waiting is never passive

allow yourself SOM

It’s a somewhat chilly Monday morning, with brightly leadened skies. The heater is blasting as it’s almost 60 degrees. That probably sounds balmy to you if you’ve endured the latest polar vortex, but Floridian homes are created to breathe not insulate. So it can get very drafty and damp. The cold seems to get in your bones, making you unable to get warm.

So it’s a new month and a new moon in Aquarius becoming exact this afternoon. 

A new moon, a new work week, a new month, and I don’t really know what’s coming or what I’m doing next.

Except that I kinda do.

And now, I want to shift back to how I wanted this blog to be besides a log of the struggles and trials I’ve been through.

I want to talk about the spiritual shit more than the psychological shit. It all belongs, but I haven’t really been talking about this much. And that’s mainly because I have put that part of my life on ice.

Or, a more generous perspective: life’s circumstances caused me to focus on the daily practical parts of my life.

So within the past week I’ve had two tarot readings, and they’ve repeated what I have known I’ve needed to do, but I haven’t given myself permission to do:

Chill the fuck out.

No hustling. No grinding. That’s over.

I should be glad, but I’m a bit terrified, as one of my tarot readers and friend thought I would be.

It’s not only that I need to chill. It’s that things are going to get better. Unsurprisingly, I’m wary of that because I don’t feel like I’ve worked hard enough to get there right now. And that working hard could be some overcompensation of feeling undeserving.

Could good things just come to me?

Besides that, my work desk is cleared. There are only three people I want to follow up with, which I will do tomorrow.

But beyond that, it’s just me, celebrating and resting (as I have been invited to do by my latest tarot reading), which automatically sounds like laziness. 

But it’s not. Within this waiting period, for the good to come, I want to respond to things I’m only thrilled about doing.

The last project I worked on was basically for an audience like myself, so that was fun and pretty easy to do. 

And that project came to me, through my business website.

What I’ve realized is that when projects come to me, they’re pretty easy to do. Most of what I did last year, for better and for worse, came to me.

So even though I’ve heard twice – that by relaxing, I’ll be able to get what I need and then some – it’s a struggle to relax.

I’m actually getting some supplemental help because my Capricornian nature basically needs to be forced to relax. I’ll let you all know how that goes.

I’ve written about how I see all this space opening up. Having lost some business at the end of last month is a part of that opening up.

And this is what I want, new and better things to come to me. I just thought it’d be more of a hand-off, like a relay, from one project to the next. Not, as what has been foreseen, a couple of weeks of rest and relaxation.

Of course, the worry is mainly about money, and that’s primarily what the readings had concerns about, but even more largely: what’s next?

What one of the tarot readings showed that I’ll be doing something which combines everything I’ve done in the past, but that there isn’t necessarily a word or label for it yet. And that aligns with how I feel right now, and what I’ve been trying to accomplish for the past few years but have been unable to fully bring into being.

Or, you could say that all my attempts will be realized soon.

I can’t remember who mentioned to me that I’d be going into coaching and speaking –maybe another intuitive – but that almost fit. I’ve heard it before that I’d be a speaker. But that sounds like a lifetime ago.

Simply put, I’m not exactly sure what I’m looking for or waiting on. I just know that I can’t take on projects just because I think I can do them and because I need the money. 

If there has ever been a lesson I’ve learned in the past few years is that although I can’t necessarily control the circumstances where I’m desperate, when you are desperate, you tend to make piss poor choices, whether it’s with the friends you keep or the jobs you take or the items your purchase or how you market yourself to potential clients and employers.

Desperation clouds sound decision making.

(While I was looking at Twitter, an astrologer friend said the same thing about desperation. As the kids say: energy! (I have no idea what this means.))

So as the skies have now cleared and the sun is now shining…

Even though I’m not supposed to grind and hustle, I want to be drawn towards the people, places, and situations from a place of inner stability.

Another word for inner stability: confidence. I had an astrological reading with another friend before the two tarot readings, and confidence came up. It came up in the first of the two tarot readings as well.

If you’ve been reading this blog long enough, it’s no surprise that my confidence, especially after last year, had been shaken.

Where I shakily am right now is…I don’t want to do anything stupid.

But there are things I want to do which I feel like are stupid to do right now…because if I’m not searching for another gig or client, then I’m not doing my part in the survival and thrival of me.

Thin, cottony clouds have gathered again and the sunshine is bright and pale.

While writing this, I just reached out to four people that I want to work with or have worked with (couldn’t wait until tomorrow). But that’s the energy I want to follow, evolving from a sense of duty and forced ability to desire and easy, breezy joy.

So what “stupid” things do I want to do? Right now, just two things, but they’re lengthy.

I want to read these two books on indie rock bands that I’ve received over my Christmas birthdays. I want to work on my novel. 

One more thing that isn’t so stupid to me: write like how I used to in grad school. I feel my writing is stalling or crystallizing in a way that shows that it’s prematurely finished.

I feel like I haven’t done enough creatively with it. It’s going on five years since I graduated from grad school…

I try to capture words and then they scatter like a flock of pigeons. I feel like I write something solid and bordering on really good and it only gets two views…

The skies have cleared again and the sun is mercilessly shining on me.

I know this time alone is precious, oh so precious…but sometimes it still feels like it’s some cosmic punishment. And I know I’ve said this before.

There will be a time when I look back upon this fumbling around and wish I had that space again, to explore, to fuck up, to try again, and to follow my gut. 

Doing very little of what I’m used to doing – calling, writing, chasing, scoping, fretting – it’s really terrifying.

I’m a doer, not a receiver. I’m not a go-by-her-gut’er, not a rester.

Can I trust myself and the guidance I’ve repeatedly received?

I was reading this blog post, which has a podcast and transcript about a blogger who writes about waiting. There’s been a lot of waiting already, for my whole adult life.

But waiting is never passive.

And so much of having work and having money is being able to live the life I want, but all of that has been stalled. And in a capitalist society, it’s hard to have meaningful relationships with having some money, which is really sad to say.

Even still, I’m trying (a forum here, a game alliance there), and the results have been mostly mixed.

But that’s OK. I have to keep reminding myself that relying on school and church as my primary social gatherings will take time to unlearn, that it’s OK just to get out there and try…and fail…and try again. It doesn’t make me less of a human for being sometimes lonely and mostly alone. It makes me even more human to reach out and to continue to reach out, even through tears of disappointment and rejection.

It’s tough to read articles like this one, which is something I’ve been waiting on, too. But also, I’ve been forcing this to happen for years, this type of close friendship – on almost everyone, on too many people.

Intimacy does take some intention and follow-through, but it also takes ready and willing partners. It takes time for people to get to know one another. And sometimes, it just takes the right timing, for all the stars to align.

That’s a thing I want, that I’ve always wanted, but I can at least say that isn’t stupid. It’s just fucking elusive.

The sun has ducked under some stratus clouds, but it’s still quite bright. It will set in a couple of hours.

But eventually, I know I’ll be in a place where I will be truly loved and cared for, where I can give that love and care in return without feeling depleted or misunderstood. And it’s good albeit humbling to be open about that…

Like with my current musical crush, The Divine Comedy. In my last blog, I put a song of theirs at the end.

Their (or really his because it’s basically this one dude, Neil Hannon) latest album, Foreverland, is unabashedly about love and about his significant other (an Irish singer/songwriter whom you can hear on a couple of the tracks). He says as much somewhere (wish I could find it). 

The Divine Comedy is an orchestral pop outfit (which may be my favorite genre of music, right up there with house and indie rock), and he’s/they’re quite funny, sometimes a little baudy, artful, and, in that latest album, disarmingly sincere. That sincerity can be found on other songs, too.

I’ve been listening to this group for the past few days and it’s been an aural delight. It’s all because I listened to this song by Robbie Williams and Hannon sang “goodbye” with a sonorous baritone voice,  and I always liked that part but never knew who sang it.

Also! Neil Tennant from Pet Shop Boys sings the other background vocal and I went on a Pet Shop Boys listening binge late last year, too. So yeah, that song has spawn three listening binges, and it’s one of my favorite Robbie Williams songs. And come to think of it, all three of these dudes have some very distinctive voices…

Behind trees and thin cirrus clouds, the sun starts its setting motion and the golden hour will begin soon.

One of the things brought up in my latest tarot reading was love, like the mushy romantic type, and I believe I finally feel ready for it. And oddly (in a timely fashion), listening to The Divine Comedy has pushed me head first into these dizzying pools of emotion.

Although, when the card came up (The Lovers), I thought, cool, I need to make a choice! That’s one of the common interpretations. And I actually default to that now because my incurably romantic side always defaulted to romantic love. 

I’ll keep the rest of this to myself, but even though I feel ready, it doesn’t make it any less scary, and that’s because this person isn’t new (I’ll say that much, which is too much). And that would confirm all the messages I have received about them recently.

But really, I just feel like…whatever I’m going to be doing with this person is a big part of what’s next – OK, that’s my hope.

No matter who it’s with, I feel like there’s not much left to do except that, but “that” is a very big that. And that is really strange to say, as some go-get-’em Capricorn, to start engine braking instead of hitting the gas; to coast instead of accelerate; to let gravity and entropy have their way. 

Could it really be that I’ve done enough?

It’s strange when you’re used to years of digging, toiling, pulling, pushing…and then something just gives way.

You see sunlight. You hit that vein of gold. You find that hidden reservoir. 

You can rest now.

I’ve dug and toiled and pulled and pushed. And there isn’t much left around me.

This whole space clearing goes beyond career, and even beyond this person. Dare I be prophetic about it, or at least intentional: it’s going to be a whole new life. And this life that I live now has prepared me for it.

But it was be markedly different, to the point that this part, this unsatisfying, painful, bitter part, will seem like someone else lived that life.

And that’s what I want. That’s what I’ve worked towards. That’s what I’ve called in, prayed for, cried over, written about for years…

The sun will set in 27 minutes. I can’t see the sun anymore, though. Just waning light filtering through some clouds…

I should be excited, right? A job/gig that will incorporate all that I’ve done and being with someone that I don’t have to try so hard with.

But where’s the certainty? Where are the reassurances?  Where’s the security that life often will not give me but I seek anyway?

Where’s the proof? Where are the receipts? Where is the money-back guarantee? Where’s the insurance? What are the plans B through Z?

Everything comes down to faith and trust, no matter if I coat it with a Joel Osteen evangelical sheen or bedazzle it with rose quartz crystals.

And, well, that sucks.

I could go to a 100 tarot readers and they would all say the same thing. For example, I had my annual birthday tarot reading with a friend and The Lovers came up, for love not a choice.

So yes, reassurances have been made. Good things are coming. Soon. 

Yay?

But shit happens, you know? Unexpected shit. And shit has happened. Lots of shit. But I’m done with this shit, especially the shit that is planning for the rainy day, the disaster, the unmitigated tragedy, the skinned knees, and the broken hearts.

It’s the occupational hazards of being a human being. And this month, I have to let my heart lead the way, through the jungles of doubts and past hurts and disappointments.

I have to believe that I know what I’m doing, even if it seems crazy to me.

I have to keep the faith in the goodness waiting for me just around the bend…

The sun set about five minutes ago. The golden hour ends and the blue hour begins. I see the sun’s orange-pink reflections in some puffy clouds out to the west.

I was going to end this with a song from The Divine Comedy (this one). But I will end with some Tom Petty, since I’m heading this way anyway…

You can consider this chorus as a prayer for you and for me.

And I know that look that’s on your face
There’s somethin’ lucky about this place
There’s somethin’ good comin’
For you and me
Somethin’ good comin’
There has to be


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newton’s cradle of grief

newton's cradle.gif

This month has been a lot for a heart to take and to process.

A massacre. A rock legend’s death. Potentially hundreds of people dying in on an island with barely any power or not enough clean running water. The exposure of sexual harassment and assault at the hands of one movie mogul. The cascade of stories of survival and the exposure of other perpetrators. Wildfires destroying more acreage than the size of New York City.

Another rock legend dies from brain cancer last night.

I took yet another break from Twitter because I was starting to sound shrill and sucked into this vortex of pain and anger. For me to leave because of an emotional contagion is saying a lot, because that’s not usually my bag. The people I am friends with on Twitter are my main community, which I am chagrined, but they are real people, real people who really matter. So it’s kind of a big deal to me when I’m not there.

And I’m not the only one who has left for Twitter for a spell. It’s more than OK to take a break from things when they aren’t serving you.

I also left because astrologically, Mercury is conjunct Jupiter in Scorpio and I wanted to focus more on improving my writing and editing business, to dip my silver tongue in the stars and say all the right things to all the right people. But emotionally, I’ve been a lot distracted, even with my sabbatical from Twitter.

And actually, Mercury conjunct Jupiter, in Scorpio, has probably created the climate of this fixation on sharing pain and anger.

And my heart just pours over…

Gord Downie’s death last night was one that Canada has been bracing for since he announced his battle with brain cancer and the subsequent final tour with his band, The Tragically Hip. It was a band I knew about back in 1996. I loved the song, “Ahead by a Century,” but I had no clue how big the band was in Canada and how much Downie meant to his nation. I learned a lot about that last year.

It’s weird how his death allowed me to shed at least one tear for Tom Petty. I’m listening to him right now (Highway Companion, for the record) and I can finally do that a little more, listen to his music. It’s like all the pain and trauma from this month is in a Newton’s cradle. This new loss of Gord Downie, and the grief of a whole nation, knocks through all the grief from before and starts at the grief at the beginning of the month.

I can’t even comprehend what happened in Las Vegas, though. It’s unfathomable, even though people die of violence here, and elsewhere, every day. What’s going on in Puerto Rico is closing in on genocide due to chosen negligence.

My conscience is seared all the way around, but maybe it’s the only way to get through the day so I don’t collapse under the weight of the all the pain and sorrow that’s been very heavy lately. It’s fixed, like Scorpio energy can be.

And then there’s my own stuff.

Not to roll out the scroll of my own suffering, but living here has been triggering memories of living with my family of origin, of how unpredictable it was due to living with someone who has untreated mental health issues. That came to a(nother) head today when I once again woke at 5:30am in the morning to the smell of brewing coffee, which derailed my whole day. It took forever to go back to bed, and then I woke up too late.

If something gets tripped up like that, over and over, to mean it means it’s time for healing. So today, I was planning on doing some work-related things, but today was a day to work some of those old emotions out: forgiveness and self-compassion and grief and anger.

New things knocking around old things.

And I imagine that’s what it’s like to hear these survivor stories–being triggered as others tell their stories. I only hope that healing can occur as Newton’s cradle of grief goes back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.

This may sound really rah-rah and strident, but in this increasingly fixed and stubborn energy, I want to think about solutions. Especially if you’re any kind of marginalized person, you already know the world is a fucked up place. You’ve tried, in your own way, to heal yourself, to bring healing to your corner of the planet. Yet sometimes Twitter can just become an echo chamber and all you can hear are endless screams and cries and groans and yells. It could be an empath’s burden, feeling everyone else’s feels so easily. But one can only feel so much…

As I was telling a friend today, I’m so tired of hearing people glibly say that we’re all gonna die. I’ve gone through hell and back too many times for that sort of existential resignation.

I don’t have any overarching solutions right now that don’t involve a lot of money–as my friend today has surmised. So right now, the best thing I can do is to make sure I can make some so I can donate to causes that support marginalized people, i.e., take care of myself so I can take care of others.

What else can I do?

I love the people who love me back hard.

I continue to find compassion for myself as I look at my old stories with fresh and kind eyes.

I try to push back the dark, rolling clouds of doom that tried, and failed to overwhelm me today.

I keep hope close to me, but not too close so it smothers me with exaggerated optimism.

I cry if I need to.

I attempt to be more grateful and rejoice if and when I’m successful.

I look for the threads that hold things the good things together. Tie those thread tighter.

I do the best I can and know that it’s enough.

I can even look forward to things, like having my own family and not living here and/or in Florida anymore.

For now, I have to focus on the work that’s in front of me, which includes fighting to be here and not drowning in doom. If I’m sleep deprived like I am today, it can be really hard. But the fight is worth it.

To find joy and hope in the midst of immense suffering can seem impossible. But in order to survive and really live, it’s necessary.

May we all keep fighting to be here and to be happy, loved, and safe.

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it’s time to move on, it’s time to get going

time to move on SOM.jpg

I have been dreading writing this blog post that I didn’t think I had to write until Monday evening. I don’t think I will be able to get this right. But I’m going to try.

tom petty RIP.jpg

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers had just finished their 40th anniversary tour, playing their last show on September 25th at the Hollywood Bowl. At this point in my life, I wasn’t really following much of what they were doing as a band. I knew that they had played Wrigley Field in Chicago this summer, and I had kind of wanted to see that show, just because of the historic venue. They had played Tampa in May but I was out of town. I didn’t even know there had been a couple of albums of unreleased music that had been released in 2015.

The only time I saw them was at the United Center in 2008–and that was enough. It was a bucket list concert for sure, and it was a lot of fun. I went with a friend that I used to sing with–a singer-songwriter who played guitar and piano. It was like a big ole sing-a-long.

On the heels of one of the worst massacres in history, when I read that Tom Petty had had a massive heart attack, I was in disbelief. Could there be even more loss today?

He’s 5 years younger than my father and two years younger than my mother. I’m almost as old as his band (I’ll be celebrating my 40th year of life this year). Heart attack? I didn’t think of him as a hard-livin’ man anymore. He was chillin’ in Malibu.

Then Twitter killed him, via the LAPD and CBS News who had erroneously confirmed his death. But TMZ had said that his family had removed life support and that he was clinging to life. After what TMZ had done with bungling the news of Li’l Wayne, I wasn’t trusting them. So I’m angry, but then hoping he’d miraculous pull through.

But eventually, Tom Petty did pass. He was another part of my childhood and adulthood unexpectedly stripped away from me and so many other people.

And just like Prince, he still had some music left in him. I didn’t know there was going to be more music from the Wildflowers session that was going to be released–and who knows what else.

I learned a lot about Tom Petty this past week. Although I’m an erstwhile musician and singer, and I’m an avid lover of music, I’ve never really cared that much about musical artists’ personal lives. I only seem to care when they were gone, which is probably why I love musical documentaries. I watched a four-hour documentary on Netflix, Runnin’ Down a Dream. It was really great to have a better sense of him and his bandmates. But I didn’t need it to appreciate their music as is.

I read most of the obits and tributes I could stand. Some were stupid and clearly written by people who didn’t do their homework (not even worth noting). But most were pretty laudatory, as they should be. I loved reading what my friends had to say about how much his music meant to them.

Petty was a gifted singer-songwriter who wrote for the underdog because he was one. I think Petty was an everyman for a lot of Americans. He was able to capture that American type of restlessness and drive to do better, to be better, to transcend one’s problems and station in life. His songs also have a sense of place that is easily accessible, even if you’d never been in the San Bernardino Valley or in an Indiana town on an Indiana night.

He was also the guy that hipsters and indie rockers aspire to but maybe will never become–because it’s really hard to do. You’ll never hear any of his songs on commercials. He assiduously fought record companies to be paid fairly and to keep record costs affordable. From the documentary and all the articles I’ve read, I learned a lot about Petty’s sense of fairness, his struggles with drugs, his depression after his divorce, his deep sense of loyalty, his championing of the marginalized.

My favorite tribute/obit was from The Bitter Southerner (what a great name for a publication!) because it wasn’t completely fawning–although he more than deserves it. It showed a bit of his Libra double-edginess (which, fighting with lawyers and record companies is pretty Libra already). It was a fuller portrait of a musical legend. The not-so-shiny parts made his shiny parts even brighter in comparison.

My Twitter friend, Bearded Stoner, and I have been kind of mourning online together. I kept sending him tributes that I thought he’d find interesting. It’s been helpful for me to have someone who gets it, as we’re both Southerners. It’s made this grief a little more bearable, especially since what I haven’t been doing is listening to a bunch of his music. It’s too painful still.

And it’s not to say that “Yankees” don’t get Tom Petty either. That’s the beauty and genius of writing great music is that if you’re really good, then it’s not just about the musicianship–it’s about everything. But it’s just different, in my opinion, if you grew up in the South and listened to him, since Petty was from Central Florida (Gainesville, which is just 80 minutes up the I-75 from me) which is pretty rednecky and Southern (well, certain pockets are). The only regret I have is not being able to see him and the Heartbreakers play with the Black Crowes–a band from Marietta, Georgia. I probably would have lost my shit, since I loved that band, too, for very roots rock/Southern reasons.

Even beyond what the album Wildflowers meant to me and other memories of his music, like singing “I Won’t Back Down” in church, what matters to me most in the wake of his untimely passing is me living here. And maybe this is where the blog post should truly start.

Tom Petty inadvertently welcomed me to Central Florida when I moved down here five years ago. I was in the middle of a terrible move with a disreputable moving company. I had to stay with my cousin and his family for two weeks as I waited for my things to bump their way down the East Coast.

The first full day I was here was a Monday, and everyone had gone to work or school. I was watching some cable channel and they were showing Tom Petty, I believe, in some high school gym or auditorium in Gainesville. There was a show back in 2006 when he and the Heartbreakers went to University of Florida, but I don’t think that was it. This seemed to be more of an intimate show. He was really happy to be back. Watching that show, while I was waiting for my new life to start, I felt like he personally welcomed me home.

Even though the next few years were humiliating and gut-wrenching, playing any Tom Petty music, especially the album Wildflowers, made me feel like I belonged here, even if it was just for a few minutes. Besides the warm weather and having access to beaches, this being his home turf was the only thing I could take pride in. Even Wildflowers reminded me of those few good minutes I had with my friends in my youth group while it was hell living at home.

Tom Petty, with or without the Heartbreakers, had been part of the soundtrack of my life for at least 25 years of my 40 years of living. In particular, the wisdom from the song, “The Waiting Is the Hardest Part,” is something I’ve championed over and over. It was something I constantly would quote–partly as a pacifier for my own impatience, and partly as a way of commiserating with others, “I get it. Waiting sucks.”

Yet with Petty’s passing, it definitely makes it even clearer that it’s time to move on from Central Florida. Waiting for something decent and good to happen here is not what I’m destined for. It’s a weird and eerie coincidence and a strange bookend that I never expected, but it is definitely a sign that I will take to heart.

There is a magic and a beauty about living in the South, even with its bloody history. Some of that magic and beauty left last Monday night…

I’ll leave you with a song, “Walls (Circus),” that I was obsessed with right before Tom Petty passed. I don’t know if that was some omen, or just that with better headphones, I could appreciate the brilliance of this song. For me, it’s the background vocals of Lindsey Buckingham that make it so wonderful. The song is also definitely emblematic of the Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers mantra: “Don’t bore us, get to the chorus,” because I immediately just get stuck in the chorus in a beautiful earworm loop.

I know that Tom Petty knows how much he was loved by his family, friends, and fans, but I didn’t know how much I cared about him as a person until he was gone. It’s a cliche that no one wants to find themselves in, but it seems to be part of the human condition to not be able to fully appreciate someone until something like death, or close to it, happens. I hope he was able to feel the love from all over the world streaming into his hospital room in Santa Monica as he transitioned.

Thank you, Tom, for sharing your gifts with us.