Dave with the Diamond, The Language of Love

As the baking heat of summer abates, I walk along the waterfront. The experience is so much like the last sip of mango juice, the last kiss of a loved one, the fragrance of the remaining rose standing singular on the stretching branch. Knowing that it is drawing to a close makes me open up my senses all the more.

I think to myself, “Soon you will not see the loose, relaxed bodies of family tribes strolling with a shared rhythm. Soon the skin, arms and legs will be hidden away for winter like putting away seasonal clothing, these exposed limbs. Soon the evening air will not be perfumed by the release of fragrant flowers like a retelling of the narrative of the heat soaked day.”

Sunset City Park

Sunset City Park

It is in the denouement or in the anticipation that we most awaken to our own lives. Studies have show the point of greatest happiness is when an individual is working toward a goal. Olympic athletes report a loss of joy at the end of an event, even if they have garnered a prize.

Quo Vadis losing the way

Quo Vadis losing the way

The ability to be awake to my own life is and has been my focus for several years. How do I stay in a place of contentment even as the seasons change, through the trajectory of plans, effort and achievement? How do I allow emotions, deep grieving memories like forest monsters be recognized and acknowledged? Can I remain aware of what I hold in my body and of what I hold in the grinding fine mill of my brain?

Feel, release. Listen, release.

When I wake up the dreams are tangled around me like dark sheets. For decades I would have nightmares about being killed. The residual fear of my father coming in my room would be presented to me in dreams. My subconscious would be saying, ” Deal with this. Feel this.”

For decades I would awaken sobbing with my heart already shattered.

Through my vision quests; through my sitting at the feet of Shamans, teachers; through my listening to broadcasts from life coaches; through my reading DIY reconstruct your life books I have come to a place where there is an opening.

My eyes unclench at the start of day. I am encased in sadness like a gray, smudging cloud and then I move to gratitude. I put my hand on my heart and thank it for being so committed to staying alive. My heart has kept me here. I thank my heart for being so open and child like. The spirit I am wants to be in love, to share love, to be innocent and expectant. “Thank you, heart,” I say.

Seeing the love

Seeing the love

I lay my warm hand on the place where I held cancer. The place where I have growths removed every five years and I say, “You are healthy. You are fully alive. You live in freedom. You are beautiful. Thank you body.”

As I swing my feet over the edge of the bed, I envision jumping off of the edge of a ledge into the day.

“What kind of a day will you have?” I ask myself.

“Any kind of day you create,” I answer.

“Oh great. Then, it will be wonderful and full of love.”

How do I know my focused study is working? Because there are times when I do not hear a dozen crows and fifteen monkies all chattering in my mind at once.

How do I know my dedication to feeling and healing is effective?

As I walked along the boardwalk a little boy under the age of two was being pushed in his stroller by his parents. He was wearing a wonderful, expensive fedora. I did not smile at him. I did not stop and make faces at him.

I only thought, “Dude. I see your spirit. You are one rocking dude.” He broke into a smile and put his hand up to high five me. His parents stopped, looked at him. They looked at me and were puzzled. And then we all laughed.

I went to the bank and behind the counter was an attractive, thin, very stylish new bank clerk. His name tag said: Dave.

“Dave,” I said, “are you new here?”

“No,” he responded, ” I usually work in another bank.”

I thought how much I liked him daring to be so trim so stylish so unmundane. And then I saw the gigantic engagement ring on his left hand.

“Oh,” I said, “aren’t you the lucky one.”

“I know,” he said, ” and it isn’t because of the ring.”

We smiled together about his love, his claiming who he is in the world, my recognizing how wonderful he was. We just stood smiling together.

As I walked down the street, I saw a car enwrapped in love. On the windshield were two generous bouquets of gladiiolas. An aluminum heart balloon saying, “I love you,” was on the windshield. And balloons, balloons so pink and plasticy were floating from all of the wiper blades.

t I love you ballon

I am so grateful when I see the bravery of love. I am so lifted up when I see two people kiss on a street corner, exchanging tenderness. My heart sings when a baby waves at me.

t power feet

The nightmare world of helplessness, having my bones broken and my spirit invaded are giving way. These days I step out into a world of surprising, magical moments of love. Thank you Dave for wearing your diamond and sparkling bright.

It is not a new season. It will not slip away like summer. It is where I plant my feet. Now.

My thoughts still attach to the narrative trajectory… anticipation, tension, release but I am thankful that I can be aware of what is appearing on my “reality screen.” And sometimes, I can even switch the channel.

Distant and Dealing

I have not posted for six weeks. The sense of making each day count has been the driving motivation for me lately. After reading Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project, I made a chart for my refrigerator. On the chart are those things which are most supportive of my well being, in other words the care of my body.

At the top of the list is drinking water. From all that I have read, getting enough water can offer immense support for the “plant.” Inflammation is a response which must be avoided. Inflammation damages the body, creates stress and can lead to a cancer response. Drinking enough water also keeps the body from signaling “hungry, hungry,” when in fact it is dehydrated. Toxins are also carried through with water. Honoponopono practice which is traditional Hawaiian spiritual practice has as its core drinking water. A blue bottle is placed in the sun (try that in the Okanagan winter). As the sun goes through the water, it is believed it activates it to heal. The thought that the practitioner is supposed to hold is that all past “scripts” are washing through the body. What happened to me when I was two or twenty or sixty is now flushed out. Now. That brings to you now. Without a story, a bag of past grievances slung over the shoulder. Just you, the ground, the breath and the flow of water washing through the body.
Sleep is the next item on my chart. Getting eight hours sleep can pull down the inflammation response very efficiently. When the body is rested, it feels strong and calm. The daily attacks: bills, broken appliances, family disasters, angry people are inevitable. But if the body feels strong and rested, a person is in a more capable state. Solutions are easier to discover. I also find that it is easier for me to not attach to the difficulty with an emotional state that strangely enough usually outlasts the problem. So often in the past I start to out run the tiger long after it has retreated to the dark forest again. The sound of my own hyperventilation and pounding anxiety would accompany me long after the threat had passed.
And friends are extremely important. In scientific experiments of people under stress, it was discovered that their telemeres shorted. These are the “shoelace” like tips of DNA strands. The longer they are, the longer your life span. Stress will shorter the telemeres whose job it is to repair cellular damage. So women under stress raising handi-capped children who formed into a support group had a slowing down of the telemere damage and in some cases actual repair to the repair kit.
My goal is to make contact with old friends or to meet new friends every day. As with all activities, it becomes easier the longer I do it. At first, going through the door after my long retreat was like breaking through one of those aluminum foil barriers on a jar… only it was over the door. One evening I went out just because I didn’t feel like going on.
These simple items top my list on my happiness project chart. Another part of the process, is to realize that it is a process. When I misstep or don’t have an X to put in the box, I realize that I am changing myself for the better. I celebrate that and treat myself with compassion because I am my friend as well. Right?

Cultural Community

Tonight I went to two events. The first was a group of people interested in working on their presence in the world through retreats, conferences and reading. The second was a group gathered together by UBC-O’s creative studies department to learn which individuals were to be awarded the top three places by guest judge Annabell Lyons. http://annabellyon.blogspot.com/
It was a joyous, relaxed evening.
At the first event, I met three people formally that I had passed in my life. We shared many experiences. One used to own a book store where I was selling art work on commission. Another taught dance in the building where I had my studio. A third was a close friend of a friend. It is interesting to see where connections can lead. It is why my daughter keeps telling me to go out the door. Staying home in my diaphanous Emily Dickens reclusiveness is not moving me on from this stuck place in my life.

Original photograph of a piece of string on the floor

At the short story competition announcement, I got to hear readings from four writer’s works. It was varied, skilled and interesting work. I had the audacity to take flyers of my poetry anthology which is for sale on LuLu and handed them out to four people. It took guts. I felt very hesitant but know that I have to start getting behind my talent if I want to make money from the work I am doing. My anthology is 36 pages of poetry written over the last year and posted to facebook.

My hopes are that the process of advertising my work becomes easier and more natural for me. Finding a gallery, an agent, a way to run the work I have been doing for thirty years up to a point where it begins to create it’s own energy is what will happen if I keep working to that goal.
I am going to a retreat in Victoria for the last week in March and really happy about having some time away. Life has been very lonely and quiet. Shows are coming up: Myths and Legends opens Saturday night at 273 Bernard; Digital Art show in Vernon t.b.a.; Sopa Under 8 in April. Currently, I have a show at the Unitarian Fellowship Hall which is a wonderful space to show art.

Plans to attend the Permaculture group meeting for tomorrow night are flying around in my head. I also feel like getting out to see a movie or go to Chapters. I have been disciplined this week working on art, cleaning the house, feeding my blog. Tomorrow, I need to prepare for my course at UBC-O Continuing Studies teaching Grammar Lite. Being back in the classroom is always a rush for me. I love to react to what it is my students need. Teaching, for me, is not about feeding a baby. Open the door. Here it comes. Neither is it like teaching steps in a dance routine. People need to know what they are ready to learn. I guess the really challenging aspect of teaching is being able to deal with four or five levels at the same time. It is a challenge; however, it is a thrill to walk out of a room knowing that you have awakened confidence and curiosity in your students. I love it.

I am thinking that it is time to go through all of the boxes of ballast I have in the shed. Clothing, books and fabrics can be freed, reorganized and utilized to create some revue for me. What I am not wearing, I must sell. The separation settlement left me in a position whereby I must start doing things to dig myself out. Listening to Tony Robbins was inspiring yesterday. Tomorrow I will sit down and brain storm 200 methods of bringing in prosperity to deal with the giant debt I had to take on to be free. Now I will find a way to be free of the weight of this debt.

Recently, I created two book jackets for a client who is a poet. I also created a banner for his web site. I worked images as far as I could in Gimp then I finally broke down and downloaded a free trial of Photoshop. Some of the images I created from playing with photoshop were interesting. I am missing my Flaming Pear, Eye Candy and Painter filters that went bye bye with the multiple crashes on my computer during my dark and disheveled days this last year. My creativity is coming back and the feeling of anticipation for what will be is like the pink shoots in my flower bed. Promising.

chocolate enclosure

What Does Christmas Mean To You?

This year I experience a pastiche of images of Christmas which are as sundry and disparate as random ripped pages from a magazine. Still in bed after abdominalplasty and a reattached stomach muscle, I have a vision of the dead “helicopter” seeds on the Maple tree out my window. My two granddaughters like me to designate them as such. The seeds beige to browness hang almost plastic in the tree. Almost too enervated to fall, these last ones. All night the wind howled out my windows but these seeds are determined to hang on until Spring when they can complete their encoded mission.

doorstop for sale on etsy

doorstop for sale on etsy

The sky is a sickly white with a scattering of snow on the rooftops that I can view. I have been moving little after my initial burst of enthusiasm. Four days of migraine, vomiting and horrible pain let up and I continuing to be unwise and a “busy body” decided to watch three movies on the couch and trot up and downstairs a couple of times. The evening of my folly found me sobbing into my pillow in agony. Taking more opiates than I had all day, finally got me into a strange, fibrous, drug induced sleep.

I pay homage to the great guilt God by remaining in bed the last two days and finally I slept without waking up sobbing with nightmares. I awoke in the full steam ahead playing out of a musical in which I starred. Taking the centre of the shot in a beautiful park, I spread my arms and sang gorgeously. Waking myself up with the sound of a croaking, dry throat that was not producing any “song” per se but rather random words, I decided that perhaps more time was needed to heal my body and get myself out of the drug induced world of pain killers.

from knox december

from knox december

I am reading Alain de Botton’s The Art of Travel again in lieu of actual physical freedom. While his use of language is pleasing, intellectual and deft, I do find him to be rather lachrymose. He is so British in his dampened appreciation of life’s pleasures.

Yesterday, I spent too much time trying to dis-spell the loneliness of lying in the 300 feet of our upstairs retreat… unable to descend and un-willling to entertain my husband’s sad, gentle inquiries as to my condition which is improving beneath the pain, I am sure. I was on facebook and checked my email. It exhausted me.

Today, I didn’t even open the beast of a computer until noon after three naps. What a pleasure to see that Jason Woodford had put a lovely image of my donation to the Okanagan Film Festival Society on his site.http://okanaganfilmfestival.com/ I am awaiting news as to who purchased it so I can give them a certificate of authenticity. Too done in by the operation to complete that task, I left it for another day.

tari's amazing christmas cookies


My friend Tari informs me that she had made her spectacular Christmas cookies again this year and asked the artists of the RCA to her house for a luncheon. She mentioned ice skating on Shannon Lake with her friend. Now I hold two lovely, traditionally satisfying pictures of Christmas in my head thanks to her email. I wrote to her, “You can always make me laugh. I just pictured you eating while ice skating. A turn, a flourish, the hand raised and at the top of the spinning wonderment a cookie which pops into your mouth at the last moment. Beautiful. ” http://www.misstari.com/

Finally, the image of my granddaughters was soothing to me upon awakening suddenly with the shooting pain in my side. Rhane so business-like, abrupt and non-nonsense requested a cleaning set so she could clean her home sparkling clean, “If some people would let me.” When I asked her if it was a toy set, she paused in impatient disgust then informed me that it was in fact a real set. Stupidly, I had thought her to be trivial or playing simply because she is four years old. Tegan on the other hand is mainly concerned that the star on top of the tree doesn’t sparkle. She is a leo/monkey and knows the importance to bling in existence. Without shimmer, life is dull.

magic of little girls

magic of little girls

Judith Jurica continues to work her magic and sent through an email publicizing my show at Kalamalka campus even though it is “the holidays”. She is another who creates a very real shimmer to the existence of art in the valley through her works.http://www.galleryvertigo.com/

So these snippets of life create images. Along with the unfinished kitchen wall that has yet to be re-enclosed after the new electrical service was provided, the pile of unfinished christmas cards that I had anticipated having the strength to send out by now.

Instead, I am floating upstairs with a plastic bulb draining out of my stomach. Looking out of the window at the dull day hanging without the energy to deliver snow. Laying under my blanket thinking about another nap before I return with Alain to the Lake Country and Wordsworth is the reality of now. Transition.

transition moving from one state of being to another

transition moving from one state of being to another

The Art Scene in Kelowna

spring in kasugai garden

spring in kasugai garden

I have heard so much about the art scene in Kelowna recently. Strange how a phrase comes to be floating about in conversations no matter where one goes. Some have said they don’t know anything about the art scene. Some new councillors the other evening at the NERA open house stated that the art scene in Kelowna should be supported and brought up a notch.

Recently on Face Book a new artist came to town and was trying to connect with other artists and I laughed to myself. I have been here over thirty years and cannot connect with the art scene. It is a bit like a medieval landscape. Everyone has his or her own castle, the moat is full of crocodiles and some have the draw bridge lowered during a show… but it is tightly held to the castle walls as soon as the exhibition closes. Small groups get together to paint and it is the style and mediums that drive the group, ostensibly. Really it is that the group are on some level friends.

How can we extend the hand of friendship from all artists to one another? That is what has puzzled me. I would like to help publicize all visual artists and work together to make Kelowna a vibrant tourist destination. Can someone suggest a way to get the artists to poke more than their heads out of their hidey holes and start to work together to make a bigger statement?

If you do have an arts event, I would be happy to put it up on my web site. Just call out!

Does art hold its value?

Recent Work Candy Ribbon $650 multi-media

Recent Work Candy Ribbon $650 multi-media

Recently, an estate assessor came into my studio and talked to me about the “valuation” of art. It is, like everything else in life, about perception.

I remember when I was doing research on the best place to pursue my degree in teaching that I was looking for valuable stock. I was investing in my education and I wanted the most powerful degree I could achieve. Western Washington State College in Bellingham was give a top three schools in the West Coast rating in, of all things, Playboy magazine’s assessment issue.

large, flowing image, lyric multi-media canvas

large, flowing image, lyric multi-media canvas

Taking my degree at Western allowed me to be in a highly competitive position. I had a wonderful background in the humanities, in general science, in math logic, in physics and was introduced to the study of movement. We also had to learn to swim in order to teach. This comprehensive program was meant to turn out not little automatons but people with a rich understanding of our cultural history. It has given me grounding and depth in all that I do.

Research allowed me to find a degree of value.  It is the estimation of value in art as well, that has to be considered. The Estate Valuation of art involves the reputation of the artist. While some artists make money in the short term, other artists develop and maintain their value. Thinking carefully about where you exhibit, setting your goals with clear objectives, establishing skills and constantly working on the relationship between yourself and your work; yourself and your customer are central.

Star Shine Multi-media $1,000

Star Shine Multi-media $1,000

I was instructed that one must clearly and consistently sign the work. A biography, a story, an artistic statement should be placed on the back of the work so that as the work makes its way in the world the connection with the artist remains true. And the hardest work of all is to place value on yourself as an artist.

red-black sharp, three dimensional $650

red-black sharp, three dimensional $650

Hanging in the Church: Images of Europe

North End installs public art bench

“Reminiscence of Europe: Multi-media and photographic pictures of Rome, Florence, London, Paris.”

One Woman Show by artist Cherie Hanson

Unitarian Fellowship 1310 Bertram Street

November and December

Viewing available to all who rent the space

Open to the public 11:45 to 12:30 Sundays.

All images for sale. Just contact me.

My art work has arrived in Ferrar, Italy and Paola has received the information for the catalogue. The Traces of Memory Show will be in a beautiful castle and from everything I have read is very well publicized. How great it would be to be there with them and to get an opportunity to see Italy again.

But the reality of my life keeps me grounded here. Two major shows are coming up and I need to get together more portfolios for submissions in North America. The discipline is to keep “pitching”. Sometimes it is very hard to prepare a portfolio, to do the work of structuring a show which can take months then to have the portfolio return in less than a month. But the secret is to just keep putting the hook in the water. Sitting by the shore looking longingly at the fish doesn’t create a solution.

At the Rotary Centre, we will be holding a three day art show and sale with the Potters group. Bonnie, my downstairs neighbour, does weeks of work to prepare for this show which fills the hallways of the centre.

I attended the hearing for the Downtown Centre “development” which is backed by the group in town that basically sees economic advantage in the 80’s type growth that dictates tall buildings that do not conform to the look and feel of our beautiful heritage Bernard Avenue. It looks like an alien society, from another planet, landed a development space ship right on the water front.

The water front is rapidly becoming the “right” and domain of those who can afford a million dollar or more apartment. We are swimming against the stream of most of the rest of the enlighted world. Heritage, affordable housing and green building which allows the citizens free access to the natural beauty of the area is the only answer for keeping an environment that is economically attractive. I believe that the central problem is that many of these wall street groupies are so busy that they are not taking the opportunity to read books such as “Whose Your City” by Richard Florida or studies about the new solutions for old cities. Portland has learned so much by just creating a vision, committing to the vision and then devising solutions as they work their way through difficulties. The vertical ghost towns we are creating in a environment that is quite fragile portends an area that is in the long term not attractive for families, older people, bohemians and will be abandoned by the rich. They will simply move on to a city that more mindfully takes care of all of the elements that create a cultural and natural setting they find more admirable. It is inevitable.

City council has over 30 candidates all vying for spots. It is just too much work for most citizens here who don’t turn out in droves to vote. I mean they don’t turn out…. in droves. There is a feeling of lethargy among voters on both the Federal, Municipal and Civic scene. I guess we have to see a tank crossing our borders before we come to think about the borders. Right now, we are just thinking about Desperate Housewives or hockey. Perhaps if we faced the same risk when we vote that so many other citizens of foreign countries face…. we would wake up. After we voted my husband remarked. No one is waiting outside for us to check the stain on our thumbs and kill us for voting. That would get the populous’ attention, hey!