Un regalo para mí – Yelapa part 1

On this cold, rainy, gray spring day, I am reaching into my storage of Vitamin D that I tucked away in my core while I was in Mexico for a month earlier this year. I also stored patience, perspective, joy and some lush green and blue skies to hold me through to warm Colorado days. I left the Mexican folk music there.

Last year my wonderfully inspiring friend, Carrie, a.k.a. Wild Mama, invited me (and my family) to join her (and her family) in the small fishing village of Yelapa, Mexico. They have been going for years for months at a time and she has written great essays and talks with a spark in her eye about how this magical place feeds her soul and spirit of adventure.

It was an unmissable opportunity! It was a gift.

She found us a great palapa

Casa Iguana. My home away from home
Casa Iguana. My home away from home

that would accommodate all of us and via a Skype phone call, we booked it for a month. I decided to go ahead of Chris and the boys for two weeks by myself to paint and just be. It was a gift for myself! Un regalo para mi!

I was excited to escape the cold brown winter of Colorado that makes my insides feel the same. I was nervous. What was I thinking? I speak three words of Spanish and understand less when it is spoken to me.

Alone in the jungle? Even just alone!! What would that be like? I’m never alone for more that a few hours. Two weeks?

Scorpions… snakes…. spiders…

EEK!!! I killed it with a skillet!


But the promise of the beach, salt water, warmth, sunshine, flowers, time to read, paint and think far outweighed any fear.


So mid February, I packed my bag with paints, brushes, bathing suits, hiking shoes, books, journals, bug spray, sunscreen and colorful dresses. Carrie and her family greeted me at the pier in Puerta Vallarta. We loaded onto the water taxi and were off to Yelapa. The Sierra Madres rise up out of the bay with the clouds sitting on their tops! The salt water sprayed my face taking me back to my childhood and suddenly I’m 12 again. Watching my friend mother her two children on the bumpy ride to the cove we would call home for awhile was pure sweetness. When we turned out of the bay  to Yelapa, the sun streaked through the clouds shinining down on the pueblo and beaches. I could see the waterfall behind the white dome of the church. A lovely yellow house sat on the rocks at the water’s edge reminding of my yellow house back in Colorado.

I love this yellow house



Orange, blue and white umbrellas lined la playa.  The palmed roofs of the palapas are sprinkled amongst the brightly painted buildings. And that green!!! EVERYWHERE!

Arriving in Yelapa. We had a wonderful beach landing! Fun!
Arriving in Yelapa. We had a wonderful beach landing! Fun!

At the beach, Carries’ husband, Chris greeted us and enlisted a friend to carry my bags up the VERY STEEP hill to my palapa.

About half of the hill to my gate, then stairs up to the Pelapa
About half of the hill to my gate, then stairs up to the palapa

I’m not sure how I would have done it without them. My two story casa for the month was lovely! A huge table to paint on, a laundry line to hang them to dry, a wonderful space to read and write, a magnificent ceiling of woven palms to sleep under,

palapa ceiling


an incredible out door shower with a heart made of shells and rocks under foot


and a palm tree “roof” along with hibiscus, bird of paradise, bougainvillea, geraniums, ferns, a view of the beach down below, and electricity (which I wasn’t expecting)! There were fresh flowers on the table from my hostess, cookies and wine from my friends and two weeks of time ahead of me to enjoy. My cheeks already hurt from smiling.

The kitchen... soon to be studio!
The kitchen… soon to be studio!
My view of the cove
My view of the cove
The hibiscus out my back door.


For the first few days, I read, set up my new “studio” and hiked all over the place to get the lay of the land. I battled tremendous waves of guilt for getting to be in this space and time. I had sensory overload in the best possible way… vibrant colors, new people and culture, new foods, new sounds… like the chachalacas that wake you up every morning, new smells…. like the soapy smell of the Bella Donnas,

The canopy of Bella Donnas I walked under before reaching my hill towards my casa.


not to mention a new language which I was butchering.  I thought I would journal, but there was so much to take in, I found it impossible. They only way I could was to paint. Hours would pass and I would be covered in new colors of this wonderful place and I managed to get some on canvas too.


I felt my brain and heart expanding and settling simultaneously. It was a wonderful way to be.

relaxed and happy in palapa
relaxed and happy in my palapa

It is impossible to sit and write all that those two weeks by myself meant, not to mention the magic of two weeks with my family. I will have to break it down into parts. But the biggest truths are that Carrie’s invitation was a gift that changed me at what feels almost a cellular level. The time and support that Chris gave me to go off for two weeks by myself, restored a part of me that I didn’t realize had been so completely buried and depleted. And the gift I gave myself was to be in the present moment, enjoy my own company (easier said than done for two weeks straight), and challenge myself to soak up everything that I experienced, thought and felt; all of it!

Stay tuned for the dance of the chickens… another day!

* I just type and publish… I’ve got paintings to do! Yay! Boys to take care of! Dogs to walk. Chocolate to eat. Gardening to feed my soul and I probably need a shower. Sorry for not editing!

Awake My Soul

Awake my soul. 18 x 36 Waterbased oils on canvas. © Catherine Giglio


It’s been far too long for my soul since I sat here to write. How I’ve missed it. How many moments I wish I had taken the time to sit and reflect. No excuses on my end. I just haven’t made it a priority.

Last month, I reached a big goal with the help of many wonderful people. The opening of Red Threads was magical, emotional, inspiring, validating, special and one of the best things I’ve created since having my children. I know it sounds crazy, but in my mind it’s true.  People gathered in the spirit of community and art and the energy in that room was wonderful. It was beyond beautiful.

Art truly is powerful, connecting and healing.

I’ve been painting the spirit of the Red thread for three plus years now. It has been so healing. I paint it to honor my friend Laurel and her girls who left this world too soon. I paint it to honor those who inspire and create a world of good from heartbreak. I paint it to honor my belief that the relationships we have with each other and this earth we share are the reason for living. I paint it to honor my family members who fight cancer to see another tomorrow. I paint it to ground myself in perspective. I paint it to try to understand others. I paint it to bring back memories. I paint it to honor my dreams. I paint to honor… me. Really? Did I just say that?

The red thread in my paintings has become something I can’t imagine having not found. The price was/is impossible so I treat it with great respect. It is showing me the path that is within myself. I am waking up.

The red thread has pulled me forward in ways that I couldn’t have dreamed. It has been a life line when I didn’t want to put one foot in front of the other. It has opened my heart, given me wisdom, unlocked doors I never thought I’d stand in front of much less open, and created the most wonderful community of support and friendship. It never lets me down. I know it will always be there and be truly unbreakable because it is made up of all of you.  Whether I’ve known you for a life time, or just talked with you in line at the grocery store, read your words in a book, or watched you dance on a stage, exchanged a few words as you walk by my house with your dogs, or spent hours with you planning an art show, shared motherhood with you, shared a home with you, or just met you at an art opening because we both want to honor a part of our red thread we can no longer talk to but can definitely feel. It’s a huge comfort to know my red thread will always be there. Always growing and strengthening, even when it tangles, strangles, hurts and gets messy.  Sometimes those tangled knots are great lessons and make me work harder to be better.

I know now that the red thread is my life’s work and if I get to express that through my paintings and hopefully make the world a more beautiful and loving place, then I am the luckiest of people.

Awake my heart. Awake my soul.

Awake my soul. 18 x 36 Waterbased oils on canvas. © Catherine Giglio
Awake my soul. 18 x 36  oils on canvas. © Catherine Giglio private collection



Completely Ridiculous

For the past few months, I’ve felt like most people I know; living life at pace that is well…completely ridiculous.  If I am really honest.. it’s not even months but years… decades.

Yes, it is a full, wonderful life. One that I am grateful for. But one that needs to slow way down in order to learn, reflect, and be able to stay in the now. There are thousands of articles, blogs, pretty little pictures on social media that talk about the importance of this. I see them, nod my head in agreement and then rush off to the next thing and the next not having absorbed any of the message… not having any self awareness of the ridiculous way I am living.

Tomorrow I will start writing again even though I love it and have so many ideas in my head. Tomorrow I will spend 5 hours painting even though my hands and heart are itching to get lost in color. Tomorrow I will purge all of the crap in my basement for simpler living even though I can’t think clearly with all that meaningless stuff around me. Tomorrow I will get to the gym even though my body is telling me to stretch and become strong. Tomorrow I will call my friend even though I know the sound of her voice saying hello will fill my soul.  Tomorrow… tomorrow.. tomorrow.

Well, once again, it has become all too real that there is no guarantee of tomorrow. On my birthday last week, our sweet friend Ben, the son of our dear friends from Colorado Springs, had a massive seizure followed by brain surgery and he never recovered. He was suddenly gone with no more tomorrows. Ben had been born with Spina bifida yet lived a life full of learning, adventures with friends and family and really had the biggest heart. We were fortunate enough to go say goodbye to Ben while his body was being prepared for organ transplants. It was an honor to be with his family who loved him so completely.

Yesterday, the five of us went to his service. It was lovely and of course so very sad. It was the first funeral that they boys attended. It was hard but beautiful. We sat in the pew holding their hands, wiping away tears and giving them shoulders to lean into. At the end of the service, as the last music played, my 6 year old just lost it. He looked at me and said “this is so sad” and then sobbed. My tears couldn’t stop. I held him while he cried. It felt like his first real life cry; one that wasn’t from scratches or bumps, or being mad at an older brother over legos, or from being hungry or tired. It was a cry that came from a broken heart. It was a cry that showed me he is understanding that life is hard and complicated. It was a tremendous moment for me as his mother that he could share with me like that. It was a gift that I will never forget.

It is completely ridiculous that it often takes moments in time like this to bring me back to pure intention, true awareness and clear perspective. I can hold onto or rather find these places when I paint. But I lose them in the daily grind. How does one stay in that space. Constant gratitude? Humility? How does one let go of all that doesn’t really matter?

First of all, I am going to start by slowing down. I need a constant reminder… perhaps I should tie weights to my shoes? put on rose colored glasses?  What do you think? I’d love some thoughts on how to turn completely ridiculous into completely … well how about….. somewhat balanced?

I’m off to paint… that I know will be a good start and I’m not waiting for tomorrow!


Tough Love

How I have missed coming here to pound out my thoughts on the keyboard. I have a whole host of chores to do, a show to get ready to hang next week but it’s one of those mornings where putting my thoughts into black and white will help clear my head so I can focus on what I need to do. If I am really honest, I want to go crawl back into bed, but that won’t do much good.

This morning, I sent my son off to Eco-Week, where the entire 5th grade class goes up into the mountains for hiking, fly fishing, ropes course, campfire etc..  He has been away from home before, but he has been in a place of wanting to herd the 5 of us together, having some separation anxiety and I think he honestly is ready to hibernate for awhile; his fall instincts are on cue. So going off with 100 other kids wasn’t sounding appealing. I know he is going to have a blast and he will keep it together while he is there. It was just getting him to the point of putting on his pack and walking out the door. He had so many what if’s this happens or that? He doesn’t like surprises or not having a clear picture of what his days will look like. He cried, screamed and yelled for almost two hours this morning making himself almost throw up and had a rash all over his face.  He is much to old for that but the power of anxiety and fear took over. I knew he would regret not going and I almost let him off the hook because in the moment it seemed it would be easier (and those big brown eyes were begging), but it wouldn’t have been the easier or the right choice.

So, instead,  I calmly packed up his stuff while firmly and by hour two, too loudly tried to get him to stop crying and yelling. It was awful. Once he realized that I wasn’t going to let him give up, he finally surrendered and started asking questions. I gave him lots of hugs, told him I knew he could do it, put a heart rock in his pocket and told him where everything was. (Normally, I would have had him pack his own things, but I had to pick one battle today) He went and washed his face and then sat at the table trying to not cry. I had a clear memory of his first day at preschool and going through the same thing. It was gut wrenching to walk out and leave him, but we did it and we both grew; just like we did once again this morning.

Ry and I are actually so much alike. I know he is more my teacher than I am his. He holds a mirror up and seems to say “take a good, long look”. We have had an intense relationship since my pregnancy with him. It has been a lot of hard work on both of our parts, a lot of tough love moving him forward and into the world. But, we have a built a trust in each other that is unlike any other relationship I’ve ever had. I feel like we see each other so clearly and I know as he grows up that will turn into a friendship that will be powerful and so full of love and respect. Right now though, I am his mom first and have to keep giving him tough love so that he can open new doors and become his truest self and not let fear win. A lesson that I have been working on myself as I continue to put my art out into the world. The rewards are so much greater than the fear and I hope after this week, he can see that, too.


Every now and then, everyone “hits the wall”.

Last night I hit it full force and felt like the flattened Tom from Tom & Jerry whose 2 dimensional self melts down the stairs into a puddle on the floor. If only we popped right back up into our energetic 3 dimensional selves ready to chase the mouse. Except I am so tired of chasing the damn mouse.  I attempted to keep going but then Chris walked in, my guard fell and I melted onto the sofa. He took over and I was so grateful to just close my eyes for a bit.  Within the hour I spiked a pretty good fever and chills. By the next hour, I had convinced myself that I had cancer of some sort or another or an autoimmune disease. My mind is a scary place. I’ll be first to admit.

I finally gave up, read Chachi a few chapters, took a hot bath and crawled into bed before it was completely dark outside.

Today, I feel better, but not great and I am trying to tell myself that it is okay to let go, say no and not feel guilty.  Is it guilt or having to face that fact that THE (overwhelming) LIST will only get longer and drown me a bit more.  It’s both. Where does this come from? It’s a bit insane and all perspective is lost. Completely hidden. I’ve had several slaps of perspective over my life and yet, here I am doing the same cat chase mouse routine. I am afraid I’ll never learn.

Then serendipity came into play and I got this from author Seth Godin’s daily emails.

If you believe that you must keep your promises, over-deliver and treat every commitment as though it’s an opportunity for a transformation, the only way you can do this is to turn down most opportunities.

No I can’t meet with you, no I can’t sell it to you at this price, no I can’t do this job justice, no I can’t come to your party, no I can’t help you. I’m sorry, but no, I can’t. Not if I want to do the very things that people value my work for.

No is the foundation that we can build our yes on.- Seth Godin

 I think I need to paint this on the wall in every room in my house. There are so many yes foundations that I want to build on or go back and repair with some mortar and remodel. Things and people that have been overlooked, pushed aside and done in the 11th hour all for the sake of chasing the stupid mouse. And I KNOW in my heart and mind that all over the world people are dealing with really hard things; next to impossible things.  I know it, and yet I still react to the mouse. Why? It’s not cohesive in my brain. The thoughts in my brain and my actions don’t match. That is a problem and why the mouse keeps dropping a cinder-block on my head. I am not paying attention and don’t even see it coming because I am too busy reacting.

So today, I am going to try to learn to live in peace with that mouse (aka THE LIST and my spinning brain) in my house. I hope I can shake my Tom personality a bit and be less reactionary to every thought, “obligation” or interaction.

I might go call a friend I haven’t talked to in some time while I prep some canvases…. you’ve been warned if your phone rings, HA!  I might take a cat-nap (sorry, couldn’t resist.. I am my father’s daughter) later today and I might just sit and stare at the Aspen leaves shaking in the wind and do nothing. Perhaps, we just take in so much. The problems of the world are so overwhelming, perhaps reacting like a TomCat is all we have left in us when it feels like we are helpless. I don’t know… or will ever pretend to know. I am off to paint to try to find some peace and make something beautiful. And maybe, I’ll eat some ice cream, too.


A funny graffiti of tom and gerry on a wall in patan,near kathmandu in nepal.december 2010.


Perhaps then, I will pop back into my three dimensional self and not feel so flat.

Sincerely yours,



I know I misspell a lot of words here and have all sorts of editing mistakes. In all honesty, I just sit, write and then send it out into the world,  as I would rather spend my time painting, gardening, reading or tackling my huge to do list than edit. But, I did not misspell the title of this blog post.

It is actually my favorite word of all time.  You won’t find it in the dictionary, yet, but it does exist. It is a special word that I believe has magical powers, especially when it comes from my son, Chachi’s mouth. It is one of many words that my boys have mixed up or gotten wrong as toddlers and little boys and it is the one word I refuse to “correct” because I think it is already so right.

Pretember can be used for both pretend and remember.  I will hear him say when he plays with his cousin Bo, “pretember that you are a cheetah and I’ll pretember to be a shark.”  Or he will come ask me, “pretemeber when we went to the farm and saw the baby pigs?” It is just the cutest thing to hear him say it. I will try to work a conversation to see if it will pop out of his mouth. Perhaps, what makes it even better is that Chachi is my strong, private, tough, super masculine boy with a sweet, high-pitched voice that melts my heart. So when that voice says “Pretember” it stops me in my tracks. I know he will lose the word soon. He is 6 and has no idea that he isn’t at least 10 or 11. As the third, who gets to share a room with his two big brothers, he has never realized that he is as young as he actually is and he does a pretty good job of keeping up.

A year ago, I was in the Evolve class through the Arts Incubator of the Rockies, based here in Fort Collins. To me it was a business class for artists, creatives, entrepreneurs… anybody with an idea, dream or passion. Between the classes that give you a road map of steps to follow and the one on one coaching sessions, I was able to take my pretend and set it in motion. I am just at the beginning of this journey into my dream of being a working artist, and as I sit here and remember the past year the word that comes to mind and best describes this how to keep moving forward is of course, pretember.

I am a wonderfully talented daydreamer. Sometimes, I am so grateful for the escape my daydreams can take me, other times, quite honestly, I scare myself, but the best is when I can turn them into healthy intention. When my pretend daydream leads to a goal, because it is too consuming to ignore, I have to pay attention and remember my passion for it is pointing me in the right direction… pretember.  The word feels like it hits me at a cellular level. The combination of pretending and remembering seems too perfect. Pretend you can reach for anything you set your mind, and more importantly, your heart too and always remember what your reason for doing so in the first place. Pretending and remembering at the same time seems to lead to action, carries you through difficult days, sparks new ideas and makes those wonderful daydreams a reality.

Happy Pretembering!! 



Beautiful in the Shadows

My eyes look like that of a Basset hound… red and drooping. Between the pine pollen and three hours of sleep, I feel the burn in my eyes like a mother with a new born. Fortunately, for me, I just dropped the boys off at school and a hot shower and a cup of tea will get me back on track.

But this tired was rewarded with the most glorious lunar eclipse last night.

It was magical. It filled my soul.

I set the alarm, but it wasn’t needed. I was too excited to sleep. When the earth’s shadow began to cover the moon, I went to the boys room to wake them up. (Something a mother of a newborn never does!) I had a flash back to my parents waking me up for a lunar eclipse while we were at the beach on vacation. I can remember the bunk room vividly and all of us on the deck watching while listening to the ocean tides pound the shore. I swear I could smell the salt air last night. I was mistaken, it was just stinky, sweat of my three growing boys.

My middle jumped up out of bed with a shot and was giddy and wild. The wolf is definitely his totem. My teenager, made his way slowly up the stairs and we remembered back to watching the lunar eclipse on the winter solstice two years ago. It was just the two of us and we ate a plate full of cookies and drank hot chocolate while wrapped up in blankets on the deck. That, too, was a night I will never forget; a favorite.

In our living room the south facing wall is nothing but glass. We rearranged the furniture and watched all snuggled up and decided to go out when the moon fully eclipsed. Chris shuffled in unable to sleep through Ry’s wild mood and our constant chatter. He didn’t say much, but I could see him smiling in the moonlight and the two boys carried on giggling and laughing over silly boy stuff. My sweet Charlie then appeared and climbed onto my lap and had the wonderful, imaginative observations that children naturally have. As it was near full eclipse, he thought the moon looked like a pig snout with a big white smile underneath.  His blonde hair glowed in the darkness and in that moment, I wanted to hold him forever.

Even the dogs joined us and took the opportunity to sneak in some extra attention. We talked about how we learned earlier that day that there was a 300 year period without lunar eclipses. So George Washington, Mozart, Napoleon etc. never got to experience the beauty of a full moon eclipse. We talked about Passover and learned a bit more about that as we waited. Ry continued to be as silly as ever and it was such a joyous moment in time.

As I looked at the beautiful glow of the moon, now a warm golden washed in burnt sienna and venetian red, I thought of my friend Lori and how many walls we created to be that color with glazes and plaster. It reminded me of the light in Italy. My friend Joy sent some silly texts of song lyrics and howling and I smiled as I  imagined her dancing ( I am sure she did) under this moon.

As we sat in the shadows, I felt like I could feel my heart glowing the same color. It was warm, full and allowed me to see and feel the beauty of being human and getting to experience the love these moments bring. We are told to shine bright and show our true colors, but tonight the moon taught me that in the shadow of something great, we may even shine more beautifully than we could ever imagine. And as I watched my guys laughing in the shadows of this magical night, they never looked more beautiful.

We all went out to the deck. What a perfect night. It was crystal clear and the moon, stars and planets looked almost reachable. The sky was the most perfect color of charcoal, the blue spruce’s black silhouette was only made better by the soft glow of Fort Collins below. It was stunning.

The guys one by one quietly made their way back to bed. I couldn’t turn away. Once cold, I went back and curled up in the chair in the living room and just soaked up the intense beauty and the quiet of the house. Never is there better medicine for the soul than a night like that.





Daffodil January

Monday morning came much too quickly for me this week. It was all I could do to put my feet on the floor. And, then to hoist my almost 6 foot frame to standing felt nearly impossible. Obviously, I am not much of a morning person, but that day the gravity force my bed held was formidable. After a fun weekend celebrating Chachi’s birthday and ignoring all reality, this Monday was hard on all of us. With Chris and Alex out the door (fortunately for them they are both morning birds) the two younger boys and I stumbled around grumpily getting dressed, lunches packed, breakfast packed, teeth brushed and finally locating and stuffing backpacks for their days. It was all a blur but the tasks are so sadly mechanical, that it is possible to pull off on a dark, winter morning.

Finally, ready to load up in the car, we headed outside. Much to my surprise in the handle of my car door, there was a bunch of daffodils waiting for me.  In a flash, the bright yellow of these happy flowers surged to my core. They looked almost neon against the gray landscape and sky and ignited a smile that I am still carrying with me. There wasn’t a note or hint of who left them. It was such a lovely act of kindness that brought pure joy and turned my attitude 180 degrees. I was so moved that someone was thinking of me, so grateful that I could imagine a number of friends who would have done something so nice and enjoyed wonderful memories of planting and picking daffodils for as long as I can remember. Isn’t it amazing how far an act of love can carry someone? Isn’t amazing how a pop of color can make a difference? Isn’t amazing how many beautiful little things are all around? I feel like I notice and feel them often but I am so very grateful that there are people who share their hearts and make everything brighter and better when I can’t see clearly.

After I dropped off the boys, I placed my joyful gift in a favorite lapis glass vase and carried them down to my studio. With thankfulness, I placed them on my work table and reached for my brightest yellow paint.



I slowly open my eyes and not sure I can feel where my toes are and yet I feel completely whole in the moment. The room comes into focus again. In my mind, I paint the serene blue walls with clouds… wisps from my breath make the stratus clouds appear all around me. The gift of shavasana’s meditative state is immense.  I have been coming to this room for three years to practice yoga. I know the knots on the floor that look like eyes staring back at me, where the wood grain flows like ocean waves, and the patterns of the metal on the exposed vents. However the greatest part of this room is my teacher, my guide as he so humbly prefers. Mike is without a doubt the kindest and most giving person I have ever met. He shows up with the purest heart, tremendous gratitude  and greatest perspective I have received from a yoga instructor. He truly shows us what it means to be in that private and sacred space on your mat all the while making everyone’s energy and spirit a collective world of good. Yesterday, I went to my yoga class for the first time in over a month. How I have missed it!! It was just the reset I needed.

Like many of you who give yourself the gift of yoga, you know what the tremendous benefits are.

Flexibility and strength for both your mind and body,

the power of breath,

the calming of the mind,

the importance of balance,

and yes, the greatest gift of meditation bringing a wash of peace and clarity in shavasana. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh……………..

but it requires showing up. How had I let that go? How did I make it less of a priority?


The other night I went to a monthly get together with a small group of local artists. It helps us to brainstorm, get perspective, share resources and ground us in accountability. Having to verbalize what you will be working on for the next couple of weeks is tremendously powerful. After all of the chaos and fun of December, I lost so much momentum and inspiration to move forward with putting my art out into the world. The dark voices of doubt from exhaustion and being at the beginning of this journey rise bringing uncertainty on so many levels. As I sat and listened to these brilliant, talented, interesting woman offer up advice, talk about the books they have read, the opportunities and resources they are knowledgeable of, my doubt grew and began to swallow me up. I could feel myself shrinking and wanting to disappear as I didn’t feel like I had a thing to bring to the table. At the same time, I felt such gratitude to be sitting there, overwhelmed by the amount of information. I wanted to soak it all up like a sponge. My nervous funny came out and I felt like the gangly freshmen I was decades ago, but there was no back of the classroom in which to go disappear and hide.

During the meeting, one of the artists said that she had sat down and written all of her successes of 2013. So when I got in the car, I decided I would start making my list when I got home. That was something tangible I could grasp in my moment of such apprehension.  I thought it would be short and sweet and not much to write home about.

I was wrong.

I walked in the door and the first thing I saw was the pile of thank-yous I had written to all of those who bought my work this past year, hired me for decorative finish work or commissions, my teachers from Evolve, some local artists who have been so supportive, welcoming and inspiring, a friend who spent time helping me kick off a business plan, my coach,who I can’t wait to see again in a few weeks and Mike, who kept bringing me back to center time after time. In each one I put a mini print of the first painting I sold last year. The one that started a year of doing and focusing on what I love to do. I sat down (okay collapsed onto the sofa) and began flipping through all of the names.

Here was my 2013 “list”on the stack of envelopes….. the names of the beautiful and amazing people who were in my life on account that I had spent a year following my heart. People who shared their stories with me. People who lived across the country as well as down the street. People who I had known for years and people I still have yet to meet face to face. People who are all a special part of  my red-thread tapestry.
What a grand list! How very fortunate I am.  I knew right then, that I hoped to have a list like this a year from now and the year after that. Lists with lots of wonderful memories and faces that have made me grow more into my true self. How could I doubt my journey when I have gained so much? To do this, I have to keep being vulnerable, keep learning, keep painting, and keep showing up.

I sat in the quiet of the house and soon began the normal spinning in my brain of what a new day would bring. I realized that Mike’s class was first thing in the morning. I felt a sense of calm and composure begin to build even at the thought of just being there. So the next morning I headed off to his class for the first time since November. I thought I wouldn’t be able to touch my toes, that my legs would shake as I tried to hold warrior poses and that I would fall over during a balance posture. There was that doubt rising it’s ugly head again. But I surprised myself (just as I did this past year by putting myself out there) and managed to have a practice that made me feel strong, open and even graceful. Mike had done it again. At the close of his class he often offers his gratitude along with  “the true light in me, honors the true light in you when I say… Namaste.”

Another gift.

I just need to keep showing up; to the yoga room, to my studio, to those meetings and to all the places that push me outside of my comfort zone and keep me moving forward. From my list I can see how great the rewards will be…..all of you.

Now, on this snowy morning I am off to yoga again and then I am heading to my studio. I have a big year ahead and an important list to make… it’s time to show up!