cracking the chrysalis

by admin on April 8, 2013

Winter has been a dark burden upon my heart this year. A million moments collected cobwebs in the recesses of my brain, and it was all I could do to move through the motions, breathe and walk and take each moment a day at a time and not succumb to the fear, the anger, the sadness. So much happened in the space of a few short months.

Then Winter in Wisconsin dragged on. And on. And on.

It seemed her grasp on us would never let up, bony ice fingers wrapped around our wrists, preventing the slightest of movement outside our routine. I kept working, kept pushing against the bonds and trying to find solid ground, a meadow, something to bring in the light. Still it kept dragging me under.

This morning I woke to the gentle sound of rain. As I heated water for my coffee, I stood under the giant skylight in the kitchen, eyes gently closed, and listened. To the rain, to the kettle, to my heart. Hidden between the splatter of a million tiny droplets was a cracking, a tearing, the splitting groan of an unveiling.

Finally, the chrysalis of my heart is cracking wide.

I’ve found a renewed sense of direction and understanding in my work, a perception that scatters all the previous struggles and synthesizes my heart-goals with practical doing. I feel energized, revitalized. I can breathe deeply, a foreign experience for me (even after nearly 15 years of a yoga practice). I have a trajectory, my dreams on track to actually happening. Which is also slightly terrifying.

There will be some changes here. The first of which is going to be my return to blogging. I’ve missed putting words to the world. I’ve missed all of you. Other changes will include some new offerings, including more one-on-one work and more work with the technology aspects of building your best business relationships (how do you connect with your ideal clients? what stories are you telling them? what stories are they telling about you?).

I’m going to be launching http://www.sarablackthorne.com/ in the next week. All of the business-side of A Forest of Stories will be run through that site, but don’t worry: the heart-centered, strong-willed, feminine wisdom of our connection will not be lost. In fact, it can only increase from here.

With this emergence comes a deep level of questioning: everything I know, and everything you know. So tell me:

What would you most like to learn/use/work on
to find your best and perfect clients?

{ 0 comments }

Prayer to the Wild One

by admin on March 2, 2013

IMG_2791

there is a moment
the instance of your awakening
when a howl is released
that shatters mountaintops

your cells explode
creating a million tiny galaxies
in which possibility
floats

will it come from your arm?
from an eyelash
on your right side?
will it come from
the small toenail
on your left foot, just before
you trim it and paint it
a shade of grey?

in your awakening, you
know not what the world holds
you are both infantile
and infantissimile

all possibility is held
as a glowing orb in
the palm of your hands

and you are afraid

you are caught between these worlds
of knowing
and unknowing
and knowing everything at once

the mundane tasks of daily
existence are challenging
not because they are difficult
but because they seem mundane

because they are mundane

because the moments that we live
every single day
do not accurately reflect
the existence of our beings

and now
this you see as well

to the wild one

who lives
in each of us
raw, unfettered
always naked
always clothed in the
skins of wildness

there is a place for you here

there is a place for
your passion
and excitement
and energy
to resound through the
mountains and into the
valleys and across the
rivers and through
oceans sending shockwaves
tsunamis of enjoyment
and longing
and lust

a lust that is not
contained within one skin

a lust that is not
directed at one skin

a lust that fills your
bones fills your
breath fills the
sky

and moves you toward that
delicious, passionate light

oh wild one

there is a place for
you in my heart
there is a chamber
that is ever-growing
a cavern that is
constantly being excavated
to house you

it is not a cavern that is
dark and small
but in fact a
cavern of light

a cavern of openness at the
core of my being
that welcomes you fully
that begs for your presence

it is a space that has
been waiting for you
a space you have
always been
asleep, a gentle slumber
waiting for the moment

when the moon rises high
and the howling is too great
in my ears to ignore

in that moment
when you wake
together
we will be whole

and in that moment
your passion
your truth
your wildness
that reaches beyond the forest

wildness that runs with wolves
towers with bears
crashes against the shore as an
ocean wave only can

together
these things will rise in me
and the fear
and the doubt
and the sadness
and the anger
will fall away

sloughed like dead skin
by the mere friction
of your movement

in that place
filled with light
and possibility

and hope

{ 2 comments }

into the heart

by admin on January 6, 2013

writing buddha

the last year has been a whirl-wind of adventures and sadness, changes a plenty, uncertainty, grounding, magick and mystery, and a heart that never stops trying. I can’t remember a time I felt so rooted into shifting sand. even now, after all the transition of the dying 2012, the upheaval, the heartbreak, the unexpected emptiness … even now, there is a sweetness in the decay. I remember the way Autumn smells, the mulch of fallen leaves churned underfoot, the sudden sticky-sweet smell of crumbling back into the Earth. and now it is January, and no leaves remain, but here is the smell of it, pungent and tangy in my nostrils.

the days before my birthday are always filled with reflection. perhaps it comes from growing up in a place of many frozen lakes, the glassy surface firm and clear under foot as I ventured further from shore, a place you can walk on water without getting wet. the days before aging, like those last moments before birth, are a time of turmoil, change, tumult. preparing to emerge into a new way of being takes courage and strength beyond imagination.

this year has been especially hard for me, and these last few days before turning 28 are filled with more tears than normal. a year ago, I thought that so much had been decided. plans were in motion to fill dreams I had long-since shelved away. one month later they were all shattered, and the eleven months following meant picking up the pieces, building a life I could savor, trying and failing and trying again. and now, less than a month before this latest re-emergence, I find myself picking up the pieces all over again, tucking them bit by bit into this bag of skin carrying around the disparate self.

IMG_2721

as I move closer to turning 28, to reviewing my world and once again trying to step toward my dreams {shyly, slowly, full of fear stepping forward}, I do so with a tender heart. with a gentleness that is imperceptible to anyone beyond myself. the tiniest changes, the way breathing shifts from shallow to deep, the formation of ice on a lake in the wind … these are the moments I find make dreams come true, make imagination safe again. seeking out the doorways, finding the spaces between cracks and panes, choosing the paths that are overgrown in place of the wide and clear walkways of the mind.

I’m not sure what this next year will hold. I have dreams and schemes and plans aplenty, but for the first time in many years, I am hesitant to explore them. these past few years have been filled with such extreme joy and heartache. so many layers of grieving fill my heart, and I am uncertain any plan I could conjure would leave space for the work. when I was just turning 21, I had a list of goals and plans. looking back now, the ones I scheduled for “by the time I am 28″ are still but distant dreams, and the plans I want to create for the now seem heavy and awkward by comparison. all those thoughts…all those imaginings.

in this moment, I am turning into the heart. I am returning, again and again, to the moments that bring me simplest truth: walking along the water’s edge, resting against the bark of a tree, the crisp-crunch of snow under my boot. curling up in a comfy chair with knitting and no sound but the traffic below me. writing by hand, in my journal, without censorship. drinking tea.

it seems like eternity before my spirit will find peace. the chaos, the uncertainty, the challenges — dear world, I am ready for some rest. I cannot imagine how sanity must feel. these days before the birthing of a new turn in the wheel are moments of fear transformed into movement. like the last two gelflings facing mortal enemies to repair the crystal, these days are filled with the terror of an unknown journey with no preparations.

as 28 approaches, so too does possibility. I don’t know what the next year will bring, but I am here, waiting: my heart expands to engulf the possibility that everything is nothing is everything. and that love {of self, of others, of the universe} might be all there is in the world. one breath, one moment, one heart.

dive into it

{ 3 comments }

light is returning

by admin on December 23, 2012

fire

I’ve been thinking a lot about this Solstice, about the stories I might share and the wisdom to be given of the darkest night. And then true Solstice passed, and I couldn’t find the words to write the post to share with you. Until today. I was reminded of a chant, the one that for years was used to conclude the Yule rituals in a community I have since lost, but not forgotten. It’s a chant I’m sure I have heard before (I think it might even be in Rise Up Singing), but it is perfect for this time, this place, this planet.

Winter Solstice is a hard time of year for me. So many people make assumptions that I’m Christian, that I celebrate Christmas. I have to just grin and bear it when sales people (or conversely customers) wish me a “merry Christmas!” as we part. My circumstances make it so that I can’t travel to visit family, and I’m not sure they’d want to see me anyway. All told, it’s rough. I cry myself to sleep most nights.

And then, the Solstice is here. Suddenly I can feel the lengthening days, even if it is just a minute here or there. The weight begins to lift from my heart and I can breathe a little more deeply. I feel the click and shift so clearly in my bones. I am grateful for the dying of the darkness to begin, like the moment a vine begins to die and the tree to which it clings raises her branches high again.

But one line sticks with me today, one phrase a forgotten reminder that the road ahead is still not easy. We are still in the midst of the storm. We are still consumed by the darkness. As Hecate turns Her scythe to the path we have chosen, we must still tread with watchful eyes, awaiting the gift in the lessons.

light is returning
even though this is the darkest hour
no one can hold back the dawn

let’s keep it burning
let’s keep the flame of hope alive
make safe our journey through the storm

one planet is turning
circles on the path around the sun
earth mother is calling her children home

light is returning – charlie murphy
click to play audio recording

May the blessings of the Darkness,
of the growing Light,
and of the turning wheel guide you.

{ 5 comments }

the mis-understanding of flowers

by admin on December 5, 2012


lavender means mistrust

I just finished reading The Language of Flowers*. It’s the first novel I have read for pleasure in perhaps years, certainly in months. Spending the day after I took the LSAT exam lounging with my love, curled up in bed with a book and a cup of coffee, I lost myself in this first book from Vanessa Diffenbaugh. I laughed, I cried, I fought against the realizations and understandings it inspired, I didn’t want it to end.

As a child, I knew nothing of floriography. My communication with flowers and herbs and weeds was done completely by my own dictionary, with meanings it seemed no one else could conjure unless they asked me directly. Often, the message behind the delivery was determined by the recipient: had they been kind, or treated me poorly? Were they a mentor, or a danger? As I grew, I investigated the properties of herbs and spices, learning the magickal and medicinal meanings for each. But flowers weren’t readily available for much of the year in Northern Minnesota, and so their attraction waned–save for lavender.

Though it was not native, and didn’t survive winters, lavender was always available as dried buds in the local co-op. From sachet pillows to bath salts, I spent years putting lavender in everything I created. It wasn’t just the somnial effects (which soothed my insomniac heart) that drew me in, but the gentle scent and forgiving nature of the buds that kept me returning. Crushing them only makes the scent reappear stronger.

Never did I question the meaning or the message behind lavender, though. Not once did I consider it could be anything other than rest, or peacefulness, or tranquility. Until now.

While lavender was not explicitly mentioned in The Language of Flowers, the book includes it’s own flower dictionary as an appendix. After I finished absorbing the brilliance and learning this book offered, I was suddenly inspired to look up the only flower that had ever mattered to me. Only to learn its true meaning.

Lavender means Mistrust.

Once I learned this, the words flew from my pen into the journal in my lap:

Lavender means mistrust. No wonder it is the flower to which I cling, the one bud I cannot resist, the blossom I carry from place to place, hovering above my bed or near the door. Do not trust me, it screams. Do not rely on me. Do not hope that I will succeed. Do not trust your dreams, sweet child, for they are as permanent as morning mist. Do not trust your feelings, your love. Do not let others trust you. Do not give them a reason to trust.

You will always let them down.

How do I let go of lavender? How do I release the fear of trust while still inhaling that soft, sweet scent? How do I place it on my pillow and not use it to mistrust the sleep it brings?

How do I write letters to forgotten mothers, to lost sisters, to mentors ignored and friends let go — and trust they can understand?

All I have to give is pieces of my self: of my story, of my past, of my truth. I give them to those who are least likely to understand, least likely to give back in kind. I give them as ocean jewels, as bread crumbs. I give them with the hope that they will reach another life, another struggle, another mistrusting soul and help her find some snippet of peace. Of love. Of — if only for a moment — trust.

How do I learn to trust?


Last week I confessed a secret on Instagram: I want to be that tarot-reading, pendulum-swinging, affirmation-stone advocate-lawyer who brings light and justice and healing to the world. It wasn’t an easy thing to admit, but its truth resonates so deeply in my bones I tremble at the purity of it. This week I started reading Do the Work!, on loan from my friend Heather, and in it’s easy language and utter frankness, I am inspired to move continually forward in search of this dream (and so many others). And the fear around it, the consequences of my dreaming in relation to the adventures I’ll be undertaking, no longer matters. As much as I am afraid of achieving my dreams, I have finally accepted that I am more afraid of NOT achieving them.

How will you face the longing of your dreams?
Are you ready to accept the challenge?

{ 2 comments }

a return to the Wild

by admin on November 20, 2012

In total darkness, it is not the flames that lead me to her. It is the smell. It is the acrid stench of burning flesh, tinged with the sweetness of cedar, that wakes me completely. Rushing to dress, I pull on boots with no stockings and am out the door before my cloak is around my shoulders. She isn’t far off. I know where they have left her.

I reach the clearing just off the main road, beyond the tavern and the furthest field. They would not want the stench to bother them, but somehow I can smell it. Or perhaps I only felt it, a sudden piercing at my heart, the ripping away of my being that comes from losing someone so beloved. There is no water near here. They planned it this way.

By the time I see the flames, she is not moving. No longer struggling against the bindings, no longer screaming for help. She is already gone. Whether it is the smoke or the burning I know not, only that I must save what little is left of her. With my cloak I try to douse the flames, stomping on them, singeing my skirts, risking my own immolation. I pull the knife from my belt and cut free her wrists. Her skin breaks away as she lands in my arms, and I pull us from the fire. Collapsing to her, my howls fill the night air, and women and wolves across the countryside mourn the loss of our sister.

In the past, I was burned alive.
In the past, I lost loved ones to the Fires.

This is my recurring dream. My nightmare. This is my memory, the sweat-soaked startle in the middle of a November night, the moment I reach for the warm skin of my lover (whether she is next to me or not). I’ve carried this with me since childhood, since the first time I watched a bonfire dance in the snow, since the first candle I cried into when asking for answers. When I started reading the tarot, the dream intensified. No longer could I simply see the moments, but smell them. Taste them. Feel them. The woman in this memory is always different. Some times, she is my mother, my grandmother. Sometimes she is a sister or a cousin. Sometimes she is my lover. Sometimes she is a stranger, a neighbor, a drifter, a gypsy. But always, always it ends the same. Always do I howl at the moon, suddenly crisp and silver in the night, and always do the wolves howl with me.

Last night, the dream returned, after months of quiet.

I’ve been reading Women Who Run With the Wolves again. I haven’t picked it up since it was the textbook for one of my undergraduate women’s studies courses, the one that also used Goddesses in Every Woman and The Goddess Tarot. I couldn’t stand it any longer, watching several of my beautiful art journaling sisters read it via Instagram. It was the howl I could not resist, the connection to wolves and seals and magickal things that made me realize how I missed the dream. Not the fact of the dream, not the burning or the dying, but the memory of the dream: the wise woman way we lived in those times. The ways we can live as wise women in these times.

I’ve come to admit to myself that I have forgone the wisdom I know. These past few years have created a distance between the wise woman and my being now. Once, I could name every tree in the forest, walk along and find the herbs that could heal you and the herbs that could kill. I knew how to shear a sheep, to go from fleece to fine knitted garment. I could cook any meal from scraps and stones. And I could divine you tale so true and so tall you’d never want to sleep for fear you might not hear the ending. This wisdom, it was once all I had. And I’ve come to realize that these days, I haven’t got much of nothing without it.

It comes back slowly. The simple act of cooking oatmeal. The divination in choosing the day’s necklace. The mailing of a book that leaped off the shelf to a good friend. Soon you are searching for the hawk feather an elder gave you, the bear root of your mother’s friend, lusting after the first tarot deck to speak to you since childhood.

Clarissa Pinkola Estes writes:

Over-intellectualization can obscure the patterns of the instinctual nature of women.

In this way, she has outed me. I have let so much of the Mystery, the Wildness, the Magick that is a part of my herstory and my heart fall to the unknown. I have almost deliberately ignored it here and as part of my business. But this is the problem: my work is mystical, and magickal, and wild. This work is hot and messy and tearful and joyous and dancing naked around a fire and brewing potions of words and images and letting all the Wildness be set free. I got so hooked into the “normal” way of being that I was afraid to let the soul-work shine through. And it nearly killed me.

Last night, the dream returned. Only this time, for the first time, I was both the woman in the cloak who ran to put out the flames and the woman on fire. I had to rescue myself. And I was almost too late.

This burning away, it has given me a new sight. A new skin. I cannot bear the thought of howling for my own death, and yet perhaps I have a million times over. The wolves, they circle. They never attack. I am ready to be claimed by their wildness and succumb to my own truth. I am the Wild Woman, the Wise Woman, the Witch, the Warrioress.

I am ready to come home to my own knowing.
I am ready to share it with the world.

{ 5 comments }

the just-right pen

by admin on November 13, 2012

i am learning to accept the “just-right” things.

Perhaps it is the dreamer in me. Or perhaps I have finally learned to accept the places I am. Whatever the case, I have reached the point of just-right. Case in point:

On Sunday, I attend a gathering of my girlfriend’s family in celebration of some November birthdays. It came after my two-hour trapeze class, during which we did a significant amount of spinning, swinging, and arm work. Exhaustion took the best of me and I mostly stayed on the sofa, curled up with Women Who Run With the Wolves and my pen/highlighter. My favorite pen/highlighter. Somehow, between the reading and the marking in the book and the talking and laughter with family, I lost my favorite pen. But I hadn’t moved away from the sofa.

We all looked for the pen, which had last been seen in my ponytail. No luck. It was as though it had vanished. And I, in my frustration, simply put the book away, uninterested in continuing the process without this one special pen.

It wasn’t until later that evening when I really thought about it. This pen, it’s nothing fancy. I could buy one at any office store. And yet, I felt so certain that the process, the journey through Women Who Run With the Wolves, would not be the same without it. And then I realized it.

For years I have sought the “perfect” things: the perfect pen, the perfect relationship, the perfect handbag, the perfect clothes, the perfect job, the perfect home. The perfect solution to anything and everything. It must be out there, the perfect _____________, right? But as I have grown and sunk into my own depths this past year, I am quickly learning that “perfect” isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. And “just-right” is much more delightful.

What is just-right for you?

Just as Goldilocks went running through the home of the Three Bears, so I have been testing and trying on and shifting my world. One might be too hot, another too soft, and third too big. It never occurred to Goldilocks that she should settle for the first thing she sees or finds. And so, too, am I learning that settling for the first option might not be the best option. It is valuable to explore, to try on, to learn what feels good and what feels wrong.

I realized that the pen I had been using wasn’t so much the “perfect” pen as it was the “just-right” pen. Being a writer, and doing almost all of my first drafts by longhand in my journal/notebook, I’ve likely used hundreds, maybe thousands of pens. I find a pen I think is perfect, and then after a few days or weeks realize it doesn’t actually fit me, no matter how delicious or incredible the writing might be. I was always thinking about the pen, rather than using it. But this pen, I didn’t hesitate to use. It was light and smooth. It was the pen I shirked for years, thinking I would never use a ball-point pen that wasn’t a Pentel RSVP (my pen of choice throughout college). And yet, this tiny steel Zebra with the fine tip was exactly what I wanted when I sat down to write Monday morning — the exact pen I no longer had. This is when I knew it was “just-right” for me.

This no-longer-seeking-perfect is new for me. It will take some adjusting, some remembering. But this shift in perspective feels whole for me. It feels deep and rich and filled with possibility. Like Goldilocks, I’m going to venture in the bear’s home of my life and try things out for size before choosing. Because when something is too big/too small, too hot/too cold, too hard/too soft, it will never be the thing that feeds your soul.

Let just-right feed YOUR soul.

{ 2 comments }

the curiousity of rain

by admin on October 19, 2012

an autumn thunderstorm, hovering

Patchwork skies with their shades of blue and gray and white and golden sunlight fill my window today. In one moment, they stretch between the spectrum and so too does my heart. I feel I am waiting as a freight train to roll out of the station into some vast expanse of unknown, and yet I am still just waiting. So many options, so many possibilities. And then, in another moment, the gray expanse fills and there is only the light from my computer screen, only the shadows of raindrops on my window.

My beautiful friend Roxanne says it well here: “The fall is my anchor.” Autumn is my curling, like the leaves whose trunk has slowed the flow of nutrients to the branches, so too do my limbs curl inward. It is a time of much sleeping, of going deep, of digging into my own heart and burrowing there. And yet, I am tempted by the golden light, the shimmer of leaves in the shortening sun. I am drawn to libraries, to coffee shops, to a hunger I cannot satisfy with words or books or food or drink. It is a time of going deep and wide simultaneously, and my limbs resist the stretch as much as the curling.

The abundance of fallen leaves feels crowded in my room. There are so many stories here, too many books, too many clothes, too many moments of half-used and barely-started. I am easily overwhelmed by art supplies and unfinished library toys. The laundry snickers at me, the clean and the dirty mating in such a way that I want to give it all to someone else, someone who is not afraid of the too-much-ness of stuff. I want to be smaller, make my life smaller, shrink my life into a suitcase, a hiking pack, a messenger bag. I want to make the paper into pixels, send the magazines to those who might read them, ship the jewelry to bodies better adorned than mine.

When I was young and suicidal this time of year was always a trouble, this deep ache to shed the things being dressed by others as a cry for help. Perhaps it is a cry, for something simpler, something easier, something with fewer things and more memories. Perhaps it was always a cry for moments that burned my flesh to be released. In the autumn, the painful memories surface, the aches and the bruising and battered synaesthesia of a childhood best forgotten. Autumn was a returning to the pattern, the fraying hope that things might change. It was bruises in the clouds, the metal on my tongue from golden red leaves, the gloves on my hands begging for it to end.

I used to claim a poet’s pen. I used to write in fragments, the stanzas completing an inhale and an exhale in my chest. I used to think in verse, in lines of syncopation and arrhythmia. I used to dream in one page at a time, nothing longer than three pages per poem. I used to bear that badge with pride.

But poetry has escaped me, or I it’s heavy grasp. My thoughts are longer, dragging through snow and mud to create a fullness I have always sought. Poetry was my bridge to freedom. The days of my capture were caught in stanzas; not knowing how long the moment would last meant breathing it quickly, shallow, ready to snap. These autumn days are spent in freedom, a freedom I often do not know how to handle. So many thoughts, too many sentences, a flood of ideas falling on my heart like the quick gust of wind through an oak tree ready to release. A page feels empty, a notebook too full. Blankness stares at me, tiny lines begging for ink, and I freeze. The detritus of waiting tables and riding my bicycle seem far too mundane for such nice paper.

Still I force myself. Still I come to the page, and many times leave it blank. Empty hours spent staring at a dream I do not know how to chase. It is impossible, it seems, to run a marathon on a treadmill, but my feet are too afraid to touch the pavement. I am pulled in a million tiny directions like a tornado of leaves in autumn, each one wanting to find a new place to land.

And so I remember my teacher, one of the many faces I let go because I only wanted to protect them, the loved ones I haven’t written because I never could tell the truth then, and now it seems empty compared to the lie. I wonder how she faring, how they are all faring. I wonder if she knew, if any of them knew, and why they couldn’t seen the drowning all along. I get the idea I should write her, or her, or any of them. But I was just a child, and in so many ways still am, I would not know what to say.

Except, perhaps, thank you for not leaving.

It is a day of long underwear and thick socks. Of chai tea and cracking open a vein onto this screen. Of wondering how long I can run from the past, even though I return to it every night in my dreams. Of waiting for the moment when my heart will breath free.

No matter how far I go, no matter how many years or how many seconds pass, autumn is a bridge to the past and future, rolled into one moment of waking to a golden-black sky, waiting for the rain to pass, for the leaves to fall again.

{ 3 comments }

reconciliation

by admin on October 11, 2012

I’ve finally come to the place where I need to accept a fundamental truth about myself. It’s not that I couldn’t go on living in denial {because I could}, but I think that accepting this truth would make my heart a bit more calm and the bring some synthesis to my scattered brain.

See, it’s actually this synthesis that is part of the challenge.

When things are really quite clear:

I am not a synthesized person.

I am not a one-size-fits-all. I’m not even a one thing at a time. I am seventeen different directions at once. I am law school and writer and editor and non-profit coworking space and literary magazine and photographer and dreamer and schemer and telephone user. I am an activist and a fighter.

I am all these things at the same time. And somehow, I am finally learning to be okay with this.

I always felt like I wasn’t focused, like I was a starter but not a do-er, like I could never finish anything I started. But when I tried to focus on one thing at a time I lost interest. But if I had two, or three, or four things going simultaneously, I could keep my interest in each of them by adequately monitoring my time and attention and also rotating between them all.

So when I have these wild-ass, crazy ideas about real things that I want to make happen, I always have to fight against the “one thing” mentality. The American society isn’t built for brains like mine, the ones with so many plates spinning even Kali couldn’t hold them all. But still I work on it. Still I keep going. Still I have the ideas and the plans.

This time it’s different, though. This time, I’m not going to berate myself for having many plans and goals. This time I am not going to feel bad for wanting to make awesome things happen.

And so, in the midst of re-building my business, applying to law school, and waitressing several nights a week, I have decided to move forward on a crazy-big dream I have had for a few years now: a non-profit, wildly-available, low-cost coworking space. This space will have room for several individuals to work simultaneously, there will be some computers with specialty software (Photoshop, etc) available for use, there will be space for teaching workshops and group experiences, and it will be centrally located in/near downtown Madison. And the non-profit part? I want the place to be able to turn around and bring in teachers from all over to share their talents and skills with those who use the space. Additionally, I want to be able to have local teachers share their skills and talents with individuals at low-cost/free events for the public.

And I have no idea how I am going to make this happen. But I am.

Because part of being a crazy entrepreneur is leaping and figuring out the landing on the way down. It is having a wild-ass idea and making the details work as you go along. And I am pretty fucking excellent at that.

So, now it’s out there.

I welcome any resources you might have: about building non-profits, about creating coworking spaces, about furniture or computers or printers or software you have access to. Feel free to leave a comment here, or send me an email.

What is your crazy dream? And how can you make it happen?

{ 2 comments }

Warrior Women Interview: Christina Rosalie

by admin on October 10, 2012

I’ve been wanting to share an interview with Christina Rosalie for quite some time now. Since I had the honor of reviewing Christina’s book over at Scoutie Girl last week, it seemed this was the perfect time. Enjoy!

Tell us about how you got started on this path
I’ve always been a girl with a pencil nub in my pocket, and some kind of notebook on hand, just in case. I’m always on the look out for stories. I listen hard. I ask questions. I care about the answers that I hear. I pay attention to patterns. I notice the small stuff. I’ve always done these things–for as long as I can remember.

What I love to do more than anything else, is to find a way to reveal a little bit of knowing; to uncover some thread of story, some glimpse of meaning that matters. I am always looking for a way, through image and metaphor and just enough description to carry whatever small and personal evidence the moment holds, into the realm of the universal.

Who directly participates in and benefits from your work?
I’m fortunate have a very a broad, diverse tribe of readers and collaborators! From other writers to new media creatives, from parents, to fellow adventures, people find my work, and contribute to my creative process from all different angles. A Field Guide to Now in particular is for anyone who craves living a wholehearted extraordinary life, amidst the ordinary circumstances of daily moments. It’s for mothers who are trying to navigate their way back to some sense of themselves; it’s for creatives who are afraid to really lean towards their work and begin; it’s for the adventurers and nine-to-fivers who need a reason to pause, to take note, and to show up with intention in the moment at hand.

What is the most beneficial aspect of your work on this journey?
(to you, and to those you touch)

To try daily to do the work of showing up with intention. To remember again and again, that all we really have–that all we can really control at all, is whatever we have right now. It’s so simple really, and yet some days it’s the hardest thing in the world. When I succeed at being wholeheartedly in the moment, when I am really aware, I find that there is opportunity for synchronicity and possibility and wonder almost anywhere.

Tell us about A Field Guide to Now and how you are bringing it to the world.
More than anything, I hope this book finds its way into the hands of people who need it and who find inspiration or encouragement or wonder between it’s pages; and since it was released in September, I’ve been getting emails daily from readers who’ve found my book, and who share little glimpses into their lives, and how it matters to them. That is the most wonderful gift to receive–those little glimpses of proof. And, I’ll be honest: it’s a bit of a daunting process to promote a book as a new author, while working full time. It’s also challenging because though I’m used to blogging–and sharing my story in the public eye–I’m not particularly versed at asking people to promote it, and it’s a remarkably vulnerable thing to do. I’m still learning how to do that well.

What keeps you doing this work with joy and gratitude?
I’ve always been a truth teller, a wonderer, and a facilitator. I taught elementary kids for years, and before that at risk middle school kids while I was in college, and I’ve always loved the process of finding out what makes someone tick; what makes their eyes light up, and their hearts start thudding quickly. It’s such a magical experience–to catch a glimpse of that, and I always want to find a way to help them take action towards whatever it is that is.

This is really why I write: because words and stories occupy the transitory territory between what is inside and what is outside; between what we imagine, and what we can make real. I love to be the facilitator of that process–and I think it’s utterly magical to create work that contributes to making meaning in this way. I chose to use both mixed media illustrations and prose in A Field Guide To Now because I think each medium invites a certain particular kind of engagement and discovery.

What is one thing you suggest women can do to move forward in their personal journey with integrity and wholeness?
Show up for themselves daily, without excuse–even if that process of showing up just looks like claiming twenty-minutes with some tea and a notebook. No matter how we spend our days–at home with little ones, or in an office, everything comes at us, full throttle, all day long. We spend so much time in this digital era in input mode. It is vitally essential to claim a little time for processing; for listening to oneself; for finding the tempo of one’s own creative pulse.

Please share some final words for our sisters in community.
A Field Guide to Now is about living intentionally in the moment, and about how intention can become momentum for taking action—towards living a wholehearted, creative life; mindfulness leading to wholeness, and wholeness opening to wholehearted potential. Even if you are neither a creative type, nor an explorer—I know you’ve felt the wild drums of wanderlust or a turbulent unnamed longing in your heart, to become. Let this be your invitation today–to begin whatever the creative work is that delights you; the work that you long for; the work that makes you whole. Start now, in the smallest possible way. Begin. Begin. Begin.

photo by Thea Coughlin

Christina Rosalie is a writer, mixed media artist, digital strategist, and mama of boys. Her work has been published in Kinfolk, The Sun, Mothering, and The Los Angeles Review, and in various other publications both online and in print; and her most recent artwork, a series of ten mixed-media pieces titled, “Making Your Mark” was recently featured at the Burlington City Arts gallery. Christina has an MFA in Emergent Media from Champlain College, and lives with her family in northern Vermont. Visit her at christinarosalie.com, where she writes about the art of living intentionally; the process of navigating motherhood and creativity; and the realness and hliarity that results from sleep deprivation, curiosity, and the unusual propensity to leave things on the roof of her car, find four leaf clovers almost anywhere, and invariably get paint on her jeans. Follow her at @christina_write.

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