Glennen Doyle Melton, Elizabeth Gilbert, creativity and podcasts....

While baking some birthday goodies this week, I started listening to Elizabeth Gilbert's podcast "Magic Lessons" which is an extension of sorts of her book "Big Magic" which was published in 2015.  She has two seasons of episodes, and I just picked the last episode of this last season.  It was a sort of post mortem on the whole season of guests, and there was so much good stuff.  I had never heard of Glennen Doyle Melton, but she is a blog writer (, an author, a recovering addict and a truth teller.  WHAT A TRUTH TELLER.  I have got to see if I can find a transcript of their conversation.  Elizabeth Gilbert mentioned a quote by John Steinbeck, "and now that you don't have to be perfect, you can be good."  Elizabeth said that Glennen went one step further with the thought, "but if you don't have to be good, then you can be free."  Isn't that the most beautiful idea?  Isn't that what we all want, to be free?

new book, "The Untethered Soul: the journey beyond yourself"

just came in the mail from amazon a couple of days ago. I actually saw it in a girlfriends bathroom and I thought it looked really good.  I was looking at it last night before bed, and started on the first chapter "the voice inside your head."  I am so familiar with mine.  I have gotten good at watching it. It is just so amazing when you can observe all the buzzing in your mind; it is like a little movie running.  Since I have started to observe it, I have noticed it can be more in the background instead of drawing all my attention.  Michael A. Singer, the author, says "you are not the voice of the mind - you are the one who hears it."  The voice is incessant, it makes both sides of an argument, it can be hateful or kind, it is just a running narration...and when you realize you are not the voice, you don't have to figure out if the voice speaks the truth.   

So I was dawdling on Instagram a couple of days ago, and thejealouscurator (who I am slightly obsessed with) asked with an illustration, "what does your inner critic say to you?" She has a new book coming out about your inner critic being a jerk.  And the responses...well, our inner critics are just bullies.  But I think I am able now to see the inner critic (that voice that I notice) and let it be.  I don't have to argue with it, or wish it away, it just happens to be there and I can go about my work.  I am so thankful I am learning this skill.  

Sitting as a practice....

I sit.  I sit at my desk and work, on the couch and space out, in my bed up against the wall reading.  I also sit as a practice.  And it is not even sitting really right back and neck hurt to much to hold myself upright; instead it is laying on the floor with my knees bent and lower legs resting on a chair.  I do this for twenty three minutes usually, most every night.  It is meditation, but that word makes it seem like something more than it is.  It is just noticing.  I notice my breath, and my weight and how it meets the floor, and the sounds.  There are so many sounds in a house to notice.  And there are so many thoughts in the mind to get lost in, so that you lose the noticing.  When I realize I can't hear the sounds, I realize I am listening to my thoughts.  Then I can come back to the noticing.  It happens over and over; there is something so comforting in that.  

I was talking with my brother a couple of days ago about some changes he is making in his life.  Difficult changes.  He knows the changes are better for him, but he still wants the other.  He told me he can allow the desire to be there, but he doesn't have to do anything about it.  He can choose.  That choice is so powerful. I find the sitting helps me make those choices with more peace.  That is why I will keep doing it. 

Elizabeth Gilbert's brilliant advice....

Do you ever listen to the Krista Tippett radio show/podcast "On Being"?  I do, but am way behind.  So this friend that I was visiting said I really needed to listen to the episode with Elizabeth Gilbert, who wrote "Eat Pray Love."  I did today while I was at the gym, and it had me smiling the whole time.  The episode title is "Choosing curiosity over fear" and it really resonated with me.  I don't often address my personal life here on the blog, but so much of the discussion addressed questions I have had in my own life and artistic practice.  

Elizabeth Gilbert said creativity is our "birthright" as humans, that we are the "maker apes." And then somewhere along the way, we lose this sense of naturalness or innateness to our creativity.  Many of us don't recover it; but that living a life of curiosity is also living a life of creativity.  She said that you may not may an object/an artwork, but that you make a life, which is a creative act.  She seems to have given herself permission to follow her curiosity, wherever that may lead.  

"I think curiosity is our friend that teaches us how to become ourselves. And it's a very gentle friend, and a very forgiving friend, and a very constant one. Passion is not so constant, not so gentle, not so forgiving, and sometimes not so available. And so when we live in a world that has come to fetishize passion above all, there's a great deal of pressure around that."  Elizabeth Gilbert

I am finding now, in my mid-life, that I am changing, that the people I love are changing, and that being fixed on passion, or your younger self's expectations. leaves little room for this organic growth.  Isn't it so brilliant to give yourself permission to explore in ways you might never have before....and then to have no judgement about that exploration?  

To choose curiosity over fear means to choose possibility.  One of the things I have struggled with is not wanting to feel the fear, or to know it.  But there is no way around that.  There is no life without fear.  There is however that moment, where you recognize the fear and want to run.  You can say hello to it instead, and then choose to not let it make your choices for you.  It is so difficult but unbelievably simple all at the same time.  I think I am beginning to choose curiosity; to explore because it brings me joy.  There is some good stuff in their talk about joy, and gladness, courage and compassion...just some wonderful words that will continue to resonate for me.  I hope you will have a listen if it is of any interest to you.  


so good...

again, with the embroideries.  I just love this work by Michelle Kingdom.  The images are so painterly, textured and detailed.  I dearly want one for my own.  Her little dreamscapes are full of mystery.  You can see her work on her website, she is one of 18 embroidery artists to watch on instagram, and she has been featured on  

"Some imagined future" by Michelle Kingdom.

"Some imagined future" by Michelle Kingdom.

"What is done cannot be undone" by Michelle Kingdom

"What is done cannot be undone" by Michelle Kingdom

"Life will divide us" by Michelle Kingdom

"Life will divide us" by Michelle Kingdom

"Duties of gossamer" by Michelle Kingdom

"Duties of gossamer" by Michelle Kingdom

Just wanted to mention....

That I visited my friend Keren Kroul's two person exhibition at Artistry in Bloomington, Minnesota on Friday night.  It is a spectacular show!  Of course I love my friend's gorgeous work, but I also discovered a fabulous sculptor, Nathan Hatch.  

Brilliant Absorption by Keren Kroul

Brilliant Absorption by Keren Kroul

Implement Landscape by Nathan Hatch

Implement Landscape by Nathan Hatch

It is up until August 19...Hope you might have a chance to see it!

one of my favorite things to get in the mail...

Is the RISDXYZ.  It is the print magazine for Rhode Island School of Design Alumni.  I am consistently amazed at the talent, scope and ambition of the community I went to school with.  It is remarkable and inspiring.  I often dream that I have gone back to get another Masters degree in painting, sculpture and explore the other areas I never had a chance engage in.  This issues cover featured the work of Sophia Narrett, a painter who began embroidering her narratives.    

Stars Align , Sophia Narrett

Stars Align, Sophia Narrett

Something Went Wrong , detail, Sophia Narrett

Something Went Wrong, detail, Sophia Narrett

Along the Vein,  Sophia Narrett

Along the Vein, Sophia Narrett

I love how she plays with the edge of the frame, with negative space in the interior of the image and with the drips and pulls of embroidery floss that start to feel think like paint.  The images are so layered and full that it takes multiple viewings to really discern the entire narrative.  And the textures and color are so rich and evocative that you can get lost in the beauty of the stitching in and of itself.  Thank you RISDXYX for introducing me to her work!