Advice given: Imagine the end of your life. Imagine the people you love and your community reflecting on your life. Imagine what you want them to say about you, your life, your work in the world.
Advice taken: ( well ... advice taken after I let that advice given mess with my mind for far too long ) I will not design my life based on some outcome I hope for years from now. I will live my life well each day, with love and compassion, with grace and peace, with laughter and learning. Living well today, and the next and the next, will add up to a life well lived. That's it.
I used to think that I could change the world. I used to believe that I could make a difference. Some days now, I despair that each day begins and ends the same and it all seems a little less hopeful than I want it to be. Other days, most days, I know that all I have is today and the work of healing myself, of giving back love and light to the world any way I can, of creating a small and wonderful life.
I'm a creator, a maker, a crafter of my life. I say that I am an artist and that is true on a deep level but the moniker I most relate to is maker. I make things. I am a maker of things. Paintings, poems, journals, masks, doodles, and zines. Those are the things I am making now and preparing to offer to you, to others, to anyone who wants to give me money. Ah ... money. I am asking for money. And there is a TON of words to write about how that makes me feel vulnerable and courageous all at the same time. I will save those words for later. For now, I have something else to tell you first.
I used to think that I could change the world. I used to think that I could make a difference. I want to believe that is possible again. I want to play in the possibilities.
When I began to craft this business of mine, this making things and selling things, I held a very important intention to carry through into my work. I decided that I would donate a percentage of my sales to causes and organizations that I believe in. I chose three.
1. I believe in the healing power of creativity and making art. I believe that supplies, resources, and classes should be abundantly available to everyone. I will be supporting The Dreaming Zebra Foundation.
The Dreaming Zebra Foundation was incorporated in Portland, Oregon in the interest of promoting greater access to the arts for children and young adults. Our founders recognized a pressing need in many communities for the promotion of charitable donations of art and music supplies to support individuals, schools, and other nonprofit organizations serving youth and the arts.
Core to our identity is the belief that all children, regardless of their financial circumstances, should have access to art education. As a public charity powered by volunteers, this belief drives all that we do.
The Dreaming Zebra Foundation’s supporters share a common passion for education, the environment, and community, and as such, we are able to connect the synergies between those who support the arts and those in need.
2. Wolves. I love wolves. I have written about my connection to wolves. This sacred animal is misunderstood, hunted, and endangered. I believe that educating the public about the role of and lives of wolves is important. Equally as important is the work of protecting and prolonging the species. I've chosen to support the Wolf Conservation Center.
The WCC’s mission is to promote wolf conservation by teaching about wolves, their relationship to the environment, and the human role in protecting their future. The WCC accomplishes this mission through onsite and offsite education programs emphasizing wolf biology, the ecological benefits of wolves and other large predators, and the current status of wolf recovery in the United States.
The WCC also participates in the Species Survival Plan (SSP) and Recovery Plan for two critically endangered wolf species, the Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) and the red wolf (Canis rufus). The Mexican gray wolf and the red wolf are among the rarest mammals in North America; both species at one time were completely extinct in the wild.
3. Domestic violence is a national and international crisis but it is not an issue out there somewhere. It is likely that either you are or have been a victim or someone close to you is or has been. In my own life, women I know and love are survivors. Supporting those who are making their way out of their situation, who are trying to heal and survive, who are building better lives for themselves is important to me. I have chosen to support our local organization, Safe Harbor.
To provide a continuum of services for victims of domestic violence and their children.
To eliminate cultural acceptance of domestic violence through a coordinated community response, prevention and education.
To influence a culture where all people are safe and valued in their relationships.
Safe Harbor is a private, 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to helping victims of domestic violence in the upstate of South Carolina.
We offer a continuum of services, providing safe emergency shelter, counseling, legal advocacy, andtransitional housing, as well as community outreach and teen dating violence education in Greenville, Pickens, Anderson, and Oconee counties.
We have approximately 25 full-time staff, 20 part-time staff and over 100 volunteers, including our board of directors.
Together, we make a difference for victims of domestic violence and their children, providing them with safety and resources, helping them to heal, and giving them the support they need to start new lives.
When you purchase artwork or journals or zines or whatever other wonderful thing that I make, you will be partnering with me in support of these organizations. I hope you feel good about that. I do. Speaking of purchasing something ... I have something to offer!
If you subscribed to my e-notes, my exploration notes, or if you read this post, you will know that I have been playing with creating a small zine, a new iteration of something I used to offer.
A couple of years ago, I created and sold a small ten page journal called spiritspeak. It was an offering of my own creative practice, my journaling process. When I decided to bring spiritspeak back in zine format, I discovered that in the time of the spiritspeak hiatus, a beautiful tarot project of the same name was created
( follow her on instagram as @spirit.speak ) so I began to explore other titles for my project. Ultimately, the project has evolved into something a bit different but perfect.
On that particular day, I was sitting with my dog on the back porch. It was his last day with us. At thirteen years old and with congestive heart failure, all signs that week pointed to us making the choice to assist his leaving us. While I was working at the table on the back porch, where he wanted to be, I picked up my pages and started making notes in them about what I was experiencing. I wanted to remember. I wanted to honor. At that moment, an ambulance sounded in the distance and Dobby tried his best at a howl. A simple lowly howl that reminded me that these are the sacred moments and they need to be recorded and shared.
I made October's zine but life happened and I didn't post about it or get it to the printer. Instead of soaking in the discouragement of that, I went forth and created November's zine. It is done and ready to go.