She Teaches Us Just By Being
My youngest brother and I are known in our family for having minds with supersonic spinning wheels. After a family event or spending a bit of time catching up, our parting ritual almost always consists of bumping fists and the exchange of a few words. The words are always the same: he says, “Don’t let the sound of your own wheels” and I respond with, “drive you crazy”. It is straight from the Eagles ‘songbook of wisdom’.
If you knew my loving but dynamic family, you would also know that membership into the ‘spinning mind club’ is common. This fact means my brother and I are being judged by a group that knows the fine art of worrying, over-thinking, having conversations with ourselves, and at times, losing our doodoo. We are being judged by a very qualified group of people that have determined we are the creme de la creme of this art form.
It’s just who I am but I try not to be too hard on myself because, after all, I believe it is merely a symptom of a passion and intensity for life. There are advantages to the powerful wheels I’ve been given, but I recognize it’s important to try and live outside my head as much as possible. I like a good share of solitude to replenish a certain type of peaceful energy, but I also need to balance this out with a good share of company. Tapping into other people’s energies, experiences, and lives helps me be a better person, artist and professional, and to put a much needed stop on those wheels to grease them up for the next round!
For people like me, socializing is very much an act of self-care. I go through stages where I’m around everyone a lot of the time and can be very social, but I may unexpectedly withdraw a little and I end up with several voicemails, texts or emails from people wondering if I’ve dropped off the face of the earth. I consciously make an effort to see people I care about and that means planning ahead and setting dates. This doesn’t mean I can’t spontaneously see people, but if I were to count on that, the same person may ask me to see them without any notice every time I really don’t feel like it and what kind of company would I be. Everyone deserves times where they have undivided attention … I do, you do, we all do.
For me, it is rare to just need anyone. I am always there for my loved ones and maybe even concern myself too much with their problems, but when it comes to the self-care aspect of spending time with people, I can feel this sort of pull towards a certain person at any particular time and it depends on how I’m feeling. Sometimes it is my turn to be there for someone and I am, whether I want solitude or company.
These days, there is one person in this world that I find myself gravitating to all the time. She is an inspirational powerhouse of attitude. She’s feisty, adventurous, fun, says what she thinks, and walks around unashamed. If she could, she’d do whatever she wanted. She’s beginning to learn the world doesn’t work like that but she tries … how she tries!
She doesn’t question her actions and she takes what she sees for face value. Doubt is rare and skepticism is unknown to her. Still, she can hold my hand or caress my face when I’m sad. She instinctively notices the nuances of a person better than anyone else I know. There is nothing constructive about who she is: masks aren’t just off … they were never there to being with. There is no hesitation to touch and express love – and I see divinity every time I’m with her.
She doesn’t worry about much these days. For the most part, she lives in the present and that is all there is for her. She interacts with everything she comes across – she tastes, touches, smells, sees life with little, if any, effort or outside influence. She can be an utter tornado but she can also be a delicate flower. I’m in awe of her and people often miss out on all the lessons she has to offer. She never goes unnoticed, but what others notice aren’t the important things she teaches us just by being … untarnished still by the harsh realities of the world.
At this moment in my life, my two and a half year-old niece is the most influential person in my life. She is still untainted by the hurdles life throws at us even though she has her own hurdles and they are very real to her. She does not worry who sees her fail and fails as many times as she needs to in order to master something … and her confidence is impressive. She is trying things out and learning along the way. She doesn’t shy away from challenges. She loves to say ‘no’ and loves to say ‘yes’. She greets me with, “Hello Leni, I missed you.” When I leave she tells me she loves me and thanks me for playing with her … able to feel my love for her but unable to comprehend the gratitude I have. Children are incredibly courageous in many ways – at this age, she just says what she means and there is nothing more refreshing in a world where people rarely say what they mean or what they want. There is nothing more appealing to me at this time in my life, no greater self-care at a time when bravery is so essential, than to be with this little person.