Sunday, September 12, 2010

Weekly Reflection (week 35): Cleanse

I have been cherry picking an amazing book I found in the stacks of my local library. I just love it when I find something from my Amazon wish list available in the library! The book is Creative Awakenings by Sheri Gaynor and there is a ton of inspiration to be found inside. She has a process called the EnVision Art of Intention which is a ritualized time to stop, relax, and open oneself up and deeply listen to one's intuition. There are a series of question or prompts you can gently drop into your consciousness when you are relaxed and receptive or you can allow questions and responses to arise. Modifying one of her prompts, I toss into my relaxed mind the question: How can I nourish my creative spirit this month?

There are detailed instructions in Gaynor's book for the entire process and I adapted her steps a bit. After daydreaming with my question floating in the background of my mind, I got up and began to tear images and words out of magazines. Then I glued them into my journal and began to fill in the space with crayon, paint and pen. I really enjoy the process of just letting myself doodle and paint my way towards a formulating an intention for myself.

My intention for September is deceptively simple: empty, cleanse, and open up. I think the emphasis is on the emptying process; I feel I have filled myself with so much in the past months, there is little room for more to be crammed in. The sense of a fresh start appeals to me right now; accepting things as they come for themselves and not feeling a need to pastiche it all together. A strong image during my meditation was a clear wide night sky filled with stars - letting the light in and being filled by it. I also saw a lot of water washing my life clean.

In the journal page I ended up with seemingly contradictory images: a tree forming deep roots and then the rolling energy of a wave. But I know from my yoga practice that we can and often need to hold within ourselves what seem to be contradictory states: expansion and groundedness, opening and drawing in, stillness within movement. Duality has been a theme in my art and in my life lately and I am coming to understand myself as a union of opposites which complete each other rather than compete with each other. I can root down, be grounded and ride that wave. I can settle in and explore. I can find richness within simplicity. As I write this, it all seems pretty elemental but I am experiencing this understanding in a more visceral way.

As I make my final preparation for Squam (I leave on Wednesday) I am aware of preparing myself mentally and emotionally. I want to shed any expectations and open myself up to receiving what will be offered to me. I drew a goddess card to see what energy I need to invoke and as if to confirm my intention for myself, I drew the card Sulis:

"Spend time near water, such as a lake, river, or the ocean, to recharge your batteries." Water represents both a purifying element and the emotions, so in addition to the notion of emptying or clearing myself mentally, I can use this time to help me smooth out any disturbances in my emotional flow. I wrote this and then watched as Cowgirl went through the equivalent of an emotional deluge.

As powerful as her emotional states can be, I know that the end of every storm is a clear sky. Her energy spent, something shifts. A new level of trust and understanding between us but hopefully within herself. Fearful of her intense emotional states, she expresses a desire to flee. I try to help her understand she can move through her feelings and not fear being stuck or overwhelmed. We talked about watching a thunderstorm and how scary it is when it is in full swing, but how it always moves on and we are safe. I am reminded again of duality: holding fear and trust at the same time.

I hope she can learn she may be afraid at times but she can trust she is safe and protected. I realize as I watch her, I too must learn this lesson: giving my emotions their space to flow while knowing that in the end I will not be swept away. Hopefully, I will still be safe and dry inside while the storm rolls by. As I prepare for my adventure, I realize fear and excitement fill me and I am okay with that. I plan on sitting by the lake and allowing its energy to cleanse, soothe and renew me. I can only hope Cowgirl's tears and my embrace did the same for her.

It seems the theme for our entire family these days is an overpowering need to cleanse, rest and retreat:

I'm wet, so off to join Moose for some rest!


  1. The soulfulness of your writing always moves me. In my blogging course we had to list 5 blogs we wish we could be like & why. Yours was one of the ones I chose. This was what a wrote regarding why I chose you: Lis is probably one of my all time favorite bloggers because she has heart and really gives herself to her readers. Every post has depth, authenticity, and soul. I’d like for my blog readers to go away feeling as if they know me and as if I really care about them which is how Lis makes her readers feel.

    I'm envious that you are going to SWAM. This is the one in the outerbanks right? I really wanted to go to that for my bday but with a baby it just didn't seem practical. Maybe another year! Have a great time

  2. I too have been wanting to clean out and simplify in September. The summer was brutally hot and I didn't want to do much. But now that the cooler weather is here, I feel alive again. Have fun at Squam...I heard it is awesome! By the way, have you tried going to for books? I find so many of mine that way. Sometimes you can get really awesome prices on brand new books and even better prices on used ones.