yes, but…

IMG_4444

It’s funny. You go through your life (intuitive person that you are) following your inner guidance, listening to that still, small voice…until. Until the still, small voice tells you something you don’t want to hear, something that, for whatever reason, scares the hell out of you.

That’s when all that allowing yourself to be led, all that going with the flow, all that surrendering to the call flies right out the window. Suddenly, you’re having a knock-down, drag-out fight with your inner guidance, digging in your heels and saying, “Yes, but…” or even “Hell, no!” Well, that was me about six months ago.

Except for a few stories I wrote in my junior high language arts classes, all the writing I’ve ever done has been non-fiction: journalism (mostly dance reviews and features, a few gardening articles), marketing copy, press releases, business and fundraising letters, grant-writing, blog posts, etc. etc. However, last fall, I started a freelance writing job that involved writing short articles for children, including short fiction pieces. I was surprised to find that not only were the fiction pieces easier to write than I’d expected, but I also enjoyed writing them, and the client seemed to really like my stories.

Great, right? It’s always nice when you enjoy your day job.

Then, sometime around the beginning of March, I started getting this (for lack of a better term) “nudge” from my inner guidance. The nudge was saying, in so many words, “You need to be writing fiction.”

Continue reading

quote du jour ~khan

The first lesson to learn is to resign oneself to the little difficulties in life, not to hit out at everything one comes up against. If one were able to manage this one would not need to cultivate great power; even one’s presence would be healing.

~Hazrat Inayat Khan

asking for what we want, getting what we need

Sometimes the thing you want brings you what you really need.

I wrote a while back about finally acquiring a pair of long-desired Adirondack chairs. I’ve always liked the look of them—the lines, the solid weight of them, the way they seem to settle perfectly into whatever location they happen to be placed. And perhaps there was some vague association with “the good life” mixed in there, too. However, I realize now that they’ve brought me a lot more than a couple of great-looking chairs to sit in.

The house I’m renting has a smallish back yard that backs onto a wooded area. There’s a little patio, perfect for the wrought iron bistro set I brought from my Richmond house. However, the previous tenant had let the patio area get overgrown and junky, so it was a job just getting the patio area to a minimal state of neatness. Next to the patio were the super cans for trash and recycling, plus a compost bin and some other junk the previous tenant had left behind—not a lovely sight. Also, other than an azalea bush and a pitiful-looking Rose of Sharon that had volunteered next to the super cans, it was pretty much all weeds and dirt. Not very appealing.

IMG_0389

The patio area, just before I moved in. There really is a patio underneath those weeds!

IMG_0382

View from the weedy-junky patio, before I moved in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I got rid of the weeds and brought in a birdbath and several potted plants not long after I moved in, but the work required to truly transform the place was more than I could face at the time, so I decided instead to concentrate my gardening efforts in the front yard, which I would see every day coming and going and could enjoy from my wicker chair on the cozy front porch.

But as much as I’ve enjoyed my little front porch, I’ve continued to long for a private retreat, a place where I can take my coffee and go enjoy the outdoors while still wearing my pajamas, where I can write in my journal or read a book, uninterrupted by neighbors stopping to chat, where I can hang out with my dog and not worry about whether she might (as dogs will do) take off across the busy street in pursuit of squirrels.

Enter the famed Adirondack chairs. Continue reading

post du jour ~gilbert – how not to be overwhelmed

HOW NOT TO BE OVERWHELMED.

Dear Ones —

So a funny thing happened to me yesterday at Oprah’s The Life You Want Tour.

Or, rather, a funny thing DIDN’T happen to me.

I wasn’t nervous. I wasn’t overwhelmed. I didn’t walk around all day thinking, “I can’t believe I’m here!” or “I hope I don’t ruin everything!” And every time Oprah came near me, I didn’t squeal (internally or externally) “Oh my god that’s OPRAH FREAKING WINFREY, OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD I’M STANDING NEXT TO OPRAH!!!!!.”

Nope. I actually felt calm.

This is not what I had expected. Because that was a crazy situation, people — a giant arena, a big-ass spotlight, a potentially blinding amount of glamor, the possibility for humiliating screw-ups, and a lot of expectation piled right on top of me.

But I realized this truth, yesterday morning: If I turn this into a big drama or a thrill ride, then I’m making it all about me. Which isn’t fair to anybody here, and won’t serve anybody here. And I came here to serve.

Continue reading

small joys

IMG_4218

I can’t remember exactly when I first bought and hung a crystal prism in a sunny window, but I know the first time I walked in and saw rainbows dancing across the walls, I fell in love. Such a little thing, and yet such joy! All from a tiny ball of glass.

The kitchen of my house faces east and receives wonderful morning sun through its two small windows. I’ve hung a crystal in each one, and on sunny mornings, I’m greeted with magical dabs of color on the walls and ceiling and cabinet doors. The sight never fails to make me smile, even in difficult times.

IMG_4216

On the surface, these dancing rainbows are a small, perhaps (to some minds) a frivolous thing. On a deeper level, however, they’re a link, a tether, to all that’s good and right about the world. They’re a momentary respite—or even a way out of—whatever darkness or heaviness I might be caught up in. I can look at them and think, Even in the midst of (fill in the blank with my current “problem”), there is this—these fairy-like splashes of color and light. Even in the midst of strain and stress, beauty goes on, the light still shines.

For you, it might be something else. It might be the birds that visit your feeder every morning, or the dog that wakes you with a lick or a paw on the side of the bed. Whatever it is, take a moment to see it, to receive it. Carry it with you through your day. It’s the small joys—digging in the dirt, sliding between freshly laundered sheets, watching my cat sleep in a sunny shaft of light—that have gotten me through the tough times, and luckily, the small joys are always there to be had. I just have to take the time to notice.

IMG_4140