Every Monday, I pop in here ( and over on Patreon with the more intimate bits) to share a prompt and my response to it. These prompts come directly out of the monthly workbook for Book Of Days. There are enough prompts in each workbook to get you through a month of daily journal keeping, and they are ripe for both written and art journaling. You can get these workbooks as part of your Book Of Days experience, or as a bonus as a member of my on line artist’s community, called The Wilderhood. See you there!
This week’s prompt, should you choose to engage it is:
What do I want to bring in from outside? More light? More colour?
Outside. I haven’t been seeing a lot of it lately, to be honest. I am asthmatic and also allergic to the world, so ‘outside’ is kind of my nemesis unless I’m at a festival, where I spend the few days before loading up on Reactine so I don’t suffer too much over the course of the four or five days of being where trees have sex. It’s also hot as Hades out there, so my comfy apartment, where the AC is running full bore, and I don’t have to wear pants, is my preferred base of operations.
But ‘outside’ doesn’t have to mean ‘out of doors’. It can mean ‘outside of my own skin’, so that’s how I’m going to interpret it for today’s little writing session. I think this calls for a list.
I. More poems.
I am scheming up an e-course wherein we work with our own internal landscape through writing to mine our own personal poems, which we can then use in our art journals. This is taking a lot of brainstorming, and a lot of note taking, and a lot of poem reading so I can wrap my head around the fundamentals of poetry writing. I don’t have a formal education in the field, but I have been writing poems for as long as I can remember. I want to make poem writing accessible to everyone (because it is!), so while I’m plotting, I want to be eating, drinking, and sleeping poems. I want to be drenched in them. I want to read them silently, and then again out loud. This kind of input is good for my creativity, I think, because it gets me thinking and feeling outside of my own experience, which makes me curious, and creates a sense of wonder.
P.S. If you want to know when this e-course is released, you’ll want to subscribe to my newsletter.
II. More pleasure.
If you know me at all, you know that I have unashamedly labeled myself a ‘hedonist’, which is a word that’s not often used in a positive light. I’ve reclaimed it, much like I’ve reclaimed ‘witch’. I am an ethical hedonist. I seek pleasure, and believe in pleasure seeking as a worthwhile pursuit. I believe it’s a part of my work in the world to indulge in and also offer as much pleasure as I can (in all it’s glorious forms) in order to increase the ‘collective pool of pleasure’. I also enjoy encouraging others to do the same, especially in Moonshine, where we grapple with whatever we’ve been taught about pleasure, and remove the blocks we have around it.
But, my life has been very caught up in the practicalities of ordinary reality, and frankly, not very pleasurable at the moment. I am in the trenches with trauma therapy. I’ve been setting and holding new boundaries. And I’ve been side-eyeing my ‘go to’ pleasures to discern whether or not they *are actually* worthwhile pursuits. Swilling Chardonnay all night while bingeing on True Crime, for example, is a ‘pleasure’ I’m ready to nip in the bud. What would I replace it with? What would actually feel like real, honest to Goddess, soul nourishing pleasure? I’m working on figuring that out.
III. More Support.
I been thinking a lot about my issues with ‘needing’ people. I don’t do the whole ‘asking for help’ thing very well. There are a couple of people who’ve kind of ‘trained me’ in trust with them over things like “Oh, hey! Can you help me with this practical thing I need to do?” Think – pick up mail, go to the pharmacy (which is a very long Uber ride, or I’d do it myself), run my laundry up and down the stairs, or my garbage down to the bin (I have wonky vision and creaky knees, and the three long flights of stairs are narrow and rickety and scare the bejeezus out of me). I’ve learned how to pay for some of the help that I need rather than flagellating myself with the ‘you should do it yourself’ whip. So, support with the practicalities, I’m learning to ask for and receive relatively easily.
It’s the emotional stuff I struggle with a bit. Seeming ‘needy’ is very, very unsafe for me, so I grapple with that whole “I need someone” thing. I want to get better at it. When someone says to me, when I’m in the middle of a crisis, “Can I help?”, I want to say “Yes, you can.” Easily. Readily. “Yes, you can. You can sit with me, or call me, or make soothing noises at me. You can make me some soup so I can give space to my emotional state without having to navigate the whole feeding myself while tears are streaming down my face. You can check in with me to make sure I’m not white knuckling things along. You can show up.”
I think I’m getting there. I’m saying things like “I need you to love me a little bit louder today”, and “I need you to honour your word” and “I need to be tended to in the midst of *waves at all of this* in a quiet, gentle way that helps me get through it in one piece” and “Can we Skype? I’m struggling with something and I need your eyes on my face while I unravel it.”
There are actual outside things I’d like to bring in, too. The smell of sunshine on my skin after a long meander. Wood smoke in my hair and clothes after a night around a fire. Leaves and twigs and things picked up during a trail hike. The sound of waves gently lapping at a shoreline. A soul-belly full of the sights and sounds of nature…
…but the three things I’ve explored above feel rather more urgent and important right now, so that’s where my focus is.
And you? What outside things do you want more of? Be literal or figurative. Outside your windows or outside your skin.