April 10, 2014

sweet clarity

sweet clarity
at once concrete
then like running water

i catch a glimpse
cannot grasp

make excuses

you know every time
i think i should write it down
i should

because i forget
despite everywhere reminders

.
.
.

i still feel out of sorts
out of alignment
with the seasons

does this happen?
as we age and take up more space?

i've heard time spins faster
but i always imagined i could keep up

.
.
.

i found an old collage
i think about from time to time

i'd been looking for it recently
thought perhaps i'd thrown it out
in some fit of being a better me
now, in the present tense

i didn't think i'd ever have parted with it
but knowing that some partings aren't chosen
i stopped searching

last week as i pulled into the garage
i saw my old art portfolio
against the wall
by my car door
where it's been since the move

behind it, the collage
 started ten years ago
i'd been wanting to finish it

and so it begins

girl in circles






above the girls it reads: here's to women waging peace
.
.
.

being peace
daily struggle
my children, my guides

learning the lessons of reflection
mirrored by all

last moontime i realized
that some most all external discord
is caused by internal disharmony

and even though i often feel alone,
adrift, out to sea with no anchor
it is up to no one but me to reel myself back

again
and again

learning to ride the waves
and kiss the tide
the reluctant gift of self-reliance

.........................................................................................................



March 25, 2014

day one

i started this post at the beginning of the month.
it is now nearly over.
i'm almost 35.
i just had to exhale after i typed that.

actually, i didn't. i typed that at the beginning month and as my birthday swiftly approaches, it's less shocking but...

i used to think 35 was old.
i used to think i wouldn't live this long.
(but also, now, i think there were a lot of years i wasn't even living.)

i am about to enter my fifth seven year cycle.
and maybe for the first time in my life, i expect great things to come.
i say that in as non-attached a way as possible, which i guess is to say:
great things are to come.

in fact, they're already here.

it dawned on me the other day that when someone asks, "how are you (doing/feeling/etc.)? i no longer shrug and say, "meh" or feel as though it's a loaded question that they don't really want me to answer.

in the past, when things were going well i used to minimize it for fear that it wouldn't last or that i wasn't deserving or that someone would take it away from me.
i used to think others had that much power.
i used to give them that much power.

it was one of those lessons i had to learn and continue to learn.
i'm not even sure i'll never have to take the test again but right now it feels as though i finally passed a class i'd repeatedly failed.

i can now say things are great.
i am great.

and mean it.

there will probably always be days that i wish stuff was different or easier or better...

and i know, almost for a fact, that there will still be days when i am stricken by a grief that feels extra-heavy on my bones. that's sort of the way life works.

it's definitely how i work.
how i feel everything.

but here's what i've learned, what i carry into this next trip around the sun...

just as i can stand firmly
in my fear.
in my loss.
in my head.

i can also stand, confidently
in celebration.
in love.
in truth.

isn't that all we can do?

to live each of our breaths as though they were our last?
to find the joy and pure bliss of this experience and take none of it for granted?

we are here to feel our emotions, ALL OF THEM, but to react and respond from our core, like the spoke of a wheel.

stable.
secure.
centered.

no matter how fast the world is spinning around us.

.
.
.

remember that time i had a living room full of journals?

i had to get up on the couch to capture this 8-ft spread.

reading that blog post again and wow.

evidence that even slow growth is still growth.

after that first phase,i set aside 16 journals and a portable file box of old poetry to go through at a later date.
i had to give each page the time it deserved before i could just toss it.
these were the pages i'd carried around for fifteen, twenty years. lifetimes.

last october, after nearly losing my sight, going through those reserved journals was the goal but i started with my jewelry boxes, little treasures of gemstones in hidden places, my closets, bookshelves, studio...anything to keep me from the hard work
of
digging
through
those
words.

forever girl in circles.
accepted and embraced.
this is how i roll.
aware, almost the whole time, of i how i get in my own way and distract myself.
i'm the best at it.

last week i decided it was time to do this thing.
to step aside and enter the the second, most brutal phase.

i brought out the file box and those 16 journals and sat down in the middle of my studio.

i'd taken three years of poetry classes when i was getting my psych degree.
because i couldn't afford the luxury of therapy.
i wrote.
badly.

the other day i threw out my final portfolios.
said good-bye to ten pounds of classroom poetry,
other people's work and their commentary on mine.

for a minute i thought i'd regret it.
i think it's made for some incredibly strange dreams since.
but i don't regret it.

i kept my teenage composition notebook with fleetwood mac lyrics and tragic love letters.
and just one embarrassing childhood diary.

everything is now organized by topic or project and it all fits in a small file box.

a newer one. with the poetry, went the old, broken one. it's black pleather stood as an ironic box of darkness filled with opinions i no longer needed.

.
.
.

today is day one.

no more keeping strange hours or staying up until 4am, because, obviously that means that come 8 the next morn, i am not going to be the best functioning person i can be,  much less a functioning mama.

no more fear of ...dun, dun, dun....a schedule.
time-keeping.
keeping track.


it occurred to me the other day that what i feared most was that schedules somehow lead to a lack of creativity or spontaneity, that i would lose touch with the very madness that i derive my best ideas from but then i broke it down...

nothing is never not born from and into chaos, but nothing ever gets done if we're just floating around in chaotic shit all the time. we're not helpless, and no matter how buddhist you are, you have to admit that we are always enacting some sort of control over, or manipulating, at the very least, our experiences.

schedules can help harness the magic, then action can be taken.

i confused this necessary step with rigid schedules that constrict and bind and choke.
the kind that are "mandatory" and often associated with a name tag or uniform.

i am not uniform and so i resisted schedules for years. YEARS. even though, pick up any number of remaining journals of mine and you will see notes that look something like this:

morning: yoga, stretch, journaling/reading, coffee, breakfast, circle time, stories

mid-morning: snack, outside play, lesson books, free play

lunch, clean-up.
art, clean-up.

afternoon: snack, outside play, story time, stretch/music and movement

that was my formula for being an awesome, present, involved homeschooling mama but it left very little time or space for me and what else i have to accomplish (like making art, selling art, bookkeeping job-job, and making more books, yo!!!)

often i would sneak little or large chunks of time for updating the etsy shop or taking photos, painting or writing. i'd stay up late. wake early...or, as of late, wake late more and more and still feel exhausted. i felt scattered and flustered and knew my kids were suffering as much as i was. it wasn't so much that i wasn't giving them proper attention so much as i was inconsistent with it.

yesterday was one of the worst days we've had in a long time

i left the boys with awesome papa and did my favorite thing.
drove around a while, then sat in my car and cried.

before it was time to pick teen up from work, i decided it was time to hit the bookstore, find a book that called to me, and get my head clear. this is my new form of free therapy.

i saw a copy of hands free mama's new book by the same title.
i was a little meh about all the god-talk but it didn't turn me off as much as some reviewers.
it caught me off guard but the fact that i kept reading it means i've grown as a person.

and i know how to take what resonates and leave the rest.

i may have even bought it, save for i'm on a book diet.
plus, what i took from it while i sat there for thirty minutes was just the perspective i needed.
i felt the shift then and there and realized that my pretend schedules never lasted long (sort of like fad diets, yk?) because i tried to fit in all this awesome-hands-on-mom-time without making an actual on-paper schedule for my work/projects/me-time.

i often felt like i was "stealing" or sneaking this time to get things done because i was. sprinkled into our busy days, the inconsistency produced a lot of unnecessary stress.

last night my eight year old and i came up with a plan.

he called it: "gadget-free until three" meaning that we would tend to our homeschooling and housekeeping tasks throughout the day, staying off the electronics, until 3pm, at which point he and his brother could watch TV or play video games and i could work until dinner.

sounds SO simple but our homeschooling rhythm completely falls apart if they kids start playing minecraft after breakfast or i start checking FB, updating my etsy shop, or making work-related phone calls first, and of course, my teen's work schedule varies and i am driving him to and from work at least three days a week.

middlest and i were on the same page, though, and came up with a pretty nifty, flexible schedule.
in an effort to maximize our time and positive energy, we came up with a daily rhythm much like the oft-repeated, infrequently implemented ideal schedule but with time for mom built into the equation.

i even have myself going to bed by midnight at the latest.
this is revolutionary.

we did have a few bumpy spots after lunch, but it was warm out so we went to the park for an hour and while my middlest was itching to play on the computer when we got home, the littlest was gadget free ALL day. he didn't even ask for the ipad once. AND. and. AND?

i was able to work for four hours straight!
my kids didn't fight!

granted, teen and awesome papa were home, but the kids weren't even deferring to either of them to break up conflicts. there just weren't any. littlest only interrupted me a few times and it was toward the end of my scheduled block of time, anyhow.

after day one my four year old said "this was the best day ever" and even though he says that quite often, it wasn't accompanied by one of the many, daily declarations that it was also the worst day ever.

i call that a win.

...now. art and writing to happen, not on the whim of my crazy muse, but on a schedule.
which is no longer a bad word in my book.



February 20, 2014

on want. or the sh*t + the sh*ne.

when i was a kid my grandma used to say, "if you have handful of want and a handful of shit, all you end up with is shit."

of course my episodic memory is shit, so it's quite possible she never said that even though *i can remember* her face hovering over me as she did, with her palms open, face-up. one grasping at air, the other slinking lower with imaginary weight.

but what do i know?

i know the power of writing things down and dreams coming true.

i know the magic of crying in a broken heap upon the floor at 4 a.m. and wanting to die until the tears have run dry and there's a silent hope in the last, exhausted gasp for air. deflated and too tired to move, you stay there and stare off in awe, until you have to lift your heavy bones in a few hours to get yourself or your kid to school or whatever.

i know the power of creating our world with our thoughts, whether things feel like coincidence or serendipity, or because we have put the actual blood, sweat, and tears into action, which then result in a sometimes desirable outcome.

i know that to want meant to never have and to need was to show weakness and i have to be gentle with myself and foster neither excess or deprivation.

i know that i consider myself a happy person but i wasn't always and it's not without a darn-near constant effort. it sure as hell beats being angry and miserable all the time, which, when you think about it, also takes effort. even if it's easier or more comfortable.

i also know that i'm still one of the saddest and most sensitive creatures i know.

sometimes my friends tell me the perfect things and they remind me that when you feel everything with such intensity, all you can do is cry or have a real, visceral need to avoid as much human interaction as possible.

but what do i want?

sometimes i think i have everything i want. sometimes i think that wanting is a dangerous catch-22, best reserved for those who have truly mastered the power of magical thinking or the law of attraction. sometimes i don't know how to unblur the lines between want and need and what do any of us really even need?

i want to care for my mind, body, and spirit a bit more than i ever have.

i want to do yoga and quit saying i want to do yoga.

i want to sleep in, without qualifying it as a need and without feeling guilty, regardless.

i want to listen to my body and not be scared when i forget things or my muscles twitch or i ache upon waking or feel pings and zaps of involuntary nerve activity.

i want to pick up the breadcrumbs i scattered when i lost myself, to find the way back to myself.

i want to dress up or dress homeless, to show some skin, or not show anything.

 i want to be peace and breathe; unafraid.

i want to love, wholly and completely, without reservation or fear.

i want struggle and bad things not to exist anymore, anywhere, for anyone and by that i mean...

i want to see the shine through the shit, the gift in the grit.

i want to sit with open palms, face up, in order to both give and receive. endlessly and without greed. to be a vessel of ongoing, silent transactions, a conduit for change.


the tarot tells me what i needed to hear, in this moment, perhaps what i already know.
the wants + needs + knowledge already within, as is the choice in how to meet them; how to meet myself.

i also pull a card from the mother's wisdom deck, at random. the power in this small act always floors me.

haumea. a card i've not drawn before.


divine ancestress of the hawaiian people, haumea kindles a mother's nurturing nature. some mothers nurture in fits and starts, others nurture in spades...haumea has nurturing energy to spare. receive her visitation as a direct transmission of this essential mothering superpower...self-care forms the cornerstone of nurturing. we mothers habitually begrudge ourselves the care that we dole out to our families. are you victim to the belief that by giving to yourself, you deprive your children? the opposite reigns true - when we neglect to nurture ourselves, our caregiving withers. haumea urges you to consider how you need tending so that your motherhood may blossom.

and so on.

mothering and nurturing myself through the right words from a book.

i fill my cup, through wants and needs and desires and hopes and dreams and wishes and magic.
then i share its contents.

January 22, 2014

i'm going to disneyland and BIG news!

in two weeks i will be having lunch with one of my favorite artists + friend, mindy lacefield, the wonderfully sweet, mixed media artist + art journaling expert (+ owner of artspiration studio in mesa, az) tangie baxter, and a whole bunch of other awesome folks in downtown disney.

*pinch me*

i am so excited and also a little in disbelief that this all came together and i get to do this thing.

not just lunch. not just disney. a full three days of taking in the full, creative experience of the parks, art journaling meet-ups, a guided tour, a breakfast workshop at rainforest cafe...just. so. excited!

it's two weeks away but there may be a couple of spots left and there are some options...even an online version for those that can't make it to anaheim. 

click below for details...

now this trip wouldn't have been completely possible without gretchen, another friend of mine that i "met" online through corbyn hanson hightower, my collaborator and creative partner for the past year and a half. gretchen is taking the workshop, too, and generously offered to let me stay with her and her family at their nearby beach house. i honestly haven't even soaked this all in yet. 

me. on a beach. and in disneyland. without children...well, without my children (gretchen's four year old daughter and i are totally gonna be BFFs). i'm so giddy! a longtime friend of mine keeps reminding me NOT to feel guilty about this, to reclaim some parts of my childhood + just enjoy the experience (love you, katykins!) her words will totally carry me through this trip, because, while my husband and i are planning to take the boys to disneyland next year, i think i just might totally cry in cars land without them.

now...as if that weren't exciting enough....drumroll please...


corbyn and i have so much goodness to unleash, the first of which is our "picture book for adults" that's about to be released on amazon, like. soon. we're in the internal review process and ordering our proofs but here's a sneak peek of the cover!




squeeee! deets will be spilled here when the book is available, but also, stay abreast of all updates in a much quicker fashion by "liking" my facebook page, if you haven't already ;)







December 31, 2013

year in review : 2013

january 

this feels so far away, i can't recall a single highlight of last january, so moving on...

february

went to las vegas, had dinner on top of the stratosphere (never again. it made me sick. i have never had to work so hard to keep it together while sober.) visited my dad who treated my husband and i with tickets to see the beatles cirque de soleil show (he and his wife watched our littles, too. date night = awesome!). my dad also took us to hoover dam, we had a nice beer and burger on the way, and once there i nearly had an anxiety attack. heights and water and no.

at the boulder brewing co., boulder city, nv

lake mead
bridge over hoover dam.
i could not take photos of the actual dam because all i could do was imagine falling in.

march

for my birthday i took a distressing workshop with the beautiful, ultra-sweet + talented amanda louise spayd. she and her pal, chris ryniak had a show @ stranger factory. if you're not familiar with her work, it's aha-mazing!

amanda and chris.
photo-qual is meh because i was still rockin' the iphone 3GS. hee.
one day i will have a dust bunny original. oh yes, i will.


april 

baby was sicker than i've ever seen a kid, it was fairly traumatic for both of us. he turned the corner and was well enough to play some wii and have some cake on his birthday. also, solo trip to tucson to see modest mouse, visited some friends in phoenix and went to ikea. w00t! i reeeealllly didn't want to spend 14+ hours in a car by myself but i did it. and it was worth it.




may

participated in my first gallery show at metallo gallery in madrid, nm and made some new art/business world connections.




june

took mini roadtrip with awesome papa to see mumford + sons in taos. the rain and the cold and the amount of people there were all a bit much but it was memorable and fun. on the way home the next day we stopped along the river and then took a surprise detour to tesuque and stopped at shidoni gallery + foundry. through casual conversation i was invited to submit some artwork for representation but, as of yet, have not completed the body of work i started with shidoni in mind.

took pics with awesome papa but he doesn't like to show up on the blog.
solo foto di mia.

riverside.

on the way to shidoni.

artwork i started (to submit to shidoni) and artwork which no longer looks like this.
i have completely embraced the trusting process while making art,
but i truly think i should have stopped while ahead with this one.

july

had a nasty sinus infection that i finally cleared with a neti pot after finally deciding to stop being afraid of them. teenager moved back in. dad came to visit. this was a super intense time and A LOT was going on. no photos. except this one from the best show ever because i can't think of a neti pot without also thinking of ruth and the infamous "nostril pot"!

six feet under in case ya didn't know.


august

also super intense. i have an entire blog post dedicated to just three days in august, but it's probably book material more than anything. took my best friend to colorado to live with another friend...super surreal as she and i had traveled the same stretch of road, ten years ago, on our way to aspen. also on labor day weekend. that trip was life-changing as was this year's, though she and i may not understand the gravity of it all for some time to come. what's weird about it, too, is that her friend lives in an itty, bitty town where another friend of mine once lived. they were introduced (we were all mutual friends forever but her friend and my friend hadn't met until they both lived in colorado) BUT on top of that...this is a place i spent some time in as a kid and have always loved. my dad's mother still owns a summer cabin there, and in fact, if i'd been able to stay longer i could have visited with my dad that weekend . the trip really solidified the fact that i want to live in colorado and that i will, someday. also, 6+ hours in a car by myself, on the way back, was like. no big thing.

on the way up north....
somewhere in colorado. actually operational, too. they were showing smurfs 2.
in the itty town. the only two story people i saw in the only shop we went into.
a sure sign if i ever saw one.
on the way home. it rained. i cried. beauty everywhere


september

i got to spend a day in santa fe with some very special ladies, including, the amazing tracy verdugo! then i took a two-day workshop with her on my old stomping grounds at the university of new mexico. it was indescribably awesome and truly the highlight of this last quarter as so much of what's happened since has been related to the entire experience.


tracy showing us her some of her process.

hadn't been in art department bathroom since i changed
 my minor from art studio to religious studies in 2003.

my canvas after day one.

tracy and i (and our canvases) after day two.

october

  • sold my first painting at the charming meme boutique in ohio, which was one of the networking perks of doing the metallo show in may. 
  • my biggest commission yet arrived safely in canada. for team bamboletta, known for the super amazing waldorf dolls. and just. wow. the entire process was one of my most amazing experiences in terms of personal and professional growth, so thankful to christina and the lessons i was able to learn (like, maybe don't use new supplies on a big piece without spot-checking first. you know, practical stuff...and also, maybe don't sell yourself short.) i originally underestimated both the time and cost, but christina was a wonderful, patient, kind patron and all the while i kept pinching myself and saying, "i'm creating a painting for a DOLL MAKER to hang in her shop!?!?" because, when i was a kid, i used to bring home doll catalogs from a superfancy doll shop and pretend that i was running my own doll shop. full. circle. amazeballs.

photo courtesy of bamboletta

in it's new home, photo taken by bamboletta

i also started a few dreads (haven't yet decided if i want a full head of them), nearly went blind AND sent in my first submission to stampington + co. like, physically mailed in artwork. has been on my list of things to-do for years but all things in their time.



november

  • sold my second painting at meme boutique!
  • started working on my first collab book for real for real. it's been a year+ in the making! woohoo!
  • awesome papa and i had the epiphany of all epiphanies about moving to colorado AND what to do once we get there (basically the sum total of all of our wishes, desires, triumphs, and failures over the years culminated into the perfect plan and we had a complete "what took us so long?" moment. more later...) 
  • decided, that yes. in the meantime, for real for real, i'm going to teach art. even managed to get two students, ready to start in january (and i need to get on that...no more procrastinating!)

december

  • got moving on the first retreat i will host (and co-teach with some super-highly awesome other artists!). i am seriously excited to spill all the beans about this but details are under wraps until they come together a little more. you are not going to want to miss this, though! it's good stuff with good people!
  • put together a wonderfully sweet and last-minute commission that arrived JUST IN TIME for christmas (questioned my sanity on this one, but so happy that i was able to stretch my "deadline" wings and i'm smitten with how it came out!) 
  • let the last minute become the very last minute and just accepted it. for the first time, ever, i didn't wrap a single gift until christmas eve and was not as stressed out as i might have been in the past. love these little, obvious signs of growth.
  • also...as the month came to an end, so did a lot of things come together. proof that what we need is always there, always within, with us. it reveals itself when it needs to. big lessons in trust and seeing the magic. always + forever.

sisters.
last commission of the year.


whew! 2014 is going to be just as filled with love and full of wonder. there will be books and news, new artwork, travels and teaching. will reveal a bit more soon, along with my word of the year (it still hasn't come to me. i tried to force it, and there will be a theme, but the word is a mystery yet...)






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