I dabble in art journaling. I was reminded by a well meaning soul once that art journaling was supposed to be a two page spread. I had heard that before, and I didn’t buy into it then either.
I remember being at a well attended art workshop. The artist turned around to chat, I didn’t like that, but was kind and listened. The artist then saw a bit of something in the paint, not intentionally there, not a brush bristle but a thin strand of lint now well coated in paint. It belonged to to piece I was working through. She went into my art and pulled it out with her tweezer like nails and told me I didn’t want that there. When she looked up mid intrusion she turned back to her space and stayed that way for the next three days. I’ve been told I have an expressive face.
I’ve never been one to need or necessarily appreciate other people’s restrictions. I grew up steeped in them. They smothered me, moulded me, mastered me. Rules clouded my real dreams and my creativity for a long long time.
I snuck out from under the edges of that heavy blanket some time ago. Sure, I still abide a rule if it makes sense to me, but I have a bright inner pilot light that I trust completely.
So, when it comes to my art….no rules. If I break a rule while discovering a new way to get ‘there’, by playing outside of the lines, by expanding my experience, while expressing something that is beautiful or ugly to me, in me, then I succeed.
When I begin to feel depleted, I know I’m not doing enough of what I know I need and too much of what others want or think they need of me. I learned, a hard way, that I must look after myself. I’m the only one who knows how to!
My way of dealing with and avoiding depletion is to plan and book spiritual respite for myself. I give my own spirit time to rest and refill. I feed my creativity. It is an extended artist date if you will.
It means stepping away.
It means paying attention.
It means asking questions.
And it means being open to receive the answers. I am a bit of a rambler on these short sojourns and I feel super lucky that the sun is with me today, again.
It means noticing incongruence and balancing them.
Looking up is risky on a cracked uneven concrete surface. Still, looking up yields surprises, coincidences, and more of what’s on my radar. Today, after slowing and feeding my roots, I am soul reassured that I know what has to come next for me. The where, when and what are clear!
It requires time. Alone.
The most important thing I learned while working on my Masters is that I find what I’m looking for. I was looking for clarity. I’ve got it.
After a full on morning of painting, I need to take a little break. When I’m away, it’s either a walk, a movie, or an adventure. It rests me up for my next painting session.
Today I ventured off to Abbaye de Flaran. It dates back to 1151 and was purchased in 1970 by the Department du Ger for restoration.
I needed more time, but here’s a taste of what I saw.
Now that’s ‘just’ the main floor of the cloister and church. You won’t believe what I saw in the gallery upstairs!
There was also a gorgeous Monet! Where the phot went I don’t know but it was of the sea!
There are so many wonderful surprises to discover in this part of France!
Hello! It’s been a while again, I know. I’ve been writing just not here. I’ll work on that. I’ve been reading and painting and …. nothing consistently right now. I’m a creative tornado at the moment, interrupted from completing anything by my next big idea. Which I start, because I love starting something new…I just usually finish more starts than I have been this year.
For a moment today the wind seemed to lull and I had the opportunity to talk about Walk Through Walls, Marina Abramovic’s Memoir which I have been in the process of reading for a long time. She’s fierce. I can imagine myself fierce, but I would describe myself as something other than that. Dedicated, maybe. Passionate, at times. Dreamer, always. I find Marina’s ferociousness beguiling. She did not allow it to be beaten out of her. At least that’s how she tells her story.
Perhaps I’ll rewrite mine.
Abramovic is a performance artist. She’s worked with Lady Gaga and James DeFranco, and she’s been emulated by Jay-Z. She’s written books, made films, performed in the most famous big city galleries. She’s done important work and developed important contacts. She’s an intellectual, cultured, exotic, opinionated, heard. She experienced Ulay as her Diego. Marina doesn’t just make art, she is art.
It was interesting to think and explain all of this about a woman artist. Have you noticed that the past is filled with famous male artists? If you ever browse Invaluable, take note of how many female artists reside among the men. Take note also that the bulk of those female artists …Carr, Kahlo, Abramovic, O’Keeffe, Cassatt … did not have children.
What do you think about that?
I know what I think. Time for a fierce discussion about stereotyping.
When I was little, my parents had Alvin Toffler’s, Future Shock in their extensive library. Mr. Toffler was right on the mark in preparing me for change; it’s been the touchstone of my life. Every time I feel like I’ve landed, every time I feel that I’ve arrived, every time I’ve experienced contentment, there’s change to deal with.
I was listening to a podcast the other day about choice. About consciously choosing to limit the decisions we make in a day by eating the same breakfast, by wearing the same outfit, by structuring waking hours the same way.
I’ve always found routine dulling to my senses. In the podcast, the speaker specifically referred to Jobs and Zukerberg. (Black turtleneck and hoodie). Can they actually remain creative in the midst of mind numbing routines? Life as art, right? Wrong? I guess I usually find comfort in Blundstones, jeans and a soft, loose shirt. I guess a good cup of expresso and foamy milk is my usual breakfast.
I have always believed I was comfortable with change, welcoming it, jumping into it, what iffing it into being.
Most recently, because my husband works in a town 41/2 hours from our home, we bought a second one. It has stellar ocean views and it’s smaller than our first home which we bought intentionally to house the six children between us.
We are not mortgage free on either, till the death and all that, right? So, to get the second house paying for itself, we suited and put in a carefully curated AirBnB. So far, so good.
As of late October 2018, AirBnB’s in our area are required to pay occupancy taxes. In Port McNeill, it needs to be registered as a business. We then needed to update our home insurance.
Change! Change! Change!
Now, I need to learn to use some simple accounting software. Now, I need to learn how to carefully track spending.
Seriously? All I really want to do is travel and paint, paint and travel…and hang out with my tribe.
I should okay the sale of our southern house. My freedom to travel and paint and hang lies in that act.
It’s just that, it contains. So. Much.
You know, life’s detritus is in that place. And my studio is there. And stories of the past are in the walls and garden. And proximity to my blood tribe, is there.
Have you noticed that because our present and future are so all consuming the past barely exists anymore? Traditions that used to matter so much seem to have dissolved. I can’t even answer the question of why they were important other than to imagine them as the threads that bound the tribe together. Now we have cell phones. We’re in constant contact anyhow. My kids wonder why it’s so important for me to ‘be live’ with them and I wonder where these changes will lead to next.
Life with tribal gatherings is rich in pleasure, memories, history, herstory, mystory, yourstory, and drama. This is where we share and polish our beliefs and values en mass. I think that’s important to the future.
So change. Letting go. Grabbing on….
Where did I leave my Blundstones? I need to go for a walk.
The full moon; it’s always that great ball of reflected light that signals the way forward. I breathed it in and let it out, I was holding so much more than I knew.
The next morning I found a beautiful heart shape rock on my doormat. True story.
And then the rain started. In earnest. It was due. Maybe even overdue. I may have even hoped for it. I don’t mind the rain at all and it doesn’t keep me inside. I kind of like the saltless feel of it on my cheeks and lips and I like the heft of my boots almost as much as I love my feet bare.
I have been known to walk barefoot in the rain. Swimming in it is far better!
My art has taken a backseat to so much these past months. I still make some time for it every day but unpredictable things have happened forcing me to attend and participate in ways I haven’t before. I have acquired new skills that I didn’t necessarily look to have.
Look for joy, be kind and loving, and stay engaged because it’s all connected. We’re all connected.
Every morning I offer up a little prayer for forgiveness, gratitude, and open heartedness. (Its available on the blog) Often I’ll ask what is needed from me that day and I’m usually met with a little thought that I have come to know as wisdom from the universe.
When I find myself awakened at night, repeating my prayer through allows me to find sleep again. Essentially, instead of counting sheep I’m counting my blessings.
This is a little practice that I have created for myself based on seeking, reading, finding, trying, sifting sorting and finally, elimination. It’s a simple practice among others I utilize that helps me to thrive.
Can you name the practices you engage in to maintain your best self?
Have you even thought about what your best self feels like?
I used to think I was my best self when I was exhausted…
when I’d ‘given it everything I got’ … to work and family
when I’d ‘given 110%’ … to others
when I’d ‘sucked it up’ … and pushed beyond my limits for the team
when I ‘put it behind me and kept moving forward’…for the wellbeing of others
Those mantras, the ones we are sold to motivate us to produce more and more and more… they put ‘my best self’ in harms way.
What are the mantras you have adopted to drive yourself to exhaustion?
I now know that my best self feels light, airy, spacious, as well as loving. My best self is well rested, playful, golden! My best self knows that boundaries are not just okay, but in fact, a necessity.
… Come visit me at Thrive and ask for your free gift!
When I picked up my Iphone this morning to check in on emails and texts and such, I found an email from a woman at a government agency who’d addressed me as Dear Sherri. I am here in promising to begin all of my emails with dear because I want you to feel like I felt when I read that; cared for. I then read a thank-you note from a good friend who I replied to, an invitation and a random thank-you and blessing from Deepak Chopra, or his ‘crew’ more likely and a lovely anecdote my sister-in-law posted. It was all great mail!
After a lovely chat with my daughter and signing and naming many of my acrylic painting, I set off to the printers, to get them professionally photographed and ready for cards and giclées.
And then it happened.
I was 10 vehicles behind a horrific traffic accident. A tanker truck had collided with another vehicle and overturned. The guy from the truck behind me jumped out of his sei with a tiny fire extinguisher. Cars around me were turning around after being told to get out of there! I shakily drove back up the Malahat feeling blessed to be able to do so.
Once in Mill Bay I went into the grocery store feeling dazed. I hadn’t had anything to eat. I bought some sushi and two chocolate bars and lottery ticket. The lady at the till handed to me and actually said…and here’s the winning ticket! I thanked her for saying that and asked her if it was her standard spiel. It wasn’t. Then I went to the car and scarfed down two chocolate bars. I’m not proud of that but it replaced my fear with a stomach ache. I haven’t felt fear for a long while. I didn’t like it. A stomach ache I can deal with.
I hope the people are okay. I hope the fuel didn’t spill; that poor harassed salmon spawning creek, Goldstream.
Do you stand with the other British Columbians, Washingtonians, Oregonians, Californians world citizens, flora and fauna who do not want increased tanker traffic along the coasts? I do. Accidents will happen. They happen. It’s a real thing. That’s why we have a name for them.
I stand for the earth and the future of life on the planet. I stand for beauty … nature’s beauty … natural beauty… love … because I really do believe that it’s a love of beauty that will save the world. I ‘ve seen it in action in so many ways that work. It’s what I try to paint and it’s how I aspire to be in the world. Thank you to those who touched my day and made it better. My resolve is strengthened to fight for the beauty that surrounds us.