It is the first of May, a rainy day in the Berkshires. We agreed to mooch around today, staying put, even through there are many other places we could be. Yesterday I walked with my friend Mary on a country road in the afternoon sun, that spring-slant of bright sunlight passing through the bare hills. More bicycles hailed us than cars passed us, so we meandered from one side of the road to the other, pointing out where the sun caught the edges of newly greening trees or what was left of an old barn foundation-just a graying aisle of rocks, still fitting together as they slump in to the earth.
I am struck today. It is May Day, and a good day to fertilize all of your beginnings.
Last Thursday I launched my second online writing class with 11 brave women who took a bold step towards new beginnings by enrolling in this four-week workshop. I know that for many people, creative practice sounds good, it sounds like something that people who are ARTISTS know all about, it sounds like something that only the SPECIAL people with studios and grants can accomplish while the rest of us slog with the dishes, the kids, the loads of jeans and dishtowels, and our income tax bills.
But I am determined to stand at the threshold of what I call creative practice and welcome whoever wants to venture across in to their own personal realm of ingenuity, playful exploration and as-yet-undefined magnificence.
I play with different modes of expression and live as the hub with spokes of writing, mixed media collage, mail art, book arts, photography, theatre, audio journalism, producing, gardening, preserving, ritual, poetry, circle facilitation, social media fanning out from my center. But that is just me. You can be curious about just one thing at a time. That is the only way I get anything done. I pay attention to one thing, like this writing, right now. (Which explains why women, natural multi-taskers, so often feel like they have no idea where to start. In my Sacred Refuge Sunday workshops I offer women four hours of undivided attention. You’d think I was handing out ten-dollar bills.)
So, how do you begin?
I suggest, since it is May Day, and in my part of the world, very wet and rather chilly, to read something you have been waiting to read. Spend 15 minutes with someone’s well-placed words. I took a hot bath and read from Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic. Her words about working with inspiration, whether it arrives or not, comforted me. She says that whether or not flashes of insight or revelation are burning up your desk, the key is to “work steadily.”
She says, “I work steadily and I always thank the process.”
I agree with her. Work steadily and with gratitude.
Here is a next possible step.
Find a blank page in your journal.
I know, you haven’t touched it in months. Open it anyway.
Don’t do this on the computer or your phone.
Write on a napkin if you must, borrow a pen from the waitress.
Just for a small moment, listen to your breath. Can you be still enough to hear it?
Start writing by listing ten things you are grateful for, things in your life right now.
Here are mine:
1. I am grateful for this rainy day.
2. I am grateful for having a day at home.
3. I am grateful for hot water.
4. I am grateful I did not ruin the book I dropped in the tub-Annie Dillard floats!
5. I am grateful my kids are safe and well.
6. I am grateful my husband is feeling better.
7. I am grateful he put dinner in the slow cooker earlier and the house smells delicious.
8. I am grateful my son is okay and this is his story, but really, I am so grateful for him and his willingness to text and call me and check in when I was worried about him.
9. I am grateful for my friends, especially Maria and her birthday and the way she glowed with the surprise.
10. I am grateful for green and all the ways it appears in my landscape and the chatter-y songs of the gold finches out in the oak.
That is a start.
Now, you do yours. Then see if your pen wants to continue. Just write. Or follow your next clear thought-the one that sounds like this, “It is high time I get on my bicycle and go for a spin.” or “I think it’s time to pick up my sewing needle and embroidery floss and patch my jeans.” or “See that patch of sunlight? I am heading over there to dance in it.”
I am truly grateful for your time reading on this site.
In all the ways you are already creative in your daily life, I celebrate you.
Any step, however small, towards your own expression, brings you joy and whets your appetite.
To which I always say, “Thank you Goddess, I will take more.”
Here is another post about May Day in the Berkshires. It’s more about forgiveness than anything else though.
Here is another. It’s more about journal writing and a bit about motherhood.