Bowing Out

My brain had a talk with my soul last night.

I’ve been trying to make a play-date for them for over a week. Long walks in the sun, check. Sitting in silence, check. Writing in my journal, check. A drive into the Kansas prairie, check.

Nothing seemed to be working and I wasn’t at peace. My spirit was restless. I knew what was going on. My brain knew something that my heart didn’t want to know. Or perhaps it was the other way around.

My heart was heavy with holding on to the anchor it knew was sinking it. Last night I came home, feeling too drained to move. Hitting the Y is so often the answer to whatever is plaguing me. My reserves were empty, my resilience low, so the Y was out. I sat quietly in my apartment, random noises of lives being lived nearby interrupting the quietude. A half an hour passed. It was nearly six. My stomach gurgled and I knew that I needed food. Now I had a plan. I went into the kitchen for some Netflix and food the hour that followed was more bearable than the previous one. I felt calmed and relaxed once I ate enough food to stabilize my blood sugar and sate my belly. The next round of self-care was to take an Epsom salt bath. This is akin to meditation. It’s quieting, except for the thin stream of steaming hot water I leave running once the bath is full to keep the bath hot and its splash is like a white noise, calming me.

Clean, relaxed, and my movie watched, I called my mom. She heard my voice and flat out stated “I do not like the sound of your voice.” She knew something was up. In some ways, I am lucky that my mom is a therapist – I can go to her with my problems and she listens to me like a friend and gives advice like a professional. After uncorking me with her observation, I spilled. For an hour. As I worked things out in my own voice, she echoed my sentiments, filling in the gaps with stealthy observations. She amazes me with her intuition about things and her ability to share them without attempts to control or judge.

Paulo Coelho states that intuition is “…a sudden immersion of the soul into the universal current of life.” It’s when our soul talks to our brain that we become ready to act on our gut from a place of wholeness and decisiveness. Second guessing is over, mental flow charts have been reviewed, and we’re ready to face the consequences of our choice and be at peace with the pieces falling where they may.

I fell asleep after talking to my mother to the droning of a podcast that lulls me to sleep ASMR-style. Josh and Chuck, they relax me. With my mind focused on what they’re saying, I slow down my own thoughts enough to shut down. I awake, several hours later to dreams, two of them. They have spoken to me literally and symbolically. I don’t have to search for clues, they are in plain sight of my mind’s eye. I know what they are telling me. I am ready to act. I write them down to commit them to memory. I call my mother in late morning to verbalize them.

Part of me worries that I am making the ‘safe’ decision. I want to be sure that I’m not having a knee-jerk reaction to the vulnerability I’ve been placing myself in the way of for months. Making ‘safe’ decisions is not what I’m guilty of. Your being knows what it wants; it knows its path even if you don’t. The bravest thing you can do is follow it.


In the Wake of a Vision Board

I have resisted vision boards for years – I’ve always thought they were materialistic, à la “The Secret”. The Law of Attraction is great, but is often used and misused much like prayer: The Universe/God is not our magic genie! But about six months ago, I was (and still am) feeling directionless. Encouraged by a group of free-lancer ladies with whom I meet about once a month, visionaries who have created such interesting lives for themselves as professional pioneers on how to live life, I was inspired to give vision boarding a try.
Here is what I discovered:
It’s not so much about the Law of Attraction as it is about discovering and acknowledging who you are and what you want; self-reflection. Never had I given myself “permission” to indulge in something as simple as looking through magazines and saying “I want that!” and then creating a physical record of it. (Ok, maybe not since I was in third grade – circling electric guitars and leather boots in the JC Penney catalog to let my parents know what I wanted for Christmas – and I gave up doing that when what I got was white cotton panties and a leather bible instead). So, as you can see, my experience with “wish lists” was wanting.
Feeling crummy on a very cold and snowy December day in 2013, tired of watching movies, I looked over to a stack of magazines I’d been meaning to throw out, I decided that I could give making a vision board a shot. With the help of my trusty cat, Mathilde, I started flipping through the magazines and cutting away to my heart’s content. Immediately I felt more energetic and purposeful.
A picture of the Blue Lagoon in Iceland? I wanna go there!
So I cut it out.
A lofty well-lit living space with wood floors? That’s where I wanna live!
So I cut it out.
A picture of a couple wearing masks, and sitting intimately entangled on a couch? I want to experience a certain comfort of intimacy without immediately taking off my mask.
So I cut it out.
Perfume? Sure! Coffee at a European café? Why not? A foggy New Orleans street or the road leading to Oak Alley? I’ve always wanted to go to those places! A strong, beautiful, and curvy silhouette? I want to more fully embrace my curves!
So I cut them out.
And so it went. I taped the pictures to an unfolded file folder because it was the closest thing I had to poster board on a day when leaving the house for art supplies wasn’t an option. I wrote little captions next to each photo, explaining what each item symbolized for me. I showed my third-grade looking creation to the group of free-lancer ladies who applauded my initiative. The day I put down a visual representation of my wants and desires was the day I learned to recognize themes within myself I hadn’t realized were there. This was a way of getting to know myself more than I had originally envisioned.
And then I forgot about it. I put it in a drawer and left it alone. I think that typically you’re supposed to hang your vision board in a place you will see it often so that your subconscious mind will start veering you in the right directions. But this is not what I did.
How did things turn out?
Within a month a new apartment found me, one that was south-facing with wood floors on the second story – and it was situated only a few hundred feet away from my old apartment. Who knew what I wanted had been visible from the place I’d been living for nearly five years? Did I make that apartment materialize? No. But when the opportunity came across my path, I new it was something I wanted and I so said, “yes”. (Never mind that the apartment had been freed up because someone had died in it just days before) *[Be careful people, vision boarding can be powerful]. Posting photos of my new apartment and decor morphed a longtime social media man-friend into a romantic partner who afforded me the intimacy of daily, yet mostly superficial, contact – just the type of attention I needed without the complications I didn’t. Oh, and he loved my new perfume, my new signature scent; Gucci Guilty. The one I sought out because through the art of vision boarding I realized that I’d been wanting it, so I made it happen. I’m that much more comfy with my silhouette since losing a solid ten pounds in the past few months, and I’m a little healthier, too!

I still haven’t been to Iceland or New Orleans. All in good time. The magic of this project wasn’t really “magic” at all. Learning new ways to acknowledge what lies within was all the magic it took to see myself in a new light. Knowing what my core desires are gives me the authority to pursue them. Part of our mission in this life is to become authorities on ourselves. This is not a selfish act. Quite the contrary – the better we know ourselves and celebrate who we are as individuals, the more we become who we were created to be – thus reflecting more brightly on the world around us.