I am back. A long time away from this space, I know. It seems like my blog follows the arc of the year; active in spring, summer and fall, then hibernates over the winter. Now it is time to emerge and stretch upward in the ever-strengthening sunlight.
Even though the blog has been in hibernation for some months, it has been much in my thoughts. I’ve been thinking and doing some work on its evolution, how to move it in a direction that feels sustainable for me. Too, I wish to make it a space for those who read my work and celebrate the land and all that live upon it to come together. One aspect of the blog I have always planned on including, from the days of its inception, is to include horses. They’ve not appeared much yet, but soon you will hear the echo of their hoofbeats here.
So this space…I desire it to be an active, connected space that resonates from the deep regard, honor and respect I hold for the land. When I say land, I mean the entire landscape, skyscape, waterscape, climatescape and lifescapes that it encompasses. I also believe the earth to be feminine, so there is an underlying thread of the ancient Feminine in my work. The Feminine is the original, ancient power of nature. Although this thread is present, it does not exclude any person whatsoever. It is a recognition and celebration and reawakening of this aspect.
Writer and mythologist Sharon Blackie expresses the ancient Feminine well, “we [women] are portrayed not only as deeply connected to the natural world, but as playing a unique and critical role in the well being of the Earth and survival of its inhabitants.” She goes on to write, “women were the guardians of the natural world, the heart of the land.”
In time, we will explore this further. As in nature left to herself, there is a balance that all life moves towards. Feminine and masculine qualities exist in all of us. The feminine is our creativeness, our “instinctive, feeling, relational qualities traditionally associated with the heart and the soul,” again well-expressed by Blackie. On the other hand, the masculine is represented by “rational, goal-oriented, structuring qualities traditionally associated with the intellect and spirit,” Blackie goes on to write. We have a good visual of the balance of the feminine and the masculine in the Tao symbol of yin and yang. Here, the feminine energy and masculine energy flow around one another to create a circle.
This space will hold long stories and shorter stories. It will hold photos and videos, comments on books I am reading from time to time, quotes of words that catch my eye and soul, and links to the work of others that strike me and I think will do the same with my readers. In this space, I want to foster connection and conversation.
This past winter and during this spring, I have walked the land often. As I have for all my life. I’ve also been spending a fair amount of time working with horses and finding with them how they show us what is truly Real in life, if we care to look and investigate with them. If you stick around long enough, you will come to learn what is Real in life is of supreme importance to me. A true connection with the land is simple, yet hard. It is the same with horses. As I am discovering, it is quite stark and you have to peel away from your self much of which you will find is really falseness in order to create a space for it. Yet, when you begin to do this, a free beauty begins to show itself to you. You find there is really quite little that you require, and the things you do require are profound.
Here is what the land and horses have taught me so far this year.
We need to create a space to find our balance before we can move in any direction. This space MUST be maintained free from force for movement to happen. This space can be physical, mental, or emotional. It can be one, two or all of them at once. I have learned connection and metamorphosis happen at the edge of comfort and discomfort, the known and unknown. If you don’t push an edge in yourself or in a horse you (and the horse) will always stay in the same stagnant space. I have learned that true connection with a horse does not arrive with bells, whistles and confetti. It is quiet and infused with the primal strength that rises from the depths of the earth. It can be so small that you might not notice the horse offered until later when you suddenly realize the soft thought the horse had sent your way.
The land has taught me that movement is essential. After all, the land (earth) moves to maintain the circle of her life and the lives that live on her. That to be still is to die, figuratively and literally. The land has taught me that life endures but at the same time is fragile and fleeting. The only way to be is in each moment as fully as you can.
Unfettered, horses and the land move in circles. Always.
“We are participants in the world, with the universe. What we do changes things and we need to remember this as much as we need to preserve this way, not just as islands in our cultures but with all people knowing they are part of it. Somewhere in the past of all people are the deep channels of memory, the water dream, memories of the tender shoots of green and welcome magic of continuing for tall grasses.”~Linda Hogan
There are additional happenings that are in the works for the blog and my writing life. I intend to begin a newsletter connected to Earthwise and the Alabaster Horse. As a compliment to the newsletter, I am creating a free offering for those who sign up for the forthcoming newsletter. My plan is to include all of you, and add my current subscribers automatically to the newsletter subscriber list. If you do not care to be included in the newsletter list, email me here: [email protected] and I will remove your name.
My writing currently falls under the nonfiction genre; personal narrative, nonfiction, and creative nonfiction. At this time in my writing life, I enjoy the essay format. I have a growing number of essays completed, and continue to create additional ones. The writings on my blog are sometimes a short form of a longer essay, or stand on their own. Occasionally, I submit an essay to a publication or a writing contest. So far, I’ve received rejection notices from every publication I’ve submitted to. But I shall keep on. I have received one honorable mention in a contest, which made my week! This spring, I submitted an essay to the same contest. I will keep you posted on the result. Also, I am planning on submitting a piece to a publication I have not yet sent work to.
This is all about creating, growing, learning, failing and beginning again over and over.
When I have accumulated a pile of essays, my intention is to collect them together into a book.
To support my writing as well as keep my creative energy active, I read the work of others I admire and respect and those who know the craft through and through. Every two weeks, Sara, a dear writer friend, and I have a scheduled phone call where we discuss our work. We talk about all the good parts, and all the struggles. We recommend books to one another and the writings of others we find profound. We commiserate over how damn hard it is some days to sit down and write. We send one another our work for honest feedback. I think her and I could talk to the moon and back and not even notice. I look forward to these bi-monthly calls immensely.
Also, I have an accountability partner. This is new for me. And, I have found, vital. Suzanne, a creative woman who lives in the light of her work, an artist and writer, and I meet over Zoom every Monday for about an hour. We talk about our respective creative work. We note what we accomplished (or didn’t) during the past week that we had said we were going to. We talk about why it happened or why it didn’t. We note what we are going to accomplish in the current week. We talk about connections to our work that the other one might be interested in. We support. We encourage. We give one another quick accountability check-ins during the week if needed. And we laugh and we talk and talk…You can learn more about Suzanne and her work here.
There is more…I am part of a group of creative women online. This is an incredible gathering of ladies of all creative endeavors from around the globe. There is wisdom, life experience and creative experience freely offered amongst ourselves. There is true sisterhood. The support and knowledge in this space is magnificent. We have our own private forum. There are online live monthly calls with Anna Lovind, the creatrix who founded The Creative Doer and is the nucleus around which it revolves. Anna also offers Growth Lectures; online live calls that tap into her vast experience with building your own creative business. I am not much of a group oriented person, but The Creative Doer has turned out to be a wonderful resource, warm community and source of bottomless knowledge for me. You can check it out here. To learn more about Anna and her work, go here.
I leave the best for last ~ My life partner, Clay, who unfailingly supports and encourages me in my work and in my life. Even when he has the latest essay thrust under his bleary eyes at the end of a long day, he reads it. Always. My Mom, Dad and sister are always there, as well as my extended family. And my friends; you know who you are.
I am fortunate and filled with gratitude.
On the social media front: honestly, I struggle with social media. It invades my life, yet can give my work worldwide exposure with a single click of the mouse. I have arrived at this uneasy truce with it: I maintain an Instagram account for Earthwise and the Alabaster Horse. I will post once a week. If this becomes doable and does not feel invasive to my life, I may move to two or three times a week. Time will tell. For me, Instagram is a useful tool that requires firm boundaries erected around its use. I have left Facebook, though I realize Instagram is owned by Facebook. I chose Instagram as its community seems friendlier. That does not mean I may not leave it at some point, either.
Personally, I believe the best community will grow on Earthwise and the Alabaster Horse. It will grow slowly and my hope is that it will remain a close, connected, dedicated group who honor the truth of the land and all that live upon it. I am looking forward to this journey with you.
A life truly lived constantly burns away veils of illusion, burns away what is no longer relevant, gradually reveals our essence, until, at last, we are strong enough to stand in our naked truth.~Marion Woodman
Unless otherwise noted, all photos are taken by myself. The brief passages of Sharon Blackie’s words are from her book If Women Rose Rooted (September Publishing, 2016). The quote from Linda Hogan is from The Radiant Lives of Animals (Beacon Press, 2020). The quote from Marion Woodman I found here