It’s okay not to be okay.

“Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one’s weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart.”

– Mahatma Gandhi

I so loved this. It reminded me it’s okay to be human and say I can’t do it. It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to tell the world you’re struggling. It’s okay to tell people, to tell the world, of your weakness.

It’s okay to not be okay.

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That last line reminds me of the song I literally had on repeat last week…my poor housemates. So loud, and in my ears  or in my speakers at every opportunity:

I have never been a fan of Jessie J, except for when she was on The Voice…in fact, I don’t think I’ve even ever heard her sing, except for snippets. But the other night, I was at a friends making sauerkraut (it’s lush!) and she played this to me. I almost cried then, and then on the walk home I cried properly…and then when I found it on youtube, I sobbed.

I love it the way a song does that. I love it when it hits something inside you, and makes it – you – burst open and let go of any worries about being seen. Or it lets you just notice those worries, rather than be all consumed.

I love it the way music is like a gift, that resonates with every moment – it’s just a case of finding the right one. Song, not moment.

In times of loneliness, music resonates so much more…picking the right song connects to my heart. I don’t feel so lonely anymore. In this case, I had someone telling me “it’s okay not to be okay”…I had Jessie J telling me to “be who you are”…that’s pretty rad. A superstar but also another human, who feels the same feelings and shares the same pain. She just puts hers into music, and I put mine into words.

I love that. And it never ceases to bring so much solace, song.

This song, for this last week, came at such a perfect time. It powered me through the beginning of getting published on a super cool online journal/magazine. I feel like Jessie was yelling into my ear and drowning out my critics. I’ve gone cold turkey and haven’t listened to her for a bit, but the couple of times I have, I’ve remembered the power and the spirit that I soaked up from this song.

It helped me feel less isolated on the beginning of another stage of my journey with writing and getting my voice out her. I feel like she helped me see that I can kick the shit out of the voices telling me I can’t do this, and she helped bring comfort to the worry and the fear and the doubt and the uncertainty…all through a song. I’ve been feeling so much vulnerability lately, and perhaps that makes sense because I’ve been putting my words out there, so bravely. But I feel like my heart is on my sleeve. I feel wounded by the slightest wrong look or slightest wrong touch. I just want cuddles, I don’t want any difficulty or confrontation. I just want peace.

I want to be nurtured and I want to be held. So I have been doing that for myself, and I think it’s been working. I’ve been on my period and I think that’s hit extra hard, sensitivity, tenderness and exhaustion wise, so I’ve been listening to my body. I’ve been keeping her close, and keeping her safe. I’ve been wrapping myself up warm and not going far away. I’ve been listening to the need to just love and keep gentle. I’ve been listening to the need to just be connected to the ones I want to.

I’ve been listening to the joy that’s been singing, when I’ve been doing all these things.

I’ve been listening, and saying it’s okay. I’ve been telling myself I’m proud of me. I’ve been telling myself I’m listening. I’ve been telling myself I deserve this, I deserve this life – I deserve comfort, safety, happiness, joy, nurturance, comfort, acceptance, peace, stillness, stability. I deserve it all. And I can have it all.

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I notice that voice is so here, so there, lately – the voice telling me “You can have this”, when I see something I long for or feel something I love for even more. Rather than jumping to the feeling and voice and belief that I can’t have it, or won’t…I tell myself I will. And immediately, my body fills with relief and a smile comes across my face. Because in my heart, I know it’s true.

I can have this. I can have stillness and peace and stability and calm and consistency. I can say goodbye to crazy chaos, and just have fun stuff instead.

I’ve also been noticing so much fear around this. So much fear. That I can’t live like this – I can’t live comfortably and calmly…that it’ll disappear in a second. That this is just pretend. That I don’t deserve it. That I can’t actually have it – that this life can’t actually be for me. That it’s a bit of a joke. That it’s tempting me and then it’ll be taken away because it’s not something that can sit, or be, underneath my name – stillness and stability, consistency and calm, love and connection, homeliness and safety.

But in my heart, again, beneath this shit that lies on the surface, is the untraumatised me…the me that knows I deserve this all, and can have this all, and will have this all – I just need to fake it til I make it, and let time help me do this too. This part of me notices that things have changed SO much since even a year ago, or two, or three.

When I look at, for example, my journey with self-destruct, I never thought it possible to live in a different way…it was possible for others, but I literally never ever could see how it would be for me – I knew it would be in my heart (she’s a trooper) but had no idea whether this would actually happen and how. I was so so lost. But now look at me. I am millions of miles from where I used to be, living a different life with myself to the one I knew.

So this can happen with the rest of life too – things can change and I can change, and I and things will change and are changing…even though I have no exact idea of what it’s going to look like, or how things are going to be, the fact I find myself where I am now, is proof that this change will keep on happening. I hope. I never thought I would be here, and as much of so much of me fucking hates it and wishes it was different, so much about where I’m at is healing. Me healing.

And that is what I’ve needed to do for like 24 years…and I’m doing it. At 26, I’m doing it now, and I was at 24, too. I’ve needed this since I was so young.

That is a gift I am giving myself, even though it’s fucking confusing and painful…it’s a gift that will pay off. And is already in its funny little (big) ways. I just hate it too.

Life is so fucking paradoxical, always. I love that. But part of me hates it… 😉

Go hit play on Jessie J and turn it up LOUD.

Or just go find another song that does the same for you! We ain’t all meant to be sung to by Jessie J.

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Kid, you’ll move mountains!

“Fame! You’ll be famous as famous can be,
with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.

Except when they don’t.
Because, sometimes, they won’t.

I’m afraid that some times
you’ll play lonely games too.
Games you can’t win
’cause you’ll play against you.

All Alone!
Whether you like it or not,
Alone will be something
you’ll be quite a lot.

And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance
you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants.
There are some, down the road between hither and yon,
that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.

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On and on you will hike
and I know you’ll hike far
and face up to your problems
whatever they are.

You’ll get mixed up, of course,
as you already know.
You’ll get mixed up
with many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life’s
a Great Balancing Act.
Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left.

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3 / 4 percent guaranteed.)

KID, YOU’LL MOVE MOUNTAINS!”

Dr. Seuss

Rose tainted lens

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Lately I’ve noticed how much I resist being in the ‘now’ because my life doesn’t look like how I want it to. It doesn’t look ANYTHING like how I thought it would, dreamt it would, believed it would, hoped it would, or wanted it to like…so it just means I fucking hate a lot about the ‘present’, if I really let myself be in it…like, proper in it. Not just mindfulness within myself, my body, but mindfulness of everything around me. Not just the trees, the birds singing, the beautiful sun shining through the clouds…I mean really looking at where I am geographically, in front of me and on the map, and really breathing that in and really noticing how that makes me feel.

Heartbreak. Hatred. Longing. Hating. Wanting. Wishing. Hoping…they are normally the sensations and feelings I notice. When I’m being mindful with a little bit of me left outside of the ‘now’ and sitting in imagined reality, then I have a bit of peace. I have a bit of hope. I am not left in a pit of wondering how the FUCK I got here…wondering where the FUCK I am going. When I allow myself to daydream or to look at the present a little differently, a little with rose tainted glasses and a hopeful grin, I am okay with where I am. But when I look at it with what feels like ‘real eyes’, I almost cannot handle it. Hence hardly doing it very often.

This is not where I want to be. This is not who I thought I would be. This is not what I wanted to be. This is not what I was going to be. This is not what I was going to do.

Is this being twenty-something? Is this me still finding my feet with where I find myself in adulthood? Is this me ‘coming to terms with’ the person I am becoming? Is this me wondering where on earth I am going? I laughed when I wrote those last two questions. ‘Coming to terms with the person I’m becoming’…that feels sad, but quite funny, that I would write that!

I feel like imagination and rose tainted glasses, make things hopeful. I see things how I want to see them. But maybe this is okay? Because it keeps me happy. It keeps me from feeling the grief, the pain, that I feel when I really see myself for where I am now. The grief and pain of when I look at my life how it is now doesn’t overwhelm so intensely, when I have on my rose tainted glasses.

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Another thing I’ve noticed, with the refusing to allow or accept for where I’m at, is the resistance towards feeling supported by the world, life, the universe. “When I look back, I see only miracles”, is one of my favourite quotes (I have no idea who it’s by…) but when I hate how much my life has not felt like mine, and how much it’s felt like a dream, I cannot help but feel MEGA resistance to the fact that actually, when I look back, I have always been so, so, so looked after by life and where I have found myself. I have always, always, had what I need…in times I have had NO idea how it would come to me.

But this feeling of being in a dream and this feeling of life not really belonging to me, not being truly mine – the idea that I am not where I wanted or should or ever thought I would be, feels at the root of this resistance. And it kinda makes sense.

How am I supposed to be grateful, when where I find myself is not where I want to be? How am I supposed to feel looked after when the support is for a life I didn’t think I would lead? How am I supposed to allow myself to grieve for what was, when I don’t fucking like what is now. Sure there is a shit tonne of beauty, but there always is, wherever I am. Thing is, the rest of what is, is shit…it’s not where I want to be. But I can look at it through the rose tainted, hopeful, glasses. Or I can look at it through the ones that don’t fit me – the glasses that don’t agree with me.

Either way, I do want to feel more present with the present. I do want to be able to sit with the now, more. To sit with where I truly am – rose tainted lens’ or real, uncomfy ones – and be able to be with the feelings, the realisms…I think part of this is growing up, but I also think that part of this is recovering from the overdose. I remember my therapist saying that people have told her that the time following an attempt is like a ‘bad trip’. I’ve never had a bad trip, I don’t even really think I’ve ever had any kinda trip (except for ones involving rucksacks). But I defo feel like that’s how I feel – like my life is a trip, a dream, a surreal – so surreal – time that I keep expecting to wake up from.

And I know this isn’t a dream, and it hasn’t been a dream (at a lot of points I have definitely said it’s felt like a fucking nightmare) but I do feel as though I’m waking up, slowly. My eyes feel like they’re opening wider than they were before. They’re letting more of life in, and letting more of love out. And all the other shit too. I do feel like I’m waking from a dream, and where I’m finding myself is reality. And I’m getting a bit of a shock.

But I reckon this is probably a good thing. A really, really, healing thing. I just need to stop trying to drown out the feelings that I’m waking up to, too…

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Stubbornness

I loved this post below from the brilliant and beautiful Elizabeth Gilbert, on Facebook.

“STUBBORN.

Here’s what stubbornness means to me, you guys:

There are days when I wake up at 5am, and for some reason the madness is right there waiting for me, like it’s been sitting by the side of my bed all night. The disappointments, the anxiety, the regrets, the insecurity, the anger, the second-guessing — all of, waiting for me, with a greasy smile. Like: “Wake up, sucker! We can’t wait to mess with your mind and give you a horrible day!”

Mornings like that happen to me more than you might ever guess.

Then there are the weeks and months when I feel like I can’t love any of the people I’m supposed to love — including myself.

I fall into spells of living where I can’t seem to take a correct step or a wise action. I’ve been depressed, anxious, confused and deeply ashamed of myself — often enduringly, often all the same time. More recently than you might imagine.

Follow any of that stuff to its natural destination, and one will find life to be bleak and sorrowful, indeed.

But you know what? I’m fucking STUBBORN, people. I will fight that shit. I insist on pursuing enjoyment and meaning in the life that I have been given — even when some of the times I feel half crazy and totally uncertain. I fight for the light. You give me a crack of light the width of my pinkie, I’m going to try to squeeze myself through it, if it kills me. I will find something good around me, I swear to God, and I will hunt it down eat it — sometimes literally (pizza). I will make myself go out in the world and look at something beautiful. I will demand that I find a way that day to commit an act of kindness on someone. I will insist on trying to create. I will not be ashamed to call up my old therapist and be like, “Listen, I need a tune-up here,” and ask her to try to help me put my head on straight, rather than spinning in a vacuum of uncertainty. I will spend hours trying to find a goddamn inspirational quote that actually does its work on me. I will grab myself by my own hand and say, “Listen, kid — screw up as much as you want: I AM HERE TO LOVE YOU.” And I won’t let go.

You think those Happiness Jars that I talk about all the time are all about light and gladness and easy rays of sunshine? No — my Happiness Jar is a ninja weapon of stubborn defiance against the creep of despair. So is my relentless commitment to living a healthy creative life — a creative life that doesn’t worship darkness. So is this Facebook page. So is my stuttering, semi-effective meditation practice. So is my tithing. So is my traveling. So is my care and feeding of my own curiosity. So is my hunt for divinity. So is my daily attempt to wring some forgiveness out of my soul — for myself, for others. (And then to try again the next day, if it doesn’t work today.)

STUBBORN.

It’s a word that saves my life every day, and has given my life whatever worth it’s got.

So when it came time for Alma to review her own life, and to put her own dignity and worth in context…well. Ultimately, it all had to be about stubbornness.

Because without it? Nothing good will come.

Thanks for noticing, dear reader.

Go fight the fight today, you gorgeous warriors. Put your head up, put your fists up, push in hard…GO.”

Elizabeth Gilbert

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I’m a Taurean, and Taureans are infamously stubborn. Lately, as I watch myself journey along this healing process, I been increasingly grateful my stubbornness (even though it fucks me over sometimes). This morning – reading this – I realise that it is a gift. A gift that enables you to kick the shit out of our inner crazy…I think that’s how it helps me. I just naturally – without consciously trying to – refuse to, even the darkest of dark or the craziest of anxiety or the most desperate of desperate, feel it entirely. Like, feel it with all of me. There’s ALWAYS a part of me that’s like:

“NO MOTHERFUCKER! I WILL NOT BE YOU! I AM MY OWN PERSON. I WILL NOT HAVE YOU CONSUME MY ENTIRE BEING. FUCK YOU! I’m a sexy talented beautiful radiant sweetheart, and I deserve to SHINE!”

And I go outside or I do something or I call someone or I play something or I do something stupid or I eat something or I put music on really loud or I cuddle my toes in my hand and give myself a foot massage, even when the rest of me is hating what I find or what I hold… Because even if I can hardly feel the joy or comfort or reassurance or love that the action is bringing, I know that it is lighting a flame again. And even in those moments when I can’t feel the spark that sets this flame going, I know it is always there. By doing these things my body seems to just know how to do, and knows exactly when I need them, I’m giving that spark a voice…I’m letting it know, I’m listening. And in those moments, that’s the biggest gift I can give myself – to listen to my heart opening, and the love that ALWAYS sits there, and to resist the urge to cling onto the hate that’s flying around my system. In those moments, I realise my stubbornness is my spark.

Even when I overdosed, I listened to that spark – that spark was the one that saved my life. That’s the spark that made the call that brought me help. So, even in my darkest of days, my stubbornness and the spark is a bright old motherfucker and it stepped in to save me. And for that I am so grateful. For that, I thank my stubbornness.

If I can do that on that day, on the day I overdosed, I trust my stubbornness and my spark will do it – will be there – every other day of my life, too. And that’s something I am slowly learning I can trust and rely on. Something that offers Letting Go be an option.

Phew.

Get lost

This is an absolute necessity for anybody today. You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don’t know what was in the newspapers this morning, you don’t know who your friends are, you don’t know what you owe anybody, you don’t know what anybody owes you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth, what you are and what you might be. This is the place of creative incubation. At first you might find that nothing happens there. But if you have a sacred place and use it, something will eventually happen.”

– Joseph Campbell

I loved this quote, this morn. I spend so much of my time either lost in my world, with a strong tug of guilt because I should be ‘ON IT’, doing something else or doing something productive. Or I spend a lot of my time ‘ON IT’ but not actually really getting anywhere, and being too afraid to settle inside myself out of fear of losing my grip on the present. So I kinda feel like I don’t fully go anywhere – there’s always a part of me tugging for the grass on the other side of the pond I’m swimming in. I always feel stressed.

By drifting into this room, this sacred place Campbell talks about, where I don’t know what anyone owes anyone or what I owe myself, I am so afraid of disconnection. I’m afraid of failing because I’m not paying attention. I’m afraid that I’ll lose the person I could be, because I’m drifting away from clear reality.

When in actual fact, I reckon the opposite actually happens – by creating that sacred space and that sacred time, I can have the refuelling and the energising inspiration, and independence, that I so desperately need. That my soul so desperately needs.

Instead I just wear myself out, constantly trying and constantly being a little-bit-alert. Agh.

That is hypervigilance and that is trauma. But it is safe to let it go, or purely to notice it. The best days are the days where I lose myself, because when I come back, I always get things done. I always know I’m safe. Life has a funny way of looking after me, but trusting that entirely, is difficult. But trusting it a little bit seems do-able…more realistic. So I’ll aim for that. And I’ll aim to allow myself to drift and not come back until my soul has been filled with the adrenaline of inspiration and the quietness and calm of solitude, and peace away from the attachments and the responsibilities, and the worries. I’ll take myself there, please.

I can lose myself for a minute and find this peace within myself, so maybe that’s what I need to aim for too – not the big twenty minutes hit. Small steps for starting.

When I connect deep into myself and find the sacred place in there, the connection that comes awakens everything and brings me back home. Trusting this is where the magic happens, trusting this is where I can find me, trusting that this is the roots of productivity, is where I wanna be. And where I hope I’m going.

Trusting that by not being ‘on it’, I am actually more on it. This feels scary to me, yet I know it’s 100% true.

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One of my most fave films – 180 degrees south, watched last night and this morn. Talk about nourishment, and inspiration, and a sacred space.

Compassion Takes Courage

And this…

Shambhala Blog

Book coverJust as nurturing our ability to love is a way of awakening bodhichitta, so also is nurturing our ability to feel compassion. Compassion, however, is more emotionally challenging
than loving-kindness because it involves the willingness to feel pain. It definitely requires the training of a warrior.

When we practice generating compassion, we can expect to experience our fear of pain. Compassion practice is daring. It involves learning to relax and allow ourselves to move gently toward what scares us. The trick to doing this is to stay with emotional distress without tightening into aversion, to let fear soften us rather than harden into resistance.

From The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times by Pema Chödrön, pages 49-50

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Lean In

Beautiful. I needed this today…

Shambhala Blog

Book coverThe next time you lose heart and you can’t bear to experience what you’re feeling, you might recall this instruction: change the way you see it and lean in. Instead of blaming our discomfort on outer circumstances or on our own weakness, we can choose to stay present and awake to our experience, not rejecting it, not grasping it, not buying the stories that we relentlessly tell ourselves. This is priceless advice that addresses the true cause of suffering—yours, mine, and that of all living beings.

From Taking the Leap: Freeing Ourselves from Old Habits and Fears by Pema Chödrön, page 55

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Where you stand

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Looooved this quote this morning. Feels so relevant and true to the last year and a half particularly. The body fall and the emotional fall. Both have brought me to my foundations – foundations I hadn’t seen before. And foundations I needed to get to know in order to really know myself and begin to really heal. And, to know where I want to stand in this life. ❤

Throw it up and outta here

“It took many years of vomiting up all the filth I’d been taught about myself, and half-believed, before I was able to walk on this earth as though I had a right to be here.”
— James Baldwin

Looooove this. And brings a heck of a lot of hope, reassurance and validity to all that I’m experiencing and all that I’m craving right now. And for a while.

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