Together at edge2

Step Back

In Happy, Wise by Leave a Comment

Together at edge2

I write this from the Mabel Dodge Luhan House in Taos where I am drenched in rain, thunder and wonder.

Today some of the women went to Pat Woodall’s gallery and painted. Pat kept telling everybody to “step back” so they could see what they were painting. Julie said, “He kept telling me to step back, but I didn’t. And then, finally, I did. I stepped way back. Then I started crying. I couldn’t believe what I painted.”

Step back. Step back and see what you have created. Take it in. Let it move you.

Many, many times during the 12 years of leading this retreat, and frankly over the 22 years of creating much of my work, I have almost quit. Either because I felt lost and failing, or because my standards were vague and impossible to reach, or most sadly of all, because I didn’t see the value in my work.

I did not step back.

It is only recently, so far down this path that chose me as much as I chose it, that I see the threads of what I have been crafting, what I have been apprenticed to. It is only now I begin to grasp the value of what I have shaped.

I stepped back and, like Julie, I weep. I am awed.

Please don’t take this as self-aggrandizing ego blathering. I only share this dawning of mine, this humbled happiness, to ask you: what is it that you are shaping, creating, learning? Are you seeing its value? Are you stepping back?

Not value in terms of money but in the terms of grace, in the language of your creative heart.

Are you allowing yourself to be fed and deepened through stepping back and seeing the benefits of your art and craft?

(Art and craft meaning a relationship, a message, a spiritual practice. It can take any form.)

I ask you: are you stepping back? Are you taking it in? I so hope so.



Originally published at

About the Author

Jen Louden is a writer and personal growth pioneer who helped launch the self-care movement with her first book The Woman’s Comfort Book. She's the author of 5 additional books on well-being and whole living, including The Woman's Retreat Book, which landed her on Oprah, and her newest The Life Organizer.

From the Author

Leave a Comment