Dropping In

Disarray makes it difficult for me to create. So, I keep my studio clear of clutter. Well, most of the time. Its current condition is a sign of how busy my life has been.  The book launch, two groups in Paris, book talks, signings and a retreat in Saugatuck all happened within two months, along with my regular commitments.  Things that I usually put away are stacked by the door as I race out to the next event.

Now I am cleaning up my messes both in the studio and in a relationship.   This is easy when it is a sewing machine or a few stray items that are out of place.  When the mess is in a relationship it is not as clear, not as simple. 

I know that I can grow from disturbances. 

My life has had other times of upheaval that have taught me a great deal.  I prefer less turbulent ways to grow.  Yet every once in awhile I take this painful path to growth.  I am in that unsettled place now.  And the most difficult situation for me to encounter is the uncomfortable reality that others are hurt by my actions. 

Sometimes relationships become stronger in the healing process.  Sometimes the relationship doesn’t survive.  The uncertainty of the outcome is a difficult part of the disturbance.  In the middle of the muddle the end is unclear. Gratefully, the latter is a rare outcome.  But when that happens it takes awhile to regain my balance. Often it takes a long time.

Sorting is a big part of this process. It is the same in my studio as well as my emotional life.  What do I keep?  What do I pitch? What do I embrace as a priceless gift? We are the only ones who can answer these questions.  They require ruthless honesty.  Questions like this emerge: “Will I really ever use the fabric stacked up in the closet?” Or, emotional honesty requires soul searching questions: “Did I speak with compassion?” Can I accept my own shortcomings? These are tough questions.  However, they are the ones that allow us to grow.

We all have stories like these.  We are on one side or the other of a conflict. It is likely we are both hurt and the one who caused hurt.  Life is messy.  I like to scamper away from upsets as quickly as possible. Yet, I know sinking into them is the only thing that will release me.  Just like my messy studio, I must plunge into personal problems to clean them up. Wishing them away won’t  work. Dropping in lets us learn from our experiences.
When I wrote the introduction to Unfolding I was thinking about these very times.

“Living in the moment should be blissful. Right? Yet sometimes when we drop in we encounter uneasiness.We’d like to be present but without the risk of feeling discomfort. Intuitively we know that isn’t possible. Fearing what we’ll find makes us reluctant to drop in. It keeps us running.”  

We can run, but we cannot hide.  Eventually we’ll trip over the debris.

So I do the work of sorting and deciding what I keep, pitch or embrace. Doing this, I clean up my studio and dust off my soul.

Sooner or later we all face cleaning up messes. Self-compassion is critical, along with laughter, silence, writing, talks with friends, walks and chocolate.  Well that is my formula.  You likely have your own.  It takes self-acceptance to drop in at times like these. The desire to distract ourselves is seductive when we feel vulnerable.  Yet, if we stay open we can discover priceless gifts in the midst of a mess.

Once I have clarity I say to myself, “The work it took to get here is so worth it.”

But, I can’t say that just yet.

I have more sorting to do.

4 thoughts on “Dropping In”

  1. Nancy, I feel uneasy reading this entry (I can relate to those feelings!) and yet grateful to read that you (sorry to say) also struggle with these feelings. Hey, I’m here if you ever want a sounding board — and take a break from sitting with it. But I suppose sitting with the feelngs gets you through them. Ugh. Thanks for sharing. This is really good stuff.

  2. Nancy J. Hill

    Maureen, Thank You! You are so generous.
    Yes, there is something about knowing that we all face difficulties that brings us together.
    When I am “sitting with things” I am pretty active. I have talked to four different therapists, all friends of mine, written reams worth of observations, eaten chocolate, walked in the arboretum and renewed friendships that have been on the back burner while I was finishing the book. For me “sitting with it” means not looking away and denying the pain I feel. A month has pasted since I wrote this. I can now say, it WAS so worth it and I wouldn’t wish this journey on anyone. I would wish the breakthroughs for everyone. Again, you are a dear for making your offer.

  3. Nancy,
    I wrote a lovely blog and then did something wrong and lost it! Ha! I think that means it wasn’t meant to be.
    I wanted to take a moment to echo Maureen’s thoughts and to thank you for your gift of vulnerability in sharing that with us. It’s a great reminder that we all have to deal with some messiness now and again.
    You are such a caring, overcaring, individual and so many of us would not be where we are today without your inspiration and willingness to be vulnerable and transparent. I wish you all the best on this journey.
    Sometimes a closet needs that deep cleaning….time to give clothes away, find ones we forgot about, and make space for new things while we sweep away the cobwebs. Here’s hoping that closet is soon sparkling and attracting all the new wonderful things in your life.

    Love and Blessings


  4. Nancy J. Hill

    Lupe, Thank you for your kind words. I am learning to appreciate my vulnerability and humanity. I want to hang on to a delusion of perfection. Now I see that my work is to embrace my lumpy, bumpy real self that makes mistakes and is brilliant and creative. This is something that is true for each of us.

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