I still try too hard, too often. I'm still learning to be wise about how I use my time and energy. And deep into the pandemic, I’m still recognizing the extra effort it takes to move forward each day. Many of my earlier-in-life expectations or goals have shifted, for sure. Sometimes I get really bugged or I grieve about that! But sometimes now I practice self-compassion or am even relieved when these shifts help me clarify what’s most important.
I’ve focused my energy this year on my Brave Joy Collective project— a monthly art and practice subscription. This means I’ve posted less on my blog and social media, but I’m really proud to be making new art every month and sharing it as 5x7 prints with practices in envelopes mailed all over the country. (Thanks to all the subscribers who make this possible and join in the surprise and adventure!)
So, belatedly, I’m posting to share September’s Brave Joy art and spiritual practice theme, Thrive. I invited the Brave Joy community— and now you too— to explore the conditions where life blooms: in a mix of just enough newness, just enough loss, and just enough healthy boundary to maintain a vibrant wholeness.
One of the Thrive practices feels especially relevant for the holiday season. Expectations can pull us way beyond what’s sustainable this time of year. This exercise is pretty simple: find some paper and draw your own stripes like the ones in this Thrive fabric art image, and see what belongs inside and outside your thriving zone.
I’m redrawing a few of my lines this month, looking for the truth of what my life needs and what it can and can’t give at this time. Maybe thinking about your own thriving will be useful for you too.
Finally, Thrive was partly inspired by Brian Swimme's teaching on homeostasis and the "sacred parameters for life." So I hope this image will also remind us of the balance our Earth ecosystem asks us to respect. I'm supporting groups like the Sunrise Movement and The Third Act, while world leaders gather for the Glasgow Climate Summit/COP26 and US leaders work to pass legislation to protect our planet and our future.
How would we draw the lines and add in life-giving ideas using this spiritual practice exercise on behalf of our Earth community? There's still a chance to thrive if we make changes now-- from trying to control the balance to learning to live within it.
May it be so!
If you’d like to engage art and practices like these each month, or want to send them to friends and loved ones, join the Brave Joy Collective monthly subscription or send a Brave Joy Gift Subscription!
Visit the Thrive fabric art gallery page too.
Thanks for your support. I hope this Thrive art and practice supports you right back. —Melanie