When silence boils over and tears catch fire…..

 

Sometimes the grief sits so low in my voice
that I can only lift one finger slow to say thanks
and I must,
must let it twitch breath enough
into the heavy
until my heart starts to rise
to meet the moment
so that my life,
doesn’t close down
in a silence
that can
sink
me

if
I
don’t
grab hold the line
that the gratitude tosses me.
It’s in the thank you that the wind begins to fill me again,
gives me fresh eyes to see again the kind heart thumping grace into places grown thin.
Here I’ve landed tonight and I want to share this safe place I’ve pulled into for my soul to park
while healing prayers rise.

Feel free to share the space and rest here with me
giving thanks for

~ the big rip – the yanking off of this social band-aid
in not allowing us to cover over the wound any longer
with our hasty bandages,
grateful even for the howl of pain that shakes us to either look up and deal
or acknowledge that we choose to diminish
a bleeding human heart
(multitudes of them).

~ For leaders who get down on their knees
to scoop up the tears of the brokenhearted
and walk alongside to protect their voices,
even when those leaders must rise to protect the peaceful
in order that their voices not be
de-legitimized
by those who’ve gotten lost in the pain.

~ for voices that heal,
that respect our humanity even at our most broken.
Who refuse to demonize, to de-humanize – who hold fiery prayerful vigil in their hearts
for the right,  for the left,  for our leadership,
for people of color,  for people who are white,  for the oppressed
and for their oppressors.
For those who will not hate even though it cost them.

~ For those who keep a loving foot on each side of the political chasm.
For the bridge-builders,
the peace-makers
who perch that brave spot of tension
and reject assumption
in order to deeply listen.
Who are breaking up with being driven by agenda.

~ for
“I don’t know.”
“Help me understand.”
“Tell me more.”
”  Keep talking.  I’m not going anywhere.  Still here.  I’m listening.”

~ for every prayer rising
for leadership,
for solution,
for healing change.

~ For every heart that refuses to stop breathing hope
even when you lose it again and again.
God,  it’s so brave to hope again.
To defy disappointment and
take on hope
like a boat going down
in a storm of mercy.

And while I’m grateful also for wildly green ferns carpeting the forest floor
and the first little cucumber sliced warm into my salad
I will keep this back right now in this space
and sit instead with my white heart open to listen and learn
what my privilege may have not let me see.

“Love is creative, understanding goodwill for all men.
It is the refusal to defeat any individual.
When you rise up to the level of love,  of it’s great beauty and power,
you seek only to defeat evil systems.
Individuals who happen to be caught up in that system,  you love,
but you seek to defeat the system
…..inject within the very structure of the universe the very strong and powerful element
of love.”
– Martin Luther King
(from his sermon “Loving your Enemies”)

Barbara Shallue, your name came up from the hat – big grin to send you some love.
One more giveaway this week – fresh new journal to share
Leave a comment and your name is in.

Riding sweet wild holy air…..

During these days of strange things
I’ve fallen deeper in love with creativity,
with that thing that draws us into collaboration with God,
for the way it goes like flutter and flight and drift and wings
that spirits through the fingers of strangling things,
to that free-at-last feeling of s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g out cramped ways
been folded up tight too long.

That there’s no bottom to this bucket,
no scarcity to this well,
that it’s endless flowing fountain
even when we’re blocked or can’t seem to tap in,
it’s worth wooing,  worth investing in,  worth cultivating wholehearted
until it bubbles up and breaks through as we lean in thirsty
and wait with open hands.

I’m learning more to be tender with my creativity, as if with a bird on my shoulder
that I’m mindful not to fluster or fritter away
on worry or numbing or energetic drains
but to respect,  to steward like this amazing inheritance
that I dare not waste on catastrophizing or blame.

These are days to re-imagine,
to deep-dive to see what may could be
and I feel as if I’m turning the whole weight of my being into wooing
this costly friendship with Spirit
to go a little more weightless in that place where solution gets born
where unfettered things set their wings
and ride fierce and soft and surrendered
this sweet wild holy air.

“That cannot be.
Unless it could!”
– from Alice in Wonderland

Big grin to Gwen Lily that your name jumped up in the drawing;
go on over to my etsy shop (on sidebar) and pick out a journal and I’ll send it right out to you.
I want to give another away this week – these are turning out so much better now that I’ve
ironed out some glitches and I’m loving the making!
I hope the sparkle I felt while creating them lingers long on the pages:)

Leave a comment and you’re in the hat for next week.

(Every page, for me,  is poetry and prayer
that solution gets born in fierce and freeing ways
in leadership for change in every nook and cranny of this world)

Like sea glass on the sand…..thank you notes

Heart thumping grateful for the light bouncing potent off of these shards of beauty
like hard-buffed sea glass on the sand:
As the storm storms on….

~  Thank you farmers and makers and artists and shakers
for collaborating with God to keep us nourished body and soul.

~ Thank you,  creation,   for being beautiful in complexity and paradox.
You can be gorgeous beyond belief and also mean and merciless
and still
the realer reality
of strong Compassion
sweeps over you a healing tide
and restoration can happen like the morning

~ Thank you for “I wonder where the storm will take us.”
For those who can sit with the unknown.
I appreciate more than ever you who will hold space for uncertainty.

~For the stars and moon so talkative some nights that it’s hard to sleep
and for brand new days for our tired old ways,

~ For heart-claps and joy that gives mad strength,
joy that isn’t pissed away by “what about this.”
Joy that trusts defiant,
that prays brave and surrenders it fierce,
whatever can’t be fixed or found.

~For the just right blend of beauty and bounty and broken and wisdom and whiskey and weird
for my cup of tea.

~ Thank you,  those who release life-giving prayers into the heavens,
how those prayers rise the way the wind kisses dunes with salty breath,
or like the birds who seem to be born out of mist
and fly into the burning sun.

~ Thank you,  pain and pressure and perplexities.
For how “we never know the wine we are becoming while being crushed like grapes.”
(thanks,  Henri Nouwen)

~ Thank you paypal and Vinmo and all of the things;
you do make the clockwork run a little smoother.

~Thank you flowers and Spring bloomers for how ya’ll keep talking up a hopeful storm,
making music like the birds who just keep singing.

~ Thank you,  steep and slippery technical learning curves,  for being just barely do-able.
Eventually.  Like climbing a greased pole.  Or a violently swinging rope.
You’ve brought my jagged edges to the surface for some needed polishing.
And brought me to Pepcid AC.  And an entire box of cherry blow pops.    Thank and #@*~ you.
But mostly thank you.  Really.

~ Thank you, fluff on TV,  for not satisfying.
For leaving me feeling “meh” and hungry for the pure raw presence of realer things.

~ Thank you,  Amazon,  for bringing the supplies,
for helping makers make the things we’re making.
I’m thinking you were born for such a time as this.

~Thank you,  biased journalism,  for playing so openly the political blame game;
you’ve goaded us to deep-dive for wisdom and discernment
because sanity can’t thrive in the confusion you’re selling;
thanks for overplaying your hand.

~ thank you also to the orchestrators of conspiracy theories
for making the media’s agenda look,  well,  less crazy than the one you’re hocking.
For oversimplifying the complex by trying to sell us a house made of tinker toys
when we need to build safe shelter.

(You both make me appreciate the beauty in the gray – the strength of both wings spread strong)

~ Thank you to the builders to the ones who know they see only in part.
Who know that their knowledge is incomplete.
Thanks to you,  humble ones,  who get that their perspective may be off,
who listen deep and long and well.
Cheers to the listeners – I celebrate you.
You are bright beings in dark places
and we need you big.

~ And thanks to all the servant-leaders doing awesome jobs
in homes and communities,  taking initiative in beautiful and creative ways
– for listening and leading in Love,
for being stability
in this thing we’re all doing for the first. time. ever.
( whoever and wherever you are…in whatever capacity,
your influence is light).
To you,  gracious ones,
Thanks for the space you’re holding for our differing levels of fear and uncertainty,
for not being terrified into verbal violence.
Like one of my favorite hearts wrote,
“Moral outrage is the opposite of God.”
(Gregory Boyle)

Thank you for not demonizing human beings.
You help keep our sails mended so that when the wind rises
we all rise and meet the waves together.
You are our ticket for safe passage.
Healing balm for broken hearts.
And you make it safe to step into the arena
where solution gets born.

~ Thank you,  dear Comforter,  for drawing near to anyone who asks,
that your response to tragedy and loss is always to share the pain,
to offer deep friendship.
Tearful thanks for your sweet presence;
that we are held.

“What good is a half-lit life?
You can burn me to ashes as long as I know
we lived a life alight.”
– Tyler Knott Gregson

Thanks for reading my thank you notes – it’s been a soothing way to process the
weight of the weeks.  And to draw out the bits I want to save forever
up against the warm thump of my heart.
Another giveaway again this week!
One of the art journals from my etsy shop on sidebar.
Whoever wins the drawing can choose:)
Next Thursday,  May22.  Leave a comment and you’re in the hat!

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.

The layers and the light…..

My process begins with a heartpour
my own unscripted words dumped raw onto clean, blank page.
A turn-the-purse-upside-down-and-send-the-contents-dumping.
It’s never pretty.  Never polished.  And can be a little wrenching.
I write the unsayable things – the stuff of which Anne Lamott wrote,
“my thoughts were such that would make Jesus want to drink gin out of the cat dish.”
The hard,  the embarrassing, the boring and the ugly.
It’s the bottom down under and it’s gotta go somewhere.
I give them space and let those thoughts breathe the light.
Unjudged and unashamed (wriggle, wriggle, squirm)

Then I drop down to that place in my belly where the river stirs
and let myself dip – falling,  falling – into those wild and uncertain waters
like a stone thrown into the deep
and I coach my hands start playing.
Just go all playful – letting loose to dance with Creation
until I’m carried along in the current while my childlike arting begins
to let the ripples speak.

I never sit down to make art.  Ever.  I go at it like a playful explore
and I don’t try to get anything right.

There is no right or wrong or off or don’t-go.
Some things I like – especially when they come like surprising packages
that feel like a note passed from Love to or through me.
That stuff makes my heart squeeze happy beats and the living feel like hope.
But I don’t work hard to make pretty or good – the work instead is in the showing up,
the carving out space and time and giving it that chunky slice of my living.
Letting the messy process be
and going soft to the uncertainty.
I may have nothing to show for this.

But oh that messy down under is raw and sometimes daunting.
Life and days and relationships and situations and seasons – they all have bottom layers.
I’m learning to fear them less – to hold a spacious yes for them –
as I dance this messy dance with un-hiding the things.
To growing my love for the layers and the light.

As I grow in love for this process I also grow in love for this life-living we get to do.
It’s amazing what a blank white page can call up and out in us,  especially when we know that
we won’t leave it naked and unloved – that we’ll be back to tend the wounds and notice the beauty
and listen in to hear the healing things.

“I can shake off everything as I write;  my sorrows disappear,
my courage is reborn.”
– Anne Frank

Singing River Soul Spa….. (starting softly)

I’ve been tending garden in my own life for awhile,  a soul spa of sorts,
and I’m in love with the rivery way of this process and how it tunes my heartstrings
to playing real – I love the wind and the listen.
For years I’ve been working out some ways to share it with others,
to create experience that facilitates their own deep dives
as I come alongside like a playful river guide.

I want to share this space I’ve learned to cultivate
until solution bubbles up and my heart takes on peace
and love heals some things as the ripples speak.

So I’m offering it up,
this invite to come to my town to play,  and while you’re here,
meet me in one of the studios
i borrow from the forest where the singing rivers flow.
Or on my porch alongside the flowers and dark mountain ridges
that dance their blues across the sky.
I’ll supply the goods and we’ll go deep diving together
messing about with pens, paper and paints and see what Spirit wants to whisper,
And I’ll make us some yummy things to munch and sip along the way.

I’ve been sharpening my tools and I’m as ready as I know how to be
to put my sun-kissed skin into the game and get creating with the someones
that feel inspired to come my way.
To give you a couple of tender hours in my garden away from the bustle
where you can linger with a listening someone
who is eager to share her process and toys:)
Just some easy encouraging rivertime for the real of you.

What would you get?
~A new art journal and a fresh dance with some old tools to do your own unique mining for treasure
(art journaling looks different on each of us –  I’ll share my own sweet spot )
~some photos of your forest time and
~a little package of bits of art for collage and
~some handwritten love I make just for you as I lean in to listen and hear with and for you,
~ a little hike,  a little wade in the water,  a little picking and pressing of wild things,  a little time away
to soak in nature and some space to breathe deep and relax.   A reset to rest.
A custom experience for uniquely you.

I’ve taught workshops when my living allowed but I’m making a big sweep across my busy table,
putting some things aside to make a spacious place in my days
to do more of this thing that makes my heart feel so deeply alive.
So I’m for hire!  Not online but in skin.  In the Pisgah Forest that I love.  You can find me by the river
with a table spread for two (or several).  I’ll pack in the supplies
and you come ready to play like an otter in the deep.
With someone who loves to swim alongside.

I’m doing a soft launch this month and
I’ll be throwing open doors to my forest time in March once the weather warms a little more.
Thanks for letting me share this thing bursting loose in me – I’ve been carrying
it inside for a long,  long time:)

“I believe art is utterly important.  It is one of the things that could save us.”
– Mary Oliver