Monday, March 31, 2014

Delphinium and Hope

I want to share these words of inspiration that a very wise person who is in my life shared with me to help me get through this ordeal. I feel quite blessed and wanted the power of his words to be put out into the universe. 

 "Ever since I was a little kid I have imagined gardens, places I could plant some tiny seed or bulb or root that would at some future date bring me great happiness in what ever spectacle they would become.  This started when I was 8 and my mother brought me across country on a bus and we moved for a while to what I thought was the most terrible looking of houses, it was a tiny house that had been converted from a chicken house.  A woman told me, as we moved into it one night that I was lucky because on Monday the school bus would stop right at the front door to pick me up....horrible thought of waiting for a bus and having a load of kids from a new school who all knew each other looking at me and then at this terrible shack that I lived in with no plants around it and junk all about.   

On Saturday I walked to a farm store and I saw a seed display and on one packet were tall stalks of blue delphinums.  I bought the pack of seeds and once home immediately planted them all around the front porch: the ground was hard, covered with fir needles, and shaded by evergreens.  Monday came, and the flowers of course did not, but I looked every day for weeks, looking hard and close for the seedlings which I was to learn had decided to grow elsewhere in a more needy spot.. Didn't know that at the time and never gave up on those seedlings and years after, when I had a car of my own I would drive past that shack and expect to see tall stalks of blue delphiniums.

  Moved away to other states, moved back, became older and over the years have driven back past the house (which was turned back into a livestock feeding shelter).  The delphinium garden over the years has become magnificent in my mind, I see them when I shut my eyes in tough times, at moments when I am afraid of being judged by others or when I have to face the unknown.  I see them when I am afraid and anxious and they remind me of the potential of the power I have over almost anything that scares me, the power of a garden I once planted in my mind.

When I came home from the hospital I was terribly afraid, couldn't imagine what my life would be like not seeing very well and pushing a walker around and being dependent upon other people. First thing I did when I was able to work outside again was to buy a pack of delphiniums.  Never planted them, but keep them on a shelf as a reminder.  Held them in my hand in those early days when I didn't see so well, feeling the rough little hulls in my fingers and visualized the best delphinium garden that had ever been planted and relished the fact that it had been planted by efforts, my hopes, my dreams."

How synchronistic that I should happen to find a 109th chair, even though I thought I had only made 108 for the installation. I suppose this one was meant to be mine!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Art of Sitting Still

As I gazed out the window, trying to "plan" the day, as I deal with a headache, I catch a glimpse of an eagle perched in a large evergreen tree. He sits so still and regal, as the gulls and other birds fly tumultuously around him. He remains undisturbed and still. The formations of geese are flying by, returning, as spring is upon us in a few days. Each day the buds are opening more fully on the cherry blossom tree, as if spring ahead has put them into fast forward mode. The birds have practically cleaned me out of suet, and the air is alive with birds. The crow, the flicker and the stellar jay have all been vying for a spot on the feeder, as they comically try to balance, knocking off their smaller feathered fellow birds, who are no competition for them. And the eagle remains still. I am not ready for the fast forward of spring yet. I still feel like I am trying to settle into the dark, quiet, yin time of winter. My exhibit was like a bulb being forced to blossom for spring too quickly, not a natural feeling. I still crave the darkness, the quiet. I rejoice, when I awaken to the rain and grey skies, whereas others celebrate sunlight, longer days and spring. I still need my personal winter. Ironic how the "Waiting" continues to be a reminder, there will always be the waiting. The eagle glances around, but remains steadfast on his branch. The wind is blowing and gusting and he remains undisturbed. Spring make me feel as if I have to be doing, rather than being. My clay awaits me in the studio, waiting to become. Today I feel sluggish and the creativity that flows through my hands, feels as if it is in need of hibernation mode today. Yet my head tells me I should "do", I should "make", I should move forward, get it done. The eagle still sits and subtly moves his head and glances around him, waiting. As the wind gusts, the reflections of the trees on the lake begin to ripple. What was once a mirror image of the trees, now becomes distorted. It looks like my vision feels to me. One eye remains crystal clear, while the other is rippled like the wind blown water. I worry that the work won't get done. I fear the eye surgery, that is less than a week away. I feel as if I don't sculpt today, it won't get completed. I want the sculpture to reflect the fearful vision I have right now, yet it seems to have a mind of it's own, not wanting to be molded into that vision. Who knows what it will be? Maybe the clay needs to sit a bit today and solidify. Yesterday, I had so much energy, and worked so fast that the clay began to cave in on itself. The clay is a good teacher, always has been, if I listen to it, like I am called to listen to the eagle. I glance down at my computer, and when I look up, the eagle is gone as quickly as it came. I never noticed it arriving or leaving. It remained still and waiting, until it instinctively knew when he needed to move forward. Another lesson from nature. It is all around me if I only listen. But I resist listening to the frenetic birds, the quickly blossoming trees. Sometimes you have to listen in to your own rhythm of nature, your own inner clock, and sometimes you have to look toward the stillness of the eagle to hear the message. My head pounds this morning, and it is distracting me from the work I feel I need to do, planned to do today. How can I not listen to the pain? The eagle did not get distracted from his rhythm by the swarming birds, but instead stayed steadfast in his stillness until it was time to move. That is what today is calling to me to do today, but can I listen?

Saturday, March 8, 2014

So May It Begin Again

I read this while listening to Pat Metheny's "So May It Secretly Begin" from Still Life Talking and it all felt very synchronistic. Perhaps it is also because I am in the midst of reading the book, Embracing Coincidence: Transforming Your Life Through Synchronicity by Carol Lynn Pearson.

"Now and again, it is necessary to seclude yourself among deep mountains and hidden valleys to restore your link to the source of life. Breathe in and let yourself soar to the ends of the universe; breathe out and bring the cosmos back inside. Next, breathe up all fecundity and vibrancy of the earth. Finally, blend the breath of heaven and the breath of earth with your own, becoming the Breath of Life itself." ~ Morihei Ueshiba

It was such an amazing experience having my first solo exhibit, "Waiting". It was more than I could have ever imagined it would be. It will take me some time to digest it all and begin again. Hopefully the next two weeks will help me to immerse myself in the feelings of this intense roller coaster ride I just got off of, and integrate all that it has meant to me. The support through the "snowpening", the 2nd Thursday re-opening reception and then the closing artist's reception, made the work feel complete, and that it came full circle. Knowing that people wanted to not only come to experience my work, but for many of them, take home and be a continuing part of the installation of 108 chairs, made it that much richer for me. Now that most of the work has found a home with someone else or it's new living space in my home, I feel a need to quiet the chatter and energy, sink inward and then begin making new work. I have given myself permission to create space to create. I am beginning to envision my next sculpture which will deal with the upcoming retina surgery I will be having at the end of the month; the fears the hopefulness, the new "vision" so to speak, whatever that looks like. For now, I know my vision is literally and figuratively "cloudy and distorted", and I trust it will all change for the better. I have to surrender to the outcome, but envision it positively. Why not? So here I sit, grateful for the experience that "Waiting" brought, and now, waiting again, for the next chapter. I am incredibly grateful for this time to reflect and move forward. I have to deal with the fear that I will never be able to possibly have an exhibit quite as special and rich as "Waiting". It will be different, a new vision, but isn't each day, each experience, each sculpture? As it is said, "you never step into the same river twice", and so it goes....