Do you guys know how much I adore Bruce Springsteen?
Last night took me back to laying on my parents bedroom floor with those big headphones on memorizing every. single. word. to every. single. song. I have a deep connection to music and lyrics. Music is my church. It was my dad’s church. Songs make me feel understood, like someone else gets how I feel. They motivate me, connect me spiritually, speak to me with secret messages, inspire me, thrill me, evoke emotion.
Bruce songs are my favorite. His songs speak Love. Speak hope. Speak faith. They are stories, sometimes sad, sometimes ugly, often triumphant. Always full of truth.
He’s been a constant companion of mine since I was 12, on the turntable, cassettes in my first car, cd’s while driving kids around, ipod while walking the dog, on repeat while I go about life, like a moive soundtrack.
I once had a party in high school and only played Bruce songs. I love him that much.
To me his concerts feel like a revival, like a big community party.
Things I love the most about a Bruce show.
-His devotion to the fans. He plays songs on the fly. He gathers up homemade signs and plays songs that the fans request, not just his determined playlist. He and the E Street band show up for the fans with huge energy, and real connection. For close to 4 hours he took us for a magical, emotional, energetic ride.
-His devotion to the community.
Entering the stadium we were greeted by the Hero Dogs. Therapy dogs trained and given to our veterans in need, for free. I have a fondness for therapy dogs. I believe in the power of that kind of companionship for healing and wellbeing. My adoration went up a couple notches last night when I saw the dogs.
We were able to donate directly to the Hero Dogs as well as DC Central Kitchen, which he always partners with when he is here. DC Central kitchen is dedicated to ending hunger right here in our communities.
-The FANS. Seeing thousands of arms waving, and hearing thousands of voices sing out every. single. word to every. single. song. thrills my heart, gives me chills, triggers awe. We all are connected in that place to something bigger. Watching everyone else’s reaction is almost as fun for me as watching Bruce and the band. There was a sweet older couple near us, he had his arms around her and they sang all the songs together. At one point he gave her a sassy smack on her tush. It was the cutest thing ever. There was the guy who came alone, never sat down and sang all the songs with gusto. We ran into the girl that got to dance with Bruce on stage and she was simply radiant from the experience.
Bruce songs hold a special place in my heart. If you’re close to me, I probably have a Bruce song about you.
Last night’s playlist was like a soundtrack of my life. Songs that have carried me through the awkward teen years, dark moments and broken heartedness. Songs that have been part of the celebration of my life. Songs that keep me connected to people I’ve loved, friendships I’ve shared. Songs that keep memories alive. Songs that inspire me in my life now. To me they are The Greatest Songs Ever Written. Songs I know ever single word to and some of them, every single note.
I loved last night. The only thing missing was my sister. <3
I’ve been to loads of shows, sat or stood in all different places with different people. Each one always leaves me with a gift.
Last night I was reminded that love once shared will always be love and you can connect with it anywhere, in music, in your heart and if the moment presents itself, in person.
Last night felt like magic. Like presence. Like the Universe created that night just so I could hear a few things, feel a few things, see a few things, remember a few things and dance like a spirit in the night.
Thank God for Bruce and his voice, his heart and his spirit.
As women most of us are caregivers. We wear the mom, daughter, sister, friend, boss, co-worker, and employee hat seriously, devotionally and with gusto. As women, most of us don’t put ourselves first when it comes to care taking. We run from obligation to obligation and try and catch our breath in an hour of yoga, pilates or a run and call that self-care. Maybe we sit down on our own couches once in a while after grocery, making dinner, lunches, a load of laundry, homework, driving to and fro and tending to the others. A lot of us are giving, giving, giving until we collapse in bed at night.
Here are five reasons why YOU deserve a solo retreat.
Join me and my friend Carla Vercoe in Puerto Morelos, Mexico. Just outside of Cancun and JUST BE. April 10-16.
We are making Magic in Mexico. More information and registration Here
photo credit: Casa Om
“How Do You Be Real? She asked. Her eyes were wide.
And she said it again with emphasis.
“How do you do THAT? Be REAL?” She was serious.
We were surrounded by women at a HubDot storytelling/networking event in the Athleta store. Hundreds of women had come to hear other women tell a personal story relating to “The Art of You” of creation, personal growth, commitment, transformation, inner power and or inspiration and to connect with each other on a deeper level other than, “Hi my name is Shelly. What do you do?”
I’d just told my story about creating a life around love and truth and was feeling that giddy, high, energetic feeling I get after being on a stage with a microphone in my hand. Her question took me by surprise. I was honored that she’d sought me out. What shook me though, was that, while I’d ended my story with a statement about a personal decision to live my life as a real woman, I didn’t have an answer for her question in that moment that felt REAL. I can’t even remember now what I’d said to her.
The truth is I didn’t feel totally real in that moment. I felt a little like an actor might feel and it felt like an act because what was going on inside wasn’t being reflected on the outside. In that moment, I was two women. The one who bravely chose to follow her heart and do what ever it took to bring her best self forward and the one who was still suffering a dark anonymous curse in her life. That morning I’d been faced with the pain my two daughters were suffering under the conditions of active addiction in our house and that evening I was standing on a stage telling all these amazing, engaging, women how my spiritual journey was transforming me into a real heart felt woman.
That morning I’d woken up on the Eastern Shore in a cozy little nest of a retreat house on a property owned by creative, healing people. We’d spent the weekend in nature, exploring, playing, laughing, resting, creating, eating, and telling stories with my spiritual guide Jen and her children. We’d gone swimming in the bay, had a fire with smores, hung out in the hammock and swayed in the breeze together.
I’d gotten up early like I always do, done my morning rituals; candles, prayers, coffee making and gratitude journaling, then gone out on the deck off the bedroom overlooking the Chesapeake Bay and told my one minute story about transformation to the birds and the trees. I practiced until I heard Jen come in the house with breakfast.
She and I sat at the table and talked about nothing and everything until the girls woke up. Over breakfast we’d did a little “oatmeal meditation” and talked about summer plans. The question we were meditating on was, “How do you want to feel this summer?” That simple question and what transpired after felt like a peak into their hearts and seeing bruises and tears forming. It was an uncomfortable and emotional moment but a moment that changed everything. My daughter’s honest reveal of their feelings was a rally call to my own heart, the heart of a girl who grew up in a addicted environment. Their call was barely a squeak, but the gates opened up and they told the truth without holding back. They were very real. I was very moved.
I’ve wanted to discuss that woman’s question with her ever since. I haven’t stopped considering it. Yesterday as I was walking the dog, my answer rose up very clearly, the way my answers do when I am outside or intentionally disconnected.
For the first time in my life, I do not have active addiction in my house. I am not on high alert. I am not clenched waiting for the next “episode,” or the next bomb to drop. There are no eggshells to tiptoe around. I am not operating in a state of confusion. My emotional environment is peaceful. The internal chaos quiet.
I am not numb.
I’ve worked hard on my heart and soul. Internally and externally I’ve been creating an environment of comfort and calm but where feelings are allowed. All of them.
Happy, Sad, Joy, Anger, Frustration, Cheerfulness, Giddiness, Enthusiasm, Sorrow, every single one. And no feeling is too big for anyone to witness, bear, comfort or celebrate. No one has to hold it in. It’s all welcome.
Six years ago, I realized just how numb I’d become and how I’d been a part of the great numb out. My life, while full of many things I am deeply grateful for like my children, my family, my friendships and relationships with people in and around the community, also felt like trapped, confused, sometimes it felt like an act, it felt like half hearted. There was a deep sad. A dark, uncomfortable, persistent sense of alone. Under great emotional pressure, I took a giant leap for my heart and began to do what I had to do to find my real emotions, my real feelings, my true heart desires that were frozen by the effects of generations of addiction and substance abuse. I consciously chose to stir up the numb and pained parts of my heart and soul and began to examine my relationships and the depth of my connections and experiences.
I chose to really FEEL.
No matter what. Pain or Pleasure. Joy or Sorrow. High or low. I chose to feel my way through with an open, soft, loving heart. It’s taken a lot of practice and emotional work. It’s been worth every single tear, sob, heartbreak, and growing pain because with every single feeling of discomfort there has been an equally magical opposite feeling on the other side.
I chose to limit anything that numbed my body, my senses, my mind or my heart, and then I chose to abstain from anything that altered my senses. I wanted to feel with my heart, with my body and with my soul. I wanted others to feel the true essence of me, especially my children. Because the only way I can tell if something or someone is really, real is if I am awake, alive and can FEEL it.
As I walked my dog, yesterday morning, I realized I was feeling IT in my body, in my heart and in my soul. Real.
To the woman at the Hub Dot event at the Athleta store at Reston Town Center who asked me, “ How do you do that? How do you be real?”
To be real you have to choose to FEEL, no matter what.
Be REAL you with love,
Family Recovery Advocate
I serve women seeking healing and transformation.
I serve people who have been impacted by addiction recover their lives.