Purpose

Apologies for my extended silence.

If I don’t have anything to say, I don’t.

I have been shifting with the season.

In order for new stuff to come in the old has to die off as we all know but I never like it while it’s happening.

Like the leaves, my energies feel brittle and warm from the advent of composting.

I acted as sounding board for a friend conflicted in his decision-making process whether to stay in Santa Fe and continue in business which has been a challenge for the past year

Or to return to his familiar life back east where his income was safe and he knew exactly what to expect.

He was freaked out because he is pushed to the wall time-wise with head and heart battling it out.

His bottom line ended up being “PURPOSE” and deciding what that is for him; recognizing his unwillingness to live the remainder of his life without it.

Putting words to our purpose feels important.

For me, the diminishing capabilities of ambulatory living and even two hands to count on have forced me to welcome the heat of my own leaves which have fallen; on the composting trail to new and fertile soil.

Dirty, messy business to face the need to shift from one identity to the next.

I might say that my past and pre-MS identity and purpose was that of an artist bringing beauty and interest into the world.

Today, I understand that to merely exist with as much awareness and appreciation as I can muster

As well as be a reflection for the miracle that is us

Is my purpose.

Really the same thing I was doing as an artist

Just not “in form”.

After all is said and done

To BE…to exist

Is enough.

I wish I felt more kindly toward that pesky “composting” part though….

A work in progress we are.

I don’t remember Spring every occurring without the “dying to be re-born” part.

Do you?

Yuk. and Yay!

Becky

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On my own at a favorite restaurant a couple months ago I sat next to Becky who was dining with her friend Carmen; both of whom were in town for Indian Market.

First, I noticed Becky’s energy which is big in a lovely and sophisticated sort of way.

“She has amazing skin and is so beautiful” I thought.

I drank my wine with half my attention on the woman next to me and petted Emma sleeping on my lap.

I can’t remember who started our first conversation but come to find out we are both highly skilled textile designers. I think I commented on her amazing and highly unusual tee shirt.

Becky tells me her son who had been tragically killed in a car wreck a number of years back had painted the shirt for her and she had never worn it or washed it until tonight; a sacred relic.

I surmised she now was far enough away from her Texas Hill Country ranch and felt anonymous enough to wear it.

My throat constricted in disbelief that this remarkable woman was sharing such searing intimacy with me.

“There are no mistakes here..you sitting next to me knowing about textiles” she drawled in an upper-crustian Texan way.

In the time since meeting Becky in person we have been building a sort of friendship tapestry by email.

Sometimes in life, if we are very fortunate and have pleased the gods, someone comes along with just the right kind of medicine and I see we are that for each other.

She has lost a son and two husbands, manages a large ranch as well as a mother in partnership with dementia.

I sensed her soul was too tired and needed hydration of some sort to counter-act the brittleness.

Steeping in grief for so long, even surrounded by such natural beauty can erase any memory of what it feels like to be held tenderly by life.

My new friend is spectacular in so many ways and it is easy and fun for me to remind her of who I experience her to be. My opinion surely but: a superb talent in textiles and design, painting, writing, style, keeping her family alive through funny and poignant masterfully written books.

She does the same reflecting for me by understanding the particulars of dealing with hardships and what it takes to keep calling up resilience; a gift we share.

She gave me a hat, the wide-brim kind she wears so well and I initially felt it was too big for me. I was unsure I could carry it. She believed I could. It was an excercise in EXPAND TO INCLUDE for me as I put it on and tied the scarf she designed around my neck the way she showed me.

Voila! A part of me bloomed in this hat!

The point of all this is that we need good girlfriends to help remind us who we are when we forget. A downward spiral gains momentum in that direction if we let it do what it wants to do which is go down.

There was a time when I lost myself for years.

To remember I needed to fake it to make it and listen carefully to how those I love were reminding me who I was; what words were they using to describe me?

At some point I heard things often enough that I began to believe.

We all lose ourselves and sometimes need help coming home.

Thank you to those in my life I count on to hold space for me when I vacate awhile.

Thank you Becky, for seeing me the way you do.

A Woman Eating Alone In A Restaurant

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One of my most satisfying pleasures is to go to a favorite casual restaurant or coffeeshop and enjoy being there alone.

It continues to surprise me so many friends are too uncomfortable to take solace in this simple joy.

I know…we have these ancient imagined stories reeling in our heads like: “How pitiful to see her there without a dining companion”, or “Can’t she get a man?” or just “How sad…”.

The key take-away words are: ANCIENT, STORIES, IMAGINED.

It is 2017 girlfriends.

You know you are good company.

Take yourself to lunch!

Here’s how:

1. Pick a casual place you know..maybe off hours to start.
2. Bring a book..forget your phone.
3. Smile on entry as you are seated.
4. Ask for a different seat if you don’t like where you are put.
5. Be engaging with the wait person: “Do you like this wine?”
6. I always imagine wait people dislike seeing me sitting alone because their minds are on money..less $ for table of 1).
7. When I first started going out to eat alone I just had to fake it because it was too weird but I took my mind off the strangeness by appreciating how lovely it feels to be served, the clean and sparkling glassware, nobody to take care of as far as entertaining a dining companion, just a deep pause in a fast life just for me.
8. Try not to go too far down into your book to make it impossible to connect with other interesting people.
9. Relish your own interestingness.
10. Lately, I go to a hotel downtown with an outdoor patio open to the street. Very casual at happy hour. I sit with Emma and have a margarita…no phone..no book..I just people watch. In just a few visits I have met astoundingly interesting people. It feels super comfortable because it is a hotel and not terribly strange to see a woman alone.
11. I always tip VERY well and make the experience different than the waitperson expected. You will be treated like royalty next time you go! PROMISE!

a tidbit from OPRAH- click HERE.

Who We Are – Who Are We?

hand-painted silk

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A good friend sent this video to me this morning.

I want you to watch it.

I think it is important to see girls and women dancing and keeping their attention WITHIN themselves (zero eye contact with watchers);

None of their fierce, sexy, wild yet contained life force leaking out looking for any kind of approval.

So sure of themselves they are as they stomp and dip..arch and invite..say NO! and then YES!…then NO!

Then Yes.

I am still learning how to harbor my own authenticity

Without shame or hesitation or constant questioning of myself.

So often when I feel raw power coursing through me I pause and look around trying to decipher if I am being perceived as some kind of oddity.

Being an artist served me so well as it was just me in the studio; me witnessing me- very entertaining at times!

Learning ourselves as we truly are with no cultural or familial overlays is hard work.

It is so important to have models of what feminine power can look like.

I gather examples as I go along.

Of course these examples will be different for each of us

But learning how to say a definitive “NO!”

And a really good “YES!”

Just with our bodies

Is a really good start.

Keeping an Eye Out

detail of painting,m/m

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Rolling downtown I pass a bank of windows; eternally sparkling clean.

Who works here? I have wondered… recognizing a level of integrity gleaming in the midst of, shall we say “other”.

One day a lovely woman about my age ran out the door flagging me down.

“I’m Sheri. I see you pass by here so often and wanted to introduce myself”.

We had a spirited conversation and since then, as I pass her window I turn to wave and she does too.

So fun to expand my community in these seemingly little ways

That aren’t so little at all.

Bladder infections are visited on my weary physical self on a pretty regular basis as a pesky MS related take-away.

Needing to get out of the house yesterday I pulled my remaining energy together and ventured forth.

Approaching Sheri’s window I lowered my hat brim and scooted by without my usual acknowledgement in her direction as I hadn’t the inclination nor energy to bring up cordiality.

Today I had enough juice to resume our greetings and she emphatically held one finger up asking me to pause and wait.

She came outside and knelt down in the heat to even her eyes with mine;

“Are you ok? You didn’t seem ok yesterday. I needed to check on you.”

Instantly I dropped into the safety and comfort of having been seen and registered with curiosity and compassion by another of my species sharing minimal history.

This felt miraculous to me.

I told her so.

We basked in the incredulity of the gift of communion in a surprise visit to church on a Santa Fe back street one day in September.