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Sisterhood on the Internet: Tania Pryputniewicz, Mandy Steward, Lucy Pearce and Hilary Rain

Who Do You Think You Are?

Another window sill in the Birth Room.
Another window sill in the Birth Room.

 

 

 

I am a mother of two children.

The birth of these people in to my life and my marriage forever changed how I answer this question.

I was a variety of things (actress, newlywed, couturier, free wheeling) before their arrival.

And I have become many more things (human napkin, angel maker, line cook, laundry mystic) since that time.

 

This week, Metamorphosis has been on my mind.

I am preparing to teach my Rampant Sisterhood: Engaging Your Authentic Voice Online workshop for the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers.

I have also been in the final week of a 6-week journaling experience with my friend Mandy Steward, of Messy Canvas, and Hilary Rain of Spirit,Soul,Earth. These Sisters, met on Instagram and Face book, have served me a dose of deep introspection along the path of Advent and Christmas and the 12 Holy Nights. I am entering this New Year having scoured my soul by asking some hard questions and noticing the places where my inner life and my outer expression mingle. I am not a weaver, but there must be a term for the territory where one pattern or color merges in to another.

 

photo

I have been in that territory, in the dark regions of my soul and the colorful interior of my curiosity. Tracing this journey in my art journal has fed me.

 

And so, I emerge today.

I emerge ready to teach others about locating what is original and magnetic about themselves and how to bring that intricate pattern out in to the world online to construct author or artist or small business platforms. What I do on the interior is what I also do on the exterior. And as in a magnificent tapestry, the place where my inner life touches, mingles, and merges with my outer life intrigues me.

Softening

Which may explain a little bit why I have been so quiet here on the Laundry Line.

And why, in the midst of everything else, of my son being home, of the celebrations and gatherings and wintry sojourns to ice skate or hike, I have not posted much.

Ice drops and feet

Metamorphosis is happening.

 

This morning I read in Mirabai Starr’s book about Saint Teresa of Avila:

“Transformation requires unraveling, and regeneration is predicated on rest. Multiplicity is born of oneness, and the sound of creation issues forth from the primordial silence.”

Rainy day view out my window for @renaissancemom1 #berkshires #rain as I prepare for Rampant Sisterhood. Playing with #crossprocess photo app

Today, I want to honor two women who have come in to my life, two more, beyond the treasures of Mandy and Hilary, through my interactions on the Internet.

 

One is Tania Pryputniewicz, who I met via SheWrites and the group of women writers we are in that focuses on mother writers. Tania lives in California and from across the country, through email, our blogs and real papery mail, we are getting to know each other, our writing, our mothering, our questions and our inspirations.

 

Tania offered me an amazing blog post for Out of the Mouths of Babes that I have been waiting to publish. Metamorphosis is her topic. Tania’s eloquent blog post energizes the Out of the Mouths of Babes blog series. Her words scatter light across the dark landscape of winter, shooting rays of refracted truths all over our bodies. Tania inhabits her femininity, her mothering and her writing with a fullness borne of paying close, slow attention. Her post will premiere Monday morning, as I am heading to Simon’s Rock to teach.

 

Tania asks:

Where do I get to be fully present? The honest answer is in starts and stops and by listening to my body (most overlooked but most potent nexus) at each virtual and literal location. One website, one interaction at a time. Whether feeling whole, partially present, apprehensive, overjoyed.

I urge you to plan your morning read here on Laundry Line Divine tomorrow.

Speaking of reading, my fourth wonder of the web sister, Lucy Pearce, who I met via… well, we have many overlapping friends, but central to both of our lives is mothering and creativity. Lucy’s book, The Rainbow Way has been in my lap daily since it arrived here a few weeks ago. I look forward to devouring it whole. But what I read this morning urges me forward, as if Lucy is cheering me on.

 

Not everyone need dedicate themselves to the life of the artist. As a creative mother, unless your children are much older or you can afford full-time childcare, you are unlikely to be able to. But we can all learn to quiet ourselves, to look outside with open hearts and listen inside with curiosity. We can all develop our senses and practice giving expression to our inner experiences. Every single one of us can learn to express what we truly love, what we find beautiful and multiply this in the world.

It is this multiplying….

like the caterpillar, who, in the dark confines of the cocoon, turns to ooze, which turns, remarkably into a butterfly, this metamorphosis of our lives, ordinary and mundane, repetitive and worn scruffy, in to stories, paintings, cakes or doodles, this is where golden alchemy occurs.

And this is what Rampant Sisterhood, sharing that gold out in the world, is all about.

And what Out of the Mouths of Babes does with and for women who are mothers, who explore their creative voices.

And what Laundry Line Divine and all the other ways I work in the world do…. giving voice to the warp and the weft of being a woman or a man in relationship to all that is sacred in our daily lives.

 

May your week be full of wonder.

Please come back in the morning to meet Tania.

Your wings will tingle in recognition.

 

All my best,

 

Suzi

 

 

PS I must share with you Lucy’s words about An Anthology of Babes: 36 Women Give Motherhood a Voice. Yesterday, she sent me this message on Face book:

 

Suzi, your book arrived yesterday and I have spent every spare moment devouring it, it is SO rich and deep and true, I cried many times, tears of recognition, and many times my heart stood still – I so didn’t want it to end.  I was totally inspired by your FeMail project – and very honoured to receive one of your cards… Thank you so much – deep blessings on your work -I am so glad we found each other and do hope to be able to collaborate further in the future. ~Lucy Pearce

 

 

PPS Please comment here. I love your words. And do share this post. Thank you for your Rampant Sisterhood.

Happy New Year. I have my nose in a few books…


Composing My 2014

 

At this time of year, I am deep in reflection and recalibration.

I pour over my journals and blog posts to read my tracks and notice,

what made me so happy this year?
who had an impact on my daily life?
what moves really made a difference in my life?

I spend time reading the books that make up my daily routine.
Rumi, Mary Oliver, Mirabai Starr, Jen Louden, Christian McEwen…

How about you?
What have you noticed about this past year?
What really lit you up?
Who inspired you?
While you are here on Laundry Line Divine, what posts do you recall that stayed with you?

As I tune my inner life for playing full out in 2014, I hear two words:

Burn

Instigate

 

 

Morning UP

 

 

Lissa Rankin urges us to pick a word of the year, but, I cannot just pick one.

Burn, to me, is as Rumi suggests,

A Just-Finishing Candle

A candle is made to become entirely flame.
In that annihilating moment
it has no shadow.

It is nothing but a tongue of light
describing a refuge.

Look at this
just-finishing candle stub
as someone who is finally safe
from virtue and vice,

the pride and the shame
we claim from those.

~Rumi

I am looking to become entirely flame.
I desire to release, burn off all that no longer serves me.
I desire to be full of the light of the Divine.
I want to flame from within and light the way.

Instigate?

This is harder to discern.
I am a team player. I love and live in Sisterhood and
dearly love my men, my Tribe, many of whom I have played with this past week
on various and wonderful adventures.

 

Eclairs

 

 

Instigate?

Could this be about Rampant Sisterhood?
I am teaching a workshop in finding and engaging your authentic voice online on January 13-14.
If you are in the Berkshires or near, here is a link to the event.

Til I complete the big honking post of my 2013 Appreciations,
I leave you with this question:

What ignites you?
How can you kindle your own inner flames?
Have any posts on Laundry Line Divine helped you particularly?

Standing in your light, ablaze with your beauty,

Suzi

Jen Louden gave me a prompt. Thank goodness.

Child Hugging Elephant from the web

 

When I am willing to let go of resisting what I’m experiencing and let it flow, I notice…

that my glasses are dirty.
That in order to clean them I have to get up off this chair, not just use my scarf, which is not wool but will be soon, to remove what appears to be smudges of peanut butter or some other slow-moving, oil-based substance. I cannot really tell exactly because, as you can see, I have my glasses in my hand, not on my head.
I resist change.
I resist days when I am not feeling the flow of my life. Days like today when the time change makes me logy too early. I am resisting today being a good day and instead I am stuck in a bundle of negative thoughts. I have commitments that I have chosen, but which supply me with a logjam of inertia.
I sit instead of move.
I talk instead of think.
I dwell, pinned between my judgment about having a slow-moving day where I  just sit here contemplating where to begin.

I resist myself…the quiet self I left hours ago sitting on my meditation rug, happy about a new day, filled with ideas and possibilities and I let her get sat upon by the big fat elephant named “Overwhelm.”
Nothing much but trawling Pinterest gets done.
I answer emails and promote other people’s work before I do my own.
I am good at getting things out-of-order on days like today.

Even now, as I write and then edit this, I keep taking out the parts that reveal to you that I am bumping around today in the four layers of wool of this low mood. I have taken a walk to get a bigger perspective, to “blow the schtink off”, as my dear Kate’s dad used to say. What I don’t want you to know, but have a persistent thought that you experience so I feel compelled to out myself here is that, I get stuck sometimes, even with on art days. For those of you new to Laundry Line Divine, art days are the one day a week that I have arranged with my husband to take care of family chores and dinner so that I can be in my studio untangled from my mothering job.

Even on a day when the only person I have to feed is myself, I still get hungry for more. Or for a lot less.

Does this happen to you? Do you get out of order?
Is the fact that it is pitch dark at 6pm making you a bit dismal?

Okay. I am going to not let myself edit that part.
I will go on to tell you this bit about Green Stamps.
And then I am going to post a dance break, because no matter how stuck I am, dancing helps.

Just let me tell you that if you are wondering about the quality of posts here at Laundry Line Divine, you have good reason. I was out teaching Rampant Sisterhood last weekend. And seeing my son for two days of a visit in which he appeared for two meals and two loads of laundry.

Here is what I wrote before, which is true.

If I slow down enough to write, like I am now, just begin to make a mark, little by little, like letting sludgy water run itself clean, my mind settles. I stop trying and failing to do any of the 30 things on my list. I stop breathing self-hatred in to my lungs and start to ease my arms around the elephant.

Writing rights me.  (Thank you Jen for the writing prompt)

Making art, simply painting, coloring, drawing, doodling, knitting, folding paper, reading poetry, reading hard copy of anything rights me.

sh-green-stamps

When I was a little girl, we got Green Stamps at the Red Owl grocery store. If you saved them up, filled the squares of these booklets of gridded pages and redeemed them, you could get a set of dishes or some other fabulous item. I recall getting a tennis racket by way of Green Stamps. What I remember more than that was coloring in the booklets. My sisters and I would grab a few of the free newsprint booklets and fill in the small squares with waxy Crayola coloring.

I could use one of those booklets right now.
Instead, I think I will make myself one.
And see if it helps lead me out of this funk.
I promise to post what I make.

How do you get yourself out from under the elephant of “Overwhelm?”
Or, better yet, is it possible to befriend “Overwhelm”?

 

 

 

 

Dancing always helps.

Off to color.

xoS

 

PS If you’d like to get a writing prompt from Jen Louden, go here. Bonus points here on Laundry Line Divine if you answer today’s prompt:

When I am willing to let go of resisting what I’m experiencing and let it flow, I notice…

Here is my bonus.
By keeping my butt in this chair to write, the moon has risen over the bare oak. And I see it.

 

PPS this post was published before I started using Disqus to manage my comment stream. So the beautiful comments by my readers are obscured from your view, but I can see them back on my dashboard….yes, there is a real person behind the curtain of this website.

Paula wrote:

I mentally said, “Me Too!!” at least a dozen times reading this wonderful post! Thank you for this, and for that marvelous picture of the little girl hugging the Overwhelm Elephant. Love the idea that we can befriend Overwhelm. And that one day it may feel more appropriate to me to type that word with a lower case “o”.

Your story about the Green Stamps really made me smile too … imagining you coloring the squares (and the centeredness I felt just reading that!) made me think of an exhibition I saw recently featuring the amazing work of artist Paul Klee. His intuitive use of color laced with energy-of-the-moment created his “magic squares”, which inspired a whole new level of creativity in contemporary art. He made visible the unseen essences of life and captured them organically with paint and oil on canvas and paper. Thank you for capturing the magic of the ever winding, wandering, intuitive, sometimes-looks-unproductive journey we all take one way or another … reading your piece was like expanding the palette of possibilities, adding deeper hues and foundational layers to our richly mosaic-ed and vivaciously messy lives. Very grateful.

Tania wrote:

Suzi, I love “logjam of inertia”…so understandable (I”m talking to myself here too) in today’s saturation of possibilities, artistic to promotional…spinning to align to figure out…where on this merry go round do I step on? Or off? Which dress should I wear?

And is there ever an hour off? Not as creatives, mothers, promoters, bloggers…all in one. Lately I feel I should block out hours when I’m not allowed to ponder what more I could be doing….like you I feel righted by writing…but it also kicks in the cerebral perfectionist…the one who thinks chilling to watch a movie isn’t ok, I should be producing…or puts the easily measurable tasks at the front of the line over the blank journal page or the hour of wandering the botanical gardens….

I love your antidote: looking, seeing. Presence.

My other favorite: immersion in the ocean. Full sensory take over. Great post, Suzi.

 

 

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