These three little words posted on my calendar often make me smile when my mind is swirling with thoughts and to do lists.
Keep it simple somehow brings me back home. I pause, take a deep breath, and begin again.
Keep it simple reminds be to ask myself howimportant is it? And perspective usually returns.
I ran across a quote today while looking for a card to send a friend.
“It doesn’t matter how slow you go, as long as you don’t stop.” ~ Confucius
Just what I needed. I get impatient with my creative process, learning to illustrate a children’s story, something I’ve never done before. But those wise words were telling me to just keep showing up, keep trying, and
“In my life, I have found two things of priceless worth—learning and loving. Nothing else—not fame, not power, not achievement for its own sake—can possibly have the same lasting value. For when your life is over, if you can say ‘I have learned’ and ‘I have loved,’ you will also be able to say ‘I have been happy.’” – Rama II, by Arthur C. Clarke
Red shoes have been my favorite, ever since I first watched Dorothy wear red shoes in the Wizard of Oz when I was only three years old.
I can’t remember if Mom bought me red shoes when I was a child, but I certainly remember buying myself a sexy pair of red, pointed, spike high heals when I was a young woman.
Later, after having children, my young daughter loved to play dress up in those red shoes. I can still see & hear her clunking through the kitchen with them on, a mile too big for her tiny 4 year old feet.
Red shoes are power shoes. Look what they did for Dorothy. She eventually found her way home in those red shoes.
It took me a long time to find my way home. My life journey has been a long and winding yellow brick road full of scary challenges, joys and sorrows, losses and gains.
Like Dorothy, it took me a long while to discover that other people did not have the answers, not even smart “wizards” like my former husband. I had to find my own answers within myself. And my red shoes reminded me of my power to stand up for myself, stand out, be noticed, and make my own decisions whether it pleased others or not.
The power of those red shoes followed me throughout my life, whether I wore them or not. Their color continued to remind me of my inner strength & courage, whether I felt it or not.
The hard working years of raising a family eventually passed, and my long standing, shapely, now varicose veined legs could no longer handle red spike high heels. I had to trade them in for red comfy flats. But their vibrant, red color still made me smile as I remembered Dorothy and her powerful red shoes. I wondered, wherewould these red shoes take me now that my kids were grown?
A new business, a new home, and a long, hard divorce were on the horizon. Could I do it? Could I, like Dorothy, weather the storm ahead and find my way in a new land?
I put on my red shoes and walked out into the unknown, trusting I would find my way, because now I knew my true Home resided within me.
Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished. ~ Lao Tsu
For most of my adult life I’ve been told to be “patient with the process.” What does that mean? I thought, as I hurried through my day as a busy mother, wife, career woman, & Girl Scout leader for my daughter’s troop. I wanted to get things done quickly, please everybody, and if there was a problem I wanted to fix it fast. Learning to walk through the discomfort of not knowing what to do, or having to stop and think before I reacted did not come easily to me. This perfectionistic way of being in the world led to much anxiety, periodic dizzy spells, a panic attack and a car accident, (luckily a minor one).
Fast forward many years, I’m now a much older, calmer, wiser woman. Life has taught me I can’t control everything, and the only thing I can control is how I respond. And how I respond has a lot to do with being patient with the process, my process, my journey. Kindness and acceptance of myself as I am continues to be a day by day, moment by moment practice. Being very hard on myself and driven, used to pay off with high grades in school & the approval I so much wanted from my parents. But as an adult, it was killing me inside. I’m glad I eventually found a healthier path.
So now, as I embark on a new adventure, writing children’s stories and learning how to illustrate them, sometimes it’s hard to be patient with the process. I remind myself everything starts out very small. An acorn seed does not become a tall oak tree overnight. It’s a process.
I asked a friend recently how she was able to write plays and actually get them produced. She said it was a long process and she didn’t do it alone. She worked with other people to make her dreams come true. But then she said something that stuck with me. She said, “First, I ask the question: How can this dream happen?”
First ask the question.
Like, “What’s the next step?”
Then be open to receiving the answer.
And until the answer comes, be patient with the process.
Hmmm, maybe patience with the process was the answer all along.
Do not be impatient with your seemingly slow progress. Do not try to run faster than you presently can. If you are studying, reflecting, and trying, you are making progress whether you are aware of it or not. A traveler walking the road in the darkness of night is still going forward. Someday, some way, everything will break open, like the natural unfolding of a rosebud. ~ Vernon Howard
Have patience with all things, but first of all with yourself. ~ Saint Frances de Sales
Hello – It’s been quite a while since I wrote something here. Some of you may remember me as a parenting coach & workshop leader. In 2019, a few years after my kids were grown & gone, and my mom died, and my divorce was done, I decided to shift gears in a new direction: writing stories!
Soon after my decision, the Covid-19 Pandemic hit in 2020. The lockdown quarantine pushed me to be more introverted than I’d ever been before. Writing was a good friend & fit for those times. I started taking writing classes and workshops via zoom. (Yes, I was one of the privileged ones who didn’t have to be a front line worker during the pandemic. I’m forever grateful for all they did to help us survive.)
All my life since my teens, I’ve enjoyed journaling but I never really identified myself as a “writer” or an “author.” I’ve also always enjoyed being artistic, but never saw myself as an “artist.” I guess these titles made me feel I had to be really good at it, like successful authors & artists I admired. Comparison sure gets in the way of creativity, doesn’t it?
Anyway, in spite of myself, I have actually written quite a few stories over the past three years and in the process discovered I have a gift worth nurturing.
In fact, to my surprise, I found out I enjoy writing children’s stories, which led me to take a picture book writing class at UCLA. I’ve always loved the art in picture books, ever-since I read them to my kids when they were young. There’s something about the colors, the beauty, and the values taught in really good picture books that still grabs my heart and won’t let go.
So now, another shift in gears has occurred. To my dismay, I’m actually allowing that “artist”👩🎨 in me to come out and learn how to illustrate 🎨 🖌️ a story I wrote about mystery, wonder and awe, seen through the eyes of a wise grandmother, a curious child, and a scientific father.
I just keep showing up. One step, one word, one brush stroke at a time. It’s an amazing evolving process. Creativity is not a straight line. It’s a circular process that requires times when nothing seems to happen, & it’s easy to despair.
But it’s like a seed in the ground. It grows in its own way & time.
(Maybe my next blog will be about patience.)
It reminds me of something one of my favorite authors, Sue Monk Kidd, once said to me a few years ago. She was promoting her book, “The Book of Longings.”
“What do you do when you’re afraid of your heart’s deepest longing?” I asked her.
She said she always felt fear before she wrote a new book, but she did it anyway.
“Just keep following the thread,” she said.
That struck a cord in me.
Now whenever I doubt where I’m going, I remember ….
Just keep following the thread. ~
I invite you to keep following the thread with me as I continue on this path of creating stories that touch the hearts of children & the adults who read to them. ❤️ 📕 ❤️
What were you doing when the world turned upside down?
For me that was Friday, March 13th 2020.
Like toppling dominoes, one cancellation piled atop another. Our public school went remote. Our synagogue cancelled Sabbath services. Our town library closed. My gym and dance studio closed. An up-coming business trip was cancelled. My private students cancelled their lessons. My daughter came home from college (thinking it would be a few weeks).
Oh, and my son’s engagement party was planned for that weekend.
I’m glad I didn’t know how long the doom would last. How many lives would be lost.
There is hope now. But our world is different. You are different. Hopefully, you’ve gained some things amidst all the losses.
I learned the primacy of relationships over work and ambition.
I learned that absence makes the heart grow fonder and stronger.