Monday, September 19, 2016

filled up *

I was walking Moose dog this morning when I realized, it had been 48 hours since I had last left the house.

And even that excursion (into town for Chinese class with Cowgirl) was the only trip in a week ... I've had a cold which has left me more irritated by the pure exhaustion and not-so-covert message from my body "You think you know what slowing down feels like? Well, let me show you ..." 

I then started thinking about  the fact that tomorrow will mark the 10th anniversary of my father's passing. All this reflection upon cycles of time lead me to thinking about what the past ten years has held for me.

In the past decade, I became a mother and said goodbye to both of my parents. I also lost my favorite aunt (namesake for my Cowgirl), several dear friends and spiritual sisters, and my first (and only) cat of 18 1/2 years and my first dog boy of 14 1/2 years.

The past ten years we moved to our current home, the one we dreamed and designed (and still pay for!)  I rekindled my passion for creating art, studied under some amazing teachers (creative and spiritual) and have crafted a daily practice that reflects, nurtures and holds all of my passions. I have entered menopause and am embracing the wisdom it offers, a creative and spiritual freedom of self-sovereignty. 

I have traveled to new places - China, New Zealand, Bali - and I have returned to favorite soul-home spaces - Cape Cod, Squam Art Workshops, Pacific Northwest, Italy (!) I have made incredible new friends and reconnected with cherished childhood sisters. My circle extends around the globe, a truly mind-blowing thing to consider.

image by Em Falconbridge

I trip myself up by fixating upon productivity -- what have I accomplished? -- and it is the gift of a bird's eye view that helps me shift my understanding. Rather than thinking about  what I've done (although in fairness, I can give myself credit for the many yeses  - and the many goodbyes - that have brought to this place in my life) the reframe that lights me up is this ...

How FULL is my life? 

image by my fantastically talented niece, Alyssa Reiner

How full is THIS life?   

Way full ... and my sacred task is to simply open myself up to it all. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

down the rabbit hole ...

Apparently while I am distractedly exploring my rabbit hole, the real rabbits are taking advantage of the salad bar I've conveniently potted and maintained for our mutual  enjoyment. 

I paint the nasturtiums before they eat them. I suppose it is a balanced exchange?

I have had an epiphany of sorts during some recent rabbit hole spelunking. (If you know me at all, you will understand my tendency to depth-dive results in "duh" moments transformed into a-ha! insights; and for my next trick I shall be spinning straw into gold.) I am an over-thinker (not the a-ha! or duh) and the exhaustion of chasing my own tail has lead me to quietude.  I find hard, physical labor helps here (exhaustion quiets the mind) and frequent retreats into Nature do much to balance out thinking and being. What I understand now from the vantage point of total collapse and surrender (hello, Menopause!) is the lunacy of believing my task is to create deep meaning and purpose through my life.

Now, I can live my life with purpose and meaning, but it seems utterly arrogant to maintain it is my job alone to endow it all with deeper significance or importance. It occurs to me that this notion is unique and specific to human beings in general and is part of our burden having been kicked out of The Garden.  

I plant, water and feed and obsess over my nasturtiums and the rabbit comes along and eats them. Who is the dumb bunny here? This being human - by which I mean walking around believing myself to be so bloody influential and important - is exhausting work. I don't mean to downplay the responsibility we humans have for our impact upon the planet - our destructiveness is due in no small part to our stubborn clinging to the notion of ourselves as separate and outside of Nature. 

And there I go again, believing I need to say something important. This is my a-ha! - my clinging to the belief that I need to be or at the very least appear to be important to matter. I mean, everything and everyone matters. The rabbit, the nasturtium, me ... we are all equal here. But living with such gravitas, ack!  I am mindfully cultivating a lightening up, a freeing up and an opening up of heart, mind, spirit. 

I start my days outside on my patio with incense and prayers of thanks. I often linger to watch the antics of the hummingbirds at the feeder.  Thinky thoughts have their place, but they can muck up the transmission of such magic.

I meditate daily to help me listen deeply and to relax.  I gather my art supplies and I draw and paint ... clouds, trees, butterflies, birds, Moose-dog ... whatever lights me up and fills me up. 

I head to the park regularly to walk and listen and look. I still look for meaning, hoping to add to it through my attention and attentiveness But I am wanting to hear the stories that exist outside of my human mind: the stories of the lake and the land, the Great Heron and the trees, the prairie plains and the skies.  


I believe we live in a web of meaning and importance and my role is not so much to be fashioning it, but surrendering to it. 

I've missed coming to this space and sharing my experiences, sharing the magical moments that are occurring all around me. I've labored under the belief I must justify my taking up space and time by offering something meaningful or purposeful


I am here. I am filling up my sketchbooks and filling up my eyes and my heart. Allowing it all to spill out as I fill up again.  What I have to share matters to me. It is all I can and want to do. And that is enough.  

So I may be diving down more rabbit holes or slipping off into the woods on a regular basis, but my intention is to share those moments. I mean, who am I to hoard what is being offered with such immense generosity and joy?