What lights you up in deep winter?
What lights me up in winter is quiet.
I become more than a bit anti-social.
I am hibernating.
Oh, I talk to my family.
I do all the things I am supposed to do.
I go teach. (Not in my jammies)
I prepare what is ahead of me.
I work on our holiday card, which every year gets strung out later and later until
it is nearly a Valentine’s Card. But I figure, why clamor to be part of the Christmas
chaos? My people receive our card when the table is uncluttered and we can nearly have a visit.
But I don’t make dates or do stuff that requires getting out of my studio. In deep winter, I cut out everything else.
Which means, I get a little lonely. It is almost like fasting. The ache that comes from not buzzing around town, listening, talking and listening, talking and listening, is supplanted by a sublime quiet within me.
For much of my life I have lived in response to what I thought other people wanted or needed of me. I like to be part of groups, I like to be included in happenings, and I love being a friend. I like making stuff happen. Today, what I do, I do with a whole heart, no longer out of a nagging need to be part of what is going on outside me. More and more, my relationships and work begin with a very elemental, original spark that is nurtured over time. I carry out what feels real and supportable.
This takes slow time and quiet to discern.
And all of it still has to work around my domestic life. And writing.
Writing means I am not doing a bunch of other stuff.
I am coming to realize that my writing is important, perhaps only to me, but to a few others for whom I can offer a beacon of light on this next hill over.
I write and make art, teach classes and produce events because I am responding to the world I am in. Terry Tempest Williams, one of my soul mentors who writes passionately and assiduously about the environment, women’s lives, and social change, often featured in Orion Magazine, writes this:
“Writing becomes an act of compassion toward life, the life we so often refuse to see because if we look too closely or feel too deeply, there may be no end to our suffering. But words empower us, move us beyond our suffering, and set us free. This is the sorcery of literature. We are healed by our stories.”
Last night at my Powder Keg Ramsdell Session writing workshop, I had eight women at the table. 8 women enchanted by the sorcery of literature. 8 women willing to step in to the unknown of a blank page. They are brave. They drink lots of hot tea. They listen with open hearts. I am so grateful to the library for hosting us and that I don’t have to go that far out of my studio to make it happen.
This week cannot pass without a note of gratitude for my writing mentor and beloved friend Janice Lawry. She and I met in January 2007 when I joined her writing group that met once a month in her home over a period of six months. Jan placed a key in my hand over that period of time; a key to my voice that I never knew existed. Joining her class was one of the first moves out of my mothering fog and it changed my life. Jan’s grace, brilliance and friendship continue to light up my life. I am deeply touched by her.
Happy Birthday dear Jan!
What about you?
What lights you up in winter?
I am strapping on my snowshoes today to take a look at the ice on the lake.
All this cold is good for a few things that I love.
Ice skating being one of them.
Blessings on your day,
Here are some links to good wintry support for your cave time:
Julie Jordan Scott’s writing prompts
Katherine Miller’s cocoa elixir
Brenna Layne’s Best Day
Janet Elsbach’ viennese sponge omelette
Mary Campbell’s weekly call
Deb Kern’s ginger tea
These women are part of the Village that is raising me into my fullest self…in every sense of FULL!
Tomorrow the Out of the Mouths of Babes blog series on the theme of The Village opens with a guest blog post from Ingrid Wassener from the United Kingdom. Ingrid and I met online via my dear Miranda Hersey Helin of Studio Mothers. Here is the post that connected us, titled When Sugar and Creativity Collide. I welcome Ingrid to the great circle of women writing about the crowded, but sometimes lonely life of raising a family and creative expression. If you’d like to contribute to the series, please download the submission guidelines below.
Out Blog Series Submission Guidelines 2015