Courage to Be

I feel called to write about courage today. I have been taught by my spiritual leaders that courage is not the absence of fear, but continuing to live and breathe through fear. This describes me. My instinct is to be afraid. I live with a constant fear of disappointing myself...This is due to my perfectionism. It is constant work for me to love myself always, or as my friend Shakti says "to love myself RADICALLY," even when I make "mistakes!"

In fact, even as I write, I fear that something will come out sounding stupid...which is actually quite funny because in my family, I am known for my "maire-isms." This is where I blend two common phrases together, like "jump off the bandwagon..." or just change one word to humanize it a bit, like "get the ball running..." OR where I just come up with a new name for a common thing, like calling a nutcracker a "chom chom" or moose antlers a "moose hat." In my life, when I let out a "Maire-ism," it without a doubt, always leads to gut-busting laughter! I love to laugh, so I will trust that as I write this, if I do say something ridiculous, it may lead to a good laugh.

One of the scariest things for me is to write songs. One story that comes to mind is about how when Joni Mitchell writes songs, it is like she goes into a trance. What an incredible be able to be a vessel for the words of the universe. I am currently on a deep spiritual journey, so to hear that one of the most influential songwriters of all time goes into a trance to write songs, means that she must be deeply connected to her truth.

Personally, I like to go into my own little world to escape. My parents always called it "Maire Land." However, Maire Land never used to be a place of peace, but one of fantasy! Lately, escaping to Maire Land often involves Netflix. Maire Land also includes visions about fairies, playing in the forest with her friends, dancing wildly to covers of Taylor Swift, and taking naps with my cat. In order to find peace, I try to meditate every single day. This is a time where I sit and digest the day mentally and physically. Sometimes I do a specific type of meditation like candle gazing, or a japa mala, and other times I literally just sit and let my mind go wild. Perfectionist Maire wishes for me to meditate for an hour a day, and to come to a brilliant union with Universe.

Human Maire is learning to love the process.

In celebrating the new year, I heard someone respond to the collective "Phew, we made it through the year" mindset by saying "What is the rush to die?" I had never thought of it that way. Mindfulness...or as my Dad always reminds me: Thich Nhat Hanh says, When you are doing the dishes..."do the dishes." When I do the dishes, I often am planning for what I am going to reward myself with for finishing the dishes. The process of doing the dishes is really a beautiful experience for me when I "do the dishes." The water is warm, the soap smells like lavender, the dishes are beginning to gleam...

This past week, I was practicing Schubert for a recital I am singing in April, and Perfectionist Maire came in. I practiced 4 measures over and over again trying different methods to be able to sing them in one breath...Finally, frustrated, I stopped. In the startling silence after my vibrant soprano voice faded out, I feel like I connected to Universe. I pulled out a notebook and began to write.

Now, I made a decision in that moment to listen and to follow my intuition, and to lovingly put Perfectionist Maire to bed. I invited in the magic of youthful Maire-Land-Maire and I trusted what I heard. Because I trusted my inner voice, I enjoyed the process. I wrote a song without making a plan. I wrote a song without second guessing myself. I wrote a song.

I am a song-writer.

I am a song-writer.

I am an expressive singer.

I am a beautiful and imperfect human, and therefore what I am is art.

You are too.

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