Friday, April 04, 2014

Real Work Will Wait

Today I will be brave and chop off my hair! Well, I won’t, that would just be silly.

I keep wanting to grow my hair out long, but then I get to the phase I’m in now where I can absolutely not go another day with the way it looks.

Hence, today I will chop off my hair!

Of course, today I should also be grading papers and writing lesson plans, but I kind of don’t want to. I kind of don’t want to do anything.

The world will so not end if I don’t do my work today. Of course, then I’ll be scrambling to get everything done this weekend, which I will regret then.

But, then is not now. Now is now. And I want to work on something else, something fun.

Today I will give myself time to work on my romance novel.

The real work can wait until the kids are in bed.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Paper Demons: How to Battle Depression

When you’re depressed, the first thing you should reach for is a pen and paper to write out as much depressive gunk as possible, but you may consider yourself lucky just for getting out of bed.

I know how difficult creative motivation can be when you’re stuck in a depressive episode.

Why is it that so many writers get depressed? Or maybe the question is, why do so many people who have depression turn to writing?

Writing is a self-healing method that the body, mind and soul recognize as beneficial. Writers are also driven to express because of their deep level of introspection. Of course, some depressed people might be too introspective—thinking about the world until they become overwhelmed by thoughts, unable to write them out and instead drowning in them.

Why not plan ahead for those unavoidable miserable times? Choose now that the next time you notice yourself feeling depressed, the first thing you will do is write. Convince yourself now that every time you feel depressed, you will write automatically. As a smoker reaches for a cigarette out of habit—you’ll reach for a pen. Without thinking.

That would be a pretty good promise to make, but could you keep it?

I’ll admit it, when I’m depressed, writing feels like the last thing I want to do. I feel like I have nothing important enough to say and even if I did, who would want to read about it? But when I’m feeling pretty centered, I know that I do have things to say even when I’m depressed. In fact, when I’m depressed I’m very in touch with my deeper emotions. The longer I put off expressing that dark frame of mind, the more likely that part of me will never get understood.

I’ve wasted too much writing time being depressed. I’m sure you have, too.

The knowledge that writing can help lift the blanket of depression is a powerful tool in itself. Although you may have times when you are so depressed that you can’t even remember the fact that writing out your depression can help, perhaps there will be that one time when you remember.

Pick up a pen and a piece of paper and scrawl out all the horrid feelings you have, instead of going over them in your head. Exorcise your demons onto paper where you can see them, then you can be more objective about your feelings, certainly more so than when they were part of your internal dialogue.

Once thoughts are out on paper you can choose what you want to do with them. You put yourself back in control. You may want to put your written feelings away for a while. Open a desk drawer, shove them in and tell them you don’t feel like seeing them anymore today. Then when you feel stronger, go back. Reopen that drawer and pull out your paper demons and look at them square in the face. Demons don’t like this because suddenly they are seen for what they really are—just thoughts.

Take a good look at your depressing thoughts. Feel them. Acknowledge them. Now you have the upper hand. You are in control and choosing when and how you’ll come across them. Next time your demons show up in your head you may not feel so bad. You’ll recognize them as words on paper.

So, remember to shake some ink onto a page and lessen your wandering mind, thoughts and depression. Keep your hand moving. Empty it out. And then you can let the thoughts go away. Just like that. Send each thought packing with your pen strokes, right out into the air and away from your body and mind. 

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Roll Your Hips, Baby! (No matter how silly you look…)

One of my guilty pleasure songs that I would normally never admit to liking is "Hips Don’t Lie" by Shakira ft.Wyclef Jean, but today I was looking for some music to really shake things up for myself and I’m here to say, I love this song.

My musical tastes usually run the gamut from alternative rock to classic rock to fizzy pop (I just made that up, but I think you know what I mean), but there’s something about Shakira that just makes me want to rumba (I have no idea what a rumba is).

Music and sex have always gone together. Sometimes a song will just make you feel like rolling your hips and swinging your arms and grinding the air, but don’t worry—no twerking here!

I just wanted to let some music wash through me and let my body go without trying to be “sexy.” I’ve shied away from dancing to music that might be construed by others as me trying to be sexy, but this song just makes me feel good.

And what’s the point of life if we aren’t allowing ourselves to feel good every now and then? Whatever good means to us…

Goodness gracious, am I going to turn myself into a feel-good guru? Like, I prescribe you to play a song every day that makes you feel like time has stopped, that makes you want to let your body go completely, that makes you want to dance and sing and laugh!

Yes! That is exactly what I prescribe. Get up and dance (and as you can see, you do not have to be able to “dance”; I most decidedly don’t move like I come from Columbia, rather like I come from some small CT suburb)!

Just get up and move!

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Trust the Process

Great ideas abound inside of my mind. So many, in fact, that I don’t seem to get any of them done!

Does this sound familiar?

As any creative types are sure to understand, it’s not easy settling on a creative project to work on. What ends up happening instead is that I get nothing done except for daydreaming.

I’m finding my daily dance and blog is at least keeping me in the game by making sure I write something everyday. Dancing is keeping my energy moving and helping me to reconnect to my body in a healthy way. The daily check-in with my emotional state is also proving beneficial because I’m forced to deal with my demons on a daily basis.

All of my hesitancies about who I am and what I should be doing are being brought to the forefront. I’m choosing to see all of this as a “practice,” just like yoga or writing. I’m allowing myself to discover what things means in the moment instead of having it all figured out from the beginning, which never works for me.

What’s important is the process. And I’m in the process in all ways—physically, emotionally, creatively and spiritually.

Now I’m working on letting the process be enough. I’m constantly striving for the finished “product.” Not that there’s anything wrong with wanting to have something to show for all of one’s “practice,” but I’ve got to also let the practice be enough itself, without needing to prove anything to myself or others.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Dance Anyway!

Friday’s video gave me a lot to think about. Thanks to someone sharing my David Bowie “Fame” dance on a Bowie fan site, I’ve managed to rack up 750 views compared to my usual handful.

At first I was getting all these really nice comments and the virtual attention made me feel really good, but then I noticed a few snarks about my “dancing,” which made me reevaluate watching my numbers.

I had to remind myself why I’m even doing this.

I guess if someone were to just stumble upon one of my videos without knowing why I’m doing it, they might totally be like, “What? This girl can’t dance!”

I guess it doesn’t really make sense out of context. But even as I write this, I hear myself apologizing and wonder why I feel the need to do that. Like, a part of me wants to shout, “Hey! I’ve never had a dance lesson in my life! And I’m a mom with three kids. I’m not that bad with all things considered!”

But why do I even feel the need to justify my dancing? I’m dancing to feel joy, to remind myself I make my choices everyday whether to choose joy or to stay small and sad. I dance because it makes me feel good and I like sharing my videos to inspire others not to feel trapped by the world’s expectations.

Most people expect dance videos to be shared because the dancer is awesome. Well, you know what? I AM awesome, but I’m not a professional dancer. I’m awesome because I’m not afraid to be myself and share who that me is at the moment. I want to show the world that you don’t have to be a professionally trained singer or dancer or ANYTHING to want to share the joy you feel doing those things with the world.

We can just sing or dance or cook or write or run or tell jokes because it makes us feel alive. And sometimes feeling alive is all that matters.

And here I go again, apologizing for my video today: my camera battery was flashing, so I didn’t know if I’d have enough juice to get today’s video shot and then I started dancing to discover I had zero energy and didn’t know if I could make it through the song. The whole video, you may pick up on my mind saying, “I should quit. Why am I doing this? I can’t even make it through this one song. I’m going to quit…no, almost through…power through…”

Wow, no Zen mind here today.