Category Archives: Uncategorized

May Every Child Know Love

Rain. Sleet. Fog. Snow. Blue skies. Darkness falling.

Roger’s Pass

It was all present on my drive home from Vancouver to Calgary on Wednesday. I had planned to drive through on Tuesday but a snowstorm derailed my plans and I got to spend an extra day with my grandchildren, daughter and son-in-love.

I thought about staying until the weekend but the forecast was for more snow later in the week and into the weekend. Best to ‘carpe diem’ and slip through between the storm past and the storm forecast.

I left early – my goal, to reach home before darkness fell.

I just made it.

My heart is full. My heart arches with longing to once again hold these precious little one’s in my arms. To laugh with them. To read stories and make them up too! To sing silly songs and watch Blippi, my grandson’s favourite TV show, so that I can hear his laughter and watch him do his ‘excavator dance’.

And now I’m home. Separated by the miles and miles of land between us and the snow-capped mountains that edge the horizon, their serrated ridges a reminder of my grandson’s dinosaur inspired imitations when he gets out of the bath. Wrapped in his blue towel with the stuffed dinosaur head, he stomps around the house shaking his body from side-to-side and waving his arms as he roars. I pretend to be scared, cover my face and cry out, “Oh No! A dinosaur! I’m so scared!” And then, he laughs and giggles and we go through it all over again. And again. And again.

I remember the moment my daughters were born. I remember that feeling of pure all-encompassing love that descended upon me and enveloped me with its abiding presence. I remember feeling so overwhelmed with love that I felt like I’d never breathe deeply again. I remember holding them and never wanting to let go.

And then I did. Let go. I had no choice. To be their parent meant creating space for them to find their wings and learn how to fly.

And then, my grandson and now my granddaughter arrived and I feel those feelings of not wanting to let go and I know those feeling of being so deeply immersed in their presence the world outside fades and I feel enveloped in Love. Consumed. Captivated. Mesmerized. Entranced. Enchanted.

The difference is, this time I get to experience it all while witnessing my daughter transform into the kind of mother every child deserves. Loving. Kind. Patient. Imaginative. Creative. Caring. Funny. Playful. Permissive without being domineering. Disciplined without being controlling.

She is soft spoken even in the face of a tired child’s tantrum. She lovingly honours each child’s individual needs, creating space for their unique personalities to shine through. Even at three months old, she respects her daughter’s expressions, responding with loving-attention no matter the time of day or night. She creates a safe and courageous container of love for their children to shine and learn and grow and flourish.

The sadness of leaving is lightened by the memories of my time spent with them all and the knowing that, in Alexis and my son-in-love, these two precious beings have been gifted parents who will love fiercely and stand steadfast in their promise to love them forever and always.

What a beautiful gift of Love. For their children. Each other. The world.

May all children in this world know they are loved. They are safe. They are precious and unique.

Namaste.

Painting Through The Shudders

There is a world of curious ‘mishaps’ beneath this painting. A world of giving into the questions. Like, “Hmmmm…. if I do [this], I wonder what will happen?” Or, “I really like the way it looks now. I wonder what would happen if I let go of the need to ‘like it’?”

Letting go of the need to ‘like it’ is hard for me. I want my art to be pretty. To be pleasing to the eye. To not disturb.

And that’s why I art journal. To strengthen my ‘letting go’ muscles.

I like to create ‘pretty’.

This is the first monoprint – I really, really liked it.

Pretty doesn’t always serve me well. Pretty can mean I’m playing it safe. Playing it for affirmation. Playing it for the outcome – which will hopefully become something I can sell.

Art Journalling isn’t about creating work to sell. It’s about selling yourself on the idea that creating for the pure joy of creating is a form of meditation, revelation and restoration.

This page had a couple of iterations. The first one above, which I really, really liked. The one on the right, which I hesitated to share because it makes my creative nerves shudder. And then the final one which makes me smile.

The Shudders

The really, really liked one got buried beneath the shudders one because I was curious about what would happen if I painted botanicals on top.

The final piece, which is all about experimentation – and a lesson in letting go – is because I felt compelled to cover up the ‘shudders’.

The blue petals are created from the masking tape I used to block off the edges of the page in my art journal. Its patterns were made as I monoprinted on the paper.

When I pulled them off the page after the paint had dried, I didn’t immediately crumble them up and throw them into the wastebasket. The patterns that had developed as I monoprinted fascinated me so I carefully hung them from the edge of my worktable. I didn’t have any idea what I would use them for, or if I would use them for anything. They simply intrigued me so I decided to save them.

It wasn’t until I ended up with ‘the shudders’ on top of the original monoprinted background and thought, ‘Oh my. Now that’s not particularly pleasing,’ that I thought about using the saved blue masking tape.

Which meant, I had to dive in and pull another monoprint of the page and start reworking it. (The white striated background)

And here’s the thing.

How we do one thing is how we do all things.

I was afraid of ruining the monoprint I really liked and hesitated to do anything else to it. But, I also knew my hesitation was fear-based and wanted to confront my fear – which I am very familiar with.

It’s all about that ‘precious thing’ syndrome. Holding onto things because I deem them precious, or because I don’t know what I might do with them and don’t want to let them go because I fear I’ll be limiting my options later.

Like the blue masking tape. I didn’t have a really good reason to hold onto it other than that it intrigued me. Sure, finding a use for it was a bonus but if I step back and reflect on things I’ve held onto because of the fear of letting go was high, I’d find a wealth of material for personal exploration of my ‘fear of letting go’ syndrome.

Like right now. I fear letting this blog post go because I’m not sure I’ve really explored it adequately.

But, I also know this is a lifelong exploration for me. This post doesn’t have to be perfect or beautiful, or even witty.

In fact, it doesn’t need to be anything other than a reflection of where I’m at right now and how I’m navigating these spaces.

The biggest ‘fear’ to overcome right now, is my fear of showing ‘my ugly’.

And the ‘shudder painting’ is all about ‘my ugly’.

I don’t like it. I want to ignore it. I want to pretend it didn’t happen.

Life, like art, doesn’t work that way. ‘The ugly’ is as vital to a rich and beautiful life as the pretty.

Finding value in ‘the ugly’ enriches my life. It creats vibrant, unexpected gifts that keep expanding possibility into sacred knowing of the essence of who I am when I let go of being anything and anyone other than who and how I am in this moment right now.

Real. Vulnerable. Embodied in the present moment. Breathing into the joy held within the darkness and the light. The joy and the sorrow. The beauty and the ugly. The known and the unknown.

Namaste

Nature Will Always Have Its Way

Autumn leaves turn green to gold to rust. A bluebell clings to summer’s embrace.

The calendar turns another page. Memory clings to falling beauty.

The seasons turn. The sun rises and sets and rises again. The river flows and freezes and flows again, a fluid stream of time flowing freely through memory’s frozen banks.

The end becomes the beginning of spring becoming the end again and again.

And through it all, beauty ripples in seasonal glory unblemished by memories of clinging vines locked in winter’s icy kisses.

Seasons turn.

Life moves forward with time, never back.

Nature will always have its way.

Mystery. Magic. Musings.

Eco-dyed 100% cotton

I love to experiment, to explore, to experience the mystery of what is possible when I let the ‘what ifs’ of attempting new things be my guide.

What if I add this rusty old nail to a vat of plants in water? What if I include it in a piece of cloth I’m rolling up that has been decorated with leaves?

What if...

I have been exploring the amazing world of eco-dyeing.

According to one website I checked out, eco-dyeing is, “…a contemporary application of the traditions of natural dyeing. In eco printing or dyeing, plants are enclosed in textiles or paper, bundled by winding over rods or stacked in layers and then steamed or immersed in hot water to extract the pigments and produce a print made with plant dyes.” (Source)

For me, it’s a whole lot of possibility steamed up in a pot of mystery and magic giving rise to retrospective musings of what I’ve learned, experienced, witnessed, observed…

Did I also mention its messy? It’s that too. But so much fun the mess becomes inconsequential.

Jar of cloths ready for the sun

I started the process of dyeing these cloths earlier in the week. I laid out my plants and ephemera on the cotton, rolled and tied them up, placed them in a jar to soak in a mixture of iron water and then, put them into the sun.

Sun-dyed only.

The cloth to the left was sun-dyed only. The other two were sun dyed and steamed on the stove for a couple of hours. The only reason the first cloth wasn’t steamed is that I was curious (and impatient) to see how the process went and unrolled it when I brought the jar inside. That’s when I decided steaming was the next step.

Sun-dyed and steam-bathed

And that’s the beauty of any creative process. It puts a spotlight on the traits we possess that can sometimes trip us up.

Take my impatience for example. My beloved likes to tease me by calling my impatience ‘legendary’. I didn’t think of myself as impatient until I reflected on what ‘inspired’ me to unravel the whole role of the first cloth to check it out. If I’d tested it by unrolling just a smidgen of a corner, I’d have seen it needed steaming for a darker imprint.

That said, I like the juxtaposition of the heavily printed versus lightly printed piece of fabric.

Sun-dyed and steam bathed

Now, here’s the big question – what will I do with these pieces?

I don’t know is the honest answer. The answer to make me look a little less unstructured is, “I can use them as journal covers. I can collage them into a page. I’m sure there’s other things I can do too!”

And that is where the fun comes in.

I don’t know what I want to do with the fabrics. I do know I love the mystery and the science of eco-dyeing. I love the experience of learning something new and the way it challenges me to keep learning more.

So… I’ll keep experimenting with it just for the fun of the exploration.

And that is one of the lessons this foray into eco-dyeing has really put into the spotlight for me.

It isn’t about the ‘why’ or the outcome. It’s all about the journey. About how much joy, laughter, curiosity, inner-knowing and a wealth of other aspects of creative expression that naturally arise from the exploration of what I know, and what I don’t know about myself and the world around me.

And, as I am learning as I explore this new medium, what I don’t know is greater than what I think I know. What a wonderful mystery to explore!

A Prayer for Present Me

Watercolour and acrylic inks on watercolour paper – 9 x 12″

I didn’t know I was still carrying energy around a long-ago event until my daughter told me about my grandson waking up inconsolable with a fever.

Ah yes. I remember those feelings. That sense of helplessness. Of worry and fear grappling for dominance in my mind.

She was three months old. Thanksgiving. She’d been fussy for a couple of days. I asked Wanda, our next door neighbour who was a pediatric nurse, for help. What do you think? Should I take her to a doctor?

She’s just teething, Wanda asserted.

I wanted to believe her but the next day when she would not stop crying, (Alexis never cried as an infant) I insisted we take her into the Children’s hospital emergency room. We were on our way to my then in-laws for Thanksgiving dinner. Dinner can wait, I told my then husband. This is more important.

I remember when they took her from my arms and placed her on a cold steel examining table.

I remember when they put a tiny IV needle into her scalp.

I remember holding her and trying to soothe her and all the while she is mewling and I am forcing myself not to cry because I need to be calm for her.

She was admitted to hospital that day. An infection. A spiking temperature.

She was there a week.

I only went home to shower and change my clothes.

I could not leave her alone no matter how kind and caring the nurses and doctors.

I could not leave her alone.

I had forgotten about those moments and days 34 years ago until I heard about my grandson. He is okay. Whatever was ailing him passed through and he is once again his sunny self.

I am grateful.

That he has weathered this storm, whatever its source and that I can breathe again through memory, letting time wash away the traces of those moments and days long ago when I felt so helpless, so incompetent and like such a failure as a mother.

How could I not have known when first she started to cry that it was something serious?

How could I not have immediately whisked her off to the doctor?

And I smile.

I remember.

I never wanted to be ‘one of those mothers’ who was constantly dragging their child to a doctor imagining the worst.

I wanted to assume the best. To be calm, collected, thoughtful in everything I did.

Years later, when Alexis was about 12, she’d break her foot climbing the doorframe to the kitchen (I know. It was a thing to do.) Not wanting to foster her assertions that something was seriously wrong after having listened so many times to her cries that a fall had resulted in a break which ended up with unnecessary x-rays, I put ice on her foot and told her if it was still hurting in the morning, we’d get it checked out.

Sure enough, this time, the break was real.

And again, I wondered, how could I not have known? How could I be such an incompetent mother?

I’m smiling as I write that. I think being a mother has taught me more about acceptance of my limitations and fears as well as made me aware of my blind-spots and ego’s need for reassurance than anything else I’ve ever done in my life.

Being a mother humbled me. It still does.

And being a YiaYa has given me the gift of remembering those places where old fears still linger, where charred spots in my psyche can still burn.

And I say a prayer of gratitude. And I say a prayer of hope. And I say a prayer of remembering what it means to be human.

We do our best and our best is all we can do.

Namaste.

___________________________________________________-

As part of the course I’m taking online with Orly Avineri, the invitation was to take one image and repeat it 3 times in a journal page.

This page in my altered book journal, My Mother’s Prayers, is called, A Prayer for My Inner Child — it became 3 prayers, one for my inner child, my present me and my future me. My mother always lit candles for her children, particularly when something was going on in our lives. I’m pretty sure, 34 years ago she burnt a candle and prayed for Alexis every day.

A Prayer for My Inner Child
May you always feel safe in my arms of Love, free to run with abandon in the garden of dreams blossoming in my heart. May you never fear that I will desert you or put you at risk. May you know peace within me.
A Prayer for My Present Self
May courage be my constant companion, drawing me deeper and deeper into the great mystery of life where I am bound in sacred partnership within the luminous present opening my heart to Love always.
A Prayer for My Future Self
May you feel deeply and passionately connected to the exquisite nature and intimacy of the whole dancing fearlessly in the ephemeral nature of the embodied present. May you dance with life, falling forever into Love.
And so it was.
And so it is.
And so it will be.
Forever and Always.

Ivy – God’s Gift

Ivy Portia – born Friday, June 26th

Between chattering and playing with a two-year-old and helping my daughter and son-in-love as they adjust to life with a newborn, I enter into a moment of quiet.

My grandson has gone off with his dad for an adventure. Ivy, my granddaughter, is sleeping skin-to-skin on her mother’s chest as her mother tries to rest too.

“The midwife says you should try to get a minimum of an hour a day of skin-to-skin contact with a newborn,” my daughter tells me.

I smile and breathe into the wisdom of midwifery and skin-to-skin contact.

My granddaughter Ivy was born on Friday, June 26th. On Sunday, I drove the 1,000 kilometres to the coast to be with my daughter and her family for a couple of weeks. In these days of Covid, flying feels too risky.

I feel so incredibly blessed. So grateful to be here. To be with them as they navigate this new territory. As my daughter exclaimed on Monday afternoon, looking at her husband and son who surrounded her and the infant Ivy on their bed, “We’ve got two children! We’re a family of four!”

I smiled at both the surprise in her voice and the delight.

Along with fidelity and faithfulness, Ivy means, “God’s Gift.”

Ivy is a gift. Ivy, my granddaughter, is named after my grandmother. My two aunts, one in her late 80s the other in her early 90s are both ‘over the moon’ with gratitude and delight.

Auntie Eveline phones early in the morning from France to express her pleasure. Aunti Maggie phones from Pondicherry, India where she lives. It is the same city where she and my mother and their 8 siblings were born and raised.

“Thank you so much for bringing our mother back to us,” Auntie Maggie says. “Thank you for giving her our mother’s name.”

“We didn’t choose the name,” Alexis, my eldest daughter says. “Ivy did. Before she was born.”

Alexis was very connected to my mother and her Euro-Asian lineage. She always asked her for stories of her past. To share with her tales of long ago days in Pondicherry, a place my mother called her ‘Shangri-la.”

It is as if those stories are imprinted within the DNA of this tiny infant. As if, India, the land of sacred cows wandering crooked streets and incense wafting in smoky tendrils into the sky and monks chanting and moonlight shimmering over the Ganges and waves of the Indian Ocean crashing into the shores of Pondicherry, has come alive with her birth.

I am, like my aunts, over the moon. Delighted. Ecstatic.

Big heart. Big brother.

And my grandson comes in, looks deeply into my eyes, turns and looks into his mother’s and looks back at me. “You have mama’s eyes,” he says and my heart flutters as gracefully as a butterfly drifting on a warm ocean breeze redolent of frangipani and sandalwood and the smell of spicy curry wafting up from a street vendor’s stall.

I breathe and say a prayer of gratitude for this moment. For these days of holding a tiny infant in my arms and feeling the threads of history weaving their magic through time and space.

I give thanks for the laughter of a two-year-old who delights in YiaYa’s French Toast (said with an over-indulgent French accent) and who insists the meat on his plate is not le poulet as YiaYa tries to tell him. It is chicken. And who then smiles so beguilingly my heart flutters again and I am lifted off on a flight of fancy, spinning tales of race cars spinning their tires and pandas who like to spin tales like the Walrus of Lewis Carroll‘s lore and talk of many things…

Of shoes — and ships — and sealing-wax —
      Of cabbages — and kings —
And why the sea is boiling hot — and whether pigs have wings.

I breathe and give thanks for the strong, resilient women who are my ancestors, the story-tellers and story-makers and story-keepers of this web of love that is our family circle. Flung wide across this globe, we are connected in a circle spun as tight as ivy weaving a lush green blanket of leaves along the path of history meandering its way through time, leading me to this moment where I sit and hold my infant granddaughter and am surrounded by love.

These are the days my friends. These are the days.

Namaste.

Plant Only Love

Two page spread for Sheltered Wonder Art Journal. Mixed media on watercolour paper.

If your life is like a garden – to cultivate, to tend, to nurture — what seeds have you planted?

How have you tended it well? What have you nurtured in its fertile soils? What have you weeded out? What new plants have you introduced? Which ones have you transplanted? Where is it overgrown? Where is it barren and dry?

What is your garden asking of you today?

I had fun playing with creativity in my garden yesterday. Experimenting. Wondering, what if I… And then, letting the ‘what if’ guide me. Under its spell, I painted without knowing where I was going, trusting always that whatever was appearing was opening the portal to the next, and then the next, and then the next discovery.

In the art of creativity, I found myself immersed in wonder and awe, free-flowing through time, surfing on a jet stream of creativity that held me captive high above the earth, paying no heed to gravity’s pull calling me to come back to earth.

Eventually I did. Come back to earth. But not before something I hadn’t imagined would appear, appeared on the canvas – in this case an 11 1/5″ x 7″ piece of 140lb watercolour paper – filled with watercolour and inks, a bird on a branch, bright, joyful pops of colourful flowers popping up out of the ground.

The use of complementary and analogous colours was unintentional (that’s just a fancy way of saying ‘colours from the opposite sides of the colour wheel’). I had sat down at my studio work table with an idea in my mind of what I was looking to express.

It wasn’t what appeared.

And that is the beauty of the creative process. When I get out of my head brain and become present with my entire body attuned to the moment, magic happens.

For me, there is something chaotically joyful and abandoned about this painting. It stirs both my heart and my curiosity. It makes me wonder, ‘is the bird just alighting?’ or, is it just taking flight? What are the stories the wind is whispering to the leaves of its travels around the globe?

And then, the art-related questions of, ‘What would happen if I painted the bird white? Gave her a red belly? Or yellow one? What if…

And the circle continues. Widens. Broadens out to encompass more and more possibilities.

I’m not sure this painting is finished with me yet. I’m still wondering ‘what if’s’ and that is always a sign.

The choice to heed their intriguing possibilities is mine.

Hmmmm…. Will she or won’t she?

Ahhh. Life is such a beautiful, joyful dance of mystery, mysticism and magic. It is a garden full of all the seeds I’ve planted growing into my life today. No matter what seeds I plant, or what seeds are pollinated by the winds of time, it is my destiny to tend it so that all that grows, all that flourishes, all that becomes known and witnessed and experienced is, Love in all its rainbow colours.

Namaste.

Let Your Heart Run Wild

Mixed media on water colour paper. 2 page spread for “Sheltered Wonder” Art Journal

Worry and being present cannot inhabit the same space. Worry is about future events. It focuses on obsessive thoughts of events that may or may not happen. Being present is exactly that – you are here in the now, free of worry, experiencing this moment.

Worry feeds your head brain with the illusion only it will keep you safe from the worst of what you think might happen.

The heart knows best how to stay present in the moment. The body becomes embodied in the present when your heart beats freely without fear clouding your senses and muddying up your peace of mind.

Listen to your heart. Let it run wild. Let it leap over obstacles. Dive deep into unknown waters. Soar high into cloudy skies and limitless blue possibilities.

When you heart runs wild worry falls away, fear subsides and life flows freely.

Let your heart run wild.

_________________________________

Since Covid became a ‘real’ thing in our world, my beloved and I have practiced self-isolation. Always there has been a niggling worry at the back of my mind about what if…?

What if he gets infected? What if he doesn’t survive? What if…

I tell myself, that’s just worry Louise about future events over which you have no control. Breathe and be in the moment. Breathe into your heart, let it run wild with delight in this moment where you are both well and healthy and savouring this secluded time together. Let worry go.

Worry responds, “Go ahead. Try. But you’re gonna fail. I’m stronger than your heart. Remember. I live in your brain. I know everything.”

“Oh no you don’t,” the wisdom that breathes deeply within my belly responds, coursing with energy up through my body, into the far extremities of my arms, my hands, my fingertips that feel the air moving all around me. With effortless grace, the energy flows down into my legs, my ankles, my feet, connecting and grounding me to the earth.

“The heart sends more messages to you every moment of every day than you send to it, my belly informs my brain. “You think your way through life. The heart feels its way into and through every moment. It flows with life-giving blood that nourishes my organs, my cells, my skin. It breathes life into the essence of my being alive.”

My heart knows life, intimately.

My brain only knows what it thinks life is. It cannot feel it. Experience it. Taste it. It takes the whole body – head included — nourished by the heart’s blood-pounding ways, to do that.

The heart feels everything. The body joins it in communion with all of nature. The brain says, “Let me think about that.”

The heart and body respond, “Come, run wild with us through life’s forests. Come, swim with us in its seas of plenty. Let your thoughts rest within the delight of this moment right now. Let worry go.”

I breathe and heed the call of the wild.

My worry serves no purpose than to pull me away from the exquisite nature of this moment right now.

“The purpose of self-isolation is to stem the worry, Louise,” my heart whispers lovingly. “It’s the right thing to do for both of you. It isn’t about divining the future, it’s about building safe, courageous space to live confidently in this moment right now knowing, deep within all your being, that in this moment right now, you are alive within the precious, holy, sacred gift of life.”

In these exceptional times, as in all times, every breath counts. Every breath is precious. Anything that disrupts the flow has the potential to ignite my worry – if I let it.

Breathing deeply into the beauty of this moment, I let my worry drift away upon the river of life that sustains me.

I let worry go. And my heart runs wild.

Namaste.

The Joy Of Letting Go

Have you ever laid in bed, late at night, listening to a faucet drip? Remember that moment in between each drop? You hope it stops. You fear it won’t and then… the next drip sounds and you wait again.

One part of your mind says, ‘get up and do something about that drip’.

The other part, it wants to believe it will just happen naturally. The drop will stop dripping all on its own.

And so, you lay there wavering between the hope it will stop, and the fear it won’t.

Like the child learning to feed the wolf of kindness and grace, or the nasty harbinger of grief and misery, we go through each day making decisions between drips and drops of time passing. Between choosing hope over despair. Possibility over holding on. Love over fear. The known over the unknown.

In our quest to hold on to what we know, we are blinded by our fear of losing what we already have. Trapped in the fear we will lose it all if we let go, we cannot see that letting go is the initiation rite of passage we must pass through to discover the joy of flying.

Yesterday, on a bi-weekly call with two beautiful women friends, I shared how I fear letting go of ‘this space’ to create a new, exciting platform from which to launch my ‘next phase’.

I know. I know. Who says I need a next phase anyway? Heck! I’ve paid my dues. Done my service to humanity. After almost 20 years working in the homeless serving sector, I ‘deserve’ to ‘go quietly into the sunset’ or some such trite apothegm.

Fact is, I say I need, no wait, want a next phase. I want my life to have meaning that is purposeful and of service to humanity. Not because it feeds my ego. It’s not my ego that yearns for sustenance. It is my soul, my heart, my ‘person’.

I don’t want to go back. I want to go forward to explore a different terrain than the not for profit world I embraced so whole-heartedly in the past. A world that gave me great joy and fulfillment.

And see, there’s the thing, right there. It ‘gave me’. Past tense. It is not of the present.

What brings me joy today?

The peace and tranquility of my life is lovely. But as I told my friends yesterday, I miss the feeling of being busy. Of juggling many things. Of making purposeful decisions about big ideas.

Ahhh yes. I miss big ideas and big thinking. I miss feeling like I am part of making change happen.

I don’t want to go back and I cannot go forward without letting go of this space between the drip and the drop.

The end of this month will mark my one year anniversary of freedom from the 9 to 5, which as my daughters remind me was more my 24/7.

It has been a year of challenges. Of gut-twisting growth and heart-wrenching breakthroughs. Of soul-defying deep dives and fear-inspired pushing back.

I am ready.

And that’s the exciting part. “I don’t know” is a beautiful place to start my exploration.

I crave depth. Substance. Meaning.

Always have.

I crave growth. Creative expression. Connection. Belonging.

The question is: Am I willing to let go of holding on to what is, to fall into the unknown that is calling out for me to soar and discover all that is possible beyond what I already know? Am I courageous enough to live the questions with grace?

As Rilke so beautifully said,

Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”

Rainier Maria Rilke

The question is: Am I courageous enough to live the questions knowing the answers can only be lived through letting go of holding on to what I know?

Am I willing to let go of holding on to what is, to fall into the unknown that is calling out for me to soar and discover all that is possible beyond the edges of all I know?

Ooohhhh…. What heady, exciting, life giving questions to live everything now!

 

Seeking Perfection Is Tiring. Seek Beauty.

Beauty found her safe inside the bud of her imagination. Captivated by beauty, she danced free.

As I type this morning, I am listening to Ludovico Einaudi’s recording of 12 Songs From Home. The album notes state, “… at the height of Italy’s lockdown, Ludovico Einaudi waited until his family had gone to bed before taking out his iPhone to record himself at the piano. 12 Songs from Home is the result — an intimate record of a solitary artist, performing pieces from his most acclaimed solo albums.”

To my ears, and heart, the music he shares feels like the river that flows outside my window. Liquid. Velvety. Flowing. Deep and joyful. Soft. Sensuous. Soulful.

Yesterday, when I entered the studio to create a spread for my Sheltered Wonder journal, I put on Coldplay’s Everyday Life album and danced to Arabesque. It wasn’t a ‘dance by numbered steps’ kind of dance. It was more chaotic, free-flowing, arms moving anywhere they wanted to go, body following, sometimes leading. It felt like liquid movement that stirred my senses awakening my connection to the muse’s flow and the art of creating.

Fact is, the muse is always flowing. It’s just sometimes I am deaf to her entreaties to create from the depths of my being present in this moment, right now.

Which is why I begin every creative session in my studio with a dance. Moving my body breaks down the barriers I’ve created in my head to keep me separate from the muse’s exhortations that I let go, set sail, dance free.

My original intention was to go consecutively through the 5 Wonder Rules at the front of the Shelter Wonder art journal I’m creating as a reflection of this time in self-isolation. (Be Curious. Stay Open. Seek Beauty. Find Value. Share Grace.)

I created a two-page spread for Be Curious on the weekend and was intending to work on Stay Open yesterday. And while the image and words that appeared could be a visual guide for, Stay Open, my heart knows this page was created with Seek Beauty at the root of its conception.

And so, I let go of creating in the order my mind says makes sense, and fall into the grace of the rhythm of the muse where all that makes sense is to simply let go and create.

I am grateful.

In the muse’s beautiful song, I dance free of having to do it, ‘the right way, and find myself blessed with the gift of being in the grace of the simplicity that comes when I let go and create, or as Dale suggests in her comment on Wonder. Dream. Dare. “Enjoy and do. Enjoy and do.”

Namaste.

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About the painting:

I tried a new technique yesterday that I learned in an online course with Lorna Horn. I love the ethereal nature of her technique of painting leaves and, as I always do, I adapted it to my own expression.

The woman in the bud is a surprise. I had no intention of painting a woman — the spread was going to be all leaves and buds in various poses and then, I saw an image in an artbook I often use as reference and she appeared on the page.

That is the beauty of the creative process. There is no right nor wrong way. There is only the way I choose to express what is on my heart, in my soul, percolating up from my belly seeking release. And in that expression there is no The Good. The Bad and The Ugly. (thank you Clint Eastwood). There is only the beauty of self-expression. The wonder of what appears. And the joy of creating from the depths of my being present.

A note about the quote: Beauty found her safe within the bud of her imagination. Captivated by beauty, She danced free.

After writing it, I kind of cringed. Dang. It would be better to read… beauty found her sheltered within the bud….

And I smile. Seeking perfection is soooo tiring. I’ll stick with seeking beauty in all its manifestations.

And… this is the page I created for Be Curious.

The little speckles beside the words and above her hands are gold dust — they just don’t show up in the photo. 🙂

And… I know. I know. More?

I wanted to share a link to Coldplay’s album, Everyday Life (my fav by far). When I searched online I found this video of the cover song – and a reference to something I believe in deeply – Ubuntu. And… even more serendipity… The video was released on my birthday last year — how cool is that? 🙂