The Joy of Missing Out

jomo16

I almost missed this gorgeous sunset some years ago.

I was busy. I had a zillion things left on my extensive “to do” list and the day was burning down around me without much progress. The phone was ringing, there was someone at the door, and the washing needed hanging on the line. I had to get showered and dressed for a school board meeting, but I was frantically trying to juggle cooking dinner and catching up on the television news while scrambling around trying to find my grocery list, because if I really rushed, if I really pushed it, if I tried to sneak out of the meeting a little early, I could, maybe, (if all the stars were lined up properly), race to the market on the way home!

But, I needed a moment.

I needed a breath.

I needed a cuppa tea.

I craved something I could not name.

So, I stepped out onto the back porch and there was this sunset.

I had to sit down in the old wicker rocker (whose cushion I really was going to re-cover some day), on the front porch (that badly needed paint), with a cup of tea (in my favorite old chipped cup), and watch the dragonflies skim the absolutely still surface of the water, while the sun melted into the cool pool of evening.

I sat there. For two whole hours. Long past when I had to leave…missing the meeting, the news, the laundry, the groceries…but feeling the beauty of the world, celebrating a very rare sense of timelessness and complete peace.

I was hooked. I enthusiastically began to

jomo7

Before that, I had a terrible case of “Fear of Missing Out” (FOMO) fever.

I over-booked myself constantly, collected new hobbies and interests, cultivated new passions, took up a boat load of “good causes,” and assumed responsibilities waaaaay beyond my pay grade. I was up for everything; a tireless adventuress in a dozen realms. I read all the latest books, saw all the best new movies, and knew the names of dozens of musical groups across many decades and styles. I kept up on all the global news AND had intelligent views on many subjects. I was devoted to being an energetic and enthusiastic “part of the change I wanted to see in the world.”

And then I turned 70. I had a heart attack. My Sweetheart was diagnosed with terminal cancer.  I had to re-prioritize. Re-think the “busy.”

That’s when I heard about…

jomo18

At first, it was counter-intuitive. I was addicted to a wonderfully abundant and demanding life. I had responsibilities. I’d made commitments. People depended on me. But, gradually, cautiously, thoughtfully, I started to “retire” from most of my “busyness.” I slipped out the back door of many old responsibilities that no longer fit my commitment to slooooow down. I stopped racing out the door to DO and tried to just sit more often and BE.   

It’s getting easier as I practice. I’ve unsubscribed from three dozen emails, I’ve stopped obsessively checking the news, I  don’t even have a cultural calendar of cool things I could be doing anymore…in favor of just staying near the core of my own life, in my own home, at the Creative Cottage, with the wonderful circle of good folks who love me. And I may just be happier than I have ever been in my life!

jomo8

For the most part these days, I don’t feel like I’m “missing out” anymore. I can still get caught up in the old habit of saying “yes” to too much. And there are lots of things I’d LOVE to do that I just can’t squeeze in. But the difference now is that the sunset comes first. The joy isn’t the last thing on my list anymore–squeezed in around all the stuff I’m ‘spozed to do.

I can actually say these days that I prefer letting the world rush right by me!

The “news” now is about the speckled eggs nurtured by the cactus wren in the raggedy nest in the cholla. The next big event is the full moon coming up over the barn. The “vacation” is the sweet peace of a deep sleep after a long day in the garden.

Now, instead of reading about the world or seeing movies about it or obsessively “pinning” ideas about things I’ll never actually DO, I

jomo5

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a constant tug and under-tow, this trying to learn to let go of being in the big, colorful fray every single day.

I miss the days me and my Sweetie did archaeological stewardship or spent the whole weekend at the fabulous Tucson Folk Festival. I miss our weekly jaunts to the Loft Cinema and hanging out in the evenings with convivial friends. And I really, really miss camping and road trips.

But, as it turns out, I can amuse myself just fine, thank you very much. I like solitude and actually prefer quiet pursuits. And the joy of missing out means there’s time to

jomo17

and that’s what I’m doing.

So sometimes I go quiet and you don’t hear from me for weeks. Sometimes these blog posts are a little spotty and class schedules have to wait because there are tomato plants and marigolds that need to get planted. I don’t go out much at night or travel on jet planes anymore.  These days, I decline most invites, don’t sign-up for many cool classes or attend many fascinating lectures. And, frankly, I’ve stopped thinking I can single-handedly “save the world” from itself. 

Around all my Beloved’s chemo treatments, doctor appointments, prescription runs, worries about money, and concerns about the woes of the world, I’m trying to carve out a little island of peace. I am discovering that “Joy comes to us in ordinary moments. “We risk missing out when we get too busy chasing down the next extraordinary moment,” as Brene Brown says.

Sometimes, to really change your life and priorities, you just have  to

jomo20

And that is what I did…and do, every single day. Grateful for the past. Hopeful for the future. But ardently trying to live in the NOW. Trying to embrace with open arms the great joy of missing out on all that isn’t important (or meaningful) to me anymore.

My Sweetheart’s cancer is really digging in now and his marker numbers are off the charts bad, but he’s bravely starting a new, fiercer, more complex form of therapies that may have even more challenging side effects. Life is beautiful and precious, fragile and worth fighting for.  We’re on the journey together. It’s scary and exhausting and fraught with danger but…

jomo14

Just climb into the canoe, put your oar in the water, and head out toward that far horizon where there’s a glorious sunset just waiting to fill your heart up with joy again.

I’ll meet you there.

jomo15

Much Love

& Gratitude

& JOMO

from Kaitlin

© Copyright, Kaitlin Meadows, 2019. All Rights Reserved.

 

By Kaitlin Meadows

My Big, Beautiful, Messy Life!

mess 1

I’ve been in a black and blue funk for a few weeks.

Trying to process lots of stuff and think through many things. I’ve been trying to give myself time. Trying to absorb and digest my feelings. Trying to be gentle with myself.  Trying to honor the messy parts…(and, frankly, there are PLENTY of messy parts!)

charleston-food-photographer

I’ve been crying a lot, unbidden, over both silly and profound things. Usually the driven, over-achiever, I’ve been lazy and slothful and responsibility shirking. I’ve been wiggling out of kind invitations to do and go. I’ve been caught in a kind of limbo that I’ve not often allowed myself to experience. But, I realize,

mess 19

It’s a part of who I am–all the messy bits, the tears, the uncertainties, the unfinished projects, the unrealized dreams, the awkward, raggedy, imperfect me!

  But after a difficult winter of the soul, I am re-emerging into the warm Spring air,

mess 10

I am relaxing into the notion that I’ll NEVER have it all together. That I’ll NEVER have everything organized and “under control” and that I’ll never be/have/experience all that I’ve dreamed of.

I’ve begun to realize that…

mess 6

and it’s okay!

I’m finally learning to accept, that try as I might, stress as much as I do, I’m not ever going to be much more than a happy, loving, creative, compassionate, change-agent, artist, storyteller, poet, activist, nature-loving, wild woman who lives a wonderfully full and well-loved life.

And that is enough.

mess 9

Our beautiful Sonoran desert has had an abundance of rain and mild weather that has spawned the most glorious wildflower bloom I have seen for many years and, for the first time, I have really slowed down to delight in the joy of it. My Beloved and I have been making time to  sit out on our porch in the cool evenings to savor the gorgeous sunsets. I am finding time to garden and read and listen to music with a much keener appreciation. I’m in the middle of a dozen wildly engaging creative projects, strewn all over the house, studio, and yard!

mess 16

Sometimes there are dishes in the sink. The laundry basket is often full. Once or thrice I’ve left the bed unmade so I could go out to play. This is all new to me. I’ve never been able to ENJOY until the chores are done–and, trust me, they’re NEVER done!

But, at long last, I’ve come to know that to live a full, fun, vibrant life…

mess 14

The other night, we had a wonderful group of old friends over. For once, I didn’t stress over trying to be a great hostess or crafting a complicated meal. I cobbled together a few of my favorite easy recipes and asked my friends to bring theirs. The table was informal, the dishes were mismatched. We talked and laughed until very late and had the best time! I was left with a heap of dishes that I, very uncharacteristically, put off doing until the next morning because I realized

mess 18

So, here’s my advice:

mess 5

It’s waaaaay more fun and it sure beats being worried and stressed and always striving for impossible perfection.

Allow yourself to get out your art supplies and PLAY!

CreatiVity Has No Limits

Go check out the wildflowers, catch a sunset, make some art, fly a kite, invite some friends over (even if the house is a mess!), and

mess 15

I’ve finally figured out that…

mess 7

I’m glad to count you in that number!

Thanks for loving me and sharing my big, beautiful messy life!

Happy Spring!

Love, Kait

© Copyright, Kaitlin Meadows, 2019. All Rights Reserved.

 

By Kaitlin Meadows

Love Is Complicated

heart milagros

My Mom passed away earlier this week. She was 93 and in very poor health. We knew it was coming. Sometimes we even prayed it would come soon because she was in so much pain. But, still, it was a jolt. And there is grief. And there is relief. And there is the tangled muddle of emotions that come from unresolved relationships.

Love is complicated.

mom 4

(image above: a dying star creates a flower in space)

My mother never really liked me. She found it impossible to love or accept me. I was her first born. She was young. My Dad was a difficult man. Her own life before I came along was hard and she had many old woundings that she could never share with me, or anyone else it seems.

My Mom never knew me or had any conception of who I was. At the time of her death, we had not seen each other in over 32 years–though at one time we lived only a few hundred of miles apart. In recent years, we sent each other brief, cheerful emails once a month and occasional greeting cards, but she never knew any of my friends or lovers, never met my beloved husband, never wanted to know about my family or grand kids…She had no idea what I did in my life or what I dreamed of doing, and never expressed an interest in knowing. It was painful. It was confusing. It was sad.

Love is complicated.

In order to cope, instead of the sad, lonely, fractured life we actually lived, I created an imaginary family in my head. I found these old pictures in a bin at an antique shop that symbolized the mother love I so much craved…

mom 6

and I made up a happy story that my Mom and Dad were once madly in love and having fun at the beach before I came along…

mom 7

and that my siblings and I were close and shared many happy memories together.

mom 23

Love is complicated.

Because she was very secretive and often told conflicting stories, I never knew my Mom. We never shared anything faintly resembling a mother/daughter relationship. She would have been appalled if I ever confided in her or asked her for help. It would never have occurred to her to attend my college graduation, my wedding, or any other significant event in my life. I have no memory of my Mom ever hugging me or being affectionate with me in any but the most perfunctory of ways. But it all made me who I am…

mom 22

Love is complicated.

Please don’t get me wrong. My Mom was a lovely person in many ways. She loved her gardens–especially roses & lavender, she adored her dogs, she loved tea parties, she was a good cook who early on got interested in organic foods & simple living. She practiced yoga for over 40 years, volunteered at the hospital thrift store, and was tremendously proud of her Irish heritage. By all accounts, she was a good person and had a small community of “ladies” she knew from the Garden Club and the yoga studio.

mom 8

She loved the artist and illustrator Tasha Tudor and wanted nothing in life so much as to live as she did–in a tiny cottage, in a sea of flowers, simply and without artifice.

She collected spoons and music boxes. She was happiest pouring over spring seed catalogs and sharing cuttings from her garden.

But alcoholism, violence, secrets, and an ever present tension lived in our home. There was judgement and criticism. There were no family vacations or festive outings. We never really knew our aunts, uncles, cousins, or grandparents as people.

Yet, that difficult childhood made me who I am…and helped me realize that

mom 18

Love is complicated.

Last Spring, my dear sister Kim and I (who I reconnected with after almost 30 year apart!) were attending a workshop with a woman who had recently lost her own Mom. She played “Motherless Children Have A Hard Time” by Roseanne Cash and we each burst into tears, clutching each other’s hands, because, though our Mom was alive at the time, we both felt all of our lives like motherless children. It helped me to know that my sister felt as I did…that we had to grow up on our own and that the sadness and confusion of that childhood had tainted our judgement about what love was in our own lives and complicated our relationships for decades. But my sister and I are finally learning that…

mom 20

Love is complicated.

So, with my Mom’s death, I am letting go of all of those old soul injuries, releasing the sadness of never being worthy of my Mom’s love, jettisoning the dream I’ve had all my life that somehow, someday we could heal the space between us.

mom 2

I have been so lucky to be loved and healed by other mothers in my life. My best friend Allan’s mother Manetta embraced me as her daughter when I was 18 and her sweetness, her unconditional affection, and her loving support and appreciation of me helped me understand what a Mom could be. My dear friend/mentor Mari Stitt helped me to understand that  my Mom did the best she could with the life she was dealt. My sister/friend Sandi helped me celebrate my own gifts and have confidence in my own grace. And Pimm, my renegade side-kick, who had a terribly sad, complicated relationship with her own Mom, is teaching me that sometimes you never get the answers you need and that hurt feelings are okay.

mom 21

Love is complicated.

At 72, I now feel completely loved and accepted in my life. I am blessed to have the most extraordinarily loving life-mate. I am surrounded by deeply caring friends and my Cottage tribe continually uplifts me. My sister and I are closer than ever.

The message I share with anyone going through difficulties is…

mom 19

With my Mom’s death, I must let go of the wish I have nurtured all my life, that one day, somehow, some way, my Mom would love me, SEE me, & embrace me exactly as I am.

It’s a new day, and I am ready for it!

mom 10

So, Mom,

mom 1

For everything.

Mostly, for bringing me into the world when you didn’t want to.

And for teaching me, by default, that…

mom 13

Love IS complicated…

but beautiful and scary and worth every ounce of energy we put into it.

I love you Mom.

I wish you safe passage to someplace that is pain free and full of blooming lavender and romping dogs.

Rest In Peace.

Love Kait

©Copyright, Kaitlin Meadows. All Rights Reserved.

 

By Kaitlin Meadows

Exciting New Adventures!

p 9

Hello Beautiful Friends~

Where in the world has Kaitlin been?

I’ve been away on the most incredible inner soul voyage–replete with epiphanies and dragons, dark night’s of the soul and radiant moments of utter clarity & peace. It has been six weeks of intense soul searching and letting go, deep family time and intentional solitude, plus a dash of much needed shifting and stretching mixed in.

I’ve loved every minute of it and cherish the healing time I was able to whittle into the long prayer stick that has been my waaaaay too busy life.

paws 7

I had a wonderful holiday season: cozy & warm & full of twinkling lights, good friends, and much simple joy! I languished and lazed: read books and took walks, saw movies and spent time in nature. I had long, loving, sweet days quietly snuggled in at home with my Sweetheart.

In the process, I spent some deep time re-thinking my life and the use of my time and re-calibrating my direction and intention. I even dusted off many long dormant old wishes and dreams!

It took me a while (and much trial and error!) to come up with my guiding words for the year, but they finally came to me on a moon-full night around a campfire.

My words for 2019 are: PAUSE & REPLENISH.

paws 12

Pausing is not easy for me.

(It’s danged near IMPOSSIBLE if truth be told.)

I’m a chronic, persistent, insistent over-doer, over-thinker, and over-feeler.

I  was taught that idleness is a waste of valuable time, better spent doing something for someone else and that self-care is a selfish and self-centered indulgence.

I’ve always had a boat-load of energy, run circles around everyone I know, and been the quintessential over-achiever. I prefer being fully engaged at all times with everything that crosses my path. I lend my whole heart to everything I do.

But, it’s taken me years to learn that living life at that pace leaves little time for reflection, introspection, and rest. After my own heart attack two years ago and, now, my Beloved’s on-going cancer and chemotherapy, I’ve (finally) begun to embrace the philosophy that…

p 1

As an experiment, I’ve been actively practicing a new way of being for six weeks now–learning to re-prioritize the “good stuff” instead of all the “have to’s” and “gotta’s,” learning to ENJOY tiny moments of exquisite bird song and glorious Tucson sunsets, and gently (but firmly) beginning to navigate my life towards some exciting new soul-stretching adventures.

paws 1

In my lengthy inventory of gratitude, I found soooo many things to celebrate and cherish. Including the realization that this February marks my eighth anniversary of being the Mistress of Merriment at the Creative Cottage!

All those years ago, when I wrote in my Mission Statement that it was “My hope is to provide a safe, nurturing space for women to share solace, inspiration, creativity, and joy while building deep and abiding friendships,” I could not have known what a fabulous experience it would be! I could not have predicted what a loving, supportive community we have built together. Eight years ago, I could not have imagined holding an average of 125 classes a year (that’s over a thousand classes!) and doing so much social justice, youth mentoring, creative writing, and counseling work at the Cottage! And, most certainly, I could not have known what an amazing tribe we would become!

p 5

You have generously supported my classes, volunteered to teach classes of your own, made amazingly creative “stuff,” celebrated each other’s triumphs and setbacks, laughed and cried and supported each other through sickness and health, through hard times and good. You have shared your stories and your resources, boosted each other, celebrated together, brought yummy potluck food to share, and even helped with the dishes. 

Thank You with all my heart! You have helped make my life so full and FUN and bubbling over with JOY!

But,

as with all things,

it is time for a change…

paws 2

I need to replenish myself.

I need to learn new things, try new things, explore new things, and have new adventures.

I need to embrace these

p 11

I need to follow the sage advice of Melody Ross, a delightful spirit sister/teacher, who counsels ways to live a beautiful “real life.” This is from her Brave Girls Club–(sign up for it–it will feed your soul!)

She writes:

Dear Growing Soul,

Please, dear friend, let yourself keep growing. Do you hear me? LET YOURSELF KEEP GROWING. Let yourself change. Let yourself learn. Let yourself become. Let yourself let go of who you once were if it’s time for you to become something new.

And the fact is, it’s time for all of us to become something new all the time. We are living, growing beings. This means that every time we grow, we are different than we were before. There is no shame in this, there is nothing wrong with this and there is also not a real way to prevent it from happening. Because it is supposed to happen this way.

Who you were is different from who you are. Who you are is different from who you will become. You are meant to progress in this way, everyone is. Don’t let anyone steal this miracle from you and don’t let yourself try to steal it from anyone else.

Sometimes we have giant growth spurts and we grow out of everything that fit us before. There are growing pains, but it doesn’t mean that it’s wrong. Change is hard and and change is beautiful and change is absolutely necessary.

Grieve and let go of the old, and open your hands joyfully to the new. It will make everything just a little bit easier, beautiful friend.

It is going to be okay. You are going to be okay. You are just right just as you are, and you were just right just as you were, and you will be just right just as you become. Trust this. Life is a beautiful messy process and you’re growing new wings.

You are so very very loved.
xoxo

Melody Ross believes in living a REAL life, with bumps & bruises, with setbacks & heartache, but mostly, with LOVE. Her advice came to me at just the perfect moment. My head was incredibly stressed- out with all the usual negative self-talk: I wasn’t doing enough, that I should be out there trying to save the world, that I hadn’t written a new blog post in over a month, that I couldn’t think of any new classes, blah, blah, blah…I was still struggling with that same old “I’m not good enough” demon even as my heart was INSISTING it was long past time for me to PAUSE AND REPLENISH. Melody reminded me change is awkward and bumpy and messy as hell…when I read her note I had one of those moments…

p 3

It’s time for new beginnings!

Big changes in my life:

I’ve already started a wonderful weekly bookmaking class with the talented Maria Lee at Pima College, won a coveted writing residency to work on my book projects, started attending a movement class, scheduled several art retreats, made plans to spend more time with my sister in the Sierra’s, and about to begin a modest new hiking practice.

p 2

My new little business called Enhanced Environments, (I de-clutter, organize, and re-enchant other people’s creative spaces), is taking off big time (thank you!) and, it turns out that I just love helping folks reclaim their creativity and sense of personal peace in their homes & studios. (Call me if you are in need of some re-enchantment!)

I am taking Seth Apter‘s workshop at PaperWorks and I’ve signed up for a three month series with Naomi Ortiz at Antigone based on her soul-healing book Sustaining Spirit: Self Care for Social Justice. I’m  learning to play the kalimba,  starting to create new metal sculptures, and eagerly begin a massive re-enchantment process at my home studio, The Vortex. AND, I’m already preparing my spring garden for more herbs and flowers!

paws 9

These are my commitments for now:

paws

and I firmly believe it’s okay to

p 10

I am already feeling better, stronger, healthier than I have for a very long while.

I already KNOW that I am on the right path.

I’m EXCITED about my life again!

paws 13

In February, at The Creative Cottage, we will begin a new chapter too.

There will be more emphasis on Creativity Chix adventures: invitations to join me at other people’s classes (Andrea Edmundson‘s mosaic classes, Marnie‘s jewelry making classes, Ben’s Bells, etc.), plus more shared matinees and plays, more music and merriment meet-ups.

At The Cottage, I will hold only 4 classes a month until June and then we’ll regroup and see how things feel…please support my classes if you can–if we want The Creative Cottage to survive I will need your help with the rent (and the merriment)!

Meanwhile:

paws 10

Let us embark on all our changes with excitement and not regret, with all our love, creativity and friendship…will you join me?

 joy 2

For me…

p 6

Come join me! And may we all celebrate new possibilities together!

Stay tuned–we’re going to have a very fun new year together!

paws 14

With love & gratitude and a big dash of excitement,

Your Mistress of Merriment,

Kaitlin

P.S. Check out classes for February & March by clicking the Cottage Classes tab!

© Copyright, Kaitlin Meadows, 2019. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

By Kaitlin Meadows

Hangin’ In There

yes 15

I’m baaaaack!

Thanks for sending so many lovely emails and cards to cheer me!

It’s been a bit of a struggle of late.

My Sweetheart has had some very rough days with his chemo and its complications. We’ve spent far too much time in Emergency Rooms at 2 a.m. and whole days get devoured at treatment centers.

The truth is: We were both just plain pooped out and frazzled! We really needed a “long winter’s nap” with a little extra dash of hope & seasonal joy. We needed to burrow into our snug little cave and cuddle up and just let the world take care of itself for a while. We needed to remember…

sol 7

I know, I know. Seems I have to remind myself of this magnificent truth over and over again. But I’m starting to get it and this little break really helped cement the wisdom of it for me.

Tis the season, after all, and it’s all about the fa-la-la and the “be merry” cuz it’s “the most wonderful time of the year” messaging being pumped full-force into the stores and the media…but, frankly, I was just not feelin’ it. I was just not feelin’ like glitzing it all up, sprinkling glitter on it, and wrapping it up with a big red satin bow.

Life is hard. Times are lean. People are sick and dying and being wounded by hate and violence all over the world. Dear friends have lost loved ones, others are facing health issues of their own, a few have lost jobs or been forced to cinch in already very tight budgets.

I’ve just barely been able to

yes 17

and I think it’s kind of rude to tell someone who’s clinging to the slenderest strand of hope in the face of sadness or despair to just

yes 18

Sometimes you just have to let go. To cry and wail and wallow in the grief and pain. Sometimes you just need to blurt out to the kind-hearted folks who offer you that cheery advice that you’re losing your grip, slipping off the radar, and going under. You need to NOT put a pretty face on it. NOT “get over it” or wait for the rainbow that’s ‘spozed to be just around the corner when all things are conspiring to rain on your parade.

yes 6

Sometimes “hanging in there” is just not possible. We live in a “buck up, walk it off, shake it out” culture. We feel such guilt and shame when we need help, when we need space, when we need to NOT plaster a brave face on our broken heart.

Sometimes, despite all the well intentioned advice, we need to shout to the world…

yes 3

and claim it for ourselves–even when other people expect cheery blog posts or lovely classes or the always happy-go-lucky Suzy Sunshine to bounce back.

So, maybe you’ve noticed, I’ve been

z 1

I needed to close myself down for a little bit. To go quiet and let myself FEEL all the sadness and anxiety and uncertainty and pain of this last year.  To try to process the sudden critical illness of my Mom and the helplessness I felt not being able to help her out somehow. To step off the whirling carousel and sit on the park bench for a while.

z 4

I had to make the dark, perilous journey inward and redefine myself. I had to disentangle myself from too many responsibilities and too little relief. I had to just sit out in the garden and NOT feel compelled to weed it. I had to remind myself that life is a “one day at a time” adventure and not a long-term terminal prognosis. I had to remember that I was human and flawed and tired and scared. I had to wake each day and make this vow…

z 3

and, especially when things skidded terribly out of control, to remember

yes 14

That’s the best I can do for now.

I’m hangin’ in there, thank you.

So here’s the update:

My Mom, after a long, horrible hospital stay, is going back home (with my dear sister Kim’s loving help) for her final days. Albert continues to devote himself to the brave practice of trying to live each day with joy and purpose amid his pain and the uncertainty of his future. I am slowly recovering from some health setbacks of my own.

My friends have been a rock: bringing food, taking me to plays, sharing their love with Albert, and patiently understanding my silence.

Marnie & Kaitie

I am gradually re-emerging from my brief hiatus. There are some new class offerings for the remainder of December and lots of very cool stuff planned for the New Year. The tree is up and the house is radiant with good cheer. I am feeling much less wiped out & my tank is slowly re-filling with hope and dreams and GRATITUDE. Gratitude.

You are all a part of my blessings–my tribe–my beautiful band of merry pranksters, fabulous creative beings, and sassy, soulful sisters.

Thanks for hangin’ in there with me!

Now sign up for some classes and come play at the Cottage so we can brave forward together–sharing our love and laughter and creative power together.

z 2

Happy Holiday Season!

Much Love and Thankfulness for you,

Kaitlin

© Copyright, Kaitlin Meadows, 2018. All Rights Reserved.

By Kaitlin Meadows

Blessed Are the Weird!

weird 4

Eccentric, eclectic, unusual, unique, odd, nuanced, passionate, creative. All possible definitions of ARTIST. And I proudly fit that description and wear the tattered, paint splattered, cloak of it into a very frayed and jaded world with pride and aplomb.

It didn’t take me long in life to realize the “weird” people were the most interesting, had the most to say and share, and lived life with a passion and wild abandon that I craved.

weird 2

I was utterly blessed to be a child of the 60’s–deeply immersed in a cultural and political upheaval that yielded an urgency to speak up; sing, dance, write poetry, make art, and live lovingly.

I was reared on the philosophy that we are all divinely connected and intertwined and each of us has a vital role in the grand cosmology. I was blessed to live collectively with others “on the land” and to be an active part of collaborative relationships.

I was raised on barter and co-ops, shared parenting and schooling, consciousness raising circles and a moral imperative to try to make the world a kinder, more tolerant place.

But I never, ever “fit in” or ran with the “in” crowd..or, truth be told, ever wanted to…I was always the odd-duck, the one out of step, never stylish or trendy, forever lost in a book while others were at parties and out rambling in nature while others were primping for dates.

Mostly that was okay with me–I’ m a happy loner anyhow–preferring my solitude and creative pursuits to “hanging out” or shopping, but it wasn’t until I stumbled onto the inspired work of Jaocb Nordby, author of “Blessed Are The Weird,” who seemed to be speaking to me directly with this…

weird 13

Jacob Nordby’s philosophy is to exalt our weirdness and give it the deep respect it deserves. He says:

weird 6

I’ve come to realize that almost all of the writers, poets, musicians, scientists, and regular folks I admire and revere are “weird.” And, though I have some wonderfully “normal” friends and care deeply about many people who are “straight” in lots of ways–I prefer those who are odd, interesting, unique, and, in short, WEIRD!

I see weirdness as a blessing! A gift! A sacred calling! I celebrate weirdness and honor those strong enough, brave enough, “authentic” enough to be weird in a world that extols the value of “fitting in.” Blessed are the weird!

weird 11

Weirdness has responsibilities…

weird 8

and rewards…

weird 14

Weirdness requires us to

weird 15

and blesses us by attracting others to us who are unique too. So…

weird 7

and

weird 5

Instead of feeling (as I have all of my life that I’m “not of this world”) or lamenting that I’ll never be “normal” by anyone’s standards, I now celebrate my weirdness…and admire it in others. I realize that

weird

I see the tribe of creative women who come to play at The Creative Cottage as divine weirdos, eccentric brave-hearts, and soulful sisters of mercurial merriment.

So, come on!

Lighten your spirit, shake off your bondage to “normal,” stop worrying about what other people think…be YOU–wild wonderful weird YOU!

Do It NOW!

weird 9

Love & Blessings Fellow Weirdos!

Kaitlin (who is letting her freak flag fly!)

© Copyright, Kaitlin Meadows, 2018. All Rights Reserved.

Images from Pinterest with thanks.


weird 10

By Kaitlin Meadows

Lost Daughters of Juarez

11-16

Dia De Los Muertos season in Tucson is magical, meaningful, and profoundly moving. We are blessed to have many fine opportunities to learn about and honor the traditions of native and indigenous peoples in Tucson–including the excellent work done by  Many Mouths One Stomach, culminating in our Day of the Dead Procession on November 4. 

Perhaps my favorite way to honor this tradition is sharing the powerful celebration offered with love by Ceci and John and all those who help support Raices Gallery.

11-18

For over fifty years I have been a feminist artist activist in the tradition of the Guerrilla Girls: acting up, speaking out, and making political art. This year I am pleased to offer two pieces in the Raices Gallery Dia De Muertos show, inspired by my social justice work with women of many cultures.

My pieces: Honoring and Remembering The Lost Daughters (Mothers, Sisters, & Friends) of Ciudad Juarez

11-23

Remembering Esmeralda and Isabel:

Juarez Women

Mixed media collages by activist artist Kaitlin Meadows that contrast haunting confirmation photographs of young women (representing ultimate purity & innocence) and tattered lace and human detritus (representing the landfills & dumps in which their mutilated bodies have been discovered).

11-26

The phenomenon of the female homicides in Ciudad Juárez, called in Spanish feminicidio (“feminicide“), involves the violent deaths of hundreds of women and girls since 1993 in the northern Mexican region of Ciudad JuárezChihuahua, a border city across the Rio Grande from the U.S. city of El Paso, Texas.

The number of murdered women and girls in Ciudad Juárez since 1993 is estimated to be more than 1,500.

11-20

The murders in Juárez would not have drawn such national and international attention if it were not for the heroic efforts of the victims’ families and activist women around the world.  

11-27

 The murders of women and girls in Ciudad Juárez have received international attention, due to Mexican government inaction in preventing violence against women and girls and bringing perpetrators to justice.

11-25

Evidence suggests that a specific group of women and girls are being targeted in Ciudad Juárez. The victims share common characteristics, and there are many similarities in the violent crimes committed against them. Most of the victims are young women who come from impoverished backgrounds and work in maquiladoras, as factory workers, in other sectors of the informal economy, or are students.

Cultural academic Mercedes Olivera has argued that feminicide is a mechanism of domination, control, oppression, and power over women.

11-22

My work hopes to bring greater knowledge and compassionate response to this tragedy of loss.

11-21

In 1999, a group of feminist activists founded Casa Amiga, Juárez’s first rape crisis and sexual assault center. The center works to provide women in Juárez with a refuge against violence, therapy, legal counsel, and medical attention.  Casa Amiga also works to raise public awareness both locally and internationally regarding the exploitation and dehumanization of women in Juárez.

11-24

In 2002, a social justice movement named Ni Una Mas, which in Spanish means “not one more,” was formed to raise international awareness to violence against women in Juárez. The movement consists of a variety of domestic and international organizations and individual activists. Ni Una Mas participants demand that the Mexican state implement strategies that prevent violence against women including murder and kidnappings and that the state conduct competent investigations on crimes already committed.

All proceeds from the sale of these remembrances will go to Casa Amiga and Ni Una Mas

11-17

JOIN ME FOR THE OPENING CELEBRATION OF DIA DE LOS MUERTOS

FRIDAY NOV 2, 2018           6:00 – 9:00 PM

RAICES TALLER 222 ART GALLERY & WORKSHOP

218 E. 6TH STREET   TUCSON, AZ  85705

(520) 881-5335

Exhibition Dates:  Nov 2 – Nov 17, 2018

A BEAUTIFUL AND SINCERE EVENT CELEBRATING DIA DE LOS MUERTOS IN THE TRADITION OF THE HISPANIC SOUTHWEST

ALTARS AND OFRENDAS BY INDIVIDUALS, FAMILIES AND COMMUNITY GROUPS

PAINTINGS, SCULPTURE, PHOTOGRAPHY AND MIXED MEDIA WORK BY LOCAL AND REGIONAL ARTISTS

EVENT STARTS AT 6:00 PM WITH BLESSING OF THE SPACE AND LIGHTING OF THE CANDLES

JOIN US FOR FOOD (POTLUCK – BRING SOMETHING TO SHARE), REFRESHMENTS & MUSIC !

MUSIC BY TUCSON’S OWN MARIACHI MILAGRO !

CHILDREN WELCOME – DIA DE LOS MUERTOS ACTIVITY TABLE !

DONATIONS APPRECIATED !

Regular gallery hours:  Fridays & Saturdays 1:00 – 5:00 pm and by appointment 

Dia de los Muertos – 2018 is sponsored in part by generous donations from:

Jerry & Dina Aguilar family / La Mesa Tortillas

Claudia Arevalo / Arevalo Law Firm LLC

Mariachi Milagro & artist David Tineo

Muchisimas Gracias!                              

Raices Taller 222 Art Gallery & Workshop is Tucson’s only Latino based nonprofit cooperative contemporary art gallery located in the Downtown Historic Warehouse District

 www.raicestaller222.com 

Let us open our hearts and souls to the stories and solace of those who have passed over and yet still offer us their wisdom and grace.

All Good Blessings of the Season to You and Yours, Both Living and Passed

Kaitlin

© Copyright, Kaitlin Meadows, 2018. All Rights Reserved.

By Kaitlin Meadows

SEASONAL SHIFT

today 9

Do you feel it?

The season shifting?

The cooling? The softening? The diffusion of light?

The sweetness of change?

AUTUMN!

It’s my favorite time of year.

today 10

A time I can hunker down. Slow the pace. Cultivate ease. Get cozy.

today 1

A time to remember that all things change…that we live and die and the world keeps spinning. A time to remind myself that there is beauty in letting go.

today 13

A time to go camping and sit by the fire with my friends, laughing and talking, for hours…

today 18

A time for enjoying, savoring, slowing, sensing, and resetting my compass to inner peacefulness…

today 15

A time to pack up the car and go out into the woods and celebrate!

today 11

Though the wars wage on, though the cruelty, bigotry, and hatefulness seem  amplified at an unprecedented pitch right now, though the heart is continually bruised and battered…

Give yourself a break.

Find a quiet place to hit “pause” and sit quietly.

Rest.

Refill yourself.

Breathe.

Cry.

Release.

Repeat.

today 12

Let things fall away…let things shift and settle…let yourself have a whole day in your jammies, get out your coloring books, bake something yummy, decorate the kitchen table, and  make a fire in the hearth of your heart and sit by it.

today 7

Celebrate this season.

We have made it through another blazing bloody hot Tucson summer!

We’re making our way over hurdles and obstacles, the sad passage of friends and family, the insanity of our politics, the craziness of our world…but it takes time…and patience…and HOPE. It takes slowing down to feel all the feelings and to get them “right-sized”…it takes building a fire in the small stove of our soul and burning our burdens, releasing our fears, and getting ready to snuggle in and prepare ourselves for the seasons ahead.

today 14

It is time to be grateful for every tiny thing that brings us joy!

today 16

Happy, Happy Autumn My Friends!

May we enjoy it together with love and continuing resolve to be a flicker of golden light in the dark night of our souls.

Kaitlin, Autumn Celebrant

© Copyright, Kaitlin Meadows, 2018. All Rights Reserved.

 

By Kaitlin Meadows

SACRED RAGE

sacred

I am sick of it! Appalled by it! Outraged by it!

I am angry and sad and furious and heart-broken.

But I will NOT be silenced, shamed, or ignored!

This latest moral affront is an assault on all women. But I am re-ignited. I am re-inspired. I am renewed in my resolve to take down those who collude with the devil. Our tribe of renegades tribe is a force to be reckoned with. We are NOT going down without a fierce fight.

This has GOT TO STOP!

sacred 4

I’m Susie Sunshine, the healer, the muse, the mentor, the teacher, the gardener, the tender of the wounded, the protector of children,  the poet, the artist, the activist, the feminist, the WOMAN that society demonizes, despises, dismisses, marginalizes, and exploits.

But watch out, you got me MAD now! You got me up,  re-invigorated, and full of sacred rage that I will use to wage moral war against the tyrants who demean and dismiss women who speak up, woman who act up, women who DARE hold you accountable for your arrogance, misogyny and pathetic “boys will be boys” assaults!  Fair warning…

sacred 7

It is time to stand in circle by the holy fire of our rage and be heard. It is time for us to convene in sacred counsel and use our gifts, our power, our voices in the clamor for justice!

sacred 9

We welcome the help of all willing to speak out against the abuse of women…

sacred 3

and we are willing to do what we need to do to be heard and respected. We will not fight like men who perjure themselves in the name of their dinky egos and enormous entitlement. We will fight like girls!

sacred 6

Please don’t give up! Please don’t let this latest horrific saga push you down, put a hand over your mouth, laugh at you, and make you feel helpless and alone.

GET BACK THE F UP and out into the streets!

We have a moral and spiritual obligation. We have a holy right. We are amazing, powerful, creative, compassionate, STRONG women and we will not be silenced, battered, and discarded.

sacred 10

I know, I know. We are weary. We are heart-sore, we are mad, we are hurt, we feel betrayed. But that’s what they want. That’s what they think will keep us down and quiet and afraid. But NO! Not me!

How about you? Will you join me and millions of women around the world who raise their voices–ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

up 7

Every woman who ever made a difference did so because she’d had enough and wasn’t going to take it anymore. Let’s join them, support them, stand beside them, BE THEM!

sacred 14

Let’s get serious. Let’s come together in small circles of power and passion. Let’s stand up together. No time to sit down or hide or give up. It’s time to take my hand and the hand of the sister beside you.

sacred 11

It is time for our Sacred Rage to flare and light and warm and guide us to a higher place. Please join me at the Creative Cottage to stoke our outrage into action, our heartbreak into power, and our tribal wisdom into new ways to resist our oppression.

Let us persist!

sacred 12

I am with you. Millions of women are with you. Get up! Act up! Be brave!

sacred 8

All in the name of love and strength and the power of women!

We are a tribe of wonderful, terrible, divine feminine warriors who will not be shamed or silenced. We will NOT stand idly by while you abuse our sisters.

You have been warned. Cross us at your own peril. We have right on our side.

In Solidarity, Hope, and Resistance,

Kaitlin Mara

Warrior

By Kaitlin Meadows

September Sabbatical

age 16

“To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.” 
~ Mary Oliver

It’s been a remarkable, amazing, brimming month full of small adventures, harsh setbacks, interesting detours, bumpy back roads, and unexpected blessings.

My Sweetheart’s chemotherapy is ramping up a few notches, we’ve had some dark days, there are new complications, and summer refuses to loosen its sweaty grip but nothing can get me down…I’m off to the beach and I can already feel my heart leap and my spirits rise!

da2

“Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it’s something you design for the present.” Jim Rohn

 I’ve had my fingers-crossed for months, hoping with all my might, saying little prayers to various divine sources, that I could make this trip with my wonderful side-kick Marnie

100_2850

and, miracle of miracles, we leave in the morning! The universe seems to be whispering to me…

escape 5

I LOVE road trips! Getting in the car with a fun friend, the radio blaring, the back seat full of bags & boogie boards, the sea beckoning us!

age 7

Fabulous friends Sandi & Ski will treat us to dinner (thank you Dear Hearts!)

Sandi Ski & Kait

with a tour of their amazing gardens before sunset and we’ll stay overnight with them on the Full Corn Moon in Aries!

Moon Blue

They are magical old friends–Sandi & I are soul sisters who have shared soooo many beautiful times together and Ski has taught me so much about life & love! I’m so excited to spend special time with them again!

Sandi & I 25 years ago!

sandi & kait

And then Marnie & I will scamper  down to our favorite old hippie beach for several days of utter sloth and complete merriment!

100_2873

Two silly, happy, beach bunnies having fun…

bathin' beauties

two old bitties causin’ trouble!

age 2

I’ll be back soon with a load of delightful classes and fun adventures to share with you!

Check out the October class schedule and sign up quick–I miss you and can’t wait to hear all about your summer adventures too!

Meanwhile, picture me in

age 19

and watching the sun melt into the sea!

vir4

“Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand and melting like a snowflake.”
— FRANCIS BACON

Gotta go!

age 20

Love and see you in October!

Mermaid Kait

© Copyright, Kaitlin Meadows 2018. All Rights Reserved.

By Kaitlin Meadows