Wednesday, March 15, 2006

MamaSaysOm - Create

One evening, after thinking it over for some time, Harold decided to go for a walk in the moonlight. There wasn't any moon, and Harold needed a moon for a walk in the moonlight. And he needed something to walk on. He made a long straight path so he wouldn't get lost. And he set off on his walk, taking his big purple crayon with him.
from Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson

Dear Britton,

This week you will be receiving two MamaSaysOm letters. Why? Because I never could get last week's to come together. I sat down several times to write and every time I came up empty. The theme for the week was create. I knew what I wanted to tell you but I just couldn't get the letter to form. I knew I wanted to start out talking about one of our favorite stories, Harold and the Purple Crayon. This rambunctious, imaginative boy uses his purple crayon to create the world he wants and needs. A few purple scribbles and he has created a moonlit walk, a tree with apples, a dragon, an ocean, a boat, a picnic with pies. I wanted this story to lead into one of life's most precious and difficult lessons: the difference between controlling and creating. I wanted to lay out the difference between the two and emphasize why creating is so important to a healthy soul. But I never could get the letter to quite work out the way I wanted it to. Very frustrating. Then I realized why. It's very difficult to teach someone a lesson that you are trying to learn yourself. There is so much about life that I long to control--everything from my emotions to my weight, from other peoples opinions and reactions to the course of nature. I want to control the uncontrollable. And, there is so much about life that is out of our control. So much, that despite my greatest efforts, I just won't ever be able to control. I don't have the power or the ability. But creating, that is something I can do. Everyday I have choices and those choices can slowly, little by little, lead to the life I want for myself. Yes, we live in the uncontrollable. And we can still create within the realm of the uncontrollable. Even when choices are limited there is still our own reactions and beliefs that we can choose to create. There is still our own personhood and personal power. I wanted to tell you how control can be limiting and binding. I wanted to let you know how frustrating, disappointing, and bitter trying to control our lives can make us. I wanted to tell you how control is bred from fear and fear is a very dark and heavy place to live. I wanted to stress how creating can be freeing and hopeful. I wanted to mention that creating can be proactive and imaginative. I wanted to list the names of brilliant souls who chose to create in the very darkest and most trying of times proving that it can be done. But the words, the sentences, the paragraphs would never manifest themselves. Then tonight, after an emotional, vulnerable, and tear filled counseling session, I was walking to my car, drying my eyes on my sleeve, when I slowed down in order to pay special attention to the sun setting behind the trees in a magnificent display of colors--pink, orange, purple, gold, and a touch of blue. Breathing, sniffling, releasing, paying attention, being willing to face everything that holds me back and binds my heart, keeping it from true freedom--that is what creating is all about. It's about facing the moments, the memories, that were uncontrollable and choosing to find healing...for myself and, for you, my precious little man. Every tear is an act of creation. Every session that I dread because of what might slip out and bite me. Every loss redeemed. Every grief spilled out. Every prayer of forgiveness muttered through the tears. And every step towards home, renewed and empowered, is my greatest act of creation. And that is what I want to teach you and show you about creating your own life.

So, pumpkin sprout, here's your purple crayon.


Blogger liz elayne said...

i sit here speechless. i take a breath and read again. then decide i want to say this...
you have expressed all of this with such eloquence and truth. this is beautiful. i appreciate the way that you described this image of balancing controling and creating. the cycle of letting go and living. we create it...our path, our journey, our lives. you are so brave and inspiring as you walk down your path, living, sharing pieces of yourself here. thank you.

9:56 PM  
Anonymous Marilyn said...

Oh, Michelle, I love, love, LOVE this post! Creating vs. controlling...such a delicate balance sometimes. Empowering ourselves with the knowledge that ultimately we hold the keys to our lives and to be able to use that key to unlock our essence without succumbing to the innate urge to want to pull the strings that tether us to others. To stay true to ourselves while simultaneously getting our of our own (ego's) way. Beautifully written. Love it.

12:34 AM  
Blogger megg said...

what a lucky boy he is - you are amazing.

2:52 AM  
Anonymous autum said...

Sometimes after reading your posts I feel like I need to send you a check or at least file it with my insurance. It is like a mini therapy session!. You make me examine places in my soul. You awaken feelings I didn't know I had. Feelings I have "controlled" so that I would not feel them.

4:28 AM  
Blogger Colorsonmymind said...

This beautiful, tender post says clearly some of the things I wanted to say in my last post. For me control in synonymous with "problems". Somehow reading this helped clarify some of what I have been feeling, just reading someone else writing it in their words, from their experience.

You are my long distant soul adventurer......I feel like I am walking along with you, I look to the "space" next to me and see you (blog) and I feel braver, stronger and my roar becomes a little louder.


4:48 AM  
Blogger kelly said...

harold and the purple! i just
gave it to lil mac, my
nephew for his 3rd birthday.

6:49 AM  
Blogger Laini Taylor said...

Beautiful. Having had parents who encouraged my creativity, and having been blessed to travel and live in inspiring places since I was small, I know what a gift it is you're giving your son. And the idea if the letters is great. Makes the gift tangible. Something to keep forever. Wonderful.

8:20 AM  
Blogger M said...

This is so beautiful. I love the idea of writing letters to your son, what a gift you are giving him. And to us as well.
Thank you!

9:25 AM  
Blogger gkgirl said...

the concepts
the ideas
the kernels of truth

and i had never really
thought about that before
control in relation to creativity.

you've made me
and think.

9:44 AM  
Blogger Josephine said...

La Vie...

You have GOT TO write a novel. This is just such a beautiful style that you are perfecting. Poetry in prose, indeed.

12:04 PM  
Blogger ArtsyMama said...

Absolutely gorgeous! Very powerful:) I'm at a loss for words. Thank you so much for sharing:)

1:52 PM  
Blogger yaya said...

I feel like I had the same 'aha' moment on Wednesday - The Commonwealth Games have begun in Melbourne and the public transport system is suffering already and I was yelling at train attendants and getting so mad at The Commonwealth Games and wanted my revenge!hee! I then saw a little boy and his whole face was lit up with excitement and he was talking non-stop about how great "The Games" were going to be.
I ttok a deep breath, laughed at my silliness and the rest of the evening was wonderful! Thank you again for a inspriring entry, Yasminxxx

6:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the wonderful things about parenting is how much you learn alongside your children. Thanks so much for your generosity in sharing this with all of us. I love your writing!

6:44 PM  
Blogger Bohemian Girl said...

you are beautiful.

11:23 PM  
Blogger acumamakiki said...

I love your words Michelle. You're an amazing mama, woman and virtual friend.

4:35 AM  
Blogger Cherry Blossom said...

and so

I shall wander


this wildflower afternoon


periwinkle dreams

and a crayon of violet.

;o) Thank you

11:30 PM  

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