January 21, 2015
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by David Whyte
if you move carefully
through the forest
like the ones
in the old stories
who could cross
a shimmering bed of dry leaves
without a sound,
to a place
whose only task
is to trouble you
but frightening requests
conceived out of nowhere
but in this place
beginning to lead everywhere.
requests to stop what
you are doing right now,
to stop what you
while you do it,
that can make
that have patiently
waited for you,
questions that have no right
to go away.
From the collection, Everything is Waiting For You
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For the last three months I’ve been living this poem –
saying yes to what have felt like sacred requests to stop what I’m doing
and stop what I’m becoming as I do it.
Asking questions that have no right to go away.
My questions have been about identity
and how to root myself
- as in super, practical, nuts-and-bolts how-do-I-do-this -
in a story about our world
and my place here
that feels totally shaped by trust.
My path to these months was less a quiet move
across shimmering leaves, however,
and more a complex, colorful, cacophonous,
heartful decade of living
that left me exhausted and feeling
and out of touch
with who I am
and who I want to be.
And without dedicated time and space to
and consciously steep in The Quiet.
The Quiet, for me,
is the birthplace of all I want to be.
It’s my understanding of God.
It’s the whole of the universe and more.
It’s my own heart.
It’s my backyard patio in the winter sun.
It’s putting words to my observations and feelings
and treating this as sacred work.
It’s consciously being with thoughts and feelings
without trying to put words to them at all
and treating *this* as sacred work.
The Quiet is always everywhere;
I think we’re – all of us – always steeping in it.
But things change in so many ways
when we steep in it consciously.
When we stop running from all the thoughts and questions
that make us uncomfortable
and finally say, Yes.
Yes to this Quiet.
Yes to being in it, here, now.
Yes to whatever it brings up for me
and to the choices that whatever’s arising offers as gifts to me.
Yes to the work involved in whatever choices I decide to make in response.
I continue to steep consciously in The Quiet every day,
and experience my identity and purpose questions as active conversations right now,
rather than things I’m tying up.
So I come to this space here, now,
with a heart less full of words to share
and more with a kind wave,
and a warm hug,
and a, “Hey – this is the sacred work I’m up to right now.”
Trust Notes and regular blog posts will continue
to come only infrequently.
30 Days of Trust, and
continue to be available any time
and I encourage you to check these out
if you’re feeling stuck
They are wonderful, trust-nourishing balm.
Sending love to you,
and a deep wish
that if you find yourself
in a place “whose only task is to trouble you with [...]
requests to stop what
you are doing right now,
to stop what you
while you do it,”
that you listen.
For your sake, and all our sakes, I send deep, loving
blessings that you do just this.
September 8, 2014
I’ve been sharing in Trust Notes this month about changes I’m navigating – a turn of season in my personal and professional life that has me in uncharted sea.
After nearly a decade of being in near-constant motion (having and raising kids, starting and growing a business, moving four times), I’m listening to my body/mind/spirit; to the conversations my husband and I have been having about what we want for our lives and relationship; and to these dear kids of ours, who are growing and growing and needing a more present, grounded mama to captain their ship, and honoring what I hear: the call to slow down.
To more mindfully choose what activities I commit to.
To prioritize daily practices that lead to spiritual and mental and emotional vitality, rather than fitting these in only occasionally, or once the to-do list gets done.
And – here’s the real clincher – to actually face some underlying fears that my near-constant-motion has conveniently helped me avoid.
These are good days – rich in more spaciousness than I’ve felt in forever.
But oh my good lord, some of them are hard.
Hard, as in filled with thoughts I haven’t let myself think.
Hard, as in facing waves of emotions that surface as I lean into my fears in new ways and engage the help of a therapist.
Hard, as in having to answer honestly, “What’s truly important to me?” and “So what am I going to do about my answer to that?”
There are transitions in life that we plan and wish for, and ones that catch us off guard. And I’ve found that in both cases, the lived experience of them is rarely what we expect.
The waves of thoughts and emotions that pop up can feel a lot like ocean waves in a desert. Or rain from a cloudless sky.
WTF?? our hearts say. THIS?
And the truth, at least in my experience, and no matter how much we’ve prepared for every other alternative is…yes. Most indubitably, this.
I’m in transition. That means I’m in unknown territory. Maybe you’re in unknown territory, too.
And when in unknown territory, our mechanisms for making sense of things, for self-protection, for anticipating challenges and planning ways to address them will inherently rev themselves up, and simultaneously be incapable – because we’ve never been here before – of truly knowing what to do.
So the only thing I know to do with certainty in my uncharted season – especially when unexpected waves of thoughts, feelings, and circumstances hit – is practice tending trust.
Practice holding the possibility that for all the fears I carry, and all the monsters – real or imagined – that exist in this section of sea, there is a way through it, for me, that is more gentle, more kind, more marked by deep-down peace, and patience with the process, and a heart that stays open to the love and support around me and to the growing my soul yearns to do, than would ever be possible were trust not something I tended.
As I do this work, drawing on lessons learned from navigating past transitions and from sailing with others through theirs, I welcome your company!
My next (and possibly last) Healing Wave is devoted completely to this: ten days of images and meditations to focus our attention – no matter the type of transition we’re experiencing (inner, outer, spiritual, relational, physical, vocational) – on trust.
Safe Passage begins soon – September 15. Learn more here.
And whether you come along for this wave or not, I wish you much peace wherever you are. I wish you the support you need to seek trust, rather than fear, as your North Star.
So much love,
August 1, 2014
Find this print in my shop here.
Summer has felt like a fire hose of activity in my life – both outer and inner – and consequently I’ve been mostly offline and outside my studio. But since I love Melody Deetz and the healing work she puts into the world, and love the chance to meet new kindreds like her, when Melody invited me to a blog hop, it was an easy “Heck yeah!”
So here are my answers to the hopping questions:
1. What am I working on?
The primary focus of my art this year has been a series of 10-day art-based experiences called Healing Waves. Each wave orbits a theme, includes multi-media components (visual art, written words, videos) and is sent out by email. I love creating these, and have loved the communities that have gathered around each one!
This summer my soul has been tapping on my heart’s door, asking that I dive more deeply into art as visual poetry. So right now I’m working on some pieces (pen and ink drawings to which I add color with watercolors and/or Photoshop) that are more complex than much of the art you find on my blog and in my shop. You’ll have to wait and see how these show up for public consumption! ;)
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
The style of art I’ve been doing most these last few years has been a mix of cartoon-like images and words. This has lent itself to a unique mix of depth and levity, where I can explore and shed light on aspects of the human condition – specifically ways that we experience fear and routes we can take to cultivate trust alongside of it – but in ways that also have lightness and buoyancy. People have expressed that my artwork is comforting and disarming, and I love that it can be so even while addressing weighty topics!
3. Why do I create what I do?
I consider myself a healer – one who is on a path of healing myself, as well as one who is participating in the healing of others. So I create art for both of these reasons. I’m changed by the work that I do, and my deep wish is that others are or will be, too.
4. How does my writing process work?
I have no formula for the way that I write. Sometimes I have the seed of an idea or an insight I want to share, and I begin to put that into words. Other times I have an image in my mind and create that visually first, and then follow that up with an essay of some kind that expands on the insights conveyed there.
I have experimented with outlining essays and lessons first and then filling in details second, but my much more common writing route is to feel my way along from start to finish with the seed of an idea as my starting point – deepening my own thoughts and understanding of that idea as I go along – and then going back to tighten up what I’ve written.
I’d love to introduce you to another kindred friend and colleague whose healing path – of herself and others – is deeply inspiring to me. I’m so moved by who she is and by the blossoming that she’s helped friends and readers – at her blog, and elsewhere in person and online – beautifully, authentically witness. She will be joining this blog hop next Saturday with her own answers to these questions.
Christa is an artist, a healer, and a teacher of the intuitive and creative. Find her at christagallopoulos.com.
Art will lead the way
May 31, 2014
Here’s what I’ve learned about art: it has a crazy-potent way of getting good (read: healing, inspiring, motivating) things into our hearts and minds that otherwise bounce off our defenses.
You’ve had bouncing-off-your-defenses experiences right? Things like:
• Starting a great book or e-course, only to find yourself NOT applying the content you were so excited about, or inexplicably losing interest in the book/course entirely a few days in and having it sit, untouched thereafter, on your bookshelf or computer.
• Having a loved one tell you, gently or not, about something you could do/read/stop to make your life better. In your heart of hearts you agree, and so you promptly…don’t do it.
• Putting worded reminders of things you want to believe or do around the house (“You are loved”; “Drink more water”; “Stretch”), and having them become part of the landscape you don’t see anymore…before you actually heed them.
I’ve had experiences like these, too! And the more that I’ve worked with art and with helping cultivate trust in clients and myself – trust in ourselves, trust in life, trust in others, trust in our capacity and freedom to change and grow – the more I’ve come to recognize the potency of this intersection of trust and art.
Trust is like a magic key that unlocks the doors of our hearts and minds so that healing and growth can flow in.
Art is a map that can show us where we are in relation to our fear, guide us to that key, and cheer us on to actually use it.
This art + trust stuff? It’s changing my life.
And this is the whole point of the Healing Waves that I make: 10-day, multi-media series that help you experience more and more of what’s possible once you’ve turned this key.
I’ve created a brand new Healing Wave that begins as a group experience June 10 – all about cultivating authentic joy. I hope you’ll come check it out, and any of the other waves that speak to where you are right now!
I made a little video where I share from the heart why I love Healing Waves so much, too. It’s here.
I want to make art
May 2, 2014
And how about you? What do YOU want to do? Make art? Write? Take pictures? Raise children? Practice medicine or law? And whatever it is, what effects do you want it to have on our world? I’d so love to hear in the comments below, or come join the conversation on Facebook
March 26, 2014
Find this print and more in the Trust Tending shop.
The Surest Route
March 11, 2014
February 28, 2014
Popping in briefly to invite you to come on over and check out Healing Waves – the place where I’m pouring out heart and art these days. The next group experience begins March 10, but you can begin the on-demand wave called Softening any time.
Softening is a beautiful way to prepare your heart for the other healing waves. And goodness – to prepare your heart for ALL of life. I’m soaking in the practices myself these days.
Love and light,
Right here, right now
February 20, 2014
She said yes to trust
February 4, 2014
I love this image because it’s my story.
I’ve lived through darkness that’s felt darker than pitch-black night;
…felt the pull of my heart to make whatever choice I’ve had in me to move toward light;
…said yes to that pull in faltering, hesitant ways that’ve opened out, over time, into full-bellied, arms flung wide “YES, Universe. I choose trust!”
…experienced slow dawnings and brilliant bursts of sunshine along this way and the learning, through experience, that the sun rises AND sets on this path…and rises again.
I’m growing stronger, lighter, softer.
Trust is taking root.
And now I’m following the pull of my heart to clear this path for you.
To create art that helps unravel your fear.
That seeds your trust.
That grows in you softness, and supple strength to face your road ahead.
I’m on a mission for this.
I invite you to join me next week for a 10-day wave of healing art, called Softening.
10 illustrated practices aimed at helping you unclench and develop a daily habit of softening.
Next month I’ll offer another 10-day wave called Centering, followed by a wave called Opening.
With joy, I invite you to come learn more.
Wishing you love and trust and joy,
P.S. There’s a temporary bundle deal if you’d like to join me for all three waves – $19, rather than $30 ($10/each). Sign up between now and February 10 to receive it!