Updated: Feb 3
I am thrilled to announce that I did indeed get the funding I was hoping for, from the wonderful Arts Council Of Wales, for my solo show "How To Be Well In A World That Is Sick?". Today was my first day in the rehearsal room. And it was a beautifully hard one.
I didn't sleep very well last night. I arrived late. I left my bank card at my partners house. I am about to start bleeding. And everything all felt like too much. The first thing I did was lie down on the floor and meditate. Which felt good. And helped. It also dropped me into my body deep enough to feel all the sadness in me today. So then I cried lots. Which also felt good. Realising today was not going to be a 'productive day', I decided to try and focus on allowing myself to be as I was, how I was, and accept that. Sounds simple right!
And it has taken me years, quite literally, to learn how to do this. To unlearn all the ways I was taught and conditioned to go against what I felt or needed, to go against my body and its flow, its needs, or desires. To ignore the reality and force myself too 'do more'........
I certainly still did more today than my body wanted to do. And. I allowed myself to do a lot less, than my head was telling me, I 'should be doing'. So it was a day of progress, in a way that I have also had to learn to recognise and celebrate, as its own kind of success and or achievement. The success of letting go and doing less. The achievement of recognising this as a healthy step towards better self care. The achievement of rewriting my value systems and or belief systems, that have told me for years, more is better, less is worse. To push is to be strong, to listen and yield or surrender, is to be weak. Failing.......
...that achievement, is all about doing and not about being. Striving rather than listening. Pushing rather than being able, to surrender. This narrative feels so strong in our culture.
They are firmly rooted deep in my psyche, these institutionalised narratives, from the outside. And as the old witch saying goes; as without, so within, as above, so below.
I wrote a little today, from sheets of paper. Collated a few ideas and put them onto a document to share with other members of my team. I danced a little bit. I asked for some help from a friend. Nothing was 'done' to satisfy the part of me that only wants a particular kind of 'doing'. And much was allowed, permitted, given space, held, in myself and in my space. Much was released and accepted, leaned into and softened, into.
So as I write this, in the here and now, I am changing the narrative I had in my head, as I drove home. The "I didn't do enough today and I am already failing" story. The one that says "You have no idea what you are doing and this is going to be a big mess". And as I hear these words inside me now and type them, my stomach resists them and wants to push them away. No. This is not the full truth. This is the critics. And they tell stories.
Stories that are not whole or true. They may feel true sometimes, or be hard to dismiss sometimes. They may carry a lot of weight and domination sometimes. And they are not the only perspective. I can choose this new one. A new story. A new narrative. The one that says "You did great today". "Isn't it amazing that you made it into the rehearsals room at all, given how tired you felt!?" "And how wonderful that you recognised you needed to lie down and meditate, and then did that, and gave yourself what you needed! How excellent are you!" "And what a marvellous thing that you allowed yourself to be with what was, instead of pushing past it, and trying to get to what you 'thought', 'should' be, how brilliant you are!"
And this is what this work is all about; me, learning how, to allow myself, to be, as I am.
So with that in mind, whilst today was hard, it was also a very good start. Because I lay on the floor a lot, and cried, and did powerful roations with my hips, and felt my body, and I lsitend to it, more than I often have, in the past. And I danced a little, and wrote a little, and I took a few pictures, and ate some food. And that is actually enough, more than enough, to start with. And the critics that belong to the wound in me, that never feels enough, will never be satisfied, because that is thier way; they always want to shout some more, they always have some other unkind or cruel thing to say. And that's ok too.
And they will be there sometimes. And what I am learning, slowly and surely, is that I do not have to listen to them. I do not have to believe them. I may not always be able to silence them, and that's ok too. They can sit, on thier perches, chatting away, shouting or jabbering, and I can let them just be there. Or throw them the odd doughnut to eat, give them a tasy treat to chew on for a while, give me some peace, to just be, lie down, cry, wind my hips, stretch my legs, look at the trees, listen to the wind, and consider; what this journey may be. How this show may turn out. Where it may take me. Or not. And it was lovely, to find some moments today, of being very present, with what was, with what is.
What a gift to find one today, in the most unlikely of places. The kindness of strangers. It is quite possibly one of the most beautiful things about life and this journey, for me. How much kindness I have received, from total strangers, people who really, genuinely, want to help, care, support, hold, cheer lead, encourage, liste to all the many and wonderful strangers in the world, who have helped me so much, from a place of real and genuine love with no agenda other than a desire to be kind. It gives me hope, always.
It is all about the perspective we hold. the stories we are told. And the ones we choose to re-tell, to ourselves. This alone (and it is no small thing to change), really is everything. The lens through which we see ourselves and or the world around us, is the difference. It is the thing that keeps us stuck, trapped, and drowning, or the thing that carries us forwards, to places of new confidence, worth and possibility. Stories are very powerful.
One of the waitresses in the arts centre cafe today asked me what my show was about. So I told her. And she responded very kindly and astutely, by saying, 'You can do this'. I had never met her before. She continued by saying and offering '...And if you ever need a cheer leader, then come and find me. And I'll remind you, that you can do this'.
It was the most beautiful and wonderful thing anybody could have said to me at that moment. And magical given that I had been writing about that very thing, earlier today; how important cheer leaders are. people who are on your team, who won't give up on you or let you give up on yourself. They are vital. Crucial. Necessary to the healing process. We/I, really need, those people.
What a gift to find one today, in the most unlikely of places. The kindness of strangers. It is quite possibly one of the most beautiful things about life and this journey, for me. How much kindness I have received from total strangers, people who really, genuinely, want to help, care, support, hold, cheer lead, encourage, listen, ask. Thank you. To all the many and wonderful strangers in the world, who have helped me so much, from a place of real genuine love, with no agenda, other than a desire to be kind. It gives me hope, always.