A Note for May

May at Madeline Bea

Dear Friend,

It has been a wild and wonderful couple of months! My life is a little overwhelming at the moment and that is why you may have noticed that there were no New Moon journaling prompts that arrived in your inbox last month…and, try as I might, it’s just not happening this month either. My sincere apologies. But I wanted to send you a note to say hello, let you know I haven’t forgotten about you, and tell you what’s been going on around here.

The BIG NEWS is that a dear friend and fellow dreamer and I have signed the lease on a physical brick and mortar space in downtown Berwick, PA and we’ll be opening A Soulful Space, LLC., a collaborative healing arts studio, this summer!!!! It is, by far, the most exciting and outrageous business venture I have ever undertook. Despite having owned my own business (in one form or another) for the past ten years, the physical space attached to this venture is opening up all kinds of new doors and possibilities. It is, as you could imagine, also presenting a whole new gamut of challenges and learning opportunities. It’s consuming nearly all of my extra moments and mental energy and what’s left over is being poured onto my patient and oh-so-supportive family.

So while there’s not much going on here at little old Madeline Bea at the moment…there will be again once things have gotten more settled with the new business venture. And in the meantime, we invite you follow our journey of creating a new business and manifesting this dream of ours on our Facebook page.

Also, if you’re local, I’ll be at the DANVILLE SPRING FLING this Saturday selling all kinds of Madeline Bea goodness! Stop by, say hello, and pick up something lovely for all the mothers in your life!

I hope you’re enjoying this beautiful season, I hope you’re still taking the opportunity each New Moon brings to be introspective, and I hope to be back to regular Madeline Bea activities and correspondence very soon. Until then, be well!

All the best,
Maegan

The Swollen Belly of Spring

spring, Madeline Bea

‘Tis spring…and with it comes the wet, heavy, swollen, super nutritive time just before nature gives birth to a plethora of new life. As I type today, it is pouring rain outside, the barely green grass squishes as I walk through the yard, and the heater hasn’t had a day off in weeks. It’s most certainly an interim and it’s not all pretty buds and colorful tulips. But nature could not thrive without this time. It’s needs this time period of expansion, readying, and growth.

Spring always reminds me of a pregnant mother in the two months prior to delivery. She is beautiful, glowing, and ripe with all that is coming…but slow, heavy, and monumentally uncomfortable. And so much of this time period in nature (and also the ones that look just like it in our lives) feels just the same. Just as Mother Nature is about to give birth to an explosion of new life, sometimes we too find ourselves ready to birth creative manifestations in our lives but we’re not. quite. there. yet. Both spring in nature and the pre-term springs of our creative birthings can feel slow, heavy, and monumentally uncomfortable; our creative centers swollen and full with all that is to come but isn’t quite yet. In a word, everything just feels STUCK.

Any mother will tell you there is no rushing an about to be born child. Nature shows us this, enduring her own months long, muddy interim. We too must allow our creative expressions the time they need to grow and develop. There always seems to be swollen-belly time inherent within this process; the vision is there, the work is being done, but it’s not. quite. there. yet. Energetically, our creativity rests within the areas of our bellies and our hips in our 2nd and 3rd chakras. Not surprisingly, what sits energetically right below our creativity and life force (ie: what could hold up the birthing process) is fear.

Fear certainly has it’s negative qualities. But it also serves a lot of good purposes. We need our fear, our doubts, and our insecurities because they point our attention to multiple dimensions. Although nice in theory, we can’t just find a way to get rid our these qualities so that we can get on with manifesting our work in the world in the same way that a pregnant mother can’t just take out her organs so that her growing baby has more room and ease of delivery. It’s all needed and all a part of the process. But she (and we) can make more room internally for all of it to help us maneuver more comfortably during our spring seasons.

There’s a lot of internal work that goes along with accepting our fears and insecurities. But there are things we can do externally, physically with our bodies, to help facilitate space making. Moving our hips is a great way to get the energy moving around. Once the life force begins to flow more freely in this region, space is more readily made. Get a good old fashioned dance party going in your kitchen or take a ballet class…put on some saucy Latin numbers to really encourage swaying and rocking of the hips. Then treat yourself to a nice, hip opening yoga sequence to open up more space. I recommend some yin yoga (a more passive form of the practice where poses are held a bit longer) and/or restorative yoga to allow a lot of softening and space making to occur.

Whether it’s just the season of spring itself or something larger being birthed within your own life, the key is in making space for all the wet heaviness of ‘new’ to reside more comfortably within your self so that you can move (however slowly) through this time period with the grace and strength of Mother Nature.

A Soulful Space logo, Madeline BeaI’m certainly feeling like I’m in a little bit of a spring of my life these days. A dear friend and I have embarked on a new business venture; one that involves an actual brick and mortar studio and all the other “realness” that comes with owning a physical business. And we, too, are in a kind of middle place, an interim, while we allow all the pieces to fall into their places externally and also internally as we prepare to give birth to this dream of ours. We’re sharing our journey on our Facebook page and are working on a website as well. We’d love to have you along for the ride and we can’t wait to be able to invite you all over to our new physical space in downtown Berwick, PA! 

Featured in Somerset Life!!

Somerset Life Feature, Madeline Bea

I am so incredibly excited and honored to share that I’ve been featured in the Spring 2016 issue of Somerset Life Magazine! Somerset Life is a gorgeous publication full of inspiration, craft ideas, lovely articles, and craft projects. I wrote a piece for them about finding our artistic voices… through the analogy of knitting hats 😉 and spoke about how my blog-life-art has changed and grown since being featured in Artful Blogging six years ago.  I think you’ll enjoy the article and this gorgeous magazine cover to cover! You can pick up a copy here …I’ve also seen them for sale at some Barnes & Nobles, Michael’s, and some other independent stores.

Notes from the Barre: Fullest Presence

Fullest Presence, Madeline Bea

I’ve been teaching a dance in the Candlelight Ballet series in which one of the moves involves a slow, heavily articulated back leg lift that arcs around behind the dancer. To perform the move without tumbling, you need to be really connected to your core and engage your sources of inner strength. It’s very easy to see when you’ve performed the move without this connection to center…there’s a lot of wobbling, the arms don’t quite make it up into their intended position, and often the dancer kind of just falls into the subsequent movement. Conversely, when the dancer is fully connected to her core, completely present within the movement, and engaged with her own deep strength; she performs the movement beautifully with grace and impact.

There are countless moves in the art of ballet which require this type of presence and connection to perform well. And it’s so easy to forget our center and our strength, not be as fully present in the movement as we could be, and consequently not perform the movement as well as we’re able. But the dance floor is not the only space where this concept plays out. How often in our lives do we fall away from our deepest truth, best intentions, and highest self and act, speak, or contribute with something less than our fullest  presence?

I have left plenty of conversations and experiences knowing well that the person who had just engaged with life was not my best self. We seem to constantly teeter at the fine line that our fullest presence rests upon. Yet, if engaged in the process of noticing, we can easily see and feel when we have gotten away from that sweet spot where our highest self is maneuvering through the world versus the version of us that may be acting out of fear, anger, or insecurity. We wobble and flail and fall through our movements rather than articulate them with grace, purpose, and quiet power.

This practice of recognizing that we’ve fallen away from our best self and then doing the necessary work to bring ourselves home requires copious amounts of both humility and strength. Our humility allows us to own our imperfection which enabling us to see more quickly when we are not acting with our fullest presence. Our strength offers us the ability to pull ourselves back to center and then inevitably continue to put ourselves in the same situations over and over again hoping for better results. It’s a practice of skills that improve with time. Just as it becomes more natural to engage in slow, difficult, articulating dance moves with full presence and deep connection to our core strength, so to does it become easier and more natural to engage with life in the same way.

The best dancers will tell you that these are skills that constantly need to be practiced and perfected. Not one thing that happens within a dance can be learned once and then tucked away in some sort of magic arsenal. We will constantly be confronted with experiences that pull us out of our center and away from our best selves. Our practice, however, can help us reconnect and come back into our fullest presence quicker and with less hardship.

May we have both the strength and humility necessary to recognize when we have fallen away from our fullest presence and do the work necessary to reconnect with our highest self and best intentions.

THE BODY IN FULL PRESENCE by David Whyte

The body in full presence
holds its first creative essence
in the pen that touches paper.
Lifting the glass that holds the wine,
this beckoning uncertainty is mine.

I’ll follow my line to an early death,
feeling out rhythm in the spoken breath
and startled by flame
this arrogance shall be my moth,
flying with his burning cloth.

Then humility will rise
out of poetry’s deep surmise,
and I will have confidence in my powers;
wanting this presence, burnt by the past,
I’ll die in the first line – and become the last.

 

Notes from the Barre: The Limitations of Tension

 

Tension, Madeline Bea

I do a lot of knitting. And through these years of knitting, I’ve gotten to know a lot about yarn. I intimately know the magic that turns string into something beautiful and/or usable. But I also know that yarn has a certain way about it and it needs to be handled carefully. Once it’s tangled, it seems to start evolving on its own around that one tangle until its just an absolute mass of knots and tangles and pretty much good for nothing except being a big ‘ole matted mass of string. Conversely, I know that if that same yarn is kept tangle free and if small knots are tended to as they occur, that the potential of that yarn to be something amazing, comforting, warming, and beautiful is exponential.

Our bodies are a lot like yarn in this way…as are our emotional lives. If we have knots and tension in our bodies, our physical range of motion is limited and our performance at any physical task is hindered. If our emotional lives are tangled, our potential for what we’re able to do and accomplish in this world is limited. But with every knot, tangle, and source of tension we work out; we liberate the energy and momentum that had been held within it.

The other thing I know (deeply) about yarn is that, if and when there is a tangle, you absolutely, under no circumstances, can just simply pull at it to get it to release. Before you know it, you can have a mass of thickly (and, let’s face it, probably permanently) knotted string that you might as well throw out. To release the tangles in a ball of yarn, you need to sit with it patiently and examine and work out each source of tension and each knot along the way. It’s time consuming and not for the faint of heart…but it’s the only way to save the yarn. By being as careful and thoughtful with our physical and emotional stress, think of how much more fluidly we could make our way through the world.

There is no road map to tell us where these knots and tangles are in our physical and emotional bodies, we have to feel our way both to them and out of them. Most often, the feeling that let’s us know we’ve hit a snag is pain. Rumi tells us “What hurts you, blesses you. Darkness is your candle.” Pain guides our awareness to specific places so that we can sit with all our individual knots and smooth out our life thread so the Universe can keep knitting our lives into something really beautiful and usable. It’s hard work, and believing in the importance of your work here, of what you have the capacity to create with your life, is what will give you the strength to keep sitting with all that tangled yarn.

May we have the strength to sit with our knots, tangles, and tension and work through them gently and diligently so that we can be expressive both with our bodies and our lives!