What she craved
She craved paint and canvas, the white of gesso and the shock of alazarin turquoise. She craved blinding fuschia, cerulean blue and burnt umber.
She craved time. To think her own thoughts, to reflect, to stroll with no destination. She craved boredom.
She craved connection, a margarita with a good friend, a playful buzz in the early evening, a bubbly walk home at the magic hour.
She craved dark greens, but someone else to cook them.
She craved laughter, the kind where you can hardly catch your breath.
She craved a chance meeting, a foreign country, a surprise that is so unimaginably good you can only call it a blessing.
She craved a good story.
She craved clarity and sharpness, an on-top-of-it edge. She craved confidence.
She craved an opening, a lifting of the veil, of seeing the truth as it is and not what she made up.
You might remember a post from a few months ago entitled, “Have you ever said yes to that little whisper in your heart?” I mentioned a painting retreat that my heart leapt at the thought of. I couldn’t get it out of my mind. That whisper got louder and louder.
Somehow I was afraid to want it, afraid to ask for it (who did I think I was, too much time away, too much money, do you deserve this, you’re going to be punished for even asking) I noticed so much noise about this one simple desire. I watched myself become incredibly anxious over this very luxurious problem. More judging thoughts came in. (There are people dying in the world and you are having insomnia over a retreat in Mexico?)
But every thing. Every small thing and every big one, is an opportunity for growth, for wisdom and for loving ourselves (and so others) better.
I had some illuminating coaching sessions that week with my two favorite coaches, Rachel Cole and Laurie Wagner. I learned that saying yes to this was about so much more. I understood that I had to tease several things apart– There was letting myself want what I want, there was asking for it, and then there was getting it or not. (The getting it part was actually secondary)
The real lesson was in allowing myself to feel the full breadth of my wanting. More importantly, to feel the vulnerability of wanting something and not knowing if I could have it.
What I didn’t know is that while I was struggling with all of this, my husband and dear friend were scheming to surprise me with the trip as a gift. By the time I worked up the courage to ask, my sweet husband smiled and said, “Well, I was going to wait to surprise you but let’s do it now.” On his laptop, on Skype, was my friend’s smiling face. “Surprise! You’re going to paint in Mexico!” they shouted.
I can’t adequately explain what this gift has opened up in me. It was like an enormous wave of healing washed over me in that moment. (I was elated and grinning for weeks) I saw how wrong I was about something so profound– that I was loved. That my friends and family wanted me to be happy. That whatever childhood story I made up about how unsafe it is to want, might have kept me protected for a while, but it also kept me from letting a whole lot of love in.
There’s more to this story. I can feel it. But for now, I just want to celebrate with you. I am going to Mexico this weekend for a week! To paint with the outrageously talented Flora Bowley. To stroll aimlessly through the colorful walls of San Miguel de Allende. (Insert a thousand exclamation points and emoticons!)
The trip, this gift, is a doorway. I can literally see it in my mind’s eye like a portal to bigger possibilities. Like somehow letting myself want this, letting myself ask for this, was the magic word in some cosmic game. Behind the door are fabulous prizes!
This is a story about listening to our cravings, our deep ones that are so buried we have forgotten about them. This is a story about vulnerability and how scary it feels to want big things (a partner, a family, a voice, to feel less alone, etc.) It is about the healing power of letting others in.
P.S. My friend and coach Rachel Cole will be doing a series of Retreatshops around the country starting this week. They are all about what we are truly hungry for. Her first cities are Austin, the Bay Area (I will be at the one in Berkeley!) into CO, NYC, and on and on. They will be intimate and powerful and Rachel is incredibly wise and present. You are in good hands with her.