Inspiration is a funny thing. I am occasionally frustrated when Inspiration strikes, and I am “trapped” at work, or in life, in circumstances that undermine the moment from one of great power and motivation to something more like a cognitive itch I can’t scratch. Timing matters. Time matters. Location matters. Available resources with which to work – that matters, too. Any one element being a bit off, or out of reach, and the whole moment degrades, slips away, fades before I can dive into that delicious drenching sea for a quick swim, before inevitably returning to the sometimes tedious shores of a more staid reliably productive wholly limited reality.

Having a studio at home as been awesome, and exploring what that can be like definitely changed my approach to my living arrangements. Making a point to live in spaces in which I can have dedicated creative space has uncoupled any struggling to match inspiration with location from any of my relationships. That’s been wonderful. Managing my professional life (outside of art) such that I reliably have the resources to keep art supplies well-stocked has uncoupled any struggling to match inspiration with available resources. Β The only significant struggle that remains is to do with time, and timing.

I’m smiling this morning, and feeling fortunate that I’d already planned a long weekend for the equinox. When inspiration struck me with force, it was easy enough to roll with it, change my plans from coastal camping to a stay-cation in the studio, and happily move on with things. πŸ™‚ I arrived home yesterday and happily flipped an imagined “artist at work” sign in my head, made a coffee – because I’ve got 3+ days to play with, and no requirement to adhere to any particular routine unless I choose to do so, and no concern about late nights. Sometime after my 5th coffee of the day (and a bit past 4 pm) I admitted I’d probably had enough coffee. lol In the meantime, I had stepped into my studio, looked around, and agreed with my inner artist that a different arrangement of space, gear, and furnishings would be helpful…

…Somehow, I spent the evening rather energetically (hello 5 cups of coffee!!) “moving in more”, moving stored paintings around, discovering there were just too damned many stacked that I’d intended to be hanging, which lead to hanging more paintings (everywhere). I moved on to “those art cabinets are sort of in the way right there… which lead to moving furniture around. I got to that skinny box by the wall, and went ahead and finished setting up my workstation by putting the big desk monitor in its obvious place – on my desk. One by one, stacks of paintings, boxes of art supplies that had been “left for later”, art cabinets, supplies, blank canvases, books, gear, drop cloths… everything began to “sort itself out” (with my help, obviously – because no one is doing this shit for me!). By 7 pm, I was pretty much stalled. Finished. Done for the day. Not exactly tired, I remember thinking, but more just needing a bit of a break to consider next steps – with every intention of turning on appropriate lights and doing some “dark work” in glow colors.

Coffee or no coffee; I crashed at 8:30 pm, and slept deeply through the night. I woke briefly around 4 am, took my morning medication, peed, and went straight back to bed, and slept another 3 hours. It isn’t common for me to sleep so well, so deeply, or for so many hours. 11 hours of sleep? Brain-tired from an intense, however short, work week. I get it. It makes sense. I’m glad I didn’t make any attempt to force a routine on myself; I obviously needed the rest. πŸ™‚

This morning feels fresh and new and filled with wonder, color, music… and yeah, more coffee. LOL No idea what “next” looks like, yet. I linger over my coffee and my words; there’s no need to rush. This is a moment which is not enhanced by attempts at efficiency. Totally okay with that. The woman in the mirror is a different creature when she’s painting than when she’s 9-to-5-ing. I roll with the change happily, feeling transformed into some more natural state of being, relishing the freedom to be wholly myself, utterly without limitations or restrictions besides those I place on myself. Feels good. I let my soul stretch just as I would let myself stretch my body after a long time in one position; comfortable or uncomfortable, remaining in one position too long generally results in needing a good stretch, yeah? Same for my artist’s soul, I suppose. I feel my heart and my emotions reaching outside the day-to-day limitations of what is comfortable to display in public. Freedom to feel more, to explore myself more, to fully be. My home, my rules, my way. I look around my studio with a smile, and remind the world beyond “you don’t tell me“.

Maybe I write more this weekend. Maybe I don’t. Maybe I get all the sleep I need. Maybe I’m up all night painting. Maybe I paint a ton of tiny paintings. Maybe I work on just one canvas. Maybe I choose. Maybe I let Inspiration lead me gently. Maybe the work unfolds precisely as I envision it. Maybe everything I do ends up entirely different than I expected. Maybe all the housekeeping also gets done. Maybe the weekend ends with dishes in the sink.

That’s a lot of maybes. I’m sure about the coffee. LOL The rest? I’ll let you know on the other side of this vast Sea of Inspiration. It’s time to go for a swim. πŸ™‚

So, training on a new tool ended yesterday, in the sense that the trainer has left the building to return to her regular day-to-day experience elsewhere. My work week ends in a handful of hours after one meeting. It would be so easy to give myself a moment of self-congratulatory joy, celebrate an achievement, and be done with that… but… that isn’t how new knowledge (or new practices) actually work. The learning is a beginning, only. Then come the verbs. The practice. The repetition. The iterations of improvement over time. The learning curve. Skill building. Improvements. Refinements. Enhancements. Efficiency building. It’s even a cycle. Each new thing learned, practiced, and “mastered” leads to yet another new thing learned, which must be practiced, and mastered, which leads… yeah. So.

Weekends are also a thing. I’ve got a lovely long one ahead of me. I’d planned to spend the Autumnal Equinox on the coast, but this training week was important (remains important, it is simply now in the past), enough to cut a couple hours out of my planned time, resulting in a change in plan. Truly, though, what canceled my trip to the coast was a splash of inspiration urging me into the studio, which… yeah. That comes first whenever I can make it so. πŸ˜€

Beginnings and endings, and an unfinished self-portrait waiting to be completed.

I sip my coffee content with this moment. Eager to return home to my weekend. Eager to linger at leisure at the edge of the rainy day deck garden with a coffee too late in the day, unconcerned because the day of leisure will be followed by another. I am even eager to throw routine out the window, to stay up late in defiance of healthy sleep practices, to sleep in on a “work day” (helloooo, Friday morning, I’m looking your way!), to play the stereo loud, to be – without looking at the clock. Just anticipating the delicious leisure moments ahead, I feel myself relax. I need this. πŸ™‚

I’m pretty good at routines. I’m less skillful about breaking them. It’s not generally wise, but sometimes I do learn best from my challenges when I explore them, gently. Am I ready for some chaos? I’d better be…

…Anyway… I can always begin again. πŸ˜‰

A quiet rainy morning begins gently. My arthritis pain has flared up, because, of course it has. No arguing with rainy days, chilly nights, or autumn, generally. Summer is fading fast.

My coffee is very tasty. I enjoy having the espresso machine up and running.

Work seems to be proceeding in a pleasantly routine way, in spite of spending the majority of my short week in training. That bit, by itself, is fairly stimulating, almost exciting. There’s something about learning new things that are useful that “wakes me up” in some way that is just a bit beyond the usual.

Not a fucking thing about this morning is “ultimate”, “epic”, “amazing”, “tragic” – or any other adjectival excess. Life is far less commonly extraordinary than it is quite routine and average, although a quick glance at the morning headlines would lead one to expect quite the opposite is the case. I frown at the screen in front of me, resenting the constant “advertising” and manipulation. I turn that on myself with no ill-intent; I use a lot of fucking adjectives, myself. πŸ˜‰ Perspective? Maybe, maybe not. Maybe consumers burnt out on hyperbole are hard to market ideas, goods, and services to, or harder to engage, generally? (Myself, I use adjectives primarily because 1. I naturally use them when I talk about things, and 2. I’m trying to communicate the contents of my thoughts to someone who can’t share those directly in pictures, or emotions.) (I do over use them like crazy, I’m not unaware of it. It is about sharing, rather than persuasion.)

I let my consciousness move on.

I woke to the alarm, this morning. Once I reached the kitchen to make coffee some minutes later, I was irked to note I’d left dishes in the sink. Not okay (with me – Β your needs, and results, may vary). Well shit. Clearly not “epic”. 😦 Nor is it “the ultimate” anything at all. It’s also not “a colossal disappointment” – I’m just mildly annoyed with myself for having let them go until morning because, well, I hate that messy shit, specifically with regard to dishes in the sink. It’s to do with me, and what I value and appreciate for quality of life. I can do better for me. I sigh quietly in the morning chill, and promise myself coffee once the dishes are done. I feel grateful that I had turned on the heat after returning home to rainy autumn weather, Sunday evening. It is in all respects a fairly ordinary morning. I’m disproportionately pleased with that as the day begins; it’s enough.

I sip my coffee. An Americano this morning. I listen to the rain fall and the “ssssshhhh ssssshhhh” of cars passing by on the street. Busy street at some times of day, busier than I’d like. No kidding; I’d love to have some acreage to get sufficient distance from all the goings on of my fellow human beings to hear only bird song, breezes, and the sound a leaf makes when it hits the ground. lol That’s not going to happen here. I love this little house, and I am content, but it can’t be described accurately as “quiet”. It is not. The moments themselves are somehow quieter than the environment ever is, generally. The quiet I do find is the sort that is cultivated within. For now, and most of the time, this is enough.

I look at the clock. It’s still dark outside. Nonetheless, I decide to get on with things. It’s not “epic” timing, it’s not “the ultimate moment”, it’s not “an awesome opportunity”, and I’m not expecting an “amazing experience” – but it is an adequate moment to begin again. πŸ™‚ That’s enough.

I got home so brain-tired yesterday that the rainy day commute did not have the power to stress me out; I had no fucks left to give, in the gentlest nicest way. I just could not do anything beside safely gently drive home, park the car, and then… well, just basically nothing at all. lol

The rain continued to fall off and on all evening. I sat quietly enjoying the sound of it. Meditation. Yoga. A mug of hot tasty broth. A small glass of port, sipped slowly while I chatted for a few minutes with my Traveling Partner. Quiet. Merry. It was a lovely evening.

I slept restlessly, waking every two hours or so, checking the clock, returning to sleep. I woke ahead of the alarm, but close enough; I got up early. Yoga. Strength training. A shower. A very tasty almond milk latte that shows I have been practicing; best so far. A gentle morning, in spite of my arthritis pain.

I am eager for the long weekend ahead. No occasion. Well, me. That’s my occasion. It’s the autumnal equinox, and I am taking a long weekend to meditate, and to paint. It’s only blip on the radar this morning, of little consequence, although I have a to do list waiting for me each evening that is intended to see all the housekeeping completed before the work week ends. (How’s that going, so far, then? LOL) I’m contentedly resigned to the high likelihood that I’ll actually spend Thursday afternoon on all of that, simply because the beginnings of this week are so crammed with work-day activities that I am utterly exhausted when I get home in the evenings. It is what it is. I don’t give myself any shit about being human very often anymore.

I am mildly irked about having to go in to the office on Thursday, which jammed up Β my original plan to camp on the coast and meditate on the shore over the long weekend, but the goings on in the office are not just a big deal; this particular bit is about/for the work I specifically do, so… yeah. It’d be hard to delegate that. I don’t even want to. Aaaaaand… inspiration struck me, which matters a great deal, and I need to take the new studio space for a test drive. πŸ˜€ So. Change of plans. A painting stay-cation, and I am eager to get on with it. There’s still the rest of this week, as short as it is, to get through… so.

I finish my coffee, still staring at that to do list. I find myself noticing that several listed tasks are sufficiently “quiet” that I can knock some of this out before work…

…A good opportunity to begin again. πŸ™‚

Yep. Pour me a river of strong black coffee. lol It’s already Monday.

I feel like I spent an eternity in Wonderland. What a fantastical, peculiar, love-drenched, musical magical weekend. πŸ™‚ I’m still smiling. I got to hear DJs I’d been managing to just miss over several previous events – in one case, someone I’ve been truly yearning to hear perform live (my Traveling Partner). I got to hang out fully welcomed by loving family (chosen family, cherished friends, and assorted colorful others). I got to see looks of delight upon being introduced (to a very select few) as “my wife, …” . There were hugs, and tales of adventure, and great music, and pretty lights – it was an experience outside the routine and ordinariness of my day-to-day, and this time I totally understood the draw of such a weekend, and how it might become a lifestyle for some, far more than I ever understood previously. It was lovely. It was fun. I’m still processing it. πŸ˜€

It was a weekend spent fully living each moment as present as I was able to do so. I now also Β understand how it is that my traveling partner rarely has any pictures of the events he attends; I never once thought to pull out my camera. LOL

The drives down and back were fine. Long-ish, but because the specific location was a bit further north, not at long as previous drives down. It had some fun weird surreal moments, too. I went to high school down that way, and upon seeing the gps coordinates of the location plotted on a map, I realized I would be in a (sort of) familiar area. Having the brain injury I do has some strange moments; I got close-ish to my destination, and somehow, found myself insisting (through spontaneous action) upon getting off the highway at an earlier than planned (by gps) exit. “Fuck this, I know where I am now” was how that felt, and I drove efficiently down half-familiar country roads at “local speeds”; the place names and landmarks I passed all seemed very familiar, but if asked I could not have told you were I was, nor described the route I was taking. The part of my brain driving the rest of that trip wasn’t, apparently, the part that does all the talking. LOL The trip back was similarly strange. I used my gps to set up the trip, but it wanted me to drive two hours out of my way becauseit was left set on “no highways”! I ignored it, got in the car, and drove. I figured it would recalculate the route properly once I was on the freeway heading north, at which point I’d be shutting it off anyway, and I knew the route I was taking, already. Fun and weird, and strangely empowering. πŸ˜€

Also mostly irrelevant. It was just a drive. Well, two. Two drives, and very little “traffic” except one bit on the way back, nearer to home but not quite to the exit I thought I was planning to take. I shrugged off any stress about either the pouring rain that was falling, making the roads slick (first rain in quite some time) and reducing visibility, or the traffic. I took the next exit once I hit congestion and hopped on a road that “felt” suspiciously like a good alternate route. I was right. Maybe I should be letting that part of my brain drive all the time? lol Hell, it was the ideal detour; it shortened my drive time by about 7 minutes. The weekend driving also ensured that I had ample exposure to driving and being in traffic after being tail-ended on Friday.

I think back on relating The Tale of Being Rear-Ended to my Traveling Partner, and his gentle and firm insistence that I have the bumper repaired. I have no earnest desire to follow through on that, but he’s right; keeping the car in good repair will keep me mindful of continuing to care for it. It’s a good car. Caring for my things allows them to serve me well, much longer, and reduces waste. But… I’d rather shrug it all off and just… not. This is no doubt why he made the clear – explicitly clear – gently firm reminder to definitely call the insurance and get the repair work done. Safety, too. While the airbag did not deploy, it may be necessary to check that it was not affected, and it may be necessary reset or replace something else that I’m not really thinking about that may have been damaged. It was a solid hit that did leave the impression of a license plate frame in my bumper, after all. I made the uncomfortable child lurking within my adult exterior stand quietly and listen to his reminders to follow through on this. He knows me well; he repeats the request a number of times over the weekend (any time the crash came up in conversation), knowing I will be less likely to overlook it as a result. I know me well, too; I don’t take the reminders at all personally, nor put up any defenses. I repeat the request back to him, further reinforcing it. I get home, and add it to my to do list. πŸ™‚

Wonderland seems so far away now. Like a beautiful dream. It was lovely to come home to a tidy house, and I’m glad to be home, but I miss residents of Wonderland, and the music, and the energy, and the fanciful details that continuously reminded me of all that is strange and lovely and worthy of a break in the routines. I miss my Traveling Partner and his Mad Hatter friends. I miss the rave pixies, and stranger strangers with their own tales to tell. For one brief moment my heart feels torn in two by lives worth living that seem so very separate and hard to reconcile.

Then a smile creeps over my face; the weekend solved a “problem” (more a sort of math-y word problem than a real hardship); what to do about retirement. I feel like now it is just timing and tasks and becoming ready for a moment that now feels selected, and a journey on a path that now seems subtly illuminated. Pretty wonderful, itself, and absolutely an outcome of visiting Wonderland this weekend. It’s true. I have a plan for retirement. πŸ˜€ Nah, I’m not intending to share more detail at present; it is too new for any of that. There’s work to be done, though, and some of that has already begin. πŸ˜€

I look at the time, and realize what is so obvious each morning I care to notice it; it’s time to begin again. πŸ˜€