As December comes to a close, I’m still circling the virtual sacred playground that is Tracking Wonder’s #Quest2015, a hub of a hundred plus creatives of diverse disciplines all riffing and responding across artistic disciplines to a series of prompts presented by thirteen visionaries (curated by Jeffrey Davis). The purpose: to track wonder fiercely using the prompts as an initiating call with the common goal of making 2015 an amazing, inspiring, prosperous year. For a more intimate understanding of the quest, here’s beautiful quester Lora Jansson’s take on the group journey, from week 1 in December: It’s a Big Boat. Grab an Oar.
I joined the quest midway and will be posting to the remaining questions in the coming days. I backtracked here to respond to our Day 1 prompt:
Jen Louden’s prompt: Grit without compassion is just grind. What would be most fun to create this year? How can self-compassionate grit support you in that creating?
I wish I could go on pilgrimage and write, for example, all along the Camino de Santiago (I’ve wanted to do this for some time now; see Sky Walking over at Feral Mom, Feral Writer). Soon maybe I can–children in tow–now that my youngest is eight years old. I’ve always wanted to visit the temples of the world and write poems as I go.
Up until now, inside the domestic monastery, the pilgrimage has been traversed by word via vessel of blogpost and poem (Inquiry Posts, Chaucer, and Blogger as Pilgrim). One after all doesn’t have to physically occupy a sacred location in order to connect to and write one’s sacred work given the imagination, prayer, night-time dreams, and one’s mother-love and second sight spiraling out into the dark. #Quest2015 is a perfect example of the kind of virtual pilgrimage one can commit to with fertile and cross-pollinating results, a beautiful structure in which to articulate one’s vision while crafting the boots tall enough to walk the path as it lights up before us (see links to posts by other questers below).
While I can’t go as far as the Pyrennes yet (still sewing my boots!), I am venturing out on a modest book tour (which started in November; readings and workshops already joyfully completed in San Diego, Berkeley, and Sebastopol). In response to Jen Louden’s prompt, I drew in morning color meditation a path, and on it, placed the paper dolls like the ones I’m using in this coming year’s Writing Past Fear: Free Your Butterfly poetry workshops for November Butterfly. In workshop, I give us each a string of blank paper dolls; across our dolls we scrawl the names of our favorite mentors (public iconic and private family). Bolstered by the strength and beauty of our mentors, we write our way home. The mentor pool to date has been diverse and rich, littered with names from Rachel Carson to Patti Smith.
I will need the grit to go on tour (for a day or two or three at a time) despite my three children, to find a way to venture in peace without straining my desire to love and be with them, to trust my children to their utterly capable and loving though sometimes distracted and multi-talented and multi-tasking father–see Some Mother: Abalone vs. Coffee or, Feral Wife: Two Chainsaws, the Ocean and an Untended Husband or Car Tantrums, Non-Parental Observers and the Cops.
And to answer the second half of Louden’s prompt “grit without self-compassion is grind,” I’ll need to draw on self-compassion in order to work to scale in beautiful environments and in modest numbers to respect the core quiet in which I’ve come to blossom best as a relatively shy introvert.
Or….perhaps I’ll lean on the grit to push that comfort zone a bit in the spirit of play. Maybe stretch to grow in order to widen the ring of connection with others eager and ready to experience the kind of joy that accompanies putting story to paper. Would you risk it?
And while you’re here, riff with me on locations, the kinds that lend themselves to soothe or delight for those of us ready to let slip a story or two of cocoon: museum, arboretum, bakery, rose or cactus garden, or other as yet-to-be-dreamed writing sanctuaries. Where do you dream of writing?
Bio for Jen Louden, responsible for the prompt at the top of this post on grit and self-compassion:
Jen Louden is a writer, pioneer in the personal growth field, author or several popular books, and guide for navigating your life with authenticity. She is founder of the TeachNow program, which has served thousands of teachers, service providers, and entrepreneurs. Follow her on Twitter @jenlouden.
Image credits: artwork, yours truly. Cover of November Butterfly: photo by Robyn Beattie; cover design by Don Mitchell of Saddle Road Press.
Additional links of interest:
From Shadow Comforts to Compassionate Grit: A Dialogue with Jennifer Louden (a conversation with Eric Klein and Jennifer Louden) (thanks to Lora Jansson)
True Grit(s) by quester Mark Horn: a fun tour of Horn’s associations with the word grit including the movie True Grit
Compassionate Grit [The Twelve Days of #Quest2015 Day 1] by quester Kate Arms-Roberts: a look at self care
Picking Athena, Tracking Wonder on a Sky Lake by quester Suzi Banks Baum at Laundry Line Divine; another beautiful post sure to make clear the passion gracing #quest2015
Writing Prompts for Poems in Section 1 of November Butterfly can be accessed here.