Entering poems, or how Mary Oliver saved the day (again).

It would take more than both my hands to count how many times my breath has sucked in with recognition and awe at words penned by the soulful poet, Mary Oliver. This week was no exception, as I opened my inbox to find these golden words sent to a group of us from a friend:

Moments

There are moments that cry out to be fulfilled.

Like, telling someone you love them.

Or giving your money away, all of it.

Your heart is beating, isn't it?

You're not in chains, are you?

There is nothing more pathetic than caution

When headlong might save a life,

Even, possibly, your own.

– Mary Oliver.

How to Deal When Your Fear is a Close-Talker.

I got the email of congratulations while on the streetcar. An email from my lawyer cheekily (but also actually) referring to me as Creative Director Sonja Seiler of Nurture: Creative Retreat Centre & Coworking B&B, Inc. The certificate and articles of incorporation were attached as a PDF and I scanned them, absorbing the legalese in the same way I can still read Italian after not having studied it for years. You get the gist. You can order pizza with the right accent and flirt a little with the waiter. You can give the occasional knowing nod. But, in reality, you are on the surface of something much more complex – and dare I say beautiful – than you can even imagine.

There is, sadly, no “What to Expect When You're Expecting Incorporation” pamphlet.

I wish there was.

What thoughts are you wearing these days? Do they fit?

Last weekend, during our fall retreat, the lovely Rebecca Jacobs lead us in a workshop about style. This wasn't your typical “You're a pear, wear autumn colours and avoid empire waistlines” profiling. Rebecca's approach is holistic and creative: how can you access and express your core values through your personal style so that it's the real YOU that shows up fully? This approach is revolutionary, especially if you've been stuck (I mean, 'gifted') with a body that isn't exactly proportioned for off-the-rack shopping and ad hoc style templates. This approach had us all excited, curious, and, honestly, a bit triggered and afraid. Turns out any mention of showing up as one's true self is exhilarating until you realize it also brings up all the ways in which we currently hide from doing so.  I left that workshop deeply inspired by how I can embrace that approach in my style life and in my life in general and it really got me thinking.

If you'll indulge me in a metaphor:

Lately I've been examining the 'wardrobe of my thoughts'.

Just play it cool, boys, REAL cool. (But, actually – don't.)

I recently sat across from a good friend who is the type of person who can rock a grandpa sweater and somehow have it be both sexy and playfully ironic. (Pause: HOW?!). His heart is solid gold, his demeanor warmest-of-warm and his talents would leave anyone gobsmacked yet he goes about his humble way, truly caring for each soul he encounters. He's a gem, and I consider myself lucky to be able to spill what's on my mind about what's going on in my life. On this particular occasion I fiddled absentmindedly with whatever was in my hands, telling him about recent developments in my personal and professional life and talked about how being with the unknown – all this new territory – can be so exciting and scary. 

His advice? “Play it cool.”

How to get from idea to reality, one sniff of pine at a time.

I've always been a bit of a collector of intangible things.

Words – I have a list in my phone of words I feel deeply about, or words that simply thrill me because of how they feel like one could live in them, explore them, get to know oneself in the space of them. A few of my longtime favourites: Rambling. Mercy. Winnowed. Wildish.

Images – I take pictures with my eyes a lot. I keep these in a sort of 'beauty bank' in the back of my mind, to draw upon when I am in need of inspiration. Lately, it's been the colours of the leaves against autumn skies; two sisters wearing bright pink sharing a streetcar seat singing made-up songs and laughing; the way my singing partner Eric looked across the room at his girlfriend when we were practicing our cover of “Islands in the Stream;” the intense yellow of free range egg yolk against the black of my cast iron pan.