How To Be A Rebel

Posted on 8 CommentsPosted in Cultivating Creativity, Reflections on Life

Last Monday, my friend Gillian Kessler played a cover of John Mayer singing Free Fallin’ during her evening dance class. She dedicated it to me. Naturally, I started crying.

I bet you would have, too, especially if Gillian had just led you through an hour of movement-based soul-searching centered around the theme “rebel.” For me, I feel most free when I’m a little–or a lot–rebellious. As John Mayer caressed several octaves, I cried because I realized that I’d lost my inner rebel. You know the one: the little voice that tells you to take risks, laugh louder, dance bigger, show the world you don’t give a shit. The one that tells you the occasional free-fall is as vital as breath. The one that tells you to live your truth.

off the rack afro brazilian dance bri randall
Dancing with Gillian a few years back at the Wilma Theater in Missoula.

My inner rebel disappeared when we returned from our adventures overseas. I want her back. This week, I got to work figuring out how to be a rebel again.

STEP 1: Remember when I felt most free.

That’s easy: when I first moved to Missoula. I was cartwheeling in happy mental circles, giggly with glee at the world. I was 22. I belonged to only me. I could free-fall wherever and whenever I wanted to. Where’d the giggles go? They got slowly buried in layers of responsibility and connection as adulthood progressed. We start to promise pieces of ourselves to lovers, friends, siblings, parents, children. I now belong to so many others that I no longer belong to myself.

Brianna Randall walking in Missoula with little kiddos

STEP 2: Go camp alone for 24 hours. 

Alone time is the panacea that soothes my soul. But I haven’t had 24 hours alone in 14 months, which is likely why my inner rebel is buried. To uncover her, I spent a night camping on the Blackfoot River. The golden leaves and flowing water lulled me into a long sleep–13 hours!–that illustrated why it’s tough to be rebellious when you’re massively sleep deprived. The next morning, I started to find the path back to freedom by making a new, improved vision board for my life.

camping on blackfoot river brianna randall
Everything a girl needs for 24 hours alone.

STEP 3: Just say no to ‘spirit suck.’

It’s time to take back some of those pieces of me I’ve parsed out lately, namely to commitments that don’t feed my inner rebel. I rarely say no. It’s because I suffer from FOMO–the clinical term for the ‘fear of missing out’. But I’ve started to cut out anything that doesn’t make me smile (even if it’s just a little, bitty smile down deep). This is hardest to do with work-related commitments, as the temptation of more money can be the ultimate spirit suck.

This scene is the opposite of spirit suck.
This scene is the opposite of spirit suck.

STEP 4: Say yes to what gives me energy.

Dancing. Yoga. Staring into Talon’s eyes and kissing his toes. Walking alone on trails. Cooking dinner with Rob. Those are the easy ones to pinpoint. As for work, I’ve realized that my passion is telling stories. It’s easy to figure out from there which contracts will allow me to write compelling stories and which won’t.

talon randall roberts hiking in missoula
Hiking in the sun with Talon makes my inner rebel happy.

STEP 5: Give myself permission to take time–and risks. 

Here’s the crux of what my inner rebel wants: a book. I want to write my own book, full of my own stories. And that’s a huge risk, both emotionally–can I actually just do that?–and financially, since writing a book may never provide money for me or my family. But I’ve given myself permission to try. Steps 1-4 will hopefully give me the time and motivation to take the risk. Meanwhile, I’m pretty excited to practice free-falling again–even if it’s a short, sweet fall into my own bed or into my baby’s eyes.

It’s a lifelong journey to cultivate my inner rebel. I got off-trail there for a bit, but luckily Gillian and John Mayer came to the rescue and helped get me back on course toward finding my truest self.

talon randall roberts by rattlesnake creek in missoula
Talon and Rattlesnake Creek = stories waiting to happen.
Off the Rack in Missoula dance bodypaint brianna randall
Back in the days of bodypaint and dancing in front of big crowds: Off the Rack 2012.
Today I danced naked in the sun over water so blue it hurts. I samba-ed. I hip-hopped. I waltzed. I waved my arms, wiggled my butt, and jumped around like a goof with a huge grin on my face. So, what spawns a naked dancing session on a boat? First ingredient: alone-time. Second ingredient: a remote and ridiculously beautiful location. Third ingredient: weeks without dancing of any sort. The boys took the afternoon to go hunt fish along the nearby reef. As I dried off from my swim, I suddenly realized I didn't have to put my clothes back on. Instead, I turned on music loudly and started making bread in the galley. The kneading and dough-punching rhythm soon expanded into spins and leaps, which required deck space outside. No problem: our anchorage at Beveridge Reef in the middle of the Pacific Ocean was deserted, save one boat in the distance. With no one to watch but the sharks, I was soon gyrating on the bow in my birthday suit. (No pictures, sorry.) I don't know if I gain such joy from my boat dancing sessions because they are so few and far between, because they are a celebration of sun and sea and music, or because they always coincide with those rare, precious pockets of me-only time. Probably the whole enchilada is what put the stretchy smile on my face, as I belted out the chorus to a pop song: "Hey, I heard you were a wild one!" Here's what I took away from my naked sunlight dancing: everyone should try it. It's like skinny-dipping or bungee-jumping -- that same bubbly feeling of being free, spontaneous, slightly naughty, open, exposed, blessed, exhilarated. Wild. You can dance to your own internal beat, or blast the music as loud as you like. Spins are pretty much imperative, since being dizzy puts life back in its proper perspective. The more shimmies and shakes the better. Kick high and swirl your arms around, finding the breeze behind your knees, beneath your breasts, between each toe. Let it all just jiggle. No audience but the waves, no critics but the clouds. Today I danced naked above the fish and beneath the birds. I was beautiful. I was alone. I was as wild as the sea, and as shiny as the sun.

Dancing Naked

Posted on 1 CommentPosted in Dance, Yoga and Fitness, Fishing

dance travel south pacific islands brianna rob

Today I danced naked in the sun over water so blue it hurts. I samba-ed. I hip-hopped. I waltzed. I waved my arms, wiggled my butt, and jumped around like a goof with a huge grin on my face.

So, what spawns a naked dancing session on a boat? First ingredient: alone-time. Second ingredient: a remote and ridiculously beautiful location. Third ingredient: weeks without dancing of any sort.

The boys took the afternoon to go hunt fish along the nearby reef. As I dried off from my swim, I suddenly realized I didn’t have to put my clothes back on. Instead, I turned on music loudly and started making bread in the galley. The kneading and dough-punching rhythm soon expanded into spins and leaps, which required deck space outside. No problem: our anchorage at Beveridge Reef in the middle of the Pacific Ocean was deserted, save one boat in the distance. With no one to watch but the sharks, I was soon gyrating on the bow in my birthday suit. (No pictures, sorry.)

Today I danced naked in the sun over water so blue it hurts.  I samba-ed.  I hip-hopped.  I waltzed.  I waved my arms, wiggled my butt, and jumped around like a goof with a huge grin on my face.    So, what spawns a naked dancing session on a boat?  First ingredient: alone-time.  Second ingredient: a remote and ridiculously beautiful location.  Third ingredient: weeks without dancing of any sort.    The boys took the afternoon to go hunt fish along the nearby reef.  As I dried off from my swim, I suddenly realized I didn't have to put my clothes back on.  Instead, I turned on music loudly and started making bread in the galley.  The kneading and dough-punching rhythm soon expanded into spins and leaps, which required deck space outside.  No problem: our anchorage at Beveridge Reef in the middle of the Pacific Ocean was deserted, save one boat in the distance.  With no one to watch but the sharks, I was soon gyrating on the bow in my birthday suit.  (No pictures, sorry.)  I don't know if I gain such joy from my boat dancing sessions because they are so few and far between, because they are a celebration of sun and sea and music, or because they always coincide with those rare, precious pockets of me-only time.  Probably the whole enchilada is what put the stretchy smile on my face, as I belted out the chorus to a pop song: "Hey, I heard you were a wild one!"  Here's what I took away from my naked sunlight dancing: everyone should try it.  It's like skinny-dipping or bungee-jumping -- that same bubbly feeling of being free, spontaneous, slightly naughty, open, exposed, blessed, exhilarated.  Wild.    You can dance to your own internal beat, or blast the music as loud as you like.  Spins are pretty much imperative, since being dizzy puts life back in its proper perspective.  The more shimmies and shakes the better.  Kick high and swirl your arms around, finding the breeze behind your knees, beneath your breasts, between each toe.  Let it all just jiggle. No audience but the waves, no critics but the clouds.    Today I danced naked above the fish and beneath the birds.  I was beautiful.  I was alone.  I was as wild as the sea, and as shiny as the sun.

I don’t know if I gain such joy from my boat dancing sessions because they are so few and far between, because they are a celebration of sun and sea and music, or because they always coincide with those rare, precious pockets of me-only time. Probably the whole enchilada is what put the stretchy smile on my face, as I belted out the chorus to a pop song: “Hey, I heard you were a wild one!”

Here’s what I took away from my naked sunlight dancing: everyone should try it. It’s like skinny-dipping or bungee-jumping — that same bubbly feeling of being free, spontaneous, slightly naughty, open, exposed, blessed, exhilarated. Wild.

dance naked island boat sail brianna randall

You can dance to your own internal beat, or blast the music as loud as you like. Spins are pretty much imperative, since being dizzy puts life back in its proper perspective. The more shimmies and shakes the better. Kick high and swirl your arms around, finding the breeze behind your knees, beneath your breasts, between each toe. Let it all just jiggle. No audience but the waves, no critics but the clouds.

Today I danced naked above the fish and beneath the birds. I was beautiful. I was alone. I was as wild as the sea, and as shiny as the sun.

travel blog sailing polynesia

A Tough Blow

Posted on 2 CommentsPosted in Sailing, Traveling

travel blog sailing polynesiaWe’re back in paradise. It disappeared for a week, swept away in fierce winds and soggy clouds. Now it feels like French Polynesia again: warm, silky, easy. As I write, the handle of the Big Dipper dives straight into the horizon. Venus illuminates a bright path on the water above the glow from the set sun. And the Southern Cross, pushed by her two bright pointer stars, arcs over the still marina here in Raiatea.

The last week was pretty rough. We had 30 knots of sustained wind, chop, rain, dark clouds, driving gusts. It’s the kind of rough that flips dinghies upside-down, makes the mast squeal like a banshee, sends people diving for cover, and traps boats in semi-protected lagoons.

You can’t sleep through that, with halyards banging, straps flapping, the hull groaning. Or swim through the murky water and ripping current. Or sail away to a new spot. Or go visit the nearby boats. You wonder if the anchor will hold, and if the anchor on the boat in front of you will hold. You wonder why the hell you’re stuck on a tiny boat in a big blow, relying on a long chain and lead weight to keep you from careening off into the ocean or into sharp reef rocks.

Then the sky clears. One night, the winds suddenly calm. Everyone looks around, wondering what the new noise is — it’s the forgotten sound of quiet. Today, we’re enjoying the reprieve. The storm receded and the fresh clean sulight baptized everything in a glory veil. These green mountains are blindingly sharp. The fish seem happier. The afternoon heat is a blessing. Speeding across the lagoon to visit neighbors makes you laugh aloud.

Today was my version of a perfect day in the cruising life. Ironically, it wasn’t so different from many past, but the end of the big blow made everything shinier. How simple it is, my perception of perfection. A morning yoga circle with new friends. Dancing alone, free, spinning to my own choreography. Clean hair. A swim to say hi to the parrotfish. Fresh-baked carrot bread. Singing songs at sunset. Coffee on one boat, cocktails on another. My husband’s hand on my back. My laughter loud. The men cooking. Stars again.

travel blog sailing polynesia

Just like all life, there’s good days and bad while cruising. Stormy ones and sunny. Monotonous hours interspersed with magical moments. The difference out here, though, is that the cycle is so damn fast. The pendulum between good and tough rocks rapid-fire, marking time in minutes rather than months. Maybe the swing between good and tough just feels so fast, so bipolar, because our lives depend daily on the wind, the currents, the rain, the sun. We feel their shifts more vicerally.

It’s like that first day of spring in Montana. I learned to appreciate the bitter northern winters for the spring they usher in. Tonight, I’m thanking the gods for the calm that comes in like an exhale on the coattails of the departing winds. I revel in the quiet and the still, the sharp and bright stars, appreciating them all the more after their absence. And I suppose I’ll appreciate the next blow, too, since it makes paradise that much more vibrant in the end.

 

We Are Musical People, Yo.

Posted on 2 CommentsPosted in Dance, Yoga and Fitness

dance move

A drum beats through the background of my daily narrative.  A bass-line usually thrums in my brain and through my body while we eat, when I dance, as I work, while I play guitar.  But the background beat has been eerily absent for over a week.  My guitar and both of our iPods were casualties of the Todos Santos robbery.  Turns out that the lack of music is perhaps the most haunting loss of all.

We are musical people.  You’ve probably heard Rob singing loudly through the aisles of the grocery store in Missoula, or watched him unconsciously playing drums on the counter, the steering wheel, or on my leg when we sit next to each other.  He keeps time to the soundtrack in his mind, and had recently started recording our friends’ music, too.  I try to dance daily, and play guitar often while I belt out old rock songs (sometimes even on key!).  At home, we streamed Pandora constantly and our trademark Christmas gift to our friends was a mixed CD of our favorite songs from the year.

music on thanksgiving

The recent quiet seems to take up physical space in my body.  It almost feels oppressive, like a balloon that muffles my daily rhythms and makes my thoughts echo in my head.  I know: counter-intuitive, right?  The silence should serve to heighten my awareness of the world around me, not stifle my interaction with it.  But for me, music enhances every experience – kind of like a 6th sense.   It cements new memories, anchors me in a place, and activates my creative right brain while tamping down my overactive analytical left brain.  It’s like cream in coffee, hot fudge on a sundae, the icing on the cupcake: music just makes life more fun.

Rob and I have been singing snippets of the same Lumineers song for the past 10 days now (“I don’t know where I belong, I don’t know where I went wrong…I could write a song”).  We’re a broken record, a CD skipping endlessly on one track.  Not only is it annoying, it also tells me that our music sense is stagnant.   I hadn’t pinpointed the problem fully until we got in the shuttle from La Paz to San Jose del Cabo.  Our Mexican bus driver turned out to be an American rock-n-roll fanatic, toggling from Pink Floyd to Coldplay to Clapton to Radiohead.

guitar on bow

As Rob and I sang aloud to “Wish You Were Here,” I felt the bubble inside me pop and my body breathe a deep sigh of bass-filled relief.  I also immediately felt an insane urge to stand up and dance on the bus, now that my music sense was reactivated.  I hadn’t sashayed, spun or shimmied since my last Oula class at the Downtown Dance Collective over two weeks ago.  Completely unacceptable.

Luckily, all of the awesome dance songs I downloaded before our trip are waiting in cyberspace for me, ready to upload to iTunes when I get my replacement iPhone tomorrow.  I’ll be shakin’ my bootie in no time during a self-led solo Oula class at the entrance to the Panama Canal.  We also picked up some replacement tunes (thanks to Cassidy, our main source for all new music), and plan to buy a new cheap-but-functional campesino guitar in Panama City.

As for the Lumineers song – well, we might not be listening to that one right off the bat when we find a music-making device.  But you can damn well be sure that Rob and I will be singing and dancing along to something as we sail across the Pacific.  For us, music is almost as essential as food (almost).

wedding dance - on the horizon line - travel blog - fitness

 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...