Only for the lockdown, I may never have experienced the following:
- My hair appointment (always booked two months in advance) was cancelled. I texted my hairdresser, desperate for advice on box dyes. She informed me of my colour. Debated doing a patch test. Decided I’d better. It was the “ALLERGIC REACTION MAY CAUSE DEATH” bit that got me. Going to the hospital would be a nightmare! The patch test burned and I was left with a scabby wound. Decided to go gracefully grey.
- A few weeks later, I purchased a different brand. The patch test stung. How much stinging is dangerous? Maybe I can use this as an opportunity to see how I’d look if I consciously decided not to cover the greys.
- Took a nail scissors to my hair instead. I wanted a layered look. I sliced off two chunks. I was reminded of that one time I cut a Barbie’s hair and kept having to compensate by shortening the opposite side. Bald Barbie really stood out from the crowd. I put down the scissors.
- When someone told me that we should try on our jeans every day “because tracksuit bottoms/leggins/pyjamas are lying to us,” I was enveloped in a wave of emotion (anxiety, guilt, rage, denial). “That’s the worst idea ever,” I retorted.
- Did a 20-minute Joe Wicks’ workout. I couldn’t bend over for three days (and counting…)
- Whenever a TV character walks down a busy street or through a colourful market or into a noisy bar, I mutter: “Before the Corona virus.” Nothing on television really reflects our current reality. And they don’t stream The News on Netflix.
- Remember how I got my boyfriend into Irish radio? Well, he’s taken to texting Dermot and Dave even without a cash prize motive. He felt the need to share that, according to the Lockdown Personalities they’d discussed, he’s a Bubble Burster. This means that when someone suggests that this will all be over soon, he disagrees: “No pints in pubs or international travel until 2021.”
- In case you’re wondering, I’m a Quarantine Queen. I’m the one who sets up all the Zoom catchups and emails on the links. I’ve also completed several meditation-, personal development- and exercise-based challenges. More still to come. And I saw my no-sugar-or-crisps-for-Lent challenge (sacrifice?) right through to the end, despite the apocalyptic vibes.
- I’ve noticed that whenever I start dancing, my boyfriend drops everything to join me. We wiggle and laugh and get all the lyrics wrong. I look into his eyes and smile, enjoying a rich few minutes’ appreciation for his presence and willingness to put aside whatever he’s doing to be with me in silly abandon.
- The song finishes. The moment ends. And I’m right back to my multi-challenges and Zoom-ing. Earning my title every goddamn day.
Art by Tati Ferrigno
Posted in Modern Society
Tagged anger, anxiety, barbie, body image, challenges, control, corona virus, covid-19, dancing, denial, dermot and dave, emotion, enjoyment, exercise, friends, grey hair, guilt, hair, hair dye, hairdresser, ireland, joe wicks, lent, lockdown, meditation, mindfulness, moment, music, netflix, news, pandemic, partner, personal development, personality, presence, quarantine, radio, rage, relationship, shame, singing, television, todayfm, togetherness, tv, weight, workout, zoom
I meet singer-songwriter Dermot Kennedy this morning. Afterwards, I type his name into Spotify and admire his voice, lyrics, and most of all, his passion.
Listening to his music ignites something deep inside of me. I have the urge to dance. To write. To spill technicolour all over a blank canvass.
I need to give birth to this swirling energy inside my chest. To express this sensation that rises and fizzes.
I want to throw my arms wide and look the beast straight in the eye as lightning spikes into puddles and sheets of rain encapsulate me.
I long to roar so fiercely that my throat tears open and nightingales spring skyward.
I want to race across fields where thistles prickle and lash me with their giant purple heads.
I wish to tap-dance along the hide of the earth. My diamond heels working up a fever. Sparks bursting. The planet thrums.
I yearn to drink in the incredible beauty of this whole miraculous universe.
I feel an urgency so strong that normal life moves too slowly for me. My desperation lies shallow in my belly.
But I’m in work. I can’t unleash the dragon right now, despite my impulses.
I remember that I have to breathe.
Inhale. Life. Exhale. Let go.
The fear is that this wild abandon will dissolve like a unicorn’s wing behind the charcoal clouds.
But if I sit still and silent, I can just about hear the sun creaking above the horizon and the applause of wave after wave after wave upon the shore.
I know that if I breathe, I’ll always be present for another song, another flame, another mouthwatering moment of life being really lived.
And if I am, if I really am who I truly am, I’ll shine and I’ll keep on shining. I’ll shoot rainbows from my fingertips.
I’ll fling my heart open. I’ll bellow until the beast lifts his sleepy lids.
And he and I, we’ll jive.
Watch Dermot Kennedy’s Moments Passed here
Do you ever feel so bad about yourself that you can’t fathom that great things could happen? You don’t believe in yourself. You forget all the good that you do.
You close yourself off to all the love that surrounds you. You compare yourself unfavourably to others and see everyone else as confident, successful, flourishing…
You focus on the negatives. You spot rejection, failure and disappointment in every comment, action and imagination.
You push loved ones away then hate yourself more for doing so. For self-destructively banishing what you crave: love, care and affection.
They try to love you. They offer you acceptance. But deep down, you’re never going to measure up or be worthy of their naive loving of you.
You shut down the love. You silence the laughter. You dare not believe in your potential. It frightens you.
You sob. You cry. You let go. You open up. You let him in.
A smile breaks through. You can’t help but laugh. He’s so good.
He sees the best in you. You want to be that person. And one day, as you sip on a coffee in the afterglow of his presence, you realise that you are.
You are that bouncing, brave, beautiful person that he admires. But you block yourself.
You think thoughts and you believe them. You identify with the bad.
You stop dancing. You don’t feel the music. You forget who you are. You exist but you cease living.
While the real you simmers patiently beneath. Always there. Waiting for you to shake off the shackles and rejoin the dance.
Ready to roar in perfection. And smile and love and shine. And be free.
He loves you because finally you remember that you love you. You just don’t believe it.
Image: Author’s Own
Posted in Love, Personal development, Poetry, Positive Thinking, Random, Spirituality
Tagged acceptance, belief, beliefs, blocks, confidence, creativity, dance, depression, disappointment, emotions, existance, failure, faith, fear, feelings, focus, freedom, goodness, happiness, higher self, hope, hopelessness, inner soul, insights, letting go, life, life coaching, living, love, mindfulness, music, negative thinking, opening up, patience, personal development, personal growth, poetry, potential, presence, realisations, relationships, romance, sadness, self-acceptance, self-esteem, self-hatred, self-love, soul, source, spirit, spirituality, strength, talent, thoughts, trust, unblocking, unconditional love, vulnerability, writing
I welcome the first day of summer by attending a yoga and music workshop with musician and yoga teacher Jack Harrison.
We lie down and begin with some breathing exercises. Jack strums his guitar, recites poetry and sings.
Then he takes us through a powerful yoga sequence. No music plays now. All we can hear are Jack’s instructions and our breath.
My breathing deepens. I feel strong, present and peaceful.
Afterwards, we sit in a circle and sing. For the most part, I close my eyes and really get into it.
Occasionally, I open my eyes and appreciate what’s in front of me. The fantastic Jack Harrison playing guitar. And a group of people joyously opening their hearts together in song.
Next, Jack suggests that we sing any tune we feel like.
“Dissonance is beautiful,” he insists.
“Some of us were told as children that we weren’t good singers. I was kicked out of the school choir when I was a boy,” he laughs.
“But singing is easy,” he says with a smile.
Many of us spend our lives trying to fit in and appear normal. We’re told how to live and what’s expected of us.
But today for a change, we’re being encouraged to be different. We’ve been given licence to sing our own song in a way that’s right for us in this special moment.
We start quietly and self-consciously. But before long, we become louder and more confident.
I realise that it’s much easier to sing in unison. It’s actually harder to be different. But I’m determined to find my own song.
I go with the feeling. I put judgment aside. I allow myself to be me.
Somewhere between dissonance, unison and harmony, I hear my own voice. Tears prickle behind my eyes. Jack’s right, it is beautiful.
Posted in Personal development, Spirituality
Tagged allowing, appreciation, beauty, beliefs, body, breathing, change, childhood, confidence, control, courage, determination, emotion, encouragement, expectations, fear, feelings, fitness, freedom, gratitude, guitar, jack harrison, judgment, letting go, love, mind, mindfulness, music, oneness, past, peace, personal development, personal growth, presence, pressure, self-acceptance, self-love, singing, society, song, soul, spirit, strength, summer, thoughts, unison, yoga
I decide to open up to a fellow holistic therapist about how I’m feeling. I tell her that nothing necessarily bad is happening to cause this feeling but that I sense its heaviness.
I’m choosing to carry it around and I’m not letting it go. I admit that I’m afraid, which makes me want to close down and not care in order to protect myself.
My friend instructs me to close my eyes and really get into the feeling of being scared. She tells me to allow it to grow and expand and fill my body.
I feel an energy in my chest and my stomach. It feels like fear then anger and then I relax. I open my eyes and relay this to her.
She asks if there’s any bad feeling left. I tell her there is. Sadness and grief. So I’m told to repeat the process of feeling and allowing the sadness.
I see the little girl inside of me. I feel what she’s feeling. But there’s a resistance within me. I don’t particularly want to go there now. Been there, done that.
Despite my current resistance, this year I’ve been loving myself more. When I feel bad, I remember not to reject myself. Because of this major personal breakthrough, I know that I’ll be okay.
My friend tells me that I’m repeating an old pattern. There really is nothing to be afraid of. I need to face my fear so that I can see that it’s just an illusion.
I already feel much better. This makes so much sense. I usually resist these bad feelings, fearing that they will control my life and affect how I behave, react and relate to others.
My friend reminds me that this is where my resistance lies. I don’t want these feelings. I’m trying to avoid certain behaviours. And I’m fearing the worst possible outcome.
“Stop resisting,” my friend insists.
“Allow the feeling to take you over. That will create a shift. A letting go. Which will open you up in wonderful ways.
Open your heart. Allow yourself to be hurt. And the funny thing is, you won’t be hurt. Because the real you can never be destroyed.”
She predicts that letting go of resistance and allowing the feelings to take me over will change everything. I won’t have to worry about what might happen, how I may react or the many ways I could self-destruct.
She also warns that just because I’ve now stopped pushing against the swing of resistance doesn’t mean that it will immediately cease moving.
“Once you stop pushing the swing, it will continue to move back and forth for a while. But it will be less forceful and it will gradually swing less and less,” she smiles.
I leave my friend’s house with an unfamiliar feeling in my chest. Is it pain? Discomfort?
I allow the feeling to grow and expand until I realise what it is. My heart is open. And that’s okay.
Posted in Love, Personal development, Spirituality
Tagged abandonment, acceptance, anger, behaviour, body, chakras, change, control, discomfort, emotion, expansion, fear, feelings, force, grief, growth, healing, health, heartbreak, holistic therapist, hurt, illusion, inner child, letting go, life, living, love, mind, mindfulness, open heart, openness, pain, past, patterns, personal development, personal growth, power, presence, present, reaction, rejection, relationships, relaxation, relief, resistance, romance, sadness, self-destruction, self-love, sharing, shift, soul, spirit, thoughts, worry