Friday, March 28, 2014

tending to my own knitting ...

admiring yours,
but attempting focus
what is

Preparing this season's garden requires clearing out the debris from previous plantings.  One.Project.At.A.Time.

Finished! Onto the next ...

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

to just STOP

One lesson I try to embody for my girl is the importance of being self-sufficient when it comes to getting one's needs - and desires - met and in tending to  total (mind, body, spirit, soul) self care.  "Be a good friend to yourself," that's what I remind her and myself frequently. I own that I can be indulgent as a mother and as my own BFF.  Like crow, I have a hard time resisting shiny, pretty things.

Sometimes what may seem like an indulgence is actually a vital piece of soul medicine.

I am immersed in Elizabeth Duvivier's course The Magic of Myth.  We don't even have one week under our belts, but oh sisters!  Already it is yielding a lifetime of themes, models, and insights as we examine the story of Psyche and Amor.  This is The Story of stories; the model for so many fairy tales and archetypal struggles and journeys and is proving to be the template for the Heroine's Journey.

Inspiring stuff in the best of times ... and vital metaphor for the dark, dank and boggy passages we - okay, I - find myself in.

fighting the fog - interesting I added leaves falling from my hands

I'm not even sure I can explicate the emotional/psychic/energetic tangle I find myself inhabiting these days.  And I can't totally blame the constipation of the seasons for my torment. 

Somehow my energetic GPS got set to funk.  And I cannot fathom how to change the bloody thing!

I know myself and I know from experience that the only way through some patches is straight through them.  Chin up, eyes forward, march. My problem is rarely do I just walk straight on through.  No, I wave my machete, attempt a few tricky maneuvers, and otherwise flail, grasp, grab and push away.  All the gestures the Buddha has proved lead directly to pain and suffering.

So what am I learning from Psyche's journey?  It is such a rich story and really, we need to sit over pots of coffee or tea to discuss all the juicy metaphors but the core of the story is a young woman's transformation from mortal to goddess (and wife of a god and future mother of Joy.)  On that path she is given 4 tasks or challenges by Aphrodite (the goddess of Love and Beauty can be a vicious and bloody bitch, but that's another theme!) which are downright daunting, dangerous and overwhelming.  What is Psyche's initial reaction to each challenge?  To throw up her hands in despair and look for the nearest cliff to fling herself from.   

I know, not what we might want in a heroine figure.  But each time SHE gives up, a force (ants, an eagle, the voice of the reeds) comes in to assist her. Her first impossible task is to sort a jumbled heap of seeds - lentil, chick peas, millet and poppy seeds - into separate piles.  Hello?!  Sound familar?

In total despair, Psyche sits "motionless, gazing at the stupendously disordered mass." She does nothing; she just sits there.  But then an ant, taking pity upon her, rounds up all his ant buddies and while she sleeps they tackle the job.  

Now, if it were left to me, I would have probably ended up rolling around in that seed pile in a fit of total derangement making the mess even worse.  The gift - the insight - from this tale for me is to recognize when it is best for me to just STOP.

Do nothing.  By not taking action, action (the sorting of the seeds) occurs at a different level.  A level, I might add, which lies outside of our sense of control.  

I find myself at the point in my journey where I am to forge a new pathway.  On my journey, there have been no clear cut routes, no lovely forks in the road and a choice between the left or the right.  No, I appear to be bushwhacking my way through and the trick is intuit which direction calls to me, is leading me further and deeper towards the heart of my forest. 

To hear, I've got to quiet all the voices, the chattering of the inner mob; to know and recognize MY truth, my fortune cookie wisdom, I've got to be still. Wait. Allow. Trust.

And most of all - stop thrashing about.  Cease and decease.  Raise a white flag and offer peace to myself.  The very best kind of self care and comfort.

Weaving in here a current project with my girl - our Comfort Tin (or a wise soul has dubbed it - heart-aid kit

When overwhelmed, it can be a source of inspiration and wise guidance ...

new coordinates for one's energetic GPS

And following my own advice, I'm taking time now to re-program my settings, fill in the gems ...

After pausing, it will be time to clear space, check soil conditions, gather my tools and prioritize what exactly I want to grow - and harvest - in the coming months.  Thinking clearly about the seasonality of my own life ...

Longing has its own secret future destination and its own seasonal emergence from within, a ripening from the core, a seed growing in our own bodies. It is as if we are put into relationship with an enormous distance inside us leading back to some unknown origin with its own secret timing indifferent to our wills, and gifted at the same time with an intimate sense of proximity, to a lover, to a future, to a transformation, to a life we want for ourselves, and to the beauty of the sky and the ground that surrounds us.
(from David Whyte, Longing)

Monday, March 24, 2014

trusting ...

it will arrive 


just not

or even

Spring ... 

I STILL believe

Meanwhile ... the antidote to my malaise is copious cups of tea (thank you Mel!), taking refuge in paint AND in wool (never a lack of knit projects to return to!), and when the going gets tough, I retreat to my cozy bed with heating pad and mystery novel (am a sucker for the Ann Cleeves Shetland novels and Vera Stanhope series both of which have been made into television shows through the BBC so oodles of comfort and fun awaiting me should Spring skip out all-together.)

How are you coping with seasonal bipolarism?  Any miracle cures you are willing to share?

Friday, March 21, 2014

optimistic (finally, friday)

the work of Spring

It's finally Friday ... how has your week been?  Drop a line or link in the comments ... I'd love to see!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


my new Morning Pages Notebook a la Mel with sewn cover

Awesome, really
creative impulse
masquerading as

This morning I awoke to this:

Winter's last and feeble gasp ... it actually helps to abate the fever within. My symptoms: frenzy of new activity;

back view; an impulsive Must Do This Minute project?

resurrection of old projects from the vaults (embroidery, a sweater, a felted bag, paintings, journals) shuffled in with the new; 

ah, a girl rummaging in the paint tub!

eyes wide open to the quiet and boisterous declarations of Spring shaking me to Wake Up!  It is Time to Don Color and Celebrate!

I am learning from The Man II (Mr. Whyte) to cease trying to name what is yet unnameable ... to declare the destination prematurely would be to limit the scope of the journey, pigeonholing myself and any transformation that might occur in the act of striding through this forest of delights (oh, and shadows and strange noises and wonderful birdsong and sunshine through the branches.)

I am welcoming the excursions to shore ... the side trips (This begins on Friday and I don't think I can - or ought to! - resist this and goodness goddess, how can I not want to don gypsy grab and set forth with my adventure journal?)

I blame all this on the worms. The earth waking up, the worms working their magic underground, the green fingers of Spring wiggling their greetings and invitations to me.  Spring fever?  Oh my yes! And I am feeding it!

What has the Worm Moon awoken in you? 

Friday, March 14, 2014

finally, friday ...

Something new ... I am feeling rather Spring-ish!

Each Friday (hopefully, I will remember!) one image celebrating the week, the moment, the days ahead.  Little in terms of words, leaving it open to the imagination.  Ponder your possibilities and share in the comment links to your Friday moment.  Here is mine:

 Let's have a collective celebration. Happy almost Spring! xo

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

how do you feather your nest?

Home has been on my mind these past few weeks.  Not all that surprising given my new elevator rap (you know, your 1 minute introduction spiel) is "I work out of my home ."  Work IN the home, well ... that is another matter.

Through conversation with my women's circle, I discovered many of us use the laundry as a means of jump starting our day.  Being the master of my own time clock, it is challenging to make that shift from bathrobe, slippers, cup of coffee and the morning paper into some form of productivity.  I admit the structure of a job forced me to prioritize my time and not having that container has left me a bit too free-form.

Without realizing it, I've lapsed into a pattern.  Not unlike my dog (who has been very vexed by the changes in HIS schedule; predawn walks a thing of the past and daily schedule anything but regular or predictable) I do crave some routine.  It steadies me, gives me comfort and ease.  Within structure I can let down my hair and go wild! How do I start this frenzied dance of my day?  With a pile of dirty laundry.

I believe this habit started last summer when I was using my drying rack outside (freedom from the tyranny of the dryer and its bell!) and wanted to make use of all the available sunshine.  The pattern is: rinse the coffee cup, open all the window blinds (my main floor has 16 windows!), shuffle upstairs and grab one of three baskets brimming with laundry.  Once a load is in, I can tend to cleaning up myself.  The hum of the washer seems to set the mood for some intense creative thinking, working, doing.

the coffee table is currently serving duty as book-airing out central!  The lidded pan is filled with clay cat litter and a musty book.

I've also been looking around my home and noticing the ways it expresses - or counters - the atmosphere I wish to offer myself, my family and guests.  Standing at my front door, the first thing I noticed was the dying house plant, the blank space upon the living room windows and the lack of color.  My credo is: curiosity, connection and celebration.  Does my living space express those ideals?

I now understand my home to be - like me - a work in progress.  Never to be completed because we - my family - will never cease to be growing, changing, learning or developing.  So how can my home be an extension of that process?

Being the first space we enter when returning home, and the last place we pass through on our way out, the mudroom off of the garage has become a kind of mini-art gallery. Cowgirl & I created a new dreamcatcher to insure what only our good dreams enter the house.  (We have also have a  spirit catcher and a house gnome ... all bases are covered!)

A quick fix was a Spring prayer flag ... I can foresee seasonal additions and having Cowgirl's participation in future installments. 

And more plants! My science-minded husband cannot argue with a NASA-sponsored study on the best plants to improve indoor air quality.  Armed with this list, I am excite to visit the plant nursery this weekend.  A bit of needed greenery will balance out  my wood heavy home! (And while I'm at it, I will get some seed packets and get busy on my herb garden.)

As I move through my day, I periodically pause to see what is in my environment? What is offering me inspiration?  What is reminding me of my intentions, dreams, or aspirations?  I am appreciating how powerful simple gestures can be ... a vase of fresh flowers, a photograph, a painting made by loving hands help keep me tethered and on course.

If you want more inspiration or would love to participate in this conversation, here is a great place to start.

Happy nest fluffing!  It IS almost Spring and the birds and rabbits are getting busy and so should we!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

hope and windows

Lately it seems my mind is fixed upon doorways and windows.

It's been a trying Winter ... only a handful of days left so hope is in sight, right?  Except I seem to recall majority climbers on Mount Everest die in the region just before the summit.  Hilary Step I believe it is called.  But that is a metaphor for another day.

 No, my response to "How are you doing?" in these Hilary Step days is to mangle a favorite line from a John Irving novel, "Still passing the open windows."  Actually, I am glancing out those windows, eagerly awaiting the day I can open them up and air out the mental dust bunnies of my home and head.  To mis-quote another memorable line: Hope Floats. (It is actually "Sorrow floats" - Sorrow being the family's beloved black Labrador retriever stuffed after death, a symbol of hope amid suffering.)  In my case, Hope is a droopy, repotted house plant in shock.  The intention was revival, the outcome remains uncertain.

I can relate.  As I bear witness to the end of another season, another cycle in my life, I am aware of how quickly these months fly by.  My experience is akin to those spiral wishing wells often positioned in the entrance of Children's Museums.  Drop a coin in at the outer edge and it spirals slowly and hypnotically around and around until it reaches a point closer to the center when suddenly it rapidly whips through the few final circles before plunging into the hole and disappearing.  Coin gone, game over.

Being a self-proclaimed optimistic realist, I choose to focus upon the many doors and windows ahead of me.  I just hold a healthy sense of urgency or importance to those choices.

"the doors have always been there/to frighten you and invite you" (David Whyte, Everything is Waiting for You)

There is the moment when I pause, looking back over my shoulder at the doorways I have passed through and remember the ones I passed by. I don't choose to dwell upon regrets except when I catch myself fumbling or stumbling upon another threshold. In the past what has held me back can be boiled down to fear and doubt. Two familiar gremlins who have squatted far too long in the back alleys of my mind.  I have taken time to get to know them - in day light it is amazing how puny and weak they appear to be. Their power resides in shadow and making a mighty racket to camouflage their diminutive stature.  Well, I've cultivated some allies to help me flush these pests out into the open.

All of this is to say, another season and another chance to reach for that brass ring.  Which in my mind is really any gesture of reaching, exploring, trying, daring, believing, doing or tempting that has me stepping through another door.  Or opening a window and leaning out, feeling sunlight upon my face, hearing the bird song, sensing the pulse of the world waking up around me.  

There is no such thing as creative people and non-creative people. There are only people who use their creativity and people who don't. Unused creativity doesn't just disappear. It lives within us until it's expressed, neglected to death, or suffocated by resentment and fear.  Unexpressed creativity is not benign. It metastasized into grief and illness. (BrenĂ© Brown

A great man once said the only true sin is that of an un-lived life. 

There is a secret destiny for each person. When you endeavor to repeat what others have done or force yourself into a preset mold, you betray your individuality. We need to return to the solitude within, to find again the dream that lies at the hearth of the soul. We need to feel the dream with the wonder of a child approaching a threshold of discovery. (John O'Donohue, Anam Cara)

There it is again!  That doorway, another threshold.  

Each time I choose to get up off the couch, to counter inertia with action, to reach for the art journal, paint brush, pen or paper, it is another step through a doorway.  Sometimes I am shuffling ... sometimes all I can take is baby-steps ... sometimes it is a stumbling, lurching kind of movement ...  but whatever the form, whatever the gesture the impulse itself is guided by Hope, Faith and Trust.  

It doesn't have to be complicated.  My faith is in the birds, in the tiny shoots ready to burst through hard soil, in the energy that animates this face, this heart.

My trust is in the cycles and seasons within me and around me.  A trust in myself to spiral closer and closer to my truth, my light, my source.

And hope ... well, he sleeps with his tongue sticking out, he awaits another walk, another day to love and to simply be in my presence.  

Starting soon ... a chance to step through 21 different doorways and create with some incredible teachers and guides.  

On Sale Now! Starts April 1!

I will be there ... and I will be immersing myself in the play, indulging my inner child in discovery and adventure. 

Each day we stand on the edge of a new adventure, possibilities waiting to emerge.  What is germinating right now within your heart, your soul?  How are you tending to it?