about

 

When I was in sixth grade or thereabouts, I read a book called, “The Painted Bird” by Jerzy Kasinsky. I read it because I found it on my parents’ bookshelf and I wanted to read the books that grown-ups read.

I read it with the eyes of a sixth grader. I stayed up late reading it when I was supposed to be sleeping. And when I finished reading it, my world had changed. I had discovered that writers can write about anything and make up anything. They can make bad things happen, and good things happen, and they can write about ugly things and mean people and they can make up worlds and places full of scary and sad and magical things. Beyond the story and plot, this is what I learned from The Painted Bird. I got out of bed, found a notebook and a pencil and sat down at the desk my grandmother had rescued from an elementary school. I sat down ready to write about those “things”.

I remember the surface of the wooden desk. I got in trouble for carving my name into it with the beak of a metal penguin figurine. And I sat there thinking, “I’m a writer. I’m gonna be a writer. I want to be a writer. I’m a writer.” and I traced my finger over the carving of my name.

 
 
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exploring the freedom to create … everything.

In that moment I was connected to a new kind of relationship with myself and my life. It was my first memorable experience of being passionately connected to purpose. And my purpose was to create what didn’t exist. That’s what this blog is about.

purpose & creative expression

Let’s own the power we all have as human beings (a.k.a. creative beings) to cultivate a relationship with ourselves, our expression of ourselves in the world, our purpose, and our creative freedom. We are more powerful than we know. Let’s test the limits & boundaries of time, space, and beauty.

is it too late?

Between that marvelous moment in sixth grade and the here and now, I’ve gotten lost several times. I’ve lost my will to create, rediscovered it, forgotten about it, and unearthed it once again … and again.

We’ve all spent lifetimes doing what’s necessary to pay the rent or the mortgage, we’ve driven cars that have left us stranded in a Target parking lot or on the side of a highway … we’ve done all the things that we do until we reach some point in our lives where we ask the question, “If I’m lucky, I’m facing another 20, 30, or 40+ years of this. Is it enough?” Then we head to the kitchen to cook a lasagna and open another bottle of wine because the answer is, “No.” and that’s a painful answer.

claiming creative power

I have spent a metric crap ton of my lifetime trying to fix that pain. Fix all the external things that I thought created that pain. My weight. My hair. My career. My love life.

This story is about the amount of time in my life that I have wasted trying to be something other than, better than, more than, and less than who I actually am. This story is about how I plan to declare and end to that crap.

My hell-bent mission to improve myself and fix all the things landed me in an MBSR class. MBSR is an acronym for Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction. My motive, once again, was to fix myself. What I learned, however, was the opposite of that.

During the class, even while I was beginning to understand that fixing myself wasn’t the answer, I was still fixated on fixing myself. And the number one thing in my life I have spent time trying to fix is my body size. Even when I weighed 115 pounds as a teenager, I was too fat because I wanted to be a ballerina and at the time the average weight of a proper ballerina was about two ounces.

This obsession with weight led to a lifetime of torture and self-hatred.

For me, the gist of what I learned in MBSR is to give up the battle and take the time to feel what I actually feel and regard those feeling with kindness and curiosity instead of stuffing my body with food until I don’t feel anything other than stuffed.

I’m learning to appreciate my physical self for all the rockin’ things it can do and the life I can experience through it - to value my physical presence for the life I live through it rather than valuing my physical presence as a mere decoration. In other words: I’m not a mannequin. I’m a human.

So here’s what happened. I was sitting in the Eat of Life class and the exercise for the day was to share with the group the ways in which we “used” food (“used” in the way an addict “uses” heroine - my words not the teachers) - the ways we used food other than to nourish our bodies. We were sitting in circle sharing one at a time and everything everyone shared before me was a “Yup. I do that too.” I eat because I don’t want to say what I want to say. I use it instead of getting angry. I use it instead of being intimate. I use it to take a mental vacation in the middle of, at the end of, or before the beginning of a stressful day. I use it for entertainment. I use it so I have something to do with my hands…it was getting closer to my turn to share and I was running out of uses.

And - at the same time. I could feel an inkling of something - some new information bubbling up from somewhere inside me - and when it was my turn to share, I erupted with, “I use food to make up for the lack of relationship I have with any sort of purpose in my life. I’m 50 years old and I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. I’m completely unsatisfied with what I’m doing with my life.”

Wow! Where did that shit come from? My own eruption stunned even me into silence. There was a little pause. The person sitting to my right, whose turn it was to share her “use” for food, was staring at me and her mouth was a little bit agape.

I guess my little eruption had come out more forcefully than I expected it to. The teacher said, “It’s never too late.” And I’m pretty sure I rolled my eyes and we moved on.

You know those moments when you feel like you revealed a bit more than you intended to reveal and you feel somewhat naked - or completely bare-ass naked with a giant pimple on your right butt-cheek? This was one of those moments.

We all got up at the conclusion of the class and started to gather our things. And two women from the class approached me. I was sure they were going to give me the number for their therapists, but they didn’t. One said, “I’m so glad you said that. I feel exactly the same way.” And the other one said, “Me too.”

I said, “Wow. I didn’t even know that’s what was going on until it came out of my mouth. Thanks for letting me know. It helps to know I’m not the only one.”

“Oh, you’re not the only one.” They were both genuinely kind and made me feel much better about my emotional lava fart in the middle of class.

When we returned to class the next week other classmates came up to me and said almost the same thing. What I shared about purpose had rung true for them too.

And, in my head, I though, “This is a thing.” And later, “This is an important thing.”

Purpose and the lack of relationship with purpose that leaves women feeling empty and sometimes desperate is an epidemic. And all the things we “use” to avoid feeling this emptiness have the potential to become instruments of self-destruction. I know that sounds extreme, but I believe it’s true.

I believe it’s especially true for women “of a certain age” who’ve had multiple careers (or jobs), cared for families, started and left long-term relationships, loved and lost the precious people from the previous generations of their lineage ( or God forbid lost those younger than them).


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Unified by a love for the Earth and the people who live in it.

Eu alia civibus imperdiet eos. Id eos blandit apeirian interpretaris. Quas consulatu pri ex. Iudico prompta ne vix, usu ne vero persius quaerendum, et ius autem sanctus. Ius no libris constituto, soleat praesent nec ex. Movet alterum ullamcorper sit ei, ne sit appetere forensibus, eam at facilisi inimicus.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Connecting through cohabitation and shared experience.

Eu alia civibus imperdiet eos. Id eos blandit apeirian interpretaris. Quas consulatu pri ex. Iudico prompta ne vix, usu ne vero persius quaerendum, et ius autem sanctus. Ius no libris constituto, soleat praesent nec ex. Movet alterum ullamcorper sit ei, ne sit appetere forensibus, eam at facilisi inimicus.


 
 
 
 
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