“When the uniqueness of a place sings to us like a melody, then we will know, at last, what it means to be at home.”
~ Paul Gruchow
I feel so grateful for my home, right now.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It feels like a weird old time at the moment. I feel like my life’s exploded – in a good way but I also feel exhausted and overwhelmed and worried…and incredibly excited. I keep getting these bursts of natural highs as I’m being published on a site – a very cool and very popular online journal/magazine – that I recently got an apprenticeship for, as an editor.
That feels bonkersly cool. Like so cool. It’s the first time I’ve felt this excited in freakin’ ages. And happy – actually warm and happy when I’m working and editing.
The other thing I’m feeling loads of at the moment, is grief. So much grief. Like a loss, a hole, that’s in my chest. Like a well of sorrow open wide and sitting deep. I feel able to hold it, though. My heart feels so open at the moment. Like, so open. It feels beautiful. Within the pain, I have so much warmth and tenderness for myself and others. And an openness too. But an openness with protection, with boundaries. That’s not like before.
My openness I think used to feel wide open without limits, or protection. I used to shower love and really believe I meant it – which I did – but now I see that I was also hurting like a motherfucker, and the openness was raw and too painful. It was excruciating, and the love I gave, and could give, from this place, was without boundaries or protection of myself. It never went inwards first.
But now it does. I feel like I’m continuing to master the art of loving number one, and then loving someone else.
And this last year or so, I feel like my hearts been somewhat out of protection for myself. I’ve needed to go inwards, because I was afraid of over giving, of over loving, and getting depleted. So I tried to limit my giving and my openness, my love and my warmth, because I was afraid. And, I needed all I could get.
I totes think this is fair enough, and incredibly healthy. And, even within that, I know I still gave. And loved. A lot.
But something’s changing. My heart feels open and it feels safe. It feels safe to love again, and love from a place of depth and protection, of boundaries and compassion.
It feels safe to tell someone I love them, from a place I really really mean it. It feels safe to hold protection and fierce care for those I hold close to my heart.
It feels safe to hold my power by the hand, and walk with it by my side. It feels safe to step into it and allow it to help me shine.
“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.
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.
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!”
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.
I feel like something terrible is going to happen. Dread and convincing stories are running through me like full-speed water, flooding from a dam. Only the dam is a shutter in my head, opened by anxious chatter. And the dam is only gently pulled shut, or to a trickle, by love.
Love and gentleness to myself. But even then, it doesn’t always do anything. I feel lost in a storm and I can’t see my way out. I feel lost in a dizziness, a trip, of anxiety and worst-case scenarios, worry and fear.
I’m not really sure how to stop it.
It’s not until I spend time with people, that I really hear how loud the voices have been yelling. The stories, the dread, the anxiety, the worry. When I’m with someone, they almost become a mirror for what I’m feeling. They become the bouncing board, the story board, for what I’m feeling and what I’m experiencing. Maybe that’s why I find it difficult to be with people.
I think this is hormones. I think this is PMS. Last month my PMS involved the darkest most intense PMS yet…I reckon. And this month maybe, rather than a darkness, there’s a sparkiness…a motherfucking BRIGHT and LIVELY sparkiness. In other words, ANXIETY. It’s a bitch. Such a bitch.
I find it hard to know what to act on, and what to leave behind. I find it hard to know what is trauma and anxiety that is just there, considering everything I have been going through, and when it is anxiety here because beneath the anxiety, is something I need to work on, sort out, do…
I’m not really sure. There is so much in flux at the moment, and so much to be worried about. But also, in a way, there isn’t. Like, I have the basics here by me – a roof, a fridge of food… but in these moments I find those things hard to take as anything to go on. But if you ask anyone, it really is the basics that it comes down to. The basics that count. I am beginning to very slowly see that. There just is a truckload of resistance when it comes to trusting that. And that’s fair enough.
Just like the resistance around me feeling safe, or feeling supported, or feeling held, or feeling comfortable, or feeling happy and held. Fuck that resistance, but again, it is there by the truckload.
But, saying that, there is a little part of me open to all of that, and a gentle, loving, compassionate voice that is telling me I deserve it, even when my body almost retches with angst at the thought, or sight, of those loving, bright, feelings.
Along with this compassionate and loving voice that’s getting stronger by the day, my heart feels open – wide open – at the moment. Wide open, or slammed shut…I feel like I need an inbetween. It’s beginning to be there, slowly and gently.
It’s time for bed.
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.
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.
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…
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.