I’m sad today and thinking about Joni Mitchell’s song “Clouds”. Specifically the line “something’s lost and something’s gained in living everyday”. One of the communities I am a part of is going through pains. Issues have arisen and I don’t know everything that is going on but I know that people are being emotional hurt. It is hard to witness this. It hurts to watch people so determined to be “right”, to create “us and them”, to find someone to blame. All of this is so against the values of this community and what brought me to it.
I am as guilty as anyone trying to create a story with a villian and a hero; accusing (in my head) people of ego and self interest, trying to come up with an easy answer to our problems. I spin this stuff around in my head and wrestling with myself about what I should do.
I said “should”. Should is a swear word for me. Should destroys all creativity. Replace it with “could” it offers choice, with “want” it provides desire. What I want is to participate in a postive way to support this community to move forward. I choose to be interested in the direction people take but not invested in the outcome. I also need to know when I may need to walk away so I do not compromise my own values. We all grow, we all change and that keeps community a tricky thing to try and balance.
This weaving,Voluptuous Hills, was inspired by the the community I hold dear. As much as it is a landscape, there is movement, light, the weaving together of people, art, giving and connecting. It also falls under clouds.
This is late in coming.
Here are some of the images and text from the exhibit I had in Gallery in the Attic in October. It was an amazing experience and I could not have done it without the support of Liz Fennell and my family.
“I am deeply inspired by growth in all ways. My favorite ‘day job’ is to work at a greenhouse, supporting the growth of plants. I also love to work with lifelong students experiencing personal growth. My art reflects this love of growth. I love to start with a single thread and then continue to twist, knot, bend, and make connections, watching as the piece grows in my own hands.”
This is a monument to women who create memories
Women who save buttons off shirts
Who make shirts into dust rags
Who quilt blankets
Who darn socks
Who sew dresses
Who tend a vegetable garden
Who put up cans of fruit
Who bake from scratch
Who hang laundry
Who knit sweaters
Who braid hair
Who give spit baths
Who make bag lunches
Whose wisdom is found in cupboards, drawers, purses and button jars
Last night I had a dream. I don’t remember all the details and typically so much happens that I just try to remember the nugget of importance. In my dream I was disturbed by a group of people trying to recapture a moment of joy and control it to make it sacred. I have been thinking about it all day, why this dream now.
Last week I spent a week taking a course on cultural symbols and pattern making. I have also been working on grant writing. In both these pursuits I have been digging to find the key that makes my art important, special,worthy. Most of the time I suck at this because I am thinking far too hard. I get stuck and waves of self judgement take over any ability for creativeness. I forget what the art is about. It is about getting messy in the process to see what form self expression is going to take. It is about letting go of the rules and creating in new ways. It is that spark, that ahha, that moment of bliss that can only happen in a moment of letting go. When that happens I need to sit with it, savour it, enjoy it, not try to build a ritual around it.
I have been to a number of events lately that make me wonder that in putting so much effort into a ritual to give a moment meaning actually makes us lose the importance of just being present. Just trusting that expression is enough, this feeling is enough. I am enough.
Today is the first day of having more than two days away from the greenhouse in a row. It has been a busy wonderful season. This year I spent more time designing custom orders and being creative with the plant material. I know when I have made a really great design when it reminds me of another art form. I assist with workshops and love watching customers gain confidence in their creative abilities. It is hard heavy work and my body is so tired but I love it. It feeds my creative soul. But now the season slows down and it is time to get back to all my other creative outlets.
Any time I have had some energy it has gone into the gardens I tend. Yes gardens with an “s”. It is an addiction. I still have lots to do in my own yard but others just need some love too. I have also painted and started decorating my screening in porch at home so I will be able to create in the fresh air without being bugged.
This summer is community celebration time. Family get togethers, anniversaries for communities and communities that get together to create festivals that celebrate music, art and health. I want to be a part of all of that.
I need to get working on pieces for a solo show I am mounting in October. I have so many ideas but now is the time to get them started and finished. Guess what? The pieces are all about my connection to growth. Not a surprise. Nothing makes me happier then watching plants, people and communities grow in healthy positive ways. Anything I can do to be a part of that I will say yes to even if it means working the body a little too hard. To stop would mean to slow the growth and I am to excited to see it happen.
My rehab for growth addiction can happen in the winter.
So I have been mulling and stewing for days now. I made a decision long ago. A decision that has served me well and has helped me create a life of purpose and meaning. I live by who I have decided to be. When I am at my best I am strong, funny, smart and intuitive. I am sunshine, warmth and comfort. I stop the car and jump out to hug a friend on the street. I do meaningful things, I create beauty and I love what I do.
Every once and awhile over years someone or something will challenge my decisions from decades ago. People from my past stroll into my world unannounced making requests to be back in my life. On the surface, it doesn’t seem threatening but as I absorb the experience, the past pain of not being able to be who I wanted in that other world, hits hard. I judge myself harshly. All those voices, real and imagined, take over and I am constantly having to remind myself that I’m not that person anymore. I have done the work, taken that journey and built a foundation for a good life.
So I breathe and I ask myself what I want, how do I want to move forward, what do I want to add in my life and what needs to be subtracted. My present is challenging enough. I have no room to move backwards. I long for nothing in my past.
The strollers and creepers will think me harsh and unforgiving and I can’t control that but I can decide what is best for me.
Resiliency. The word came up a few times yesterday as I immersed myself in paperwork and research. The ability to get back to original form after being compressed, bent or ill. Also associated with buoyancy. I live with resilient, buoyant people. This past month my daughter and her husband have temporarily moved in due to another fire that has left them apartmentless. Yes that is two fires they have survived, neither one in their apartment but again without their stuff due to smoke damage. So we have 5 people, 4 cars, 3 bedrooms, 2 dogs and a cat who hates dogs. It is cozy but we manage, we laugh, we find our corners and we support each other.
The flu ripped through and all but one of us has been plagued. We soldier on. We all lead our separate public lives with many problems and stresses and we keep going. Yes there was a point in the illness where I hit bottom and I cried dramatically “I just want it all to end”. Like the supportive souls that they are, they laughed hard from their bellies and let me know I am ridiculous and fed me the hamburger I was craving.
Resilient people do not take themselves too seriously.
I was called by a friend whose son is experiencing some trouble in school. It reminded me of the importance of building resiliency in our kids. How? We challenge them to do things out of their comfort zone, we don’t rescue them when they don’t need it, we let them know they have freedom of choice, we let them do things in their way, we trust them, we don’t give advice unless asked, we see them as who they are, we invest in the things that make them shine, we help them shake off the dust when they fall and stay positive, we fail and show them how we get back up again, we laugh with them.
I like the idea of buoyancy. The idea that we can float above all the things that can bog us down. Cheerfully and lightly passing through all that comes our way. It’s good for us and will support our kids in being able to do it too.
Scorpios are passionate. I am passionate. There is very little that I am indifferent about. Love it. Hate it. You will know where I stand. Take the Olympics, I love the passion the athletes have for their sport, their love of country and belief their families had in them from a young age, to support them in being their best. All awesome but then I get upset with the politics and Russian anti gay policies and so many other problematic issues that come with the Games and make me angry.
I don’t like to get angry. Overall I see it as a waste of energy so I look for solutions, some times I make art like this piece, Anti Putin: Love is Beautiful.
When I breathe and think about it for awhile I can get hopeful that with education and a loving attitude we can make real changes in the way we treat each other. Then I take another breath and try to figure out how I can act with love to help educate.
On a totally different topic, my partner and I have been struggling with an issue and it came time to ask for support, others we believed with some understanding, would want to do the loving thing for members of their family. So we meet, we present the facts and we get looks of sympathy and vague assurances that they understand. I put it all in writing so there is no question what needs to be done. The response comes and I am angry again. The people have completely missed the point. The ways they decide the can help is to act from a place that I assume will ease their guilt but actually not provide any help to their family members in need. So my faith in people who know the right thing will do the right thing, is in the toilet again.
Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.
I am angry because I care about what happens to people within my community.
I want to be loving but the butt-heads make it so hard.
It can be really hard being a Scorpio.