creativity · singing · wholeness

Dominoes.

8.12.18.jpgMore moons ago than I can count, I wrote down this quote a friend had posted as her Facebook status update.  I wrote it down with the desperation of flailing for a life preserver, not believing it ever to be or come true for me, but with the understanding that someone, somewhere in the world found this preserver and found it to be stable and life-giving:

“That feeling when things fall perfectly into place, and any anxiety you had suddenly vanishes.”

What horseshit.  What hope.

So, I wrote it down on a post-it and affixed it to the inside of my medicine cabinet.  It’s been likely 8 years since it was written, and I read it still with that desperation and that hope that anything like that could ever feel true within me.

Spoiler:  It’s kind of how I’m feeling today.

Bananas as it may seem to me, I’m having a feeling of serendipitous coalescing.  Yesterday, I attended a school event that was entirely optional but I wanted to go.  I wanted to see my people, my friends, my coworkers.  I wanted to walk out onto the ballfield/gathering place and hug the tech director.  I wanted to sit with my boss/fellow English teacher and—even though I tried not to(!)—immediately fall into the loveliest, liveliest shop-talk, about a new book I’m excited teach, Sherman Alexie’s troublesome revelations, and executive functioning training!  I wanted to hug my head of school and admissions director and facilities manager.  I wanted to be there.  (“There’s no place like home.”)

And I wanted to leave.  To head into the city to meet up with likeminded folks for an evening of play and discovery and excitement.  And wouldn’t you know, today’s Oprah/Deepak meditation is about Divine Playfulness.

Yes.  Yes, and more yes.

I received an excited phone call yesterday morning from my girlfriend who came by on Friday to “look at” my art studio with me and consider the possibilities.  On the phone (just the next day) she breathes, “It’s set.  It’s done.”  The art show that had its conception seeds planted as we tacked up 12 years of my collages is now happening.

When?  “Sunday, October 7.”  Oh, you mean my 37th birthday?  Well, I’ll be damned.

We’re having a salon, all types of artists.  The space is set, would you believe, in the home of a friend whose birthday also happens to be October 7th.  What the hell?!  … or Heaven.

They’d constructed a theme—Birth—and I wasn’t feeling entirely stoked on the idea.  My visual work wasn’t really heading in that direction (unless you want a show the first, ahem, seeds of birth!), so I questioned perhaps some poetry, spoken word, or painted broadsides, but my oral/written work isn’t really doing that either right now.

And in meditation this morning it came:  I will sing.

(I’m embarrassed to write that here you know, staking my claim… owning my voice, as it were!)

But, one of my visions for quite some time has been to “be a lounge singer.”  To be that woman in a sleek, sequined dress behind a stand-microphone who allows her voice and words to float over others as they half-pay attention and half-not.  I don’t need or want a concert, I want to be a part of the ambiance.  I want to be the art.

A pianist friend/former band-mate and I had a brief-lived duet a bit ago.  So, today, I’ll reach out to him and see if it’s in for it.  And if he’s not, there are more options.

But the idea of being an artist, in a salon, doing something I’ve only dreamt of, with friends, on my birthday?

Well, I suppose that is the feeling of everything falling perfectly into place and any anxiety I had…suddenly vanishing.

Advertisements
deprivation · need · recovery · self-denial · truth · wholeness

Buying Desire a Hat.

I was at my therapist’s once several years ago now and we
were talking about my closest friendships. 
I was telling her how I was scared to admit my full self to someone
because I feared that my full self, my full array of needs and personality,
would be too much for them to handle.  I
explained to her that I felt like my needs were like a tidal wave, that letting
them out would be releasing one, and I couldn’t do that to any one person.  Or to any several people.  Better to keep it all locked up tight.
But what if I begin to think of my needs and desires not
as a tidal wave, but as held by a man-made dam? 
A dam has immense strength and power; the pressure behind it is exponential.  The
power there, the pressure, comes from the restriction of motion, from the
forcible and intentional holding back of something that had previously flown
free.
You can see where I’m going with this, no?  I’m no expert in engineering, so I don’t know
how one goes about dismantling a dam—and maybe for the purposes of my own
internal metaphoric dismantling, that might be interesting to learn—but
I do know that once the dam has been removed and the water again flows free,
it’s not a potential tidal wave of need anymore.  Now it’s just the normal, everyday flow.  The normal, everyday rise and fall of desire.
Without the restriction and denial of qualities such as
desire and need, they are free to be absorbed into the landscape, a part of the
whole, neither something to be feared or ignored. 
Desire in our culture has a pretty bad rap of it.  Desire, the seat of sin.  And yet, what is it but simply an expression
of self, like humor or wit?  My mentor
and I have been discussing and prodding at my relationship to my own need and
desire, to try to bring them out of the haunting shadows, to not treat them like
the disturbed family members you try to forget you have, til they show up on
your doorstep at Christmas with soggy string bean casserole.
What if, instead, they were invited guests?  Do I even know anything about what and who
they are, after being so keen to shut them out for so long?  Or do I only now know the legend of them,
instead of the qualities themselves?
There is a bit of terror and a bit of awe as I begin to
reintroduce myself to these qualities of self. 
As a person who is so adept at self-denial and deprivation, to allow
that there might be a proper place for need in my life is… incomprehensible.  Like someone who’s
been on a Paleo diet for years, touting the benefits, trying to recruit
converts, suddenly being told that in order to live they must eat cake.  Because not only will it change their entire
metabolism for the better, but, hey, it’s fucking delicious.  And you’re allowed to enjoy it.
Permission to be allowed to enjoy.  Permission to be allowed to want.  Permission to be allowed to need.  And actually, screw the whole permission
thing – it’s not that at all.  It’s not a
choice.  Or an earned prize.  It’s a basic human right. 
To deny yourself a basic human right, like having chosen to
drink fetid water your whole life because you’ve somehow made yourself believe pure spring
water wasn’t for you or that your imbibing it was a danger to the balance of existence… well,
self-denial like that causes a whole host of problems, not least of which is
unfulfillment.

So, the dismantling, the right-sizing of desire and need,
the introduction to them as they are, not as I’ve feared them to be.  And why? 
Because I have a suspicion that fulfillment, purpose, and wholeness are
on the other side of that shift.