by Jennifer Love • June 27, 2018
I left my Portland home last July with my partner, Jonathan, and toddler, Luca, on a mission to share more of ourselves in the world for one year.
It was time for me to grow beyond the safety of my home and the stability of a job that kept me tethered to a home in a city. If the world is going to hell in a hand-basket with the current politics, destruction of the earth, and inaccessibility to health care, I choose to feed my heart by sharing what is most essential: Jonathan’s music, time with family and friends, dedicated one-on-one time with Luca, and the practice of radical honesty and bravery. It was time for me to use my voice, to lead by example and practice facilitating groups through heart-rich sharing of our experiences, struggles, grief, joys, and aspirations.
This is the essence, the goods: sharing our humanness.
To say I left home to go on tour for a year is exceedingly simplistic. Being away from home had me bumping into, marinating, and sometimes pressure cooking with all things terrifying and aggravating.
The themes of this journey were uncertainty, discomfort, and my resistance to ask others for help. The first many months I carried a limiting belief: there simply was no time to be a booking manager while caring for a toddler. How would I do this? I was frozen in inactivity for many months, afraid of failure: what if no one wants us? What if we don’t land enough gigs to balance us out financially? What if I am incapable of facilitating well? What if I fail at representing Solsara? What if I fail at sharing my heart, my passion and realizing my potential? I stewed here for a few months.
If I was going to change my life, grow myself, share Jonathan’s music, create new pathways for us to creatively exist in this world, I needed to act! ....And I did.
I trusted in the medicine of our mission and the positive impact on individuals, families, and communities. I could taste our potential to love, heal, be healed and be a force of good in the world. So I cringed and I asked for help, A LOT, every day, multiple times a day and I moved through the agony of hearing, “no,” and “how dare you suggest…” and not hearing back and “sounds fun, but we are not interested,” or “we are not interested. do not contact us again.” and all of the ways a “no” can be communicated. And I went into shame spirals and fits of pain for a week… or four. Then I got used to hearing “no,” and I experienced something I had only heard about second-hand through Dr. Aziz Gazipura’s work called Rejection Resilience.
I became excited to simply put the request out there, knowing that we would always receive a variety of no, yes and maybe. I found myself completely unattached to the variety of ways we would be perceived. I found myself delighting in the freedom to make requests, to pitch our creative ideas far and wide and to collaborate with those who found our ideas exciting and unique. Of course, I still had micro-moments of terrible agony and doubt, occasionally being very misunderstood by others. It feels so empowering to realize it's not about me, to allow all beings to be themselves. What freedom and relief to not take it personally! Without attachment to being seen, understood or accepted, I felt even more energized, clear and excited about our offering. It's good medicine for the taking!
Here is some of what I experienced and learned along the way:
* I am Supported - Many people, friends, and family are believing in us and cheering us on, as well as supporting us emotionally and financially through our Patreon campaign
* Faith in Strangers - We experienced tremendous amounts of generosity, sharing of home/family/property, delight in our offerings and belief in us as people or friends.
* I Can Breathe - I discovered a cure for my 25-year relationship with anxiety which has presented as shortness of breath, dizziness. I need more sleep! To allow myself to rest is to let go of my egoic, long-standing belief that I am super-woman, to let go of wanting to be seen as a bad-ass, worthy, strong, capable, creative, a power-house, multi-faceted and multi-talented. I’m still melting into that and relishing in deep breaths!
* Forgiveness - I forgave my Mother after 42 years of resentment, pushing away and lashing out in order to give our family a chance for generational healing. I’m practicing healthy boundaries and breathing into the powerful paradigm of forgiving.
* Prioritize LIFE - I watched others being busy in their lives: overworked, overcommitted, underjoyed, medicated, malnourished in relationship, exhausted, building a career, placing great emphasis on the merits of staying busy, to the tune of starvation, to the tune of a dull life, to the tune of both quick and drawn out suicides, too busy to enjoy even their most passionate pursuits. I saw myself in them and promised to keep looking, watching, feeling and questioning my own relationship with overworking.
* Whole-Hearted Parenting - I left home, half-heartedly parenting, secretly resenting the lack of autonomy, time for self-care, hoping for more help from others, more breaks for myself. I dreamed of enrolling Luca into school in a year and getting a much-deserved break or some time to meditate or throw some ceramic pots. I was held here, frustrated, angry, wanting things to be different, wanting some quiet time and some peace. And I melted while I stewed in this place. I let go of all of these ideas of it being different and accepted that often there is frustration and challenge and no peace. I am parenting more wholeheartedly, creatively, and joyfully now without believing the nagging idea that it should be different and scrambling for relief. I’m fully on board and excited to homeschool.
* Right Relationship with Food - I became a lot more intimate with my addictions, compulsions and my body’s needs. I watched myself use food and cooking for comfort, wine to soothe my nervous system, caffeine to direct (control) my energy levels. I gained weight. I got fed up. I body shamed and still do often. And then I took charge of my health and stood in my integrity: I let go of caffeine, chocolate, sugar, gluten, dairy, meat, and alcohol. If you know me personally, you know that the use of many of these items are close to my religion. Damn, it feels good to shed a few things and take charge of my health!
* The Importance of Community - I became lonely and starved for intimate, deep, nourishing connections with others, my community. I missed my home and fantasized about catching a flight to Portland for a few days just to hug a few people, walk to my favorite grocery store, tend to my yard, dance in my living room. I got addicted to social media, my phone, checking it every few minutes for business to tend to, a new story to read, something hopeful, hilarious or outrageous, anything, everything. I’m still examining myself in this obsessive place and the choice to distract, isolate, numb out, zone out.
* The Simple Life. I felt a powerful call to a simpler life, to live on less, to live more remotely, by the rhythm and gifts of the earth, rather than by the rules of a city and a society holding me to working a traditional job, laboring for the dream and all of the comforts of my former life. I have begun answering this call by living on less. I’ll continue by growing my own food when I return home.
* I Can Sing - I named a secret passion to sing more and I’m writing it here for more exposure: I want to sing a lot. I long to sing in harmony, beautifully and to accompany Jonathan on stage someday soon. I feel inspired to write songs and be more musical in my life overall. Meet me here?
I feel a tremendous amount of gratitude. I am grateful for the lessons. I'm grateful for the journey and I'm grateful to YOU, the Solsara community. Thank you for being such a nest to come home to. We are overjoyed to reunite with so many of you that we have grown to love and cherish over the years, and look forward to meeting all of the new faces that have been woven in during our year away!
Thank you for watching, witnessing, praying, loving and believing in us!
I’m coming home. (...exhale, with a sigh of relief)
Stay tuned! We are ready to offer new formats of connecting along with regular Solsara themed events and will be offering house concerts with musicians from all over this world.
See you soon!
Saturday, July 7th, Doors and mingling 8pm, Show 9pm
Mississippi Pizza Pub
Jennifer Love shares mindful, relational practices to foster deeper, more meaningful connection and help people be in their hearts. Steeped in the Solsara community for over 10 years, assisting and hosting practices all over the country, helping others to see and feel more of themselves, take bigger risks, and delight in true intimacy that is often missed in our consumer-driven, fast-paced society. She enjoys many formats in human relating and believes that intimacy in relating to one another is the medicine of our time. Our world lights up when we know ourselves deeply, share our essence, and witness others do the same.