Can’t keep up? I’ve got an idea…

Oh my gosh. my simple desire is to keep things simple. Seriously. Everything is so complicated, especially in my head.

Over thinking. Over analysis. Over emotional.  Over budget. Over time. Over craziness. Over under.

whirlwind

My brain…most of the time

What?!

Exactly.

It’s too much. We put all of these demands on ourselves, on others, on our lives and can’t keep the fuck up. What is our problem? Everyone at my work is stressed. My boss snapped at me because she can’t keep up. My collegue runs around red-faced and tense like a firecracker about to blow. I whip home after an hour or so of overtime, to arrive just on time to take one kid to piano, drop the other one at piano. Run in the grocery store for the desperately-needed items we can’t live without one more day without the school calling about my malnourished children, go back and get the first kid, back to get the second one – the third kid screaming “THIS IS BORING!” from the back seat because some law tells me I can’t leave a 7-yr old at home alone (what’s that about?!) – to get home to have what for dinner? Eggs? Again? If I remembered to pick them up. Nope, I didn’t. Damn. Well, have some toast and be done with it. You’ll live.

And then, I’m not writing, but just obesessing about writing and wanting to write and what I should write about and what’s my brand and will anyone read my shit anyway and am I even good enough and when do I even have time to write and how can I leave my job so I have time to write, but then I won’t have any money, so maybe I start my own business, but doing what because that will take time and money I don’t have and I need to pay my mortgage and wish I could just write and make a shitload of money, but that’s not realistic because we all know the success rates of poets and writers and artists. So where does that leave me?

Not writing and becoming a bear, a beast and a bitch.

Yeah, it’s too much.

My husband just shakes his head at me at my latest temper tantrum break down because I complained, cried and cursed that I don’t have time to write and I can’t keep doing this. He just said “You do this to yourself. You do your whoa is me thing saying you need time to write and that you’re miserable, but then 2 hours later you’re telling me everything we need to do this weekend – all things you are choosing to do that we don’t have to do.” Of course, my reaction is that he clearly doesn’t understand and there’s no way that’s right and we need to do something about this whole time thing and you’re not really hearing me…blah, blah blah. Until the next morning, when the sun’s out and my girls are playing happily and I have time to sit and sip my chai latte, and pull out my computer,  and finally see his  simple wisdom. Fuck. It’s all totally on me. My choices. My decisions to fill up my time with things from the outside rather than to fill my time with things that fill me up on the inside.

So, here’s the big earth-shattering realization that this post is all about:

Can’t keep the fuck up? SLOW THE FUCK DOWN!

(Not only the theme of this blog post, but clearly my latest idea for an inspriational coffee mug.)

So, here’s the advice I now have for you after going through these latest self-affirming moments of torture:

  • Know what your thing is that fills you up on the inside.
  • Look at your day/week/month and figure out what you’re doing that you don’t really need to. You know the things – they’re usually guilt-driven or procrastination-driven.
  • Look at what is taking up space in your brain. What are you obsessing about and becoming bitchy about?
  • Ask yourself “Do I even ever play, like at all?”
  • Now, speak up to those around you and say “Enough! I’m done! I need time to just be.” Bring them into it. So they know where you’re at so they can help.
  • Then do it. Take enough pride and honour in yourself to do your thing simply because it’s your thing and you love it.

That’s it really. That last bullet. Slowthe fuck down by starting to simply do your thing just because you love it. That’s it…

…and its working. See? I’m writing again.

That’s my simple desire.

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Sweet inspiration, you came back!!

Oh sweet inspiration, what you do to me! My heart is racing. My fingers are tingling. My mind is flipping cartwheels out of utter joy because you have come back to me (refer to last post)! I’m also so glad you caught me when I raced into your arms at first sight – like my 5-year old when I come to pick her up, ecstatically yelling my name, trusting I have my balance when the full weight of her body thunks against my thighs.

I stole this image from http://www.schuitema.co.za/blog/?p=1608 (hope they forgive)

Stolen from http://www.schuitema.co.za (please forgive)

And I saw the grin in your eyes when you knew I saw you. You were happy too! (Hee hee. I really do look like her right now →)

In fact, you haven’t left my side since we reconnected. Maybe the reason you left was to restock your idea fridge because the other night you kept me up until almost 1:00 a.m. with your new notions. I could barely keep up. And then, in the middle of work yesterday, you appeared out of the blue and got me all riled up I had to jot some quick shorthand just to capture what you were saying. And now tonight, you caught up with me again starting at my aunt’s 80th birthday party, which I almost didn’t go to. But then, I think you whispered in my ear I should make the effort to go and see the family I haven’t seen in many, many months. And upon seeing many of them, I quickly realized why. You reminded me that I come by my artistry honestly. It’s in my blood. As I looked around the garden, I began to take in the passion and creativity I’ve been surrounded by my whole life. My uncle, for example, has music for blood in his veins. He is a past opera singer with the Canadian Opera Company and a current vocal coach and incredible pianist. (By the way Rudy, I confess to touching your stunning piano. My fingers couldn’t help themselves…) Rudy’s two siblings were near by, one a cellist, the other a singer. My own mother and father inspired writing and music in me from the beginning and pursue both themselves in different ways. My cousin is a writer making his way and following his heart. My other cousin is a photographer and film editor. My aunt’s brother was there too, and he’s an actor and the former Artistic Director at Theatre Passe Muraille among many other accomplishments. I’ll stop there, but you get the idea. Thank you inspiration for knowing how good that would be for me.

And then, my sweet, I turned to find you schmoozing with their inspirations. Friends I guess you have not seen in so long either. Based on how fast you’re making me type, I think the party was just as good for you as it was for me. See? We do make a great team. We’ll keep this simple desire thing of ours alive yet.

So, this is a shout out to you for hearing me and not giving up on me. For reminding me who I am and that I never should have doubted you in the first place. (Yes, I see you nodding fervently like I should have known all along.) I was all worked up for nothing, as per usual. Here’s to you. I hope you enjoyed the cookies (refer to end of last post).

Yours always,

Andrea

A kindred spirit

The second Nancy got up to speak I knew she was a kindred spirit. I love it when that happens! It’s usually at unexpected moments when you are anticipating that your day will bring the same old, same old, but then someone new and fun suddenly pops into your life – like you just walked into a surprise party just for you. That person carries an energy about them that captures you inexplicably like a welcome, warm hug of greeting that says “I’m sure we’ve met before. It’s great to see you again!” I visualize it as their soul angel flying over to hang out with mine like we’ve been best friends forever!

That’s what it was like with Nancy. She was a trainer for a course I recently took. Her passion, goofiness, and enthusiasm for life oozed out of her and I was immediately drawn in. The course was only two days and their were 14 others participating, but within only a couple of hours, she and I both knew we “got” each other. And by the end of the two days we had hugged multiple times, shared some laughs and exchanged personal information. Our connection so effortlessly natural.

When these kinds of encounters happen, most of us are overwhelmed by the feeling that we were meant to meet this person. We simply know it was not at all by chance. These kindred spirits who enter into our lives, if only for a short time, are so incredible because they leave us with renewed energy, revitalized hope for life and humanity, and a clearer vision of who we are and even hope to be.

My simple desire is to hang onto these moments when they happen and find a way to remember them in times of doubt and uncertainty.

I have no idea when I will see Nancy again, but I feel fortunate knowing we both left a positive mark on each other’s lives. We gave each other a small piece of ourselves and I receive hers as a gift to be cherished. So, I am happy to take a moment, soak in the light of the universe around me and the God who is ever within me, and say a heartfelt “thank you!”

Instrument of light and joy

I have this belief that we all have this incredible glory and light within us, but most of us – me included – are too damn afraid to admit that we might be pretty wonderful people if we just gave ourselves a chance. I also believe that it’s in the opening of ourselves and sharing even the tiniest glimpses of our inner glory with each other, that the the light within actually shines brighter and makes the world that much better of a place.

My simple desire is to be an instrument of light – of my own and maybe of those around me who I connect with or who come to this space.

This makes me think of one of my favourite songs: Great Big Sea’s “When I’m Up”. It starts with “I am the fountain of affection. I am the instrument of joy,” and it continues with “I am lifted. I am lifted. When I’m up I can’t get down, can’t get down, can’t get level. When I’m up I can’t get down, get my feet back on the ground.” Every time I hear it I get pumped and am lifted! I want to dance like a crazy woman soaking up the energy and joy it brings out in me.

I start screaming, “Yes! That’s me! I want to be an instrument of joy! I want to bring out the joy in my kids! I want to bring out the joy in my friends! I want to bring out the joy at work! I want to bring out the joy in the entire world!” and on and on until I’ve gone from bringing out the joy in the entire world to the entire Milky Way to the entire, infinite universe in my enthusiasm. My simple desires, aren’t always that simple to be honest.

Anyway, I honestly am lifted by the concept. I’m lifted by the possibility of being an instrument of light or joy in everyday moments that feel to most of us just like that – everyday moments. Dreary. Boring. Normal. Sameness. Why not? Because it’s actually in those every day moments when the magic happens even though we don’t usually take a second to see it. Too busy getting ready for the next thing to happen, we don’t actually see what is happening right now.

LIke this morning, for example. It’s about time to leave and my 7-year old hasn’t yet brushed her teeth because I said something about paper airplanes and she just had to run downstairs to make one right then. There is no later with kids. And, of course, I’m simply anxious and hyper about getting out the door on time that I didn’t soak up how completely focused and excited she was by the possibility of her ability to make a piece of paper fly. So being the awesome mother I am, I scolded her for dinking around and ended up making her cry. How am I an instrument of joy in that scenario? #FAIL – as my 10-year old would say.

Anyway, I get I won’t be successful in every moment, but I can still have the simple desire to be it more often. That’s all I’m going for. That’s all any of us can go for. I just know the more we deliberately try, the more often we’ll get it right, and maybe the more we’ll rub off on others. So, I’m in. You?