Sunday Selections

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No one but me by the fire,
my hands burning
red in the palms while
the night wind carries
everything away outside.

All this petty worry
while the great cloak
of the sky grows dark
and intense
round every living thing.

What is precious
inside us does not
care to be known
by the mind
in ways that diminish
its presence.

What we strive for
in perfection
is not what turns us
into the lit angel
we desire,

what disturbs
and then nourishes
has everything
we need.

What we hate
in ourselves
is what we cannot know
in ourselves but
what is true to the pattern
does not need
to be explained.

Inside everyone
is a great shout of joy
waiting to be born.

Even with the summer
so far off
I feel it grown in me
now and ready
to arrive in the world.

All those years
listening to those
who had
nothing to say.

All those years
forgetting
how everything
has its own voice
to make
itself heard.

All those years
forgetting
how easily
you can belong
to everything
simply by listening.

And the slow
difficulty
of remembering
how everything
is born from
an opposite
and miraculous
otherness.

Silence and winter
has led me to that
otherness.

So let this winter
of listening
be enough
for the new life
I must call my own.

– David Whyte, “The Winter of Listening”

Vision Cards

To go with my vision board this year, I also made some vision cards. I made them in conjunction with Jamie Ridler’s excellent little e-course. She begins with a wonderful mediation that helps you define three areas of your life you would like to focus on this year.

First and foremost, I want to bring a bit more attention to the rooms in our house and also the space that surrounds it. Nothing dramatic: paint and fabric will do a whole lot inside and honestly, just picking up outside will do wonders for now! Perhaps we will add some flowers and other plantings in the spring.

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Next up is travel. Travel! This one was a surprise for me, considering how I did with leaving for Wyoming! I’m giving myself some grace there as that was multi-layered and super-charged. I have a solo-trip to Texas already planned for next month and we are talking about going out west as a family in early summer.

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And lastly, I made a vision card to focus some energy around my art. No surprise there – except I did this card before I officially claimed my word. Putting these images together showed me just how much I wanted to show up in this area of my life this year.

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Vision Board 2015

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This is the third vision board I’ve made. I made one last year and another right before I went to Wyoming. I find the process to be an exercise in intention, intuition and clarity. Initially, I began with a pile of magazines from the summer and every page just about “froze me to death” as my neighbors would say. I quickly put those aside in favor of winter issues. I chose the images above more for color and a sense of season more than anything else. As I was starting to assemble my board, I noticed the text on one of the pages:

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I have talked about my daily walks countless times in this space. I find walking to be a healing practice that allows me to quiet my mind, open my heart and soothe my soul. And while I don’t feel as though I have arrived at any sort of culmination, 2015 definitely finds me at the beginning of a new path. More on that next week. This week will be all about the art. (Artist, and all that.)

Sunday Selections

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I live like I know what I’m doing.

When I hand the horses a square of hay,
when I walk the road of stones
or chew on cactus pulp,
there’s a drumming behind me,
the day opens up to let me pass through.

I know the truth,
how always I’m following each small sign that appears.

This sheep that materialized behind a clump of cenizo bushes
knows I didn’t see him till he raised his head.

Out here it’s impossible to be lonely.
The land walking beside you is your oldest friend,
pleasantly silent, like already you’ve told the best stories
and each of you knows how much the other made up.

– Naomi Shahib Nye, “At the Seven-Mile Ranch, Comstock, Texas”

Word 2015

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My word for 2015 is artist. The word came up for me a couple of times in Wyoming. It kinda hung there in conversation and then receded to the back of my mind. Late in the trip, I took a ride into town and saw the word carved in the wooden sidewalk. I almost passed it by, but decided to turn back and snap a selfie before going back to the ranch. A few days later, I was in Jackson waiting for my flight when a friend lent me a book with this page in it.

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Again the word hung there. Again, I snapped a photograph. And again I forgot about it. Fast forward to December and I’m thinking about my word of the year. My word for 2014 was Shine, and I loved it. Having this word as an anchor last year let me own parts of myself I never really valued. Things like holding space, deep listening and empathic conversation. Honoring these gifts led me to a place I never, ever thought I would be.

“Artist” feels similar, yet different. I can say I am creative. I can sometimes even stretch that to say I am artistic. But to use the noun form of the word in a simple declarative sentence, and say “I am an artist”?! Mmmmm . . . no. It makes me wince, if I’m being completely honest. And yet, other people can say it about me. Just this weekend, I had a friend come to my house for the first time. As I was giving her the nickel tour, she said it about three times: “You are an artist.” I tried to ignore it (see a pattern?) and yet (again) that word hung there – “shimmering” as Christine Paintner might say. Finally she said it again and I turned to her and blurted out, “Do you know artist is my word of the year? And I can’t say that about myself?” We stood there in silence, experiencing one of those holy moments in a friendship that allows another person to bear witness to the chasm that separates us from our own truth.

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My challenge this year is to build a bridge across that chasm and claim this part of myself for myself. Right now, I would rather eat glass, as it feels like laying my guts out and exposing the most tender part of my soul to the wolves. However, I know that protection and silence keeps things small and secret, sequestering them in shadow when they desperately need light to grow. My intention for this year is to gently step into an expansive illumination, embracing and encouraging who I know deep down I already am. It’s being brave and saying four little words aloud. It’s being scared to death and trying to do it anyway.