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