Water in the Desert

This is a story about the gift of contrast. Water and desert are used as analogies not labels – I could use, for example, the polar ice caps and the tropics. Water and the desert just work for me.

Imagine you’ve focused your life’s work on the study of water and you move to the desert.  Like anyone who has a career specialty, we hive together feeding off each other’s energy, comparing our pails of water.  When I moved from Toronto/New York to the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, I had no idea where to put my bucket.

It’s a beautiful thing to be a stranger in a welcoming place. You must learn to navigate a new space and before you can know where you belong, you have to know where you are.

Now, you may think you know where this story is going. The water/desert metaphor is just too strong and it would be easy to assume that there is an epiphany of the desert needing the water.

Cue the plot twist.

As I look out my big studio windows,  my current body of work reads:

  • episodic hourly drama series pilot/pitch complete
  • reality tv show pitch complete
  • two podcasts in development
  • national staged project fusing sciences and arts in production
  • jewelry design company
  • special projects for regional organizations that utilize my particular ‘water skillset’

This has been the most productive time of my entire career. Yes, of course, obviously, there is a lot of creativity and artistry in the foothills of these mountains- that is a given. Yet in learning about this place, I have learned so much about myself. It has redefined my work with a freedom that I did not find while swimming in the ocean with my bucket.

Huh! Plot twist revealed –  Turns out that what my study of water was missing, was the desert.

 

 

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Where the Wild Things Thrive

Inside all of us is a wild child. A rumpus-roaring, belly-laughing, jolly-jumping girl or boy thrashing about. What would happen if we dared to let that untamed hot mess of joy escape?

A tree  left to grow freely, bursts into the most glorious sizes, with branches sprouting in surprising patterns shooting towards the light, rooted deep in the earth. Pruning hands contain a tree’s natural inclinations,  uniform shapes  sculpted in attempts  to give order.  Our tree, then, is the same as our neighbour’s tree, which is the same as the next, and so on. When we come across that rare tree that has grown on its own accord we look at it in awe and admiration!

We can strive to embrace our own unique pattern of living, our voice and expression that is uniquely ours or we can  diminish to a palatable sameness that dulls the senses.

Dare to be Wild! Dare to sing in a voice born of your own truth rather than one that mimics or exploits from the truths of others. Out of tune? A tad raspy? Who cares! It’s your voice and it is glorious.

Dare to Create! Be proud of something you made that tells your core story. That is meaningful to you. Colouring outside the lines? Dripping watercolours? Me too!

Dare to make a mistake in the process of making your statement. And if you’re going to make a mistake, make it a big one. You might as well let it rip and rip good!

Dare to embrace the love of those around you. And be wild enough to trust you will know when the love is false. Fill your world with the raw life full energy of good solid people who hold you in their hearts with the same care, love and respect you hold theirs.

For when we are full in our own souls and have fullness around us, we can be the wild and delicious creative beings the world needs us to be!

of-forest-men-yann-arthus-bertrand-3.jpg.492x0_q85_crop-smart(Photo by Yann Arthus-Bertrand)

Leaping Locusts!

Since early in the New Year I have been awoken almost every night, with terrible nightmares – vivid, violent, anger filled, not my typical sleep pattern. The final and most jarring was  a couple of weeks ago.

I was sitting on a moss-covered rock surrounded by a metre wide swath of water that was rushing towards a waterfall in front of me. It was dusk and getting darker. I looked up to see hundreds of thousands of forms falling from the sky. As they fell closer they began to take shape – looking almost human.  Were they aliens? Spirits? They landed on the ground on the other side of the water, on top of each, more and more, falling and falling. Not humans, not aliens, but locusts. Hundreds of thousands of locusts. Dark grey grasshoppers with big eyes, that now sat poised and waiting. I was freaked out and woke out of breath. What was going on? Why was I continuing to have these very unsettling dreams?

Needing some sort of clarity, I researched the elements of my dream knowing already information about water, rocks, waterfalls: it was the plague of locusts that I was most curious and unsure about.  With great relief my research on locusts/grasshoppers as totems revealed that the beliefs say they are a very positive message to be receiving. And should I be surprised to learn that their message is ‘leap of faith’… OK, wait a minute. Have I not been pondering and writing about leaps of faith for the past 6 months? Am I not getting the message, or am I fooling myself into thinking that my present state of living is the leap?

A week ago I attended the  wackiest wedding in gorgeous Myrtle Beach SC. The weekend of miscommunication, no wedding rehearsal, and all around hilarity culminated in half of the guests, the groom, and the groom’s family, arriving one hour late to the evening beach wedding.  (Note to those heading to the altar – GPS without a proper address will not work, most especially for a beach wedding) The convoy of cars arrived in a frantic state rushing to park, calm the frazzled nerves of the bride, everyone doing their best to keep it all together. We traipsed over the dunes arriving at the most extraordinary  setting; the ocean and grey soft sand, framed by the bluest of skies with the moon already in orb above. As the officiate spoke in calm meaningful tones, I drew closer to listen to the exchanging of vows. All the rushing ended. There was a ‘pause’ in the comedy of errors that had defined the weekend, as the waves rolled, children kicked up sand, guests laughed and the couple kissed.  It struck me, yes their wedding had the craziest ride to get to this moment, but then, so did their relationship and why should I have expected anything different? With the same abandonment and carefree spirit that had defined their life, together they took perhaps the biggest leap of faith possible. (God love them!) Seriously though I am lucky that I got to witness that moment when saner heads did not prevail.

I suppose that leaps of faith shouldn’t really be measured by anything other than what it means personally. Each leap leads to the next, and while perhaps my leaps in contrast to this crazy couple, are baby steps, they’ve given me a bit more courage to each time,  jump again. Not because they turned out as I expected, but because I leapt, landed and lived to tell the tale!

Leaps of faith have been my focus for a few months. I’m looking forward to a new perspective – perhaps it will be ‘the view from mid-leap’ or ‘I’ve leapt and landed, let the games begin!’… time will tell, but what I do know is that I am eager to see what unfolds. I’m taking my cue from two nutty newlyweds who live moment to moment without much of a plan. I will still be my same disciplined self – there are some things that just can’t be changed, but there will most definitely be times when I will lighten up and just go with it.