Sit On It

 The Oh-So-Cool Fonz

The Oh-So-Cool Fonz

I grew up on a steady diet of television. It was an affordable babysitter for my stressed-out and overworked single mom, it was a great place to launch my endless energy and need to sing, dance and mimic, it was common ground for my understanding of the world at large since my world at small was often too difficult for me to attempt understanding. And it implanted many things inside of me, including the great philosopher "The Fonz" and his call to "Just Sit On It". (insinuated multiple and derogatory meanings aside for today......thanks!) 

Until this morning, it never occurred to me the necessity and importance behind the need to just sit on something - not solve it, not overcome it, not rage and war with it, but sit on it, with it, around it. I am fond of being a problem solver. I love fixing something. I can counsel a rabbit out of it's hole and a needy friend into a new career or relationship, and on many occasions have been known to bake a problem away or scrub a floor while solving any number of crises.

But yesterday, I just got hit with what I can only refer to as "The Great Overwhelm"!

In Krista Tippett's brilliant book Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living she writes: 

"An African American pastor tells me that the greatest breakthrough was having a politician who was willing to sit with people's pain - just that. Not, in the first instance, to present a policy or a fix - but to acknowledge that damage has been done and dwell with it, let it be in the room, accompanied, grieved - lamented, in the ancient language of the prophets..........It sits uneasily with instincts we honed in the twentieth century to wage war on our problems.....War takes anger and ambition as its fuel, deferring lamentations, sidelining grief along with compassion."

And so today, amongst so much madness and sadness and grief I choose to sit with it, sit on it, sit in it and lament. Children being tormented for the sake of political gain, citizens of this country doing and saying things that contain not a single drop of empathy or humanity, hubris and bombastic rhetoric from politicians, the list goes on and on. My modern mentality is to wage war, but for now I am looking to the language and practices of the ancients and dwelling in the sorrow of it all, believing hope is present even in the grief and even amongst the overwhelmed.

 

Happy Place

 Morning hike with Sherlock T. Bones!

Morning hike with Sherlock T. Bones!

"This is a terrifying time to be an American"

That was the subject line of recent email I received. No, it was not from the team at Obvious HQ, Inc., but it might as well have been. The sheer volume of bad news, scary news, unbelievable news is so heavy I am constantly at odds with wanting to be a well-informed citizen of the world and longing for a full-time residency on the set of "Little House on the Prairie"! That said, odds are good if the internet existed in the time of Laura Ingalls Wilder there would probably be just as much bad to go with the good. But, maybe not.

This beautiful world of ours is a messy place and humans are at times both horrible slobs and agents of unspeakable acts of grace and kindness. 

I have come to realize that it is up to me to daily make time for the things that open up space within and around my life so that I am capable of comprehending and discussing the heartbreaks and tragedy right alongside the  beauty and impossibility of everyday miracles. To that end, I actively seek out things that bring me joy, ground me and deliver moments of happiness pure and without strings attached. Hiking with the dogs, baking, letting hours roll by reading or simply sitting in silence while contemplating every damn thing I am grateful for. 

There is no happy ending to every story and unfortunately the cinematic landscape of narratives we consume too often leads us to believe there will be. What I know is that happiness can be found moment to moment and I am as much a participant in creating it as I am in receiving and enjoying it. Wherever your happy place is I encourage you to get there - and often! It is not selfish, by taking care of you, you are taking care of the world around you and that done often enough by enough people on a regular basis might just lead to a new headline in our future: "This is a magnificent time to be alive".

 

Pen. Paper. Pause.

 Love me a pretty book to write in!

Love me a pretty book to write in!

It’s been too long since I’ve written anything. I let myself believe it was the frustration of February, not the grief of losing my dad in January, that was keeping me from the page. Turns out it’s a combination of both, and then some.

So this morning, for the first time in a while I sat and just did what I’ve done for years: pen to paper without ceasing.

It felt like coming home.

Unless you are one that breathes the rarefied air of all things self-care and self-aware and self-involvement and self, self, self… making the time to write isn’t always a priority or even a possibility. But, what I know is that it is a necessity. Tapping on the keys of my computer allows me to go faster not deeper in my expression of thoughts and feelings and frustrations and dreams and desires and expectations and fears and doubts and hates and love and on and on and on.

We are in need of a revolution of pause.

And by that I mean, I know my life has a fuller sense of being and presence when I’ve taken the time to pause, consider and then move forward. Writing in a journal every day forces me to do just that – my pen can only go as quickly as my hand can move it and my mind can only go as fast as the time it takes to communicate the thoughts to the page.

Take some time today to write something. Not for work. Not for others. Not because you have to or you must, but because it takes time and it takes effort and it requires less speed, more self.

Forgetting February

 Yep! (Thanks H&M)

Yep! (Thanks H&M)

February happens. Every year February follows January. And every year, I forget.

The post-holiday action of cleaning out the fridge, packing up the holiday decorations, slowly beginning to eat non-cookie items for breakfast, noting the cold and dark days where it is still "okay" to sleep later or nap more often or watch just one more episode (just. one. more), writing thank you notes, printing out calendar pages for the newest year and starting to plot and plan how that year will be spent, etc., etc., etc.

And then: F@&$!*# February!

Every year I seem to forget that February, for all it's sweetness and hearts and cupid b.s., is one of the longest and loneliest months. Many creatives have yet to return from holiday breaks. Budgets have not been approved. Shows sit ready to start production, but the majority are all in the land of 'pre-pro' and voice-over work mostly comes from longtime clients who need a quick turnaround on a low-budget job.

This is the month I often find myself pondering the thought "I'll never work in this (or any) town again"! I convince myself that my choice of career has been a poor one and that I should have gone into real estate or mortgage banking or any combination thereof where fabulous shoes and a closet full of sensible blouses would do the trick.

Thankfully, I have a tribe of phenomenal people in my life. Friends and partners in crime who are here to remind me that it's not me, it's February! The thing about living a creative life is it requires more than anything self-love and self-awareness. Yes, there is the requisite talent and tenacity, the thick skin and the optimistic attitude. But, there is also the need for patience, persistence and being prepared. 

February comes every year. Every year I somehow forget. And every year someone who I admire and who makes my life better is there to remind me I will work again and again and again. Like the seasons everything is in a constant state of contraction and expansion. There simply cannot be a March and April and May filled with expansion without a December and January, and yes, the "F" month filled with contraction.