37 By chivalries as tiny

 

By Chivalries as tiny,
A Blossom, or a Book,
The seeds of smiles are planted –
Which blossom in the dark.

[Emily Dickinson]

Written in the fall of 1858 and bound into Fascicle 3. I copied this one down and had it hanging it my apartment for a while – it’s a sweet bit of encouragement to be kind. An affirmation that the slightest action does make a difference, even if it doesn’t seem to in the moment. A reminder that people remember how you make them feel over what your wearing or how your hair looks.

As Annie sang in the musical I watched as a kid – “You’re never fully dressed without a smile!”

Namaste –

 

6 Adrift! A little boat adrift!

Written in summer of 1858, age 27. This is a battle cry, an exhortation, motivation to push on even through the darkest of storms. Enjoy –

 

Adrift! A little boat adrift!
And night is coming down!
Will no one guide a little boat
Unto the nearest town?

So sailors say – on yesterday –
Just as the dusk was brown
One little boat gave up it’s strife
And gurgled down and down.

So angels say – on yesterday –
Just as the dawn was red
One little boat – o’erspent with gales –
Retrimmed it’s masts – redecked it’s sails –
And shot – exultant on!

[Emily Dickinson]

Allow this to remind you of how brave and strong you are. Resilient. Powerful. Graceful.

In solidarity –

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Leaning In to Winter Blues

Ah, February, the month of international depression. The time when winter gets real, when seasonal adjustment disorder (SAD) becomes more than just a funny acronym, and when New Year’s resolutions get thrown out the window. It seems to be a good month for a slump.

And sometimes, a slump is just the thing. Depression can seem like a looming spectre – something to be afraid of, to dread. But honestly, it can be a gift. I know it sounds crazy, but we all have phases of ups and downs in life, and the downs don’t have to be so miserable.

Maybe you’ve been pushing yourself really hard all month, taking on new responsibilities or relationships and getting exhausted – you feel yourself draining, emotionally and physically, heading for a collapse or an explosion. Notice that. You can keep your eyes open, stay aware of where you’re heading. It doesn’t have to be scary, doesn’t have to have power over you. It might feel like you’re falling, but you can catch yourself.

I’m always telling myself to “stay woke” – my words for staying aware, maintaining mindfulness, not sleeping on myself, on my emotions or moods, not forgetting that I need tending to. Because it’s when you forget, when you ignore yourself, that depression or anger or sadness will blindside you like a tsunami and sweep you along with it. But if you’re watching – if you’re staying woke – you don’t have to drown. You can just ride the wave.

abstract pen and ink drawing

I’ve learned to take depression as my body or mind telling me to take a break. I have a natural tendency to be really hard on myself, to push myself and maximize the use of all my minutes, so when I start to feel dull, I listen. I step back, watch a black and white movie, take a bath, and allow myself to enjoy the dullness instead of getting swept up in a pity party of malevolent coping mechanisms and lies.

You don’t have to listen to depression. It might tell you terrible things about yourself and the world and the people around you, but they are not true. Make lists of truths about yourself – you are capable, you are worthy, you are strong, you are beautiful, you are exactly where you need to be. One phrase I really like – the universe is for me, and so is everything else. I got it from my favorite Youtube yoga instructor, Adriene – it might seem a bit abstract or even unbelievable, but repeat it to yourself along with some deep breaths. Say it out loud. Speak it into existence. Write these truths down and hang them on your wall, say them to yourself in the mirror. Carry them in your pocket. Just because you’re depressed doesn’t mean you are worth any less.

Depression is hard, but, if you’ve experienced it before, you know that even when it seems like it will last forever, it does end. You’ve seen the clouds break and felt the sunshine beam down on you, you’ve climbed out of the pit and stood on solid ground. You’ve done it once, so have faith – you can do it again.

Trust yourself to navigate the caverns wisely, take solace in the existence of light. Even if you can’t see it right now, it’s still there, and you’ll make it out alive. Maybe even better for the experience. The more you do it, the easier it becomes, and before you know it, depression isn’t quite a friend, but at least a frenemy that you don’t mind seeing now and again because you are prepared for it – you know how to treat it, and you know how to make sure it doesn’t overstay its welcome.

abstract pen and ink drawing

So welcome, February. Bring on the depression. We can handle it.

Love, calm, & care –

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Losing Steam

We celebrate the new year fresh, bold, with bright eyes and dewy faces. And we wake up hungover.

It feels easy to lose momentum before you even catch it – letting the crusty eyes overtake your vision, lying in bed and eating pizza instead of doing that workout you swore you’d do so you can lose those ten pounds of yourself that you hate.

It can get depressing. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves this time of year. Pressure to become our best self, to make sweeping changes to our lifestyles, to improve in all the ways we didn’t know we needed to. If you don’t achieve every single one of your goals within a week, the idea of continuing for a year may feel daunting, to say the least.

abstract pen and ink girl falling of cliff

So do something ballsy – accept that this is overwhelming. It’s hard to hear about your coworkers’ diets and your neighbor’s workout plan, the whole time wishing you hadn’t had those pancakes for breakfast or wondering if you should have spent 20 more minutes on the elliptical, but it doesn’t have to be like that.

Change doesn’t happen in a day. Your clothes, your mind, sure, but not true, lasting change. You can decide to make a change, but even then – what’s driving you? You need a foundation, strong reasons for doing something, a profound sense that this is what’s right. Whims won’t stick.

Change takes careful study – honest assessment of the ground situation, visions and goals for the future, and a plan for how to get from point A to point B, along with a commitment to enjoy each and every step of it.

You won’t wake up with the “perfect beach body,” whatever the hell that is, but you can wake up and decide to accept what your body looks like today. To accept your housing, your career, your relationships, your self as they are. And then show up.

On January 1st or September 23rd or any other arbitrary date, the best thing you can do is show up for yourself. It’s not a piece of cake from there, but if you’re present, it does get easier. With practice.

handwritten journal entry encouragement

I wrote this in my journal today, and I think it’s universally applicable –

…You are capable of continuing, of carrying on in this way. Even when you fall – which you will – trust yourself to fall gracefully. To pick yourself back up with kindness. Don’t be afraid of letting people see that – there is strength in your vulnerability, and a wealth to be learned from the falling and the getting back up. It’s okay to be crazy. It’s okay for people to look up to you. Keep going, and you won’t disappoint anyone. It’s only when you stay down that you truly fail.

I believe in you.

You are capable.

Let’s be present this year. Every day of it. Let’s show up for ourselves, and see where it takes us.

Love, calm, & care –

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