There's an epidemic of sleeplessness in our culture that comes from too much cortisol and other hormones, ridiculous amounts of sugar in our diets, too much stress, too many screens and multitudes of things constantly clamoring for our attention. I have been an insomniac for over 20 years and as a result I've become an expert in some great ways to kick insomnia to the curb.
Last month I got to perform in a local community theater production of Guys and Dolls. Performing in musical theater again had been on my "wish" list for about 25 years and I am so freaking glad that I got to do it! Musical theater was a big part of my identity when I was younger. I was in everything from Bye Bye Birdie to Oliver and I loved singing and performing. Up until my sophomore year at college I was often in plays until I got way too cool and spent all my free time listening to music, dying my hair black, wearing armloads of silver bangle bracelets, going to clubs at 11:00 pm to hear bands and obsessing over cute British bass players- but that's a story for some other blog post…
A couple of years ago, with the big 5-0 on my horizon, I found myself in a bit of a meltdown. On paper my life was pretty awesome. I was married to a great guy, had 2 healthy, reasonably well-adjusted teenagers, I was living in an old craftsman house in a city that I loved and working from home with hours that I chose myself. I was healthy, had an active social calendar and regular trips to NY & LA. But as I got closer to that big birthday I started feeling lost. 50 sounded so BIG. So old. So middle aged. It was doing my head in.
No mater what your beliefs are, it's impossible to avoid seeing that this country is in the middle of some crazier than usual bullsh*t. It's really easy to get sucked into a sinkhole of anxiety, frustration and anger, and while sometimes those feelings can ultimately inspire action and change, they need to be balanced with some radical self-care or they will burn you out.
I don't know about you, but I am wrestling with keeping my shit together right now. I'll be going along, managing just fine, and then I will see or hear something that will send me spinning down a rabbit hole and running towards anything that will numb me out, like a bottomless bag of chocolate chips or endless hours of playing Hearts on my phone. I have nothing against chocolate or playing games on my phone but regularly numbing out to avoid reality is not a good long-term plan. So I decided to make a list of things I can do to balance the numbing and the upcoming right-wing agenda.
As you may already know, I am a big fan of a well-placed "f-bomb" and I'm fairly unapologetic about it. But there are words that I've become much more careful about using and they may not be what you think. Here's a list of the top 3 "bad words" that I try to avoid:
2016 was difficult in so many ways. For me it started with the death of David Bowie and went downhill from there. My husband was unemployed for 6 months, I gained around 15 lbs (hello menopause), I have teenagers (enough said), the election wrung me out, and then, like many of you, things came to an unimaginable, screeching smackdown in early November. This whole year it felt like the hits just kept coming. But despite these indisputable challenges, the year has also been full of wins. There have been goals met and shout-outs from the Universe that have been wonderful and deserve acknowledgement.
In getting back to the business of living my life these past couple of weeks, the practice of gratitude has been a very effective tool for moving out of the fear of an unknown future and into the present moment where all things are possible. So, in the spirit of giving thanks, I'd like to share with you my current gratitude list.
People often comment on the name of my business, Audacious Wellness, maybe because audacious is one of those words that can mean several different things. Personally, I love the idea of audacity when making life choices. Women I admire from Eleanor Roosevelt and Margaret Sanger to Alice Waters and Debbie Harry, have all been considered bold, daring and gutsy, or in other words, audacious, for going against the so-called grain to ultimately change perceptions and create new norms.
I've been going through some stressful things of late and haven't been paying as much attention as I normally do to the way I've been eating. As a result I've gained a few pounds, my clothes are tight and I'm generally dragging. It made me think about what I'm feeling (or avoiding feeling) when I don't eat mindfully. It made me question what I am really hungry for right now.