Tag Archives: friendship

Built up thoughts that pour out at midnight

8 Sep

WHAT IF…

you said exactly what you’re feeling right now?
you let your no be no and didn’t back down when someone pushed back?
you let yourself say yes to something that delights you even if it appears foolish or impractical?
you stand by your intuition and decide it’s okay not to explain or apologize for your wordless wisdom?
you ask for what you need and don’t wait for someone to offer or understand?
you allow yourself time to let go of the struggle and do nothing at all?
you stop doing that thing you do just because someone expects it?
you take things at face value and decide there is no reason to walk on eggshells after all?
you assume that underneath everything is NOT something dark and dangerous or scary but something more like goodness and love?

what if you assumed that compassion for yourself is a powerful way forward? that being gentle with who you are right now is a kindness that spares the world a certain kind of suffering?

what if you could let yourself imagine being held in a divine embrace?

sitting in my room tonight, holding the what ifs, wondering if you are, too. sweet dreams, dear friends. i’m thinking of you.
-Jen Lemen

That felt like a direct challenge to me. So here is exactly what I’m feeling right now, however unperfected.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately. A LOT. About so many things. And at so many points, I’ve also thought, I should write that out… Writing it out helps me to figure it out along the way, expands my own consideration of it.  But as soon as I evolve one notion, another flicker starts to attract me in a different direction.  For instance, I’ve been thinking a lot about friendships. What makes them strong and lasting, nourishing to each other… what causes them to deteriorate or transform into a sustained energy suck. And going down this thought path keeps leading me back to myself over and over again.  To consider the ways I relate to others and the ways I relate to myself.  The thoughts and habits that keeps me alive and strong and enchanted with the world, and the ones that cause me to feel like I’m withdrawing from it.
I listened to this talk yesterday, with a man named Mike Robbins. Right before he and his wife had their first child, he had a mentor that told him that he had two main jobs when it came to his new daughter. The first was all about teaching her how to get by in the world. Things like tying her shoes, blowing her nose, crossing the street safely, and all of that stuff. Then he says, “But the second job you have is the most important. And it’s harder. You gotta teach her how to love herself.” And Mike says, ok… how do I do that? And his teacher says, “Well you love yourself. And you let her see that.”
It’s got me thinking about how many things that is true about… how much more of an impact something has when you can witness someone living it.  How much more you can reach out when you have your own reserve to reach from.  My friend Megan just wrote a post about an exercise she did.  Imagining herself at her own funeral, standing in front of all the people most important to her in her life… what one, brief message would she want to give them all.  She chose, “Love one another.”  I think that’s beautiful. One of my favorite quotes of all time is a Storypeople quote that says, “Anyone can slay a dragon, he told me, but try waking up every morning & loving the world all over again.  That’s what takes a real hero.” I agree with that. But I’d add to it.  Try waking up every morning & loving yourself all over again. That’s what takes a real hero.  Love yourself ((be patient with yourself, don’t demand immediate perfection of yourself, encourage yourself, listen to yourself))… so you can love one another.
So, ever so slowly… I’m holding up pieces of myself up to the sun… inspecting them to see which beliefs and habits still hold any sparkle for me and which have dulled without my realizing it.  There’s times when it’s an overwhelming process. When I feel like I need to show some kind of tangible measurement of my progress in order to know that my days are being well-spent. But I’m finding that this kind of work doesn’t respond like that.. and trying to remind myself to be gentle.
I feel like I’ve had so many lightbulbs go on at such a rapid pace in the past several weeks that I almost haven’t had time to catalog them all… which is what I’ve been feeling like I have to do. I had been trying to put a finger on why and I came across a few lines in another blog that sparked some recognition in me… “Just as surely as my outer geography has changed, so too has what’s inside. I’m in need of new inner maps; the old ones don’t seem to be of much use here. They no longer match the terrain.” (Kate’s Ordinarium)  I feel a need to re-orient myself to my own life again, because I feel like I’ve made a lot of changes recently and haven’t quite caught up to myself yet.
I guess I’m writing these half formed thoughts now as another reminder to myself. That everything is always evolving. That the more comfortable I can become with the parts of me that are unfinished or not quite smoothed out and nicely packaged and presented, the wider and more steady my foundation becomes.  As one of my new favorite writers Jen Lee says, the more we are loved, the braver we can become.  And for me that includes loving all those parts of myself that are still being worked out.

Conversation Starter

18 Aug

Admissions of overinduldgence

         I’ve spent a couple of weeks now… obsessively indulging on this new world of blogs I’ve happened upon.  Of course blogs aren’t new, and they’re not really even new to me.  What’s new is this daily drive to eat up all the fascinating content I’m finding.  I read as much as I can about creativity and business and finances and writing and cooking and whatever else snags my attention at the moment.  The hours I’ve spent scrolling through beautifully presented, wittily written and authoritative sounding blog posts… that is what is fairly new.  Now, because all lovely obsessions must come to an end at some point, I’ve started to narrow down my daily followings to only those blogs that fill me with a sense of wonder or connection (rather than fill my head with dollar signs and my inbox with subscriptions). Partly because whenever I log that many hours in a row focused on a computer screen, my head starts to get scattered and overstimulated and my body screams with antsiness.
         But also… I have come to the conclusion that I don’t want to be a Freedom Fighter, or a meritocrat, or sell all my belongings to prove that I live an Untemplated life so that I can sell books and adspace and e-courses to help you learn how to live that Ridiculously Extraordinary lifestyle too.  I’m really not trying to knock those approaches, finding a marketable niche is just not my style and not something I’d want to focus on.  Amidst those blogs, the posts that have held my attention and lingered in my thoughts days after have been the ones where someone is able to stop holding up the sun and the moon and open up their experience a bit, for me to peek in on. They give me a chance to notice how they handle things like Avoidence, in order to get to the place where they are thriving.  In posts like The Failure Manifesto, where in a moment of honesty, she is less concerned with appearing wiser or more experienced, savvier or under control.  When people are willing to lay out their own moments of joy and pride and challenge and in between-ness so that maybe you or I or we both can explore and taste and reflect on their experience… and take with us what we may to integrate into our own process.

Backing up…

         I actually started looking at blogs in the past few weeks because of two friends.  One, who has started looking into a potential business and turned me on to some of the blogs above.  And one friend who has just moved from California to New York to continue blossoming as the incredible stage actress she is, but whom I will miss hugely and terribly because she remains one of the only people who can read my eyes from across a room, and with whom I have had some of my most important conversations with.  When we talked about blogging as a way to keep up with each other… I was more excited about her blogging… seeing as though she’s the one starting her new adventure, and mine, while constantly changing on a less national scale, will more or less continue on statically. So from my angle… and with my recent discoveries through other blogs, I’ve been thinking… what about blogging just to start conversation? Since it’s These Conversations that, over the years, that have become so necessary for my sanity.
         One of the first Douglas Coupland quotes I ever heard was when I was 16, filled with conflicting thoughts from some recent teenage drama, but refusing to talk about them with a good friend of mine for fear that they might burst through my tearducts in a very uncomposed moment.  He flipped through the book he was reading and just pointed,
“Our conversations are never easy, but as I – we – get older, we are all finding that our conversations must be spoken. A need burns inside us to share with others what we are feeling.  Beyond a certain age, sincerity ceases to feel pornographic.”
It’s funny really… that a decade or so later I’ve just recently started to try and articulate this truth that I’ve always felt.  Funny too, that I named my blog Conversations before I’d fully developed the thought.  But really, I’m finding its a pretty basic truth for most people (Liz).  I learn through conversations.  I move forward with conversations.  I release and realize sometimes more fully through conversations than trying to be my own temple of self-reflection, because when I go to say something out loud… I’m suddenly extremely acutely and sometimes painfully aware of how much truth is in it… How smoothly it rolls of my tongue or if the words get choked back in my throat.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made declarations to myself about my intentions or spun explanations that I truly believe are behind my action or inaction… and then made a little visit to my best now-living-in-New-York pal only to try and look her in the eye and say the same thing. The minute I try, I know the truth. Or the untruth that I’d been trying to turn into truth.

It’s really amazing.

         I think it’s wonderful actually, comforting in its own way. That although we may not need others to buy our groceries or walk us across the street or tie our shoes before we stand up, we still need that interaction and those conversations with friends and strangers, in order to provide the occasional reference point or reassuring gleam from a lamppost illuminating that fact that we all have fantastic, adventurous times, frighteningly blissful times, paralyzingly uninspired times and delectably slow-paced moments.  All of us. Different shades and shapes and emotional tints perhaps… evolving at a different pace and spurred by different events… But how else would we know that all these things we’re going through… all these crazy random thoughts we have… are quite a bit more collective than we might first assume.  We all know guru’s and experts have their place in all technological, spiritual and perhaps even personal development arenas… and that’s great, they can always be looked to for a little shot of inspiration.  But there’s just no substitute for the rolling, rambling bantering tangents of a good, no holds barred conversation, regardless of the topic.


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