Are We Open to the Lessons?

The air is moving through the house. The Sun is bright but turned down a few degrees as nature slides us into winter. I have completed the second edit of my anthology entitled Facing In: poems posted on Facebook 2011. Each page has from two to three short poems paired with an image from my art work.

varigated gladiola

This time, because the subject was specifically the observation of self, I used the close-up shots of flowers as the theme. Last time, the anthology Facing It was about the feeling of explosive disintegration of the old structures in my life.

So the second edit, is done. The art is selected. I am feeling much stronger as I move through my goals. Action itself is drawing me forward.

However, I am very pleased that I have not let the frenetic, robotic work addiction act as a medication for my grief. For the first time in my life, I have sat with my sadness and processed it. The time spent meditating and writing has helped me to reform myself.

So my intention is to work from an interior sense of desire rather than to drive myself forward like an oxen. And it is surprising how much gets accomplished without the release of adrenaline.

Strangely enough, a man came to my door today who had lessons to teach me. The reason he knocked on the door was fairly pedestrian. But he taught me a great deal. He reminded me about laying my burdens down in the Divine. He encouraged me to keep moving and rebuilding my life. Two years ago, his life was dismantled and he has gone on to build a more solid, spiritual and contented place to dwell.
I am learning that if I am quiet enough, the universe speaks.

So I continue to work on my second anthology, my photography images, to publicize my courses which I will be teaching at UBC-O Continuing studies and to encourage others to buy my first ebook. The mixed media course will take students into the exploration of an entirely new concept.

Standing up in what and who I am means being able to believe that what I do is worth value. Moving forward with confidence and without ego is an admirable goal. I am encouraging myself to keep moving on that path.

Some of the courses which I intend to benefit from are Lee Harris’ energy workshop here in Kelowna.

Another is an on line course through Hay House called entitled Cracking the Karma Code.

The third just came to me yesterday which is an on line extended class in Ayahuasca wisdom.

I am in school. I am open to learning. What I learned today through watching others and myself is that if we put up defenses, we are not allowing the messenger to get through. Relax, accept, feel and speak from the heart. You can still go wrong. It can all go very wrong. But staying in a tight safe place is not growing. And I want to grow without having life show up with a battering ram and break down me down.

looking inward

When is Enough Enough in Art

How do you know when you are finished? So often people ask me this question. I think it might be because my work is so bold and vibrant. They are basically curious as to what the top is as in going over the top.

taking risks

taking risks

It reminds me of a more pure and direct question that was asked of me once in a Korean restauarant in Victoria. I was marking provincial exams and alone. After the hours of reading truly puzzling and frustrating prose, I needed something to wake me up and clear my mind.

local library windows

local library windows

I headed to a Korean restaurant and ordered hot and sour soup. “How hot do you like?” the waiter asked. I said ,”Give it to me. I like hot.” He went into the kitchen. A puzzled cook came out to check if this was true. Did I, a middle class white woman eating alone want the hot, hot soup. He seemed concerned and obviously didn’t want to take any responsibility for whatever my reaction might be. I felt as if I should sign a voucher so there would be a legal record.

believe nothing but your own heart

believe nothing but your own heart

When I lovingly sipped the soup, I looked up to see two waiters, the cook and the owner of the restaurant all staring at me. “Do you like it?” the owner asked me.

“Oh yes,” I replied, “it is wonderful.”

They spoke together and one waiter leaned forward slightly. “How did you get like that?” he asked.

cd cover design

cd cover design

And that, I think is what most people mean when they ask how I know when a piece is done. How did I get so intense and brave? What is over the top or a stopping point for someone who works in a magically technical world?

“I know when it is done”, I tell them, “because I feel it in my body.” How strange that it is never the response they expect.

When does an artist know he or she is “making progress?” Is the sight where I have entered and had accepted my January Stroll project. While I frequently feel that I am not moving forward, am not making the kind of money that I need to finance my career, what I can point to is the fact that I am getting my work into more shows. This year alone I have had works shown in juried shows in Chicago; Ferrar, Italy; Toronto and the newest is the Stroll project in Berkeley, California.

I read a wonderful art blog which I wish I had remembered and could link you to right here. The artist said, basically, that you work on your technique, you work on your voice and then make attempts to get your work out of your studio in any manner that you can. The secret is NOT to attach to the outcome. As Pema Chondra says, “Keep your seat.” Fall off of your central, balanced point neither on the side of depression or of reactive elation. It makes sense in the artistic process as well.

How does one keep in the flow, in the connectedness to self if one turns over the feelings of proper actions to others? You become a puppet just waiting for your strings to be pulled one way or another.

What others can do for you, is feed back the feelings and associations that they have as they interact with your art. I have learned how people feel the energy dance in my work and the joyous, alive feeling that they get from my work. It changes my self-concept. I have often thought of myself as guarded. Frequently, I pull back because I feel as if my life force is too much, too energetic, too colorful.

Now I have learned to work my art until it gets to that central place where “the furnace” lies. It is the force that fires my life. It is the force that has turned me aside from possible destructive behaviours, that has kept me dancing to my own tune.

Yes, of course I want people to throw themselves into my arms weeping over the beauty of my vision and while they are clasping me close to their hearts, shove thousands of dollars into my pockets. We all want to  be loved, accepted and validated. We all want power. And what I am coming to realize is that I am quite ambitious. However, I am also a warrior. I am ambitious to create beauty, to attract riches and to leave a trail of kindness behind me. Life is NOT a battle except with the self.

If one can live in a way that is about being self without feeling that one has to protect oneself… then there is no hooking into others’ reactions. Unless, of course, they are positive. I’ll take thousands of dollars and expressions of praise… but I am not hungry for them. I feed myself.

The art of living is about living artfully. We all do that in differing ways. Some create art. Others create a beautiful life. Blessings on all who go into the world with intention and a calm heart.

Waiting for spring and flowers

Waiting for spring and flowers