Clearing Out, Letting Go, Creating New

3.'Laid to Rest 80,000 Obstructing Spirits (south)'--Cat Fink
‘Laid to Rest 80,000 Obstructing Spirits (south)’

I’m back.

I have a home of thirty years cleared out and sold, all in the space of the last four weeks.

Whew and wow.

I’ve been thinking about doing this for a few years.  And suddenly it is now.  Let’s quit talking and do it.  And we have.  Done.

I feel lighter.  Excited and exhausted both.  There is a new horizon out there.  Can’t quite see it yet, but I can feel it.  It feels like home.

After thirteen years of seasonal moving between two places that didn’t truly feel like home, I am approaching something that does.  How strange that I don’t know what it looks like or exactly where it is, yet the feeling is clear and certain.  I feel my feet on the ground.  I feel the path in front of me.

Some small part of me is trying to not trust this, saying ‘scary’.  The biggest part of me is saying ‘This feels right, feels good.  I trust this.’

Trust.  A blessing gained from growing into my creative self, trusting the artist-me who knows who she is and what she wants.  I am now all artist-me.  Not only creating image and word.  Creating my life.

I remember doing Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way tasks of clearing out and making room.  I’m not sure she meant a whole house, but then again, she might have.  I’m laughing, thinking how I’ve taken task number eight in week six to the extreme.

The task says, “Clearing: Any new changes in your home environment?  Make some.”

Make some changes?  Have I ever!


In this post:

Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way, 2002 Edition, Tarcher/Putnam.  The clearing tasks are on pages 90 and 114.  Julia connects clearing out to creativity on pages 83, 197, and 198.  “You’re either losing your mind—or gaining your soul.  Life is meant to be an artist date.  That’s why we were created.’’  Page 198.

I’d say the quote from my last post applies even more so.

“My barn having burned down

I can now see the moon.”

Poet-samurai Mizuta Masahide


List my obsessions

I rode a river of words and heard wisdom (Bryan)
I rode a river of words and heard wisdom (Bryan)


Natalie Goldberg, in her book Writing Down the Bones, has a great subject for writing practice.  List your obsessions.  Then she says, go beyond that.  Use them.  Harness their power because they are going to show up in your writing whether you want them or not.


The past three weeks my obsessions have been showing up bigtime.  Not so much in my writing as in my life in general.  Moving house shakes everything up.  All that organized chaos lets things loose and drops things in unexpected places.  It pulls off the covers of everything that has been hiding and that has been hidden.

I have not written a list of my obsessions for a very long time.  It is obviously time that I do.

I am making a rule for this list.  Each obsession has to be one word.  Otherwise I can see me trying to explain or deny or qualify the obsession I am listing.

One word gets things down to their essence.

Do I want to set a number to stretch myself?  I have to list at least x number of obsessions, or should I just write until I can’t think of any more?  Write until I can’t think of any more.  Okay, that is two rules for my list of obsessions.

Here goes.  List my obsessions.  One word for each.  Go!

Continue reading “List my obsessions”

This Week’s Soundtrack

I Stood in a Trembling Sky Where Every Star Sang (Carrie)
I Stood in a Trembling Sky Where Every Star Sang (Carrie)


I have three songs running through my head the last several days.  Put Your Hand in the Hand, Let ‘Em In, and Power of Love.

Trust.  Allow.  Love.  That’s what these songs are about.

The Universe is doing it again.  Talking with me.  Telling me to trust big.  Then telling me when something or someone shows up, open and allow the gift.  And telling me love is the power and love is my power.

I have a soundtrack constantly singing back up in my life.  The songs that show up are always a message I need to hear about what I am doing or thinking or believing or feeling.  About a choice I am making or that I need to make.  The songs come to me as information, inspiration, support, and play.

Play.  As in laughing and lifting my spirit.  The morning after we found our new home, I wake with the thought about how much I hate moving.  Not really the best mood to begin the day.  I need music, I think.

I turn on the 70’s radio station that comes via our cable.  The song playing is ‘Movin On’.  I laugh when I see the title there on the screen.  Yes, the Universe definitely has a sense of humour, and every time I think of movin on’ that morning, I laugh again.  The Universe knows I do not appreciate moving house, but I do appreciate a good laugh.  And laughing gets me through.

Back to the three songs I am hearing lately.

Put Your Hand in the Hand, by Gene MacLellan, is from 1970.  I don’t recall when I first learned the words and melody.  I sang a lot as a child and teenager.  The song could have come through family or friends, church, school, choir or music lessons, Girl Guides, or the radio.  My mom always had the radio on.  I was a busy kid and I loved singing, making joyful noise alone and with others.

There is wisdom in this song.  The song is pop-gospel and spiritual, yes, but it is the wisdom I am drawn to.  The song tells me I am not alone in life.  I can choose to be but I don’t have to be.  It tells me life is full of miracles, all I need do is watch for them and there they are.  It tells me to love myself, and in doing this I will love others as well.  It tells me, trust life.

Let ‘Em In is a Paul McCartney and Wings song from 1976.  The song begins, someone’s knockin’ on the door, somebody’s ringin’ the bell, do me a favour, open the door and let ‘em in.  This is exactly what I am doing now, opening the door and letting the words and ideas flow in and through me.  No judgments and no limits, just an invitation to play.  Saying out loud, ‘Here I am, pen in hand, stack of paper on the desk in front of me, let’s write!’  And I do.

For me, this song is about being open in all of my life.  Not just open.  Willing.  Allowing.  Saying yes.  Open hearted to what is offered and to what I choose.  It means being present to my life.  It means always listening and keeping up my half of my connection and conversation with the Universe.

This song tells me create my life big and welcoming.

Power of Love by Huey Lewis and the News is from 1986.  It tells me, of course, that love is powerful.  It also tells me that love is mine if I want it and if I choose it, and that choosing love is powerful and creates me powerful.  My power is love.  Our power is love.  It can’t get any clearer than that.

So this is what the Universe is singing to me right now—trust, allow, and love.  It could just sing love, since trusting and allowing are part of loving.  But I need reminding sometimes about how huge love is and all it takes in.  I try to do small love occasionally, which does not work well.  I should know by now I can’t limit love.  Love is not made that way.

Trust.  Allow.  Love.  I am being invited to sing my life into being.

I choose this.  I choose trust, allow, and love.  I choose let my life sing.  Let our lives sing.  A chorus.  A choir.

Joyful noise.

Thank you, Universe.


Mentioned in this post:

Song ‘Put Your Hand in the Hand’, Gene MacLellan, 1970

Song ‘Let ‘Em In’, Paul McCartney and Wings, 1976

Song ‘Power of Love’, Huey Lewis and the News, 1986

The Writer Downstairs


3 Crows a Letter, 4 Crows a Boy
3 Crows a Letter, 4 Crows a Boy


It takes four days to pack up a life.  My life.

It takes one day to move it across town.

It takes ten days and counting to unpack and put it back together again.

It takes three trips to the recycling, garbage, and share shed to let go of what no longer fits and what is no longer needed.

Some things stay the same.  I am writing, imagining, drawing, creating.  I am grocery shopping, bill paying, meal making.  But all these same things have shifted.  They’ve changed shape and changed place.  I have to do them slightly differently.  Stop and think about which cupboard is hiding the measuring spoons.  Stop and study the words next to the buttons on the washing machine, and search for where the soap goes.

Nothing is automatic right now.

Writing is what is saving me.  I have a different view from my studio window.  I have a different studio.  But the writing is the same.  I have a place to stand that is familiar.  From here, I can see the whole picture and find myself in it.

I will find my balance again.

I like my new space.  Lots of windows, lots of light.  Room to move and imagine.

My new address starts with the word ‘Downstairs’.  I like that.  It is an actual place, Downstairs.  Unlike a random number and street name that never conjure a picture for me, Downstairs gives me a space I can imagine.

I am now the writer Downstairs.  This is good, and I’ll tell you why.

Stephen King’s muse is a guy who lives in the basement.  True.  Just read ‘On Writing’.  In my copy of the book, he is on page 144.  This muse-guy has awesome ideas, as in a constant flow of.

My theory is Downstairs must be fertile ground to grow ideas for writing.  So here I am, writing (and living) Downstairs.

Next door to the boys in the basement, there is now a girl creating whatever she pleases and writing wherever the words take her.



Mentioned in this post:

‘On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft’ by Stephen King, Scribner, 2000

Connected again

The moving-house last weekend unexpectedly resulted in no phone, internet or tv, up until an hour ago when I became connected to the world again.  One thing about having none of these things–I emptied all the boxes at warp speed.

There will be posts next week as usual.  In the meantime, I am working on the last of the boxes and getting my studio in shape.