smiling at the sun, christmas 2005
“and while you wonder
how’s this gonna end
i only wanted to begin”
~ ben lee, begin
(from the brilliant album “awake is the new sleep”
I listen to these words
and I think
What if I’m spending all my time thinking about what I need and want to be happy ~
I’m thinking I’m Not Here until I’m The Artist, The Book Author, The Photographer, The Book Touring Retreat Giving Workshop Goddess.
And I’m wondering about how it will all end,
When the real delight, the real truth,
Is that I Just Wanted to Be Here,
and I Just Wanted To Be Me.
And this Earth journey,
it’s the biggest trip,
the greatest discovery,
so long and obtuse and curvy,
that sometimes I forget I’m here for an adventure
and that being here
is what I really wanted.
P.S. I know it’s true because when I say:
is what I really wanted
a little part of me soars and spins with delight.
i was looking at my profile picture today
and i wondered what others saw when they looked at it.
i wondered what story they heard behind it.
was the photo staged? was it photoshopped? what is the glow?
so here is the story, small and gentle and tiny and miraculous.
about a year and a half ago, my beloved and i returned home to attend his dear cousin’s wedding. earlier in the day, she had married her partner on the beach, both with tears in their eyes. afterwards, i walked barefoot out onto the sand down to the water’s edge, and he followed me down there, kissing me, his blue shirt making dances over my soft pink dress. the rest of the day was spent in the sun, lazing on sun lounges around their home overlooking the sea. it was blazingly hot, and we ached for the night seabreezes to come.
when twilight arrived, we wandered aimlessly about the farm, hand in hand down to the fallen trees and mosquitos, stepping around the cow dung, looping the verandah around and around. as darkness hung around us, we came to the eastern verandah and gasped at the full moon raising her belly over the mountains. we were feeling sunburnt and weary and homesick, and seeing her was like seeing an old friend.
so there, in the glow of the houselight, chris held the camera steady against the verandah and photographed me holding grandmother moon, coming home to her, coming home to my lover, coming home to myself.
later that night, i caught the bouquet thrown by his cousin. his dad and cousin run to me, scooping me up, crying, laughing with happiness, telling me that they want me to be a part of their family. chris is beside me, arms around me, and we are laughing together. soaking in giggles and tears and the family inside love.
i choose the picture as it is wild and story filled and emotion filled and gentle and aching and fulfilling all at once. it’s got the rapture of the earth and the moon and a spirit wandering the globe in it.
every picture has a story…
what is your profile picture story? why did you choose it?
(you can post your post link in the comments if you’d like to share…)
After two days in bed releasing energy from my back, I checked over my Artist’s Way tasks for the weeks. Morning pages successfully on the go, I still have nine tasks to complete by, oh, tomorrow. One being a twenty minute walk with your artist self.
So I decide to walk around the block in the late afternoon, taking my trusty camera with me.
Ah, cameras, they teach you to see, do they not?
It is blowing and gusty with that tang of stinking hot summer day.
A perfect azure sky embellished with different cloud formations. White clouds pompous and high up, no rain or storm hiding within their grey underbellies.
I follow instinct, turning west.
I keep my eyes wide open.
Someone has become excited by the recent car festival, pouring drizzles of oil over the street.
In the small concrete walkway at the bottom of the street, there are tiny obtuse artistic marvels.
Leaves poking from behind a fence.
An electrical box.
A dislocated piece of machinery abandoned by a fence.
I never knew my suburb held such interesting delights, all within a hundred metres of my house.
My intention was to veer south, making my way down to the green circle of oval filled with tiny bees and tinier grassflowers.
Instead the pull inside my belly takes me north, up along the nature track beside a road.
And then I see it.
Where my belly has pulled me too.
There under the embracing, drooping arms of a gum tree is a fox.
A dead fox.
I am at once repelled and deeply, deeply intrigued. My heart leaps into my throat. Do I walk by, averting my eyes? Should I be unaffected, disaffected? Here this lovely creature is, ensconced in death, the trickster in transformation.
And here the words play:
You always long to be out there, out in the wild, living a shaman’s life.
And here it is. Here is your fox medicine, here is your shaman’s way.
So I make my way to my fox.
I gather sticks and rocks, and I crouch beside him, making a crude, earthy altar.
He is lovely. His fur is soft, glistening, bushy. His magnificent tail. His closed over eyes. I tremble ~ there is so much fox energy in him still that I believe he will awaken. I am thinking of the Bone Woman, of how she sings the wolf’s bones until the fur grows back and his lungs fill with breath, and she sings him back to life.
I look around. Is anyone watching? What will they think of this girl with the dead fox?
I wish I did not care. I only dare be with my fox when he needs me, or perhaps I need him.
I decide to stay a little longer. I sit beside him, my eyes drinking in his beauty, feeling sadness. I wonder if he was hit by a car and dragged here. His paws are curled up beside him, there is no sign of blood. I wonder if he came here to die, curling up beneath the slight shadows of gum to rest from the heat. I think of my fox friend Dave and how he always cried at foxes lying by the side of the road.
I think about death. I think about how sterile and departed we wish death to be from us ~ clean, taken care of by professionals, out of sight. I think of Meta’s transition, and how much needs to change in the way we look at and live with death. I think of my brother, and the very few moments I spent with him after he died. And I think of life growing up on the farm, in the dirt, with death and birth and life all apart of it.
The leaves make shadows on the ground around us.
A helicopter flies overhead.
As I photograph the helicopter, I feel the fox smile at me with its foxy smile, asking: did you catch that one?
In the next suburb over I can see from where I sit the rubbish truck making its slow amble up the slope.
The world goes on as a girl sits with a dead fox.
So I sit there in the dirt, under the gumleaves for a while. The ants crawl into my shoes, and make beelines for the fox’s eyes. He is beautiful still.
I take a deep breath, holding it in. I do what I need to do. I reach out, and I touch Mr Fox, on his forehead, gently stroking his amber fur. His small white teeth show.
I tell him that I thank him, I honour him and I love him.
I ask for Great Spirits to make his transition into great spirit an easy one.
And I just sit there to witness his life and his death.
I look up, and light shines through a tiny, misshapen heart space in the clouds.
Heart space. Yes, that is where it is at.
I stand and leave the furry feet of Buddha, melting into the Australian dirt. From once we were, we become again. The great certainty of being birthed from Mother Earth and birthed back into her.
And I walk on, the girl of the fox,
a small snarl curling my upper lip, fossicking through the bushes for small treasures, tiny miracles and serendipitous trash.
I smell of earth and fox and ants and hot summer wind.
And I feel freer than I ever have before.
There are trees and houses, shadows and light, there are rainbow spirits and flags and chopped timber and rubbish. Forks strewn in the dirt, perfect sculptures of trolleys, and paving that reminds me of my labyrinth walk two summers ago. There is death and there is life, there is grass and there is concrete. There are miracles and yearnings, all at once.
Is this how to see?
Is this what it is to walk?
with love and joy,
leonie the walking woman.
it’s only just begun, but already it is a part of me.
yes, it is the artist’s way.
i’ve been writing morning pages for a week now.
and it’s become not just a practice now, but a much needed process.
this morning, after pulling my back out at the gym yesterday, i lay propped up in bed with a zillion pillows, thankful i had enough flexibility to write. i.can.survive.as.long.as.i.get.my.morning.pages.
i didn’t get what they were about at first, i just trusted that julia was right and that there was something magic about them.
and she is right.
i write three pages every morning and i write all the crappiest lowest thoughts in my brain out. when i first started, i was writing thoughts and feelings that had plagued me for months ~ inadequacies, jealousy and fear that would stalk and ambush me in quiet moments.
so i started capturing them on the page. asking my friend The Page to hold them and take care of them.
and everytime they came up, i’d write them down again.
and they got really boring, and even better ~ they got really clear.
once i allowed the vent out, expelled it out into the air, it was like letting the fire burn to ashes. all that remained was a vacuum, and the truth. the longings and the needs that were sitting under the pain started ascending to the surface, so i wrote those too.
it feels cathartic and shaky and like an earthquake is tremouring through me.
when i feel this uncomfortable nature in me, there is a spark that wants to run and hide to where it’s safe and without the tremours, but i smile and tell myself:
this is good. we are breaking the ice so the river can flow again. this is how it is supposed to feel. so i stuck it out.
and now the low thoughts are out, there is space, a beautiful space of quiet emptiness, and a clear answer of what i want.
so guess what the universe does?
it hears me.
and it sees i have space in my life now.
and i begin to get exactly what i ask for.
a small, crystal clear creek joins my tributary and brings me great gifts of serendipity, synchronicity, connections and clarity.
an example? i wrote a woman’s name in my morning pages ~ Liz. I wrote about her talking about morning pages and how i resonated with her sharings. half hour later we serendipitously have our first conversation. it lasts for hours, and i have one of those kindling thoughts that it may just be all part of the unfolding of our purposes and destinies.
this is the big stuff, the good stuff.
and it has only just begun.
off to bed again, to curl up with twyla tharp and maybe write some creative affirmations.
i feel like i’ve just found where the ropes to my own sails are, and this boat is gusting along with thoughts of purpose and joy.
the brilliant, successful, prolific and spirit filled artist, writer and photographer.
i’m a tree girl. always have been, always will be.
photo by D. Bach
A healing friend of mine always tells me, and anyone who will listen:
GO SPEND TIME IN NATURE.
And I never really got it ~ I knew that nature was beautiful, but I didn’t get from an energy level why I needed to, and why everyone on this planet needs to do it.
Sitting by the lake a few weeks ago on an artists date, eating ice creams with my friend Bek, I realised that when I’m out in nature, the bullshit flies away.
As simple and as beautiful as that.
When I close my eyes, and the wind brushes over my face, and my toes are sinking into the dust,
things just don’t seem to matter anymore.
All that is is the breeze, and the earth, and the stillness inside me.
The woman who doesn’t know, who feels tangled in energy and caught in concerns – she is gone, back there somewhere at the house. The Woman Who Knows remains there. She Knows she is a part of the earth, she knows to breathe is enough, and she knows the concerns are only a dream, a fragrant of the mind. Inside there is a sweeping desert, a swelling ocean, the undulating forest strewn mountains, the rises and falls of landscape sinking in and up with breath.
So out there I find myself.
On the little patch of bare earth in my backyard, the grass already yellowed by summer.
By the lake, with a friend.
In nature, truth slips in, and I am reminded that there is enough love for us all. That nature holds all the healing we need. That the Woman Who Knows is just out there, sitting in the dust, smiling at the wind.
And all I need to do is get out.
lush link discoveries
~ love this dailyom article on little things for wellness (maybe the little things are the big things)
~ how to make journals by teesha moore
~ the glorious art, photos and sharings of judy wise
~ stories of a vancouver doula
~ The amazing story of Meta’s transition (via the gorgeous Kelly Rae)