Choose Differently

Look at this differently.
Embrace the surrounding.
Open the energy,
and succumb to the now.

Shine in this space.
Give breath to the rooms.
Lean not only forward,
but touch what stands beneath.

It’s easy to get caught up in the wants of life. To be thinking so much about what we believe we need to have in order to be happy that we lose complete sight of all that we have right here, in this moment. There can be so much negative energy wrapped up in the constant battle for what we are hungry for and sometimes just shifting that energy can change everything.

At the end of March, I had over three months of living in this temporary apartment, surrounded by boxes and feeling very unsettled. I didn’t want to fully unpack yet, knowing this was just a brief stop along the way to the dream home that my husband and I were searching for. My entire world was about finding a house, but not just any house, the right house. It was frustrating and growing heavy on my shoulders because nothing was showing up. My mood was changing, I was experiencing a lot of ups and downs and wasn’t really taking care of myself, as a result – which only perpetuates the cycle of negativity. Everything was on hold. It was as if our lives had completely stopped, yet time was still passing by, and passing by so quickly that I started to feel like I was in the middle of a black hole that was sucking a huge chunk of life experiences right out from under me.

So much of my energy was being spent within the want of a house and hating where I am living, that it left me feeling absolutely miserable. On the day that I wrote this poem, I changed that energy. I made the decision to look at my circumstances differently. Instead of hating what was around me, I began living in this space as if it was the home I had been dreaming of. I started each day by envisioning what it was to feel like I was already living in the place that I had been searching for and paid my respects to the roof over my head with nothing but gratitude. Yes, it took some work, but by making the choice to see my current circumstances differently, I was able to completely shift the energy surrounding me. I stopped letting things hold me back. I planned a vacation, took trips to the zoo, made plans with friends and started living again. Two weeks later, after I had let it all go and stopped obsessing about the house hunting, there it was. The one that was just right for us popped up on the market and we will be calling it home in just a few weeks from now.

Music is Magic

Days without music go by,
unnoticed.
There is something missing
when you don’t hear the song. 

There is nothing to set them apart,
uninspired.
Bleeding into the next
when silence is the way. 

The world changes with a note,
unraveled.
It pries through closed doors
when distinction becomes enough.

Music is magic. I believe that is a quote from Trent Reznor. It’s one that sticks with me and a message that I lost for a while. I’ve been living in a temporary situation, in a dark apartment in between the sale of one home and a search for another. There was much that I gave up while living in this place and no, it isn’t some awful hovel like saying the words “dark apartment” probably sound. It’s just literally not filled with much light. Windows are few and only on one side. I am a light seeker in more ways than one, so this place has had a tendency to me feel crowded and claustrophobic on top of being a major life change. But it wasn’t just the light that I gave up, it has been music. Without having my turntable set up and easy access to my records, I stopped doing something I’ve loved my whole life. I stopped playing music in this place – not even playing it from my phone, and that is something I’ve never encountered. I can’t explain what happened, other than being here made everything feel different and I let parts of myself fade away.

The effects of no music were greater than I realized. One recent afternoon, after 5 months of being here, I popped on a playlist from my phone and I was almost immediately changed. I got lost in the songs, danced around the room and fell into what might be described as a state of bliss. A joy arose in me that I haven’t felt in many months and it was all thanks to the music. A seemingly simple thing, yet so complex that it can open doors and alter moods. While this may not have shone a physical light on me, I reacted to it as if it had. Music should never go unplayed, no matter the circumstances. It truly is magic.

Taking Back the Morning

I’m working on something new – taking a break from social media in the mornings. The mornings are when I’m my most creative. It’s when I can easily get into the flow and write, but I’ve been sabotaging them by reaching for my phone the moment I wake up. Before I’ve even left my bed, I’m sifting through page after page of Instagram and Facebook updates. I don’t get caught up much on Twitter anymore, but I still find myself checking it a couple of times a day, which is also the same with LinkedIn. I’ve considered, more than once, eliminating those altogether from my phone, but I haven’t had the heart to go there yet. Why is that? Fear of missing out – also known as FOMO? I kind of hate that acronym. Maybe it’s because I had no clue what that meant until being forced to look it up recently. Either I’m getting old or just out of touch. Oh, but I’m definitely not out of touch considering all of the social media accounts buzzing on my phone, and I refuse to claim old yet. Not today, Satan.

I probably waste at least a half hour in these early mornings on social media. The truth is it’s likely far more when you add in all the times I find myself holding the phone in my hand without even realizing what I’m doing. I can’t even remember reaching for it. Sometimes even mid writing session I catch myself scrolling the screen. Seriously, picking up that phone has become a terrible habit. It’s getting in the way of me getting down and dirty with my work, of taking hold of the pro mindset. So, here come the baby steps. Starting today, I’m eliminating the immediate social media check in the mornings until after I’ve gotten out of bed, made the coffee and written my morning pages – à la Julia Cameron and The Artist’s Way. Then, and only then, am I allowing myself a peek. But even today, I’m refraining from looking until I’ve done something more – like writing this post to tell you all about it!

So why is it killing me right now to not have a look at my phone? I’m not missing anything important and I know it. I suppose it’s just become a habit, an addiction of sorts. I never saw myself as a phone addict, but the amount of time it spends in my hands is disconcerting, at best. The moments we have in each day are so fleeting that I don’t want to throw too many of them away on something that isn’t supporting my creative endeavors. Yet, that is exactly what I’ve been doing. I’m not giving it all up entirely, but I am raising my cup of coffee and giving a shout out to taking my mornings back. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Commitment

Commit. Do the thing.
The thing that calls.
That pull that won’t stop tugging,
the whir scrambling ‘round your brain.

There is no refusing
When all distraction is hushed;
which is a feat in itself,
but a necessary one just the same.

I’ve written my entire life. I’ve been blogging or online journaling in some fashion since it first came onto the scene (I’m definitely dating myself here). But before that, there was poetry. My first love. My early poems started when I was about 7, and I kept writing through my early twenties, but somewhere along the way I got distracted with life. Marriage. Jobs. Family. Friends. Therapy. Seeking. Religion. Moving. That is life. Poetry was always in the back of my head, but had faded significantly, to the point where I didn’t think I would ever write it again. Then one day, just a few weeks ago, I rediscovered it. I was reminded about a passion that has been a part of my for nearly as long as I’ve been alive (at least as long as I was capable of forming simple written prose), and it started pouring forth from me again.

So here I am, off and running and committing to this next step in my journey.