Tag Archives: home

Reflections on a Life I Love…

I took myself on an Artist’s Date today, after spending some time yesterday evening quietly reflecting on where I’m at in my life. I felt a major shift come over me in terms of the who’s, what’s, where’s, when’s, why’s, and how’s of the life I’m currently living. A good and honest look at things revealed to me many answers to my questions of what is my life purpose, what are my goals, where do I find inspiration, who do I want to spend time with, etc. The questions seemed so big and yet the answers are so simple, it’s just a matter of me living them everyday, and also paying attention to how they show up. I think sometimes I can get so caught up in life and what I want to have that I forget that I already have everything I need. It’s all right in front of me. It’s the essence of who I really am, my source of inspiration and joy.

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My favorite view across the lake

This is what led me to the woods today. It’s been ages since I stopped by to marvel at the sweeping limbs of the tall pine trees, to feel the breeze against my skin as it drifts across the lake, to turn off the constant chatter in my brain and tune into the bird songs that fill the forest. It’s all about the present moment and the beauty around me. Being in nature is where I feel like my truest and most authentic self. It’s where all of the drama of everyday life completely melts away, and all that’s left is peace. I can’t believe I haven’t gone on more adventures to the mountains and the forests since I moved back home, but after today I know it’s a priority. I need many more Artist’s Dates to the source of where my inspiration and creativity begins, even if it’s just once a month. My schedule can get filled up very quickly with all of the things I’d like to do (and some I don’t want to do but need to, for instance, adulting), but taking some time away from it all is the one thing that always brings me back home.

Keep creating,

Laura

 

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The Journey of Saying Yes

For several years I’ve wondered what home is, where it is, and what it looks like.  Is it an old farmhouse like what I grew up in, with vibrantly colorful gardens and a little brook?  Or is it a sunny bungalow with a big front porch?  Is it here or there, near or far?  Who lives in that home with me?  A loving partner, a giggling bunch of kiddos, a dog, a cat, a chameleon?  Who comes to visit?  Mary Jane’s Farm magazine contributor, Rebekah Teal, said it best in the January 2015 issue:

“I believe “home” might be a special combination of unique things, things that are different for each person.  When those things come together at exactly the right place and the right moment in time, something fabulous and comforting and almost magical happens.  That something is called “home”.”

Lately I haven’t felt at home in a lot of ways.  I certainly have a fantastic network of friends who give me a sense of home, but my soul is yearning for something else, some other missing piece of the puzzle.  I’ve certainly never been a city girl, but this place has it’s perks.  I can’t think of any other store like The Playful Needle that sells hundreds of colors of Appleton Crewel wool that I use for my tapestries.  Or how about the seemingly endless options for health food stores so that I don’t have to eat another donut from all of the seemingly endless donut shops that keep opening up?  And then there’s the nature and the temperate weather… it’s all kept me here for so long, satisfied and secure.

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And then last month, I realized what my soul needs right now is a return to my roots, to my soil, the part of the earth I grew up on.  I don’t know what I’ll find back there in between the foothills of the rugged White Mountains and the soothing tides of the Atlantic.  Maybe it will be the place I call home, maybe it will offer me some healing, but I know it will definitely give me the space for peace and quiet reflection.  As I’ve put the pressure on myself to find this “home” sooner rather than later, I’ve realized how defining and narrow this goal is.  I’m looking for a place to call home, but more importantly I’m looking for all of the things I can say yes to.

It’s been a heartbreaking past several weeks as more and more friends and co-workers learn of my leaving.  Unfortunately saying yes sometimes means saying good-bye to loved ones as they see you off on your next adventure.  I’ve done this before when I moved here, with no clue how I was going to make it in a place I had never lived before.  And now I can look back with gratitude and awe at how far I’ve come, and the gift the journey has been.  I’ve felt so much gratitude for my job, my boss, my team, my benefits, my amazing friends, discovering my calling as a tapestry artist, the abundance of nature, I almost can’t believe I would ever dream of leaving it.  I actually look forward to going to work because I’ll get to see my friends and nerd out on supplements.  Sure, I’d also really like to nerd out on art and tapestry weaving, but I’ve always felt extremely appreciative of this job I worked so hard to get.  So why am I leaving?  Please don’t ask me, because I’m running out of tissues.

2015-03-05 14.54.56I’m finally back into my meditation routine after several weeks of feeling like I should be spending that special time packing and crying – that was my sign I should have been meditating in the first place.  I’m working on taking things one day at a time.  Instead of dreading my last day of work, saying my final farewells, and that moment when I step onto the plane with a one-way ticket, I’m looking up at the trees displaying their fireworks of blossoms against the bright blue sky.  This spring has come early and with such vibrancy and energy I’ve wondered if it’s just trying to remind me of why I love it here so that I’ll stay.

2015-03-05 14.52.48I’ve been really enjoying my spring cleaning as well, getting rid of so much stuff I thought was valuable to me, but really isn’t.  It’s a wonderful feeling to only own the things that bring me joy, instead of drowning in all of the crap I could… potentially… maybe (never) use someday.  Angel food cake pan?  Haven’t used that in over five years.  The ugly mug I’ve never used?  Gone.  It makes me wonder why I haven’t done this sooner!  It feels so cathartic and freeing, a release of the past so I can step into the new unencumbered and ready to receive the blessings and gifts that life has to offer me.  I’m ready to say yes to this beautiful, sometimes bittersweet, but always inspiring life of mine.

A Celebration of Life’s Bounty

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Ah, Thanksgiving, a holiday that I once thought of as a day off from school and an opportunity to eat too much mashed potatoes.  This time of year is different for me now, as I live thousands of miles away from my family.  I usually don’t know what I’m doing until a week before the holiday, when I get invited to some sort of Orphans’ Thanksgiving.  Every holiday for the past eight years has been different, some with old or new friends, strange or traditional dishes, simple or extravagant parties.  This time of year is always exciting, but it’s also taken on a new meaning to me personally.

The end of the year is a celebration of life’s bounty, and not just in terms of the food we gather around the table to enjoy with our loved ones.   Whether spent socially or introspectively, it is a day of expressing gratitude for all of the blessings that have graced our lives, big or small, simple or grand.  Today I’m grateful for my good health, a good job, the art I create and the opportunities to share it with the world.  I have love from many friends and family, however far away they might be.  I have warm clothes, a warm bed, and a solid roof over my head.  I have easy access to healthy food and clean drinking water.  I have also grown a lot in the past year, just by showing up to learn the lessons of personal healing and growth.  The difference between the gratitude I feel this year compared to years past is that now I feel it all around me and within me.  Gratitude for the physical and spiritual; for what can be seen, and what can be felt.

Happy day of gratitude to you and yours.  However you spend the day, I hope you can include a few minutes of giving thanks for all of the blessings in your life.

Parting of the Mists

My recently finished piece “Parting of the Mists”

Finding the Way Home

I’m having a hard time getting my next weaving off the ground.  Literally, the cartoon for it is lying on my living room floor, but I just can’t seem to bring myself to commit to it, to acknowledge that this is indeed my next piece.  I keep questioning myself: Isn’t it supposed to be something else?  A different design?  Less blue?  The real crux of this issue lies with my previous work, which I absolutely love and feel it is my best tapestry out of the 1.. 2.. 3.. 4.. 5 tapestries I’ve woven.  I basically want to make more weavings exactly like it because then I know they will always be amazing, that is until I – and my viewers – get bored. 

And at the same time, I have lots of ideas I want to turn into tapestries.  I’m a very new weaver, most accomplished artists have been working in this medium for decades.  I know this because I spent the afternoon looking through every artist’s page on the American Tapestry Alliance website.  I was looking for evidence that my latest design is indeed feasible and will turn out beautifully, even better than my current weaving that I am madly in love with!  But no artist on there could prove to me that my idea will be a success, because no one has woven my design before, which is definitely a good thing.  My hesitation is also a testament to some of my other fears as a new weaver; I still don’t understand enough about the medium to predict how a design will turn out as a finished tapestry, and I am also a perfect perfectionist.  Surprisingly, tapestry weaving has been a great medium for me to learn how to let go of the annoying perfectionist tendencies and let the nature of the technique unfold. 

Mostly it’s the fear of starting again and trying to make work that is even better than the one before it that holds me back.  I keep thinking of this recent TEDtalk I watched where Elizabeth Gilbert (the author of Eat, Pray, Love) spoke beautifully on how to overcome the fear of failure.  This one line continues to resonate for me…

“Your home is whatever in this world you love more than you love yourself”

She overcame her fear of trying to produce another successful novel by returning home, to her writing, because that was what she loved more than success.  And when her next book bombed, she was fine.  She wrote another book. 

It’s so simple, really.  All I need to do is make my weavings for the sheer joy of creating them.  The past few years I’ve struggled with finding my place in the world, but when I’ve been actively creating I’m no longer participating in all of the internal chaos.  By placing my heart and my hands in my artwork, I don’t question where I’m “supposed” to live anymore.  I can trust in my journey as an artist, which is also the journey of my soul.