Monday, March 7, 2011

Monday Inspiration: overload!

lemurs on a hot summer's day

This was in my inbox this morning:

Low days exist to remind you that you still have choices.

High days, Lisa, exist to remind you of how fast you rebound...
among other things.

The Universe

Oof! Thank you Universe for filling me in on how things work.

I'm not even sure I have much to share today. I am feeling a kind of creative hangover akin to the "all you can eat" buffet binge hangover where even jello with mini marshmallows and mandarin orange slices looks good and ends up on the plate, jiggling next to the heap of mashed potatoes AND tater tots. (yes, I love my potatoes in all forms!)

It's not even all the great projects and technique ideas that leap out at me from my skimming of my favorite blogs - things tempting me when I have more than enough on my plate to explore and play with - although that too can be hazardous to my creative health. It is the periodic rising of the flood of "Live your Dreams" kind of essays, events, and courses that seem to sweep through my orbit of things. Don't get me wrong - these things are fantastic, they are all about helping to empower us to make change, take charge and transform ideas into reality. I've probably participated or followed the bulk of them and they have made a difference in my creating this life I want to live. But there are potholes to be aware of and I think I fell in one this past weekend.

It is the "I could be doing more" and "I need to reach higher" line of thinking that such topics engender. Okay, so I am listening and watching the Right-Brainers in Business Webinar and there is great stuff in it. Inspiring, enthusiastic, empowered creative beings generously sharing their wisdom and encouraging us to get our dreams and ourselves out there. All of which gets my mind reeling - what is it I have to offer that is worthwhile and inspiring? How can I put myself out there? And what exactly is it that I'm supposed to put out? My unique self - myself as a brand? I get that concept, I really do but I keep envisioning myself as a walking trademarked logo ... it just doesn't sit well with me. It is like trademarking of yoga. There is a conflict in there, somewhere.

Or maybe it is just my resistance to believing myself to be worthy enough?

Months ago, I had this little insight that what I really wanted to do with my life was to create a beautiful and love-filled life and world for my family and myself. I come back again and again to this notion of living a good life. Can that be enough? I think these "realize your dreams" programs cause me to question myself and doubt the legitimacy of my dreams. Or rather, they cause me believe I need to Super Size my dreams and creative ambitions.

Okay, so I am in a complete tangle of thoughts and oddly enough, help arrived in the form of a right-brainer's tool: Mind mapping. One of the presenters talked about having a metaphor for the life one wants to inhabit. The image of an English garden popped into my head. That is how I want my life to look and feel! This richly varied, controlled wildness which does exist within a structured layout. There is a sense of easy meandering, discoveries, quiet spaces for contemplation, and an abundance of plants which may seem random, but are carefully laid out and organized for a natural effect. At the heart of my garden are my core values and priorities; surrounding the whole are the practices and relationships that support me and which define or shape my garden, my life.

I see within the space of my garden - my life - many beds of interests, study, projects - my dreams - but existing in relationship to the overall plan. My role is the head gardener who must take time to step out and survey the whole before moving in to attend to an individual bed. Each section has its own cycle of seeding, growth, flowering, and then being fallow. Discovering and understanding the natural cycles and rhythms of each section and how it relates to those around it is key to my finding balance within my life. My goal is creative sustainability and organic growth.

The garden as a symbol represents safety, a reminder of eden and the peace that is to be found within all of us. It is a refuge and a place for reflection, contemplation and enjoyment of the beauty and joy to be found in this life. It is about the present moment - the blooms that exist right now but which soon will fade. It is about savoring and embracing change.

This is my vision for myself. Totally unmarketable, none the less it is a worthy endeavor. Can you imagine a whole world filled with all of our gardens well tended and in bloom?

I don't know why this all comforts me so. I guess the chaos of my creativity needs to be balanced by some sense of control. And this is why my garden map (still to be created) and guide call to me. So excuse me while I go and engage in some therapeutic scissor and colored pen play.

But I ask you: when do we finally rest in the comfort of knowing we are enough? Maybe I need to consult with the lemurs.


  1. oh, i love your garden! Lis, what a fabulous beautiful creation! i can picture it now. i love gardens too, a colorful, quiet, abundant microcosm of the world, and now, much thanks to you, a microcosm of you and me and each of us.

    thank you for such wonderful inspiration!

  2. oh LIS!!! yes, yes, yes YES!!!!!!!!

    we are SO walking the same road...or at least parallel garden is a tad less orderly than yours LOL...but OH YES!! THIS is what i've been chewing over this last while...this whole notion of 'marketing' our creative selves as if that's the next step...i, too am being bombarded with all this and quite frankly, it leaves a nasty taste in my mouth.

    i really question the way it's all going....should we not be working towards those beauty-filled lives of lovingly tended gardens instead of trying to turn art into just another factory-farm? I'm really struggling with this.

    of course, of course there's room for all of it...and we need the people who are out there blazing a more 'marketable' trail and i'm very thankful for them....but i'm glad to know i'm not the only one who doesn't really want to become one of them...


    i love, love, LOVE this post...LOVE IT!!! thank you for putting it into a more coherent perspective and I feel more comforted as well....for knowing that tending my own little patch of wonder is quite sufficient...and yes, enough.

    much love...xoxoxo

  3. oh mel, i realized later i needed to mention your blog posts ( and your friend Sarah's ( that have encouraged me to pause, consider what is going on, and question some of my reactions. Yeah, i was getting all dissatisfied with my life and then realized how crazy that is ... so much has changed for me in the past two years and it has been amazing. as i've said before, i don't want my creativity to become an escape from my life ... like yoga, i believe the two are not merely things i "do" but states of being.

    that said, are you ready to purchase my "design your creativity garden" vision board kit? i'll give you a discount ;)

  4. great reminder of what goes on in life to get us to 'remember' and consider our choices :) You have an interesting take on the concept of why identify and build dreams, I hadn't thought of it like this but I can understand why you would feel like this. There are times when I need to plan, dream, do and there are times when I wonder what on earth I am doing, quite funny really, the change. I like your dream pages and the idea of a garden.

    I sometimes crave for a time when I simply stop thinking and just be and do!



  5. Lis, thank you, I feel as if you have expressed so perfectly what I have been struggling with for a long time. I think that the work that we do, the art we make, the book we write, the play-- the whatever it is-- springs forth from us because we have to create it. The story must be told, the painting must appear. The idea of somehow wanting to market ourselves and be all we can be makes our ego the boss. I think we as artists as creative people must devote ourselves to the journey and allow whatever comes of that to emerge. It's like Yoga. It is Yoga. If we write a best seller it is a bonus. It should not be the intention.
    There is something so false in that. Did Van Gogh think of marketing himself? The art led him. His soul led him. His passion led him. He was compelled by something deep within to paint. Selling art is another story, another journey, being recognized, rewarded, all that-- may or may not be part of the journey we are on. We can't allow that to be the intention and stay true to ourselves.

  6. Dear Lis-I love your garden metaphor...and I can see you BLOOMING! Yes! I can!! To answer your question..."When do we realise we are enough?"...for me, it came after the birth of Tara. I realised that if I wanted her to know she was enough, I had to be enough. Absolutely, no compromise on that. Because if I didn't feel enough, worthy, whole...then no matter what I said to her...she would feel the exact same way.
    I am sorry to hear that Cowgirl is already (at 6 years old!!!) wanting to be a boy!!! Where does that even come from? I certainly know that there isn't any boy wanting to be a girl!!! At any age!!
    I also wanted to thank you so much for the amazing GODDESS comment you left on my blog last week. Have been swamped over here with BYW e-course + Tara had a fever last week etc. and have not had a chance to write you. I hope to meet you one day too...Goddess to Goddess:) Oh! I have your interview questions and will email them to you in the coming week. Oh! I also asked Rita for her recommendations on raising strong daughters...will let you know when I do that post although I know you have a firm grip on that!! xxx

  7. I don't know how I missed this post, but I did. So glad I found it! An English garden is a beautiful metaphor for the riot of color and scent and bloom and growth that is you. Overload! Overload! So easy to do when there is so much there. Love those turquoise Converses too. And gotta love it when the Universe boings you upside the head. Now, why didn't I see "that" before? The Universe can get soooo personal!

  8. I too have been enjoying the RBBP summit. The metaphor for your life being an English Garden is just awesome. Thanks for sharing all you do.