I went to San Miguel looking for answers. Direction, really. A jumping off, or into, point for the next chapter of my creative expression.
Would it be writing? IF so, what? How? Where?
Or maybe photography? I have a decent eye, but could I master the technology?
Drawn by the colors of the buildings and the streets, the photo of Andrea on the winged chair; the email said two spots remained for the workshop, and I claimed one.
Thirteen adventurous women and one brave man joined our leaders, Andrea & Laurie, for the adventure. We claimed all the rooms in the colorful Casa Carly hotel, ate breakfast, lunch and dinner together, explored the city in photo walks, relaxed in a lithium hot spring, and wrote.
The photography was easier every day, as I learned each new lens for my just out-of-the-box camera.
The writing – much harder.
So hard to get out of my head. To stop self-editing, to keep the pen moving, to say something real. To dive deep with the prompts:
It doesn’t have to be beautiful.
Write as poorly as possible.
Almost everything amazed me.
This is what Life does.
This is what I want you to know.
If they chop open my body.
We wrote and we shared. With every line read by someone else, the voices inside me grew louder. ‘SO good.’ ‘Ooh – honest.’ ‘So VISUAL!’ Until it was all just a buzz in my head, and I was once again floating outside my body. I could only see how far I was from where they were, how far I had to go. In comparing myself with everyone else, I lost whatever truth wanted to come out through me.
“What I really want you to know is vastly different from what I’m willing to let you know. A chasm exists between the two.”
Those were the most honest lines I wrote last week.
They applied to the group, and to many other parts of my life. How I show up with colleagues, with friends, with family, and in love. I’ve known that many times I don’t feel safe to be seen, to be visible. That the neglected and criticized little girl inside me grabs the reins and runs away if I let her.
I’ve heard it said that we love ourselves the way we were loved; and others reflect back to us how we love ourselves. If we change the way we love ourselves, we change the story of our lives.
Casa Carly had many unique qualities. One we learned mid-week. Each room had been given only one set of keys, despite two, three or even four occupants. ‘Could we get more keys,?’ came the question. There was, in fact limited quantity…but, here was the secret: All of the keys opened all of the doors. As long as you found anyone with a key, you had access to your room.
I didn’t find the clear, concrete direction for my next chapter of creative expression. But I found a reflection of where I am now, and the knowledge of where I can go. It’s a practice, it’s a process and it’s real work. To write well, to live well.
It’s up to me to make the choice to go there. I’ve got a key to every door.