effort and surrender

June 26, 2016 - Daily Notes, From the Editor

How do you ebb and when do you flow?

She brought a braid of sweetgrass (Hierochloe odorata), the kind only natives are allowed to gather. Removing her thick blade from its leather sheath, she sliced a few stems there on the gray dishtowel in my kitchen.

"It helps to clear and prepare a space for ceremony," she said as I handed her the blue teacup and a box of matches.

Five were in the circle on Saturday in my living room. The theme for the morning was "creative cycles" but our conversation wound around other things too, the way women do. We are creators.

One of them is writing a book. Another, a novel. A third is trying to make more mistakes this year. The fourth said her focus this summer is on rest. I was the fifth, and I am growing Lucia.

How do you know when to effort and when to surrender in your creative life? How do you ebb and when do you flow?

We talked about darkness and light, daytime and night. How for some, insomnia is a state in which to do both: surrender to the elusiveness of sleep, and sit up to softly flow. Maybe wrap oneself in a blanket and breathe the steam of herbal tea with a pen and some paper. Feel your own heart and hear what it is telling you. Commune with the moon.

We asked each other, what do you do with the mental chatter that assails and freezes the body in those dark hours, or in the first precious moments after waking in the morning?

"I write those thoughts all down, first thing," someone said. "Then I can get on with the rest of my day, because once they are on paper, even as chicken scratch notes, they are sort of already dealt with, in a way."

"But," I wondered aloud, "What do you do about the ones that cannot be put to rest so tidily?"

"Oh, those," she said. "I put those into a special jar labeled, 'Things I Cannot Control.' Like my boss being so mean, for example. Later, I take them outside and burn them. I release those things to the universe." 

She surrenders. 

Maybe this is the ultimate form of courage. Knowing what must be handed over to spirit is wise. Actually letting it go is brave. Then we can return again to the work that calls our souls, the work of creating.

This morning, I wrote down my uncontrollable worries. One by one, I tore them into little strips of paper. I gathered matches and what remained of the sweetgrass snips from yesterday. I set them on fire and watched the carefully written words weave their way into the Sunday sky above the maples in my backyard. 

"Here, universe. Please take these. They are yours. Thank you."

Then, I sat down to write.


Laura Lowery is the founder, editor and publisher of Lucia. She does her best to lead a creative life. Whether triumphant or stumbling, Laura shares daily notes (that are often weekly) here on luciajournal, including stories, behind-the-scenes happenings, little doses of inspiration, and large quantities of curiosity and heart. She is pleased to meet you.