Archives for posts with tag: work in progress

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. 🙂

I spent Sunday in the studio. It was lovely. Music, paint, and chill creative time – an investment in self. New work drying, waiting to be seen in sunlight, and a beautiful recollection of time well-spent. “Being a creative” – probably true for any sort of artist, really – is quite possibly the most precious and “important” part of “who I am” that I could ever think to share; it’s how I tell the stories I don’t have words for. It can’t actually be taken from me – by anyone.

I’ve been in some shitty relationships, and gotten tangled up with some human beings who did not actually have my interests in mind at all, and did not mean me well – but only one of those, ever, has dared to lay an angry hand on my art work. Her existence as a human being colors the way I feel about new relationships, sadly, making me very cautious, indeed. Generally, human beings I have been emotionally involved with have been pretty uniformly respectful of both my creative process and the resulting work. Not that one; it is clear that the behavior is willful, deliberate, and intentionally chosen for maximum cruelty and manipulative power. While that sucks completely, and causes me real pain, I know something she has not yet learned; tit-for-tat nastiness does more emotional damage to the person doing it than to the person being treated poorly. The damage to me amounts to only as much as I permit. Non-attachment is huge here. Having learned that lesson a very long time ago, there’s no reason to interact with her at all. (In keeping with my own admonitions “don’t take the bait”, I am careful not to allow myself to be baited.) Certainly I’ve no interest in game-playing or “pay backs” – what a waste of precious limited life time that would be.

Work in progress, not yet completed, inspired by an X. “Toxicity”.

Walking on from something as dear to me as my art work, when I know it is in the hands of someone who will (or has) destroyed it – and who I have clear confirmation has that potential, because she’s already damaged some of it (and won’t return the rest) – is uncomfortable. It’s hard. No lie. Is all that beautiful work lost? Maybe. It may be that I will have to handle it with a civil stand by, at a later date, or criminal charges, or a civil lawsuit, certainly, it is not necessary for me to “take care of it” myself. For now? I have other things to do with my life, and no interest in being emotionally manipulated. I let it all go. I walk on. I spend delightful leisure hours in my studio, painting new work.

I hear from my Traveling Partner late in the day. We talk. I feel wrapped in his love. That’s a story I will tell on canvas, in colors and brush strokes, for the rest of my life, and it is one that brings me great joy.

So much love it regularly spills onto canvas. 🙂

Pay backs are bullshit. Don’t be tempted into playing that game; you’ve already lost once you allow that toxic mess into your thinking. Stay on your path. Be the person you most want to be. Don’t become a thing you despise because you feel hurt or angry. (I know, I know, there are verbs involved, and your results may vary.) Transcending the willful hurts delivered by another can be incredibly difficult, but… every time you do? You demonstrate the beauty of your fundamental humanity. Taking that “high road”? You show the quality of your character – to everyone. What that person so invested in hurting you thinks about you (or says) is irrelevant, to you, and to the world; they have shown who they are. Let them have their skewed world view, and walk on. “Being right”? Not as important as your life. You don’t need to defend yourself to others, or “prove” a point. Life your life. Live it well. Treat others well. Be kind. Be true to your values. Let go of whatever you have to, in order to break the chains that bind you to another by anything but your own choice to be with them (ideally because you mutually meet each other’s emotional needs in a positive supportive way, that encourages personal growth and nurtures you all).  Just my thoughts on that sort of thing. It works for me.

Another day and week begin. A satisfying weekend becomes a new work week. Clearly, it is time to begin again. 🙂

 

 

I got home from work last night numb from the neck up, figuratively speaking, although the sensation of it wasn’t far off. I was exhausted, having slept only about 22 hours in the number of days I’d typically sleep 40, and frequently interrupted, however briefly, throughout the week. By Thursday night I wasn’t really sleeping at all. I did manage a 90 minute nap, in the wee hours immediately preceding my alarm going off. Last night it was no effort to do some yoga, manage appropriate calories, have a shower and go to bed; I was on auto pilot at that point, and just following steps that had been planned and mentally rehearsed much earlier in the day. I slept deeply, and woke early – 4:00 am. I don’t know what woke me, perhaps I’d simply had sufficient rest. I tried to go back to sleep, but my brain was having none of that, and I found myself doing what I have so often found myself doing, awake in the darkness; I started thinking about what I want and don’t have, and what I loved that I now lack, the long-yearned-for unreachables, the wonders snatched from me by circumstance, the emotional hurts and betrayals large and small that are part of my (the) human experience – both those I have felt, and those I have delivered… and it’s probably no surprise that I started feeling anxious, discontent, sad, frustrated and near tears. There are still choices.

It isn’t easy. I just keep at it, though, because practicing meditation is changing my experience in a positive way over time; so I gave up on more sleep, and meditated. It helps. While I’m calm and centered and just being, there in the stillness before dawn, I become aware of how much physical pain I am in, too. I get up and do some yoga, slowly easing myself through the sequence that helps me loosen up each morning, and then on to some favorite poses that just feel good to me, and keep me present and engaged in the moment. That helps, too. Still finding myself feeling moody, and vaguely discontent and resentful, I take a couple deep calming breaths and instead of squashing down my feelings, I relaxed and let them evolve, and listened to what my heart might have to say about things. Just giving myself a moment to be okay with my experience, and my emotions helps, too, although this one is still more challenging as new practices go. I haven’t quite gotten the hang of it, so I practice rather carefully, and sometimes it feels a bit formulaic, as though I take each step quite separately, reading off a check list in my head.

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Practice results in incremental changes over time, each moment building our experience.

I realize that I’m carrying around some hurt over something small. I consider the importance I have chosen to place on emotional self-sufficiency, and ask myself different questions that I might once have asked. Instead of the frustrated angry ‘why me?’ sorts of questions, I take a moment to ask myself ‘what is the underlying value involved here?’ and ‘what is the unmet need seeking fulfillment in this moment?’ and ‘how can I reinforce good practices to ensure this need is well met, without relying on any emotional resources but my own?’ It’s proving to be a useful and effective approach for me.

It takes a change of perspective.

It takes a change of perspective.

 

In this case, the underlying value seemed to be one of The Big 5, Respect. Feeling disrespected, in this particular instance over the way I use language in conversation was more ‘disrespect’ with a small ‘d’, rather than ‘Disrespect’ with a big ‘D’; it just wasn’t ‘a deal breaker’, because it was over an aesthetic matter – and those are entirely unarguably personal preferences that no one can take from us. I needed, however, to feel appreciated with regard to the way I use language.  I made an espresso, sat down at my desk and caught up on my email, checked in with early bird friends, and friends in far away time zones. I chatted with people I hadn’t taken time for in a while, and savored the varied conversational styles of each. I didn’t start writing, here, until later in my morning than is typical, and by the time I did I was in a completely different head space.  I suspect I am writing very differently than I might had I simply begun to write in the minutes sometime after I woke at 4:00 am.

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I have no relevant caption for this, I just like this picture.

I’ll be honest, I do feel better  – but there are things in my life I’m not satisfied with, and I’ve got things to work on as a human being. I struggle with some baggage, and I make mistakes that hurt people I love. Sometimes I’m unpleasant to be around when I’m in pain, or my hormones are messing with me. Sometimes I don’t treat people as well as I mean to, or as well as I want to. I’m not as strong as I may appear. I feel sad and disappointed with myself when I ‘don’t get things right’ – and some of my expectations and demands of myself are clearly not reasonable.

Sometimes finding my way is as simple as a good night’s sleep, sometimes it is much more complicated than that.  I know I am loved, and I’m learning to accept that it is most important that in that feeling of being loved, I must include my own voice, and with real enthusiasm and affection. This morning, progress is enough.