The next number of posts, all titled Conversations on… come from email communications between a dear friend and me. With her permission, I am publishing excerpts from them because I feel they pertain to everything we’ve been discussing on the blog. Kate has been in the process of trying to figure out how to be a writer and still maintain her teaching job. She has very recently decided she must leave her job and fully embrace a “writing life.” At her request I’ve changed her name and am using initials for people she brings up. Those of you who have not read any of the earlier Conversation pieces, may want to go back to have a better understanding of Kate’s progress. You’ll find her story under the topic category, “Kate’s Story.” It’d be great if you all would join our conversation…
All photos in today’s post were shot by Kate on visits to New Mexico.
I haven’t had a minute to respond, but you’ve been constantly on my mind. Still no time this morning, but I just had to tell you how meaningful it is to me that you wrote this letter from your new studio space! It’s BEAUTIFUL!!!! And I’m beyond moved by your words about your journey to Truchas, “… I was heading here by heading there…” I do know what you mean. That trip, and everything after, has been magic for me, too. CONGRATULATIONS!
Don’t worry I know you are completely engaged with every fiber and are in the midst of a high-energy task–or series of tasks–to get your gallery up and running. I am so with you on that! I also have a lot on my plate this weekend and will probably not have time to write. So much good is happening in both our lives right now! You have a daily record of your progress in the gallery, and I love that you are sharing some of that record with me.
I just want to say this:
Yesterday morning I packed up my things and went out to the studio to begin doing the Artist’s Way. I knew that I would be going to Commencement in the afternoon, that this rite of passage for the students I have worked with was also my painful rite of passage in leaving the old life behind. I had to go. I had a new understanding of the word “commencement.” I had to see and face people who were distressed by my departure. I had to cheer on the students who were setting out on their journey for the rest of their lives. I had to see my boss cry when he got himself caught in not being able to let go of me, and I had to cry with him, which really took the biggest toll of the day, emotionally. I had to sit or stand there in awkwardness with those who wanted to say something to me, but I was unable to speak audibly in that environment and couldn’t respond.
….But I also knew that I would wake up today and write my morning pages and begin to address where I am going and how to leave the things that have blocked me from this path behind. I am here now in this quiet place, and despite a mainly sleepless night, I am going ahead with my work on myself and what is important in making this life meaningful.
Blessings to you for the day, to us for making good things happen and for feeding our souls.
I’ve been thinking of you in your barn, at your desk, doing morning pages. I’m THRILLED that you’re doing The Artist’s Way! I know you’ll find the same magic in it I did. How is that feeling?
I congratulate you on your own commencement. I’m so glad you went and I’m sorry I didn’t respond to your earlier email wondering about whether or not your desire to attend sounded crazy to me. No, it did not. It was a very fitting rite of passage for you leaving this old life you’ve loved and entering into the work of your soul. You understood this in a deep part of you. The deaths are painful and we must grieve them. The letting go of these old self-concepts is achingly hard, necessary, and richly rewarding.
How is your throat?
I hope your days are filled with wonder.
My creative recovery work with The Artist’s Way has been surprisingly productive for my first week, though there was one day I couldn’t do my pages. That’s okay. A lot of important issues have come up and in a way that I have been able to grapple with them and begin to work through them. I feel very good about the commitment and about beginning to establish a writing routine, to claim time that won’t get deflected away to other things, which I desperately needed. I went for a week of being lost and miserable without any structure and just feeling resentful about all the other “clients” I had thrust on my shoulders (house, yard, 968 sq feet of garden, gutters, laundry, cooking, repairs, cleaning, shopping, and on and on). The morning pages helped me deal appropriately and productively with this problem. And I am sure they will continue to help with many struggles I face in this important transitional period. I am so glad I chose this time to begin the process.
My studio still has nothing much in it, and I’d love to get a couple of antiques to make it more warm and homey, but that’s probably not going to happen, yet I have blessed it and made it my own with what I have: some special rocks, a few plants, a coffee pot, a lamp. It will do, and it is doing for now. If and when we are able to spring for a couch or a chair and a rug, which I really think would make a difference, we will. All in time. I am so incredibly lucky to miraculously end up with this space and be able to claim it for my writing space. The universe has provided this precious gift, as well as some extraordinary mentors and supporters. I can’t help but feel good about this. Facing inevitable resistance and my ever-persistent demons is all part of my journey to living a meaningful and sustaining creative life.
I have made astounding progress on my throat/voice, and my acupuncturist is beside himself. On Tuesday I walked in and he nearly took a double take. The first thing he said was, “The light has come back in your eyes, and you are inhabiting your body! I can’t believe the change!” He said that he was always confident that I’d recover, despite the terrible state I was in when he first saw me. He said he really liked me from the first minute and is thrilled that I entrusted him with my healing. He also said that he definitely wants to continue working with me when he gets back in September. I can see that we’re off to a good friendship, aside from my healing–but not completely separate from it. Today when I saw ML, my therapist, he also said that I looked different, that my whole face looked different, had life that he hadn’t seen before. “It was your job,” he said matter of factly. And then he added, “You needed an exorcism.” He is right. I told him about doing The Artist’s Way, and he was very VERY supportive. I know I have a tremendous amount work to do, but it’s MY OWN work for a change. My own….
To be continued…
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Love to you all,