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Monday, November 1, 2010

Sketchbook Writings

It was entirely too delicious out to hole up inside today, even though my studio is spanking clean and looks like one of those kitchen photographs that are too perfect to believe anyone actually uses the oven. That will change all too soon, but for the moment, I'll glory in all that is fresh and squeaky.


I left the house today with the singular intention of Serious Errand Running, you know, pick up the mail, grab some epson salt, buy two more finch sock bird feeders (the original feeder suffered the craftiness of the crows who managed to sling it up and over it's bough, then rip huge gashes in the fabric in order to gluttonize on the sweet sweet taste of thistle seed.  I can never find it in me to be upset at the crows; I have too much love for their iron will to thrive).  But when I tossed my sketchbook in the back seat of the Jeep, I knew other plans would arise.

I needed to write, to pour out the words that were bound up tight between my ribs, shortening my breath.   I also needed coffee and and an almond croissant, but the words were what gave me back my joy.  And the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to share it with you in the name of all things honest.

- From my sketchbook writings, November 1st 2010 -

Last week dragged me through more mud than I was prepared to admit.  I thought I had finally learned how to deal with chemo, learned what to expect, learned that I could lay low for a couple days after an infusion and then jump right back on the fast track to Doing.  To Work.  To Life.  But this last round, this new drug, snuck up on me like a snake in the grass: I was striding freely, raising my head to greet the dawn, the first break of light blinding my face when he bit me hard in the achilles.  I fell and forgot how to crawl.
I'm climbing this ladder to nirvana, this ladder of self-discovery and self-truth.  I've learned a certain gentleness I've never know over these past few months; I've surprised myself with how carefully I can hold my own soul.  My feet have found their steadiness on this particular rung, and the words I've tried out now feel comfortable on the tongue.  Be Easy.  Forgive.  Your worth remains an untapped source.
But we are never static creatures.  And what worked before will not always work now.  The discomfort and exhaustion of now requires a new looking glass entirely.  And so I must reach up a hand and grab the next rung, feel my fingers grip firmly and trust that the ladder will hold even though the sunlight dazzles my eyes and my knees shake.
I think that's the key.  To see clearly, to observe myself from across the room and say "you there, sitting straight-backed and cross-legged.  You ARE where you are intended to be and these trials are lessons if you can only see them.  These events may etch themselves on your skin but they do not determine who you are.  
You are still worthy, 
still progressing, 
still creative, 
still lovely, 
still filled with light,
still exactly who you are meant to be."
I would wrap myself in a prayer flag made of kindness so that with every step I took, the wind would carry that message to the four corners of the earth, alighting like raindrops on the eyebrows of every person reaching blindly upward for that next handhold.



Snailentina said...

"what worked before will not always work now." this is so true, I think I really needed to hear it, too. You do know how to send messages to those looking for the next thing that will work, sometimes this chase is the most fun, sometimes is not fun at all! especially when sneaky snakes creep up on us, so glad you gave it the boot! Sending you big hug from this end of cyberspace.

Anonymous said...

"You are still worthy, "

so so worthy, awesomely and wonderfully made!

keep walking gently through the meadow
the storms are only temporary...

love and light to you tonight

Abigail Jasmine said...

Sweet Umber,
We are alphabet swap buddies ~ I am sO exCiTed to send you my package of lOve! ;) I will fill it up with my heart & soul..ohh yeahh girl!

You are on my prayer list..have been actually!

Hugs and BIG love to you sister!

kerin rose said...

Umber, nothing that happens to you determines who you are


It's all just "shit' that happens...nothing more, nothing less...( my apologies for the 4 letter word to anyone who might read it on this beautifully poetic post, but sometimes I just have to call it as I see it!)

what you 'are' is your heart, soul and intentions...
what you 'are' is the kindness you send out into the universe, and that you shine back towards yourself

nothing more, and absolutely nothing less.....

Alice Istanbul said...

SO filled with light is your beautiful soul.

Sending you love, dear one.

blue hour designs said...

Poetically and crushingly beautiful words.

These are thoughts to reflect on for every struggled moment we have.

Thank you for this timely reminder :)

Sunny Rising Leather said...

Oh my gosh.... Just adoring your soul from afar in the biggest way.

You are an A+ at living.


resolute twig said...

thanks for sharing this with us :)

MrsLittleJeans said...

"The confirmations of the spirit are all those powers and gifts with which some are born and which men sometimes call genius, but for which others have to strive with infinite pains. They come to that man or woman who accepts his life with radiant acquiescence."

You remind me of have radiant acquiescence, and very few people have it! You are confirmed!

xoxo Hope you are feeling better today!

she said...


Mum said...

You ARE wrapped in a
Prayer Flag of Kindness, my love!!!

It is made of all the beautiful kindnesses that others have wrapped around you since the day you took your first breath.

And right now you ARE carrying that message of Kindness and Encouragement to each One who reads your words.

I Love You

Karen M said...

Beautiful. You and your words. And, just what I needed to hear right now.

mme. bookling said...

wait, i'm confused. are you wearing black? even black boots?!

oh bell.
i am so freaking proud of you...not in a condescending way, but in a "look at me, i get to stand next to this courageous woman" or "look everyone, this is what being human and alive and beautiful looks like!"

i've been touting your name all over town, singing your praises. i've already told you this, but i want to thank you for choosing to be so gracious with those who want to help you through it. you make me feel so good about the kind of friend i am, even while you are battling for your very life.

i'm just in love with you still.
and shouldn't we be in love with our friends? YES.

i was sitting in the bath journaling last night and pondering art and identity as an artist, and after i closed my journal, i had a heavy heart. i realized its because i was confused and needed only you to bounce these thoughts off of. i think i said aloud, "you know who would be good to work this out with? kelly." no amount of phone calls, ims, letters, or visits can replace what our lives living together used to look like.

"I've learned a certain gentleness I've never know over these past few months; I've surprised myself with how carefully I can hold my own soul."

Me too.
Me too.

You're looking good, kid.

CrowNology said...

i love a good dose of Dove in the afternoon....
these are beautiful words and i am blessed to hear them.
thank you.
your grace is astounding...

UmberDove said...

All you wonderful women:

Thank you for being so good to this heart of mine, for standing so close and understanding so well.

Lizzy Derksen said...

You make me cry, when I most need to.

anika ame said...

it's so amazing that you remain so lovely and filled with light. you you are truly an inspiration, and you continue to live your purpose and live on purpose.

peace and blessings