Hello dear friends,
This morning I walked down to the woods behind our house to my “sit spot”. I used to sit there almost daily, but ironically I have not made the time to go there much since the pandemic started. I sat down and asked the teachers surrounding me, “What can I do? How can I be of service?” And the answer I got back was:
As a super-achiever and doer I HATE that answer. I get it a lot (which probably means that I’m not really listening.) Yes, I know. It’s a freakin’ global pandemic and the universe is telling us nothing if not, “SLOW THE F*$# DOWN”. But damn is it hard for me. I mean really, really hard.
I want to help. And when things get hard, the urge gets stronger. It’s time to roll up my sleeves and work tirelessly! It’s time to double down on my achieving and accomplishing, right? But in this case, it seems that the best way to support is to keep our distance and be patient. Maybe what we need most right now is time.
“Being human means acknowledging that we’re made from the earth and will return to the earth. We are earth that has come to consciousness. … And then we return to where we started — in the heart of God. Everything in between is a school of love.” – Richard Rohr
Classes on being human
Did you know that the words human, hum, humble, humility, and humanity all come from the same Latin root – HUMUS which means “of the earth” or “grounded”? I’ve always loved this connection because knowing that I am “of the earth” has been paramount in my values, career, and creativity. And the Earth knows a thing or two about patience and time. So I have hope that that wisdom lives somewhere in me too.
Trees know that you can be still and grow at the same time.
The natural world operates on a completely different pace than humans have for at least the last 150-200 years. Long ago, back when people were more in sync with natural rhythms, our native ancestors knew that when you face grief, you need time. The natural world knows this. When a tree dies in a forest, it remains standing for a while, still providing food and shelter to countless insects, fungi, birds, and other animals. Then it falls and continues the process of decomposition on the ground. The “doing” during this time is on the microscopic level. It is in the break down of the tree’s body into the nutrients, shelter, and energy – the gold – that is the fuel for new life.
We are experiencing a global grieving of the life we were living before the pandemic.
Our very foundation has been rocked, and for some of us, it has completely crumbled beneath us. We cannot just jump ahead to the rebuilding phase of this journey (as much as we might like to skip this whole grieving phase). The only way through right now is to sit with it for a while. It’s really messy and super uncomfortable. But there is essential processing being done – and much more to do – in order to glean the gold from the death of our old lives.
We’re in the messy middle. If you’ve taken any of my classes you know I often talk about this place in the creative process. This is the spot where you want to give up. All of your demons show up. All of your old patterns rear their heads and challenge your resolve to continue on. It’s so hard to sit with it. Achievers like me want to charge right through it, but sometimes you just can’t speed up the process.
So back in the woods this morning…
As I sat with the “be still” response, I asked a slightly different question. It was,
“How can I help mine the gold?”
And for me the answer to that question was really clear.
Help make humus!
For me, this means creating. A LOT of independent, quiet, intuitive creating. It is the way that I listen, filter, process, reexamine, question and gain perspective.
I can also help others do this by creating a safe space for people to explore their own creativity.
We need creativity and imagination more than ever. I believe it is one of the strongest tools we have for processing and gleaning the truth and wisdom of our intuition. It is the heat that makes the compost. It is the way we pull out and examine what is left of the old life. Give thanks for it. Turn it over in our hands. Look at it from a new perspective. And it is how we can grieve the losses.
This is how we will begin the process of creating humus – that rich, nutrient dense fuel for our new life.
What I know is that during a collective creative process, can share our gold with others and get fresh eyes on it. Then we can ask – “What can we make with this?” Wait for the answers to come. Be still. Give it some space. Then we can begin to add something new to it and see what happens.
Classes to support humus building
To support our collective decomposition and humus building, I am offering virtural art classes for kids and adults. While I so miss creating together in person, this has been a beautiful alternative. Every Wednesday from 1-3pm PST I am offering different art classes for kids. And I am also offering private virtual art events to help you foster some family/friend connection time in spite of being apart. Contact me if you are interested in this.
I’m delighted to be collaborating with Tokki Art Supply to help you get supplies either in the mail or through a safe sanitary pick up.
There have been some beautiful lessons evolving from these virtual classes. And it’s a helpful practice for sitting still and growing at the same time. I’d love for you to join me and experience this for yourself.
Be well, sweet friends. Stay with it. We have to grieve and process to find the gold.
With love and gratitude.