Sunday, March 2, 2014
Why am I sharing this? Who cares? Well, it's part of my practice of living a creative life every single day. When my first son died, what did I do? I did internet searches for books. Where did I get them mostly? The library. If I loooooved a particular title, well then, yes, usually I would buy it. But I almost never buy a book without checking it out of the library first.
When I lose my inspiration and umph for artmaking, what do I do? I do internet searches for books. Where do I get them? The library. If I find one I love, I will probably buy it. But I NEVER buy an art book without checking it out of the library first.
When I get totally obsessed with a particular artist and want to just take in everything I possibly can by and about them, what do I do? The Library!!
Part of it is the whole island living thing. We have a lovely bookshop here -- actually a couple bookshops as the back room of Minglemint is now hosting the antique bookshop again. But our bookshops are not your typical, mainland superbookstore where you can just pick it up and read to decide. Believe me, our bookshops can get anything for you, but often it isn't on the shelf to browse, so they are ordering it online, too, you know? For this reason, the library is my decision making space. I love my library. Have I mentioned that?
And here's a really interesting evolution to this love story. Our library has been in a temporary store front for the past year as the main library site has been under massive renovation. But lookie lookie, she's almost done and ready for re-inhabiting:
Anyway, point to all this is, go to your library! Support your library. If you are in Pittsburgh near the Carnegie Library + Museum in Oakland, well, you lucky dawg! and go there! :) Want some real heART proof that the library is inspiring? Fine. You got it. You may remember a while back I was obsessed with Jean-Michel Basquiat, was writing about him, reading books, watching dvds, looking up old magazine articles. Some of that I could do on the internet, yes. But to get a really goooooood look at his work, the details? The oversized coffee table books from the library, of course! And I paged them and checked them out and renewed them and ordered more from the stacks and obsessed properly for a month at least. Here's one of a series I just finished -- a series that started after my obsession with his work -- clearly:
I love my library! Go give your library some lovin' too, loves! XOXO
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Loves, look, I'm sorry, but I honestly don't know what to say about AZ, Kansas, Uganda, everything in Russia...I don't know what to say about situations like the one the Pelletier family finds themselves in now (and there are so many other families out there fighting the same kind of battle)...I don't know what to say about places in the world where all has turned violent as people aim for fairness, justice, peace.
I hate seeing governments trying to segregate gay and lesbian people as much as I hate being told my husband or son can't attend an event with me because it is for women only under the guise of "empowering" women. I hate seeing institutions tear apart families like the Pelletiers in the name of mental health as much as I hate being told that men and women grieve differently so the support group meetings are being held separately. I hate that when people head out with the best of intentions to fight for peace, justice, and fairness, we all become the *fight* and not the peace, nor the justice, nor the fairness.
The longer I live, the more I understand the Buddhist lineages that teach: Suffering *IS*.
We can't change it, end it, make it be different. All we can do is take response-ability for how we each respond to it. So for me personally, I have to find ways to let go of that hate I feel when hearing all these various stories. I have to find ways to love and love and love again. Be love. Offer love. Speak love. Foster love. Hope that modeling love will convince another to embrace it, too. And thereby, maybe we shift things one person at a time.
Is that enough? I don't know. Can love really work that way? I don't know. But this is the only reply I can think of in the face of all this suffering.
And in the same breath, I have always hoped that Lawrence was right:
Maybe the twist is that we stamp our feet, dancing, with the new power of love to make it happen?
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
So the first photo that starts this post is the finish mark for these two sets of Buddha themed and mask themed pieces. I'm on next to doing some Karacaustic on a triptych of Jizo pieces. Then doing hand embellish on 20x20 giclee canvas pieces. The bamboo paper prints are already on their way to me. And last, I'll need to work up the greeting card versions of various pieces to go with each of the shows. Now that my computer is fixed again, I can finally do that as I can finally get to the online ordering/upload interface that eluded me for several weeks there! :)
It's really just been about living my practice of letting go of the overwhelm. Letting go of attachment to the outcome of the shows or the presentations. Because for all I know, I could be dead by the time it all rolls around! So why waste my vision, time, energy, whatever THERE?! Rather, stay in this moment, with this step and do it. The little thing. Drip wax on the next piece. Or clear space for the finished piece to dry. Or take out the garbage. Or whatever. You know. Just understanding that even the small, present step of taking out the garbage is important. Is now. And provided I live long enough, it's the present step that leads to the gallery shows and the creativity presentation.
Whew. Okay then. Breathe. And take out the garbage. It's raining, so maybe I'll wear my fancy Elmo hat while I take it out. No reason I shouldn't be creative while taking out the garbage, too!
Monday, February 24, 2014
These are such horridly harsh lies that can lash through my life and being. They certainly are not things I would ever consider foisting on others because these are such mean and nasty beliefs. And yet my inner critic has no problem dumping it all on me. Constantly. From the moment I wake.
So how to snap out of it? How to reconnect with a flow that is more authentic? Well, interestingly enough, for me it shifted when I went out to do errands. I walk out the back door of the Two Wall Gallery uptown here, past the department of licensing branch office, down a stair or two, and BAM! The photo you see at the top of this post. Scattered all over the ground. Just staring up at me. Beauty, color, art, all scattered with refuse, dried dead leaves, rain, moss, all strewn across cracking pavement.
It really doesn't take much to wake up. But waking up is required for living wholeheartedly. Creativity and beauty are everywhere. Even in the midst of the mundane, the profane, and even in the midst of death and grief. If only we'd allow ourselves to see it *all* instead of letting the critics dump their skewed perspectives all over us!
Saturday, February 22, 2014
So many of us think of grief as something that happens just in relation to death. But this is a powerful reminder. Though the video below doesn't directly talk about creativity being used to address grief -- it *is* addressing the grief and loss people feel when they face basic unmet needs like hunger while learning to live again in the face of the grief after debilitating illness, job loss, and more. This isn't happening to whoever you identify as "other" -- it is happening to all of us.
Hawk and I have lived homeless in our car before...we've faced hunger using what is now called SNAP assistance, I guess, as well as accessing food banks, free clinics, and more. And I'm grateful we survived. But when I hear one of the women here say she went to a food bank and was turned away because they ran out of food...when I hear one of them say, that even with assistance, she can't get everything on the list...just heartbreaking.
The grief + creativity work I'm trying to do in this world is not some morbid, death obsession -- this is LIFE and it's real and happening to all of us. Please wake up, folks, and give to your local food banks. I'm partial to supporting Vashon Maury Community Food Bank if you'd like to donate there, too.
Friday, February 14, 2014
|Kara | MotherHenna|
I'm also posting a Mister Linky at the end of this post. So if you all have heART you'd like to share today on the theme of Valentines, heart, open heart, broken heart, or any such thing, please leave your link so we can surf around for fest!
Enjoy your gallery walk through today's heART, everyone!
|Yvonne Lucia | www.yvonnelucia.com | sneak peek|
|Michelle Favreault | riteherenow.com/blog|
|Cheri Quigley Hayward aka Pink Cupcake Arts | sneak peek|
|LindaMarie Davinroy Smith|
|Emily Sellers Wilberg|
|Christine Grothe | grothescornfields.blogspot.com | sneak peek|
|Tabitha Beck | www.onthewrongsideofthemirror.wordpress.com|
|Matt Meko | bigbreathhi.com|
|Yolanda Ortega Nussdorfer | www.kathartsis.com|
|Serena Aversa | sacredordinarymoments.blogspot.com | sneak peek|
|Amber Coffey | ambercoffeydesigns.blogspot.com | sneak peek|
|Hinke Gerla | www.hinkeltje.com|
Friday, January 24, 2014
Continuing to play with air-dry clay as a way to let some of my dream time characters step out into form. Will be doing an actual gallery show in April at VIA, and they have 9 sort of shelf-pillar thingys in the studio there. So I'm up to 7 of these characters now, including the ones I'm sharing today. I'll work up a couple more and wa-la! :) Will show them for that opening.
Here's a little animation showing this Dream Bug in the round:
My computer was in the shop for about a week, but it's finally home now. Hoping to get to doing some new digital journal pages and creative graphics in the coming week. In celebration of our upcoming Certification Course over at The Creative Grief Studio, I'll share the piece below...and if you are interested in getting your grief & creativity skills on, I suggest you head over to the Studio to apply for a spot today. We are accepting applications until February 4th, and this group is shaping up to be a really amazing collaboration!
Big loves and Reiki and Miracles to y'all,
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
From Toni Bernhard's book "How to be sick"this is Ajahn Chah talking about the brokenness perspective:"You say, 'Don't break my glass!' Can you prevent something that's breakable from breaking? It will break sooner or later. If you don't break it, someone else will. If someone else doesn't break it, one of the chickens will! Penetrating the truth of these things, we see that this glass is already broken...the broken glass is within the unbroken one. Whenever you use this glass, you should reflect that it's already broken. Whenever its time is up, it will break. Use the glass, look after it, until the day when it slips out of your hand and shatters. No problem. Why not? Because you saw its brokenness before it broke!"
I am continuing to explore the prompts from both the currently running 30 Day Journalling ROOTS project from Lisa Sonora and gearing up for the coming Circe Circle with Jamie Ridler. Yesterday I posted about accepting groundlessness and brokenness. A few responses came from folks who questioned how you can get anything done or appreciate anything if all is groundless and broken. And then other prompts came from my dreamstate and from Lisa about considering how solitude is the antidote to loneliness.
So let me be as clear as I can be. I'm not saying there isn't any beauty. I'm not saying that it is fair that some people suffer and others are exempt. I'm not saying that groundlessness takes away the relative life you live where you have to put dinner on the table. I'm not saying that being conscious and in practice with death takes anything away from living your life.
In fact, I'm exploring that being clear about the "broken glass being already within the unbroken glass" actually lets us live our lives more fully. I'm suggesting that by understanding the reality that death and decay and breaking will take everything from us, makes us more fully present with what is here this moment. I'm suggesting that some lizards might be lucky enough to live their entire lives without any stress, trauma, or fear that makes them drop their tail at the fracture line, but they are rare. Most of us lizards, those of us living fully in the world and loving intensely, will, at some point, encounter a grief that stuns us so that we drop our tails at the fracture line. And we then must relearn our balance and how to walk and jump anew.
It was not my intention to say that you can't appreciate anything because of this, but rather that you can *BOTH* appreciate the pre-trauma experience *AND* the post-trauma experience. I'm not talking shit here. I'm talking from the experience of having lived my own life fully prior to the deaths of my three boys *AND* relearning to live my life after each of their deaths, too.
And as I said yesterday, my meanings and experiences will not be the same as yours. But that doesn't mean one is right and the other is wrong. One example I mentioned was the interviews Oprah did with Whitney Huston's grieving family. While, from my own bereavement experience, I do think Oprah's comments at the end when she called cut because she "couldn't take anymore" were insensitive, that doesn't mean she was wrong. Her reality in that moment of not being able to be present with the palpable grieving any longer was as real to her as was the palpable grieving the Huston family could not possibly have escaped in that moment as they felt the love and loss fully. The beauty is that both realities are real in the moment. Both experiences come from the beauty of love...Huston's family from loving and losing...Winfrey's from the love of aiming to give voice to the bereaved (insensitivity aside).
Personally, I face this brokenness within the unbroken daily. In addition to past experiences, I currently deal with a chronic illness that came out of remission about a year ago. I have to be real about the brokenness within so that I can get things done and appreciate the beauty. It's just part of my reality at the moment that I can't just go out and about on a day and do everything I vision. Some stuff might get done. My body might crash. Or I might get through it all. I just don't know. Much like loving and using and taking care of the beautiful crystal glass...I am simultaneously aware of the brokenness that will come when the chickens knock the glass off the table. :) It doesn't make me love the nurishment from the liquid in the glass right now any less.
So it is a practice of being in solitude, especially when I'm very shut down physcially and what that does to my ability to even have a conversation. It could be lonely. I could lament the brokenness. But I don't. I'm not. I consider this all a practice. Death is a reality I know. My loved ones will die. I don't say that to depress you or to use it as an excuse to do nothing. It is a practice and knowing that truth and living in the face of it. Maybe I'm lucky that I was an only child growing up. I bear the solitude moments without much fuss. My imagination is endless. When the glass breaks, I see all the beautiful gleaming pieces that will make a wonderful mosaic piece.
My point to all this -- and yesterday's post -- just go back again and again to the thing I'm sure you are all sick of hearing from me:
It is a practice, not a perfect.
My coming experience with the Circe Circle will be to explore how I can live that, be authentic with it, and still be out here in the world relating to others, making a living, and whatnot in this relative world. I come back again and again to all being groundless. But how do I stay with that as my authentic reality and still relate to the world of "making a living" as a coach when most customers want reassurance and methods for securing something or being "successful" or other languaging that leans toward the "perfection" stuff. Even more to the point, what do I want to do with this in the relative world overall? I've never been 100% comfortable with "coaching" language, so how can my language come closer to representing? Am I better served -- and do a better job serving -- when I stick to being an artist? Or when I offer up sparks and let others do what they will from that? Sort of the difference between presentation vs. interactive workshop?
An ongoing process to be sure.
Here's to the beauty of *BOTH* the unbroken *AND* the broken state!
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
My immediate inclination was to sit with the idea that some lizards drop their tails at various fracture points. Some will grow back, others will not. Some will grow back and be different than the original. Whatever happens, the lizard must relearn how to find balance, how to walk and jump in a new way, and make constant adjustments as regrowth happens.
And most often the lizard will drop its tail out of fear, stress, or defense. A reflection, for me personally, on how traumatic events may seem, at first to break our being, but over time we may come to learn that truly we've had a broken / breaking experience, but we ourselves -- our essential selves -- the root of our being -- is not broken. It adapts, regrows, integrates, but the broken experience is not me. There is so much more to this aggregate of me than just that one breaking.
It makes me think again (as I've mentioned in many other post previously) about groundlessness. We think we have ground. We're solid. We know how to walk and be. But some trauma comes and removes the ground. Proves we are not one solid thing. Forces us to relearn footing, movement. Rearranges our priorities.
This is not actually an exceptional thing. Rather this is life. This is what we see when we finally have the Matrix plug removed. Groundlessness is revealed when we finally wipe the dust from our eyes. Whatever ground we previously gave ourselves -- that we thought was so secure and solid -- is not -- and actually our experience of being breathing human beings is about groundlessness. Change is the only constant. That kind of thing.
And I'm not saying everyone has come to that. You may not have had reason to drop your tail yet. You may have dropped your tail at trauma's door and made completely different meaning from it. It's just that for me personally, I finally accept the *AND* of life when I accept groundlessness.
Of course you have different meaning. Of course some people felt the Cosby Show represented families they knew *AND* others felt it was totally fictitious because they knew no one like that. Of course the positive thinkers feel that grief is bad and want nothing to do with it because they've had the luxury of not being forced to face it (or at least not face it alone) *AND* many people have no choice but to face it without support system to help them be resilient. Of course Whitney Huston's family still wrestles with overwhelm *AND* Oprah can interview them, then call "cut" at the end and say something so insensitive as, "We're done because I can't take anymore." Isn't she lucky that she can stop the cameras rolling and walk out of the house where Huston's family is still wrestling. The point is the *AND*... no one experience is the basis, the ground, the solid. They are ALL happening at the same time.
Every single experience, every possibility, every thing is groundless. It just is. Even when you feel it is grounded and solid. There are fractures lines in the tail. Groundlessness. The sooner we all deal with that, the sooner we can stop warring to make one particular view right or wrong... stop forcing people to be positive... stop shoving closure down the throats of human beings who are alive and in process -- *AND* their individual closure will not come til they die -- and even that is worthy of debate.
So what does process do for me?
It lets me come back to the *AND* again and again.
What is the intention for the continued unfolding of my experiences?
To acknowledge again and again that all is groundless.
What do I hear from the inner guide?
You are here to have broken experiences but you are not broken. Make peace with the groundlessness. Stop warring with yourself to make something solid, to come to some finish line, to get to some fantasy of "this is it!" or "now I'm living the life I want!" because there is no ground, no finish, no completion. It is all process, all the time. Till you die. And even that is up for debate.
Keep relearning to walk again and again each time a tail drops and a new one begins to regrow. Who knows? Maybe death is even just the dropping of a tail. So this isn't just practice for life, but also practice for death, too.
Looking forward to sharing the next 10 weeks of exploration with y'all!
Sunday, January 5, 2014
For me, purpose is aimless. The stars align when I play tag with the clouds and share secrets with the migrating birds.
The continued unpacking of paradox upon paradox.