I've spent the past month or so in Portland immersed in house/pet sitting. It's been a wonderful respite from life on the road with days framed by dog walking, animal feeding, filling water bowls, bringing in mail, taking out garbage and recycling, laundry, watering plants and so on. It's a nice rhythm in that it mimics traditional life just enough to lull me into thinking I'm actually living that way again--except that I'm not. No, I'm surrounded by someone else's furniture, kitchen utensils, art on the walls, coats in the closet and stuff in the garage. I'm a temporary guest just passing through. But really, I'm much more than a guest. I live intimately inside the life of my hosts caring for their beloved home and pets as if they were my own, something a guest wouldn't be expected to do. I bond with these precious creatures. I know their routines and habits. I share my affection. Then, like the wind, I disappear, leaving the house with barely a trace that I was ever there except on the faces of the happy pets and in the shine of the home.
As with the rest of the nomadic life, it's bittersweet with highs and lows.
There have been some creative highs and lows lately as well.
The big recent high was signing my first book contract for my book, Creative Alchemy. This happened in the quietest, simplest way. No fireworks or fanfare. Just a small publisher who's as excited about the potential for this book as I am. In fact, we discovered that we both share the same vision for it. How cool is that?
I love the process of writing so much that I'm thrilled to have a reason to immerse myself in the writing, revising and editing process with this book. I love that I have an external deadline. I love that it suddenly matters that I give it my all.
It's a high to give birth creatively...because it means I can really share my words and ideas with others.
But there have also been lows.
The PDX Playwrights group did a table reading of my full-length play, But a Dream, a couple of weeks ago. To put it straight...it was such a disaster that I wish I could erase the memory of it from my brain (and my heart). I had forgotten how easily critique groups can break the vulnerable, open heart of a writer who timidly shows up baring all only to get crushed under the weight of well-meaning but difficult-to-hear feedback. The reading itself was chaotic--all 77 pages of it. I had lots of characters to read and not enough scripts to hand out (photo copies of long scripts get expensive), so the readers read multiple parts and stumbled through it, with much less passion and focus than it deserved.
Alas, I survived.
After licking my wounds, I've done my best to put it into perspective and trust that i will get back up on the horse that threw me down into the dust. I will ride again, but I will NOT make the mistake of ever doing that style of reading again.
Sharing takes courage and there's no reason to get badly hurt in the process.
So I'm up and down. Feeling positive and optimistic at times and discouraged at others. I'm deep in process about what I want to keep moving forward and what I want to jettison from my current life. True my life is pretty pared down, but there's still more that I can release and hone down to a life that authentically reflects where I am and what matters right now.
Much to reflect on.
We're all evolving and none of us truly knows where we'll end up. My lifestyle just makes that decision-making process more illuminated. There are several things that ARE clear:
- I feel the most authentic when I am immersed in a major writing project.
- I love and miss running groups.
- I prefer living alone to living with people. I've become more of a hermit since I began this journey.
- I want to move toward more work-related collaborations and less solo-gigging.
- I love the idea of international travel but I'm not sure what that will look like yet.
- I prefer in person groups to online groups and courses. There is NO WAY to substitute the eye contact, body language and energy that comes from circling in person.
- I prefer writing books over designing e-courses. I'm a writer first, teacher second.
- I absolutely adore the evergreen trees of the Pacific NW (and North Carolina) and the Redwoods of California. Trees are an essential ingredient to my well being. Being near water is also rejuvenating for me.
- I would rather hire someone to do ALL of my marketing than ever do it myself.
- I prefer working with women clients. rather than both men and women. Women are a better fit for what I do.
Clarity is food for my soul. The more clear I become, the easier the path forward becomes. I intuitively know that BIG changes are coming soon and I await them with open arms!
P.S. After hauling it around the country with me for thousands of miles, the container for my Vitamix fell out of my arms and onto the asphalt driveway during the move-in to my current house sit. The plastic cracked just enough to cause a leak, leaving me with no choice but to part with it. I still have the base and I'm hoping to replace the container soon. Just a reminder that everything is temporary, even my beloved daily smoothie maker.