As a teenager, on chilly mornings, I'd fill the bathroom sink with warm water, submerge my feet, and sit on the bathroom counter to apply my makeup and do my hair. As the water would cool off, I'd drain it, refill, and keep getting ready. It's a habit that I fell out of when I shared bathrooms in college and with roommates over the years. Now that I live in a crappy old cold building with even crappier heating, I've become an even bigger fan of this process.
My bathroom, like my car, is my stage. No, my hairbrush and shower head are not my microphone, but so many ballads have been sung while my feet are being warmed. You'll never see me competing on a reality singing show. You'll never even see me on a karaoke stage. I might have graced several stages as a youth in singing groups. I might have won a few singing competitions in college with a "band" that specialized in Shakira cover songs. I might have even performed, once, at Disneyland. But the only stages that I'm on now are when I dream of being a back-up singer. My voice is anything but amazing. In fact, I've recorded myself and trust me, I'm way better in my head than in real life. But I can carry a tune. And I love music. I love what it teaches me. I love how it makes me feel. I sometimes hate what it makes me feel. But mostly, I love it.
I usually start my day silencing the alarm on my phone after "snoozing" for way too long and finding a playlist on Spotify to start my day off. Most days it's my "Stress Relief" playlist or my "Yoga" playlist. On especially lethargic days, it's some "Top Hits" playlist full of stupid Kanye West, Rhianna, and other "musicians" I'm not a fan of. It's also full of energy, so I put up with the musicians I don't like in order to wake up. It's coffee for my ears.
Half the time I don't know who any of these musicians are. I don't look at my phone to see what the track or artist is. I just listen and go through the motions. This morning, however, I should have looked because there was this one song that absolutely woke up my mind on a deeper level. It was a triple shot of espresso to my ears.
The woman was singing about how it was only a month until February, blah, blah, blah, and then there was this line about how she could "carry it" for that long. Who knows, maybe I had too much shower water still in my ears. Maybe I got the lyrics all confused. But that is what I heard. It's what I needed to hear.
I immediately zoned out the rest of the song and started thinking about everything that I'm carrying right now. We all have our proverbial crosses to carry. We all have chips on our shoulders that we carry. We all have burdens weighing on us. We all have that last straw to break our backs. We're all carrying something and we're all probably carrying it up a very steep hill. That makes it seem all the more impossible to carry and we've probably said at least a time or two that we don't know how much longer we can carry it.
Then I started to think about a particular "it" that I'm carrying, how there seems to be no end in sight to when I get to stop carrying it up a hill, and how a few people have asked what I'll do when I keep carrying it into the future. My mindfulness struck me. There is no future in which I have to carry anything. There is only right now. I only have to carry "it" in this current moment. And I can carry it.