homesteading my psyche

At fifty-two, I feel betwixt and between, no longer young and not yet old. Looking back I can see my life as remarkably valuable training and experience. To hell with regrets. I can’t change a damn thing. I know myself much better in midlife and that’s truly a gift. I also know I still have a lot to learn.

Like my prairie ancestors, I have an inherent longing now to settle or “prove up” one hundred and sixty acres. A sort of cognitive Homestead Act of my midlife psyche. A bit of a gamble, rife with elements of uncertainty, the heady buzz of adventure and the resilience to know I can handle whatever comes my way.

Funny to think about cognitive growth using these terms. However, metaphorically, it works pretty well. Claim my section. Select the crop.  Prep the land. Plant the seeds. Irrigate. Fertilize. Monitor growth. Harvest. Review.

These 3 simple questions help me often and perhaps might’ve helped my prairie ancestors as well. The trick is being able to actually answer them.

What’s working?

What’s not?

What’s next?

Homestead Act of 1982 “…and that such an application is made for his or her exclusive use and benefit, and that said entry is made for the purpose of actual settlement and cultivation, and not either directly or indirectly for the use of any other person or persons whomsoever…he or she shall thereupon be permitted to enter the quantity of land specified.”    

the gentle power of “mend”

This morning I woke up with the word “mend” on my mind.  What a simply beautiful word.  I kept thinking about it while I actually mended a few things.

  1. A suede jacket I inherited from my paternal grandmother.
  2. My daughter’s blue jeans…not a rip in a fashionable spot.

I realized that mend somehow uniquely seems more feminine to me than its masculine cousin, repair.

Mending and sewing connects me to the ancient wisdom of mothers, daughters, sisters, grandmothers, aunts and friends.  Women have been sitting together stitching, solving problems, laughing and crying in gardens, front porches, church basements, adobes, tents and huts throughout the history of the world. This is a part of all of us, even if it hasn’t necessarily been our personal experience.  We mend in the way I did today, but we also mend broken hearts, bones & skin, relationships, nervous systems, false narratives and so much more.

Here’s to mending whatever is in your literal or emotional stack of damaged goods. 

Go ahead, tap into that ancient wisdom. 

The ladies are waiting to help you.

Dream, Girl

I’m taking my daughters and a friend to a benefit for the Vermont Women’s Fund tonight.  We are viewing the film Dream, Girl about women in entrepreneurship.  Then we get the privilege of a Q & A with some bold, female leaders in our community.

I created these images today.  I’m beyond compulsive about my South Dakota two-lane images. I’m all for a good creative obsession if it isn’t hurting anyone else. Here’s the Dorthea Lange quote I love.  I wasn’t kidding.

“Pick a theme and work it to exhaustion… the subject must be something you truly love or truly hate.”—Dorthea Lange

Today as I searched through my images I kept noticing shots with girls & women and shoes & boots…four of my favorites subjects.  All of these girls and women possess character, strength and a certain moxie.

Here’s the trailer.  You can do a screening in your area.  http://dreamgirlfilm.com/

 

My dreamlike experience in Lexington, Kentucky.

I just spent the better part of the week in Lexington, Kentucky helping Elizabeth Bunsen run an ecodyeing workshop with a remarkable group of women.  Our host most magnificent; Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch, an encaustic artist has created a space for the magic of artist workshops to take place in an 1880s Victorian home being lovingly restored (encaustic castle).

Patricia (Trish) has remarkable vision for workshops and artists in residency programs of all creative stripes.  Sue Stover started a workshop the day I had to head back to Vermont.  My brood needed me or I would’ve loved to have stayed.  I’ll be back one day.

Here’s the link to Sue’s unique work. http://susanstover.com/

Magnificent sheets and comfortable beds were much welcomed after long days of creativity and laughter (and a few tears as well).  In the morning we gathered in the dining room and we were served homemade granola (ginger fetish), yogurt, fresh baked breads, coffee and spirited conversation.  Over breakfast one day we got to hear the low down from a couple who went to a Pearl Jam show the night before, they snuck in late and didn’t even wake any of us sleeping in the rooms next to theirs.

I can’t quite put into words yet what this experience entirely meant to me, so I thought I would layer some images that felt most “dreamlike” from my days in Kentucky.  There will be a lot more photographs to follow.

Here are the links to get on mailing lists and to check out the accommodations if you are ever planning a trip to Lexington (you really should, very cool city).

http://www.pbsartist.com/

https://www.airbnb.com/users/show/14472982 (login or create an airbnb profile to see more images)

encaustic castle pbsartist laughter elizabeth bunsen pbsartistopenstudio

encaustic castle chandelier pbsartist lexington kentucky encaustic castle pbsartistopenstudio elizabeth bunsen lisa lillibridge pbsartist pbsartistopenstudio pbsartist encaustic castle elizabeth bunsen lillibridge