Of prickles, pain and portals….

Sometimes into life’s overwhelm come soft days
so thick with grace it seems the volume gets turned up
on your hardscrabble joy
and it drowns out some prickle,
shaking dance back into tired feet
until your heart starts taking on hope
like a ship sinking fast in a sea of beauty,
as heaven storms down light so fierce
that it swallows up the dark.

When you’re not in that place,
when all you feel is the cave you crawled in,
bone tired and seeking shelter,
and the gloom has worked it’s way on your soul
until you’re hungry for good air and tall sky,
but you feel as small as the yelp
that gets stuck in the dry of your voice,
(I know this place)

oh please remember that it’s there still and always,
along the backroads of your mind
and you can go again to that moment
when the darkness got sliced through and peeled back
to free the warm buttery peace of something realer than you can see
and you saw some living light
until it smiled courage into your frightened places.

You felt it then.  Remember?
You were maybe still a child and yet you stood beneath a portal
to that sweet someplace and you felt it,
the gentle, un-driven purpose
of being profoundly
and undeniably
okay.

You’re brave enough to let your heart remember.

Open wide and go again – it’s unlocked to you still,
that door so uniquely gift to you.
You’re welcome,  known,  and waited for with great affection there
– go stand again in that place
and let Love sing her songs all over you again.

You belong,  the starry heavens whisper,
you belong.

“There’s a crack in everything.
That’s how the light gets in.”
– Leonard Cohen

A little re-share,  here.   Nothing fresh to offer but these leftovers heat up well:)
Congrats to Elaine Kean of Elk – your name came up in the giveaway
and I’ll be putting your art journal on a fast pony and sending her your way.
With a whole heap of joy and yes:)
I’ll give away another this week – oh please keep tending that beautiful soul of yours.
Leave a comment and you’re in the drawing.

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:))

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

In every wink of light….

DSC04369
So,  yeah,  it hurts.
Real bad.
And there really isn’t anything you can do about it
except for let it be what it is.
Put it into God’s big hands and keep your fingerprints off.
It’s not yours to fancy up or fix.
Just don’t forget to love it.
Love it as a part of your seriously lovable life.
Imperfect and wobbly and juicy and hysterical
and raw and undone and intricate and lovely.

It’s yours.  Be good to it.

DSC04375

Let go the ideal,  the longing for certain and sure.
Let go the push,  the demand,  the rush.
And then love it.
Don’t leave your life untended,
like a dog turned out on a cold lonesome road.
Love it because it’s yours.

And when it gets overwhelmed,  this life of yours,
don’t toss stuff and shallow comfort at it.
It needs your presence.
Just more of you stretched out on the ground with your face to the sky.
Slow down and stay.
It will love you back.

Somehow in the bustle we can lose sight
and step all over it like it’s something underfoot.
Start breathing again.
It’s your life.
Your  life.
Don’t chain it to a Hallmark ideal.

Live generously with yourself.

DSC04370

 “You are worthy of great joy.”
– God
(yeah,  I made that up.  but not really.  i mean,  you can read it,  I believe,
in every leaf and twig and breeze and flower.
In every wink of light.
At least that’s what I think)

Much joy to you,  dear one.
Just so much joy.