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I do this thing once in a while where I open up a book to a page without looking, or dial through my Ipod without looking, intending that the Universe will flash me a message of whatever I need to hear at that moment. (Sometimes I cheat — if I don’t like the first message, I’ll do it a few more times with different books).
I’ve been dealing with learning to let old habits and ways of thinking go, so that I can enjoy the life that’s spread out before me. So I can savor the banquet. This is what I paged to today:
Every moment is a new beginning for me. We all do a lot of vacillating between old ideas and new ways of thinking. I am patient with myself through this process. Beating myself up only keeps me stuck. It is better to build myself up instead. Anything I say or think is an affirmation. I become aware of my thoughts and my words. I may discover that a lot of them are very negative. I used to approach life through negative eyes. I would take an ordinary situation like a rainy day, and then say something such as, “Oh, what a terrible day.” It was not a terrible day; it was a wet day. Just a slight change in the way I look at an event can turn it around. I choose to look at life in a new, positive way. I enjoy new ways of thinking. (Louise Hay, Meditations to Heal Your Life)
Just this week, I was telling Dani that I finally realized that I needed to stop talking about leaving my “regular” job as having left it — I needed to start saying that I’d started my life’s work. When I focused on the leaving and the ending, I wasn’t looking forward or into the moment, but into the past. When I talked about the old job and called it my “real” job or my “regular” job, I was implying that there was something lacking in my new pursuit — when I don’t really feel that way.
So boys and girls, I think I am finally starting to ‘get it’ — to learn to ask for new eyes, instead of for new circumstances!
Hot town, summer in the city
Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty
Been down, isn’t it a pity
Doesn’t seem to be a shadow in the city
All around people looking half dead
Walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head
Zomigosh. It is so freaking hot. I have been barely capable of monosyllabic speech, much less able to string coherent sentences together.
You know, I try to find the good in things. I try to look at the silver lining, see the cup half-full, see the silk purse and not the sow’s ear. Sometimes, though, I just hate stuff…like everyone else.
This post is a tribute to the depth and breadth of my utter loathing of summer.
I hate sweating.
I hate the way the polyester in my bra seems to soak up all that sweat and just slide around, supporting nothing.
I hate how my own legs stick to one another.
I hate humidity.
I hate not being able to do my own hair without my hands sticking to every bloody strand and bungling it all up for me.
I hate that the instant I put foundation on, it starts sliding off my face.
I hate how the heat saps my will to live (or to do anything, really).
I hate going outside into the hellish sun beating down on me.
I hate that the instant I walk into the sun, my super-fair skin starts to burn.
I hate those creepy heat mirages.
I hate how all the color leaches out of everything in the summer heat.
I hate that heat rises (we live in a second story apartment with NO cross ventilation).
I hate that central air conditioning is not standard in every habitable place.
I hate, hate, hate being hot.
I hate, hate, hate summer.
(Whimper, whimper, whine, moan, cry).
Okay! Done whining for the moment. I am going to nuzzle close to the Carter-era window unit the management company was kind enough to bring by yesterday and install. Even a brand-new unit wouldn’t be able to cool off our apartment to my satisfaction. I am just grateful that we have one – and that, Carter-era or not, it’s working very hard over there in the corner to cool it down in here.
Sigh. Is it September yet???
Hello there, outside world! I’ve been M.I.A. for awhile – I’ve been in the trenches, but in the best possible way! I’ve been engrossed with my newest pursuit – art. (I figured I’d share some of what I’ve been up to on here!)
Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things. (Ray Bradbury)
Last Thursday night, Jeremy arrived home to find the entire kitchen (and other parts of the apartment…) had been colonized by my forays into the artistic realm. I was blaring tango music (courtesy of Dani – thanks, by the way), wearing an intriguing new kerchief on my head to keep my hair out of the gesso, and having an absolutely fabulous time.
He took one look around, smiled, and said, “I’m so glad to see you doing this babe.” It felt good to hear that, and I quickly rescued some of the stuff I was working on from the top of the stove, so that he could make us dinner.
Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. (Scott Adams)
I was at it until three a.m. Happily, wholly engaged. Completely captured with experimentation and the joy of watching my ideas translated into form.
Creativity is a lot like looking at the world through a kaleidoscope. You look at a set of elements, the same ones everyone else sees, but then reassemble those floating bits and pieces into an enticing new possibility. (Rosabeth Moss Kanter)
I wandered through the house, scouting out things I could “repurpose” (translate: destroy) with impunity, and I tried things, without worrying how they would look or turn out. I just wanted to see what would happen when I went about it in different ways. It was freeing.
Freedom is the oxygen of the soul. (Moshe Dayan)
I’ve been breaking out of my shell, and it feels good. It feels good to play, and to create. It feels good not to hear the voice inside that’s always chiding and scolding.
Tomorrow, I’ll gather up all my tools and toys and go to play across the street with Dani. It’s like an artist’s play date, and I can’t wait! Life is good – and I feel great.
Today, the blogosphere proliferates with odes to mothers. I’ve never been much of a joiner, or a follower of the pack, but I felt inspired to follow suit.
Thank you for making clothes for my dolls,
For remembering that I like chocolate better than anything,
For supplying me with supper when I’m hungry and won’t ask.
Thank you for the beautiful ivory quilt you were making for you, but gave to me when I told you how much I liked it (I truly wasn’t angling for it),
For ferrying me to Girl Scouts and CCD, to babysitting gigs and jobs, to friends’ houses,
For loving me anyway when I was thirteen and so angry with you and the world,
For worrying about whether I’m paying attention to the things that need attending.
Thank you for helping me to grow a compassionate heart,
For letting me know that it was okay to question everything,
For helping me question everything, even when it made you afraid for me.
Thank you for always believing in me, in my writing, in my spark,
For putting aside the common sense that comes so easily to you, and supporting my mad dreams anyway,
For letting me quit eating meat when I was ten and I begged and begged.
Thank you for every little thing that you’ve ever done (I noticed),
For telling me you love me,
For making sure that no matter how things were going in our home, I knew I was loved and wanted,
For wearing holey shoes so that our growing feet could have new ones.
Thank you for every night you spent pacing the floor with me, a colicky baby,
For watching me walk across the stage when I graduated college,
For not complaining (too much) when I pressed you into service helping me with the crafty parts of projects,
For finally acknowledging that my taste is not your taste (you hit the jackpot with the scarves on my last birthday – so glad you went with your gut, and bought for me “what you would never have bought for yourself.”)
Thank you for all the lunches you made for us, and the little notes and drawings you’d pop into them occasionally,
For making sure that we were fed, and clean, and healthy,
For reading to me, and imbuing me with a love of stories,
For listening to the drivel that I’d write when I was a teenager, and the papers I wrote in college.
Thank you for showing me that it is good to make things with your hands,
For giving me the knowledge that we create our own lives,
For letting me create mine, even when it didn’t seem to jive with what you’d hoped for me.
Thank you for your face – when I look in the mirror, I see me, and all the women who’ve come before me,
For drawing the lines we should not cross, and giving us deep moral natures,
For having philosophical discussions with me in the garage – winter or summer,
For surrendering and showing me how.
Thank you for showing up every day, even when you were tired, and boneweary, and wanted rest,
For flying to my defense when I faced Goliaths,
For calling me on all the things I thought I could get away with,
For being patient.
Thank you for every mistake that you made, and for the knowledge that I can make them, too,
For being brave, and fragile, and human,
For every hug,
For every treat on every holiday.
Thank you, Mom, for everything.
Thank you for everything
You ever did.
The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself. (Alan Alda)
Any creative venture is like an expedition into the unknown. You might designate a leader, and they might lob some direction at you, but you are the one navigating trackless jungles and jumping willingly into pits to discover whether they’re bottomless or not.
When I was in high school, I took every art class that they offered. I sensed, then, that there was something within me that wanted OUT, that wanted expression, that defied the words I was so comfortable with. When I got to college, I took art survey (history, essentially) instead. Somewhere along the way, I decided that to engage the part of myself which hungered for expression was dangerous. I retreated into safety, and into language – safe.
Writing can be dangerous – but for me, facility with language always came so easily. I encouraged the logical-mental functions of it, and left others to explore the wildfires and sandstorms it could create. I kept it small, so that I could control it.
Lately, that hunger has been resurfacing. I almost couldn’t name it, I hadn’t let myself feel it in such a long time. Last night, I gathered around a table with other women who sought to enter the realm of juicy creativity. Our guide, Tracy, laid the tools for the journey out on the table and we slavered over them, eager to begin.
I jumped in – I played. I didn’t think too hard, I shut up the inner critic (for whom, nothing is ever good enough). God, I enjoyed myself. I felt giddy!
You need chaos in your soul to give birth to a dancing star. (Frederich Nietzsche)
I’ve been on a spiritual quest since before I had words to understand what it was I sought. And along the way, I’ve avoided my own dark heart. I’ve shunned my shadow, and I’ve spent an awful lot of time attempting to rub clean all the places I felt messy.
I spent a lot of time, essentially, sterilizing myself. (Pardon me – I’m having a moment right now, letting that statement sink in. I don’t think I knew I felt that way until I wrote that just now, this minute).
I’ve spent so much time afraid of my own passion – passion can warm your bones, or burn you to cinders. That unpredictability? It just didn’t jive with my need to perfect everything. To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong. (Joseph Chilton Pierce) I’ve written about my perfectionism on this blog. I’ve talked about how I know it’s slow death. I just think I forgot what I was allowing it to kill. Until last night. Until I played. Until I showed up, and let go, and just played.
All the times I’d written a poem with true emotionality, I hid it. I don’t think I wanted anyone to know that I could be so out of control. That’s the other part of last night that was so important – the sharing. To sit in a circle, and to each draw out from ourselves some beautifully messy part of our souls, and put it down on paper, and share it with one another.
I am so excited about this, you’d think I’d created the next Mona Lisa. Maybe not to anyone else’s eyes, but for me, this was monumental. This was the tip of the iceberg, and I’m diving deeper next time. I’m committing to it – to myself, to my creativity, to my wild and dark beating heart, to my murky emotions and my human frailty.
This morning, I took pictures of all the pages I’d created last night (I need to practice with the bloody camera. I really hate technology sometimes – I apologize for the cruddy quality of the pics). I decided to post them on here – to “finish” slaying the dragon by drawing it out of the darkness, and sharing it with the world. And, not caring what anyone thinks of it – only that I love it, and I feel impassioned and eager to finish this project and embark on the next expedition. To dip into my soul’s chaos, and give birth to whatever comes.