On remembrance and celebration
Memorial Day is a day for many of us to remember those who lost their lives in the line of duty. But perhaps for others of us, it’s a day for remembering those we’ve lost, not due to war.
Memorial Day has also become a day of picnics and bbq’s and gathering together to enjoy each others company. This used to bother me. The idea of laughing and having fun on a day intended for remembering those no longer with us, seemed wrong somehow. But over the years and after experiencing several losses personally, I’ve changed my mind completely.
I’ve come to realize that the best way I can honor the memory of someone I’ve lost is to embrace the memory of the whole person as best I can – the good, the bad, and everything in between. If I can do this, then the focus is on that person instead of me and my rules and should’s and shouldn’ts of how to remember (or what it should look like).
Something is freed up inside to simply remember. And sometimes that includes a celebration.
This video is a tribute I did years ago to honor the life and memory of a friend, Zezette Larsen. The song is “Take me to the water” by Nina Simone.
May you remember those you’ve lost this holiday and celebrate in your own way. love robin
Returning to do what you love, what calls you
Last week I missed making the Mojo Monday video because of the very thing I’ve been talking about: procrastination and mind chatter. So this week I’m focusing on what it means to return to do that thing you want to do but are challenged to do – for whatever reason.
When I was a little girl I developed a bad habit of knocking my head into the wall repeatedly. I did it out of frustration; psychologists call it self-soothing. I eventually stopped (mom told me that I couldn’t go to slumber parties with my girlfriends unless I stopped), but I still have a zillion ways that I fight with the wall.
How do you fight the wall, or rather fight reality? Do you force it or just walk away and forget the whole thing? Or do you find a way to work with the reality you’re given?
A poem about showing up
The challenge of writing
Is to see your horribleness on page.
To see your terribleness
And then go to bed.
And wake up the next day,
And take that horribleness and that terribleness,
And refine it.
And make it not so terrible and not so horrible.
And then to go to bed again.
And come the next day,
And refine it a little bit more,
And make it not so bad.
And then to go to bed the next day.
And do it again,
And make it maybe average.
And then one more time,
If you’re lucky,
Maybe you get to good.
And if you’ve done that,
That’s a success.
by Ta-Nehesi Coates
Mindchatter be gone!
I think most creators, inventors, artists and makers struggle with mindchatter and self-doubt at one time or another. The idea that you have a bolt of inspiration, sit down and create easily is romantic and not based on real life in my opinion. Even if it’s easy to start, sooner or later, mind-chatter creeps in.
So the question isn’t how to avoid it or not have it, but to start something and persist anyway, whether or not there’s mindchatter.
Something to try
Next time you start something and find yourself taken by the over-critical inner voice, find a way to surprise or shock that all -to-familiar voice. If there’s one thing that you can count on with mindchatter, it’s that the comments are predictable. You just might discover something amazing.
The phenomenon of waking up
Everybody in the world wakes up in the morning, but each one of us experiences it uniquely. If you consider all the different causes of waking up, from bad dreams or eating too much icecream the night before to loud sounds outside your window to the person sleeping beside you who snores. If you consider all that, you realize that waking up is not so much done by us, but that we are encouraged or helped to wake up by the world – both internally and externally.
That takes the pressure off somehow.
Message behind the message
There is no shortage of advice on how to start your day in a way that makes you feel like you’re in control. Set your alarm at this hour, meditate for this amount of time, drink this kind of smoothie etc. But what if your day doesn’t start off under your control? What if your neighbor is loud, life’s pressures overwhelm you so much you can’t sleep or your roomate decides to play a prank by throwing ice over you? What if life doesn’t happen according to plan starting the moment you wake up?
Wiggling can be an anecdote to being too serious/adult
Wiggling is an activity that most adults consider childish, and even ridiculous. Funny thing is that most adults can’t wiggle. So that tells me that, its not that its ridiculous, it’s that adults are hiding the fact that they can no longer (or believe they can no longer) do this thing, behind the oh-so-adult-behavior of judging. When you wiggle your body, its almost impossible to be angry, worried, or self-centered.
Wiggle for a minute and see what changes, from the inside out. You might be surprised.
Some say politics – conservatism, liberalism, ism’s of all kinds – is the problem.
Others say its religion – too much, or not having enough – is the problem.
Most agree that those who disagree, who are different (not just in terms of race, culture, creed, but also ideology) – with me, with you, with us – are the problem.
Identification – in all its forms. What of that? Are we not, each and every one of us, caught by, or rather restricted by this very human tendency at one time or another and in all likelihood, most of the time?
Might that be at the root of these other, more obvious problems? But because its at the root, might it also be a tremendous opportunity?
What would it be like to see the shape and form identification takes in oneself? To be so close to it that you can taste it, but not so close you get swallowed by it.
What would that look like? More intriguingly, what else might be discovered, if for a moment, we could pause labeling ourselves and others, and simply be.
Here is one interpretation through dance of the struggle with that essential question. (Alonzo King’s talk is followed by the dance at 4:55)