Beauty and the bruise……

Just a little offering
because I want to show up
even thought my shaky places need to wait this week out
so that I have headspace enough for this stormy season with my Dad
who has been in and out of emergency rooms and surgery
in a heavy-hit city,
back and forth in his own crisis during these strange weeks and
I’ve felt vulnerable and exposed and scared to tears at times,
especially as we pick him up from hospital and lean in to support him at home.

So,  no, I’m not eyes-wide-shut to the pain and stress happening
in hospitals and homes.
I have thoughts and will cobble together what’s stirring in my spirit
when I can sit slower in the light.
Just this.  Still this: I believe in beauty more – in the powerful,  life-giving
brave and badass glory of a bigger and heftier Hope.
That’s where my heart makes camp,
even when I feel fragile and fried.

I’ll be back next week with a bouquet of better words:)

“Hold tight the hand that reaches for yours in the storm.”

– I don’t know who originally wrote this.
I penned it in an old journal without quotation marks or name – maybe it’s mine?
My apologies to the author if it isn’t me:)

I’ll be sending a new handmade art journal and some handwritten love
and goodies to Candace Flanagan this week (i added comments from fb to the drawing).
She is dear to me and I’m excited to draw my friend’s name.
Gonna take a little break from the giveaway this week
until I feel less frazzled in the fray.
Love and sweet grace to you all.

Like prayer flags in the wind….

Sharing some of the fresh doors dancing open
during a time when fear and grief rattle the windows.
Some pickings from my gratitude garden:

~ For the sweet taste of clean in the city air.

~ That it feels as if my life has stopped hemorrhaging busyness
and if Springtime has ever been this deeply beautiful before
I sure was zipping past some of the aroma.

~ For the re-think of every little thing I think I need from the store.
The resourceful stretch of that pause.
And also the thrill of need met – the absolute joy
of chives from the garden and that bar of soap from my camping bag.

~ The slow-down and re-center of
don’t lose yourself in the news,
be concerned but not consumed.
and listen deep for Truth instead of blindly buying what they’re selling.

~ Painted pages drying like prayer flags on the clothesline.

~ The sweetness of moms and dads in the forest
with their kids kicking rocks and stacking stones
and laughing with the river as she sings them her wild songs.
It does my heart good to see un-busy kids
soaking up their lessons.
And dear memories stirred of the childhood I gave my own.
(way imperfect but with stones and stories and moss and breezes – lots)

~ the re-visit to unpack and wield some of the tools
I gained while learning how to grieve well –
the holding of paradox  with one wing stretched wide with the pain
and one wing stretched wide with celebration of the beauty,
the beauty that always pulses in every sorrow.
The fresh inspire to stretch wider those wings.
Because flying.

~ The fresh ache of love when we can’t be there to hold and help
my Dad in hospital,
the fresh courage mustered to pick him up and take him home,
again and again,
to settle and see to his care while all of us so exposed,
feeling so vulnerable to the dragon that breathes fire
and how sharp the aliveness becomes
when uncertainty looms so large.

~ For good-smelling things like cinnamon and cilantro and hamburgers on the grill.
(I shall hate the smell of Lysol until I die)

~ The bigger, slower chunks of time to build something new,
to brave new paths,
find fresh ways,
and see with clearer eyes.
To defy.  To shatter.  To dare in a new direction.

“I don’t want to get to the end of my life
and find that I lived just the length of it.
I want to have lived the width of it as well.”
– Diane Ackerman

Congratulations to Jeanie of Marmalade Gypsy – we drew your name for the giveaway this week!
I’ll be sending your package along post haste.
With well washed hands.

Offering up another giveaway this week – this time a cute little purse or backpack sized art journal;
these have become my favorites -so eclectic and inspiring
Leave a comment and I’ll plunk your name in the hat to draw next Wed for a little love bomb.
Be well and brave,  friends.

Let me count the ways…..

When I get into a place where I’m rattling around
inside of my head,  lost in my anxious thoughts,
and long to flow from my heartspace instead,
but
I’m
stuck,
my go-to thing
to slip loose from the noose
is this:

I show up to make a list,
and this feels somehow like a trust-fall back into the flow.
There’s just something about the muse and motion of list-making
that soothes
my
noodle.

So a here’s a process share,  for especially when life can feel
like a slide into the upside down,
and showing up to gratitude feels thin
– maybe riff on some different questions instead.  Like:

~ list what times have I felt the safest;  what sounds and smells do I remember from then?

~ list what made me come alive as a kid;  what made me feel brave?

~ Think of the someones that you love;  imagine money is unlimited
and you have one moving van and can pack it like a freight train to send them.
List what goes in;  pack it tight.

~ Just by writing it down,  you can gift meals to people
for a few weeks.
Hand-delivered with love.
Imagine the menu;  what’s on the list?

~ What do you really want to leave behind after you’re gone;
list your legacy dreams.

~ list what makes your breath go all sweet and easy.

~ who are the people you want to forgive,
(even if you don’t want )
the ones for whom anger feels heavy.
How would it feel if the pain were swept away;
list the ways life may feel different.

~ What do you want to be like at 80.
List the things.

~ What are your dreams/hopes/prayers for someone you love.

~  list every wild,  brave,  fear-defying adventure you’d still like to take.

~ list every time you’ve felt stuck,  even trainwrecked,  and something shifted.
Hope happened.  Wind filled your sails again.
Remember and celebrate.

So list-making is my weird little life hack.
Makes my belly grin peace again
to help my creativity wriggle free.
It’s how I get my groove back
when I’ve gone listless:)
(sorry)

“Astonishing material and revelation appear in our lives all the time.
Let it be.  Unto us,  so much is given.
We just have to be open for business.”
– Anne Lammot

(Congratulations to artist and blogger Suzanne McRae – I drew your name for the giveaway.
I’m sending some love in the mail.
Offering up another giveaway of a handmade art journal
and some note cards and handwritten love.
This post is more tutorial – a little leap for me.  Strange times nudge new ways.
Thanks for reading along; leave a comment and I’ll plunk your name in the hat
with a whole heap of love.

In every wink of light….

When it hurts really bad,  this life
and I’m walking,  sometimes crawling through,
my hands can get to shuddering in the wrestle to lay down the white-knuckled way
I take on when I feel scared,
to get my fingerprints off where I want to wrangle some control,
to fix or defend or self-protect
but the wind whispers first accept
and don’t forget to love it –
Love it good,
this imperfect, raw,  hysterical,
complex,  intricate,  beautiful life.

This life so vulnerable is yours,  Spirit whispers,
for every single hour that you’re given,
yours for all the days that you’re alive…
this gift – be most excellent to it.

Let go the ideal,  the longing for certain and sure.
Let go the push,  the demand,  the rush to get back to what was.
And then love it here and now the way you love on something precious;
don’t leave your one ember of a life untended
like a dog coldly turned out on a lonesome road.
Love it because it’s yours to notice and steward and wrestle and thrill,

and even when it burns and bruises
and gets stalled in overwhelm,
don’t toss stuff and shallow comfort at it,
running away or numbing it down.
(Don’t hunker down inside the news or hunker down away from it.)
Don’t wait this thing out so that you can get back to your life.
Life needs your presence now,
just more of you stretched out on the ground with your face to the sky.
Step back inside your skin and engage,
and life will love you back.

Somehow in the crazy places we can step all over it
like something underfoot.
When you catch yourself un-living,
start breathing again,  breathing all the way down
– breathing to the bottom of your being.
Breathe into your life
and be generous about it.

In all that you’ve lost or left behind
your heart still thumps curious to live these moments,
your soul still here for the tending,
body still hungry to move and yours to feed
and your creativity still wilding to discover and play and please-go-and-see.

And even when anxiety sits stubborn on your chest
and bears down heaviness,
unfold yourself
and choose it again,
in every wink of light
– choose life.

“Every great loss demands that you choose life again.”
– Rachel Naomi Remen

Big love to Susan of Windrock Studio whose name we drew for last week’s giveaway.
I’m doing another this week – another homemade art journal (getting better with each go,  these).
Lots of pages I’ve started for you to explore and riff off of and lots of empty ones for you to fill.
And some handmade cards and bites of art and handwritten love.
Just leave a comment and you’re in the drawing – back next Wed.
With love and big hope.

(I’ll have more art journals for sale up in my etsy this week – baby steps, baby:))

Even song…..

Even when the night dances so dark on your mind
that your peace splinters tears,
when life feels over-budget and over-drawn
but under-spent;
in the ache and stall and prickle
and the fear that can sit so heavy on a belly
that you freeze clear through to your spine,
even then it is there,
rumbling low,
fluttering hope.

In what could quickly become despair
even there a bud burns still inside to open,
to sizzle and surge and batter through rock
and shriek life back into all that has died.

In the stabbing glare of all you may have wished or wasted
or wandered off from,
there’s an epilogue unwritten still
but swirling always fierce with hope
that won’t let go even when you must

It rumbles new beginnings,  new pages,  new leaves and buds and seasons,
that what was lost may still be found,
that what was buried may yet live.

That in all of the loss and leaving,
in the dreams that died in the shell,
your heart is safe to lean in to what’s coming
into the quiet thunder that’s humming
resurrection,
hold steady,
it is well.

“What’s lost is nothing to what’s found,
and all the death that ever was,
set next to life,
would scarcely fill a cup.”
– Frederick Buechner

I’m doing a give-away this week over here (image below)
A little love bomb from Singing River – some handwritten encouragement,
a smattering of blank note cards and envelopes,
and my first homemade art journal.   It’s imperfect but lovely
and just long enough for this strange season we’re in.
All made and sent to you with love and well-washed hands:)
I’ll draw a name from the comments Tuesday night 4/7.
And be back here with another post next Wed.
Sending love and huge hope for you and yours.