pain and the release of these things that remind us we are fully human, just as we notice joy and laughter and love. The painful things suck though, and we’d be more than happy to avoid them. But this is life darlings, in all of it’s stunning and frightening mystery.

So, just a little note from an old gal who feels like she’s had her heart and soul ripped out, don’t ever give up on what you believe in. Don’t stop making wishes on old dandelions that are waiting to be blown out into a universe waiting to answer your prayers.  Don’t give up on love, on friendship or on bringing something good to the world every day, even if it’s just having the courage not to quit.

But do lay your body down, and please, remind me it’s ok to do the same.

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Joy, Fear & Life As We Know It

bethemselvesandwinLife can be pretty crappy sometimes. It can be pretty freaking amazing too.

Having just had an absolutely amazing, rejuvenating holiday, I came back to the same house, the same job, and the same-old-same-old-everything. It was at best anti-climactic, and at worst depressing as hell.

But I knew this would happen. It always does. The reset-button on life gets hit during my holidays, and when I come back to the cold, earlier-than-jesus-wakes-up-alarm-clock, dissatisfaction and depression take up residence like Gertrude Stein hosting a salon. It’s here to stay until someone comes up with a brilliant idea which usually takes blood, sweat and tears to execute and bring into being.

Life and everything about it can either be wonderful or awful. It is a matter of perspective and practice. As pithy as it sounds, the vast majority of the time, it’s a choice. Most of the time attitude has more to do with how we perceive elements in our life; relationships, career, personal development.

The workplace seems to be a grand microcosm of our little places in the vast universe. There are always people who are positive, and people who see the glass as perpetually less than half full. I’ve always believed that the people who are positive just have a different processing mechanism, not that they are naïve to what’s going on around them. They have chosen a rose-tinted lens through which to see the world.

“Don’t mistake my kindness for stupidity”, I’ve said more than once.  Even as adults in our secluded career worlds, it’s the survival-of-the-fittest mentality that often slithers beneath the politically correct surface. The idea of personal leadership is important to my work ethic, and sometimes, like when I get back from a vacation, I need to remind myself of that. I need to remind myself that I have a choice about life, and although I’m just beginning to lay the mental groundwork for some changes, I have to be in the moment here and now.befuckingbrave

Why not smile? Life is now. As in: right now. This very moment as I type on my old keyboard, sip coffee out of one of my favourite mugs, and feel slightly guilty that my house is in disarray again. Check that – always. Life is happening right now. This one precious life.

Perhaps my dissatisfaction, depression and anxiety have all been popping in to remind me that fear is a great trickster. Anticipating change and new life-stages is scary and inspiring all at once.

Distraction is the go-to emotion when silence, and fear meet in our psyche. Stillness is difficult and painful. That’s why we often go out and buy something bright to spruce up the house, have a lusty fling, drink too much wine or lash out with negativity and sarcasm.

Stillness helps, and so do good friends who meet with us for talks that include everything from sex to manicures.  It is a fine balance this wearing of rose-coloured glasses. If yours have slipped off like mine have, maybe you just need a really great friend to help you pick them up, dust them off, and put them back on your beautiful face.

 

 

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Not Being In Love: The Truth From Someone Who’s Single

"Don't ever settle for a relationship that doesn't allow you to be yourself." ~Unkown~
“Don’t ever settle for a relationship that doesn’t allow you to be yourself.”
~Unkown~

When you’re not in love, life is a lot simpler.

That’s what my experience has been. When you are in love, your heart aches for that someone special, and you would twist yourself inside out to make their world a little brighter.

Being in love is ideal, and not being in love can be very liberating.

Not being in love allows you the freedom to be distracted from your real life and to be entertained. Flirting requires a cleverness that gets lost in relationships. Not being in love means not being attached. Not being attached means not being attached to any particular  outcome. Not being attached to outcome lends itself to a lighthearted freedom, and you know what Janis Joplin’s famous rendition of Me and Bobby McGee taught us about freedom;

Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose

~Kris Kristofferson & Fred Foster~

One of the best parts of any great relationship that I have, whether it be romantic, or platonic, is that it was rooted in the deep muck of silliness, play and lack of inhibition.

Too many relationships have been about saving the other person. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like hanging around like that hideous orange and white life-preserver that dries out and cracks in the sun while everyone is having fun in the pool. I don’t want a needy partner looking to be saved. I want a relationship to be a place where we can both come to recharge our batteries, instead of sucking the energy from one another. It’s a fine balance my juicy little love-plums.

So if you’re not in love, the next best thing may be to be engaged in some sort of flirtatious shenanigans. These are the things that keep us young at heart, and there is nothing more deliciously sexy than someone who knows how to have fun. Wine doesn’t hurt either…but I digress.

Being in love can be safe, comfortable, and deeply satisfying. Not being in love often results in the singleton being told a plethora of platitudes from people who are only somewhat satisfied with their partners, some of the worst of which are; you’ll find someone when you’re not looking, don’t settle, and, have you tried on-line dating?

All the while, the singleton at the receiving end of this merciless load of poop is thinking, “Maybe you should try shutting up and going home to suffer in silence next to your boring partner who makes you feel mediocre at best.”

Not being in love does not offer the safety of two incomes. It does not offer an unconditional casual therapist. Not being in love leaves you free to choose when you want to wake up on your no-alarm clock days, and coming home to eat curry and drink beer in your undies after a long week at work. Not that I would personally ever do such a thing….

Not being in love also opens up a world of delight if only you can let yourself enjoy some harmless flirting. Which, has also been known to lead to falling head over heels into the sticky spider-web of love…proceed with caution my lovelies. Consider yourself warned.

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“Freedom’s Just Another Word for Nothin’ Left to Lose”

200365584-001I can’t recall when I lost it.

It was somewhere between someone else’s dream, and when I forgot that my own dreams mattered.

It was beautiful really. I had it all planned out, but there was something or maybe even someone, missing.

For the longest time I could close my eyes at night, and picture just exactly what it was I was working so hard for; My son to be raised, my bills to be paid, and a small writing desk in a quaint little cottage that overlooked the water.

After more than a dozen years, that dream has gotten much more difficult to see through the fog of every-day-living anxiety. In fact, I had forgotten about it altogether until a few weeks ago.

I always love to hear Janis Joplin sing her famous lyrics, “Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose”.  I know exactly what she meant and how that freedom feels. I have been, and will always be my own woman. With no family other than my kid and the cat, I have more freedom to move than anyone I know.

I don’t know when and I don’t know why I gave up on my dream of my cozy little home, and my desk by the window. I’ve been thinking about it lately, and somewhere as I was trying to get it all right, it just crept away and curled up in the corner of my being. Slumbering, but not gone.

Maybe it was that I couldn’t face each day not knowing how I would make that dream come true, and be a good mom, giving my kiddo the stability he needed to step out into the world with a strong sense of who he is. It’s become apparent that my parenting is and always has been, more than adequate, and that my kiddo has become a lovely young man on all counts.

Although it will be awhile before I can pack up camp and move along, I can see it on the horizon, and that makes me happy. I think I might even see a gorgeous hunk of sexy man-steak walking towards it with me too.

At least I hope that’s what it is, because goodness knows I don’t need another cat!

 

 

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Shhh!!! This is my Favourite Part…

shhmyfavouritIf you don’t have one, you need one. At least one. If not a few, you know for special occasions; waking up, driving to work, road-tripping, wine-sipping, skinny dipping, cooking, cleaning, bathing, preening  and everything else you get up to in life.

You don’t have any idea what I’m talking about do you? I could be talking about pairs of shoes, but I’m not. I know, I’m straying from my usual bubbly-without-brains banter. What I’m talking about in this case my darlings, is music; playlists, albums, or, if you’re an 80’s child, mixed-tapes.

Today I share with you some of my favourite lines from some of my favourite songs. I’ll give you the line, you give me the song or artist.

1) Don’t let yourself fall. Don’t let yourself stumble. If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime…

2) And it ain’t that I’m wiser, it’s only that I’ve spent more time with my back to the wall…

3) You came to me this morning and you handled me like meat. You’d have to be a man to know how good that feels, how sweet…

4) Another Saturday another date. She would be ready but she’d always make him wait in the hallway in anticipation…

5) Oh it’s hard to be a boy when all the men have lost their joy and they can’t find the ones they’ve left behind…

6) Take the ribbon from your hair. Shake it loose and let it fall, laying soft against your skin like the shadows on the wall…

7) Drive in. You guzzle gin, commit a little mortal sin. It’s good for the soul…

8) When you’re loving somebody, baby, you’re taking a gamble against some sorrow. But who knows, baby, ‘Cause we may not be here tomorrow…

9) No, there’s nothin’ you can send me, my own true love.  There’s nothin’ I wish to be ownin’.  Just carry yourself back to me unspoiled from across that lonesome ocean…

10) Nothing could be sadder than a glass of wine alone.  Loneliness loneliness, is just a waste of  time,  But you don’t ever  have to walk alone…

This may have left you with a song in your head, or maybe a bit annoyed that we don’t share the same taste in music. Whatever else, I hope  it reminded you that music can change your mood, and can speak to your heart when words are inadequate.