Today’s post continues with the Quest2015 project. It is a set of 12 days with 12 visionaries to imagine my best next 12 months as a business artist. You can learn more about #Quest2015 here and join the free offering by Jeffrey Davis.
Or you can follow along my quest here on Laundry Line Divine. I will post the prompts and my responses here all month. I really enjoy your comments, emails and notes on social media.
Yes, it might be messy. Yes, it might be personal and vulnerable, and yes, I am brave enough to show you my work here on Laundry Line Divine.
Today’s prompt comes from Pam Houston, who is the beloved author of four books including novel Contents May Have Shifted (have you read this yet? please do!) and the interconnected short stories Cowboys Are My Weakness. She is Professor of English at UC Davis, directs the literary nonprofit Writing By Writers, and teaches in The Pacific University low residency MFA program.
Sit quietly and ask yourself, what in the last day or week or month has made your heart leap up? Not what should, or might or always had, but what did. Make that list. Be honest, even if it surprises you. Keep the list with you this month. Add to it when it happens. Train yourself to notice. Then ask your self today, how can I arrange my life to get more of those heart leaps in it?
• When she calls my name
• When there is laughter
• When the popcorn I thought was for me alone, became three batches, one for the two teenaged girls and another my husband’s dinner
• Laundry gusting on the line
• Simple neat stitchings in wool, on silk, in old linen, on the dress I made for myself 21 years ago that I put on today
• The ice
• The owl
• The eagle
• The titmice
• The way he studies them now
• The way she wiped her nose on stage, as a man, in a Shakespearean coat
• The way he calls me just to hear my voice
• That would be me, connected to and in connection with people I love
• Being lost and found in this love, retrieval and permission
• Knowing that I should read page 140 today in three different books and finding a synchronicity, call it serendipity, of learning and insight.
• The promise of ice skating
• Remembering how much I love to ski, even though I am a terrible skier
• Falling asleep holding hands with my beloved
• Knitting, knitting, knitting and then seeing something more than the string, sticks and a plan take place
• Feeling a through line in my work, noticing, perhaps what others see but I am only just discovering and beginning, leapingly beginning to trust that this is my work, not something that will soon arrive when I am ready…. I am ready.
• Seeing my best friend for just a few minutes, but he has grown in to a man from the 18-year-old I met 33 years ago. Such a nice boy.
• Doing yoga…. rotated triangle, crow, plank, watching my palm open up above my head, watching my feet, yielding my heart, bowing to my beloved in class because he, after all these years, has started doing yoga
• Seeing my friend’s pottery, knowing him since he was 5, now, an artist.
• Pine boughs
• Taking her to my red oak and sitting there with her
• Texts from my German kids, love notes, postcards, photos from Meine lieben Kinder.
• Old pages of handwriting
• Photographs of my mother
• Fervent comments from my readers on Laundry Line Divine
• My anthology in the hands of other readers
• All my journals lined up in a bag, ready for an exhibit
• Painting and packaging my Powder Keg Sessions painted prompt cards and preparing them to post and then going to the post office. Happy dances in the lobby of the post office.
• Terry Tempest Williams, John O’Donohue, Jeffrey Davis, Danielle LaPorte, Hafiz, Rumi, Debi Millman, Marilynne Robinson, Mary Gaitskill, Jane Hirschfield, Mandy Steward, Hilary Rain, Brené Brown, Tami Lynn Kent, Alice Orr, Tania Pryputniewicz, Alice Munro, Ruth Krauss, Sarah Ruhl, Adrienne Rich, P.K. Page, Natalie Goldberg, Flora Bowley…reading makes my heart leap because things happen between me and the page and the reality of my life. I gain understanding. This makes me leap all over the room, a gazelle of enthusiasm.
• Listening to my Powder Keg Sessions women read their work aloud.
• New women coming to the group.
• The embrace of a woman I taught last summer and the joy we shared
• Sitting in sacred circle with my Moon Circle exploring the deeper essence of gratitude
• Running downhill
• Acorn caps
• My oak and her skirt
• The copper beech up on the ridge
How could I orchestrate my life to have more heart leaps?
Getting out of bed after just the right amount of sleep and socializing.
Speaking my truth even if it makes me quake.
Dreaming bigger and with more language about my work in the world.
Developing excellence with a complete willingness to fail, to be wrong, to wander, and to get lost.
Every single day.
Even when it is freezing and raining and gray…like it was this morning when I rescued the linen curtains that I left on the line from yesterday’s sun…. there is a crow. There are the titmice. There is the phlox leaning in to the messy garden, but I recall their perfume, their pinkness, and their tall strike of elegance on a September afternoon.
Going outside pretty much keeps most of those heart leaps leaping.
Being present with my family and friends.
Working in a way that supports my well-being and joy.
Staying connected…. to my long-time friends who see the difference and to my new friends, with whom I make a difference.
I woke this morning with three words in my heart.
Persistence? Showing up to write daily.
Nudging projects along, however slowly they roll, rolling them.
Dedication? Being there to say good-bye and hello, good morning and yes, I cannot wait for you to come home from college, stirring soup, closing my door, lighting the candles…
finding solitude within the fray of family life and creating art from this captured territory this is where and who and what I am dedicated to.
My soul sister Betty sat next to me years ago as I nursed my daughter. Betty had just returned from work in Niger, as part of a United Nations project. She, peace activist and teacher, me, messy, chaos stuck to me like burrs to my ankles. I whined a bit and said, “Your work is so important.” She grabbed me with her words without disturbing the suckling, “The work you are doing right now is the most important work you can do right now.”
I am not sure she said ‘Right now” twice, but in recalling it, I feel the right now-ness of her words. Even today. After that, I quieted down. I settled in to motherhood, learned to live with the burrs, and grew more dedicated.
That baby is now 17 and drives herself to school.
The burrs teach me a lot.
And the heart leaps just keep on leaping.
This tiny video is better full screen. Hit the start arrow then click on full screen. It is only 19 seconds. Worth the clicks.
As part of the Quest2015 project, I have been reading some new blogs. These three have really made my heart leap. Ginny Taylor of Women of Wonder, whose work is to help women heal from the trauma of sexual abuse.
Stan Stewart’s improv poem this morning made my heart leap and urged me to create this list…imperfect as it may be in literary terms, it is more improv than anything. Thank you Stan.
And Julie Jordan Scott is a writer, poet, and teacher. This blog post caught me in another heart leap.
What about you?
What makes your heart leap?
How can you make choices that offer more heart leaps?