Sunday, January 27, 2013

Freedom Is An Empty Box

All this cleaning-out going on, everywhere!  Not a room untouched, a box unopened, not a paper unread, or a dust-bunny undisturbed.  This is unsettling.

The Blue Bird box is cleaned.  The back porch swept.  The ashes out.  The studio tidied, dusted, re-arranged somewhat.  A box from the storage unit emptied, right down to the layer of pretty rocks on the bottom.

Rejuvenating.  Restorative.  Transformational.

Of the many gifts in living in N. California:  February is the month of ripening citrus.  Oh!  Afternoon light dancing through the orange tree highlighting the fruit, a blatant invitation to indulge in juicy tart sweetness.

Daffodil spears are pushing up through the leaf mulch.  It is late January, after all, the Paper Whites are almost done!  Black lambs are racing around in the tender green grass!  The sky today, regardless of that strong cold breeze, is as blue as possible.

I have been turning the mulch.  Having ordered and received my new panels (5' X 5' made of Balkan plywood for strength and lightness) there is work to be done in the studio.  Surfaces to clear, paintings to move, shelves to tidy.  In the midst of this process I lost it.  Haha.  To be expected, perhaps, with breathing in the dust and stories of "stuff"and sunlight muted by winter-spotted windows.  Yesterday it hit me that actually, I am not an artist, nor am I a writer.  I have no career, education or accomplishments.  Life is meaningless.  Yesterday I did not see this as a gift.  I fell face-first into the mulchy hole.

Later in the evening, when I settled into my chair to watch the Dog Whisperer, I noticed the agreed-upon-box-from-the-storage-unit perched upon the dog crate in front of the damm TV.  No choice (haha) but to go through it, like I've agreed to do.

That Box:  OMyGod.  What a box, even though deceptively small.  Yes, it was a box of destiny.  Past.  Passed.  It contained letters, journals, sketch books.  It contained misery, destruction, heartbreak and failures.  It contained frustration, rage, disappointment and fear.  It contained my worst fears.  Every one of them.

I sorted the contents one by one.  I read the letters.  I looked at the sketches.  I made decisions:  I keep this drawing and throw away the rest.  I put books into another box for Goodwill.  I put 10 pounds of Court Papers into the recycle bin.   I burned the letters.  Something wonderful started to happen, but I didn't know what it was. 

I felt a feeling of emptiness filling me up.

The Mule Got Drunk and Lost In Heaven

Mind is ever a tourist
Wanting to touch and buy new things
Then toss them into an already
Filled closet.

So I craft my words into those guides
That will offer you something fresh
From the Hidden's Tavern.

Few things are stronger than
The mind's need for diverse

I am glad
Not many men or women can remain
Faithful lovers to the unreal.

There is a kind of adultery
That God encourages:

Your spirit needs to leave the bed
Of fear.

The gross, the subtle, the mental worlds
Become as a worthless husband.

Women need
To utilize their superior intelligence
About love
So that their hour's legacy
Can make us all stronger and more clement.

Sometimes a poem happens like this one:

The mule I sit on while I recite
Starts off in one direction
But then gets drunk

And lost in


For months I have not been able to find my friend Hafiz!  The Gift was in plain sight, I just could not see it.  Home again, next to my laptop, my all time favorite book smiles.  We are back in business!

All is possible.  Hafiz says "Hidden's Tavern,"  Emily Dickinson calls them "possibles."  Each day presents them, each breath enlivens them.  Each word represents them.  Each action fulfills them.

All is possible.  All is well.

I love you.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

New Territory

Not a square in sight.  So far.

Having grown up on the Northern Coast of California, the roar of the surf was the soundtrack of my days, 24/7.  When I reached the incredible freedom of my driver's license, "the beach" would call me with its distant conversation.  My young dreams of future life were of a house on the Coast, with animals and a studio, and bookshelves lined with Leo Tolstoy and Zane Grey.

Of course, life has carried me far, beyond my wildest dreams in many ways, though short of living day by day on the Coast.  I am not disappointed.  I am satisfied.

My studio is a humble bedroom-converted, with windows that encourage sunlight to splash into the room.  On a fairly regular basis I am driven to clean out and re-organize, because my obsessive-compulsive housekeeper raises her critical head and delclares my sanctuary a mess.  Geez, I say.  Must you be so harsh?  Don't most artists have all their stuff, their material, all around them?  O. K.  I see:  Do we need all ((ALL)) of this?

To be fair, I do admit that I have been cleaning-out.  Have made my lists, and checked them off.  I do enjoy a more open space within which to work, as meditation often begins with my eyes landing gently in a corner, on the window sill, or top shelf.  Inspiration is only a breath away, or a stepping aside to allow its entry.  It comes forward, not unlike the winter sunlight dancing with the Madonna and Lady Guadalupe and the Blue Birds.

Fifteen years (or so) ago, the forces of nature which govern and pummel the Northern Coast created a never-before Sea Ball.  High tides, high winds and the January surf created them from sea grass, twigs and roots.  My nieces, nephews, kids and I collected them out the the wild water.  They still inhabit my space.  No.  I will never throw them out.  I have given a few of them away, re-homed them.  Periodically I give them the once over with the vacuum cleaner.  After all this time and cleaning, they still pour forth sand.

It is human nature to be creative.  It is our nature to create and hold beliefs, ritual, and meaning about our lives.  These become our stories, what we hold to be true.

So often, what we hold to be true isn't.  This is the space, once cleaned out of untruth, becomes the source of our renewed and rediscovered creativity.

Hey.  I love you.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Looking Back, and Forward

Several moons have travelled across the sky since I've written.  Now, faced with how to catch up, I say, just jump in and do it!  Isn't it odd how liquid time is?  Moments pile up like sandstone, memories wash away details, monkey-mind elaborates and exaggerates!  What is one to do?

Smile and go with it?  Realize that what I put here is just my story, or all my story.  Let go, my Dear, of making it good or excellent or rotton or complicated.  Let it flow!

We have been at the Coast for a week.  It has been wonderful.  In fact, we are still here, though packing and leaving tomorrow by noon.  Yeah.  Going home.  Picking up the dogs!  Checking back in to my Life!  Renewed.  Resolved.  Inspired.  Quieter.  Maybe a little more solid.  

The past year has been full of growth.  Apparently my personal growth was needing some updating, as from here it seems that is all that I've been doing.  I tend to forget in any given moment, that Life has been very very very full.  My partners and I ran our Phantom IV Gallery for a year and a half, and closed it October 1.  By itself, that was an adventure!  for which I am grateful of every moment.  The Gallery experience moved me deeper into my own artwork, and also delighted with meeting and getting to know other artists.

The coming year excites me.  I look forward to renewed energy which emerges with the light.  This dark time of year is incubation, where seeds/ideas planted in dreams or conversation or writing swell and germinate.  Minutes of light extend each day moment by moment.  I can feel it!

Oh, and my new planner awaits me!  It's arrived!  And I cannot wait to crack it open!

My little secret:  I like the discipline of planning and doing.  For so long, spontaneous was very important to my way.  Let whatever happens lead.  Oh Lordy.  I cannot believe I did that for so long, not realizing the suffering I caused my own self.

Two and a half years ago I joined a 12 Step group to "try" and lose weight.  My weight has bugged me for as long as I have been spontaneous, I kid you not.  So, after watching my dear friend melting away, and asking her, "What the...???" she invited me to come to a meeting with her.  That was August 17, 2010.  Wow.  And what does Program do for one?  Let me tell you:  Following the Steps, using the tools, giving back to the Fellowship has brought the spiritual into my life, completely.  Yes.  Every morning I read my literature, I write in my journal, I pray, I meditate.  I call my sponsor, and my sponsee calls me.  I walk, I meditate.  I prepare and eat an abstinate breakfast.  I go to work, or take the dogs out, or do yardwork.  I prepare and eat an abstinate lunch.  I go to work, or to the studio.  I prepare and eat an abstinate dinner.  I make calls to Fellows.

And I have lost 58 pounds.  They are gone.  Don't even threaten to return.

Of course, Life is interwoven in this schedule.  Life with family, friends, spiritual community.  Interwoven is the key.  No longer tangled, knotted or torn.  A calm has enveloped my life.  No, not boring, or resigned, but a beautiful order.

The coming year promises more: art, fellowship, deepening relations, Love, writing, giving, growing.  I look forward to an incredible year.

For you I see good fortune, community, shared work, solidarity, faith, trust,  and love.  I see this for us all.  I celebrate.

I love you.

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