Vignette 11/52. My Ugly Word and My Present-Day Safety Shorts.

“What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.”
― Abraham Maslow


Yesterday I talked a little bit about the new learning space. I need to take a step back and talk about how I got there because it will explain a lot about where I am today.

Two years ago, I used an ugly word a lot. I used it about myself. I used it whenever I was insecure. I used it because I was afraid.


I am just a stay-at-home mom. I just write and draw a bit. Oh we just homeschool (notice how I would use the “we” and I have to give credit to my husband who would interrupt and say “it’s all her”).

I was missing something.

I was missing my safety shorts. The safety shorts in this case had nothing to do with spandex. I was missing my Circle of Safety, or my Sacred Circle as Julia Cameron from the The Artist Way writes about here:

Success occurs in clusters. Drawing a Sacred Circle creates a sphere of safety and a center of attraction for our good. By filling this form faithfully, we draw to us the best. We draw the people we need. We attract the gifts we could best employ.

These people are those who see me more than just (fill in the blank). They see me as a creative artist: the writer, the educator, the visionary, and more.

My husband of course is part of that 1 inch x 1 inch square list of people I can feel safe with and who sees me more than the “justs” but it was not until I met a circle of women from all over the world that I finally stopped to hear what my heart was whispering.

It was so faint that it was easy to ignore. It was easy to say that other ugly word: later.

Then slowly I started to share my visions of something different, a new model for learning adapting it to the community and the place. I shared it in a whisper to a few women who would listen without judgment but with curiosity.

Slowly we started collaborating on the project. Slowly I shared what I envisioned and what I have experienced homeschooling. I found myself excited and wanting to work with these wonderfully gifted women. And then there was this moment of decision. Did I really want this? Did I want to lead?

Short answer was no.

No f&%$#ing way.

I was perfectly fine tutoring my small group of teens and my own kids at home. I wasn’t getting paid. I loved it and would research all night the teens’ questions and find the most creative and spacious way to guide them to the answers. Why should I complicate my life with money and more responsibility?

But then my friends needed a long-term and stable alternative for their kids. They trusted me. I started to have more visions and my stomach turned. I wanted to throw up thinking about it. I knew this feeling. This is the ‘dark night of the soul’ feeling that I would get right before saying yes and leaping into the dark, risking it all. I felt this giving birth to AJ. I felt this before we decided to homeschool. I felt this before Chris decided to start an online business. I felt this before we moved to Costa Rica.

This is the moment when I confuse personal safety with taking the easy road. This is a false sense of safety. You may think you are safer but you don’t grow. Any type of change, good or bad, is threatening because you aren’t resilient and you live in a perpetual state of unease.

Taking risks can feel safe with a safety circle. The peeps that say yes you can, yes you should, yes I will be there for you to keep you in check and to cheer you on. And then when you take the leap, they are there to leap with you, fly with you, be the stars to guide you in that dark night, or at worst, ease the fall and at least have a drink with you to ease the pain.

In a year where we have been told to distance and isolate, I have done the opposite. What I have learned this year is how to ask for help, how to say I am sorry in an even deeper and vulnerable way because this journey into the unknown involves A LOT of mistakes, and how to lean into community.

I am deeply grateful for all of you who have been my little patch of spandex allowing me to climb the tallest of trees in the shortest of skirts.






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