Connecting to Your Longing

October 8th, 2009

connect pondsky

I have these pictures from a nature walk I took the other day and when I was thinking about posting them, I thought, "Oh, but you already did a post about connecting with nature for the connect theme! Write about something different!" But sometimes you've just gotta go with where your heart is tugging you.

It's kind of funny because of all the Joy Diet chapters (the book I'm reading with Jamie Ridler's book group), the one on Desire has been the most difficult for me. I'm not sure if it's because it gets harder as one chapter builds upon the next, if the exercises themselves are getting more difficult, if I'm losing steam, or if I have some kind of resistance to looking at what it is that I desire. I have a feeling it's the latter.

I've continued to get in my nothing time (mainly in the form of walks), I've done the truth exercises, but by the time I get to the desire piece, I've "run out of time" or "forgotten" or brushed it off. Hmm. And this is something I've been working on too, speaking up and saying what I want instead of being so easy-going to a fault all the time. Perhaps there's a fear underneath it all that something I want is too big, too grand, and the disappointment would be too great. Or perhaps I feel like I have enough and who am I to want more?

connect pondtrees

For now, I'm going to continue to practice Martha Beck's method of "picking a pebble" of any small desire and follow it where it leads. On my walks, I've been so thrilled with colors and shapes and have been so glad to have my iphone with me to capture snapshots of it all. I've been especially excited by reflections of sky in water and the shapes of leaves. Color and texture and beauty, oh my!

connect bushsky

I feel like I've been successful in following my desires in terms of inspiration. It's something I'm more familiar with, allowing myself to be pulled by the inner nudges that lead me to mediums, subjects, and experiments in art. And perhaps this is enough for now and maybe if I continue to practice this, my desire skills will expand into other areas of my life.

I guess I did end up writing about a different sort of connection here. And in reality I could write about connecting with nature and all the things that come up from doing that all month long! (Although I doubt I will.) But isn't it interesting to see where following desire can lead?

Where are your inner nudges leading you in your art? Are you following them despite what you may "think" about it? What are you longing to do creatively? And if you don't know yet, how could you connect with that part of yourself?

39 Responses


These photos are beautiful! They each could be a painting. And what intriguing questions and thoughts about desire and following where it leads. I think desire is a scary feeling. Desire commands attention, nags at us until we pay attention. Even when we try to push it away for whatever reason–it’s too big, too impossible, we don’t think we deserve it–it stays nearby until we are ready to look it in the face and consider what it is all about and how it fits into our lives.

In my art work, those inner nudges come all the time. I keep creating the same woman over and over again. My husband sighs each time he sees her, wondering why I don’t move on to something else. I wonder too since I have no idea who she is or what she represents. I just know that I have an inner nudging to create her. Sometimes I wonder if it is because my drawing skills are not up to creating something else? Yet I am not ready to move on. I don’t even think this figure has been fully realized in my work. My desire is that I am enlightened some how to figure out who this figure, is what she represents and how to fully incorporate her into my work. Sometimes I feel that I am too attracted/drawn to too many different types of art work to develop a body of meaningful work. I just like to follow what grabs me–sometimes it is paper, sometimes paint, sometimes something I’ve never even tried that I pass by in the art store.

OK, now I’m rambling. I just want to say that I totally get what you are saying and appreciate you sharing it with us.

Beautiful photos!!!
I am trying to connect with more people through blogging and such. I am checking out more blogs (by going through other people’s blog rolls). I am trying to find more artist’s to inspire me and trying to inspire more people myself.

Oh, I love the idea of picking a pebble of desire and follow it to see where it leads! I hope you find a delicious thread, that excites you to follow and explore!

This summer, I’ve been taking some time for my personal creativity, and it’s been exciting to see how things unfold when I trust my intuition.

I also want to say that I really love how permissive and open the Creative Every Day Challenge is and that the themes you have chosen are so easy to interpret in many different ways! There’s really no way you can fail with the Creative Every Day Challenge!

sometimes I just don’t feel creative and I take myself off for an ‘artist’s date’ as recommended by Julia Cameron and i have just posted something about this on my blog – syncronicity!!! A lovely honest post Leah – thank you

This is such a beautiful post.
When I started making art it was all about whatever I desired then I started to sell it, it became my ‘job’ and the magic faded a bit. I have just started the Joy Diet and am remembering to go back to following those feelings of desire.

Leah – thank you so much for this post! It’s been a long time since I’ve visited CED but I saw what I needed here. My desire has been flagging lately, too – I’m just tired of all the “work” that it takes to make it happen. But your line: “Perhaps there’s a fear underneath it all that something I want is too big, too grand, and the disappointment would be too great.” really rang true for me, for I think that is part of it as well.

I do not believe, in my thinking-brain, that I will be disappointed, but I do know that my desire is large, and I worry in my heart that I am not up to the task. It is a “who do I think I am?” kind of worry, “to be dreaming that big?” But I also know, for a fact – that my Desire is my Purpose. If there is no other reason for me being here, it is to Write My Book. And I am doing so! “I am who I am” – and that is enough, and it is right exactly where I am supposed to be, who I am supposed to be – doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing! Thank you!

Hi Leah, so glad to have found your site…I too, love Martha Beck’s writing. My favorite is Finding Adam, as my daughter has down syndrome as well. (see blog.) I am interested in your art challenge for November and will have to add it to my list of things to pursue! And my nudging right now is back to journaling through collage….it’s getting louder every day!

I think her book leads us to the large desire right off the bat. When you are doing the right thing. Baby steps. We are just not programed to want big things at this time.

gorgeous colors in these photos! You have some amazing places to walk! I feel like you… the chapters and exercises are getting harder or I am getting lazier and zoning out and not wanting to do them. My inner child is bucking I think! Stamping her feet. Something is going on. Maybe this is all too deep for me….or I don’t have time. I DO know these exercises have been totally exhausting me physically at times after I am mentally drained by each. So weird. I think if you feel too tired it is near impossible to do these exercises in the book. Then I only get irritated with it all.

Wonderful ideas you have posted here…thanks for sharing them and the beautiful photos from your walk!

Wonderful pics! Thanks for sharing!

Oh, I know – me too. I’ve been dabbling in The Joy Diet, and usually I am quite good at following along with the book group. I think it is because desire is a tough topic for me as well. I just got quiet sitting here and asked myself for a pebble of desire & do you know what came immediately? “I want to make big paintings!” Urk. I don’t paint. Looks like I need to commit to your month this year (and DO IT this time.)


It was only yesterday that I was feeling overwhelmed. I had to remind myself that I only need to do one thing at a time. Focus on just one little thing. Also, I have to make sure I draw during the day. If I don’t draw something, I feel as though I have lost my way. I am always on the alert for any inner nudges that might occur. That’s the time that I connect with me!

Thanks Leah. I loved your pics and your story. It was lovely.

Leah, I took your advice and attempted Nothing by walking. I wouldn’t say it entirely worked but what I did experience was a total nature experience. I tried to focus my walk on the autumn leaves and my senses became far more tuned to the smells, sounds, textures. I took my camera and interupted my ‘nothing’ with some beautiful photography. It was a wonderful hour on a perfect autumn day. I’ll probably post some of the pictures over the weekend. Thanks for the inspiration!

Hi Leah. I love your photo and your thoughts on desire. Everytime I would start thinking about desire I had to tell myself it was ok to think these thoughts. It’s so great that you are allowing yourself pebble by pebble these thoughts of desire. Have a good week.

What a blessing to be surrounded with such beauty. yours is the second blog I’ve read referring to the pebbles. It’s often the little things we take for granted in life until they are gone. Perhaps they are really the big things after all.

I know that I’m not working towards my desires in life…a bit of this and a bit of that maybe but I haven’t realized my full potential…holding myself back really. I couldn’t figure out “why” until I worked through this chapter and now I have a very good idea about what has happened.

So like you I will start small, pebble by pebble and give myself permission to “want” and see where that leads me!

Hi Leah – think and dream BIG – don’t feel that ou don’t deserve it – you service all of it

These are such beautiful photos.

Desire can be tricky. Thanks for sharing your journey so far.

What wonderful, vibrant colors. It looks like a beautiful area you have to walk in and be inspired by. Thanks for sharing your week and resistance to desire. I can tell you as far as inspiration goes, I am constantly inspired by your blog and Creative Every Day and I thank you for that.

[...] the dots” from here to there? I read a particularly helpful nudge from Leah, in her post, Connecting with Your Longing: “And if you don’t know yet, how could you connect with that part of [...]

I find it so interesting how our desire can elude us and baffle us… what I thought would be an easy chapter threw some challenges my way as well…. I would say, just be patient and gentle with yourself as your desires begin to unfold. What an intense journey! :)

Wow, beautiful post. Love the colours.

Hi Leah,
Your photos are gorgeous. And, your ponderings are just as beautiful. I appreciate your honesty in your process. It’s such a step by step, moment by moment experiment, isn’t it? Happy pebble exploring!

I lived near Boston for college and your pictures captures the magic of fall there so well. I too love the idea of pebbles and following the pebbles that are our desires.

I am always inspired by your ponderings, Leah. Thanks so much for such a beautiful post — both in words and image.

Particularly appreciate this prompt: “And if you don’t know yet, how could you connect with that part of yourself?”

I concur with everyone else, your photos are so inspiring and gorgeous! I appreciate your rich and soulful ponderings. Beautiful!

Leah I think your pictures are beautiful.
I feel at peace when I’m on my walks.I wonder where my path will take me,I hope that some magical inspiration will come to me along the way.But I am more confused when I get home them when I left,because my head is spinning with so many ideas that I don’t accomplish a single one.I look for direction in everything I do.I just want to be content.

Hi Leah! Those are some gorgeous photos! I love nature’s artwork! I am like you – this chapter was much more difficult! It’s a good think I am already following some of my big desires – otherwise I think I might have felt really overwhelmed. I have found over the last few years that following some seemingly small desires have uncovered some big ones! And suddenly I find myself painting, which is something that – six months ago – I would not have thought of doing…

Great post! Hugs, Silke

These pictures are absolutely stunning. I also found this chapter to be the hardest yet.

My inner nudgings are calling me to be part of the art.
Into it…the stroke of paint,the brush itself…perhaps somethings emerging.

I love the intuitive way you worked through your desires. The photography is richly ethereal and deeply earthly.

These photos are beautiful. I find myself drawn to reflections in water a lot as well.

I like how you explored your desires, and I wouldn’t worry if it takes a while for the larger, scarier ones to emerge. I think that’s why Beck handles desire the way she does in the chapter, and suggesting we pick pebbles. Often those pebbles add up or lead to the larger desires. :) And, it could actually be that the life you have is, for the most part, the one you want. That would be a wonderful thing!

I hope you’re having a good weekend, and that you enjoy this next week of creativity!

yes, I have been wanting to paint more just to produce something to show, and I get to do some in my art classes, but when i am at home i get pulled to do textile art more, i am drawn to sew, build felt dolls and just play around, these are my nudges, yet I feel i should be painting more!
As long as I am creating I am happy.

looks lovely : )

It’s so good to hear about your day, and your own experience with the feeling or being of longing. I think for me, this kind of notion appears more in my sense of purpose and duty whilst am here on earth. Not so much in the expression of art, but the willingness to get on my journey and do what I am here to do. This longing is very much in action at the moment, and as its meeting the true purpose. Yey.
Your pictures are very beautiful and am glad that you are connecting with this sense of longing. What is more cherishable is the experience as a whole, past the desire and the human need.

First, your photos are great. Beautiful color, texture and depth.

Second, I am also a nature lover. I find I do my best thinking (or Nothing) when I walk in the woods. I get lost in there and my mind cartwheels with ideas and solutions. I love that.

I read the chapter and realized I wanted to pick up pebbles that lead to creativy, particularly painting. I have always been so afraid to try it (or even to admit i wanted to) because I was afraid to fail. I am no artist, but I want to express something … I haven’t figured it out yet … but my heart says pick up a paint brush. I’m listening this time instead of ignoring it.

I know that one: it’s too big, what if I don’t reach it? somehow reach for the moon and you’ll land among the stars didn’t sound like enough. If I want the moon, doggone it, it’s the moon I want, not the stars. Better to not want anything. Thanks for writing about that. Right now as I’m deciding to get my blog transferred (with ALec by the way)and listening to Christine Kane who says: this side of your business is as important as the art side. Resistance big time. It’s always good not to be alone in these feelings! (and I’m coming to think that we get the biggest resistance around repeated lessons, which this is for me: grow that business. It’s bigger than you’re letting it be!)

Interesting what you’ve said about desire, Leah. It reminds me of the lyrics in “Bird on a Wire.” I feel stuck trying to find my place between the two sometimes. “I saw a beggar leaning on his wooden crutch, He said to me, you must not ask for so much. And a pretty woman leaning in her darkened door, She cried to me, hey, why not ask for more?”

Leah, love the photos and your insights. I couldn’t help but think about all the “connecting” you do with your site. You’ve built a community of artists and art lovers, practically plucking them out of thin air and attracting them to you and each other. And I suspect it’s become more than you even imagined…or desired…when you first started. I know that’s how it feels for me.

I just relaunched a new site that has been such a joy to build ( It feeds a part of me – the creative mommy in me, the creative kid in me – that the One Year of Beauty blog doesn’t. It’s all about raising and nurturing spirited kids with products, ideas, wisdom, etc and I’m having so much fun connecting with the part of me that cares so much about those things and with others who feel the same way. Thanks for all the inspiration!


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