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New Moon Clarity

These cups of light

Saturday Morning in the Berkshires.
Damp, cooler and quiet in my yard.
The grapes await picking. I have more pears than I can freeze or use.
And my apple trees are nearly ready to pick.

I came home from my month away last Saturday night. This week has been filled with unpacking stuff, sorting out all the beach glass I collected, canning peaches and figuring out how this break in daily presence as a parent of two big kids has impacted how we relate to one another. Seems that I am still a resource, an important one, and that I hold secrets to running a household that are not interesting nor available to a 17 year old. Fine. Let me be the one who restocks the toilet paper and waters the garden.

I am preparing for my new offering, Sacred Refuge Sundays, to begin on September 20. If you are curious go here. There are three spots open for this intimate writing and art workshop.

I am memorizing a monologue for Expressing Motherhood in Boston on September 25. This show has gone up all over the country for a few years and I am thrilled to be in the cast. If you know of people in the Boston area who might be intrigued, please share this invitation with them.

The Powder Keg Ramsdell Sessions resume on Wednesday, September 23 in Housatonic, MA at 6:30 PM. These free writing workshops take place in a gorgeous historic library in a village that is equally charming. In the fall, we often stand outside after writing together and watch the stars come out, sparkling over Flag Rock and the watertower. The Powder Keg Ramsdell Sessions have grown in to a vital and captivating sisterhood of women dedicated to expanding their writing practice. More on that here.

A wing

This is the year of me writing my book, Laundry Line Divine: A Wild Soul Book for Mothers. I took a break from it three years ago to seriously work on my author platform and to develop the work I do around motherhood and creativity. This is where all my teaching rises from, my stand for the stories of women, particularly mothers. In order to write, I have to string together longer hours of solitude and focus, so I am paring down the work I am doing outside my studio.

This means a few big changes are on their way:

1. I am giving Out of the Mouths of Babes: An Evening of Mothers Reading to Others a rest. We will return to the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers in 2017. The blog series will toddle along with new content and visits with some of the writers to see what they are up to now.

2. I cannot preserve every single quince that is about to leap off my tree. Do you want some of them? Let me know.

3. I can be tender and kind to myself when I see my friends doing big and exciting things this year, while I plink away at the keys of this computer, dedicating variations of our beloved 26 letters of the alphabet to tell the story of how I raise myself as I raise my kids. The story is not over, but it is time to complete the book.

4. I will be making choices to intricately weave together my visual and literary work. When I was with Lisa Sonora this summer at her Creative Entrepreneur workshop, I learned that it is okay for me to inhabit my writer and artist selves simultaneously. I always thought my whole self was too much for the world to take. Lisa has dared me to be bigger and I am not sure what that looks like yet, but here on Laundry Line Divine, you will be among the first to know.

5. I am going away on two writing retreats this year to support the deep dive I know I need to take to complete my book. I will continue to travel to teach, so if you know of a conference or arts center that might be the perfect spot for a Mapping Motherhood workshop or for a Powder Keg Session or Sacred Refuge workshop please let me know. I am accepting a few Rampant Sisterhood social media mentoring clients. I loved teaching in Charlotte last spring and my class in Escanaba, Michigan wants me to return. Meeting women who are on the verge of a daily creative practice and sharing the tools that work for me is a great joy in my life. Helping others discover their voices is an honor. My offerings are listed here.

That we are here by SBB

September always calls me to recalibrate, sharpen my pencils and clear off the piles of stuff that have accumulated around my house. Canning and preserving the harvest assures me that some of the glow of summer will be available to us in February in the form of peach jam and grape juice.

 

 

Peach jam

 

In the same way writing and collage capture the essence of experience. For me, writing lets me pull certain flavors forward. And, always, I am surprised by what surfaces.

I hope this post finds you well.
I always want you to know how much I appreciate you reading me here on Laundry Line Divine.
And I look forward to meeting you in person, if I haven’t already. One of the biggest gifts of this summer was getting to talk to women who have read my posts here for a few years. I will always be a real time person. My online life is important, but let my glasses steam up over a hot cup of tea, let us press our hands and hearts together and go from there.

CBB and SBB 9.2015
my girl and I

I am off to pick grapes.
Have a lovely weekend,
S

suddenly, it’s summer

the Japanese Tree peony
the Japanese Tree peony

I am not going to write a lot today.
I am waiting for my daughter to turn towards me, like I wait when the moon comes full.
She is in her own time, but I know she is turning.

She arrived last night, later than we expected.
We waited. Standing in the entry way of our house, our yearning for her was a muddy squealing piglet in our arms.
Dripping and moist. Noisy. Impossible to avoid.

Yet, when she walked in the door, I for one, was a tiny bit embarrassed for the mess of
my longing. In my jammies. No bra. Arms aching to hold her.

She is here right now. She’s been out and back. She’s gone for a run.
I have wiped the kitchen counter several times and watered the tomatoes.
Managing moisture.

I reserved today for this.
Tomorrow, I plan to be ship shape and back in the saddle and all tidy and running smoothly.

Or else, I will be, as you might expect, ship wrecked and dragged by my stirrups. Again, the mother heart, ticking madly, looking for your light.

This is the summer of the Permission Slip in year two of the Permission Slip.
I am, as you may read here and here, obsessed with the act of permission.
This morning as I climbed the stairs, my newly returned girl heading off to for
breakfast with not me, I knew I had a choice. I could turn to all the ways I have to distract myself from discomfort. Or I could, as Mark Nepo suggests in The Book of Awakening:

“When feeling the sharpness of being sad or hurt, it helps to take new things in. This pours the water of life on the fire of the heart.”

So I gave myself permission to be spontaneous. I painted. I found these words.

 

 

 

Redactive poem May 26, 2015 Suzi Banks Baum

What are you giving yourself permission for today?
Tomorrow, Monica Devine arrives with a view of what permission looks like for her in Eagle River, Alaska.

Stay tuned to the moon’s trajectory, to the summer of permission, to the voices of creative women, some of whom mother, here on Laundry Line Divine.

 

Nothing is perfect here, but it is real.
All my messy piglet love,

S

 

PS I know I am supposed to be telling you about this and this. I am also heading to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in August for three wonderful offerings and a bit of family vacation in my homeland. More on all that another day. Please share this post with friends, especially those who stand around kitchens, distracted from everything because of the moon, standing there in jammies, unbrushed teeth, grinning in a wrinkled linen dress.

 

One small thing you can do, today, for Nepal

walking towards the Paulus path at Penland, NC
walking towards the Paulus path at Penland, NC

I don’t know about you, but I am nearly stopped in my tracks by the tragedy in Nepal. Heading out to the grocery store becomes a luxury I had formerly complained about. Drinking a cool cup of clear water is nothing short of a miracle. I don’t know how my one small life could possibly help, but I am turning to one thing that always makes me feel part of something good, and that is prayer.

Whoever you pray to- if it is the daffodils emerging or the memory of your mother, if it is to God, Goddess, Yahweh or the ocean, turning your thoughts away from the rutted road you are running on currently and towards the hills, towards light, towards loving, can give you comfort. And usually, the Universe presents you with an opportunity to ease someone’s need, whether they are in Nepal or next-door.

“Looking up is the only way out.”
-Anne Lamott

“I will turn my eyes to the hills, from whence comes my help.”
-The Bible
Psalm 121:1 (KJV)

When you open yourself to the greater heart of love, opportunities present themselves. The Universe meets you with chance.

This is a prayer that has always given my mind something to do, particularly when words or petitions or need fails me. There are many versions of the Buddhist meditation. Read here for more information.

May all beings be
Metta Meditation

 

(Say first to yourself)

 

May I feel protected and safe.

May my heart remain open.

May I awaken to the light of my true nature.

May I be healed, and be a source of healing for the world.

 

(Thinking of someone it is so easy to love. Draw this person

close to your heart & your mind and send them metta:)

 

May you feel protected and safe.

May your heart remain open.

May you awaken to the light of your true nature.

May you be healed, and be a source of healing for the world.

 

(Next, thinking of someone who needs a little more love.  Draw this person close to your heart & your mind. Send this person metta:)

 

May you feel protected and safe.

May your heart remain open.

May you awaken to the light of your true nature.

May you be healed, and be a source of healing for the world.

 

(Lastly, to all beings everywhere:)

 

May we feel protected and safe.

May our hearts remain open.

May we awaken to the light of our true nature.

May we be healed, and be a source of healing for the world.

 

In Catherine's garden in Charlotte, NC
In Catherine’s garden in Charlotte, NC

 

Take on a mantle of care this week, for yourself, for your friends who are in pain, for your kids making big changes in their lives, for the the people of Nepal and for the planet. Send your love to every single person alive today.

It is a big task, loving this world, but it is also a small task that begins with you.

 

We will be doing it together.

xoxox
S

I Will by Ben Taylor

Missing my girlie today.

Thinking about a friend who has a date with a new guy tonight.

Preparing for tonight’s Powder Keg.

Listening to Ben Taylor’s cover of Paul McCartney’s song, I Will.

Here is to every small brave move you are making today.
Every single time you say, “okay, I will open my heart.

Again.”

 

With all my heart,

xoS

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