Soulful 70’s rock is probably my favorite musical genre. The only other era that comes close to matching the joy of this genre is music of Bing Crosby, Etta James, Eartha Kitt, Judy Garland… The music of the 30’s and 40’s brings me joy, but the soul jams of the 70’s settle my heart. Give me all the James Taylor, Carole King, Cat Stevens, Stevie Nicks, Art Garfunkel… and then let me happily move right into the 80’s with Billy Joel, Phil Collins, Bonnie Raitt…

Recently I’ve been obsessively listening to this raw video footage of Stevie Nicks. Unable to stop herself, she starts singing while getting her makeup done for a Rolling Stone feature. The song she sings was eventually kind of split between two others (Wild Heart and Can’t Go Back, if you’re curious) so this one unofficial recording is it and I’m obsessed. Over and over I’ve played it. It’s playing right now through my earbuds while I’m writing this.

I do that. Love a song to death. I hear it once and then start to crave it like chocolate. The harmonies get stuck in my head and the lyrics play along to my everyday tasks and before I know it I’ve listened a dozen times and my kids are begging to return to Raffi. Single tracks, full albums… either are susceptible to become earworms. I’ve written both of my books to James Taylor’s October Road album, set to repeat. Over and over and over, I run the songs ragged. If they were on a record I’d be creating grooves in the vinyl.

It’s not unusual for me to also get stuck in this pattern of obsessing with other things. Letting my brain get stuck on repeat. Putting my body into a holding pattern. Making the same choice over and over again, accidental actions turning into lazy intention. Settling for one way of looking at a person or situation or God, when broadening my view would bring more fullness and depth to the experience. Even when something isn’t working for me or my family, I can get all towheaded and plow forward. We lived in our house for a year – a YEAR – with faux painted brick in our whole main living level because painting just seemed too hard (but OH MY WORD is it better to have been painted a beautiful neutral gray.) We kept our TV on the (obviously) wrong wall because it was fine (but OH MY WORD is it better on the wall with the window.)

I forget that I can make changes to the most obvious, smallest of things. And I can make changes to the bigger ones too.

Three months into this year and I’ve made strides toward the basics (remember? BASIC is my word for 2018). I shared earlier this week at (in)courage that I’ve started using a few helpful apps on my phone: one to track my water intake (it’s called Water Tracker, it’s free, and it throws me a party every time I track my water!), one to track my food/calories/nutrition/steps, and one to connect with friends who are on the same path. I set an alarm on my phone that reminds me to go to bed. I make it a point to leave my phone plugged in upstairs while I’m home with my kids, giving them my full attention. I keep a grocery list on the side of my fridge next to the meal planning pad, and I actually use both. My husband and I worked for days on a new budget that is both honest and reflective of our priorities. I say “I love you” a lot, and choose laughter and kind eyes (instead of mama crazy eyes) whenever possible.

I’m trekking along and slowly but surely, I’m reminding my heart and body of their basic needs.

And I’m finding that the more I choose the basics, the easier it is to default to them. Each time I turn down candy and grab an apple instead, the easier it becomes. Each time I turn off the bedside lamp earlier, the easier I wake in the morning, and the likelier I am to go to bed earlier the next night. The new behaviors are slowwwwwly becoming my defaults as I start to train my body and brain.

My obsessions and intentions are changing to reflect more accurately who I am inside. Much like my home is slowly becoming more reflective of my tastes and preferences (and love for pink kitchen appliances and dishes), our lives can slowly begin to reflect a fuller picture of our priorities and loves.

It’s ok – necessary, even – to embrace that which breathes life into our souls,
even if it doesn’t look like someone elses idea of joy or fullness.
What’s one seemingly small way you can advocate for yourself this week?

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