Where She was Standing When She Lost The Flow

Ok, don’t judge me.  I think of my creative “flow” as a bright quirky goldfish.  She zips here and there and is generally all over the place.

Yesterday, I was in the “flow” big time.  Journaling away.  Then the kids started calling.  Our daughter (names withheld to protect me..lol) that is getting her Masters was overwhelmed and anxious.  She needed to be reminded that she could do it, and has done it and will continue to do it!  One of our other daughters texted me to check on party times for Sunday.  Our youngest daughter called to see if I would help her set up her classroom at the nonprofit where she works.  My son texted me to make sure I had picked up bread and snacks.  All within about an hour.  My flow just flew.

Once I got home from helping with the classroom….I sat down and tried to recapture where I was in my journal.  The above is all I could come up with in the thirty minutes before bed.  I can’t even remember my original idea.

I’m not complaining…I’m just stating the facts.  Sometimes/Most times when you have children, especially if you have as many as we do, your time is not your own.  And that’s ok.  I know without a doubt that I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing when I’m dealing with these children.  Even though some of them are technically adults…they are still my kids.  Always will be. Evidently, I came into this world with a lot of Mom energy.

It’s a funny thing…there are lots of people out there who don’t really see raising kids as a life path, career, or even as work.  That’s ok.  But, for me, I don’t see any other way.  I kind of imagine it as being a steward of potentiality.  One of the kids we touch, teach, help along their way….may save this old world.  And I will be behind them clapping, cheering and wiping away a tear (with a paint rag most likely).

Fall and All

"Grounded Bear"

“Grounded Bear”

Already?  It’s Fall already?  Sometimes I feel like my life is a blender and it’s set on whirl 24/7. Everything just whirls by and I can’t catch hold except in moments of quiet art making.  Or…that’s my justification lol, for taking the time out to create.  I don’t need justification, I know that, but apparently my subconscious does not.  So I find myself taking moments to ground, contemplating grounding things.  Like Bear.  He quietly goes to ground in the fall and dreams away the winter.  He will miss the blues and greys and white of winter for the most part.  So I gave him a few color palettes to dream with.

A Queen in her own right….

I dreamed about this last night, because I had my group of girls…that I work with…on my mind.  Some of them are beautiful by societys’ standards and some of them are a lot like the rest of us….they are attractive or pretty or in an awkward stage.  You know what I mean.  But each of them, without fail are beautiful in spirit.  Their hearts just shine out.  I wish they could see themselves as I see them.  Heck, I wish we could all see ourselves in our own true beauty.  I wish.

 

Your need to fit in…is dangerous to you!

I work with a beautiful group of girls on Tuesday afternoons.  We’ve been doing a sort of selfawareness collage.  Because I think that the sooner these girls find their voice, explore who they are, think about what they want and what their boundaries are…the safer they will be in this world.  As a matter of fact, I think all of us women would have been a lot safer in this world if we had done this work at that age…instead of this…lol.

These are ninth and tenth grade girls.  Their need to fit in…is so dangerous to them.  They are not kind to themselves.  Or sometimes to each other.  But mostly they are so unkind to themselves in their race to be just like each other and the “popular ones”.  One of the girls told me yesterday…that she probably would never get to be what she wanted because she was born a “mexican”.  She said it with a hopeless sort of disgust in her voice. It made me want to shake her.  She is so beautiful in just who she is….they all are.  And they all have so much to add to the world.  If they could just realize it.

If they could just be who they are….and not who they’ve decided that society wants them to be.  Huh….that would be a good thing for all of us women.  So all you older women out there…remember that we are allowing these young girls to believe these lies, because we believed them. Oh yes we did and do.  So stop it now. Start valuing these young women for more than their looks.  Stop trying to look like them and start modeling for them the grace of age.  Model for them the value of inner peace and beauty of spirit.  Model for them the importance to their lives… of more than that designer pair of $600 boots and the kardashian life style.  How about we all start to do that…so that these young women can grow into their full potential.?  will you?  That’s my question for you today.

Praying for World Peace

Interesting thing…I’ve learned a few lessons being an artist.  okay, don’t laugh, we’re all learning every day…but I’m talking about specific lessons.  If you’re interested..read on.

1. Every creative person I know…tends to be a little more liberal and openminded than average.  I think it’s because they use both sides of their brain.  True story.

2.  They tend to solve problems outside the box and with just a little more humor than those who don’t think with both sides of their brain.

3. They may not be valued by our economy/society but that doesn’t seem to stop them.  They just continue following their passion with commitment, making our world a better and more beautiful place as they go.  And…maybe most importantly artists are on a journey to know how they feel and why….so that they can convey that in their artwork.

4. Without fail, they will talk about peace.  It’s true, every artist I’ve ever met or talked with will eventually get to the subject of world peace, beginning with inner peace.  Perhaps it’s because artists know that in order to be creative, the world needs to be a peaceful place.  We pray for peace, the way some people cheer on their favorite team.  Passionately and with lots of noise, color and laughter. Not with a political or economic agenda but because we know that in the pause of anger, chaos and war…is the beauty that art springs from.

I’ve read that artists and creatives are going to be in big demand going forward.  We need them to help solve the problems that we’re in.  I hope it’s true. The dalai lama said that “western woman will save the world”.  I would add that she will probably be an artist as well.  Hey people..imagine a world where an artist is as prized as the CEO of some huge conglomerate.  Can you imagine that?  I can!

 

A Spark

Here’s what I think….we all have an individual spark.  We may have as much or as little in common as a group of pumpkins, tall, round, skinny, fat, orange, white, green….but each one of us has our very own individual spark.

It’s ours to fan into whatever kind of light we wish.  We can light up the world or hide it under a barrel, but that doesn’t change the fact that we have it.  We can dim it with drugs or ugly behavior,   or we can shine it up and hold it high…. live in the truth of our shine, but we all have it.

I try to remember that when I’m dealing with the IRS, AT &T, school officials and the cable company. I especially try to remember that when I’m watching presidential debates or dealing with tech support in India, or even the young adults in my house who want to argue endlessly with me about every little thing…lol.

It’s all those sparks that make this world such a beautiful place.  Shining brightly in the faces of friends and strangers.  They’re a match for the stars in the sky and the sun blasting it’s light at the earth.  All those sparks make up a light so bright that it takes my breath away and reminds me that I am a part of something much bigger.  So shine little spark, shine.  Your beauty is awe inspiring.!

Scheherazade

Lately I’m on sort of a fairy tale kick. In 1001 Arabian nights the kings’ wife cheats on him  and in his anger and pain…. he takes a new bride every night and then kills her in the morning.  Scheherazade created stories each night to keep from being killed.  She needed to be interesting enough to be kept alive until the next night.

I thought about this story enough for it to creep into my artwork.  It’s an interesting thing to go back and read fairy tales that you read when you were young.  As an adult, a lot of the stories are disturbing.  And not at all the way I remembered. A lot of western fairytales feature quite a few, fairly dumb heroines.  But this one has some interesting metaphors.

On one level, Scheherazade uses her language and dialogue and wit to help the King calm down and release his anger and pain.  Kind of that old saw about men being violent when they are hurt and women talking it out when they are hurt.  (Hey, I didn’t make it up,  someone else did).  It’s not her beauty or her waist size,  but her intellect that does the trick.  HMMMMM.  Nuff said about the difference in eastern and western fairytales…huh?

On another level, she hides behind the stories she tells in order to be safe.  Raise your hand if you’ve ever done that.

One of the Western philosophers said “a woman’s beauty lies in her silence”.  It’s taken women years to start recovering from that damn philosophy, and I’m pretty sure we’re not completely done riding that donkey yet…but maybe…. maybe, we’re finding our way with our stories.  Maybe we’re telling the story of who we are and who we want to be. Maybe the words spoken by women are telling the story of what could be in this society and on this earth.  Maybe our words are a guide rope helping us to find our way into the future.  Maybe.

Owlchemy

Alchemy was the ancient study of transmutation.  People wanted to turn stones into gold, and water into wine. No one ever found the secret, other than the spiritual masters, we read about.  Perhaps because alchemy is one of those magics that doesn’t work all that well on physical things.  But, dang….don’t we all want to have a little control over the physical world?  You know, so we can win the lottery, melt away pounds with our mind alone, scrunch our nose so that the housecleaning is done in a blink, set the keyboard to typing that long awaited novel, green up the earth, and do away with disease and pain, injustice and hunger? Heck yes, and that’s part of why so many fairy tales, and fantasy stories are so popular.  Harry Potter?  You betcha….we all want a little magic, along with a pet owl …lol

I think, though, that alchemy is more of a spiritual magic.  Aren’t we all alchemists in our own right?  We’re constantly changing from one thing to another, minute by minute, day by day.  Over time, we all hope to become that bright shining star of magical light.    The wizard of our own destiny, with  the hope of becoming more.  Not having more…but becoming more. ( I think I’m going to have a bumper sticker printed with that on it.  Don’t steal my idea.  Just saying.)  But it’s work people.  I’m here to tell you, it’s work.  You already knew that…. but I’m just writing it out loud.  Growing up is hard to do.  Growing beyond that , spiritually,  is harder.  To me anyway.  Some days are easier than others, mostly when I’m helping someone else…lol.  Way harder to just help myself.  Keep my eye on the horizon and remember the goal.  But that’s what I’m here to do.  Just that.  Not to get sidetracked, although I do daily.  So this little piece of artwork is to help me remember….because I learn visually.

You know in fairy tales how they always tell the heroine…”stay on the path?”  There’s a reason for that.  Because that’s the moral of every story.  No matter what. Stay on the path…. Bright shiny cupcake house just off the path?  Don’t do it!  Pretty jewels sparkling in a cave within sight of the path?  NO!  Dragon snoozing on a pile of money?  You know what will happen…don’t stray!!!   Stay on the path internet friends….stay on the path.

“Foxed In”

Lately, I’ve been working on a series of how we humans encroach on the world of Nature and animals.  This latest was a feeling of being “boxed in” by people’s expectations…so naturally it flowed into my artwork.

Then I got to thinking…because that’s what I do.  How can we be boxed in by people’s expectations?  Really?  How could we even know what others expectations are?  I guess from their comments or actions, but even so….we don’t know what other people are thinking.  We just assume that they are thinking one way or another.  And isn’t it true that our inner “mean person”  usually takes the worse connotation from any comment/action and plays that thought out?  I’m thinking that the expectations are our own.  And those mean people out there?  They’re probably just shadows made up in our own heads.

Today…try not to be so mean to yourself.  You wouldn’t ever treat someone else as horribly as you do yourself.  Hey… while you’re thinking about it…do something loving and peaceful for the animals that coexist side by side with us all.

And for those of you out there who do have expectations of me that I haven’t met?  I’m sorry but I think you should get a life.  Or tell me very clearly what it is you want me to do.  I can’t read your mind and if I do…most likely I will get it all wrong.  Because that’s what happens when you assume that I know what you’re thinking or vice versa. Diggety dig it!

 

Yes, But….

 

It seems like my whole life…when I ask people “how are you”?  They’ve always told me.  I don’t mean they say “fine”….or whatever….I mean they will jump wholeheartedly into telling me the most gruesome, sad, heart wrenching details. These aren’t friends and family either…I’m talking about the cashier at the grocery store, strangers at the gas station,  and fellow patients in doctors waiting rooms.

This is no exxageration..I once sat down with my eleven year old daughter in a waiting room at our family physician and caught the eye of a young lady sitting next to us.  I smiled at her and said “how are you”?  She turned to me and said…”My boyfriend shot me this morning”!!!!! ” She spent the moments until I was called back energetically relating every gruesome detail.  In front of my daughter!.  Or there was the time at Target when I asked the Cashier how she was and she burst into tears and related how she was broke and didn’t have enough money to get home that day.

I could add story after story.  And when I was younger, I would get involved and ask questions and generally fuel the fire.  I guess I felt honored that complete strangers were sharing their story with me.  And I guess I felt that I should help them in some way and I still do. It was draining energetically, and it was draining emotionally.  But I’ve learned something about these situations.  Most of the time, my help would be met with a “yes, but”.  When I would suggest something that I thought would help….it was always “yes, but I don’t have the money”, or “yes, but that won’t solve anything” or “yes, but you don’t understand them”, yes, but…yes, but…yes, but.  It didn’t happen all the time. Sometimes my suggestions would be met with a “thank you so much for your help” , or “thank you that’s a great suggestion”. Or “yes thank you for the loan of twenty dollars”  But it happened a lot. Most of the time.

And, I know that I have and still do answer kind suggestions from family and friends with “yes, but”.  Which actually means “NO” by the way. I know that when I look back on the times when this happens, with me,  that I am not ready to deal with and be responsible for the outcome of my situation.  And sometimes…I haven’t been able (financially, emotionally, spiritually…whatever)

In case you’re interested, I have formulated a plan for how I deal with this now.  For myself, I try to really listen.  Not comment… just listen when someone is trying to give me suggestions.  I’m not always successful.  But I try. I try to talk to myself about taking responsibility for the outcome and not hoping someone else will solve it.  Not easy, not something I’m always successful at.  But hey…it’s a goal.

When dealing with others…I try to listen.  Really listen.  Most people know what they need to do…they just want someone to listen.  While I’m listening..I try to shower them with love and peace.  I will offer suggestions but if I’m met with “yes, but” I just try and listen some more.  I don’t fuel the fire anymore by trying to make them see the problem the way I do.  I just listen.  (This is particularly hard with family members…just saying) Lots easier with strangers and acquaintances. I’ve discovered that most people…they just want someone to listen.  A kind look, a hug, reassurance that they are heard and are valid in the world.  That’s it.

And truthfully, some people just want to get their victim story out there as much as possible.  Hey, don’t judge them!  We’ve all been there if we’re honest.  But we don’t have to fuel the fire with a lot of our own energy.  Definitely not.  Those people, and ourselves too when we’re in the midst of victimhood, need you to send them love and caring as much as anyone.  Maybe more.

You know,  sometimes people need to be carried until they can find their wings…and sometimes they won’t find their wings if you carry them.  Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.  Hard to know the difference, but that’s what we’re here for…is to learn.  What  else have you got to do?

P.S.  Comments are always appreciated!