This is one of my favorite photos I took this year. I'm in my mother's home alone while Ellie was out playing with her grandparents.
At the time, being alone wasn't an experience I'd had very often since Ellie's birth. In this captured moment, I'm surrounded by books and words and poetry and idea journals. I was in the middle of teaching the first Poem It Out course, which was truly a highlight of 2012. Ideas were swirling, and I felt rested for the first time in months. And I was making lists of the stories I wanted to tell and brainstorming the right containers for those stories.
In the last two years, I've begun to really focus on sharing my work through stories. It literally feels like I think in stories these days. In some ways, that's been the case since I began blogging and perhaps from the time I was a little girl and headed out the backdoor into the small bit of woods we had with my favorite book and peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
At my retreats, I often think of myself as a storycatcher as I listen and share words back and forth with women. And when we circle in person or in my online courses, I do think of myself as a storyteller.
Lately though, when I'm sifting through the stuff that sometimes piles up in the corners inside me, I'm beginning to see myself as a storytender. I'm being gentle with myself and these stories in the same way I cared for the little tendril of green that grew in the milk carton in the windowsill of my first grade classroom when we grew zinnias for our mothers that year. I'm trying to really notice so I can add water and open the windows for some fresh air and create space for rest.
As I look to 2013 and the ways I hope my business and family life will shine, I'm taking time to sift through a few stories. In little bits of time, literally five minutes here and ten there and two over there, I'm tending to the places I've been, the hurt that rests there, the joy that needs to be felt again, the beauty that insists on revealing itself.
Even though this can feel thick and even sticky, it creates space inside me so that I can live with my heart open to all of it: the joy, the hurt, the beauty, the shit, the silly, the love, the light.
And this life is what I want to choose again and again and again.
Join me in tending to your stories. Notice what needs to be watered...what needs to be free.
Let yourself rest in the truth you find.
For more notes from me about making the choice to tell the true stories and other adventures into creative self-care, sign up for my (almost) weekly newsletter that is really more like a love note from my heart to you.