Category Archives: heART Exchange

Instructions for Living a Life

Instructions for living a life:
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.
~Mary Oliver

This morning, walking the dogs with Eric, I saw: a huge tree that’s been dead for a long time finally fell down (and it was big enough that it certainly went “boom” when it did), a dead beaver carcass, two white tailed deer, one whose tail wasn’t quite working so it might be hurt, one massive turtle still looking for a spot to lay her eggs walking like a tiny dinosaur through the grass by the creek between Wood Duck Pond and the McMurray Ponds (same exact date we saw her last year, so May 31st is now officially Turtle Day), two mini Herons, one of which looked more like a Penguin as he stood on a log fishing (turns out they are actually called a Black Crowned Night Heron), one large Blue Heron in flight over the river that later was heard squawking and flying in the other direction, and finally, a bicycle parade.

I paid attention and was astonished, and I wanted to tell you about it.

Black Crowned Night Heron

I received gifts: access to workshops with amazing women at the World Domination Summit in July (yoga with Marianne Elliott, Writing with Susannah Conway, Book Content Mapping with Cynthia Morris, and Identifying Superpowers with Andrea Scher…holy wow, such amazing women that I so adore, my head/heart might explode), my Kickstarter reward from Danielle Ate the Sandwich arrived, along with her new album, which is every bit as good as I knew it would be, and I found a heart-shaped rock on our walk.

I paid attention and was astonished, and I wanted to tell you about it.

I gave gifts: some were shared words of wisdom and kindness, others were scholarships for Susan Piver’s Open Heart Project Practitioner level, and finally there was my heART exchange project, which I finally finished and mailed to Australia today. I plan to write a post about the process (I didn’t just make something, I learned stuff) once my swap partner receives it.

I paid attention and was astonished, and I wanted to tell you about it.

heART exchange project sneak peek

Tribe: it’s Tribe week in my Unravelling ecourse with Susannah Conway, so I’ve been thinking a lot about that, how we can be a tribe of one even. I spent a little bit of time being a tribe of one, writing and eating lunch while waiting for a friend to arrive so we could be a tribe of two and have a long talk about perfection, art, boundaries, dogs and trust. Then, I spent part of the afternoon having another long talk with another good friend, drinking mango lemonade and eating a blue flower cookie as big as my head. I have amazing women in my life, in my tribe.

I paid attention and was astonished, and I wanted to tell you about it.

Yay Turkey, Split Pea Soup, Root Beer, and a notebook at Red Table.

I’ve had moments of being wholehearted, with myself and others in my tribe. These two quotes from Anne Lamott remind me how wonderful and difficult that is: “The love and good and the wild and the peace and creation that are you will reveal themselves, but it is harder when they have to catch up to you in roadrunner mode” and “We begin to find and become ourselves when we notice how we are already found, already truly, entirely, wildly, messily, marvelously who we were born to be.” I am reminded to slow down, stop doing so much and be.

I paid attention and was astonished, and I wanted to tell you about it.

Gratitude Friday

This post is a mashup of The Little Bliss List and Joy Jam, and as such is meant to celebrate: the little things that brought me hope and happiness this week, the sweet stuff of life, those small gifts that brought me joy this week. By sharing them, I not only make public my gratitude, but maybe also help you notice your own good stuff and send some positive energy out into the world.

1. This tshirt. I just bought it and a few others from Cafe Press, (on sale, plus an additional 35% off, I am my mother’s daughter and love a good deal). I love this shirt because it makes me smile and because it’s true.

2. Resting and Play. Sleeping in, napping, sitting in the backyard reading a book, long walks, yoga class, meditation, writing, thinking, making art, having conversations, staring at the trees, closing my eyes and breathing, even cleaning: all these things restore, renew, rejuvenate, give me energy and stillness, a sense of space. Instead of constantly counting the days, marking time, being acutely aware of the ticking of the clock, I can simply be present in my life, with myself, in a state of wholeness and enough.

3. Buds and Blooms. I am enjoying so much the explosion of green and blossom that Spring brings. I’ve even been enjoying the rain that’s feeding it, (*gasp* I know, right? Me, enjoy rain? Weird…). My yoga teacher gave me three new plants from her garden–salvia, feverfew, and phlox, (last year she gave me lilies and white irises)–so I was weeding my front flowerbed the other day, making room for them, in the rain, planting them in the mud, getting so dirty and wet, but loving it. I truly do have farming in my DNA. While I was working, I was amazed at all the life happening in that tiny patch of dirt, a short and thin strip of dirt between our driveway and the neighbor’s lawn, bugs and insects and even a fat little toad.

People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things with us. ~ Iris Murdoch

4. Amazing Women. I am lucky enough to have many of these directly in my life, in my community. But there are also so many others who I can look to for inspiration and support, online and in text. I am so lucky to live in a time when print and the internet are easily accessible to me. The richness, the brilliance and preciousness of books, blogs, websites, flickr and instagram, tweets, tv shows and films, ecourses and workshops. Artists, mentors, and healers who model what it means to live a wholehearted life.

5. Lazy, Unscheduled Time with Eric. During the academic year, we are both so busy, so it’s nice to have this time together, to be able to barbeque for lunch, go for long walks, take naps, hang out in the backyard for hours, talking and reading and making each other laugh. He really is my favorite.

6. HeART Exchange Art Swap Project. I did this the first round with the openhearted and talented Lindsay, and it felt like I didn’t just get a wonderful piece of art, but I gained a new friend. I wasn’t sure I’d do it again, but at the last minute, I decided to dive in. Before I got my art swap partner info, I had been planning to try to do a painting, following the techniques from Flora Bowley’s new book, Brave Intuitive Painting: let go. be bold. unfold. Well, I got my partner’s info…and she’s a painter who has taken an in person workshop with Flora! *gulp* I will not be painting for her. But, out of that surprise came an even better idea (I think), one that could be the start of a series of projects. I’ll share as soon as the swap has happened.

P.S. I just found the note I wrote to myself about this: “Uh-oh, she’s a painter. Would she really want my very first attempt at a Flora style painting, when she’s taken a workshop directly from her? Blergh…what to do now? Cross stitch?” So funny…

Bonus Joy: I can hardly believe it, but this is my 300th blog post! I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating–after so many years of writer’s block, this blog has been such a gift. Thank you, kind and gentle reader, for coming here to visit, to witness, to listen, to support me. You could never know how much I appreciate it. Big gratitude!