Blackbird Dance (family stories)
Blackbird Dance (family stories)

I wake up happy this morning. Love it when this happens. I am warm under my comforter. (Perfect name, that—comforter.) Along with happy I feel deliciously lazy, rested. There is sunlight against my bedroom blinds, and shadows of trees getting pushed and shaken by the wind.


It isn’t even a choice this morning. I didn’t have to stop and deliberately, consciously, meaningfully choose happy. Happy just is.

I could be this forever. Right now always.

Peaceful. Settled. Nothing niggling at me. Body and head all comfortable. Heart and spirit peaceful.

I fell into happy this morning, even before I woke up.

Such a gift.

It feels like waking on the first morning of summer vacation. Though my calendar tells me today summer is passed. It is the Fall Equinox, and Yom Kippur, and Mabon. A blessing day today. Balance. Full. Perfect.

I am sitting at my work table now, in my studio. Vince Guaraldi and David Benoit and George Winston playing piano for me, Charlie Brown music. Watching the wind pull and push at the aspens and the firs. The aspens have become gold this past week, brilliant against the blue sky and the dark of the firs. When their leaves fall, we will have Dorothy’s yellow brick roads everywhere through the woods around the house.

Happy. I accept this gift of happy.  Thank you.

This is not a test


Start here. This is not a test.

I discovered a few days ago that I live my life as if it’s a test I have to pass. Something in me decided this, a long time ago.

The test never ends. I never know if I have aced it or failed it. I don’t know who the tester is, or if there are more than one. I don’t know what the questions are and whether I’ve been asked one, and if I answered correctly or not.


This explains a lot. Why I am keyed up and have to consciously work at relaxing my body and mind. Why I sometimes look at others and feel I can’t stand equal with them. Why I always feel I am being judged. Why I don’t play enough and feel vaguely guilty when I do. Why everything I do has to have a purpose. Why I am frequently not satisfied. Why I pass by my successes, barely giving them and me any acknowledgment. Why I do things, love what I’ve created, then it’s bang—onto the next thing right away because I have no time to waste.

How sad.

I can say, and mean it and know it, that I am happy most of the time in my life. This is true. My heart is open and present and connected and creating. Loving. Joyful. True. I can feel it. Most of the time.

Yet there is this low-level background tension running the other stuff that I listed three paragraphs back. Stuff I have been ignoring, that creeps in between the love and joy and happiness.

Time to let this go.

I choose. There is no test. No Test. None. Nada. Zip. Zilch.

There is just my life and what I want to create in it. And no test.

I am letting this sink in. This feels GOOD.

My shoulders just dropped two inches. I can breathe. I can enjoy what I am doing. I can play.

Tigger and Totoro--Go Play!
Tigger and Totoro–Go Play!

Yes. I can play. I can wander out of that stuffy Life Classroom I caged myself in, give the door a slam on the way out, and watch the whole place collapse in a heap. Better yet, invite Wile E. Coyote to blow it sky high with one of his Acme missiles. Right on target. Ka-boom! Wile E. takes a bow. The Road Runner and I applaud. Then we all go play. Dibs on the slide!

Yes. Life is not a test. Go play.

Detective work

'Holy Water' detail (shirt 1)
‘Holy Water’ detail (shirt 1)

My first and favourite creativity book, The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, has tasks I go back to once in a while. Checking in with the artist writer creator inside of me.

Where am I right now? What am I thinking about? What am I realizing? What am I letting go? This is what I am asking myself, but these questions sound a bit dull. Julia has questions that are much more fun and go just as deep, deeper if I let them.

Here is where the artist writer creator me is right now. The questions are from ‘Detective Work’ on pages 73 and 74.

  1. My favourite childhood toy was: crayons, skipping rope, roller skates, Spirograph, paper dolls, chemistry set (so many things to love; re the chemistry set, only 2 minor explosions and/or smoke)
  2. My favourite childhood game was: hopscotch, skipping, tree-climbing, chinese skipping (again, so many things to love)
  3. The best movie I ever saw as a child was: Japanese anime movie of Pinocchio, The Wizard of Oz, Herbie the Love Bug (I wonder where someone found a Japanese anime movie in the late 1960’s?)
  4. I don’t do it much but I enjoy: rollerskating (the old 4-wheel skates, not those inline ones), swimming (lake, not ocean, not swimming pool)
  5. If I could lighten up a little, I’d let myself: throw out ALL my clocks and never buy new ones, well, maybe a sun dial
  6. If it weren’t too late I’d: live in Europe and be artist-writer all the time (I have the second bit down, now I just need the first bit)
  7. My favourite musical instrument is: piano
  8. The amount of money I spend on treating myself to entertainment each month is: not enough!
  9. If I weren’t so stingy with my artist, I’d buy her: six months living in Amsterdam, Florence, and Venice
  10. Taking time out for myself is: necessary, not always easy
  11. I am afraid that if I start dreaming: I’ll do whatever I want without consulting anyone
  12. I secretly enjoy reading: trashy magazines
  13. If I had a perfect childhood I’d have grown up to be: artist and writer (oh, look, I did)
  14. If it didn’t sound so crazy, I’d write or make a: drawing the full length of a roll of Fabriano paper (coooooolllll!)
  15. My parents think artists are: not them
  16. My God thinks artists are: everyone (no exceptions) and essential
  17. What makes me feel weird about recovering my creative self is: my creativity keeps expanding and I am sure it has no outer limit (ooo, interesting, what do I want to create next?)
  18. Learning to trust myself is: perfect and sometimes difficult
  19. My most cheer-me-up music is: 70’s radio rock songs and Vince Guaraldi Charlie Brown music
  20. My favourite way to dress is: comfortable, colourful, funky, decorated

Yes, I like where I am and who I am right now (mostly). You just keep goin’, grrl! (Grrl is not a typo.) Go, Cat, Go, XO!


Mentioned in this post:

Julia Cameron, book The Artist’s Way, http://juliacameronlive.com/

Vince Guaraldi, 1928-1976, awesome jazz musician and composer of music for the Charlie Brown cartoon tv specials (eg A Charlie Brown Christmas)

Love is my power

I drummed rain and became the river (Paul)
I drummed rain and became the river (Paul)

I am dreaming.

I stand barefoot in a land of white mist. An Elder appears in front of me and offers me a drum.

I hold the drum in my hands. I know it brings power. Calls the lightning and thunder. On the skin of the drum sits Bear, sticking out his tongue at me and laughing. Power and joy and light.

I look up. The Elder is gone.

An Elder rises from the earth in front of me and hands me a drum.

The drum is small, barely six inches across. It moves in my hands, sings to me. This drum is heart and love. Hummingbird flies on the skin of this drum.

I look up. The Elder is gone.

I stand barefoot. Before me I see blue water, green hills, red earth, bright sun. The wind moves round me, playing, whispering.

I am standing in my heart, power and joy and light in one hand, heart and love in the other. Hearing the wind whisper to me–Love is your power, Your power is love.

I wake. The sun shines through my bedroom blinds. The palms of my hands and the soles of my feet are tingling. I feel the drums in my body. I feel Bear standing behind me, paws on my shoulders. Hummingbird by my right ear, weightless. The drums sing inside me.

Love is my power. My power is love.