Re-metaphor-izing to summon inner champions

I’ve been doing lots of champion work this week in anticipation of the new Creative Magic Workout – during which we spend a whole week summoning, channeling and seeking out champions within and without.

A key part of this work is looking at the images in our language, and finding ways to swap out harmful or mean or unhelpful images with ones that are more kind and encouraging and useful.

I call it re-metaphor-izing.

Often there is a potent image behind the meanest names we call ourselves — the ideas that sink their teeth in us and won’t let go.

And you can’t force those ideas to let go, but you can seek out new images that entice your mind to drop the old ones.

For example, did you notice that I used a metaphor just now, to describe how powerful our thoughts can be? I said they “sink their teeth in us” even though, of course, they don’t actually do that. But comparing them to a wild and dangerous animal makes my point more vividly then saying “they are very powerful.” (Suzette Elgin talks a lot about the power in metaphor and how we can use language to defend ourselves, and this is what first got me to thinking about the ways our minds use images and associations).

So, let’s say I want to make the point that ideas are powerful without summoning up feelings of dread and fear and danger.

What else is powerful and won’t let go? A tsunami, a hungry child, a great hug, the moon….

And isn’t it true that your thoughts can also roll over you like a tidal wave

Or call out with a neverending urgency

Or wrap arms of peace and security around you

Or ebb and flow like the ceaseless tide of the ocean

My point being: you can put conscious effort into the images you are summoning, and change the feeling, the vibe, the structure, the EVERYTHING around it.

Like with troll work, a lot can change just by noticing the thoughts that are running through your mind, noticing the images your mind is defaulting to – and seeing what happens when you consciously swap in a new image.

I’ll give you an example from my life – I often think to myself, “you are a hot mess,” or some variation on that theme. You are full of shit, you are batshit crazy, you have got to get your shit together.

And when I slow down and look at those images… wow. I’m comparing myself to garbage, to stinking piles of poop.

What is a different image I could use, that would still be true to the facts?

Hmmm… isn’t “a hot mess” also the conditions under which life emerges on a planet? Aren’t swamps and marshlands teeming with life and activity and balance and their own kind of order?

What if instead of you’re a hot mess, I thought: you are a hot thriving ecosystem. You are a marshland. You are ready for new primordial life.

IMG_9944.jpg

IMG_9948.jpg

Here are some other ones:

I am batshit crazy –> I am a night-cloaked superhero

I am flaky –> I am a wizard

I am a broke loser –> I am free as a bird

The facts don’t change. But the way you talk about the facts – the way you tell the story of your life — can change everything.


I’d love to hear some of your images and brainstorm some ways to turn them into champion metaphors! You can register for my free webinar, Champion Yourself, which is Friday May 18! We’ll work this out in real time…

Reverse engineer some self-admiration

Last week I talked a lot about trolls and the how to turn around the inner voices that shut us down.

This week I’ve been thinking about building up the voices that encourage us, that believe in us, that urge us forward. I call these voices our champions.

It’s hard to ask for what we’re worth. It’s hard to know what we’re worth, much less ask for it. We’re conditioned to devalue, minimize, deflect and downplay our thoughts, our ideas, our bodies, our selves. The worst thing we could be is FULL OF OURSELVES.

Noticing our own value and saying it out loud feels alien to us: no idea what it is or how to do it and vaguely terrified by the prospect of coming face to face with it. So we take that idea and stuff it in the closet.

I’ve been playing around with ways to coax out that idea and make it feel more comfortable. Maybe pull out some feather boas and fuzzy bathrobes to wrap around that tiny spark of self admiration and breathe it into a nice healthy campfire of love and approval.

Is this metaphor working for you? Is your idea of self approval looking like this right now?

ET

 

I’ve got a simple exercise for reverse engineering self-admiration:

  1. Think of someone you admire. Maybe someone you’re jealous of, someone you imagine surrounded by golden shimmering light who is a different better kind of human than you are. Maybe it’s someone on the national stage like Emma Gonzalez, maybe it’s a friend who moves through the world with a grace you wish you had. See them in your mind.

2. Draw a picture of them. I drew a picture of my friend Kate!

Shameless optimist

3. Write a list of their traits you admire:

Kate is good at business

Kate is fearless about finding mentors

Kate is an incurable optimist

4. Look at your list and replace their name with “I”. Write out each trait with I:

I am good at business

I am fearless about finding mentors

I am an incurable optimist

See what comes up for you when you write each of these down. Maybe you have deep resistance – that isn’t true at all! – or maybe you feel a thrill of deep resonance.

5. Circle five words that stand out to you, and turn them into a poem. Write them down. Try them on. For me it was:

Fearless hustler flair, I’m a shameless optimist

6. Stand up and speak your list out loud. I am in incurable optimist. Speak your poem, repeat it like a mantra. Move around like the person you admire. How do they stand? How do they dance? Find a song they would dance to and practice moving like them. Try it on!

If any of this seems ludicrous, that’s okay. You can laugh with yourself. That doesn’t mean some part of you doesn’t believe it’s true.

I would love to hear what you learn! And because this is what a shameless optimist hustler would do, I gotta tell you that if you dig this kind of fun inner self work/play, this is exactly what we do in the Creative Magic Workout which is open for registration now! It’s a lot easier to champion yourself when other people are championing you too.

Take care of yourself out there, dreamer!

 

You have no power over me

I had a dream the other night, about someone who used to be a troll in my life.

This wasn’t an inner troll  – no, he existed in the real world. He was a manager at my day job, and he triggered all my fears of being seen as stupid or flakey or childish. I had a strong desire to prove to him that I was smart and capable, and – FOR SOME REASON – I had an equally strong drive to divebomb that desire.

Consciously I wanted to do a good job and show him what a good worker I was. But every day I would mix up my words, misunderstand his directions, forget some key detail, stammer over a customer call, mix up numbers, double book appointments. He would simmer and stew. He never outright said to me, YOU ARE A MORON – he said it with loaded silences and unblinking stares. And I was baffled. Why was I making such stupid mistakes?

So he showed up in my dream, which is funny because I haven’t thought about him or that job for a while. In the dream he told me how idiotic my creative endeavors were, and I reacted with curiosity and sympathy. This sent him into a boiling, helpless rage, which I calmly defused and then moved on.

Isn’t that awesome? I love it when things work out in my dreams. The way I handled him was a beautiful example of boundaries and of how far I’ve come since I left that job four years ago.

And one of the reasons I’ve come so far is BECAUSE of that job.

I’m better now at reading my body, owning my truth and asserting my boundaries because of what I learned there over two years of NOT listening to my body, not asserting my boundaries, not owning my truth.

IMG_9549.jpg

So really, his trollishness was a gift. His constant dismissal of people as MORONS helped me assert to myself something that has become a key mantra for me:

I don’t believe in morons.

I remember the day I said that to myself. It was like a fog clearing. I don’t believe anyone is a moron, including myself.

I don’t know if I would have articulated that so clearly had I not worked for this magnificent troll for two years who called people morons every single day.

So thank you, troll, for bringing me to a deeper understanding of what I believe.

Thank you, troll, for helping me stop dismissing myself, and start claiming my strength and my space.

I do not choose to divide the world into morons and non-morons. Anyone who is alive on this planet is alive because they have the intelligence to survive. Thank you for helping me see that.

And thank myself for stepping out of a situation that didn’t work for me.

Thank you, dream self, for showing me that — like Sarah and the Goblin King who she thinks she has to appease — he has no power over me.

https://giphy.com/embed/uzInCTH2i3QFW

via GIPHY

Even when he technically had power over me at work, his power to dismiss and disdain and diminish only worked if somewhere inside I had an inner troll who agreed with him.

I don’t believe in morons. You have no power over me. 

Those are some powerful mantras!

Is there a troll in your life you are giving power to? Whose approval you are seeking when you could be saying, I do not need your approval, I do not live by your values, I do not care to share space with you…?

Sometimes it takes a while to identify a troll! It’s not easy. It’s a practice.

IMG_9579.jpg

(If you want, come and practice with me tomorrow during my free live webinar, FREE YOUR TROLLS! Bring your entrenched, enmeshed, embedded critical thoughts and we will do everything we can to charm those trolls)

Dancing with your trolls

I’ve been getting a big response from my last video, Dancing my Question, so I thought I’d try dancing with my trolls.

Trolls are what I call those negative thoughts that go on a loop, those critical inner voices that start in on you and won’t let up. I call them trolls because they are stubborn, they have that dogged ability to not let up or leave you alone. I’ve got lots of different creative ways I work with trolls (which I’m going to be talking about in my free webinar, FREE YOUR TROLLS, and which we spend a lot of energy on in my creative magic workout) — but this was a new idea for engaging them, so I thought I’d make this quick video about it and share it right away: karaoke with your trolls!

Something I’m struggling with lately — there’s this little troll that’s like ewww ughhh nobody likes me, nobody’s helping me – it curls inward and projects all my insecurities about what I’m doing or not doing onto everyone around me – so when I drop off my kids at school this troll is saying, they all think you’re a bad mother because you’re dropping your kids off late, ooooooh! It’s this little Gollum-like troll.

If I’m going to work out with this troll using the life changing magic of karaoke, what song makes sense? The song that floated in my brain was “Tears of a Clown”… and honestly, when I worked this out for the first time earlier today, this song showed me SO MUCH about my fears and what’s going on with me and that troll. So thanks, subconscious!

I invite you to try this yourself: Identify your inner troll (I like to draw it and name it but it also works to just notice it) and ask them, what song would help me work out what’s going on? And see what floats into your brain.

Are you ready for me to work out “Tears of a Clown” with you? Let’s see what happens.

[Dancing / singing like a fool]

I’m kind of performing this but I’m also having some genuine insights here. I’m so surprised to realize that the flip side of this hidey nobody’s taking care of me feeling is, this pressure to only share a shiny happy face – I’m not comfortable with anyone seeing my sad face! I don’t feel like I can share my tears, even though I’m someone who talks all the time about crying and sharing your vulnerability. I’ve still got a sad little clown inside me who has to wait until there’s no one around to be real! I sound like I’m joking but this is genuinely helpful for me… and I have some trolls right now who are telling me, this is pretty self indulgent… which is another frequent troll for me. But I’m sharing because I wonder if some of you have those trolls, maybe the horror of self indulgence, or little sad Gollum who feels like he’s supposed to be Flashy McFlasherson?

If so: work it out, see what comes up for you!

 

Dancing your question

Today I am demonstrating an exercise that is so simple, I can’t believe I’ve forgotten about it for the last nine months. Ready? It’s SINGING KARAOKE BY YOURSELF.

Or you could sing with others! It works even better that way. But if you’re like me and you can’t leave the house at night without civilizations crumbling to dust, you can also go out to the garage, or the shower or your car or the attic or the basement or a closet — anywhere where you can be alone and undisturbed — and find a karaoke track on youtube and sing to it.

Here’s the twist: pick a question that is haunting you or an area where you’re blocked, and sing and dance with THAT. Dance with your question. Let the answer come in your dancing and singing.

For me, today I’m having a big block / messy internal tangle around childcare and work and how to find balance, so I’m going to think of a song that can help me with that. Hmm… for some reason, Edith Piaf comes to mind. My favorite song of hers is Je Ne Regrette Rien. So I’m going to karaoke it and see what I find out. (Skip to 6:01 if you want to get right to me singing and dancing).

If you try this, let me know what you learn! Regret nothing!


… Want to sing and dance and draw and write (or all of the above) with me? I’m offering free 1:1 spring workout sessions! Go here to schedule one: Coaching

Finding your superhero

How to create a superhero for yourself when you’re lost, in trouble or coming out of a dark time.

I’m coming at you for the first time in a while, after diving deep down in the depths of my artist residency in motherhood. I thought – foolishly! – that this would be a three month residency following the birth of my son, and I have come to see that of course, it is a year long creative journey. At least.

As with all creative journeys, the process means sometimes you lose sight of the end and lose hope and forget your own strengths and why you are doing this and that is very much where I have been. Wiping a lot of poopy butts and waking up at 3am and talking to myself in the car.

And then just when you’ve lost all hope, something amazing happens (or it did this time anyway): you emerge from the fog and you remember where you’re going and what you’re good at and what you love and you’re back in alignment. That’s what this week has been for me, starting to lift up my head and look around at the world again, see the green of spring and feel alive, feel some joy. My kids are no longer sick every other day (hopefully!) and we’re having fun, and I’m feeling creative energy again.

So I wanted to share an exercise that I have been coming back to: creating your superhero alter ego. I used it a lot two years ago, it was a great way for me to try out different ways of moving in the world and shift patterns around performing and being in front of people that I’d thought were immovable. Playing with different alter egos helped me see that it’s all moveable.

And then I kind of forgot about it, until I was talking to my son yesterday, who loooooves superheroes and bad guys and Batman and Spiderman. I have been trying to find a way of engaging with him on this because I love connecting with his creative mind but I do not find Batman and Spiderman all that fascinating. So I said, hey let’s make up our own superheroes! And immediately he was like, oh yeah! How about Scorpion Man? Or Birdflash?

We sat down and did some drawing. Here’s Birdflash —  he can talk like a bird or like a human, and he moves really fast. 

IMG_9204.jpg

I asked myself, who would be the superhero for where I’m at these days?

Immediately an image came to me, of someone split between two desires, one to light up the sky and move mountains and shout out loud – sun energy – and one to go quiet, to go inward, to go down deep and calm the waters and listen. Moon energy.

IMG_9207.jpg

Coming up with this superhero – I’m calling her Moonsun – helps me see these desires differently. I’ve been thinking of them as a conflict or a weakness, like I can’t decide which way to go, I’m constantly switching – but what if it was not a weakness but my superpower? What if the ability to switch from extrovert to introvert on a dime was an amazing rare gift?

OH YEAH. IT IS.

And that’s what I love about coming up with a superhero for where you’re at now, especially if you’re in a dark place or feeling down on yourself like I have been, if the trolls have been coming at you fast and furious. You can turn it around and see the very traits you’re struggling with as your unique gifts.

Because any great superhero’s strength is also their burden. What helps them is often the same thing that gets them in trouble. So if you’re feeling like you’re in trouble, you can slow down and take a look at why and see if what’s getting you into trouble could also help you find your way out.

Here are some steps to follow if you want:

  1. Close your eyes and ask yourself, who is the superhero for who I am today?
  2. Draw them
  3. Give them a name
  4. Write what you see in the drawing
  5. Get on your feet and move around like your superhero self. Dance! Speak! Sing! Find a karaoke track on youtube and sing it like you’re a superhero!

This last one is such a natural extension if you’re four years old, and harder for those of us who are grown ups. My son just got up and started walking around like Birdflash. So easy he didn’t even think about it! And then he dropped it and did something else. So I encourage you to do this like you’re four. Try it on and then drop it.

That’s all today. Thank you for listening and I look forward to hearing and seeing your superhero self moving around in the world.

Until next time…

Make your shower a holy temple

I’m looking for a better word than “life hack” for those genius moments when you redraw the boundaries / find an easier way / reallocate your resources to get more done in less time. Energy Aqueduct? A ReConduit?

IMG_9020.jpg

Lately one of my favorite energy aqueducts (my that’s bulky… should I just called it an energy duct?) is to turn my bathroom into a mini temple.

IMG_9022.jpg

That way I get to use my shower time – already a precious resource – as sacred mind/body/spirit/hair revitalization time. Time to refresh my spirit, worship my body, cast spells and sing along to Barbra Streisand.

 

It doesn’t add any time – because time is one luxury I do not have – but in the same amount of time, I can either jump in the shower and stand there on autopilot OR take some simple actions to make that time more energizing, hilarious and meaningful, to make it an intentional cleansing ritual for my spirit and my body. (Not that I’m knocking being on autopilot — sometimes you don’t want meaning and depth and beauty, you just want to stand there under hot water, and that’s good too).

Even if all I do is take the shower with the intention to connect with myself, it makes a difference. The sound of the water and the steam surround me like a cocoon, I feel my skin and feel alive. I feel taken care of.

And these days, when I am in the thick of  mothering two little kiddos and feeling stretched very thin — that makes a huge difference.

Sometimes when I get out of the shower, I take a moment to repurpose my kid’s paints that he left out and paint a little self portrait.

IMG_9013.jpg

What kind of energy ducts have you been using to get through this strange winter season?

Glory In Excelsius

(Or, more thoughts on excellence)


Note: I wrote this a week ago in a moment of breezy triumph, and then the mess of life — in the form of my baby coming down with a fever for five days and caterwauling whenever I put him down for one moment, and then passing the fever on to me — got in the way of me taking that extra 5 minute step of posting it here. Ah! The glory of excellence and messiness intertwined…


I’ve been thinking more about excellence and what it means. If my version of excellence is not perfectionism, if it includes messiness, what is it?

Magic is mess and order

Let’s break it down, starting with the word mess

= fertile
= lost
= too much stuff
= overwhelming, avoiding
= piling = stockpiling = hoarding
= natural
= creative = destructive = generative
= fertile
= neverending
= comforting

And there are some parts of that I want to keep and some I’d like to move away from. What are the qualities of this thing around excellence that I want in my life?

I want…

= a well tended garden
= room to expand
= the right tools
= something manageable = a little chaos but not all chaos
= doing = diving in
= to put things away
= to get out tools, make a big mess, then clean up and put away
= enough space to make a mess
= to let things go
= the key to survival
= to tend to nature
= to tend to myself

And what I don’t like about excellence is this idea of the BEST or the FINEST or getting rated or ranked or lined up and compared. This is the greatest, this sucks, this is hot, this is not. Yuck.

I looked up the word EXCELLENT to see where it comes from.

Ex = outside, beyond

Cellence = Celsus = lofty, high

I remember the term “in excelsius” from some hymn… which one, does anyone know? It means higher, loftier, more elevated, ever upward. Glory to god in the highest.

So to be in excellence is to exist to the utmost degree, to be high, to be praised for being what you are to the greatest degree – to celebrate that quality and that desire and that process.

When Bill and Ted say, Excellent! — they are saying, this is in alignment, this works, this is how things should be. When they say, be excellent to each other, they mean, bring out the best in each other. Enjoy each other. Treat each other well.

My excellence encourages your excellence. When I see you being excellent, I want to be excellent too. Our mutual excellence is a game, a way of taking care of each other.

I want to fly high to the limits of my nature. Which also will mean, failing. Failing and flying are both included in excellence, two sides of the same process.

It is the opposite of calcifying.

It is the process of alchemy, of change, of evolution.

It is stretching and morphing and molting and figuring out what you are now in this moment, which is impossible to figure out, which is why it’s so fun.

Fun is not COMFORTABLE.

But it feels right.

You’re glad on some level.

Like when the toys are scattered everywhere

And cleaning them up will take a lot of work and you don’t FEEL like doing a lot of work, you’d rather go to bed

But you take a deep breath and you put them all away

And it only takes five minutes

And it will only last about five minutes

And when they are put away you look around and feel a surge of goodwill, of pride, of rightness, of clarity

And you make yourself a cup of tea instead of the beer you feel like reaching for

And you feel cozy and comforted and strong and healthy

As you close your eyes and drift off to sleep

In alignment with yourself and the universe

In this moment

That is excellent

May you be excellent to yourself this weekend! Let’s all be excellent to ourselves and each other.

Full Moon in Cancer

I am drawn to write you on this, the fourth day of 2018.

I haven’t been connecting with you not because I have nothing to say, but because I have so much.

Today my little baby is over half a year old — 7 months! — and as I look back at 2017, it was a year in which SO MUCH happened. In the world at large and in the snowglobe of my world. Things I would never have predicted, including a ranting raving shakespearean supervillain for president, a rising tide of rage and solidarity amongst women, and decades of entrenched sexual harassment shaken up. 

Drama and horror and potential cataclysm. World shaking and paradigm shifting and potential coalition.

On a personal level, realizing I’m a different mother than I was four years ago, that things that once were impossible are now easy. And yet, this month finding myself back in the emotional space I remember being in when my oldest was six months old: a wall of exhaustion and frustration, a longing to bust free of my human limitations, to do more than I can do, to resist the inevitable truth which is that I need to slow down and do less.

FAILURE

When I hit the wall four years ago, in my exhaustion I sought out anything to keep me sane and they shook the rocks loose: hypnosis, therapy, life coaching, zumba. I realized that the key wasn’t DOING more or less, but expecting less. If I set out expecting to fail in the world, with the aim to enjoy that failure — I ended up doing more than I thought I could.

So now I find myself in a similar blockade. This has been a good opportunity to look at the ways I cycle through the same phases in my life, and the ways I judge myself for doing that. I’ve been trying to love the phase I’m in while I’m in it, like I love my failure, like I love the phases of the moon. 

IMG_8811.jpg

Instead of being mad at my waning energy, I can notice it and wait for it to wax strong and full. Instead of being impatient for one cycle to end, I can slow down and experience the one I’m in. And instead of judging myself for not having “solved” issues that are coming up again, I can welcome the chance to dive deeper. Or not! I can welcome the chance to avoid it too. It will come around again.

When I made my solo show two years ago, I Hate Positive Thinking, the guiding question was, what if I put myself out there exactly as I am, in my tired frazzled unkempt state? What if I believed my un-enhanced, un-amplified voice was enough? What if I embraced failure as a human and put it front and center in my work?

faith0-001

This winter it’s been helpful to embrace failure again— to brag about the mess — but a question has been emerging in counterpoint.

What if I allowed myself to be excellent?

EXCELLENCE

The word “excellent “ is one I recoil from because I associate it with the toxic spell of perfectionism. Something hard edged and unforgiving, a desire that doesn’t acknowledge the human nature of messing up, falling flat, going sideways. (And I am a Cancer so I love to go sideways).

But this idea of excellence has been worming it’s way into my consciousness, asking me to look deeper.

Asking, can excellence coexist with human frailty and mess and failure?

Asking, can staying in the mess be a way of hiding, jumping down into the mud to avoid the exhilarating fear of leaping up into the air? Can jumping from one new endeavor to the next be a way of avoiding the tougher work of continuing on through failure and modest success to excellence?

I think about the two journalists, Jody Kantor and Megan Twohey, whose excellent investigative reporting for the New York Times uprooted Harvey Weinstein’s toxic hold over Hollywood. They felt their way into the darkness, sure, and I’m sure there were times when they felt like they were failing — but they also committed to the project and organized for the long haul. They did it for real.

And when they talk about their accomplishments, I want them to crow about their hard work. I want them to own their excellence.

Which makes me wonder: why is it so easy for me to brag about what I’m struggling with, and so hard to brag about what I’m great at? Why is it so hard to even NOTICE what I’m great at? Like I’m scared that if I say it out loud it will disperse and I’ll be left with nothing.

What if I took my time and had the courage to go as deep as I wanted to go, and to speak with pride about what I’ve learned? What if I bragged about the mess… AND about what I have done well?

I don’t know what it means yet, this question. But I’m going to keep following it.

IMG_8846.jpg

On the first night of this new year, the full moon was in Cancer. A good time to open up to my emotions, and whatever strange and contradictory clues they have for me. It’s taken me a long time to see that my ability to feel suddenly and deeply, and to imagine what others are feeling, is a strength and not an embarrassing useless quirk.

I wrote a poem about it — because I’ve been writing poems for over twenty years, and they are often the purest way for me to express my feelings, and I am excellent at it.

What excellent parts of yourself are you hiding from? Or are you sending your excellence out into the world like a gorgeous sunflare? If so, thank you.

IMG_8836.jpg

Full Moon in Cancer

I used to be ashamed to cry
The way my face would flush and betray me
The time I passed out at the sight of fake ketchup red on a movie screen
Embarrassing, weak
Expressing my feelings was ceding my power
Letting it run through my fingers like ocean water

Onstage I could feel the power of my receptivity
Onstage bursting into tears was a magnet
Attention snapped to me
It gave me a confidence I did not have chatting in the lobby after the show
Because bursting into tears at a party clears the room

I didn’t find a way to feel the power offstage until I gave birth
And my body aligned in solidarity with my feelings against the shit show of labor
At one with my body against my body
I felt the power in that paradox
I felt humility
And ever since I trust it
Trust my body in it’s haywire variations
Trust my feelings in their shifting shiftless shapeless moony passive aggressive power

Moonlight on the ocean
The way my hands look underwater
It’s not the same kind of power as a volcano
You have to feel your way into it

Listening to Venus de Riveter

So, here we are. It’s December. I’m still a mess.

Don’t know if it’s got something to do with having a six-month-old, but last time I felt like this was four years ago when my older son was six months old. And what’s keeping me sane right now is remembering that. And remembering that even though it felt neverending and impossible while I was in it — the period of time in which I was hitting the wall was only about three months. And what came after that was huge, sudden, sea changing breakthrough.

It helps a little, to remember that. But nevertheless I am at a wall. The wall of: I can’t go out at night without paying someone $50-75 to watch my kids. I can’t seem to go one goddamn week without forgetting a meeting or an appointment or when my kid last pooped, oh god is he constipated again, where did I put the miralax? 

I have big ideas, ideas that fill me with tingling thrilling excitement, but when I try to make them happen in the real world, I run out of steam or blow a fuse in my art garage or lose hours in a tailspin of self pity and web edits and mom guilt.

My body wants to dance in the streets and bring the baby with me everywhere. All of me wants revolution and paradigm change and to join hands with all the women I know and shout me too,  me too, me too. 

I want to make a literal space for us to come together and cry and rage and laugh and feel our power. It’s such a great idea! A monthly creative emotions worksho so we can cry and rage together. I know I can do this. I want to lead with the confidence I had when I was nine years old, I want to be doing and creating and taking care of my family and making our dreams come true, doing it our way.

But my body reels me in and tells me to slow down. I burn my hand on the stove. I bonk my head with the car door which… how do you even do that?!

So I listen. I slow down. My inner goddess — these days I’m seeing her as a combination of Venus de Milo and Rosie the Riveter — she reclines with her chin on her fist, smiling and waiting for me to come back to myself.

IMG_8723.jpg

What a relief, when that cloud clears, when that story drops.

And if I’m making this sound easy and idyllic, like I just sit back and the clouds clear, like I am a different human than you are, more evolved or courageous, or that I always snap out of it easily: no, girl. I am still a mess. But sometimes I see that what I thought was a wall is an optical illusion.

The mess hasn’t changed. The judgment has – THAT was the wall.

giphy

Here’s what dissolved my walls this week:

I cut my own hair and felt the simple, immediate power of being able to alter my appearance.

IMG_8719.jpg

I read something from the great witch whose work I love so much, Carolyn Elliot — she said:

… you’ll definitely die, and in dying, you will totally fail to keep your ego projects in motion. You’re a complete failure no matter what. A dead failure.

And that bracing reminder helped me drop my sad sack story — god, that’s right! No matter what I will fail! What a relief. We are all going to die. No matter WHAT I do, the realization of my big ideas will never match the vision in my mind — ahhhhhhh. There is comfort. There is the sound of my grand ridiculous expectations, spontaneously combusting.

And as soon as they disappear, there is Venus de Riveter, lounging in my psyche, eating some almonds and laughing. Hi honey. Where you been?

Hand on heart, listening to Venus, why don’t you text so and so? And I do, and simple as that, I’m not alone. I am surrounded by loving, wonderful friends. They were there the whole time, but I couldn’t see them.

There is magic, right in front of my eyes.

My son, drawing intricate maps carefully inscribed with the letters B, O, T, D, A and Y. What does it mean?? Who knows?

IMG_8724.jpg

The trains he is always pointing out — I notice that they are roving art exhibitions. What an amazing thing.

IMG_8722.jpg

Even his tantrums — his huge, primal anger that I find so overwhelming — they are an opportunity to feel my feelings, to witness someone I love expressing feelings without filter. You’re mad! You wanna knock over chairs, that’s how angry you are! What can we do instead? Let’s rip some paper! Let’s draw a storm! Let’s dance to Sly and the Family Stone! 

Look at that! Every day is a damn creative emotions workshop in my world. I don’t need to make anything happen, it’s already here.

So in case you’re feeling angry at your mess or stuck behind a wall or lost in a storm today: you are not alone. I’m a mess too. We all are. Let’s draw / write / sing / breathe our way through it, shall we?

IMG_8726.jpg