Okay, let me back up a bit ... 24 hours ago our house was bubbling with games of hide-and-seek, busy hands making pictures and writing postcards, one Moose dog being loved up by a vivacious 6-year old pixie sprite of a girl, 2 "older" girls with heads bowed toward the other cooking up new antics, and 2 mothers sharing food, stories, favorite films, books and other sources of inspiration along with queries as to how do we put all of this together?
It was the whirlwind of Indie Kindred on tour with Jen Lee.
It was effervescence in action.
Jen and her girls rolled into town late on Tuesday and had barely an hour before guests started to arrive for a screening in my home of Jen's film, Indie Kindred. Fortunately Jen had arranged to stay an extra day to recover from a long day's drive and to rest up for the next leg of her journey cross country. Things moved so quickly, it feels like I dreamed their visit except the house holds the energy of absence and longing.
Amid the carnival environment that results from 3 highly energetic, articulate and imaginative girls, we two mamas were able to slip to the sidelines and sink into rich conversation. There is a cutting out the insignificant and getting to the meat of things which happens best with another who understands the rarity and value of focused attention.
I find myself thinking about my mother's world when I was a child and how every adult I knew I called aunt or uncle. We often gathered as families, the kids left to commandeer the backyard and surrounding neighborhood while the adults congregated around bridge tables or dining room tables. There was always a pair of extra hands ready to help out; we kids had a wide circle of adults looking out for us. Of course half the time those adults were probably drunk - "stoned" my parents would say - but there was a sense of community that I felt lacking in my own adult life.
This Spring and Summer I have been gifted multiple opportunities to be with friends and their families and to have my family blending with another for an afternoon, evening or weekend. More than anything, this rich sense of connection and multiple layers of friendship have fed me in a way I never realized I so sorely missed. But today, in the quiet of an empty house, I am able to clearly perceive the outlines of what I crave: community and connection.
I am able to take a deep breath and feel within me an immense gratitude for the community that miraculously seems to have sprouted up around me over the past 4 years. As we sat in circle around Jen after her film, I saw the separate pieces of my world being stitched together. Friends from my women's circle (who have heard me speak about Jen's works) and family friends all brought together to watch a film celebrating supportive community and deep connection.
We are so much more fertile when we can come together with our ideas and questions, exploring new perspectives or - as Jen puts it - providing a loving mirror for the other to perceive the fullness of their gifts and contributions. While the online world has opened up vast worlds of community and interaction for me, it is moments like the past few days spent in the physical presence of a kindred, witnessing both the sublime and ridiculous moments (besides the upstairs a.c. breaking down, I had a smoke detector with a dying battery chirping instantly as I madly dashed about the house trying to determine which one?! before wrestling with the ladder to climb up and fumble with the blasted cover), sharing meals, sharing family, sharing real moments of precious time with an equally precious friend.
When I think about creative work, I often remember the story about the hen who laid the golden eggs. We are so product and results driven in our culture that we want to ignore the hen and just get to the gold already.
But here's the thing - if you don't keep the hen alive by feeding and nurturing her, the golden eggs stop coming.
You are the hen that lays the golden eggs.
-Jen Lee from Care and Keeping of Creative Souls: A Manual
I believe I feel a cluck coming on ... (and the a.c. man still hasn't called!)
Years ago, I made this picture:
Now look around me and I see many faces smiling at me across the miles and across my living room and I feel fortified and inspired to plug along with The Work that is mine to create and share. This is the message and gift of Indie Kindred:
Indeed, I am holding space for you and I am so grateful for the space you so loving hold for me.