Fumbling toward the Light

I couldn’t sleep.  Between dead ass drooling REM sleep, I woke up almost every hour, slightly confused about what planet I was on and wondering why my eyes were wide open.  It started feeling like I was missing something; something important that I just couldn’t quite reach.  Did I miss paying a bill?  Did I forget to return a call?  So, realizing that my window of opportunity for slumbering was past, I got up, made a cup of coffee and checked my phone.

On my messenger app, there were a few unread messages.  They came in while I was sleeping, searching for what I was missing while dreaming.  In the dream I was at a trade show, looking for my art and my husband, but all I could find was mechanical equipment.  Nothing at all that pertained to me.  I was trying to make myself fit in, to align with someone or something.  But it wasn’t working.  I was moving toward anxiety and worry – I couldn’t find my phone to call my husband and I was just about to move into full blown panic……….when I woke.

What in the hell was I searching for???  As the coffee was brewing, I read the messages that had been waiting for me.  Of the four messages, two of them were funny animal videos and two of them wrapped around my heart and held me close.  The first one was an article, sent by my incredible art studio mate, Cathryn Cooper, entitled “New Neuroscience reveals 4 Rituals That Will Make you Happy, written by Eric Barker.  I will tell you right now, it is definitely worth the read. You can find it at http://www.theladders.com.  The second message was from a very sweet friend who relayed a moment of her day when she and her boss were talking about the possibility that some people are truly angels and the conversation made her think of me.  Heart squeezed…….tears alight.

Both of these messages woke me up in different ways with a profound sense of gratitude.  You see, I bet we can all focus on what isn’t working in our world.  What doesn’t quite fit, what we don’t have, what we can’t do, who doesn’t like us……the negative world can just be endless.  I get so focused on daily, weekly and damn it, life long achievements, I don’t usually take time to see the wake and the ripples behind me.  So this is the crux of the matter for me and what I was so doggedly searching for last night……………..

Just Be the Light

There are times and situations in my life where my light wasn’t shining bright enough for someone else.  Or my light was covered by my own dark moments. Or someone misconstrued my intentions – or I reached out and shone my light on the wrong situations, the wrong people, through a desperate need to belong in places I didn’t need to belong!  For that, and so many other times, I am truly sorry.  I am a beautifully imperfect, flawed, messy individual.  However, my attempts to shine my light have also been noticed, appreciated and in ways that I am forever grateful, given back to me.  That’s the message – just simply be the Light.  Be the Light for the person in front of you, for yourself, for your art, for the world.  This does not preclude dark moments – that is part of this tattered beauty of  reality.  But to be a part of the light, any tiny amount, brings us up out of the darkness.

Today is another day, another opportunity, another chance to Be the Light.  May it be so.


Art for Beauty’s Sake

Since the search began for my authentic voice as an artist, my intuition has played an enormous role as I have unfolded the layers of myself through each coil I place on a pot.

Every carving, every stroke of the burnishing stone, every single firing has brought me closer to who I am. It is development of trust that manifests through the seemingly mundane. The inspiration that shows up while I’m working. In saying that, I have no concept or understanding nor any conscious goal that my work is “supposed” to be something important, relevant or carry any weight whatsoever in the reality of this troubled sometimes soulless world that we live in.

I think it is absolutely imperative for a creator of any kind to get up close and personal with the reasons they create. Is it money? Fame? Social protocol or statements? Political Activism? Believe me when I say that I have no judgment on why other artists create. I simply know, for myself, the clarity of my actions are intimate with the source.

I create for the sake of beauty. Nothing complicated, nothing with a deep seated, complex platform. I just have an undying need to be a small part of making my life and maybe this world just a little more beautiful than yesterday.

Am I a simpleton? Probably. Will I be looked over and rejected, judged and belittled by those that are well heeled or more finely educated? That’s already happened. But here’s the deal……at the end of my days, when I am taking the last sweet breaths from this life, I want to look back and say, no matter what else transpired, I created by my own standards, my own ideals, my own thoughts and visions – not someone else’s.

The power plays, the marginalizing by others about my art, well, that’s never, ever, going to stop. But if I allow their barbs, slights and unkind comments to influence my direction or cause me to STOP creating……well that’s a “me” thing.

All of this can be transferred into the other aspects of life as well. There will ALWAYS be someone better. There will be those that believe the bad “hype”, the jealousy, the threatened and the power control models. But “who” matters most when it comes to your life or my life is looking straight back in the mirror. All the mood lighting in the world can’t soften the truth of self respect.

Know who you are and let that not just be enough. Let is be all you need to know to guide you toward your own beauty ❤️

A Feast for the Spirit

A Feast for the Spirit

There are times in everyone’s life where an experience may not live up to all that we wanted it to be and yet, with enough distance and perspective, it is exactly what we needed. There have been so many unexpected events that have occurred during this trip – too many to bore you with – but I wanted to share an incredible event that I could have never imagined possible.

If you don’t know, the type of ceramic work that I create is based on the time honored traditions of the Pueblo Indians. Specifically, Maria Martinez of the San Ildefonso Pueblo. Her rich black, burnished surfaces of hand built work continues to inspire and entrance me. To be able to view her work in person while in Santa Fe is like breathing in the past and feeling the love and passion for the work wash over me and into the future.

I, along with my husband, students and staff from Ghost Ranch, attended Feast Day at San Ildefonso on the last day of our trip. It is a time to honor all the gifts that have been given to the tribe throughout the year and is celebrated with tribal dances, music, singing and, well, feasting. It has been said that if you are invited into one of the homes to join in their offerings you must not refuse; to decline such an invitation would be incredibly rude. To my utter astonishment and delight, through my pottery mentor, Clarence Cruz, we were invited into the Martinez home to share in their bounty of green Chile stew, red Chile stew, enchiladas, prune pie, fresh baked bread from the Orno and, and, and……….

As I entered the home, to say that I was humbled and awestruck would be a GINORMOUS understatement. I sat there, transfixed as I, along with Clarence, Rikki and my husband were led to a table and served. My first thought, I should be serving them! I should be telling them what a profound influence their Grandmother had on me as a person and an artist. I wanted to shout out from the rooftop how grateful I was to be allowed in their home to share this precious, precious moment with them. And yet, as I sat there, I physically restrained my enthusiasm and muted it into reverence for the food and the company. I thanked them nothing short of twenty times all the while having a silly, girl like grin on my face and wondering if they could see me bursting inside with gratitude and excitement.

It wasn’t until later that day, while I was sitting in front of the Labyrinth at the ranch and relaying the story to one of the students that I began to cry. Weeping for the chance to be a part of such a special moment, to be able to present with it, to embrace it.

My life has forever been changed by my time at Ghost Ranch and the opportunities that I have received and been able to experience. All of the other stuff that happens along the way is simply just transitory, temporary and nothing to hold on to.

This moment…………well, that was worth the price of admission.

Stardust and Light

A couple of nights ago, I was fortunate enough to see the New Mexico night sky as I had never witnessed it before. A night when the sky, with barely a Moon in sight, was full of stardust. It was as if a giant bowl was turned toward earth and all of the planets and stars were spilling luminescence over everything they touched.

I went to a place on the ranch where I could safely lay down, look up and become shrouded in the metamorphic deep, dark, brilliant space of the never ending night sky. Have you ever seen something so beautiful, so ethereal and touched by the divine, that it physically caused pain within your body? Such a gift from a governing heart.

As I walked dreamily to bed, filled with all things of inky lushness, I decided I wanted to wake early to see the transition from night to dawn. I will tell you right now, it was worth the brevity of my sleep and dreams.

From moment to moment I was chasing the fading of the night and the birth of the morning, hoping for just one more moment of magnificence to carry my spirit into another day. One more chance to inhale the ending and look toward the beginning.

Wondering around since this event, I have been trying to figure out the lesson, looking for the message in all of this. There must be something I could retrieve from such beauty, such transition, so routine for the natural world and yet so transformative for me. And then, without warning, it became clear: everything must end and yet, with the sadness of this, there is this undeniable eagerness for another beginning. Another chance to love, to create, to be present in my life for the transitions that are coming to us all.

No matter where I go from here, I go there taking these memories of stardust and light with me. Without the light of the moon, the stars can shine. With the Sun comes another chance for us to shine.

Ode to Joy

For each person in our lives, there seems to be an emotional “meter”. A certain amount of emotion that we can expend for one another. When we feel tapped out or drained, usually it’s due to over giving, while not holding enough in the container to feed and support ourselves.

I have this vision that each emotion is a tiny little seedling. With the exchange of support between two people, the sprout grows; tended and cultivated it can result into a blessing of a harvest, the basket always full, always multiplying . A solo dance with the life giving force headed in only one direction creates depletion and the meter runs low. At some point, that blessed tank hits empty. Good luck attempting to manufacture anymore. The seedling dries up, curling into itself and gently blowing away like the last puffs of smoke from a busted muffler. Unless balance is restored, the relationship is doomed to end up in the trash bin of misery and discontent. The capacity for love, understanding, acknowledgment, compassion and kindness are seeds of fortune just as stark in contrast to the seeds of discontent, judgment, violence, hatred and greed.

An Native American elder explained to his grandson that we all have a dark wolf and a light wolf living within us. When the grandson asked which will one will win the battle, the Grandfather replied, “the one you feed.” So it is with our emotional and spiritual lives. We will always be challenged by others as well as our dark side; to be less than we are, to fall into judgment, to take more than we give. To be conscious of our ways marks the delineation point between our reactionary dark side and the light of awareness. Whether are thoughts and actions are from being fully awake or sleepwalking, we are making a choice with every touch, every turn, every word, every deed.

Allowing others to find freedom, even if it means we lose them; allowing yourself to find joy in your everyday life is no small feat. Yes, it’s scary…….but the lighter your touch, the more gentle your grip on the steering wheel, the more freedom we give ourselves to just breathe, the more room there will be for Joy ❤️

The Blessed Dirt of Santuario de Chimayo

There are places on the face of this sweet, troubled planet, that I never thought I would visit. Being raised by a fairly pissed off, excommunicated, Italian Catholic Mother, the church and all of its offerings never really appealed to me. I learned as a young teenager the cause for my Mothers hostility and bitterness and, I must admit, I agreed with her.

When my Mother was at her most vulnerable, laid out on the floor by the discovery of her husbands adulterous affair with her best friend and subsequent divorce, the church turned its back on her. She was sent packing – the compassion and inclusivity of that which the church preached was sorely lacking when my Mother reached out to it for comfort. It has taken me many, many years to forgive the church for that. In some ways, I am a more compassionate person due to watching her struggle with the isolation and rejection she endured. Compassion resulting from emotional cruelty – strange bedfellows indeed.

When I was presented with the opportunity to visit Santuario de Chimayo, I wasn’t quite sure I wanted to go. Would my self righteous indignation for the way my Mother was treated flare up? Could I see my way through the enormous contrasts and contradictions within my own heart? I will tell you now that I couldn’t visit the entire site. However, I did visit the vestibule of the church which housed the blessed dirt room where people with all sorts of maladies, whether physical, emotional or spiritual embark on a pilgrimage to touch the sandy earth; holding, rubbing, praying, crying, hoping and finding peace within the walls of that sacred space.

While I was waiting on a bench just outside for my turn to touch the place that had brought so many healings, I witnessed a man and a woman – she was standing barefoot in the dirt and he had bent down on all fours, laying his hands on the earth so that she could lean on him. They stayed that way for quite some time. The intimate nature of the scene was incredibly poignant and I closed my eyes to give them privacy while turning my thoughts inward. I reflected on the support I have received from so many beautiful souls, just as she was receiving that sweetness from her husband.

Walking out, they sat back on the benches and closed their eyes to rest and reflect. A calling to touch this woman was undeniable. I resisted, thinking that I would be intruding into the sacredness of her experience; I resisted, not wanting to feel foolish; I resisted not knowing if it was my place. Through all of those doubts, I walked across the narrow room and kneeled before her. As she opened her eyes and saw me there, I gently placed both of her feet in my hands and began to gently massage them. To be of service, to stand in the light, that was all that was needed.

When I finished, she reached out to me and we embraced – both crying, both holding each other tightly for quite some time. In this moment, this very tender moment, I was able to let go of any lasting bitterness or resentment that I once carried for this way of loving God.

We all have a path to walk. Every single one of them is inordinately opulent, dark, troubled, joyful and as individual as we are. Only we can know which path will bring us into the light. The road to Mecca begins with a single step.

Temporary Times

The land takes over what our hands have laid aside.

As without…….so within.

Visiting a special area of Ghost Ranch with the photography class yesterday, I was struck by the eroding beauty of the man made structures left behind. Nature needed no assistance taking back what humans were finished tending. I took this wandering into myself and realized that without “self tending” we are all set up for an erosion of our spirit; a washing away of our essence barely perceptible until we find ourselves in the darkness of chaos.

I had a teacher once say, “If you have 10 phone lines ringing and you answer one, you only have 9 left to go.” It’s not the size of the chaos that takes us down as much as the inertia of apathy and overwhelm. If we are to be individuals with the gift of self reliance we also have the greater obligation of answering those phone lines. Some calls aren’t meant for us; some of them will have our name written all over them. That is where discernment must step in and guide us to the truth. Take a moment…….listen to the message…….decide if you are the true recipient.

It is a magnificent state of being to be of service but we all might do well to remember that self reliance requires that we also give to ourselves.

I give myself over to clay time and time again and receive multiple blessings in return. What are you giving yourself over to? Is it worthy of your precious, precious time? Or, is it an excuse to avoid your own self reliance?

As within…….so without ❤️