getting gritty……


Can I tell you why I’m here each day this month?

A cluster of white clouds scroll across an uncanny blue sky
as I lay still,  skywatching,   for a brief brush of bliss.
It’s a rare slice of glory,  these lay-me-down moments;
I’ve been working hard this month to rest and heal the tired of me.

For many months I’ve wanted badly to lay some of my work down,
feeling so deep the need to re-set to rest,  body and soul.
But I’m in debt.
The kind that doesn’t feel fair,
and I’m in because of a million reasons
that are both good and clumsy

I finished July tight with ache  needing to grieve it out,
feeling a bit as if I was dangling, white knuckled, over despair.
So tired.
I’ve worked hard to live simple and want even harder to let the writer in me lead,
to earn a living making art that doesn’t need pruning or get yellow jacket nests
or disappear if it gets too dry or too wet.
But this business that  I love and hate with it’s hard work,  and lots of it,
seems a necessary dailyness in my life right now until I can see another,  truer way.
(Thank God for tomorrows).

So August loomed before me threatening…..the heat, humidity, hormones,
my resentment, my fatigue,  my big gaping need
….it felt like it would roll me.
What could I lay down?
One night as I wrestled and tossed and tagged heaven in,
the idea flashed by my mind like a deer darting past my window
“…..just do a little more,  instead”

“Dive down deep and write it out  daily and post to keep accountable.
The goal is rest and I’m a mess…..what if I write more,  not less.
Go exploring to find the truth of how I got here,
lose the blame and actually learn something.
You know,  get some forgiveness done,  some healing,  some help,
figure out how to thrive in even this.
Cause even though I’m feeling chained,  we carry our freedom inside ourselves
and that’s where I’m exhausted,  so go there.”

August has been work harder and more and also
show up to this slow,  awkward,  painful act of liberation
and put it out there for someone else to read
so I can’t hide in self pity and excuses
and you know what?

I feel rest.

Even though I’ve not vacationed and the work remains the same,
I’ve a lighter heart than I’ve ever known
and seeing more clearly what I’d been sleeping through before
And it’s sweet thick grace to not live helpless and exhausted and mad
and to grow from mistakes and maybe share some wisdom in the falling forward.

…..your comments and messages have been light and breath to me.
I’ve loved it,  each time you come around:)

“debt,  n.  An ingenious substitute for the chain and whip of the slavedriver.”  -Ambrose Bierce

“A man in debt is so far a slave.”  –  Ralph Waldo Emerson


  1. Elephant's Child on August 24, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    It has been such a privilege to journey through August with you. To travel through fears and courage, and to emerge with sounder footing and a hopeful heart. Thank you. So very much.

  2. Barbara on August 24, 2013 at 11:12 pm

    Jennifer, I totally understand. This is exactly why I make time for my writing, blogging, and photography even when…or I should say, especially when, time is short because of other demands, like a job that doesn’t totally fulfill, so it depletes. It’s hard to explain to anyone, but you’ve done a fabulous job. Thank you!

  3. Suzanne McRae on August 25, 2013 at 9:18 am

    Thank you Jennifer for sharing the truth of what you are living at this time. How you have chosen to work through your feelings by writing about it, is simply brilliant. You are inspiring me to go and dive deeper and to write more since I have done the opposite and pulled back and am not getting very fast to that place of peace that I desire. I need to go and read your August posts. I believe that I have missed something awesome with you sharing about your unfolding journey. May you find all the healing and rest that your soul is yearning for. Much love to you! xo

  4. S. Etole on August 25, 2013 at 9:21 am

    Thank you for braving your soul as you lay it bare and find rest.

  5. Kathy on August 25, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    Gritty, brave, strong, wise…going where the pain is…and lighting it up. I like that, not living in fear. I am sending you loving light thoughts, Jennifer. I feel some of that same ache, wanting to retire from the job that changed so much, it threatens to suck the light out of me, where just a few short years ago, it was how I described myself. I want this feeling of my eternal summer…to paint, to meditate, to putter around as the mood strikes me, to nap, to take care of my Mom…but, there are the bills and that health insurance! Anyway, I ramble. Peace to you, you tend your garden so well. K

  6. mary on August 25, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    brave, brave Jen!

    so often when it’s hard we do anything to not feel it…to turn to other things that mask the pain for a time (but it doesn’t go away does it) the brave thing, the only thing that leads to healing and freedom is to face the what is!

    “Lay before Him what is in us, not what ought to be in us.” C.S. Lewis

    what is…

    you my friend, bless us by sharing you!

    love, grace and peace to you!

  7. Donna on August 25, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    I like the idea of going within…maybe I will find the strength to do this once the weary work with no time off is shaken off.

  8. Donna on August 25, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    I like the idea of going within…maybe I will find the strength to do this once the weary work with no time off is shaken off.

  9. Liz on August 25, 2013 at 8:31 pm

    oh Jen, how I know this heaviness, the suffocation of it, the fear…..I’ve made so many “Big Sudden Movements” over the last couple of years that have just left me in a pile of ashes……..everything went up in smoke……..

    ….starting from scratch again…..

    wishing beauty for both of us (and, heck, let me throw this utterly irresponsible brazen wish out: I pray for a couple a big silver platters for us……I think God still has those up his sleeve…the worst he can say is no……maybe He’ll even say yes…….what a Grace that would be…)

    climbing with you, Jen,

  10. Michele Bergh on August 25, 2013 at 10:13 pm

    Oh, I love this! I can relate to how you feel. Earlier this year, I started playing more and things have continued financially on the same level but I’m working a lot less. The writing I’m doing right now, may not be a huge deal, but it feels GOOD. I feel rested and I look forward to spilling my soul…sharing with others. I noticed you were posting more often and I so enjoy reading your posts. Thank you for all you do. Here’s to you finding the perfect balance to feed your soul.

  11. Kathy Anne on August 26, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    I’ve been here. Taking it all in. Your truth. Your courage. Your healing. I try to get cozy and quiet before I read your prose. Keep sharing, friend.

  12. jeanie on August 27, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    Oh, Jennifer — this is absolutely beautiful. I never knew WHY you were doing this. But I knew it was something you had to do. For our own reasons. You didn’t need to share, but I am glad you did. And I am even more happy that it is bringing you the rest, the healing, the joy, the love that you need.

    Every day a little. The thing is — you may be the one getting the benefits you signed up for. I am the one getting the benefit of languishing in your joy, your discovery, your questions that mirror so many of mine. I am growing with you. And for this I am grateful.

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