Today I took my little travel guitar & journal & rode the scooter out to Jefferson County Park. It was a little chilly but totally do-able.
I’ve been using this iPhone app called Lift lately, it’s a motivational tracking app. I was able to check off Play Guitar, Sing, & Write In Journal. Realized if I took a walk I could also check Exercise.
I followed a new to me trail and found an educational experience in the signs explaining the retention pond & other landscaping.
I also got to check off Be Grateful for Something, as I was very grateful to have my two legs, energy & a peaceful trail to walk.
This post gives me Write Blog Post!
Today we practiced for 4 hours. The top layer of my calluses peeled off. I think that’s pretty bad ass for folk music. Happy camper.
My guitar assignment last week was to make cupcakes. Yes, you read that right. Sweet stuff!
Last week I got to spend a bunch of time with a 6 (7?) month old baby and her older brother and sister. I learned so much, from probably a collective 24 hours or so spent with a pre-lingual little being.
While she can’t speak yet, she can most certainly communicate, and her life is pretty simple. Any time she was unhappy or fussy, she was either hungry, tired, needed a diaper change, or was bored. It was usually pretty easy to tell which one it was, and if it wasn’t obvious, it was only a matter of checking out a few options before hitting on the right one.
She was tuned in, without being aware of it or trying, it’s just how she was. Hungry when she was hungry. When she was full, she put the bottle down or pushed the food away. Done. Clear. Simple.
The whole world is experienced through the mouth! Pick something up, anything, test it out with your tongue, chew on it, first thing. Then maybe wave it around and bang it against other stuff.
The desire to be included, to be part of the group was so strong too! Her siblings were playing with Legos, clearly not baby-safe with all those tiny pieces. I brought in maybe 8 - 10 of her toys and spread them out in front of her, but she continued to crawl over the toys to get to the Legos, and fussed in frustration each time I pulled her back and waved her toys in her face. I finally asked if there were any really big Lego pieces, ones that there was no way she could swallow them. Her big sister found a huge base of a spaceship or something, and baby happily chewed on it for about five minutes, finally content that she had the same thing the big kids had. Until she realized that “hey, they are doing a lot more and what the heck, I only have ONE Lego? Can’t fool me, lady!” :D
Watching her has gotten me thinking, that and some of the stuff that has come out of my recent Rubicon sessions. Gotten me thinking that I think too much. I KNOW I think too much, but one of my stories is that I am broken, in some special, mysterious way that no one has ever been broken before, and it’s going to take a huge miracle to fix me, if that miracle even exists. Which is honestly pretty egotistical and overly precious of me. Sigh.
But if some of these patterns and habits I carry around are just the way babies are, if the behaviors are just normal, natural survival instincts we all pick up right in the beginning, (with some variations on the theme of course), no matter who or how our parents are, then it seems more likely that I’m just plain normal like everyone else, (or a unique precious snowflake just like everyone else), and the areas where I bump up against frustrations are simply areas where I haven’t yet learned to be/do/handle in a different way yet.
If that’s all it is, it should be fairly simple (not easy necessarily, but simple!) to work on a new way of being. If you want to learn to hula hoop, you don’t go around trying to uncover the mysterious reasons why you weren’t born with hooping skills, working for years to figure it out before you even touch a hoop! You pick the thing up and give it a spin! You watch people who are good at it and try to imitate them. You let people who know how to do it watch you and tell you how to course correct. You feel it in your body and that thing they said five minutes ago goes CLICK! in your head and suddenly the hoop is still there around your waist, spinning and spinning.
A good friend to me told me once a long, long time ago, “The only thing wrong with you is you think something is wrong with you.” Most of me didn’t really believe him at the time, probably because I was so blindly attached to my story of being special because of my mysterious brokenness, but some part of me really wanted to, and the phrase has stuck with me deeply ever since. I think I understand a little better what he meant now.
Life is maybe getting a little more boring, simple and straightforward. Again, not easy necessarily, there is work to be done, steps to take, exercises, practice, muscle building. So parts of it are maybe getting a little harder because I have to do more work to get what I want. But I’m at least a little clearer on what I want. I’m a little more OK with being a beginner and looking (or at least feeling) stupid and asking questions. Just a little. :-) I’m working on it.
I’ve been experiencing more attunement with my eating lately, moments of identifying when I’m actually hungry and actually full, compared to when I’m eating emotionally. A few times I’ve even been able to stop an instance of emotional eating and process the emotion instead! Quite a triumph.
I came out to Austin looking for more role models. I didn’t know one of them would be a baby.
I’ve been fairly quiet on the blogging front lately. I mean, posting poems and quotes and such is good and all, I do want to remember those things, but I also need to write stuff out, to document, if only for myself. A lot has been going on. In a few days it will be 2 months that I’ve been in Austin. I know a lot more things. I’ve gotten more clear in new but important ways. There are still lots of questions I don’t know the answers to. There are new questions I don’t know the answers to either.
I’ve done 15 open mics or mini-sets in 25 days. If I went to one open mic a month back home, that’s more than I would do in a year, in less than a month! I know I’ve gotten better just from that, if only on a confidence level, even if nothing else about my performing has improved, though I’m sure it has at least a little. I think my voice is a little stronger just because I’ve been using it more often. My finger calluses are building up again.
I still fumble. I still get my foot tangled up in the cables or knock the mic with my guitar or my face. I still get frustrated when I don’t think I’m playing or singing loud enough. It’s hard to play in a room when people aren’t listening and are talking so loud I can’t really hear myself and I get distracted by that and lose my place in the song. I still get shy and keep my eyes on my hands while I play, and zip back to my guitar case as soon as possible after I play to put away my instrument.
And even though the shyness is still there, some days more than others, the butterflies are pretty much gone. I think after the second day really. Progress. Progress.
When it’s not my turn to play I listen. I clap and hoot and laugh at the appropriate times because I hear what the artists are saying. I pay attention. I’m not perfect at that either but I’m working at connection. I tell people they did a good job when I think they did, which is always, just for getting up there alone. And then people are amazing. ”No big deal, I’m just amazing and I’m quietly playing in a coffee shop” amazing.
I’ve written some new songs. New ones are brewing. I’m excited to hear what comes next. I think they are going to be important songs. For me anyway.
Been better at going to the gym and going to bed. Not perfect there either but better. And my attitude about both is better too. Coming more from a place of wanting to take care of myself, of feeling and remembering that it feels good to take care of myself than from a guilty place of feeling like I should.
Working on discipline and boundaries and asking for what I want and need. Trying to figure out what I actually need and what is just a shiny distraction. Balancing between treating myself kindly and just getting sh*% done. Allowing myself to do things badly rather than not get them done at all.
Noticing the hibiscus and the hummingbirds and painting my nails pink and wearing lots of skirts and really big earrings. Being fed, literally, all the time - people taking me out for coffee or soup, cafe servers giving me the extra tea sandwiches and cupcakes at close, singing for my supper without even knowing that was part of the deal. Friends loaning me their cars, giving me rides. Floating in the pool at night and seeing the Big Dipper. Doing great for a few days and then falling down and doing my best to get up as quick as I can and get back on the horse.
This is just two months. What’ll happen in the next two?