Elizabeth Gilbert has a Facebook post titled – Not This
It’s about not knowing what you want or what you should be doing other than NOT THIS.
Danielle LaPorte, my other wise woman has recently talked about burning down the barn to the studs. To it’s foundations. Sometimes you have to do that, even in the midst of NOT THIS.
I go out to dinner with a couple of my dear Artsistas. Over shared pizza, we discover we are all feeling NOT THIS. What once served us well, no longer fits. Things don’t feel like we thought they would once we got there. We feel lost and everything feels like NOT THIS. For me, it’s changing the way I draw. I’m feeling called to more raw life drawing, strong warrior women figures, using my personal symbology more boldly. And bringing my writing, my storytelling, into my artwork more. Because what I am making now is my past. And my past has become achingly NOT THIS.
We talk about all the ways NOT THIS is repeating for us. Sometimes over and over. The universe needs to repeat it to us, to make sure we are learning the lesson. Continually turning us away from the wrong thing.
As we wander back to the dim lights of the car park, we continue to talk about it. We begin to see ways out. Directions to turn towards. Ways to let go instead of holding on. How our history has shown us NOT THIS before. We know what NOT THIS feels like. And we know you have to move through NOT THIS regardless of how hard it is, to get to OH YES, THIS.
It’s 10 o’clock on a work night. I’m standing in a car park, cold but not wanting to end the conversation. It will be 11 o’clock before I crawl into bed. But I don’t care. I don’t get to see these girls often enough, because… Life. But when I do, I am reminded why they are my kindreds. My cup feels full to overflowing and the feeling lasts for days and weeks afterwards. They give me direction when I feel lost. I laugh with them. Because of them. That soulful “laughing through the hard stuff” kind of laugh. The “did you just say that” laugh. The “I hope the next table didn’t hear that” laugh. They are wise and funny and generous. And I couldn’t do this whole art & writing thing without them. Not just these girls. There are others too. That’s hard for me to admit. To say out loud. I’ve been an independent girl since childhood. I had to be. It’s hard for me to let people in. But, I know walking deeper into the forest would be so much harder without them. Even though I have to walk into the forest alone. Because NOT THIS, is a quiet reckoning you have to have on your own. But being surrounded by the right people can arm you with a sword and shield as you walk into the battle.
I feel creatively braver because of them. I feel willingly vulnerable in front of them. I grow a little more as a person each time I see them. Each time I message them. They are my people. They are my kindreds.
If you are on this creative path and are trying to walk deeper into the forest; to swim out into the deep – do anything you can find them. Your kindreds. They can’t walk the path with you, but they can help you become the person you will need to be. They can help you see the light at the end of NOT THIS.