I send you permission to let loose!

I sent this awesome illustration to my friend Jen who is doing the Artist’s Way journey with me (hooray!). And I thought, wow we all need to see this. Such inspiration.

Interestingly, even though I was staring at the illustration I still wrote the title of the post as “I give you permission“–but the illustration actually says I give you courage. Apparently my inner child/creative is in need of permission to join this adventure, so permission I shall give her.  You have permission to play and create! Go forth, creative one! And heck, here is some courage too!

 

Illustration by Sark

(As a funny aside, I also read the image as saying “let Louise Inside you” and it made me very confused. Perhaps I just need new glasses? 🧐)

Anyway, day three with Artist’s Way and I’m digging it big time.

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If anyone wants to join along on the Artist’s Way journey, feel free to comment and connect with me! I’m going to tag posts with “artist’s way” and feel free to do the same! Let’ play!

Creativity is the Natural Order of Life

Any Artist’s Way fans in the house? I started the 12-week book-guided journey today. I’m really excited!

If you aren’t familiar with the book, it helps to unblock and tap into the innate creativity we are all (yes all!) born with. The author does this by guiding the reader through twelve weeks of creative exercises along with two simple routines: daily writing called morning pages and weekly artist dates with yourself. The writing is for your own eyes only, serves as a brain dump primarily. The artists dates (time you carve out for yourself, for whatever strikes your fancy!) then helps fill your creative cup.

If anyone knows of a blogging community that does the program as a group, let me know!

I’m excited to see where it takes me.

We are all artists, as the author reminds us, though our dominant culture would like to deny it. Check out the book’s guiding principles below. Any favorites? I love number 5–the idea that using our creativity is not indulgence, childish or frivolous but rather a gift back to God/Goddess. Beautiful!

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Image credit

Opening the door

I thought I had writer’s block. For three months (almost) I despaired that the writing gods had gone away and it was officially over. No more. All hope was lost.

What I did not see (or more accurately, did not want to see) was that I was avoiding my truth.

We write to expose the unexposed. If there is one door in the castle you have been told not to go through, you must. Otherwise, you’ll just be rearranging furniture in rooms you’ve already been in. Most human beings are dedicated to keeping that one door shut. But the writer’s job is to see what’s behind it, to see the bleak unspeakable stuff, and to turn the unspeakable into words–not just into any words but if we can, into rhythm and blues.

ANNE LAMOTT, Bird by Bird

I didn’t want to look behind the door. Behind the door was pain and despair, and only a writer would want to open that door!

I forgot that I write in order to know myself. It isn’t optional, this writing thing. It is core to my being and how I experience the world. I need to put words on the page–whether anyone sees them or not. I have over a hundred “draft” posts in my blog for that reason. The truth needs to be seen–even if only be me in the early light of the morning.

None of that can happen if I don’t sit in this chair. So sit in this chair I will, once again. Some days it will appear that I wasn’t writing, but those are days that I need to see my own truth before I can share it with the larger world. And then you too can have a glimpse into these rooms.

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‘Quit trying to hide who you are. You’re the only thing you have.’

Check out this gem from an interview with actor Richard Jenkins that I heard on yesterday’s Fresh Air (find the episode here):

(Fresh Air Guest Host DAVIES): Coming back to when you were talking about how there came a point when you were bored. Can you take us back to that time? Do you remember when you felt bored – a role – what it felt like?

(Actor RICHARD JENKINS): I don’t remember the specific role, but I remember being outside of myself looking at me doing what I was doing. That’s the feeling I got. And I thought, you know, what am I doing? What’s the point of this profession to me? I mean, is this what it means to me just to do this thing night after night without feeling life?

And I went back to an old acting coach I had. Harold Guskin was his name. He wasn’t an old man. He was just a coach I had worked with for a year. And I went back to what he taught me. And I just said, OK. Let’s try this. And he basically said quit trying to hide who you are. You’re the only thing you have. And I just refused to believe that it was enough, that it was interesting enough, that I had anything to offer.

But the thing you come to – that I came to – is that whether you think that or not, that’s all you got. So you have to rely on that. Every experience has to come through a filter, through your experience. You know, you get angry. It’s – you’re getting angry, what makes you angry. So I was trying to copy others or be something else or be a character. It takes a long time to trust yourself enough to think that I have something to offer. And it’s – we still – I still don’t believe it. I still think I don’t. But, you know, you know that the only chance you have is to just kind of live your life and exist on the screen.

 


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What I know for sure

What I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have.  – Oprah Winfrey

My soul was stirred by Oprah Winfrey’s words

When we speak our truth we claim our power. We rewrite the ending to the our own stories.

Each and every time we acknowledge our truth— in a diary, over a cup of tea, with a therapist, with a healer, with a hashtag, to a boss, to a boardroom, or to a ballroom full of Hollywood elites— each and every utterance matters.

With each word we transform the entire fabric of the universe and take our world one step closer to alignment of its highest good.

Every word creates a crack until suddenly. . .the world is split open and from it a new world is born.

Your time is now.  A new day is on the horizon.

“What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open.” Muriel Rukeyser

What I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have. - Oprah Winfrey

Follow the Joy

Those were the words I heard last year, over and over. Follow the joy. It was that simple, so simple that it boggled my mind at times. Really, that’s it? Follow the joy? But where is it leading me and then what and what about after that? Listen, I’m an INFJ and if you know about myers-briggs you know that the J stands for judgment. It might as well stand for “Just watch me control and plan and assess and judge and achieve goals.” Follow the joy is so . . .fluid.  Where is the road map?! Oh right there isn’t one. Because it unfolds every moment of every day. 

As I enter 2018 I’m not making goals or resolutions, other than to continue to follow the joy. To suspend judgement. To sit in the mystery. To drop ideas and attachments. I’ve reached the place where I know that I don’t know much at all. Or at least, what I knew is no longer relevant to where I am now. I’m not going to throw out the yang with the yin, not at all. But I’m going to find a balance of being that honors the mystery, the dreaming, the intuiting as much as the assessing, the planning and the creating.

Where it takes me is likely beyond what my small mind could ever have dreamed. When I look back at 2016 to 2017 that is most certainly true.  The ego had plans and the universe laughed. Thank goodness because the universe brought so much joy and beauty with its plans–I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

 

 

A slow return to normal

I’m having a hard time writing which makes no sense to me. Here I sit, in my home, in air conditioning (WE HAVE POWER!!) with precious alone time, of which I had very little during the Irma experience. (And it was an experience.)

And yet. I don’t know what I want to say.

Do I want to write about how grateful I am for safe drinking water, cool air and hot food? (Very.)

Do I want to write about but there for the grace of God go I?

Do I want to write about how quickly chaos can return to normal but normal doesn’t quite feel right after the chaos? (But, but, did you just SEE what happened? Do you see what is still happening?)

Do I want to write about how my understanding of climate change and fossil fuel dependency shifted from a knowing of the head to the knowing of the heart? 

Do I want to write about community and love and civility in the midst of crisis?

I want to write about all the things but right now can’t seem to articulate any of them. The words will come. For now, I leave you with pictures from my walk yesterday with the dogs–the first “normal” walk since Irma came a knockin’, but as you can see from the pictures, things are still anything but normal.

(Photos taken 9/19/17:)

The non-native shrubs lining our neighborhood did not fare well
trees down every where you look
So many trees uprooted (and people, too)
A lot of devastation at the lake near our home. The lake is still flooded (the water in front should not be there). We have seen record-breaking rainfall this year.
There is a little blue heron in there. Can you find it?
Curbs lined with debris for pickup. 

Sunrise, sunset! Wherein I (quietly) proclaim the genius of lesson #3

The kiddo was up very early today which meant one thing: I had to blog, just like old times! All those early mornings where I wrote as the sun rose. The days where writing daily was a necessary part of my routine.

I got to thinking about it all. How writing was a daily ritual of healing. Only now can I see what a courageous and life-sustaining act it truly was. Day by day, scrubbing away pain and loss. Transmuting the pain. And now, today on August 2, 2017, the fact is that there is so much less pain to transmute – the main reason I don’t feel the need to write as frequently. A good problem to have, no?

In hindsight I have so many questions for my former self. Why did you, former Sarah, take so long to start writing?  Why didn’t you start using anti-aging face cream sooner? And why oh why did you sit in that suffering place for so damn long?  (Ever notice that “why didn’t I let myself suffer longer?” has been asked by nobody ever.)

There are a lot of reasons. But mostly it is because I hadn’t learned lesson 3.

Memes, Pain, and Truth: I. You must let  the pain  visit.  2. You must allow  it to teach you  3. You must not  allow it to overstay.  Ijeoma Umebinyuo  three routes to healing Truth from @thisspirituallife

This is from the incredible Nigerian poet Ijeoma Umebinyuo. I remember the day I discovered this – I wanted to shout from the rooftops: “THIS! THIS!!!! LESSON NUMBER THREE! THIS IS WHERE IT’S AT PEOPLE! Don’t let it overstay!

(Thankfully I did not proclaim it from the rooftops. Probably good since my neighborhood is full of highly suspicious retirees who would likely bring such an incident to the attention of the HOA.)

Touch and release. Touch and release. So freaking hard. Feel the feels but don’t succumb to them. Swimming without wearing a huge heavy backpack. (It just weighs you down and plus everything inside gets wet. Who wants that?!)

It takes a helluva lot of courage to set down the backpack full of feels. Once you do, you realize what a heavy weight it had been. Really, it doesn’t need to overstay its welcome. Bye Felicia.

Anyway where am I going with this post? OH yes, sunrises, sunsets! Sunrises full of writing and healing and transmuting pain. Sunsets of saying goodbye to the pain. Lesson number three. Touch and release. Healing. Dropping the heavy backpack at the shore so you can swim. 

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. . .and we’re up at Mommyish.com!

I am so excited to share with you all that a piece I wrote, ‘Seven Things Nobody Tells You About Miscarriage” has been published on Mommyish.com! They are all about sharing the day-to-day truths related to ‘parenting imperfect’–what better home for some truth-telling about miscarriage than their site?

(Plus Mommyish loves listicles–even listicles about miscarriage despite the fact my husband thinks it’s creepy.  Plus they appreciate my love of animated gifs. My piece even includes a gif from Jane the Virgin! AND LIZ LEMON IN A SNUGGIE.)

A listicle about miscarriage? Are you sure?

Needless to say I’m a little bit excited about this (ok a LOT!) because it is my first official byline.  And nearly a paid one at that! (Alas, I wrote a previous version of the piece on this blog so they can’t pay me. But just the idea that I could have been paid makes me want to dance a little jig!)

Thanks for reading, as always. Have a great weekend!

Sarah