Body, Mind, and Soul

We are told to love ourselves.  We are told to stay healthy and eat right.  We are told to exercise.  We are told to go to church and to find a good community.  Because all of these things are important.

But I think we get too focused and forget the main point.  Love yourself.

I set a New Year resolution to go running and do yoga four times a week.  And I’ve done great.  My mileage is up, and I am stronger.  I look better.  I feel better.  But I’ve also been opening at work almost everyday and not sleeping the best.  So some afternoons I’m just tired.  And the last two or three weeks I’ve felt almost under the weather, but not quite, so I’ve napped, and then not felt good enough to go out on a run.  My boyfriend tells me it’s fine, and that it’s good to give myself a rest, but instead I beat myself up over it.  It depresses me that I’m so tired, and I’m so tired because I’m depressed.  I keep feeling like if I miss a day of exercise, I will be fat.  I’m terrified to lose my routine again.  It’s like I forget why I’m doing it in the first place.

I want to be healthy.  And it’s so easy to just focus on one realm of health.  It’s so easy to focus on clean eating and an exercise routine, but then forget to nourish your mind and your soul.  It’s easy to get caught up in a mantra of a having a healthy mind, but neglect your spirit and body.  It’s easy to beat yourself up if you miss church, so you focus only on that, but forget that your body is a temple and your mind a control center.

I am one, whole person.  I have a mind, a body, and a soul.  (Some would say I am a soul, but that’s beside the point.)  I’m not going to get fat if I occasionally skip a run because I’m exhausted.  My happiness is just as important as my appearance.  And no one hates me, especially not God, if I want to stay home and sleep in on the occasional Sunday morning.  Church is for community, not salvation, anyway.

Love yourself.  Body.  Mind.  Soul.

Baptism

I just want to sit in reality with you
With someone
I just want to be washed over
Because as clean as I am, I will never feel clean
As my life changes, all I see is the dirt
The filth
The grime
And every time you say that it’s gone
That you don’t see it anymore
Every time that I start to forget
I am reminded of my stains
My old carpet soul
I am reminded that as much as I am wanted
I can never really be wanted
And as much as this might not be real
I constantly find it my reality

Blogging Everyday in July|Songwriting and Other Thoughts

I’m not an amazing songwriter.  But I can make up lyrics.   That’s just a thing that I do, and I’m pretty sure anyone else can do it.  However, I was asked to write on songwriting.  I had this idea to film a time lapse of my songwriting process, but I’m too tired and I don’t have good enough technology to do something so neat and elaborate.  So I’ll just write about it.  I’m always writing.
On a side note, I am more than halfway through this thing.  I have 11 days left.  This is the 20th day that I have blogged in a row.  Unfortunately, I feel that my writing is starting to get worse, as my eyes grow ever tired.

I very rarely sit down to write a song.  Songs just come to me.  Last night my heart was bleeding into my soul and I was aching, ever aching, so I picked up my guitar with the goal of playing through some songs.  I hoped maybe the music could heal me.  Instead, lyrics came to me instantly and I wrote a song.  A link to that song is here: From the Outside.  Possibly a five minute process.  Not every song takes five or ten minutes, but I don’t like to leave things unfinished, so every song is written in one sitting.  Sometimes I’ll add a bridge or fix the timing or something later, but the product as a whole is usually one sitting.  Editing doesn’t often happen on anything I do, in case you haven’t noticed.
But none of this makes me amazing.  I’m not bragging.  Because not every song I write is amazing.  I’m fully aware that I write a lot of shitty things.  I just need everyone else to know that I recognize my imperfections.
I once had a conversation with Kim Walker-Smith (yes, that one) about songwriting.  She was telling my friend that no one can write a song in one sitting, in a couple minutes.  That when that does happen for anyone, it’s very rare.  That was when I learned of my rarity.  Because I write every song like that.  I write every poem like that.  I write every blog like that.  I’m an impatient person, so I need to get it all out as quickly as I can.
Since moving to the south, I’m suddenly surrounded by musicians and songwriters.  Some of them have tried to tell me what I’m doing wrong.  They’ve tried to get technical with music.  But I rarely call myself a musician.  That’s not what I am.  I don’t care if the chords sound good.  I don’t fix things.  I don’t write music for other people.  But if a musician wanted to take my music and my lyrics and add something amazing, I’d be down.  That’s just not what I’m searching for.  I can play piano.  I dabble in guitar.  I can hold a beat.  That’s all I need for what I do at the moment.  It’s really hard to make people understand that.
So I do everything wrong.  I’m just wrong.  Thank you, and good night.

But really, though.  I started to say that I don’t write songs with the intention of writing songs.  They just come to me.  I think that’s where the best music comes from.  I think maybe people who struggle with songwriting might struggle because they’re trying to write a song, they’re trying to find the perfect lyric to fit.  If it’s right, it doesn’t have to fit, or maybe it fits already, you just can’t see it.
A lot my songs come when I’m already playing music.  I’ll be in between songs, just messing around with chords, and something new will suddenly appear.  That’s my favorite.

So I don’t really have a songwriting process.  I don’t really have a writing process.  I just write.  I just am.  I simply exist.  I’m a writer, not by vocation, but in biology.  My genetics force me to pour the words out.
But lately I feel that I’m not allowed to say the things I want to say.  People are getting too close to me, and my rough edges, my blunt honesty, my liberal Theology, makes them get too offended.  I am just too much.  When my friends start reading my blog, I almost can’t handle it anymore, because they assume everything is about them.  I don’t mean all of my friends, just the sensitive ones.
Have you ever heard the song “You’re so Vain?”

You’re so vain, you probably think this song is about you.

I understand why that song was written.  Because I know those people.  “You’re so vain, you probably think this blog is about you.”  And maybe it is.  But assuming doesn’t make it so.

I’m in a place.  My heart is in a place.  And I just want to go home.  But I probably want to go home, not because I don’t belong here, or because I feel unaccepted, but because I feel trapped.  I was so mad at God because when I got back from Ireland I wanted to move, but I felt trapped in Mammoth.  Now I feel trapped here.  I can’t go home.  Really, we always want what we can’t have.  Until I can be satisfied, I’ll always want to be somewhere else.  And the only way I’ll ever be satisfied is if I allow myself to just be still.  Just be still.  Just be still.  My heart is never still.  Still.

Blogging Everyday in July|Long Distance Best Friends

I think a best friend is someone your soul is tied to.  Like a soul mate, but better.  Because they’re more than that.  They’re a sister (or a brother), a friend, sometimes a parent, and they’re someone you get to choose.  Or at least we think we choose them.  My best friend and I, I like to think we stumbled upon each other.  We were thrust together by cosmic intervention.
We grew up going to the same camp, but never met.  We attended the same college previews, but never met.  I’m pretty sure we went to at least one of the same music festivals and didn’t meet.  And we were both at the same Nex Gen Convention in Anaheim when we were 15.  We spent so many hours in the same place at the same time, but were steered constantly apart, not aware of what could be waiting right around the corner.
Michelle and I were in the same quad our freshman year of college.  We liked the same music and long road trips and so many other things.  We had all these inside jokes, but were constantly preoccupied.  Junior and senior year crept up on us, and I had spent the last few years begging God for a friend, a best friend, someone who was my person.  It took me much too long to realize that it was Michelle.  Whoever marries her is one lucky person.
After college, we were pulled in separate directions.  I ended up in Mammoth, while Michelle stayed in LA, and then moved home for some time with her family.  We still carried our soul ties though, and our inside jokes live on.  Last summer, almost a year ago, Michelle came to visit me in Mammoth and ended up staying.  She did the school of supernatural ministry that I did, and works at the same camp I worked at.  She even lives in the same house, although it became beautiful after I moved out.  We spent eight or nine months getting to enjoy time in the same place, even though we were too busy to really acknowledge it, then my heart was again pulled elsewhere, and now my home is in the South.  However, our soul ties remain.
I know that if my world is crashing down, I can count on my bestie to listen to me.  I know that she’ll still get my jokes, and we’ll still find things that remind us of each other.  I know that if I go a week or so without texting her, that she still loves me, and that she knows I still love her.  We are content.
Plus, we have matching tattoos, so I think our friendship is kinda locked in.

I’m writing about Michelle today, not because missing her is unbearable, but because I’m not the only person with a long distance best friend.  Another girl who just moved here has a different kind of relationship with her bestie, because she has a different personality.  They need to talk almost everyday.  They talk on the phone and they text and they miss each other terribly.  How they survive?  I have no idea.  Their contentedness looks different than ours does.  But it’s the soul ties that hold us together.
Sometimes your life takes a different path than your soul tied best friend.  Sometimes you need time apart.  But this relationship isn’t like a romantic one.  It’s better, because distance doesn’t matter, it might even make it stronger.   Distance just makes being together that much better.
I don’t know when I’ll be going back to California to visit.  And Michelle has no plans that I know of to come to the land of the humid and the heat anytime soon.  And I think we’re both okay with that.  We are content in our life paths.  We are content with each other and without each other, because we still have each other.  That is all.

Blogging Everyday in July|What Music Does

A few people have asked me to write about a few different aspects of music.  Why it’s important.  How it affects people.  How it changes things.  What it means.  I’ve even been bugged because I haven’t written it yet.  So here are some thoughts.  Apologies now if they’re not all together.

Open your computer.  Go to spotify (assuming that you have it) and pick a playlist that you made a couple years ago.  (This works with iTunes too).  Set it on shuffle and close your eyes.  Do you remember why you made it?  What do you feel?  I have a playlist on my spotify account simply called “Sad.”  I made it my junior year of college, and I remember listening to it on repeat.  I used to spend a lot of my life simply that, simply sad.  Music had a way of speaking into that part of me.
I have playlists that I made because the guy I was hanging out with at the time showed me all these bands.  Those playlists made me feel closer to whoever they were for.
I have playlists from road trips I took with my favorite person, my bestie, my soul sister.  Playlists filled with songs we would belt like ballads, songs that we would fake sob to, and songs that just made us laugh.  I’m a lyric person, she’s a beat person, so when we find the perfect combination, the song is gold.

Often times, people will say something that will remind me of a song lyric and I’ll just quote it, or start singing the song.  It makes me laugh.  It reminds me of a different time.  It gives me something to share.

There are songs that I could almost say have saved my life.  I think God speaks to me through music sometimes.  And he quite possibly uses my music to speak to people sometimes.

Sometimes there are no words to say.  But then a song says it.  Songs say what you can’t say on your own.  They have the depth, tone, and emotion that words on their own don’t.
I know I’ve talked about it before, but the song Jesus, Jesus by Noah Gundersen is one that I keep coming back to.  There’s an honesty there that is hard to find.

Jesus, Jesus, there are those who say they love you, but they have treated me so god damn mean.  And I know you said, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do,” but sometimes I think they do, and I think about you.  If all the heathens burn in hell, do all their children burn as well?  What about the Muslims and the gays and the unwed mothers?  What about me and all my friends; are we all sinners, if we sin?  Does it even matter in the end if we’re unhappy?

That’s not something that you can just say to most people.  Put it in a song?  It says it all.  Songs have soul.  You want to see a glimpse of someone’s soul?  Hope that they’re a musician.  I firmly believe that anyone can find a song, even if they don’t get to play it or sing it more than once, ever.

Imagine a life without music.  Without birds that sing.  Without love songs and breakup songs and songs about Jesus.  A lot less would be said.  A lot more broken people would be unheard.  Music makes us whole again.  Go find your song.

Reborn

Fire fills her soul
Dragon’s breath warming her coals
Heating up her dry bones
Breathing out sparks of gold
She’ll never taste a word

Fruition is what she craves
Failing to remember that planted seeds need time to grow
Her fire has burned up all the weeds
Waiting till new growth springs
Leaves on trees

Everywhere she turns her eyes see green
Remembering promises from a land away
Throwing away who she was on the ground where she used to lay
Running full speed toward the newest game to play

She fell to the floor, broken
Skinned her knees
But those scars are gone now
If only she’ll leave them be

She is fire, water, earth, and air
Elements born from every memory
Find her in the sea
Feel her permanent heat
Know the ground beneath your feet
Don’t forget to breathe

Mystical, unreal
Dragons are only mind’s conception
Yet she’ll stand before you
Reborn