Ugh. Just spent about an hour writing a beautiful post and it disappeared! so here it is as best I remember…lol
Someone told me once that we are breathing the same air as DaVinci and Buddha and even the first woman. It made me dizzy. Lots of things make me dizzy…quantum physics, roller coaster rides, the edge of the universe, etc. etc. Years later I’ve begun to sort of understand this thought. It really means that we are all connected. I am and so are you. It’s sort of like looking at Bamboo. An entire stand of Bamboo is really just one organism (another nifty dizzying thought).
If you follow this idea though, it means that I am connected not just with the earth and the air I breathe, but also I’m connected with the dolphins, the whales, the roses, and flowers, the birds, majestic trees, the moon and the stars, and with people. Not just the ones I like, but with all of them.
It’s a thread that connects you with everyone and everything on this earth. We’re all entertwined . The warp and weft of the thread is perfect because you are a part of it. You, in all your glory, with all of your faults and promise. It would not be the same, if you weren’t a part of it. It’s taken me years to understand that and internalize it. But once I know something, I find it difficult to not know it. I really do think I have it, for now. And this idea is simmering with me, below the surface. So of course it comes out in my journaling. I’m made from the same stuff as this world. How breathtaking!
So…. hello world that I was born from and into. Hello!
What do you do when you just don’t know the answer? I have spent a lot of my life not knowing the answers to a lot of questions that well meaning people have asked me over the years. I am a bona fide expert in this field. For instance, I was always in awe of my friends and family who knew definitively what they wanted to do. To be honest, I often wondered if they were lying. lol. I mean how did they know at 18 that they wanted to be a doctor or teacher or whatever? I say, good for all of you people who knew and know what you wanted to do or be. Even better if you knew the how, and why, and wherefores. Those of you who knew/know all that don’t need to read further. As a matter of fact, you should probably share with the rest of us how you did that. But for those of you who are not always sure like me….read on.
I often will look to the past to try and help me navigate the future. But in truth, the past is just the past. It’s not the future. It’s not even always a good predictor of the future. Mainly because we are not the “self” from our past. We’ve changed and hopefully grown into a whole new person. So…strike that technique to find answers off the list.
I know people who will look to other successful people for answers. That might be a good technique for some… but for me…. not so much. Because, I am not that other person. And if I am doing what someone else says they did, well it might be okay for a minute, but ultimately I’m not going to react the same way they did forever. And it’s not who I am. It’s not authentic for me. So I had to strike that idea too.
So what does work? What is the “answer” (literally and figuratively)? It took me awhile to realize that the answers are not as important as the questions. That’s right, you heard it here. Our society seems to be answer driven. But what about the lessons we learn as we journey to the answer? What about that huh? What about the unfolding in time so that we have a chance to internalize the lesson? It seems to me that the “good” answers are the ones that show up in our lives from a lesson we learned. Not because we skipped the lesson and went right to the answer. I know it’s what we all want, instant gratification. Hey, I’m right there with you. I’m all about instant gratification. Unfortunately, the glow from instant gratification sure doesn’t last very long. And then, you’re right back where you started. Lost.
What it comes down to is this, for me……I don’t know how to find the answers other than to just live the journey. That means living with the unknown and sometimes unknowable. So, mostly my prayer is to ask the right questions, to have the strength to live with them, and to recognize the answers when they show up in my life. TA DA!! Pretty dang wise you say? I have to agree.
The last ten or so days it’s been awfully hard to remember that the sun is shining somewhere. We’ve had buckets of rain. And then the clouds parted and I got this. And it struck me this morning that the weather is such a great metaphor for life. Cliche I know but hey …you work with what you’ve been given.
When it rains for days on end, a sort of cocooning effect happens around here. The dogs curl up and so do some of the people (not saying who). Everyone is sort of forced into an interior life. A life with no distractions like the yard or the orchard. And because it rained really hard….I tried not to run many errands either. So a lot of make doing went on around food, and meals. Life slowed down quite a bit. And after awhile, I relaxed into that philosophy. For a very short time. Because I had no choice.
Of course, it’s occurred to me that I do have a choice every day. I could decide to slow down just because I want to or need to. Good to be reminded of that idea sometimes. We don’t have to hurry scurry through our days. We get to be the boss of our pace. Thanks Rainy Days for Days Weather. I needed that!
You see a lot of talk these days about “pushing beyond limitations” and “rising above your limitations” and “we’re souls having a human experience” and “focusing on the positives” and “healing ourselves with the power within”. This is the “buzz” philosophy of the moment. And, I agree with them all, I really do. But I was thinking this morning as I watched Evan hobble across the floor and then cry out in pain when he decided to put the pepper back in the cabinet(because he has repetitive use syndrome, and arthritis, and pinched nerves, and bone spurs in his shoulders). Isn’t some of this thinking what gets us in trouble to begin with? We are souls having a human experience but that means we have some physical limitations…sure we are completely limitless as souls, but our bodies have limits. Real ones. And it seems to me that it’s dangerous to ignore them in our quest for spiritual enlightenment and “pushing beyond”.
I married into a farming family. The battle cry on Orchard Road is “it’s got to be done”. No matter what. I get it, I really do. If the farming wasn’t done, the family didn’t eat or pay their bills. This philosophy is ingrained in my husband, to his detriment at times. If you can get something done by physical power and stamina, he’s going to do it no matter the cost. To him, or his body. Now he’s paying for that with pain.
I understand…my sister and I have always been fairly strong by feminine standards. I’ve always taken that strength for granted. The truth is….I just have more limitations, myself, than I used to. I hurt more and it takes me longer to heal. But the thing is…I don’t consider that a problem, I consider that a natural progression for me. I’m learning to adjust and ask for help when needed. That’s because I’m a woman and can even ask for directions when necessary lol. I feel free to join the “non-movement Movement” when I need to. Call it lazy and selfish, I call it informed and powerful…I know my physical limitations. I mean we should all get to feel just fine sometimes…and we can only do that by taking care of ourselves.
But I’m getting off track. Here’s my point. (and I can hear the generation ahead of mine, huffing) We have to remember what we’re doing here. Not showing our great physical strength, not amassing large amounts of things, not chasing the latest celebrity, or doing it better than our neighbors, or any of that stuff we were taught as kids. We’re here to grow as souls. Learn compassion, empathy and learn to judge less and love more. And we’re also here to learn some limitations sometimes….I believe it, because it points to the things that are important. Those things that are important? they are NOT how many miles you can walk,or how many pounds you can carry,living in the biggest house or judging others for what they can and can not do. Big Karmic No No in my opinion. Of course that’s a judgement on my part…lol.
okay so this one was a doozy. I went back and re-read Little Red Riding Hood and it was just as odd as I remembered. So I get that this is a metaphor for young girls being preyed upon as they come into puberty. A not so subtle one. And I get that the whole moral is that you should not stray off the path or there will be trouble. But this whole thing just irks the hell out of me.
Why would you let your young daughter go wandering off in the woods in the first place, and if you know that she does silly things and can’t keep her attention on the path….then why send her? And if the grandmother couldn’t come and get her own supplies then she shouldn’t be living alone in the woods. Just saying. And in every version I read, there seems to be a kind of flirtiness and a sort of sly sensuality between Red and the Wolf. They both seem on the creepy side to me.
Yet, this story never seems to go away. It seems to be part of our consciousness. Something about flirting with danger and the wild side of ourselves….maybe……something about I can handle myself if I do get off the path and if I can’t , some guy with an axe will come and save me….maybe. Something about death and rebirth…possibly. Some archetypal images are strong and there’s a good reason I suspect. So I get the strength of this story…it still just irks me…lol
Possibly it irked me the most when I read the ending. After conquering the wolf (he dies),having her grandmother reborn from the wolf’s stomach, and being saved by the woodsman… Red Riding Hood heads home…and she says to her herself, “i should have listened to my mother. I didn’t and that’s what got me into trouble. But at least I never forgot my manners…my “please” and “thank you.” Thank goodness for that right? She never lost her ladylike manners in the midst of bloodshed and mayhem and trauma. ACCKK!! That’s me coughing up a big old red riding hood and the wolf furball.
In my dreams…
Seriously…in my dreams there were flowers everywhere. And since I don’t often remember my dreams, I wonder why this one? Because it was pleasant? Maybe because I’m surrounded by new life? Whatever the reason…the subconcious, intuitive part of me was telling stories about flowers. Which, on the whole, is not a bad thing.
And speaking of stories. I come from an odd family in that there aren’t a lot of stories. All those family stories that you pass around and down…the majority are missing in my family. There are three or four, but you quickly come to realize that there’s a mantra in my family culture and it is “everything is private” or as I like to call it….The Need to Know Principle Gone Awry. It has very often been a habit of mine to make up stories when there was no information given out, because I was constantly trying to understand what the heck was going on as a child. This probably contributed to my art because I make up stories about the characters constantly. On the other hand it also contributes to confusion, and a reputation for lying. lol. Because making up the “truth” around the context of your experience is a “lie” right? I’m pretty sure it is. But children have such a need to know that they will fill in the blanks. I always had this vision in my mind of a story keeper. When told “I don’t know” by someone in my family…I always wondered “who does know”? The answer seemed, all to often, to be no one. Or everyone but me. ha. So that’s the thought behind this journal page. There must be a story keeper and if there must be one…then I’m pretty sure mine looks like this. Ta Dah.
so here’s the thing. You have to believe right? Somewhere on the continuum between facts and faith….resides belief. Especially if you’re an artist. Especially then. You have to know that someone, somewhere will look at what you put out into the world, the little snippets of your soul that you’ve sent out like butterflies and recognize them for what they are. You have to know that you can continue to spread your magic pieces even when no one recognizes them for what they are. Because you know each little snippet for what it is….. a declaration of why you’re here on earth. It’s your calling, your communication with something greater than yourself, your passion, your love letter to the universe. All those and …it’s some paint on paper or canvas. Now that can be classified as real magic. True story.
It’s been brought home to me in the last few weeks….the importance of taking care of yourself. Not just taking time for art or a nap but truly listening to your body. Listening to that intuitive part of yourself that says….”hey, you are overbooked, overextended and the well is dry” .
I’m not going to lie, I’m an over giver. True story. I can come home tired and sick and one of the kids will ask and you better believe I will rouse myself and provide. But you can only do that so long. Then your body says “hey…you’re not listening so I’m going to slow you down a little more” and that is not good. Nope. Not good at all. So, now I’m listening body. I’ve set my boundaries, told everyone and I’m hoping against hope to do better…lol. Hopefully. Maybe.
One weird thing….at least to me….(Oh who am I kidding? I find a lot of things to be really weird. LIke for instance, possums) As an artist I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time trying NOT to be noticed. I never wanted the spot light, don’t want to be in front of big crowds, say a quick “thank you” when someone compliments my art and then look away…effectively making sure there are no followup conversations. I’m especially uncomfortable if the art that’s being complimented was easy for me. Does this happen to you? I find it very difficult to self promote. Why? I guess we were taught as kids not to brag. To let the other person have credit. blah de blah. right? But think about the poor possum. I don’t know how many times I’ve thought to myself at seeing a dead possum in the road….. “ Hey Possum, that whole playing dead thing is not a good survival technique.” Is this is a metaphor for me.? Most likely, and yeah, and don’t you hate it when that happens? So why is it so hard? Who knows? It’s probably something a little different for everyone but I bet they all come back to self-esteem. To knowing that what you have is unique to you. And no one else. And that it is all worth something.
Our society doesn’t always reward artisanship. And it will most certainly run you over if you’re playing dead in the road…can I get a big “amen” to that? We have to create a world where those things are valued. Else it will never change. Who will do it if we don’t? This is my question, and the answer is probably nobody but you can do it. Just something to think about as you go about spreading your art today! Stand up, quit playing dead. Possums Unite and Conquer the world! Bumper stickers on sale soon…lol.
Okay I admit that I am a morning person. Which is a good thing because some dogs, several cats and sometimes one of the kids wake me up early every morning. I also have to admit that I’m addicted to photos of apple trees. My twin sister says “Sissy take photos of something different” but I can’t I’m obsessed. Raise your hand if this happens to you. Right? Easy to get obsessed with certain images. Oh I plan to paint this one soon. You’ll see. Those scrumptious pink clouds in the sky are just too good not to paint.
So I live in a converted apple shed in the middle of an apple orchard. On Orchard road. (because what else would it be called?) This is not quite as cool as it sounds. lol. Well it is cool, but very noisy sometimes. This is an orchard under production. My husband is a fifth generation apple farmer, a poet, and an author. You can find his scrumptious work here…http://www.evanwilliamsauthor.com. Anyways…trucks and tractors and sprayers and what not, are all hard at work at all hours of the day and evening. And then there are those darn trees. Those shapes that if I could just get it right….on paper or canvas. It’s a case of apple tree cooties. I’ve caught them. For sure.