Thursday, December 2, 2010

Ah, home again..

Haven't posted on this blog for a long time, but feeling the pull to get small, more connected with what's right in front of me. Just wanted to post a link to a very lovely new to me website, Rhythm of the Home I'm loving it!! Just what I'm needing right now. They're hosting a great giveaway right now on their blog. The new Winter edition of Rhythm of the Home is up right now! Check it out. I think you'll like it too.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Chasing Dreams


How To Be a Poet

BY WENDELL BERRY
(to remind myself)
i

Make a place to sit down.
Sit down. Be quiet.
You must depend upon
affection, reading, knowledge,
skill—more of each
than you have—inspiration,
work, growing older, patience,
for patience joins time
to eternity. Any readers
who like your poems,
doubt their judgment.

ii

Breathe with unconditional breath
the unconditioned air.
Shun electric wire.
Communicate slowly. Live
a three-dimensioned life;
stay away from screens.
Stay away from anything
that obscures the place it is in.
There are no unsacred places;
there are only sacred places
and desecrated places.

iii

Accept what comes from silence.
Make the best you can of it.
Of the little words that come
out of the silence, like prayers
prayed back to the one who prays,
make a poem that does not disturb
the silence from which it came.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Practice This


"A spirituality that is only private and self-absorbed, one devoid of an authentic political and social consciousness, does little to halt the suicidal juggernaut of history. On the other hand, an activism that is not purified by profound spiritual and psychological self-awareness and rooted in divine truth, wisdom, and compassion will only perpetuate the problem it is trying to solve, however righteous its intentions. When, however, the deepest and most grounded spiritual vision is married to a practical and pragmatic drive to transform all existing political, economic, and social institutions, a holy force - the power of wisdom and love in action - is born. This force I define as Sacred Activism."

- Andrew Harvey

And to that, I say a hearty Amen. I am so moved these days to get busy and DO something about the lack of deep spiritual teaching in our culture, the lack of real love between neighbors and people groups, the quick judgments, the apathy, the consumerism. And I know that all of those problems I see "out there" are actually lodged deeply in my own heart as well. And only when I see it, name it, and begin to move toward a more integrated way of living, when I can truly say I'm living out what I most deeply believe in, THAT'S when change can really happen.

I came across this list of Practice Ideas in a handout I received at the Awakening the Dreamer Symposium that I went to a few weeks ago. If you have a chance to go to this life changing presentation, GO.

Or, start here:

Daily Practices for Staying Awake:

  • Designate a regular daily practice such as meditation, prayer or yoga
  • Investigate and watch for examples of interconnectedness everywhere
  • Consider and pay attention to dreams, daydreams and visions as possible messages from other dimensions of reality
  • Let the wisdom of the Earth speak through you
  • Change your conversations to be of possibility and inspiration to others
  • Be compassionate and forgiving with yourself
  • As a radical act: want less, buy less, use less
  • Consciously read, listen, watch and engage with things that inspire you to Change the Dream [the current "dream"/nightmare the world finds itself in today]
  • Breathe deeply
  • Read one page of something that inspires you
  • Attend a religious or spiritual group that is new to you
  • Play with crayons
  • Stretch your body
  • Write down your dreams
  • Take a nap
  • Listen to someone older than you
  • Hug a tree
  • Write down 3 things you are grateful for
  • Do nothing for one minute
  • Build a fort with blankets
  • Remember to play
  • Don't answer the phone [or check your email]
  • Write an answer to the question, "What is the purpose of my life?"
  • Watch or read something that inspires you everyday
  • Create spaces for authentic rituals in your life such as giving thanks for a new day
  • Don't read your mail [or watch the news] for one day
  • Smile at yourself in the mirror
  • Take care about what you put in your mind and heart
  • Turn off your TV
  • Dream with friends
  • Smile as your walk down the street
Who's in?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Trust the Call


What in your life is calling you?
When all the noise is silenced,
the meetings adjourned,
the lists laid aside,
and the wild iris blooms by itself
in the dark forest,
what still pulls on your soul?

In the silence between your heartbeats
hides a summons.
Do you hear it?
Name it, if you must,
or leave it forever nameless,
but why pretend it is not there?

-The Terma Collective,
"The Box: Remembering the Gift

Found in Creative Awakenings, Envisioning the Life of Your Dreams Through Art by Sheri Gaynor. Great book, amazing website.

I'm feeling very full of ideas just on the brink of fruition, full of inspiration and ideas, so many sometimes I don't know where to start. But I will start. I'll start by writing my 800 words a day again. Yoga 5 days a week, home practice include. I'll choose silence instead of noise, both internally and externally. I'll work toward a daily rhythm of grace, of gentleness, of doing the work of living and creating, loving, forgiving myself and others as we bumble along this path of life together. I'll listen to the inner yearnings and whispers that aren't exactly quiet anymore. I'll make plans (hopes, really), and move toward them gently, babysteps, being open to whatever surprises there might be on the way. To friendship, to real connection, to really living, right here, right now.

The divine Anna-Marie Still shared this wonderful photo and words to inspire you and those who will find it in your community. Are you trusting your dreams, your instincts, the tiny whispers? Are you trusting the fact that you, tiny as you are among all the universe, were created for just such a time as this? That only you can fulfill the purpose that is calling to you?

Trust. Move gently, and most assuredly toward your most sacred callings.



PS Danielle LaPorte is offering her unbelievably inspiring FireStarter Sessions e-book as a Buy One, Give One now through Friday, October 1st. You can go in 50/50 with a friend, or give one away as a gift to a friend or a stranger. What an amazing gift! If you are dreaming of growing a creative business, you MUST have this resource. I have it, and HIGHLY recommend it, and anything else that lady writes. Danielle LaPorte is someone you need to know. If you click here, you'll see what I mean.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Things I Learned On My Summer Vacation



1. 10 weeks with 4 kids under age 10 with you 24/7 can make one cranky. Especially when it rains for 5 of those 10 weeks.

2. Getting out in nature as often as possible with 4 kids under age 10 when they are with you 24/7 makes everyone happier, even (and especially) if its raining.

3. Losing a friend is really, really hard.

4. Having Shingles is a big a** bummer. Yep. Shingles, baby.

5. Feeling sorry for yourself on any level only makes it worse. When you pour yourself out, engage your soul in whatever is right in front of you, it changes everything for the better.

6. Meditation and prayer is really, really essential.

7. Reading feeds my soul.

8. I really, really have too much screen time going on in my house, and need to have as little as possible.

9. Avoiding housework makes me grumpy in the long run. Doing housework (or at least having done housework) cheers me up. Happiness really is found at the bottom of the laundry basket.

10. Comparison is a killer. Believing in my deepest soul whispers and longings is the way I'll find my true path.

Oh, and one more. I AM A SUPERHERO. So are you.

With that in mind, I was so excited when the scrumptious Rosa Murillo, mixed-media artist, shared this awesome, fun and inspiring drawing with us. Rosa says "the idea is that whoever finds it, would color it and cut it along the line and carry in their pockets. A little like a silly exercise in believing in the power of yourself." I hope each of you will print one for yourself and put it in your pocket, on your bathroom mirror, wherever you'll see it regularly and remember how amazing you are!

Check it out:


So tell me. What did YOU do on your summer vacation?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A New Beginning


So excited to announce that the new season of The Found Art Project will kick off this week! Now is the time to get your latest inspirational creation, photograph, short (very short) story or poetry in to be considered for distribution on The Found Art Flyer! Please check out the past Found Art Flyers to see the kinds of things that have been accepted in the past. Don't be shy to send things in! Yes, you're good enough, yes you are already an artist! Let's spread the love together!

I really can't do it without you.

I was SOOO excited when I was flipping through the pages of my favorite magazine MaryJanesFarm and lo and behold there was The Found Art Project featured in its pages! A little shout out, but oh so fun! If you've found your way here from Ms. MaryJane's pages, WELCOME! So glad to have you. I hope you'll stick around, the new season of The Found Art Project is going to be so much fun. Inspiration, Art, Words, Spirit and Community...does it get much better? (If you don't know MaryJane, and MaryJanesFarm magazine, you simply MUST check it out. If you're an artsy, crafty, green, garden-y, farm-y, sustainable crunchy type this is the magazine for you. You can find The Project on p. 16 of the Oct-Nov. Gratitude issue on newsstands now!

So excited to see your art offerings! Come on now, let's see whatcha got!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Longing


I find myself in a place of longing.
I long for deep connection and reverent solitude.
For time to study and write.
For newness and travel.
For kindness, compassion and heartfelt understanding
of other times, cultures and people.
I long for God, the Truth, and not just what we've made it.
To know the Truth and to live it out loud.
I long for lightness of being.
For guilt and compulsion to be gone forever.
I long for smiles and laughter.
For connection with the earth, with meaning and rituals and seasons.
For order and simplicity.
For passion and freedom.
For interesting friends and inspiration.
To know that I am enough.
To know that I have way more than enough.
For connection to the land, and to my spirit,
and to those I love the most.
To my body and nature, to the energy that connects us all.
For community and peace.

These are ramblings that are tumbling out in my journal as I have had a family tragedy this week. Our hearts are broken, as our family has lost our very much beloved Chocolate Lab. Though she had a good, long life, her passing was unexpected, and our family is in deep mourning over losing this sweet soul. If you'll forgive me for being a bit self-indulgent, today I'll only post this amazing drawing of our sweet girl, sketched by a good friend of ours last year. I'll be taking a bit of time off from posting as I tend our family's hearts, and we are also taking a long overdue family camping trip next week.

If you have a pet that you adore, please give it an extra dose of love and hugs tonight. They truly are angels sent from heaven.



Tess
March 8, 1999- July 21, 2010

We love you.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Found Art Friday, Needful vs. Needless


Hello lovelies. Hope you've all had a wonderful week! I've been enjoying a gloriously sunny and warm week of summer here in the Pacific Northwest, pool parties, new friends, campfires, wildflower bouquets, and lots of strawberries, among many other yummy things. I'm slowing down my writing schedule in favor of trying to squeeze out every drop of summer that I can. You never know how long it will last.

The wonderfully talented Melanie Martin sent me this mysterious photo, and it inspired so many things in me. Isn't it rather Harry Potter-esque? Like this could be the entry to a road that can only be seen by you or by invitation only? Magic might be just around the corner.

Then I started thinking along the lines of what Needless Alley might I be traveling on right now? As in, where am I wandering away from my true path? What is distracting me? What is simply wasting my time? What can I let go of in order to get back on track? And what IS my track anyway?

Then: What is need-FULL in my life? What is filling my well? Am I cultivating a lifestyle which nurtures my deepest loves, most heartfelt values and desires?

Then: the other kind of need. As in need vs. want. Remembering, that I really do live on "Needless Alley". All my true needs are filled, and if you're reading this, I'm willing to bet yours are too. And if not, I know for sure that you have everything you need to fill those needs yourself, and that you can get started right now. Let's remind everyone that they can too.




Where can you tuck this little morsel of inspiration into the world? I'd love hear your stories of how you've spread The Found Art Project love into your community.

Please remember that I'm always accepting submissions for inclusions in our Found Art Flyers. Don't be shy! I'd love to hear from you!

Smooches to all of you! Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Curiouser and Curiouser






I'm a curious girl these days. I've shared a little bit about the journey I've been on lately, and curiosity is a huge factor for me these days. Most of you probably don't know that I consider myself a recovering conservative (no offense to my conservative friends). And I wouldn't necessarily call myself "liberal" either. Or left or right, or blue or red for that matter. I am really, really curious about all these ways of being. I'm curious about the fact that whatever path one follows, everyone is looking for the same thing deep down. Love, acceptance, security, freedom, not necessarily in that order, give or take a few other things. We are all the same on the inside, even if you have to peel back many, many layers to find the similarities.

Many things, both positive and negative came together over a few years that lead to my awakening. And I do mean awakening. I was asleep to so many things. Mainly to the fact that I was hiding in my own personal worldview, which I admit was incredibly small. I felt safe when I was following all the rules handed to me by my church culture, my political party, and even the books and blogs in which I immersed myself. My tribe made me feel secure, as if I followed all their ways, I'd be guaranteed fulfillment, and my children would grow up to be model citizens. But when I really looked, it also made me feel small, boxed in, trapped, guilty.

Um, no thanks.

When I allowed myself to finally look up and around, away from the little patch of grass I'd been feeding on far too long, I couldn't believe the view! I kind of felt like this:

"’Curiouser and curiouser!’ cried Alice (she was so much surprised, that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English). ’Now I’m opening out like the largest telescope that ever was! Good-bye, feet!’ (for when she looked down at her feet they seemed to be almost out of sight, they were getting so far off)." (Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, Ch. 2)

Good-bye feet, indeed. Good-bye anchor, good-bye ball and chain belief systems. Now let me be clear. This is not a diatribe against my former worldview. I take full responsibility for letting my thoughts get so small. No one ever promised me the proverbial rose garden. I just wasn't taking responsibility for creating my own rose garden. I didn't know it was mine for the making. The thing is, I didn't know that I was allowed to change my views if I decided they weren't working. It came back to the thing it always comes back to: me, creating my own experiences. All of 'em.

"The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity.” Albert Einstein

Holy curiosity. HOLY curiosity.

Yes, yes, yes.

I am so loving the view.

Here are a couple of books I can highly recommend if you're interested in having your world shaken up, and seeing what might happen next.




This book was a major, MAJOR factor in my very juicy, yummy unraveling. I cannot recommend this book highly enough, especially if you are a Christian or if you think Christians are the weirdest, most close minded people on the planet. This guy is a total Jesus freak, but in a good way. Jesus wasn't a Republican folks. Seriously.







This book is new to me, but it is splitting me open in such magical new ways its reach in my life cannot be predicted. I'm betting it will be in the life-changing category. To be sure, some of my old mates will find this book categorically "woo" at best, and at worst diabolically blasphemous. But may I gently suggest, we all lighten up a bit as the sumptuous Sera Beak encourages in this spiritual feast of a book. May I dare say its even a little bit sexy? Oh my! Yes, please!




Where are you shut down, or a bit too small in your thinking? Can you scootch out of your comfort zone a bit and see if there are other ways to be that might make your own world a bit more colorful, juicy or sexy? Are you letting yourself be colorful, juicy and sexy? I know this group of readers is all this and more. Let it all hang out, my beautiful readers. xoxo

Friday, July 2, 2010

Found Art Friday, Afternoon Edition



Hello par-tay people! Its Friday afternoon, and here in the USA its the big 4th of July celebration, which means a 3 day weekend for many of us! Can I get a big ole WOO-FREAKIN'-HOO!! For us, that means my super sexy husband will be building me my own personal deck outside of our bedroom, complete with double french doors, and a vintage clawfoot tub for outdoor bathing. I did mention I live in the woods, right? :) Aside from watching my mistah work the power tools, there will also be a slumber party, a campfire, a BBQ with friends, a small town parade, and a fireworks display. Yee-haw!

Anyhoo, here's a quote that's been working its magic on me lately. What do you think?

Says Joseph Campbell:

"...I thought anybody who worked for money was a fool. I took a vow never to do anything for money. Now, that doesn't mean that when I do something for somebody I don't ask for money. I want as much as I can get, but that's the secondary part of the game. My life course is absolutely indifferent to money. As a result, a lot of money has come in by my doing what I feel I want to do from the inside. If you do that, you are doing things that attract money, because you are giving life and life responds in the way of its counterpart in hard coin. If you follow your bliss, you will always have your bliss, money or not. If you follow money, you may lose it, and you will have nothing."

We've had some big financial ups and downs the past few years, and I can't lie and say that money isn't important. It obviously is. And many times, you just have to do what you have to do to make money to make ends meet. But aside from that, have you ever held back from doing what you love because you don't think you're good enough to get paid for it? Like you're not a real artist, photographer, writer, etc. if you're not a paid professional? I gave myself the biggest case of writer's block for about 2 years when I got it stuck in my head that I had to be published, writing fiction, getting paid, etc in order for it to be "worth it" to write at all. I read this quote and BAM! Major lightbulb moment. I remembered that its ok to write simply because I love it, not for anyone else, or for any other reason. And when I say I love it, I'll agree with Dorothy Parker who said "I hate writing, but I love having written." O_o But I digress.

Let's all try to remember what our real passions are, and make time to do them because we love them, and not feel like we have to prove ourselves worthy of our passions and desires first! You are worthy because you are a child of God, gifted with talents, kindness and a smile that is meant to be shared with the world.

With that said, I was t.h.r.i.l.l.e.d. when the amazing poet Donna Hilbert submitted this piece for The Project. I absolutely love the message, and I know you and the unsuspecting folks who will find this in the world will too.

Have fun and be safe this weekend. Pursue your passion, your bliss, and look for all the simple pleasures.

(PS Submit your stuff to The Project too! :)





Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Dabbling


I promise I won't just keep blabbing on and on about myself (or maybe I will, considering its a blog and all), but ai, ai, ai! A combination of a family visit, having the kiddos home full time and a major case of the hormones this week has completely kicked my creative arse. So, I thought I'd share these things with you, and see if they might resonate with you too. So without further ado:

5 Things I’m Dabbling In, am Curious About, and Trying out Just for Kicks and Grins:

Meditating:

This is something that kind of weirded me out forever. I come from a very traditional Christian background, and anything that smacked of “woo” was definitely frowned upon. But actually, most, if not all spiritual traditions have a strong foundation in meditation, in stillness, and contemplation. As you know, I went to a meditation retreat a few weeks ago, and it felt like coming home. You know that feeling of satisfaction when you slide the right puzzle pieces together and it thumps in together just right? Yeah, its like that. Its more challenging than you’d imagine, “just” sitting there breathing. But its changing me in many mysterious ways. I’m more calm, much more centered. I didn’t even really know what “centered” meant before, I just chalked it up to another “woo” word. But centered is good. Very, very good. As in, the opposite of scattered. I've just joined a local meditation group, and I'm happy to have found it.

Veganism:

I’m coining a phrase: Non-militant Vegan. That’s me. Which means cheating allowed. For now anyway. I have to approach any major change with the tiniest babysteps, and I have to allow myself to “cheat” at any time. Otherwise, I know I won’t try. For the last several years, I’ve started to have more and more weird, wonky health symptoms, digestive stuff, and I won’t get into the details, lest it be TMI, and we don’t know each other that well yet. After reading “The Kind Diet” , and loving it, I decided to try to reboot my system by eating super clean for 2 weeks. And what do you know? It totally worked. I feel really good, tummy issues gone, BAM. Now I’m a bit puzzled about what to do. Not sure if I want to ask my family to join me, but I don’t really want to cook a separate meal for myself all the time either. Hmmm…(advice welcome!)

Morning Pages:

This is something I’ve done in the past, and I always love it when I’m doing it, then eventually I stop for whatever reason. The wonderful, and always inspiring Julia Cameron recommends writing 3 long hand pages of writing first thing in the morning, a “brain dump” as she calls it. It is totally helping me keep the creative wheels spinning, and gives me room to pray, whine, hope and ruminate all over the page. Oh, and Moleskine. Best. Journal. Evah!


Twitter: I know, I know, I’m totally late to this party train. I’m amazed at how many amazingly awesome people are just right there to connect with, and I’m not talking about the famous ones. I’m talking about YOU, and all the other sparkly and brilliant people doing amazing things in their ordinary lives. I’m having fun connecting with my new tribe.

Anais Nin: Holy Moly! How did I miss her all these years? Yes, she's a complete and total liar, an unabashed lover of love, and “rules” be damned , but boy howdy do I ever like her. She’s just totally herself without apology. How very refreshing! And OH! The writing! Swoon.

Tell me, tell me, what is interesting you these days? What are you playing around with? How are you stretching your wings?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Found Art Friday, in Gratitude

Its Friday, can you believe it? Even more unbelievable to me is that the sun finally decided to show her sweet face in my neighborhood! Hooray! I know many of you have been dying of heat for the past several days, but we had the first day over 75 degrees in 271 days. *sigh* But, for all my complaining, I truly have my every need taken care of. For that I am so thankful.

This week's Found Art Flyer comes to you from my friend Stefanie Renee. We met when we shared a ride with the world's most awesome cab driver, Leo, on our way to Squam last September. We remained Squam BFF's for the weekend, and I'm so proud to call her my friend. Stefanie is an amazing photographer and is making some big leaps into her living her creative dreams. Please send her lots of love, courage and joy vibes as you post this amazing photo around your town.

And please do participate in The Project! Remember to print the flyer and tuck it into library books, leave it on the empty seat on the bus, post it on the community bulletin board. Anywhere you think someone would enjoy finding a little love note from the universe. And please, submit your own work to be featured! Any kind of visual art or short (very short) story will be considered. Just check out the submission guidelines to the right for the details.

We have family visiting from out of town right now, so today's post is short and sweet. Hope your weekend feels long and glorious! xoxo

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Its All in the Numbers


I’m 38 and 1/4 years old, which means there’s only 1 year and 3/4s left until I’m 40. I’m trying not to let it bother me, but it does. I hope I have more time left than I’ve already been given. Much more. I’ve been the same size, 6 ½ shoe, 5’2 and approximately 105 pounds give or take a pound or two since I was 14, in the 8th grade. I’ve lived in 5 different states, at 17 different addresses. I’ve traveled to 47 states and 5 different countries. 3 boys have made me cry, and one has only ever made me smile. I’ve been married for 13 years, but really its 15. I’ve had 6 pregnancies, 4 children, ages 4,6, 8 and 10, 3 girls and 1 boy and 2 angels.

Growing up, I tried out for approximately 4 sports teams, and 1 cheerleading squad, making the team exactly zero times. I was a writer, a reader, a friend, an avid youth group attender, but an athlete I was not. I’ve kept a journal since I was in 4th grade, age 10 or so. There’s an unknown number of volumes, and they are kept in several different boxes scattered about my 1400 square foot, 3 bedroom house situated on 1.9 acres, approximately 30 miles East of Seattle. I’ve often thought of burning them, "the evidence", but I just can’t bring myself to do it. It’s who I was, how I got here, and it’s my story like it or not. I wish I could say it was more about my wishes and dreams, and less about the boys who’ve come and gone, (and one who’s stayed) but that would be a lie. More and more as I find my voice, the more I write, the more I connect, the less its about them, and more about me, about the world, about possibility, change and wonderment. It’s evidence that I was human through and through, in case my children ever need any proof. It’s proof that I was here. I’m here.

I had 20/20 vision last I checked, though I do sport the old lady reading glasses now and again these days, which make me feel chic, hip and old all at the same time. I think my style and power has been improving over the past few years so that’s encouraging at least. Or perhaps I’m just withdrawing from society’s ideals, so really I’m looking weirder and weirder, and no one is telling me anymore. I’m ok with that.

When I’m doing as I “should” I like to do yoga 4 or 5 days a week. I like to write every day and am doing so currently, but I expect to fall off the wagon soon, since its what I always do. But, I’m ok with that too. I’ve learned that another wagon is always just around the corner, and I can hop back on at any time. I like to pray to Jesus, and meditate to calm my mind that can be 100 different places at once until I count my breath to 10 over and over again for at least 10 minutes. I like to sleep about 9 or 10 hours a day, but really I only sleep about 8, which I’m thankful for, (having just come off of being pregnant and/or nursing for the last 10 years or so, with only a few months break here and there) but I’m always slightly tired. I like to take naps, but don’t,(not that often, anyway) but I have a rule that my children must take naps until they are 5 which helps me much more than them.

I yell at my children more often than I’d like to admit, which is not daily but more than weekly and is worse at certain times of the month than others. I think about, and fear death every day, not in a terrible morbid way, but as a passing thought, someday I won’t be here kind of way, and I feel sad because the world is really so very wonderful and I’ll miss it so.

I’m hoping for 5 but will settle for 3 mornings a week off from my 24/7 mothering duties in the fall, in which to write, do yoga and connect to myself and to God. And to put a dent in the several loads of laundry I need to do every week just to stay on top of it.

I want the number of books I’ve read to go from countless to even more countless. I want the number of books I’ve written to go from none to some, the number of countries I’ve visited from 5 to over 100, and the number of friends, both in real life and online to go from few to many. I want the number of minutes spent praying, writing, meditating, serving and loving to far outweigh the number of minutes I spend doing anything else.

I want the hours I spend being content each day to number 24.

Monday, June 21, 2010

5 Things


Its time I had a revealing talk with you about myself. I’m not exactly sure how to go about having a get to know you conversation in this rather one sided medium, so I’ll start with a list of 5.

5 Things I’m loving right now:

An incredible influx of new friends, both in real life, and online. This means you! It’s amazing what happens when you open your heart. For this introvert, it’s a brand new feeling of connection, possibility, community, and love. If you haven't said hi yet, find me on Facebook and/or Twitter!

Writing every day: I joined Bindu Wiles 215800 project which is a commitment to doing yoga 5 days a week, and writing 800 words everyday for 21 days. It only takes 21 days to make a habit . (Fingers crossed!) I’m loving learning that the time IS there if I only say yes to it. That words will come if I just start writing. That my family, “the universe” (aka God), and even you guys will support it! Hooray! I just had to sit down and DO it. Easy! (?)

Doing Yoga Everyday: Ditto above. I feel good, open, sore, and most of all really, really thankful to see that if I set my mind to DO something (not just wish or “should” myself) it totally happens. Actually, it is easy. What do you know, there’s time after all!

Listening to the rain as I fall asleep: I’m getting LOTS of practice with this one. This is one of the rainiest, coldest Spring/Summers that I can remember, and I live in SEATTLE, peeps, so that is saying something. I’m learning to practice being content with the weather and the lovely gifts it can bring, even whilst admittedly being grumpy about it. I’m practicing, not perfecting, remember? Anyhoo, I do love listening to the rain as it drizzles through the forest, knowing my dearest loves are all tucked in safe and sound nearby. I take the time to dream, to pray, to breathe in the silence.

Reading: I honestly wish I had a whole extra day at the end of each day in which to simply read. There are just so many amazing words and ideas, I wish I could just absorb them all. When I read, I can never only read one book at a time. I have a pile of at least 3 and often up to 10 or more going at one time. Currently, I have my eyes on: Mary Oliver, Anais Nin, David Sedaris, Anne Lamott, Karen Maezen Miller, and Joseph Campbell. There are many, many more that I can’t wait to get my hands on.

I wish I could sit across a table from each and every one of you, and learn what you're loving right now. I once heard someone say that it was his goal to meet every single person on the planet. Wouldn't that be interesting! I'd settle for meeting all of you. Tell me, what are you loving right now? Are you giving yourself permission to indulge in the things you love? Are you making time for them? I'd love to hear about what you're loving, either in the comments or leave a trackback to your blog.

Happy Monday everyone!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Found Art Friday, In Which We Remember to Play




I will not play at tug ' war.
I'd rather play at hug o' war.
Where everyone hugs
Instead of tugs,
Where everyone giggles
And rolls on the rug.
Where everyone kisses,
And everyone grins,
And everyone cuddles,
And everyone wins.

~Shel Silverstein, Where the Sidewalk Ends



Hello everyone, and happiest of Fridays to you. Congratulations, you did it! You rocked your week, AGAIN. :) I love the poem above from Shel Silverstein. I love ALL the poems from Shel Silverstein. I remember curling up with Where the Sidewalk Ends in my little reading corner in my room, consisting of a giant bean bag chair, a couple dozen stuffed animals and a ginormous stuffed gorilla my dad gave me for Christmas one year. He was one of my earliest literary influences, (Shel Silverstein, not the ginormous gorilla, though he was a happy influence on me as well.) and I love that he is all about kindness, gentleness, compassion and play. I hope you will find lots of people to play hug o'war with this weekend!

I was so excited when I received this from the amazing Emma. Look at her awesome idea! She left it completely open to encourage us and those who find it to color and play. Her quote was "Coloring is Fun!", and she is totally right! How many places can you think of to tuck this little spark of joy-filled fun into your community for some unsuspecting souls to find?




This weekend, I encourage you to remember what made you feel cozy, loved, inspired and joyful when you were a child? Is there a way to find bits and pieces of those experiences today? Also, watch and see what really fills up the love-well of those around you. What makes THEM feel cozy, loved, inspired and joyful? Fill up your well, and then, once you're overflowing, spill some love on your favorite people too.

Have a wonderful weekend! And big love to all the dads out there!

See you Monday!

PS My son is feeling much better! Thank you for the all the kind wishes! :)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Night Duty


The sun rises early in Seattle these days. 3:45am to be exact. I know because at 3:07 am on Sunday morning my son crept into my room, croaking: “Momma…I can’t breathe,” followed by the low, raspy sounds that I’ve come to recognize at once as a mother. My son has Pneumonia. Again. It’s the 3rd time this year. 4 years ago, his lungs were damaged from a bout with RSV, and his doctor warned us this would happen often. Someday, he’ll outgrow it.

But on that night, in that moment, my momma superpowers must return:

I calmly but purposefully get out of bed with amazing clarity of mind considering the hour, and am even able to find my bathrobe instantly amidst many loads of laundry left undone. I am able to find not just my bathrobe, but two…another to wrap my boy in as I whisk him outside into the cold, healing night air. I deftly grab his favorite blanket off the couch as we head out the door to sit on a small wooden bench on the back patio. We live well outside the city limits, and we are alone with the sounds of his wheezing, the darkness of the night hanging heavily in the air, and the miracle of a canopy of stars. We sit in silence for many moments, his breathing becoming normal, his body twisting awkwardly in my lap trying to get comfortable. He’s almost outgrown it.

“Mom, I can only see two stars,” he says. “Just wait”, I say, “Your eyes will get used to it, and you may have to look past the trees.” We live surrounded by the famed tall cedars of the northwest, and they cast a formidable shadow.

Soon, the magic of this moment is fully revealed. “Mom!” he rasps, “I see 4…5…6..!” He keeps counting until he realizes the futility of his effort. We revel in wonder as the night air continues to heal my boy, and open our hearts.

And then, almost imperceptibly, the first streak of dawn arrives. And instantly, magically, a bird sings the first melody of the day. Another calls back. And within moments the forest around us is wide awake. We get the feeling all the birds are frantically calling for each other, finding their friends, getting their bearings, making sure they are not alone.

My boy and I snuggle up tighter under the blanket for a few moments longer, both of us giggling at the thought of the birds talking to one another in such animated voices at such an ungodly hour. But, actually, “ungodly” is the furthest thing from the truth of this moment.

For now, my son is healed, breathing easy. We have seen the miracle of another day arrive, so early this time of year. And I am reminded of just how much of the magic of life I am sleeping through. To be honest, I can’t tell you with a straight face that I will ever adopt the practice of waking with the sun. (Except in December when the sun comes up at 8:00am.) But, in that moment, my son and I were totally and completely engaged with the ultimate NOW. The warmth of each other snuggled together under the handmade blanket, the smell of his hair mixed with nighttime forest air, the surprise of hidden stars, and the busy calls of the creatures who share our forest with us fill our souls with contentment not easily found in the light of day.

If I truly wake up, I’ll be able to see that every moment is just as magical as this. Miracles of life and breath, of abundance, of connection with souls I hold dear both near and far. The miracle of technology which allows you and I to “meet” each day, this internet that’s become our global water cooler, allowing us to find our tribe flung far and wide.

The magic is always there. When I turn my attention to those things that bring me peace, I am never disappointed to find that they are always there waiting for me to notice, to remember, to savor.

My eyes just have to get used to the light (and darkness) of each day.

Keep a special eye out today for the magic in your life. Find ways to bless someone when they least expect it.

Be the magic.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Attention!


Over the weekend, I had the immense pleasure of spending the day with one of my favorite authors, Karen Maezen Miller. She is every bit as gentle and wise in person as she is in print and online. 33 other women and I spent the day away from family, responsibility, and the pressure of everyday life. She spoke directly to us, eye to eye, heart to heart about what it means to be a mother, a.k.a. what it means to be human. She showed us how to tune in when you’d really rather not, how to bring Spirit and meaning to each moment by simply bringing your attention to the here and now, by the ultimate act of faith : to breathe in and let go. To trust that there is enough. Enough time, enough love, enough energy to face whatever demands your attention. After all, its truly only one thing at a time.

I’ll likely be sharing many things I learned from my day at The Mother’s Plunge over the next few weeks, but one thing that Karen said that is swirling around and around in my mind is this:

“Whatever you bring your attention to will flourish.”

Uh, oh.

I’d love to be able to say I’m paying the most attention to my children, to my smokin’ hot husband, to my writing, to consistently making my house spic and span, to my faith.

But really I’m paying attention to:

A) Facebook, and other screen time distractions.

B) Keeping up with my family schedule, and how busy I always feel, irritated that I don’t have more time for myself.

C) Making plans for the future or longing for the past, where I believe freedom really lies.

D) Avoiding housework, or spending real “face time” with my kids. When I know that if I just sit down (or stand up, whatever is the opposite of what I’m doing at the moment), the tension of undone housework and needy children will simply melt away.

“Whatever you bring your attention to will flourish.” Hmm, let’s see…

Let’s start with the first one:

A)Spending too much time online= less time for my real life. Which leads to:

B)I’m too busy, not enough time for “me”. Which leads to:

C) Longing for the past, or making plans for the future, where freedom surely lies. Anywhere but here, please. Which leads to:

D) Resenting and avoiding the things that really need my attention, and if only I would pay attention, I would have more peace.

Hmmm… something is flourishing here, but it ain't peace.

Sounds like I need to start paying attention to the things that I actually WANT to flourish.

Yeah. Ouch.

Here’s where I usually start the dreaded should/guilt cycle. It goes a little something like this:
I really should stop being on Facebook so much. I really should spend more time playing with my kids. Should, Should, Should. Blah, blah, blah. Not helpful . At. All.

I literally spent years “shoulding” on myself every day, and its something I’m still working with. The thing is, there is no should. There are things I want to do. And sometimes I don’t do them. Period. It’s always my choice, and as long as I'm still breathing, I have another moment in which to choose. MY choice, always. Ahh, total freedom.

Choose what your priorities are for today. Gently, easily and without pressure to perform perfectly. Simply sit down (or stand up) and DO them. What you pay attention to will flourish. But remember, more "shoulds”= more guilt. Perhaps what Yoda really meant was: “Do or do not. There is no should.”

So, let’s try that again. These are my priorities today:
-Practice writing, 800 words.
-Practice my yoga.
-Practice keeping my computer closed most of the day. (she wrote, cringing)
-Practice making lots of eye and smile contact with my children. Listen more, direct less. Let them teach me how to play again.
-Practice my household routine that gets a basic amount of housework done that helps me to feel more peaceful and free.
-Practice forgiving myself if I don’t do any of the above perfectly.

There is enough time, enough freedom, enough energy, enough YOU for today. Choose what you attend to wisely, gently. And remember, babysteps are welcome, and will get you anywhere if you don’t stop stepping.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Found Art Friday, and Armchair Travels


Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime. ~Mark Twain

One of my biggest dreams is to travel the world. I want to see everything I possibly can, meet as many people as possible, see things I didn’t even know existed. I could easily become bitter at my lot in life right now, which does not include the time, money or freedom to travel. (Though one of my heroes, Chris Guillebeau and his Travel Ninja Guide is totally inspiring me right now!)

However, I've realized that one does not have to travel the world in order to practice seeing things and people, and even yourself in a brand new way. Lately, I’ve been doing lots of reading and thinking about ideas that are completely outside my own spiritual tradition, political culture, and daily grind. Deliberately seeking out new ways of thinking has been incredibly refreshing, and I highly recommend it! For me, this has been my way of getting out of my little corner of the earth. I can feel my heart opening, my compassion growing, my own narrow mindedness exposed for what it is.

Have you ever stared at yourself in the mirror long enough that your image begins to look strange, distorted, or even a bit grotesque? Like you can’t believe its really your own image staring back at you? I think if you keep staring at the things you always do, reading the books you always read, and thinking the thoughts you always think long enough, the walls can start to build up. This unfortunate turn of events can go a couple of different ways. One, you can become prideful, thinking you’ve got it all figured out, and you have everything you need thank you very much. You put a No Trespassing sign outside your gate, and only let others in if they look, dress, act and think like you. If they know the secret handshake that’s a bonus. Or you can go the other way. You get walled in by your limiting beliefs, they bring you down and keep you stuck. You may believe that all the good things are “out there”, that all the other people have it better than you, have more talent, more freedom, are smarter, prettier, yada, yada, yada. They’ve figured it all out and they aren’t letting you in on the secret. You are the princess in the tower, and your hair isn’t long enough (or good enough) for the prince to notice you anyway.

I would challenge you to this. How can you venture out of your own little corner of the world? Where are you limiting your own view of the world? Where do you feel either superior or inferior to others? Gently remember that neither is true. Just remember, EVERYONE has an interesting, compelling story. The person on the street that gets your dander up for one reason or another, the people in the news doing crazy or fantastic things. And you. Everyone is here for a reason, created for love and a purpose.

Can you dig into each moment as it comes, even if you believe you are failing? Watch and see what happens. Can you suspend your judgment for an instant and simply watch as an observer, just for a moment? Can you read a book that you wouldn’t normally reach for that would let you travel in another’s shoes just for a moment? Can you observe your worldview the way a traveler from a foreign land would see it?

Be compassionate. Be gentle. We’re all doing the best we can at any given moment. Strive for more kindness. Little else matters.

With that, I leave you with this week's Found Art Flyer. If you haven't heard yet, the mission is to spread love and kindness in creative, stealthy ways in your community.

Download, Print and Run! Thanks to the brave* and fabulous Stephanie, for this beautiful reminder. Pop on over to her place and say Hi.

*And folks, let me tell you this. Whatever you have or are thinking about creating and sharing here IS good enough. I'd really, really love to see what you've got. I promise I'm super nice! :)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Be Awesome

(originally posted here ) My friend Jenica posted this on her Facebook page, and I LOVE it.

Be Awesome Today.
Wherever you are, whatever you are doing,
Rock it.


(PS MANY of you have said you are thinking of sending something in. I'm so excited to get this all going, but I can't do it without you. Y'all are going to get really tired of me and my ramblings soon. I KNOW there is mad talent out there amongst my amazing early readers. Show us what you got!)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Excuse My Dust


So, I got to thinking, maybe I should Google around a little bit and get some tips on how to really get this thing off the ground, spiff up the blog design. You know, make it look like I really know what I'm doing. And oh dear. I really shouldn't have done that. Apparently, I'm doing it all wrong.

You see, I am a perfectionist. But not the kind of perfectionist that is super driven and never satisfied until every last jot and tittle has been polished and shined. (Did I just use the word "tittle" in a serious sentence? Sorry about that.) But anyway, no. That's not me. Not at all. Not. At. All. I'm the kind of perfectionist who completely takes this phrase to heart: "If you can't do something right, don't do it at all." And so usually, I don't. This is something I've been trying to work with for the past few years. Notice I didn't say, "trying to overcome" or "trying to fix", or any other word that smacks of permanent change. Those words just don't work for me. I feel defeated before I even try.

Now when I start something new, or intimidating, or anything that makes me want to hide under the covers until it passes, I say to myself, "I'm just practicing"." I'm not a Buddhist, but I find the zen idea of life as a practice so incredibly appealing. This is another one of those themes that kept coming at me from all sides, in big and small ways, as a message of grace to my soul.

One of my yoga teacher's favorite sayings is "yoga is a practice, not a perfect." The first time I heard her say that was like a 2 x 4 hitting me right between the eyes. But in a good way. In the best of ways. It was an epiphany moment. I realized in that moment that I had been trying to live my entire life as a perfect, and not as a practice. My creative work could barely get off the ground since I was constantly comparing myself to those I admired. My housekeeping was never enough since it was never officially "done". My parenting brought me loads of guilt as I failed to be the perfect mom, every single day. But, to think of these things as play, as practice, as something to work with as a beginner was completely life changing. I'm still practicing at putting it into practice.

So it is with this project. I know now to just dive in, and not to wait for everything to be perfect to start. So I'm already in headfirst, head over heels. Please excuse my dust as I work out the kinks, add to the design and content, as I find my voice and my courage. My writing will not be perfect, and some weeks I'll post more than others. According to the experts on Google, I'm going about this all wrong, but I'm ok with that. I'm just practicing.

Is there any place in your life where you are holding back because you're afraid of not doing it perfectly? Of starting and not finishing (again)? Of not measuring up? Me too! Let's all start at the beginning, and simply start practicing our art, practicing believing in ourselves, practicing being gentle with ourselves, our families, those we disagree with in the world. Be curious about all these little bits of life. Curiosity is a really wonderful thing. Let's change the phrase "Practice Makes Perfect" to something a little more gentle. How about "Practice Makes Peace"?

So, practice with me, with all of us. Show us what you're working on. Don't wait for the perfect moment to submit something. The time is right, right now. The world will be a brighter place because of you.

Congratulations to Jeanette, the winner of The Project's very first giveaway! Thanks to all who entered, I loved all the quotes that were shared. We'll definitely be having more giveaways soon, so stay tuned!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Empty your Cup, Fill Your Well


A Cup of Tea

Nan-in, a Japanese master, received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen.

Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor's cup full, and then kept on pouring.

The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself. "It is overfull. No more will go in!"


"Like this cup," Nan-in said, "you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?"


Ahh, yes. This teaching has come to me in many different forms this year, and I’m slowly learning to listen. Whenever I see themes coming up over and over in my daily routine, I know its time to slow down, and pay attention to that feeling. Over the past few years, I feel as though I’ve been going through a period of my life that could be called, "The Great Awakening of Emme", or "Emme: Becoming a Renaissance Woman", or "How Emme Got Her Swerve On", Or how about: " Emme: The Story of How One Woman Discovered She Was Stuck in a Box, and How She Got Out of It." I’ll be sharing more of this story over the next few weeks and months as this blog develops and I get brave in sharing just like I am encouraging all of you to do!

One thing I definitely wanted to share with all of you is this: I am absolutely passionate about encouraging each and every one of you to believe in yourself, your passions, and your dreams. Bottom line, I want you to know in the depths of your soul that you are enough, just as you are, right this minute. I want you to believe that your work as writers, photographers, artists, beginners, dabblers and dreamers can and WILL brighten someone’s day if you reach out to connect with those around you, online and in "real life". I know that so many of us in this online community are on the same interior journey, wanting so much to find a way to live our passions, our dreams, and to make a real difference in the world. The Found Art Project is all about providing a space for you to do that.

The story above is a little food for thought that I’ll leave you with this weekend. Is there anything in your life that is taking up too much room? Maybe just doesn’t fit right anymore? What can you let go of , in order to make room for something new to come in? Perhaps its an old thought pattern, old belief systems that are holding you back from standing in your own power. Perhaps its something more tangible, like too much clutter in your home that steals your happiness and zaps your energy everytime you look at it. (I'll be talking about this more in the future, with 4 kids under age 10 in a small house, I am personally very well acquainted with the clutter monster!) Too much TV? Dare I say, too much internet time? (Personal cringe of recognition here!)

These are things that fill your cup, but drain your well. Your well of creativity, your well of personal power, your well of believing in yourself.

This weekend, see if you can spend just 1 hour (or more!) doing something creative that you absolutely love that you’ve been putting off. Fill up your well this weekend with love, whimsy and lots of rest and play.

Don’t forget to leave a comment in Wednesday's Post in order to be entered for the drawing! So far, the odds are pretty good! :)

Today, I’m reposting Jodie’s painting, in new and improved format! For some reason, the file was acting wonky and we weren’t able to see ALL the loveliness! I love it even more now!Please consider sending something in of your own. It may be exactly the thing someone needs to see that day. I'd be honored to post your work!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Pure Beauty & the Project's First Giveaway!

Thank you all so much for being here! I'm truly thrilled to see the community growing so quickly! I was so excited when Jodi from Joyful Girls contacted me to partner up for this awesome giveaway! Joyful Girls is donating one copy of the fantabulous book The Guerilla Art Book by Keri Smith (how awesome and perfect is that?!) to one lucky winner here AND one lucky winner on the Joyful Girls Facebook page. That's right! 2 chances to win! To win here, all you have to do is send in a piece (writing, painting, photograph, etc) to be published as the Found Art Flyer, OR leave a comment telling us your favorite inspirational quote (actually, even if you just say Hi, we will love you and enter you in the drawing!)
Joyful Girls is making it really easy for me to say a big ole THANK YOU for being
on board so early! Here's a l'il picture of it:




Fun, yes?!


So, c'mon, don't be shy! Send me something to post, or simply tell us your favorite inspirational quote in the comments section, and you could be our lucky winner! Pop on over to Joyful Girls to find out how to win there! Comments for the giveaway on this site will close at 6:00pm PDT, on Sunday, June 6th, and the winner will be announced shortly thereafter! Yay!


Well, speaking of fun, the marvelous Jodie has offered this to us and the world for our viewing pleasure! Pop on over to her blog, you'll definitely want to "meet" her.


Is this not completely gorgeous?



And don't forget to go meet Jolie and Sandy, our other artists (so far) this week!



All righty then, you know what to do, peeps! Print and run! And let's be careful out there!


Please join our Facebook page if you haven't already found us and

find me here, and friend me up. I'd honestly love to meet every single one of you personally, but this will have to do.


And please, share, tweet, tell your friends! We want all the cool kids here!



Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Go Forth and Spread the Love!






Your mission, should you choose to accept it:
Make between 5 and one million copies, think of as many creative places as you can to post Sandy's lovely painting. Leave it on the bus, on a pew at church, tucked into a book at the bookstore, hand it out on a street corner where people will think you're selling something or trying to get them to come to happy hour, but really, you're just giving them art and a smile.

If you have an idea for a creative place to leave a Found Art Project flyer, leave a comment! Also, please do what you can to spread the word!
Have fun!

Sowing Seeds of Kindness Will Change the World.

So excited to see the response to this! I think this speaks volumes of the deep need we all feel for beauty, love and kindness in the world. Its easy to think the world has lost these things, if the only thing we listen to is the talking heads on TV, watch the headlines, or scroll through the comment section on any given mass marketed website. We may begin think of life only in terms of red vs. blue, right vs. left, us vs. them. I have to admit, I used to feel like I needed to add my voice to the chorus, to try to get people to see my point, how my way of life would save them. But then I realized this just made me feel yucky inside. Plus its just downright ridiculous to think that I have all the answers. Or any answers, really. I realized that I was not adding more love and peace to the world trying to convince anyone of anything. I realized I wasn't even being kind to MYSELF. I was trying to live up to my own crazy standards, and then feeling like I was failing every. single. day. Everyday, I'd have a whole list of do's and don'ts that I actually felt would somehow make me a more worthy person if I accomplished it all. Then I'd be wracked with guilt if I "failed", if I was impatient with my kids (aka yelling at them), or if I didn't fold that basket of laundry AGAIN, I didn't write that day AGAIN, and on and on. And one day, I just stopped. I decided to simply live in each moment as it came, and try to be kind to myself, and everyone around me, even if they (or I) was acting like a real "buns-hole" that day. (did you just giggle? I did. ) Oh, and even if I wasn't kind in every moment, I decided to forgive myself. I decided to be curious about, instead of irritated by, that person on TV, (or the angry commenter on a website) spewing out their own worldview as though it actually would save the world if only everyone would agree with them. How did they get that way? Why are they acting like that? OH...they want to feel safe in the world. They want people to approve of them. Maybe they are a little afraid of what they are seeing in the world. OH. Just like me.

I decided to stop spewing anything at the world, and try my hardest to only give out love, because THAT is the one thing I'm sure of that is required of me as a human being. I don't have to convince anyone of anything, except perhaps that they are loved too. EVERYONE wants to feel loved, encouraged, like maybe they are ok as they are after all.

Let's let people know they are loved with our own words, images, artwork, poems we write or poems we love. Let someone's day be brightened with a little surprise love note (your creation!) in their daily routine. Please, please don't be shy to send me something. Don't even think about feeling that whatever you're thinking about sending in might not be good enough. This is a collaborative effort, and I'm so excited to get this community going. Please join the mission. Save the world with kindness and beauty. Please?