An old journal page finally being worked on. Years ago I’d drawn the sketch in Stabilo blue pencil and today finally decided to add colour and more detail to it (while watching Legion). More still to do but I’m liking what’s happening on the page.
I guess it being Valentine’s Day and what with the previous several posts, I finally had an epiphany of sorts (cue: jaw drop). I was laying in bed this morning (very early) and felt an overwheming sense of love in my heart for none other than me. That’s the best thing to happen in a long time. Perhaps ever.
Bam! Bam! Bam!
The sound of metal hitting metal permeates the house. It is relentless. They are driving steel rods into the earth for the Skytrain station being built across the street, and the construction noise is nerve-wracking.
When the banging stops the silence in the wake of the noise is so loud that it almost hurts. I’ve been drowning it out with music but I want to write and I can’t focus as well on the writing when I am listening to music, so the unsilent silence is what I will have to live with.
Somewhere in there is a metaphor for my present moment, I’m sure.
I awoke late this morning, at a few minutes short of ten, and by the time I’d gotten the coffee making, breakfast eating sorted out, personal hygiene and other things done, it is now twenty-five after eleven. I want to work on my Cauliflower story. I have a group coaching call with Jill at noon and so there isn’t much time to get into the momentum of writing – it will have to wait until afterwards. I’ve written my dream log (first thing, upon waking) and I’ve checked my email, flicked and unsubscribed from the endless sea of spam messages as they came in, and went to the Esso station to pick up a half litre of half & half so I can have my coffee. I’ve eaten some yogurt and granola and I’ve showered. I’ve cleaned out the cat’s litter box and swept the entryway.
The days are flowing by more quickly than I’d like them to, although I am also anxiously awaiting the arrival of some money which will not be for another couple of weeks yet. It’s been difficult, but I am learning to sink into ease despite the discomfort. I’ve been creatively productive, though, if I have to dig around for a silver lining.
*oh! the mail… through the mail slot… always makes me jump…*
Well, the mail brought a bill for our health coverage services and I am unable to pay it, so I called them and they’ve put a temporary hold on collection services and I can also apply for the waiving of the fees during my unemployment. Which is a relief because I don’t want to have to choose between food and healthcare coverage, or rather be forced to pay for the coverage at the expense of having food.
Well. So here I am again in this really uncomfortable place of not having. And it sucks. And I’m tired of being here over and over and over again.
And I’m also trying to not feel sorry for myself. I’m trying to be optimistic while sharing my story.
And I’m noting that I am in constant struggle with my inner critic who says things like “I have not been doing anything constructive”, which is something that is mirrored by others around me. “WHAT have you been doing with your time?” they ask. “WHY haven’t you found work yet?” “You need a job – stop being so picky.”
All sort of true things. True in that it is obvious that I must work again (or generate an income in some way), but also not true in that I must be hasty in my selection of the work I choose. Yes, there is a sense of urgency but I have to trust that the steps I am taking, in concert, will yield the results that I wish to gain. And I’m figuring it out as I am going along. New territory is always tough to breach. I don’t have a map, really. Just some landmarks to follow as I stumble across the terrain, trying to get to the other side, to where I really want to be. Today that would be a nice sunny soft sand oceanside beach, with a good book and a picnic basket. With wine. LOTS of wine.
I know there are other people that are way worse off than I am or are having some insane life challenges that are way beyond my little woes (like a woman from one of our online art groups who had to go in to surgery yesterday to have her tongue removed because of the big “C” … or … after looking at the photo essay by Lisa Kristine on Modern Day Slavery, my life looks like a cake walk in comparison). So much courage out there and I feel laughably ridiculous with my little woes. First World Problems. But problems nonetheless.
They are my woes, and I still have to deal with them, and it still feels … hard. By honouring that I am allowed to find things difficult validates me in a way that I have not been able to find validation from any other source: it gives me courage to dig deeper and go just a little beyond myself.
Being vulnerable is often considered a character flaw. I don’t mean vulnerable in the sense of being at risk of injury but the kind that is to authentically share what it feels like being you, including the nasty bits that make you (and possibly other people) uncomfortable. Scary.
I have very little idea who reads this blog or how it is received. I don’t want to further burden an already over-burdened world. I do want to share, though, my unadulterated journey because I’m sure that there are others who feel exactly the same way I do about something but they feel isolated and marginalized in some way, and UNHEARD.
So this is what I want to create, I suppose … a vehicle to hear and to be heard.
I choose to do it by writing my own story. I open up a window for others to peer in to – sometimes that simple act allows others to create their own opening and show just a little more of themselves.
I consider the showing and the witnessing a sacred act.
And I consider that unfolding to be a victory.
Another Art Journal page … collaged some images and a coloured pencil sketch and because I was really impatient it’s all wrinkly but OH well… still in progress and will add some “core desired feelings” to the images (as referred to in Danielle Laporte’s interview on Sounds True).
“Beyond our ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase ‘each other’
doesn’t make sense any more.” ~Rumi
(Because y’all know I contemplate a lot – it’s just what I do – I’ve been thinkin’…)
Someone on my Facebook friends list posted that relationship is her spiritual practice. This of course got me thinking (because … see above) about all of the relationships I’ve had in my life, as well as those I’ve observed first hand (like my parents’ relationship, for example).
I thought about my last intimate relationship and how it’s affecting my present moment.
I’ve thought about that person’s new relationship and how joyous it seems, how right, and effectively how wrong we now appear for each other, in retrospect.
I’ve thought about my abandoned marriage and the choices that paved their way to my finding myself here, now.
I thought about my mother’s relationship with my father, and how the choices she made affected both our (actually, our whole family’s) lives, and how both of us, at points of our lives not terribly far from each other’s in age, we made different choices, and how each of us chose to be brave in the best ways we knew how.
I thought about how other people have influenced most of my choices throughout the course of my life; how through fear-imbued rhetoric they managed to shape the way I viewed my potential and possibilities, and how, when my mother had to make a choice whether to leave her shambled marriage or to stay in it, middle-aged and with a young four year old child, she chose to stay, while I, faced with a similar choice, chose to leave. I saw possibility; potential. She saw hardship; strife.
I’ve often reproached myself, over the course of my life, for always being the one to cut out, though in truth I honestly do feel that I gave my marriage all I could with whatever I had at my disposal.
Many other choices preceded that last monumental one. Over the course of my life I had always opted for safety and comfort because I was afraid that I didn’t have what it took to withstand difficulty, but in so choosing it proved to me that I could. The choice of not making the right one created difficulties that were probably just as challenging and certainly more corrosive than the ones which would have resulted had I made the choices I ought to have made in the first place – had I had more courage to embrace what my heart truly wanted.
Each choice, however minute, however beneficial or detrimental, builds who you become. It shapes you, pebble by pebble, breath by breath.
In the end one hopes what the monument of self that we have built over the course of our lives is one we are pleased with when it comes to its end.
The above sketch came to me during Jennifer Louden’s freebie introductory session for her Life Organizer Navigation Course. If you are so moved and are able to take it, DO it. I can’t at this time and hope to continue respectfully engaging in dialog with my shadow comforts and time monsters to reach an equitable working arrangement. Peace. xo
(and below is the sketch from above translated into colour in my art journal)
(pencil undersketch penned over and painted with tube gouache. #30DayJournalProject)
Slow. Rain. Comfort. Coffee. Dream fragments. Hunger pangs. Hair and clothes that need washing. Lists made. Things to be done. All folding into this space and time of semi-wakefulness. This moment. WHAT do I want? What do I want to DO? Besides sleep some more. Oh sleep, how I love thee. It took months before I broke out of the cycle of awakening early every morning, filled with anxiety as though I’d missed the alarm. My rhythms are different now… back to what they naturally are inclined to do – late nights and not wakening until it’s light, which on these shortened winter days is late. Ah, yes… light. Not much of it again, these days. I think that I ought to go for a run and try fitness again but all I want to do is sleep. Keep warm and cozy and dry. Definitely not wet. Why do people like running in the cold rain?
It’s almost 10am and I am only just dragging myself up and about. It’s grey outside and the grumbling in my stomach reminds me to put the kettle on. Coffee first. Then, when there are enough neurons firing, something else… food. Yogourt and granola. Love this granola but seriously – $8 for the bag made me cringe, but I got it anyway because it has Good Stuff in it, and I don’t have much Good Stuff so I need to make it count. I have a sort of dietic apathy. I love food but the preparing and cooking of it doesn’t interest me, so quick and convenient (which usually doesn’t mean healthy). I did buy some pita bread and will experiment with making my own chips (*must steep fresh rosemary in olive oil*). I do like the experimental aspect of it. And when people enjoy what I make. There’s only the two of us and it gets old always being the one to be doing the cooking.
*pausing to make some coffee*
The smell of coffee is still on my hands. I love how it smells. How it tastes, too, but the smell is what brings it all together – the scent, the taste, the way it’s warmth spreads as it progresses down to my belly.
I had an image come to me this morning, for my art journal page, as I laid in bed with my arms clasped together over my lower abdomen, feeling it rise and fall with each breath. The awareness of my breath made me focus on it even more, and I breathed relaxation into it. I saw it as if it was burning, like a fire enlivened by the wind from the bellows. I had until now thought that my creativity stemmed from the root chakra, the elemental connection of our bodily selves to the spark that materialized us, but I see now that it’s at the second chakra where my breath is feeding the raging fires that it births from.
I made plans. I wrote them out (in my Notes, on the iPhone).
One is to do these… morning pages. To write for an hour. Another is to write on one of my stories. I haven’t touched the Telescope story in a while, and I feel it’s time to revisit it again. I’m just going to write. What else can I do but write it out? Yet another to-do item is to research freelance opportunities for writers and artists. I want to know where the markets are, what they require, so that I can build a repertoire of material that will likely be attractive. Targeted work. I always thought that making “art” to order would take away from my creative process, but I think in some ways it will fuel it, make me stretch in ways I would not have had it just been for me and my being left to my own devices. I hope it makes me a better writer and artist.
And then there is the roast for dinner. I am going to put it in the oven around 4PM. It’s a mammoth rolled pork blade roast, and I now realize that I will have to return to the grocery store because I think it needs to be accompanied by brussels sprouts. Yes, definitely. It will be poked and inserted with slivers of garlic and resemble Pinhead – Clive would be proud. I wish I had some rendered fat to rub on its surface. I have some duck fat and it works well as a fat for many things but it just doesn’t sound like it would taste right with the pork, which is lighter and more subtle in flavour and the duck fat doesn’t ever quite lose that wildness. I wish I could find some juniper berries. Not tons.. just a bit. I had a recipe call for some and it’s not something that regularly shows up between the peppercorn and nutmeg and turmeric. I have a serious spice hoarding issue. Well… not hoarding – collecting. But I use them. I’m the one who makes lavender and thyme shortbread cookies. I love lavender. In food. Well, in anything, Period.
*pauses to go grab the mail that just got violently shoved through the mail slot by the postal carrier – it always startles me*
Nothing particularly exciting, though Organic Gardening was in there, and I know that preparing for the next growing season isn’t all that far off. I’m so grateful that Tyler and Amanda are keen gardeners and that they allow me to stick my hands into the dirt here, and also reap some of the bounty. I’ve been thinking that perhaps my (two boxes of!) paper making supplies could be put to use during this lull and that I make some seeded paper to sell. On etsy, maybe. I always wonder about whether it’s worth opening up an etsy storefront or not. Whether it’s more trouble than it’s worth; whether you need the demand already in place for the supply to be worth the trouble. Not quite buying the “if you build it they will come” paradigm. But who knows.
Well, the hour is about up. I’m ready for some granola and yogourt. Maybe another coffee, and then I’ll tackle something else on my list. One of which should be to take a shower.
(close up of a new hand bound journal cover I am in the process of making)
Another year begins. It never ceases to amaze me how life moves along and the unexpected always happens (and somehow surprises me, because I expect things to remain constant despite knowing full well that they never are).
I begin the year with the knowledge that how things flow is largely dependent upon my own actions.
- I become disconnected from myself when I neglect my urge to create.
- Working with colour gives me joy and feeds me in a way that only it can.
- Meditation is not an option but a requisite.
- Discipline is the only path to accomplishment.
- Bliss is to be found everywhere, all the time.
- Shiva Paintstiks will rub off on your keyboard if you don’t wash your hands before typing.
- Ideas are like popcorn kernels; store them in a jar until you are ready to make them pop.
- Community, whether real or virtual, feeds the soul just as well as solitude; both are necessary to thrive.
Giving thanks to Effy Wild who went live on Ustream today and inspired me to create a new journal.
To a joyous, blissful, productive and enlightened new year.
Sitting here this morning, sipping my second cup of coffee (*bliss*) while I figure out what I want to do with my time today.
Oh… and eating shortbread cookies for breakfast (because… well, I’m lazy and it’s right there and it is sooooooo good!).
Already most of the morning is gone and all I’ve done is enjoy coffee which I got at Starbucks yesterday, because I’ve been drinking Nabob and it’s… okay…. but OMG was I ever craving a really STELLAR cup of coffee, so I splurged and bought a pound of the Christmas Blend, which got me a $5 gift card, so technically it only cost me $13 for the pound… *sigh* coffee and chocolate are my two guilty pleasures and they certainly aren’t cheap ones. ANYway… At least I had had the foresight to load my Starbucks card up a while back so I didn’t actually spend any NEW money, but was using my coffee reserve $….
- I want to get at least 20 minutes of sitting meditation in
- I’m doing laundry (is that ever a sisyphean task or what?!)
- I will eventually need to prepare something for dinner (I got some crusty bread and tomatoes, basil and garlic and want to make some bruschetta tonight, to go with our left overs from earlier in the week)
- I have a pile of magazine pages sitting on the table from the aftermath of my image reaping session last night in an attempt to shrink my magazine pile… contemplating what to do with it – play with the images in a journal or put them in my stash
- I want to write some more
- I need to do some research on short fiction submissions (where, when, how, what)
- I should really do some job hunting research as well (sigh)
- I want to revamp my website and blog, and need to do research on how to go about doing that, and then play out direction, content, etc.
- I want to monetize my artwork (and perhaps make some more of it, specifically for this) and set up a couple of store fronts via cafépress and society6, which appear to be the popular go-to’s these days for on-demand stuff
And really lusting after a coat and a dress that I saw in one of the magazines… pics at top (because I saved those pages). They are from the October issue of RealSimple. They are exorbitantly priced, of course, but *pretty*!! In heathery hues… and woven yarn goodness(!) and the shoot was set in what looks like the Scottish Highlands. (Some day…)
AND…… just wondering… how did I ever get so disconnected from the online arts community that I didn’t even know about people like Orly and Effy and Tamara, and the wild buzz around everyone? I think it’s really cool that people are following their bliss. I feel that trying to keep up on the pulse of (every)things is exhausting and… frankly… distracting… which might explain why I have been living under a rock and making rather than seeing.
Am I really missing out on anything?
Sometimes I feel like the whole craft industry feeds upon itself, because if new people didn’t jump on the bandwagon, everything would collapse upon itself (sort of like the mortgage crisis…). In searching for community and connection, people are capitalized upon.
I really miss connecting live with people (Kelly!). Not just in class settings but socially and creatively. The Art Bar and A Little Bizaar (now closed) were such great places for that. There doesn’t seem to be anything like that here, particularly in Port Moody. There is an arts community but it is either a bunch of little blue haired ladies painting perfectly horrible little watercolours (and THEY don’t care… they’re having FUN! which is the point…) and hogging up all of the committee seats in the local art organization, or there are people who take it waaaaaaaaaay too seriously, and are Artists, and there is decidedly less of a fun vibe… smacking of artistic snobbery.
I’m sure there are places in Vancouver… like there’s a really fun life drawing gig going on at a café every month or so, but they hold the event on Sunday evenings (http://drsketchyvancouver.com/) and it’s difficult to get to and from, from where I live, and it a bit of a sketchier (ha… a pun!) part of town…. but it’s like burlesque pin-up meets life drawing… how fun is that?! One of these days…..
Anyway… I’m rambling…. hope you guys are all having a fabulous day.