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pursuit

Yesterday I looked at what my title would be for today. I didn’t immediately go back and look at what I wrote about this word last year because I wanted to give it some thought without any guideposts. I still haven’t looked at last year’s entry — I’ve been wrapped up in my thoughts about this word and what it means to me presently. I’ve been thinking, across a busy morning of life details — bank accounts, credit cards, life insurance policies — I had a bit of administrative work to do on my own behalf  in anticipation and preparation of some upcoming changes — about of what exactly I am in pursuit.

I have been attempting to deepen my meditation practice recently. I am taken by the idea of healing myself, of doing anything I can to increase my self-compassion and therefore give myself permission to let go of some things. And Lord, meditating is difficult work. I’ve got a monkey mind that’s swinging from some crazy-ass, long and tangled vines and screaming out warnings like y’all wouldn’t believe. I try to appreciate the rate at which it moves from this thing to the next, I want to believe that indicates a nimbleness that serves me well when it needs to, but what I really want to do is slow it down and stop it chattering at me. That’s all to say that I think the things I’m in pursuit of reflect that desire.

At this point in my life, what I pursue is not wide and shallow, but narrow and deep. And that’s the way I want it. I guess that’s to say that I know who I am. I just want to get better at being her.

So, what do I think I am in pursuit of on May 01, 2019?

I am in pursuit of a thinking practice, and a life that supports one, which means I am able to find time to sit and do it.

I am in pursuit of relationships with people who are dependable, who reassure me of their love because they know me well enough to know I need reassuring sometimes, who take time to listen and consider others’ points of view, and who make time to show up on something besides their terms when needed.

I am in pursuit of work that I do with my hands. Sewing, gardening, cooking, building, making. Things I like to do that connect me to my history, my present, my community, my earth, my world.

I am in pursuit of art. Writing and Music. My disciplines. I am in pursuit of a life that allows me time to explore and excel in both.

I am in pursuit of a spiritual life that grounds me and reminds me to be in this moment, and that nothing else is solid in any way at all.

I am in pursuit of healing. Carrying woundedness is painful, and taking a proactive approach to the work of letting it go has become essential to me. It may be, at the end of the day, my real life’s work. It may be everyone’s.

I am in pursuit of joy.

I am in pursuit of love.

I am in pursuit of magic and the wherewithal to notice it.

I am in pursuit of the next clean breath.

Maybe we need to think about what we’re chasing every now and then.

Peace and Love and Happy Wednesday, Y’all.

AM

studio

Last years thoughts:

Studio: The place for the study of an art.

I was actually in the studio when I wrote that. In the producer’s chair at Jason Weinheimer’s Fellowship Hall Sound in Little Rock, working with H. on creating what would turn into his most recent release, “What It Is.” It was fun, it was informative, it was collaborative, it was music, it was indeed study.

Today, my studio is my desk, a guitar, my iphone, and google drive. I find that my studio is wherever I am — technology allows that and I am thankful for it. If I were a painter like Frida, I wouldn’t have the luxury of portability as much as I do. I can study my art in most places if I have something on which to write and record. All of this is to say I’m going to record an EP this summer to go with my memoir, and preparation has commenced.

This is probably no surprise to some. It seems my work is never completed around this subject — there is always more investigating to do, more explaining, more excavation of emotion and spirit and struggle and the hope for some exaltation at the end. Exaltation comes, but only in short bursts when I successfully describe, for myself, a feeling through a piece of art that came through the study of first, myself. Self-doubt creeps in when I wonder if it has any hope of doing the same for the reader or listener. No, my work is never done. But my work is also my purpose. What would I be without it? Is my mind my actual studio? Is my art my self? In some ways I think that is true. We are all our own works of art, as our lives are our works of art.

So far there are six new songs, one unheard original written by my daddy and my sister (she found a lyric he’d written after he died and put music to it), and I’m also going to revisit “Cold, Cold Earth,” the hidden track that was on The Hardest Part. In some ways it’s my belief that the whole thing exists because of that song, that song that tells the facts but not the truth — I’m a better writer now, I can dig out more subtlety, more complexity, and I’m less afraid to be honest. I want to finish the job I started when I wrote that lyric down over twenty years ago.

So here’s hoping I pull together a worthy, not only companion piece to the memoir, which I worked harder on than anything else I’ve ever made in my life, but something that stands alone as a document of its own merit.

I find that most artists’ works are connected — we all have our unique stories to tell and we tell them until they’re fully told, if we get a chance. I’m very thankful to have mine.

Happy Wednesday, Y’all.

AM

awareness/acceptance

Last year I wrote about the word of the day that I had received that morning. The word was ken — which means knowledge, perception, or cognizance, the range of sight or vision. A side note — I never noticed until recently that the word is used in “Sixteen Going on Seventeen,” from The Sound of Music. “Timid and shy and scared are you, of things beyond your ken…” It’s amazing what the ear ignores that is unfamiliar. I hadn’t known the word before and didn’t even realize it was used in the song. Anyway… that’s pretty meta isn’t it?

I’ve been thinking about my awareness and acceptance of myself lately. I do try to be self-aware, but can we really be that without feedback from others? I’ve gone so far as to ask for it directly lately. I want to know how I’m doing, in my relationships, in my work — I think a lot of times we think we want to know, but we don’t really. We fear harsh criticism or even kinder remarks that might help us along our way and show us what we need to improve. Maybe we have to get to a certain level of self-acceptance in order to be able to face what others might really think. Until then, it’s head in the sand, heels dug in.

It’s not that I want to fit myself into someone else’s idea of who I should be, rather that I just want to improve through my own filter. I think it takes a lot of self-love to be willing to make even subtle shifts. When there is an absence of it, pain is usually at the forefront of the personality in one way or another, and pain hates change. It seems that if we have a lot of it (show me the rare person who doesn’t), it rules us until we find a way to work through it and start to let it go. Pain makes us stubborn because we’ll do anything not to feel more of it, but we only start to let go of it, in most cases, when it gets so bad that we can’t carry it anymore. Only then do we start to rewrite the script. Only then do we start to make changes. And sometimes that takes a while.

I’ll be forty-seven this year. I have wrinkles, frizzy hair, and am not happy with my body though I’m trying to love it the best I can. I recently went blonde to deal with the white hair that is now growing out of my head. I get botox twice a year. Perimenopause or whatever the hell this is is about to kill me. I wake up in the night sometimes sweaty beyond what could be considered at all cute and have to carry a paper fan in my bag at all times incase I have a hot flash in public. I take more showers per day than I used to. I’m full of strong opinions and apparently don’t shy away from making them known. I’m also apparently blunt and honest, sometimes uncomfortably so. I am impatiently patient. I have money anxiety. I will sometimes do anything but what I need to be doing. But you know what? I’ve got a lot of heart. And I’m trying to love all of me the best I can, particularly my flaws, because they need the love the most. Just like the pain does. I know I’m probably halfway finished with my life. I want to make the second half as good as I can, and I want to do it with a clear-eyed sense of myself and stay on my toes so that I can be worthy of this incredible place and the beautiful creatures with whom I get to roam it. It isn’t easy. But now and then I think it’s a good idea to ask, “How am I doing?”

I’ll just leave that right here.

Happiest of Wednesdays and lots of love to y’all.

AM

PS — Thanks for reading.

planes

I don’t know anyone to whom planes aren’t quite important. It seems we’re all on them all the time these days. When I was a little girl, anytime I heard about someone flying somewhere I thought it was the fanciest thing in the world. Now people go to the airport in their pajamas and dragging pillows as if they’re getting into a flying bedroom. Clearly I have a problem with that lack of decorum, but I’ll examine that another day, in another post. It used to be much more uncommon, this globe trotting we all seem to do. John Henry took his first flight, from NYC to Los Angeles, when he was just five weeks old. He first flew to the UK seven months later. Hell, my dog was constantly on a plane with me, in his little bag down at my feet. He was great at it. Meanwhile, I was fourteen before I flew for the first time. It all blows my mind when I think about it. Here, there, yonder… Pillar to post… No need to debate the merits or demerits of such lives. Not today anyway. It is what it is. And what it is provides us with, if not stability, at least wonder.

I prefer not to think about the danger. I prefer not to think about the odds stacking up every time I or someone I love boards a plane. Today, I’m just thankful for them. I’m thankful for the opportunities they afford us in love, in our other pursuits, in just being there, wherever that is, when we need to be.

H. came in from his tour yesterday for about forty-eight hours. This, a haiku from our very early days:

Thank you Wright Brothers

Marvelous silver wings and

Shiny fuselage

Safe travels and happy Wednesday, Y’all.

AM

recess

Last year this title came to me because I’d forgotten the week before to do my blog post. I wrote about giving myself a break. Today I return to that thought.

Recess. To go back? As in the action of recession, to recede or make an indention in, or the suspension of a procedure. Like moving forward with something, an action or conversation, and then taking a rest from it. Oh well, language is confusing. No matter – I guess we can agree that a recess is an identifiable break. I think of it as a little notch. Yes, that seems to encompass all the possible definitions.

We need breaks. I needed that break a year ago. I have this conversation often — with friends, with H. — about how we need to step away from our devices, television, work, our mates, even our children, so that we can take a deep breath and center ourselves, so that we can hear our true selves talking. Do y’all ever wonder what your true selves are saying that you aren’t tuned in enough to hear? The idea that at least some physical pain is caused by unexpressed emotion comes to me… the tight throat, the knotted up stomach, the literal aching heart… what am I ignoring that desperately wants to come forward and make itself known to my conscious mind when I feel those symptoms?

I remember being a girl, around 12 years old, and having my Daddy come into my bedroom to talk to me. This was NOT a common occurrence, y’all. He and Mama had had one of their falling outs, probably, no, not probably, certainly over his drinking and violence. I don’t remember if we’d packed up and left and then returned home after a few days that particular time or not — we did that a lot so I don’t even know if I recall every time I shoved all of my clothes and shoes into the backseat of the car and we drove off to some friend’s house or to my grandparents’ only to return a day or two later, but I do remember how I felt as he delivered his  lines about how couples that had been together for 20 years didn’t just break up. And I remember thinking to myself that I didn’t understand why they didn’t, because obviously he and my Mama needed to do exactly that and then some. But I couldn’t say it. And every ounce of that unexpressed feeling settled in my throat because I wasn’t safe enough to let the words out. All I could do was cry.

I wonder what might have happened if I, or someone else like a responsible, clear thinking adult might’ve been able to persuade them to recess. How might things have turned out if they had been able to tune in to their true selves and honor them, and recognize their need for some space and perspective on the situation? It’s hard to think about. But I’m getting closer to letting our story out into the world and it’s on my mind a lot. I miss my Mama something fierce these days. I wish she’d had the luxury of a recess from her constant work, her constant worry, her constant battle just to exist. I wish I could’ve seen her at ease, even for just a little while. Selfishly, I wish I had a recess from being motherless sometimes. Just a minute with her would, well, I don’t know what that would do.

What I do know is that what’s missing in my life is now replaced with the desire for awareness of why the bel hevi takes up residence in my gut. What’s missing in my life is also sometimes replaced with the luxury of a minute to escape whatever is in front of me that I can’t bear to show myself to, so I can wrap my own arms around myself in, I don’t know, let’s say a restaurant bathroom when I have to leave the dinner table to keep from ruining a nice evening because I need a minute to shed a tear or two when a song comes through the speakers that conjures her memory so palpably my heart hurts. The other night it was, “Night Shift,” by The Commodores. No, most times we don’t see it coming.

We can’t face it all all the time. Sometimes we need a minute, or more. Overwhelm accomplishes nothing positive — we can only react when cornered even if it’s only by our own emotions. I think about my 12-year-old self in that bedroom, feeling cornered by my Daddy and I want to bust up in there and rescue myself. I want to tell myself that it’s okay to take a minute to locate the feeling that was coming from my true self instead of letting him have control over me. Those tears I cried came from utter helplessness. And I want to tell that same thing to him too. I wonder if someone had comforted him through his own overwhelming emotions, if someone had given him the luxury of a recess, if he might’ve taken a different path.

That got heavy. Sometimes it does. I’m not deleting it, my hour is up.

Peace and love and happy Wednesday, Y’all.

AM

prime

Sometimes I don’t understand my own brain. Let’s see, a year ago I was obsessing over prime numbers and making myself crazy jumping from one to the next, visualizing them, thinking about their oddness, googling them, wondering if they get lonely or if they consider themselves the unicorns of the number world. Numerical disparate components.

Maybe, maybe not.

I don’t know what I was thinking about before I got on the prime numbers tangent, but I’ve always been someone who jumped quickly from one thing to the next, often skipping essential elements that would or should get me from point A to point K. I don’t know why. It isn’t intellect or that my mind moves at an above average speed. It’s more likely fractiousness, eyes that dart from one place to another (is that fear?), and I guess sometimes anxiety that I will miss something, won’t fit it all in, or don’t have the luxury of time to take things slowly. I’d be a terrible teacher I guess. I’m often not a good explainer.

But I think that’s why I love writing. Writing makes me slow down. Writing makes me show my work. It is effective, sometimes, to say, “John was born in 1927 and died in 1939.” That leaves a lot of room for interpretation and the potential insertion of many different imaginative scenarios. But I think most would agree that a far more compelling story would give you the in between. And as you might’ve noticed, the in between has become a theme for me this year. The spaces between one thing and the next, I’m trying to stretch those out. I like them.

Happiest of Wednesdays to y’all.

AM

PS – Maybe blondes do have more fun.

time

Boy. Was I an anxious sort when I wrote my entry on time last year. I was clearly struggling with the concept of it — or the concept of having too little of it and the guilt surrounding what I do or do not do with it.

I look up to see the backsides of hours departing like high-speed trains leaving a station. Trains that will never be seen again. I want to shout, “Come Back!” at them. I want to tell them I didn’t mean to let them go. I want to tell them I’m sorry I squandered them on emoticons and pressing the delete key over and over, I want to tell them I’m sorry I didn’t fill up each one of them with deeper thoughts or at least some that would help me toward peace. I want to apologize for infusing even one of their minutes with anger or sorrow or tears or frustration. Those minutes do not deserve such treatment.

So serious, Moorer. Folks, I’ve got some good news — I’ve actually loosened up a bit. Maybe it has been the commitment to my meditation practice, the swirling mantra to let go, or just plain old age. But I realize I’m never going to get it all done and I’ve given up thinking that if I just punish myself enough, I will. I’m never going to read every book I want to read, see every great film, go everywhere I’d like to, or perfect even one thing that I care about doing. I’ll never be a perfect mother, partner, friend, writer, singer, artist, cook, homemaker, gardener, or any damn thing. Some days I won’t even be the best version of those things that I can be. But some days I will. I’m a little bit more comfortable with that reality a year on.

Most of us do the best we can. And most of us have an awful lot to carry while we’re doing it. I’ve been working on extending grace to myself, to honor my own feelings instead of always just pushing through, to make room for my own humanity. And I am happier for it. I am nicer, less crazy, and maybe more pleasant to be around. That will probably make me a better mother, partner, friend, writer, singer, artist, cook, homemaker, gardener, and every damn thing. I’m working, and will always work, on letting that be all right.

That pursuit has been and is time well spent.

Happy Wednesday, Y’all.

AM

PS – I think always making time for swinging is a grand idea. Just think – if everyone got in a swing every morning for ten or fifteen minutes, how much happier and healthier would we be? This might be the answer to world peace.

availability

Last year I was thinking about the extension of myself in a public way when I decided on the word. One year later, I’m zooming in to the personal. There is only so much time during a day, and there is a lot to get done during most of them. I often wonder how to make enough time for my work, for all of the things that need to be done, and make sure I’m taking care of my relationships. Even though I know in my heart and tell myself all about what is most important, I sometimes don’t operate by that truth. Sometimes I’ll not answer the phone if I’m in the middle of something. I don’t think I have time for the impending conversation, the mental space for the introduction of even one more thing to think about, or the distraction from what I’m doing.

I spend a lot of time typing into this machine. And that typing, if it is to be meaningful and coherent much less something anyone else wants to read or hear, requires thought. That thought requires quiet. That quiet requires carved out time in which it can be created. That carved out time has to be protected, or the words don’t get written. Sounds a little selfish, doesn’t it — “Oh, don’t distuuuurrrrrbbbb my genius.” I’m no genius, not even close. But I know I’ll never get close if I don’t keep my butt in the chair, in the quiet, reaching for the thought that can be turned into an idea, into words.

It’s a paradox. It is true that in order to have something to say, one must participate in life. It is also true that one must shut out life in order to process it all and get it back out in an artistic way. Considering all of the struggles to make a life out of the pursuit of creativity, I see that this is my biggest challenge. I don’t lack inspiration, I don’t have a problem coming up with ideas. What I don’t have is enough time with which to explore them all.

Patience…

I know, I know. I am not going to, at the end of my life, regret that I didn’t work more. I will regret not showing up for my friends and family, so I try to keep that in check. But my thought today is about balance and how sometimes there just isn’t any. When I need to stay in the zone, when there is a looming deadline even if it is only self-imposed (those may be the most important ones), I might not be able to answer when the phone rings. Should that produce a state of suffering or can I find compassion for myself and give myself what I need first, knowing that if I don’t and I ignore what my mind is calling me to do, I’ll have to deal with the worn thin attention of a person who tries to do too many things at once and resulting resentment from too many tugs at the sleeve?

From last year’s entry on availability:

But there is a limit. I do extend, but always find myself pulling back, protecting, struggling to find a way to replace what has been spent.

It’s really about saying no. I think about this a lot. And saying no is a deep issue that runs from something as seemingly trivial as the management of time to the very important issue of being able to turn down unwanted or inappropriate attention. Women aren’t supposed to say no. We’re supposed to be A V A I L A B L E to everyone at every moment, putting our own needs aside in order to make someone else feels okay about theirs. It’s often a drag. And is it all because we are the supposed nurturers? An endless amount of questions come up when I think about it. I won’t answer them today, or probably ever, but I do think it’s important to ask them and to check myself when I feel like I can’t say no to something when my gut tells me I should.

Those boundaries I keep talking about…

Happy Wednesday, Y’all.

AM

intuition

This is beginning to be fun, this looking back to where I was a year ago. I’m beginning to see my work here as not only an attempt to communicate with whoever wants to be communicated with, but as a source of keeping up with and communicating with/to myself. The old, “I don’t know what I think until I write it down,” thing. I do hope it’s not all too navel gaze-y and off putting, but when I have that thought I remind myself that participation is optional. Not for me, but for you.

So for today, the subject of intuition. I looked at the topic yesterday in anticipation of writing today’s post. I didn’t read what I wrote until just a minute ago, and I was super curious about where I was with the idea then. Here are a few lines from 2018:

Defined as “the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning. A thing that one knows or considers likely from instinctive feeling rather than conscious reasoning.” The etymology says it comes from the latin word intueri, which means consider.

I then revealed that I’d made no real results-based resolutions for 2018, as the year was still new, but instead wanted to work steadily to become more emotionally healthy and whole.

What I planned to do, and what I’m working hard at learning how to do is to improve my mental health, to strengthen my relationship with myself and my center, my intuition if you will — to tune in to that inner voice that I sometimes ignore because either I or someone else tells me it’s wrong — so that my actions are aligned with my intentions.

At the beginning of this year I revealed here that about midway through 2018 I’d had to take myself in hand about this particular thing. I had to get real about not ignoring my inner voice, my boundaries, my hard won good sense of what is right for me even when what is right for me is unpopular with others. I think I’ve gotten a little better at it since then. I’m aware that I at least sometimes appear tough, as a fighter, but that’s at least a partial cover up. If I had felt comfortable at any point in my life with the idea or action of standing up for myself, I wouldn’t have needed to appear to be so hard-bitten about it. That I have is mostly about fear. A person who is comfortable with and strong in her boundaries just says no to what would cross them and doesn’t argue about why or raise a ruckus. I think I’ve softened up a bit since I’ve become more at ease with identifying and saying what makes me uncomfortable and resisting the habit to bear, or just shoulder situations I know don’t suit me. I still get angry, and I can still cuss a blue streak and rear up on my heels when someone crosses me, but I find that the episodes are shorter. I’m less attached to how they feel about it. I don’t need their okay or approval to say what is right for me. I express myself (still, sometimes badly but I’m working on it) and then recover. Progress, not perfection, right?

On another note, I was thinking about the difference between intuition and suspicion.

Suspicion is defined as “a feeling that something is possible, likely, or true. Cautious distrust.” The etymology says it is from the latin word suspicere, which means distrust.

Intuition feels slow. Suspicion feels fast. As in judgement. Intuition seems to start with openness and kindness, hence the considering, not deciding out of hand. While suspicion is often rooted in fear and anger, hence the distrust, the decision already being made before it needs to be. Interesting.

Thanks so much for reading.

Peace, love, good judgment, and happy Wednesday, Y’all.

AM

travel

Last year’s entry was made in a hurry. I was touring, doing shows with my sister, and had snapped a photograph of some beautiful building in Dublin while we sped, in the still dark and wee hours of a Monday morning, to a ferry.

Almost everyone I love travels almost constantly. Even my son is a seasoned professional at going from pillar to post. Maybe we don’t think about it because it is uncomfortable to do so, but travel makes a person highly vulnerable. Flying through the sky in a metal tube, hightailing it down the highway in a vehicle, going into unknown territory and trusting those around us to help us make it through — these activities, when considered for what they really are, put us at risk.

H. will begin a tour next week that will go on for most of the year. And all I have to offer is a prayer and a reminder to, from time to time, touch the St. Christopher medal I gave him years ago to keep in his wallet. May he, and may we all, be carried across the river safely.

Happy Wednesday, Y’all.

AM