Tag Archives: discipline

contemplating commitment

RuneTree

Silver glints in my hair, finely threaded through my bedhead. I wash the gesso off of the foam brush so I can use it again, later, while observing my reflection in the bathroom mirror. It’s all about economy now. Of movement. Of expression. Of resources.

The sun is filtering through the low lying mist this morning, it’s presence an unaccustomed sight. Winter here in the upper northwest is weighted down with short days and even less light, the sun socked behind a haze of overcast that every once in a while miraculously dissipates – like now. It was cold overnight, frost etching the surface of all things with a crystalline sheen.

I contemplate my 30-day journal quote from a few days ago (because I am behind and instead of picking and choosing through the days that I’ve not done, I feel compelled to make up for all of it – yet another thing to explore when I have a moment).

The quote for Day 2 was :
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way.”

(words by W. H. Murray from his book, The Scottish Himalayan Expedition)

Commitment isn’t an easy word for me. I’ve struggled with it for a long time. Initially, I commit to things doggedly, so when I finally make the decision to do so, I want it to be the right one. Which leads to very little happening, and very little commitment. I think that by dabbling and avoiding the commitment I’ll actually get to a place where there is enough to pull together and make something from, and then I’ll commit to making it better. There never is. Enough. It’s all just a huge collection of structureless discombobulated bits.

And I realize, on retrospection, that I am much the same with relationships. I observe. I wait. I gauge. And invariably walk away. The cost for all of this, is several fold. Much of the good in life happens when one commits wholeheartedly. It is also something that I’ve never seemed to master. I chose partners who are commitment-phobic (much like me). I chose projects that either require little commitments or end up abandoning them when I feel the pinch of constraint – when things get too hard and require me to move past my comfort zone. I’m sure this must have to do with something from my childhood, a learned behaviour, but I have neither the time, money or inclination to invest in dissection, so I’m left with trying to figure out what it is that edges me past the discomfort and into that place of … danger … of uncertainty … and feeling okay with it.

So here I am, making yet another attempt at operating within the container of time in which to make something. This opens a space for the other things too, I think. Before the onslaught of life happens, and I am employed and become distracted with making a living and the usual grind of life (which wears on me and erodes my self-discipline in ways I can’t even explain), I want to establish structure. I want to figure out what works for me in order to make things. To finish things. So my word for the year, focus, comes into play. I can’t commit if I can’t figure out a way to selectively focus on things, successively, or remember why I committed to something in the first place. And it doesn’t all have to be perfectly executed upon the first attempt.

So… I’m off to make my second perfectly brewed cup of Starbucks Christmas Blend. Enjoy. Everything. xo

onward march…

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(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.

Some observations:

  • 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.

News of my world… feeling the yellow

I’ve started working on the next batch of postcards, peripherally, anyway. I’ve been going through these huge piles of magazines that I have, gleaning images for my image stash, and throughout that process have been putting aside the “yellows” that I’ve found so far. Of my three huge magazine stacks, I now only have about a six inch stack left, so I’m seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve been saving these books for years to go through and harvest images from, and it’s always been one of the projects I’ve pushed off to the back burner for lack of time as other issues were always burning more brightly.

I’ve finally (and hopefully sustainably) regained my health (well, I still have 60lbs to lose, but that doesn’t count… :P) and my energy levels have improved. I’m feeling creative… yaay! I have lots of plans… today I’m going to the office supply store and picking up a “daytimer” refill and will attempt organization. I am notably inept at it these days. I used to be really great about it until somewhere into the middle of my marriage, when I just chucked the whole concept out the window. My husband creates a sort of chaotic void (resists order like I’ve never in my life witnessed heretofore). I can’t really explain it in any other way. I used to really resent him for it but now see it as an opportunity for change for myself; not get sucked into the black hole but learn to use it and work with it… be flexible with my schedule instead of a) rigid (I was doing that for a while after my son was born and I returned to work. I’d spend inordinate amounts of time traveling to and from my workplace, slogged through my work day and then got home and had to go all of the domestic stuff too… AND have creative time… at the time I’d pretty much dropped most of my art and was slowly getting back into it via scrapbooking and rubberstamping). My attempts to recruit him for assistance failed, and so I was stewing with resentment, and then dropped the ball because it got too heavy for me to carry alone. Lots of things disintegrated over time… including our marriage… which led to a nine month split in 2002/2003 and an enforced reunion (because I’d lost my job and Gabriel and I were in need of a place to live… it was his one bedroom apartment or the street).

I was at yet another turning point in my life… our separation had been difficult for me… I wasn’t the one to call for it and was saddened and dismayed that our nine year investment into each others’ lives (not to mention having another co-created life amidst us) had come to this… failure. I looked upon it as a failure, as a loss of an investment of time. That’s how I used to look at all of my (previous) relationships.

I learned to surrender… I’d been so busy trying to “man-handle” the flow of life… it’s until you let go, flow with it and trust that you will end up where you need to be that it finally takes you to the next place you need to be heading. Trust… surrender… those are the two things I learned… regardless of what situation… good or bad… I needed to learn that.

In any case… shortly after we got back together, we decided to stay together, at least tentatively. I’d gained a new sense of myself (which he honed in on and was impressed with the ‘change’… I’d been depressed for several years prior to the “collapse,” or maybe it was some of that combined with really low red blood cell count… I found out that I was anemic–borderline transfusible–and that explained a whole lot of things as far as that went…) and creatively was taking off in a new direction. I was doing lots of collaborative art dolls and journals and incorporating my own artwork into the mix, instead of using rubberstamps and such.

Just a few short weeks after we moved to our third floor apartment in Irvine (to be closer to his workplace… and mine too, as I began temping as a patent secretary again in the Newport area) he had a moto crash (shattered his tibial plateau, requiring reconstructive surgery–i.e., pins and a plate–and three months of “weightlessness”–i.e., using crutches to get around). Two weeks after that my mom–who lived in the ‘burbs of Montreal–had a massive heart attack and passed on (my dad had already gone that route in 1991 via lung cancer). What a year… what a doggone couple of years… but that was the last of it (at least for a while) and all of this changed me in so many ways.

Buddhists embrace the concept of “impermanence”… I don’t prescribe to any specific religion but I suppose the Buddhist philosophy may be closest to my understanding at this time (though I don’t practice any dharmapada)… I’ve run the gamut of various religions, simultaneously find them all equally fascinating and disturbing… and have come to the conclusion that I don’t have a need to follow a religion… I am who I am… I consider the universal energy flow around us and the earth my “parents”… I’ve been orphaned and adopted, even though I’ve only just recently come to realize it. Humans seem to feel the need to impose limitations upon themselves. I’m not sure whether that process yields negative or positive results. In a way it makes us “think outside the box” in order to overcome the restrictions, while at the same time it gives us the sense that we have finite powers, and limited in our capacity to do and change things, which narrows our perspective to the likes of looking at the universe through a straw.

+++ Sidebar: how did I get off on such a tangent?! +++

Anyway… so here I am, ready to embrace another new, and hopefully creative and productive phase of my life.

Back to my daytimer thought… I have several stories I am working on. One is possibly novel length (perhaps more of a compilation of short stories rather than one fluid story–not sure yet). The others are shorter: one is destined to be a children’s story, for a younger (but not really elementary) readership; the other a visual story: few words accompanied by printed plates. I plan to print them on the Gocco and hand-tint them with watercolor using a very simple and subtle palette, making a limited edition of 12 seven inch square hand-bound books.

The daytimer will serve as a way for me to carve out time for all of these, but still be able to maintain essential other things into my schedule: work… parenting and wife-ing duties… housekeeping and chef duties… exercise… personal/”me” time for reading, journaling, non-scheduled “arting”… like that.

And on that note, I’m off to make some breakfast…