it is okay

It is okay…

…to not be ready, yet.

…to change your mind.

…to speak your truth (respectfully).

…to think you’re ready and then realize you’re not.

…to take a few steps forward and then a few steps back.

…to BE your journey, wherever you are at, wherever that is, in whatever part of the process that is.

…to apologize.

…to get vulnerable.

…to feel angry or sad.

…to be organized.

…to feel unbalanced and disorganized.

…to not make art every day.

…to have chocolate in the afternoons.

…to not like someone.

Whatever shows up for you is part of this experience, right here, right now. It is okay to be who you are, where you are (it’s better than okay–it’s the only thing that’s possible!).

Here’s my only encouragement: don’t get out of the game.

It’s okay to not like someone. Just don’t step out of the game of hoping that you can find ways to have compassion, to find points of commonality.

It’s okay to not make art every day. Just don’t beat yourself up so much that you step out of the game of making art, altogether.

It’s okay to be organized. Just don’t step out of the game of cutting yourself slack when needed, when life calls for randomness and lack of organization.

I like reminding myself of this–remembering that wherever I’m at is fine, and wherever you’re at is fine, too, and we’re going to be fine together as long as neither of us step out of the game of accepting ourselves and each other.

even breathing feels alright

All of My Days from Kate Swoboda on Vimeo.

You know that feeling you get, right after a really long, hard, cry–suddenly something in your body unlocks (for me it’s across my chest, my heart) and then shoulders drop and everything feels incredibly calm and clear?

It’s possible to sit with sadness, and let it bring you to that place. Not busying with stuff, not running about, but just sitting with it, camping out in front of the computer watching instant downloads on Netflix, reading books, taking naps, avoiding folding the laundry.

I believe that we need these places–these unproductive places, these places where seemingly nothing is happening. “But Kate,” someone might say, “If someone is severely depressed, and they start doing what you’ve just described, it will only get worse.”

Ah, but there is a difference between sitting with something, which is a highly active process despite its seeming lethargy, and being mired in a severe depression. In case you’re thinking next time a sad space comes you’d like to try out the “sitting with”, here’s a few key pieces:

Sitting with:

  • Conscious of and willing to reach out for help at any time, and committed to doing so if the feelings get too overwhelming.
  • Setting up ways to check-in with oneself (i.e., “I’m feeling sad/resistant/frustrated; I’ll check in again in one hour to see how I’m feeling and if I feel ready yet to do something that might lift me out of that.”)
  • Openness to trying new things.
  • Willingness to feel the feelings as they arise, without denying them or shaming oneself for them.

 

Yesterday, I was feeling sad. I painted for hours. I listened to Krishna Das and the soundtrack to Vicky Christina Barcelona. I painted past and through lunch. I literally forgot to eat. Then I finally did eat and there was a letter in the mail that opened my heart and as I read it, I cried big, hard, long tears while holding it and sitting on the couch.

When I was finished crying, something in me was unlocked, and the first thing that I wanted to do was make this video.

I had such fun making this video, and it felt real and funny and true. It came together in about an hour, which is super fast for me with video making of this kind.

I share it with you, in the hopes that if you are going through a raw or tender place right now, it inspires adventure, or that you know you are not alone (you are never alone), or that you laugh, or that you feel the urge to go wake up your cat to pet her cute little nose. Something.

I love the last line of the song: “Even breathing feels alright.”

I feel like I can breathe, again. Turns out it was me who needed to give myself permission.

on manifesting a man, money, and anything else

“Manifesting” has become one of those terms that I almost dislike–it’s just so over-used, so patently misunderstood.

It’s been capitalized upon, used to screw people out of money, and occasionally I’ve seen it used to shame people for having doubts, fears, or insecurities (and you already know that I’m neither down for shame nor for trying to “eliminate” fear).

Yet–despite a lack of conclusive empirical evidence–I confess that I believe that I have seen things manifest in my life, things that have come to me through something beyond simple coincidence.

I don’t think it’s as literal as “I want thing, I think of thing, I manifest thing” or “that bad thing happened to you because you were manifesting bad things happening.” In fact, I have given up trying to explain it, prove it, or justify it–I don’t understand it. I only appreciate what shows up in my life.

If you, like me, tend to be skeptical of such things (yes, it’s true–until a few years ago, I was highly skeptical) then I would invite you to view this as the “no b.s.” approach to manifesting.

 

The Basics
It seems to me that whether one calls it the “law of attraction” or simply “I create a good life through making choices that are a match for what I want,” there are certain commonalities that are needed if we’re talking about manifesting:

First, one must be open to possibility, curious, and not have a belief that something definitively won’t happen.

Second, one must start putting action forward. That “action” can be a mental mindset or a to-do list that seemingly aims in the right direction. Tangible, intangible–the forward momentum is something that seems to generate a response.

Third, one must believe they’re worthy of receiving something.

Fourth, one must believe that it’s going to happen even in the midst of seeming obstacles (for instance, had you asked me if I’d find a great life partner when I was dating Commitment Phobic Man, I’d have said no. But of course, I did need to date that guy, learn what I needed to learn from that relationship, and then move on to my next in order to have the wisdom that would prepare me for future relationships. Had I decided based on Commitment Phobic Man that there were “no good men left,” how would that have served me?).

 

Resistance and Opening
One question I like to ask myself from time to time when I am feeling particularly resistant to stepping into integrity/my vision for myself, is this one: Am I willing to live as though manifesting is true?

If I am presented with any challenge in life, asking that question places me squarely in a place of accepting responsibility for whatever I have created in my life and being the one responsible for changing its circumstances.

Since the principles behind manifesting are based on things like thinking positively, I am willing to step into a space of choosing positively and believing, even without proof, because my alternatives (negative thinking? feeling hopeless?) don’t feel powerful. 

Oh, the stories I could tell

I could tell you about lavish, 4-star boutique hotels in Italy, where chilled champagne was waiting for me upon arrival, and their award-winning in hotel restaurant, with five servers to my one table (one for bread, one for wine, for the appetizer, one for dinner, one for dessert). I could tell you how I stayed for free.

I could tell you about having a series of dreams in the weeks leading up to when I met my man, and how, before our first actual date, we ran in to one another at the grocery store that wasn’t even in the same neighborhood of where either of us lived.

I could tell you about coming back from Paris, jet-lagged and exhausted and getting on the last train of the day with zero cash on me, hoping that the conductor wouldn’t find me, and how I stepped onto the one car that just happened to contain people I knew, and how they had made a last-minute decision to be traveling by train that day.

I do not take these things for granted.

How You Feel

How you feel is your guide, whether you believe in manifesting, or not.

If you’re not feeling right, trust that there’s valuable information, there. Then do something about it. That alone can be enough to get the wondrous wheels of the world turning in an entirely different direction.

This is the beautiful thing about manifesting–that whether you have it all figured out, or not, simply having a curious openness to possibility and a willingness to take steps in a certain direction will tell you all that you need to know.