The Girl and the Sea

Once there was a girl who had been holding on too tightly. This was a girl who had always been afraid of losing; losing what, she never quite knew. Her mind, her heart, her self, her future, her favorite doll.. There was just always this nagging feeling that the world was not safe and so she needed to hold on tightly to make it through.

What this girl did not understand is that not everything can be held so tight. Holding too tightly can  make what looks like love feel like suffication. Holding too tightly can leave you white knuckled and arthritic, a body cannot withstand the constant pressure to hold on so tight.

This went on for a long time and for all her efforts she still experienced devastating losses. She never loosened her grip on the things she cared about or needed to hold on to but it did not keep her safe from losing like she had hoped. Still the girl held on too tightly because she knew no other way.

One day the girl went to the ocean and was invited to step out into the crashing waves. With trepidation she followed the leader and felt overwhelmed by the power. She could not hold on out in the current, she had no control. She grasped at the sand on the ocean floor but it slipped from her fingers.  She reached out for her leader and together they were tossed by the incoming tide. She realized there was nothing else she could do so finally she let go.

For a moment she let go of everything she had been holding too tightly and watched as the ocean washed it away; in it’s place she opened her hand and found an acorn. The symbolism she did not understand at the time.

That day the girl learned that when she let go of the things she was holding too tightly her hands were then open to receive what she was truly meant to hold.

the girl and the sea

Good Bye Tour

the end

I was watching Girls yesterday – I have a love/hate relationship with that show but with that said I do watch it religiously- and the episode was called the good-bye tour. This fit so well for where I am personally at right now. Sending my gratitude letters to professors for their guidance and leadership, making my thank you gift bags for the social workers I worked with at the agency, scheduling lunches with friends from the program.. It is the good-bye tour.

I am finally at the finish line ready to cross. This moment has been a light in the distance for so long it is still hard to believe now that I am standing inside of that light finally getting to bask in the glory of accomplishment.

Another part of the good-bye tour is saying good-bye to this writing space. I was undecided for a while about the fate of the brain work blog, having this space ended up being so important over the last 5 years, more so than I could have ever imagined when I began writing. I did not know how to say good-bye, or if I even wanted to. I had pretty much made up my mind that I would just keep writing; but now that I am here I know the answer. I will be saying good-bye.

I will wait until May when I am officially done so I have a space to process all my feelings about graduation and the next life stage I am stepping into; but then I will close up shop and move on to the next thing. I don’t quite know what that will look like yet but yes, I will be writing. I have been writing since the age of 9, it is part of me, I will always be writing.

I know this is the right decision because every fiber of my being is telling me it is time. Time to make room for what comes next, the next big adventure, the next phase of life, the next stage of growth. Whatever is coming I just suddenly know that it does not belong here among the pages of my last five years, it needs it’s own space that it gets to define for itself.

I am both excited and sad. Good-byes are often bitter sweet. Saying good-bye to this blog will be much harder than many of the other good-byes I will be saying on this good-bye tour because this blog has been my true constant companion while on this journey. It has held space for me in a way no one else could.

I am so grateful to my old co-worker from the hospital that first suggested I start a blog when I was leaving work to return to school full-time. The idea she planted grew into one of the most important gifts of my entire college experience. Here I am, every version of me over the last 5 years. At any time I can come back and visit the parts of myself that still live on these pages. I could not be more grateful for that. This blog is my time capsule.

Gratitude Upon Gratitude Upon Gratitude

This morning I opened my email and soon after felt the familiar trickle of tears down my smile worn cheeks.

I mentioned that I am submitting a personal writing piece with the hopes of having it published in a magazine for women that I read. When I made this decision to step into this place of vulnerability I did so with the love and support of some of the women in my life. Before submitting this piece I knew I needed this support. I sent my writing to 5 friends whom I trust with my heart and asked for honest feedback.

These 5 friends were chosen quite deliberately. Aside from trusting them, I knew they would each bring a unique perspective. 2 of my friends have degrees related to literature and writing, all of my friends are well read, they all have a conscious mindset towards growth and self-love, they all fall in different places on the MBTI spectrum (ISTJ, INFJ, ENFJ, INTJ etc), and they are all creatively inclined in their own way. I have gotten meaningful, much appreciated, feedback thus far. For this alone I am grateful because I kind of sprung this on my friends last minute.

This morning I opened my email and found an email from one of these friends about my piece. I assumed it would be her feedback but it was so much more than that. This friend is a high school English teacher (almost all of my close girlfriends are either musical, social workers, teachers, or writers – I am clearly attracted to a certain kind of woman). The email she sent me was her student’s critiques of my work. I was so moved by this. She presented my piece to her creative writing class and asked them to critique and give me feedback as an assignment for class. Some of the feedback was so touching. I am not going to lie though, I was even touched by the student who only corrected a grammatical error. It was the fact that she allowed me to be part of her classroom in this way, she made something I created part of another person’s learning experience. And moreover, some of her students appeared impacted by my words.  This is what abundance feels like my friends. To make something that means something to you, that you have a deep personal connection to, and then find that it meant something to someone else as well.

At this point even if my submission is not accepted I am still so grateful. This has been a beautiful lesson in receiving.  Allowing myself to ask for support, that was almost as hard as making the decision to submit the writing in the first place. Then to allow myself to be open to the support I received in return, in all of it forms.. I am humbled. I am grateful. I feel infinite and loved in this moment. Thank you for that my friend. You touched my heart with this simple act.

Some of the feedback I received:

student feedbackstudent feedback1student feedback2

 

This is What Abundance Feels Like

This brainwork is a bed of soil A place she where she digs And I watch as her thoughts they grow I like to peek over the iron-wrought walls of friendship, fortresses and fear to see The things that grow beneath Her words fall Into the freshly-watered soil of a blank computer page To grow […]

via The Harvest of An Idealist — Everyday Poet

Yesterday my soul friend and I were emailing back and forth as we typically do at the start of the week. I was struggling in one of my relationships with a colleague at school and she had sage wisdom to help me with my boundaries. At the end of the email she informed me she had posted some new poetry for me to check out.

I was sitting in a parking lot outside of a Banana Republic, I was on the search for a dress to interview in. I opened her blog and read and then spent the next few minutes in my car crying. My soul friend is one who my garden gate is always open for and this is why. She understands the beauty and meaning in all my delicate emotions and can see the work I put in planting my seeds.

I am really touched by her piece, more so than I have words to express.  I am very grateful for all of my people and moments like this bring me back to my gratitude. Thank you poetry queen, you touched  my heart.

soul friend

I Encourage You to Write

A month or so ago I mentioned that I had been sought out by a few people as a mentor. That has been a nice experience and I have actually taken on another mentee since that original post. I have even had the opportunity to write my first letter of recommendation for another person, which truth be told I am still working on because I want it to be exactly what it is meant to be.

So something that has come up a few times now is the part of the mentor-mentee relationship where I am being asked for tips/advice on this or that as it pertains to whatever thing we are discussing. I realized I have two tips/pieces of advice that are universal no matter who I am speaking with.

  1. Start seeing a therapist
  2. If you don’t have the funds for therapy then start writing until you do and then keep writing once you do.

That is it folks. That is my sage wisdom about life, and becoming an authentic healer/helping professional, and feeling fulfilled and whole.

The see a therapist part is important because you need to have one person in your life that has no other role in your life than to listen. To listen to it all. Anything you have that needs to be heard that is your person across the board.

This is coming from a woman who has a solid relationship with family, a husband, soul friends, girl friends, trust worthy co-workers, mentors.. I have a lot of people in my life that are here to listen. It doesn’t matter. None of them can hold it all for me. Not even my husband.

And here is my truth about that: I would never want them to. Again, not even my husband.

My therapist is my person that helps me with my relationship with myself so I can learn to listen to myself and be the one person responsible for holding all of my stuff. My truth is that if there is any aspect of myself that I am asking someone else to hold because I don’t want to then I am doing it wrong.

There is nothing that my husband, or friends, or family, or co-workers, or mentors can do to make me feel better about something if I am not first willing to hold it for myself and help myself feel better about it.

So I say again: Tip #1: Get a therapist.

Tip #2 is of equal importance. Start writing.

I realize there are a lot of reasons/excuses that are out there for why you aren’t doing this.

I am not a good writer. My grammar isn’t great. I don’t have time. I don’t have a computer. I don’t want anyone to read it and judge me. I don’t know what to write about.

Keep making that list folks. Write down all your reasons/excuses so every piece of you that is fighting against writing has been heard and then START WRITING.

Start writing right now. Don’t even feel pressure to finish reading what I am writing. You have my full blessing to close the window to my blog right now. Just start writing.

Write about whatever you want. Start making lists. The first list can be that list of reasons you don’t want to write. Make your grocery list. Make a list each morning of who you want to be today. Make a list of your heroes and what draws you to them. Write anything just write. Write everyday until you get to the point where going a day without writing feels like going a day without air.

This is how you get to know who you really are. You are not processing your thoughts and feelings with anyone but yourself. You don’t need anyone else’s opinion or input on your life, you only need to be with yourself. Write.

Write and learn who you are. Write to find yourself. Write to learn your own truth. Write to be heard. Write to heal. Write to get it out.

Writing gives you time to be alone and quiet so you can hear your own inner wisdom about your life.

It does not matter how you start. Write on napkins. Write on whatever is next to you, as long as it is not living because that would be problematic. Just write.

If you do only one thing today I encourage you to write.

write1

It’s All Here. It Always was.

answer

This morning I woke before the sun, 4:40 a.m. to be precise. Something woke me. A smell, a sound, a feeling.. I can’t be sure. I decided since I was partially awake I would go to the bathroom before drifting back off. As I got out of bed Lu decided this was a good idea as well. So, I escorted her outside, took care of myself, and then we both crawled back into bed to for a few more hours of snuggly sleep.

Sleep did not come though. Instead I was met with an explosion of ideas and personal truths. Yesterday I cleared some blocks and anxiety I have been experiencing related to my future, as a result I believe I created room for things that were bubbling underneath my surface that I could not hear over the deafening hum of my own fear and worry.

As I lay in bed I started jotting notes and ideas that were coming to me. Then whole paragraphs, then whole pages. Next thing I knew it was time to really write, this was more than just a middle of the night inspiration.

I am doing some if not most of this writing in my other writing space that is just for me because these are inspirations and ideas and personal truths related to my future both spiritually and professionally; and as I have mentioned before I am choosing for now to keep these things private. I may write a little more here later if I feel struck to do so. For now I just wanted to share something I already knew to be true but that the universe reminded me of this morning: All we need lies within us. What I am looking for, the answers I seek, they already exist within me. I just have to quiet my mind and my fear so I can listen to my own inner wisdom.

Pen Pals in a Digital Age

pen-pal

I mentioned last year that one of my soul friends moved a few hours away. She is having her adventure and I am thrilled for her AND I miss her all the time. I don’t think either of us are big phone people so catching up has been something we have been navigating. I think we figured it out though. For a moment we apparently both forgot that we are both WRITERS! Luckily for both of us she remembered. And so it began, my soul friend turned pen pal in a digital age.

I got my first “letter” (email) yesterday. It was full of the fun details I miss so much as well as poetry, because my pen pal is the best pen pal – that is not an opinion, it is an objective fact.

I am excited to ask questions about what I read, give her my updates, and wait with giddy anticipation for my next letter.

This is my second pen pal presently. I am really on to something here I think. One of my friends from soul camp corresponds with me by mail. The girl sends me bad ass art in the form of postcards, she barely knows me yet she knows me so well. I reciprocate with equally bad ass art in the form of postcards. Have I ever mentioned I have a pretty extensive stationary collection? I do and I love an opportunity to use it.

I think as a society we need to bring letter writing back. It is a lost but totally awesome art. If you have ever received mail that was for fun and not a bill you know what I am talking about.

With that I think I will go get to it, I’ve got pen pals waiting on responses and I would hate to keep them waiting.