there is power in naming. there is movement within each step, however small.
once upon a time i didn't call myself an artist. during that time i would say i was creative, yes. but mostly i let others name me. i listened to my friends talk about how creative i was and sometimes i was able to say thank you rather than just passively listen to their good words. it was hard to hear. sometimes compliments are.
as i was listening to the shared story of a kindred spirit, i was hearing her struggle with naming herself as an artist. i hear you! her words took me back to the days that i was wavering in my own definition of who i was.
another friend has commented on her desire to be free to just BE, letting go of what others might think of her. to be present in the world without that restraint would be freedom for her.
as i walked this morning, these two conversations met in my reflections. i let my mind wander and i began to remember those voices calling my name as artist before i did. i remember those dear souls who called me a pastor and a preacher before i ever did. their voices and impressions of me made an impact. their voices return to me today as i take one step and another. their voices became midwives to the birthing that was taking shape within me. birthing to say YES to myself, to say YES to the spirit at work within me, to say YES to the presence of something good that is me.
recognizing and naming who we are is a holy task in any moment. i think we need to shed some of the negative notions of how we view ourselves in order to see what's really present. my imagery returns to the concentric circles, moving closer to the sacred center by moving into a deeper understanding of our soul, allowing our spirit freedom and space to grow and to BE.
some days centering takes place around these moments where remembering brings enlightenment in the present. sometimes it takes listening to the good words from others to enable us to name for ourselves what is within us. for me: artist. mother. minister.
as i approach the three year anniversary of this blog, i am reminded again of why i named it reverend artist mother. first, i was completely inspired by a fellow clergy woman whose blog kept ringing in my ears: reverend mother. second, a recognition in who i am called to be. in naming this blog, i named a part of how i identify with myself and work in the world. i named what i couldn't for so long, but needed to type it, speak it, and practice the words. within a sacred circle of voices of young clergy women, who encouraged me as much as the wise ones from many moments in life, i created a space to practice the words. i created this space as a means to move within my remembrances, name within the present, and to share with others in this journey.
often that is what friends and kindred spirits and creativity circles can be about: naming what needs to be named, saying what needs to be said, even if it's just practicing the words to see how they feel, how they fit within the circle of life that surrounds us.
there's wisdom that is present in doubt, believe it or not. i've learned that my inner critic sometimes has something worth hearing. yet there are other moments when it's a bit crippling and unhelpful. we use wisdom to discerning which is which.
there are midwives among us whose words resonate well. there are also some folks who just want to poop all over everything. (forgive me, but it's true.) so we develop the wisdom and presence within ourselves in the moment to take in what is healthy, to release what is not healthy or beneficial, and we move on. we structure our days to bring life balance, joy, gratitude. we encircle those who need care, prayers, and good love. we make do with what we have and we learn to find peace in what is and work toward the dreamy goodness that can be found in other moments.
and we create a sacred circle of kindred spirits to encircle us, folks we know and love and trust. folks that can sometimes be the soft side of velcro and sometimes the rough. i know that i need truth telling and compassion. to see life and death. to know that there is a wide world moving beneath our feet and that the world can be changed with the smallest steps taken on a morning walk.