It Is What It Is

Today, I just feel a bit sad and lonely. Nothing significant is troubling, but I can’t help wondering how life can be so busy and boring all at the same time.

I feel like my days pass by at light speed, but all I have to remember them by is the sense of light speed itself. Sort of like the Doppler effect , but with light. I know things have been happening. I’ve been doing the things.. All that I see is blur, all that I hear is a whirr.

I want my life to be meaningful. Some people say this is a particularly millennial viewpoint and maybe they are right. Yet, I can’t help feeling that most people, millennial or not, want their life to be meaningful in some way.

It *should* be meaningful to raise my kids. It *should* be meaningful to sit and write, creating something. It *should*. It *should*. It *should*.

Today, and for many days prior, it hasn’t felt meaningful.

Perhaps its the *should* of the matter. Assigning meaning based on *should* is probably not a great idea.

The Bible says things like “Everything is meaningless.” or  “Eat, drink and be merry.”

Well, I just don’t like that.

I want there to be purpose. I want things to happen for a reason. Yet, the hard truth of life is that not everything has a purpose. Not everything has a reason or a meaning. Sometimes things just are, because that is the way life goes.

As for “eat, drink and be merry”? Well, I’m overweight and I’ve discussed how I feel about THAT quite a few times. It’s not merry at all.

Does the Bible have it wrong? Or is it just me?

I’ll always wonder.

Candidly,

Ash

 

But First, Write

My morning pages come more easily today. I don’t hate them. Morning pages are essentially just the bare minimum of writing that I encourage myself to do. The term is not mine, but one I learned from a book called “The Sound of Paper”. It’s a good read for any creative type.

I’m beginning to feel that writing for the sake of writing is valuable – that my thoughts maybe could be valuable? I like the idea of putting them on this blog, chronicling them, maybe assigning some pretty pictures to go with them.

It’s fun. It’s creative.

I have no idea how I could do any of this if I were working. Its so hard to find time for even the bare minimum. I know, from some experience, that if I write like this daily, then usually I begin to write more during the day – even 2-3 hours more, which is a lot for the mom of four.

I’m feeling so much better, so relieved after setting aside the need to “market” myself and submit things all of the time. Blech.

I do think I will submit things from time to time, but first I will do the work. Write first, then see if it fits for  submission. I had transitioned to developing work for submission.

All of it sucked.

I can’t create that way, I suppose. I think this was the first time that I really experienced a block in my writing. I *think* I’ve come through it.

At least that is what I am hoping.

Candidly,

Ash

From the Lost Child

Recently, I haven’t wanted to sit here and write. I haven’t wanted to be on Facebook. I haven’t wanted to go meet with friends.

For most of my life, all I’ve wanted was to be seen or heard. As the youngest child, I was doted upon until adolescence. Then, I was the only child at home and quite lost. You see, other things were happening for my parents and I was a good kid — so not much needed to be done.

Yet, I was so lost. Even now, I think of how lost I was and I tear up.

I just wanted to be heard, to be noticed, to be affirmed.

I’ve spent most of adulthood searching for those same things. Grace brought me a friend blessed with hearing, noticing and affirming skills.

Grace also brought me the gift of writing.

To be honest, I don’t write this damn blog for anyone but myself. It is a way of speaking up, doing my part to be heard.

But its only a half-measure, because I can’t guarantee affirmation from it or even that anyone besides my one precious friend is reading. I don’t want to do the attention-grabbing things and Facebook posting anymore. I’m tired of exerting effort to be heard.

Just writing here, that needs to be enough for me right now. Just being candid and true.

I wish I could afford to hire someone to do all of that heavy-lifting – to submit my work in different places, manage my social media.

But I can’t. So I’m going to be content with just writing the words, having them read and affirmed by the select few.

Maybe, maybe someday, all of the hearing and affirming will seep into this deep cavernous soul of mine.

Maybe then, I won’t be so lost.

Candidly,

ASh

Raw Edges and Strong Cores

At some point in May, I had the idea for this post, but tabled it. I had other ideas to pursue and  knew I would eventually get around to writing it. Then, June happened and with it the return of all four kiddos being home each and everyday. The first week, I tried to write, but didn’t make it to the laptop until late at night. I figured I would take a break and let the summer be what it was going to be. Maybe I would even pursue that niggling idea of vlogging that was in the back of my brain.

Then, after a month, every single day felt like drudgery and stress resonated inside of me. At the end of the day, I would feel this incompleteness even though I had done many things. I knew that my writing, my voice, was too pent up, but I didn’t want to sit down to do it. I told myself that I was simply waiting for the children to return to school. This didn’t last long as an excuse, because soon it was apparent that I needed to write – something, anything. Yet, I held off, knowing that the inevitable writing also brings about the inevitable bleeding. Cathartic bleeding it is, but bleeding none the less.

So here I am, sitting, ready to bleed before you.

Raw Edges

I was trying to be healthy, slicing the fruits and vegetables early in the week, prepping healthy meals and snacks.

It was drudgery.

Why didn’t The Man create vegetables pre-sliced? I mean, fruit I don’t mind slicing, because it is enticing to the palate. But vegetables? No, those are no fun. As I moved from cauliflower to carrots, I reminded myself of how awful the baby carrots are and that the real thing is so much better and tastier.

It was utter drudgery.

I watched as I peeled the damn things and tried to remember the advice about everyday tasks given by Thomas Moore. If you look deep enough, sit still enough with them, then you can peel back their mundaneness into significance by seeing the metaphor, the imagery of soulfulness.

“Mumbo-jumbo.” I thought to myself sardonically. “Be more zen.” I then chastised myself.

Okay, so what could peeling carrots stand for in the soulful life. I ruminated peel after peel.

Carrots don’t have thick skin or rinds. They are firm from the inside out. Strong, if you will. Strong and ugly. I mean, we don’t have to peel a carrot in order to eat it, but it will never stop looking (or tasting) much like dirt if we don’t. I wonder if the strong among us don’t taste like dirt until something or someone comes along that sloughs off the ugliness.

“Hmmm. Not a bad little metaphor.” I smiled to myself. “What else?”

I sat with it. I wasn’t coming up with anything else at all. Yet, as I sloughed off layer after layer of the carrots, getting rid of the dirt divets and knotty elements, I felt less drudgery. In fact, something cathartic was taking place, something similar to how I feel when I write.

Strong Cores

A shedding of the dirt of life, smoothing of rough edges – that’s what was happening.

Yes, this was very similar to writing for me. Underneath everything, I find in myself strength when writing.

And so, as I return to writing early (before the summer ends). I remember carrots and that sitting down at this page is not all bleeding, but rather exfoliation. A scrubbing, unburdening, cleansing act of the soul to reveal my strong core.

Candidly,

Ash

Liberation isn’t a One Act Play

Last week, I took some time to schedule posts out into the future (this week). I’m trying to make this a real blog. Ha! You know, where things are posted daily (Monday thru Friday). It has me scared this morning. If I start trying to. post often and schedule things, then this becomes “real”.

In other words, I admit to myself that I want to do this. I want a certain amount of, for lack of a better word, success. I don’t know if other people experience this, but when I admit to wanting something – then I get really afraid.

Disappointment is the thing I fear most. Within disappointment, I usually discover that the error lies within my realm of responsibility. Whether I should have had lessened expectations or worked harder, I  find myself face-to-face with my flaws. In this, I know that I am not alone – facing my flaws does not rank high on my favorite list of activities.

Serial Quitter

I used to be vicious to myself. “Serial Quitter” was one of the nicer things I said to myself about nomadic quality. I’m a passionate and curious person. Ideas and activities seize me as though I am their possession. Literally, the compulsion to experience a new thing can often leave me running around like a chicken without a head.

Within months, I’ve tired of whatever situation or idea with which I’ve been enthralled. Continuing is like death to my spirit. My mom frequently tells me that just continuing on is necessary, despite how much I may dislike it. The end result will be worth it. The people I am “doing” the thing for? They are worth it. There is great wisdom in this.

**Today, I believe in God or that He/She at least made me. Just thought I’d put that out there.**

God didn’t give me the spirit and soul I have – for me to walk in death. There are people in the world who have more or less tolerance for displeasure in work. My husband is one of them. I’m often amazed at how he can tolerate the frustrations of being a case manager – a career field in which employees parish daily. (Seriously, someone needs to research the turnover in case management. It would change things. I am sure of it!)

I am not one of those people. I have tried (and failed) to do many, many things. If I were able to work a desk job or any other job, then I would be doing it. Trust me, the money alone is reason enough.

I’d rather be poor and sitting here writing these: words than anything else in the world. Most of the great writers were scraping by in their day-to-today too. I believe that is the way I made, the way I am built. Do I need to work on self-mastery, diligence and endurance? Absolutely!

Watch me do that with this blog and the other things I write in secret. I am capable of holding to something, sticking with it. It just happens to not make me money – yet. I am scared that I will disappointment myself in this journey and that the pain of it will be more than I can handle. 

It is the thing I fear the most.

Somehow, I always come back to these words of Marianne Williamson:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

The amazing thing about this poem is the idea of being liberated from fear. I used to think that  being liberated from fear meant having no fear at all. In actuality, it means not being mastered by fear.

Liberation isn’t a One Act Play

When I think of liberation, my mind often goes to the abolition of slavery in the United States. A war was waged for years and then finally freedom was decreed. Yet, it was years and years before the country steadied, over a century before civil rights were granted such as voting, the dissolution of segregation, etc. Even today, we see the remnants of slavery in things such as poverty, police violence and more. Liberated from slavery, the people would still contend with its aftermath.

Liberated from fear? I must contend with its aftermath. It does not own me. I do, however, still feel it, remember it. Right now, I’m in the process of creating a new economy, a new way of life, not ruled by fear. Even then, I will always be discovering the ways it has affected me and is affecting me. I guess, I want to say to myself and to anyone else out there –

Liberation, your freedom, is not instantaneous. It is a process. Daily, I will be walking out what that looks like. Today, it’s acknowledging that there is fear in my wanting, in my desires, in my dreams. Tomorrow, I will walk out my liberation by sitting down to write yet again.

See you then!

Candidly,

Ash

 

A Hallow Ache

Deep cavernous tombs

Entrenched ideals

Stealing light from The Blooms

A barren battlefield

 

Down to earth

Scrape the dirt

Eat my hurt

Swallow, my last resort

 

Open, Out, Oddly Off

Cavemen scoff

Drop my club

Escape from the rub

 

Run bright, Run far, Run like a drug

Let go of my spite, no one to spar

Cavemen so smug

I unplug

 

An open field awaits

Flowers and bowers

I no longer cower

Misbehave, No complaint

I am awake.

 

By Candidly Ash

 

A Steady Fountain

I’m finding that the time I spend writing is less and less fulfilling, but in a different way than I expected. I expected to force myself to write daily and bleed at the keyboard. I did not expect that stopping would be so hard or that the time spent doing it would never seem like enough.

I’m finding that I want to do more than just blog posts. Hence, my stab at poetry last week. I’m writing a memoir-style book about our family’s journey with autism and depression, though I’ve not sat at that particular task in some weeks. I’m also writing some fiction, which I will never tell you about until my selected jury of husband and BFF have deemed it “not awful”.

It just doesn’t seem to be enough. Each day, I sit down and feel my way through musings here and if I don’t write here, then I take a stab at other projects. Honestly, of late, I like the other projects better. They are more fun and less weighty.

I am having fun in life. So strange.

Last week, I ordered new violin strings and yesterday they arrived. I restrung them one at a time and tuned up as much as I could, though everything is still a full step too low. I’ll come back to it today and it’s the number one thing I’m looking forward to today. I hope that I can get her fully in tune so that I can play without wincing. I find that I want to name my violin. How strange. I have a great affection for her.

I know that when the time is up and I need to set the keyboard aside or hang up my bow, that it will not feel like enough. Not in the sense of lacking worth, but in the sense of lacking time. I want more time with these expressions. Stopping to do the necessary things like eating and moving laundry, changing diapers – they eat at the precious moments spent in harmony.

I stopped writing before I typed harmony. The word was hard to find. How to describe sweet release? Its like the flow of a dribbling Italian fountain, the stucco a bold contrast to the glistening water. Peace. Harmony.

Perhaps writing is no longer like cathartic bleeding? Perhaps this season is a small expanse of time not devoted to the coping and discerning that comes with depression and anxiety.

I like this expanse. It feels free.

I think I’ll stay awhile and try my best to not watch for the dropping hammer. All I know is that today, it feels like all the pain has finally moved through me. Now, something more tender can flow.

Another lesson I’m learning – Everything passes eventually. There is beauty in letting the pain abate and the peace descend. Just as there will be beauty when the pain returns. I simply hope I won’t cringe so desperately when it arrives.

Candidly,

Ash