Saturday, September 29, 2012

Whoa! Life feels exciting and fun today! I was just recording a demo of a new song for my band (we have a gig on the 11th of October) and I had this moment of: "Wow! I have my own sound! I'm making something beautiful, I'm making something cool!" I still have a Lot to learn when it comes to recording, but every now and then I stop and marvel about how far I've come in a couple of short years. So many new skills, so much new knowledge... Yes, I wish I'd learned much of this 10 or more years ago, but truly--given where I was, it was impossible at the time.

A friend just told me this week cheekily but seriously, that when he met me 3 years ago, I was in the "intensive care unit." Some time after that I was in critical condition, then gradually stable, then in recovery... Long story short, he now tells me that I'm in "physical therapy," which is a long way from where I started. Hehe...he didn't even know me when I was in a coma. It was pretty bad I have to say.

I feel very grateful that I am here today and that I've made it this far. I understand now how hard I have worked to achieve this sanity and stability, and I feel very proud. I know that the healing journey is still far from over, but I feel like I'm taking a long deep breath right now. The best is yet to come..!

“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” 
- Rumi

Saturday, September 22, 2012

I'm in a good place right now: I'm being productive, my life is moving forward in all areas, I'm acquiring knowledge through studying issues and skills that interest me, I'm making my album (!!!) and I'm finding ways to balance all the different areas of my life. People who thought they knew me well even a few years ago would hardly recognize this new woman I'm becoming.

Yet there are still many important patterns I'm discovering about myself: patterns that require undoing. I learned from an early age to bury my anger and to keep going no matter what--as a means of survival, I suppose. People around me were making me angry on a constant basis and in an effort to be able to coexist with them, I learned to hide the feeling deep inside myself. The problem with that is that it doesn't work. Like I've mentioned before, anger turned inwards turns into depression, and anger unexpressed turns into anxiety. No wonder I could hardly function by the time I was in my twenties: I was bursting with unexpressed anger!

Even now, when I get hurt by others, I often turn to my old habit of suppressing my anger. But anger is a healthy response and once the feeling is aired out, life can continue in a normal, productive way. Whatever the feeling is, it needs to be felt and acknowledged. This is what is sinking in for me right now, and it's bringing me peace and warmth, quite literally. Turns out there's a difference in knowing something and really Knowing it.

I just love that I am where I am right now. Honestly, I've never felt this good in my life and I probably still have some ways to go to reach "normalcy". Yet when you're emerging from a dark pit, even a little light can be blinding... And I know it is bound to get brighter yet. My eyes are just getting used to this new light, little by little. So --this-- is what the world really looks like.

"What is to give light must endure burning."
- Viktor Frankl

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Martha Graham to Agnes DeMille:

“There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it.

It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable it is, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate YOU. Keep the channel open… No artist is pleased… There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction; a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”

I saw this quote in the bathroom of a New York restaurant. In addition to being relevant for art, I think Martha Graham's words resonate for life in general. I was at an event last night, where within an hour I came face to face with quite a slice of the human condition. I felt on many occasions that I was talking to people blocked by a protective armor of sorts. So many of us think that the person we are is somehow not cool enough, charismatic enough, entertaining enough, smart enough... People find so many different ways to mask their insecurities, and often it comes across as arrogance of various forms, dishonesty and untrustworthiness.

I don't know about you, but I'd much rather meet a person, not their armor. And I'd much rather not lug the heavy armor around myself either. It requires quite a bit of upkeep--all those mannerisms. Instead, I'd like to face the world being and expressing who I am, proudly and honestly. Flaws, quirks and all.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

"I want death to find me planting my cabbages."
- Michel Eyquem De Montaigne 1533-1592

I am discovering that I love working hard. I'm finding a peace in keeping my mind and body occupied, after a long period of ruminating and trying to fathom all that has happened within me and around me in my life so far. I feel like I've reached a spot where I want to start putting all of my tortured history behind me and moving on to fulfill my dreams and my potential. Through all the work that I've done on myself, I find that my fears have dissipated sufficiently, that I'm finally a truly functional human being. Perhaps it will take a moment before I'm a thriving human being, but I'm sure that time will come too. I am well on my way.

It is a bit sad to think that after all this work I've done, I'm still at a square one of sorts. Yes, I have a lot of knowledge and understanding, layers and depth that most people at a square one don't have, but I am still learning some of the basics of life and living. But what I can really be proud of is that I'm here and I've done all this work. Motherfucker.

This moment is a rebirth for me, and yes, there was a kind of death that preceded it... Like Literature Professor Charles Feidelson, Jr. said: "Life is a series of little deaths out of which life always returns." This rebirth is a different sort for me though, as I feel like I'm emerging stronger than ever before. I truly feel ready to conquer my demons and move past them to do what it is I'm here to do. Action is key.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

"Get busy livin', or get busy dyin'."

That phrase has at least been uttered by Morgan Freeman in The Shawshank Redemption in addition, I'm sure, to many others since and before. Perhaps a bit of a cliche already..? Perhaps indeed. But the thing about cliches is that they become that for a reason. Wikipedia has this to say about the matter:

"A cliché or cliche is an expression, idea, or element of an artistic work which has been overused to the point of losing its original meaning or effect, especially when at some earlier time it was considered meaningful or novel."

Well, cliche or not, the phrase is meaningful and touches me very deeply right now. In the past few weeks I have allowed my fears to be running my life, to the point where I've diluted truly wonderful experiences by not being fully present for them. Fear has a tendency to block reality and in my experience also to accumulate, unless kept in check. Fear is what kills you a little bit every day, until you can no longer see the dazzling beauty of an ordinary day.

I can't afford to lose one more moment; I never want to regret experiences squandered by holding onto fear as if a friend, when in all honesty it is my enemy, distorting my every interaction. Life requires surrender, jumping into the river and letting the flow take you where it may. The destination and views along the way are bound to be a lot more exciting than trying to paddle in one place, resisting.
So, to cap it all off I say 'fuck the paddling, bring on the flow.' And that, by the way, is not a cliche.