All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on. – Henry Ellis
So much precious living in this creative life I live. Of special note: My two youngest children made beautiful food for friends with nary a lifted finger from me.
It meant the world to walk into my house and see my children sitting around the table laughing with friends, coffee in hand, waiting for apple tarts to finish baking. A simple rookie timing mistake that they handled with ease and grace. And even though the kitchen was exploded, my heart expanded a size or two as I watched them sharing love by serving food. It wasn’t something that we intentionally taught, rather a value they caught in the living. Which is in and of itself, both terrifying and full of freedom.
Also, keeping true to my commitment to share more. Not everything, but more. I’ve shared a couple of raw journal pages. Pages where I’ve been wrestling with credentials/lack of credentials. And pages that hold true heart break and true revelation. In the last few weeks, I have put things in writing that used to stay in the shadow realm of my thought life. As if somehow I could escape the reality of my swirling brain or make the true issues disappear by not putting them on paper with pen or paint.
Maybe I’ll always internally struggle with ‘people-pleasing’ and worry over whether or not I have approval from others. [Which ‘other’ I care about varies and shifts.] Maybe I’ll never feel like I’ve completely arrived. But in the last decade, keeping pages has given my feelings a place and allowed me to recognize when my feelings are telling the truth and when they’re simply pointing the way. I’ve discovered that the cloak of behaving that I wore for safety has been cast aside. At first secretly, and now right here out in the open.
Recently, my sweet friend Hali, who is simultaneously gentle and fierce, offered to print me out a piece of paper if it would make me feel better. “Would you like a piece of paper to validate what you already do? Because I can do that and then you can carry it around in your purse and do the work with some credentials.” Actually, she offered me a piece of “fucking paper” and gave me the sort of quiet, swift kick in the ass that I’ve come to count on from her. She was fierce about reflecting my true vocation back to me and reminded me in that moment of energy and laughter, that at times I must be fierce, too.
The truth is I’ve always gone my own way. I’ve lived true to my convictions, but I also secretly pined for affirmation of all of my alternative paths and beats.
Not so much pining over outside opinions anymore. I’m not flipping anybody off or holding grudges or even crying a ton. I’m simply naming emotions and moving on. I’m taking my ideas/important work seriously and my angsty self not so seriously. I’m no longer diluting my message or making myself easily digestible. In a recent meet-you-halfway meeting with my friend Cynthia, we said aloud to each other all the things we’ve done without approval or credentials. Between the two of us, it was quite the collection. I call it the Big-Ass-List-of-Courage-and-Valor. There is so much living well that we ignore. Why do we forget to recognize our own victories? Find the people who know you and help you recognize what you do well. Stop going to the wrong people and constructs for affirmation that you’re never going to get. Be true to your self and be brave.
I am living my creative life. Recognizing that I am a vessel. I require filling up and I am made for pouring out the oil of words, image and paint. And so, I continue to pray the prayer of orientation that passed from the lips of a Catholic nun, to a great teacher and then landed in my heart.
“Teach me to care. Teach me not to care.”
Be in your life.
p.s. The Journal Shoppe is open. [See the tab above.] It holds the slow, handmade work of my hands including journals and other treasures. Enjoy.