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….

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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.

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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.

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 “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.

Food for the flying……

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I’ve been reading instead of writing this weekend,
feasting on an artful cluster of healing stories by Rachel Naomi Remen
and,  wow,  I want to serve it up,  this goodness I’ve been feeding on
……some nips of nectar
to nourish your bright wings:)

~ “The life in us is diminished by judgment far more frequently than by disease.
Our own self-judgment or the judgment of others.
and
this judgment does not only take the form of criticism.
Approval is also a form of judgment,
but we are harmed by it in far more subtle ways.
To seek approval is to have no resting place,  no sanctuary.
Like all judgment,  approval encourages constant striving.
It makes us uncertain of who we are and of our true value.

 (there’s more!)

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This is as true of the approval we give ourselves as it is of
the approval we offer others.
Approval can’t be trusted.
It can be withdrawn at any time no matter what our track record has been.
It is as nourishing of real growth as cotton candy.
Yet many of us spend our lives pursuing it.”

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“A label is a mask life wears.
We may need to take our labels and even our experts far more lightly.
In my experience,  a diagnosis is an opinion and not a prediction.
Like a diagnosis,  a label is an attempt to assert control and manage uncertainty.
It may allow us the security and comfort of a mental closure
and encourage us not to think about things again.
But life never comes to a closure;  life is process,  even mystery.
Life is known only by those who have found a way to be comfortable with change
and the unknown.  Given the nature of life,  there may be no security,
but only adventure.”

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There.
Do you feel a little stronger in your wings?
Wishing you fresh,  healing breeze in all your parts.

“I don’t need stress to do what I need to do.
That isn’t efficient.
Love and sanity are.”
-Byron Katie
(from her brilliant Loving What Is)

Simply soaking……

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In all of your tired places,

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your wilted spaces,

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feeling weary and parched and needing fresh graces…..

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I sing your heart the sort of rest that feels like this:)

A good long healing soak.

“I drank the silence of God
from a spring in the woods.”
-Georg Trakl

(It gives me joy,  just so much joy,  to send a copy of my July Ripplesongs
to the beautiful Gwen Lily)