Archives for category: art and the artist

I didn’t sit down to write until nearly 9:30 am, after a leisurely shower, and close to 12 hours of sleep. Rare for me. (I didn’t sleep continuously through the night; I woke up twice to pee. lol) When I woke, I was unsure of the day, and considered just going back to bed…

…but, there’s an entire day, and a long weekend, ahead of me to enjoy this brief solitary time, a few days with the house to myself, and a lot of quiet (some of it quite lonely). So, I stayed up, showered, put on clean clothes, and finally started hot water for coffee. Oh, hey, I hear the click of the electric kettle just now… be right back!

A ‘coffee flower’ – each as unique as any other flower. I enjoy their brief existence, blossoming as I make my coffee, gone in an instant.

The heat comes on just as I return with my coffee. The 72 degrees that felt so chilly at the end of the evening, last night, feels almost stifling this morning. I turn the temperature down to 60; I won’t yearn for the comfort and warmth of a warmer room until later in the day. Hell… how much of the day will I even spend right here? It’s a chilly autumn morning, fiercely windy, and it might be nice to get a decently long walk in today. The thought puts a smile on my face at the same time that a tear streaks down my cheek. I think of my Granny, and walks we took together on autumn days. South Mountain, Pennsylvania… Cambridge, Maryland… Grants Pass, Oregon… thoughts and places roll past like a slide show. The tears fall softly. Honest tears of sorrow or regret, tears of heartfelt loss, these don’t trouble me at all, they are only more love than my heart can contain – and no one to share it with (right now). I’m okay. She was a splendid strong woman of great character, flawed, human, and of tremendous heart, and I miss her in this autumn moment, considering a walk that, once upon a time, we could have taken together. 🙂

I sip my coffee, comforted by the ordinary routine. I listen to the traffic beyond the studio window. Last night I felt very motivated to paint through the weekend. Just now, though? I am filled with eagerness to tidy up, to create order from chaos, to check off tasks from my list, and to do those things while keeping half an eye on the autumn leaves falling to the deck beyond the glass door, watching for squirrels. It’s that time again; the colder weather, the autumn breezes, I’ll begin putting nuts out for the squirrels and chipmunks, and suet for the birds. 🙂

My thoughts drift to my Traveling Partner and his adventures, and I hope he is doing well. I’m eager to see him when he returns home. I miss him greatly.

I had also definitely missed this solitude, and I had failed hard at the self-care skills needed to ensure I managed to get the quiet time I routinely need, or to seek, or create, the stillness I need to maintain my most chill and contented self. I smile, and forgive myself for my obvious limitations. lol I will continue to practice. Keep working at it. Keep learning and growing. Keep speaking up when the need becomes too great. Keep communicating my needs in an open, honest, and gentle way. All the things. There’s a lot. If I try to write down all the tiny very fine details of “how to” care for oneself very skillfully, from the perspective of what I understand, myself, it would be such a long detailed list that it would almost certainly appear ludicrous to even contemplate! In practice, though, it’s just practice. Do a thing. It worked? Repeat that. It worked again? Pretty reliable. Try it a few times more. Still working? Awesome; now practice until it is quite natural, almost effortless, and it has become part of “who you are”. 🙂 Add another thing. Repeat the process. Simple enough. Stop doing what doesn’t support your emotional well-being and general good health and contentment. (That’s surprisingly a bit harder, and may take more practice.)

I sit sipping my coffee, barefooted, in my studio, with four lovely relaxed days ahead, suitable for my leisure needs. I have not decided what, specifically, to do with them (besides sleeping, showering, and sipping coffee – those I guess I can count on). I listen to the traffic, loud beyond the window. There are dishes to do. Things to put away. A container garden on the deck to “winterize”. There is this heart full of paintings with which to shout what I don’t have the words to whisper. I am hovering in that place of indecision, without urgency. There are no “wrong answers”, only an opportunity to begin again. 🙂

I’m sipping my coffee and noticing, once again, that I seemed to have paused my daily writing. There’s a lot going on in my brain, new, unprocessed experiences and thinking, the simple joys of living with love and contentment… a spring garden. Life’s natural ebb and flow competing with (and kicking the ass of) rigorous habit. lol It is what it is.

…Funny… It feels very much like “progress” to accept it so comfortably. 🙂

So. Instead of attempting to bend reality to my whim, or force real life to comply with my favorite version of myself, I’m just going with it. At least for now. Until I’ve learned the lesson, and have words to put around it… at least, for now. 🙂

Each evening my head is filled with points I’d like to make. Ideas I’d like to share. Practices I find that work. Notions that feel significant. Correlations between this and that. By morning it has all dissipated, like the clouds of vapor that had wrapped them so prettily the night before. lol This, too, is what it is, and one characteristic of all of it is that it will pass. No stress required.

Each new day I begin again. Some of them will be mornings on which I write. Others, perhaps not so much. 😀 Each new beginning worthy, each new beginning… truly new. What will I do with the moments that follow? Unknown. Unknown, at least, until I live them.

I queue up my playlist. Put on my headphones. I start the day.

…My coffee is just now drinking temperature. The clock does not wait for “my” moment. It’s time, already, to begin again. 😉

Me, too. Well, actually, I found one – a bunch of them, and a great perspective shot down a busy, picturesque street, on a sunny afternoon, between spring rain showers. I snapped a quick shot from my position on the corner, waiting to cross the street. I grinned, satisfied, and hurried on across while the light was still on “walk”.

Later, when I sat down for a moment with my thoughts, and this metaphor about signs just waiting to become words on a page with an apropos perspective shot supporting it… no picture. It didn’t save. The moment… has passed. Unrecorded. Soon to be forgotten.

Well… shit. Moving on, then?

…Or… are you still “looking for a sign”? What’s holding you back from that next step, right now? Fear? Money? Discouragement? Frustration? Disappointment? Ennui? (Have you ever noticed that what holds people back from pursuing something of interest is rarely joy, contentment, or satisfaction in life?) Okay, so, it’s not easy to “live the dream” – if what we want requires more than we have. Doesn’t matter if that’s money, or training, or experience, or skill… there’s an effort implied to any of it, and the suggestion that if we truly want to achieve that achievement, we’ll do the work. Luck only takes us so far. (I say this as someone who has been astonishingly lucky in life, all things considered.)

Wanna be a rock star? Are you making time, and putting in the hours, learning to play an instrument, read music, write songs…?

Wanna be a renowned author? Are you practicing your writing skills, you know, by writing? Are you honing your craft, and seeking feedback that will result in becoming the writer you most want to be, telling a story only you can tell?

Wanna kick butt at roller derby? So… yeah… are you on skates, looking for a team to practice with?

Wanna build custom furniture with amazing space-saving secret compartments and interesting built-in features that are entirely unique to your brand? Okay… are you already learning cabinetry and wood-working?

My point is this; it’s not luck alone that walks us down our path in life. We have to take actual steps. 🙂

…Don’t just stand there! Start walking. 😉

Has it been since Tuesday since I’ve written? Like… at all? Conversations with friends…? Few. Posts on feeds? Rare. Emails to dear ones? Nope, none of those, either. Snail mail to aging relatives? Uh-uh. Nope. I’m off my letters and words, apparently. The combination of changes large and small, from daylight savings time (why are we still doing this??) to lifestyle changes associated with my Traveling Partner moving in, to commute and work changes that are part of changing jobs, even to the weather has it tries to shift toward spring… it’s too much, somehow, and I’ve been mostly unable to find myself sitting in this chair, writing. It’s “just not happening”, which is to say, I’m somehow not choosing to do it, nor feeling compelled to do anything about that, generally. How odd.

A view on the rainy Tuesday morning commute.

…I rarely have what could be called “dry spells”, with regard to writing. I do with painting, regularly, actually. I go months without painting, and think nothing of it, then suddenly exhaust myself in a creative frenzy, sometimes not eating, sleeping, or caring for myself at all properly – then wander the house a grinning caricature of an adult, admiring my handiwork for hours or days until returning to routines and self-care, and relative normalcy. Writing, though? That’s a day-to-day, part-of-who-I-am thing that typically drives other habits, and even my experience of time, itself. How strange to put an eye on this keyboard and find that I’m not especially interested… even though I am missing that moment with a peculiar yearning, also.

Wednesday, an efficient commute by car suddenly halted by a collision in the other lane, caused by less efficient commuting.

So… I’m sort of hit or miss right now. Inconvenient for that elusive concept of “regular readers” or any sort of reliably cadence to support a comfortable routine for others… but… this is me, and this is, right here, my actual life. 🙂 I’m figuring you may even understand, possibly better than I do myself. I’ve no real idea of what to expect of being “emotionally well” or “mentally healthy”, as a long-term state of being… is that what this is? Am I learning that it is safe to let go of habitual behavior, and safe to soften my routines? Is it? Is it, perhaps, simply a period of accommodation as I sort things out – so much has changed in such a short time. Maybe I am just working through those details, finding new ways?

Thursday, 7:00 a.m. looking a bit different after the time change. (Why are we still doing this??)

Anyway. I’m here. I’m well. I’m even, quite actually, fine. Life feels good. Love feels steady, reliably, and heated in this delicious way that defies description (without risking becoming pornographic, and this is not that blog).

It definitely feels like it is “all blue skies” right now. 🙂 I’m enjoying it while it lasts. 😀

Are you well? Are you on the path to becoming the person you most want to be? If you stay on that path, continue to treat yourself, and others, well, and continue to do the verbs it takes to get to the places in life you wish to go… you’ll surely arrive at a destination. What will you do when you get there?

Have you prepared for success?

What does your vision of success even look like?

Wait, don’t rush to answer – please avoid confusing this idea of success with anything to do with anyone else’s notion of success than your own, or confusing it with the very limited, basic, fairly bullshit, concept of financial success. I’m not here writing about fat bank accounts, and I’m pretty sure that’s not where human success lies. I mean, when you look into the mirror, and the person looking back at you is content, whole, emotionally intelligent, considerate, interested in a broader sense of well-being for more of the world than just themselves, and is, actually, the human being you most want to be, benevolently and merrily smiling back at you, relaxed, and capable… what will you do with that? Are you ready for that? Are you even aware it may be an outcome you could one day have to face?

And what if your dear ones don’t make that journey, themselves? What will you do then? Will you slide back into the muck in one callous moment of arrogance and disregard, unaware that could be a risk? Will you be there with and for them, regardless, because love matters more?

Who will you be, when you are the person you most want to be? Will you be aware of your arrival at that point, when you get there?

Questions over coffee on a quiet Saturday morning. My Traveling Partner sleeps. I write. Soon, I’ll head to brunch with a friend, and enjoy a lovely morning. Maybe head downtown afterward, and drop off some things at the office – while street parking is cheap and plentiful – or… maybe not. 🙂

I’m just living my life. It feels… good. 🙂

It’s time to begin again. 😀

Actually… I do know better. I can’t claim ignorance on this one; holding on to expectations and assumptions is a reliable shortcut to disappointment. Seriously. I let it go. There’s no value in beating myself up over the poor sleep thing.

I started into the weekend very much looking forward to sleeping deeply, sleeping well, and sleeping in. Innocent enough; I was struggling with fatigue and exhaustion, and the nights just felt too short, no matter how early I went to bed. I was eager to sleep in on Saturday morning, and, while I did so (on a technicality), my sleep was interrupted, restless, and less than ideally restful. Still – a great day of painting followed, so, no matter.

I rather stupidly caught myself still drinking coffee well past 5pm last night. Saturday night. No problem; I am not so tightly held to a “bed time” that the occasional late night would be a problem, right? So. Yeah. Amusingly, I was so tired, right at my usual time to start winding things down, I totally went to bed “on time” anyway. Caffeine? Not a problem apparently…only… my fitness tracker pointed out this morning that actually, I fell asleep, sufficiently deeply to register as actual sleep, sometime past 1 am. Wait… I was asleep enough to be awakened by a bad nightmare, shortly before midnight… wasn’t I? Fucking hell. My sleep, after I went back to bed following my nightmare, was again restless and interrupted. Here it is Sunday. Nothing whatever like “good sleep” occurred this weekend. lol Fuck.

Did I set myself up for failure by becoming emotionally invested in the task of sleeping? Probably. Is that “why” I didn’t sleep well? Doesn’t matter whether it was or wasn’t, actually, and getting caught up in the why of the poor sleep is just a distraction from the more immediate concern; awareness that investing in expectations and assumptions (even about sleep) is problematic. It puts me on a path of being disappointed by day-to-day experiences so commonplace as to be unavoidable. Not helpful.

I woke fairly well-rested this morning, in spite of the short, restless night. The laundry is started (I didn’t get far with it yesterday. lol Artists, amiright??). My studio is ready for me to get right back to work on several projects. I consider a visit to the market, and where the timing needs to fit into my day. When I feel like painting, everything else is a distraction. I am sitting in the studio, sipping coffee… and yawning. Listening to the washing machine chug along.

Inspiration is a funny thing; if I walk away, no guarantee it will be waiting when I return.

I sip my coffee, thinking about art. Interrupted work, like interrupted sleep, doesn’t always turn out quite as planned. Maybe I actually paint more today… maybe I don’t. I can’t tell from this perspective, right here, quite yet.

I pause my writing to put on my painting playlist – maybe music will get me re-engaged in this piece? I put out peanuts and bird seed and sit with my coffee for a few minutes, on my meditation cushion, seated in front of the patio door. Waiting. Watching. Breathing.

Visitors come and go. I sip my coffee and enjoy the moment.

The washing machine clunks to a stop. I get up to move the clean wash into the dryer, still unclear where the day will take me. Feeling rather less inspired that I felt at the end of the evening, last night. I’m neither disappointed nor unhappy; it was a great day in the studio yesterday, and the day, today, is far from over. I just don’t know what the day ahead will hold. What it looks like, from here, may be very different than the day I look back on. Best not to set myself up for failure by imagining the day too clearly or specifically, or falling into the trap of becoming so invested in one outcome, that no other can satisfy. lol

I consider the day, and this moment, here. I decide to begin again.