I Can Only Tell You What Works For Me
Drink a lot of water. Make a list of the books you’ve been meaning to read and then see to it that you read the entire list. Find all the best sentences in them. Write them down. These are the words that will heal you. Whoever wrote them understands you. You need to heal. Understand you are not alone. Read the words over and over and over. Cry when you need to, scream when you need to. When you want to be alone, be alone. Look for that balance between hiding under the covers forever and finding something beautiful out there. Forever. Let yourself want what you want. Let yourself feel what you feel.
Write letters. Say all the things you’ve been wanting to say. Sign and send the ones you should send. Fold the others neatly into squares and tuck them into your sock draw. Burn the ones that need to be burnt. Stare at the flames. Let the universe take care of it. Take some deep breaths. Understand that letting go can’t be as painful as continuing to hang on. Sometimes there is no choice but to do what you must do. Begin to recognize the situations where you can make active choices and the ones in which you can’t. Try not to confuse them. While a decision may seem heavy and impossible, your mind is weightless. It cannot hold the power of your question. The answer will come to you from a source outside the realm of your mind. Be humbled by the fact that you can access infinite wisdom.
You always have the answer.
Figure out all the different personalities living inside of you and make friends with each and all of them. Even the selfish bratty child. Even the jaded cynic. Even the broken shadow behind you. Find out who you are. Make it okay to be who you are. Then find a way to honor and respect this person. Listen to the doctor. (Even just this once.) Don’t be afraid to do what you need to do to be better. Get to know your body and what it needs to thrive. Don’t worry so much about sleep but always get enough of it. Yoga, chocolate, vegetables and coffee are all equally important.
Go back to the beginning so you can start again. Talk to your six-year-old self and your fifteen-year-old self and your twenty-one-year old self. Forgive them for what they believed was right. Remember how hard it was. Be grateful that everything they went through brought you to this point. There were no mistakes. Forgive yourself for ever believing anything went wrong.
Nothing went wrong.
Make a list of all the people who have hurt you. Make a list of the people you have hurt. Recognize your patterns. Make a list of all the people you’ve ever loved. Make a list of all the people who love you. Recognize your patterns. Make a cup of tea and try to sit with all this. Try not to burn your tongue. Sip slowly.
Break your old patterns.
There are reasons why it’s worth it and there are reasons why it isn’t. Only concentrate on things worthy of you. Find something (anything) that works for you. It won’t just be magically fine one day. It will be, but not in the way you wish. Magic takes work. You will have to do the work. It is a commitment, like anything else. You have to show up every single day to your sanity, your art, your health, your intuition and your heart. Nothing is easy but it will get easier. You must believe it will be easier. This is a relentless and tireless pursuit. This is one of those things you don’t get a choice over. You must show up or you will suffer.
Find a way out of suffering.
Listen to Alan Watts’ lectures when you can’t sleep because you feel panicky and anxious and insignificant. Google quotes about light and love and freedom and heartache. Read works by Carl Sagan and Eckhart Tolle and Cheryl Strayed and Anne Lamott and Roxane Gay and anyone else who can comfort you when no one else can. Let science and philosophy and mindfulness soothe you. Strive to make this kind of art. Strive to comfort. Strive to inspire.
Strive to be something.
Play the same songs over and over until you’re done with them. (There will come a day when you will be done even if you don’t believe it yet.) Make new playlists for the nights you dream about. Make it okay to dream again. Your imagination is one of your biggest assets. Let it be wild and reckless. If it can’t be your life, let it be a beautiful story. Let that be enough.
When someone says or does something that moves you, determine where you feel it in your body. Tell the person. Press your fist to your heart when you’re talking about the thing that matters most. Let the pulse of the beating determine the rhythm of what you say and what you don’t. Let there be spaces between your words. Practice saying what you really mean. Let someone else touch your heart. You will not regret opening yourself again.
Stare at a candle or a light bulb or a ceiling fan. Stare at nothing until you are nothing. Stay there until you understand what I mean when I say every moment is a meditation. Learn how to be present. Learn to listen. Learn to communicate in different realms. Always ask the question. Always knock when you get to the door. Always say the thing. Talk to the voices in your head, find out what they are so desperately seeking. Ask them for space. Ask them for peace. Make room for the silence.
Notice the silence.
Begin to live for the day the battle between your intuition and intellect ends. The day you realize you’ve been fighting yourself for too long. A senseless battle in which no one can win. Celebrate this coming victory by painting your nails the brightest summertime pink. Go out and stare at the moon. Always look towards the light. Buy yourself new pajamas and a nice scented soap. Wash your sheets. Scrub yourself until you are clean. Let it all wash away.
Pretty soon you will wake up and then wake up again. You will be somewhere else entirely. With my heart beating against my palm, I promise you this.