The end of a glorious day at Hapuna Beach in Hawaii.
The art is not one of forgetting but letting go. And when everything else is gone, you can be rich in loss. –Rebecca Solnit
“Letting go is easy,” one of my meditation teachers once said.
He sat in front of a group of us who had gathered for the weekly dharma night teaching and pulled his keys out of his pocket. He held them for a brief second and then dropped them to the floor. “See,” he said. “It’s just like that.”
Just like what? It’s not that easy, I thought.
He did this over and over again – reaching, holding, dropping, reaching, holding, dropping …
It clearly took some effort for this elderly man to continually reach to the ground. His movements were awkward and uncomfortable.
Well, this is embarrassing, I remember thinking.
What is he doing?
My body and I have not always been on the best of terms. For most of my life, ignoring the anxiety, fear and self-doubt that I faced in my day-to-day was a second full-time job. I constantly looked to my colleagues to determine which face to put forward in different settings. Work meeting? That’s confident, decisive Kelsey. Party? That’s friendly, open Kelsey. I became so adept at being the person I thought I was supposed to be, that I forgot who I really was. The anxiety, doubt and insecurity continued but I Hulu’d and Facebook’d these feelings away. I thought I was the problem. Everyone else seemed successful, confident and happy. If I tried harder, did the things they did, wore the right clothes, said the “cleverest” things, I would be happy too. Right? Wrong.
Head-to-head with my constant companion
Grace lead me to a meditation practice. The first time I landed on the cushion, I encountered so much anxiety that I could not sit in the open, hands-on-thighs posture that was prescribed. Instead, what felt “safe” was to fold my arms across my chest and sit in a kind of hunched, protected fashion. There was much awareness that I was doing it “wrong” and, for a girl who’d spent much time imitating others, standing out in this way was painful, but I couldn’t help myself. After 5 minutes, I jumped up ready to do anything else. That was enough of that.
This month I had an intuitive reading.
These happen with regularity in my world. I consider them like bumpers on a bowling lane warning of possible pitfalls along my path. Often after a reading I’m encouraged, inspired, and I feel more grounded. “Yes,” I believe “All of this is leading somewhere. I’m not spinning in vain.”
You see, on many days, because I’m outside the regularity of a 9-to5 gig, I feel like the bowling ball – rolling round and round seemingly going nowhere but sparkling all the way. These readings remind me there’s a much bigger lane beneath me and, low and behold, I’m hurdling down it. Whoa! Even better, the alley is full, and if I listen I can hear pins knocking and balls skidding all around. I’m truly not alone in this crazy game.
As I write this Nicki Minaj’s Feeling Myself is playing through my brainwaves.
I’ve been workin’ on my bounce friends.
It’s been the only way to be with all the ‘muchness’ this year has uncovered. My bounce is where I celebrate and where I lament. It is the place I come to drop out of my head and simply be in the moment, in the feeling.
I’ve never considered myself a perfectionist.
I didn’t think it was a gene my messy, fun-loving family possessed.
While growing up, B-average grades were regularly praised.
Our home answering machine message was a secondary rhyming “family rap” in which we all wrote a line and ended with an exuberant “oh yeah!” No one found this embarrassing.
Outfits for family pictures were coordinated with a request to wear any shade of “purple pastel.” Naturally, interpretations varied.
Offering our hands
What they hold
And what they long to hold
Affordable housing, real mental health care, reverence for Mother Earth, feelings of worthiness
This is how we InterPlay
I will be 34 on Oct. 1st.
My life is not what I thought it would be at the age of 34.
I do not have a thriving career,
home, garden or dog.
I do not come home in the evenings to a husband,
boyfriend or promising fling with whom I weigh weekend plans.
My space is shared with Twentysometings,
quarters are needed to do laundry.
Whimsical tissue-paper flowers in 20 different shades decorate our hall.
Walking to the bathroom feels like a celebration.
I’m a Nissan Datsun 280Z—silly showy, sturdy, fun and entirely impractical. My age shows in rust and archaic dials but this does not slow my zeal to go, try and do. I’m 34 going on 22.
O.k. I’m going to do something brave.
Something I would have never done before I shaved my head, launched a blog and decided to not let fear dictate my decisions.
I will let you in on one of my secret life joys.
Secret life joy?
Yes, we all have them. These are the things we love but only feel free to indulge in when no one is around to judge, sneer or laugh—because that’s surely what they’d do.
Rapping when your rhymes don’t exactly flow at times; feeling the warmth, curves and squishes places of your body and liking it; really enjoying something delicious (preferably eaten with your hands)—these all fit the bill.
Our secret life joys often happen behind closed doors and we rarely talk about them.
Well today, with a blush, I open that door: