Magnolia, loss & lightening up

The last twelve months have been a whole lot. Which I totally predicted at the turn of the decade with my super catchy slogan: 2020. The Year of Plenty. I was definitely angling for abundance of the joyful kind, which for me would have meant chasing dreams, making moves and putting myself out there. Then Covid came and shut the whole world down and there was nowhere for me to go but inward. (Or Target but they were out of toilet paper so what was the point?) 

So I started embracing my inner Buddha. And I don’t just mean the Buddha belly I was growing by downing zombie apocalypse levels of carbs and tequila without the real world accountability that comes from wearing pants with zippers and buttons. Though I did make peace with that too.

To distract myself from all the fear and uncertainty, I took a mind-shifting online course called The Science of Well-being, binged On Purpose podcasts from former monk Jay Shetty, read mindfulness books by renowned monk Thich Nhat Hanh and evolved my meditating from a nightly cure for insomnia to something I actually tried to stay awake for.

During this spiritual deep dive, one of the zen concepts I worked hard on was the practice of detachment. Which means going with the flow, not stressing about desired outcomes and doing things just for the joy of doing them, not for the “success” or acclaim they might bring. Which is as easy as waking up and telling yourself you’re happy—about five million times on a loop. All while ignoring the outside noise, life fuckery and other voices in your head trying to make you think otherwise.

This practice is best summed up by the buddhists as, “You gotta let that shit go.”

All my new jedi mind tricks were really working, I was living more in the moment and unchaining the past. Then Magnolia Journal came knocking to interview me for a story about setbacks. And of course I’ve got failure stories, anyone who’s ever tried to achieve anything inevitably has. But there was one failure in particular I’d been reluctant to even think about. The scars were too deep.

Did I have the courage to address this defeat, could I detach from the disappointment and say the words out loud?

2020 was a year of loss for all of us. From losing loved ones and lost jobs to cancelled plans and the very loss of the freedoms that made our lives whole. Meditating on all this, I took a hard sip of my tequila and realized, “Eff it,” I had nothing left to lose.

So I said yes to the scary interview. I talked about the book I didn’t sell that you’ll probably never read. And you know what? Much like with this pandemic, the world did not end. My head was bloody but unbowed—I’d made it to the other side.

I feel so much lighter I can even button my pants now. (okay, that might be because I’ve eased up on the potato chips and hard liquor, but still.)

You can read my story in the spring issue of Magnolia Journal or see an excerpt here

As we note the anniversary of the day Covid put our lives on pause, I hope you have found strength in your own resilience. Uncertainty will always be reality but the setbacks pave our way forward. 

It’s time to let go of what we lost, get back up and get out there. Which brings me to my motto for this year: 

2021. Eff It, Let’s Have Fun.

Feel free to tattoo it on your own buddha belly 😉

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