Winter Warmth

I’m sitting 4 feet from our wood stove – this winter’s only source of heat for us. The heat pump went out at the end of summer and we just haven’t been inclined to fix it. I prefer the wood. The smell, the tending, the warmth. It’s all so much more soul-satisfying to me than turning up a dial on a thermostat (which, has it’s perks, for sure.) For the past week, we’ve had no rain and even an excess of sunshine up here on the knoll. We live just up high enough to be above the soup of fog that has locked everyone in while I’ve been driving around on the mower in a light jacket picking up the leaves still blanketing from fall. I called my friend, who lives down in the soup, to visit. I could tell the gray blanket was getting to her. It starts to wear on you after a bit and you start hankering for a drive. Anywhere. Just out of it. It can feel like that sometimes in your chest even when everything outside in the world is sparkly and shiny. It can feel like there’s a fog settling in that keeps you …

wholehearted-artist with Stephanie Lee

The Wholehearted Artist Course

A few years ago I was in a hotel room with 3 other artist friends and I was crippled by comparison and “not enoughness”. I knew these friends as whole people – mothers and wives and artists with shortcomings and feelings of inadequacy of their own and yet, they seemed so much more together than I was. So much more at peace with their creative process. So much more on top of all the demands of being a working artist that are not actually making the art (so much computer stuff!) I had always been the eternal optimist, the spontaneous adventurer, the maker of things just because it was fun and that version of me was little more than a whisper that I leaned in so hard to hear. I wanted to be in love with my life again. “Just paint every day and everything will be fine” one said. “You’re art isn’t cute enough to be licensed” another said. It was intended as a compliment. “Stop comparing yourself to others. You ARE enough.” As if it were so easy. I knew it was only part of what was creating this constricted feeling in my heart. I started paying closer …

Wholeheartedness

“Being wholehearted isn’t just an inside job. (It is and it isn’t). It would seem like it if I lived alone on a mountain, but even then there is wind to be felt and trees to climb and canyons to shout into. And if I only turned my eyes inward, who would pick the wild blueberries and think to share them with a friend? Being wholehearted is as much about our interaction with the world as it is our conversations with ourselves.   Wholeheartedness has been on my mind so much lately. It floated across my consciousness one day when, weary and worn down, I asked “What do I really need right now?” (because I knew it wasn’t that candy bar on top of the fridge.) I thought I was wholehearted until I saw all the ways I had been dismissive and delaying when it came to the little things that tend to my heart. I confused wholeheartedness with focus, desire, and doing my best to be satisfied with all the ways things were just meh.    Meh. Flavorless chamomile tea when I really wanted a vanilla chai with almond milk.  Checking in on Instagram when I really wanted to have a heart to …