The Blessed Unrest

As many of you know, I am a huge fan of Sara Bareilles.

Stay with me, kids. I promise this is a good one.

She’s smart and spectacular and funny and brilliant and has the most amazing voice and swears like a middle-school band director. (Er, wait…) I’ve always thought her music was amazing, and then she came out with this freaking great album called The Blessed Unrest.

For those of you who don’t know, “The Blessed Unrest” comes from an incredible quote courtesy of Martha Graham, a brilliant choreographer and overall badass. I’ll get to that in a moment.

After a 12-hour workday with barely any time for lunch or thinking or normalcy, I really wasn’t planning on doing anything this evening but going home and watching White Collar on Netflix. Or Veronica Mars on Amazon Prime. Or Grimm on Hulu Plus. Don’t worry, we have them all. But I walked outside, and it was BEAUTIFUL. My absolutely favorite kind of weather – 65 and clear as a mother effer. With a little bit of encouragement from a Walter, I went home, changed clothes, didn’t sit down for fear of never getting up again, and went to a neighborhood close to our apartment complex.

I made sure I had my Fitbit, hit “Start” on my Runkeeper app, and began playing The Blessed Unrest. (Seriously – if you haven’t checked it out, do it right now. Before you keep reading.

Did you check it out? Okay, awesome. Wait, are you lying to me? ……oh okay, good. You can keep reading now.)

Everything was going awesomely. I somehow found the energy to run a little bit. (Ralker tip: run when it’s downhill. Walk when it’s uphill. GENIUS, I KNOW.) I was jamming out to some rad tunes. Having a pretty decent time.

Then I ralked past this woman who was running uphill. I mean, she was GET. TING. IT. Total badassery. And when she looked up, she flashed me the biggest, most genuine smile in the world. It said – hey, good work, friend. Keep being awesome.

And I just burst into tears.

Like, smiling, freaking BEAMING, tears of joy and sunshine and happiness. Because you know what?

I am fucking ALIVE.

I have spent some serious time lately being frustrated and stressed and overwhelmed with everything that goes on in my life on a daily basis. But all I could think in that moment is that I’m alive and I am trying to be better. I’m alive, and I have amazing people surrounding me. I will go to work tomorrow, the same frustrations will exist, my kids will be totally wonderful idiots, I’ll wish I was a better teacher – but I’m alive.

Remember that quote from Martha Graham? Here it is. Read carefully.

There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. … No artist is pleased. [There is] no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.

As you might imagine, this resonates with me on a multitude of levels. As I walked this evening for 50 minutes and went 3 miles, I thought about being alive and keeping the channel open.

Will I be able to do this all day tomorrow? Probably not. But it’s a start.

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