Archives for category: Art

If each birthday were a new beginning, a moment of re-birth, an awakening, a start on a journey, a moment of profundity, or simply a break from the being we once had been which opens us to being the being we would soon become… would we grow faster?

…But isn’t it? I mean, it could be, couldn’t it? Is that a choice we make? When we’re very young we eagerly look ahead to milestones marked by years… The year we’re promised high heels, or make-up, or a firearm, or dating, or a trip somewhere exotic, or the year we graduate, or get to vote for the first time, or ride a bicycle, or buy a car, or a house, or get married, or have a child… each a big deal, anticipated, considered, maybe yearned for and planned around – are these not re-births of a sort? A new beginning, a change of heart or thinking so profound that “the course of our life” is altered in ways that seem subjectively obvious, and also unexpected? We begin again, so many times…

I took a journey down a road I’d never traveled, predictably it lead me somewhere I’d never been.

My birthday weekend was amazing, and connected, and shared, and human, and delicious with wonder, and adventure. It was eye-opening. It was romantic. It was practical. It was peculiarly wholesome – for some values of wholesome – and it “took me places” I hadn’t thought to travel previously. I’m glad I went. I’m glad I “said yes” to the moment and immersed myself in a something strangely new, made up, as it was, of so much that was entirely familiar.

The music festival weekend was likely not at all as planned by the event organizers. It was cold. When we arrived a freezing rain was falling. It was wet. The rain fell, on and off, all weekend long. It was blustery. I personally helped catch, retrieve, and right 3 different canopies and 1 tent over the 3 days I was there. There was rather of a lot of odd drama which seemed both unexpected and tedious, but it was such a small part of the experience the recollection will likely fade quickly. I met a lot of new people, and I got to hang out with my Traveling Partner and a friend while they did their thing out there in the world. I listened to some great music – and I listened to that music so loud, so bass-heavy, so entirely encompassing that the ground shook with it – for 2 days, from noon to 6 am. No kidding. Sleep was a very new experience in that environment. My dreams didn’t suffer from it, but I made the drive home in silence, listening only to my tinnitus and the sound of the wind along the way.  The people who came to the event, who stayed through the wind and weather, brought with them a sense of community that I’m still wowed by. The best part? New friends – and time well-spent wrapped in love, just hanging out with my Traveling Partner for a couple days. Wonderful. Just wonderful.

I’m still smiling. It’s Monday night, tomorrow I get back to the office, back to the routine of meetings, calls, emails, spreadsheets, summaries, recommendations, task processing, and commuting. I feel pretty okay with that, sitting here this evening. I smile, thinking about my Traveling Partner. I think about the weekend. I think about his visit this afternoon. I think about shared goals, and the dovetailing of individual goals that is so tidy that even those feel shared; a partnership of equals.

I’m taking a quiet moment at the end of the day to wish the woman in the mirror a happy birthday. This one definitely feels like the beginning of something wonderful, and if nothing else it is enough that the weekend and the day were themselves quite wonderful. Really nothing more is required, it’s all quite enough. 54? Yes, I am. ❤

Hey – good morning. 🙂 Thank you for reading my blog. Have I said as much recently? I actually really appreciate each of you who make time for me, however often that may happen to be. Thought I’d say so, and make this sort of about you, for a change of pace. 😀

I start the morning with music, this morning, beats breaking on the shores of my waking consciousness just about the same moment the sun breaks through the cloudy dawn sky for the first time. I’m smiling and feeling pleased that I remembered I really wanted to say “thanks”. I would write, trust me on this one, even if no one at all read these words; I know this because I’ve kept a private journal since I was quite young. My earliest recollections of asking to make some government-green fabric-covered blank book my own for that purpose suggest perhaps as early as 9 or 10 years old, although I only clearly recall doing so since I was about 13.  So… the words in my head flow like spice on Arrakis. I’d be writing, regardless.

I stopped writing privately, more or less completely, for a couple years…late in 2011, until early in 2014, because I had turned my words on myself as some sort of self-destructive weapon of peculiarly insidious self-harm, and it was so completely damaging that silencing myself was less painful. Without words, my painting erupted in a fierce period of production in acrylic – and emotion. I was a fucking wreck, and I was “coming undone“. I’d hit a wall by December 2013, and a period of bleak and despairing self-reflection suggested it was time to call it, to fold, to walk away from the game.

“Broken” 14″ x 18″ acrylic and mixed media with glow.

I started this blog in January, 2013. I wanted to write. I was rather afraid to just write my own words privately to myself, anymore. I was pretty sure that bitch in the mirror wasn’t looking after me, and I wasn’t sure I even cared… but I was scared of what I’d find in the privacy of my own thoughts, alone. My relationships were in tatters, one of them absolutely abusive on a level that was doing me acute immediate emotional damage daily, the other quite precious to me and promising things I could not reach or make real, because I didn’t even know how to try, or how to “hold up my end”, and I was pretty certain I was, myself, laying waste to the hearts of everyone who got close to me. Possibly on purpose, but I didn’t even know how to sort all that out. I was on the literal bleeding edge of finally going through menopause. I was at the tail end of detoxing and recovering from psych meds I may never have actually needed at all, and that had wrecked my health and poisoned me. It all sucked very much.

“The Price We Pay” 14″ x 15″ acrylic on canvas with glow, mirror, and ceramic shard details, 2013

I went down my list of things to do before I checked out. It mattered to me to attempt to minimize any collateral damage. The first thing on my list was to update my will. The last thing on my list was to see a therapist… one more try, right? “Due diligence.” I don’t really know for sure why I started this blog. I don’t remember. Perhaps in part out of resentment of a moment of cruel and annoying discouragement in a failing relationship (“Well, don’t expect to be able to keep up on something like this every day…” she’d said smugly, “I‘ve been keeping a blog for awhile, and you will probably just lose interest in a few weeks, and don’t expect that anyone will read it…”). It was not, initially, intended in any way as a lifeline – not on purpose. It became one, because somehow it added people who matter to me to my experience of life – and to whom I might matter, in return. That, itself, mattered. It mattered a lot, as it happens. 🙂

If you’ve been reading since the beginning, you probably know about a lot of this, if not explicitly, then by inference. I’m still here. I have real joy in life these days. I live a life built on contentment, sufficiency, perspective, and mindfulness. This journey, this blog, these words, are all part of that – part of me being here, now. There have been days since that dark December full of madness when the thing that kept me tied to life itself has been this blog… and one person I could not bear to let down. So… thank you. Thank you for being here.

Most specifically, thank you for your occasional comments. I’m surprised how often they come on just the right day, observing something that is astute, insightful, meaningful, and cherished long after the day the words are typed into a text box, or shared as a private message via other means. Thank you for being authentically you. Thank you for sharing. I’m delighted when I discover that someone dear to me, that I know in real life, is also reader – I don’t assume anything specific about who reads my blog; I still write for me. I am incredibly moved each time I discover that among you are people I actually know, because I know that you know more than what is written. We have shared some very human experiences, and more than likely if you know me in real life, you have those odd opportunities to see me before/after writing some particular blog post, or understanding just a bit more about the context, the subtext may be far less subtle, the metaphors blunt and obvious – and still you’re here. Holy fuck, that’s… wow. And if you don’t know me in real life, that’s no less profound for me; you read past my spelling mistakes and are never cruel to me about them. You value my words for what they are, and lacking the hints of what is going on behind the curtain still find value in my words. I am moved. I appreciate you.

Anyway. Today – just this for you; thank you. I’m glad you are here. I think of you often. I wonder how your day is going, and whether there is some way I can speak more clearly to some moment we share, in the abstract. I consider you, every time I sit down to write; it’s part of what has saved me from myself, actually. It’s you I consider when I consider my words. I seek to be authentic and real, without being hurtful or unkind to you. You have helped me learn to be kind to myself. 🙂

You matter to me. Namaste

I definitely “feel 53” this morning. I’m okay with that; I am 53. 🙂 The show last night was amazing. It was not really “a concert” or.. well… it was a fantastical stage production centering around music, themed on Alice in Wonderland, attended by beings willing to suspend expectations of the ordinary for a night and just… go with it. A needed, and worthy, break from the routine. There were dancers, jugglers, performance artists of several sorts, and painters practicing their craft live, to massive fabulous bass-y beats. It was quite wonderful. I got home very late, and I had planned and prepared for this to be the case… but, there were verbs involved, choices made, and of course today I begin again.

Down the Rabbit Hole 2017 at the Crystal Ballroom

My ears are ringing like crazy. I took ear plugs with me, and when I wasn’t on the dance floor, had a comfortable vantage point from the balcony of the historic theater venue – my ears are still ringing. Experience suggests my tinnitus will be a mild impairment for at least today, then fading into the background to exist as a mild persistent distraction once again. I’m tired. I can look at the number of hours that I slept and figure I’ve “gotten enough sleep”, but I feel groggy, and inclined to return to bed – but I won’t sleep now that I’m awake and consciousness is filled with morning sunshine. I hurt all over. As I think about that, my pain worsens. That’s a practical detail worthy of consideration; if I make my pain my focus, it becomes the most important thing in my awareness, and thereby becomes more prominent. I take a deep breath and let it go; it doesn’t stop me hurting altogether, but seems to reduce the magnitude somewhat.

Why all the bitching? I smile and sip my coffee, because I know something about me and this peculiar singular journey that is my experience; when I know where I am, I am more easily able to move on from that place. The challenge is to make the observation without making the observed detail a theme, or the focus of my experience, when it is something painful, uncomfortable, or perceivably “negative”. It’s worth remembering, too, that this also opens the door to more willfully lingering over, and savoring, the nurturing, delightful, pleasant, and uplifting experiences – deliberating shifting gears to make those a focus of my experience, or a theme, results in useful changes in implicit biases. The bitching, in this case, is structured and part of a process with a clear point. (Thanks cognitive science!)

A welcome seat with a decent view; the lamp included in the shot because it’s pretty cool, also. lol

I think over the high points of the evening… dancing with my Traveling Partner (we attended with another friend)… the music… the wow factor of the varied costumes of both the performers and the attendees… soaking in the lights, the scene, the wonder… finding a good seat with an unobstructed view that remained mine more or less all evening (even though I left it and returned several times)… losing track of my partner and his friend in the crowd and dancing dancing dancing through and among and around thinking I would eventually find them, and losing myself in the music instead (I found them when I returned to my seat! lol).

Sold out show.

My tinnitus fades into the background as I linger over the recollections of the evening. My back aches less. I forget that I’m rather amusingly sitting here with noise cancelling headphones on… but not playing any sounds. Going back to bed still sounds pretty nice… My eye wanders to the list of household chores I had planned to do today, from the vantage point of yesterday morning… I chuckle rather merrily and give silent side eye to the woman who wrote that list yesterday; I’m seriously doubting I will do even one thing on that list today. I’m okay with that. Today, rest and take care of me. Tomorrow, I’ll begin again. 🙂

I woke from troubled dreams sometime around three, still in pain. With effort, I pulled myself fully free of sleep and made the hard choice to take something for my pain, and tried to go back to sleep. I’m in less pain now, but the sleep thing didn’t really work out, so I’m up with a nice cup of coffee much too early on a Sunday, but still feeling well-rested, and now I’m not in so much pain…so… there’s that. 🙂 I don’t even recall with any clarity what my nightmares were about… debt… loneliness… “failure”. Dreams of discouragement and heartbreak. I remember the mood and the emotions, but the details are fading quickly. I think I’m okay with that. 🙂

I’ve no idea what today holds. I’ve got the laundry sorted… I guess I’m doing laundry. Well, it needs to be done, and living alone it’s entirely on me to do it. Now and then I may yield to some moment of adolescent foolishness, forgetting that no one else will undertake the day-to-day tasks of maintaining my lifestyle, and put aside some bit of housekeeping or another. I end up regretting that as soon as I am faced with non-negotiable workload on timing not of my choosing. So yeah, laundry today. lol I think back to the holidays; I’d lost control of my recycling in the weeks after the Yule holiday, unexpectedly, having set aside good quality boxes, thinking I might move in January, then faced with snow and ice such that physically getting to and from the recycling bin wasn’t logistically possible (for me) while also carrying the recycling. The recycling piled up a bit, and because it was “an eyesore”, I moved the boxes into my studio, where there was more space… which became more boxes. My Traveling Partner and a friend noticed I had fallen behind, and on a visit they helpfully undertook breaking down the boxes and hauling them up the driveway to the recycling bin for me. I had it on my list to do for that upcoming weekend, and I definitely appreciated their help with that; the task had begun to overwhelm me, and the likelihood I might continue to put it off had increased because of that. (I try not to get to that point with any one housekeeping task for that reason.)

Yesterday's blue skies took no notice of my pain. I made a point of noticing the blue skies. :-)

Yesterday’s blue skies took no notice of my pain. I made a point of noticing the blue skies. 🙂

I looked around yesterday, in the morning, and spent the day on housekeeping, aside from the delightful hours I spent with my Traveling Partner in the afternoon. It was a day well-spent, in spite of the amount of pain I was in. This morning I don’t hurt so much. There’s still some housekeeping to do, and I’m torn… I’d also like to paint, but I think this particular weekend is one to spend on self-care in the form of unpaid labor: laundry, vacuuming, tidying things up generally, preparing my tax documents. These are all also a good use of my time. These are things that do need to be done. Being an adult, it is fully on me to do these things. Being adult, I know that as investments go, investing my own effort into my desired quality of life matters a great deal.

"Irises" 8" x 10" acrylic on canvas w/glow, February 2017

“Irises” 8″ x 10″ acrylic on canvas w/glow, February 2017

For me, adequate studio time is a quality of life concern. 🙂

"Hillside Meadow" 8" x 10" acrylic on canvas w/glow, February 2017

“Hillside Meadow” 8″ x 10″ acrylic on canvas w/glow, February 2017

I listen to the rain fall. There’s likely time, and light (later), for painting too; that is the advantage of having real studio space right here. I’ll have to see where these moments take me, today. Perhaps I’ll light a fire and read a book instead? I sit quietly, listening to the rain, and the wind chime rocking in the pre-dawn wind, distracted from my writing.

Rainy morning, before dawn - what does the day hold? Where will my journey take me?

Rainy morning, before dawn – what does the day hold? Where will my journey take me?

Today is a good day for being and becoming. Today is a good day to take the very best care of the person in the mirror. Today is a good day for meditation, for housekeeping, for sipping coffee and watching the rain fall. Today is a good day to change the world within these walls, and within this heart. Today that’s enough. ❤

This morning over my coffee I watched a video that resonates with me, another way of saying things about this amazing journey, another way to say “the way out is through”. Maybe you’ll enjoy it too? The Nerdwriter is a personal favorite, and this particular video on “Kintsugi” says much, quite simply.

So, this morning I go forward into the day thinking about the chaos and damage in another way; I am who I am because I’ve been through what I’ve been through, and made the choices I’ve made, and lived the moments I’ve lived… and I like a lot of who I am. There is a balance to be struck between grieving past trauma, and respecting the woman in the mirror; it’s been a hell of a journey, and we’ve come a long way together. Some of my “best” qualities as a thinking, feeling, reasoning, loving, being are a direct result of my brain injury…so… who am I? Am I my trauma? No. Am I some creation beyond or outside my experiences of trauma? Not that either.

I think I’ll stop throwing away broken porcelain. There is a better way. 🙂