When Do You Feel “In Your Body”?

“I’ve always felt the brain organizes and computes while writing, but the body is the place where story lives.”— Kathleen Winter, “Writing with the Body

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Just curious, are you in your body right now?

This seems like a bizarre question.  Of course I’m in my body, you idiot!  Being in your body means more than having a body.   It means how your hands, your heart and your mind have an effect.   You know how all the self help gurus are always saying, “be present”?  This is what they are talking about.  Cut away the bullshit and pay attention.

The idea of transcendence fascinates me.  People think it happens on a yoga retreat in India, but you know what?  It  happens every fucking day.  It starts with your creativity, and how you know intrinsically what you are meant to share in the world.  By creativity, I do not mean your blue-ribbon quilting or your published book or how many followers you have (or however one defines “worth”).  I mean, what makes your heart leap?  What is it that you do that you can feel from your head to your toes?

I thought I would provide some examples of people I know, and what this means.

  • shopping second hand stores, then making something beautiful out of something that wasn’t.
  • going to a PTA meeting and speaking your mind.
  • walking miles and miles to bring awareness to an issue you care about.
  • cutting flowers from your garden and making your home beautiful.
  • writing a letter to a good friend.
  • making dinner for someone who needs to be nourished.
  • taking photos all afternoon.
  • making beer and serving it to friends.
  • turning up the music and dancing with your kids.
  • keeping a journal.
  • having a party with a theme.
  • going to your favorite band’s concert.
  • decorating your house for the holidays with your kids.
  • for me, writing a poem.

 

“…I  took a mental picture of the moment.  I looked around and thought about my life.  I felt grateful.  I noticed every detail.  That is the key to time travel.  You can only move if you are in the moment.  You have to be where you are to get where you need to go.” –Amy Poehler, Yes, Please. 

 

I really love being around people who are sharing their stories.  You can share your story in a zillion ways, many of which do not require words.  But what they do require, and what I hope we can all do in the most ordinary of ways, is be there.  Show up with your whole self.  Whenever you do that, you are in your body.  Isn’t that so awesome?

 

photo by Barbara Paulsen at tandemechoes.com

 

 

“In order to change, people need to become aware of their sensations and the way that their bodies interact with the world around them. Physical self-awareness is the first step in releasing the tyranny of the past.”
Bessel A. van der Kolk, The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma

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You and Me for a Virtual Happy Hour

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Anyone who knows me knows… I love a good happy hour!  Actually I usually refer to it as “HH” because happy hour takes too long to say and I say it A LOT.

Care to join me?

If we were at happy hour right now, I would be enjoying an amber ale, thinking of autumn and falling leaves and Halloween.  I’m kinda jealous of all those people who are SO into Halloween that they carve 100 pumpkins and dress up like Lady Godiva and shop all year long for decorations and have doorbells that chime like a cackling witch.  Okay, maybe not.

If I were at happy hour right now, I would be with my besties; chilling, relaxing and dishing.  We would be planning a trip or complimenting each others’ hair or reminiscing about this or that.  We would be supporting one of us through a rough time with their kid or their job.  We would be navigating our lives with the background noise of a bar; clinking glasses, smiling faces and laughter.  Always the laughs.

If I were at happy hour right now, I would be wearing make-up.  Most of the time I cannot deal with that shit.

If I were at happy hour right now, I would be happy to be sitting.  Seems like I never sit down.  My ass perpetually longs for a place to sit itself, but most of the day it has to settle for the seat of my car between shuttling to and fro.  Plus, my aging body is clunky and sore all the time from just doing the regular stuff.  Maybe it’s better I stand.

If I were at happy hour right now, I would be grateful to have a break from my children.  But also, I would be grateful for the space to recognize what great humans they really are.  Despite the inside out skinny jeans on their bedroom floors with the underwear still attached.

If I were at happy hour right now, it might with my husband at the end of a long week.  I’m so in love with my happy-hour husband.  He is so fucking cool.  We drink, we’re alone, we talk about sex baby, it’s like 1995 again!  When we start to talk about depressing things like politics or aging, I try to change the subject back to the 90’s, like grunge and Seinfeld.

If I were at happy hour right now, and you didn’t know me, I am the short brunette (keeping the gray at bay, people) with long hair.  I am most likely laughing and throwing my head back as I do (I don’t know, it’s a thing).  I will be wearing jeans and probably a sweater as I am always cold.  In my hand will be a cold brew and on my plate will be some kind of yumminess involving cheese or meat.

In any event, if I were at happy hour right now, I’d be happy:)

Thanks to Barbara Paulsen at tandemechoes.com for the photo.

This Quote is the S**t.

“Midlife: when the Universe grabs your shoulders and tells you “I’m not f-ing around, use the gifts you were given.”     Brene Brown

My belief is that profanity, while offensive and low-minded to some, can express an emotion the way no other word can.  Of course, such expressions may be limited by your proximity to children, your current employer or your religious leader.  Please, I beg you, use profanity as the art form it is.  Don’t use it in front of those who don’t appreciate its aesthetics, or use too many curses at once.  Don’t curse just because other people around you are doing it.  Do it because you feel it.  It’s freeing.

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This quote sums up perfectly the last few years of my life.  There comes a point where something in your core screams, “WAKE UP.”  For me, the slow and painful death of my mother in law, the tedium of my husband’s career, the aging of my body and the natural curiosity of my children have all conspired to give me pause.  I mean, lots of people have told me I’m pretty awesome.  Isn’t it about time I started believing it?  And more importantly, doing something about it?

So I’ve made some changes. Nothing miraculous, I’m not making regular trips to volunteer in Haiti or anything.  But there are some things that I have accomplished.  I set goals and I stick to them.  Whenever possible, I lend a hand.  I don’t yell as much.  I forgive my skin for wrinkling, among the other indiscretions my body keeps handing me.

You see, you don’t have to be AMAZING to be amazing.  That’s really what this blog and my writing is all about.  All of us have a struggle from time to time.  The trick is actually being okay with it.  After all, you can’t have your shit together all the time.  (See how I did that?  Interjected a curse word?  You are welcome.)

The Agony of a Story Untold

Sometimes we don’t tell because we are ashamed.

We think if we don’t tell it will go away.

It doesn’t.

 

Sometimes we don’t tell because it’s too scary to say it out loud.

We worry others will judge us.

They won’t.

 

Sometimes we think we can occupy ourselves with other things.

We think it will distract us.

It works briefly.

 

Sometimes we witness the pen telling it to the paper.

We hope it will lighten the burden.

And it does.

Why I Write and… Why I Don’t

Why do I write? Hmmm...

Why do I write? Hmmm…

Asking why I write is like asking why I move, or eat or sleep.  It is not really a choice.  Even when I’m not writing, I’m writing.  The pen is moving in my mind, making stories in little thought clouds above my head.  Sometimes, like this past summer, I hardly wrote at all.  With all the sun, kids and vacations, I found it challenging to sit and write.  But all the while, I wrote stories to myself.  About the great blue ocean. And the chimes of wedding bells.  And my dog running through the tall grass.

Writing is my aspirin when the headache gets too big.  It’s my end of day glass of wine when the hours have been a burden.  It’s my salve when I’m achy and sore.  But it’s also a form of celebration; a snapshot of a memory too beloved to let fade, a trinket to look upon again and again.  It is a yummy cookie to savor not just in the baking, but in the sweet pleasure of taking a bite.

When time goes by and I haven’t written, like over the summer, I always know it’s there waiting for me.  And so I write long notes and cards, lists and this keeps me going for  awhile.  But then, writing sits and waits as if in a drawer, waiting to be inevitably opened.

Writing is patient with me, though I not always with it.  And here we are.

photo by Barbara Paulsen at tandemechoes.com.