01 Story: What’s the best story you heard this month?
We've had so much snow, and being that this is our first winter out of the city, January has been quite the adventure. My mother told my four-year-old sons, West and Lou, that no two snowflakes are ever the same. I loved watching my identical twins, who could not be more different, ponder this. "But snowflakes look the same!" West said. "But they're not, West," Lou responded. We spent all January making paper snowflakes, thinking about this. I don't think a day has gone by in our house that the boys have not mentioned, even in passing, that no two snowflakes are the same. As I write this, it is snowing. And it makes me think about how I, myself, am unique, how there is room for all of us to be exactly as we are.
02 Nature: An encounter with the natural world
I've been dreaming a lot about spiders, which is odd, as I have never remembered dreaming specifically about spiders. I only remembered I was dreaming about them because I used the spider emoji for the first time, as a spider image came to me. In the dreams, I am simply watching a spider silently weaving its web. That's it. Like watching a nature video. She just goes about her business, diligently weaving her beautiful, fragile, complicated world. Maybe because I am dreaming so much about this, I noticed a spider hard at work in a corner of my home. Every day this month I have greeted her and watched her work. Funnily enough then, my friend Caris called and asked me if I wanted a @luminouspalm tarot reading via Skype. Of course she pulled a spider card and we agreed: I am the spider, silently and diligently weaving my brave new world.
03 Art Experience: An encounter with art (in any form)
Believe it or not, I then discovered my son, West drawing spiders! He has never drawn them before! I wonder if it's because he tends to sleep next to me, perhaps our dreams have crossed in the night, like the snowy threads of a web.
04 Change: a meaningful change that impacts the way you live (either that you initiated or that entered from outside)
I had my new friend Heidi come and clear the energy in our house. While there are no nasty entities (just friendly spider webs!) I felt like our small space (we live in a tiny cottage) needed an energetic boost. I am super sensitive to energy, and because I am home all the time working on my book and then mothering the boys, these walls do talk to me. After Heidi left, I could feel the subtlest shift - mostly, the walls said, "You got this. Keep going."
05 New Idea: a new way of looking at things or something to attempt in the future
We toured a potential new Kindergarten for our boys for next year. The school believes in project-based, mixed-age learning, i.e.: learning by doing, which is totally my jam. The teacher was talking about how we don't teach our kids to fail, we only teach them to achieve, to ace the test, and that if they do anything less they have wasted their time. As a perfectionist, this really spoke to me. Think about the quintessential school project, the volcano for a science fair. I remember making one, and it didn't erupt. I felt like a total loser, which at 12 you already feel all the time. Had someone explained to me that, in building that volcano, I learned what worked and didn't work, that it was simply a prototype, it would have saved me years and years of therapy! I have recently put my career as a singer-songwriter on hold to pursue writing a book about motherhood. I'm not going to lie, there's a part of me that feels like I failed as singer-songwriter. But when I think about that idea of the "failed" volcano, I realize that my three records, all those tours, all those complex feelings of wanting to be seen/wanting to be left alone, they were not in vain. They got me here. And when I'm ready to make music again, after this book, I'm going to give that volcano a fourth try.
06 Object (new): a new object that held significance
I've been admiring this beautiful "shield" necklace from @ikababel for over a year on Instagram. Out of nowhere, its maker, beautiful Irina, contacted me and offered it to me. I wear this piece around my neck when I feel like I need to blast light into the darkest depths, which is basically what I am doing daily, writing a book about the few rocky years. Sometimes support and love can come from a total stranger.
07 Object (old): an old object that took on new/different kind of meaning
For years I admired how amazing my friend @bladesnaturalbeauty smelled! She seriously smells like a magical rose garden. Last spring before we left the city, I bought a bottle of rose oil from her, not realizing it was from Amma, the "hugging" guru's ashram. I don't have a guru, but everyone is always telling me to learn more about Amma, and I have so many friends who have waited in line for her magical hug. Long story short, the oil got lost in the move. But this month I found it again. I dab some on when I sit down to write. There's something about handing it all over to the Divine Mother - whether or not she's Amma, who knows - that comforts me. As a mother, and one who has seen her child through cancer, I often feel like I am carrying the world on my shoulders. Just one dab of rose oil from this magic bottle and I feel held.
08 Discard: Something you decided to rid yourself of this month.
I think a lot about pies to the face. It's an image I write about, too. I had a particularly bumpy four or five years. Music went south, my marriage was tested, I lost a pregnancy, had twins, one was diagnosed with cancer, remission, and a whole lot of other things, all at once. I have yet to really trust that the Universe isn't going to keep throwing pies at me. This month I woke up one morning and was just like, "Enough! You want to throw another pie at me? Just try!" I am working now every day to lessen my fear of the messy pie to the face. I mean, I'm covered in pie and I'm still standing, bitches.
09 Gratitude: something you have been specifically thankful for this month:
My body. I spent so much time worrying about my children's growing bodies I've neglected my own for a while now. This month I started doing physical therapy to repair the damages my body endured from carrying 14 pounds of babies, sleeping in the hospital, getting an MFA in writing, not moving, PTSD, a sprained ankle...this month I made a promise to love this broken body. She's been through a lot. Let's adorn her, nurture her. I'm tired of finding things wrong with her.
10 Proportion: A specific moment that reminded you of the scale of the universe. That you are part of a greater whole.
We lost our beloved neighbor, Morris this month. He was 90 years old and a daily part of our lives. The boys would greet him every morning on his porch; he more or less taught me how to parallel park on our dead end street by instructing me from his chair! The night he passed, his daughter-in-law came pounding on our door, minutes after discovering him. I ran outside, and we all held each other, as though we had known each other for decades. The ambulance came, police, fire trucks. And then Morris was carried away and there was silence. I sat on my bed and I thought, and there goes a life. It shook me so deeply, it reminded me that this is, to quote Mary Oliver, my one precious life. If I were to go today, could I say I was doing everything I set out to do? Even though the last year has been tough, and January felt like the longest month ever, I went to sleep knowing, yes, yes, I am. But oh let me live so I can keep going.