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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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.

Grief, noticing, and hope

I’ve been feeling the grief I mentioned in the last post I wrote, so deeply lately. And it feels very much to do with not telling my mum how I’m doing, what I’m doing, all that I’m achieving, all that I’m healing. It feels a grief so painful that I usually end up lost and unable to sit with it. I end up scared and feeling too vulnerable. I need someone there to guide me through it. To help me grieve.

I just want to reach out to someone, to a mum, and tell them how I’m doing. The funny thing is, I don’t actually want to do it with my mum. I want to do it with a mum. It feels like a pain in my chest that hurts every time I realise I don’t do this. It’s there because I want to do it with my mum, but I think the grief has come – and is something I am able to hold – because part of me is realising I’m not going to be. This distance is essential and I think the more I realise that, the more the grief can come. And the more I realise how much this distance is bringing me – the way it’s enabling me to shape my identity and ultimately, to heal – I think the grief can come for this reason too.

I feel lost and abandoned, and hurting and open.

I feel full of grief but I feel full of love. I feel lost but I feel like I’m continually coming home, to the person I was always meant to – and going to – be.

I do feel a despite ache for things to be different. With my mum and my dad. With my

Witting about it feels safe. Thinking about it feels safe, because now I don’t over-think. I drop into the feeling and where it is lying in my body. I allow the grief to have a voice, and move. I think this is why it feels safe. I don’t get flashbacks because I am with the feeling, with my body, rather than with my mind. My mind is where the graphics, the images, are stored. My body is where the gold lies. Where the memories are stored in the place they can release from.

The place that love belongs, and the place that love and compassion can be found.

This has broken open a door in my healing process, I’m sure of it. Just what I’ve noticed in the last month, is something to go on. And so I hope that continues. I’m pretty sure it will, because I remember my therapist once telling me that mindfulness – mindfully feeling feelings – is like riding a horse (or a bike, i can’t remember which). Once you get the hang of it, you wondered how you ever lived without it or how you ever couldn’t do it before.

Mindfulness as a practise – meditation – has defo come in waves and ebbs and flows. But the practise of being mindful is different. That’s just been growing and growing the last year or so. And this way of feeling feelings in my body has been the theme of therapy for the last two years, but something that I’ve found hard to coin for myself out of therapy.

But it’s coming. Defo coming. In fact, I think it’s actually come. It’s here. It’s happening. I’m doing it, and I’m succeeding with it.

That’s pretty rad.

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The thing about this grief that’s here, is that I feel able to share it with others. I feel able to feel it when I’m with others and not always say something about it. Or I just need to say ‘I feel sad’ or ‘I feel alone’ or ‘I’m feeling a lot grief at the moment’, and that is often enough. I really notice my communication has become a lot clearer and from the heart.

I don’t need as many words as I had to, to say what I need to say, or to feel connected and supported. That’s beautiful and so so healing due to how lonely I have been feeling lately. That loneliness can be soothed with just one heartfelt connection rather than a few connections in which I’ve tried and tried to speak from a place I can be heard, but never ending my feeling really heard and seen, and ending up feeling more pain and more loneliness and isolation.

The trick is I also notice who I pick to connect with, to talk to, to open my heart to. This has been coming for a while, and still is growing – my ability to notice and nourish myself with people that notice and nourish me. And picking the people to talk to about whatever topic – knowing my crew, knowing my resource, and sticking with the guidelines, the boundaries, of each friendship. That used to always piss the stubborn part of me off, because I want someone to be there for the whole of me, and so I would step over these boundaries and into the limitless love area…but would rarely feel met and would generally feel raw and open for hours afterwards. And lost, too.

I think it’s the art of noticing. That’s the puppy in healing, it seems. Noticing, not attaching. Noticing, not describing. Noticing, not telling. Noticing not rejecting. Noticing, not missing. And noticing it all – the bits that piss me off, the bits that make me rage inside that are part of me or feelings I’m feeling, the parts of me that I just fucking wish weren’t there sometimes. The parts of me that hold so much pain it’s seemingly uncontrollable.

The parts of me that pretend to not need me, but so do.

It’s noticing it all with an open heart and a compassionate warmth towards myself and the world around me.

Noticing. Noticing. Noticing.

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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

Healing is…

Trusting that these are just chapters of my book, versus of my life song. And without these chapters and versus, the book and the song, wouldn’t make sense. It would be incomplete. There would be nuggets missing. I wouldn’t be whole.

Just how I’ve needed all the chapters before me, no matter how painful and confusing and how much part of me longs that they had been different, my story and my song, needed them.

I needed them to make me, not break me. That’s what they were here to do.

That’s freakin’ beautiful.

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Gently breathing love,

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Lately, I’ve been finding mindfulness really difficult. I still do it but I end up swamped and in my own thoughts, memories or feelings or impulses flooding my system. But I kinda roll with it. Sometimes I enjoy it – that bursting with indication, grief, pain, joy, beauty…but sometimes it frustrates me because I never come out of the process of breathing and being mindful, feeling that peaceful. I feel knackered. Or like a wound is right there, raw and open – even more than before. That’s the thing that keeps happening the most…I kinda dread just being with my own thoughts and feelings, and mind and body, yet I crave it too. And at the moment I’m getting a lot of it.

I think I feel so swamped with ‘stuff’…my stuff. This isn’t new, and I think it feels accompanied by exhaustion and MIND fatigue…in other words, brain fog. That must be it. I kinda can’t ‘come to’ unless for short bursts. Doing something in nature or really connecting or really outside myself and requiring a lot of concentration, then I quickly ‘wake up’ and drift from my innards and feel present, in daily life. It sorta feels like my brains just really knackered and it’s on Sleep. Maybe it sorta is…maybe it’s its way of coping. Our bodies, after all, are the queens and kings of knowing what they need. I just sometimes (I used to all-the-time) wish for different. Instead, I kinda long for it. Wishing hasn’t ever solved anything and once I realised that I stopped doing it so much…but there’s something beneath the wishing that probably needs to be felt. And I think it’s a longing. Like, a longing for it to be different – a longing for my mind and body to feel fighting fit. I’m allowing myself to feel the longing for other things in my life, but I hadn’t realised that I’m not really feeling it for my body. God that thing deserves my longing to be felt…I deserve to feel these feelings.

I used to think feeling feelings meant you BELIEVED the feelings and felt them entirely, and maybe that by feeling the feelings you are writing Fact…writing history. Like, by feeling angry, I AM angry. By feeling sad, I AM sad. But what if I’m just feeling angry or feeling sad, and they’re a feeling and they’re here to pass through on their way somewhere else? They’re not writing history, unless my history is a history of what I’ve been feeling…the. holy fuck, my history of just today has been long!

So back to mindfulness. In a way, this makes sense. What I’m trying to do is learn how to feel the feelings I’m feeling beneath the story my mind is telling. Beneath the ‘stuff’ is a story of feelings – a story that only needs to, and can be, told through the process of noticing…noticing qualities, noticing how the feeling feels in my body. It’s such a different experience when I do that. My daily experience and my momentary experience is completely different. I feel more AWAKE. My eyes feel open and my brain feels cleared.

When I open up my chest and my throat and breath real deep, and breathe in love to myself – strongly and gently and commitedly – I get a break. The above happens. Whereas before when I’ve done that, I’ve tended to breathe in with force rather than compassion. Like rather than breathing in YOUWILLFEELCONNECTIONCOMPASSIONLOVEDAMMIT, I breathe in love connection compassion right down, deep into my belly. Strongly but firmly. Gently and compassionately. Then it all falls away. My stuff is there to just notice, rather than cloud.

Maybe this is my ticket to vitality. My ticket to my own inner coffee shop. A coffee shop that serves up cups of Noticing, and mugs of Breath. Rather than triple shots of Ethiopian or cafetiers of Venezuelan.

That’d be nice. I’d defo have a loyalty card there…and maybe I’ve already got one, I just forget to trust that I can – it’s safe – to use it.

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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.

Healing is…

Allowing yourself to feel all your feelings – somatically, emotionally. And allowing them to come in the roller-coaster-like way they often do. Allowing tears to fall, and then laughter to follow. Allowing grief to swamp and then joy or playfulness to lift. Allowing your critics a back-seat on your journey towards deep self love and self compassion. And allowing them to be there but know you haven’t done any wrong, because the critics are never gonna completely go anywhere…motherfuckers.

Healing is, allowing for it all.

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I’m meant to know…that I am home.

I’m meant to be upright.
I’m meant to be moving.
I’m meant to feel blood in all of my system.

I’m not meant to be lying,
and screaming from inside.
I’m not meant to be lying there,
wondering how I got left behind.

I’m not meant to hold my energy
as a stranger,
I’m not meant to leave notes for myself,
reminding me I’m not a stranger.

I’m not meant to feel distant,
from the entire human race.
I’m meant to feel connected,
and like I have a place.

I’m meant to feel a sense of living
inside my weary chest.
I’m meant to be using my body
at it’s ultimate and its best.

I’m meant to
– most of all –
have inside of me,
A sense of purpose
and belonging.
I’m meant to have still,
inside of me,
a sense of everything
and a sense of nothing.

I’m meant to have the sense of creating,
a future of everything
I continue to dream.
I’m meant to have everything
I continue to feel.

And I’m meant to know
that I am whole.

I’m meant to know,
That I am me

I’m meant to feel
that I am strong.

And I’m meant to feel
that I am home.

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