How I love to laugh

“If we couldn’t laugh we would all go insane.”

~ Robert Frost

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I notice I’m laughing a lot, lately. Loud, belly laughter, that rumbles and ripples and bounces off the walls. Sometimes it’s about random shit, other times it’s about things that are ‘actually funny’.

I notice how much I love making other people laugh. I love, love, love, how humour ripples. I love how it’s contagious.

And I love how it makes me feel. That sense of pride and achievement about making someone chuckle is one of my favourite feelings. I feel warm inside and happy when it happens. And I love myself, when I do.

Just like I love myself when I make myself laugh, too. In fact, that’s one of my most favourite feelings, and one that differs from all the rest, because the warmth that floods my chest is warmth just for myself.

Not warmth for anyone else, but warmth for myself. In those moments I burst out laughing at my actions or my thoughts, or consequences of something I’ve been doing (or when there’s been no apparent connection and it’s seemingly just random, whatever it is that happens, that triggers laughter) I feel such fondness and appreciation for myself.

I feel grateful that I’ve got myself, and I feel grateful that I’m known to myself…that I get to see me as well as just feel me.

That, along with the video below, is a good reason to laugh.

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I wish I could see myself for who I really am

I wish I could feel like I know where I’m at. I wish I could really know that the person I am, is enough. I wish I could really know that who I am becoming is a healthy wholesome being. I wish I could see I’m not becoming my mum. I wish I could see myself for who I really am. I wish I could see that I am thriving and shining and I am only going to continue to. I wish I could see how independent and powerful I am. I wish I could see that I am someone who is going to succeed, and is succeeding already.

I wish I could see myself as I really am.

I wish I could see myself as other people, the loving ones, see me.

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When I’m 64

Maybe the plus side of getting to know and learning to love your body, your life, you, in so much pain, constant discomfort, health hurdle after hurdle, is that when you hit old age it’s going to feel like known territory. It’s going to feel like a breeze. It’s going to feel like “oh hello old friend, I know you.”

Chronic fatigue, in all your misty mayhem and crippling confusion, perhaps you do bring the odd twisted plus side after all.

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Yearning for bare foot freedom

I hadn’t realised how deeply patterns engrain themselves into our being, our selves. This time last year and then literally to the same day, this year, I suddenly HATE my life in the city and need to get the hell outta here. I feel this a LOT anyway, but this time of year it hits, it’s different. I realised this morning, in a light bulb moment of clarity, that this sudden and desperate surge, and need, to be submerged in the wild, to go back to the roots of living, to be free from responsibility, to be barefoot on the grass all day, to be surrounded by what-life’s-about in its pure wholesome goodness, is because this time every year I would be at the annual small camp/festival I’ve known since I was a kid. 600 folks in a field. Me and bunches of friends camp in circles, eat off the fire or under the marquee of the camp cafe, dance, sing, hug, laugh, play barefoot football, create art, perform acts, attend workshops, run workshops, wear ridiculous clothing and wigs, MC talent nights, and just spend twelve wholesome days in a field not knowing nothing else. Not leaving the four green walls once, apart from to walk to the adjacent field to go for a swim in the estuary.

It’s such a breath of fresh air to realise THIS is why I get this panic that I feel so somatically. This is why suddenly I have been looking at my life and wondering what the hell I’m doing. This is why I suddenly feel like a fish out of water or a leaf fallen from a tree – I feel this a lot here, in the city, but this is different. This is so set to this time of year and so set to the particular needs that this camp meets – the Wild Needs. This is why yesterday I was suddenly furious with the way we all live. My blood was boiling with the fact that so many live (including me) so far from how we naturally should live or were born to live or used to live as human beings…the way so much of the world lives so far from the connection with nature that we so innately have and need. I wanted to run away to the place I know I can get this freedom. I was feeling so puzzled at how these feelings were/are literally here to the day, as they were last year.

But my body remembers. I can basically hear the atmosphere – the music, the drumming, the singing, the chatter, the laughter – in my ears, I can smell the cafe, the chai, the fire smoke, and I can feel the wild loving vibe in my being. I can feel in my body what I get from going to the camp: the freedom from responsibility, worries, ‘real life’ stuff, the disregard of my needs and focus on just living…I can feel the going-back-to-the-earth essence that the camp brings. I can also feel the arrogance the place kinda brings – the looking down my nose on everyone living a different life, not experiencing this…there’s a an element of ditching anyone who doesn’t understand and sticking with the people who do. But I can also feel the intensity of the place. The confusion it brings up in yourself. The conflict between a life you dream of leading – a simple, wild life – but also the frustration and the small mindedness of it, and the desire to be submerged in the modern world and away from the hippy shit. There’s the self judgement and self hating that I so often experience, during my time there. There’s the isolation – when you’re so deep in a loving community, your pain can surface and leave you feeling swamped and bizarrely alone. There’s such a mix and I know I have a habit of just remembering the good but now I come to think of it, fuck it’s full on! 12 days in a field? Yeah…

The goodness though, that is something that is so overflowingly there and what I need. This is why the day before yesterday, as the heavens opened and poured, I lay out in the heavy rain in the garden for ages and felt like I was being healed. And it’s why I went for a two/three hour walk in the pouring rain afterwards too. Getting drenched from the moment I stepped foot out the door. Water soaking and filling my shoes, so I walked right through ankle deep puddles. I sat on a hill and let myself get completely soaked, as I grinned no-end. Healing waters.

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That’s why yesterday when I lay in a friends garden for hours – hours of peacefulness – and had an outdoor shower, it felt like the greatest medicine, ever.

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This is pretty neat, and pretty exciting to realise this all. When something I so desperately want and more importantly, need, can’t be right there at my fingertips – ie. the camp – I can look at what this thing provides me in goodness, nutrition, health, and then find ways to meet those needs in my life now. And in a way, it makes it even better. I don’t want to be at the camp this year, but my body, sprit and soul does. I need what the camp gives me. So, I’m gonna go out and find it on home-ish turf.

Sometimes we just need to ‘break’ a bit

“The more I fall apart, the more together I feel.”

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Falling apart used to terrify me. The thought of it would bring me out in hives, imagining the worst. Imagining a life ruled by the falling apart and never knowing anything else. I can safely say that, as much as it still terrifies me and I still imagine the worst, I now let the Falling Apart happen and I trust it whilst it does. Or at least I trust it in the aftermath. I still put up a good fight, obv. Just not a patch on what I used to. I now ‘run’ from the falling apart for about a minute before I realise it just needs to happen. I used to run for like… 24 whole years.

I never thought I’d say it and it makes me cringe to see I am, but falling apart is actually kinda beautiful. But it’s still a motherf***er. Just a beautiful motherf***er.

The waves meet the shore

For so long I’ve seen my suicide attempt as a mammoth mega awful crime that I did. I’ve been swamped with shame and guilt and trauma around just my own self judgement about it. There has been compassion for myself in there too but not enough of it. But recently I’ve noticed a shift. And I know it’s down to EMDR. I’m remembering the event with a light of love and support and not the dark and intensely isolating and terrifying time it was. Because there was also a load of love in there too – a TRUCK LOAD. I can literally feel my brain reprogramming and remembering the event for what it truly was, rather than looking at it through the lens of my own deep & dark self judgement and the lens of my terror. Each time I rest these past few days, something else has shifted. The healing happens when you sleep, following EMDR. It does what REM sleep does. I wake up feeling like another little nugget has shifted, has healed.

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Last night I had a proper sob about my missing of California. Fuck I miss it, a lot. It was the culture, the landscape, the people. There I felt like I was seen. In England I’ve never felt that, until now. Despite what happened I was in love with that place. My soul shone and so did the rest of me. But there was the wounded part of me that was struggling and had been for a long long time, and then crumbled and collapsed in the wake of speaking with my mom…and overdosed.

But what’s different is that the memories that are surfacing are ones where I had support to share the experience with too. Rather than remembering the times of terror, I am now beginning to feel the sense of support I had around it too. It was a truly terrifying and haunting time – one that brings a knot so tight I could hurl, when I think of the details – but it was also a beautiful and really defining time too.

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Just how I can look back on my childhood and wish for it to be different, I could and have looked back at certain aspects of the overdose and wished for this too. This has been so painful. It’s like I’ve been unable to integrate the goodness and the pain, the love and the isolation. The memories of the time have felt so so so disjointed and so split – in many ways it was a terrifying nightmare but yet in other ways it was a beautiful loving and mindblowingly supportive time. But these two angles have never felt like they’ve met each other, and got to know one another…I’ve just felt lost in the waves of be aftermath. Not all shitty messy waves but all really split and confusing.

But now these waves are meeting and kissing the shore of health. They’re beginning to land on the beach and walk barefoot together, painting a picture of that time that closely encompasses all of it – the pain, the joy, the relief, the sorrow, the love, the support. Because, as with everything, there is always a combination of all of it, it just is healing enough to find it and let the waves meet at the shore. Sometimes we can do it ourselves, other times we need a helping hand from a therapist to unlock the anchors that had been rocking around in our waves for hours or days or years before.

And now, after all this wave talk, I just want a good surf.