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My Muse and how I take care of her.

Chalcedony earrings made for me by Jenny Laird in honor of #outofthemouthsofbabesevents I am buoyed by love today. XoS

Musemother: We believe in promoting rest and creative loafing to coax the muse from out of hiding. What do you do to call the Muse?

I am my own Muse. When I take really good care of myself, my Muse, my creative voice, is rich, fertile and brimming with life. Taking really good care of myself means I am well rested. That I let myself end my day at a decent hour, sip tea and read for a while then fall asleep so I can get 8 hours. I love getting up early and have often fantasized about getting up, like Harriet Beecher Stowe would, and write in the hours when my kids are asleep. I just don’t operate that way. I need sleep.
I love to be outside. I garden. I hang my wash on a cloth rope out in my yard. I get my self outdoors every single day to let nature make her mark on me because that fuels me.
I meditate. I believe to be true what my friend Judith Prest says in her poem “When I am Quiet”:

When I am quiet,
I hold and am held
in holy silence.
Stillness magnifies
my capacity for wonder.

I read poetry. I memorize poems so I can bring them out to suck on like root beer barrels when I need some rapturous sweetness.

I do a daily writing practice, what Julia Cameron calls ‘daily pages’. I did them long before I read “The Artist’s Way” and I still do them. It keeps my writing voice warm and ready to speak.
I clear things with my husband. I take time to nurture this relationship. I am fortunate to have married a man who chooses to work at home in our attic. This means we have a pocket of time together after the kids have gone to school when we can talk over our thoughts, plans for the day, concerns, dreams or whatever is on our minds before we enter our work days. I am fortunate in many other ways to have married Jonathan, but this simple fact makes the space for us to support and love each other in very current fresh ways.
I doodle. I make small collages in my collage-a-day books. I make mail art and for over five years have collaborated making mail art with my art partner Karen Arp-Sandel. This is another long chapter about my creative life which I can tell you another time, but, no matter where I am in the world, I can always make a piece of mail art that captures where I am and mail it off to her. This collaboration keeps my Muse very very happy.

That is an excerpt of the interview I did with Jennifer Boire of Musemother.

Today, as I complete a huge project for my daughter’s class and am completely immersed in making their yearbook, I rely on these words as a reminder that every single creative act nourishes my Muse.

My Muse is fat and happy.

So is my pal Jenny Laird’s. As one of the authors featured in the premiere of ‘Out of the Mouths of Babes’ Jenny opened her heart, her life and her writing to an audience who took her in, every drop. Jenny has the capacity to make you weep and laugh almost simultaneously about things you really didn’t think could be funny.

She also, as a friend, stands as a Beacon of Light. While Jenny and her family navigate the rocky shoals of autism together with their gorgeous son, she also offers the people who she loves- including a group of writers who receive her writing prompts like kids take a lollipop- a sort of luminous, articulate and fully blossomed love. I don’t know if it is her intuition as a woman, her vision as an artist, or her vigilant attention as a mother, but when Jenny shows up, currents shift, a breeze picks up, the terrain is altered by her love.

These are a pair of earrings she made for me in honor of ‘Out of the Mouths of Babes’.

I had to share them with you here.
And remind you that your acts of friendship and of loving, however diminutive or grand, have seismic impact.

Go ahead and love somebody full out today.
Like Jenny has with me, you will right someone’s faltering ship and put him or her back on course.


Jill Rogers: We did not get here by ourselves.

Honeysuckle vine from Mary Donnell. #greatbarringtonma #photoadaymay #laundrylinedivine #pinkflowers #nofilter #instagood Happy Sunday

Honor a tradition with your family or friends. Choose one tradition to bring into this weekend that helps you remember you are not alone and that you did not get here by yourself.

I got this suggestion from my sweet friend Jill Rogers, creator of The Seven Sacred Steps. Jill teaches about extraordinary loving. Here is a link to her newsletter.
This idea sprouted in to my day with me, my kids and husband doing an activity, for fifteen minutes, that caused us all to pause and give gratitude.
And the USPS has some thank you notes to mail on Tuesday.

I am here to model what I want to see in my kids.

So, thank you dear readers of Laundry Line Divine.
I appreciate the time you spend with me and our guest bloggers here.
I am grateful for your interest in seeing and celebrating the sacred in daily life.
I desire more of this sweet living, aware and expressive of the many gifts that have gotten me here.

Happy Sunday.

Counting our blessings with Alicia Suskin Ostriker and Cheryl Paley on the Laundry Line

The Blessing of the Old Woman,
the Tulip, and the Dog

To be blessed
said the old woman
is to live and work
so hard
God’s love
washes right through you
like milk through a cow

To be blessed
said the dark red tulip
is to knock their eyes out
with the slug of lust
implied by
your up-ended skirt

To be blessed
said the dog
is to have a pinch
of God
inside you
and all the other dogs
can smell it

Alicia Suskin Ostriker

It is Friday and I am counting my blessings. (And grateful for Gwarlingo for sharing this poem with me!)
My girl is en route from her 8th grade class trip, home from Block Island.
My son is primed for the weekend and playing his cello.
My husband will be happy with his girl is back home.
We all miss her.

And, filled with the awareness of how fortunate we are to live in this little town, on a hill where water runs away from our basement, where the sun is bending towards me right now at the angle of 4:30 pm…like the lamplighters of old crying “6 o’clock and all is well”…I note the time and give thanks for so many things.

My friend Sharon reminded me today that it is 3 years ago next week since my ‘sacred release’. If you are curious about that story, stay tuned. I am so grateful to be more healthy and well than I could have ever dreamed in those spooky, rich days before my hysterectomy.

Today’s ‘Out of the Mouths of Babes’ blog post is by Cheryl Paley who writes about her own trial in the fire of life as a full time Mom and sole provider for her daughter. She turns to gratitude when she realizes her good fortune. Cheryl is a theatre artist of the rare sort who has made her living as a director for most of her adult life. Read her post to learn more.

I hope you have a lovely weekend.
And, that your list of gratitude grows when you too reflect on your extreme good fortune.

Here are ten from my list. Add yours in the comment section here.

1. I am grateful for my health.
2. I am grateful for feeling well and happy today.
3. I am grateful for my resilience, internally and externally.
4. I am grateful I did not knock myself out when I ran into the doorjamb last night in the dark. Just an ice pack, darling, that’s all I require.
5. I am grateful for the mound of bark mulch out in the driveway beckoning me to the garden.
6. I am grateful my family is all well, in their various states, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Virginia, New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, California, Washington, Oregon, Texas, the Congo, Australia….all my people.
7. I am grateful for writing.
8. I am grateful for Mary Oliver and this book on metric verse I am reading by her. “All significant poets have a distinctive style”.
9. I am grateful for art, poetry, song, car design, distinctive and intentional expression of beauty and function. I love how stuff works and looks and jumps out of idea in to form. I love this.
10. I am grateful for my dear friends who have lost their parents in the last few months and the bittersweet journey we are all on with our elders.

Okay. Add on here!
Thanks to Cheryl for her post.
Get ‘Out’!

What makes you come alive?

“Being vulnerable and messy is what makes your work come alive.”

This is my extrapolation of something Jen Louden said the other night on a group call about Mastermind groups.

I am pretty messy and vulnerable….at least once a day….then I regroup and cruise in to the center of the chaos and see what I can make of it.
Relationships…kids…dinner…artwork…writing…the phlox…

What about you?

New blog post in the ‘Out of the Mouths of Babe’s’ blog series coming up tomorrow by Cheryl Paley.
I am glad you are all enjoying Beth Bornstein Dunnington’s post.
Looking forward to more.

Into the fray,
Love, S

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