GOING WEST: The Story of the Bear

Bear beads I sold recently. Yep, I lined up right in front of my keyboard!
Bear beads I sold recently. Yep, I lined up right in front of my keyboard!

From my Animal Stories page:
Bear tells me, “Be strong when things get hard. Listen more. Think slow. Love deep.”

I haven’t written much lately because it seems like very day, the landscape changes. The things that have to happen before we can move seem obscured. Some days it’s hard to put on a happy face.

We’re wishing desperately for clarity. But getting clear on your next step doesn’t necessarily mean a clear path.

We know we want to move to California. Unfortunately, the support we think we need isn’t there. A new job to replace the one that’s disappearing in a week or so may not be so simple to find. The house has to sell, and there’s not much we can do to to make that happen. Plans in place for family members that don’t want to go with us are still up in the air.

We keep thinking those obstacles have to be overcome before anything else can happen. When they aren’t happening, we think we’ve lost our way.

But it just occurred to me that we have the real blessing in hand. We know what we want. The simple idea that drives everything for us right now–going west–is more clear than ever. Everything–everything–points us west.

Jon called from the coast today with a powerful insight: He already knows the work he wants to do. And though perhaps no one will hire him to do it, maybe it’s time he took it solo. I could hear the excitement and happiness in his voice when we spoke. Yes, it’s a risk. But no more of a risk than anything else we’ve ever pinned our hopes to.

I realized that all the doors we thought were closing, leave the hallway clear and open. The “bumps in the road” are simply streamlining our purpose: Get west. Go to the place we want to be.

Trying to fix everything, trying to put everything in place first, gets in the way of what we want: So maybe it’s time to think slow.

Sometimes looking for the “safe” way to accomplish our dreams, will actually constrict our dreams. So we will dream big.

Sometimes the people we think we need to take care of, can actually take care of themselves better if we give them the chance: Let them know we will always love deep.

So many wise people in my life have told me, over and over, that whatever I yearn for, whatever I need to know, is already in my heart. It’s true. We wished for clarity, and we already have it.

In my heart, I am singing a prayer of thanks for remembering the story of my bear spirit artifact:

Bear tells me, “Be strong when things get hard. Listen more. Think slow. Love deep.”

THESE bears' story is "Make a lot of noise and maybe some of it will be music!"
THESE bears’ story is “Make a lot of noise and maybe some of it will be music!”

Author: Luann Udell

I find it just as important to write about my art as to make it. I am fascinated by stories. You can tell when people are speaking their truth--their eyes light up, their voices become strong, their entire body posture becomes powerful and upright. I love it when people get to this place in their work, their relationships, their art. As I work from this powerful place in MY heart, I share this process with others--so they have a strong place to stand, too. Because the world needs our beautiful art. All of it we can make, as fast as we can! Whether it's a bowl, a painting, a song, a garden, a story, if it makes our world a better place, we need to do everything in our power to get it out there.

15 thoughts on “GOING WEST: The Story of the Bear”

  1. The situation you describes really reminds me of myself a couple of years ago. I was living in a place I needed to get out of, and I knew exactly where I wanted to be instead – Colorado Springs. The hardest part was the long months in between making the decision and when I could finally make the move, because job searches aren’t instantaneous and there was no way I could move without a new job lined up.

    All together, I spent almost eight frustrating, stressful months working to make it happen. And then, it happened. It’s easy to look back at the transition now, but those eight months were incredibly hard.

    I have heaps of empathy for you and just want to say that if you guys hang in there and keep working on what’s in your power to work on, you’ll get there. Hang in there! It’s hard now, but it’ll be worth it once things come together.

    P.S. I love those bears! They’re gorgeous.


    1. Thank you, Ali, for sharing your own experience and for encouraging ours.
      I love how we have have a special place we want to be, and how different it is for each of us. Only we know, in our hearts, where our true home is.


  2. Hey Luann, this was beautiful. I really like “hearing” you say these things. I know it has been a struggle, up and down, encouraging and discouraging. But reading this makes me happy for you… happy that you are sorting it out in you mind and your heart. Keep this attitude and this whole move/transition will be what you want/need it to be. By the way, I will miss you and Jon, but I know that this is the right thing for you both.

    Gary Spykman Sebbi Designs 47 Victoria Street Keene, NH 03431 603.352.5656 gary@spykman.com http://www.SebbiDesigns.com

    Date: Fri, 11 Jul 2014 15:22:02 +0000 To: gary@spykman.com


  3. Luann – so often your posts help me to get some clarity on my journey and I am grateful for your insights. I ‘m also in that “betwixt and between” stage between two places: the one I’m more than ready to leave and the one I am yearning for. It’s hard. And like you, I’m trying to dream my new life into existence. I wish you all the best and the joy of unexpected blessings on your journey.


    1. Oh, Margaret, I’m so glad my “shares” shed some light. I remember a paragraph in one of Anne Lamott’s books, where she prays for a light to illuminate, not her path, just a spot at her feet where her next step should go. It’s those little baby steps that keep our heart on the right path.


  4. I saw this on a poster this week. Seems appropo: “When one door closes, another one opens. (It’s the dark hallways that scare us.)” Remember the light when that new door opens. Good luck with the move and all.


  5. “Sometimes the people we think we need to take care of, can actually take care of themselves better if we give them the chance……..”
    I am pinning that to my wall…….


  6. Dear Luann:
    Several years ago, after the death of my beloved golden retriever Lily, I made a short trip to Manchester Vermont to visit a favorite gallery that sells Zuni fetishes. For some reason I was compelled to go there to find a white bear fetish. I didn’t know much about them at the time, but I couldn’t let go of the idea that I needed one. When I got to the gallery I picked out the first of many of bear fetishes that I now collect. While chatting with the owner she asked me if I wanted to know the meaning of the bear I chose. Turns out the bear represents “courage in the face of adversity”, something I really needed at that moment.
    So now I wish you the same–courage in the face of adversity–and best of luck in your journey
    Sharon McCartney


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