the BigAss move

This June, big changes are afoot.

BigAss Changes, as I’ve been fondly referring to this time.

After about six months of internal digestion, I’m finally ready to talk about it.

From more than two years now, I’ve been mostly living in Mexico as an extended experiment. Not wanting to let go of my beloved San Francisco loft that I’ve lived in the past nine years.

If you have every tried to find housing in the Bay Area or New York or other places where it’s difficult to find  live/work art spaces (maybe that’s everywhere, come to think of it) you know what I mean.

This is the place where I wrote two books, painted over 1,000 paintings, and hosted dozens of workshops and art dates.

I’m going to miss this sacred place – and all the surrounds it: the forests and mountains and beaches laced with endless trails.

This is the landscape where I wandered on foot and by mountain bike – in every kind of weather – nearly every single day. Nature as much of a teacher and healer to me as my creative practice.

I’m going to miss my carefully curated collections of furnishings and textiles and art and books and… more art and books!

And then there are my incomplete projects... the paintings I started and didn’t finish.

The ideas still incubating in sketchbooks.

The supplies for journaling kits that I kept wanting to make for the last several years…

It’s the unfinished projects that I most dreaded dealing with.

Plus the Orphan archetype. The way I can feel so utterly alone and like an unlovable loser. How I always felt as a kid bumping around from place to place and not belonging to anyone. Gets especially triggered every time I move. Bigger subject.

I’ve had plenty of dwell time the past several month to contemplate what to do with the rest of my stuff: furniture, art, textiles (!), books: sell what I can, give away and donate the rest.

Nothing is going into storage. I don’t want to be psychically burdened with the idea of stuff somewhere to deal with at a later date.

Plus, it’s expensive to store (and ship) things, so better that it all goes out into the world to live a new life.

What makes this move particularly BigAssbesides it being an international move, is that I am also doing the following in the span of less than four weeks:

  • Teaching 6 live workshops
  • Finding a new tenant for my space
  • Framing over 100 pieces (108 to be exact) for my exhibit in September
  • Supervising random home repairs – surprise, came back to my furnished rental to find every appliance (and more) broken
  • Purging, sorting, packing, selling, donating all my stuff
  • Two moving sales and two pop-up shops to sell my art
  • A spontaneous virtual pop-up shop that happened after posting some photos of my displays on Facebook – you can see it all on my Facebook page here
  • Making 20 or so Artful Traveler Journal Kits. Because!
  • The daily stuff involved in keeping alive and well / which I am doing less than half-assed
  • Planning ahead for Portland show and workshop (Sept.)
  • and etc.

To help mitigate my anxieties, and because I didn’t want to spend a month feeling like crap, I of course made a creative journaling prompt to guide me:

What if this BigAss move could actually be fun, enjoyable, and full of great connections with kindreds?

I also offered it as an INTENTION to The Universe, in case she was listening, watching, and willing to help me out.

Answering the prompt in my journal, and talking to friends about this idea, an idea emerged:

Have the audacity (my word this year is Audacious) to tell the truth about my experience and be vulnerable and ask for help.

For some reason, I’ve been finding this easier to do on my Facebook page than on here on my blog. Maybe because the Facebook feed flies by, and no biggie if most people don’t see it. Here on the blog, it’s… here.

So, I posted this update on Facebook:

In Mexico now, Leaving for San Francisco in a few days to: empty the entire contents of my loft, teach workshops in my space for a final hurrah, and essentially have to make about 1,000 decisions…

What I’m wondering is: How can this whole process be fun and enjoyable instead of anxiety-producing and overwhelming?

In January I decided to definitely make Mexico my home base, and I’ve had these months to wrap my mind around it and start emotionally detaching from the place (and it’s carefully curated contents) that has held me for 9 years.

What I really, really, really want are a few gal pals who can be with me as I sort and pack and price things.

I was talking with Cynthia Morris, my dear friend and sister artist / world nomad last night about what I’m facing and how I want it to be awesome, not overwhelming.

How I don’t want to have to hire someone off of Craig’s list who doesn’t get me or my work…

I was sharing some of the things I want to make — some Caravan Artist Journals and Kits that make use of all of my goodies, packed into all of the amazing cigar boxes and tin boxes I have.

These are the things I love to make for gifts, and everyone always wants more…so…this is an example of a fun project I have on my mind to balance out the not fun aspects.

I cracked up when Cynthia responded: You need someone who gets what it means to have a giant stash of cigar boxes. 

Yes! So. This is my vulnerable note to the Universe. Please send some gal pals my way who would find this transition and my stuff interesting.

Happy to trade for art, workshops, coaching, etc. Help me make this fun.

Also: we’ll probably be blogging about it…so there’s that.

Oh – and if you are one of my In Real Life gal pals or fans (?) not able to be in SF in June, I’d really appreciate it if you’d share this far and wide.

What a lot of people don’t realize is that I don’t have many close gal pals in SF — my friends are really scattered across the globe!

You know what I’m finding?

That people show up when they are asked.

That I am loved and cared for.

That being vulnerable, telling the truth, and asking for help works.

And so does *delegating*.

Also: I simply do way too damn much. I’ll be looking at that in the next edition of the 30 Day Journal Project.

The BigAss Move. I’m doing it.

It’s all turning out way better than I could have even imagined.

Thank you Universe and soul friends.

Thank you Internet, Facebook, Craigslist, RelayRides and TaskRabbit.

Thank YOU, for being here with me right now, sharing the journey.

To get the most immediate updates, including info on the items being sold on my virtual pop-up shop / moving sale, follow my Facebook page here:



17 Responses to the BigAss move

  1. Carol July 15, 2014 at 12:45 pm #

    Lisa, how wondrous! Are you still looking for new local gal pals to help out? I live an hour from San Francisco, and it could be richly good to be part of your bigass stream.

  2. Michelle Casserley July 14, 2014 at 5:54 am #

    Oh Lisa, thank you for you 🙂

    I love it that you share honestly, thank you. I am still following the path of my prompts from previous workshops you have led me in this year…I am preparing for my Ghana trip in four weeks time and am feeling so excited and adventurous.

    What if…is such an amazing question, I use this often and well.

    I think you are one of the most adventurous people I know and am so happy that I get to share your wisdom <3

  3. Anne DeMarsay July 13, 2014 at 8:17 pm #

    Lisa, I didn’t see the FB updates and am just learning details of the move from your newsletter. Funny . . . I was just thinking that I hadn’t heard any news in awhile and wondering how you were doing. I’ll be watching more closely from now on! Sending peaceful energy as you bring Phase One of the BigAss Move to a close and begin to settle in to your new home.

    I’m thrilled that you’re offering the Root project again in August and just signed up. I was thinking of going through the prompts again on my own, but it’s so much more fun (and energized) in a group.

  4. Amy Maricle July 8, 2014 at 2:51 pm #

    I am new to your blog and I am loving what I see so far. I am a fellow journaler, also an art therapist, and lover of all things from Latin America and Spain. I know that bearing your soul here is offering you a lot of strength. (Funny how that works, isn’t it?) I appreciate you sharing it with us so that I can be reminded to be fearless and brave today too!



    • Lisa Sonora Beam July 12, 2014 at 6:03 pm #

      Hello Amy! We have so much in common! Thanks so much for saying hello. I look forward to keeping in touch.

  5. Karyn July 1, 2014 at 10:08 am #

    SOOOO happy for you and inspired by your decision. Thinking I need to do the same…but still haven’t found the courage….for so many things. Can’t wait to hear about all the amazing adventures yet to come. Big hug!!

    • Lisa Sonora Beam July 12, 2014 at 6:06 pm #

      Karyn – !!!! so wonderFULL so see you here! You are so courageous and have so many adventures. I’d love to know whats cooking and next for you. Email me!

  6. Heather July 1, 2014 at 9:09 am #

    LOVE reading about your big ass move, Lisa! Inspired by your description of taking on a big chunk of life change. Can’t wait to read more once you are settled into your next chapter.

    • Lisa Sonora Beam July 12, 2014 at 6:08 pm #

      Thank you Heather! I wish I had the energy to blog more, but alas – sometimes we need to digest before publishing. Thanks for reading!

  7. Indigene Theresa Gaskin June 27, 2014 at 10:51 am #

    Lisa, you are the most amazing woman! I adore you and so wish I lived in SF to offer my two hands, laughter and hugs! You will look back on this as one of your great adventures, that will keep giving you fodder for your creative journey! Please feel free to donate to me, I’ll pay for shipping! 🙂 {{{HUGS}}}}

    • Lisa Sonora Beam July 12, 2014 at 6:12 pm #

      Thank you, Indigene! I wish we could play together in person too! I have to make a trip back in August to complete…let me see what I can find for you!

  8. Debra Marrs June 27, 2014 at 10:22 am #

    You GOT this, Lisa! And on the days you don’t, or don’t feel it, I got your back ALL the way. Indeed, you are loved and cared for by the Universe and beyond-o!

  9. sukipoet June 26, 2014 at 7:03 pm #

    You are amazing. Have a wonderful time living in Mexico!

  10. Stephanie Rogers June 26, 2014 at 2:44 pm #

    Lisa, I love the authenticity of your blog post! It’s wonderful how the Universe came together to bring you the support you asked for to help with your big move. I love all the journal kits you’ve been posting on FB. The only reason I’m not buying them is because I’m trying to curate my own possessions. They are beautiful though along with all of your creative work. I love following your adventures and I’m so excited that you’re making this leap with your life!!

    • Lisa Sonora Beam July 12, 2014 at 6:17 pm #

      Thank you, Stephanie! Yes – do curate your possessions – that’s a wonderful thing!

      My goal with the kits is to give people a pretty container and a few of my favorite things that will hopefully serve to beckon them to the waiting page.

      I’m in the process of getting a real shop together here for my blog… so others can see what we’re talking about.

  11. Emie June 26, 2014 at 8:55 am #

    I wish I lived closer…. I’d be there in a flash (I’m in NY state). My sister and I have helped each other with similar “clearing” projects and it’s much easier with someone else around to guide you in the right direction. HUGE kudos to you for following your heart and dreams!!!!! Would LOVE one of your Traveler Journal Kits… I sent a separate note… I’m not really familiar with how FB works…. Good Luck for a smooth transition!!!! Emie

    • Lisa Sonora Beam July 12, 2014 at 6:15 pm #

      Emie – I got so behind on my blog while in the throws of the move I am just seeing and responding to comments now. I have some journal kits left – didn’t see your note – but have had email snafu’s galore. Let me research – and if I don’t find it, I’ll send you an email.

      Thanks for your support – I love clearing projects and working with others who GET IT! Would have been so fun to have you and others here join in.

Leave a Reply