I need to be honest about something.
Last night I couldn’t sleep. After posting the details of my upcoming workshop, fear completed paralyzed me.
I agonized over the price of the workshop.
Here is the conversation that went on in my head:
Are you crazy? That is expensive. You are making it so inaccessible for people. No one will pay that. And if they do sign up, you are never going to provide that value. How can you possibly make it worth that much money? If you believe in it so much and are so passionate about it, why not offer it for free and just charge the cost of the kit? NO ONE will sign up. You have no professional credentials. No art degree. No writing degree. No teaching degree. Put your tail between your legs and lower the price and apologize for being so audacious.
This went on and on. This went on into the morning as I was packing for the trip. Finally, I unloaded this all to my husband in the car. He helped me come up with the cost. In fact, he wanted me to charge more.
I told him about the gripping fear. And as I talked about it and cried over the anxiety, he asked me “Well, why do you feel you should teach this course? What value do you offer right now?”
And I looked at where I am right now and for the first time in my 37 years on this earth, I can honestly say that I am living a completely authentic life. What you see is what you get. What you read here, what you see on social media, what you see when you meet me, is exactly what my reality is for the very first time.
I am in fact living the life of my dreams.
(I am crying in the airport right now as I admit this here.)
This is why I am qualified to teach this class.
For the first time in my life, besides our completely manageable mortgage, we are debt free. For the first time in my life, I have healthy relationships on all sides of me including a healed relationship with my parents. I have been happy with my body for the last year – relaxed about eating, my level of activity, and sleep. I have found my calling as a visual storyteller and teacher. When I proclaimed myself an artist in my Book of Hours, I accepted my first ever paying gig as an illustrator. My parenting has changed for the better as I have cultivated a practice of self-care over the last few months.
I have five children and have a complicated history as a young mother. I am still striving. I am still learning. I still act impulsively and mess things up. I still struggle and have moments of failure and painful growth, like last night’s conflict with myself, but I have made the commitment to share it. To share it all.
It has been a year of dreams coming true. I have travelled abroad 7 times this year. And it’s only August. I’m not sure what is in store for me for the rest of the year. But for the first time, I can’t wait to find out.
But it has also been a year of raw emotion and tumultuous inner work. For the last year, I have dug deep and lived the questions. In order for me to reach as many people as I can, to sustain this creative energy for myself and for my family, and to model for my children how to value their gifts and their time, I must charge a fee.
The fee represents more than an x number of hours invested into preparing this specific workshop. It includes the cost of my breakdowns and breakthroughs that helped me get here. It includes the leaps and bounds into the unknown. It includes the trials and errors and guesses and tests of the last 37 years of my life, including the last 6 years I have been blogging.
My story may not resonate with everyone. My dreams are not your dreams but the underlying message is the same. Why else would certain pieces of writing or quotes ring true for everyone?
What if there is one thing that I share that makes a shift in someone? What if that day they needed to hear exactly the message I am sending? What if my vulnerability gives a little bit of courage or hope to someone who needs it? I never know what happens when I publish a scribble. All I know is that I have to tell my story.
My friend Falon found this beautiful etsy shop, Shovava, that sells scarves with hand-painted wings. She bought a scarf for her daughter’s birthday and I piggy-backed on her order and bought one for my daughter’s birthday too.
We talk about teaching our children to fly.
I have learned that we really just need to teach them to open their wings. The wind, God, the creative source of all things, the interconnectedness of nature, the Universe, Spirit – whatever you believe – will carry them. They learn to open their wings by watching us open our own. Opening up even when we feel like they’re too damaged and we believe we can’t fly no matter how hard we try. If we simply learn to open our arms and our heart and trust in whatever happens after that, it is enough. You will probably be surprised how you can fly no matter what your wings look like or perhaps your wings may be more full and beautiful than you ever imagined.
This is what I am called to do. To tell my story of how I have been able to open up. I can only teach what I know. This is the value that I offer.
The Latin origin of the word “inspire” is to breathe or to blow in.
I have felt the breath under me this year. A gentle and powerful breath that I have come to learn has been there for my entire life.
All I can do is exhale and give back.
My Book of Hours Workshop is on Wednesday September 23 from 7:00-9:00pm at Pegasus Dance Studios. Limited spots are available. Please email me if you would like to reserve a spot:
(There has been a request for a daytime class. If you are interested in a daytime class, please email me. If you are able to get a group of 8-10 people, I can come to you if you live outside the Toronto area. Contact me and we can work something out!)
100 scribbles…hurriedly writing the here and now.