With Autumn upon us, like the squirrels, I find myself wanting to be sure my nest is ready for this change of seasons. Cooler temperatures, winds and rain will bring the amazing colors of autumn and the bounty of the harvest season.
This autumn, I am also aware that we are poised between the beauty of autumn and the concerns of our world today. It is almost impossible not to be affected, worried, overwhelmed by all that is being stirred up.
I have learned that in difficult times; knowing, remembering and practicing simple rituals, comforts and ways of connecting with myself helps. I think this is why I have been nesting, cleaning and preparing my inside spaces. Literally, I just cleaned out the closets and put away my summer clothes! But I truly reconnect with myself with art making, with that which will be there for me when the days are darker and longer.
In my cleaning and preparing for fall I am also cleaning out my studio and ran across this quote from Clarissa Pinkola Estes; "The doors to the world of the wild Self are few but precious. If you have a deep scar, that is a door, if you have an old, old story, that is a door. If you love the sky and water so much you almost cannot bear it, that is a door. If you yearn for a deeper life, a full life, a sane life, that is a door."
Clarissa's quote reminds me of the line in Leonard Cohen's song, "there is a crack in everything that's how the light gets in." Or of Rumi's, "The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” These days it seems my own wounds and the wounds of the world are raw, exposed and vulnerable. How may blankets do I need to be able to make it through these next months? How much tea can I drink to comfort myself?
One thing that I do know is this, if I can get myself to my studio, to making art, to writing, to listening to the music and poetry of others, immersing myself in beauty, intentionally, I can turn my world around. I can find my way back to myself, every time.
I invite you to use this fall as a time to begin a ritual of art making for yourself, whatever that may look like. It may be you learn to bake the most amazing bread or you take up needlepoint or knitting. It may be you will read the novels and poetry that have been calling you or move your body and re-find your love of dance or yoga. Connecting to your creativity, imagination and story will help to restore and sustain you. I invite you to re-member yourself through the art making process - to find your way back to you. Let the magic of art heal and rejuvenate your soul.
One final thought from feminist writer, Wendy Mac Naughton:
"This is your assignment."
Feel all the things. Feel the hard things. The inexplicable things, the things that make you disavow humanity’s capacity for redemption. Feel all the maddening paradoxes. Feel overwhelmed, crazy. Feel uncertain. Feel angry. Feel afraid. Feel powerless. Feel frozen. And then FOCUS.
Pick up your pen. Pick up your paintbrush. Pick up your damn chin. Put your two calloused hands on the turntables, in the clay, on the strings. Get behind the camera. Look for that pinprick of light. Look for the truth (yes, it is a thing—it still exists.)
Focus on that light. Enlarge it. Reveal the fierce urgency of now. Reveal how shattered we are, how capable of being repaired. But don’t lament the break. Nothing new would be built if things were never broken. A wise man once said: there’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in. Get after that light.
This is your assignment.”
Giving ourselves a break through the creative process will enhance our resilience in all areas of our lives. It takes an investment in yourself and in our beautiful world, despite all our troubles, to create a practice that will sustain your heart and our collective hearts. I invite you to join me here with your creative self and to share what is working for you.
I hope these words and this Autumn Studio will offer your imagination a place to find respite and beauty. There are prompts for writing and art making here. In the Autumn Art Making section I encourage you to take time to create a space for yourself and to cultivate an art making practice and guide you with a simple practice of making a "Breath Doodle".
May the blessings of the harvest season bring you beauty and connection, stay in touch and stay connected. I look forward to hearing from you as the season unfolds.