Saying Yes to Life.

When I asked the question, When will I come alive? I didn’t realize the answer would be in a can of paint.


I wondered why I had a pit in my stomach as the painter opened the can and began rolling the paint. I was afraid to look, but trusted my daughter’s thumbs up. I peeked at the wall.

It invited me in, but to what I wasn’t sure. What I was only sure about is I didn’t feel well.

“It’s only a painted wall, mom,” my daughter said.

I went to the newly plum painted bathroom that did not scare the hell out of me and took a shower.

Hours before I was reading Wild Mind, a book about writing by Natalie Goldberg. She talked about alcoholics and artists being similar. How they both swim in darkness, but the artist, unless addicted comes through it feeling more alive. Where the addict stays in the deep—captivated, nearly drowning. I could relate, and although I am not a drinker I feel I have been swimming in darkness for a long time. I wondered, when will I come alive?


The paint, Bee’s Wax as its name, gushes with life, and to my surprise, why I felt sick. This buttery yellow concoction is asking me to come alive with it, and the sickness is my fear and resistance to its request. The paint the house came with is dull, safe and does not add much to the home. But Bee’s Wax says, Life! And, life says, live! 

It’s aliveness makes me confront my dullness, my safe pathway back to hiding and inertia. It offers the conundrum: Do I really want to come alive? As the buttery yellow continues to make its way, covering the dull gray this question will unfold. So far though, after getting clean in the shower, I trust it will be okay. I breathe more deeply into the change, and the invitation a can of paint can bring, making it more than just a painted wall- at least to a soul who is reaching through the darkness into new life.

As I ponder the future living with this color, I know the many moods and emotions will continue to move through the inhabitants of this house, but like a smile, inviting us out of our anger and sadness, this painted room will be inviting us into its aliveness day after day, and it is my hope we say, yes.


The Soul Reporter

Are You Having An Affair With WANT?

Today’s Soul Report: WANT

Giving up want brings us home.

I had an affair with want. It didn’t last long, but long enough to do damage, and enough to learn A LOT. In truth, the affair may not be completely over. But, today I caught a glimpse, a rather extended glimpse of what happens when the affair is over.

Giving up want brings us home. 

This past week, I have been catching glimpses of my home in Minnesota- streets and neighborhoods, favorite places I’d visit, and homes I’d lived in. One in particular haunts me, and I’ve been feeling a pull to return to that home. I even wrote my old neighbor, and said, ‘Let me know when our house goes up for sale.’

I caught another glimpse today.  It was of Descanso Gardens. It is a beautiful sanctuary of nature near our home now. I followed the glimpse and spent the day.

I did not particularly WANT anything from my day spent there. I just simply caught a glimpse of it in my mind, and followed. Before heading home, I sat on a bench near a stream. I opened up my journal, and began writing.

I wrote of our home, the one that’s been haunting me. The one we left in pursuit of something MORE. I wrote: ‘I don’t care about that big life I wanted, that life I left my house for.’ In that moment, I felt that pursuit of MORE as over.

I had a similar feeling the other day. I knew all the things I’ve wanted would come and when they did, they would not matter. What matters is what I’ve gained inside, and now return to because of that journey. What matters are the relationships I still have and how much more they matter now. But, what I left my old life for doesn’t seem to matter anymore. In this moment, the wanting is over. It’s a relief to feel this. To give up want leads us home.

We live in a culture where it is perfectly acceptable to WANT more. To get more. To do more. I’m not dismissing more. But, I am questioning WANT. In Psalm 23: I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.

In Wizard of Oz– there’s no place like home, after an adventure. Home is where we come when we no longer want. Does it mean we no longer live? We give up desire? We don’t pursue dreams? We just lie down in green pastures and suck on a piece of grass all day? No. It does not.

It means we have more moments without the constant pull from WANT, and we hear more of our Soul. Our heart. We catch glimpses from inside, and we follow them. It is more of a nudge, and less of a grab and go, go, go. It feels softer, and even more real. Simply, we move from a deeper place.

As, I leave the gardens, I write: ‘WANT, I forgive you. I see what you have done. You took me from a home designed by the hopes of a new husband and wife, a new life. When I gave this up for “greener pastures” you had me, and you knew it. Look at what I gave up for you. And now I receive glimpses of where I was before, all the places I left, and I return to look. All the images in my mind are the same, and I have no more regret. This time, when I look you are no longer there taunting me. Pulling me. And without you all I see is home. All I feel is home. Home, and more home.’

To return now, I know this is all there would be. But, I’ve left that home. My children, one grown, the other growing. I don’t know where I will be, but I know home is the continual theme. I know home is the lesson. I know home will continue to expand and awaken within me, especially when WANT is not walking along the side of me.