Hey Idiots! Now introducing the debut episode of the #myidiotsoulmate podcast with idiot soulmates Steven Lee Woods, Hannah Jane Nancarrow
It’s all so fragile, so precious, so delicate and enchanting. Everything, everyone around us has adventures and choices and experiences approaching. They each have occurrences, happenings, developments which will change their circumstances, alter the scenery of their paths and take them beyond our own horizons.
War, destruction, disease, shift, strain, loss, grief, hurt, conflict even now are approaching us. They’re coming, and with them they will bring metamorphosis. They’ll shake us, challenge us and test us.
My words aren’t intended to frighten or alarm, rather to remind and encourage. For now, we are still so near, so aligned, and we still have so much to offer one another, and to offer ourselves. This temporary reality is our opportunity to appreciate what is here and now, and to embrace all that surrounds us in this moment in time, in this corner of the universe. This is our chance to think and feel and connect and share. This is it. This is it. THIS. IS. IT.
Go, do, try, dream, move, learn, build, create. There is no other time. There is no other moment.
When those impending trials knock on our door, we will sturdy up our hearts and lean into whatever they are and whatever lessons they bring. When those tribulations arrive (and they will) our thoughts will not turn to unsent emails, work left undone, or messes yet to be cleaned. Our thoughts will linger on passionate kisses, old songs and colorful sunsets, roller coasters and home cooked meals, horseback rides and road trips, weddings, birthdays, and family pets. We’ll find solace in memories of climbing mountains, giggling babies, toes buried in the sand, dancing in dive bars, and running through tall grass.
Life is a series of hardships punctuated by moments of pure, unadulterated bliss. And our fortitude during those inevitable hardships is determined by the quality of bliss we create. Our most enduring bliss is that which is made in love, and risk, and experience. So when hardship comes to greet us, we’ll find strength in our visions of joy, accomplishment and each humbling, awe-inspiring, breathtaking adventure.
Find your bliss, pursue it, nurture it and carry it with you wherever you go. Life is short; treasure every beautiful moment (hint: they’re all beautiful).
“One of the lessons I’ve learned in life is that happiness lies in discovering your passions and exploring them fiercely. And passions aren’t necessarily big, grand notions. We can also find passion in a rose garden and the smell of a puppy and the writing of a first grader. Wherever they are, whatever they may be, seek out your passions and cultivate them.” – Loren Nancarrow
I’m the emotional type. On any given day (sometimes any given hour), I experience every feeling of the emotional rainbow. I might feel happy and hopeful in the morning, anxious in the afternoon, nostalgic and sentimental in the evening. There are times when I’m wrought with sorrow, other times I’m flagrantly joyous.
Some may dismiss my wide range of emotions as crazy, irrational, abnormal. I call it passion, character, soul.
My dad always said the most ingenious writers, artists and creators are often the most tortured. He said creativity is the progeny of struggle and sorrow and of strife. And maybe that’s why I feel most creatively driven when I’m feeling most distraught, confused or rejected. When I’m happiest I don’t search for answers nor call on my faith; I float on the surface, not seeking anything deeper because happiness doesn’t demand an antidote. When I’m hurting, however, I’m inclined to seek remedies, compelled to look for truth within — therein lies my creativity, my compassion, my soulfulness.
Oftentimes we try to escape our emotions. We hide from our hurt, temper our sorrow, and medicate our anxiety. Although emotional torment can be overwhelming, even debilitating, the best thing we can do for ourselves is lean into it, feel it, embrace it. Pain exists as a teacher; pain is monumental in showing us the depths of our hearts and the expanses of our consciousness. Pain is the predecessor of creation and of awakening.
When my dad was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, he was connected with a brilliant and well-loved neurologist, Dr. Tom Chippendale. Dr. Chippendale deeply bonded with my family, encouraged and uplifted us. He sent my mom poetry for comfort; one poem was called The Guest House by Rumi.
The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
Rumi refers to our feelings as visitors, our lives as guest houses. However unpleasant a visitor may be, we must graciously welcome them in because each is “a guide from beyond.”
Within a few months of meeting Dr. Chippendale, he too was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and passed away three months after my dad. But like a pleasant, albeit brief, visitor in our guest house, Dr. Chippendale was a guide from beyond, and we are so grateful for his company.
You are special. You are kind. You are playful and brilliant and courageous. You are sensitive and compassionate and graceful. You are brimming with enthusiasm and bliss. You are magnetic.
Your toes are charming, your knees are ideal, your thighs are powerful. Your hips are heavenly, your belly beautiful and your shoulders are superb. Your smile is beguiling and transcendental and mesmerizing. Your eyes enchantingly whisper the captivating stories of your soul. Your lips are lovely, your ears are precious and your hair is exquisite. You are irresistable.
Your mind is a symphony interesting ideas and creative thoughts. Your words are hypnotic and dreamlike. You’re a visionary and a creative genius. You are so fantastic and fascinating and fierce. You are exceptionally wonderful.
You are never alone. You are forever surrounded by unbridled joy and absolute admiration. You are beloved and cherished. You are wanted, appreciated and adored. The world is better because you exist.
YOU ARE IMPRESSIVE. YOU ARE IMPORTANT. YOU ARE LIGHT. YOU ARE LOVED.
“Feel the fear and do it anyway!”
― Susan Jeffers
HERE IT IS.
2) Take pride in your work.
3) Always finish what you start.
4) Do what has to be done.
5) Be tough, but fair.
6) When you make a promise, keep it.
7) Ride for the brand.
8) Talk less and say more.
9) Remember that some things
aren’t for sale.
10) Know where to draw the line.
When I was in fourth grade my class spent a month learning about lighthouses. I became totally fascinated by lighthouses — enthralled by their role as beacons, warning of treacherous waters, and as coastal chaperones, guiding sailors into safe harbors.
My dad always took an interest in my interests, doing everything he could to cultivate and nurture my passions. He took me to nearly every lighthouse within 100 miles. Together we admiringly circled each statuesque lamp, gazing upward, imagining how it illuminated obsidian night skies.
My interest in lighthouses dwindled when my fourth grade class moved on to California Missions; my dad, however, didn’t immediately catch on.
One of my dad’s standard Christmas gifts every year was a calendar for each of us kids, which he’d buy at a kiosk in the the mall by the T.V. station (I know this because it was tradition for us to go holiday shopping together, and he’d always head straight for the calendar kiosk, telling me to look away, as if what he was doing was any secret. Still, I played along.). For Graham, he’d usually choose an Elvis Presley calendar, for Britta a horse calendar, and for me…a lighthouse calendar.
I received a lighthouse calendar that year when I’d been so fascinated by them…and also the next year…..and the next…………..and the next. This continued for 5 or 6 Christmases until I finally got the nerve to tell my dad that my interest in lighthouses was, for the most part, isolated to one month in 1998. We both belly-laughed.
The following year for Christmas I received a lighthouse calendar. As I unwrapped it disappointedly, I looked up to scold him for not remembering the conversation we’d had one year earlier…only to see him giggling like a merry prankster, so impressed with his lighthouse calendar joke. And, even though I was a teenager who was not amused by anything, I laughed too.
I received a lighthouse calendar nearly every year after that. And though my amusement eventually wore off, my dad’s chuckles never lost an iota of enthusiasm as he watched me open a lighthouse calendar on Christmas Day for 10+ years.
It was only recently, when I stumbled on a lighthouse calendar in the grocery store, that I started thinking about lighthouses again. I thought about their resolute elegance, their significance, and their near-extinction with the invention of GPS. I missed them. I missed him. I gazed nostalgically in realization that my dad was my lighthouse.
My dad was my beacon, illuminating my course, guiding me and encouraging me to keep moving no matter how unnerving and murky the night was, no matter how treacherous my course. When my dad became ill, I was heartsick with the thought of navigating the seas alone, without my lighthouse. I knew I could live without him, but I didn’t want to. Unfortunately, that wasn’t my choice to make.
So, there I stood in the grocery store aisle, staring, contemplating, thinking that, like lighthouses, calendars had all but become extinct in the age of technology. Like most people, I never use an actual, physical calendar anymore, and I didn’t need this lighthouse calendar. Even though I knew I could live without it, I didn’t want to. This time, it was my choice.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Life can be rough.
We walk through spiderwebs, have run-ins with HOAs, meter maids, and speed traps. All too often we wake up to find that we have horrific zits, and wrinkles, and stretch marks, and that the cat has blatantly pooped on the floor (or maybe that’s just at my house). We’re surrounded by wars and shootings and migraines and breakups. We have car registration and rent and taxes and bills to pay. We breakdown, stress out, and mess up. Stuff happens. But I’m tired of focusing on the sad stuff, the bad stuff, and the downright crappy stuff. I want to again pay tribute to the stuff that makes us smile, the stuff that makes us grateful, the stuff that makes us LAUGH. Here’s to the good stuff (part 2)…
Here’s to unseasonably warm weather, friendly strangers and the perfect haircut. To dropping your phone without it shattering, and being eligible for an upgrade when it does. To front-row parking, front-row seating, and standing room only. To Bluetooth, Wifi, GPS, and DVR. To online quizzes, astrology and crossword puzzles. To paddle boarding and doing yoga, and also to not paddle boarding or doing yoga. To hiking, and biking, and swimming. To relaxing, and lounging, and chilling. Here’s to Netflix and pizza and sweatpants.
Here’s to seashells, and dolphins, and salty hair. To green flashes, cold beer, and raging bonfires. To surprise parties, wine tasting, and theme parks. To karaoke, and fondue, and melted cheese in general. To frozen yogurt, and burritos, and brightly colored juices. To early mornings, late evenings, and cat naps. To dreamcatchers, cotton sheets, plush robes and sleep masks. To instant coffee, cartoons, and french toast with powdered sugar. To kittens. Just kittens. Here’s to having plans, not having plans, and when someone cancels plans you didn’t want to have.
Here’s to finally finding your keys, the open highway, and cruise control. To downtown and uptown and hometowns. To walking, and running, and standing still, and Ubering. To business trips, family vacations, and being bumped to first class. To German Shepherds, Bulldogs, and mutts of all kinds. To Catfish: The TV Show, Law and Order: SVU, and The Office. To full batteries, and perfect internet connections. To hot showers, hot tea, hotties, and hot tubs. Here’s to guilty pleasures, healthy habits, and public displays of affection. To perseverance, and ambition, and achieving your goals. Here’s to gratitude, meditation, and faith in something more.
Here’s to dating apps, hugs, cuddling, and human connection. To friends who hang out so much they look alike, new friends, mutual friends, and friends with benefits. To quick responses on text, emojis and, autocorrect. To putting yourself out there, swiping right instead of left, and finding “the one”. To engagements, and honeymoons, and newlyweds. To baby showers, epidurals and nuzzling a newborn. To anniversaries and birthdays, and regular ol’ Wednesdays. To being single, or being taken, or just plain being yourself. To promotions and raises, and “moving on up”.
Here’s to praying, and grinding, and realizing your dreams.
Here’s to David Bowie, Scott Weiland, Glenn Frey, Maurice White, Paul Kantner, Lemmy Kilmister, and Alan Rickman.
Here’s to San Diego, California, and The United States of America.
Here’s to sunrises, sunsets and every breath between. Here’s to the good stuff.