Archives for category: art and the artist

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.

Well… I guess I slept 12 hours… sort of. I mean, I did call it a night quite early (shortly after 7pm), and I did go to bed and fall asleep early. I got up to face the day shortly after 7am this morning. That would appear to be… 12 hours of sleep. My fitness tracker observes that I didn’t actually get to sleep until somewhat later… 8:27pm, actually. I was up a couple times during the night, although not for very long, but the sleep I got is measured on my tracker as a bit less than 10 hours. Still… lovely restful night, right? Nope. Not even close.

…I was probably looking forward to it too much… maybe?

I sip my coffee and let it go; life has some disappointing moments. Some on a grand scale (we shut down the government, over a grown man having a fucking tantrum about a wall to solve a non-existent problem that can’t be solved with wall-building? for fucks’ sake, really??) and some on a scale so small as to be difficult to describe quite as disappointment – like sleeping somewhat restlessly for 10 hours, when I was so eager to sleep deeply for an undetermined period and simply wake without the alarm. lol It’s not worth being aggravated about, really, considering the scale of so many of life’s other disappointments (we elected what to the office of president? really??)

It’s a new day. My coffee is hot, delicious, and the mug comfortably warm in my hands.

Still getting used to the view; change is a constant in life.

I scrolled through my Facebook feed last night, while the evening wound down, and it was disappointing that it was filled with friends sharing a post that a friend shared, from another friend somewhere else, who also shared it because they were also struck by it in some way (amusing, annoying, familiar, cool, or somehow otherwise seeming shareworthy)… but I don’t know those people, and I don’t much care about their words in my feed… not as much as I want to actually hear from my friends about their own life and experiences, in their own words. Facebook made a big deal about connecting us. Doesn’t seem like it has actually worked out quite that way. We’ve simply become a product, and the application has become a drug. I continue to work at using it differently – and less.

Tl;dr on that one? Fuck “social media”. Let’s be social.

A side remark about Basic Income right here; it’s not a freebie if it is reasonable compensation for our data. I just have to call out that data has come to have significant intrinsic value to both business and government. Basic income, as I see it, could simply be the payment made by government, to individuals, on behalf of business, which (should) pays taxes – in part to cover the value of the data they harvest from individuals – resulting in reasonable compensation for our data (and perhaps making us more willing to share more of it contentedly), over our lifetimes, and basic income to support us in maintaining good quality of life. Why not? Right now… we’re being grossly exploited by both business and government, stealing our data, giving us nothing in return worth having (looking your way Facebook).

Returning to the moment, and the morning, and still enjoying my still hot coffee, I give some thought to the day ahead. I go looking, specifically, for implicit expectations, and lingering assumptions, that could wreck my day (or at least my mood), before I get out in the world where such things have more profound impact. This weekend is about rest. Housework. Painting. Mostly about rest. And housework, too, though. Well… I’d also like to paint… lol. I laugh at myself over the dithering.

Pause. Breathe. Take a moment. It can be simpler.

I feel more rested this morning than I did yesterday evening. No surprise there, in spite of the restless night, I slept enough hours to wake mostly fairly refreshed. Rested enough to really see the housekeeping that needs to be done (I bitch, because it doesn’t fit my own expectations of myself, but it’s not that bad, I literally need to vacuum and do laundry, not much else). The everyday upkeep and maintenance of good quality of life for one adult by one adult isn’t that much to handle, generally; I tidy up as I go, most of the time, and try to spend 1 hour each day doing the needful things around the house. By the time the weekend comes, it’s not all that much to finish off whatever I slacked on during the week – in this case, that appears to be the laundry, which I obviously attempted to pre-sort at some point, resulting in lingering piles of color or fabric-sorted clothes all over my fucking bedroom floor. lol When had I started the process of doing the damned laundry…? Right. I hadn’t quite finished it on Monday, which was a holiday. (I can be reliably counted on to slack on a holiday, I admit it.)

I look around the studio, I’d also left it ready to return to the easel (or tabletop, or drop-cloth on the floor), also on Monday. My brain snaps back a witty retort, “what the fuck did you actually do in the evenings all damned week?” I laughingly acknowledge I just don’t get much done on work nights; there’s little evening left, and I actually have been trying to stay on top of my self-care, first. The basics. Showers. Yoga. Exercise. A healthy meal cooked at home. Meditation. Well. Shit. There’s an entire evening of activity, right there. If I add to that “good sleep hygiene” – which includes a regular “bedtime” generally, I’ve quickly run out of time – there’s really only 4 hours or so of “evening” after work, less if I end up staying late in the office. Still… it’s pretty nice to have a head start on the laundry (I did manage to keep it well sorted lol) and the studio is delightfully ready for me to get back to it, any time I choose to. 😀

I grin at myself and finish my first cup of coffee on a misty Saturday morning. A friend I haven’t sat down with in a fair while invited me to brunch. A nice start to the day, really, even if life itself is not as advertised, and can’t really ever measure up to the fantastical daydreams I wove into my consciousness as a younger woman, this “now”, right here? Pretty fucking nice. (You like it? I built it myself… 😉 ) It’s enough. I’m enough. So are you. Sure, we can probably be more than we are, do a better job at living our lives, make our choices more skillfully – and there’s time to practice and do all those things. You can get started on that, any time. It’s okay to be okay with this, here, now, too. It’s a good place to start from, on a new journey.

“Life Sparkles (with the love we feel)” 11″ x 14″ acrylic on canvas w/glow and glitter 2018 (sorry about my shadow; tough one to photograph)

I’m ready to begin again. 🙂

 

I pause from my studio time to have another coffee, consider the day, and the work so far, and just to take a needed break. Tables everywhere, a desk, a large easel – and I still often find myself working on the floor. lol It’s not as easy as it once was. Breaks are a good practice. 🙂 I shifted, at some point, from stretching my legs to pacing. I didn’t really notice the change, my thoughts were still in the studio.

I contentedly note that although I’ve spent considerable time in the studio, this weekend, and very satisfyingly so; I don’t have much “to show for it”. It hasn’t been a frenzy of hastily conceived and completed work (one of the ways I commonly work is bursts of inspiration resulting in a dozen or so new pieces over a weekend, then… nothing for months. lol). In fact, this weekend has been a slower, deeper creative spell. I spent time tidying and organizing the studio, lost in creative thought. I spent time sorting through previously prepared backgrounds of various sorts, looking at them with new eyes, and new inspiration. I spent time contemplating a couple major works, still in progress, half-surprised that the slow pace has not frustrated me at all, making notes about next steps, and assembling materials. I spent time working out technical challenges involved in some new work I want to do – some ideas come to life more easily than others. What have I not done? I haven’t actually painted much. Nonetheless, a deeply satisfying creative weekend, savored moment-by-moment, rich with inspiration, and an awaking-from-within, as vague notions become detailed plans, sketches, and notes.

I needed this time spent with and on self. I sit contentedly with an afternoon coffee, reluctant to pass up the luxury of it, even knowing tomorrow is a work day. (I made a good choice, and made decaf. 🙂 )

There is much to be learned from moments, and the day is not yet over. There’s more that I want to do – practical things, like laundry, cleaning paint brushes, and showering. It’s been a busy weekend, and I find myself reluctantly recognizing that I’m nearing the end of my physical resources, for the time being. Maybe for the day, and certainly for now. I allow the acknowledgement of fatigue to become encouragement to take time to savor the experiences of the weekend, at leisure. Breathe. Relax. Consider some detail or another. Feeling the contentment. The satisfaction, and feeling of wholeness. I continue, breath by breath, recollection by recollection. I feel my smile. I feel the comfortable relaxed posture I am in. I take note that I am not in any noteworthy pain at present, only a bit tired. I look around the studio at what I’ve gotten done this weekend. Tube after enticing tube of paint, and dozens of jars of glitter, sparkling bits and pieces, threads, chains, and shards of glass, draw my eye around the room hungrily. It does feel like a sort of hunger – to touch, to arrange, to feel the textures of paint and canvas, to see a thought become a vision – but I am sated already, and too tired, now.

…There will be other weekends…

In the meantime, there are practices to practice, and self-care to manage. For now, that’s enough. 🙂

Once you “find your joy”, don’t forget to enjoy it. To explore it. To lavish yourself with the experience of it. Work toward it with purpose – fearless, guiltless, and without shame.

For me, it’s time to blur the line between art and self-reflection, and spend some time creatively, and in my own head (and heart).

This weekend I’ll be in the studio. Maybe I write, maybe I don’t. I’m feeling inspired by love, and deeply appreciative of a mature partnership that allows me to choose me, to choose us, to choose him; no wrong answers. We consider each other. We reciprocate. I feel more loved, and valued, than I’ve experienced in other intimate relationships, with the exception of a few rare very deep connected friendships of long-standing, and I want to celebrate this experience of being deeply loved. Love hasn’t always been my inspiration – I found love later in life.

Inspiration deserves action, and I certainly deserve to treat the woman in the mirror well, and nurture her creative side. 🙂 Choices.

I’ll see you right here, in a few days. There’s a canvas on my easel, and I earnestly need to begin again. 🙂