I Call Her “Too Much”

Too Much

When I crafted the autumn flower above for Sheila D’s 30-Day Creative Gathering (Day 24), I sent it to a friend and told her this one might be a little “too much,” so I decided not to use it. Unwilling to leave her in the heap of “never-to-be-seen-again” photo projects, I worked on her a little more.

I tried to mute her brilliance, but no matter what I did, her radiance seeped out. After looking at all the renditions, I looked at her again, and decided…too much is actually okay. 

So…

This one is for all of you who have ever felt the need to douse your light or mute your shine to make others comfortable. 

This one is for all of you who can tell from the side-eyes, rolled eyes, wide eyes, and blank stares that people just don’t know what to make of you.

This one is for all of you who have been told at one time or another you’re too silly, too loud, too dramatic, too “extra,” too smart, too colorful, too difficult, too much this or too much that.

This one’s for you. 

In spite of all those eyes and all those voices that don’t yet appreciate the grandeur of your extraordinary—your “too much”—keep being you. 

You might as well. There’s absolutely nothing you can do to subdue your light. Besides, the rest of us love you, and for us, your “too much” is actually okay!

We Need Your Magic!

Coneflower Magic by Chandra Lynn

I wrote the piece below during a writing circle on a “bad writing day,” but when my journal fell open to this page this morning, I gave it a second look and decided someone needs to hear this today:

Sometimes your mind can be a little tricky and untrustworthy. A negative thought about your relationship to others and the world enters your head because of this [insert external stimulus] and because of that [insert external situation]. Somehow, that idea gets stuck and develops into the unfounded notion that you’re not wanted, not valued, not needed. 

Listen.to.me.

Please do not allow that errant notion to settle in your mind. Shake.it.out. The world wants, values, and needs every bit of you. Your unique color and light matter. 

You matter, and I don’t want to imagine a world without you—without your light, your spark, your smile, your joy, your spunk, your sass, your wit, your crazy, your magic!

Musings from My Younger Self | What Is a Friend?

Heart Rose wm

Yesterday I found another two folders packed with poems written by younger me. Apparently, at some point in my “teenagedom,” I put together an extensive collection of writings divided in five parts, complete with introductions. I even used Roman numerals. Whew! I might have been more focused as a teenager than I have ever been in my adult life.

Finding even more writing almost makes me want to extend sharing my musings for another week. No worries. I won’t, but I am sharing a poem from one of the folders this evening. 😉

What Is a Friend?
Chandra Lynn (Age: 13)

A friend is someone you can tell
your innermost thoughts to:
someone you can share your secrets and dreams with;
someone you can turn to for comfort
when things aren’t going as you wish;
someone you can trust;
someone who won’t let you down;
someone who’s there even when [s]he isn’t.
someone you admire and find joy in;
some who can give and take criticism;
someone who’ll understand when you face difficult problems;
someone who shares your tears;
someone to love. 

I was surprised to find this poem written shortly after I turned 13—before life got too complicated. Don’t you just love the innocence of youth? 

Seven Favorites from World Watercolor Month | Sunflowers, Of Course!

Watercolor 31-2022 wm

World Watercolor Month 2022, Day 31 (July 31, 2022)

In her devotional thought, which started this morning’s work session, my colleague, Dr. Sherine talked about the growth processes of a seed, reminding us about the possibilities in us and the beauty that comes through struggle. In ending that part of her discussion and driving the point of the metaphor [of a tiny, dry seed breaking to begin a transformed life], she cautioned–

Breaking happens in the right environment. Otherwise, it’s abuse.

Sit with that for a moment.  

Until tomorrow…

Sorrow | Bow Down

Butterfly BW Pink Border wm

Love sorrow. She is yours now, and you must
take care of what has been given

–Mary Oliver, from “Love Sorrow.”

My dad’s birthday is in a few days. He would have been 87. How do I handle this first birthday without him?

Grief and I have been wrestling for control over my emotions the last few days. This is a busy time, so I keep reminding myself that I don’t have time to fall apart. But sorrow is no respecter of persons, does not yield to schedules or timelines. It expects me to bow in obeisance. I resist…at first. Eventually, I give in because I am neither monster nor machine, and I cannot control this thing.

Photo Poem | Cry Wild

Cry Wild Red

Last week when my bestie asked how I was doing. I told her, “I am out of words. I need to howl.” So, we howled. Via text message.

Howl

There has been so much talking lately. So many words. Too many wrong words. Words that divide. Words that hurt. Words that maim. About five years ago—when the global noise had escalated unbearably—I shared the words of a former student, “the world needs a little silence.” 

I think we’re at that point again.

We need less words. Less commentary. Less opinions. Less arguing and defending. Less reacting. We need healing words. I realized this as I was reading Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl” last night. The length, weight, and relevance of that piece made it intolerable for this moment. Though I indeed feel like “howling,” nayyirah waheed’s poem, “break,” more aptly captures what is needful.

cry wild.
you have probably never cried wild.
but, you know what doors
feel like.
you have
an intimacy with doors
that is killing you.

–break, nayirrah waheed, salt

The losses are mounting. The grief is heart-shattering, but our tears are restrained.

We must unleash them. We must break.

We must break to heal.

Wildflowers in the Mail | Discover…

from Gina

I happened across an extra copy of the postcard I made for Love Notes 38, prompt 1. I decided to share the words I wrote to my partner because, maybe, someone in my blogging audience needs the words today.

I hope you discover…
the sacredness of this moment with all its questions stirring up the wind. 

I hope you discover…
the lessons in the turbulence of sorrow and everyday struggle.

I hope you discover…
the stillness within and allow it to cradle you until you emerge whole. 


About the Image: This postcard came a few days ago all the way from Germany, sent by my literary twin, Gina B. I was going to save it for my next sunflower week, but decided to share it today because we can always use a little extra sunshine! Sonnenblumefrische [Sunflower Freshness?] is the work of Berlin illustrator, Arinda Craciun, who shares about her art and process on her website. You can also find her work on Instagram and Behance. Thank you for the sunshine and for introducing me to a new artist, Gina!

Wildflowers in the Mail | What Are You Nourishing?

from Kathi

I managed to get to one of Jennifer Belthoff’s Write Together sessions earlier this month. I intended to return to the prompts and write more fully about them. That hasn’t happened yet, but in recent days my response to one of them proved to be a test of discipline and my commitment to myself. 

I am nourishing…

I am nourishing my peace. I am firmly rooted in stillness and shielding myself from the clamor and confusion of a world that can be harsh, mean, violent, and cold. I am finding ways to center myself so that I don’t fall into utter despair over the evil that subtly creeps and settles into the fabric of human hearts.

I am protecting my peace by maintaining barriers against toxic people and toxic culture, by accepting that I am not always right, my way is not the only way, and that others are entitled to being who they are and moving through this world as they wish.

I am seeking pathways to peace in the most disturbing national and international moments. I am staying responsibly informed, but am turning away from and refusing a steady diet of news and social media and feasting on light and beauty instead. 

I am crafting an environment of peace by creating order [internally and externally] and by fueling my soul with the Divine, with poetry, with art, with song.

What are you nourishing? 


About the Image: My Wildflowers friend, Kathi G, sent the card above–a card she says reminds her of me and my “endless vision of creativity.” Aww…thanks, Kathi. The card, sold exclusively for Trader Joe’s, features the work of Laura Graves. You can find more of her art on Instagram or Society6.

Wildflowers in the Mail | Heavenly Spots

from Lisa

Are you okay? Really okay?

The world can be chaotic and exhausting. When we think things can’t get any crazier, they do. When we think we will work together to find solutions for the world’s ills, we create more problems. When we think we can’t get any wearier, there’s always something that proves otherwise.

Sometimes things are a little too much, so we vacillate between a strong desire to set the world on fire and a simple wish to spend our remaining days in our beds contemplating color. It is during these maddening, tiresome moments that we must “find the heavenly spots” and “show [our] neighbors where they are.”

The poem below by Cleo Wade provides a formula for dealing with the world’s ills. She reminds us that we choose our responses, and there’s a whole lot between setting the world on fire and giving up.

“Tired”
Cleo Wade

I was tired of worrying
so I gave myself my peace back
I was tired of feeling intimidated by what I should do
so I pulled up my sleeves
and
got to work on what I could do
I was tired of not knowing
so I found out—about myself, my family, my
ancestors, my government, and the struggles of others
I was tired of seeing evil everywhere
so I found the heavenly spots and showed my
neighbors where they
were
I was tired
of looking at the world as one big mess
so I decided to
start cleaning it up
and when people ask me if I am exhausted
I tell them no
because
more than anything
what I got the most tired of
was being tired


About the Image: This week’s posts will feature postcards from my Wildflowers: Blooming in Community friends. We are a group of women who (mostly) met each other through Love Notes, but who decided to form our own group and continue sending encouraging mail to each other [when Love Notes transitioned from Facebook to another platform]. Our group name comes from “Wildflowers,” a poem by Morgan Harper Nichols. Today’s image features a photo from Lisa C. It was taken at her favorite park, a heavenly retreat from the craziness of the world.

Snail Mail | Floral Notecards and a Weekend Giveaway!

Phyllis Collage

Squeals! An enveloped filled with flowers and cacti! Not actual flowers and cacti! Notecards, of course!

One of my new “flower sisters,” Phyllis R, sent them. When she asked for my address a week or so ago, I thought she was planning to drop a postcard in the mail. I didn’t expect an envelope full of her beautiful photo notecards, so you can imagine my glee!  If you’d like to see the full photos, just click the image above to access the Flickr album. [I even added a card Phyllis sent for Easter].

Remember the last post when I talked about how easy-peasy it is to make postcards from your own tree photos? Well, guess what. It’s that easy to make postcards or notecards from any of your photos. 

Anyway—Phyllis’ package gave me an idea for a weekend giveaway! A snail mail kit! 

I will randomly select someone who comments below and send her/him/them a mini mail kit consisting of a set of notecards, postcards, postage stamps (if in the USA), and a few tuck-ins and/or stickers. My goal is to unload some of my excess stash. Kidding…maybe. 😉 Seriously, I want to encourage you to send more snail mail because personal mail equals connection, and we need connection now more than ever!

Soo…don’t be shy. If you have nothing to say, simply type “snail mail” in the comments section, and you just might be the lucky winner.

The giveaway ends Monday, June 13 at 11:59 p.m. (Central). The winner will be announced Wednesday, June 15. 

Good luck!