Releasing from the Struggle…..

Struggle………we all have experienced it.  Whether it comes in the form of a decision, a way of life or the resistance to change, all of us have taken our turn on the dance floor.  Now, I can tell you without reservation, that this is not the fluid, graceful dance of a ballerina.  It is a genre that comes in the form of halting movements, shallow breathing and a whole lot of sharp angles.

While I was wondering around the fabric of my thoughts a few days ago, I realized that so much of the struggle we experience is of our own making.  One of my personal “dance partners” has been money.  The flow of it, the lack of it, the larger questions of what exactly to “do” with it.  I was raised with parents who were not conscious of the decisions that they made with money.  I was also locked in a struggle of child support and control with a former husband.  I carried all of these struggles with me, like a cherished book or piece of jewelry.  Letting go of them would leave a huge “hole” in my life.  I mean, lacking anything else going on, I could always concentrate on my struggles…….

It hadn’t dawned on me, until now, that I am able to release from those old struggles.  They are not mine to carry – probably never were.  And, in releasing these struggles, just as I have learned to release and let the clay take the lead, I am also able to forgive and release all of the others that were connected to them. How many other old struggles are stuck in the dance of the dark?

As with any tunnel and the light at it’s end, we have the choice to release ourselves and others from the old, worn out stories of struggle and make room for fresh new opportunities to find more ease in our life.  Our struggles and pain may be inevitable, but they don’t have to be permanent.   

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Honoring the Answer

There are times in everyones life that, looking back upon them, we can clearly delineate the “before” and “after” of who we are.  Events that shaped us, people that influenced us, nuances and subtleties that made us change directions without a moments hesitation.  It’s that profound shift, the “Aha” moment, that can leave us breathless, hopeful and full of life.  

Since returning from New Mexico, I have thought a lot about this.  Exactly what part could I look back upon and see where the shift occurred.  I have been undeniably changed by my time spent at Ghost Ranch and yet, incredibly more myself than I have ever been.  And still I ask the question…….”When and how did the shift occur?” 

While talking with a friend today, just by happenstance, I realized the answer. Something that stood by, gentle yet bold, subtle yet incredibly profound, just waiting for my attention. It was the massively, beautiful eroding landscape. It’s like nature took a paintbrush and a steady, gentle hand and removed the rough edges. The softness of color – where each layer of sediment and rock melded into the next without effort.  The fluidity of shape – either influenced by the sky, the light, the weather or the simple passing of time.

One of my greatest aspirations with my work is to remove the sharp, jagged edges.  To evoke an overwhelming sense of movement and gentility with each piece. To simply create something beautiful, without rhetoric but with a sense of kindness about it all.  I realized, with its subtle profundity, that the landscape eased my pace and helped me to finally understand that the rush to complete a creation is a massive disservice to my work and to the clay itself.  Nature didn’t rush the birth of the clay so who am I to tell it that it has to hurry up and be beautiful?

It is with this knowledge that my best work is still to come.  That with each passing piece, I can let go of the fear of finishing and just enjoy the moment of creation.  That no matter what, I will honor the pace of the clay and of the vision that flows through me. Once again, I bow in reverence to those that have come before me, knowing that with a clear heart and a steady hand, I will honor my art.

Letting Go……..

As I enter back into my everyday life, I know there will be many nuances and shifts that occur.  There are events in our lives that can take time to glisten all that has been experienced.  

When I left for Ghost Ranch, I had a few things in my life that needed to be laid open.  I needed distance in which to calm down, breath and listen.  I needed to achieve a level of clear headedness that was required to truly look at my life, where I have been, where I wanted it to go and where it was actually going.

I have realized this truth………that it’s ok to let go. To gently and kindly let go of situations that no longer fit or have run their course.  To know that sometimes “your appointment is just over.” To let go of the parts of my life that have taken me away from my center.  To understand that there will always be people that will be disappointed with my decisions and those that are indifferent and still others, those rare, beautiful individuals that applaud and support me at every turn.  And it’s ok.  

At the end of the day, each one of has a responsibility to ourselves to answer those questions.  The questions of individual purpose, our own higher calling, the song of our soul.  Where will it lead us?  Where will we allow it to go?  The only person that can answer those questions for me is me.  

Here’s what I find to be true………..when you shift from your center, deep down at the essence of your being, you know it.  It may feel different for each of us.  For me, it’s an ache that keeps calling to me, sometimes just out of reach.  But every time I find my way back, I can look behind me and see the voice of my higher self was always there, whispering and sometimes wailing for me to listen……….just listen.

I do not regret any twist or turn in my life for it is those winding roads that brought me home.  For all of this and more, I am Thankful.

 Authenticity

I have willingly and passionately been in the studio creating a lot since I arrived two weeks ago.  Today the last kiln load was started, the tables and tools were wiped down and there was nothing left to do other than wait for the pit fire event tomorrow.  

With the work complete, I started looking at my body of work to this point. There is such a strong sense for me that with every piece that moves through me, I’m a little more revealed, a little more myself, moving toward and embracing my authenticity.  Being able to immerse myself in the process has only created more longing within me to continue this calling – and for me – it is indeed a calling.  There is a lightness that occurs within me every time I touch clay.  It’s as if with each piece, I am letting go of a little fear, a little self doubt.  Stepping into my own light and trusting without hesitation what clay has in store for me.

When someone is truly aligned with their higher purpose, it just pours out of them.  There is a light that emanates from those that our following their joy and even if they endure setbacks and frustrations, they breathe, stand up and keep going. Being around people just like this the past two weeks has been incredible. I see and honor the light in them knowing that following our higher purpose is a path worth walking.

For me, creating beauty is not a luxury…………..it is a path toward the light.

“Now” would be a good time…….

Drama made an appearance at Ghost Ranch this morning!  The majority of the January Term students and faculty were primed and ready to load into large passenger vans and head to Santa Fe.  You could feel the excitement running through the college kids.  They had enough of being on the ranch and wanted some free time to roam the city streets and maybe drink a little beer.  My friend Lori and I were ready to lay down a few dollars to help out the local economy because we are generous like that 🙂 However, Mother Nature had other plans. A storm was rolling in and the program director had to make the unpopular decision to scratch the trip for very sound reasons.  The weather could turn on a dime and though we may have been able to get to Santa Fe, getting back would be a completely different story.

Well……..the younger crowd was pretty upset.  My first thought?  Let’s spend the day in the studio!!  We had loaded the kiln last night and it was cooling down and calling our name.  Our instructor Clarence, Lori and I made a bee line and started working on pieces – sanding, slipping and polishing was occurring at a fast pace.  Although we were slightly disappointed, we all knew that this was a new “now” that was happening and we were happy to be there doing what we love to do.

Past, present and future all deserve our attention at certain times in our lives.  In this instance, we all had a choice how we could respond to the present.  Some decided to be immature and indignant; others moped about without purpose and still others took the opportunity to dive into something we found enjoyable.

To have an entire “free day” to focus on pottery was absolutely priceless.  It lifted me up, twirled me around and set my heart to dancing.  I spent this day with people that I enjoy, ate chocolate, laughed at silly jokes and quickly forgot all about the drama of the morning.  I gave myself the gift to Be.Here.Now.  We all can allow grace to happen and flow – we just need to be present enough to recognize the opportunity.

Trusting the Process

Trust……..it’s a big deal.  I have spent an enormous amount of my life cross-examining my choices.  At times, I have become paralyzed by the self interrogation that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.  The “what ifs” of Life……..they can trap a person into distrusting their gift of intuition.  That beautiful, higher voice within them that knows exactly what to do.  

As I was walking today in this beautiful country having spent 6 hours in the studio, I realized that trusting the process is paramount to life.  There comes a time when all the “wringing of hands” has been done, all of the worry and doubt has run its course.  A moment in time where you just have to trust the process.  Trust the inner voice guiding you to brilliance, trust the people who believe in you, trust wholly in yourself.  I realized that if I don’t trust myself, how can anyone else?  Realizing that I am worthy of my own trust, my own intuition – that I can rely on my own voice…….well it feels like I just opened my very own self imposed jail cell…….and I had the key all along.

The Lessons of Moving……Part 1

I haven’t written for quite awhile.  Honestly, I wasn’t sure I had anything of value to say. Since moving to the mountains I have learned a lot about myself……….some of it has been good, some extremely unsettling but all of it is a continuing uncovering of who I am.  Below is a list in no particular order.

1.  I didn’t realize just how burned out that I had become.  When one is in a race, the best that can be expected is to run as fast as you can, for as long as you can, hoping that the finish line will reveal itself.  Solid logic…….if your really running a race.  Otherwise, a recipe for adrenal fatigue, depression and emotional collapse.  Ok, so that’s a little dramatic but you get my point.  My life had become moving from one job, one event, one obligation to another.  The fun and freedom had left my space and an over zealous sense of duty flooded it.  I took things that I loved and made them into chores.  And guess what?  It sucked.

2.  I left behind a full practice of clients that trusted and counted on me with the thinking that people would automatically do the same where I was moving to.  Looking back on this, I am astounded by my naivety.  How could I think that a practice that I had lovingly nourished and built for 23 years was just going to appear where I was going.  No one knew me, trusted me or believed in me.  I had to come face to face with my ego and tell it to take a hike.  I was at a new beginning not a continuation and if I was going to succeed I needed to reach out and show people that I could be trusted.

3.  I miss my people.  I miss that my people knew me……really, really knew me, and loved me for it.  What this has made me realize is that it’s wise to treasure your community for the beauty that it brings to your life and to never be afraid to reach out.

4. Admitting my vulnerability can be terrifying and liberating.  I recently reached out to my community when I was ready to jump off of a 2′ ledge……….I was scared to admit my need for comfort and yet, when I did, the response was more than I could have ever imagined.  Words of love, encouragement, strength and courage came my way and I was humbled.  I said a heart felt Thank you to each one of them and realized that no matter where I am, my people will always be with me.

5. If I sit in stillness and trust the flow, life has a way of working out.  That does not mean to just float along like a leaf in the wind.  For me, it’s been a balance of working, striving, reaching……….and then letting go.

Moral of the story: Love your people, commit to your life and be kind.