Tina Welling is one of those transformative writers for me. Reading her words peeled back layers of reality and aloud the path I had wandered many times before to take on new shimmering meaning. I am truly honored to share with you her interview today!
Tina Welling is the author of WRITING WILD, Forming a Creative Partnership with Nature, published by New World Library. Her three novels are published by the Penguin Group: Crybaby Ranch, Fairy Tale Blues, and Cowboys Never Cry. Welling’s essays have been published in Shambhala Sun, The Writer, Body & Soul, and other national magazines, as well as four anthologies. She conducts creative writing and journal keeping workshops around the country, is a public speaker, and a long time faculty member of the Jackson Hole Writers Conference. Welling resides in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. She can be contacted through her website: WWW.TinaWelling.com
In your latest book you write about writing in a really magnificent fresh way. Tell me what language is to you? What it feels like? How it moves? How do you live in/through language?
Language labels experiences and perceptions for me, which helps to make them conscious. What we bring into the light of consciousness we can use; what remains in the dark uses us. For example, often young children do not have the language to express their emotions – to bring them into the light of awareness for communication or more especially for processing. So language to me is the art of bringing awareness to our lives. If we notice how attention moves from the inner to the outer and back again – like breathing – then we can align ourselves with a kind of organic pulse at work in the natural world. When I put language to that pulse, my experience of aliveness is enhanced, along with my realization of it. I feel more alive, more conscious, and more awake. From there, wonderful connections are made that educate and delight me.
What is your relationship to intuition? How has it led you here, where you stand today? Where is it leading you? What is it whispering?
Intuition led me to begin and complete the process of creating my book, Writing Wild, when my agent at the time, along with all my own rationale, urged me not to. I followed the quiet inner beckoning, chapter by chapter, through the manuscript to its end.
Today I still argue with my intuition, finding it more comfortable at times to work with intellectual reasoning due to its concrete exactness. I know, however, that what is intuitively true for me often offers no immediate proof, yet is eventually discovered to be everlasting in its alignment with my authentic self.
Describe a time when you walked through the doors of passage? What did it feel like? What did you learn?
Before I was published I felt as though I was living a double life. I loved writing, I spent a lot of time doing it, yet I kept it a secret. I knew most people’s first response to me stating I was a writer would be to ask about publications. And I couldn’t say that I had none. Until, one day I realized I needed to stand up for myself. I was showing up for myself and what I loved by writing hours every day, now I needed to stand up for myself and claim it. I did and, sure enough, people asked if I was published. I said, “No, but I really like writing and spend a lot of time doing it.” I let them know this way that I was serious about my work and I let myself know that I was not feeling shame for the lack of publications.
How has being female affected your journey?
I needed to move through our culture’s suggestion that as a woman I should set aside my own life in order to help others live theirs. It was quite a struggle for me as a mother and as the wife of a talented artist.
Tell me how you rise up in fullness?
I pay attention, I make choices that lead to the greatest sense of aliveness and I learn from all the wise teachers that come my way.
What is pulling you forward?
A desire to become more and more awake, thereby enjoying greater aliveness, the very thing we are designed to experience.
What lights you up? Turns you on? Makes your heart quicken? What are you saying a big YES to these days?
Rain, the moon, wind storms, aspen leaves, ideas, smiles, challenges, my porch swing, the song of the Evening Grosbeak on the very top of my Engelmann Spruce, catkins, red willow wands, waves, light reflected anywhere.
“Honoring the body wisdom that I believed was pushed down below the neck and not given voice.” -Writing Wild pg. 55
How are you honoring the wisdom within your own body in this season of your life?
I listen to my body and act on its advice. I no longer feel interested in rushing or pushing past comfort levels (unless in small increments to increase strength and flexibility) or sleeping less than I want or eating more than I need. I take big breaths and offer gratitude for this human experience.
“Questions open new space.” -Writing Wild pg. 29
What are some of your favorite questions to ask when you are bringing a story from the dark to the light?
I go for the opposites: what is the attraction or abrasion between characters – in life as well as in fiction? How does the light of the storyline work with the dark factors? What can I do to add humor to the situation? And what might I offer in the way of insight?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild precious life?
That’s a line from a Mary Oliver poem that I love, so I’ll answer from another of her poem’s I admire:
Tell about it.”
Pick up your copy of Writing Wild, it’s sooooo good!
Come join Tina Welling and Janet Hubbard at Willow Creek Ranch for a weekend of Writing Workshops September 13th through the 19th, 2015!
*Two 2-hour writing workshops daily.
*Journaling walks with Tina Welling.
*Advice on publishing and much, much more!! Private message Tina Welling for more details!
This is a sister -whom my soul must have known many times. I read her words and am emerged into raw-loving truth space. I know this space. I know her. Somehow. She is magic and medicine. She is spirit and ground. She is a wise wild woman who claimed her Sacred Regal Presence on this earth and just by showing up invites us to do the same. This is a woman I want to know.
Hillary Rain is the creator of Body Stories: The Embodied Alchemy of Breath + Bone (coming later in 2015), and the Soul Doula Sessions: intuitive holistic + spiritual mentorship for women guided by the wisdom of the body, heart, and spirit through sacred, creative arts. She is one-half of The Wild Mystics where she co-creates guided courses about spirituality and sensuality. Visit her at HillaryRain.com for gentle sermons on holistic living, sacred healing & spiritual awakening for writers, artists, & mystics.
Because I have to ask: What does regal presence really mean to you? Feel like? Taste like? Look like?
Ah, one of my core desired feelings! I combined these two words to encompass worlds upon worlds, these rich layers of an intricate life. Regal presence means empowerment, abundance, and holding my head high with deep, quiet faith. It means that I am here, I am home, that I am, I am, I am. Regal presence means living a sacred life grounded in truth and trust, rooted and rising, knowing that I am blessed with divine authority and wisdom; that I am loved, that I am love.
It feels like sultry vibrations of tibetan singing bowls in my root chakra, deep-toned and resonant. It feels like anointing oil on my skin, fragrant and warm. It feels like a pure no and a sacred, joyful yes. In fact, it tastes like yes in my mouth, like laughter, like honey on my lips, like salted caramel kisses and rich black coffee with lush swirls of cream. It tastes like joy even when I pant with want. It looks like strength and smiles and watchfulness, like queenly radiance, like compassion, like hands reaching out.
Body, embodied, sanctuary- all glory- all holy hallelujah! You are my Sacred Temple.
How do you worship? Dear one tell me what your breath would say in prayer?
My prayers go through seasons like I do: verdant and decadent, with poetry and rapture and ritual … followed by cracked-lipped whispers in the desert, one salty syllable at a time, or mostly silent. But I am most alive during what I call whole body prayer—reverent invocation through dance, through compassion, through breath, through passionate confessions and tearful nights when I clutch my own face because I am desperate to reach God. I say please and please and please and thank you, like all well-taught girls do, and I scream WHY a lot, enraged and entitled, and I grasp (and gasp!) for wisdom like I’m starved and alone. We are passionate ones, the Divine and me. And I worship through questions, dwelling in the liminal space between breaths, worshiping through this earthen body for I, too, am word made flesh. These bones of mine are secret passageways for deep calling deep at the sound of river-falls. My worship looks like my life, made of mystery, communion, and holy longing intermingled with raw, sweet grace. I call it bohemian spirituality; it is made of an unconventional faith—making peace with mystery.
What does Sacred mean to you? Where is your Sacred place and why?
Tell me how you rise up in fullness?
I consider Sacred anything indwelt with Spirit. The Sacred reflects eternal love. Whatever becomes sanctuary for all the tender things—birth and death and love, trembling, anything liminal—is holy. We (be)(hold) it and it is thus alchemized. This means that anywhere I am becomes sacred.
I also find that sacred spaces are story-keepers. Ancient landmarks witnessing the wild history of our lives on earth—a ley-line, a wise grandmother tree, or a vast hill. The quiet, nourishing witness of a soul doula. A glimmering blank page or one blessed with ink and tears. My own flesh, which holds every story I’ve ever lived and all the seeds for new ones. This is my embodiment, my fullness rising, my sacred space. Ironically, only empty things can fill, and so I become a space for rhythm and years, flowing in and emptying myself to fill once more.
How do spirituality and sexuality relate for you?
They are both deeply sacred to me. I am spiritual. I am sexual. I express both fully, with great passion and joy. I hold their presence within me, without duality. Imagine two vast oceans meeting, crashing into each other with arms open, entangling, embracing, creating a rich and luminous depth. I am ravished in that space between. I make love. I make art. I make tenderness.
What supports the true expression of your authentic self?
I give myself permission to wander (and wonder) freely. I write. I taste life. Tears fall; I fall, sometimes hard. I soften. I gather feathers and moonstone. I allow the both-and of my mystical approach to spirituality to be the field I dwell in, pressing bare feet to wild earth as I delight in this land of enchantment. I plant gardens here. I hang windchimes in the trees and sing loud and messy. I meet sojourners making their own wild way and we witness one another’s bravery. I gather stories on my skin. I drink deep from wells of mercy. Here I am naked and unashamed, returned to Eden, held. Always held.
What are you bow down kiss the ground grateful for?
My soul circle—the mad artists, the healers, the lovers who make their lives a work of art, who understand my gentle-stormy-self and provide sweet and spacious sanctuary. The ones who invite me to their rustic table, who don’t flinch at my mascara-stained cheeks but look at me and see art, see beauty. My husband, who grounds me when I’m off happily encircling the stars, who doesn’t always understand my bohemian ways, but keeps his arms warm and open—my home, my heart, my harbor. Beauty. Healing. Mercy.
What are you saying YES to these days?
These days find me saying yes to the unknown, for staying present in the tension of it when I’d rather numb myself to this existential ache. I’m saying “yes, okay!” to reinvention, to ever-expanding circles, to curiosity and delight. I am saying yes to soft spaces and looking at things from a freshly-washed inner gaze. I say yes to all the ways I can’t say yes. It’s harder than you’d think.
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild precious life?
This answer is pouring out quite unexpectedly. I am surprised to say this, but I am all planned out. I am dream-weary. I have dream fatigue. Don’t misunderstand; I have an insatiable, wanton hunger to drink every sweet juicy drop life has to offer. I ache to soak up so much living that my skin smells like cardamom from Marrakesh and my hips serpentine-sway along the corridors of India and my lips kiss the bourbon off her moonlit mouth. I want to love wild and gather sacred experiences like mystical treasures in my gypsy bag. I am a wanderess. Magic is my middle name. I want to move others with beauty and fire and be a healing river of love wherever I go. I want to transform, transcend, and burn with feverish purpose.
But it’s almost too much. When is there ever enough? There will always be a new adventure, a fresh desire, an unrequited love. There will always be a new, life-changing social media status, a riveting new movie, a sensational new dish to savor. A fascinating artist to adore. A beautiful photo on Instagram where the light falls just so and I find myself weeping for the beauty of it. Sometimes life feels like an endless scrolling channel of everything ever and it’s all so amazing and wonderfully exotic, and think of all the stories waiting to be told and the luminous souls waiting to be loved! And each day brings a new ache, a new delight, a new discovery, a new must-see-before-I-die. (Did you know there is such a thing as singing rocks? On this magical mountain? You hit them with a hammer and they ring out, each with a different bell-like tone, and mysteriously, if you remove them from this place they no longer sing. Must. Visit. Singing. Rocks. With. Hammer.)
There will always be more. And in this always-moreness I become keenly aware of a lingering, haunting never-enoughness.
In the meantime, life quietly flows on, steady, present, here. My heart thrums her faithful, steady song. Inhale, exhale goes the breath. My husband just looked over at me and smiled. Lightning shivers outside my window and rain makes the glass sparkle like a cascade of polished diamonds. Tomorrow I will have a conversation with one of the people I love most in this world. I spooned up a creamy, organic vanilla yogurt this evening and it felt so smooth and delicious in my mouth. Candlelight dances on the stove. My favorite essential oils soak my skin. I got a surprise, happy text today that made me cry. I looked at my body naked in the mirror and I didn’t hate myself. In fact, I kind of liked what I saw. There are things that make my heart feel heavy and things that make me want to burst with joy and living and light. I have stories brewing inside of me. I have work to do.
This is my life. It is sacred. It is mundane. It is ravishing.
I want to love it—fully.
I want to honor life by bringing my whole-holy self to it.
I want to be true. Humble. Here.
I want to bless with it. Make art with it. Make beauty with it that is so otherworldly and transcendent that the only proper response is the river language of worship, of silence, of deep-calling-deep, of whole-body prayer.
Beginning July 26th, this six week eCourse takes the natural pulse and rhythm that speaks to the wild rise and fall of sexuality for the blushing wild enchantress. Each week the lacy strap that sits upon her shoulder will slip a little further down her arm. Daily artful prompts and erotica fortunes will bring some enticement and synchronicity to the sultry exploration, and guest enchantresses will daringly expose their own blushing wild with us. Peeks into different mediums of erotica will stimulate the creative juices as we explore our psyches and ourSelves through soul work and chakras, erotic poetry and succulent rituals, meaningful movement and provocative stories. Weekly practices will invite you into your own hot skin and fan the flame of your own fiery life. Vulnerability never looked so good on you. Welcome to the blush! Read more and register at TheWildMystics.com
Here are the singing rocks because how amazing?