Message from the Universe/Broadway: Believe Stronger

We are living in uncertain, and unnerving, times.

frodo light of galadriel lotr

I combat the pervasive feelings of anxiety and fear by striking back against the dark, including seeing, supporting, and singing Broadway musicals.

Here in Portland, I was lucky enough to see Newsies last year, a favorite from childhood. This year, I saw Finding Neverland, which I’d never heard of, and which I didn’t feel particularly excited about. I sat through the first act, breaking into a few smiles but not essentially moved, as I usually am, by the music and song and emotion.

Then there was the finale of the first half, Stronger. Amazing. The playwright, J. M. Barrie, has to find a scary alter-ego within himself to cultivate enough backbone to go ahead with his new material, in the face of threats and criticism. What a zinger!

I went online afterwards, the background pirate vocals and foot-stomps singing in my ears, and found Kelsey Grammer performing the role of Captain Hook! I also saw a video of the Broadway cast performing Believe, an earlier number which I’d enjoyed but passed over. The play didn’t have me yet.

But when I watched the cast perform the song for a network show, it came to life. The resistant cynic being plied with positivity until he caves in and joins the others to imagine a better and more interesting world. (Not that the world isn’t interesting, but when one’s father has died and one has to conform to Edwardian behavioral mores…I could see how it would seem depressing for a kid.)

So, there I had it: my two favorite numbers from Neverland, which I haven’t been able to stop singing, are:

Believe

Stronger

As Tosha Silver might say, Not. Even. Subtle.

 

Images via Council of Elrond

Letting Go for the NEW New Year

Did you know that the Romans celebrated their New Year on March 1?

Mars, the God of War, oversaw the start of their calendar. Makes sense, because ROMANS.

terminalis statue wikipedia

As part of their ritual, they celebrated Terminalis, the God of Borders, Transitions, and Neighbors

I came across these facts randomly several years ago, and had the bright idea to use a random holiday as an excuse for a party.

It was great in DC, so I repeated it in Portland, as a way to meet my neighbors in the rather cold, anonymous apartment complex where I live. It worked out okay a couple years ago, but was less pagan-ritual and more corporate-ice-breaker vibe…

cheesy corporate icebreaker trust fall

So this year, in line with my intention to be more open to the mysteries, I deliberately invoked the pagan side of the holiday in my invitation.

I invited people I thought would be into rational discussion of neighbors. Borders. What being a good neighbor meant. What having a border meant.

My definition of neighbor expanded to include those within a few miles, since the people I’d met two years ago had moved on. We talked about the definition of neighbor.

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I got 4 No’s and 2 Yes’s and 5 Lack of Responses. Portland.

My two Yes’s showed up and we had baked goods, wine, tea, and enlivening, enheartening conversation. It was brilliant. More evidence that quality over quantity is what counts.

It also affirmed my intention to Let Go of the effects of my generosity this year. For 2017, one of my intentions is to offer what I can, without the expectation of returns. This means not holding onto disappointment when no one comes on an outing, not seething with resentment when someone says they’ll come then blithely doesn’t show, not refusing to offer my generosity because I don’t get the feeling I desire.

It’s hard, but I’m learning. And my two Yes’s helped that little monster in my brain relearn the importance of a few deep connections, rather than the buzz of a crowd or the validation of popularity.

What borders around you need tending? What neighbors could you invite to your (metaphorical) hearth?

 

Images via Wikipedia, Expert Beacon, and property of Margaret Pinard

Surrender & Self-Love in February

I wrote a post a couple weeks ago for my gym, Muv Training, for its February newsletter. When they published it, I reread it, and was satisfied with how it had come out.

But then a few days later, I was wandering around in one of my ‘Cup of Comfort’ trances, and the lessons I had pointed to in that Muv article came back to smack me in the face.

What’s a ‘Cup of Comfort’ trance? Oh, yes, I haven’t published that story yet.cup of self love sketch

Well, a year or more ago, I was wandering around half an hour before work. I wanted a tea, or a coffee, or a hot chocolate. But I wanted a comfy seat, too, and a quiet atmosphere, and not too expensive. I was on foot, and checking all the cafes within reach and open in the time allotted was a formidable task. But as I flipped through my mental Rolodex, I realized none of them would give me what I wanted.

Because what I wanted was a ‘cup of comfort,’ that feeling of being warm, and cozy, and comfortable. And cherished.

hygge sweater cup of coffee

Tea, or coffee, or even hot chocolate, would not be able to do that.
So I went to work early, in a bit of a huff, I’m sure, munching on that bit of mental floss and how I could learn from it.

What happened this last time was the same search, but in the car–more choices, dammit!–and without the time limit–I was on my way home, and only limiting myself on the amount of money to spend as I once again flipped through the mental Rolodex of cafes open.

But this time, I’d just read my own words on self-love and self-care, and I realized, as I parked and contemplated Noraneko, parked and walked around Hawthorne, peering through windows, that what I was really searching for, what that Cup of Comfort held, is Self-Love.

Oof, ya.

I’d been trying my best to not go out, not spend money, create brilliant works of culinary art at home on a shoestring budget, and have that suffice. But my self-love well was getting low, and somehow, I wasn’t recharging it.

I went home with this realization, feeling at least sufficient enough to turn down the warm interiors on Hawthorne. But once home, how to replenish?

well of love margaret agnes rope stained glass

Self-care? I got a massage (on an account I’d long since had to deactivate), but that did not work. I tried bonding with the cats. That did not work. (Their pee on my rug thrice this week made me irritable.)

I could have gone to the gym, but didn’t. I might’ve gone to the show I had tickets for, but didn’t–it was miserably wet and icy Friday night.

I watched Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone. I traced how Harry found his way to the friends he needed. By chance! And I was reminded of the hardest piece of belief and trust and faith.

Surrender.

 

Have you battled such demons? Made similar discoveries? Do share.

 

Images via VidyaSury, DailyMail, & Pinterest (by the way, Margaret Agnes Rope, incredible stained glass artist of the Arts & Crafts movement–who knew?!?)