Saturday, March 18, 2017

To The Creators

Creatives are oftentimes misunderstood - they are not meant to be understood but rather keepers of understanding
They are life hood interpreters - meant to grate against the ordinary in an attempt to make it a shinier even a slight past less dull.

At birth they are given creative colored glasses through which to see the world
Able to wade through the superficial and connect with the real
Able to create so that others might feel the sensation of a situation
Able to taste the magnitude of a manipulation
See a waterfall without vision 
Hear drum beats during intermission
Feel magic where others see a rainbow

Growing up this way – in this feeling of magic sort of way - they're often told that they are
Too much
Too loud
Too bright
Too energetic
Too exuberant

And so begins the involuntary quest of becoming conditioned. Convincing one’s self that there must be a dulling of presence so as to not upset the ordinary. But the conditioning – the pruning back - kills off the very purpose of a creative existence. Creatives were never meant to occur in the same box as the normal. Never meant for the same path as the ordinary.

They're here to bring up and out the honesty of life –
to give voices to feelings
to interpret the meaning of occurrences
to offer a tangible glimpses into the messy, conflicting, and candid moments of life through their art.

This path of the creative will not be easy.

Many creatives have been called to create so out of the box that those who are in the box will be left with staggering wonder at the sight of this creative life.
This wonder will have purpose. It will lead the ordinary towards inspiration. Inspiration will create small shifts in perspective. Perspective changes leading to the pondering of alternate possibilities for their in the box lives.

Some of have been called to be contradictory, vibrant, peculiar, intense, and all other things that the normal will find unpleasant.
They are called in this way so to shine a light on and draw palpable parallels between the states of our collective existence.

When you are called to this place – to this creative place - you must go.
Go live and create freely with an odd out of the box jubilance.

If you don’t - you’ll risk living a life attempting to be satiated by standards that are not inherently your own.
If you don’t - you will live a life of everlasting attempts to stuff yourself into the normal carton and you’ll never fit.
If you don’t - you’ll suffer side effects of everlasting longing for a life less congealed.

So hear this now and GO
If in this prose you find feeling rather than reading GO
Reject permission 
Set yourself free.
Open up your wings
And then take flight
Jump into the unknown abyss of creating
Own your art  
Soar above the common calling to be the same
Soar and don’t look down.

Resist the urge to be afraid of your own creations.
Your calling - your art is often what you are most afraid of. Most will be too frightened by their own ideas to uncloak them for the World to see. Your own brilliance - your own realness will be frightening and not only to you but also to the people around you. Resist this.

Instead –

You must stay out of the box while extending life lines of feeling into the normal.
You must uncloak yourself, step out of the darkness, and into the light.
Your brilliance, your realness, and your tragedies - those are your strengths- draw from them.

See the world as it is – beautiful, vibrant, passionate but at times painfully dark and horrible.
Interpret these extremes and all the catalysts in between through your creations.
You are a translator with a calling to infuse life’s meanings into your creations
Your words
Your art
Your music

In each movement you must create so that others might feel
Create from this place and don’t ever look back.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Can You Spare Some Change?

Be the Change You Wish to See in the World - Mahatma Gandhi

 You know when you read a quote and you’re like, oh that’s nice. Then some time passes and it hits you, really hits you, what the meaning was behind the words that you once thought were nice. This happened to me today. I’ve seen this Gandhi quote about one million times – I’m a yogi so this quote is everywhere in the yoga world. It wasn’t until today that I really grasped the gravity of the meaning behind these words.

I should maybe have a warning label for myself that says something like, “Sorry for what I said when I was all fired up because I have the heart of an activist and social injustices really REALLY piss me off to the core of my entire being”. If you ever find that out there in the World please let me know because I need it! I get very disheartened and impatient with humans when they aren’t able to see social injustices and be as upset about them as I am. I have been told many times, mostly by my mother (haaaa!), that I am too blunt. My passion overflows and I’m not always sympathetic when debating with others, especially about topics that I am greatly passionate about. The current climate of our country has conjured up many of these debates lately. It is quite hard to find refuge from all of the atrocities and craziness that is happening in the World. For someone like me who is a passionate empath it can really begin to takes its toll. When everywhere you turn you see suffering and injustice it can feel overwhelming and discouraging. For me, I am someone who needs to address injustice and call out falsities. If I know something is misguided and I have hard facts that might bring a better understanding to the issue, I have to speak up. If I don’t speak up it festers negatively in my soul. I have felt this way for as long as I have memory and instead of suppressing and letting it fester, I give validity to my insights. I often get asked why I care so much and I often wonder how some can care so little. It’s not always popular but it’s what is necessary to keep my soul at peace.

It can be exhausting at times yet in all of my empathetic pondering, I am constantly contemplative over how I can help in any of these situations. What can I do to affect any sort of real change amongst the enormity of these problems? Clarity came to me today as I was putting my baby to sleep. That Gandhi quote really began to resonate with me and I thought – wow that’s what Gandhi meant! What I can do, the change that I can truly affect, is in my day to day interactions with other humans. I can bring in as much light, love, and understanding as possible into my corner of the World. I can attempt open conversations in an effort to unlock dialogue and encourage facts over fear when discussing the intricacies of issues. I can continue reading and researching to educate myself on the reality and history that isn’t popular to tell. I can write because that is what absolutely sets my soul free. It is the place where I can sort out my feelings and begin to make sense of it all. I can find compassion in every nook and cranny that is piled into my day. I can teach my children to be open minded, accepting, and loving humans. I can teach them to value others even when they don’t share the same opinions and I can do the same. I can be kind. I can see the good in people. I can spread more light into the World using the gifts that I have been given.

There are some very heavy and tragic problems in our World today. Some call for more concrete action like contacting your legislatures and donating time or money to causes that need your help. But for many of the issues, the only way that I know to combat the heaviness is by being the change that I wish to see in the World. Being the person that I wish I saw when I turned on the news or pulled up a social media post. Being open-minded yet compassionate and relentless against fear while always seeking facts. Being someone attempting to facilitate change through a series of small actions, in hopes that these actions will start to ripple out from me and into the World and then eventually, hopefully, creating a small amount of goodness somewhere.

What would it be like if we all just started with ourselves? What if we all began to do the hard work of examining our behavior and seeing where we might need to soften and where we might need to stand up? What if we began to see each interaction as a means to affect small change? What if we were able to put our egos aside and begin to create opportunities that left people and places better than we found them? What if we actually began to be the change that we wanted to see in the World? It might seem like some idealistic hippy garbage to some but if you really think about it, really consider what you actually have control over – it’s yourself and your actions. What if we used ourselves, our actions, and our gifts as a catalyst for small but significant change? What if the answer was so simple that we were all overlooking it? What if it all just begins with you and me?

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Depression Doesn't Look Like Eeyore

So this post has been in my drafts for months now. I wrote it during the summer but didn’t feel like I was ready to put it up on the blog. Then today as I was driving to drop my kids off at school local DJ’s were talking about something on the radio that caught my attention. I heard one of the DJ’s speak about someone was checking themselves into treatment for postpartum depression (later found out this is Hayden Panettiere) and in not so many words stated that he thought she should just suck it up and keep being a mom. He felt that her checking into a facility to get help for her depression was somehow a cop out or selfish. There was a broader and more cohesive conversation that ensued but the attitude and comments of this young male DJ made me remember how widespread and uninformed ones feelings tend to be about mental illness and more specifically about depression. 

I have been open on this blog about my scuffles with depression and postpartum. It is something that would be easier not to have to battle but I do. Mental illness the name in and of itself always bothers me. Mental illness…sick mind…mind isn’t well…crazy person.  I don’t feel as though I am any of these things yet that is the lens with which people view you through when you are a human with depression. I was first put on anti-depressants when I was in high school and this continued much into my adult life. By all definitions I have every right to be depressed but I never wanted to be depressed and I didn’t choose to have depression.  I don’t think anyone does. Depression is like this slow stealth creeping of sadness. It rarely happens all at once. It’s more like slow drops in a tin bucket and then one day you realize that you’ve been holding this bucket for far too long and it has now become so heavy that if you don’t do something to get relief from holding it right now you will internally combust. It feels urgent and helpless and overwhelming and exhausted all at the same time. It is not something that you can just simply try harder to get it to stop. It is a constant battle between what you authentically feel and what is deemed acceptable to feel and the two are never congruent. 

For many years I accepted the societal stigma that accompanies having depression. I kept my melees to myself because embracing or talking about depression isn’t common or generally acceptable. Unapologetically owning or having open conversations about depression makes other people feel uncomfortable and act awkward.  As soon as someone obtains this fact about you a barrage of judgments and ideas fill their minds. You go from being looked at as normal to being looked at as damaged. You get this overwhelming expression of melancholy from others because of your condition. The outcry of “I am so so sorry for you” to me is just quite aggravating. The problem with “I am so so sorry for you” is that it assumes that the person feeling sorry has somehow been spared from depression and its reaches. I’m not saying that every person has depression. What I am saying is that the statistics on depression are actually kind of astounding and the chance that you or someone that you really care about is travailing from depression is highly likely. 

1 in 5 adults have experienced depression in the last year and an estimated 16 million American adults—almost 7% of the population—had at least 1 major depressive episode last year. People of all ages and all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds can experience depression, but it does affect some groups of people more than others. Women are 70% more likely than men to experience depression, and young adults aged 18–25 are 60% more likely to have depression than people aged 50 or older. **

1 in 5 people. Think about that for a second the next time you’re at the office or at a grocery store. 1 out of 5 of those people is dealing with depression. This attitude of “I am so so sorry for you because this is such an odd and rare anomaly” needs to shift. It needs to shift so that people dealing with depression can openly and unshamefully engage with others about their struggles in an attempt to regain control over their lives. It needs to shift so that people who are suffering in secret will have the courage to get help. It needs to shift to save the lives and souls of people who have depression. The perception just really needs to shift. 

We need to understand that depression doesn’t look like Eeyore. It looks like me and Hayden Panettiere, and Princess Diana, Jim Carrey, and Robin Williams. It looks like the lady down the street and the teller at the bank, your cousin or a teacher. Depression doesn’t discriminate. Deciding that you or the people you know are somehow exempt doesn’t bring about change or help progress this concern. Pretending like this isn't happening to people all around us doesn't help anyone. Getting caught up in the misguided judgements of "oh but she seems so normal or the "what does he have to be depressed about" aligns energy in the wrong thresholds. What we should be focusing on is how to normalize depression so that people suffering from it can come back out into the sun of life. What we can do is move away from this idea that people have to be happy and perfect all of the time and move towards this idea that living authentically is the point of it all. 

As people who live with depression we can refuse to allow others - social media, popular ideals, our families and friends - to set unrealistic expectations of what our lives should look and feel like. We can choose not to buy into this mass, false, and unrealistic imagery of what is normal. We can pass off the temptation to live a Facebook likeable life. We can choose and encourage others to live lives that are real and specific to them. We can challenge ourselves  to feel even when that feeling is sadness. We can dare to own our circumstances even if it’s disordered and embarrassing and socially uncomfortable. We can be honest with ourselves. We can attempt to live our lives in the present rather than pulling along our demons from the past. We can slough off this idea that having depression makes you damaged or less than or not normal. We can be audacious enough to own our life situations and to get help when we need it. We can embrace the fact that we all deserve and are worth feeling happy. We can accept that even though we have depression that doesn't make us sad and miserable all of the time. We can know that there are avenues to take that can help us  put down the tin bucket and regain a sense of ease in our lives. We can know that getting help doesn’t make us weak or selfish but rather brave and humble. We can know that we deserve happiness rather than perfection. We can know that depression doesn't even begin to define the totality of who we are as human beings but rather it is a small part that makes up a much greater whole. 

My life is so very far from perfect but I would rather my imperfect sideways life over a tidy perfect one any day. Because on my darkest days - the days where I sometime can’t even see that there is a path to follow - those are the days that I learn the most about life and about myself. Keeping moving forward and know that you are not alone. Dare to live a complete and present life where you experience not only the good but also the bad. Embrace your complete human experience and allow yourself to be yourself even when that looks and feels a little messy. 

 Depression Looks Like This                               Not This

To get more information about depression or to learn how to get help with your depression visit - or talk to your doctor to find a treatment that feels right to you.  

Monday, July 13, 2015

Recap on My Journey and Taking the First Step

So I spent the last couple of days rereading the “my journey” posts and it was sadish and enlightening. Sadish because rereading those posts about my time spent in post-partum depression was sad and reading it again reminded me of how far I’ve come and yet that I still have a ways to go. Enlightening because I was reminded that I’m a writer not an editor – yikes!! 

Any who, to recap a bit about where we left off in the journey. It all started when I had baby numero dos (2) I was beyond exhausted and really just maxed out in my life. All of my life hood dysfunctions had sort of come to a head – I was tired all of the time yet I wasn’t sleeping well, I had massive migraines, body aches, back and leg pain, brain fogginess, over all sadness, stomach issues, skin issues (acne and hives), hair loss – I really just felt like I was dying or falling apart or both all of the time. On top of it all I was a stay at home mom who had two young kids to take care of and kids don’t care if you feel like hell - life had to keep going. I went to my 6 week post-partum appointment and was told that I had depression. I was put on medication for it. You can read more about the here.

Even after being put on the medication most of the time it felt like I was drowning – drowning in the middle of a huge lake and everyone was just standing around the lake talking, laughing and carrying on with their lives not even aware that I was drowning. In between weeks of not leaving the house I would get a spark of light and realize that life had to be better than what I was living. I would find another doctor and either get told I was fine or get another diagnoses. A year of doctors visits trying to figure out what was wrong with me got me 5 medications, multiple blood tests, a thyroid ultrasound, a CT Scan, x-rays of my back, hips and legs, I was told that I had fibromyalgia and I was also told I had a leaky gut and a gluten allergy. I was a mess and my body was falling apart. I was clearly not fine.

Amidst all of this we went to Kenya to visit my husband’s family for six weeks. I lost a bag along the way that had my medications in it. Coming down off of anti-depressants that rapidly sent me on a trip to crash landing villeKenya was a much needed wake up call for me. It gave me perspective and forced me to realize that I had ventured down a long dark corridor trying to find relief from my symptoms but no one could tell me why all of this was happening to me at the ripe young age of 24. I was 24 and was on multiple medications yet was finding very little relief from what was going on. Kenya was so extremely different from what I was used to in every way. I learned so much while I was there about myself and about life that I couldn’t go back home and not adopt some of these new ways of life and thinking. Kenya was the beginning domino that set off a long series of changes in my life. 

When we came home I knew I needed to get movement back into my body so by accident I started doing yoga and then began to address the emotional connection to my health problems. These were the first two steps on the stair case back up to feeling well again. The next series of posts will continue to be about how I got my life back through small yet sustainable changes. Get caught up on all the my journey posts here and I see you on the next post!