At the start of August I realised a long-held dream to go to the Glastonbury Goddess Conference.
It was quite a ride! Some things resonated strongly with me, others didn't at all. I came back feeling renewed and refreshed, with a strong sense of my path.
One of the workshops I went to was with the lovely Clare Campbell, a mega inspiring artist & facilitator who has been nudging people toward their creativity for 20 years. I reckoned I could certainly learn a lot from her and I was right - from how to get the Tate to show your exhibition to how to just chill out about things, Clare is a lady who knows her stuff and then some.
So, not wishing to spoil the surprise for anyone who goes to Clare's workshops (which I heartily suggest you do if you get a chance), we did a meditation & exercise involving a red thread, or piece of wool. Clare also has a delicious painting of 'Red Thread Woman'.
"Hold on to the Red Thread" is a Swedish proverb, meaning keeping your wits about you and holding onto your dreams. There is also a red thread in Chinese & Japanese folklore that is connected to somebody you are meant to meet, your soulmate.
I found a local artist, Barbro Fitzjohn, who has done a whole series on this! There is also a wonderful blog by artist Shiloh Sophia McCloud called 'Our Lady of the Red Thread' which has some stunning artwork.
In essence, the Red Thread exercise was about listening to our inner voices to hear what our true purpose was. Deep stuff, huh?
Now, I get to live one of my deepest desires - to run an arts venue and give people a space to become creatively butterfly-tastic - every day. I also get to make and teach art, and run a drumming group, and play in an awesome band.
So I didn't really know what to expect from this exercise. I was in for a pleasant shock.
Here's what the red thread told me.
I want to swim in the sea.
I need time by myself, I need to be in nature, I need to wander aimlessly under trees.
I need to play.
I need to be outside. A lot.
Yup, a few weeks later it makes sense. At the time I was quite taken aback.
You mean I *don't* want to make The Art House even more awesome, reach more people, run more stuff, get financially stable with it? I *don't* want to make a living from my art & teaching without burning myself out or compromising my values?
Well, yes, yes I do want those things and indeed they shall come to pass!
But my inner voice reminded me that these outwards signs of success, these services to others, these things that can easily define me if I'm not careful, are not everything I am. Not even close.
The red thread reminded me that who and what I am is the wandering soul beneath the trees - purposeless, free, open-hearted and wild.
That the fairy lady who dances in the woods, the one who opened me up all those years ago, and brought me here to the life I craved, is alive and well - and needs to be let out more often.
That responsibilities and hard work are all realities for me, but they don't have to be the whole story. They shouldn't be the whole story.
So I will remember to play, and be that barefoot lady, whenever I feel a tug on that thread.
Oh, and that swim in the sea? I've had one - and I'll be wandering by the sea in November on Clare's Magic Mermaid Retreat, in Cornwall from 5 - 9th November. If you care to join me, take a look!
Thank you Clare for bringing her back to me!
PS What's at the end of YOUR red thread? I can't wait to find out, please comment below!
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