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Hope

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Dear suffering Mamas whose burden feels too big to bear, so UNFAIR (!):

 

I want to give you hope

I want to speak to you from my deepest heart buried beneath the numbness, the horror, the despair of this wretched monster we call PPD.  I want you to know that you are not, and never will be, alone.  (I know it feels like you are because we are all silenced out here, drowning, but we are here and we need you, your voice, too.) 

You think you are being overtaken by this beast, your greatest foe, but in reality she is yours to conquer, yours to embrace, yours to overcome, and ultimately, yours to ride like the mightiest of dragons.  Maybe your dragon is pink.  Imagine her, imagine her being yours, and you the master of your own destiny, riding into your wildest dreams of health and peace, stronger, better, you.

I know.  It’s so f#*king hard.

I know because in 2006 I gave birth to my second child, and 8 weeks later the world was a ride I wanted to get off.  My mind wouldn’t stop churning, sleep eluded me, and though I knew love was a language I had once spoken with ease, now it was forgotten.  I drifted slowly, then suddenly, into psychosis.  I dreamed I was kidnapped, locked in a dark trunk, suffocating and screaming for my life. 

A week later that dream came true. I was catatonic, and went to the hospital for 7 days.

After all this, I remember a good friend taking me by the shoulders, on my front porch, looking in my eyes with compassion and love.  She said with gravity and rock solid conviction:  You are going to get through this and you are going to rock the world when you do.  We are going to have a party, a “Heidi-conquered-the-world-party”, and the whole world will be invited and will cheer for you.  You’ll see, you are gonna beat this and change the world.

 

I didn’t believe her.  She had no idea.  I had no hope.  How could she know that?  What did she know about this awful state of mind that robs you of your ability to feel, to love, to care, to focus, to sleep, to be kind, to be yourself

 I never forgot that moment.

 

(By the way, she was right.)

 

Don’t forget.  You are gonna beat this.  You are.

 

And when you do, I want you to climb on your pink dragon and scream to the world that you survived, and ride on, ride on, ride on!!!

 

Sending you All my ferocious love,

Heidi Howes

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A little love goes a long way. . .

Just thought I would share that one of my poems was published in an awesome anthology from Kelly Diels of the Cleavage blog, one of my faves. You can download the absolutely FREE e-book here.

Also, I was completely jumping up and down when I saw that my poem was FIRST!  Not that it means anything, of course, but I am still giddy.

YAY!

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The Dreaming Guard

There's a bad-ass full moon, it's the middle of the night, and I am ready to let go the dreaming guard.

All week I have been putting off opening my Mondo Beyondo list because I wanted to do it by myself, when I could sip tea at my altar and meditate and when it felt like the "right time".

Truth is, I am scared as hell to open it.

See all this year I have been striving to trust in the power of dreams to show me the way in life, because I am f-ing lost. Nighttime dreams, recurring dreams, nightmares, dream stories, meditative dreams, daydreams -- and now the big life dreams that we are exploring in Mondo Beyond class, the dreams about who I am and how I can best serve in the world with my own uniqueness, and most importantly to me right now, how I can feed my family.

I used to take dreaming for granted. I used to assume my dreams would come true and know that I could make it so, or that they would fall into my lap without much apparent effort on my part.

Yet, as life has turned into *LIFE* and I miraculously learned/earned the experience and gift of deep suffering, some parts of my dreaming spirit have been caged. Caged by poverty, depression, and the ensuing isolation those two things have brought into my experience. Caged by the thoughts that there is not enough of what I need to make my dreams come true.

When you lack resources, when your mind is ill and can't see beyond darkness, it is that much harder to believe in dreams.

But this story has been told many times before. And I don't (am trying not to) buy it.

Blessed are the poor for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. . . I may be poor right now, but I am not poor in spirit. Spirit is my mojo and I've got that waking me up in the middle of the night to read this list (my wildest and most mundane dreams all in one): insert abra cadabra

Mondo Beyondo 2010:

Live in Italy for a year and sing Learn Italian Have peace, Happiness, and Joy in my Heart Help people heal Write Books Make the Movie Be more psychic Write a poem every day Build an ashram or retreat center Build a music/writing studio Own a gorgeous and spacious home Beat depression for good Lose 50 pounds Run a marathon Get my yoga instructor certification Visit Swamiji in Nepal Find true joy Be a great mom Make enough money to GIVE LOTS Visit my friends in Germany Have my music featured in Roliing Stone Get a book publishing deal write songs every day Be my own hero Have a 3rd child (this one was written very small at the very end, as if uttered in a very small voice)

The dreaming guard has been let go and I have to remind myself: Be vulnerable, be brave, be flexible, be open, be trusting.

What are your wildest dreams? Do you have a mondo beyondo?

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I believe in magic

What you are about to read is from November, 2008 -- a journal entry I stumbled upon today that made me smile and reminded me that what I need comes in mysterious ways. Here is a letter I wrote to the editor of the local newspaper today, I have never done that before! I hope it gets printed but if not, here it is.

Dear Editor and Community, November 23, 2008

I have lived here in the Bay area for most of my adult life, since I began attending Northland College in 1995. As a musician and music teacher I have met many people here and have a true love for the region’s community spirit and slow, simple pace.

About 3 weeks ago I received a surprising letter in the mail with no return address, no signature to identify the sender, and a Port Wing postmark. Folded inside the short letter were two $50 bills. The letter read:

“Dear Heidi, November 3, 2008

As a way of expressing our gratitude for a life filled with love, health, a beautiful environment, creativity, and every simple necessity, we’ve decided to begin indirectly supporting our community using the network of knowledge and compassion represented by people, like you, who have inspired us with their work, friendship, philanthropy, or spirit.

Thanks Heidi.”

When I got this letter in the mail, I was dumbfounded. Breathless. Delighted. Speechless. Giddy. Downright befuddled. And once again in awe of humanity! Such a sweet secret way of being told I have done something to inspire another and that they see me, my worth, my special something. Not to mention the glaring fact that just that day an urgent financial need had presented itself for which there seemed no apparent solution -- until your timely letter came!

Thank you with all my heart to my anonymous supporters, whoever you are. You give me hope for miracles and lift my voice to share the beauty of your act. You remind me that amazing, wonderful things happen each day and go largely unnoticed. May all who read this receive the blessing of such a loving gift as well and pass it on!

Sincerely,

Heidi Howes

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My Secret Energy Sources (for those times when I forget).

Do you have something small, even silly perhaps, that is guaranteed to jump start your day or pull you out of a funk? I cited my list of natural energizers in the essay above. Set the timer for five minutes. Make a short list of small, micro-energizing activities that you’re always glad about after the fact. Hand write your list and post it somewhere you can see it every day. From Mondo Beyondo Make coffee. Shower/Bathe. Call a dear friend. Read poetry. Journal. Pick up the guitar and sing. Write a song. Play piano. Listen to powerful music. Clean. Write a letter. Look at photos. Go outside. Breathe. Yoga. Make a gratitude list. Meditate. Metta. Bake something. Cook soup. Give. Love. Smile. Laugh with my children. Dance. Talk with my husband. Write.

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Ready or Not, Here I Come

I love the New Year, just like I love Mondays and mornings and how there is always a new beginning whenever we want it. I love starting over and reaffirming the strive, yearning for something closer to authentic, uncluttering my head and heart of the unneccessary that is holding me back. Therefore, my friends, Happy New Year! I have been peaking into the blogging world for years now, and one of my resolutions for 2010 is to post regularly (once per week is the commitment!) and build the readership here at MotherSongs, along with the release of the MotherSongs CD, and later this year a new book of poetry. I have been longing to add writing to my schedule again, so with brute force and will I am making it so. RIGHT NOW.

So you don't have anything to say, Howes? It will come. I am trusting in that and moving forward anyway.

What are you longing for? What are you willing to change to get at it this year? What dreams are you chasing and how do you plan to tackle them? Leave a comment and let me know so we can support each other!

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Dreaming Mondo Beyondo

colour_birdDo you ever see something that someone is doing and have a desperate wish to do that same thing? But it doesn't fit into your life, you tell yourself, you are too busy or not good enough or the kids aren't old enough or there isn't enough money . . . all of these thoughts and some legitimate concerns keep you from taking the next step.   Keep you from listening to that voice.  So the place inside you that longs to live, to follow your dreams, to take a creative leap out of the every day existence you have built to be comfortable and predictable and workable--it goes back to sleep.

I experience this feeling fairly often.  Mostly when I hear a really great recording and I wish I had my songs out there in the world for other people to listen to everyday.  Or when I read a really great blog post by a Mom I admire who is pushing to live her dreams and seems to be doing it well like Andrea or Heather.   In fact, I have been reading blogs like this for years, since I was pregnant with Luka,  and these ladies seem so together and so successfull and so alive! 

Someone once told me that we feel envious or jealous or sad or angry around other artists because we may wish we were honoring those parts within ourselves.  This is something that I commonly experience on the artist end of things when people have a very visceral experience of anger or annoyance with what I do.  I realize that they have issues and try not to take it personally, or think that I suck too bad.

But this morning I let myself say it. 

Not out loud yet.  I want this.  I want it bad.  This is what I want.  How can I get it?

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Works in Progress

There are so many exciting new things in the making!  I am happily overwhelmed with the abundance of good work I have in progress: 

  • The Musician's Assistant is getting off the ground and organized to the tune of starting my website at www.themusiciansassistant.com --bought the domain today, woot!
  •  I am working on finalizing the new book of poems, Mothersongs
  • finishing the Mothersongs album in October in Wisconsin
  • producing new songs with Jeff Ciampa here in Columbus in preparation
  • for the album after Mothersongs which is already partially written. 
  • new Kindermusik classes start in September
  • looking forward to playing more gigs in Ohio and writing new songs!

So much more, so much fun.

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When Depression Leaves

"Wow, you sound like a completely diferent person today!", says my best friend, Randall , on the phone with me this morning.  It's true, I have emerged with hope again.  The thing with feathers.  I feel renewed. 

"What do you think changed?", he asked.

Um, the medication is working.

For this I am eternally grateful and, today, elated.

If only Sylvia and Virginia had had this tool!

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