Of the Soul

This week I had the pleasure of visiting the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo to see Yokoyama Taikan’s Metempsychosis. The artwork was rolled out and displayed behind glass. Its entire length was about the size of a football field. We waited in a single file line held back with velvet ropes for over thirty minutes just to reach the starting point. We shuffled along the art work, square by square, examining all of the scenes. Landscapes showed raindrops passing through into the soil. There were boats coming in, streams cutting through mountains, and water being evaporated and rained out again into the ocean. Though each detail was interesting in its own way, it was only when you pulled away from it, or looked back along its track, that you could really see how all of his shading completed a much greater story. This was a story of the soul.

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Detailed section of Metempsychosis. Transmigration of the soul.

The world, as we experience it, is ours to take and interpret. The impression of the world around us is ours to transform. This is the input and output of a creative machine. We are migrating the creative spirit from one place to another. It may have our eyes behind it, but it is still the soul of the world around us that is inspirational.

What is it that you see from your perspective?

When I see a baby’s foot, I remember that I was a baby, and my foot is the same foot that was once so small.

I am partial to the shapes of leaves and the bottoms of feet,

the stories in the padding of the things that grow.

We all have the same potential for experience in us.

No one is born the way that they are now. Life happens to them just as it happens to you and me. We will all feel it all at some point. It just happens at different times.

Black Pools

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National Museum of Modern Art Tokyo

Sometimes it still feels like I am hiding behind a theme, like I am still searching for a voice. As the heart sick side of me heals and that oldest wound soothes out, I see how I’ve let regret hold me back for years. Regret is sneaky because it will always leave you feeling like there was something that you could’ve done differently. Regret will leave us feeling like we should stop trying now because of what happened then. Energy dies here.

Rufus Wainwright and his black pool of sorrow do not appeal to me anymore in the way that Elizabeth Gilbert describes him in Big Magic. I can sit and put my ear by the pool, listening to the voice, but I do not feel the need to dive in anymore. I think once or twice was enough for me. I will always have a little bit of darkness patch-worked into my soul. I will always have those leftovers wrapped around me, and this happens to be the best backdrop for firing thoughts, epiphanies, and light to bounce off of.

Something has to happen in the before part of our story to carry us through to the after. We can always grow beyond regret. We can always sit by the black pool without letting it consume us completely. We all deserve a little starry night of our own in the blackbox theatre of our minds.

The Wind & I

How do I transform? How do I carry on with my story?

Do not be afraid of your gifts even if they disappoint your family, your friends, or who you thought you should be.

Here is the story of a woman who was very nice and never bothered anyone much about anything, and no one really said anything but nice things about her. The END

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Image Via @clare_pooley

So you want to transform? Stare into the pain until it dissolves. This is the beginning.

Yesterday, I caught my reflection in a whole new way. I stopped and stared at myself without doing my make-up, without doing anything but noticing. I looked into my own eyes. I soaked in the grooves and pores of my face while inching up at conversation level as if I was meeting myself for the first time. I looked at myself like, This is the person that I am. In 2015, Anna Kendrick tweeted, “Oh god, I just realized I’m stuck with me my whole life.” This is a WOW moment for sure, and it is a freedom to find a breath in between criticisms and view ourselves as people.

Once we see ourselves as people, we can find inspiration in others who have found greatness. Those who have overcome something great will speak to us. We can follow someone else’s map until we travel one that makes sense for who we become. Stories that share how someone got from point A to point B are what jolt the collective heartbeat when so many other stories tend to drain and fade out its rhythm.

Eventually, we can start moving with the wind and learning exactly what that looks, feels, sounds, and smells like. We can start to tell our own story the way that we want to. I am finally connecting what I did and why I did it. I am finally looking at myself as a person and forgiving myself for lifetime of distraction.

Closing Thoughts

Why don’t you pour your energy in to something that grows?

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The way she barrels through this place is very telling.

She is either looking for something, or she is trying to hide something.

She doesn’t have a clue about who she really is. 

Those heavier waters are calming down. I do not worry about stunning anyone with the unsolved mysteries of my psyche. Here I am as a woman who sort of knows what she is doing. Sometimes, I look behind me and wonder if it was all a big clumsy mistake, and it probably was, but it was my mistake. It paved the way for where I am now. It is my story. I no longer wish that things had happened differently. I know that I’ve hurt people, but now, I know how to help people with both hands. Now, I know how to love with my whole heart. Now, I know how to roar with my whole soul and feel with all of my senses. This is the whole story in action as we speak. This is transformation in the works.

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Image via @laura_mckowen.

The situations that we experience may look different, but the underlying emotions that we associate with them connect all of us. We will all see the same patterns of birth, success, failure, loss, love, heartbreak, doubt, and death at some point in our lives. It takes stepping back a little bit and noticing how the big picture moves along. It takes stepping back to notice it in everything that lives and breathes. It only feels like our little worlds are all alone, but we cannot be separate: in fact, separating ourselves from all of this would be the greater feat. Breaking the chain is a lonely life. One day you will see what it really looked like from the other side. None of the hurtful opinions will confuse you anymore. One day you will feel your heart in their chest. It is all a transfer of energy that we carry along as we tell our stories. It is a story of the soul.

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For more on the sobriety journey, follow The OAM on Instagram @the_oam, and check out The OAM facebook page (click here

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