Dawn Parker has been living and working at the Museum of Motherhood Art Annex in St. Petersburg, Florida as part of the Spirited Woman Residency Program since June, 2017. The goal of her residency is to complete an edited, book-ready version of a writing project she’s been laboring on for several years now. Since beginning her stay with MOM, Dawn has enrolled in classes to become a certified Life Coach. Joining her for two weeks in July, was New Yorker, Christen Clifford who came the the MOM Residency to work on her manuscript about sexual violence, feminism, and radical transformation. Christen’s visit saw her returning to Florida for a second time this year. Hanna Brockbank looks forward to spending two weeks as part of the residency in October. Hannah hails from England, is a poet, and is earning her PhD while working towards a completed collection of poetry about motherhood. If you are interested in learning more about the MOM Residency Program or you know someone who would benefit from focused time away, working in a supportive environment, and whose concentration is on the maternal, please find out more here. [LINK].
MOM Residency Progress Report with Dawn Parker
Four and one half years ago, I started writing. I’ve been writing my story; a heartbreak as catalyst for a breakdown; the realization of the breakdown and heartache being symptoms of a larger history of issues; followed by a plan to learn how to love myself as a way to heal my life. Although it’s been an amazing journey of revelation and unexpected manifestation, I can’t really say I could give you definitive methodology that would help you learn how to love yourself. I have no formula or magic bullet. I do not have an article I’ve penned called, “The Top 10 Ways to Learn How Love Yourself”, that would give you any answers.
From my experiential expertise, self love, it’s actualization and the resulting personal manifestations, are as uniquely individual as a fingerprint. No one person has an architectural design that can build an internal structure to house generic self love that has the ability to stand strong in every individual. Our emotional bodies are put together with different parts, influenced with different histories, and spoken in different languages. Self love is our intimate relationship with ourselves. No one way will work for everyone. Our differences deserve honor and respect.
What I can tell you, is my story.
Late last year, I’d gained sufficient trust in my intuition to make a much needed geographic life change. With barely an outline of a plan, I made a decision to move away from the town I’d called home for 20 years. I was going “back home” to roots, to family. I was nervous and a little scared, but I leaned in and made a leap of faith. Self love replaced insecurity and doubt with the confidence necessary for me to trust the intuition in my gut to override the fear.
Once I took action, that one leap of actionable faith, everything in my life flowed seamlessly into place in ways that I hadn’t even imagined. My bare bones outline of a plan fell apart, so that, as the cliche says, “Things could fall together in a better way”. Self love was providing me the courage to be brave enough to live an expression of unprecedented personal freedom. It was the manifestation of a long held desire. It was the feeling of a dream come true.
Four months from my arrival back home, I was still unsure of what I was doing or where I was going. Nothing had happened as I’d thought but I was still siding with faith and I kept leaping. On one fortuitous night an Airbnb listing titled, “Spend a Night at the Museum” caught my eye. It was in a cottage at The Museum of Motherhood. I was intrigued.
My first meeting with Martha Joy Rose aka Joy, proved an instant connection. She’s… well, I don’t have sufficient space on this page to give who she is the description she deserves. Fast forward five months and I am the current Writer in Residence/House Mother of the Museum of Motherhood. Self Love healed my pain, sorrow and self loathing into a place of non existence so that I could shine a bright light, from my inside out; a light bright enough for others to see. Joy saw that light. She took a chance. She gave me an opportunity that has changed my life.
Now, armed with love, light, courage, confidence and complete humility it’s time for another leap. I understand now, that when we feel better, when we “love” ourselves and feel good in our skin; when we have the strength to feel good all the way into the marrow of our bones, it’s time to give back. It’s time to serve. I know with the deepest of reverence that it is our charge to help our fellow humans. I believe beyond contestation that it is our obligation to do no harm. It is our imperative to educate and do good works. There’s more, but for now, this is what “Self Love” feels like to me. True story. www.dawnlouiseparker.com