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One week to Solstice

Hush now and listen

 

The approach of Winter Solstice takes my breath away and excites me so much I cannot even believe it.

Without snow, we will spiral out in the acorn strewn grass.

Last year, this image caught me out and today, it helps. By this time next week, maybe just maybe the new version of this site will launch. Until then, I have much to do.

Sending you love today in a very short post.

xoxo,

S

Here is a post about Solstice that I wrote last year, complete with music.

Here is how one family celebrates the Solstice.

 

Missing, again. Quest 2016 with Seth Godin, again.

 

up at the Dreamaway

Your Quest2016 Prompt today:

 

Would they miss you if you were gone?

What would have to change for that question to lead to a better answer? 

 

When I first read this prompt at 6:30 AM when I intended to begin my writing day, I saw that it was very nearly the same question Seth Godin, verbose, erudite and prolific Seth Godin asked us last year. Dang, I thought to myself, (because who else, really, do I think to?) I was hoping for a new, more daring question from Seth, because he is a firebrand, a brainiac with humor and audacity. “Would they miss me if I were gone?” To me, the potent part of this question is the “they.” Who THEY are is key to me.

So instead of responding to the prompt, I tottered on to read other things that feed the teaching I will do tomorrow at the final Sunday of Sacred Refuge Sundays. The next set of those classes will open up here on the Solstice, when my brand new site launches. There are four seats open for Sacred Refuge Sundays. You can read all about that here.

 

First, I read this:

 

“Beginning well involves clearing away of the crass, the irrelevant and the complicated to find the beautiful, often hidden lineaments of the essential and the necessary.”

-David Whyte

Consolations

 

which gave me immense courage because tomorrow, while I am ending one class, I am also test driving my soon to be unveiled Powder Keg Online Writing Workshop tomorrow night and

 

      clearing away the crass

 

                                                                                            is exactly how I had plan to open that class. Without having read David’s instructive words, I asked my test students to bring dust clothes to their desks for the workshop because I believe we need to actually DO the thing that we think will help us clear the decks and prepare to engage with what is, as David writes, essential and necessary.

 

Then I read this:

 

“Your fear will always be triggered by your creativity, because creativity asks you to enter into the realms of uncertain outcome, and fear hates uncertain outcome.”

 

-Elizabeth Gilbert

Big Magic

 

 

                                                                                                          and this was even more comforting because I am massively immersed in the realm of the uncertain right now and fearing some steps that I feel compelled and driven and drawn to take. Like stepping out closer to the edge of cliff to get a fuller view, I am stepping more completely in to sharing my work online. My brand new and really fancier website is about to launch. It will allow you to see more of my work, learn more about my teaching and hopefully, provide you with a deeper look at what happens when women live out loud with fully engaged voices. My blog will still be here, BTW.

 

Advent candle

Having read David and Elizabeth, and then a little Rumi and Mark Nepo, and it still being nearly dark and very early, I poured a hot cup of lemony ginger tea and returned to my meditation pillow to do my daily practice. Okay, I fooled around with laundry in there too, but not for long. Because, I know, that daily practice is just that, daily. If I continue to show up, things will change. Not like old Seth’s prompt. That didn’t change. No sir.

 

So, here I sat.

 

Altar 1
it looked like this.

 

 

And while I sat, the question floated through me, about would they miss me when I was gone and who THEY are. Often when I meditate, things like this happen in my head, “okay, you set the timer for 15 minutes, do ya think you could steal a peek to see how much time has passed yet?….then I repeat a mantra that I love from Thich Nhat Hanh which washes away my thoughts about time…for a few seconds…then….my nose itches…..mantra mantra…then a sentence that sounds true that I might could use, say in a post like this….mantra mantra…then I recall what Susan Piver, whose meditation book I study daily, remember the daily thing? Susan says she has pesky thoughts like this that she entertains for only 12 seconds, then she returns to her breath, OH HER BREATH….I can do that. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. Mantra. Mantra. Mantra…” and then, as if the flickering candle writes on the inside of my heart, I hear this:

 

“You want to know who would miss you if you were gone? I would. Me. Your awareness, what you kindle with this daily practice, that which you so fruitfully return to every single day and good on you for that. If you did not appear on this pillow in the soft dark or out on the road for a Zen walking practice, I, this greater bigger knowing I that you take in to your creative practice, I would not be here. I would miss this. And then all the ways you manifest this inner life in to form and draw others to tend to their inner lives would not happen. This act you call creative practice, this time, this way, would miss you. Very much.”

 

Huh.

That was longer than the 12 seconds in which I am supposed to be entertaining thoughts.

But, I listen.

 

My awareness has its say.

It would miss me if I did not show up.

What had to change in order for a better answer to arrive was my own attitude.

Huh.

And if I did not show up on this pillow, or on this page or in my journal or in my workshops and classes, or even, in my soon to be launched website, my creative expression, my unique brand of wonderment, would be lost on the world.

On you.

 

And maybe this unique brand that is me does not solve global warming or house refugees, but it does provide something meaningful in the world. I trust this. Entirely and with my whole being.

Journal page
this would miss me.

As usually happens in meditation, the thorny peevish stuff that was bugging me reforms in to a new question or opportunity for more meaningful and direct action. I am soothed. I embody joy without effort. Joy just rests here, within me.

I know you, my beloved readers of Laundry Line Divine would miss me if I did not show up here once in awhile. Believe me when I say, I am ardently tending to this blog in the upgrade you are about to experience so as not to put you off in any way. I am making a bigger basket for us here. If you’d like to read last year’s response to Seth’s prompt last year, it was one of the most commented upon posts this website has ever experienced. And those comments very much informed the work I have done in 2015.

So, on the day after the new moon, when the dark is darkest and the stars here in the Berkshires blaze brightly, I ask you to consider how you are showing up and who would miss you if you didn’t. It is a poignant question. Last night around a fire with some of my Circle, joined by my girl Catherine, we sang for the many we know who have recently died or are very very ill. Showing up is on my mind big time. And approaching the holidays, the absence of loved ones is impossible to avoid.

In closing, I dare you to show up for yourself this season. Take better than usual care of yourself. Sidestep the open maws of guilt and shame that yawn in our direction. Keep on your path towards simple beauty and connection. Be truthful where you haven’t yet found the courage to be so. Open your journals and then write. Let yourself enjoy solitude if that is what is calling you. Sit under the stars with your people and feel the magnitude and the gift of this dark time. And then, send some love to someone else on the planet.

We are using our gift budget to help people here and here. We decided this year to limit our gifts to the stocking sized and to direct our energy towards the many who are in need this season.

Here is all my love to you.

Another long-assed post, I know.

But, that is how I show up.

Thank you for staying with me.

Your loyalty means the world to me.

my English teacher would miss me if I didn't show up. He and I did not miss each other this year. He showed up for my artist talk in Escanaba and lookee here!
my English teacher would miss me if I didn’t show up. He and I did not miss each other this year. He showed up for my artist talk in Escanaba and lookee here

 

xoS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On this New Moon, empty your cup. Allow your mind to become open. Release all judgments. Let go of what you know. When the mind is empty, it fills with the expanse of every possibility. Opportunities for growth and increased autonomy easily flow your way. Listen to your intuition, and take inspired action. Plant seeds today for your next quest. It is time to be free!

-Virginia Rosenberg from Qoya blog

I found that quote in a very good post about the New Moon here by Rochelle on Qoya with a New Moon ritual that will have you up on your feet.

Tracking Wonder’s Quest 2016 is still open, if you want to join that pack of business artists

And, if you are in Berkshire County, this is a great place to be this weekend. And this, next weekend.

 

Seth Godin is the author of 18 books that have been bestsellers around the world and have been translated into more than 35 languages. He writes about the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership and most of all, changing everything. You might be familiar with his books Linchpin (2011), Tribes (2008), The Dip (2007), Purple Cow (2009), and  The Icarus Deception (2012), published by Portfolio. His latest, What To Do When It’s Your Turn (Do You Zoom, Inc. 2014), is an urgent call to do the work we’re hiding from, a manifesto about living with things that might not work, and embracing tension when doing your art.

Twitter: @ThisIsSethsBlog

 

 

 

Light Leaks: Quest 2016 with Debbie Millman

Candle with no flame

The Visible Difference of Light and Dark

 

I am steeped in this growing darkness. I cannot resist it.

As a child the glare of tinsel and fat glowing Christmas lights on our tree drew me, but what I most loved was the way that blazing light stood out against the dark of our living room. My own kids used to get up very early to watch dawn happen while the Christmas tree stood in the dark morning. Now, they stay up late, watching it, reading near the tree. (That is- once we put the tree up. We are always the last people at the tree farm on Christmas Eve. We like to put our tree up on the 24th so it can last, you know, until the last day of Christmas, otherwise known as Valentine’s Day.)

What draws me to light is not the light itself, but how it stands against the dark. This may be overstating the obvious and if you have heard all you want to hear this season about light, then scroll on. But if you are game for a discussion of dark, then stay with me.

Last night was the second night of Hanukah. I am married to a Jewish man and in our 23 years together, we have burned many candles, for Advent, Hanukah, Solstice, Christmas, yahrzeit candles and birthday candles, candles when someone we love is in need, candles when we want to make a party and always at dinner, especially in winter. In our family, I am the maker of the holidays. He will roast and trim and gather materials for whatever gift, Solstice spiral or meal we decide to work on. But the actual making, and even the planning, starts with me. So it was quite normal for him to ask about our menorah. But when he said, “Thanks for keeping me Jewish,” I heard his mother chuckle in the ethers, and his Grandmother Fanny elbowing my Grandmother Elsie. I no more keep him Jewish than he keeps me Christian. We do honor our mutual faith heritage and cultivate the practices that make these celebrations meaningful for each other. He is the one who sets off for the tree on Christmas Eve while I am stirring up the gingerbread dough. I went to the basement to find the menorah, the one with Noah’s animals on the ark, each with a candle hole in their head. I picked up more candles at the coop and last night at dinner, we set them to light.

The second night
The second night

 

 

Barbara Mahany writes in her wonderful book, Slowing Time,

“I am waking up to the notion that to usher the season into my house is to awaken the sacred.”
-Barbara Mahany

Candles awaken the sacred. I study a candle flame as I meditate in the early morning dark. The flame dodges the wick, which nods back and forth, tiny dark stem with a touch of orange pollen at its tip. The candle draws my attention and lets me soften my gaze. I become receptively quiet. Candles are part of how I usher in our dark season. They stand against umbered space, like the Christmas tree, ablaze, in immediate proximity to dark. I cannot have the one without the other.

Which is why I spend so much time slathering black gesso on to my journal pages. I have to explore this dark time with the tools my hands crave. I knit with black yarn; I cover my journal pages with dark paints and write with lighter colored pens. This has become my habit and like the candles, it helps me usher in the season. I notice things differently when I write against a black background.

from my dark journal with a door from Catherine Anderson's book framing the center
from my dark journal with a door from Catherine Anderson’s book framing the center

In Tracking Wonder’s Quest 2016, our question this weekend was from Debbie Millman. Her impressive bio is below, but I have long enjoyed her books. They are works of literary and graphic expression and so inspiring to me as I write my book. Her question:

How would you do business as unusual in 2016 if you knew – no matter what you chose – you would not fail?

The work I have been doing for 21 years, which has sourced my current work, is that of mothering. While I did not enter the position as a job, I suppose you could say I interviewed for the role and accepted it when it was offered to me. And this work experience, which continues to this fresh second in which you read these words, has taught me much about the value of success and failure in a job that has few boundaries and no fiscal compensation. For what is failure than the inability to meet your responsibilities whether they be financial, emotional or practically, as in the soccer or immunization schedule, get them to church for choir practice or file their camp forms by this certain date? Failure can take catastrophic proportion in this job. Yes, there are many levels of failure in parenting, and I think we all touch some failure every single day in our quest to be just the perfect kind of parents we can never really be. So, if success was assured me in my business as a mother, knowing what I know about failure and the lessons it has taught me, I would continue parenting in the way I have been doing, constantly tweaking my delivery, listening more closely for cues to patterns that may solve puzzles of personality or passion, always looking to support the development of a human being with as much success in the soup as possible, seasoned with some failure to balance the flavor.

Ultimately, I work in spite of success and expecting some failure. I have been around the sun enough times to be familiar with the taste of both and happy to balance my days with them both in the recipe.

But the other work I do, if you want to call it business as unusual is just as familiar with failure. I have hosted classes that no one attends. The fact that I am working at all, that I have watered the little seedlings of my confidence and exercised my writing skills and visual art skills to the point there I am right now, is success. The only failure I could see is not doing the work at all. Giving up. Stepping away from my book, from this blog, from my classes, events and offerings.

My failures I accept as lessons and I carry on. I learn from failure.

What do I have to learn then, from the repeated request I make of my husband who has, for about 3 months, failed to call the plumber? We have a leaky and getting leakier faucet and this is his department. When we set up housekeeping there were divisions made about certain things like holidays and plumbing, so just as I tend to the candles and the menorahs, he tends, or usually tends, to leaky faucets and leafy gutters. Without tending to it, this becomes a failure. I am not successful in making a request that gets him to call the guy. He fails at tending to a household need. We mutually fail as householders because leaky things leak energy and this is one place we need shoring up.

To me, the more compelling question, applicable to my work-writing, book building, collage, teaching, speaking, producing events- as to our family dilemma about the leaky sink is:

Why wouldn’t you do the work now? Failure or not. Why wouldn’t you pick up your pen, light a small candle and write in the early morning quiet, before the kids are up, before you have to get to work, before life pulls you out in to the world? Why wouldn’t I write this book? Or propose classes at conferences and arts centers?

Feeling ready is one consideration and surely, diving in to a project requires the necessary tools, the wrench, the pen, the gesso. But, Debbie’s question, an assurance of no failure, suggests that moving forward could be inevitable if I take action and so I say, like I have said before, “Why wait?”

Why wait to call the plumber?
Why wait to start doing what you long to do, even in small ways with tiny steps?

I have tolerated the leaky sink because I don’t have the tools to fix it myself. Yes, I can call the guy. That it a possible move for me. I have tolerated years of not doing what I longed to do because of two very real children who did not so much assure my failure, but were just plain too fully demanding. I did not realize I had the tools to work from inside mothering until the day came when I began to invent them. I borrowed the tools from my newfound mentors and started. Which has brought me to where I am today.

So, to bring this long writing to a close, I suggest to you, in this dark season when candles help, and the dark can be a fertile place to dwell in, notice what is leaky around you. How do you approach the coming darkness? Where does light leak in? And where is your time or energy leaking away from you? What small moves can you take, what tools can you pick up to handle those leaks?

In her post about electricity, another household necessity, Vanessa J. Herald writes:

“Nothing’s wrong here. It is just time to slow down and match my insides to respect the slow and short days of approaching winter. To bundle up and take care. To take the time and effort, or call an electrician, to reconnect my inner ground wire. Or, to pound a grounding rod into the damp, still-not-frozen early December soil.

It’s time to slow down. It’s time to reconnect with rhythm. It’s time for silence and peace on the inside. It’s time to get grounded.”
-Vanessa J. Herald

 

the view from Monument
the view from Monument

An assurance of no failure is slim comfort. I work in spite of it. I work because I know my success may not be grand, but it will be mine. And I work because even now, when the days are short and the holidays press panic buttons in so many of us, my tools of writing and working in my journals, of teaching others to express from inside their life experience are tools I have come to count on to see the dark and the light, to watch the dance and to shore up the leaks.

If you would like to “Imagine your life richly” as Jeffrey Davis invites us with Quest 2016, please take a look here.

If you would like to pick up some tools for expressing from within your own life experience, please stay tuned. On the Solstice, I will be announcing my upcoming Powder Keg Sessions Online Writing Workshop where we will make the simple sacred and write together for a month of weekly writing sessions.

And if you, like me, find failure to be less of a threat than not doing the work, then please subscribe to this site. This rising forth of engaged women making sense of their lives through creative practice, however that looks for you, is my dream.

Thank you for reading me here.
xo,

S

 

Before you wander off to find your candles, take a look at some of my Questmates posts.

About dragons and failure, Brenna Layne.

Taking permission to new places, Leslie Watts.

The healing power of poetry, with Tania Pryputniewicz on Ginny Taylor’s Women of Wonder.

and, Surrendering to dark and light, Sally Drew.

 

 

Debbie Millman

Named “one of the most influential designers working today” by Graphic Design USA, Debbie is an author, educator, and brand strategist. As the founder and host of Design Matters, the first and longest running podcast about design, Debbie has interviewed more than 250 design luminaries and cultural commentators, including Massimo Vignelli, Milton Glaser, Malcolm Gladwell, Dan Pink, Barbara Kruger, Seth Godin and more. Debbie is the author of six books, including two collections of interviews that have extended the ethos and editorial vision of Design Matters to the printed page: How to Think Like a Great Graphic Designer (Allworth Press 2007) and Brand Thinking and Other Noble Pursuits (Allworth Press 2011).

 

Sara Nolan

Experiment in the Mini-Essay #16- Infant Poetry has God on the Line

7-21-15

I read aloud to Ronen while we nurse. Gulping is his foreground music; words are his background music. Not Hungry Caterpillar, Not Goodnight Moon– he’ll be well-fed on those classics everyone includes in an early literary diet. Instead, I’m moving through the anthology that Rick, our beloved officiant, left here for our wedding preparation: the “Winged Energy of Delight.” That’s what I want my son to know. Vallejo, Dickson, Machado, Issa, Kabir– the poet’s ardor and specificity. It ain’t Mother Goose’s regular posse.

This morning I read the verses of poet Caesar Vallejo, not so kid-tastic; his existential dreariness is leavened by the abstract, bizarre, and surreal. He’s in depressing Paris, trying to be an artist, being an artist, dying there an artist. Couldn’t be farther from my infant’s reality, but the fuzzy borders between self and world that poet and infant must traverse and explore, and sometimes be confounded by, are similar. The regular old world still reads to them both as nonsense. Vallejo’s lines also have currents of odd joy that would not be everyone’s joy, manifesting in pulses throughout his poems the way Milk lets down in pulses.

My small boy, suckling intensely, is anchored to my body while I read. Nothing could be less abstract than breast-feeding. As counterpoint to that, Vallejo writes: “I feel that God is traveling/so much in me,/ with the dusk and the sea….He is kind and sad, like those who care for the sick;…I consecrate you, God, because you love so much;/because you never smile; because your heart/ must all the time give you great pain.” Just as I read these lines to Ronen, who smacks my breast by reflex in aim-iess rhythm, my dear friend texts me a snippet from her first day in her program for a Masters in Children’s Literature and Research: “Poetry eases an infant’s transition learning division of self and world”(From her teacher Karen Coats). Yes, ease— what I want for my boy, ease.

And yet I read to him about what we all long to keep from our children, from anyone we love, or, if we have the Big View, from anyone at all– pain that cannot be mitigated. Pain that is as elementary and constitutional as blood and lymph. Motherhood brings on a special ache over this pain– when Ronen flinches and whimpers from any discomfort whose source I cannot know, as private and inaccessible as his moment of embryonic implantation, I flinch, I hurt with reciprocal depth, I grimace, I flail. I am on my knees even while standing up, on his behalf, I pray despite myself.

I feel that god is traveling so much in me, Vallejo explains. Pregnant with my boy, not knowing then he was a boy, I too felt god traveling in my body– really! Coursing through the blood, using hormones as floatation devices. Not to say that it was a comfy situation, not at all. How could it be when the infinite moves through the finite? But it was supersonic fullness, continual transit across placental hallways, mood spikes, a tsunami of creative energy working itself into compressed cellular organelles and organs and an eventual organism. Mother Mary, turns out, as special as she was, was nobody special. She was us, you and me, holding the urgent and ineffable becoming.

When John and I made love in those 9 months– when I managed to take a break from being irritated at all of humanity for which he was, in my limited, warped, delusional pregnant viewpoint, the unfortunate front-runner in my household– I’d say to our baby-to-be, this is where you come from, you come from love, and you’re coming into love. Simplistic, yes– and, if you pushed me to admit it, the world is not exactly that straightforward. But mothers fib sometimes for the sake of a good story: egg and sperm and cellular replication was involved, and the baby enters into a lot more than love– into bureaucracy (fittingly hard to spell), burrs, bumpers, a mish-mosh of phenomena. The world is inescapably complex, and not reducible to any one element, however glorious. But still, not a bad creation myth to tell your child or yourself. It is a non-sentimental kind of Love that catches the child, more absolute, more daunting.

With my boy in my arms, feeling the increasing loops of love that tether me to his funny particularities, that twine around the arbor of my body, fixed, from which he is the heavy grapes hanging, I feel something like Vallejo’s god again, that sad god who kindly cares for the sick, a person of great pain, the heavy pain that comes with separation. I feel God in the strange lumpy tissue accruing beneath my C-section incision, I feel God in the tingling that signals the milk truck has filled up the ducts, I feel God in the endlessness of diapers that seem to pinwheel off the table into the garbage, off the table into the garbage. I feel God in the way my beautiful husband razzes and strokes the baby, the way my stepsons ask to hold him and cradle his erratic head with confidence. This holiness is like water, taking the shape of its container.

 

 

Ronen sleeps on Sara

Sara Nolan finds life amazing and whole, and bios awkward and partial. She teaches young people to write about their lives through personal essays, using the imagination in support of truth. Sara can be found leading classes and workshops in NYC via her education initiative, Essay Intensive, which is what it sounds like. She is also findable via the written word on her blog of sorts, Massive Missive, where she occasionally posts essays that took a long time to hatch. Meanwhile, she learns and mothers with all her might.

Our Hands, My Hands Quest 2015 prompt by Scott Dinsmore

Suzi Banks Baum

Do the people around you inspire possibility? If not, it’s time to 
make some changes. The fastest way to do the things you don’t think can 
be done is to hang around people already doing them. In 2015, what changes will you make accordingly?

“God has no hands except from our hands.”

Dorothee Sölle

I rowed out to the middle of a sky lake and stopped.
In a boat, you are never truly stopped, but carried in a cup of light.
Oars tipped up to dribble and rest.
I slowly turn in the wind.

I could stay here all day.
I could even sleep here, likely be snugged in along the rocks by the wind, sheltered. But I have slept in boats before. I have no blankets here to keep the wet air out while I dream of walking.

Boats on Mohonk by Suzi Banks Baum

 

I stayed out in the middle of sky water until I’d had enough. Urgently, I returned to a room above the water where I’d found, in the course of a few short days, a wild pack of creatives who were forging a path that had room for me. I like to do things in groups. As a young child, my mother tells the tale, I could not go outside in to the street life of the north side of Chicago, without first calling my friends on the heavy black rotary dial phone. I play well with others.

So when others gather, I am near.
But I have learned to approach slowly.
I am rich in friends and collaborators.
I gather easily.
I burn warm and others stand close.

But I learn a new motion on the lake, in my wooden boat, my hands off the oars, I feel something deeper propelling me. The vista is getting different.

 

Mohonk morning light

 

At the gathering of Your Brave New Story with Jeffrey Davis and his Tracking Wonder team, I met people who are already doing what I long to do- living lives fueled by devotion and possibility, keenly tuned to excellence and clarity, intrigued by the world, by poetry and pine trees, and willing to ask hard questions and sit still long enough to wonder in to new answers. I am deeply grateful for finding my pack.

But this (Quest-ion) question asks me to dig a bit deeper.

I find pockets of possibility within my people more close in. Quester Tracee Vetting-Wolf created an image inspired by Jim Rohn’s belief that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.

Tracee's art journal entry January 2015
Tracee’s art journal entry January 2015

This means I am the average of my husband, our son, our daughter, my yoga teacher, and the women in my writing workshop that meets three times a month. The greater rings of people in my life I either meet with weekly on the phone, or I miss our regular Tuesday walks for weeks on end so we text love filled messages to each other until we find ourselves in the woods, and the people I gather with monthly-my women’s Moon Circle and my other writing group. This is quite a group to average out with.

IMG_7032

 

 

1. My husband is brilliant, verbal, gentle, athletic, and obsessed with yoga and our bird feeder. He is a diligent business owner, a thorough advocate for his clients and a fierce father. He is also tender, caring and loves chocolate. He loves me in to light. Even when I curse like a pirate on my way to a mammogram this morning after I’d knocked over the glass teapot with my chubby down coat because it is so cold here and I am about 400 pounds with that thing on, so clumsy. I swore, then stopped and looked at him. He smiled carefully and said, “just go”. So I went. And I knew he’d clean up after me. And that he’d have cocoa with me after my breasts emerged from being nearly flattened. He is that kind of man.
2. Our son? Ardent lacrosse player, studious college student, EMT trainee, joker, boyfriend, brother, best friend, social, secretive, passionate, attentive, hungry, philosophical and one of the lights of my life.
3. Our daughter? Poetic, stubborn, passionate, hungry, intriguing, stupefying, philosophical, athletic, diligent, articulate, hilarious, messy at times and organized at others, she is one of the lights of my life.
4. My yoga teacher I see at least three times a week. She is also brilliant. She is so beautiful, caring, human, and articulate. She is also one of the lights of my life.
5. My writing group at the library where, three times a month, I meet with whoever shows up, but a core group of six diligent, curious, deeply sensitive, humble, probing, funny, caring, delightful, brilliant women who have become a group because they are on to something. They generate light.

Kids at Canyon Gorge Alberta, MI by Geri Miller August 2012

Taking an average based on light and love makes me think of Brenè Brown’s Daring Greatly in which she describes Wholehearted Parenting. She writes about the face we turn to our children when they walk in the door from school, or down the stairs in the morning, or returning late at night, standing next to our bed checking in. Is it the face of “Where the hell have you been?” or “Zip up your jacket before you go out?” or “I’m running late and here is your lunch?” or is it “Hello light of my life. I am happy to see you.” Does concern and responsibility trump love?

When I consider the five people I spend the most time with, I know that each of them are bold enough to turn their real faces towards mine. Sometimes, smiles, sometimes tears, sometimes anger, sometimes need, but all the time light. And always love. Both.

Would that I could return to them what they shed so generously towards me. I live towards this assurance.

I could craft this list to include my collaborators, many of whom I know only online. Or my art making community, who I play with in real time, online, in texts, on Instagram or through blogging. These people dare me to be my full self.

But this intimate group? They dare me the most. They are unabashedly themselves in spite of whatever expectations or broken glass I have laid in their paths, they are stepping so gingerly, fiercely, bravely in to their own lives, I have no choice but to live mine. Otherwise, I will be left here, matching socks and making grocery lists for meals for one.

I could pretend to not be a woman tethered to family life, but I would be lying to you. I am a woman who responds to the world through the lens of the domestic.

To lift the domestic into the poetic is quietly radical.
~Jayne Benjulian in a review of Barbara Rockman’s Sting and Nest

 

So, in response to the Quest 2015 prompt by Scott Dinsmore:

yes, I am
inspired to possibility by the five people I spend the most time with. I am dancing on the fast fading ice of this neat tidy group around the table. We are all swimming in a world burgeoning with new ideas and talents revealed and vistas as yet unexplored.
Whether on my yoga mat or at the laundry line, at the library or out on a hike, these five people hold an expectation that I will meet possibility
as I create it. Stepping out in to the unknown, making it up as I go along.

The river the river the river
the river, the river, the river

 

 

Setting it all out this way fills me with excitement for 2015.
I am dusting off my compass points, understanding more intrinsically what guides me. I am more curious than ever about what courses through the runnels of my murex spiraled mind.

Tending the domestic with an ear for the poetic.

Superior Stones

 

I started this post out in a boat. We moved metaphors and landed inside a shell. Laundry is washed in water. Our brains float in liquid and thrive with hydration.

I tend my watery self, or my life is tended towards water having grown on up on the Great Lakes, and thus, wet, I am led to the this understanding. Long may we swim.

 

Ramapo Waters

 

How about you?
Who inspires possibility in you?

xoS

 

Friends with Glory #1

 

 

 

More about Scott Dinsmore:

Through his Live Your Legend revolution, Scott Dinsmore is leading millions of people to rise to their greatest possibilities, surround themselves with other buoyant legends, and do the work they love while changing the world. His TEDx talk has been viewed almost 2 million times and is among the top 20 most viewed TEDx Talks of all time.

 

You can join in the next leg of Quest 2015 by going here. It is free. And it is a deep dive in to bringing your best work forward in 2015.

 

Please look for new posts this week by Mandy Thompson about permission and a poem by Powder Kegger Erika Nelson. I always appreciate your comments, questions, private mails, hugs, stops in the street, phone calls or tea breaks. What I love most about living this out louder life is the light I see in others. Thank you for shining so brightly. xoxooxoxS

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