Archives for category: art and the artist

I’m not sure what the hell happened… it’s a tattoo. Just a tattoo. Sure, emblematic of my political thinking. Possibly a bit more “meta” than that – even quintessentially “me” in some way I can’t quite describe with ease. I painted it more than a decade ago. It was intended to be the “other” piece – the left shoulder and the right shoulder – my softer side on the right shoulder, my harder side on the left… how I got where I am, versus why I made the journey, perhaps. Layers of meaning speaking volumes about the fundamentals of the woman I am.

Today is weird. I got the tattoo yesterday. I’m still enjoying an exceptional “whole body” experience of pain relief since then, which is quite wonderful, and rather unexpected…but… What the ever-loving-fuck is going on with my headspace??. I feel… cracked open… and somehow more complete. I feel… more myself for having the new tattoo there. But… I also feel less reserved, less restrained, less well-controlled… ah, but perhaps that makes sense; it’s an emblem of anarchy. A personal statement of who I am – a statement I have not made so boldly, firmly, or publicly, before. Permanent ink. This? This is me. This won’t wash off. It is inarguable. lol

I feel somehow freed. Unchained. I mentioned it to a friend, who suggested it sounded like a great idea for a blog. I don’t think I agree there; I already have so few filters and so little ability to be measured, careful, discreet, subtle, or diplomatic. I don’t really see that I do myself any favors by straight up embracing the disaster that would surely follow abandoning what little I do have. LOL So. No. But I can write about this peculiar morning, this strange moment, these odd conversations I have been having today that seem somehow to suggest that a few people are only now waking up to some of what I’ve been saying all along… and one of them may be… me. How extraordinary.

It is a day to listen deeply to the woman in the mirror, before she surprises me further. Apparently… we need to talk. πŸ™‚

Crap. I’m stuck on finding a particular item, post-move, and it is most likely still packed in one of the few remaining boxes. I’ve been stuck on it since yesterday evening after work, and I woke with it nagging at it me. An old “day planner”…

Remember having a “day planner”?

It’s not what’s in that old day planner that I’m looking for, though. It’s the cover. I painted on the plain coarse fabric cover. I’m looking for that original piece. The ideas and inspiration behind it persist in my consciousness, even going on to become other pieces of work on those themes, using similar colors, similar compositions. Iconic. Metaphoric. Allegorical. I’d share a picture… but… that’s sort of the point just now; I can’t find it. LOL

Wait. Stop. I need “do over”! I haven’t found it yet. I will though. Or… I won’t. There’s always a slim chance that in some moment altered perspective, or left brain/right brain weirdness, I looked at it with new eyes, finding it lacking in value – being just an old day planner – and tossed it. Oh yeah. I totally do that shit. Regrettably often.

I keep looking in the same boxes hoping I over looked it. Fucking hilarious. It will take unpacking every one of the remaining boxes…but… I want it before Friday. I guess tonight I am at least opening those two boxes I just keep hoping I won’t have to open prematurely; breakables. It’s not time to unpack those. I may have to open those boxes nonetheless – just to quiet my mind. I’ll almost certainly be unable to refrain from unpacking the remaining boxes of books – in spite of the lack of shelves for them. Damn it.

“Stop it.” The sound of my voice in the stillness startles me. Right. Let it go.

I sip my coffee. Breathe. Relax. Let the music in my ears reach my attention. Remind myself that satisfying the compelling idea I’m stuck on is not actually the sole solution to this aggravation – and possibly only a second best solution. Letting go of attachment to finding that day planner is a first-rate solution, also, and doable. Meditation is the verb I could be reaching for there. Helpful. Yeah. I put myself on pause. I give myself that precious gift of time, my own awareness… and I let it go. Really let it go.

Maybe I find it.

Maybe I don’t.

Maybe I choose to open those boxes.

Maybe I don’t.

…And hey… Hasn’t the intention been, all along, to unpack all the fucking boxes, at some point? πŸ˜‰

Imperfect circumstances and impermanence are part of the experience. I breathe, relax, sip my coffee and begin the day again.

My schedule is suddenly Monday through Friday again. Less than ideal for me, personally, but I adapt to the changes as they come, as comfortably as I can. There will be amusing moments when colleagues offer expressions of appreciation, relief, or recognition of some ‘good fortune’ involved (“Well, at least you get weekends off…”), but for me, this is a shitty change. Sure, sure, “everyone” I know (not everyone at all; it’s a misperception) has weekends off. I like having weekdays off and working the quieter weekend days – and the commute on weekends is definitely more pleasant. Having days off that permit doctor’s appointments, errand-running, and provide more retail options is just a better fit for my lifestyle. I don’t find it helpful to miss work to go to therapy – it’s adding stress to the process of relieving stress. It’s inconvenient to be in the middle of a large painting and discover too late that I’ve run out of a particular color that I won’t be able to replace on the weekend. Stuff like that. Monday through Friday work schedules? Keep my share. But… it’s what I’ve got, starting yesterday. Yeah, I’m kind of bitching about it. Sorry. I’m cross over the whole mess. I’ll get past it. Find the good in it for myself – the good that matters most to me, personally.

(It’ll make visiting my Traveling Partner a bit easier. That’s something.)

The point, really, is that there is work to be done; this affects all my planning for the next… 4 months. Yep. I’ve got plans on the calendar – shared plans – 4 months in the future. Damn, I’m glad I hadn’t yet planned the winter holidays. lol Another point? It affects this coming weekend, and the weekend after that; both weekends I’d made firm plans. Well, shit. So… some plans will change, other plans will require changes to my time off planning… it’s a good think I enjoy planning. lol

Was there really a point to any of this? I take a sip of my coffee, brow furrowed, acutely aware that my attention was on something else as I made coffee this morning, and I considered not writing a blog post in favor of writing to a dear friend… then, this. How strange.

…I really want to find that day planner…

I head back to my meditation cushion to begin again.

…Funny thing about meditation…

20170817_060419

… I couldn’t quite let it go… but… I also found it.Β 

Yesterday I hung a few paintings. I vacuumed, did laundry, did dishes, watered the garden on the deck, hung out a bit with a friend who made the trek out my way, figured out what will hang over the mantle and got it to the framer’s shop. It was a sweet, quiet weekend, and yesterday was every bit as lovely as the day before it.

By evening, I was sort of just chilling with my foot iced and elevated, and staring at the empty book shelves was nagging at me severely; it seemed inconsistent with the rest of the weekend that the bookshelves were empty. One by one I brought in boxes of books, and emptied them onto shelves… which resulted, more than anything else, in a mess of books out, just everywhere, in small stacks here and there, crowding onto shelves that suddenly appeared to be “the wrong shelf for that one” and now my previously tidy living room is messy with books. A lot of books. A tiny library of books gathered over a lifetime, filtered by moves and gift-giving, added to, subtracted from, and the result being about 500 or so books very precious to me worth dragging around over a lifetime of moving.

Books are heavy. By the end of the evening, which snuck up on me rather unexpectedly, I was really tired, and also a lot more moved in… well, aside from (because of?) the mess of books that I created. πŸ˜€ I guess next weekend I’ll be connecting the tv and stereo (maybe tonight)…

…It hits me that my weekend is over. Today is a work day. It’s a new work week. I take a moment to get my expectations and sensibilities in order; being late is still something that causes me rather a lot of stress, so avoiding that circumstance is desirable, generally. πŸ™‚ I look at the time. I look at the weather. I make a note to ensure the air conditioning is on, and that the thermostat is set to keep the house comfortable through the upcoming actual not-fucking-around-it’s-summer-for-real heat that is in the forecast for this week. 110 degrees (F)?? In Portland, Oregon? What the fuck is that about? I stick to a promise I made to myself yesterday, and quickly finish my coffee, and fill up my water bottle.

As I head back to my desk I notice a huge spider struggling in the sticky trap at the edge of the kitchen floor. Wow. A big one. There was one in the bathroom trap this morning, too… Curiosity gets to me. There really haven’t been many spiders on this move. Just 4 so far. (I’ve been keeping count, yes.) There are large ones, and some small ones, in every trap I placed over the weekend, after waking up with a single spider bite on Thursday morning. Yeesh. Ick. I sit down in my studio, paintings stacked everywhere (like spider condos…) and a grim chill runs down my spine; there are no sticky traps in here. (I ran out.) I find myself wondering how many spiders are watching me from crevices and corners right now…

I’ve creeped myself out completely now. So. Yeah. Great. It’s time for work. lol

… It’s time to start a new day. I can begin again. πŸ™‚

Peculiar morning. I woke from a sound sleep to the message from my Traveling Partner letting me know he is safely home. I felt okay when I woke… not “merry” or overly enthused, but calm and content, certainly. My emotions have shifted and boiled up since then, mixing, shifting, seeming detached from any specific circumstances. Moments of deep love, poignant moments of almost-grief, a lingering vague sadness, a certain tinge of disappointed bitterness with edges gilded in cynicism – variety, this morning, a sampler of feelings lacking in context. No point to be made. No knowledge to be gained. Random emotions in the hours after waking, only.

Last year a morning like this would drive me to my meditation cushion, seeking solace and self-soothing. Two years ago, maybe three, I’d have been feeling low over it, pensive and moody, wondering “what it all means”, but diligently avoiding becoming fused with the emotions, and putting a lot of effort into being present in the moment. 5 years ago, a morning like this one would have found me weeping quietly behind a closed door, frightened of shadows, certain there was no emotionally safe place to turn, filled with despair, and enraged that “it’s all happening again and I can’t make it stop!!” – and not sure what exactly I meant by any of that.

This morning I am a calm observer of my emotions as they ebb and flow, passing through me, sweeping over me, arriving, and then also departing. “This too shall pass” is pretty much approximately always a true statement, whatever the circumstances, if only I can allow it to be so. I open windows to let in the breezes. I enjoy my coffee as day begins to break. I watch dawn arrive from the deck, bare feet on wood, the hair on my arms raised in the pre-dawn chill. I meditate. I have my oatmeal for breakfast. I do my physical therapy stuff. I water the patio garden as the sky begins to lighten from pale to more obviously blue. This is my life, emotions and all. I am okay with that, and with them.

It’s a strangely emotional morning, though. No obvious cause and effect – that’s hard for me, because as human primates are often inclined to do, I really want my emotions to “make sense”, even though “making sense” and being “reasonable” are not their role. I am human, very, and both emotion and reason are part of that experience. I find that some of the power of emotional experiences is lost if I force some kind of rationalized context on them, instead of simply feeling my feelings. So this morning I am feeling things. I wasn’t expecting such a morning, or planning on it, and I don’t know where it may lead or what the day looks like if filled with such experiences.

“Emotion and Reason” 18″ x 24″ acrylic w/ceramic and glow details

I hear vehicles passing by. Some slow down near the cross-street nearest my driveway. My heart jumps each time – is it him? Each time, I feel that it could be my Traveling Partner. My emotions reach my consciousness first. Reason politely points out that although it is physically within the realm of possibilities that he could indeed have immediately gone from his RV to the SUV and headed this way, arriving here sometime around now-ish, it’s really not likely – he just finished driving hundreds of miles through the night, arrived home safely – and tired – and more probably is now soundly asleep. That’s “reasonable”. Reason gets to the party a little later than emotion does. How much fucking drama does that timing cause humanity day-to-day? I smile and sip my coffee. It’s nice to have the practical example in the moment.

Here. Now.

Pink clouds against a blue sky as the sun begins to edge over the unseen horizon. I know the sun is there, though I can’t see it. Peering at my life through my emotions is a little like that, this morning; I have reason, waiting in the background like that unseen sunrise, but for now what I see are those pink clouds of emotion, reflecting facets of what is, all colored up and altered, changing with the light as the sun does rise. Eventually, day light. Eventually, emotion and reason in balance, awake, and aware.

Strange morning. I have time for another cup of coffee. I have time to begin again.

I woke this morning to a cooler apartment than usual after such a hot day; I’d fallen asleep with all the windows and the patio door wide open, without meaning to. I’m sort of glad I didn’t notice. It’s lovely to feel the cool morning breeze and the apartment refreshingly comfortable instead of stifling and oppressively still and warm. I’m even more glad that no passing stranger noticed the opportunity to quietly slip into my utterly unsecured dwelling and take all of my (conveniently packed) belongings while I slept (rather more soundly than usual). I wake feeling comfortable, grateful, appreciative, and relieved all at once. I sip my coffee wondering if this particular mix of emotions has a name of its own.

Another good day to begin again.

The dawn sky is shades of peach and a watery pale blue. Another hot day ahead. Peculiarly, I have my headphones on… no music. I must have meant to put some on… I didn’t actually do it. Even noticing this, I don’t actually pause to remove the headphones, or to put on music. I sip coffee. I write. I am content in this moment and the headphones are simply not relevant, nor are they uncomfortable. So… there they sit. On my head. Without purpose. lol Funny human primate.

I’ve still got a week to go before I have keys in hand, a new address, and a busy long weekend of getting moved out of here. So many boxes, in stacks and groups and piles and pillars and arrangements in spaces… and still a week of waiting remaining to be waited out. I still have more stuff to go into more boxes. A few more evenings and a weekend will take care of that.

I chuckle to consider a faraway friend making the journey to help me move; we’ll be basically “camping” in this space by the time he arrives, and then in the new house after the movers do their thing. I’m pretty blown away by the affection of friends who will help with moving. Friends who not only help with moving but will also travel more than 700 miles to do so, and do that with the expectation that there will be no comfortable convenient hospitality of the sort I usually provide is absolutely a treat, a wonder, a rare delight – and appreciated on a whole different level, that involves more than a little awe, and perhaps a tiny bit of bewilderment, and a sense that I need to step up my own friend game… because… I am not sure I’m that person, myself, and just… wow. I could be, though, right? Choices. I am fortunate indeed to have such friends.

What next? I have so much of the next few days tightly planned, centered on this move… I make a point to also take care of this fragile vessel. The hot days are difficult. I make a point to slow down a little bit, to drink a lot more water, to attempt to get adequate rest – even if that means laying down while evening is still daylight, windows and doors wide open to breezes, and at risk of falling deeply asleep without securing the premises. lol I finally got a really good night’s sleep, in spite of the heat. πŸ˜€ I really needed the rest.

The “hard part” of the packing comes next. It is time to box up all the books, and take down all the paintings. This also means having to work a little more to manage my anxiety as it comes and goes; bare walls reliably fill me with anxiety and a subtle continuous stress – “you don’t belong here” is the message of bare white walls, to me. It’s fairly important to my mental and emotional wellness that I not subject myself to unadorned walls any longer than necessary. Β Still, it is time, and it must be done. The weekend will be a good one for it. πŸ™‚ Once the keys are in my hands, and that first car load is unpacked, there will be at least one small painting along for that trip, and it will go up before I even head back for another carload of household goods. No kidding. If it fits in the car, I may very well simply take the big painting that is most likely to be hanging above the fireplace. It’s a touch that makes me feel very at home, and the message it sends becomes “I live here”. Comforting. Safe. Real.

Gnothi seauton. “Figuring out my shit” turns out to be less about changing it, sometimes, than understanding it, and working with it instead of fighting it all the damned time. πŸ™‚