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Long Way Home

On the Other Side of Adventure

Life As Journey

I am snuggling up at home these days, cats taking turns with my artist hubby for attention.  I was gone from home for 3 weeks, a record for me.  In my sleeping hours, I am still on a journey, trying to figure out where my bed is.  I slept in so many, I think my body forgot which one was really mine!

I have a thousand stories floating around in my head, like wanting to share with you all the amazing people I met, unfinished poems about the beauty of America writing themselves on my heart, realizations I made about myself and my life along the way, and the freedom of living life a day at a time with few responsibilities.  Some stories won’t get written because life tends to move faster than I can type, other stories will wait to be told for a day when they are more ripe.

For today, though, I want to share some of the pictures and a line or two to help you get a sense of them.  My camera was my buddy for much of the trip.  Sometimes I didn’t know why I was drawn to what I was, for whatever reason, it interested me.  Some pictures were taken from my car en route, most through the windshield.  They are a quick way to share my journey….enJOY!

Barn

america's heartland

Some of my favorite images on the trip were of the farmland and barns.  They reminded me of my youth, my family roots, my mother’s love of working close to the Earth, and of the origins of the food that finds it way to my plate.  Driving through so much of America’s heartland felt like living a moving prayer of gratitude.

beauty fields

The soft grass and skeletal structure of plant life displayed the artistic hand that nature paints with. My eyes were overcome with 3000 miles of beauty.

Mississippi River Bridge

I was fascinated with bridges during the trip. This one crosses the Mississippi into Memphis.

Historic Route 66

This bridge is from Historic Route 66 in Oklahoma.

Lincoln Memorial Bridge -Illinois

Lincoln Memorial Bridge on Illinois River….rainy day.

Geneva 2 112

I was on the road when the attacks on Boston took place.  I was staying with a sweet couple I met through AirBnB and feeling the stress of being far from home and family.  The next day, my journey took a wrong turn which ended up with me pulling into the entrance of the  Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery.  I took it as an opportunity to show my gratitude for freedom and for those who have been part of weaving it together.

Rachel Payne on Road

There are so many more pictures to show and stories to tell of my adventures on the road.  But for now, I am working on getting back into the swing of home life again.  That’s one thing I learned along the way, for sure.  Life keeps moving and so do you!  Make the best of where you are in the moment, know where you are headed and take with you the experience and grace of where you have been and remember…All is Well.

Keep creating!

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My Silent Passengers

alone but not lonely

Today marks my 22nd day on the road.  I am 5 hours from home by car, but sticking around Houston to offer a Sacred Cacao Ceremony to a gathering of creatives.  The closer I get to home, the more homesick I grow, and yet…. I am still deeply engaged in the adventure.

One of the ways I am doing that is by processing the trip…especially the parts I just didn’t foresee. You see, even though I spent over two weeks of the trip driving by myself, I felt as if I had Silent Passengers.  I never felt that I was alone.

Sometimes the Silent Passenger was my husband, even though he was at our home in South Texas when I up roaming in the Northern parts of the U.S.  I found myself talking to him in my mind, pointing out landmarks, crazy cars, interesting signs, and public art.

Whistle Stop

 

Geneva 2 104

 

Sometimes the Silent Passengers were my parents.  My mom was the one I pointed out the prolific wildflowers to, who was beside me when I screamed with delight upon crossing the Mighty Mississippi for the first time since I was traveling to Kentucky with her at age five, and who I sang to while diving through the Ozarks by moonlight.

Memphis Mississippi

 

My dad traveled with me through Memphis.  He visited the Sun Studio where Elvis changed music history, made the trek not far from there where Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. made his last speech and to where he took his last breath.

memphis 056

 

memphis sun studio

 

Most of the time, my Silent Passenger was YOU, dear tribe.  I took you with me in my pocket, making wishes for your own life changing journeys, for moments where everything gets brighter than you have remembered it being in a long time, where you dare to take on the adventure that rises up out of the seat of your heart.

In My Pocket Art Card

 

That is the best part of the journey of life, when we choose to live our loveliest lives, it blesses the masses.  Every time we choose courage, it encourages another to think….perhaps I could.  I wonder what my journey might inspire in you.  Take me with you and let me be your Silent Passenger.  I am ready!

Rachel_Payne

City Chic {Long Way Home}

 

One of my favorite past times is to spend a few minutes on either side of a trip downtown to explore the city.  I have lived in the same town most of my life.  The downtown was a place we went where I was very young to do a bit of shopping, but much of the posh department stores moved into the malls across town.  The downtown began to get run down.  In high school, the mayoral race focused on whether or not to revive downtown. By the time I graduated from college, the artists had moved in.  A lone coffee called Crazy Ladies was home to the artists, musicians, neo-hippies, and few wandering spirits.  A few lofts became the seats of philosophical think-tanks of the day.  A friend reported about that time that they had heard once the artists move into the downtown it would be a decade for it to start thriving again. Well, a decade has passed and sure enough…new life.

However, there are definite remnants of the tough times.  And those places become like archaeological sites for me and my camera. Sometimes I find something old made new to me as I discover parts of my hometown I never knew existed; other times, I find something I thought was only a long-ago memory.  In either situation, I feel as if I find a bit of myself in these crumbled places made new by my thriving interest in them.

Here are a few shots taken  today on a detour downtown.

Until next time, take….the long way home!

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Textures {Long Way Home Series}

 

I am on the road this weekend, tackling three bucket list items.  First, attend an art retreat.  Second….visit the Texas Hill Country.  Three….study with an artist that inspires me.  In this case, Australian artist Tracy Verdugo.  I promise to tell you all about it!

To celebrate this adventure of my gypsy spirit, I have a few pictures for the Long Way Home Series with a focus on textures. I picked texture because Tracy’s art reminds me of the textures I imagine our spirits or souls to have.  Fun, huh?

The brick walkway along the water’s edge near the bay a mile from my home has begun to decay from exposure to the elements.  To my eyes it creates an elegant abstract.

The surface of my studio table is covered with a plain brown paper. Over time, color builds up to create a visual texture that encourages my mind to make images out of them. Often the doodles take on inspirational messages which invite me into a better way of thinking or acting. They encourage me to grow, and in this case, to have faith.

Even light can create texture where we might think there is none. This bridge which has been fitted with lights that put on nightly shows has become a beacon.  It leads me home after a long travel.

Wishing you a beautiful weekend. Tell me, what is something that is on YOUR bucket list?

Where Wildflowers Bloom

I have had a blast deciding how to share my Long Way Home images with you. Sometimes I want to share the story behind the photos and others let them speak for themselves. I want to pair them according to where they were taken and also group them by a shared theme.

Today I have gathered a bouquet of flowers. They have been collected over the last couple of years, some close to home, others far. I bring them out today to recognize the rain that recently blessed my back yard. The last two Summers, we have suffered through droughts, but this last week it poured. My back yard is over grown, and peeking out between the grass tufts are patches of wildflowers. They remind me that even when something seems to be losing all hope, the ability to thrive is just a rainfall away.

Have a bloom-tastic day!

The Twenty Year Path

I’ve been a long-way-home kinda gal since I was young. Over the last couple of years, I have brought my camera with me on my travels  down the road less taken. The Long Way Home Series shares the best of that gypsy spirit with you by offering up the treasures I have found along the way.

Two years ago, my artist hubby, Eric, and I went to Portland and Washington.  I had been invited to the Association for Creativity in Counseling Conference as a presenter and as a recipient of the ACC Graduate Student Award. It was my first trip to the Pacific Northwest. Before I even left for the trip, I had already fallen in love with the idea of this part of the country. Sharing it with my artist hubby made it even more special.

The conference was very intimate. I spent time rubbing elbows with some of the thought leaders in the field of creativity in the helping professions. Going in as a recent graduate, my mind reeled with all the possibility that the conference offered.  I met professors, published writers, expressive art therapists, students, and counselors.

Today as I am pulling these pictures out, I keep wondering why share these pictures with you now, two years later. I think it must be as a way of making sense out of the very high point in my journey that slowly took an unexpected turn from counselor track to life coach track.  My intention in showing pictures for the Long Way Home Series was simply to share all the photos I have taken over the last several years. But “Long Way Home” means something more to me today as I shift my career track.

Many, many years ago….nearly 20 years ago….I had a dream of working with people to help them connect with their creative spirits, to help them heal enough that they might risk sharing a drawing, a poem, a dance, or a play with the world.  I got excited about the idea of using creativity to explore the healing of their expressive self. I went down the road of studying counseling to learn how to help, but somewhere along the way, I realized that modality…that approach….didn’t match how I wished to work with people.  So I have shifted my studies to coaching and am feeling so much more in sync with my original dream…..so much more at home.

I will soon be offering life coaching sessions.  I can’t tell you how much peace it brings me to have the opportunity to nurture my dream in this space….this space that is made for the tending of dreams….mine and yours.

Counseling and life coaching are like sisters in a way. Some traits they share, and some are unique to them.  And for me, I like to imagine that they have a healthy relationship with one another, know how to support one another, understand each others’ gifts and know what their boundaries are.  And just like with real sisters, I think there is room for creativity with each, and I am looking forward to exploring the ways I can use creativity with the coaching partners I am working with.

Whew….I didn’t intend for all this to come forward, but that is the beauty of journaling, or in this case blogging. You start off with an inkling of an idea and when you walk away you have fleshed out the bulk of its essence.

I hope knowing the history behind these pictures and the deep place in my heart this journey to the Northwest holds helps you understand a bit more about where I am today…..how I am exactly where I am meant to be, doing what I am meant to do, in a way that makes me feel extremely blessed. And even though it has taken me nearly two decades to get here, I don’t regret a bit of it. The journey is what life is all about and for me, this journey has taken me the Long Way Home.

 

 

This is just a sliver of the beauty I experienced on this monumental trip. Hope you enjoyed!

The Long Way Home

I am a Long-Way-Home kinda gal.  I recognized it eight years ago when I started dating my hubby. (We actually met eight years ago today!)  He lived about 3 hours away and every night for about a year, we talked on the phone.  My evenings in those days usually found me hanging out at my favorite cafe/bookstore which was in the middle of the town I grew up in.

That’s one of my crazy pipe cleaner sculptures on my head. Photo by Earl Parr.

When I got his call, I would hop in the car and head home. I wanted the conversation to last, so instead of heading directly to the house, I meandered. I had grown up on one side of town (literally on the edge of the city limits) and by the time I was in my early 30’s was living on the other side of town. So I would leave the cafe and head to my childhood stomping grounds, then I would ride the coastline home. It is a spectacular drive along the shore. With the water in my eyes and this new guy in my ear, we started out with a better than average chance.

Here we are on the coast of Washington, 2 years ago. We had an awesome time exploring the place where Practical Magic was filmed.

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The weekend we went to Austin for the website launch party at WP Engine, we made our way home nice and slow. We drove down country roads we had rarely ever been down, stopping along the way to explore what others might usually just pass by. I wasn’t sure if he would be up for the detour, but about fifteen minutes off the beaten path he squeezed my hand and told me, “That’s why I love you. You aren’t afraid to take the long way home.”

 Ahhh, he noticed.

We often take the long way home together, even when we are just coming home from running errands or going out for dinner. But we are seldom alone on our journeys. We are usually accompanied by my camera and a curious eye.

I have a collection of photos I want to share with you and have struggled with how to do that. But this evening as we were on our way to our 8 year anniversary celebration at IHOP, we took the long way home as usual. My mind took its own journey as we traveled the shore, and I figured it out.

 Long Way Home….a series

Concrete Cemetery  just outside of La Vernia, Texas, established 1856.

I hope you will enjoy the Long Way Home Series. It is dear to my heart because it is a reflection of my gypsy spirit and my love of life.

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