I began an Audible subscription this summer and absolutely love it. I am able to “read” something on a regular basis that is not related to homeschooling – this feels beyond luxurious. And because of a well-timed sale on children’s audio books, I have been using Audible for homeschooling as well. We began the year with the Swallows and Amazons series by Arthur Ransome. We immediately fell in love with the Walker children and their adventures with Peggy and Nancy on Wildcat Island and finished the first book before I left for Wyoming. We are currently about half-way through the second, Swallowdale, and it is just as good as the first. Highly recommended!
On my walks, I am currently listening to Longing and Belonging by John O’Donohue. It’s 31 hours (!) of his books and lectures – all narrated in that lovely Irish brogue. John O’Donohue’s voice speaks directly to my soul. His poetic vocabulary of the eternal, of landscape, of threshold, of language itself helps me put words around spiritual concepts that define my personal relationship with the Holy. Let me just say, if I ever get to heaven and God turns out to be John O’Donohue, I will not be disappointed.
I am also reading a “real” book as well, LOL. The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown has been sitting on my shelf since early summer after listening to her here. The book corresponds with the e-course I’m taking – which is fantastic by the way. I have completed the first art journaling lessons (which are very step-by-step, if you are new to medium, or find it intimidating). The combination of her candor and her depth make for a powerful experience.
And you? What are you reading these days? I would love to know.
Let us try what it is to be true to gravity,
to grace, to the given, faithful to our own voices,
to lines making the map of our furrowed tongue.
Turned toward the root of a single word, refusing
solemnity and slogans, let us honor what hides
and does not come easy to speech. The pebbles
we hold in our mouth help us to practice song,
and we sing to the sea. May the things of this world
be preserved to us, their beautiful secret
vocabularies. We are dreaming it over and new,
the language of our tribe, music we hear
we can only acknowledge. May the naming powers
be granted. Our words are feathers that fly
on our breath. Let them go in a holy direction.
- Jeanne Lohmann, “Invocation”
I have been searching around for some kind of artsy e-course for a few months now. I thought about taking this self-portraiture class with Vivienne McMaster. Thought about Kelly Rae Roberts’ painting e-course. Also thought about doing this year-long mixed media e-course starting in January. And, if I had not just come back from Wyoming, I would have loved to attend this camp with Patti Digh – not to mention it’s practically in my backyard. But, really, none of these felt exactly right.
Yesterday, however, I received an email saying that Brene Brown is now offering her “Gifts of Imperfection/Art Journaling” e-course on demand. Yes. Yes. Yes. Zero hesitation. I’m signed up already.
Anybody want to join me??
The 24 hours before I left for Wyoming were not pretty by any stretch of anyone’s imagination. All my talk of being brave and “Cowboy up!” put a certain picture in my head of how casting out on this big adventure would look. And, trust me, such a picture did not involve mindlessly zoning out online or tearing up every time I stopped to think about the trip for longer than 3 seconds. I surfed the internet a lot during that last week. I also cried a lot during that last week. The trip seemed big and long and far. Add in packing, transportation logistics and worrying that Tom was going to lose one of the boys at Wrigley Field – and yeah, I was slightly unhinged.
I knew once I got in the car to drive myself to the airport it would be better, but I wasn’t sure I was going to survive myself until then. My breath was shallow and high in my chest. My patience thin. And the voices in my head were deafening: “You don’t do this. You don’t go to Wyoming. You don’t ride horses. This is not what you do. This is not who you are.” That last line was an unending echo: relentless and smug. In contrast to this inner monologue were the kind and uplifting words sent to me via voice, email and text. At some point, I was tired of pretending that all was going well, and when my dear, dear friend Siobhan texted me something about being brave, I responded “Brave sucks.” Which at that point, it did.
When I could begin to look at myself – (meaning: after Siobhan put on her therapist’s hat and talked me off the ledge (thank you, Siobhan)) – I could see I was coming up against my growing edge, acutely feeling the tension between who I am and who I am daring to be. This has been a theme in my personal growth this year: pushing myself to see myself beyond the confines of my own rather narrow mind. It’s been a slow process of not allowing old patterns to dictate new growth. It has not been pretty or graceful or tidy. It sure as hell hasn’t been easy, but beyond a doubt, it has been worth it. In Wyoming, I found a place inside myself where the view of who I am is wider and deeper than I thought possible. Coming home from this experience has honestly left me a bit restless and breathless and at a loss for words that truly capture where I find myself right now. I’m trying to give myself some space, with time to think, time to write, and time to listen to those voices that are kindly and gently pushing me to take another step. ♥S
To see more of my art journals, click here.