I went on a 90 Day No Negativity Challenge to eliminate negativity from my life. When I was done I discovered that life came down to a choice. It's either fear or love, baby. This is my journey on keeping love in my life.
Every woman needs a good mechanic, a good hairdresser and a good bar and The Redlight is my good bar. That’s what I told Bill who owns my favorite bar a few weeks ago. When he handed me my beer he said, “I’d think a woman like you would need a good lawyer too.” I told Cheryl that I didn’t know what he was talking about and she laughed. We both know that left to my own devices I would probably dance with the devil come what may and to heck with the consequences. Actually, there’s no probably about it if the not so distant past is any indication. And I’ve noticed that not much about that seems to be changing with age. Why not and what the hell are still two of my favorite attitudes that just seem to slide on naturally with a pair of cowboy boots, a bright scarf and eyeliner that I’m partial to. I know myself and because I know myself and my propensity to gravitate towards trouble disguised as a good time I know that I need emotional ballast in my life.
When I was younger ballast took the form of very generous older women who helped me see who I could be. They uncovered an aspect of being human in me I didn’t know existed and made me want more for myself. They were teachers, mentors, friends, and bosses who gave me stability without changing who I was. They poured themselves into me and were more of a gift than I deserved.
Alana Shepherd of the ShepherdSpinalCenter said, “It’s not where you go, it’s who you go with.” I have found that to be true, and choose the people I bring into my life with more care than I did when I was being guided by a reckless heart and devil may care grin. My life is filled with people who demonstrate kindness on a daily basis. They are generous with their talents and look for the goodness in others. I still have generous older women in my life who remind me who I am and want to be. There’s a group that meets on line and two groups in the neighborhood. They are a mirror of my heart and soul. They are ballast, providing firmness and stability where I’m tend to be a little bit wobbly. They remind me that just because I can doesn’t mean I should and that sometimes what I think is wisdom is really a bad brain fart.
I need ballast, not just because left to my own devices I would dance naked in the streets and have a good time doing it. I need it because I believe we are here to raise the level of humanity and make the world a better place. I need reminders from poets and musicians and teachers like me that a better world is within our reach. Fredrick Buechner wrote, “You can grow strong on your own. You can prevail on your own. But you cannot become human on your own.” We need each other. That’s the simple truth of it. We are all on a sacred journey to become human. It is an experience filled with ambiguity and paradoxes. That’s what make it interesting, and why we need ballast.