The Blender: Intro

We love our new lives in California. But sometimes all the ‘new’ is overwhelming.

Even small things, like not recognizing the ‘ordinary’ birds out here, remind us daily of what we don’t know about California. (There are at least TWO kinds of jays here in Santa Rosa.) (And what are the ones that go, “pip”.  “Pip.”)

Then there’s been the big stuff: A knee surgery for me, within two months of moving here, for me, double hip replacement surgery for Jon less than six months ago. Rebuilding our careers, missing our kids, our friends, our resources…. Did I say missing our kids?

Starting over….I knew it would take time to rebuild an audience for my art, time to grow a new audience, here on the other coast. I know that takes patience. (Not my forte, btw, patience. Er….could you tell?)

But it’s the constant second-guessing that’s killing me. Not knowing what is an opportunity, and what’s a distraction. What’s the next step? What should hold on to, and what do I let go of. When to wait, and when to act. And my studio–is it a workspace? A store? A blessed space, a sanctuary? Yet another place to fill with stuff?? Finished goods overrunning the space, a constant reminder that it’s not selling??? All of the above???!!

It boggles the mind. MY mind, daily.

Last month, I had a healing, enlightening, expanding session with a new friend here, Sheri Gaynor of Creative Awakenings. It was healing with horses, something I’ve encountered (and will always treasure) just before I left New Hampshire, at HorseTenders Mustang Foundation. I highly recommend both Sheri and the HorseTenders programs.

Of course, the new vision frightened me. And of course, being me, I immediately when into ‘contraction state’ (Who, me?? I can’t do that!!) and right through to planning mode. (What does that look like? How does it work? How to I monetize it? Should I monetize it??)

“Call Sheri!” my fevered brain begged. So I did. Ack!! Sheri is on a sabbatical in Costa Rica, for her own much-needed retreat, respite, and restoration of heart and soul.

The song from Ghostbusters ran through my head…”Who ya gonna call??”

And then it occured to me who I could call: My friend and mentor Quinn McDonald of Quinn Creative. (I love her tagline: “Clarity starts here.”)

I had a coaching session with Quinn years ago, in the middle of another professional turmoil/quandry. (Okay, I have them every month day 20 minutes, if you must know.)

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 phrase lit up my life for the next six years. Still does. And so I turned to Quinn to walk me through my latest crisis of heart.

After listening to me whine describe what I was going through, Quinn created a metaphor for a brief, daily meditation, an image to capture what I was going through and what it felt like–and what to do about it.

It’s a blender.

“Imagine a blender. Throw some ice cubes, some water, a little oil, a couple of peas, maybe a strawberry. And some food coloring!” she said. “Then turn it on.”

My life has been a blender the past few years, she said. All of that stuff, the good, the awesomely good, the bad, the really bad, the scary bad, the good in the bad, everything, is whirling around, being chopped into tinier and tinier pieces. “And you’re trying to pick up those pieces as they fly by, with wet hands.”

Boy, did I get it.

“So life is not supposed to be a smoothie,” I mused. Right, said Quinn.

Hence the meditation. She described the steps, ending with “turn off the blender.” (whew!) Then, “Write down what comes up, after”, she said. “Even a word or two. Keep a written record for the next week or two. We’ll talk more about that later.”

Now, knowing me, you KNOW I wrote down more than a word or two.

And no, I actually don’t like smoothies. A milkshake, yes. No veggies, please, nor fruit.

And in tomorrow’s post, I’ll share what came up, and where I’m going with this.

Til then: Turn off the blender!

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.

8 thoughts on “The Blender: Intro”

  1. Am totally understanding the blender-whirlwind of the brain syndrome. Actually when cancer experience enters a family. In healing thru art, in the process of creating with colors, textures on canvas, yet am not knowing where to go with it all. By turning it off, stepping away & coming back to see things anew, the unimportant stuff recedes and allows a true, connected flow of good energies. Stuff in the blender will settle. I say “throw the blender out 🙂 R.


    1. LOL, I wish I could! But that would mean I’ve achieved nirvana, and I’m just not ready for that. Too many things to do. (Just kidding.)
      And yes, it takes time for the healing to take place. There must be time to grieve for what’s been lost, time to appreciate what comes back and what we still have. There are no shortcuts, but art can make the journey more mindful, and beautiful. I wish you a good journey. Let me know how it turns out.


  2. Welcome to the blender. And to California, the Ultimate Blender! A double whammy I guess:)

    Just writing in to say hello. I found your writing and art through FASO and have been following along for a short while. I am your neighbor (sort of) in the foothills of CA. (Look for Stockton on the map and go about an hour East!)

    Turmoil seems to be happening for many of us these days. I hope things settle down for you.

    Take Care,


    1. Thank you, Libby, for ‘tuning in’ today, and for the welcome, too. Are you in the delta region?? I never knew it existed until I read about it recently. It looks like a fascinating area. California is so complex, the topography, the variations in climates and micro-climates…I can tell it’s going to take years to grasp it all!


      1. Luann,
        California is incredibly complex and I have lived here all of my life. I am only now just learning about both halves of the state (there is a serious division between north and south!) and trying to really appreciate the topography. We are sort of near the Delta region-we are tied into it through several rivers that flow into larger rivers that feed the Delta. Talk about complex! My husband and I are in the foothills. Google Murphys or San Andreas or Calaveras County to get an idea. And your new area is just gorgeous. Very envious of you actually. I would think it would be a great place for your artwork and ideas.

        I will continue to tune in to the Blender:)


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