Woods & Wisdom

Today I am relishing the fact that my neighbors seem to be out of town.  At approximately 9:52 every morning, a horde of screaming children takes to their backyard and makes the amount of noise a small troop of Vikings would make on an impromptu pillage.  They do this until dinner time.  It also sounds like ducks, chickens, and other random sorts of poultry are being tortured or chased or strung up in trees.  I don’t know.  Sometimes I’m on the phone with a coworker and they’re like, “What’s that weird noise I’m hearing?”  And I nervously laugh and think, “Oh nothing, it’s just a pack of wild, screaming children who’ve been left outside unattended, you know, like in Lord of the Flies.”

It’s a really stunning autumn day here.  The weather is low 70s, sunny, with early leaves blowing lazily through the air.  Lacy, our old lady dog, was struck prone by a sunbeam and is laying in the grass in such a way that I occasionally feel the need to check and make sure she’s still breathing.

This has been an interesting week.  Last weekend we spent a day with always-missed and much loved friends, then went to Rock Island State Park which was in the middle of freaking nowhere, Tennessee.  The trails were short, but the waterfalls were kind of mind blowing considering the largest one was actually an accident when TVA created the dam.  Talk about one heck of a pretty accident!

Then I went to hear Elizabeth Gilbert speak (with Ann Patchett), following a particularly uninspiring few days, and it felt like I’d struck a vein of joy.  The past couple of days I’ve been trying to sit on my little raft and ride the wake of inspiration that follows her wherever she goes.  Some of the few things that stood out amongst the deluge of wisdom:

  • She loves beautiful shoes so much that she will purchase a pair even if only one of the shoes actually fits the way it’s supposed to.  This is encouraging because even an amazing, famous author like her can be taken down a notch by a pair of Dior shoes.
  • We must become scientists of our own experience.
  • Assume that everyone you encounter has something fascinating in them.
  • Unused virtue/love/creativity is not benign.
  • Check in with the richer, more interesting part of yourself.  Your soul versus your ego.
  • You only have to be 1% more curious than afraid to do the things you want to do.  This one is huge for me.  New goal: live a life of curiosity and wonder.
  • You can’t push darkness out, you can only grow light.
  • There is honor in supporting yourself while you honor your work.  You can still put the work first while you have a job and a financial support beneath you.  I really loved this advice, particularly living in Nashville, because there is this stigma here that unless you are really suffering for your art/musicianship/whatever, then you are not a serious artist/musician/whatsit.  She advised to never go into debt because of your art, but to make your art alongside your job, honoring the creative process and prioritizing it while still being a responsible individual.
  • Once you’re wealthy, you just don’t have to give a sh*t about what other people think.  She openly talks about the success of Eat, Pray, Love and how it’s given her the ability to do whatever the F she wants without caring what anyone else thinks.  There must be so much freedom in that.  New goal: stop caring so much about what other people think.
  • One of her goals in life is to walk for a year.  Am contemplating calling her up to see if she’d ever feel like hiking the Appalachian Trail together just for kicks.

This weekend we head up to Stone Door on the South Cumberland Plateau with some friends for more camping, hiking, and soul refreshment.  Hoping the weather holds!

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