Saturday, August 29, 2009

My Identity

For the week two of the Artist's Way, Miss*R asks a great question:

What object represents your own sense of identity?

I've been mulling this over for several days. I don't know why this has been so hard for me. Perhaps it is because I feel like I've lost a bit of my identity over the past few years. I got a little lost for a while. As I slowly try to excavate my authentic self, I am constantly struggling to find my way from who I once was, who I have recently been, and who I really am to who I want to be.

Finally, this morning an object popped into my head that I feel comfortable saying represents my sense of identity:

A suitcase.
Always waiting for the next adventure.
The contents ever changing to suit the situation.
Sometimes knocked around a bit in the process.
Sometimes ending up in unexpected places.
Sometimes forgotten in the back of the closet,
but always ready to go.

I am a traveler. I love moving and traveling to new places. I always have. Having moved and traveled constantly for the first three and a half decades of my life, I'm not sure I know how to stay put. Traveling presents a unique opportunity for us to be honest and authentic in a way that is not possible when we are surrounded by people we know. Traveling provides the ultimate learning experience; through learning about other cultures and places, we learn so much about ourselves - our preconceptions, our prejudices, our values. It also requires no small degree of flexibility and creativity. Perhaps my lack of travel for the past few years has contributed to my "identity crisis" this week. I'm going to go dust off my suitcase and show her some love.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Thank you

After reading so many wonderful wishcasts, I thought this song is something we should all sing a little more often. I think it is totally appropriate, and maybe even necessary, to thank ourselves for giving us the permission to show up and be ourselves. Thanks to all you wonderful wishcasters for your warm wishes and your inspiration. Enjoy!

Go ahead and dance your ass off. You know you want to.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

My wish for today

Today's question from Jamie Ridler has really made me stop and think. Normally I just read the question and write the first thing that comes to mind. I try not to overthink or analyze my response. When I read today's question, however, my mind was completely silent. I've taken a little time to let the question stew a bit, and I am still not sure if I have a response. I guess we'll see.

What do you wish to acknowledge yourself for?

I suppose I wish to acknowledge myself for taking myself seriously for the first time in far too long. I wish to thank myself for putting me on my list of priorities. I wish to acknowledge myself for realizing that I need to take the time to take care of myself, to honor who I am. When I do, I am more grounded, more steady, more at peace. Although I am sure I could come up with a few more things to acknowledge about myself, I feel that I need to acknowledge this and put it out there so that I don't forget how important I am to myself, so that I don't get lost again.

Wishing you a happy Wednesday. Honor yourself today.

My Imaginary Lives

So in theory, I should be almost through with Week One in the Artist's Way. One of the tasks for this week asks this question:

If you had five other lives to lead, what you you do in each of them?

I would be a fire dancer and rejoice in all that is elemental. Spinning ecstatically, feeling the heat pierce the darkness, moving to the rhythm of the earth.

I would be a nomad and travel the earth. Constantly learning and continually seeking the universal truths.

I would be a musician and lose my individuality by joining in a communal birthing of a symphony conceived a hundred years ago.

I would be a chef and create food from the heart that feeds the heart and provides the sustenance needed to change the world.

I would be a pilot and soar above the earth, lost in an endless blue and gray sky, flying with the gods.

What would you do in your five imaginary lives?

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Greatest Man I Know

I was so lucky to spend some time this past weekend with the greatest man I know. I don't spend near enough time with him, but every time I do see him, I come away awed and inspired and questioning. For a man who just turned 84 years old, he is so incredibly perky and spry and funny and passionate and sparkly.

Like anyone who has reached that age, he has been through his share of grief and loss. He is a member of that Greatest Generation who fought to save the world. He was a waist gunner and radio operator on a B-24 bomber, and like so many others, he was shot down over Germany.He likes to say that he got spend the last eleven months of the war recovering from his wounds as a guest of Herr Hitler. He still doesn't talk about that very much.

He lost his first wife to cancer when he still had two children at home and had to work full-time to pay for her medical care. More than thirty years later, he lost his second wife to alzheimers. As she started to show signs of the disease, he fought his family, her family, and the doctors to keep her home with him. He once again became a prisoner, this time voluntarily. He gave up his freedom to spend every moment caring for her for more than three years until she finally found her peace in her own bed with him by her side.

After everything he's been through, he is still one of the spunkiest people I know. He just threw himself a birthday party for all his friends and family. He travels and plays golf and is very politically active. He loves to laugh and tell jokes and go shopping. He embraces life and is genuinely happy despite everything he's been through.

What is it about him that has enabled him to still find joy in life despite all he's been through? And why do other people who seem to get lost in bitterness? Blisschick discussed this recently here, and I often find myself asking some of the same questions. Why do some people choose bliss while others choose misery? Do the misery lovers even realize that they've made a choice? Do they know that they even have a choice?

I know I don't always choose wisely. However, even when I am my grumpiest, crankiest, most unfit-for-human-companionship self, I do realize that I have a choice. All I have to do is look at my grandpa, the greatest man I know, and realize that I can choose happiness. Who reminds you to be happy?

Thursday, August 20, 2009


After my last post, I started pondering a certain irony: the very thing that made me feel safest as a child also makes me feel the most insecure as a writer. The books that gave me comfort created a rather vicious inner critic. After reading so many wonderful books by gifted storytellers and wordsmiths, my critic loves to tell me that I will never be able to master my craft. She loves to say that calling myself a writer is an insult to those writers I admire most. She really is quite heartless, isn't she?

I suppose the universe enjoys irony. Doesn't it often seem that the very thing we love and cherish the most has the most power to destroy or paralyze us? Hmm. Must ponder this some more.

Safely along the Artist's Way

Remember how much I love synchronicity? Well, the universe has been working overtime, it seems, to help me out along my way. Over the past month, I kept hearing and reading about this book, The Artist's Way. The church I've been visiting has a group just finishing the book, it has popped up in my cyber-browsing repeatedly, and it just seems to be everywhere I look. From experience, I know that when the universe speaks to me, I'd better listen so she doesn't have to clobber me over the head. So, I checked out the book from the library and set it in my TBR stack. Then I happened upon a group of bloggers getting ready to work their way through it together. Needless to say, I opened the book right away and got to work before the universe, in her infinite compassion, sent copies of The Artist's Way raining down upon my head.

So, this is week one. I have been doing my 3 Morning Pages of stream-of-consciousness type writing for three days now. I love doing this first thing in the morning, which is strange because I am so not a morning person. I feel like starting the day by acknowledging and paying attention to my craft helps me take myself more seriously as a writer.

Anyway, this week is about recovering a sense of safety. When I was growing up, we moved around quite a bit. Not just move from one part of town to another, though we did that also, but moving from one country and culture to another. I was shy and insecure, and always had a hard time making friends. From a very early age, I took refuge in my books. No matter where we were or what sort of chaos was swirling through the household, I could always escape to the world created in whatever book I was reading. It was my private hiding space that I could carry with me wherever I went. Even when in a situation where I couldn't read, I could still imagine myself back into the hiding space of whatever book I was reading.

Books are still my safety blanket. There are books on my bookshelf that I will probably never read again, but I keep them because they provided a safe space for me during various tempestuous periods in my life. Seeing them reminds me of how far I've come. There are books that I can open and reread a million times and still lose mysef in that hiding space. That hiding space is what led me to writing. That safe place that lies on the edge of reality.

Where is your hiding place? What makes you feel safe amidst the chaos?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wishcasting Wednesday

We've been knocked out of commission around here for the past 5 or 6 days thanks to the virus du jour, but I think everyone is finally on the mend. Sooooo, it is back to writing. Today, Jamie asks a great question:

Who is the 'you' you wish to be?

I wish to be brave and fearless in pursuing my truth and my creativity. I wish to be wild and spontaneous and joyful. I wish to be strong and compassionate and peaceful. I wish to write, dance, and play with honesty and authenticity. I wish to find peace, and in peace I wish to find joy and truth.

It's not too much to wish.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I love the way the universe responds to the searching of our true hearts. Synchronicity, coincidence, whatever you call it, it is pretty darn cool. After my reflection on wishing yesterday, I read these words by the incomparable Pattie Digh:

We don't often allow ourselves to be surprised as adults.
Our unwillingness or inability to be wowed is exactly the
problem - we equate being surprised with being unprepared
and naive.
(from Life is a Verb)

The universe is so loving and compassionate! When you embark on a spiritual (and sometimes even a physical) journey, guides and teachers seem to start popping up to give you exactly the help you need at exactly the right time. Here I was pondering why it is that we lose our sense of wonder when I read Patti's explanation. A great big huge thank you to the universe for leading me to Patti and all the other teachers and dreamers I have found and all of those I've yet to encounter.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wishcasting Wednesday

Every Wednesday, Jamie Ridler encourages us to wish big. Wishing is a skill I think we often lose as adults. Children have no problem wishing, and they wish BIG. Kids don’t wish for a better job or a better body; they wish for castles and dragons and rockets to the moon. When we grow up, we start analyzing our wishes and we stop wishing for the magical, impractical, and joyous. At least I did. I’m ready for a change, though. I want to wish BIG, so here is the wishcast for today and my BIG wish:


I wish to open the door to all that is magical and mysterious. I wish to open the door for my younger self to express wonder in the little things: the road runner running through the yard, the shape of a lone cloud floating across the sky, the flowers that keep blooming despite withering heat and unending drought. I wish to believe in the magical with the faith and determination of a child, and I wish to close the door on my own cynicism.

I'm Back

I’m back from a long blogging sabbatical. While this blog is still fairly new, I’ve not been happy with the direction I was taking in my writing. I haven’t felt as though the writing really reflected who I am or what I am about. After a great deal of reflection and self-investigation, I’m back and ready to write. I look forward to moving toward writing more authentically and intentionally. I’m excited to see where this blogging journey will take me, and of course, I am wishing for nothing but goodness.