I need it to be quiet.
I need it to be still.
I need the gotta do's and the must do's to cross themselves off, or back away slowly.
I need to rest between the joys.
I need to refresh between the tears and broken-open-ness.
That's when I renew.
That's when I rebuild and restore and reboot.
My perspective can catch its breath and settle. I can begin to see what's really, truly around me.
This world is so loud sometimes. It demands attention, energy, and action. It tells me to WAKE UP, YOU HAVE THINGS TO DO.
I know, I know.
Can't you see what I've already done? Can't you feel the way my heart has pushed against the world? Haven't I tried to shift possibility, experience, and truth?
Have I done enough? Will I ever do enough?
Right now, I need to close my eyes and count my breaths. I need to sit deep in the woods. I need to fill bowls with honey and cream and leave them as offerings. I need to remember that what I invite needs to feel welcome. I need to worship and pray and light the incense that needs to be lit.
That's how the magick gets in.
Breathe it in.
I need to step into myself.
I am my daily practice. I am my promise of stars and moons, as they move across the sky and back again.
I am the whisper in my own ear that says, "Breathe, baby, breathe."
Inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale.
I come back to myself. I open my eyes and know how to be in my body again.
PS - How do you renew?
"The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you. Don't go back to sleep." ~ Rumi
I haven't been able to sleep in weeks. For those who know me well, you know this is unusual.
Very. I can sleep in cars, on planes, on the floor, on the couch, in a chair, on the ground, and any other place where it would be safe for me to sleep for even a few minutes.
But right now, my eyes are open long after midnight.
I don't say this to be dramatic. I share this because I know I'm not the only one who has felt, well, different lately. There's something brewing in the air, in the cosmos, in the stars, in the moon, in the interactions, in the dreams, in the whispers...
Something is happening. Can you feel it too?
When I stop sleeping, it often means I'm on the verge of a great idea. I'm on the verge of creating something, and inspiration just doesn't want me to sleep.
But what do you do when inspiration won't leave you alone? What happens when you have to attend to other things (ahem, bill-paying work)?
I keep a notepad handy and write down every single idea that jumps into my brain.
I sing songs to my muse(s).
I light incense in gratitude and to beckon the creative spark to return.
I write blogs.
While I can't always sit down and lose myself in the flow, I can encourage it to return. I can promise to make space for creation. For mystery.
Even for five minutes.
Tap, tap, tap.
What do you do when inspiration wants your attention?
I just got back from Witchlets - an amazing five days with families and little ones and not-so-little ones. I danced with tiny humans (a.k.a. Newts) and watched them turn finger paints and canvas into a fairy portal. I found out that Jiffy Pop isn't that keen on being heated over a campfire, and that even ten seconds at the bottom of a fire pit is too long for foil covered graham crackers with chocolate.
I laughed, I slept, I read, I giggled, I got lost in the woods as I stopped using words and started turning on my fae speak and eyes. I lost an earring, my arm warmers, my thinking mind, and my startled self. I found my joy and my happiness peeking out from behind the exhaustion of the outside world.
So much beauty. So much magick. So much nourishment.
And then I got into Mendocino and turned on my phone.
My heart becomes heavy when I hear stories of suicide. It's because I've had friends attempt to kill themselves. It's because I know people who have succeeded.
I hesitate to share the story of my own depression because it feels unremarkable. (And hesitated to share this post for the last day.) Because you don't see any scars on my arms or any pills in my cabinet, perhaps I'm not as qualified as someone else.
But...I've had numerous periods of severe depression. The kind when darkness seems to thicken with each step. And no matter what you do, you can't feel better. Nothing and no one can say anything to make it all right.
I remember that Centennial Road was the road I was going to drive off of. I knew the place, I knew I wanted to make the sharp right turn in the middle of the night so people wouldn't find me. For a while anyways.
I remember sitting in the parking lot before an early shift at work when I figured out what it might take to fill the car with carbon monoxide.
About four years ago, I remember planning how I might end my life - for real this time. I wasn't quite sure how. I didn't want to leave a mess, and I didn't want to fail. I cried and cried and cried and turned to my husband as I realized I might just go through with it this time.
"I don't feel safe with myself," I whispered.
Those words were the true truth.
I didn't feel safe. I wasn't safe. I was relieved to have said it. I was relieved to have admitted it.
I know there are many thoughts about suicide. What it is and what it says about a person.
Here's what I do know to be true.
Life can fucking hurt. It can feel lonely, it can be lonely. You can be surrounded by amazing people, and they can not know about your pain. You can feel so detached that you don't speak up. You don't make a sound.
I have been so lucky in my life to be surrounded by people who love me and support me. But in the midst of darkness, it doesn't always help.
For myself, I didn't want to worry anyone. I didn't want to bother anyone, so I didn't speak up.
It's so hard in that state to say anything to anyone. I was afraid I wouldn't be taken seriously. And it seemed I had some people in my life I couldn't trust enough to hold me.
But, really, when you don't trust yourself and you don't trust the world to help you make it through, it takes a lot to finally speak up.
Here's what I needed to hear. Here's what broke through.
I love you.
I'm here for you.
Do you need help?
YOU'RE NOT ALONE.
I can't begin to (and won't) speculate on Robin Williams' situation and his support system.
But every time big names come up in the media, we suddenly realize that we should speak up more about this (or that or the other thing). And then we forget. We find out the *easy* why and we explain it away.
And we push the discomfort away.
This time, I hope we can hear and remember the stories that ache to be told. Let's not forget that for every person's depression that's named or diagnosed, so many more are quiet.
All of our stories count. Famous, not famous. Diagnosed, not diagnosed.
You're not alone.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
I broke down today. I cried and vented and yelled and fell the fuck apart. I hate that I can't handle everything all the time.
Even though I don't expect that of anyone else.
Maybe I'm too tired right now. Maybe I'm overstretched. Or maybe I'm just human. Imagine.
I don't give myself a lot of slack. I know this. Sometimes, I hold onto my own story of having to do-it-all-right-now-because-I-know-I-can-and-I-love-the-work.
I also know that I expect a lot of myself because I have a history of being able to do what I say I'm going to do - even if it's painful, even when it seems impossible. Even when I love it. Even when I'm unenthused. Even when it feels motivated by duty more than joy.
Today, I was freaked out about a writing project. And I didn't want to admit it. After nine years of writing professionally, I still think I should be able to manage it all. I still think I should know everything.
(I know, logically, this isn't possible. Darn it.)
I was afraid because I had promised a client I could do something, knowing full well this would be the first time I had ever done it. I did the research and figured it out, but this was after spending an hour crying with my partner.
Between sobs, I realized I don't talk much about how afraid I can get. So often, I just fight through it. I do what needs to be done.
But when I don't admit being afraid, it means others don't know the me I am in that moment. They might begin to think I never need help or a hug or an 'atta girl' from time to time. I do need all of that.
The game face I put on can be exhausting at times.
I get caught up in what I *should* be and I get lost.
Yet, today was beautiful in the way that many of my most vulnerable moments are. I open up and name the fear. I open up and name what I need. I open up and learn something about myself.
I open up and realize people will love me all the same.
Today, I opened up and dove into the possibility that admitting I am weak and scared and confused is okay. That when my reflection in the mirror is tears streaming down my face, it's okay.
I got this. And when I stop hiding, others can start holding me.
It's okay. It's okay. It's okay.
"Surrounded by Deity" -- upcoming Witches & Pagans issue