I went running yesterday in the rain. I had been pacing around the house all afternoon, looking for some sort of entertainment. The internet was failing me. Books seemed too wordy. My own words were dropping from my fingertips like bread crumbs, sparse and dry. I wasn't bored. I wasn't inspired. I was itchy inside.
I asked my husband if he'd entertain me. I used those exact words but it was more an imploring command: Entertain me!? I danced around, did some showtime jigs for him. He was amused but busy. I implored my pal Jess -- Entertain me!? She had other plans though. I had plans too. I was meant to go to ballet. The final class in my twelve week program. I hadn't missed a class until last night but something inside me didn't want to go. I was starting to panic. Go to a movie? Eat a pile of food? Get a milkshake at the mall?
I decided instead to run in the rain. To run, full throttle, as fast as I could until I exploded.
It had been pouring out all day. For three days on end, actually. I pulled on a sweater and left my keys. I stepped outside and within moments, my face was dripping in water, ears filled, soaked to the skin of my thighs. I began running. I ran as fast as I could until I couldn't sustain it any longer. My heart drummed in my throat as I darted up and down side-streets. I kept it safe, sticking close to home, afraid that I'd tire and get cold. I was a caged animal.
I heard my own voice pipe into the humdrum world of my incessant thoughts:
I don't want to be afraid to live. The same voice answered back: I don't want to be afraid to die.
I started running farther away from home. Not that far, but far enough that I ended up under trees and deep in puddles, jumping through woodsy paths. I was amazed that I hadn't become tired. I felt the lunar force of the full moon drawing me on. I circled up side streets, ran down hills and back up again. I was electrified and soaking wet. I was like Powder in the field but without the apparent superpowers.
I found myself in an empty park, rain pooling in my sneakers. I sat on a swing above a gravely puddle and I moved. I thrust and bent my knees, arched my heart to the sky and eventually got so high that the chain jumped and caught at the top. I went as high as I could possibly go.
I don't want to be afraid to live. I don't want to be afraid to die.
The thoughts came in: You're a thirty year old woman, swinging at a children's playground as hard as you can in the middle of a rainstorm. Maybe this is a bit odd, Lacey. But as fast as they whirled in, they were breathed out again. Swinging was all I wanted, right then and there. Why deny myself such a simple and necessary pleasure? I couldn't find a good enough reason and so I pushed on.
Like the rains, the word authenticity seems to be falling down all around me lately. Through the hearts of a few wonderful women, I've been witnessing other brave souls stepping into the centre of themselves in very public ways (Emily Ehlers and Jeana Boutilier to name two awesome examples). Coincidence doesn't exist in my life, but synchronicity, the universe's eager guidance, it definitely does.
I've been wondering a lot lately about identity, about shaping the perimeters of life based on self-prescribed titles and notions. I've been learning about Non-Violent Communication, about competitive yoga in the book Hell-Bent, about giving birth to babies in Ina May's Spiritual Midwifery, about the life of other creatives across a hundred-plus years in Daily Rituals.
I've been reading Susan Sontag's essays about writing, about politics. I've been looking at known and lesser known people in all stages of their lives and asking: How did you do? How are you doing it. Who are you? Who am I? I'm yearning to connect into other people's worlds -- their lives, loves and worries -- by reading their words. I am hungry to find out if I, like them, can do it too.
1. Authentically Living
One of my dear teachers, Yogrishi Vishvketu, taught me that when one percent is still iffy, then the problem or issue or whatever it is, still exists. I feel myself living authentically in many areas of my life but I also recognise that there are areas where I'm feeling a little iffy -- where I'm acting shiny on the outside but feeling dull on the inside. That one percent, a tiny seed, can grow weed-like and wiry, if ignored. I think this is a very relatable situation for many (am I right?) but one that can be hard to pinpoint. It can be slippery to tell when we're putting on a show and not presenting the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but -- so help me / us God.
2. Creativity Fuel
My life right now is composed of many hours of writing everyday and also many hours of avoiding myself too. I've been working on writing a book for a while now, but I've become more dedicated over the past few weeks. I saw that without real hardcore dedication, this mammoth task would always feel slightly impossible. Granted, it still feels slightly impossible (and when I say slightly, what I really mean is totally and utterly).
I'm pretty sure I'm sitting at the bottom of a mountain right now, without shoes or pants on, sans compass or tarp, asking the skies, my heart and the weeds:
Am I meant to climb this? I've never hiked alone before. What happens if I get lost? What happens if I never know where I'm going? What happens if I don't ever get to the top? What happens if I never finish anything worthwhile and I get addicted to coffee again and lose my flexibility and everyone asks where my book is and I have to say, I DON'T KNOW!? PLEASE FUCK OFF. What happens if I get stuck in the rain and can't find a swing and then I trip and face-plant in the mud and cry forever? What happens...?
Just when I think I know where I am or where I'm going, the map changes. Or else I change and the map isn't relevant anymore. I feel blessed to live a life of little external structure, a life that supports my ability to change and flux and ebb and flow. Of course, I don't want to be wishy washy but I also don't want to be held to a rigid idea of who I'm supposed to be. I know I hold myself to certain ideas and then I have to pause and recognise that a) I've imposed these structures, b) they're not working and / or, c) it's okay for me to change my course.
How is it possible to ground and fly at the same time? Did Will Hunting crack that formula?
The truth is, that making something is hard work. And honestly, I don't quite know where I'm going. I've tried to draw a few maps and then follow their penciled-in lines, but somehow, I end up in the woods a lot. It's okay though, because I like the woods. I think about bears but mostly I just sniff around and touch trees.
When I was a kid, I was taught to stay put if I ever got lost in the woods because then it would be easier for someone to find me. I do that sometimes. I sit and I listen to the whispers of the tress and I wait to be saved. Lately though, I find myself running. I move hard and fast, branches whipping my face and I cry and I laugh and I look around for traces of myself in every mossy corner.
In the depths of the forest, with no hope of a path in sight, I feel it come rushing in, even if only for a moment. I learn that a path can simultaneously be found and forged wherever my feet have landed. That every direction wandered offers the possibility for endless possibilities. That in truth, there's no such thing as getting lost. I see in an instant, instantly evaporated, that the only person who can find me in the woods, running or staying put, is myself. I sit for a moment and then I keep moving.