Wisdom at the Crossroads is the result of my personal journey through change. The crossroads in the title refers to the literal intersection where I was T boned by a Ford F-150 truck that destroyed my new car. Wisdom is what I discovered along the healing journey that followed.
I was that multi tasking mum, juggling too many things at once, not stopping to smell the roses and continually adding commitment after commitment to my already too heavy to do list. Until, the last day of the school year in 2009 when my life changed.
The collision that occurred has become a demarcation point from which we distinguish the time before and all that came after.
“The accident”, upended my reality, yet the calamity of that day instigated changes that brought new people, lessons and joy into my life. It continues to remind me, from darkness comes the light, and I am so very grateful.
( From the Intro...)
“As I walked away from the crumpled wreckage of my vehicle I was elated and very grateful as I declared, “I must have an angel on my shoulder”. I was thankful I had not yet picked up my daughters who minutes later would have sat at the point of impact. In shock I was unaware I stood at the precipice of a new beginning but as the healing journey evolved, I realized I had been given a gift: time and space to reflect and gather a new perspective”.
That new beginning has led me to a literal new chapter in my life where I can now call myself an author.
How did this begin?
The journey from action to stillness led me to new processes that helped me to stop and listen to the voice of my soul and find a way forward through change. I felt if this work could help me, maybe someone else could benefit from it too?
The words mindfulness and meditation are current buzzwords however, ten years ago when I first began this project, they were definitely outlier terms.
At first I didn’t know quite what to do with the meditative process I was developing or the wisdom I was gathering during these activities.
I needed a structure to ground my thoughts, using the alphabet seemed logical, because it is something to which we can all relate.
I thought of “Wisdom at the Crossroads” as a picture book for adults and yoga for the mind.
Paintings from my studio practice supplied the illustrations, with my new work in meditation and intuitive development providing the intellectual exercises.
( From the intro...)
“Reading it reminds me to be present in my own presence. I feel more grounded when I follow my own advice, less reactive, more peaceful and better able to manage the circumstances of my journey as it unfolds.”
I went through many fits and starts with this project and may even have taken the quote from “P” a little too far?
Italics or bold?
“Be patient with yourself as you progress along this path.”
Yet each time coming back to it, I continued the refining and editing process with a fresh perspective that made it simpler and smaller but somehow not less.
It wasn’t until our family faced another crossroads that I realized nothing is guaranteed in life, especially tomorrow. Finally I resolved to allow myself to be vulnerable, and get this project to publication.
I should read my words more often, like the quote from “J”...
“Move beyond fear, become weightless with joy.”
Crossing that threshold felt significant. Seeing the Friesen’s truck back up my driveway was exhilarating, I may even have cried, and there was definitely expensive champagne involved. “You only have one opportunity to celebrate your first day as an author”, exclaimed my husband and I melted into his support.
Holding this little book in my hands, as one of my girlfriends so kindly said, felt weightier than it’s small stature.
“Wisdom at the Crossroads” is by no means an instructional manual. By reading it through you get the gist of my meditative process but it is more intended as encouragement or inspiration for the reader to develop independently with the knowledge that we are never alone.
It can be read sequentially or simply opened to a random page for the daily inspiration of words or image.
In this world of ours change is really our only constant and with that comes the need for transformation.
“ Change is uncomfortable and often brings about some form of struggle. There are some adjustments to be made, but once the dust settles we become aware that struggle has brought us to a new awareness and the disruption to our status quo has occurred for a reason.”
All of our journeys are unique. Sometimes a personal crisis can feel overwhelming while in reality it is a normal series of reactions to serious, abnormal , life events. On big emotional days it might be nice to simply read a quote to be reminded it is ok to just be.
After a long winter for example...
“Rest your face in the sun,
Feel the soothing balm,
Of light in your surface.”
Making time for ourselves on a regular basis is challenging. It can be difficult to put ourselves at the top of that to do list, even for a short time. When I do, I start with the breath, to quote “U”...
“To breathe is the foundation of human existence and so I start there. In and out, in and out, it is an involuntary circle. To direct the breath however, that is another story.”
And where the reference to yoga for the mind evolved.
This book emerged out of a difficult time for me. In the emotional seasons we all grow through we are destined to experience range. No life is all good or all bad, we definitely live by degree.
My hope is that this project offers a little comfort to those undergoing changes in circumstances, large or small, positive or negative, and in time to realize as I did , that adversity can actually be a gift that sets us on a new new and wondrous path.
“Encourage your soul’s expansion,
Into its fullest expression,
Its brightest light,
And its most beautiful song.”
Publishing “Wisdom at the Crossroads” has been THE goal for so long that I imagined myself as a contented princess with a pea happily ensconced atop the pile of boxes containing my publication and relishing in a goal achieved.
I tentatively gave copies to my
inner circle, those who had supported me during the writing process. I was honoured by the responses I was receiving and the requests I was getting for more copies.
At the official launch at McNally Robinson Booksellers on the coldest day of a WInnipeg winter, ( Australia Day 2019), I was awed by the support I received from near and far that filled the room.
The night before I had dreamed an image of my husband and I sitting in an empty bookstore where we looked at our watches to see if it was time for us to go home.
Instead a line snaked through the store and attendees presented multiple copies for signing. Sisters gifted sisters, girlfriends gave them to girlfriends. I generally discourage clients from purchasing a painting as a gift as art is so subjective and I would hate for someone, unprepared for the vibrancy of my colour, to be forced to live with my art. This little book however, just might be the exception to that general rule.
I am humbled by the generous support I have received so far, inspired to learn what image or quote or statement resonated with a particular friend, old or new.
I am inspired by the connections I have made through my art and grateful for the encouragement I have received as my personal journey evolves.
I hope the universe does not wallop you upside the head in quite the same way, but I do hope you might be inspired by my story to find new and creative ways to navigate the winds of change as they present themselves in your own life. May you find the joy that awaits you, just around that next corner or over that current hurdle.
And possibly be as surprised as I was to be sharing table space, even for a short while , on the best seller list locally with Michelle Obama.