Last Updated On January 17, 2017

 

Hope is the thing with feathers That perches in the soul, And sings the tune without the words, And never stops at all... -Emily Dickinson

 

 

For Christmas, among many other amazing gifts, I got a set of essential oils and diffuser. Which is so freaking perfect because 1. I didn’t know I wanted it, which is the gold standard of gift giving and 2. I regularly make fun of the essential oil trade and borderline hysteria in my hippy town so it was pure poetry that I end up being another essential oil evangelist.

I have two blends entitled “awake” and “alive”, which leaves a lot up to interpretation. I mean, I could look at the ingredients but I prefer the mystery. Every morning as I fire up the diffuser, I ponder whether this is a morning to be “awake” or merely “alive”, or perhaps I can endeavor to transition from “alive” to “awake”, or the other way around. Or maybe “alive” is all that I require for the day.

Sometimes I look to the animals for cues. Many mornings find the cats with tails up like the antennas of treat seeking bumper cars. A long hair may sprawl expectantly across the table in lazy anticipation of the milky dregs of abandoned cereal bowls. Sometimes there is full out thumperous chasing or lamentous crying at closed bedroom doors. Sometimes they climb into bed as if they were waiting for us to leave or perhaps waiting for our return. I read all these behaviors like tea leaves. I don’t open the paper or check the weather.

The dog is harder to interpret, more steady and predictable, more co-dependent. Its easier to look for signs from cats and support from dogs. I guess thats why its tempting to define oneself by aligning as a cat or dog person. But the combination can be quite potent. Although honestly, I lean more toward cat. The dog’s abiding attention feels like weight to me. I have to purposefully unlock myself to accept its affection comfortably. I get impatient, I feel unworthy and put upon, intimacy overload. And then I realize- its a dog, and I am working through my own issues. And I guess this is why some dogs are emotional support dogs, more than faithful companions, they wordlessly provide therapeutic value. And always begging the foundational question- why the hell do you love me so much?

This makes me think of Carrie Fisher and her dog Gary. How we all require grounding, although some more than others, and how more and more I rely on animals and the natural world to provide it. Because its seems harder and harder to find constancy and honesty in the world of men. I need reassurance that all is as well as it ever is.

I get these creative tickles. When I feel called to tackle something out of the ordinary and totally not necessary. Sometimes these sparks take off quick and expand nicely but often they are small, private pursuits or shared with a treasured few who also create things for no reason. Or with children. Or with cats. Sometimes these efforts are a joyful affair but other times they become strained under the weight of my own expectations.

I get really attached to a certain result and bemoan my lack of skill or resources to produce my vision. It is difficult to come to terms with that gap, the one between my idealized result and my actual result. At times that gap feels like a mighty river and I want to plummet in and not put myself in the position to be disappointed again. Or I think, let others cross that gap. People who are younger, more talented, more experienced, more educated…When I’m feeling particularly dramatic, I imagine that I brutalized my perfect idea with my big, meaty claws. Like I am Edward Scissorhands or something, when it works out I do beautiful work but when it doesn’t- well, blood could be shed.

But all this angst doesn’t stop the tickle. Maybe the tickle is the antidote. Offering me something even riskier than my usual, to initiate some kind of muscle memory around navigating these hard lessons and not so neat take-aways. Maybe the tickle is providing the stimulus to my response, keeping me engaged and open.

Last month was spent trying to engage my son in NanoWriMo (national novel writing month). He has so many stories to tell. I had a vision of how this challenge could solidify our relationship around a commonality as we write together and track our progress. We got journals, pens, stickers. We created an elaborate wall calendar and put strips of paper with writing prompts in a jar. And that was as far as we got. He sprawled facedown on the carpet after hurling his journal across the room. I tried to encourage him, offer some strategies. But what the hell do I know? And I felt myself teetering on that edge of over-identification, tempted to berate him like I berate myself. Because nothing feeds creativity like harassment!

I feel the burn of impotence and shame as once again I fail to help him realize his really amazing ideas.This is the worst. When I feel like my incompetence isn’t just a plague on me but has bled into my facilitating others. I’m sorry buddy, I’m barely getting my own shit together in my forties.

Buried in the back of my closet is a failed mixed media type piece, with birds, plants, Maya words, and a story. They belong together. I crafted each aspect with love but I couldn’t get it to coalesce, like a cake that won’t rise in the oven. So much time, so many materials. Even now I am like- should I go back in? Try and make it work again? Manipulate it until it disintegrates in my hands, blend until it turns to sludge? I simply do not know how to make it. And there have been many buds that refused to flower. I’ve worked on these projects with urgency then abandoned them. Was it process I was looking for or escape? Perhaps I was treading those subconscious waters as long as I would allow myself. Without regard for product.

And how about my son? Do I try again? With silence or with persistence or do I surrender and scoop him from the floor, hold him and recalibrate?

I guess, all I have to offer is yes, its important to accept our beautiful imperfect selves- but also, there is power in the hold-out. Some of my most horrifying and most defining moments have been spent not responding to a creative tickle but rather smooth and still as glass. After the end and before a beginning. The in between. Its ok to have your head cocked and just be where you are, grasping hands in your lap, leaning back. Its OK to hold out for when it feels right, to honor space for the right thing to come along, to have faith and receptivity. Its ok not to jump in on somebody else’s count or accept something that is not quite what you wanted. Many times this is characterized as fear that needs facing, but what if it were chalked up as strength, resolve, discernment. Instead of “just do it!”, some of us prefer to “just do IT.” Every time I honor my need to hold-out, I trust another teeny tiny morsel of myself. Its healthier to unhook from the idea of limited time offers. Life isn’t like that. Its a big swirl of creating and sharing, things coming together and falling apart, stuff coming into definition only to defy it.

In the spirit mix of gift giving and holding out for the good stuff and wrestling with vulnerability, I am thinking about this quote from Carrie,

“I think I do overshare. Its my way of trying to understand myself…it creates community when you talk about private things.”

May we all continue to talk publicly about private things. No matter the delivery, whether clumsy or crass or impulsive. Even if its incomplete or disjointed or ever changing, lets share. Lets overshare. Blessed are the blurters, the hold outs, the givers, the imperfect, the singers, the truth tellers and the pets. There is divinity in waiting, working, breathing, and tending hope.

HOPE is my word for 2017.

 

Last Updated On January 17, 2017

 

Hope is the thing with feathers That perches in the soul, And sings the tune without the words, And never stops at all... -Emily Dickinson

 

For Christmas, among many other amazing gifts, I got a set of essential oils and diffuser. Which is so freaking perfect because 1. I didn’t know I wanted it, which is the gold standard of gift giving and 2. I regularly make fun of the essential oil trade and borderline hysteria in my hippy town so it was pure poetry that I end up being another essential oil evangelist.

I have two blends entitled “awake” and “alive”, which leaves a lot up to interpretation. I mean, I could look at the ingredients but I prefer the mystery. Every morning as I fire up the diffuser, I ponder whether this is a morning to be “awake” or merely “alive”, or perhaps I can endeavor to transition from “alive” to “awake”, or the other way around. Or maybe “alive” is all that I require for the day.

Sometimes I look to the animals for cues. Many mornings find the cats with tails up like the antennas of treat seeking bumper cars. A long hair may sprawl expectantly across the table in lazy anticipation of the milky dregs of abandoned cereal bowls. Sometimes there is full out thumperous chasing or lamentous crying at closed bedroom doors. Sometimes they climb into bed as if they were waiting for us to leave or perhaps waiting for our return. I read all these behaviors like tea leaves. I don’t open the paper or check the weather.

The dog is harder to interpret, more steady and predictable, more co-dependent. Its easier to look for signs from cats and support from dogs. I guess thats why its tempting to define oneself by aligning as a cat or dog person. But the combination can be quite potent. Although honestly, I lean more toward cat. The dog’s abiding attention feels like weight to me. I have to purposefully unlock myself to accept its affection comfortably. I get impatient, I feel unworthy and put upon, intimacy overload. And then I realize- its a dog, and I am working through my own issues. And I guess this is why some dogs are emotional support dogs, more than faithful companions, they wordlessly provide therapeutic value. And always begging the foundational question- why the hell do you love me so much?

This makes me think of Carrie Fisher and her dog Gary. How we all require grounding, although some more than others, and how more and more I rely on animals and the natural world to provide it. Because its seems harder and harder to find constancy and honesty in the world of men. I need reassurance that all is as well as it ever is.

I get these creative tickles. When I feel called to tackle something out of the ordinary and totally not necessary. Sometimes these sparks take off quick and expand nicely but often they are small, private pursuits or shared with a treasured few who also create things for no reason. Or with children. Or with cats. Sometimes these efforts are a joyful affair but other times they become strained under the weight of my own expectations.

I get really attached to a certain result and bemoan my lack of skill or resources to produce my vision. It is difficult to come to terms with that gap, the one between my idealized result and my actual result. At times that gap feels like a mighty river and I want to plummet in and not put myself in the position to be disappointed again. Or I think, let others cross that gap. People who are younger, more talented, more experienced, more educated…When I’m feeling particularly dramatic, I imagine that I brutalized my perfect idea with my big, meaty claws. Like I am Edward Scissorhands or something, when it works out I do beautiful work but when it doesn’t- well, blood could be shed.

But all this angst doesn’t stop the tickle. Maybe the tickle is the antidote. Offering me something even riskier than my usual, to initiate some kind of muscle memory around navigating these hard lessons and not so neat take-aways. Maybe the tickle is providing the stimulus to my response, keeping me engaged and open.

Last month was spent trying to engage my son in NanoWriMo (national novel writing month). He has so many stories to tell. I had a vision of how this challenge could solidify our relationship around a commonality as we write together and track our progress. We got journals, pens, stickers. We created an elaborate wall calendar and put strips of paper with writing prompts in a jar. And that was as far as we got. He sprawled facedown on the carpet after hurling his journal across the room. I tried to encourage him, offer some strategies. But what the hell do I know? And I felt myself teetering on that edge of over-identification, tempted to berate him like I berate myself. Because nothing feeds creativity like harassment!

I feel the burn of impotence and shame as once again I fail to help him realize his really amazing ideas.This is the worst. When I feel like my incompetence isn’t just a plague on me but has bled into my facilitating others. I’m sorry buddy, I’m barely getting my own shit together in my forties.

Buried in the back of my closet is a failed mixed media type piece, with birds, plants, Maya words, and a story. They belong together. I crafted each aspect with love but I couldn’t get it to coalesce, like a cake that won’t rise in the oven. So much time, so many materials. Even now I am like- should I go back in? Try and make it work again? Manipulate it until it disintegrates in my hands, blend until it turns to sludge? I simply do not know how to make it. And there have been many buds that refused to flower. I’ve worked on these projects with urgency then abandoned them. Was it process I was looking for or escape? Perhaps I was treading those subconscious waters as long as I would allow myself. Without regard for product.

And how about my son? Do I try again? With silence or with persistence or do I surrender and scoop him from the floor, hold him and recalibrate?

I guess, all I have to offer is yes, its important to accept our beautiful imperfect selves- but also, there is power in the hold-out. Some of my most horrifying and most defining moments have been spent not responding to a creative tickle but rather smooth and still as glass. After the end and before a beginning. The in between. Its ok to have your head cocked and just be where you are, grasping hands in your lap, leaning back. Its OK to hold out for when it feels right, to honor space for the right thing to come along, to have faith and receptivity. Its ok not to jump in on somebody else’s count or accept something that is not quite what you wanted. Many times this is characterized as fear that needs facing, but what if it were chalked up as strength, resolve, discernment. Instead of “just do it!”, some of us prefer to “just do IT.” Every time I honor my need to hold-out, I trust another teeny tiny morsel of myself. Its healthier to unhook from the idea of limited time offers. Life isn’t like that. Its a big swirl of creating and sharing, things coming together and falling apart, stuff coming into definition only to defy it.

In the spirit mix of gift giving and holding out for the good stuff and wrestling with vulnerability, I am thinking about this quote from Carrie,

“I think I do overshare. Its my way of trying to understand myself…it creates community when you talk about private things.”

May we all continue to talk publicly about private things. No matter the delivery, whether clumsy or crass or impulsive. Even if its incomplete or disjointed or ever changing, lets share. Lets overshare. Blessed are the blurters, the hold outs, the givers, the imperfect, the singers, the truth tellers and the pets. There is divinity in waiting, working, breathing, and tending hope.

HOPE is my word for 2017.

Last Updated On January 17, 2017

Hope is the thing with feathers That perches in the soul, And sings the tune without the words, And never stops at all... -Emily Dickinson

For Christmas, among many other amazing gifts, I got a set of essential oils and diffuser. Which is so freaking perfect because 1. I didn’t know I wanted it, which is the gold standard of gift giving and 2. I regularly make fun of the essential oil trade and borderline hysteria in my hippy town so it was pure poetry that I end up being another essential oil evangelist.

I have two blends entitled “awake” and “alive”, which leaves a lot up to interpretation. I mean, I could look at the ingredients but I prefer the mystery. Every morning as I fire up the diffuser, I ponder whether this is a morning to be “awake” or merely “alive”, or perhaps I can endeavor to transition from “alive” to “awake”, or the other way around. Or maybe “alive” is all that I require for the day.

Sometimes I look to the animals for cues. Many mornings find the cats with tails up like the antennas of treat seeking bumper cars. A long hair may sprawl expectantly across the table in lazy anticipation of the milky dregs of abandoned cereal bowls. Sometimes there is full out thumperous chasing or lamentous crying at closed bedroom doors. Sometimes they climb into bed as if they were waiting for us to leave or perhaps waiting for our return. I read all these behaviors like tea leaves. I don’t open the paper or check the weather.

The dog is harder to interpret, more steady and predictable, more co-dependent. Its easier to look for signs from cats and support from dogs. I guess thats why its tempting to define oneself by aligning as a cat or dog person. But the combination can be quite potent. Although honestly, I lean more toward cat. The dog’s abiding attention feels like weight to me. I have to purposefully unlock myself to accept its affection comfortably. I get impatient, I feel unworthy and put upon, intimacy overload. And then I realize- its a dog, and I am working through my own issues. And I guess this is why some dogs are emotional support dogs, more than faithful companions, they wordlessly provide therapeutic value. And always begging the foundational question- why the hell do you love me so much?

This makes me think of Carrie Fisher and her dog Gary. How we all require grounding, although some more than others, and how more and more I rely on animals and the natural world to provide it. Because its seems harder and harder to find constancy and honesty in the world of men. I need reassurance that all is as well as it ever is.

I get these creative tickles. When I feel called to tackle something out of the ordinary and totally not necessary. Sometimes these sparks take off quick and expand nicely but often they are small, private pursuits or shared with a treasured few who also create things for no reason. Or with children. Or with cats. Sometimes these efforts are a joyful affair but other times they become strained under the weight of my own expectations.

I get really attached to a certain result and bemoan my lack of skill or resources to produce my vision. It is difficult to come to terms with that gap, the one between my idealized result and my actual result. At times that gap feels like a mighty river and I want to plummet in and not put myself in the position to be disappointed again. Or I think, let others cross that gap. People who are younger, more talented, more experienced, more educated…When I’m feeling particularly dramatic, I imagine that I brutalized my perfect idea with my big, meaty claws. Like I am Edward Scissorhands or something, when it works out I do beautiful work but when it doesn’t- well, blood could be shed.

But all this angst doesn’t stop the tickle. Maybe the tickle is the antidote. Offering me something even riskier than my usual, to initiate some kind of muscle memory around navigating these hard lessons and not so neat take-aways. Maybe the tickle is providing the stimulus to my response, keeping me engaged and open.

Last month was spent trying to engage my son in NanoWriMo (national novel writing month). He has so many stories to tell. I had a vision of how this challenge could solidify our relationship around a commonality as we write together and track our progress. We got journals, pens, stickers. We created an elaborate wall calendar and put strips of paper with writing prompts in a jar. And that was as far as we got. He sprawled facedown on the carpet after hurling his journal across the room. I tried to encourage him, offer some strategies. But what the hell do I know? And I felt myself teetering on that edge of over-identification, tempted to berate him like I berate myself. Because nothing feeds creativity like harassment!

I feel the burn of impotence and shame as once again I fail to help him realize his really amazing ideas.This is the worst. When I feel like my incompetence isn’t just a plague on me but has bled into my facilitating others. I’m sorry buddy, I’m barely getting my own shit together in my forties.

Buried in the back of my closet is a failed mixed media type piece, with birds, plants, Maya words, and a story. They belong together. I crafted each aspect with love but I couldn’t get it to coalesce, like a cake that won’t rise in the oven. So much time, so many materials. Even now I am like- should I go back in? Try and make it work again? Manipulate it until it disintegrates in my hands, blend until it turns to sludge? I simply do not know how to make it. And there have been many buds that refused to flower. I’ve worked on these projects with urgency then abandoned them. Was it process I was looking for or escape? Perhaps I was treading those subconscious waters as long as I would allow myself. Without regard for product.

And how about my son? Do I try again? With silence or with persistence or do I surrender and scoop him from the floor, hold him and recalibrate?

I guess, all I have to offer is yes, its important to accept our beautiful imperfect selves- but also, there is power in the hold-out. Some of my most horrifying and most defining moments have been spent not responding to a creative tickle but rather smooth and still as glass. After the end and before a beginning. The in between. Its ok to have your head cocked and just be where you are, grasping hands in your lap, leaning back. Its OK to hold out for when it feels right, to honor space for the right thing to come along, to have faith and receptivity. Its ok not to jump in on somebody else’s count or accept something that is not quite what you wanted. Many times this is characterized as fear that needs facing, but what if it were chalked up as strength, resolve, discernment. Instead of “just do it!”, some of us prefer to “just do IT.” Every time I honor my need to hold-out, I trust another teeny tiny morsel of myself. Its healthier to unhook from the idea of limited time offers. Life isn’t like that. Its a big swirl of creating and sharing, things coming together and falling apart, stuff coming into definition only to defy it.

In the spirit mix of gift giving and holding out for the good stuff and wrestling with vulnerability, I am thinking about this quote from Carrie,

“I think I do overshare. Its my way of trying to understand myself…it creates community when you talk about private things.”

May we all continue to talk publicly about private things. No matter the delivery, whether clumsy or crass or impulsive. Even if its incomplete or disjointed or ever changing, lets share. Lets overshare. Blessed are the blurters, the hold outs, the givers, the imperfect, the singers, the truth tellers and the pets. There is divinity in waiting, working, breathing, and tending hope.

HOPE is my word for 2017.