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.

Midnight Chatter

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.

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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.

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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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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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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.

We are not them

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Just a little realisation I made this evening after a shed load of cartooning and journaling…this old chestnut. I am not them. We are not them.

I AM NOT MY PARENTS.

Go tell that to my inner critic for me, would you? Shut the fuck up, Imaginary Storyline maker.

Every time I realise I’m not them, it goes/hits a little deeper. Like the daily little moments I tell myself I’m not them, in the midst of storylines playing out in my head and them filling me with terror. But then I sometimes get these mammoth waves – a huge fuck off hit of realisation that I’ve spent the last few days or weeks with a theory (one that’s been causing havoc with my inner sense of happiness, stability, and peace about the future) that’s all based on the assumption and core belief that I am them I AM FUCKING NOT.

The end. Period. Full stop.

If only it was that simple…but I’m glad this realising continues to go deeper. It’s like layers are being shed and I’m continuing to find my own skin away from them, away from theirs. These realisations, even though they always sound the same and consist of the same four words, the impact is always really different…or actually maybe the impact just goes deeper. To the next layer. And this thrill of celebration when I come-to, wake up, and find myself beneath the crap that’s been flying around my Inner Room all week or month or day or maybe even year, is the shedding of another layer.

That’s pretty beautiful.

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. ❤