Journey of Inner Awakening

Clare Dubois is a force — and the Journey of Inner Awakening is just one exemplary facet. Her work is always powerful and one of the reasons that a portion of Regarding Dew’s profits support the mission of Tree Sisters.

Maurice Denis, 1891

Maurice Denis, 1891

I’ve had this on my list to do for about a year now, always putting it off because I wanted to really dive in and give it my full attention. Welllll it’s being launched again starting in about a week on the full moon, July 18. It’s free, it’s a beautiful community, and a rich pool of resources — the content that Tree Sisters puts out and their clarity of mission and impact is astounding. The program is supported by online resources of podcasts, videos, etc., a live monthly call on each full moon, and a private social media platform called the Nest (similar to Commune if you’ve used that)

If you’re reading this in time, I hope that you take it up as a divine nudge ;)

And if you’re reading this late, there is no ending date (from my knowledge), so feel free to dive in whenever if you feel hungry to replenish and reconnect with yourself.

https://femmiversity.treesisters.org/inner-journey-welcome/

“Gardens and houses are such whimsical things! This old house of ours had been so long untreated that it was fairly petulant and querelous when I began studying it. It asked questions at every turn and seemed surprised when they were answered. The house was delightfully rambling, with a tiny entrance hall, and narrow stairs, and sudden up and down steps from one room to another like the old, old house one associates with faraway places and old times.” - Elsie de Wolfe

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Also, how dreamy do these rooms sound??

“A door made of little square panes of mirrors was placed where it would deceive the old hall into thinking itself a spacious thing...the woodwork was painting a soft grey green. Finally, I had my collection of old french costume prints set against the wall as a frieze...another little thing: i covered the handrail with a soft grey green velvet of the same tone as the woodwork and the effect was so very good and the touch of it so very nice that many of my friends straightaway adopted the idea.”

“The drawing room is a pleasant, friendly place, full of quiet color. The walls are a deep cream color and the floor is covered with a beautiful Savonnerie rug. There are many beautiful old chairs covered with Aubusson tapestry, and other chairs and sofas covered with rose colored brocade...I believe in plenty of optimism and white paint, comfortable chairs with lights beside them, open fires on the hearth and flowers wherever they “belong”, mirrors and sunshine in all rooms.”

"Perspective-shifting ZAP"

Grace Kerina’s old blog offers so much goodness. One of which (ahem…200…) are her Daily Creativity Prompts. Take a stroll, scribble them on scrap notes to hide and find later. Or pick one when you first wake up and have it guide your day.

Here are some of my favorites:

-What would you do differently if you had a thick skin?

-Rank possible solutions according to joy level.

-Dare to explore the dangerous shadows.

-Groan out loud theatrically until you laugh. Create from that place.

-Consider failure a beginning rather than an end.

-Whose rules are you playing by?

-List your beliefs about this issue. Consider them optional.

-Make every element more beautiful.

-Say out loud what you’d rather be doing right now.

-What’s throbbing at the core of this project?

-Brave a paradigm shift. Ask someone who’s wise and bossy which way you need to jump.

-Talk it over with a tree. Out loud.

-Pretend you’re doing this in a different decade.

-Trim the edges.

-Ask a child between the ages of six and nine for their advice. Be serious and grateful. (Then give them a treat.)

-Describe the outfit your muse is wearing.

-Double-dare yourself.

-Launch a trial and error extravaganza.

-What would a happy eight-year-old do at this point?

Regarding Dew Manifesto 

I’ve been doing behind the scenes work on a project that has sustained my interest in the last couple years, but has really gotten the back-burner in the midst of everything else…here is a working manifesto of what is to come.

Regarding Dew offers:

-Curated handmade and collected objects that aim to bring intentionality, gratitude and pleasure into the liminal moments of everyday. Online and in person

-Resources to open up life-giving conversations, within and without.

-A gift drive that serves local community during the holiday season through 1) acknowledging individuals that are in need of support with dignity and compassion and 2) to uphold the power of objects in our lives, particularly using handmade objects to empower experiences of gratitude and meaning in everyday life, as well as interconnectedness to the larger community. 

Mission:

-To normalize ecologically-conscious design

-To create peace by hand

-To make ecologically-conscious consumer practices accessible: informing social capital and effectively leading change in communities on micro- and macro-levels

-To increase small scale, networked, transparent businesses

-To serve home life as a key site of regenerative consuming and activities and the space in which it is sustained

-Ultimately, to spread deep beauty, a beauty that returns us to ourselves so that we may gracefully experience Doing as a natural effect of Being

Operative beliefs:

-Our vision of ourselves and the world is the strongest asset we have.

-Our deepest, right* passion is medicine and it is our greatest contribution to the collective

-When we create things, we create meaning; when we gift creations that were made with care and attention, we hope to equally attend to the recipient's individual creative spirit and worthiness.

-Selling and giving operate in partnership. Commerce as one significant engine of change.**

*A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise. - Aldo Leopold

**William McDonough

Writing little bits on this blog was so satisfying last winter, but I dropped it because it seemed too vulnerable and too private at the same time (why not share these things on Instagram for wider reach, why share these things at all…). And this isn’t an admittance of self deprecation, but being genuinely curious about how our narratives subtly turn when we know that it’s being publicized, at any level. And what about when it’s being publicized in a more private space, instead of the only half-consensual algorithms of social media?

The intention in keeping up with this blog is this: to provide useful and inspiring resources; to publicly document some things alongside private journaling for the sake of it; to share values that support a reality that I am committed to, hopefully sparking moments of compassion or insight for whoever is reading; and pragmatically, to hone my writing voice and ability to translate ideas informally. I think that it’s vital to share our voices and know that it’s safe to share who you are and the things that light you up, because there is a chance that it might light others up too. I think that the world can only benefit from that kind of content.
Anyway, here’s a poem:

The House of Belonging:

I awoke

this morning

in the gold light

turning this way

and that

thinking for

a moment

it was one

day

like any other.

But

the veil had gone

from my

darkened heart

and

I thought

it must have been the quiet

candlelight

that filled my room,

it must have been

the first

easy rhythm

with which I breathed

myself to sleep,

it must have been

the prayer I said

speaking to the otherness

of the night.

And

I thought

this is the good day

you could

meet your love,

this is the black day

someone close

to you could die.

This is the day

you realize

how easily the thread

is broken

between this world

and the next

and I found myself

sitting up

in the quiet pathway

of light,

the tawny

close-grained cedar

burning round

me like fire

and all the angels of this housely

heaven ascending

through the first

roof of light

the sun has made.

This is the bright home

in which I live,

this is where

I ask

my friends

to come,

this is where I want

to love all the things

it has taken me so long

to learn to love.

This is the temple

of my adult aloneness

and I belong

to that aloneness

as I belong to my life.

There is no house

like the house of belonging.

- David Whyte

©1996

 

Garden of Ordinary Miracles

A real Saturday morning treat to stumble across Robert Zakanitch’s incredible body of work.

Unfortunately because of strict image rules, I can’t share it here, but I highly recommend hopping over to check out his many series… “Night Desert Bloomings,” and the Celestial series are especially fun (but really it all is!)

Creative gestures

Smack in the middle of this potent year, a day after solstice and around Midsummer, it’s time to follow this thread of desire to blog and see where it leads. This whole yearning to share oneself online is a bizarre experience to pin down…it can be vulnerable enough to share oneself in person, and while writing online provides the comfort of deliberating on thoughts in privacy, how strange is it to press publish to an anonymous audience? Besides myself, who am I writing to?

Because of this, there has been so much hesitation about sharing my thoughts and expression online. It’s vulnerable, point blank. Let’s go ahead and make it more vulnerable by putting it all on the table and naming what the other hesitations are, they might just resonate with you too (whoever you are):

Judgement. Oh my god judgement....judging myself, my thoughts and writing ability and whether certain creative gestures are a solid use of time.

Fear of judgement from others. Strangely, the fear of judgement doesn’t come so much from any of the actual content that I might write, but instead the fear of having my writing critiqued and scribbled up with a red pen (What?? It’s true…)

It’s also fear of seeming self-indulgent (what makes rambling “worth” publishing) and silly.

I’m worried about sharing my passions into a vacuum. It’s vulnerable.

There it is. Fear has been in the driver seat for why I’ve kept from sharing myself fully in person, online, whatever. What I do know from sitting on so many ideas for so many years: the intention, the ‘Why’ with a capital W, is pure fuel for feeling connected, creatively liberated and ultimately, for being of service. It’s no secret that we’re in desperate need for all of these things. Writing this now and publishing it on this little corner of the web is one step to letting ‘Why’ try its hand at driving, and welcoming fear along for the ride in its proper place.

When it comes down to it, like so many creative gestures, the act of blogging or sharing thoughts in general is extremely low-stake even when it can make you feel naked. If you have also been sitting on a creative project for months or years now for fear of how the formal qualities will be perceived — whether it’s writing poetry or your technical ability in painting or sewing — may these words be a nudge to feel that block and take it along on the journey and the project that is waiting for you. We can expect typos and decisions that might make us cringe later, but I think that we are all so hungry to see people showing up for the things that really light them up, and to be doing it publicly when we feel like it, in all of our beautiful, imperfect figuring-it-outness.

Because it is medicine, and it will be medicine for yourself and the people that will have the gift of witnessing your creative expression and the -process- of deepening and expanding in that.

And if it feels like an idea is “not enough” in any way, it never has to be anything more than a creative gesture or iteration, just like this post.

Posting some old work here as I reboot the structure of this site...seeing this work with some level of kindness that I think it needed from me at the time of making it.

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Feeling fueled by Clarisse Demory's old blog and her generous yet refined eye...a needed reminder of the power of sharing what delights us and grateful to her for publishing her shots of home and France, it has given me so much joy and creative permission to let myself play. Also: candying rinds instead of composting them and anticipating candied orange rind and rosemary cornmeal biscuits; clearing out my book collection; articulating values; making homemade tea blends; grey purplish skies but the freshness of spring around the corner making everything inside my home feel pale yellow; new friends.

Most of all, I'm feeling the reminder that I don't need to always sprint against myself...that taking time to putter and moodle and zone out is all valuable. As someone that commonly falls into guilt about how time is spent (often with thoughts of "I should be doing this", go to do that thing and ah ha! another thought: "oh but I should be doing this...") I'm feeling that there is really an abundance of time and the burden of guilt is easing off my shoulders. So more time this spring for knitting, drawing, aimless walks, eating hot donuts in the early mornings while it's still cold, naps, improvisational baking and messing up and baking again to eat some and then give away, delving into long desired creative projects and accepting that losing sight of the shore might not be as terrifying as the anticipation of it. 

I'm wishing you some lightness as well...

Here are some Milton Avery still lifes:

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The radiators barely work, it's -1 and nothing sounds so good as a warm Montreal bagel fresh from the oven

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Reducing waste and noticing sufficiency

When I talk with people that are self-professed animal lovers but are disconnected when it comes to dairy (or just love cheese so much that their lives couldn't continue without "their" brie) Gotta have my cream, my grilled cheese, my.... I sit there and believe at the base of my heart that if people saw what animals go through in order to get that cheese on your plate, it would look a whole lot less appetizing and there would be so many more plant-based eaters based on logical harmony (which by the way is a website here about vegan and cruelty free cosmetic lists and resources, an aspect of this lifestyle that took a very long time to click for me). Because really, I've seen happy baby cows that act just like puppies and goats that cuddle up like cats (things I can post here too) and know that the people that have doggy companions with little smushed faces, grunting and drooling and wobbling, can surely also find a spot in their heart that connects to a fuzzy pink pig. I might be wrong too.

Well the animal lover/dairy industry contributor conundrum hit me smack in the face as I realized my own part in the earth lover/major unnecessary waste producer. Gulp. Thank goodness for the people that are putting out so much content about this online and thank goodness that for some reason, it crossed my path last month. Hopefully this post can operate in the same way for someone else... This is just to break down some changes that are churning in attempts to be more mindful about the waste we create. An extremely helpful resource if you're in Chicago, or just for general inspiration if you live anywhere, is https://www.zerowastechicago.org/. Two additional resources: https://www.sustainablelifestyleco.com/ and https://packagefreeshop.com/

Some of the switches we've made so far:

-Buying secondhand books

-No more paper towels. The paper towel industry doesn't need more of my money... Instead, we cut up old t-shirts and use toilet paper for the too gross messes that only happen once in a while (cat puke)

-Limiting food bought in plastic bags (Trader Joe's.....) and packing cotton produce bags. Trying to keep a thin bag bunched up in my purse for on the fly grocery buying. I've even started making my own drawstring bags which has been a fulfilling way of putting smaller fabric pieces to use!

-Composting! If you live in a city, there are companies that give you a bucket (mine was $8) and then you return it at any time and pick up another for the same price...and you can pay more and have someone swing by and grab it, or keep your own compost and hand it off to a friend or neighbor that gardens. This has been the biggest game changer for us after seeing that our two major sources of waste are plastic bags from food and food scraps themselves. It has opened my eyes to being more appreciative for how completely the earth provides for our needs, and how delicious and colorful it all is! 

-Being more mindful of to-go cups...taking an espresso at the counter only takes a few more minutes. Also swapping paper filters for metal filters for drip coffee, aeropresses, etc. 

-Lunette cup (or Diva cup) and organic cotton pads if necessary. Whether or not they all contain BPA's or GMO's or pesticides or any assortment of ingredients that make people uncomfortable, for me it comes back to not needing to give my money to these industries. I'd rather save it to indulge on other good things! Dates, figs, persimmons! Chocolate! These products aren't generally cheap, especially when considered over a year's time...and anyway, just like plastic bottles, the product breakdown rate seems to be far off from the time spent using the product. 

-Charcoal water filters

-Bamboo toothbrushes

Next step switches:

-Determine if the recycling is actually getting recycled. Our garbage company uses one dumpster and "sorts the trash"...so we're trying to find another alternative to ensure that the materials are actually getting reprocessed

-Buy more items in bulk! 

-Homemade laundry detergent using rose or lavender Dr.Bronner's and washing soap (or homemade washing soap made from baking soda)

-Homemade toothpaste

-Switches to natural sponges/washcloths for dishes or compostable brush heads

-Keeping rinds for orange/lemon infused homemade cleaning solution and experimenting with making candied rinds, storing them in olive oil, grating the rind and freezing it ice cubes, etc... And now that it's winter, I plan to simmer some orange rinds with cinnamon sticks, cloves, etc on the stove.

-Freezing carrot, onion, garlic, etc. scraps in jars for homemade stock

-Making an effort to go to more farmer's markets in the spring (and always asking for their un-sellables!) 

-Buying a glass nail file instead of the disposable kinds

-Consider buying a Japanese ear pick (mimikaki) instead of buying q-tips

Things that don't have solutions yet/need to research further/not sure if I'll ever get there???

-Pens ????

-Lens wipes... almost not willing to risk possible lint on fabric scraps...

-Hankies (maybe just at-home use?)

-Toilet paper (paper-wrapped rolls are way too pricy at this point and family cloth is not my thing...)

-Glue and various art supplies ??

I guess you have to answer for yourself whether it is even worth reducing waste or if it is all going to shit... Especially when considering the trash being pumped out of New York, LA, Beijing, Mumbai, not to mention major factories and businesses everywhere. I cheer a hopeful "just because you can't do everything, do something!" (thank you, Colleen Patrick Goudreau) My future kids will have enough reasons to roll their eyes with an "ugh mom", most likely to my inherited dance moves, they don't need to be saying it about the negligence and greediness that I've shown when it comes to disregarding limited resources and the not noticing the ways that the earth ceaselessly sustains us all. And lastly, giving credit to Colleen Patrick Goudreau again for this insight, it really isn't about perfection when trying to make a difference, it's about intention. It's about upping my care and reverence by 2%, baby step after baby step, keeping my eyes open and claiming responsibility, and then seeing it beautifully impact all other aspects of my life.