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I could drone on and on about this year and how it’s impacted my life, but honestly, it wouldn’t be unique, and I’m not here to try and explain to you with grandiloquent phrases how incredible or extensive my experience has been. You know damn well because yours has been the same. The great equalizer....
I could drone on and on about this year and how it’s impacted my life, but honestly, it wouldn’t be unique, and I’m not here to try and explain to you with grandiloquent phrases how incredible or extensive my experience has been. You know damn well because yours has been the same.
The great equalizer.
Instead, as I helped my husband chop wood today, I thought about the Zen lesson of “chop wood, carry water” and how pertinent it feels. I won’t attempt to explain it in my own words, so below is a fantastic synopsis for you, should you be unfamiliar. And in all transparency, I learned about this Zen lesson from Anthony Bourdain in the Maine episode of No Reservations.
Many of us get caught up in the end results of what we’re working toward or the way things will be when we finally achieve something. But the truth is that getting to where you want to go or being successful doesn’t mean that the work that lead you there goes away. Achieving your version of “enlightenment” is not an endpoint in and of itself. You’ll need to do the same things after in order to keep moving forward. There’s a Zen philosophy that says the way a person does one thing is the way they do everything, and whether you agree with it or not, the message is clear. If you can’t take on the simple tasks as best as you can, how could you conquer the big things?
No matter how menial the task may seem, practicing mindfulness and focusing on the present work at hand will help you develop a habit of always doing your best. And once you finally achieve “enlightenment” you still must chop wood and carry water. Do your work, do it well, and when you find success, do it again.Patrick Allan
This is it. This is life. Regardless of your situation, no matter how objectively glamorous it could be, you have times when you perceive it as mundane. Times where you experience self-loathing. Why is that? What are you looking for? Ambition is good, but to what end? Now is a good time to answer these questions for yourself. I’m working on it as well.
Chop wood, carry water.
Quarantine has forced us all to reflect on a lot. Now, this is quite a fortunate position to be in versus those battling for their lives, so let’s get that out of the way and address the privilege. Alright, still with me? Week one I found myself wearing some form of athleisure every day and...
Quarantine has forced us all to reflect on a lot. Now, this is quite a fortunate position to be in versus those battling for their lives, so let’s get that out of the way and address the privilege. Alright, still with me?
Week one I found myself wearing some form of athleisure every day and wondering how long things would last, missing folks, but working incredibly hard and trying to find work-life balance within the home, figuring this would all be over soon. Denial.
Week two I began to feel very frustrated by the entire situation. I became irritable with my husband, irritable with my colleagues, irritable with my friends. The virus had yet to officially arrive in Maine. It felt like the media was berating us all with non-stop doomsday articles. Anger.
Week three my husband left something at his work, so I went with him into Portland one evening to get it. It was the first time that I’d been outside of my house in a couple of weeks. Seeing everything closed and so few cars on the road was overwhelming. Life had completely halted. I began to cry because I felt so hopeless for everyone, our world. Depression.
Week four I started to think about what projects were around my house that I hadn’t gotten to over the years. The weather was starting to get warmer, so we were able to begin some yard work. We talked about how this will probably end soon since everyone is quarantining and working from home. Conversations were had with others thinking the same thing, how we’d been taking the necessary precautions, so life would be returning to normal soon. Bargaining.
Week five it all became much more clear. This was it for a while. We were past the point of return to just go back to how things were. I started to realize how trivial everything that I worried about was. Yes, I’d been waking up in the middle of the night with anxiety like so many others over the weeks preceding, but it became more clear. Stressing out about having the latest/coolest fashion items meant nothing. I hadn’t (and still haven’t) purchased anything other than groceries/utilities since quarantine and I have no desire. I realized I have so much here in my home already that I can work with, but that everything and everyone was constantly saying how more is more. Creativity is born in scarcity. Acceptance.
So, as I traveled through the full Kübler-Ross grief cycle, I realized something: we had lost sight of what is important. Ryan’s grandfather contracted COVID-19 and was in the hospital, but has now recovered, which is incredible. That added another layer of clarity onto things. And so, I’ve been working on realigning what’s important. It’s not easy, but it’s a start. Humbling myself, being there for others, picking my head up and looking around, helping however I can. Being grateful for what I have instead of focusing on what I don’t have.
This is where young romance blossoms. It’s a sensory overload, especially as a teenager. One of your first experiences without your parents watching your every move. Brightly colored lights, music pumping through the air, the smell of fried dough lingering about and fast rides thrusting you into your adolescent lust you know nothing about. You...
This is where young romance blossoms. It’s a sensory overload, especially as a teenager. One of your first experiences without your parents watching your every move. Brightly colored lights, music pumping through the air, the smell of fried dough lingering about and fast rides thrusting you into your adolescent lust you know nothing about. You look at your new, special someone as you’re both soaring through the air, both feeling more feelings than you’ve ever felt your whole life and feeling like each second is better than the last and you never want it to end. Wondering if this is what growing up means – feeling this powerful and making your own decisions. You’re ruling your life for the first time while everything is exaggerated. You have no idea how to prioritize certain emotions and discern what is legitimate and what is not. It’s all important, you want it to stay forever, and you will fight anyone to protect it. No one has felt like this before or understands how you feel. You’re one in a million, but really you’re just one of billions taking part in the human experience.
I love music. All music. It’s difficult for me to find a genre of music that I either completely don’t like or am unable to appreciate. The ability of a musician to take an emotion and craft an expression so intricate that you can experience the exact depth of their feeling is incredible. I could...
I love music. All music. It’s difficult for me to find a genre of music that I either completely don’t like or am unable to appreciate. The ability of a musician to take an emotion and craft an expression so intricate that you can experience the exact depth of their feeling is incredible. I could nerd out about that for a while, but for now, I want to share some songs that I’ve recently had on repeat. As we’re all beginning to engage in social distancing, let’s each take some time to curate our own COVID-19 playlists to ensure we don’t fall deeply into boredom and madness.
Hi. This is Orville Peck. Don’t know him? Well you should. And you will. It’s as if Chris Isaak, Conway Twitty, Roy Orbison, and Ryan Murphy had a glorious love child conceived with Dolly Parton. Is that weird? Yes. Would that individual be talented? You better fucking believe it. His album is called “Pony” and you need to go listen to it, preferably with really good headphones. I’m very excited for the representation of the gay community within country music. What’s up with the fringed mask? Let’s allow Peck to speak for himself:
“I think the mask helped with that in a way, but not because the way that people maybe think,” he clarifies. “I think another misconception is that I can be really candid and open because I’m somehow remaining anonymous, but it’s not really like that. If anything, I think that my mask helps eliminate pretense, and this idea of having to go onstage and perform as someone or something I’m not.”https://theboot.com/orville-peck-mask-authenticity-interview/
Oh, I’m sorry – am I late to the party on this one? Well I don’t care nor will I apologize. The idea of The Weeknd running around Las Vegas doing drugs in Junior Soprano glasses and making music that sounds like a-ha is refreshing and necessary. His approach to creating a cohesive thematic for the “After Hours” album is fresh as fuck. Remember when Meat Loaf gave the world a rock opera? Well, what The Weeknd is giving us both musically and cinematically is daring and the higher the risk, the higher the reward.
*Listens to Blinding Lights once*
Gaga – How I’ve missed you. I know you fell into a deep, dark hole with your deceased aunt and you sort of told your family you had become her in your Netflix documentary, but we’re moving past all of that now. ‘Cause all you ever wanted was love and we’re so damn happy to have you back. Give us all of your pink chrome, provide banger after banger, and shoot it all on iPhone, IDGAF. I’m here for it, I have been since day one when I legitimately did not know what your face looked like under your bangs and makeup, and I will remain a loyal Little Monster.
Uh, hi, Alanis – holy shit. THIS is what using your art is all about. Say what you will about her vocal style, but she has asserted herself as a lyrical genius and musical maven. She’s singing about deep issues, but somehow I can listen and not feel depressed because it’s Alanis and she’s raw and real and what we want. Also she’s wearing her “Ironic” outfit which is prime AF. And if you’ve never seen this performance from Woodstock ’99, watch:
She dances like a T Rex, but DAMN.
A really quick aside, although this song is on my forever playlist, Alanis at Woodstock made me think of this video from ’94 where Metallica performs “For Whom The Bell Tolls” and James Hetfield doesn’t have any tattoos yet and essentially looks the same as my dad in 1994. Now I understand why my dad, a large Scandinavian-American man, had so much confidence. If I looked like that wearing all black and walking around with knives on my belt I’d feel pretty fucking invincible too. If only he could sing and play like that, I might have a trust fund or something.
Me @ age 4: Why do people say my dad is scary?
Dear Gen Z: You may bully me on TikTok when I share posts making fun of myself for being 30 and not understanding the platform, but you weren’t alive when music like this dropped and you know what? Sucks to be you, because we were there. Hence why you’re trying to bring all the bad ’90’s fashion back. I hope your FILA Disruptors are recyclable and sustainable.
Anyway, this song brings me back and makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. Probably due to the surge in appreciating the 1990’s, I’ve been hearing it everywhere and I’m not mad. I think growing up with this song gave me my adolescent infatuation with all things SoCal – well, that and The O.C.
There was no Ryan Atwood in Midcoast Maine, but I dreamt about how if there were, he would fall deeply in love with me. Looking back on pictures of me at age 14 confirms that no, he absolutely would not have.
Johnny Cash created a masterpiece and Manson’s cover is a soulful appreciation.
I love Marilyn Manson. I loved him when I heard him in 1998 with “Mechanical Animals” and I still love him to this day. Did I dress like him and become a Satanist? No. Boomers didn’t get it then and I’m sure they don’t get it now. Also, somehow this blog post has become a narrative surrounding generational differences and my associated saltiness. I think this is just what happens when you pass age 30. I remember being in a meeting with a boomer when I was 23 and he said “I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together” and he scoffed that I probably didn’t know what that was from and I quietly replied/continued “I am the egg man… they are the egg men… I am the walrus… goo goo g’joob.” He didn’t give me any credit and you know what? That’s fine because I don’t even like The Beatles. Yea, that’s right. I don’t like The Beatles, but I love Marilyn Manson. I’m a #Millennial.
Here’s the thing: I am not ready to say goodbye to Ozzy Osbourne. He’s always been there and I remember being stuck inside on vacation in the White Mountains when it was down-pouring around age 13 and watching an A&E documentary of his life and thinking then – holy shit, this guy is nuts – how is he still alive? This song is beautifully crafted and having Elton sing and play piano contributes heavily to that, but if feels like a reflection of life and a goodbye. It also heavily drudges up some Johnny Cash “Hurt” vibes and with the recent acknowledgment of Ozzy having Parkinson’s, it’s hard to remain optimistic. However, Ozzy is right that he wasn’t meant to be an ordinary man and that is our lasting gift from him.
Ok, let’s end on a fun note. Things got a little darker than I’d anticipated, but we’re being real and real talk, things are weird rn.
I have this song on repeat in my head and my speakers and honestly, I have a major girl crush on Dua Lipa. I love her face, her bod, and her deep voice. Whoever she has in charge of her branding is killing it. And in thinking about girl crushes, this leads me to one last video that’s deserving of inclusion:
I’m not sure how this song translates to a western bikini theme, but it does and I’m into it.
Are you WFH for the foreseeable future? If so, what are you listening to in order to stay sane?
It’s currently 14°F here in Maine and I’m looking forward to warmer temperatures this upcoming week when we go on vacation to Florida.
It’s currently 14°F here in Maine and I’m looking forward to warmer temperatures this upcoming week when we go on vacation to Florida.
I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape—the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show Andrew Wyeth
I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape—the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t showAndrew Wyeth
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