January 29, 2014

When Life Gets Weird, Seek Out the Heart Stuff.

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”

~ J.R.R. Tolkien

Sometimes I despise Facebook.

I do.

And the longer I’m plugged into the misery that is so many peoples perspectives, the more I question what I’m doing online. On the worst days, when I scroll through ignorant, racist posts, horrifically backwards politics and complaint after ridiculous complaint, I pray that the internet will explode into bits of coded nothingness.


I don’t consider myself to be a terribly conservative person. I’ve had children out of wedlock and I’m comfortable with it; I live with my perfect-for-me man and my increasingly-awesome offspring and we have what many would consider unconventional paths (he’s a musician, I’m a writer); we’re honest with our kids about everything; I have tattoos; I’m ‘spiritual’ not religious; I’m happy to say that little strikes me as ‘weird’ or ‘wrong’ in this world—I consider an open mind to be a beautiful thing.

To each his (or her) own is something I believe in—deeply.

That being said, Facebook has mutated into some horrific sounding board—a place where anyone can (and so often does) vent or brag about details that do nothing but bring me down. To each their own, sure; but to each your own on someone else’s feed.

When Facebook leaks into my actual, non-social media life things get weird. Life gets weird. I don’t feel whole, or centered, or normal, or connected. Being connected—it has become apparent—disconnects me from everything that is real.

This morning I checked in with my fellow heart rangers—as we’ve so gloriously dubbed ourselves—in an ongoing Facebook chat. I imagine it’s like watching the news or reading the newspaper for most people, but I find a check-in with this particular collection of ladies at any point of the day reminds me about life, real life. They’re the living breathing hearts that are out there in the world. They’re on my side when I need it, they’re honest when I need it too.

The irony in fixing social media overload with an ongoing Facebook chat does not escape me, no, but we must seek out the heart stuff wherever we can find it.

Today is a day of weird.

So today, I’m looking for heart stuff.

You’ll know heart stuff when you find it because your insides will stir a little. Your heart will whisper, thank you, and you’ll smile. Heart stuff doesn’t knock you off your feet usually, heart stuff is subtle and kind. You’ll laugh with some heart stuff, but mostly you’ll remember what it feels like to be human.

You’ll come across it unexpectedly, in line at the grocery store perhaps when the person with the overflowing cart lets you and your avocado go first; in the sound of your brother’s voice as he talks about things (any things) going right in his life; in the way the snow (wretched as you tend to think it to be) looks like icing across your sleeping garden.

When life gets too weird though, you’ll need to seek it out. I advise you to keep track of the heart stuff, so you can call upon it when you need it most.

My heart stuff looks like this:

Walks in the woods. Old movies. Writing. Talking to my mother. The produce section of the grocery store. Coffee. Family dinners. My impossibly awesome, sometimes-jerky cat. Dal saag. Reading. Talking about literature. Music. The church bells near my house. My garden. My children’s perspective on just about anything. Mail. Audrey Hepburn. Giving gifts for no particular reason. Episodes of Star Trek. Leaving love notes. Reminding my mister why he’s my mister. Superhero stuff. Saying thank you (and meaning it). Taking pictures. Solving the world’s problems with a friend and some wine. Thinking about how exciting the future is. Sitting—just sitting. Vegetables. Listening to anything on vinyl. Being weird. Learning just about anything from my father. Writing letters with an actual pen. Unreasonably long baths. Late night whiskey sipping. Meeting new people. Smiling. Learning new words. Reading Harry Potter as a family before bed. Concerts. Coffee shops alone. Coffee shops with my mister. Coffee shop drive thru windows with my children. Dave Grohl’s “Fresh Pots” video. My heating pad on cold days. Road trips. To-do lists. A tidy home. Bukowski. DeLillo. Vonnegut. Leroy Justice. Inside jokes. Cranking up music in the car and singing like mad. Scarves. Short bangs and high buns. Magic.

Today I’ll look for some heart stuff (and wish some for you).

Love elephant and want to go steady?

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 Editor: Bryonie Wise

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