Thursday, September 30, 2010
i'm so sorry ... i've been remiss in posting...but i've been in a frenzy of painting and getting diva all healthy and painting. kitten's been helping - she seems to have developed a passion for red paint. yes, my friends, she has "painted" little tail swishes of red everywhere. and you know that she knows EXACTLY what she's doing. it's raining big hard here...the creek through my woods has flooded, and a 30 minute walk with diva left me soaked from the knees down...my Gortons of Glouster fisherman-style rain slicker kept the rest warm & dry. diva - not so dry. but her stitches came out monday, so we're all legal. i am completely exhausted - had to take a nap at lunch - my reward for not going home & back to bed at 9am like i wanted. tonight...bed by 8:30. ah the tantalizing life of a woman who does it all. hmmmm. yeah right. sleep well yourself....some good stuff coming!
at 7:53 PM
Saturday, September 25, 2010
my diva dog is home! when i walked in the door at Camp Grandma's Luxury Resort and Spoiling House for dogs, diva went right out of her natural puppy mind. she has a big, fierce shaved and stitched spot near her hip where the vet removed a lump. not to worry - no pics...too gross. she has sparkly teeth now, as well. and it is my job to watch her for the next 2 days and 2 nights to be sure she doesn't lick or bite her stitches. it was a long night. and an early morning. and i do it all with gladness that she is fine and there isn't cancer.i was up (for the final time) at 4am and it's nice to have the world to myself. diva is snoring in her "nest" behind the chair, and the cool morning air is drifting in the window...most welcome after yesterday's 91-degree heat wave out of nowhere. the air conditioning had already been put to bed for the season, so it was a restless night with cranky fans and too many blankets being kicked off and panting puppy trying to snuggle closer for the comfort of a missed mom. i've been reflecting on Squam, and my return. remembering that first year, where a week off from work after my return was essential, and not nearly enough...where the slightest whiff of woodsmoke or the hint of a special song could send tears streaming down my face and a gnawing homesickness prevailed for weeks, months, forever...even though i was in my own house. it was an awakening to how dead i had become to my own Self. this year was more graceful...still wishing to be back among kindred spirits and new & old friends, but less of a jarring Here vs. There feeling. and i realized that the spirit of There had stayed within me these past 3 years, and taken root as a tiny seed, which has grown into a tender vine within me...creeping throughout my spirit, my being, my Self...so the line was more smudged, and more of a recognition of sameness, rather than a plowing of new soil...it was the nurturing of something already growing, rather than the birthing of fallow ground into fullness. and that is welcome, and that is a smile and a nod. and in that state, i was finally able to reach more outward, and step outside my comfort zone more, artistically. i learned to paint. and despite sarah's contention that i always could, i say respectfully: uhnn uhnnnn. i owned all the tubes and pots of color, and sticks of this and drips of that, but to pick up a brush and PAINT? surely you're mad. i'd rather eat broccoli. but the ideas flow through me now and are realized on paper, canvas, gesso board. a most welcome oasis of expression after all these dry months spent avoiding my studio at all costs. and i do believe i'm going to head that way now, with the cool morning air drifting in my window, and the world to myself. thank you Elizabeth, once again.
at 5:10 AM
Thursday, September 23, 2010
i CANNOT stop painting! well, i say "painting," but i'm really diggin' the chalk pastel-under-matte medium look Big Time. i'm up to 6 now, and i feel like a crack monkey in a lab...i only have 1 gesso board left, and a 12x12 canvas gifted me by Sue (who i'd link to, but she seems to have taken great joy in posting a picture of me from our cabin that's, well, well it was before the fire event). anyway, i'm up at 4:30 making packing tape transfers and mainlining alcohol inks and chalk and matte medium and all manner of art stuff. then down to the wire - hit the shower, throw on whatever falls off a hanger and off to work. which puts me in a sulky mood at best. my cube neighbor peeked around the divider today after listening to me try to shake some change out of an insurance company's pockets ("what do you MEAN she had full dentures last year?? okay - remember the EXTRACTIONS on the SAME CLAIM you paid for???) and she peeked timidly around the corner, and said "duuuude." and i realized i needed some balsam fir sachet or extra easy listening music or maybe a cabin boy/man to help with ....whatever. so i took a breath and took a lap around the cube farm and made a plan to win the lottery this friday. so everyone send good energy and i'll buy a mid-squam reunion for anyone/everyone who needs a mid-squam shot. i'll try to post more pictures but honestly, my camera is not made for this kind of detail. trees - yes. volcanos -check. close up art - not so much. i get my little stitched up diva dog back tomorrow. it's been 2 weeks - the longest we've ever ever been apart. and i miss her most of all. kitten misses her too. except at night when dogs rule the bed. kitten has gotten used to snuggling in all the puppy places. so here's the beginning of a list of things i don't want to forget about squam: Oh My God! The baby's missing! ... reading the fire safety instructions a few minutes too late (no worries Elizabeth - there was no fire. pinky swear) ...Cal - you're The One ... #2 wasn't trying very hard ... recycled clothes from bottlecaps - who knew? ... my favorite tree ...valet parking ... WT took my mortgage money but THOSE BOOTS! ...midnight skinny dippers...the wild things in the woods pre-squam...the wild things in the woods during squam...the stinky cats in the woods during squam...and by the way, the woods are much much darker when there's only 2 people in them...the sound of the rain on the cabin roof... and so much more. but that's it for now.
at 6:34 PM
Don't be satisfied with stories...how things have gone with others...unfold your own myth...without complicated explanation...so everyone will understand the passage: We have opened you. -Rumi No one sees the same speck in quite the same way...the moon looks different to each eye...come see for yourself...
at 5:22 AM
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
i am being gentle with myself today. funny, when i used to read those words in other blogs, or hear them in conversations at the yoga studio, i'd think "oh get off it...gentle with yourself??" but i now know. and i am being gentle with myself. or at least trying. this year's week at Squam was very different, and the return to home was less of a demarcation between sweetness, kindness, wonderment, and rules, schedules and obligations. because i am being gentle with myself. whenever i feel the tenseness returning, i walk slower, i take a breath, i think of woods & crackling fireplaces. not to escape, but to savor a few more hours of tenderness with myself. it's true (and i'm not ashamed) that i canceled my surgery today. it just felt like too jarring and violent a way to re-enter. there will be other days to do that. not today. and i suppose i knew i would cancel it way back on friday, when i painted my first painting...yes...i painted. and it was wonderful. the act of painting was...the result is for anyone to guess. but to me, it was beautiful. for on that canvas lay all my fears of painting and the like. not a huge thing, in the scheme of life, but a symbol, i suppose. so i knew i wanted to spend 2 days painting. and i got half my wish. in order to paint, i had to clear my worktable of fabric and rusty metal and wood and all manner of debris that seems to collect on flat surfaces. as long as i was doing that, i decided to unpack and do laundry. as long as it was late already in the day, i decided that monday would be the day i got all my chores done and set up my studio so i could tumble out of bed and ...paint. i have a niggling little voice on my shoulder that says i should be with diva as she recuperates. and at least 4 calls from mom last night and this morning assured me that i should feel guilty. rather than scrap paint plans and rush over, i realized there was nothing life-threatening or dramatic going on other than diva's total hatred of the elizabethan collar. and that problem was solved at 3am when the collar came off and some custom pj's were made for her from a pillowcase. she can't get at her stitches through the pj's and finally got some sleep. the rotties next door will enjoy this new look, i'm sure. more drama this morning involving my stepfather - no surprise. i simply refused to get sucked into the vortex. and i am painting. i know it all sounds very self-centered and selfish and uncaring of me to be la la la painting and being all gentle while my dog is stuck choosing between 2 fashion nightmares, but honestly, it is also time for me to stop that last bit of reactiveness that has nestled within me...that uber-prepared girlscout that is constantly on duty in my brain. she needs to grow up and grow away. and the reason why i am taking a gentle day away from the phone, and spending it with BB King and Golden Artist Colors is that the work that started within me last week is not quite done...there are still a few things that are almost gelled, but still a little ghostly and free form...they need to solidify a bit more so i can hold them in my hand, and turn them over and examine them, and make them a part of my whole. and today is the only day that could possibly happen properly. today before i return to spreadsheets and impossible deadlines and bad coffee and fast food for lunch. today is my gentle nest that i'm tucking into. i have cracked open, as my intention was. and i just remembered that i can fly.
at 11:23 AM
Monday, September 20, 2010
ok - first no posts for evah, now 3 in a day. start at the first once (scroll down). well, it's my blog, so i can. the big news is: I Can Paint! whoo hoo! my fear of the brush is pfft. maybe it was that big blank canvas, maybe it was thinking i had to make an apple look like an apple when i didn't even want to make an apple - oy vey who knows? but i do know that Sarah Ahearn gets an award from me. you need to take a class from her, especially if you can't paint. i won't spoil the first half for you, but will warn you to watch your caffeine intake that morning. oh - and she has a book coming out which Must Be Pre-ordered so you won't miss out. well, you don't have to have to, but i would strongly advise it. it will have you cleaning your studio to make room for some spanky new stuff to play with. don't tell my husband. so thank you to those who asked - diva came through her surgery today with flying colors, and will be recovering at the Camp Grandma Resort and Spoiler Center for granddogs. tomorrow is my surgery day, and grandma will be running in 2 directions at once, as husband is out of town. i need a wife. the laundry is done. the bags semi-unpacked - the rest will wait for another day. i can only take so much trauma in one day, and unpacking is something i live to avoid. i wish i were Oprah sometimes. i'm stepping away from the box here now, and will be drinking some chai tea, listening to some smooth beautiful music, and dreaming of balsamy woods and smoky fires.
at 3:57 PM
This week i learned: that a small cabin in the woods can bring large gifts.... the choice is yours... that a sunrise and a sunset have the same magical properties.... and a warming fire attracts friendship.... That it is often hard to determine what is "real" life, and what is a moment's escape to magic... it was a time to set intentions and go deep, but also to laugh and cry and make art and make friendships - with cabinmates, new best friends, and with yourself...to push yourself beyond...to expand and settle in quietly, as your spirit asked of you...for me, it was the best of everything...sharing a cabin with 5 other women was an uncertain prospect for me - i need a certain amount of "alone" time and wondered if that would be possible...on the long drive there, the words "crack open" wound through my mind...i have wrapped layers of warm, comfortable safety around me in recent years, and knew that meant shedding them. of course the irony is that in 2 of my workshops, it was all about the layering. where layers belong - in art, not in the heart. i learned that it is not my job to make sure the universe spins properly on it's axis - God & Elizabeth do that best. living in the "helpfulness" mode is a good dodge from helping yourself...to constantly flow outward makes for an struggle for inflowing goodness - think salmon swimming upstream...they eventually make the destination, but are exhausted. i learned that each person's presence makes a difference, even if they aren't aware of how important they are to the Whole. those that were there, those that were missing this year - each holds a piece to this gigantic, amazing puzzle, and each brings something that radiates in the soul of the Common. no person, not a single one, ever not ever is "just." whether you came and stayed quietly to yourself, or were big and exuberant, your spirit contributed to the common experience...you Are. Jen Lee's t-shirts said it best: Just Be True. and in being true, and authentic (that over-used word) you are being just exactly what the world needs - you are living your purpose & destiny. you were designed to be You for a reason. as my grandpa used to say, "a bagel without a hole is not a bagel." (mmmm. now i'm hungry for some of those incredible buffet crepes. and eggs. and maybe a waffle). it is important in so many ways to Be Yourself. and, if you've read this far, that is what i went deeper on this week. although i don't feel that i act in a false way normally, i saw that i was being untrue to myself...that by making sure everyone else's mask was firmly affixed to their faces before putting my own on, i was doing a disservice to myself, and not allowing the other to muddle through and learn and grow and experience. and i learned the fine line between that point and ignoring a true need for assistance...by being quiet within and letting the lesson gel within me. this year's Squam was unique for me, in that i was quieter, gentler, less worried about whether things would get done or if this person was having a good time, etc. i allowed myself to let go of the reins and indulge myself in everything that was there for me to learn...it was not up to me to manage anyone's itinerary or enjoyment or process. and it never was, and never is. but i finally Got It. i believe i will still be kind and helpful and compassionate, but in a healthier, less martyr-ish way. in my job, i will still love being involved in planning things and organizing things and working the process...it is innate in me and where my puzzle piece fits. but will be able to present things and then step back. thank you, kindred ones, for being yourselves this week with me...for allowing me to be quiet and happy and not in charge of anything but myself. and next year, who knows?
at 9:00 AM
Saturday, September 11, 2010
it is an auspicious day today - filled with remembrance and sadness and determination and gratitude to strangers and feeling that you want to reach out to those still hurting...please do. God bless America. ************************************************************************** oy - if you're checking here - thank you for not giving up! i've been trying to put in double overtime to get somewhat close to caught up at work...not that it would matter - i'm off tuesday through the following tuesday. a full week off. in the woods. with 150 like-minded artists and future BFF's. i vowed not to overpack as usual. and up till last night, i was true to that. but then again, i didn't start packing til today. i'm up to 3 large tote bags, a suitcase and a huge sterlite tub. and i haven't packed my class supplies yet! for the love of God. yes - i am really looking forward to getting away, and especially to getting There. each year holds it's own special vibe...a chance to learn and grow and dump old stuff and expand in ways you never thought possible. the first year was flat out panic. the second, a relaxed excitement. i wonder what this year will hold? i go into it with a quieter heart and steadier spirit...having found my spiritual center, once again. the rst of my life? a hot mess. but i don't feel tossed by the turbulance of it...more like moored safely in a harbor as the storm rages around. my steps are sure and steady. i await the Go sign that the Way has been cleared for me. and feel alive and grateful and anticipate the next phase of my life with excitement.
at 10:33 PM
Monday, September 06, 2010
Sunday, September 05, 2010
i've been asked if i'm superstitious....not really. but do i believe in magic? oh yes, i truly do. because i have been a part of some of the most inspiring, life-changing conjuring that has ever been...here. to say it's about art is correct, but misses the point entirely...misses the vibe of it all...the intention and result. the alchemy of grace and peace and acceptance and unwavering faith in another that They Are Able ...even when they don't feel able...the smell of pines and cedar...the call and response of the loons...the gentle sound of water reaching the shore, tagging IT and returning out again...much like the touchstone of the event itself - we arrive from wherever, and check our Life of Obligation at the door and enter reality...using each other as a touchstone to see our true selves as they are reflected in the others' eyes...hugs, hearts, spirits offered to the Buffet. so, yes, i believe in magic...i've seen it with my own eyes. (videos by Christine Mason Miller and Jen Gray)
at 1:06 PM