Are You Creating a Handmade Life?

I'm lying in the sun at my brother-in-law and sister-in-law's winery in Washington State, just north of Seattle. We're continuing our search to find a place where we want to settle down and, finding ourselves nearby on our latest road trip, dropped in for a brief, overnight visit (which has included delicious food, forklift rides for my son, a view of mountains outside our bedroom window and plenty of amazing wine).

This #movetochange has been a disorienting experience.  We left Philadelphia in early March, feeling strongly that we didn't want to settle down in the place where we had chosen to move to in Oregon. But we decided to go anyway, what with our Philly house under contract and wanting to at least be in the Pacific Northwest, knowing that's where we'd likely settle.

We've been on the road a lot since touching down in Oregon, persistent in our quest. I'd love to tell you it's been a thrilling ride, but it's mostly been exhausting. Which isn't to say it's been devoid of joy or excitement or hope. Just that the inner and outer journeys have been big ones. And that staying connected to desire has been challenging.

This morning, I looked out the window and saw my brother-in-law working away transferring wine, cleaning barrels, doing the labor required to engage in this passion and skill of his. He's really good at making wine and, from what I can tell, really enjoys the work of it.  

As I was watching this scene, the phrase "handmade life" found its way into my consciousness. His hands literally doing the work to create what has become so central to his life.

Clarissa Pinkola Estés talks about the importance of creating a handmade life. This extends beyond the ideas of following your bliss or your passion or your dreams. This is about being willing to engage in the labor of creating a life that is your own.

This labor is very often physical. It is the labor of racking barrels of wine. Or the labor of walking through neighborhoods to see how the energy feels. Or the labor of exercise so that you can feel good in your body and move without pain.

Increasingly, I find that this labor is just as often psychic and emotional and spiritual in nature. It is the labor of tolerating discomfort when you stand out. It is the labor of healing childhood wounds when you find yourself stuck. It is the labor of believing more is available for you when prevailing messages tell you otherwise. It is the labor of staying connected to your desires, even though it's hard work. It is the labor of willingness.

So many of you are laboring away in different ways, owning the life you seek to create, doing the work to support it. You are stretching your calves and sitting on the floor and walking instead of driving. You are going to therapy and feeling the feelings and challenging the beliefs you hold that tell you to just give up.

You are tending to your hearts.

You are nurturing your bodies.

You are being persistent.

You are creating a handmade life.

I've had my in-law's wine. It's amazing. Complex. Vibrant. Earthy.  And it reminds me to devote myself to the things I love. Not in theory. Not through purchase. But by putting my body into it. By persistently crafting by hand the life that calls to me.

In love & light,
Jen