Tag Archives: responsibility


Summer is a hard time to be creative. The world is so rich and warm and full, it doesn’t seem to need any contributions from me. I love being outside in the summer. I love the lush greens and I love the colorful flowers and I love the sound of bees buzzing in clover. It all makes me happy but it doesn’t make me want to write a song or make a painting. It seems to beg me to just breathe and be thankful.

The bees like the birdbath.

The bees like the birdbath.

This annoys my inner critic, of course, who keeps telling me I need to be accomplishing things. I’ve been trying to keep that critic quiet by catching up with my tie-dye chores and my housecleaning, but my higher self must have seriously wanted me to take a little break. I was reaching for a basket of blanks to put in the washer the other day, just doing my normal job in my normal way, and my lower back said, “Oh, no you don’t!” and hit me with one very sharp pain, followed by lots more pain if I tried to keep doing my job.

I looked up “back strain” on the internet and it told me I should do pretty much nothing for a couple of days and then gradually get back to my normal activities. It was right there, in black and white. My inner critic had to shut up and let me rest. I couldn’t paint. I couldn’t wash blanks. I couldn’t put things into pre-soak. I couldn’t do any of the things a hard-working tie-dye artist and/or housewife was supposed to be doing. All I could do was be still and read or carefully play video games on a borrowed 3DS (thank you, daughters, for helping me cope with my forced idleness).

I have to say that once I got some arnica on me and some ibuprofen in me, I enjoyed those two days. I know it’s almost un-American to say so, but nothing is really a lovely thing to do on a sunny day in June, if you have an ironclad excuse and you know it’s only temporary. My inner critic was silenced and I got a good rest. I am gradually getting back to my chores now, with the addition of a back brace to help me avoid re-injuring myself.

I guess I need to learn to listen to my higher self when it tells me I need to rest. The grass tried to tell me. The bees tried to tell me. I just kept pushing, because that is what a responsible person is supposed to do. My higher self (or the Universe or Good Orderly Direction or whatever you want to call it) had to bring out the big guns, just to get me to stop for a couple of days and do nothing.

Sometimes nothing is the best thing anyone can do.

The Second Shrine

I know what you’re thinking. Well, if this is your first time reading my blog, I have no idea what you’re thinking, but if you’re one of the two or three people who have been with me from the beginning, I think you’ve probably started wondering what ever happened to all those inner children of mine and those shrines I said I was making from Altoids tins. I made one for the youngest, Ruthie, and I said that I planned to make one for each of the others, but then I went off on various tangents and no other tins appeared. My faithful followers, I have finally made another shrine.

This one is for the second-youngest, the one who is a Junior Girl Scout. In order to make a shrine for her, I had to figure out who she is and what she brings to the table. I remembered early on that she loves embroidery. She’s the one who is content to sit quietly in a corner of the couch and stitch for hours. It’s creative for her but it is also meditative. She’s excited about my current collection of embroidery floss and yarn. She can’t wait to get her hands on all those pretty colors.

Stitchery is her creative expression but her essence is responsibility. If all my inner children and I get together in a sacred circle to make plans for personal transformation, she is the one who will be reining in the crazy ones and grounding the flaky ones. If they elect officers, she will be the parliamentarian. She knows Robert’s Rules of Order and she’s happy to keep everyone on track. She loves uniforms, she loves structure and she loves doing what’s right. She’s not just my inner child; she’s my inner Goody Two-Shoes.

She is also a fire builder. I had forgotten that. On her first Girl Scout camping trip, the girls chose their jobs by pulling strips of paper from a jar. The one she pulled said “fire builder.” After that, she had experience, so she tended to get the fire building job at every camp-out. How could I forget that, deep inside me, there’s a careful, responsible person who can be trusted to build a fire and keep it burning safely and steadily as long as it’s needed for cooking and for warmth?

It turns out that this one is not just a quiet, well-behaved needleworker. She is the keeper of my flame. The others may be crazy and spontaneous and wild but somebody has to make sure the center holds. She’s the one who holds it. She’s happy in her role and she knows her value. She’s the reason the others can feel free to wander and dance and fly. She will always make sure the beds get made, the bills get paid and the fire never goes out.

I know all these inner children need names of their own. Calling them all Ruthanne would be confusing. The youngest one is easy because she’s the only one who will answer to Ruthie. I’ve decided that the second-youngest will be called Scout. This is her Altoids tin shrine:

Scout's tin

Scout’s tin

A nice little campfire and plenty of embroidery. That should do it.