Twenty-eight and ‘Golden Hour’ in Pisces Season

Old soul, waiting my turn
I know a few things, but I still got a lot to learn

If there’s any artist or album I’ve had on repeat for the entire month, it’s Kacey Musgraves’ Golden Hour.

I’ve always been a big fan of acoustics, country music and a heart for good storytelling, that upon first listen to Kacey’s songs, her music hit so much coming from a girl you feel you could relate to. I never gave Kacey much of a listen until recently, and I have to say, I haven’t felt so connected to an artist in a very long, long time.

(She blew up in 2018 with this album, which has then won her several Grammys.)

You know the bar down the street don’t close for an hour
We should take a walk and look at all the flowers

I was taking my daily walk around the reservoir after a long day’s work on the first of March, logging my 10k and listening to Spotify on shuffle, as the sun was out and I was breathing that reservoir air when her song “Slow Burn” came on.

From then on, I’ve been hooked.

And when that happens, the music suddenly becomes the soundtrack for this period in my life.

There’s so much I could say about the past year. Since leaving home four years ago as a bright-eyed 24-year-old striving and itching for life, love, experience and all, all the growth and experiences and people I’ve met and shared moments with have been so pivotal to my journey to become the woman I am today.

I am proud of the woman I am. I am embracing all she is. I have so much love for her and for that young, naive girl I once was, who tried so hard to do so much and be so much, yet she already knew who she was all along.

I often look back at the past few years as chapters in my life to growing up, growing more and more into my own, learning to unlearn and learning to express myself more freely, that I’ve found the more I’ve taken ownership for myself and my life — learning to fully support and care for myself — the more grounded, real, and free I felt.

I did the work. I decided to roll up my sleeves, do the dirty work and actively act on what I wanted to change. I held strong to my personal boundaries, time and energy, got realistic with what works for me, and paid attention to how my mind, body and soul all connect.

Sometimes, you’ve just got to go back to the basics. And for someone who gets so lost in her head and seems to always have her “head in the clouds,” this grounding has been pivotal for me.

It was just about letting go, letting be, smelling the flowers and enjoying everything in stride. And honestly? That’s all I could ever want.

As an artist, I’ve found that the most successful and creatively free individuals are those who are able to balance their free time and their work. Our society has placed an unhealthy expectation on “grind culture” — the constant need to be working and pushing yourself to productivity’s end — that we become slaves to it.

If there’s anything my day job has taught me, it’s that money can shut you up and that time is truly money. That time robs you of your energy, as some days you feel defeated, tired and can’t come to your passions from a good place.

When we’re operating from a place of pure joy and selflessness, that’s when the real magic happens.

I’ve grinded so much in my life that when I turn to my loves and passions now, I’ve adopted an “idgaf” mentality, because I’m not expecting anything of it anymore. I just do it because I damn love it.

I had a lovely twenty-eighth birthday as I was, yet again, showered in unexpected love and joy. Birthdays can often make me anxious, and as I spent the past two years in some slight drunken-ness and debauchery, a more intimate one, my way, was called for.

Thank you to those who have shown me their love and rung in this new year with me, with this beach-ridden sun-tanned #shamelessselfie and an array of self-care, flowers, cake and drinks. I’ve appreciated it all, more than you know. From the unexpected post-work brewery hang and enlightening creative talk with B the weekend before, to a sleepless late night holding down beers with an old coworker, to the trip to the beach turning into a birth-night love night with Ru to ring in my day, to the unexpected flower delivery, cake, weed, sushi splurge and friends who wanted to laugh the night away with me. The birthday meals, surprise gifts, visits at work from Kev and Emil that make my day through tough weeks, the very talented star chef and artist that is Justin Peach Peach who brings a light to my eye, to the very telling and eye-opening trip to my first psychic gifted by my bandmate and friend Kaitlyn, to the many Rue the Band virtual gigs (3 in the span of 1 month?! “You’re glowing,” an old friend would say), my coworker Brian’s constant musical assurance, my coworker Chris’ incessant sweetness and friendship, and the nights I have stomach-curling belly laughs and smiles and high speeches where my mind opens up…

I love it. I love it all.

I have been feeling powerful lately (minus my many recent nights where I sit up late at night thinking of all the things I want to do, have to do, and frustrated I haven’t done yet); and I think this overall feeling is testament to the work I’ve done within to show without.

A new friend I made recently who visits me at work told me, “You have this pleasant aura, and it’s really good to be around.”

I told him, “Thank you. I’ve been hearing that a lot lately and I don’t really know why.”

“You just have this ease to you. And you get it. I know you get it. I can feel it from you.”

We went on to talk about our quarantine journeys and how for many people, life slowed down, yet for me, I only felt it speed up. This period has showed me just how much I am capable of and how I can navigate through tough times with a damn resilience, and how all those years of sitting in and with my thoughts only allowed me to be more at peace with myself, tend to myself, and smell the flowers in a world where chaos just continues to swirl around.

I found joy in the little things. My life became simpler. And it is within that simplicity that I found and returned to my power.

I strongly believe in the yin-and-yang of life. The light and the dark. The good and the bad. I’ve always felt myself to be a light in this world — a ray of sunshine, positivity, warmth and love. And they say you can’t know light without dark. “Without suffering there would be no compassion,” as a Jamie Sullivan once said in A Walk To Remember.

I feel if it weren’t for all my hardship, struggle, perfectionist and self-criticizing nature I’ve bore with me, as well as the strains of loneliness, misplacement and a love lost that I’ve had during my early days in LA, my experience wouldn’t be as colored as it is today.

“Life gives you character,” my friend told me. “It’s a testament to your character.”

I love this month and time of year because there’s a certain energy that comes with your birth month being women’s month and Pisces season.

I’ve learned to flow. I’ve learned to live and love and ride with my emotions and not take myself so seriously. I find we can often get caught up in the little things that don’t really matter, that we lose sight of the bigger picture.

As I was going down a Musgraves spiral on YouTube, one user’s comment stuck out to me, to which we exchanged in a beautiful e-mail exchange: “Beautiful voice and energy… Beauty is a sign of being chosen for something bigger, it’s most of the time a burden,” he said of Kacey. He then told me, “You are beautiful Rachel! But you are so much more beautiful that you present. You have a great calling.” 

Northern lights in our skies
Plants that grow and open your mind
Things that swim with a neon glow
How we all got here, nobody knows

As I was taking yet another walk around the reservoir, I couldn’t help but take in the sights.

Some days the sun just hits. The neighborly streets empty out during a lazy midday stroll. You gaze at the trees on the path, the water in the distance. The light shines through the leaves perfectly, leaving trails of light touching your skin just right. You hear the gentle murmur of cars and individuals running or walking their dogs. There are footsteps on the dirt path. You tug at your face mask as the dust settles. You let out a quick breath.

Oh, what a world, don’t wanna leave
All kinds of magic all around us, it’s hard to believe

Life is f**king beautiful. And I think it’s important to realize that from time to time, because life can get hard and it can be scary as there’s so much violence and unfair treatment that continues to happen. But it’s important we all try to do and be our best to those around us, and to help those around us be their best selves, in turn.

It’s a chain reaction. And this life is f**king short.

“If you can recognize the blades of grass, the flowers in nature, that’s a good sign because it means you’re still full of life.”

Live your life now. Make it a point to show up. Be excited about something. Smoke a joint (lol), have a drink, hug a stranger, spend time with a lover, travel (as far as you can)… Just be responsible. And be a good human.

I know I probably sound like I get high a lot, but in actuality it’s pretty rare for me. I love it, endorse it, am all for natural herbs and remedies and an overall holistic approach to life and wellness.

When you’ve done the inner work, the output shows.

So what’s next? Well, I think it’s time (and been time) to get my stories out… Those long-term projects and life and creation. To freely express and be. And continue to vibrate at this frequency.

The world is looking up again–
And I’m looking at you, to join.

And to end with my all-time favorite jam and anthem of this time:

With love and honesty,

Rachel

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