RSS Feed

Tag Archives: art

Recovering a Sense of Faith

Posted on

Last year, I began reading “The Artist’s Way.” A friend recommended it to me. She thought I might appreciate some of the exercises and inspiration as I tried to love being and artist (again.) And I did!

Artist-Way

Julia Cameron soon made it into my blog posts. I wrote about my experiences.

Recovering a Sense of:

Safety 

Identity

Power

Integrity

Abundance

Compassion

Connection and Strength

Self Protection

And then, I got stumped. “Recovering a Sense of Faith.”

I read the chapter. It made no sense. Faith is a sticky subject for me.

I reread it a month later. I was simply confused.

Then reread it again six weeks later. I couldn’t quite get what relationships and boundaries have to do with faith.

Then again two months later. I let it go.

In time, I began to work on my own underlying issues. I worked on boundaries and barriers. I explored trusting my own judgment. I began valuing my own time. My priorities became important. I began valuing myself.

I began to see myself as a part of something bigger. For so long, I felt more like apart from something bigger. I began thinking about the economics of the living. Not how to make a living (although I admit, I think about that too). But truly, how to live our lives in a way in which we are living.

For so long, I felt like I was bogged down. Carrying too much. As my dad would sometimes say, “It’s like you’re trying to carry 10 gallons of crap in a five gallon bucket.” My vision of myself carrying TWO five gallon buckets overflowing with crap came through in brilliant Technicolor.

Clearly, I could not go on like this forever. Even as I tried to reconsider my relationship with work, the image of myself still held true. No wonder I couldn’t quiet get the idea of a sense of faith.

I couldn’t let go. This is one of our greatest challenges in life. After all, we are infinite beings living in a finite world. Our spirit craves infinite communications of love, acceptance, joy, and peace. Yet we hold on to so many finite things. Why can we not learn from the trees that let go of their leaves each autumn?IMG_0337

As we go into winter, are there things that simply won’t serve our well-being anymore? Do we really want to share our sacred space with things that no longer serve us? Would it be better to let the material objects move to another space where they can either be appreciated or perhaps break down into the earth again?

Letting go of my first pair of hikers was a difficult challenge. But after 11 years of holding on, it was time.

Letting go of my first pair of hikers was a difficult challenge. But after 11 years of holding on, it was time.

As a family, we had gotten used to being overwhelmed. We struggled to make room for laughter, learning, creativity, communication, joy, peace, and tolerance. And then we starting letting go of things we held on to. Like my first pair of hikers I purchased in 2002. Like the broken toys and unnecessary papers. We examined relationships that were no longer working for us and began to set boundaries. We understood and accepted our short comings, and let our sweet energetic puppy go to another home on a farm, where she can run and play to her hearts desire. We let go of the images that we have to be overly busy to be okay. We continue to open ourselves to ideas and clarify our priorities in life.

We created space for more infinite qualities to fill our home. The universe responded to this space in our lives and offered us a gift. A piano!  A free piano!

DIGITAL CAMERA

We easily found the physical space for it in our home. And the infinite qualities that emerge from exploring the world of music of the family cannot compare. In the first days, I settled in to teach myself a special song.

This song, my dad used to sing along with my boys’ musical toys. He’d prepare his silly voice and sing, “Tell me won’t you please. Why the leaves, have furry leaves.”

Knowing very little about music, I simply thought he was making up words to be odd and funny. When my siblings and I were faced with the unexpected task of selecting music at his funeral, all I could think was how important it would be to have the “Furry Leaves” song. I knew it was a classical composition, but had very little way to communicate what this song would be. Luckily, a friend who was helping us with cleaning and planning knew a little about music. I sheepishly tried to hum the tune.

“Oh, that’s Furry Leaves.” She said.

I looked at her. Certainly Dad hadn’t sung the Furry Leaves song to her. She wrote it down for me and I laughed. It was Beethoven’s Fur Elise. My dad had probably made up those words when he was a child learning to play the piano.

So on Sunday night, I got to work. And I learned to play the first little bit of Fur Elise. Just enough to sing the words.  I now feel as though I have both received and given a gift of infinite proportion.

And I may finally have an understanding of Julia Cameron’s final chapter.

Advertisements

What cannot be contained in words

Posted on
What cannot be contained in words

There are so many words to write.

Sometimes I write with urgency. Sometimes I write without much intention.

And sometimes, I just can’t manage to write at all.

It is not for lack of ideas.

The ideas are brewing.

They are moving through my mind, weaving in and out of experience.

They are finding a place they fit.

Larger themes emerge:

Interdependence. Intimacy. Self-Love.

Letting go. Simplicity. Trusting the Universe.

These are huge, HUGE, themes.

They fit everywhere!

They are not contained.

Not in sentence form, or even syllables.

Not in letters, or even paragraph.

The provoke story.

They call for metaphor.

They push me to write, perhaps in a way I haven’t before.

And in time, they become part of me.

Recovery Leads to Revolution

Posted on
Recovery Leads to Revolution

What happens when I take the time to rest, recover, and heal?

It turns out, I get new perspective.

Turns out I get a revolutionary perspective for all the things I do.

Art- As I stepped in to teach an art class for a friend in need, my truest self stepped out into the world. This part of me had been hanging out at the door, looking outside, waiting for a time that it felt safe enough to venture out into the world again. Now in addition to leading the lessons, I create examples of the assignments to share with the students! I look forward to the projects! I WANT to do them, I want to share them, and I want to see how the students develop their own projects as well. I am having fun, with kids. Kids that are not my own. Kids that are loud. But, it is art! And I love it!

Writing-  When I wrote my last blog post at 4am, I was high on residual anesthesia and in a hospital bed. I reread it a few days later  and was surprised to find that it made sense! And even more, to realize that I have a variety of things to say and I have the opportunity to share my words in different ways. Whether I edit someone else’s prose to help them fully convey their thoughts for an amazing opportunity, pursue an opportunity to write a column for the local small-town newspaper, or consider submitting an essay on “Why Quitting my Dream Job was the Best Thing I Ever Did for Myself” to Rebelle Society, I realize that my words can carry weight and that I have plenty to say. I am a writer. And I love it!

Relationships- This has been the big one lately. I have learned to respect myself within my relationships. I don’t feel the need to prove myself or defend myself. It is quite amazing the simple truths that exist when the veil of denial is lifted. But it is not all beautiful and empowering. Some of it is terrifying: like realizing that for the past umpteen years, I have been functioning with a faulty understanding of what intimacy is… After realizing this and sharing it with my therapist, he later replied, “Maybe intimacy doesn’t have to be about not being good enough anymore.” I had no idea what that meant. I bawled and cried on my kitchen floor until it felt like my throat was going to come out of my ears. And that was before I got the tonsillectomy. Now, I figure it means something about my self-worth. It means I have a whole new paradigm yet to understand. It means there is more room for me to love myself.

Self- If my understandings of intimacy and relationships are changing, alongside my perspectives of artistic expression… well, then it all comes together in how I view and share myself. I feel liberated, lighter, and more fluid. I wear what I want. I am confident in my decisions. I know that I don’t need permission to want to do things. I am confident in my requests of others. I know there are possibilities and I know a little more about myself. I know I am highly-sensitive. I know I need plenty of rest and quiet time. I know I can trust my intuition. I know there is nothing wrong with me.

Does it all feel a little strange? Yes!

Am I breaking like 15,000 rules I have created for myself to keep me ‘safe’? Yes!

Do I have any idea what these possibilities will bring? Not at all!

Am I confident that I can move forward? Absolutely!

New Pathways to Well-Being

Posted on
New Pathways to Well-Being

I am not much of a middle of the night blogger. But seeing as I am staying the night in the hospital, I tend to wake up as suddenly as I doze off. I have few hours yet until it is morning and the silence is stunning. Thus, I take advantage of the opportunity.

I just had my tonsils removed and am quite comfortable with an assortment of liquids as well as pain relievers. And yet, my mind is still busy. The silence encourages my thought processes. I have two things on my mind: my physical being and my physical environment. The two of these culminate into one theme: my small business. My role as a writer, my ambitions as an artist, and the family’s desire to become more involved in alternative agriculture.

I think about how this spring I began exploring my understanding of my physical being through writing.  Well, then I got sick. My throat inflamed terribly. A little ironic, I think.

Just a bit later into the summer, amid deadlines, my husband’s surgery, and my continuing illness, I said,

It is a small step in bringing order to my life.

I’m through with waking each morning feeling bad in some way.

I’m through with abusing or neglecting myself.

It’s up to me to know when to say when.

And so, that is why I am here recovering from surgery. Four months of reoccurring throat pain became a great barrier. I spent my days feeling bad. I neglected my garden, I struggled to juggle projects, I couldn’t let go of material things, and I couldn’t move on.

I literally, I could not move on into what the future had in store for me: a space for my office studio. I was told about this opportunity to gain a space the day after I cleaned out my home office. It felt like the universe was fast at work. I was granted access just after July 4.

But here it is October 9th and I have yet to move in. Why? Because the universe was at work in other ways as well.

Here I have access to space in which I can do my work as a writer and as an artist. I had wanted it so badly. But then I came to realize the building has the exact layout of my first apartment. I stumbled. I stumbled back into a time when I felt like my life calling was to be a writer and an artist. I stumbled back into a small sliver of my youth in which I loved being myself.

But, I was only 18 and had so much to learn at that time. It was eerily surreal that this new space recalled many incidents of this time in my life. Some good, some bad. All true, because I was living a true existence. That was until I got derailed, began a pattern of self-sabotage, and soon was unable to pay my bills. It didn’t take long for me to totally abuse my entire physical existence, after all I was only 18.

And perhaps now, I get a chance to do it differently.

Sure, I was scared to make the move into a similar place.

But I know have the courage to say, once again, “That was then, this is now.”

I begin to have a sense that the life I envision is possible.

I think about an article I read this morning about the art of making a living as an artist. 

I think about the business plan I developed one year ago, and how I have the opportunity to revisit that again now.

I think about how far my writing has come in the past year.

I think about a project I am working on now, helping a farmer and local foods activist friend develop her vision statement for an application.

I keep thinking about what she wrote about the growing population of would-be farmers that are prepared to unleash their creativity, but just need assurance that their dreams and plans would be possible.

I think that term farmer could be replaced by any of my potential titles, and she still would have been able to include me in that statement. After all, there are so many possibilities ahead!

And so many ideas floating around in this head of mine.

And more than ideas, but passion as well.

Perhaps in overcoming this barrier of pain, fear, and disconnect, I am better able to pave a new pathway within so that my own great ideas can connect with my true passion in order to freely engage with my own physical environment.