A Girl Named Leney

THE JOURNAL

Posts in Thoughts
The Same But Different
Storm portrait on the Oregon coast, Fall 2016

Storm portrait on the Oregon coast, Fall 2016

Sometimes it’s good to look back at where you were three years ago and recognize how far you’ve come.
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
In chasing after long held dreams that were of the waking hour variety more than the sleeping kind. The dreams that you were scared to say out loud because they seemed too crazy to share with even your most intimate friends, for fear of being told how weird they were.
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
And now those dreams are your reality and they’re just everyday facts that you share with strangers you meet at bars and in the checkout line at grocery stores.
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Time stamps of growth have always seemed important to me. To witness records of becoming. I look back often in this way. At old writing and photographs, to remind my current self of how good life really is. Of how much hard work really does pay off. (And dogged determination and sheer stupidity sometimes too...)
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
But also I’ve realized the importance of recognizing how the same you are in various ways is worth noting too.
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

www.agirlnamedleney.com

I believe in a growth mindset and reaching for things beyond ourselves. But I also recognize there are core aspects of our makeup that speak to who we inherently are and shouldn’t be altered out of shame. Our consistencies and patterns and routines are often some of the most beautiful pieces of us.
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
You love the things you love for a reason.
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
This includes both your far reaching dreams and your close love for coastlines and sitting at home amongst your books.
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
You can have both.
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
You can be ever changing and exactly the same in an ever cycling constellation of duality.

Goodnight House

i feel at home within the stillness of a house at night

i rarely waver in the dark or quiet spaces of a slightly unknown place

for there is a lightness there

it is inside these spaces that i find my place

amongst tired floors and resting furniture

it is me and the small-slow creeping things

(unsure as i am if the dark impressions of motion are on the floor or inside of my mind—there is even comfort to be found in that too)

the creaks and groans are the tones of hidden hellos specific to these walls

the things heard are of my own creation or that of the inherent nature of the frame i’m inside of

it is on and under these sloped sleeping lines that i am able to recenter and remember my sense of self that is now and at once a mirrored home: the inner home of me

Across The Sky

The days begin with the slow saturation of the suns rays kissing and caressing the landscape gently awake, like you would your lover who’s still asleep next to you, deep under the warm darkness of sleep.

The sun always arises before the land. 

Dutiful in its routine. 

In the way that you too are always the first to awake before the form in bed next to you. 

A morning person. 


I wonder if the sun ever gets weary in its lonely trek across the sky, day after day, fated to a pre-planned path of journeying. Only able to have temporary, though distant relationship with the land and the things upon it. 

Too far to ever have much of a chance to get to know the moving things down below, though it’s impression in turn upon them is lasting.


But, I suppose it does have the moon, if only for a brief moment, to play for a time with at dusk on some days. When both the moon and the sun are parallel in the sky from one another. 

The moon is in fact the only one who knows a little of what it’s like to be the sun. 

More so than any earthbound thing. 


Two celestial friends. 

To Live Again

I am sitting cross legged on the earthen floor, thick patterned blankets between me and the dirt. It is dark inside the dome, which is made of 16 willow saplings tied together with cloth and string and covered in worn blankets and I am centered on the doorway, a square of piercing light that frames the fire a half dozen yards away where the fire keepers are excavating the lava stones, Grandfather, from the molten embers. 


“Mitakuye Oyasin,”


I am inside of a sweat lodge, the ceremony, Inipi which means “To Live Again” is to purify and place ourselves in a position of openness to send prayers for ourselves and those we love who are suffering.


“Nothing will hurt you here”


The drums beat and I feel one with the sound. My head is the drum. 
My body is heating up, thawing out from the cold of the Winter I’ve been living in for over a month.


“Pray hard”


It isn’t until the third round that I find the heat unbearable. 

It hits me in a wave then. 

I have never felt this type of heat before, it engulfs my body and seizes my lungs, making it difficult to breathe. I place the towel over my head, and the experience of having my breath from inside of my body feel cooler than the air outside is jarring.

The steam emanating from the pit in the middle of the dome which holds 14 new lava rocks from the fire outside. And the Mimi, sacred water of life, has been poured afresh, extinguishing their rolling red sparks. 


This is the Lakota way.


The door opens and the fresh air takes a while to reach me but when it does it feels life giving. 
The chanupa is passed towards me and I carefully take the bowl in my left hand and the lighter in my right. The tip is wet.

The fourth round starts and I feel as though my skin is on fire.
I work to suppress the panic that starts to arise in my body. 
Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.

“You are under our protection now. 
Now you are family.”

When The Shadows Sleep

And I am watching now for the time of day when the shadows sleep.
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
When there is still light in the sky but the sun has sunk low enough to put an end to the contrast of miraged skin.
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
What is the exact moment in time that your body no longer casts a shadow onto the earth and if that moment had a name what would it be?
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
The point of gradual desaturation before the gloaming sets in is an unnoticed thing to the naked eye. Perhaps permanently so, for how do you measure an intangible disappearance?
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Where does the secondary world of dark figures retire to? 
Isn’t it a kind of faith to know they will come back?
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Perhaps it is as my Father said: “nothing good ever happens after dark”
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
For bodies no longer have mirrored accountability of their actions.
The leaching of apparitions’ measured movements.
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
It is a secret world that they go to—the shadows.
Frozen in an invisible realm until the sun rises just-so again.

You Can Do This
www.agirlnamedleney.com

I was talking with a friend recently, and she shared this thought that I wanted to share in turn and expand upon this morning.

Always remember this: do not ever let the thought that you can’t do it creep in. As soon as you give space to that doubt- you will fail.

This resonated deeply with me because I immediately recognized the times in my life when I have in fact allowed those what-ifs and you-can’t-do-this’ creep into my framework and how it’s often caused imminent failure or, at the very least, a very halting and bumpy start.

Belief in yourself and your abilities is very often the needed thing to execute any given project or goal. As nice as it is to have the support and encouragement from others, if you don’t believe in yourself, you are without the real execution you need to accomplish anything.

This year has involved a great number of new ventures for me.
And looking back, to some degree, so has much of my life. By which I mean that I have always gone after the new, the adventurous, the out-of-the-box, the what-have-I-not-tried-yet. But if I am being honest, I cannot claim to have always had the full can-do mindset when tackling those things.

You cannot have just the drive to go forth towards new paths, you have to believe you will get to the thing you are seeking at the end of the road.


Which is the inner mantra that I plan to hold onto through these new transitions and into this upcoming year.
Because, whenever I’ve really thought about it, really, I can do it.

Dawn

the end of this season is nearing. 

a year of flush faced wonder. 

of physical and spiritual mountain climbing. 

of stripping away and down to the bone, to uncover the essential facts. 

my mind offers up the familiar words i’ve often used to describe this past year, but i am reaching for more. 

‘more’ is perhaps not possible to describe this kind of living. 

this sussing out and stealing in.


the icy ground is verbal in its protest of my warm steps as i walk towards the placid liquid sky.


the night is what greeted me here the first time i called this place home. 

the dark wall of sky pierced through with needling white-light stars.

but now, now it is the mauve maw of dawn. 

Nostalgia
www.agirlnamedleney.com

this is actually a post i wrote back in the Spring but in an effort to share more of the many drafts i have on here, i am sharing it tonight.
all Summer it has been an idea that has held up for me and has been on my mind many times during the past few months. 
i would love to hear your thoughts on it, as always, if you feel like reaching out and sharing them. 


this is an idea that has been circling the walls of my mind all week. 
sparked by a late night conversation with a friend over beers and gin and tonics and black bean burgers (just kidding. there was only one black bean burger. mine...)
i don't remember his exact wording but he essentially said: 

well you know don't you, that the moments you are nostalgic for, that you remember with fondness in your mind, are the ones in which you were truly YOU. you were yourself, as you were meant to be. unhindered and uncaring about the world and others perspective of you. 

and for some reason this blew. my. mind. 
perhaps because i am one to always be searching for enlightenment/self actualization/knowing who i am in every new season and aspect of my life and i am somewhat of a junky for self help/tips on living your best life and discovering your truest self.
but so much of that learning and search can be clouded by the external voices of the world. 
i believe we were each born with inherent worth and value, unable to be earned or acquired by any worldly action or accomplishment, and yet that is not largely how i live my life a lot of the time. the reason for which is often because i have lost sight of who i am. 
and because the day-to-day moments and the now can often be clouded, rushed, confusing and hurried, it is often in looking back at the past that this clarity, this recognition of inherent self, is gained for me. 
(the age-old adage of hindsight being 20/20 of course also applies) 

and as my friend brought this thought to the table, granted, largely expanded upon and explored by my all-at-once anchored mind, i immediately had moments in my life that i recognized and indeed often go back to in just such a way. with just such nostalgia. and i see, with such precision and clarity that those are indeed the moments that i have been, and truly am, myself: as i was made to be. 

a young girl running around in the woods and arrested in thought by different shapes of individual blades of grass. 

the moments of peace and calm within my apartments in the fan. 

walking around Richmond in the evenings and observing the day exchange pace with the night. 

the linear travel and connection of curiosity and play that encapsulated my childhood in boatyards while my Father worked on his boats. 

the sitting in grass, in the arms of trees, on the worn decks of old houses, in the back seats of cars, all over the world reading countless books. 

being cross legged on the floor listening to my Mother read to me and introduce to me at such a young age a broader view of something more than what was my immediate and physical world.

driving alone on back country roads.

pockets of time in my room alone creating endlessly hour after hour in varying mediums and materials. losing track of time as i taught myself new art forms and lessons and allowed my curiosities and love for process to shape the outcome more than my expectations. 

these are who i am. 
largely strung together during my childhood and during my adolescence into adulthood (a topic we also discussed, the reality of the selves we were as children being our truest selves and most telling of who we inherently are)

i don't know why this feels so important. 
maybe it doesn't to anyone else but me. 
but i feel as though it is, and something in me feels that it is an idea meant for others other than just myself. 
so here is where i record it, as with so many other things on here that can be listed under the tagline: or so i feel. 

Goals: Sprints vs. Marathons

i am an extremely goal, list and dream oriented and motivated person (see the goals tag here on the journal for proof). i have stated that i am a process junkie, but i am also addicted to getting.shit.done.
i am the kind of person who will almost-always make their bed as soon as they get out of it, but if for some reason the whole day goes by without it being made, i will make it right before i get in it at night.
i am also the kind of person who will add three things on the “to do” list that i’ve already accomplished just so i can check them off, who will use every last drop of shampoo before buying a new bottle and who will absolutely under no circumstances leave the house with only one errand to complete.

i like efficiency, progress, organization and accomplishing tasks. i have a really hard time not feeling like i am getting things done because, well, i always have a list of things to get done. 
i also have a hard time not wrapping up my worth in what it is i do and separating that from who i am (but i digress). 

i recently got back from a two month road trip and needless to say i have been flooded with inspiration and ideas and motivation ever since. more on that another time, but the point that’s relative to this post is that i have had a lot of ideas since that trip. a lot of project concepts, goals and endless tasks i want to complete. 

last night i texted a friend: 

“do you ever feel overwhelmed by all of the things you're passionate about and all of your ideas and goals and all of the things you want to do?"

this, is a common problem for me. i have zero problems generating ideas. i am the ideas (wo)man. i am easily intrigued, curious, interested and fascinated by a wide array of things and as such my brain gets fired more often then not by the endless sparks i am coming into contact with. so it’s not ideas i have a hard time with, but the choosing of which ideas to act on. i tend to get overwhelmed with all of my plans and projects often to the point where i don’t act on any of them. it’s that paradox of the world being your oyster but you get too caught up in trying to figure out which side of the oyster to start from.
(and before you say "just pick one and start” it’s not that easy... i mean, completely hypothetical example, but if you wanted to build a tiny house, convert a sprinter van, gut an airstream, live on a sail boat and buy a teardrop trailer how would you choose??)

after commiserating with a “yea me too” my friend reminded me that there are different kinds of goals. namely: sprints vs. marathons. 

sprint goals are the things you can accomplish quickly and without much long term effort. things you can get done with just a short concentrated amount of energy in a small amount of time. 

things like... 
making your bed in the morning
starting a new instagram account
send an email proposal
start a newsletter
have a yard sale
sign up for an art class you’ve been wanting to take

marathon goals take more long term planning, are often step and task oriented and take dedication over a longer and more steady period of time. they still enact progress and forward movement but in a slower manner than that of a sprint. 

guys, i don’t know why but this helped me so much last night. my brain had been on hyperactive overdrive mode since Monday, i’d spent a total of 13 hours in two days just sitting in front of my computer working and brainstorming at my local coffee shop. and being able to further organize my already long list of goals and new project ideas, into something that felt more manageable and digestible was such a relief. 

however, all of that to say, being the dreamer that i am...



i have a lot of marathon goals.

Wildflower

you’re a wildflower though, you know? not one of those perfectly manicured and pre-planned pampered garden flowers. or secured and tended-to potted porch plants. 
no. 
you are a wayward side-of-the-road surprise, with a mind-of-your-own way about you. 
a varied find. 
unruly at times. 
often amidst weeds.
(you aren’t afraid to be in mixed company.)
here and there.
the nomad of flowers. and really it’s about time you embraced that. it really is. because most everyone else sees that about you. 
not that you need their validation to be what you were made to be. i’m only saying that if what you are is so obvious to everyone else, why are you pretending that it’s not obvious to you? 
embrace your roots. let your seeds sow where they fall. allow the wind to scatter and plant you where it may. for that is the way you travel. that is how you find your home(s): growing freely without intervention.