An Artist's Quest

All Fired Up: why getting fired might be the best thing ever


238.Guest house

Art journal entry- When One Door Closes Another Door Opens

Well I had a new experience this week – I got fired. It was the weirdest way of getting fired actually. I have been agitating with my local school district for a raise for the lowly enrichment teachers for several years, and finally, this past school year, a raise came through, yippee! But guess what- they cut days of teaching and paid prep time, wahwah, so basically the “raise” was a wash. Anyhow so when that came down I started pressing my case that prep for teaching pre-kinder through 2nd grade art is a necessity and should be paid. I went all around the district and to the fundraising arm etc, I had a parent who was advocating for me as well….anyhow this week I was told that the school will (get this) “be going in a different direction with art” when I asked “are you firing me?” the response was “we are going in a different direction with art”, I said “are you firing me today or for next year” (now here is the really confusing answer) “I’ll leave that up to you”…..that’s a head scratcher. I don’t have a contract, there’s no union for enrichment teachers so that’s it. In all the years I was there I was never evaluated or observed so clearly this “new direction” isn’t based on my teaching or my curriculum or anything about my work with the children. So I know you are asking – where does the best thing ever part of the story come? Well I want this to be an opportunity- I’ve wanted to put myself out there more, to lead more adult retreats and classes and the constraints of the elementary teaching schedule was sucking my time and my energy, so I’m thinking this is the universe telling me it’s time! I’m 53 years old, now is the time to get out there and be bold. This creaky old door closed (with a slam)- so what- open up all the windows and let the possibilities come in. I am designing a number of mixed modality retreats that each revolve around a theme which will include art, meditation, reflection, centering and more, and of course I have my art technique classes I love to teach as well. So now my dear readers, here is my request – if you know of an organization or retreat/art center that you think would love to host a retreat or workshop of mine- please introduce me. If you have a personal connection you are willing to share, even better. I am excited and a little nervous- I’ll keep you posted on how it’s going. Throw open the doors fling wide the windows let the clean fresh breeze sweep through!

Time and time again I come back to this Rumi poem- The Guest House. I have shared it on this blog before but it seems fitting in this situation. So I put it here again to remind you and mostly myself of it’s great wisdom.

This being human is a guest house.

Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,

Some momentary awareness comes

As an unexpected visitor

Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,

who violently seep your house

empty of its furniture,

still, treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you out

for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,

meet them at the door laughing,

and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,

because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond



18 responses

  1. Judy Markoff (Fabrications and friend Phyllis Rapp)

    Dear Lisa:
    We know each other through Fabrications and an iPad course I took with you; I can’t tell you how much we have in common: I have been a faithful subscriber to Cloth Paper Scissors for years and always enjoy your articles, I have taught 2nd and 3rd grades with emphasis on Art and using Art Therapy in a classroom situation, my art is inspired by daily walks through nature, I love printing on fabric and using it in art quilts. I have ventured into book making and encaustic , journalling and acrylic and watercolor painting often using my photographs in my art or transferred onto fabric etc, etc….I would be happy to assist or join you in a retreat or work with you somehow in your new adventure….and it will be that..congratulations on being fired!!!! There is an exciting path opening up to you!

    February 4, 2016 at 9:36 am

    • Thank you Judy – let’s do it! I’ll email you and we can talk about how!

      February 4, 2016 at 9:46 am

  2. Bonnie

    Dear Lisa,

    The use of Rumi’s “Guest House” was a highlight for me, lover of words and reminder of how poetry heals us along the way. Your blog reminds me, too, of the power of color, imagination, and creativity, so keep up your work–if not in the same arena. You are “going in a different direction” too! So there! Were I in northern CA, I’d jump at the chance of a workshop of yours, but have to keep my efforts local. You were the one who introduced me to Threshold Choir many years ago, a continuing blessing in my life. Thank you for your loving, creative spirit. Yes! Go, girl!

    February 4, 2016 at 9:48 am

  3. Jean Farmer

    Love this perspective. I learn so much from you

    Sent from my iPhone


    February 4, 2016 at 11:20 am

  4. Gale davis

    I think that’s great news. I am sure you will have lots of opportunities to teach and create. I will contact you again soon regarding a talk for the Pointless Sisters.

    February 4, 2016 at 11:40 am

    • Thanks Gale that’s a great idea- I’ll be done teaching on March 31 and my calendar is wide open!

      February 4, 2016 at 3:55 pm

  5. Sally Nole

    The Art and Soul retreats are still going I think. Have you engaged any stitchers/handwork groups. There’s one in June -GPR – Great Pacific Retreat in Eugene Oregon. one of their contact info is: There set for this year, but stitching is a meditative process so I think maybe you could find a nitch.
    Good spirits be with you. Sally

    February 4, 2016 at 1:12 pm

  6. Pamela

    Dear friend, we don’t see each other often, nor even cross paths, but still I think of you and your family.
    The children will miss you, they will remember you and will always enjoy art in any form….isn’t that what we all hope to leave? A small smile and a thought of someone special that was able to bring that to your heart.
    You will prosper.

    February 4, 2016 at 4:04 pm

  7. Jane

    Thanks for saying and standing up for what needs to be said. Enjoy the fresh air that enters through the open door.

    February 4, 2016 at 6:45 pm

  8. Anne R. Blanton

    Ah yes, the challenges that stab and pierce and in the end speak opportunity. A hug across the ethers to you dear Lisa. May your new path be laced with comfort and strength when the darkness and malice are laughing at your door, Of the many I know you would be one of the first to let them in! With love, Anne (What wonderful memories you must have of the dear little ones that you shared your wide open art with!)

    February 5, 2016 at 7:19 am

  9. Sonia Beck

    You go Girl!! We have total faith in your gift and capacity to create magical abundance and carve out new and improved directions!!xxoo, Sonia and Elliott

    Sent from my iPhone


    February 5, 2016 at 7:45 am

  10. Julie Graham

    Heh girl Wow. You keep having big things happen? When is your ordinary time ? I think you’re over due.

    Any way St. Paul’s hopes to hire you for April 15-17. Kid and inter generational experience Oooxxxxxx Julie

    Sent from my iPhone


    February 5, 2016 at 9:38 am

  11. When I got laid off from my full time job, in 1998, I remember a friend telling me it was a ‘yea/boo kinda thing.’ Love that simple description and it’s so true. So Yea for you to take the plunge and move on. I still miss teaching kids, I loved it, but the time was just up.
    I’ll think on it and email you some ideas for teaching. xoxo

    February 5, 2016 at 10:00 am

  12. Sidrah

    Yes!! I want to go to your retreats. This is excellent news. I was JUST thinking of you and that the only piece of art of yours I own (other than ranch prints) was lost to an ex-boyfriend… And I was missing it.

    Seeing you work and seeing the resulting work left a big impression on me. Perhaps as meaningful as the school work you’ve been doing. I hope the workshops and retreats revive a and renue that immense talent of yours.

    Also: toll house on the road to boonville. Email me and I’ll make an introduction

    February 6, 2016 at 7:19 am

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