It is well with my soul.

imageI came to the mountains to see if I might find a peace within myself that could sustain me through the coming month, marking one year since Isaac left.

I have been planning this sojourn since late June. Asheville was calling out to me like a long lost friend promising solace and respite. A vibrant community alive with the pulse of creativity and healing.

I used to always dream that someday I could be a woman who could travel toward others like me, once I had raised ny beautiful boy. I knew that I wanted to keep my promise to myself I had made a couple years ago when I rediscovered my love for art; to take a retreat once Isaac was settled into his freshman year of college. Life can change in the blink of an eye; but if we are open, we can find our way to our innermost home.

This trip was my way of showing up for myself and choosing life– a life I determine the rhythm and theme of. A life based on my own dreams.

I happily surrendered to the pace of motherhood and then to being a wife. I embraced boy energy and ideas and interests. But somewhere along the way I forgot what I liked all by myself, for myself. “I wanted to know what I would choose to do” with my time once my daily life was no longer only in deep reverence and gratitude for the men in my life. So three years ago I began to paint and explore and cultivate my creative self, in fits and spurts, knowing one day, I would need a hobby to fill in the spaces that had always been sweetly occupied with Isaac, with Joshua.

Painting provides a refuge unlike any other thing I know. It is meditation, it is challenge, it is surrender, it is flow. I choose to embrace these qualities as often as possible.

I return to my true self over and over again with each blank canvas, allowing intuition to guide me to hear my own voice, so long ignored, undervalued, judged harshly. Making room for sacred space, sacred fire.

When I paint I light a candle and set an intention. I smudge with sage to invoke clarity and purify my thoughts to allow the muse to enter safely. I choose a motif or spirit animal. I stretch and reach and breathe and pray. This ritual for me has become a gateway to creativity. Sometimes I invite orhers into this sacred container I create and each time I do it feels like communion.

I have been gestating an idea for making this my lifes work. The access to healing our wounds great and small has become undeniable.

And so it is with profound devotion that I will nurture this calling and begin to create sacred heART circles. I had to come to the mountains to be certain. And I am.

Beautiful Isaac always encouraged me to “do something” once I started painting. He said youre a good cook mama and a good massage therapist and a good mama– but you are a great artist. I was shy about it. He would say “no seriously, do something!”.

When I think of how to honor him, how to live fully because of all he taught me in life and death, I can think of no truer way than with what he thought was my potential.

I have spent alot of time considering potential this year. Always with the understanding that I wasnt living up to mine. It has been a lifelong theme with various consequences great and small, also known as excuses.

I have run out of excuses for holding myself back. Beginning to align with my deepest longings in light of the brevity of life, I claim now to embrace the life I have always dreamed of; the life I was too shy to allow; the life of an artist.

Artist of Spirit.

i wont yet say I have found a way to get through October. Already in it’s third day two mamas Ive known since grade school have lost children. The weight of this is almost too much to bear. Yet more than ever it seems we must love and live all our days. There is no other option for me, now– there is no more time remaining to shy away from boldly proclaiming I will live an love all my days, come what may, until I no longer can.

And so it is….

Published by: christinaryanstoltz

I write to touch the supple center of unguarded ache~ To release myself from the pressure of not knowing how to move forward from the unfathomable loss of my beloved son, my beautiful boy Isaac, to suicide, of not knowing how to release my grip on of the past, both the worshipping of it as well as the beating myself up for it, and letting go of the need to know what I could’ve done or what on earth I will do now. I write to heal.


5 thoughts on “It is well with my soul.”

  1. Hi Christina, I met you at the Harvest Festival in the Women’s Tent. I am traveling to Asheville tonight to visit a friend there. What a small world that we should both be there at the same time. You can call me if you want to meet up in Asheville. My cell is 616 780-3632. I most likely will not be checking my emails while I am gone. I will be there until Tues. of next week.


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