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It’s funny how life reminds you, in no uncertain terms, how very human you are.
There are so many days I can happily work in solitude, “introverting” to my heart’s content, creating ideas, composing, writing, reading.
And then there are other days where I am crawling out of my skin with anxious, dissatisfied angst, and multi-tasking seems like the simple option, because that’s how many tabs are open in my mind. And I desperately need human connection.
I actually don’t remember a day where I’ve absolutely slept the day away, EVER. Except today. Today felt like the longest day ever. I went in for my annual check-up today and fainted after my blood test and felt so absolutely stupid and alone. What it made me think about in no uncertain terms was the love and support around me that I don’t lean on enough. I have so much support and love around me and do I use it? NO. Nowhere NEAR what I realise I could be, after a day like today.
I can’t be EVERYTHING. Even after a day like today, where I am decimated by my own body, I come home in the afternoon and start making lists of all the things I need to do, the groceries I need to buy, the emergency meals I need to make, and the planning I need to do.
And yet, when I got over the fact that I certainly wouldn’t be doing any of that, one of the most soul-nourishing things I did today was sleep, on and off, for the remaining 6 hours of the day. My body renewed its strength, and I felt better and stronger.
I do not think I am Super Girl, and nor am I vain enough to think I can do it all on my own. But really, honestly, except for moments like today, I don’t really believe it or practice the humility of that understanding.
But I am vulnerable, and it’s moments like today which are needed to absolutely drive the point home. I am made simple, small and humbled by my body and the end point of my capacity. Apparently, I do need help, and when I least expect it. I need to remember to be tender and reach out, DESPITE all the imperfect answers and responses of the world and the people around me, including the ones I love so dearly who disappoint me, as I must them. To connect, despite the let downs and imperfections.
I need to get COMFORTABLE with DISCOMFORT.
Today also reminded me of how strong the human mind is. It reminded me to ask, “so what CAN I do?”
Rather than what’s NOT possible, what can I do right now, with the energy that I have? What can I create or produce? Where is my limit? What can I write in half and hour? How can I connect?
This is not the “create-the-list-of-an-impossible-day” martyrdom, this is “realistic courage”.
And I am reminded, as a person, teacher, musician, and creative, that life NEVER EVER gives you vast stretches of time in which to complete or create ANYTHING. Become a parent? You’re parenting in the gaps and pining for the longer stretches and glad when you get them. Composing? Sure, you might get the coveted Sunday afternoon, but sure as hell Inspiration will be playing hooky and giving you the shits. You have to catch the tiny pockets of time with a little bit of determination. You have to fight a little harder and decide you’d like to focus and grab that little gift of time and ask:
What can I do in this moment?
I enjoy the post-it note function on Sibelius much more than my Year 12s do.
A good read.
I’m about to head into our holiday Concert Band rehearsal + I dropped by Woollies to pick up lollies for my kiddies, and PLASTIC CHEESE STICKS for Sir Year 11 who told me my jokes were cheesy, then left a mini-camembert on my desk.
The Cheese War is ON. 😎
Everyone else gets a lollie, and he gets “Dairylea All-Natural Fridge Sticks”.
Isn’t it incredible how some of the most concentrated worry comes from jobs which take a few minutes of daring to sit with and navigate?
Just a few minutes of getting focused can take away days and weeks of stress.
How is it that we spend so much time worrying rather than taking the tiny, incremental steps to undoing or doing, figuring out and problem-solving?
The thing is, we don’t want to problem-solve. We’re comfy on the edge, looking at the festering crater that is The Job/Email/Marking/Cleaning/Work/Conversation that needs to tackled. We doubt ourselves, rather than starting the process.
Sometimes it’s a big job which causes us to fear our abilities. But how can we possibly alleviate them without starting?!
Perhaps it’s actually taking the step, breaking through the fear-factor, and sitting in the discomfort.
Once you’re there, in the thick of it, or standing at the edge, you find a way to navigate. You recalibrate. You can’t help it.
The next day is doesn’t look quite as insurmountable. You’ve made a start.
Often, it is the THINKING REQUIRED which is the scariest thing, not the actually DOING. Once things are thought about, locked-in, on the calendar, in the diary, it’s not as challenging.
You don’t have to do it all at once.
You must have faith that you have what it takes to do it.
Look at those glorious paintings formed of hundreds of brushstrokes, or thousands of stitches in an elaborate embroidery, a fully-fledged adult after a million and one seconds of parenting, or climbing a mountain. These are all works of quiet persistence and incremental, tiny steps.
Focus. Look ahead.
Take the first step.
Spend the first few minutes getting uncomfortable, and you will be amazed at how much clarity can be found.
Why is it that only when we travel, our hearts truly open?
And we are at our most open and tender, alive and willing to connect?
Why is our faith in humanity fully restored when we venture into an unfamiliar world?
When we are a little more vulnerable, a little more awake, a little more in awe of our surroundings?
A little shy, a little bold, all at once?
And why is it that we so easily forget how much is beautiful exactly where we are?
When we are just walking an ordinary simply daily path?
How is it our that our hearts close over a little each day when we feel safe and secure, and we don’t even notice it until we don’t send that extra message, we don’t reach out, we don’t laugh louder, we don’t hug closer, we don’t try a little harder for the silly-crazy because…we don’t have time? Or the inclination?
Help me notice, oh, help me notice. I want my heart to be regularly shaken up, cracked open, flooded, and constantly discovering the world.
I want my heart to be alive.
This is beautiful.
I don’t think I have any issues with the “wear different colours” point! 😉
I had to remind myself to struggle, and struggle hard today.
Isn’t it amazing that when adversity hits you, it hits you and winds you. It’s often sudden, complete, and catches you breathless. Your self-talk becomes focused, petty, and acidic. You get tunnel-vision. There is heat all around you, and blood pounding in your ears.
I read an errant Facebook post today which cut me to the core, and I was caught off-balance. NOTHING about the rest of my day had changed except for that one sentence, accompanied by that one photo. But it shook me, and I realised it was my values and my sense of self-worth being shaken.
And I had to remind myself to struggle. Struggle, and struggle hard. You’re underwater now, but you’ll fight your way to the surface, break through, and breathe. You don’t quite know how you’ll get there, but air will fill your lungs again. And it will feel empowering and awesome. Your wings will work, and you will fly. Your day was fine before your read those words, and saw that picture. You will find your equilibrium again.
More importantly, YOU ARE NOT PERFECT.
That seems so utterly counter-intuitive to write, but reminding myself that I am NOT perfect gives me permission to have emotional “wiggle-room”. I need reminding that I am indeed human, and I cannot be everything to everyone, or myself. I will NOT have it perfect, and I will NOT be perfect.
And after I flail heatedly and argue with myself internally, and the red-hot spark of anger has died away, I find myself on steadier ground. I realise and remember all the things that make me real and complete. I remember how much I add to the world, and how WORHTY I am.
I remember that I am a living, breathing, blessed, creative, thinking, real, loving, and present.
I am here, and I stand my own ground, worthy and beautiful. Not because of what I have, but just because I BREATHE, I LIVE, and I am a HUMAN-BEING.
Struggle is RIGHT. Without struggle, emotional or otherwise, my wings become weak, I forget how to scramble and fight, my heart would forget how to work. And I would never know gratitude. The love and joy of life that sets me alight.
Oh, let me cry hot tears of frustration! That my heart beats and works!
For it is in struggle that I remember all the things that are real and true to me, and how very lucky I am to have all that I have.
Imperfect set of experiences and tools that they are, they are mine, and they are perfectly beautiful. So shining with worth and merit, they are blinding.
And so am I.
How is it that when we are ripped raw, made vulnerable, and torn open by life, we are more tender? We are so much more alive to love, aware of kindness, and so much more willing to be all the things that we want on a day-to-day basis.
When you are “full” and when life is going well, it is so easy just to walk on by, figuratively and emotionally. So easy to not notice the tender little moments that we would be so utterly aware of and open to when we are in struggle.
Strong back, tender heart.
Be courageous, my little heart, that you may see all the tenderness in the world when you are full.