A Day to Ditch the To-Do List

This is how Sunday morning started. With this update on Facebook:

Got intentionally drunk last night on bugles and vanilla coke. Drunk texted a friend and said i had accumulated too much to do in my life and that I should probably run away and quick. Skipped impatiently ahead from season 4 of Gossip Girl to the last episode of season 6 where Gossip Girl's identity is just finally revealed. XOXO. Fell asleep in my clothes with a snoring dog and a 6-year-old in his underwear wondering what it would look like to begin again, again. Woke up this morning with mouth rot and in a mess of knees and elbows and paws, my shirt on sideways and just sick over the immensity of my to-do list, none of which sounded like life. So I am scrapping the to-do list. I cleaned the garage. I made coffee and waffles. I'm driving to the woods with my kids. I believe in the holiness and humor of all of this.Tell me your holiness and humor.

The first thing we found, within minutes from leaving our car. She brought it to me. I took a picture, so taken by these yellow orbs that looked like some sort of Willy Wonka candy. I asked her if she wanted it back. "No, you keep it. I'm afraid if I put it in my pocket those yellow things will be eggs and little bugs will hatch out."

I never go out with a preconceived idea. I let the street speak to me.
— Bill Cunningham

I stood on the step of this gazebo and thought, "I needed to be here like this. I needed the healing of the outdoors." My kids who wanted nothing to do with this adventure on a chilly Sunday morning, came to me throughout the day and said thank you. "You planned the best day for us," my daughter said.

I didn't plan a thing, I thought. I just softened to the first step of the beckoning unknown.  

At first glance, my favorite black and white striped shells weren't present in the Winter. But with some digging Charis found them!

This moment took my breath away. Like I had jumped into a chalk drawing The Wild Mystics created and swooned as it came alive. 

My own moment in a clearing, tucked behind some trees. I felt elfin, mystical, alien, elegant. Elongated shadows are my favorite. 

They crossed rocks to get there to the other side. They got their shoes and socks and pants wet, sandy, muddy. I wish you could have heard the laughter. I wish you could have felt the energy. Excitement. Freedom. Risk. Splash. Getting up. Trying again. Testing the limits. On my insides on occasion I got nervous for their safety. And I kept letting go. We were all hungry for the open space. We were devouring it like cookie monster devours a plate of cookies. Sparks were flying like cookie crumbs. "Can we do this every weekend?" Nehemiah asked me.

Sometimes I'm scared about the fact that we can't. At least not quite like this, together, exploring, with no agenda. Sometimes I want to hold my breath so I don't disturb the magic. Moving an inch could bump time forward, and I don't want to be responsible for the shift away from the perfect imperfect. 

They helped me collect shells to create a swirl. I got tired of crouching and spread out a quilt to sit on. Halfway through the placement of shells I remembered my 6-year-old had kindergarten homework. It is 100's week coming up, and he has to take 100 of something. Oh dear, I thought, we will have to go home and figure something out. What a pain. And then, I realized, at my fingertips were the perfect 100. When he laid down the next shell on our swirl I exclaimed, "The shells Luther! The shells can be your 100 things for school!" And he cheered. I wondered if what I need can always be delivered to me in this way. With ease. Who makes it hard? Can I soften into this sort of receiving in all parts of my life? It's worth experimenting.

IMG_20150125_121757.jpg

"Mom, look at the girl I drew."

My thoughts I wrote out while resting on a log, watching my kids play make believe:

Nature is the only force that gets to tell me what to do. She is filled with raw Mystery and Magic and Love to those who open up. She leads me to my own MADness and prepares a way where there seems to be no way. The wind. The chill. The rush of brisk water. The warmth of sun. The geese with their feet and heads tucked in. I can't control anything out here, but it all wants to show me how that is okay. It all wants to show me how I belong.

Secret Message Society Zine - Aquarius

ISSUE 22 has arrived and with it we are launching our Zines of the Zodiac theme for 2015.

Due to my deep love of gnomes I decided to create my own gnome interpretations of the zodiac signs for the covers this year. 

Members can tiptoe into the Secret Lair for a digital download right NOW!

The Aquarius issue features Brittany as the centerfold artist! 

And also contains contributions from these artists:

I would really love to send you my gypsy journalism in the mail. There are digital and snail mail options available. AND, there are additional perks to belonging to the Secret Message Society. 

Read about them HERE

Join us for Zines of the Zodiac. Find your inner sign by trying them all on for size, one month at a time. Aquarius will be available until February 15th, so sign up soon in order to collect all 12 zines. ❤️

Back issues are available in my Etsy store. Once they sell out they're gone. 

Other sneak-peeks of this issue:

Secret Message Society - Aquarius Centerfold

It is a new year, and with it comes new Centerfold Artist interview questions! I am so excited for our line up of Featured Artists! They helped me plan out the year and I laud their energy, excitement and creative vision. We are exploring Zines of the Zodiac in our Secret Message Society this year and taking our own spin on the horoscope signs. Each month on my bog I will feature an artist who has created the centerfold of the current Zine. Additionally, we are sitting with Robert Henri's book The Art Spirit this year, and embracing this quote: 

I am interested in art as a means of living a life; not as a means of making a living.
— Robert Henri

More and more this is becoming the collective yet independent voice that I had a vision this Zine could be. We'd love to have your voice too. Details on joining the Secret Message Society HERE. The first 2015 issue of the Zine, Aquarius, will be available until Feb. 14.


SECRET AND RARE INCOGNITO PHOTO OF BRITTANY

SECRET AND RARE INCOGNITO PHOTO OF BRITTANY

THE LUCKY 13!

My sun sign is… 

Aquarius

I think astrology is

A.) a hoax

B.) a fun distraction

C.) absolute dead-on truth

D.) a brand new adventure

E.) another reason to fall in love with the stars

F.) {make up your own answer}

When I think everything I believe in is all crap, I… 

Get paint on my hands and look for secret messages.

Here is something completely ordinary about me (and why I think that is magical):

I carry a lot of tension between my shoulder blades. 

My massage therapist says that’s where my wings used to be before they were broken but as I learn more about myself and allow her hands to work those sore muscles, I am starting to feel my wings grow back.

A favorite children’s book of mine is:

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

The sort of environment I like to create in is…

In my living room with a tarp spread on the floor where I have room to move around while I’m wearing my favorite painting clothes.

My personal style in three words:

Eclectic, comfortable, barefoot

You wouldn’t believe where I am finding art lately:

Looking through old pictures and seeing how much my mother and I look alike.  It amazes me to see how we can look so much alike physically and yet be so vastly different in every other way.

My still, soft voice tells me in a whisper…

"Baby girl, your wings are growing back from when they were taken from you.  Spread your wings and fly."

I knew I believed in my art when…

I smiled and said thank you when a little girl looked at me wearing paint on my hands and said, “I knew it!  You’re a real artist!”

Three of my favorite stops along the way on my creative journey:

  1. Being called a real artist by a little girl

  2. Feeling my wings start to emerge

  3. Finding like minded community of artists

One corner I would like to create my way out of is…

Breaking the cycle of destructive family patterns and allow my wings to grow back so I can spread them and fly.

The definition of secretmessage is…

Something that makes my soul howl with feeling. 


*brittany* snorts when she laughs and she tends to listen to the same song constantly for a week before starting on a new one. she has one blue and one green eye that turn grey when it rains. she believes grey should always be spelled with an “e” never an “a.” she drives a blue pt cruiser named styx after the river in greek mythology not the band. she adores the look of lower case letters and the sibilant sound of subtle alliteration. she has many scars and she wants you to ask where they come from and she wants to know about yours. she believes we are called to be rescuers, to hold our palms over the gaping wounds of broken people. she believes eyes speak and hearts are made to be broken, but they learn to love again. she believes love should be bigger than intolerance and she trusts in the wonder of being barefoot. she believes children always talk to angels and adults have simply forgotten how, but she knows a child’s laugh can heal a broken heart.  FIND HER ON INSTAGRAM.

All Charged Up and Ready to Chatter

And since your history of silence
Won’t do you any good,
Did you think it would?
— Sara Bareilles, Brave
I have more freedom the more people know about me.
— Rihanna
January Aquarius #secretmessage #art for the Secret Message Society.

January Aquarius #secretmessage #art for the Secret Message Society.

I have noticed something about myself at work. I chatter. Because I have always considered myself an introvert, I didn't think chattering was possible for me. Maybe it is the caffeine. Maybe it is because I get very tired. Maybe it is the stress of rush hours and the relief of making it through to the other side. All I know is I say a lot of stuff, and there isn't really time to be worried about if I said too much or if I was too silly or too straight forward or too vulnerable or too {fill in the blank.} 

What I have found in the chatter is that I find it enjoyable, often humorous, highly childlike and largely uplifting to others. It is like a gush of me-ness without a filter. 

Additionally, in cutting off my dreadlocks, I feel a sense of freedom in my appearance. My hair is doing it's own thing. My outfits seem to be picking themselves. My appearance feels like it is chattering as well, having its own conversation with some hair paste, large earrings, red lipstick, colorful tights and whatever else finds its way onto my body. I don't have time to consider if I wore the outfit too much lately or if the lipstick is too showy or if the nail polish is chipping off in ugly ways or if the snag in my tights is tacky. It's just a get up and go movement. There isn't time to consider if things are right. They just are as they are for any given day.

There is a lot of me getting out because I don't have the time or the energy or the willpower or the desire to tuck it all back in and make it behave. I am unbehavable.

In regards to my appearance and behavior I feel like I am on a bike rolling down hill and my brakes have gone out. There is an exhilaration to the speed at which my light is exposing itself. There is also an occasional twinge of vulnerability.   

I have fallen in love with the youtube channels of Krista Raisa and Tom Lescher and KV. I have fallen in love with Miley Cyrus and Katy Perry and Lady Gaga. I have fallen in love with anyone who is letting a lot of themselves out and not tucking it back in.  

So I decided to start a youtube channel myself. Right now that looks like recording a 5 minute-ish Secret Message Report, because it reminds me of when I was a little kid and my friends and I would record cassette tapes of ourselves as if we were news anchorwomen, reporting the daily headlines. I am chattering on this youtube channel in the spirit of how I chatter at work and letting my appearance be as is because who has time to look presentable, and what if my "as is" IS my presentable. I want to come to you always just as I am, reporting from the front lines of my own MADness. 

I want to break down as many barriers as possible between the world "out there" and my mad world "in here." I don't feel a sense of urgency within me, I just feel a huge shift and a "this is how it is gonna be, so here we go" tempo to it. Because I don't have time to play games. I don't have time to lead you on. I don't have to time to maintain a look or a posture. I don't have time to hide my ears, or take a picture from my good side or act calm when I feel excited or act excited when I feel like I am dragging. I don't have time to get proper video equipment or find just the right lighting or dream up secret messages that will alter nations. All I have is me in my right now, and that involves itty bitty pockets of time in whatever environment I find myself in and clinging to whatever bit of faith made itself available to me in my day. I don't have time to say the things that will make you like me. I want you to fall in love with me as is or not at all. And if not at all, let's make it quick so we can both be on our merry ways. 

I am practicing being me and the more I practice the more me you see.

I am overjoyed with all the energy and light available to me at long last, and I wanna ride, ride, ride those waves of faith. I can't be sitting around waiting to see if anyone is going to ride them with me, or if anyone else sees the waves I think I see, or if anyone else is getting capsized by the wave because it isn't actually safe enough to give it a go. 

I used to have recurring dreams of me driving a car that wouldn't brake, and I was picking up speed at an alarming rate and nearly crashing into everything. I feel like that, even as I am throwing down words for this post. I don't wanna brake. I wanna leap tall buildings in a single bound. I want run-on sentences and sweaty palms and pits and wide-eyed-wonder with interrupters of wild laughter and softening tears because that is my actual life. I have crazy exciting plans vying for my attention, and this involves the next months and years of my life. I wanna roll with them. I wanna purge to make room for them. I wanna narrow my focus. Chisel out my own unique prism to be most effective with my light. Do you feel that electricity to this month? There is a heated current in the air. Are you being shocked by it or charged up? I for one want in on this buzz.

I just can't stop anymore for trivial pitstops of energy suckers and time wasters and reality check stations, and I sure as hell can't stand around to see if your pin pricks can burst my bubble. You hear me PRICKS? Your pokes just reveal more of my light, and that is doing me a favor, because apparently I'm on a mission to get it all exposed because I have some living to do and the living is always connected to the being more and more me out loud. I have some big huge innocent living to do in the light of all this unexplored freedom. Are you coming with? They'll hear us singing This Little Light of Mine and all that jazz. It's go time. Now. Just as I AM. Even with the pimple forming on my right jaw line. 

It Is Simply a Habit.

This original 4x4 #secretmessage #art will be given away to a newsletter subscriber at the end of January. Prints available HERE.

This original 4x4 #secretmessage #art will be given away to a newsletter subscriber at the end of January. Prints available HERE.

I have noticed that at some point I adopted the habit of responding to questions defensively. I did it this weekend at work even. It stems from the assumption that I am somehow at fault anytime something is questioned. That I have somehow failed to be super human and shame on me.

I am going soft in 2015, and part of that is softening in my response when others question me, because I know I always do the best I can, so I don’t need to be defensive. It is simply a habit. I can break it. We know the truth of who we are and we are embracing it and letting it change how we live. 

Advent - Week Three

*This is a peek at my WONDER-full trifecta Advent that is consisting of going darkart journaling and showing up EXPECTANTly on a daily basis. I have really taken to heart Teresa's notion about making art even if you only have just 15 minutes. These bitty records of my day are so satisfying to me because I can see I lived. If you have any questions about the meaning or making of these pages, I would love to discuss it in the comments. 

Secret Message Society Zine - Issue 21

ISSUE 21 has arrived!

The cover is inspired by Deb Taylor's 12 Days of Mary posts.

Members can tiptoe into the Secret Lair for a digital download right NOW!

Issue 21 features StarGardener as the centerfold artist! She has created an incredible gameboard!

The members really went out of their way to share secrets. There are contributions from all of these artists: Gina KimmelRobyn Ann Bogart, Briana of Orange Spiral ArtsWhimsy Moon SpiritHillary Rain, Cynthia Lee, Deb Taylor, Angie Byers and Beth Morey.

I would really love to send you my gypsy journalism in the mail. There are digital and snail mail options available. AND, there are additional perks to belonging to the Secret Message Society. 

Read about them HERE.

Back issues are available in my Etsy store. Once they sell out they're gone. 

Here's your peek at Issue 21:

One more thing...Have you heard yet where we are headed in 2015?! We as a secret society are getting so excited! Join us for Zines of the Zodiac. Find your inner sign by trying them all on for size, one month at a time. We start with Aquarias  on January 15th, so sign up soon in order to collect all 12 zines. ❤️