Category Archives: life lessons

MORE ABOUT THAT: Circuses, Monkeys, Big Effin’ Fence

This is my circus. Please note: No monkeys. (I gave them all to Barb G.) Any monkeys involved are YOUR monkeys. Thank you.

This is my circus. Please note: No monkeys. (I gave them all to Barb G.) Any monkeys involved are YOUR monkeys. Thank you.

So my post the other day on the frustration of not being accepted for who you are, and not being respected for what you know, was actually more like hurt feelings and anger.

I got that as soon as I wrote it. (That’s why I write, after all. To figure all this stuff out.)

But it felt wonderful to be able to say, “It hurts! And you were only allowed to hurt me because I trusted you! Because I thought I had something useful to share, information that could help YOU!!”

The next day came this new mantra:

Not my circus. Not my monkeys.

That’s when I realized everything that was hurting me and stressing me, were things I’d picked up. Things I wanted to fix. Things I thought I could help with. (Hell’s bells, where did my hospice training go??!!)

I had the experience, I had the knowledge, I had the training, I’d even made it through the aftermath. Surely someone might benefit from that! (After all, part of my mission is that I some share things I’ve learned the hard way, so that you don’t always have to….)

And I ended up in someone else’s circus, with someone else’s monkeys.

So what do you do when you want to be open and you want to be vulnerable, so something new can come in? But you’re also sick and tired of said heart being emotionally and spiritually trampled?

Here comes the next step in my mailbox today: “Open, gentle heart. Big fucking fence.”

Danielle LaPorte is much braver and fierce than I am. I’m in awe of her.

I see where she’s going with this, and I want to go there, too. I’m going to keep that practice, of doing the work and growing. I’ll be brave, and I’ll do the work.

But the big fence is okay, too. You don’t get in until you show me you can act respectfully of what is being given. And if you do make a mess, and don’t clean up after yourself?

well, that’s my own damn fault for believing you were who you say your are.

I wasn’t wrong for giving you the benefit of the doubt. But I will be slower about letting you in the next time, and quicker to boot you out if you fustlecate. (I just made that up.)

Just in time. Because right now things are hard. But they don’t have to be.

Deep breath.

Let it go.

And get back out there, back into the game.
Into the big wide open adventure of my life.

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Filed under life lessons, not my circus and not my monkeys

YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT!

Just so you know I'm not perfect:  I am not proud that I will not admit I really can't cut my own bangs....  And yes, I know that's a double--no wait, a TRIPLE-negative.

Just so you know I’m not perfect: I am not proud that I will not admit I really can’t cut my own bangs…. And yes, I know that’s a double–no wait, a TRIPLE-negative.


Often when I look back at a particular difficult time in my life, I realize there was something deep going on. There was a major life lesson involved. Something I was struggling to understand.

I could read about it. I could see it. I could hear what other people said about it.

But I hadn’t quite gotten to the point where I knew it in my own heart. I didn’t have that “aha!” moment, that little insight, the recognition of, “So that’s what this is about!”

And of course, the recognition of what’s going on isn’t enough. You can’t stop there. Nope, you have to practice it, over and over, until you finally, really, really get it.

Here is one example: Years ago, I had a boyfriend who worked at a “campy” store in town. His coworkers were tight, and socialized often. I would tag along. They were a good group to hang with.

There was one woman, a little older than the rest of us “20-somethings”, who was respected and liked by all of us. There was only one little problem… She was often brusque with me, and rarely talked to me.

I asked my then-boyfriend about it, and he was mystified. I noticed she didn’t treat anyone else this way. I resolved to be even friendlier and nicer to her.

One evening after work, she showed her medical illustration portfolio to us. Her drawings were astonishing, and I told her so. “Yeah, thanks,” she replied shortly. “No, really, they’re very good!” I said. She turned away. I sat there, baffled at being rebuffed yet again.

And then it hit me, out of the blue, like a ton of bricks.

She didn’t like me.

I know you’re probably also thinking, “Well, doh, Luann! What was your first clue, darlin’?!”

But I had been clueless. Because I’d always been pleasant and obliging. Because I couldn’t think of a single reason why she should dislike me.

But though I didn’t know the why, I certainly recognized the what. Everything that had puzzled me became crystal clear and obvious. Like tapping that last little puzzle piece into place.

After that, I left her alone. I quit trying to “win her over”, because I realized that was salt in the wound to her. I still liked and respected her, but I accepted the fact that she didn’t like or respect me. Years later, I found out some of the “why”, and it had very little to do with me. That’s another story, and another life lesson.

But back to this life lesson.

Here is what happens when you listen (to someone who does know what they’re talking about: A few years ago, I found myself in a rattled state about my artwork and my art biz. I had a session with life coach Quinn McConald, of QuinnCreative.

I listed all the things I was stuck on. Then I said, “Oh, and for some reason I feel compelled to sign up for hospice volunteer training, and I have no idea what that’s about!” Quinn bookmarked that and returned to it later.

She asked if I were a perfectionist, and I said yes. Who doesn’t want to always do their best??

“The trouble with being a perfectionist,” she said, “is that you are full of ‘knowing’. And when you are full of knowing, nothing new can come in.”

Let me repeat that amazing, seemingly-simple little sentence….

When you are full of ‘knowing’, nothing new can come in.

That simple thought allowed me to be wide open to the hospice training. I understood I was entering this realm with complete ignorance. No expectations, no assumptions. Just humility, and a willing heart. A heart willing to be open, to be WRONG, to be taught, to be filled.

That little moment of understanding, of recognition, of clarity, is a blessing. There is a clarity. The story you’ve made up about “all that” is wrong. And now you have an opportunity to get better, to do better, to learn something new.

This transformation does not happen when you’re busy trying to be the smartest person in the room.

This is my current life theme.

I am accepting that I don’t always know. That there are things I think I know, that I really don’t know.

And I’m willing to learn.

I’m learning that some people who have been very dear to me, are themselves full of knowing. More painfully, I am seeing that they are not letting anything new come in. Especially not from me.

Because when you try to talk with people who are “full of knowing”, their argument is something this:

Who do you think you are?!

That stops the discussion, doesn’t it? If people don’t believe you have anything to say that would contribute to their understanding, it all ends there. If they believe they know more than you do, without bothering to ask, or listen, to what you do know, it all stops.

What do we say to that?

We say, “Who do I have to be?

There are people with no experience with sociopathic behavior, no knowledge of how they work. People with little experience with or knowledge of sexual abuse and sexual predators. They’ve never been trained to work with people with illness, with dementia, with alcoholism, and they don’t understand it. They don’t see the signs when it sits across the table from them.

I was one of those people. I still am, about so many, many things.

Now I know better. I know the areas where I still need guidance. I know I still have a lot to learn.

But I also now know what “blaming the victim” looks like. I now know what “killing the messenger” looks like. I now know what happens when you leave a group. I now know how to genuinely apologize. And I now know what a real apology is, and what isn’t.

And unfortunately, this means I also know what happens when you try to enlighten people who inherently don’t believe you have anything useful to say.

It hurts when I engage with people who are so convinced they know better, they will actually stop believing I am who I show myself to be. For example, I do not knowingly cause physical or emotional pain, even with people I find difficult. I may feel like being mean, but I rarely do or say mean things, not deliberately. (Okay, stuff slips out now and then, okay?!)

I do not argue with people lightly. In fact, I tend to back down, so I don’t lose my temper and say something that cannot be unsaid. When I do speak up, it’s when I realize there is a chance I can change the dynamic. Otherwise, I may seethe, but I rarely act. So when I’m accused of “being mean”, I am aghast.

I am not a lazy dog owner, I am not a cruel dog owner, and I’m not a “clueless” dog owner. But two Facebook “friends” called me that today. (Really, people?!) They totally dismissed my own experience with the discussion topic, and similar evidence given by others. Would they say those things to me, to my face? I doubt it. It’s easy to be dismissive on Facebook. It’s like giving someone the finger while driving. But if you wouldn’t sat it to me directly, don’t say it to me Facebook.

I’ve been called “over-sensitive”. I’ve been told that, as a redhead, I have a short temper. (What’s the excuse now that my hair is red by the miracle of modern chemistry? Oh…right. Genetically I have a redhead’s temper.) I’ve been told I don’t know what I’m talking about.

So…

Who do I have to be? And if you don’t respect what I do know, what I do have expertise in, what I have learned, then I can’t talk to you. Because you can’t–or won’t–hear me anyway.

This is what it’s about, my current life lesson. This is where I am right now. And this is why I’m here.

Yes, we all have blind spots. We may never completely “know” ourselves.

But I’m guessing that you, like me, have often seen a shadow, a reflection, the secondary evidence that there is something you’ve made assumptions about, the suspicion that maybe, just maybe, you are w*r*o*n*g. You get a moment of doubt, a sliver of insight that maybe there’s another side, another angle, to what you “know” to be true. And that maybe somebody else has more information, more experience, more insight than you do right now. One of the smartest thing I ever did was to admit how little I really knew about alcoholism. I thought I knew, then realized I knew nothing. So I asked a few trusted friends who did know, for advice. I listened, deeply, and well. Thank you forever, Karen. Thank you forever, Mary Ellen.

Here’s another tip-off: When you realize you don’t know quite as much as you think you do, do you bluster? Do you get defensive? Do you attack the other person before they can have their say? Do you call them “over-sensitive” and blame them for the difficulty between you? Do you dismiss them as “not as experienced as you”, when in reality, you do not know of what you speak? Do you find yourself always blaming others for your woes?

Does your conscience squeak just a little?

Do you ever wonder if maybe a little more knowledge, a little more insight, a little more understanding, might get you to where your heart really wants to go?

I want to learn from people that really do know more than me. I’m willing to ask the dumb question. Humility is hard, hard, hard. Especially when you are bright, knowledgeable, skilled. You have to allow yourself to be vulnerable in order to grow. It takes practice. And the practice never stops.

And the people who are willing to do the same with me? I respect them 100%. This is part of “doing the work”. Being willing to ask. Being willing to listen. Being willing to learn.

Being open to what you don’t know.

Not trying to always be the smartest person in the room.

Those who don’t know what they’re talking about? And don’t know what I’m talking about here? They have their work to do. If it hurts me to be around them right now, well, that’s where I am. I have my own work to do. I can’t pick up theirs.

And all I can do is to write, to share, to give, to those people who are in the same place I am. People who are open to what I have to say. People who are also willing to look into the dark place in themselves that are filled with excuses.

People who think that maybe, just maybe, once in awhile….
I may know what I’m talking about.

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Filed under advice on getting advice, life lessons, not my circus and not my monkeys, perfectionism

SIXTY-ONE

My birthday card from Amy Johnson...

My birthday card from Amy Johnson…

And the great punchline...one month after Jon found a VERY drunk person passed out on our tree lawn. (It wasn't me!!)

And the great punchline…one month after Jon found a VERY drunk person passed out on our tree lawn. (It wasn’t me!!)

A la Bilbo Baggins, I so wanted to use “ELEVENTY-ONE” as today’s post title. But a desire for accuracy won the day. And so, a reflection today on my sixty-first birthday.

Here I sit. Sixty-one years old. There is a storm around me, one that’s raged for over fifty years. I’m feeling as unmoored and estranged as I ever have. And why does Spellcheck say “unmoored” is not a word???

A friend said recently, “The most dangerous people in the world are people who don’t know what they don’t know.” Sadly, very true.

All I can do is look back, to see how far I’ve come.
I can look ahead, to see how far I can go.
And I can look at the end, to see what is of value there. (Thank you, Quinn McDonald, for these words of wisdom!)

When I look back, my gratitude list is long. In fact, after the Year of Endangered Children and Near-Death Experiences, I’m truly grateful for what I learned. What I found. And mostly for what I DIDN’T lose….

I see that sitting with discomfort can open many doors. And close some, too–maybe ones that needed to be closed. Or that were never open in the first place.

When I look ahead, I see that being able…and willing…to make a major change in life, with a willing partner at my side, will be an amazing adventure. I’m pathetically scared. But at least I know my fear is pathetic. It will be daunting, and exhausting. But also exhilarating and exciting.

When I look at the end, it puts it all in perspective.

My greatest joy? Every day, I’m learning more about life.
My greatest fear? The day I finally figure it all out, I’ll be 73 and drop dead before I can really put all my wisdom to work.

The reality? We’re all hear trying to do the best we can. Trying to figure it all out. Some of us are open to learning. Some of us aren’t. Their journey is not my journey. And that’s okay.

My goal this year? To kick the “good girl”–the one who feels she has to make nice, to be “good”, whatever that means–to the curb. And let out the “bad girl”–the bitch who speaks her mind and asks for what she wants–a little more often.

What am I doing for my birthday today?

Maybe I’ll clean my studio so George can fix my lights.
Maybe I’ll do a little more reading on issues of social injustice. I’m embarrassed at how much I don’t know. But grateful I’m willing to KNOW how much I don’t know.
Maybe I’ll go to t’ai chi tonight with Jon.
Maybe take the afternoon off and read a book for HOURS. And fall asleep on the couch with the cat and a dog or two.
Maybe I’ll sit and think. Or just sit.
Maybe I’ll go out and watch the clouds for awhile.

I’ll try not to worry about how I’ll ever pack up and move my neutron-star-dense studio across the country. And whether I’ll ever find a good-enough space to set it up again.

I’ll try not to worry about earthquakes.

I’ll try not to worry about giant millipedes.

Hmmmmm….. Maybe it’s time to go out and look at some clouds.

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Filed under art, life lessons

NAMASTE

“I like to think that everybody is trying to do the best they can.” Something Teo Tyler said to me years ago, when I wondered why she was cutting an obvious pompous idiot so much slack….

Why a picture of a tree?  Because it's just a tree.  And that's all it has to be.

Why a picture of a tree? Because it’s just a tree. And that’s all it has to be to be beautiful.

I’m back, and sloooooowly recovering from, the League of NH Craftsmen’s Annual Craftsmen’s Fair at Mt. Sunapee (aka, although misleading, the “Sunapee Fair”. Misleading because there’s another, much smaller local event also known as the “Sunapee Fair”. Oh well. It’s hard to confuse us once you’ve seen us both.)

As usual, a lot of beautiful and powerful moments at the Fair, lots of validation for an artist, and great sales, too. And also as usual, lots of exhaustion, frustration, nerves and angst.

And as usual, over the next few weeks, I’ll strive to put the latter into prospective, and the former into the forefront of my heart.

Today, though, I write about a thought I had as my head hit the pillow last night, a thought that stayed with me til I woke this morning:

I’m thinking how desperately we want to be seen.

Not just noticed. (“Look at that woman’s funny red hair, mama!”) Not recognized (“She’s the artist!”) Not just acknowledged. (“Madam cashier, may I interrupt your conversation with the bag boy to introduce myself? I’m your paying customer!!!!“)

We all want to be seen as the person we believe ourselves to be. The person we want to believe ourselves to be, that is.

We don’t want to be seen as needy, or pitiable, or desperate. We don’t want to be seen as crazy, or nagging, or pathetic.

We all want to be seen as a person who is doing the best we can.

At this moment, right now, with everything we have on our plate. Plates. Plate??

Oddly, my thought about this is, sometimes the best way we can show someone we truly see them is to listen to them.

So if someone wants desperately to be seen as smart, and quick, and capable, then I have to tamp down my lizard-brain reaction to say, “Well, I’m smart and quick and capable, too!” I have to try really really hard to just shut up and watch. And be amazed that, by golly, they are smart, and quick, and capable. And that fact doesn’t diminish me one little bit.

I have to understand that if someone is trying desperately to impress me with their wit (even if it’s at my expense) and their brilliant conversation (even if I can’t get a word in edgewise), then I have to smack down my lizard-brain reaction for a few minutes. Just sit back and let them do their dance. And be amazed that, by golly, they are witty, and brilliantly conversant. And that fact does not diminish me one little bit.

I have to understand that if someone is trying really, really hard to do the right thing, because they really don’t want to be “that guy”, and they want their efforts to be acknowledged (even if what I want is an apology), then I have to lose the judge-y-ness and the righteous indignation, and give them some credit. And be amazed, by gosh, that they really are trying to do the right thing–because they care.

It’s hard. It’s really hard.

Because like the proverbial one-finger-pointing-at-you, three-finger-pointing-back-at-me thing (Try it. Point at something. See?), all these things that piss me off? I’m more guilty of them than anyone else.

And that’s why I, of all people, should understand where that impulse is coming from.

Because I want to be seen as smart, and quick, and capable, and witty, and brilliantly conversational.

Because I’m usually the one rattling off a mile a minute, not letting you get a word in. Not letting you be right, for a change. Not accepting, or understanding that you, too, are simply here, trying to do your best.

And in showing you just how effin’ brilliant I am, I am not letting YOU shine.

So today I continue my little brave exercises, exercises I hope will atrophy my over-worked lizard-brain a little, and strengthen my better-intentioned heart.

When I’m tempted to put you in your place, I will bite my (very sharp) tongue instead.

In place of a retort, I will strive for the gentle rejoinder. Better yet, I will try for the respectful silence.

I will gaze at you with love, and awe, and respect for the person you already are. I will honor the person you don’t have to prove yourself–not for one minute, not to me–to be.

I will see you.

(With heartfelt apologies to Jon, and Jen, and Nancy. And with deep gratitude for all you do, with delight and amazement for who you are. Namaste)

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Filed under art, life lessons

THE DUCKS: “Make Way for Ducklings” with a Sadder Ending

Last week my sister and I drove home to Michigan. A lot happened on the trip, mostly good stuff, and even the bad stuff ended well.

There was one sad thing that broke my heart.

We were zipping along the QEW (Queen Elizabeth Way), the major highway that connects Niagara Falls (where we entered Canada) and Hamilton. It’s always frenetic, full of traffic, with one of those solid concrete barricades down the median. We were going 75 mph, five miles above the posted speed limit, and people passed us like we were standing still.

We were talking and laughing, and all of a sudden, we saw a mother duck and two baby ducks at the median, right next to the fast lane. (AKA “even faster lane”…)

It was heartbreaking. They were in a panic. There was absolutely no way we could stop. Even if we could, there was absolutely no way we could have rescued them without endangering ourselves, other travelers, even the ducks.

Our hearts sank as we flew past them.

We could have called “someone” about them. But who? I have no idea who to call in Canada about highway-stranded ducks. And I’m sure there are limited resources to deal with such things.

I’ve been thinking of them ever since, imagining their terror, and empathizing with their helplessness. I know I won’t forget that image of them easily. Why are there solid medians in expressways? Why aren’t there ways to prevent so many animals from being run over on highways?

And yet…..

From what I’ve read about animal brains, they were, indeed frantic and confused. But one of two things definitely happened.

They were probably killed within minutes of us seeing them.

Or they somehow made it back across the highway.

Either way, their agony is over.

Animals, it’s said, don’t dwell on the drama. If they made it safely across, then they immediately focused on the next task in front of them–getting to water, finding food, finding a place to rest for the night.

They didn’t carry that agony and that terror with them any longer than was necessary for their survival.

People, however, tend to fret, to “ruminate” over things that upset us, sometimes endlessly. I know I do! I go over and over the event. I hold my tongue for fear of saying something awful, then regret not speaking up. I make up stories about the people who hurt me, sometimes demonizing their intentions to justify my own indignation and anger.

I’m tired of it.

I know good things can come out of sad experiences. I know this incident helped me connect strongly to an article in our town newspaper, of a local project–high school kids taking record of how many animals are killed on local highways, and thinking up ways to cut down on the daily slaughter. And I know that animals die every day in the wild, if not from a racing car, then from predators and other natural causes.

I’m just saying that I’ve fretted far longer from that image in my heart than the ducks did.

This is what it means to be human. This is what it means to have a compassionate heart.

But I also realize that I should either do something about it or put it in perspective and let it go. Endless remorse serves no one, and nothing.

And so today, I’m telling you–and myself–a different story:

Even an “ordinary” duck and her babies crossing the road have a story to tell.

And I can learn from it.

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EDITH GRODIN: Am I a falcon, a storm, or the Great Song?

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I didn’t get to know Edith Grodin until she was dying.

Oh, I knew who she was, and spoke to her many times. She and her husband, Dick, were huge supporters of the prestigious League of NH Craftsmen. I often saw her during the Craftsmen’s Annual Fair in August. Once Edith bought a lovely necklace from me for her granddaughter, a Gulf War veteran. That was the beginning of many enjoyable Grodin family visits in my booth. Soon three generations of Grodins were wearing my jewelry. Husband Dick and son Richard gently refused my generous offers of earrings (but finally accepted a small horse sculpture.)

Edith moved confidently throughout the League and its activities, serving on the Board of Trustees. She was good friends with many craftspeople, and respected by us all.

I thought we’d have a lifetime to get to know one another better.

We had only a year.

There came a Fair where she did not appear. Instead, a little note appeared in the Fair newsletter handed out each day. “I’ve lost my battle against cancer,” she said. And she asked for visitors.

Still, I hesitated. Some families hunker down during tough times. They don’t welcome outsiders. But my hospice volunteer training had made me a bit braver. And so I called one day. Dick answered the phone and encouraged me to come by.

So began an amazing journey, rich in laughter, good cheer and life lessons.

Edith was able to remain in her beloved home until her death. She faced it with peace in her heart (though she was “busy” and engaged til the end.) I had the sense she had done–or tried–her best, and knew it. That gave her great comfort. She voiced no regrets.

There were many, many sweet moments: Learning how Edith and Dick met, and how they built their life together.

There were some sober moments: Speculating on an afterlife. Wondering how her family would cope with her loss.

There were many, many funny moments. Her sense of humor was delightfully sharp and quick. She hungered for tidbits of news and gossip, eager to hear about the outside world. I shared some of my favorite gossip, and she shared hers.

My favorite time was when I called her after having surgery myself. I complained that my family was very supportive and caring–the first few days. After that, everyone mysteriously disappeared early in the day, forcing me to struggle on my own for coffee and other necessities.

Edith confided that her family had done the same thing–so solicitous the first few weeks. Then, when the novelty of the situation had worn off, not so quick to wait on her hand and foot. “But Edith,” I exclaimed, “You’re DYING!”

“I know, right?” she replied cheerfully.

I won’t go into Edith’s (and Dick’s) many years of military service, their wide and varied contributions to their many communities and causes. There are others who can speak better about that than I. Suffice to say, the word of the day at the Grodin household is service.

There was their service to their country, of course, extending several generations. And their fierce love of family and friends. They supported many good causes, and gave generously not with just money, but in words and time and attention.

To them, being a good citizen was not just being involved. It wasn’t just contributing. What astonished me was Edith’s desire to build something for a community that simply wasn’t there before. They would see a need, and work to meet it.

She and her best friend started a craft show, and ran it for many years. No wonder she felt so at home at the League’s Fair! She campaigned fiercely for their new headquarters in Concord, and was overjoyed the transition was accomplished in her lifetime. I soon lost track of all her achievements and projects and contributions. The list is long, and all of it amazing.

Over those last months, my respect and awe for this woman grew and grew.

And so did my determination to learn from her courage and dedication.

It was like she left me with a challenge: Find a need, and fill it! Don’t just stand there–do something! If nobody else will do it, do it yourself!

In the past year, I’ve helped Keene start its very own Open Studio Tour. I also created an event that’s long been dear to me–a garage sale for artists and craftspeople. In fact, I may miss her memorial ceremony because it’s the same day as the Keene Art Garage Sale, and I’m the only one running the show. Somehow, I don’t think she’d mind.

Small projects, in the greater scheme of things, I know. And yet I never thought I was capable of doing something like this, or that I would enjoy it so much.

I have Edith Grodin to thank for that. Her quiet pride in her achievements, her natural tendency to create opportunities for other creative people, in addition to those she made for her country, her community, her friends and her family, all inspired me to think bigger and do better.

It was a short year, but a rich one, and one I will always remember.

Thank you, Edith, and goodbye.

“I live my life in widening circle
That reach out across the world.
I may not ever complete the last one,
But I give myself to it.

I circle around God, that primordial tower.
I have been circling for thousands of years,
And I still don’t know: am I a falcon,
A storm, or a great song?”

by Rainer Maria Rilke

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Filed under Edith Grodin, life lessons

OUR HOME: An Affirmation

If only we'd used the ice melt BEFORE Jon slipped and dislocated his shoulder.....

If only we’d used the ice melt BEFORE Jon slipped and dislocated his shoulder…..


It’s been a wild and crazy January, full of changes, upheavals, accidents and injury. In other words, the usual life stuff.

In the turmoil, I barely found time to write, let alone come up with something cohesive enough to post.

But a simple lesson I’d forgotten about raised it’s pretty little head last week.

And suddenly, something post-able appears.

Someone asked about affirmations. Popularized by The Artist’s Way by Julie Cameron, it’s a morning writing practice of stating what you wish for, as reality, here and now. It’s a way of making room for what you want, in the moment.

Now, I’ve been writing about life lessons and museum studies, hospice and art-making. And I’m very good at writing gratitude lists, where I remind myself what’s good about my life, instead of dwelling on the bad.

But I haven’t done affirmations for ages.

I wrote this morning about how overwhelmed and anxious I’m feeling about rearranging/repurposing/renovating our home the past few years. We’re expecting another, potentially long-term guest in a few weeks, and we’re scrambling to make room for her. I’m depressed about our clutter (okay, my clutter), in our home and in my studio. I’ve felt down and spongey. (Is that a word??) Maybe porous–everything coming in and wreaking havoc in my ruminating brain.

I started to write, “I am moving to a less cluttered…..”

    NO.

(Yes, I stopped myself in mid-word!)

Suddenly, I thought, what if I quit writing about mastering clutter?
What if I wrote about why we’re dealing with clutter?

What if I wrote an affirmation for our home?

Our home is open to people who need a home.
Our home is open to people who yearn for companionship.
Our people is open to those who need a laugh… A Yankee Swap,
a Bad Movie Night,
a pizza and beer.
Our hope is open to us aging gracefully.
Our home is open to new possibilities.
Our home is open to animals who need a home.
Our home is a haven to people in transition.
Our home provides work and income to those who need it.
Our home celebrates family, friendship, and transition.
Our home is warm and cozy and eclectic and artsy.
Our home is filled with new projects and innovation.
Our home supports both of our vocations, and our avocations.
Our home is full of good intentions, and acts of kindness.
Our home is open to reconciliation.
Our home is full of ever-changing light.
Our home can stretch or shrink.
Our home has sheltered people for over 175 years.
Our home has weathered storms and risen above floods.
Our home holds new potential, and old memories.
Our home is a blend of the old, the modern, and the ultra-modern.
Our home is gracious.
Our home amuses people, welcomes people, amazes people and confuses people.
Our home is where our kids finished their childhood, and it’s where they come back to when things get hard.
Our home is a place where there’s always room for one more. Or two. Or three.
Our home has many sofas, and warm blankets.
Our home even has a fireplace that works–twice!
Our home has many attics and a dry basement and a good roof.
Our home can handle all our needs and desires, our ever-changing pasttimes and our hopes and dreams.
Our home can change to suit the needs we have today.
Our home has a kitchen that can hold many cooks–as long as it’s just one or two at a time.
Our home is a haven.
Our home is filled with love and wistfulness,
with love and angry words,
with love and slamming doors,
with love and reconciliation,
with love and new respect,
with love and laughter,
with love and sadness,
with love and gratitude,
with love and healing.

Our home is filled with love.

So here it is, for you, today.
An affirmation.
A different way of looking at things, today.

Now, please excuse me while I drop of two more bags at the thrift shop, a couple to the garbage, and an errand to Home Depot for more closet organizers.

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Filed under affirmations, art, life lessons, love