At the end of each year I write a blog post where I reflect on what I experienced. It is a way of keeping track of who I allowed myself to become; where I failed and what I considered a success. Oh, and all the things that remain the same…
During the songwriting workshop I posed a question to the kids. Just how do you define success? For me it boiled down to the following: in relation to the years before, who is at my side and how true have I been to them and myself.
Let’s start with the things that surprised me. I discovered after Afrika Burn that I was a friend’s experiment! He wanted to know what would happen if I was placed in a strange environment, an overwhelming one, with nothing and no one to anchor me.Would I embrace the people, the environment, the music and open myself up to the gods? He regarded me as one with many walls, very cautious and closed off. By the end of Afrika Burn I was no longer the same. Even I have to admit that. So his experiment was a success and I am glad for it!
Last year I dealt with the reality of loving another while this year was embroiled in letting go… abruptly. I was faced with seeing through the illusions I clung to since my divorce. There’s a strange thing that happens when a cycle is repeated. Have I not learnt my lesson, I asked myself?
Only now have I realised that every time one is confronted with a cycle, only this needs to be answered truthfully. Have my beliefs remained the same or have I, unknowingly, transcended them? Knowing that I have indeed surpassed them made moving through and on… surprisingly easy. It’s not that I feel less or was so unaffected. The opposite was true. I saw, I felt, allowed myself to be moved and then made the conscious choice that this is no longer who I chose to be…From the outside, of course, it looks cold and calculating. But I am not concerned with who stands outside of me or my life.
Sometimes, the things one yearns for can only present themselves once one is ready. I use to spend hours wondering how it would feel to work with a band almost a decade ago. As a very shy human the idea of stage and people scared the crap out of me. Now, I no longer wonder…I know. The reason why I mention this is as follows. Things have to happen, the good and the bad and they all move us further along, towards that place of absolute trusting.
When I heard I got the Ben Harper gig I would sit outside and my hands shake and tremble. How the bladdy hell was I gonna sing and even be around that man, I asked myself. But then I remembered. Auriol, you are a grown ass woman who has seen some real shady shit and made it out. That scared person who hid from everyone is no longer who you are. That’s what I mean about the process of hoping something is true and knowing it to be so.
So many wonderful parties! So many fantastic people found me. I read the most amazing books, spent time with people who reminded me what it feels like to be myself, in my skin without judgement. I filled notebooks, wrote songs, penned love letters and received many in turn…and walked away from people without fear or regret. This doesn’t mean I didn’t grieve their loss.
I let go of all the anger towards my father. The anger with losing him to death.
My cooking skills improved and my backbone strengthened. And love? I realised that the love that finds me might not always be the love I want but it’s always the love I need…and I am surrounded by it. Every day, every second…from the minute I wake up until I close my eyes. I don’t ache, or pine, or miss or long for anyone. The fact of the matter is that they are always with me. All I have to do is close my eyes and remember. Open my mouth and sing.
I still love chocolate and bacon. In fact if left to my own devices that’s all I need as far as food is concerned. The smell of the ocean, the sound of instruments being plugged in before a rehearsal, the hush that descends as we play a song that moves us so much closer to silence, to prayer, to love.
This year has been surprising. Scrap that. It’s been a mad, wild and insanely joyful ride. Even the bits that hurt. So if I have to pray for anything….it would be for more joyful experiences, in and out of music. Experiences that ground me in my skin and elevate my spirit beyond the blue open skies. Experiences that leave me breathless and filled with the same silent knowing that followed me this entire year. I. Am. Gloriously. Alive. And more loved that I ever imagined. I am never alone. Never without. And my heart…more open than I ever thought it would be.
It has been a damn good year. I can’t wait for all the things and people I will meet, befriend, love and make a part of my life. I can’t wait to take in and all the good, bad and fantastically strange things around the bend. The truly terrible will become music. The wonderful and miraculous remains as I stare at the open skies and feel the warmth of the sun on my skin…and everything in between is a bonus, a gift,a something I didn’t see coming that stretches me beyond who I think I am and what I know I can endure.
Above all, I have been true – to myself first. Everyone else is a reflection, a mirror of either who I am or am not. And what I saw when looking at that mirror made me smile most days….and that’s more than I could have hoped for. It has been a damn good year. I am alive. Loved. And love deeply in turn. That’s all that matters…