Hello my lovelies! It’s good to be back! Thank you for your patience with me. I’ve been busy potty-training twins and writing novels. #charmedlife More on that later. Well the novels, not the potty training. Because I am so done with potty talk.
Three years ago, I blogged about getting lost in the woods. What I didn’t say was that I was in the woods as part of a private yoga retreat. I was REALLY looking forward to it because, well, it was all about yoga and Jesus and those are two of my favorite things (not necessarily in that order).
As I was driving the last few miles to the retreat, the song “Thy Will” came on the radio. That song has direct access to my tear ducts. It’s like “The Christmas Shoes” song. Total. Waterworks.
When I pulled into the parking lot I was literally hiccuping tears. YOU try listening to that song without crying. I double dog dare you.
The yogi greeter who met me at my car said something about my tears symbolizing my sacral chakra being unbalanced. Full disclosure: I still don’t really understand chakras. To realign my chakras, or whatever it is ones does with chakras, the greeter handed me a hand-drawn map and sent me to a tree house nestled in the middle of the woods. To make art. Or whatever.
A fairly dominant part of me wanted to say, “Yeah, I don’t do woods. Or art.” But I was blubbering too much to protest so I picked up my yoga mat and followed the map to the tree house.
The tree house was this magical adult-sized cabin built up in the trees. Like the ones you used to dream about living in as a child. Or at least I did. It radiated charm. And it was complete woodland creatures. I’m not going to lie, it felt a little bit like a Goldilocks meets the Three Bears situation. But alas, there was no porridge.
There was, however, a desk full of art supplies. I obediently sat down so I could get the arts and crafts part of the day over with and move onto the yoga.
But guess what friends?? There was NO PAPER. Tell me, how exactly does one make ART with no paper?
Yeah, I didn’t know either.
I just sat there FOREVER trying to figure out how the heck I was supposed to make something. There were colorful pens and markers, spools of fancy ribbons, gemstones, beads and glue, but nothing to put them on to “make art”.
I pulled open drawers. I looked on shelves. I even climbed a ladder. My search produced nothing.
I couldn’t very well leave without re-balancing my chakras. If I did, the yoga would be all unbalanced and, well, I didn’t actually know what would happen to one’s yoga practice with unbalanced chakras, but it sounded serious.
So, I sat perched in the tree house and willed myself to figure something out. To make art, or whatever, and leave so I could be on my mat before the chimes sounded. The pressure was ON.
As I looked around, I noticed some graffiti on the walls. It was such a shame. Vandals stealing away into the woods to damage such a magical place. Ugh.
But when I looked closer I realized they weren’t gang symbols or crude body parts on the wooden walls. It was….art. Kind of. If you could call it that. Art to me was on paper or canvas. It was….proper. The colors stayed in the lines. The lines within the frame. But with this type of art there was no frame. There were no lines.
I looked back at the materials on the desk. Some of them were the same materials on the walls. And, friends, it CLICKED. I needed to make art on the walls.
Well, this upped the ante. When it’s a piece of paper, you draw your flower or your house or your horse (I tapped out of the creativity department in the 6th grade so that’s about all I know how to draw) and you THROW IT AWAY. Or recycle it, depending on how crazy you got with the embellishments. It holds no meaning whatsoever. It occupies your mind for a minute and then disappears.
But, when you make ART ON THE WALLS it has to mean something. It has to be…special. Beautiful. THE STAKES WERE HIGH. This changed everything folks.
It had taken me a million years to decipher the task and then it took another million years to figure out what to make. I might as well have been in crow pose up in that tree house for the entire time if that gives you an idea of how easily it came to me.
Then it CLICKED.
I sorted out the gemstones and found some thick red ribbon. I arranged the gemstones vertically on the wooden beam with rubber cement and cut strips of the red ribbon and nailed them in place, leaving the tops of the nails exposed. While I worked, the bells chimed signaling the start of the first yoga class. I stayed put, rooted in the middle of my project.
When I was finished, the sun beam coming in the window rested on the words “Daughter of a King” in shimmery yet sobering splendor. I wish I had thought to take a picture because it has become one of those junctures in life where you’re no longer the same person after having experienced that moment. I walked out of that tree house different even though I couldn’t articulate it back then. I felt completely redeemed. It was as if I had been curled up for way too long and I finally stretched out my cramped-up muscles in a new way.
Well, friends, three years have passed (or a million). I felt myself slip into a rut. I knew, from this tree house experience, I needed to “make art” somehow. But I couldn’t figure out how to apply that experience to my present day life. There were no blank canvases. Everything around me in my real life is way too sticky and noisy to make anything…special. It all seemed like chaotic graffiti. Except was it?
Then it CLICKED.
I don’t have paper (a clean, quiet, blank space) but I do have a lot of really amazing materials. Tucked in the drawers of my heart I have shiny moments of love, ribbons of laughter, and colorful connections with my kiddos, my husband, family and friends. They’re not traditional art supplies, especially the sharp pointy spears of fear and hurt. But they’re mine. And they were given to me to make something out of them. Not something meaningless…something special. Something beautiful. Something that will last.
And so, I opened up the blank canvas of a Word document on my computer. And I let myself dream and then...I made something.
I wrote a novel, a love story. And it has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life because this time I was able to pull my family into what I was making. My kids were cheering me on, my husband was coaching me, encouraging me to keep going, and it was beautiful. We even came up with our own sweet Valentine's Day-themed dessert. (I know it's October, but stay with me a little longer.)
The novel hasn’t been picked up by a publisher yet. I was hoping it would get picked up by Hallmark Publishing, because I have such a soft spot in my heart for all things Hallmark (more on that another day), but they passed on it. That’s okay. I don’t need someone to tell me they loved it to make it shimmer. It already does, especially when the light of gratitude shines in through the window of my heart.
Maybe it means my chakras are finally balanced. Or maybe it just means we’re all made for more and we just have to get lost in the woods to discover how we’re supposed to “make art”.
What about you? How do you make art? How does it change your world when you do? Please comment, I'd love to share supplies and chat.