I needed a little pick me up this morning, a reminder that dreams come true, love can be had, and wonderful things happen all the time. The movie Enchanted April was the perfect salve for my raw feelings. Somehow I managed to find this movie long ago, before I found the book. I’ve watched this movie often enough that I know it by heart, but not too often that it doesn’t stir me each time I see it. The story revolves around four women in London in the 1920’s who decide to abandon the dreary city and spend a month in a villa in Tuscany. All strangers, they come together and each opens her heart over the course of their stay. The magic found in the place, the reawakening of love and dreams, the stories of the four women all make it one of my favorites.
Home. I’m such a homebody. I love having a place to come back to every day that’s familiar and has touches of our family in each room. H’s latest painting that he’s working on in the back bedroom. My notebooks scattered about each and every room. The small imprints we’ve left on this place, a nick in the door frame a repaired window.
We’re losing our home and it’s thrown me for such a loop. H and I gave “us” a real shot in this home. It’s the place where I put a post it note up on the fridge telling him I was ready to get married. It’s the place he hid my engagement ring for three whole weeks before asking me to marry him in Tuscany. It’s where we fought and cried and laughed our way to get ready to be married. The place we came home to as husband and wife for the very first time. And it’s no longer ours. We’ve rented our place so in a sense it’s never been our place though we’ve lived here four years. Our landlord is renovating and kicking us to the curb and I didn’t realize how attached I’ve gotten to this place until I’m forced to leave it.
It’s hard being in the in between. I have no idea what our home will look like two months from now. Is it in our same neighborhood? Or did we move out of the city? Can we finally get the dog we’ve longed for? Do we have space or a yard where we can grow things? Between the then and now it’s hard for me to find any content or stillness.
Sitting in the in between time is the hardest for me. I hate not knowing. The truth is though, we will find a new home. It will be ours when we move into it, and it’s a new place where the next chapter of our lives can unfold. I try to hone in on the possibilities rather than the worries. It can be so hard to hold onto though. So tonight instead of thinking too much about it, maybe I’m not ready to be a grown up. Instead I’ll pull the covers of my quilt around me tight, snuggle into our bed and escape into a good book. (Maine, it’s excellent.) For tonight, that’s alright.
Our next home. might not be a our dream home. (Read: cottage nestled in the English countryside, complete with barn and two horses that keep each other company, and maybe a goat and cow also please). We will make it ours and it shall be.
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Anais Nin
I’m so not in the mood to write anything at all right now. Pretty ironic since I want to write about the importance of showing up for yourself. I got a very nice reminder about how achieving your dreams is really up to you, it’s not magic. It came in the form of a post from Positively Present. (It’s hard not to link to that blog in every single post I write…)
I find myself feeling envious when I watch other people quit their day jobs, to pursue full-time writing, or land an amazing book deal. I get this strange feeling that there’s not enough room for me to be successful, that there are “enough” writers out there already. I’m not sure where that feeling comes from. I know truthfully that the idea is just plain silly. There’s plenty of room for me to succeed too, if I really work hard at it.
If I show up for myself, then my dreams are in my reach. Making it real, making it happen is up to me. The universe will meet me halfway, but I need to figure out how to get across my half.
Part of it is moving out of my comfort zone. When people ask me what I do, for example, I’ll try owning that I am a writer. I’m also incredibly fearful about sharing my work with other people, making up any excuse to revise to avoid showing it. I’m afraid of sending it out into the world, with my name attached to it. To tackle that fear, I’ve outlined some baby steps for submitting my work over the next month. Taking new risks will help get me there. Starting this blog and keeping it up has been one of those risks that feels pretty good on the other side.
Expecting more from myself is another thing I’m working on. I’m possibly the world’s best procrastinator. I can come up with an excuse for anything. I’ve started trying to develop new habits with Creative Recovery. Through the process I’m hoping to remove some the of creative blocks I’ve developed.
Most importantly I’m trying to shift my attitude. When I procrastinate I can get stuck in this self-defeating cycle. Say I’m watching TV instead of writing. When I realize I should be writing, this super negative, critical voice comes up. It points out that I’m lazy, and worthless, making me. I feel more depressed, and get more and more stuck on the couch. I’m trying to change my attitude. When I realize I’m berating myself, I’m trying to shift to a more gentle, nurturing, encouraging voice. That’s the only thing that really gets me off the couch.
Reminding myself that my dreams are important, and that the little things I do add up puts those dreams back in reach again. I owe it myself to honor those hopes, wishes and desires. Well here I am showing up today.
Side note: The quote above might seem a little out of place. I included it though because this whole process of showing up, feels a little like blooming.
I’m going into creative rehab today. Creative recovery is a term that I read about in Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, a brilliant book about uncovering your creativity and artistic inspiration. One part of her introduction really hooked me, and I thought, “Oh god that’s me too.” It was in the introduction. She hints at her issues with alcoholism. What I understood from her writing was that she came to a point where she had to make a choice between alcohol and art. She realized the two couldn’t coexist.
At the time I read that, I felt like I wasn’t really ready to make a change. I wasn’t convinced that I needed to. Sitting where I am today I feel like it’s time. I choose writing. I choose my art. I choose the difficulty and discomfort of facing and sorting through my raw feelings. I’ve written before about how I tend to run from difficult emotions afraid that they’ll gobble me up. I run, by self-soothing with food, wine and TV, numbing out from the world around me. You cannot selectively numb, as I’ve learned from Brene Brown. If you numb the bad, you numb the good. When I finally drag myself to my desk to write, I’m left with nothing inside to write from.
I have this great habit of getting all excited to start a new program, or lifestyle, or endeavor, and never make it through dinner of the same day. Posting here, is way of holding myself accountable. Though no one’s watching, I’ll feel like someone’s watching. A nice kick in the pants to stick to somtehing for once. I’m trying to go day by day and leave it at that.
Daily Creative Recovery:
- Morning Pages (See Julia Cameron’s book for this one)
- Healthy Diet (Sugar, Caffeine, Gluten, Alchol, Dairy Free)
- Enough Sleep
- Fresh Air
- Open Hearted Post
Removing some of the crutches I cling to, a glass of wine, comfort eating, and so forth, I take away the layer I normally use to cover over whatever I’m feeling or thinking. This is an experiment in learning to live without those buffers. At the very least I hope I get a better understanding of myself. I also hope my health and energy levels improve. Most importantly though, when I sit down to write I want to know that I’m doing all I can, working my ass off to haul up my own star. (Have to thank APW for that little gem of wisdom.)
A few weekends ago I had a chance to live a weekend from my dream life, the life I would lead if I had no responsibilities and could do as my heart desired each moment of the day. Ahh I wish.
I work for an environmental organization that helps protect beautiful open spaces. My husband and I got to spend a weekend at a cabin on one of those preserves, on the coast of Northern California. It was built in the 1950s or 1960 by a man who was a sailor and then later a writer.
Chunked into the side of a cliff, the little place is surrounded on three sides by oceans views. It was simply stunning. The cabin was pretty much a wooden shack, with two walls of plexiglass windows. We had the bare necessities to get by over the weekend, galley kitchen, closet bathroom, fireplace and cot. That was all we needed.
The sun was shining, it was warm for February and the whole place was simply gorgeous. H and I couldn’t stop smiling at each other, we were so overcome with giddiness. “This is ours, for the whole weekend?”
The original owner’s presence was definitely there. His books lined the bookshelves, not a splinter had been changed since he built the place. It was a nice feeling, not a sinister one. Kind of like a pushy notion to remember that life is short. (He died suddenly in his sixties while working on what he felt would be his best book.) I stayed up late that night scribbing away in my notebook, writing more than I had in the past two months combined. It was magic. All of the sudden it felt like my dreams were in reach again. That yes, if I actually did something, made some moevement towards what I wanted, it was possible.
It’s amazing what a change in your every day scenery can do. If only I could live in the cabin every day… I’m trying to find little ways to recapture some of that joy and freedom I felt – taking a walk outside in the sun, trying to notice small details around me and be very present. It’s tough to get back to the grind of everyday and maintain any of that creativity. It was a kick in the pants reminding me that I need to take action, do something. Intention is great and all, but you’ve got to make a move towards what you want.