Did you know that I’ve been sending this missive since 2011?
And I haven’t missed a single week.
So it feels momentous– scandalous– to say this.
I’m going on sabbatical from this weekly missive for at least a month or two.
I’ll miss you so much– how vividly I hold you in my mind as I write, the feeling of connection I get from sharing my heart, the rich pingbacks I get from you in response– I’ll miss it all. (Oh how I’ll miss it! Dearly. Every reply, forward, share, quote, post, comment, is you speaking my love language. I read every one, and file them away in my heart.)
But I am standing on the precipice of this new year needing to make a decision. Carrying all the things I carry: worthy things, beloved things, things that require the long way around. And seeing a straight path, steep and scary, to where I want to go.
Which is the place of making more art.
My theme for 2022 is:
Make Art. Choose Joy.
I’ve been working on poems this past year, letting them trickle in, catching them on the page, and sharing them with my Patreon community. They’re coalescing, forming a body of work, a volume of poetry that I want to share with you this year. But they need a different kind of attention now. It isn’t enough to just be committed to jotting down the scraps that come. This work requires more muscular focus, a deeper grappling, to take all these wisps and twine them into a cohesive body of work that takes you on the journey I want to take you on.
I have to go inward. I must go deeper into the dark. I need to cocoon for a while, get goopy and sticky, make room to step away from the bustle of my life and go very deep in…so that I can come back out with something beautiful.
And I’m tired. It’s the pandemic, but also it’s been five years of surfing radical and enormous change in my own personal life while continuing to write weekly, maintain a robust coaching practice, shepherd my sprawling family into a new life, and dig deep enough to still make art. I need to replenish my sacred energies in order to make the work I am here to make. I need a sabbatical.
For many years, I have straddled the twin boats of two different kinds of creating. Each week I would show up here with the goal of being as immediately useful as I knew how, by telling true stories from my life, teasing out the potent nuggets, and telling you every helpful thing that I could think of that might help. And at the same time, I was trying to make the “bigger work”– bigger not because it’s more important but because it takes up more space, both psychically and in the sheer amount of dedicated hours it requires. I’ve managed to write three books like this: a journal, my memoir, and my children’s book. I’ve also created a library of digital courses I’m incredibly proud of.
The two strands of creative work pull at each other. The two boats want to go in different directions: one is sunny, social, does webinars and podcast interviews, creates timely and engaging snippets on all the various social media platforms, shows up week after week no matter what the weather. The other boat wants to take me into a deep cave and make me lie down in the dark until a fire blazes up out of me. It tells me to be quiet until I hear words that will reverberate for years.
I don’t want to straddle that gap.
It is not the correct season for me to do a precarious balancing act.
So I’m tying up this beloved boat at a sturdy mooring. I’ll come back to it, I promise. I can’t imagine life without our rich conversation. I’m just taking my little ship of art-making off into the wild seas to have an inner adventure for a while.
I’m pretty sure that at the end of this sabbatical, I’ll have a volume of poetry for you.
(But you never really know; that’s the scary, thrilling part, the reason making something and daring to call it “art” is so terrifying.)
I’m drawing in my tendrils.
I’m allowing myself to take this season to gather my powers.
I’m going to put fewer things out into the world for the next few months but I’m going to make them bigger and deeper.
I’m going deliberately into the dark.
Which is to say, I’m going dark for a little while.
And I hope to come back with gold in my hands.
P.S. While I’m going quiet here and on the socials during my sabbatical, I’ll still be posting frequently in my Patreon community, RichJuicyStarryBeauty. What I post there is different than what I share here in the missive each week– less polished, shorter, more like the kind of quick note I would dash off to a friend (because they are such dear friends)– things in process, things that are still unfurling, things that are raw and current and unfolding in real time. If you like these missives, you will like it and it’s the best way to stay in touch during my sabbatical.
Here are some good reasons for you to join me there:
1) When you do, you get two of my best programs for free: Steer Your Year, which will help you shape this coming year, and Practical Magic for Secret Mystics, which is about having healthy boundaries and moving through a chaotic world with peace even if you are a sensitive, empathic, porous human.
2) It’s fun in there. If you like these missives, you’ll love getting a quick current mini-missive once or twice a week. I share a much more intimate look at what’s going on in my life than I do anywhere else, and they’ll still come directly to your inbox.
3) I’ll get to send you a new year’s card!!! I’ve sent these out for years (hundreds and hundreds of them) and decided not to do one this year– because see above– but it feels so SAD without one!!! So I’m going to make up a smaller batch and send them just to the smaller community, a much more manageable endeavor.
|photograph by stasia garraway|
4) Finally, when you join my community, whether for one month or decades, you support the new art I’m trying to make. You show me that my work matters to you, that it touches you. You show me that I should keep going. I don’t know if you know this, but this means the absolute world to me.
I can’t end this email without just saying thank you. Thank you for reading. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for writing me back. Thank you for forgiving me when I am so slow to write back back. I love you all so much. You have been such a safe harbour for me, and I will be back after this sabbatical.
Farewell for now–