I’d like to thank all the Sarahs . . .

I think it’s time to forgive all the Sarahs. Heck, not just forgive them — thank them!

They were doing the best they could. They had lessons to learn! I couldn’t be who I am today without them. Wait, this is sounding like an acceptance speech . . .

“I’d like to thank the academy, my husband, my agent, and I’d especially like to thank all the Sarahs who helped me get to where I am today:

“Law-school-Sarah, thank you for showing me what is possible when all my focus is channeled to one task. You showed me that if I stand squarely in my masculine I can achieve pretty much anything I set my mind to. (Never mind if most of it is a pointless exercise in competition, winner-take-all gamesmanship, and distorted-masculinity. But I digress.) You also showed me that there is a cost to be paid when it means shutting down my feminine energy that is the source of vitality, joy and creativity. Law school Sarah, I look at photos of you and I think, damn, that girl just needs a break. Your hair is dry, your face is puffy and you don’t really exude happiness do you? You showed me the costs of polarity within myself. Thanks for that very big lesson, girl. Now go get a facial!

“I’d also like to thank grieving, collapsed on the sofa new-mom-Sarah for showing me the gifts of surrender. Girl, you had a tough time of it too. Your mom died, your cat died, and you could have probably used a facial as well. But wow you learned that there are times to surrender and throw your arms up. To proclaim to the universe, I don’t have any answers so some help here would be appreciated. You learned to be still and receive. You gave so much of yourself that you were due for a long period of rest and renewal. You found your way back to your heart and lit the spark of the divine feminine within. You transmuted pain with your writing and art. That is kind of a big deal! I’m so thankful for you for showing the way back to the things that make my heart sing. What a gift!

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“And lastly–this is the hardest one because it is so raw–I’d like to thank infertility Sarah. I didn’t want to see your gifts because not fair! But alas, you had them too. If it weren’t for you I wouldn’t have demanded my own vitality. Imagine that. It took a representative of the patriarchy–a male in a white lab coat, discussing my body like it was a machine to be fixed and tweaked–for me to realize that this was not okay. It was not okay that my body was dried up, spent, and lacking in feminine life force itself! It was a confirmation of something I knew and had ignored: that I had given too much and my cup was empty, that there had to be a better way of living than depending on another cup of coffee. You showed me, dear heartbroken Sarah, that you matter.  You matter beyond comprehension. You matter more than your ability  to create new life. Imagine if you had waited to learn this lesson from staring at a different clinical diagnosis? What a gift that you were shaken awake.

“What’s that? You cut to commercial five minutes ago? But there are so many other Sarahs to thank! Fine, but I won’t leave this stage without a fight. Oprah for president! Impeach Trump! You will not silence me!!” [Mic cut.]

For real though, there are other Sarahs to thank. But for today this will do.

What past selves do you think you might be able to forgive? It’s okay if it doesn’t come easily or quickly. This post is the end product of more sad, self-indulgent journal entries than I care to admit!

‘Quit trying to hide who you are. You’re the only thing you have.’

Check out this gem from an interview with actor Richard Jenkins that I heard on yesterday’s Fresh Air (find the episode here):

(Fresh Air Guest Host DAVIES): Coming back to when you were talking about how there came a point when you were bored. Can you take us back to that time? Do you remember when you felt bored – a role – what it felt like?

(Actor RICHARD JENKINS): I don’t remember the specific role, but I remember being outside of myself looking at me doing what I was doing. That’s the feeling I got. And I thought, you know, what am I doing? What’s the point of this profession to me? I mean, is this what it means to me just to do this thing night after night without feeling life?

And I went back to an old acting coach I had. Harold Guskin was his name. He wasn’t an old man. He was just a coach I had worked with for a year. And I went back to what he taught me. And I just said, OK. Let’s try this. And he basically said quit trying to hide who you are. You’re the only thing you have. And I just refused to believe that it was enough, that it was interesting enough, that I had anything to offer.

But the thing you come to – that I came to – is that whether you think that or not, that’s all you got. So you have to rely on that. Every experience has to come through a filter, through your experience. You know, you get angry. It’s – you’re getting angry, what makes you angry. So I was trying to copy others or be something else or be a character. It takes a long time to trust yourself enough to think that I have something to offer. And it’s – we still – I still don’t believe it. I still think I don’t. But, you know, you know that the only chance you have is to just kind of live your life and exist on the screen.

 


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Finish what you started

That seems to be my lesson this week. FINISH THE DARN PROJECTS YOU STARTED THREE MONTHS AGO. I read a blog post recently (I will link to it if I can find it) that said something to the effect of, how can you be present if you haven’t finished things you have started? Finish them and then you will be able to be present. 

Huh. I realized I had a LOT of things I’d started but not finished. I credit my perfectionism hiding in the shadows, (without me being aware of course) that was stalling me from finishing stuff because what if it doesn’t turn out exactly like I planned? What if I don’t like it?  WELL THEN. First, nothing turns out as we plan, am I right?! Second, done is better than none. And if you don’t like it you redo it, simple as that. Perfectionism, I shall slay you. giphy2

With that in mind, I finished painting the bathroom that I’d starting painting three months ago (YUP), I ordered hardware for a curtain rod that is broken, did the laundry that was piling up, put away the Christmas decorations, and I’m promising myself I will finish organizing my office this week. WOW IT FEELS GOOD.

Is there anything you need to finish that you started? Is perfectionism keeping you from doing it? Oh perfectionism, we see you and we give you imaginary hugs but also send you on your way. 

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Keep the faith, but reckon with the present

Keep the faith, but reckon with the present.

That’s the mantra that came to me recently during a walking meditation. (Walking meditation=me walking, trying not to have incessant mind-chatter and instead trying to breathe deep and stay present. Occasionally it works!) Well, the mantra keeps ringing in my ears lately, probably because I haven’t been following the mantra. I’m not sure if it is the holidays and their capacity to bring out grief, or the fact that we are nearing the end of one HECK of a sober year (though I still contend that 2016 was worse), but it seems every new day brings reckoning of truths I’d rather not deal with.

I’m old enough to know that what resists, persists, so reckon with them I shall. That doesn’t mean I always do so immediately and quickly.

Take for example the story of the misplaced lost driver’s license.  I recently misplaced my driver’s license. I resisted the idea that I lost it. So certain that I would find it, I didn’t deal with it for mumble-mumble-seven-days-mumble.

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I lose things so frequently that I’m asking for this guy for Christmas so my family doesn’t have to go, you lost your damn glasses again??? Apparently I need more of these in my life. (From https://www.uncommongoods.com/product/owl-eyeglasses-holder)

I literally had to bribe myself with a fancy starbucks coffee to get myself to go to the DMV and replace the license yesterday. And. . .while they took a downright horrible photo of me with what can only be described as CRAZY EYES--overall the whole thing was pretty painless. It turns out my identification is “verified” in the system (whatever that means) and I didn’t even have to schlep fifteen forms of ID with me to get it taken care of. So much mental energy thinking about it and really, what for? I got a coffee out of the deal. I got a crazy-eyed photo out of the deal. I’m good with the law. What was the problem here.

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I feel your pain piggy. 

The moral of this story is that the reckoning is sometimes easier than the thinking about the reckoning. The heartaches, the fears, the unknowns, the unspeakables, the not-pretties, the lost objects, all the junk you just don’t want to think about or deal with. . .just like my lost license, I have a hunch they won’t magically resolve on their own.

Of course, I’m holding onto the fact that mantra has another part to it: keep the faith. I mean, there is only so much compost to be made from all this sh*t, and I am told it helps to grow beautiful gardens. This too shall pass. 2018 is around the corner and I have a hunch maybe, just maybe, good things are in store. We survived 2016, and 2017, so hey things have got to chill out eventually right? (If not, we can always look at my cross-eyed DMV photo and have a good laugh.)


What do you have to reckon with that you are resisting? You can do it, really you can.