Giveaway From My Heart to Yours

If I do not create, I feel like I will melt down.

I am bursting every single day with line, color, shape, and texture. My mind spins with ways to fix broken things, make beautiful the battered and unkempt, to take apart, rearrange, reassemble. I want to fix it – I want to make it live again.

I have been told my entire life to “be quiet,” to “stop being so dramatic,” to stop “being so loud.” The thing is, I feel things dramatically and deeply, and I see things loudly that others cannot see.

I see the broken childhood of the woman that threatens to bash her sons’ heads in if they don’t stop blaming each other in the shopping cart. I feel the neglect she felt, the lack of support. She’s still there, hearing the same threats. I feel the uncertainty the children feel about whether they should trust her or not. Is it another empty threat, or will this one pan out?

I feel the trapped, smothered pain of a combat veteran’s mind in the man walking down the street in too-large, filthy clothes. No one can understand what he’s seen, the ways in which he watched his friends suffer and die, and the ways their families suffered and died. He’s still at war, watching it happen over and over again, even if it’s not a solid memory he sees.

I visited a grotto yesterday, an army of holy statues tucked into towering rhododendrons and the dripping branches of trees. I felt the hope and the sorrow and the prayers there, bearing down upon me like a great, weightless cloud, and I couldn’t stop crying. I kissed St. Francis’ feet and left him 53 cents because that’s all I had. I lit candles for those in Gaza, and for those in the Ukraine and Afghanistan, and had to walk quickly away from those candles so I would not fall apart.

I am dramatic because I *feel* what others feel so intensely that sometimes I can’t find my own feelings. I create or I wither. Creation is all I have. Creation is more than a self-soothing therapy, it is a way to transform these feelings and the things I see and the world around me. It is a way to channel pain into joy, and ugliness into beauty.

It doesn’t matter what our passions are, it’s time for all of us to make the solid, conscious choice to find compassion for others, forgive those who have destroyed some part of us, and come together as a world community to take care of those who have less. I find solace and comfort and joy and beauty in nature; maybe you find it in art, or music, or cars, or in your family. It doesn’t matter any more. We must unbend what we have learned and transform into a better, wiser species. This means healing your own pain, which means you must acknowledge it first – you must seek to find it and draw it out, like an infection hiding in your heart. Only then can you rain compassion upon others as though they exist in a desert. I challenge you to do this.

I challenge you to see the true abundance in your life. Abundance isn’t just money – it’s shelter, it’s a loving parent, it’s education, it’s the materials with which to make art and music, it’s having a job, it’s feeling safe. I have very little to give outside of these words, but I feel called to give something away. I create, and that it what I will give away – a piece that only a handful of other humans on this planet have, the first piece I really carved for print, an exploding heart.



It’s 11×14 and just black ink on bristol board, but it’s what I have to give. So write to me, here in the comments, or via email at roamingnaturalist (at) gmail (dot) com. Give me permission to post a piece of what you say without identifying you in any way, and be sure that I have a way to contact you (either via blog or email link in the comments, or a usable email address via email).

Tell me what breaks your heart, what has broken in your life, what heals you, what reminds you that everything is all right and we’re all connected. What does this piece say to you? How can it help you? What fills you with enough hope to go on in times of darkness?

One of you will be chosen to receive it via US mail, free of charge in any way. And then, I’d like you to try really hard to give something away that you have to offer. Something you love to do or make, even maybe this piece of art.

Thank you for reading and opening your hearts. I know this isn’t my typical kind of writing, and I’m glad you’re here.

The very best,

Nicole the Roaming Naturalist



Posted on July 28, 2014, in Connected Living, The Roaming Naturalist and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. I love the heart…it signifies what our logo does…wings around a heart, sometimes broken but always healed and encircled. Our logo contains the heart as it was the love of my life job, and then a new guy came on board and fired me…and I was too ashamed for years to tell anyone that he had done so. I FINALLY got support when I started telling people the truth. Imagine.

  2. Breaking my heart this week is that I am trying to figure out yet again how to be a mama in a way that I have never envisioned for myself and my kids. Its that feeling of trying to fit into a favorite pair of leather shoes that have gotten wet; the pinching and squeezing and hoping against hope that they will once again mold back into exactly what they were before. Its uncomfortable and feels forced but its also an opportunity for growth in transformation. And its a chance to watch my kids step in to a new way of being for themselves too and I am so grateful they are big enough for this to work out.
    Reminding me of connection is the time I got to spend with friends this week who live far away but when we get together its like we never left. It filled me up and will take me through many days.
    Thanks for your beautiful and heart felt words Nicole. Xo

  3. Misty Dawn Rice

    I Look for the light in all things, dear Nikki. Beauty and light!!! The darkness Namaste and Blessings Be

  4. Request: #9057

    Dear Nicole,

    I have been thinking about you and your giveaway from your heart.

    Beauty has sustained me throughout my life. You may quote that sentence. (I am 70) The attached poem will explain why. Please do not quote this poem because it will be in my next book: Cape Ann and Beyond the Cut Bridge: Culling and Cart-wheeling. (Wipf and Stock) Your evocative art should go to another person because our small house is overflowing with my art, daughter’s art and husband’s photos. You are not alone in being intense. In my observations many artists are because of feeling thing so deeply.

    Your picture seems to me to be in the painted hills, a place dear to me as you will discover in my poem.

    Best Regards, Sharon

  5. Hey there Nicole,

    Kev here from the Earth Janitor blog.

    Great piece of writing, extremely honest. I’m sure a lot of people who are similarly connected to themselves and their world are embarrassed to show that kind of passion. Such a pity because what a place the world would be if we were all this open to beauty and positivity.

    People who are so caught up in high-resolution emotion are often described as introverts. You can understand why they might be quiet and reflective. They need space to focus on all of that detailed stimulation and time to process all of that information.

    I very highly recommend a book by Susan Cain “Quiet”. It explains and validates so much about being a quiet, observant and empathic introvert.

    My addiction is to landscapes, wilderness and untouched Mother Earth. It’s why I go hiking and travelling, chasing the next dose of scenic ecstasy. I get brought down quickly by silly human interactions, people gossiping and whispering behind backs, playing games to suit an agenda, fighting and being competitive like children in a sandbox at play school. That’s when I need to escape back to the bush. I have a hankering for forests and mountains mostly but I love all natural landscapes. I’m already planning my next missions to the Tarkine wilderness in Tasmania and the Gates of the Arctic National Park in Alaska. Can’t wait!

    I love that you live life at full emotional throttle – it’s such a blast. We all need to do the same.

    Great post. The word courage, “from the heart”, derives from the Latin “cor” meaning heart.


    • Kev,

      Thank you for those kind and powerful words. :) I never in my life thought I would describe myself as an introvert, and I’m still not sure I do – I’ve spent 30 years being told to “quiet down,” to “stop being so dramatic,” to “calm down.” I thought those things made me an extrovert – being loud and often the clown to make people laugh – but as I’ve grown I’ve discovered that a huge part of me is, indeed, introverted. Like you, my quickest way to calm down and escape is a walk in the woods, on a mountain, or by a stream. It’s like an instant shot of some soothing medication, right? Only pharmaceutical companies could never give us that kind of deep connection.

      I will definitely check out your book recommendation! Thank you so much for writing. :)


  6. Wow. I stumbled on your site today while doing research for school. Imagine my surprise to find your writing in this post to be so personal and raw and fluid. I read and understood every word. I title mine like this….”I love hard, and I hurt hard”. It’s just my way. I am graduating in a week from EWU with my BA in Geography, and this discipline has helped me solidify my place in this world, to make sense of the physical environment when I often cannot make sense of the human environment. Thank you for sharing you with us, and for putting yourself out here on a grander scale. I admire the courage. Life is always changing, new doors opening, new chapters beginning. It gets a little scary out here and I’ve been feeling anxious over the changes coming, but you brought a smile to my heart this evening.

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