will be busy all week with the reunion stop hope to post pictures through the week stop will be swallowed up in family bliss stop
will be busy all week with the reunion stop hope to post pictures through the week stop will be swallowed up in family bliss stop
I've been wanting to post for sometime now and realized that the only
way to get it done is to get up early before everyone else does. I haven't fallen off the face of the earth. No sir. I've been too caught up in summer energy with little ones. I didn't mean to leave for so long after my last post - funny note to leave so long on. So many of you have shared such tender, encouraging and kind words and I'm most heartened by the fingering of the silver thread that runs continuously through each and every one of our hearts. That silver thread of understanding and tenderness and desire to feel love in every breath. When that string is plucked - even if ever so gently - the vibration is felt from here to there, there to here, and beyond.
I will say, though, that I think I left many of you with the wrong impression (even though I'm getting more and more comfortable with just speaking from the heart and letting the impressions work themselves out). :) I had a dear friend call not long after that post and asked the potentially uncomfortably-answered question "is it me? Is it me that you are referring to as "a friend" in the last post?" Bless her heart. Bless her daring, brave, impeccable heart. What would the world be like if we all were willing to ask a question like that knowing full well the answer might be "yes"? If we could ask with love and an open heart, willing to hear how we - even if unintended - might be causing someone to feel? I was and am so deeply honored and grateful to have such honesty, love and bravery in a friend. I am stronger because of that one question. Is it me? I am stronger because she asked it. I am braver because I saw that sharing my fears with honesty won't scare the truest of true away.
Anyway, the answer I gave her that is the honest truth is that it's not really any one person and yet it could be anyone. I was noticing feelings of fear of not-good-enoughness that looked like jealousy and betrayal and acknowledging that it could be about anyone if I didn't give it some loving and firm attention. I could find it in the friend having a new baby, the skinny lady walking down the street, the brilliant work of another plaster artist, the eloquent and witty blog posting of others. I know better than to think that feelings I have play favorites. They could go anywhere at any time the only way to keep my center is to keep looking in the mirror...to keep asking myself "what is really going on here?" REALLY? What am I afraid of? And the most beautiful part of asking that is that the answer - the real answer that never includes any one else's name ultimately - always, always brings me back to me, to where I can make adjustments, face my fears, and see that they only have the power I feed them. So, i'm good. Really. The hard work of life often leads me down a quiet path of light and reflection and shadows and cool breezes.
Vinnietheman and I are hosting a family reunion on our land next week. We have been knee deep in preparations for that (besides the constant and vigilant energy in keeping two, wide-open eyes on my sister's youngn's). Garden fencing and planting, solarshower building, tent-site raking, and general clean up and floofing of the place. My dad drove some 15 hours from his place to help this week and we've been having a grand time of it. If every girl had a grandpa like my girls have, all would be right with the world. Never a negative word, never a word or look or thought comes from that heart of his that would cause my girls to ever question their divine worth. (Not sure what MY problem is. :) Where my questioning came from). :) I could write pages and pages of praise for my dad, but I'll spare you the details because it's only appreciated fully when supported by a lifetime of loving him. Last night, at 1+ am, i fell asleep to the gentle sound of his guitar strumming in the next room....just like I used to when I was younger. Some read books just before bedtime, he strums his guitar. He sings this song about me from time to time - mostly at family reunion talent shows. And that last line gets me every time......"and she's only nine days old!!"....It's exactly how old I was when dad and mom picked me up from the adoption agency. It's almost like it was written just for me. Sigh.
Anyway, a months worth of fun has been packed in this last week. Jet boat river trips, two birthday parties (one being for my baby who is growing up so so fast and sweet and dear). And the oldest wild pony has been hanging out with her pet rooster a little too much, don't you agree? We celebrated Father's Day with dinner in the tree house. I was SO excited to document the fun when I discovered my camera battery was dead and the food was getting cold. So you'll just have to take my word for it.
Dad and dinner. A pairing that always has delightful energy. He's the world's most appreciative food observer/eater. A prayer of gratitude always follows the taking in of the feast with his eyes and a good hearty belly pat follows the taking in of the feast with his mouth. Maybe even a Samba lesson or two might even be thrown in the mix. What goes better with dinner than a Samba, I ask you?
So, weeks of preparation lie before us in the days between now and Monday - when family descends on the land and I'm swallowed up in the bliss of my very own tent city. Can't tell you how much I love our family reunions!!...I've already scanned in literally hundreds of old family photos for a project dad's wife is working on. Pictures as dear as I can imagine like this one of my dad (in the back) as a little long, curly haired boy and one of his sisters fashioning a crown of flowers on thier dad - a grandfather I never knew. Grandma loved dad's blonde curls so much she couldn't bear to cut them. And pictures like this one of Grandma's dad standing next to some giant treeish thing with his beloved '47 Plymouth in the background. And this one....my favorite...of my man as a young boy. The wheels turning behind those eyes are still there....sigh.
And so I leave you this fine, early morning with wishes for bliss for you on these forgiving long-light days.
Knee deep in child energy here. Four under this roof for the month. Ages 5, 7, 9 and 12. Funny how it causes so much to surface. Maybe the energy isn't what causes the surfacing....maybe it's just time it comes up. The hard thing is when I begin to decipher the shape of the emotion bobbing around with the sea-foam and discover it is the same shape of something I thought I had already pulled from the water. Did someone throw it back in the water when I wasn't looking? Likely I did. I was probably so proud of my discovery - my new found "clarity" - that I spun so fast on my heels in pursuit of the next level of awareness that I accidentally knocked it over the edge and back in again. Sigh.
I've been determined from the first post on this here blog that I would keep it on the uplifting side...or at least neutral. I committed to never let it be a downer blog. I may be slipping here today. I'm not one to want to linger on blogs that are cynical or simply rehearsed distress bubbling over...and over and over and over... for whatever reason. There are some who are so committed to their story of victim-hood or distress or poor me-ness that they are unable to hold any other kind of vision for themselves. It's hard to want to be around that. (and even harder to know that I am that sometimes.)
On the flip side (dare I admit this?) I don't exactly know what to think about blogs that are all about perkiness, look-at-my-amazing-lifeness, every-little-flower-is-a-guru-blooming-just-for-meness, oh, and new shoes. Even as I type this I know that morning will come, I will get the house just a little cleaner, make just a little more progress on the deadlines and to-do's and I will feel like maybe THIS blog post was a little melodramatic. Okay. A lot. Sigh again. I don't want to force you to stand unwillingliy as a sounding board - that's Vinnietheman's job - so know that I won't be bent out of shape in the least if you quit here and come back for another visit when I'm more, well, perky. :)
The idea of a turnaround is profound for me and often something I most resist even though I know, I KNOW, that it will lead to peace in my heart. Peace. Not always answers or resolution, but peace. That is the answer. That is the resolution.
A friend offers to walk a joint vision, to share a path of creativity and you believe. I believed. I shared. I gave. And I was gifted with a tender, true, honest, dear friend. And then the crowd builds, and the friend is swept away and I am so, so happy to see the vision so well received. I'm bursting with joy at the love that is poured on this friend. I see her step into herself - the smile still there but the trembling insecurity is replaced by self-awareness. By bravery. By fearlessness. And I am so honored to stand in her light. I look forward to the promise she made...and then I see it was forgotten - tossed aside as if it never existed. Maybe it didn't except in my mind. And then I realize she's forgotten my name and i fear that I was just one of a thousand she was trying to remember. And I don't know what to do with that. And I am confused as to why I even notice a thing like that. I don't want to bring her back, to remind her of her humble beginnings, to stir doubt and a sense of distrust. I love her and want her to step into her joy and her total capability...to dance with it. But most of all, I know that none of this really has anything to do with the friend. It's all my perception, deflection, projection.
And yet I feel the sting. What is that?!?! It's been spoken of in the ethers of blogland. The struggles of friendship and success. The slips into juvenile tendancies. The knowing that "i know better". It's not new. But it feels foreign to me in many ways.
At the very very very bottom of all that is - of my heart of hearts - I want to witness joy in all those around me. I want everyone to feel supported. I want to dance in the light of brave, sure, honest, childlike joy. That is what I want to see the world filled with. And I don't mind watching from the window seat. I really don't. That's why this is so strange. This sting. It feels like a contradiction. It IS a contradiction and I have spent far to long trying to figure it out. And so I stand at that place with a wall of glass before me and I am willing to let go of my struggle to see what beyond that glass is making it so hard to see through, and instead I will see it as the mirror it is. As much as I may not want to feel the sting, I WANT to feel the relief and so I stand and look hard....and I see that no one has forgotten me but me. No one has moved away from seeing my abilities more than me. I am the one who was swept away in the crowd (of sorts) and forgot to grab my own hand before it was too late. And there I left myself, standing alone without any words of encouragement. Without any support. Without any dreams to linger on. I stole my own ideas. I ran away with another's. I was disloyal to my own visions and threw them around to others like flypaper at a barn dance. With that little importance put on them. Oh my. How did I do that? How did I think I could put that on anyone else? The awareness of my own self-defeat brings me to my knees and I am so pained to know that I've been doing this to myself...and I am also so grateful to know that no one has be doing it to me. I shelved my dream to write a certain book when I realized someone else did it first. I shelved my natural tendencies to just see the magic in everything and instead decided to get tangled up in personal politics. I shelved my need to share, express, to try new things and instead tried to appear accomplished and together. I see in that moment that the questions are really a lot wider and deeper than what I thought. It can take so little to switch the tracks. A simple turnaround can part the clouds.
And when the clouds parted, I saw that the world is amazing. I REMEMBERED that the world is amazing. All of it. That I can laugh at my foolish certainty in anything. That I can laugh at the woman in the mirror who takes herself so seriously. And I saw a guru blooming just for me and I got it. I finally got it.
I admit that my intention was to post the Asilomar parts daily until I was finished but having my young niece and nephew with us for the month has totally changed the way my moments are spent. Every. Single. One. They are both so sweet and precious....underneath all their intense coping-mechanism-habits they've formed for various reasons. It's a totally different ball game for me compared to when my girls were that age. Different. Challenging. Stretching. Growing. Loving.
I was so excited to share with you all the wonderful student work that was created over the three days of classes at Asilomar. I actually remembered, this time, to take photos. Lots of them. Each student was well documented. I was proud of myself. And then somehow all the photos from one entire class went missing. Don't ask me where they are. They are gone. Vanished into thin air. Whimper whimper. (You who were in my Off the Cuff class remember me taking pictures, don't you? Standing precariously on a chair so I could get them all from above? Remember?) So, I'm posting a few of the ones from the other two days.
In the first day in my Selective Seeing class, we worked with paint and paper and simple photocopies to create focus in an otherwise potentially distracting photo. Not necessarily in a bad way, distracting. Just photos full of information that might pul focus away from the main memory. A house in the background, a beach full of sunbathers, a red-shoed dancer in front of a garage door. The students in this class did an AMAZING job of bringing focus into their work. The aesthetic leaned towards modern and streamlined with little in the way of background texture and visual information. I felt swallowed up by the bright, freshness of all this wonderful work.
On the second day, the day of the missing photos, students created soldered cuffs based on these that I create. I was amazed again at how first-time solderers took to the torches so well and with such ease. One student supposedly had never even "done art" before but I would have never known had it not been confessed. The work coming from this student certainly did not look that that of a never-done-arter before.
The third and final day was a day of plaster play. In this class - Crack Up - we made a big ginormous mess of the place, smearing plaster on substrates so that we could crack away. (I'm also slightly miffed that most of the pictures I took in this class were not very good. I was not paying attention to the camera enough, I guess. I was distracted by the wonder of the students' creations!) I am always so humbled and in awe at where each student takes the simple instructions I offer. I find that the "finished" works from the class vary so broad - from minimalist simple, to colorful expressive, to dreamy skyscape flavored surfaces. All, in my opinion, could easily be called "done". Just look at these!! Look at the variety! Look at the texture!
Speaking of plaster play...have you seen this? And this? I'm so in awe of this woman's talent. I've never seen plaster look so magical before. Deliver me! BTW, She will be teaching at the new retreat in lively Las Vegas (as will I and a handful of other talented artists) this coming February. Registration just opened and classes are filling fast. Fast, I tell you.
Tomorrow...or maybe the next day....or next week, depending on the mood of little Jax...I will post lovely pictures of our drive home from Asilomar. Including this picture that has inspired the color of paint that I will paint the door of the new outdoor shower house (which is almost complete. I can't wait!) Disclaimer: I'm prone to erratic and spastic mind-changing when it comes to paint colors. Who knows. The door may end up smokey blue or charcoal grey or golden yellow (Vinnie's vote). But red always has my heart. These days, especially a burnt orangey red. Don't you think it would look lovely with my crocosmia when it is in full bloom?
And finally I have.....added a few goodies to my etsy shop. I'm hoping that the wild horses won't keep me away so long next time.
If you are so inclined, go and have a gander here.
And when I come back again (soon, very soon) I will tell you about this beauty (my sister) and how her two little wild ponies will be with us for the entire month of June and how I'm wondering how to patch this little tear of heartachelove for the three of them.....maybe a good long looksee at Miss Moss's flowers would do the trick. Yes. I'm sure that would do it. I must go now. There is a braying chorus underway and I don't want to miss my solo.
Been home almost a week. Thought I was getting my bearings and then a wild stampede came through. Two more little pairs of hooves in my barn for a month. More later.
Until then, I thought I'd segment my delicious time spent going to, being at, and leaving from Asilomar. As Judythewise would say "Everything is magic". And so it is. Nine hours on the road with people I love. Magic. Having those same people be happy, sporting road warriors. Even more magic. The scenery leaving Southern Oregon and sliding down down down into Northern California. You guessed it. It was all magic too. Like watching the seasons change in a single day.
Just look at these rolling hills! Their golden glow in the sun, like no other. Whoever said dry grass and high desert is ugly hasn't seen these hills....especially when punctuated by the goddess that rises from the earth. Mt. Shasta. We stopped in the hem of her skirt and took respite for a bit in a fold between stitches where the headwaters of the Sacramento river spill from her folds. Divine nourishment - drinking in the bright, clear dripping of millions of years of memory fresh from the soil. The water tastes just like that - memory and soil. And Promise. The after taste is definitely thick with promise.
On we rode as the sun hung low and dangled glowing orbs and ribbons of light from that line just above sight where you can't quite see the source of things. Palm trees tangled in solitary companionship paying no attention to the asphalt that trapped them there. Content to just be together. A woman in the front seat twisted and looped the hook for hours on end and a just-happy-to-be-with-you pup in the very back snoozed lazily to the rhythm of the road the road the road the road. Ahhhh.....magic.
Little did I know what fun was to be had in the coming days - with wonderful, willing, amazing, accomplished students.....I SHOULD have known that sharing a house with Misty, Micheal, John, Judy and her John, and Bee would be it's own little version of magic (with a little voodoo thrown in from the sideways games of deMan. :) Of course....but that's another story for another day.