The title of this blog is one of my favorite mottos. I first heard it in Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way. It has been a guiding sentence for me since then.
I wrote this particular piece on October 17. 2001. I had only been in Florida a year at the time, and was still a few years off from finishing my degree and starting my teaching career. I am in a much different place know, but it’s always good to read and remember this story and the lesson that can be learned.
Clarissa Pinkola Estes is the author of the fabulous work Women Who Run With the Wolves, which was a New York Times bestseller for a long time in the 1990’s. I met her in 1993 at the Common Boundary conference in Washington D.C. and also heard her speak in Beachwood, Ohio. Her work is with stories, and she is consistently inspiring in her approach. I have learned much from her.
I just read a story that Clarissa Pinkola Estes uses in her work with the students at Columbine High School. It is called “The Mouse Who Leaped” or “Jumping Mouse.” It goes like this
There was a mouse who keeps hearing a roaring sound. Everyone thinks he is crazy because they can’t hear it. But the mouse insists it is real, and one day sets out to find the roaring sound. After traveling a long way, he comes to a river — cleansing, replenishing, and refreshing river. Aah, this is the place of the roaring. But that’s not all. The mouse is told if he leaps high enough he can see something. So the mouse leaps and way off in the distance he sees a shining golden land. The mouse knows he needs to go there. He sets out across the desert. He meets a couple who tell him if he stays with them he’ll have food and shelter. But the mouse continues and, despite the ravages and struggle, arrives at the beautiful place.
When reflecting on what I liked about this story, I found that I loved how the mouse persevered to find the roar, and then the golden land. I didn’t like the things that tugged at him to stay safe, to ignore the sights and sounds that motivated him.
Likewise for me. Coming to Florida was the river. From here, I can see the golden land — where I will write and teach and be fulfilled artistically and have an impact on my own small world. Yet, I can easily be taken in by what looks safe and protective. I know that I must keep my eye on that golden land, no matter how hard it gets and no matter how long it takes. I must remember the dream. I must keep that shining vision in my heart.
I find this fascinating. I have taken some very clear steps these past couple of years to make my artistic life come true. Am I living in the golden land? Perhaps. Something to think about!