My most prized possession is my soul.
Nothing more. Nothing less. Any form, any material doesn't come close to that inner unknown thing we don't know what to call so we use the ambiguous 'soul' to describe it. Some call it 'the subconscious.' Others ironically call it 'consciousness.' Whatever you may call it... for me, it is the part of me that dreams at night. That dreams so vividly that I wake up thinking my dream life is when I am most alive. When my soul is most alive. Waking up to the real world often feels like going to sleep. Because my soul is mostly asleep in those boring mundane tasks of living as a human. Running errands. Doing work. Only in the rare moments of creative flow my soul kicks in. Or in other altered states scenarios. My soul aches for them. It gets sleepy with the stability of the mundane. It wakes up through risk, through discomfort, through play, through exploration. My soul is a player. A musician, an artist, a dancer. It is an astronaut exploring space for the first time. It is a poet using its voice. It's a painter painting colors that have never existed before. It's my imagination. It's my creativity. It's everything.
My soul is my most prized possession.
HEART: Boom boom. Boom boom. Boom boom.
SOUL: I am sensing something is up with you, Heart.
BRAIN: Affirmative. Beat is up on my radar as well.
HEART: You are correct, you too... I am, boom boom, boom boom, excuse me, about to something new.
Something new. Something... unknown. Something foreign, raw, scary. Boom boom. Boom boom. Something I am a virgin in. I am a virgin of. Something virginal. Boom boom. Boom boom...
SOUL: 'Beginner's mind.'
BRAIN: First day in school!
HEART: Yes, sort of. Like that. Like a job interview. Or the first time having sex. Or the first time eating something new. First time doing... something. Anything.
BRAIN: Studies have shown higher rates of palpitations in monumental events. The nervous system is doing its job.
SOUL: 'It's normal' Brain means to say... but then again what's NORMAL?
HEART: Boom boom. Boom boom. Normal, sure. Maybe... but - boom boom - how do I make it STOP? I am so nervous I may just pop out BOOM BOOM and EXPLODE!!!
SOUL: Do you know 'nervous' and 'excited' are actually the same thing? They're both just energy.
BRAIN: That is a valid point, though I would phrase the hypothesis differently.
HEART: Oh. huh. So I could just be... excited then? Boom boom?
SOUL: Excited, nervous, who cares? They're all the same! You are BEATING and alive and that's they only thing that we all care about!
BRAIN: On that we agree.
HEART: Well when you two agree, I... find myself suddenly... more calm. Boom. more relaxed. Boom. Grounded, ready, focused to tackle that new something with all my might!
Most people wait for New Years to make their resolution, or for a bomb to drop on their lives unexpectedly to make necessary changes. But every day is a chance to grow or at least check in and evaluate where growth is needed. Time flies so fast ... DON'T wait for bad news to remind you your dreams are meant to be LIVED, not just fantasized about.
So that great novel or memoir you've been meaning to write? Sit and work on it a little bit every day.
The raise you've been building courage to ask your boss from? Just ASK for it!
The travel plan you keep putting off because ______* (*insert EXCUSES here)? Live for today. Travel now because you don't know when Covid will shut everything off again.
A depressing hospital room. A nurse gives medications to a patient.
NURSE: And now swallow... Good. One done, two more to go! I'll see you later terminator!
PATIENT: Yay me.
NURSE: I know! Yay yay yay!
The nurse leaves.
PATIENT: She must have asp burger's. Or some form of autism. Ya gotta have a chip missing to smile that wide. I mean, one more milli-inch and her teeth would explode. I'm haunted by them already. Every night she comes with her cheery as fuck smile and high pitch gossip tone and I swear I secretly hope for her to pillow me in my sleep. Take me out of my misery woman! Be the angel of death you know you want to be! Come on! We all know the mormon little girl in you is just a facade! You screw like a truck driver in Texas and you curse like the bartender who serves that shithead. I've seen you wearing the SAME socks days in a row. The ones with the little ducks on 'em. Sidenote: Are you twelve!?!? But really, where do you go at night my lil' angel of death? Which body parts are you selling on the black market?
Who's next... ME!?!?
If you are rolling your eyes or dropping your jaw because my morbid humor is putting you on edge just a bit... know that you are too late to rain on my parade. Too late to place judgment on this motherfuckin' renegade. Too late for your horrid criticism. That's because I get a free pass, bitches. I get a FREE pass.
See, when you are notified you have only three months to leave, and that your last remaining months wouldn't be spent traveling the world on a hot air balloon but rather would likely be spent on unimaginable pain and discomfort... you have a free pass. FOR LIFE. And you get to make fun of the nurse or whoever you want because there is nothing better than sharing your miserable bitterness with the world you are soon to NEVER SEE AGAIN.
The nurse comes back.
NURSE: Yoo-hoo! Are we decent?
PATIENT: By pure chance. By pure motherfuckin' chance.
PATIENT: Or else WHAT!?!?
The nurse's giant smile wipes off her face.
With a belly full of delicious meals, a notepad full of quirky southern sayings, and a photo album full of memories... I leave the island.
Gratitude is a trendy word; The woke among us have taken 'to do lists' of highly ambitious people, and turned them into 'gratitude lists'; #blessed is on the top ten social media hashtags; telling people you are 'grateful for them' is the new millennial 'I love you.' Trends are often minimized of their significance, underestimated, brushed aside... but gratitude is more than a trend: gratitude keeps us SANE and not
hyper-critical and judgmental of each other AND ourselves.
So here I am. Full of so much, and grateful while I am at it.
Grateful for the meals, the company, the laughs, the adventures, the family gossip, the southern innuendos, the oil rig boat tour, the fishing, the helicopter flying, the covid discussions, the love... the love. The love.
And to think, a week ago I wasn't sure if I should go. I didn't think that my island time would be worth it.
Today I am grateful to have been WRONG.
One of the memories I have from my grandmother's house, is her collection of coffee table books. She was from an era that admired words, art, and design, or at least - that's what her coffee table book assortment told me she was. But one little green book always caught my eye: 'Why Worry?' was its title.
The book was a book full of wise mantras that can brighten any day and soften any guard.
It is now years after she passed, and I am now the owner of this book. It isn't on my coffee table but rather tucked away on a top shelf, and I barely can read a page without wondering 'what did my grandmother think of this one?' or 'yes, WHY worry? Why in the fucking fuck worry!?!?! Which takes me on a long-ish ride on questioning... and wonderings... until I settle on:
'SO BE IT'
Because as my grandmother taught me years and years after her passing: why worry?
I went fishing on a Trumper's boat in Texas.
YUP. I, with my elitist 'libtard' views and my disdain to all things Trump. I, with my zero fascination with fishing. I, with my big mouth who is not afraid to go at it with a Trumper. Confession: I went fishing with a Trumper and I liked it. Not the fishing, god no, that is as boring as I had anticipated, but the southern man with the Trump hat and the sexist jargon - kept me fascinated. I even wrote down notes of some of his brillant lingo. Hey, I'm a writer. That's what we do...
How easy it is to judge a person, label them, categorize and store them in a box and throw away the key. We ALL do that. Especially over the last couple of years. BUT if we stay open, we may see a person beyond their box, and realize there is nuance there, and even a Trumper with completely different set of politics than me can become a source of curiosity. And knowing that I can be curious about ANYONE - is a way to exercise my power. The power to see people behind the hat they wear.
Good morning on an island. I don't wake up from humming birds or an alarm clock, but rather it's the voice of the others that spring me to my feet.
And the day continues with the essence of 'OTHER' ringing in my ears. After all: here I am, an OTHER, celebrating with a family that isn't mine, the most familial American holidays of them all: Thanksgiving.
And off the bat, within my first time of spending time with a family that isn't mine, I say THANK YOU for the inclusion, for the welcome, and for the love.
With all the joy this family is expressing, they are also expressing sorrow, DEEP sorrow for a primal member of the family whose time on this planet is running low. And as I grow in my empathy and listen to the stories, and the feels, and the love from this family, I am reminded of my own family, and how family comes together WHEN times are hard. That's what family is for.
A day of travel that starts at 4am is always a bit outside my comfort zone.
Waking up before the sun does, getting to the airport before the sun is out, and seeing it rising from the plane - all give me the immediate sense of being in a time loop.
But we're here on the plane, headed somewhere. I pat myself for a job well done getting up in time for such an early flight, and then I disappear into my video games and my senseless TV watching. Before long - we land.
And then we have the 'honor' of spending three plus hours waiting for our next flight, in the unique world of an airport. I have my laptop with me, I continue my work, writing my script in some airport coffee shop, and disappearing into it... until a stern sharp female voice stops me in my tracks: a mother is disciplining her eleven year old girl in a cruel and judgmental way. I cringe to the sharp tones and cruel demeanor. I stare at the mother, quietly judging, and partially feeling ashamed because 'how dare I pass judgment on a mother, any mother, when I am not a parent myself. But I judge nonetheless, and am also filled with empathy to the daughter who clearly just wants to be seen and acknowledged. And then they leave. The woman with her careless 'I don't care what you think of me' attitude (that I gotta admit, I also respect), and the daughter with her puffy eyes and head tilted down. I know that girl. I feel that girl. I love that girl.
Time has returned again and I find myself on another plane. A deja vu of sorts.
And then I land. WE land and make our way to the island.
It's nighttime so we can't see the ocean but we can hear it. We feel it. We love it. We crawl into our airbnb beds and disappear into our dreams.
Tomorrow we'll wake up on the island.
The word of the day doesn't need an introduction.
Nor does it need a definition from the dictionary.
We all know what it is.
I mean, we know what it is.
If we wouldn't - we wouldn't be here at all...
So go on, do it, BREATHE a little... breathe a lot! To me, breathing is releasing, is living, is echoing myself into the world, is being, is amplifying, is trusting...
Breathing is my body in a state of gratitude.
To be grateful is to breathe.
To breathe - is to be grateful.
So go on... inhale... exhale... and again... and again...
In April 2020, while experiencing her first ever global pandemic, Tamar Pelzig pledged to write something every day, even if it's only a word, so she welcomed to the world a daily blog to keep her creative writing wheels rolling.
Header Art: Daniel Landerman