Updated: Jun 28
It’s been nearly two years since I’ve posted in this space. Two years in which the world, and my life, have turned upside down over and over and over again. Just when I think there is light at the end of the proverbial tunnel, it’s yet another locomotive headed straight at me… at us.
So, I sit here at this keyboard as a woman on the brink. Somedays, I’m on the brink of becoming a medicine woman; hiding away in a cottage in a thick wood, where people will occasionally knock on my door looking for a magical tincture to make their pain go away. I’ll dispense my wit and wisdom, seasoned with a side of snark, but mostly, I’ll hide away from people and reality. And some days, I’m on the brink of fully claiming my power and embarking on the greatest journey of my life. I am hoping it’s possible to live in both worlds.
After more than two years of not feeling any words in my head, the words are finally coming back. I have always been a writer and it has felt quite uncomfortable to not be able to find the words. They are now, and have always been, my solace and peace. While I’ve done good and productive things, I’ve missed the comfort of my words. They, I think, have missed me.
I find myself in my 56th year. I am divorced; a status I never wanted but couldn’t avoid. My children are grown or close to it. While they still need me here and there, mostly they are self-sufficient, and our relationship is moving more toward friendship than parent…a transition I enjoy. But after 25 years of full-time motherhood, I am not sure what to do with myself. I ran for the state legislature thinking that was the perfect answer, but I lost. So now, I have the blessing of choices to make and time to fill.
The last few years of my life and the epic rollercoasters of change I’ve experienced have given me the opportunity to take apart everything and make conscious choices of the things, physical mental and spiritual, I want to take with me as I move forward. I think we’re all doing that. Globally, the pandemic, the economy, world politics… all of it has pushed us to examine how we want to define what is normal… what is ours. What is left after everything is stripped away?
I find myself craving the time to rest and create. I am being called to create art in many forms, from blog posts to podcasts to fibers and fabric to painted surfaces. What’s far more important than the medium is that I give myself the time and space to create and create often.
One of my favorite short stories is “A River Runs Through It” by Norman McClean. Yes, there was a Brad Pitt movie based on the short. I’m not a fan of the movie, but the book is beautiful and I am pulled to a quote from the story:
“Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters.”
I am drawn to the words, the art and act of storytelling. We live in this world where we hear many people speaking, but we don’t listen. Most of the time, that’s because there are too many voices telling every story but the truth. In our new global reality, it’s our stories that bring us together. Repeating the facts and history of our existence seems to do little to change people’s hearts and minds. But there are connections to be built upon the stories. Perhaps then, and only then, will we start to see people as fellow human beings and worthy of the kindness and compassion required to heal… as humans, as a community, a society, and as a world.
This week, I’m embarking on two projects to build connections through storytelling. Rural mental health issues have been a priority for me the last several years. For the next 90 days, I’ll be working with some friends dedicated to community mental health and making sure our Lincoln County Idaho residents know where to find help when needed. It will allow us as a community to create a new story for the people who have struggled in silence. Will create a narrative where people can seek help and not be judged or punished for admitting things aren’t ok. It’s in that new space, one of peace and healing, that we can connect as a community to heal. Later in the week, I’m traveling to Vancouver, BC to meet with fellow leaders and creators. I get to participate in “The Story of Us“. I’ll be engaging with storytellers and filmmakers to learn new ways to create space for healing and to tell stories in a transformative and regenerative way.
I’m looking forward to this journey both as a few days away from my world to rest near the water and forests of Vancouver and also to learn about new ways to create space for the stories of the people around me -- the people of my beautiful Queendom.
I have always thought life was linear – you get from point A to point B in a straight line and when the line is impossible to hold you think it’s because you’re not working hard enough, praying the correct way or existing in a way that works. What I’ve learned in the last three years is you get from start to destination on a river that ebbs and flows and cuts through rocks and soil until it gets to its home. It is anything but a straight line. And that’s the story I think I need to tell.
So, stay tuned for a new and improved Adventures in Karmalot. Watch for sneak peeks on social media and new ways to interact with your fellow inhabitants of this Queendom.
What I’m reading: Surrender, by Bono
What I’m listening to: The Soundtrack from Ted Lasso on Spotify.