If you’re anything like me, you’ve been a bit (a lot?) overwhelmed with a steady stream of terrifying/outrage-inducing no good terrible bad news lately. In the midst of *waves hands at all the things* I’ve been doing this dance between being ‘in here’ and ‘out there’. Some of my life’s hours are spent in outrage. Some are spent in my blanket fort with my lovely dog. Some are spent reading and retweeting. Some are spent listening to The Witching Hour by Anne Rice on Audible. Some are spent happily creating. Some are spent creating in a fit of frustrated weeping.

I dance. In here. Out there. Peace. Struggle. Outrage. Fierce love.

Cha-cha-cha.

For once in my life, ‘in here’ is pretty good. Lonely, but in a deliciously spacious, anticipatory way that I’ve never before experienced – like, this loneliness is a portal through which good things may emerge. Quiet. Peaceful. Full of my own ‘head down, do your own work’ type stuff. “Out there” is – well. You know.

The dance is good for me. It means I’m asking myself what I need on a regular basis. I find myself slamming the lap top shut and indulging in something soul-nourishing more and more often as a counter measure. I ask myself “what can I *actually* do”, and I do that to the best of my ability, and then I go do something else.

Christopher Penczak posted this on his Facebook Timeline today:

Remember despite a world of madness, life continues… People are mourning loved ones lost, getting diagnosed with serious illnesses, facing disasters, and filing for divorce. People are also falling in love, getting married, creating art, raising children, making new friends, playing music, having sex, advocating for their rights, and making magick. Remember to live.

I took a deep breath when I read that. It’s not like I need permission to do these things. I don’t. I’m a grown ass woman. But I do, occasionally, need *reminders* that I can do these things.

I like to remember to live ‘out loud’ in spaces like this, because I find myself emboldened by sharing. When I share, I feel safely gathered in to a tribe of witnesses. It also keeps me accountable if I call a thing I’m doing ‘a thing’ and I endeavour to do it habitually.This is how pretty much every community project I’ve ever created began.It all starts like this:

OH HEY! I want to do a thing, but I’ll probably drop it after five minutes because SQUIRREL, so I’m going to make it a thing, okay? If it’s a THING and I know you’re doing it with me, I’ll do it for longer than five minutes. Maybe not MUCH longer, but at least a little longer! So TADA! This is now a THING.

As a way of balancing my reaction to my news feed, I want to do a thing. A “Friday Five” type of thing. Five things that are rocking my life, every Friday. Some of the things will be me things. Some will be things I find out there in the world. All of them will be soul nourishing. They will be heart-centered, desire-led, pleasure-seeking, spirit-lifting.

Good things. Moving things. Things that restore my faith in humanity, or my faith in myself. Not because I’m one of the ‘positive police’ – I’m not, and anyone that knows me knows that I am a huge fan of being with all the things, including the deep dark scary stuff. So, no. This is not about spiritual bypass or whitewashing all of *waves at everything happening around her*. Rather, attending, at least for a few moments a week,to what’s *right*.

This feels somehow magical right now. It feels like I already attend to what’s not okay, like, all the time. I notice it, I call it out, I do what I can to counter it by creating safe spaces where people can share without fear of reprisal for feeling their feelings. But lately it feels a little bit like I’m in danger. Like I’ve swung all the way over to the omgdoomy side of things in my desperation to stay on top of it all, and that’s no way to live, right? Because in the midst of everything that’s going on, there are these lives we’re living.

FYI, unless otherwise explicitly noted, my shares are fangirlish squee, and not affiliate linkage.

So. Friday Five. Here we go.

Thing One
As someone who spent most of her life struggling with a serious self-care deficit, the preparation of beautiful food *for myself* even when there’s no one else to feed has been a hugely nourishing undertaking. When my marriage ended, I knew how to cook for a houseful of people, not ONE person, and so at first, I shopped like I used to, and cooked like I used to, and then threw out 3/4 of what I’d bought/cooked. In time, I lapsed into a habit of ordering in, which was okay, because I wasn’t wasting food anymore, and I wasn’t experiencing that horrible sadness I experienced when I realized I’d cooked enough for an army of mouths and bellies for no reason other than I had no idea how to cook for one.

Shortly after I moved to my new apartment, I signed up for a service* that delivers raw ingredients (everything you need except salt, pepper, olive oil, and occasionally a couple of eggs) and recipes for multiple meals a week. Serving sizes are healthy. Everything is, wherever possible, locally sourced and of the highest possible quality. Everything is incredibly fresh. I opted in for four entrees per week, and I usually select at least two vegetarian options (to which I often add lean protein so I can make the recipe stretch a bit). This means that pretty much every day, I’m eating something beautiful and healthful, since each recipe makes 2 – 3 servings, and more if I add my own lean protein to the veggie recipes.

At least four times a week, you will find me in my kitchen, apron on, listening to an audio book or music (see Thing Two), doing my mise en place, shaking my booty, singing out loud. I sip Perrier Lime or Chardonnay. I cook, and then plate whatever I’ve cooked, photograph it, and sit down to eat. Mindfully. Slowly. Steak, sliced against the grain served with black garlic mashed potatoes and sauteed snow peas. Moussaka. Naan panini with bocconcini, roasted red pepper, and HOMEMADE PESTO. Caribbean sweet potato hash with honey glazed pork loin.

If I have a guest, they sit on a comfy bar chair I have in my kitchen so they can sip wine and talk to me while I cook. I plate for two, photograph the prettiest plate, and then we sit down to eat.

Every plate I create is a love letter to my body. Every meal I make is a Valentine.

*Because I know you’ll ask, here’s where I get my food from. 

Thing Two

Spotify. I love it. It has become a near daily companion. I love to create playlists, but my very favourite feature is “Discover Weekly” which is a new playlist created for me by Spotify every single Monday. You can find my profile here.

Thing Three

 Couch art. Mmmmm. Especially now that I have a wee box of Jane D’s MM stuff, thanks to two shopping trips to Michael’s with coupons.

This wee girl (she’s about 7 x 10) was created with the INKredible pen, both of the watercolor palettes, the Mermaid Markers, and Magic Wands. I’ve also got some white acrylics paint in there (Golden Fluid). I have made a deal with myself that if I want to binge on something on Netflix, I have to have a journal spread on the go – not because I’m a tyrant, but because it is much more soul nourishing for me to multitask in this way.

Thing Four
This post by Tanya Geisler that helped me feel a little less wobbly.

Thing Five

This new project by my lovely muppet, Sarah Trumpp, that is making my heart swell.

I hope you have a weekend that is full of your life. See you next week!

xo
Effy
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