I’m the wound that never goes away,
the scar where humanity was cut from the side of the divine
and has been blindly searching for home ever since.


Dwelling Deeper Within

Call it depression, if you will. 
Nothing satisfies.
Everything has lost its appeal.

“It seems that I’ve completely fallen out of love. Nothing impresses me anymore.” -4/9/09

The well-meaning Christians always told me that this feeling was an indication that I needed to “press in” more with the Lord. The world and all it offers will never satisfy the deep hunger within.

I suppose there’s some truth to that, but before I even revisited that memory/thought, I was gripped with the new realization that what I really want is to go deeper within myself. 

Unfortunately, I’ve used my faith as a way to avoid myself. I actually thought that was the point. I’m too focused on myself, I need to seek God. When I would get hit with this feeling of emptiness, I would try to fill it up with prayer/worship music/Bible reading, but often with little result. Sometimes I could muster up a spiritual high, but it dropped me right back down into the depths of my own void. I can see now that the true disconnect is within myself. 

I keep pushing outwards. I keep seeking all that is without me. I keep searching for all the externals to fill up my internal emptiness. And it feels very weird to admit that God is included in that. God is absolutely an external concept. He’s not me, therefore, He’s outside of me. He may very well dwell inside of me, but there’s still the understanding that He and I are not one in the same. 

Here now, let me freely admit to myself and to the world: I’m not in search of God. I’m in search of myself. Always have been. The search for God is ultimately a search for myself. I’ve long been convinced that I could only be found in God, so in order to find myself, I must first find God. I’ve convinced myself I seek God for the sole purpose of knowing God, when all along my (not so) hidden agenda was really to find and know myself.

I think any true search for God will lead one to one’s own doorstep. It’s inevitable, inescapable. A search for divinity will always lead to the divine aspect of humanity. As a creation of the Divine, we carry the DNA of divinity within our very cells.

“I searched for God and found only myself.
I searched for myself and found only God.”

It seems quite clear to me now: I must go within, in a totally new way. I’m not really sure what that looks like or how to do it, but I’m pretty sure I’m on the right track to finding out. I’ve had some pretty intense experiences this past year, but I know I’ve only scratched the surface. I know that the experience of my existence is far deeper than I could possibly fathom.

And as I sit here writing (this is a totally spontaneous writing that is coming to me as I go), I feel like I’m starting to put my most recent puzzle pieces together:

I’m terribly “ungrounded”, especially lately. I’m spacey and brain farty and have a difficult time engaging in real life day to day activities. I’m “not here”. The other day I asked my spirit to please come back. Life is so screwed up when I’m so disconnected like this. I keep trying to find ways to ground myself, but somehow everything I try only seems to push my spirit out farther away.

Maybe, just maybe, the key is within me. I must go inside, deeper. I keep reaching outwards… for God, for relationships, for things, for nature and the earth itself. I keep trying to find myself and wholeness and grounding in all the things outside of me. But it’s not working. Perhaps, maybe, I must go deeper within myself. Somehow gather my scattered self into my center, into the deep heart of my being. 

As I said, I’m not entirely sure how to do this. If I think in energy terms (for lack of better words), I discover the great difference in my reactions between going within and going without. I can switch to “oneness with the universe” freakishly easy (and this coming from someone who’s never done meditation). I feel the barrier between me and everything else fade out in a second. Sometimes it’s amusing and certainly a nice feeling. On the other hand, going within fills me with fear. I’ve had experiences that I can only describe as “falling within myself” and it terrified me. I exclaimed there was an entire universe inside of me. (I let myself go into the universe around me, but what about the universe within me?) This feeling tends to overtake me the most when I’m utterly exhausted. I actually feel myself slip inside and I always catch myself with a jolt. It’s like abruptly waking up from a split-second nap. Whenever it starts happening, I resist it so bad. But like all things I resist in my life, I realize there is an aspect of this which must be embraced. Perhaps it is exactly what I need at that exact moment. Perhaps there’s a reason this experience happens when I “reach the end of myself”- it’s the end of all external holding points, including my physical existance. I have nothing left to cling to. There is only one place left to go, and that is within.

Right now I feel this adventurous desire to explore the unknown depths of my own being. What could be more exciting than actually coming to know yourself? Honestly?! And do I have any real concept of what the hell I’m even talking about? No! (I shout in glee) But I’ll get there! The desire is real. It’s more real than any other spiritual truth I could dwell on right now. 

Could I possibly turn my desire inwards? Could I fixate a decent sized portion of my own passion on myself for a change? What would that be like? I’m not entirely sure, but I’m convinced it would be the very definition of “epic”. And I suspect it may be the only way to truly satisfy my soul.

“And you? When will you begin that long journey into yourself?”

Past Present Future Me 

The first time I sincerely contemplated the non-existance of God was this past February. I’d been reading through old journals, trying to capture significant moments to give an overview of my life and the struggles I’ve faced… trying to understand why I am the way I am.

I had just finished reading my 8th grade journal and moving into my first year of high school. It finally hit me how hard a transition that was. I was 14. It was exactly half my life ago.

I found myself wanting to go back and talk to 14 year old me. Wanting to somehow prepare her for the brutality of life that she has so far been shielded from. But I realized I didn’t have anything to tell her. There’s nothing I could have said to prepare her for what was approaching. Instead I wanted to hold her and cry, and I knew that 14 year old me would be totally weirded out by it. But I looked at the upcoming events, and tried holding her as her heart broke in new ways. I have to be there for her, she has nobody.

There are times in my life when I talk to Past Me. Having new understanding of life and the situations I was faced with, I talk to that clueless girl of yesteryear. Last December I went walking through the cemetary that was nearby my childhood home. And I suddenly began pouring out my heart to little Gracie girl. Trying to instill courage and hope into Gracie-going-through-puberty. It felt like a necessity. Once I know things a little better, I feel compelled to talk to old me. I can’t change what’s going to happen or what she’s going to do, but I let her know I’m there for her, that everything truly will be alright in the end. “You’re gonna make it. Things will change. And you are LOVED.”

When I did this again this past February, trying to brace 14 year old me for the dramatic changes of high school, I suddenly went into a panic. I was overcome with anxiety as in a flash of a second I became convinced that God did not exist. That it was only me. That in all the difficult times of life when I somehow still felt the reassuring presence of a God who loved me- that the presence I felt was none other than Future Grace. The Grace who already went through the experience and comes back in time to spiritually support me. There is no God- there is only me.

The next day this concept seemed totally batshit crazy. I do still believe in God, although my concept of what God is has been going through some major upheavals. But I don’t think my idea of Future Me coming back to comfort/support Present Me is too far out there.

Time doesn’t exist in the linear form we think it does. I’m no scientist, but I’ve read enough to know that what we think we know is incredibly limited. We DO know that people throughout history have had the ability to see the future (and even the past). Apparently I’m one of them, but not in a very dramatic way. It’s mostly personal, and it’s not so much vision as it is feeling. 

I think my theory of Future Me interacting with Present Me (or Present Me interacting with Past Me) is somewhat supported in that Past Me has tapped into Future Me. There are so many poems and songs I’ve written (or simply stories I’d spun in my imagination) that had no personal relevance at the time of their writing. I didn’t really know what I was writing or WHY I was writing it. It didn’t really make sense at the time. But I shrugged my shoulders and continued living life. Now I am experiencing so many of these things I wrote about. They are suddenly now incredibly personal. Somehow I was channeling my own future without even realizing it.

You can call me crazy and delusional if you want, and I fully expect you to. But it doesn’t really matter what you think. All that matters is what I think, and how I live my life. And this bizarre timeless relationship I believe I have with myself actually gives me a measure of peace and hope and courage. I know there’s the element of God surrounding me in my darkest moments. And knowing that the ultimate Creator has my back is certainly comforting. But truth be told, it feels a little more comforting to imagine that it’s me, because it proves to me that I made it. If Future Me can connect with Present Me, then I know that I made it through my current dark night. I’m gonna make it. I’m gonna be ok.

Afterall, who’s support would truly be the most helpful to me? Wouldn’t my own support be the most helpful? Wouldn’t Future Me, who already went through it and made it to the other side- wouldn’t her support be the ultimate? She knows me, she IS me, she’s already had the experience, and she loves me more than anyone ever could. I’m going to trust her more than I’d trust anyone else. 

For the religious among us who need a more sanctified and less blasphemous sounding concept, let’s just say that it is God working through Future Me. We can all agree on that, can’t we? In the moment I think it’s God surrounding me with love, and that is true. But we can easily say it is God working through Future Me to express love to Present Me (which would certainly give God’s love a more “personal” touch, an intimacy I desperately crave). Afterall, God exists outside of time. He doesn’t need to meet me right here and now (He’s already here…), He can easily work through Future Me to reach Present Me. Basically, it all ends up meeting me in the Present Moment anyway, so the complications are irrelevant. 

It’s a crazy concept that’s a little difficult to really wrap the mind around. But it both amuses and comforts me. If it’s nothing but a crutch, then I can accept that too, because sometimes we could all use a crutch to help us stand. Whatever gets us up and moving is blessed of God.

And look what lyrics now come to mind! Theory in action: I was writing for this exact moment.

“Keep on standing
even if you need a crutch
I’ll be there
I’ll be there to lift you up

Don’t give up in the middle of the night
In the middle of the night
the sun is on it’s way.”

Mercury meet-up

Party party in my brain,

don’t mind me, 

I’ve gone insane!

I just wanted to write a blog post about absolutely nothing. I was feeling very mischievous in a way I describe as mercurial. But hey, check it out, Mercury is passing the sun. No wonder I feel like this. There’s so much astrological activity going on lately, can I just blame my confused hormones on that? On everything? Please?

Right now I can devolve into utter absurdity. I can say the word “fart” and giggle til the cows come home.

But then I think about the cows. And I think about home. And when you spend your whole life feeling like you never belong anywhere, the thought of cows coming home can bring you to tears.

Just blame the hormones.

At what point in my life… in my day… can I be taken seriously? 

None of it matters. I blog for myself. I have no audience anymore. I’m not 18 anymore, I don’t hash out all my crazy on Facebook for all my friends to see. I’m an adult, I’m a mother, and I’m a mess. I know that people have shorter attention spans. People are less likely to read what I write these days than they did 10 years ago.

I feel really sad. The moment you feel your wholeness, your entire being splits in half all over again. I went for a walk only to discover a tiny snake dead in the middle of the road. I cried and told him I was sorry. I transferred his body to the grass so as not to get repeatedly run over. Like beating a dead horse. I spend my life beating every dead horse I can find. I don’t know why.

He told me the horse wasn’t dead, said it would eventually kick me back.

Funny how he crops up so much. Frustrating how much I let him affect my life… for so long.

And I have no interest in beating that dead horse anymore, certainly not in public. If you happen to read this, sorry. But not sorry. I will no longer apologize for my life affecting yours in any way. I loved you and I’ll never apologize for love.

Here is one of many struggles I currently have- the fact that I’m just too much to handle. That my love is so enormous and all consuming that even I die in the expression. 

I don’t want to write anymore. This hit a spot my brain is too tired to touch. I’m trying to decide if I’ll even publish this shitty post.

We never outgrow the ages we’ve been. Time doesn’t exist. I was 18 once. Therefore, I’m still 18. I’m still swatting at gnats in my brain, I’m still crying when I go for walks and feel the eternal presence of everything surrounding me. I still try to bottle it all up and not show it because nobody is going to understand. But I’m still going to write about it in the most sloppy terms and post it for public consumption because it’s the only thing I can do. And like 18 year old me, it’s possible I’ll delete it in the morning. When the light is renewed, my struggles seem so stupid. So irrelevant. So non-issue-y. It’s just hormonal Grace, shitting all over again. You’ll get used to her. You’ll get used to being confused at the contradiction of such a human who seems so put together and spiritual but also such a fucking mess who needs Jesus in the worst way.

What else is my life for if not for public consumption? If only one of you reads these words, I suppose that’s good enough. Here, look at this spackled mess of letters composing words composing sentences composing ideas that are hazy and jagged. I’m ridiculous. Let me be a reality show of ridiculousness. Just use me for observation of humanity. Check out my highs and lows. I’m all over the place.

I seek no response. This is the internet and I can say whatever I damn well please and you bet your ass I’m going to sieze the opportunity. Because what is the point of life lived in silence? In isolation? This stupid stupid life I’ve tried to lead, this obnoxious and deadly desire for perfection. Fuck it all to hell. 

Ah, such a delicious moment of clarity and freedom… I can do whatever I want. Sure, there’s always consequences. But nobody is stopping me. Nobody but ME. 

The clarity blinks out, just like that. But some moments are truly eternal. A tiny little hole allowing you to see the other side. You never forget it.

I’ll go ahead and publish this because why the hell not. I better practice what I preach. Gotta speak up. Expose my crazy because it definitely ain’t going away trying to stuff it in the closet. Uh uh. Crazy aaaaaalways comes out. I’d like to meet it on my terms before it takes too much of me. This is me saying, No, you’re MY crazy, I’m not your girl. I’m the owner here, not you. Crazy don’t own me. I own crazy.

I’m tired.

The Therapeutic Value of Art and Music

This morning I learned that Eric Church, a musician I respect and admire, was a headlining act of the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas, where over 50 people were killed and over 500 were injured during a mass shooting early this week. Eric Church wrote a song afterwards with haunting lyrics asking, “Why you? and why not me?” I read his Facebook post, where he shared his feelings and his love for his fans, and I listened to the song he just wrote and performed at the Grand Ole Opry.

It was while I was reading the comment section of his Facebook post that I was again reminded of the incredibly important role that art plays in our lives.

I read comment after comment of people thanking him for writing that song. Individuals who survived the massacre saying they hadn’t been able to cry until they heard that song. Those still in shock now able to reconnect with their heart and loss by simply listening to a song. Others who survived past infamous massacres sharing their experiences and expressing gratitude for a song that speaks to them. Church has captured the questions and feelings of so many, and validates their pain and confusion. It’s a shared experience: bringing together hurting souls, sharing each other’s weakness to produce a new beautiful type of strength. It’s life and healing in the midst of death and separation.

This is what art is about. This what we as artists do- we help people connect with their own humanity and the wide spectrum of emotions we all experience. When it comes to tragedy, either personal or collective, some people may never bring themselves to seek therapy and sit and talk about their feelings. They may never seek help in processing their own loss, even though they desperately need to. They may live the rest of their days half-alive because of unfinished business their mind or ego can’t bring themselves to deal with. But art, and in particular, music, often has a way of slipping in unhindered, of triggering a heart response- a true reflection of the state of the soul. Art gets past all the mental barriers because it doesn’t speak to the mind, it speaks to the deep places of the heart. And in this way, art is therapy, for both the artist and for the consumer. It is permission to FEEL, and learning to accept our very real feelings is a crucial aspect of healing- and living.

I think now is a good time to examine the role the country music genre has played in American life, since this week’s tragedy in Las Vegas happened during a country music festival. I am reminded of the song “This is Country Music” by famous country star Brad Paisley. With unashamed pride, Paisley sings about country music’s reputation for addressing specific topics other musical genre’s might not touch with such simple frankness. Love it or hate it, country music covers the gamut of human emotions and experience: joy, celebration, love, heartbreak, loss. I think Paisley’s song is a reminder of what art truly is:

“So turn it on, turn it up, and sing along
This is real, this is your life in a song
Just like a road that takes you home
Yeah, this is right where you belong”

So far, my most profound experience as a musician happened when I was 21 years old. I had just finished playing a set of original songs at our local coffee house, and was mingling with the small crowd. A man I had never seen before walked up to me and took my hands in his own. He looked me in the eyes, with tears in his own, and thanked me. He said that in listening to my music that night, he felt as though he found his soul again.

This is the power of art. This is the power of music. It illuminates the meaning of life, teaching us what it truly means to be alive. It can help mend a broken heart and also usher in new hope and possibilities. It can help a soul become reacquainted with itself. Art meets us, right where we are. It asks nothing of us but to open and connect with our own souls- and with the very Soul and Source of all creation. As an artist, I am overwhelmed to know that my artistic expressions can have such a powerful influence on another. I am awed at the amazing gift art truly is, and I am deeply humbled to be a steward of such a gift.

Eric Church is one of those artists I have always admired as being a truly gifted song writer. His songs “Lightning”, “Carolina”, “Homeboy”, and “Springsteen”, have all touched a piece of my soul, as well as countless other souls. And in the aftermath of such violence and heartbreak in Las Vegas this week, Church is again helping us connect with our souls and with each other. Because this tragedy occurred during a grand celebration of life through the power of music, I believe that music will inevitably play a large role in helping to heal these wounds.

In the end, I think the most valuable lesson art teaches us is that we are not alone. We’re all in this crazy ride of life together, and the recognition and embracing of our commonalities is the only way to truly heal the broken heart of humanity.

Coming soon…

I’ve been quiet on here. The quiet will probably shatter pretty soon. I have a lot to say, and I think I’m just about ready to start saying some of it. 

I am my own special kind of crazy. And for the first time in a long time, I’m totally cool with it.

Crazy is sort of a relative term. I’m not crazy, I’m just me. Sane me may appear crazy to others. But when I appear sane, that only means I’m hiding my crazy. But my crazy isn’t really crazy once it gets out. It may look like it, but it isn’t. There IS a rhythm to my madness.

Confused yet? It’s ok. Welcome to my world.

my hands

Sometimes I hold my own hands
and they feel so small
tiny as an infant’s
so tiny and so fragile

And yet they feel so old
so ancient
full of deep secrets
and unspoken fears
slender bones of unknowable strength
covered in a fine veil
of such vulnerable flesh

These hands have penned many words
including the ones you read here
They have played the music
which begs to be heard
music which writes itself of thin air
a spirit which teaches my fingers
songs my fingers know not

These hands are an extension
of my very heart
These hands ache for others to hold
These hands want to give
but find themselves empty after so many years
These hands now long so dearly to be filled
but they do not know how to receive

I am the small fragile hands
of an impossibly large spirit
so strong and so beautiful
that it frightens me
because these hands hold the weight
of that which is unseen
eternal divinity

not the 99

I am not the 99
I am the 1 who left your side
I’ve skipped town
and if you want me back
you’re gonna have to chase me down
break my legs, carry me back
So go ahead and do it
If you love me
here’s your chance to prove it
it’s just me
and I
off to find
if the grass is any greener
on the other side

all over

Rushing again and again
love me leave me
sweep me away…
but I’m still on the beach

Nothing is real
but the sun
and this sand
The waves are always temporary

And it’s all over
all over again