Allowing Myself

…to feel, to love, to be.

Tag: guitar

At Home, in the Blues




And then we went to the Doheny Blues Festival.

The weather was warm, and the music was hot. We baked in the sun all day, H getting a ridiculous farmer’s tan. I slathered on the SPF 50. We lounged in beach chairs, relaxing with 10k other people. Luckily, H found us a spot right on the edge of the last section where people were setting chairs down. We ate BBQ, funnel cake, and tacos, and drank lots of beer and wine.

At one point, waiting for the Tedeschi Trucks Band to go on, I feel asleep on a blanket we put out. The sun was just sliding behind a tree, and the shade felt warm and cool at the same time. I was tipsy from wine, belly full of tacos, and I just felt this delicious feeling of…






Blue music has my heart-strings more than other music seems to move me.

I discovered Susan Tedeschi when I was about 15 yrs old – a neighbor bought me her CD saying I sounded like her. Well, I was flattered, because this woman could sing. And I wish I’d kept hold of that thread through music college, because I think of how much more singing I could’ve done if I’d chased after this line of music.

Those memories bring me back to being 16 yrs old, at music camp, and so in love with life (and a boy). How at home I felt, surrounded by people playing music, holding hands with this guy who looked past my eyes and into my soul, and away from my family for the first time.

I remember being in a vocal workshop and us all going around improv-ing these blue lyrics over some changes. And I remember feeling this instance in my body, and letting it come out my mouth, almost too late where I’d missed my cue… but I hadn’t. And after that exercise, the assistant teacher came over and complimented me on my timing, on my voice.

I’d really had something.

But the next few years proved to be challenging, and music went off my map, or maybe I went off it’s. I remember a few years later, one teacher said she didn’t know if I “couldn’t hear the right notes, of if you just have terrible pitch”. Contradictory feedback, eh? And the second came at $1000+ / credit. (shaking my head – like wtf?)

Regardless, being back in the sun and grass, hearing those guitars come charging through the afternoon heat, and Susan’s voice flooding my ears – it felt good to be back there.

Wherever that is.

Sundays Are For (Week 21)

Today was for…

A three mile walk through the beach town, where Carter didn’t love his encounter with a pitbull but otherwise, was fairly easy to walk with. Guitar playing by H – lots of Iron & Wine and Tom Petty. Taking photos. Feeling stressed out (maybe PMS?) and trusting it would pass. It did. Abandoning the idea that H would drive up to work and get stuff done. Instead he suggested we go to the Montana district of Santa Monica, walk around and eat. I stopped into the Jonathan Adler store. We ate at Babalu – omelet for him, salmon plate for me. Picked up a few groceries in Whole Foods our of laziness. Enjoyed the quiet. Avoided napping. Sipped tea. Looked at houses online. Cooked dinner. Read a few blogs and watched a video of Austin Kleon speaking.

You can enjoy it too below:

UX Week 2012 | Austin Kleon | Steal Like An Artist from Adaptive Path on Vimeo.

You can add to the conversation on Instagram by tagging your pics: #sundaysarefor or linking to your own blog posts. Hope your Sunday was wonderful. We’re back to work after two weeks of spring break (for him) and travel for work (for me). The quiet time at the office and home will be enjoyed. The 5:30am alarm – not so much.


Willing To See

Week 5 is “Recovering a Sense of Possibility”. I’m not sure that’s the exact vibe I picked up, but this week was jam-packed, full of burnt-out, manic energy. I tried my best to take advantage of it.

There were phone chats with 3 good friends (2 are long-distance), a tentative job offer, 11 miles running with the dog, two dinners made from scratch, lunch with my faux therapist. I had the courage to cancel appts that I didn’t have the energy for and I allowed myself time to read blogs for hours. Hit the Farmer’s Market, ran laundry, stopped by the library 3x, pet-sat for a friend, cleaned up and cleaned up again. I pasted things in my journal, read a new book, watched 2 documentaries, and blogged.

To add to the weird energy of the week, I’ve been suffering from uber-cramps that radiate up into my back and my chest. Thursday’s sleep was wrecked and Friday night was lost to the pain. Seems to be subsiding today, but man, a literal thorn in my side.

Even with all of that – even with knowing that I am putting into play all of the skills I’ve been learning the past 10 months – this week is most important because…

I played guitar. Not once, but 2x, without panicking. My head didn’t race, my stomach didn’t turn. It was just me and that hollow-body singing against my chest.

And to add to my creative pleasures, I’ve been gifted a Canon SLR to borrow until July (thanks to my brother). Since it’s been so long, my skills are sketchy, but excitement flutters with each held-breath moment before the shutter click.

This day has zoomed by and we’re off to have dinner at a friend’s house. We’ll be away for the evening – just the thought is tiring. As much as the food and conversation will be worth it, my spirit would like to sit and read the night away, pouring over Expressive Photography and cuddling.

I’m doing better all the time.

Each day, even if it feels like a bust, seems to bring with it some little gem, as simple as H saying, “Honey – thanks for doing everything”. Even if it’s as small as cuddling on the couch with the dog. Even if it’s as big as a glimpse of my future job or reevaluating my part in a trying relationship.

It’s not a sense of certainty, but an ability to feel hope that things will work out, and I will be OK. An acceptance of things as they are, a lowering of my expectations, so that I can actually experience the life I have, not the life I think I am supposed to have. Whatever this week brought me and whatever next week holds, my life is gliding along, perfectly on course. I’ve stopped struggling. I’m willing to see where life takes me.

I guess this week I did gain a sense of possibility…

“Life diverts us when we are hell-bent on going elsewhere. Life arrives in a precise and yet unplanned sequence to deliver exactly what we need in order to realize our greatest potential. The delivery is not often what we would choose, and almost never how we intend to satisfy ourselves, because our potential is well beyond our limited, ego-bound choices and self-serving intentions” ~Hand Wash Cold (pg 64)


Finding a Rhythm

This about sums up how I’m feeling…

Today a possible job offer came through. I’m excited for the opportunity, but with mercury retrograding I’m leery of how it will pan out. Can’t let myself be whole-heartedly into it until things are agreed upon and papers signed.

Until then, I wait, but waiting involves this whole tension, this feeling in your gut that sends your mind racing, “But what if…?” and you either can’t sleep a full night or you find yourself in bed at weird hours. Like, 3pm.

I took Carter for a longish morning walk in the rain. I listened to a podcast interview of Jamie Ridler with Ali Edwards. Ali talks about disliking the term “finding balance”, since what seems “balanced” today may feel like chaos tomorrow. Instead, she focuses on rhythm. I found this ridiculously interesting – it resonated in my core.

Months ago, when I was still trying to find my own “balance”, I would fantasize about going for long runs, reading lots of books, having time to write, etc. The weird thing was, I had more than enough time. What I didn’t have was permission from myself to live my life. I knew I was dissatisfied with my job, guilty that gratitude was hard to come by, and the rage-filled crying fits were kind of a red flag too, but some layer of thinking kept me caught up in the doing instead of being.

What was wrong was that I was numbingly unfulfilled. I was deeply angry and silently, sleeplessly anxious. I thought I was working harder than anyone and yet I was missing what everyone else seemed so easily to grasp. A life. ~Hand Wash Cold (pg 8 )

Through a weekly meeting with my therapist I began to learn just how mean I am towards myself. How I was struggling with either “permission” or “pressure”. And that I’m so petrified of breaking the rules that I don’t make a move.

The past few months I’ve found a rhythm. Each morning is some combination of feeding & walking the dog, writing my morning pages, feeding myself, exercising and showering. I answer emails, do work, make phone calls and accomplish tasks. I cook food, wash my plates, drink tea, run the vacuum. My mom will call or I’ll meet someone for lunch. Today I even did a spontaneous 20 min of yoga, alone in the office with huge 10ft windows facing east towards the clouded sun.

And the other night I played guitar. I strummed a simple progression and H played a little lick over it and we jammed for less than an hour, but it felt good.

I can’t tell you what world this re-opens for me. It’s been years since I’ve played guitar without anxiety and the other night my head was clear, my hands felt good. I wanted to be playing and I wanted to keep playing.

Whatever iceberg that’s been frozen around my heart is starting to break up.

It’s not easy to be done with your own sob story. We might set it down for a time, but we hardly ever get rid of it. Provoked, we haul out the old emotional wadrobe and put it on again. We’re so accustomed to familiar, wounded feelings and self-serving narratives…that we mistakenly think they’re who we are. We think we are our thoughts; we think we are our feelings; we think we are nothing more than our buldging basket of past experiences.

Can we really find happiness by letting go of what we know of ourselves? It is the only way.   ~Hand Wash Cold (pg 18)