saving my life

And books, they offer one hope — that a whole universe might open up from between the covers, and falling into that universe, one is saved.
— anne rice, blackwood farm

Modern Mrs. Darcy is hosting the perfect mid winter post right now. In the spirit of Barbara Taylor Brown and her book, Leaving the Church, she is asking, "What is saving your life right now?" When I read the teaser for the upcoming post, my heart caught with remembrance. A few years ago, I gathered with a group of spiritual misfits who were trying to find their roots, their bearings, in the midst and aftermath of spiritual questioning. I had read that book and that is the question I would pose to them. Many rich and wonderful conversations were had around the answers and I miss the connection. It is an important question to hold from time to time, to acknowledge and honor the life sustaining rituals and commonalities that fill our days. 

I had originally planned to write a wonderful, descriptive, photo-filled post. Ah, but the late winter sneezing, sniffling, aching, coughing, stuffy head, fever, I can't rest has settled over me and the thoughts of sifting through photos is exhausting. Since minimal and simplicity is so in vogue right now, for once, I will be in style. 

These things are saving my life right now:

early morning coffee in one of my owl cups: ( see this is when I want a photo to show you! Trust me, they are large and hold a great amount of the caffeinated elixir of life and they are whimsical and fun and last I checked, still available at Costco)

Reading: I had allowed myself to slump into a state of reading virtually nothing for the pure joy of it. I read tons of articles online and the occasional how-to book but story, the wonderful power of story, was not consistently present in my life. This 100 day challenge to restore my love of reading is working. Picking up books requested at the library is such a thrill and the I am remembering how wonderful it is to wander the stacks and discover new treasures. 

Color:  From the first time I walked into the house, I felt the vibration and energy of color. It is a life force in each room and not only the walls. The flooring is a beautiful Siberian Larch which is a blonde wood that patinas and takes on a reddish tone as it ages. I feel there is a grounding force under my feet. 

Trees:  My neighborhood is Ashley Oaks and was, gratefully, not clear cut to build the homes. Each lot is full of towering trees of all kinds. These are my sisters in nature; my own community of kindreds. 

Close Proximity:  We moved from property out in the country that was twenty-five to thirty minutes from anything ( and more to most things ) back into town where we are less than ten minutes from most things. It is astounding how much more time I have in my day to day, my week. Our fuel bill has been significantly reduced too!

My community: I don't acknowledge it often enough because my basic temperament is that of a lone wolf. Even as part of the pack, I usually feel the odd one out. However, I have GREAT community in my life. I have developed deep, rich, supportive friendships with other artists. I have a core group that I skype with regularly who stoke my dream fires. I have gathered other lone wolves around me to support our ways of being in the world. Last night, I had six women around the table in my home, laughing, talking, while scraping paint into art journals and doodling pages. It is glorious!

Magical Thinking:  Picasso famously said, "Every child is an artist. The problem is to remain an artist once we grow up." I believe it can also be said that every child is guided by magical thinking. The problem is to cultivate and to allow that magical thinking continue guiding once we grow up. I am guilty of shoving my own magical thinking to the back of the highest closet shelf because of others and life and societal norms. I have recently climbed precariously on a chair, stretched my arms up high over my head, reached with my finger tips and brought my magical thinking back to me, back to the heart and soul of me. It is required to survive and thrive in a world full of restrictions, rules, and regulations. 

My children: During my art journaling play date last night, the conversation turned to out of control emotions during pms and menopause. I talked about how my biggest issue now is the crying and my daughter noted that I will cry simply because my children are being kind to each other. Yes, yes, it is true. In those moments, I am reminded that the greatest healing journey has been being a mother to those nine incredible human beings. ( ok ... I'm not going to write anything more because I can feel the tears coming and already, I can barely breathe so lets not make this worse! ) 

My husband: As always, he is my grounding force. Without him, I would float off into the stratosphere. He is the kindest and most generous person that I know and he has loved me through my unkindest, selfish, unlovable moments. He is a partner in the truest and best sense of the word.