Lately I've been singing out loud while walking Buddy. Not the whole time. And not very loudly. And sometimes I whistle instead. But I never used to do that--sing out loud while walking the dog.
Maybe I'm doing it now because there are less people around, especially in the mornings. But I also sometimes do it a little during our 2nd walk of the day, when more people are out and about.
This morning it was the Inspector Gadget theme song, thanks to watching a YouTube video last night full of 80's cartoon theme songs.
Yesterday it was Back in the Day (Puff) by Erykah Badu. And I think it came to mind because the day before I charged up an old, retired, phone to listen to some music I hadn't heard in a long time. I don't recall this song playing, but it did have a bunch of Erykah Badu in it.
And "Back in the day when things were cool," does go through my head from time to time anyway. And this seems like an appropriate time for those words, considering how things have changed...
Even though I'm doing really well through this pandemic and the stay at home order, and my life actually hasn't changed all that much, thing have changed. Some changes are not so cool. But, to be quite honest, some changes are. I mean, I get to do my favorite thing--teach Sheng Zhen-- 5 days a week from the comfort of my living room AND I can reach more people that way (people who couldn't attend in person classes because of schedule or location).
Nevertheless, "Back in the day when things were cool" goes through my head, and yesterday I was singing it out loud during our morning walk.
I'd alternate between that and... get ready for this... this may shock some of you, but... "The Spirit of God is upon me. Whoa oh oh! The Spirit of God is upon me." I hadn't even heard this song since January or maybe February--whenever it was played in the Inward Journey class I'm taking at the Center for Spiritual Living.
And, yes, someday I will be sharing more about my evolving relationship with the word (and concept) of "God", a word that used to make me feel uncomfortable, a word I used to avoid but now sometimes sing out loud as I walk down the street. But that's not what this blog post is about. So, back to the songs I sing...
The day before yesterday, it was a song I must've heard on the radio last time I drove my car--almost 2 weeks ago. Not sure how else Doobie Ashtray got into my head, even though "back in the day" I used to listen to it a lot. And as I said in the Curiosity Walk, I don't even remember the last time I smoked, so it's weird that these weed-related songs are going through my head. Maybe it's nostalgia? I have been looking at old photos and talking to long-time friends a lot...
So the day before yesterday, and the day before that, I'm walking around singing, "Whatcha gonna do when you're all alone And you wanna smoke weed But the reefer's all gone? Don't front." Actually, it's "What you gonna do when the people go home" but i've been singing it as "whatcha gonna do when you're all alone" since, you know... social distancing and being all alone (other than Buddy).
And maybe that's one reason for the singing out loud--keeping myself company. Being playful with myself. Soothing myself. Entertaining myself. Uplifting myself... and possibly anyone who happens to hear me.
The singing out loud started longer ago than just a few days ago. But that's tied into the story of the "G" word, so I'll save that for another time.
In the meantime, when was the last time you sang out loud while doing something like walking down the street? Or do you miss singing in your car while commuting? Maybe it's time to go for a drive, even if just to sing.
One reason I've been feeling so good is because of establishing a sense of continuity and normalcy in my routine--as much as possible. And the biggest example of that in my life is that as soon as I found out my in-person classes were cancelled, I moved forward with setting up online classes for Sheng Zhen meditation and qigong.
There are many things we cannot change or control. But this was something I could do to create a sense of continuity and normalcy both for myself and for my regular students. And I knew that would be just as good for our physical and mental health as the practices themselves.
So, after getting the email about class cancellations on a Thursday night, 12 hours after having just taught a class, I emailed some of my students to say stay tuned. And the next day I set up the online classes. I didn't wait for permission. I didn't wait for where I usually teach to come up with an online plan. I knew that on Tuesday I would still be teaching. And I'd teach every Tuesday and Thursday no matter what.
I felt proactive. Of service. And crystal clear.
In addition to it being my joy, I knew, without a doubt, that my regular students would want this. And I knew others would benefit from it too, so I put the word out to the general public.
And it's been amazing. The place I usually teach at on Tuesdays and Thursdays even got their own online plan together and so now even more people are showing up via Zoom!
And students are sharing about how it makes them smile, brings calm, and just how helpful it is now. For my regular students, I'm sure part of the benefit is that sense of continuity, and even "normalcy" even though we're online rather than in person.
So back to that idea of continuity and normalcy in times of big changes and uncertainty....
Like I said above, it's helpful for our health. Especially our mental health. We can't control everything, but there are some things we can control. There are still ways in which we can exercise choice in a way that serves us best.
The truth is, for me, life isn't all that much different because, in addition to being a homebody, I mostly work from home anyway. But the other day while walking my dog, I was thinking that if I were somebody who commuted each day, not just twice a week, this whole "stay at home" thing would probably feel hard and strange.
So, here are some ideas if you're struggling with staying home, especially if you used to work away from home:
1) If you normally commute, consider taking a drive if you have a car, even just a short one during at least one of the times that you're usually on the road. Or go for a walk or bike ride at that time. Or go out into your yard if you have one.
2) As much as possible, maintain the same kind of schedule you had before. If your kids are home, too, maybe this is not fully possible, but hopefully at least somewhat possible. Or maybe you adapt your schedule so that you can fit in some of your "normal" activities before the kids get up or after they go to sleep?
3) If you're not already participating in online group activities (ie meetings, dances, my classes, etc.), consider participating in some group online activities--especially at the times that you used to, before things changed. For example, if you used to attend yoga classes, find a yoga class online, or just practice on your own at that time. Or if you always went out for dinner or a movie or a walk with a certain friend or group of friends, set up some sort of virtual hang out. And if you don't like the group idea? Video call a friend or family member. Reach out. Find ways to connect and interact with others.
I'm going to just leave you with that. I might have some other ideas, but I also am considering rewriting and expanding this to submit to an online journal, in which case it's best not to write it all here first! ;-)
Just get creative. This is a great time to learn how to adapt and think outside the box. It's also a great time to slow down and do some self-reflecting. And it's also a great time to feel your feelings. It's okay if you're feeling sad, scared, anxious, bored, lonely, frustrated, etcetera. I just don't want you to get stuck in those emotions.
And I'm here if you need some support.
I've been having some insights recently about what influences my wants, my desires, my goals. And what I've discovered is that sometimes they're misguided. Even when I think they're not. Even when I'm so sure they're coming from a crystal clear place of love and divine inspiration, sometimes they've been fear-based or influenced by past trauma, old wounds, other people's opinions and societal pressure--or even by something like hormones.
Hormones are a biggy for me right now--or at least they were. Between March and mid-July, I went through 3 egg retrievals to keep my baby-making options open as I approached 40 with a ticking biological clock. I was what a nurse referred to as "fake pregnant" 3 times within a very short period of time. So, my hormones were all out of whack and affecting me in ways I didn't even realize until recently. I've just been starting to feel back to normal over the past few weeks. A normal I hadn't felt in a very long time. And along with that came some big questions, some changes of heart and mind...about various choices, goals, and desires of mine.
And as per usual lately, so much of what I want to say just feels too personal to share right now. I'm still processing and unpacking, unravelling, and clarifying some things for myself. So, although this blog post could be so much better if I revealed more of my personal story, I'm just not gonna do it. At least not today.
Today I just want to explore in a more general way this question of why we want what we want--and how what we want can change.
Or maybe that is all I want to say: What we want can change. And that's okay.
We always have the right to change our minds. Living life in an authentic way means that as we have experiences and collect more data, we just might change. Aspects of who we are and how we show up in the world might change. What we see for our future might change. Our mode of operation might change. Protective mechanisms and limited ways of thinking might fall away. And this is a good thing. It's evolution. It's growth.
It's all good. Just sometimes it feels scary or confusing, especially if it comes on suddenly or feels like a 180. But that's part of the fullness of life: accepting and embracing change. Having the courage to change. Having the courage to rewrite your story as often as needed. And feeling the freedom, the liberation, of that. Feeling the expansiveness of setting yourself free from how you thought things needed to be, if those thoughts and ways of being no longer resonate or serve you.
So, without overthinking things, it is helpful to look at why you want what you want--or don't want what you don't want. But it's also important to realize that no matter how clear you think you are, sometimes these things change. And that's okay. As I said back in 2014... Change.Your.Mind. Again and again and again...if it means you're listening to the whispers of your Heart.
Rebecca Clio Gould is a Certified Sheng Zhen Teacher and Holistic Wellness Coach. Her specialties include self-love, embodied joy, women's sexuality, spirituality, surgery preparation, and trauma recovery. She is also a Supreme Science Qigong Instructor, Essence vs Form Coach, and Award-winning Author of "The Multi-Orgasmic Diet: Embrace Your Sexual Energy and Awaken Your Senses for a Healthier, Happier, Sexier You."