One of our very early dogs was a black and white English Springer puppy whose AKC name was Wee Maude of McClellan. She joined the family when I was about 3 years old.
Being a bright sort, Maude quickly figured out that suitcases and packing boxes meant moving, which happened really often in those days.
By the time the moving van would arrive, poor Maudie was a nervous wreck.
I, being highly verbal by that stage, and a fairly observant sort, realized that the boxes and suitcases made Mom anxious, too. (Dad, as I recall, was often already off to the new land, and missed all the fun!)
One of Mom’s coping strategies seemed to involve lots of tape and magic markers. All our worldly goods, sealed up tight and labeled in huge letters, complete with information like Kids’ Room or Kitchen.
I, too, have become something of an expert at the moving bit, complete with tape and markers. And they really do make things easier.
Eventually, though, when I was a second year Seminary Student, I realized that the boxes stored in my head might work differently than the ones in the physical world.
It happened, as I’ve probably mentioned, after a student trip to Hungary in 1989.
I learned a lot beyond a very kinesthetic lesson on freezing feet!
The only metaphor I knew for what had changed in me on that journey to a very different world was the notion of boxes. In my brain.
They all fell apart.
After a while, I began to feel like I had the boxes mostly sorted and re-packed with some new labels.
Life went on. Marriage. Moves. Churches. A kid venturing from elementary school onward toward college.
Polity. Politics. Several doses of not from around here.
And I kept patching up the boxes.
More recently, though, that strategy has worked less well for me. Slowly, I realized that I was tossing some of the boxes, altogether. Re-labeling a bunch of them. And adding some entirely new ones.
Kind of like editing my mental library. Becoming a grandmother was a huge catalyst!
The pace picked up even more in the last few years, as I began to paint.
Neurologically, it no doubt had to do with processing history and events and ideas with more of my awareness. Rather like upgrading a hard drive!
Even more recently, the editing has become more and more about making choices, in the face of the world around us.
Some of the remnants from those old, old boxes weren’t working anymore.
Like the ones about who’s in and who’s out. About who gets to decide who gets to decide.
About love and healthcare and the relationship between faith and law.
There’s more… as you no doubt imagine.
Liminal spaces are like that!
For this moment… I get to sort and pitch and label the boxes in my head. To choose new things to add.
And so do you!
It’s likely that the world will keep moving and more boxes will be useful. And I have lots of ideas about how to put this metaphor to work.
And more cool tools to stash in my Medicine Basket!
For this moment, though, my new Legend painting is calling my name, complete with her chosen intention, which I can feel clear to my toes.
And that, dear friends, feels really good! (So does having my fingers in heavy body paint!!!)
ps… if you relate to the between-ness of life in this world and could use some help in the between spaces, let’s talk! I’m making room for three new individual clients. Curious??? CLICK HERE to find a time! (45 minutes as my gift. You bring dreams, questions, and a bit of red thread if it’s handy!)
pps… that new Legend painting has already gone to meddlin’ and you can help!!! From now through Thursday, September 22 – the Autumnal Equinox – I’ll send 20% of ALL FierceArtWithHeart profits to make Georgia even blue-er! Get some inspiring art… from original canvases to mugs and hats for warming the season… and make a big difference at the same time! Great way to shop for the holidays, too! (Stacey, Raphael, Hank, Lucy, Nikema, Marcus, Jen, and Bee will be thrilled!)