When I was a sprinter, my sixth grade coach nicknamed me the silver bullet. Having lived the body metaphor, I recognize if you run a race at someone else’s pace, you risk burning through reserves and finding yourself without a kick at the end to surge ahead to win.
But motherhood–and fatherhood–call for other metaphors. How does a mother at the helm write or create and feel good about the time she’s invested to run or win her artistic race if it comes at the expense of the children or harmony in the home?
I venture to guess the clock of motherhood is different; crossing the finish line means crossing with children.
What Drew Me to Quest
I first joined Tracking Wonder’s Quest in December of 2014, pulled into the world of questions and the invitation to blog my way into an understanding of what I wanted 2015 to look like. At that time I was blogging across a number of platforms and wearing many hats as a poet, blogger, editor, writing instructor, and mother and feeling some isolation and certainly feeling perpetually “behind” in terms of where I thought I was supposed to be by this time in my writing and teaching career. I was looking for a way to focus my interests and challenge myself to grow as a business person while staying aligned spiritually and true to my heart callings. And I wanted to find a way to be at peace with how far–or more importantly–not far–I had come.
Past Gifts of Quest: Business Artistry, Community, and Collaboration
Tracking Wonder’s posts about “business artistry” immediately spoke to me. The two areas (business and artistry) combined like that intrigued me as did the invitation to not only blog to prompts offered by visionary business artists Jeffrey Davis culled for us, but to have access to a private community of other questers for support. Beautiful collaborations with other questers have blossomed for me since 2014; I had the opportunity to guest post for Ginny Lee Taylor at Women of Wonder (Words as Spiral Path), to contribute stills for a movie made by Suzi Banks Baum titled, The Permission Slip, to contribute a prose poem to Writer and Storytelling Coach Marisa Goudy’s series #365 Strong (When Elder Becomes Child), and to be interviewed by poet Ren Powell for her podcast series featuring poets addressing how writing affects daily choices, This Choice. These forms of collaborative play brought me out of creative isolation and ignited great joy, as do the ongoing conversations and relationships–too many to name here–that continue to blossom online. Deep gratitude is due to my fellow Questers.
Through engagement with Quest prompts and participation in The Writing Den (where powerful writing exercises were offered) and through witnessing other questers take steps to expand their own businesses, I also was able to articulate goals about stepping out to teach my online courses on my own.
On the heels of December 2014’s Quest work, I started co-blogging with Mary Allen at Tarot for Two to enrich my online Tarot writing classes and to help me prepare for teaching Tarot deck making classes. That had been a long held secret dream of mine: to help others access their own inner symbol worlds in order to glean the joy that comes from the creative process of using words and art to bring that richness into view for self and others. I was fairly comfortable in my roles as a poet, writer, editor, blogger, and mother; claiming my Tarot teaching identity in public, despite twenty plus years of engagement with the cards and reading for others, was something that required a new level of bravery. Watching the unfolding of other healers on Quest helped tremendously; (I’m thinking in particular of a much loved fellow quester, Loraine Van Tuyl, PhD, CHT of The Sacred Healing Well). It is the art of creative encouragement, brainstorming, and bravery I see in my fellow questers that keeps me coming back to the Quest forum. I also want to acknowledge an expansive graciousness on the part of the community and our host, Jeffrey. Our lives, our wellbeing, our families, come first; though we come and go as dictated by the rhythms of outside circumstances, we are always welcomed back inside the circle of Quest with open arms.
Ongoing Gifts of Quest: Community, Risk Taking, and Growing as an Artist and Teacher
One of Jeffrey’s choices for his line-up of visionaries on Quest 2015 was Sunni Brown; after listening to Sunni’s Ted Talk, “Doodlers, unite!” I began to respond to Quest prompts in colored pencil. When I took up Quest that December of 2015 to vision my best 2016, in love with art again, I chose to respond to the prompts using the Tarot cards, often pulling three cards and responding in both writing and art to create a synthesis image of the three cards (like this opportunity chain butterfly based on the work of Charlie Gilkey or this heart taurus lantern based on the work of Jen Louden). This kind of creative play along with the other questers responding positively to my art and process helped give me the confidence to move into my Tarot Dreamers deck making courses.
One of the risks I was encouraged to take on Quest and in Writing Den was to enlarge my work in my field of choice by joining the conversation with others in my field; I am on fire right now interviewing other Deck Makers to bring their insights to my students. The interview project is fulfilling wishes I penned on Quest to use the “auroras of energy to fuel new adventures” and to “stop fearing life itself and let the dialogue resume.” I’m not hanging back wondering when I’ll get to my dream, I’m living it, and I am indebted to the love and support of my fellow questers and to Jeffrey Davis and his team at Tracking Wonder for the community of questers they have created and so carefully encouraged and guided. If you wish to join this year’s Quest, here’s a link to Tracking Wonder’s Quest 2017. Thank you Jeffrey, and Tracking Wonder, for the opportunity to stop and reflect on the harvest of gifts that have come as a result of Questing.
Photo of hands and the rose at the top of this post are by my poetry movie collaborator Robyn Beattie.
The next two drawings were done by me on Quest; here are links to the process posts I wrote at the time:
And the final drawing here is one I drew alongside of my Tarot students in the first of my Tarot Dreamers Deck Making Classes, my Ace of Windmills for the Suit of Air.
My working “key” for the card: The Ace of Windmills corresponds to the idea that one can stand rooted in all forms of weather, transforming the powerful winds of adversity into alternate forms of energy such as inspiration to create art. Ever since I was a child I have loved standing out in the pre-storm rain and wind and have loved the way wind wakes up the edges of my body.