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The Living In & The Holding

You know when you start thinking about a new idea and little gifts…magical moments…signs…start showing up like snowflakes made just for you? Whether this new idea has to do with a writing project or a dream, things begin to show up in ways that keep the idea or dream cultivating. That’s been happening to me. And, honestly, I’ve been busy with things that are not related to my idea…but the magic is certainly moving around me in a strong current. It’s warming and calming. And also unnerving.

As soon as I started writing about my Nonna, sewing things popped up around me like a bobbin on a sewing machine! I’ve been taking photos…collecting and gathering…the gifts and sign.

It’s November. I mean, whaaat?! It’s beautiful, this Autumn. I feel like we haven’t seen such a pure Autumn in years. Have you noticed the vibrant colours of the leaves? The yearning yellows, the weepy oranges, the succulent fuschias? The colours hit me in my chest and I lose a breath. And then…this morning – chunky, fat snowflakes! Yes!

I was struck with the yuletide spirit yesterday in a grand way. I started listening to the Christmas carols on the radio. We watched ‘Home Alone’ before bed. I have the itch to get the house decorated and start cooking and baking more than we can eat…so we can share!

Overall, my spirit has been in a whirlwind. Some days I feel so excited and filled up – my heart and mind bursting with gratefulness and patience. Others, I feel darkness around me like a cave. I feel my bear spirt and she wants to eat meat, fatten up and then sleep for months. My body took a bit of a hit with the daylight savings. I was tired. Very tired. I thought I was pregnant. I’m not, at least, not in the literal sense. But, I tell you friends, I feel as though I am pregnant! With ideas, with love, with passion, with purpose. And purpose, dear, sweet purpose – she’s doing a shift too. Which is probably one of the things that’s causing this inner-spinning.

I’m living some extraordinary dreams right now. You know, we give a lot of time to dreaming – to thinking about and cultivating and yearning for and manifesting dreams. The things our hearts and bodies and soul(s) guide us to conceive and birth. And sometimes the pregnancy for these dreams can take years, decades…but then they happen. And the living of the dream, the being in the dream…it honestly takes a bit of trying on! It takes a conscious adjustment and adaptation to fit this dream into your daily living.

I’ve birthed Gertrude’s Writing Room…and it’s very…intense. There are days when I revolve through all the emotional doors of running this space for creative writing – fear, panic, joy, elation, work, passion, exhaustion, grief, guilt, love. Some days I want to be here every waking hour. Other days, I need to stay away. Some days I am inspired in the space and I am more productive than I’ve ever been. Other days, I feel weak in spirit and want to sit in my chair and read poetry and books on creativity and cry.

It’s a kind of new holding that is causing this experience, I think. Like holding a newborn, sometimes you want to be skin-on-skin, as close as you can be. You want to smell and listen to and kiss the newborn all day. Still others…you reach for the sling for you need help in the holding. And others, indeed, you need to put the baby in the crib…off your body completely so it can replenish…and feel the loss of not having the child in your arms. Of course, then you scoop her up again and swing her around!

My writing life is changing. I was certain I could be successful at National Novel Writing Month, but as we step into the second weekend of the month, I think it’s likely I won’t hit that finish line. But it’s not for not writing! Oh dears, no! The words are flowing and flowing. I am writing syllabi, lesson plans. I am writing e-mails and blogs. I am writing love letters and writing in the margins of manuscripts. There are so.many.words. And I have to keep reminding myself that that ALL THE WORDS COUNT.

I’m gonna write that again…


I am a teacher, but I am also the student. Always I am both. And that’s very important to me. I want to share the learning. So not only do I create the class, but I take the class too.

The conversations I’ve had about writing and creativity over the last few weeks have been incredible.

And so…there is so much to hold.

There is so much to feel and let in.

There is so much to embrace and to let go.

If I’m at Gertrude’s, I’m not at home. I am hugging a writer. I am not hugging my children. (At least not until I get home!) So you see the shifts in the living of the dream can be rattling to the heart.

There’s so much laundry! So much dust and dog hair! (I hope you’re laughing with me!) But these things…the domestic callings though they are loud and obnoxious…I am learning to ignore until we all help each other and handle them together.

When you’re living your dreams you have to continuously ask for help. That’s not always easy. Mostly, it’s not because it calls into question your beliefs in your self as ‘She-Who-Handles-Everything’ and ‘She-Who-Is-In-Control’. Sheesh. Control is a dangerous thing. So each day presents me with opportunities to be humbled. To ask for help. To let shi* go. I fail extraordinarily repeatedly. (My new TedX speech title: Extraordinary Failure. #justsayin)

I have a new collection of poetry and/or essays brewing in my mind like a witch’s potion. And the signs that this is what I need write about? Yesterday, I received Ami McKay’s new book ‘Half Spent was the Night’ (witches) in the mail and Miller brought home a lovely bottle of purple potion she made in art class. Huh. Double signs, friends. DOUBLE.

I think…I’m doing okay.

I’m in a new living. And each day asks for small adjustments.

I feel my spirit needs…widening in different ways than I am used to. So I’m doing my best to pay attention to what she needs.

She is surrounded though, fully and completely, by this dream-living, so she’s protected and safe.

What dreams are you living? Conceiving? Cultivating?

I hope the dreams are alive in you.

I hope you too can adjust and adapt to the living in of your dreams.

And hold on tightly.

Or let go.

I’m practising both.

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