Tag Archives: Alaska

In Which a Refreshed Me Becomes Creative Again


Here is the sewing machine I received for my birthday — in 2014. This is the first time I have used it.

I had a sturdy, dependable Singer sewing machine from 1986 onward and I thought it should last forever. As the years went on, it got crochety, like a lot of us do as we get older. It’s probably still perfectly good — maybe just needs a tune-up or a good going-over by a specialist. But all I knew is it was no fun to use anymore as the problems outweighed the pleasures by far.

So I got a new machine in 2014. I have moved the instructional dvd and the separate quilting board from one desk to the next, from one drawer to another, for over a year. I wasn’t sure I would ever have enough energy to sew again.

One of the lovely effects of my trip to Alaska was a renewed enthusiasm for creating things with my hands. I decided I wanted to make Eli a new weighted blanket awhile back after his was discarded along with the rest of his belongings by his ex-girlfriend. But it wasn’t until I came home from Alaska that the idea became one I felt capable of implementing.

I spent some time in Joann Fabrics the other day, taking in the aisles and aisles of potential there. It didn’t take long to decide on the fabrics for the blanket, and as I waited in line at the cutting table, I discovered an old friend I hadn’t seen for ages, but who knew what was new with me because she reads my blog.

My eminently sensible sister saw the one fabric and asked innocently if I thought it would be hard to work with. I hadn’t even considered that! But her question encouraged me to create a solution for being able to work with it much more easily.

I have never made a weighted blanket before, but I have made many, many baby blankets, and knew it was within my particular skill set to take this on.

When Kepler asked if he could help me tonight, my post-Alaska self welcomed him up onto my lap to help. He sewed with me for a few minutes and that was all he needed to feel complete.

I’ve noticed the back pain I always used to have while sewing or typing is gone. I’ve noticed the drive I had to justcompletethisprojectassoonaspossible is also gone. I find myself enjoying the process and really enjoying being able to enjoy something like this again.

Finding my way to White Raven Center

 

photo credit: me
 
Two of my favorite podcasters, namely Jason Stellman and Christian Kingery of Drunk Ex-Pastors, have been podcasting since August 2014. In August 2015, they had a guest on the show. Seth Taylor, author of Feels Like Redemption. 

Seth’s book is about porn addiction. Although i’m not a porn addict, what Seth said touched me deeply. Our addictions are ways that we medicate deep, unexpressed, unresolved pain and trauma. 

I had been looking at going to an Onsite workshop in Tennessee, but the cost was very prohibitive. After listening to Seth on the podcast, who could barely string together two sentences thanks to the interview style of Jason and Christian, i knew that Onsite, valuable as it may be for hurting people, was more than likely going to give me more head knowledge about changing my attitude, reframing things, understanding more. But there were feelings in me I had always been afraid to express and something in Seth’s brief presentation captured me and drew me to find out more. 

Finding out more meant seeking out his book and reading it. I also emailed him and was pleasantly surprised at how gracious he was to me, a stranger. More about that later.

Within a few days, i began to explore the possibility of heading to Anchorage, Alaska to attend a workshop on core transformational healing. And very shortly after that, I began to plan my trip. 

I had had a transformational summer in 1980 when I spent a summer up there on a Teen Missions trip. I have never forgotten the awe and wonder I felt as we ran around on the Matanuska glacier. While i think we did accomplish some helpful things for the camp we were at, the experiences i had on the glacier and on the mountain were pretty special times, and unique to Alaska. 

So I wanted to go back. If i could see a glacier, that would be cool. If i could climb a mountain, I’d be pretty happy. But if I could find the kind of healing Seth (and his brother, David) wrote about, I’d be a new person. 

It’s hard to explain on the one hand, but easy on the other hand. Each of us store energy in our bodies from traumas, rejections, abuse, wounds, and all types of pain. What Seth and David said, and what I experienced, is that that energy can be cleared out. And when it is, we reclaim parts of ourselves that we have rejected. 

You might not see it in these photos, especially if you don’t know me, but in this first one, I can see the fear and hesitation in my smile and my eyes. 

  
Here is one of me after the workshop. 

  
Free of a heck of a lot of pain I’d been carrying around for many, many years. 

I’ve been back for 10 days and everything’s different now. I’m no longer slogging through my days like I’m underwater. I’m no longer triggered by a zillion things. And i feel content and creative and grateful. And I’m going to let my light shine. 

It’s Just That Everything Changed

I think I’ve come down off the intense high I was on when I got home from Alaska, but it still seems tricky to write about what I experienced. I’ll give it a try.

I gave myself plenty of room in my suitcases to be able to bring things home from Alaska. But the best stuff I bought home wasn’t in my suitcase. It was in me.

As we flew from Seattle to Anchorage in a completely full plane, I turned on my music about 45 minutes from landing. I’ve mentioned elsewhere how much I enjoy listening to my music on shuffle. It’s like the fun of listening to the radio as a teen but with all songs that I like and the ability to skip one if I like. Anyway, I noticed as we were coming closer to landing that a song called “Little Butterfly” had begun to play.

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Photo credit: Meeee
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Photo credit: Also meeee and my iPhone

Someone had told me that flying into Anchorage means flying over water until the very last minute. She said she always is afraid the plane is going to land in the water. So, I was expecting to be over water until the last minute. Didn’t know how beautiful it was going to be.

So, “Little Butterfly.” It’s a song about the transformation that a caterpillar undergoes in becoming a butterfly. Some favorite lines:

I have lived all alone in a world without light.
I have lived in a cell without bars, without sight.
While longing for meadows, and fields full of flowers,
Pain and confusion have filled lonely hours.

A whisper was there each time that I cried,
Saying, “Don’t give up, child, keep hope alive.”
Hope seemed a thing as distant and far
as the most distant galaxy, the most distant star.

I don’t know how many readers will click on the link and listen to this beautiful song, but here it is. 

The entire song is about growth and rebirth. I was going to Alaska knowing that I was ready for growth and rebirth. I was so tired and really needed something. As we came closer to landing, Jana sang:

When my friends now, they call my new name,
And I smile at the promise that my new name brings.
They call me, “Little Mariposa” “Little Butterfly”
And my heart takes wing.

The wheels touched the runway at the exact second she sang the word Mariposa. I was thrilled with the serendipity, but the best was definitely yet to come.

Full lyrics for the song:

Esther Alvarado, Ginger Baker, Jana Stanfield
(with an excerpt from “Butterfly” by Joyce Rouse and Jana Stanfield)

I have lived all alone in a world without light.
I have lived in a cell without bars, without sight.
While longing for meadows, and fields full of flowers,
Pain and confusion have filled lonely hours.
I have wanted to fly, to soar over green fields,
But the hard shell around me would not crack, would not yield.
I felt bound to the earth, wrapped in ribbons of steal,
It hurt when I hoped, it hurt when I’d feel.

Yet even as I yearned so much for release,
Something inside spoke softly of peace.
A whisper was there each time that I cried,
Saying, “Don’t give up, child, keep hope alive.”
Hope seemed a thing as distant and far
as the most distant galaxy, the most distant star.
I did not believe I would ever be free
of the heavy cocoon covering me.

Then slowly, so slowly, came a glimmer of light,
It scared me a t first, this first bit of sight.
There were others around me. Why had they come?
Why had they entered my dark, lonely home?
And then, one by one, they reached out a hand
and lifted the ribbons of steel, strand by strand.
When their hands touched the ribbons, the steel fell away,
And I began to feel different in this lightness of day.

They smiled, they rejoiced, and I heard a song,
One that had played in my heart all along,
These are the words the song sings to me,
This is what it says:

“I can feel a change is coming, I can feel it in my skin
I can feel myself outgrowing, This life I’ve been living in
And I’m afraid, afraid of change,
Butterfly, please tell me again, I’m gonna be all right”

And I know, I know, I’m going to be all right.
And I know, I know, I will take flight.
When my friends now, they call my new name,
And I smile at the promise that my new name brings.
They call me, “Little Mariposa” “Little Butterfly”
And my heart takes wing.

Sorry for the Silence; I’ve been Clearing Space For Joy

Last post, I mentioned I was heading to Alaska. Been there, done that, and am easing back into daily posting with this beautiful art by Lucy Prior from Australia.

‘Getting Back on the Horse’, lino print, mixed media. This is about the journey of loss, grief and getting back into life. by Australian artist Lucy Prior. See more of her work and read about her at http://www.artpromotivate.com/2014/03/lucy-prior-life-is-short-art-long.html