Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Bobbi Lately

August is like Sunday. That's right, stay with me.

June is Friday. You're teeming with excitement. It's time for fun, you don't pay too much attention to time going by, you're just glad to crack a beer, let your hair down, and glide into relaxation mode.

July is Saturday. You're in it to win it. You're spending all your hard earned dough. Rock on, let's eat Mexican food and cheese fries at 3am and sit on all the patios. No time for yoga, there is fun to be had!

That's where you misstep, because you pay for it a little in August.

So...August is Sunday. You're tired, bloated, inexplicably sore, a little hung over, and you're slightly terrified to look at your bank statement. Yet you're also determined to make the most of the rest of your free time.

August, man, I did my best with you, but I have to say, I'm dragging.

I'm left with a very strong desire for a peaceful fall. Not only in the sense of slowing down significantly socially, but also emotionally and physically.

I've been thinking about how to manifest that feeling of ease and here's what I've come up with:
  • Back on the gluten- and dairy-free wagon. Digestive struggle is the worst of all struggles.
  • Lots and lots of yoga. Find the ease through a little bit of effort.
  • Baths with tea and candles. Routine to create comfort.
  • Cut myself and others a lot of slack. Space where it is needed, connection where it is not. 
  • Long walks with Henley. See the world through her gentle eyes.
  • Nights in on the weekends. Money and energy in the bank.
  • Cultivating positive thoughts. Recalibrating my default outlook.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Brain Crush: Marry Yo'self

I am obsessed with this Ted Talk by Tracy McMillian, who bares her flaws to bring you her life's message: You need to marry yourself before you can marry anyone else.

The best bits:

"You commit to yourself, fully. And then you build a relationship with yourself to the point where you realize you're whole, right now. That there is no man, woman, job, circumstance that can happen to you that's gonna make you more whole. Because you already are."

"What I've learned is, and what my experience is, is that the places where you have your biggest challenges in your life become the place where you have the most to give--if you do your inner work."

"A mistake isn't actually a failure unless you don't learn from it, and unless you don't grow."

"There's a saying: you ask for patience, and what you get is a line at the bank. What that means is that life does not give you what you ask for. It gives you the people, places, and situations that allow you to develop what you ask for."
"What I learned was how to sit by my own bedside, and how to hold my own hand, and how to nurse myself,  how to comfort myself. What I learned is that I am a person that I can count on."

"People always ask me about my love life. I mean, they wanna know. And the answer is: 'I'm working on it. Aren't we all?'"

"I'm more interested in how I feel about me, than how he feels about me. Not because I'm selfish, but because the only relationship I'm ever going to have with another person is the one I'm already having with myself."

"The way I see it, it's like I took myself to the top of a mountain--and maybe the bottom of the ocean--and I got down on one knee, and I said to myself, 'I'll never leave you'."

I love funny, articulate, flawed, freaking smart women. Tracy, you're my girl. Because you're your own girl first.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Letting Go

There is a line in a Dave Matthew's Band song that has been in my head for weeks:
That's not a star; that's a satellite
It repeats at the end of a nine-minute song that is otherwise about how to live a good life.  Most of the other lyrics are instructive (be kind always and shine your light while you've got one), so the line feels especially out of place.

In an interview with MSN Music, Dave said this about the song:
"My father used to say to me, "Find your bliss, and that's what you should spend your life on" ... I was kind of trying to say the same thing to my kids but with more words, which I'm apt to do*. I have this image of a beaten-up soldier at a bar, sort of thinking about telling his kids this, more than actually being able to. And the war or whatever experience is the music in between... At the end, there's this image of surrender, lying on your back, whether on a battlefield or not, staring at the stars. There's a line my wife has said to me: "That's not a star; that's a satellite." I like that idea, I like that phrase, that's why I repeat it five or six times. I think it's a nice way to say goodbye."
*Me too, Dave. Me too.

A satellite, not a star. A decoy, not the real thing. Something forced, man-made, not something natural. A realization, a vehicle for letting go.

I'm going to say something obvious: It really hurts when something isn't what you think it is. It's the very worst kind of hurt, when you wanted something to be real and it turns out it was just a fabrication.  When you hoped for the magic of a shooting star, only to realize it was just a satellite with its own trajectory.

Sometimes. But not always.

Hope becomes dangerous when it hovers too long. You eventually find you're in the wrong orbit, and the feeling that it's better than no orbit at all only lasts so long.

I'm gonna steer clear
I burn up in your atmosphere
--John Mayer, In Your Atmosphere

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Quoteworthy: Savor

My friend Rachel recently remarked that summer is about savoring and enjoying the good, while winter is about reflecting and contemplating change.
Out loud, or rather via Gchat, I responded, "Yes! Exactly." But something deep down in the murkiness of my heart-of-hearts responded differently, silently, over the past few days: Then why are they so hard for me to do separately? 
I thought I'd gotten better at the balance, at not defaulting to comparison, at not needing to hold both good and bad in my hands at once. Why do I always have to feel all the feelings? 
So when an email from my friend Alicia offered the word 'savor' as well, I knew there was something to it. What does it mean to savor, truly?

Savor is sort of like my old friends resolve and sufficiency in that it has so many meanings that it becomes more beautiful the more you study it. To savor is to be as aware as possible, to honor life's complexities, to feel all the feelings and know how to express them. It's a noun and a verb: a thing you can be or appreciate and a thing you can do, actively.  My very favorite type of word.
Savor: (n) a distinctive quality; the particular feature or trait that makes something or someone interesting or enjoyable; the power to excite
Savor: (v) to enjoy something for as long as possible; to experience with pleasure
Synonyms: relish, taste, enjoy, revel
It's interesting that savor has the connotation of doing something slowly because as much as I want to soak up what's left of the exceedingly fleeting Chicago summer, I also have an intense urge to slow down. Conflicting feelings, always.

But I suppose that's what I love so much about this word. Savor literally means to realize the good (the wonder! the taste! the sound! the feeling! the aliveness!) and the bad (the fleeting, the fading, the passing, the transient) both at once. It's the quintessence of being in the moment; it reaches equally in both directions. It's a bittersweet word, just in time for a bittersweet season.

"The root of joy is gratefulness. It is not joy that makes us grateful. It is gratefulness that makes us joyful."
 --Brother David Steindl-Rast

"The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware. Joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware."
 --Henry Miller

"Let me live, love, and say it well in good sentences."
--Sylvia Plath

Keep your head up / try and listen to your heart
Be kind always / no matter
We all grow up / and someday we'll say goodbye
So shine your light while you've got one

Make the most of what you've got
Don't waste time trying to be something you're not
Fill up your head and fill up your heart
and take your shot
 --Dave Matthews Band, Drunken Soldier

"So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad, and I'm still trying to figure out how that can be."
 --The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

For each new morning with its light,
for rest, and the shelter of the night.
for health and food, for love and friends,
for everything thy goodness sends.
 --Ralph Waldo Emerson, We Thank Thee

For words that become more beautiful the more you study them, for words that arrive in your inbox or chat session at just the right moment, for words that capture the exact feeling that your heart aches to communicate, I thank thee.