Life is a battle. We want to wrestle to make life work for us, but our life rarely works out how we envision. When I try to hold tight, and control what I want in my life it is a recipe to suffocate it and die. When I think about how the natural world works there is a time for caution, and a time for relaxation, but they are balanced, organic, easy. Like the sleeping lion for instance, there is always time to find peace even in the most aggressive animals. In America, it seems that we race and run our lives seeking, wanting, craving better or different, and we often forget to think about what we have. I was reminded this week to be mindful, to "just be," to stop struggling, and to relax into myself and find gratefulness. When you create the story of your life in a series of negative events, you pile yourself with worry, and unhappiness. We need to remind ourselves each day about what we have, and even if it is just for a couple of minutes, take out the time.
Mind dump what you are grateful for. I am thankful for my car, I am thankful for money in my bank account, for family support, I am thankful for another day to be human, for quiet time, for time with my mind, to be the keeper of the body that is uniquely mine, for electricity, for the knowledge of our world at the tips of my fingers, for hobbies that I thrive in, for my dog (any pet will do), to use my time as I wish, for a beating heart, two legs, two arms, and a mind that has time to drift away to sleep at night, my Insight Timer app to meditate, writing time, sacred time to talk out my "problems" in the car. It is such a gift to be a human being. We get to take each day and bet on the next moment. We are so optimistic that we choose to form bonds, we can relax enough to sleep at night. I like to think about a quote from a cover from the musical Hair that Nina Simone sang called "Ain't Got No/I Got Life." The lyrics are an ode to what we all should be grateful for:
"Hey what have I got? Why am I alive, anyway? Yeah, what have I got Nobody can take away? Got my hair, got my head, got my brains, got my ears, got my eyes, got my nose, got my mouth, I got my smile..."
I listened to this song as motivation to get me through rough situations in my recent past. Sometimes we can love someone so much that we carry the weight of their stress, and want to relieve them all. But life is truly like a river, we have to feel our emotions, and then we can only adjust and grow stronger from them. I refuse to be defined by my past or who chooses me. If we let go of all the things that we want, then we can think about what we already have. God chose me this year to make me humble, and realize the kind of woman that I am. I think that when times are rough we realize how fragile we truly are. We lean between life and death, and sometimes being somewhere other than earth is tantalizing when the internal and external pain is flaring. We need someone to have our back, and we need understanding and love to cope.
We have a lot of wishes and dreams. About literally everything! For me I wish that almost everything about myself was different. I imagine that if I was a different gender, race, height, body type, or had a different mind that my life would be better. These are all dreams, but when I look in the mirror I have what I have been given, me. So, I have to be grateful that I was given my life in this body. I did not have to be here, so I will find peace with that to push forward. This year I fell in love for the first time, and I am grateful for that. This year I felt immense joy in giving love, and I am grateful for that. When I stop and think about how much I have learned about myself, and that I am still here after so much loss, I am very grateful. I remember there were nights when I was a freshman in college that I had so much anxiety that I thought that my heart was going to stop. I would constantly check my heart rate, and I would use these natural stress relief pills in the middle of the night. I didn't know who I was, and I couldn't trust that this life had my back enough to keep me.
I gave myself permission to sink into this life in 2018. I often find that I feel out-of-place here. My voice, my body, my aura. But when I connected with someone for the first time, it made me feel like I belong here. I let all of my past tension, and anxiety go in replace for an excitement emotional ride. It was a battle between my heart, my mind, and my body. My heart won, and then my heart broke, but for this I am grateful. For every tear I am grateful, for every love poem I am grateful, for every time I crawled into a ball on the floor, for every walk in contemplation, for every time I broke down out of anger or disbelief, for every time I woke up alone I am grateful. I learned how to be myself as a woman this year. As a queer woman. Even though I may struggle I have never felt stronger and in more control of my body. Every emotion is natural, and they will all run their course when triggered. If you feel out-of-place, sit down and be still. If you have a place to rest your body you already have the first thing that you can be grateful for. Find more, and if no one told you today, I love you.