Have you ever wondered how much time you’ve spent in your life justifying wants and decisions with imaginary versions of people in your head?
Maybe this is a leap of a question to ask. Maybe I should ease you into my thinking here.
So many of the sessions I’ve had have been about holding the space for someone to show up and give themselves permission to do the things they love doing and be the person they want to be. They hand me money to remind them that it is absolutely alright for them to be who they are and want what they want. Because they wouldn’t want those things if it wasn’t right for them to have.
Hell, I’ve paid money to people that held space for me and gave me that same permission to just be who I am already.
I remember when I was young learning a different path. For instance, I remember knowing that I wanted a pair of shoes. I would just know that a pair of shoes was the right pair of shoes for me. What I learned though, was that this was not enough. Because I wasn't completely in charge of getting the things that I wanted. My father had the money that would get me the shoes and in order for me to get shoes from my father, I needed more than “these are the shoes that I want.” There needed to be list of reasons that added up to why these were the shoes. I learned how to justify many of my wants and decisions in this way. Even though “reasons” or logic wasn't how I made any of my decisions.
So now, many of my decisions or what I’m after have these rational stories attached to them, mostly for the other people in my life. And even more specifically, at this point, the imaginary versions of these people that live in my head. It takes me seconds to feel something is deeply right for me, yet I've spent a massive amounts of time finding the “reasons” why after the fact. Surely things have to be logical and make sense. What if someone asks me why?
I've decided not to give as much of a fuck about the why anymore, because I’m becoming more honest with myself about my why. When I feel like there’s something I want that is right for me and I feel it is part of my path, I say yes. Because yes. Yes is why. And because. That’s why.
Here’s something I've noticed about my path. What I remember about me when I came into the world is I would reach for things I wanted and people would give me reasons why they weren't for me. They were stupid and false reasons, but people would give me those reason anyway. I’m not sure why I knew they were stupid reasons at the time, but I did and this led me to not really believe that the adults and people around me knew what they were doing. The deal is, many of these people had power over me and I needed to placate them to move around in the world.
I’m done with that. There’s really enough everything for all of us. No one is standing in the way of who I want to be. I no longer need to navigate through a field of confused adults to figure out how to be. Oh, wait….
You’re all still out there. Doubting your own wants and occasionally bumping into me asking me to tell you why. Trying to figure out your own why. Well shit. Don’t ask me. Do what feels right. Stop doing what feels shitty. And if you’re not sure, ask yourself what’s getting in the way of knowing. Or ask yourself what you gain by being unsure. Because I've kind of noticed that most of us do know what we want. We just don’t know yet that it’s completely alright to want what we want and have what we want and be what we want.
Seriously, want what you want. Want the shit out of it!
So here’s the deal. My very favorite person is dying. If you’re reading this and we happen to be close and I happen to love you a lot, please don’t take it personally that for the past few years I have had a favorite person. This person rose to the top for sheer amount of awesomeness available to me on a fairly consistent basis these last few years. Someone who always showed up with unexpected and hilariously timed heartfelt additions to our conversations and my life. And evidently showed up in my life when I needed to have a favorite person.
I actually have a lot of favorite people in my life and the odds are if you’re reading this, you’re one of them.
Anyway, my favorite person is dying and I’m having the hardest time figuring out how to do the whole thing. Many of the things really. When I get to thinking about how my life is going, the excitement and the frustration, I really want to share it. We all do.
Except my Dad. He informed me recently that he doesn't really want to share his world with others. I know this to be mostly his opinion as I've observed it to not be the truth by the sheer amount of stories he has to share with me when we see each other, but nonetheless, I’ll honor that he doesn't feel like he needs to share things with someone.
But I do. I want to share my life, I really do. I not only want to, I need to. I have a great and strong desire to share the experiences of my life with others. I mean, obviously, I’m sharing this with you now. And I specifically want to share the most intimate details with a very select few.
So anyway, I get to thinking about how life is short and about how my friend’s life is shorter and I feel like I shouldn't waste any of the moments we have together and that I shouldn't waste any of the anything anytime. But, I don’t know if you've ever known someone amazing that’s dying. They are off busy with their living as much as they can. That’s how that goes. And because of how much life needs to be lived, it’s not their responsibility to spend the last moments of their life processing your grief. And there are tons of people at the ready and on the calendar to love them. Dying people have a really short busy schedule. And I've learned that they hate having to wait on hold more than the rest of us because they are quite literally losing precious minutes of life.
So I never know when the last time I see her is going to be the last last time. I keep putting on my big girl pants and showing up when I get the chance. Because it’s awesome. At some point there might not be awesome left to have with her. So I do my best to be graceful and to be grateful. And I usually am.
It’s the other moments that can be challenging. As a person with many passions and goals. I've been trying not to let my friend’s ticking clock make me feel harried or rushed in the unfolding of my own life. But it’s really hard not to be caught up in the mania of “Life’s got to be fucking lived!” especially when mania can be so productive and delicious.
I've found myself so restless. So wanting. So doing my best not to become even more intense about life than I already am. I’m pretty on the “life is to be lived with a capital Fuck Yeah!” team in general. But lately I have these thoughts. And I also have feelings and I want to share them.
I want to launch them fearlessly and sometimes ferociously across a table or over a cup of tea toward someone that can really see me and understand me, but I haven’t grown the intimacy to know that person for this moment of my life yet. And I don’t want to force it. I want the real thing. Yet I’m still hyper aware that I’m not going to have a favorite person soon. And truthfully since I’m not quite staring death in the face, I’m not in the same place with her now either. In some ways that connection is already gone.
And here’s the thing. I’m not taking applications. Of course I’m open to connection, but much like when I have ever felt that I've wanted to be in a romantic relationship, I’m not looking for just anyone. As much as you totally and completely just find the one, you don’t just find the one...I realize that only makes sense to people that get what I mean there....
This totally reminds me of when I got mad at a piece of cake. A friend of mine, a friend that typically doesn't like cake had the Irish Oatmeal cake from Piece of Cake for her birthday party. This was at least 5 years ago but I remember it like it was yesterday, and my life hasn't been the same. I took that bite and it was the most amazing thing I've ever tasted and immediately I got really pissed off.
I got mad at the cake for being the most amazing thing I’d had in my mouth and ruining how I felt about all the other things I’d had before or any of the things that might show up to be eaten after because they wouldn't be as good. I got mad at that fucking cake because nothing else ever was going to be as good as that cake and I knew it. And every bite of that cake continued to be amazing. I couldn't believe it. I kept being surprised by the amazingness of each bite of that cake because it somehow kept outliving my expectations.
But here I am.
I've had at the amazing cake. I've had at the amazing friend. And life keeps moving along and it keeps asking me to show up and just trust that there will still be more awesome things to be had. I totally believe it and I don’t believe it at the same time.
I mean, how could it be possible?
It shouldn't be possible, but it’s likely.
Feeling emotional today. A mix of sadness and gratitude.
As I hold this position in the middle of all that I've been through, everything I am today and all of the things I know that I'll get to become in the future. I know two things with certainty:
1. Everything I want, everything I can dream of and more will absolutely come to pass.
2. The path may not look or feel the way that I think it will.
When I think of the many blessings and accomplishments in this past year even, I know that most of what I get to delight in today is in my life because of the things I learned and the people I met when I was sick and at the lowest point I'd been in a long time. I knew even as I was feeling so much pain and confusion and having trouble seeing my future, that the pain was a part of how I was going to get there.
So today while I'm feeling tender, I remind myself that it's all part of the unfolding. And I say thank you. Thank you especially to those of you on the path with me.
So. What does it take to put oneself out there in the world?
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there’s a handful, nay a fuck ton of advice out there on just about anything and everything you can think of. When we’re being cynical we point out that Google can show us how to make pipe bombs and when we’re desperate we’ll click on just about anything to show us how to attract the right mate. Or if you’re in my industry and you’ll have to check a few different boxes depending on the day to figure out which of “my industries” I’m talking about here; there are a lot of resources out there that promise a formula to success.
But I’ve gotta point out, as far as I can tell, I’m the only one living my life and I’m pretty much the only one that’s ever going to live my life. The good news and the bad news is no matter the advice out there by anyone who’s ever done anything worthy of mention, no person alive or dead will be a better me than me, ever. And for that matter no one will ever get to live your life or be a better you than you can be, ever.
Drop the mic, hang up entire career.
Oh. But there is this one thing. Or maybe, many several "one" things. One of the things is the fun monkey experiment that taught a bunch of sciency people about the power or usefulness of empathy in our brains. Sciency people are quite fond of and do a lot of experiments with monkeys. Anyway, there was this one time with sciency people and monkeys where they discovered that when a monkey is watching another monkey do an activity that its brain lights up in all of the same monkey brain areas as if it was doing the action. Now I know what you’re thinking, you’re having a hard time keeping track of the monkeys, I get it. But we’re the monkeys. Does that help? Sure, sure, some people don’t want to be monkeys. But, um for this instance, just go with we're the monkeys, it will be easier.
We learned to walk and we learned to talk and we didn’t know that we were able to do that, we just thought that we might be able to and we figured it out by watching and listening to all the other monkeys around us. It’s how we work. So the deal is, even though no one else will have our resources, our experiences, or our lives, when we share our experience it allows the other monkeys to find the resources and experiences with in themselves to figure out their own way to walk and their own way to tell their story.
So again, what does it take to put oneself out there in the world? I’m not sure what it’s going to take for you, but watch what other people are doing. Perhaps you will get a few ideas that will feel just YOU enough that you’ll be willing to try them yourself.
My cup overfloweth.
In the midst of having recently achieved many of my goals, I find myself exhausted, highly emotional and ridiculously grateful. Just when I feel like I can’t handle another thing, good bad, otherwise, life shows me that I’ve underestimated the capacity of my heart, the flexibility of my mind and the depth of my grit again and it hands me another something or other to be grateful for. Yes I’m being kind of vague and moderately prosaic.
Maybe you’re feeling this way too - That there’s a general abundance happening right now.
A friend called it the “problem of abundance” and I felt she missed the opportunity for alliteration, so I choose to call it the “burden of abundance.” I remember the first time I lived in Vegas a good friend visited and described the town as “Vast Muchness”...
My life, right now = Vast muchness!
For all of it.
I have more responsibilities to more people than I have in a long while. Thank you.
I have more joy and love in my life than I have in a long while. Thank you.
I am so busy I almost can’t look beyond a single day on my calendar before my brain wants to explode. Thank you.
I generally have no idea what day of the week it is. Thank you.
I keep thinking of crazy, creative, fun awesome things I'd love to do. Thank you.
I have friends in my life that may be celebrating their last holiday season. Thank you.
Things I use, things I “need” keep breaking. Thank you.
I found a moment to put up happy twinkly lights around my house. Thank you.
I'm surrounded by people that inspire me. Thank you.
Money keeps flowing in and out when it needs to where it needs to. Thank you.
My schedule keeps getting hijacked by unplanned delays and awesomeness. Thank you.
The autumn air feels amazing on my skin and heavy in my lungs. Thank you.
Every now and then I just find myself crying in the shower, in the car, during yoga...Thank you.
I picked up my guitar today and the beginning of a song came out. Thank you.
That I’m healthy and alive and able to make a list like this. Thank you.
Life keeps handing me lessons, challenges and delights. I can usually recognize how I’ve asked for every single one of them. I don’t really know day to day how I’m going to do all of the “to-dos”. I’m not really sure day to day, what will be asked of me or who I’ll need to be. Somehow each day I keep showing up the best I can. I continue to look people in the eyes with as open a heart as I can offer.
Mostly, I keep saying thank you, because it seems to be working.
How to Spend Less time at the Grocery Store more time on vacation!!!
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For a few moments today, I was feeling grumpy and worrisome. My brain was focused away from thinking about and putting energy into the things that I actually want to feel and experience. Yeah, it happens. Specific things happened, like plumbing things, and money things, and my world is busy and how will I manage all of the things things happened.
My thoughts started to spin in directions that in the past would put me into an unpleasant state. I recognized that unpleasant wasn't something that I was ready or willing to feel, because my life in general is pretty astonishing right now. Actually, between you and me and the person peeking over your shoulder, my life is fucking amazing right now. Unpleasant was just not an option.
So, I decided instead that I would take a walk and visualize what I really want for my life and reward myself with a tasty beverage. While I was out there, I met the neighbor that's driving my vision board car, the Range Rover Evoque, the exact color and everything. We got to chatting about how delightful that car is to drive and how it gets surprisingly good mileage for a crossover. Then I turned the corner of the block and I bumped into a neighborhood friend that I've been wanting to catch up with for months now and during our conversation I discovered that she has an opportunity for me. This whole 20 minute excursions was a fun reminder of the ways I'm rewarded when I decide to change my mindset and focus and decide to follow it up with action.
If you’re curious what I did to change my mindset while I was walking to get a pumpkin spiced chai, I used a simple process. I asked myself 3 questions and I visualized and embodied the answers. I've been asking myself these three questions for the past few years and I've been getting amazing results. Sometimes I use more powerful sledgehammer techniques, but these three questions although they are simple, are quite profound. Feel free to ask these things of yourself and visualize and embody your answers.
What do I want?
How will I feel when I get it?
How can I feel that now?
Ask yourself these three questions and notice the way your life begins to feel better focusing your energy on what you want.
~ Live in Full Voice. Light Up the World.
If I had a nipple ring for every idea I had...wait, people don’t generally measure things in nipple rings... Hmm… Well thank goodness I don’t have a nipple ring for every idea I have, because frankly, “Ouch” and also, “holy crap.”
I do have a lot of ideas though.
I have all kinds of ideas. They aren’t all great.
In fact, some of the best ones are terrible.
Maybe I should explain. I’ve noticed that some of the ideas that I think are silly or stupid or I’m just saying out loud as a joke happen to accidently be really good ideas. Ideas, inspiration, jokes and what not, frequently come from the same part of our brain. As a person that values creativity I do my best to keep very few filters on my creative source. Which means that sometimes the only way for me to know when something is a good idea or a terrible idea is to just wait. Or, to just do it and see what happens.
Lately I’ve been having tons of video ideas. These days it seems that video is the thing. Every artist and every business needs to be doing video, they say. I’m charismatic enough, but I’m not really skilled at this being in front of the camera stuff yet. I didn’t grow up in a time where everyone had photo and video cameras at the ready. My family wasn’t really into documenting events with cameras. Well, … no...my mother liked us to take photos of the food she’d prepared, what she calls a “spread.” My dad was fond of taking pictures of things that are rusted, breaking down, or in some state of decay. I remember taking a lot of pictures of my feet or inadvertently taking pictures of my fingers while trying to take shots of something scenic. So if we remembered to have a camera with us for events we’d end up developing an expensive roll of rusted things, food, feet and a giant pink monster next to a blurry….mountain…?? We didn’t have a video camera, most people didn’t back then. Maybe if we had, I would have taken videos of my feet. They would have either been terrible or brilliant. It’s hard to say.
I don’t know if you have a bunch of ideas, but there are a lot of ideas that I haven’t done. Yet. Even the good ones. It’s not an entirely comfortable thing to have a bunch of potentially really great things just swirling around in my head taunting me waiting to be done. It’s best to let them swirl their way onto a Post-it or into a file on Google Drive. There’s less taunting that way and more space in my head for, god forbid, more ideas.
So with this video thing, I finally did something about it. I’d told a few people my ideas and they at least thought the ideas were good. I reached out to a friend that actually knows how to do video and she was interested in helping me. But there were no dates set on the calendar, just a “Yeah, that’s great, let’s do it.”
So one day I was sitting at my laptop and I realized that a bunch of videos I’ve watched were created just by people turning on the camera on their laptops. And wouldn’t you know it, my laptop has a camera on it. So I typed “how to record a video with my laptop” into Google, I followed the instructions, I pressed record,
And this is what happened.
There are plenty of possible first steps to making your ideas a reality.
With video, sometimes the first step is deciding to press record.
I’ve received a lot of positive feedback on the blogs I’ve written. My last piece about the dog park especially made more than a few people really happy. I’m so delighted to bring smiles to the hearts of others and I'm thrilled that people liked my work. This also kind of stopped me in my tracks a little. Like many of my creative endeavors, I don’t really know how that blog happened, it just kind of appeared on my computer. I was beginning to flesh out an idea and suddenly there it was. Dog park, butt sniffing, leg humping….it just wrote itself.
And people liked it, which is great and yet, well….okay, I didn’t panic exactly, but I was reminded of the “Sophomore Album Syndrome.” I wondered “Do I have anything else interesting to say?” I mean how do you follow up success? I thought that blog was funny, I think a lot of things I say are funny, but I also thought that I was a little crazy for posting it. Sure we all are encouraged to be authentically ourselves, but often we’re swatted on the nose for our impulses. I’ve certainly had my nose swatted more than a few times.
And when I think of it, failure is something I have a good deal of experience managing. What to do with actually being appreciated for who I am and how I think…. I don’t know that I have a lot of practice with that. I mean, sure I do, kinda….except, not really. Recently I’ve been feeling incredibly appreciated. It’s pretty amazing actually. I’ve felt like I’m exactly where I need to be. I’ve been meeting amazing people and doing the things I’ve wanted to do for so long. I’m feeling how I've wanted to feel in life and it’s absolutely amazing and joy filled and completely terrifying. Just, …. yeah, terrifying.
Have you felt this before?
Have you gotten exactly what you’ve asked for and then not known what the heck to do with it?
I’ve been rereading Brene Brown’s book Daring Greatly and she talks about Joy as one of the most vulnerable things a person can experience. She shares the concept "foreboding joy" which is when people experience joy and then feel an immediate sense of doom, the other shoe falling, ‘too good to be true,’ and 'when are the hidden camera actors going to jump out and reveal themselves...?'
And it turns out, yes I’ll go ahead and ruin the punchline, that gratitude is the way to deal with that simultaneous sense of impending doom while experiencing joy. But for me, the joy itself is frightening enough without even getting to the thoughts of “how long will this last?”
I have a high tolerance for pain. I find it fascinating. It’s really easy to endure things that I find fascinating. I kind of understand pain as feeling so many sensations all at once and your brain can't quite distinguish one from the other so it generalizes all of it into pain. One of my old strategies for overwhelming pain, was to just leap right the heck out of my body. My yoga practice has helped me get more present with life in general and pain specifically, breathing through and saying yes. Sometimes, I get just as overwhelmed by good feelings and I can feel myself beginning to drift away. And those are the times when I'm pretty sure it would be really great to stay the heck in my body. I don’t want an auto release on my awesome. I want to stay the bleep in my awesome and experience it fully.
I've had a lot of awesome lately. Which is exactly what I'd wanted because I'd been feeling horrible for 8 months. Just the worst. I've had so much joy lately I've actually had to remind myself and coax myself into staying right in my body. “Stick around Adrianne you don't want to miss this. You're going to want to be here and experience this, because you'll want to remember this later, I promise.“
I just found out a dear friend and mentor of mine, someone who is great a feeling things deeply and appreciating the world around her, moved out of her charming country cottage where she’d lived 23 years surrounded by giant trees and coyotes. I’d had the pleasure of house sitting for her in years past and I assure you that this land is amazing. When I’ve thought of her out there I'd think of a tiller, a chainsaw, a bunch of love, memories and decades of songs sung in the cathedral of pines. She has one of those big voices that carries for miles. Although she's leaving, I know her voice will continue to echo there in the trees as she moves forward, holding the land in her heart.
She sent me poems that she’d written during her last night on her land. She wanted to stay awake and capture it all one last time. These are the moments you want to remember. To keep with you for always. So often there are moments that are too full, too powerful, you can’t capture them with a camera you have to just take them in and keep them with you. As I read her poems, I was reminded that as an artist there often isn’t a line between our lives are our work.
I remember back when I hosted Karaoke maybe 10 years ago I was blessed to meet and old cat named Iceman. He was one of those guys that had been around. He had one of those voices that would lubricate the women and keep the fellas drinking. Everyone knew Iceman. He was one of those guys. He gave me some really great advice that I’m still working on today. He was complimenting me on my voice and performance, giving me a real work over and then he grabbed my hand and looked me straight in the eye and he said “You’ve got it. You know what I’m talking about, that IT people are looking for, but you remember this; never mind people throwing roses.”
Never mind people throwing roses.
Today I remind myself that as artist, when I put myself and my work into the world it’s important to keep in mind why I’m doing it, even if most days I have no idea why I’m doing it. It’s just how I breathe into life. It’s how I breathe into the joy. How I breathe into the pain. And if gratitude is the way to experience it fully, then I want you to know that I am grateful. I know I’m not alone. I know there are others of you out there. I feel so blessed to be surrounded by brave and creative people willing to open themselves to life, willing to live it fully. I promise that I’ll keep writing, and I’ll keep singing, and I’ll keep finding ways to make art of this life whether people like it or not. Oh, but if you do enjoy what I’m putting out there and you want to let me know, feel free to do so.
And I like dahlias. Dahlias make me happy.
So it turns out I’m open to suggestions for new blogs posts.
Today someone suggested that I could go to a dog park because I might be inspired to write a blog about dog park etiquette. This got me wondering how life would be different if we all introduced ourselves by spinning in circles smelling each other's butts.
Imagine how this would change networking.
Just yesterday I was at an event and I joked that if I were to encounter one of those germ phobic non hand shakers it would be funny to just grab them and kiss them on the mouth. Just like that.
What would they do then? Huh? Huh?
I probably wouldn't actually do that.
But I am fairly certain that I’ll bring up the dog butt sniffing thing the next time I’m meeting someone new….
Meeting new people can be challenging.
They say it's best to just be yourself....
You know, I might have the guts when encountering a germ phobic person to just say “oh, you know, that’s cool, that’s alright” and then just hump their leg a little bit instead.
Just a little bit.
Because that’s less intimate...
So, yeah, I’m open to suggestions about new blog posts.
(Catalyst, Breakthrough Specialist, Baggage Assassin, Quit Smoking Specialist, Idea Consultant, Force of Nature)