The Time We Have

“Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.” Earl Nightingale

At this point in my life, I won’t imagine a day without art. Whether my hands are muddy with clay, embellishing work with some sort of mixed media or seeing beauty through the lens of the camera, it’s all art to me. What art and beauty has done for my life is almost inexplicable. Clay has made me a better person. I find a timelessness in the process that creates more space and light around me. I breathe deeper; my smiles are more radiant; my heart is without constraint.

Now, I am not suggesting that if you aren’t creating art, you aren’t living. Far from it. What I am suggesting is that we all must find something of value to pursue in our lives that takes us out of our heads and lets up wrap up warmly in the “other” parts of ourselves. The walk by the ocean, the hike in the woods, the tending of a garden. It doesn’t really matter. What matters is that the time we have here is precious. Every single second is a round, glittery jewel that has the potential to bring revelation, gratitude and peace.

For me, gratitude can be a short lived parking space. I actively work on daily gratitude, but freely admit that things get in the way. The Jackass who cut me off in traffic, the insistent barking of my little dog when he wants something like food or love or attention or the general hurried nature that I seem to place in my daily life. All of those things can quickly take us from gratitude to grumbly. For me, finding space to create peace within me tends to have longer lasting effects. And all of the excuses that keeps us away from our timeless travels are mostly just super-imposed fears of failure that our dreams will all turn to shit and then what will we do?

Well, my friends, the time is going to pass anyway. NO ONE, that I am aware of, has figured out how to get it back. Whatever it is, please, I implore you, do it. Take a step, however small it is and it might just encourage you to take the next. Because what we have to lose by not fulfilling our dreams, is very simple. We lose ourselves.

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Snow Walking

Paths have a funny way of disappearing, especially in the snow. While walking the Labyrinth for the past two days which was covered in powdery goodness, I realized that I was depending on the path to reveal itself to me. Just as it always does – like clockwork. I paid no mind to the partially covered borders of the path because I just knew that the path was evident. Certain of it at the start.

So, brilliantly unaware, I began as I always do, simply asking for guidance to nothing specific, just being open to the possibilities. As I began to walk it started to happen. The weird dead ends, the backtracking of steps and the general confusion with absolutely no idea how to get to the center of the Labyrinth, let alone get out. At first, I got a bit frosted with myself. How in hell could I not see the path ahead? I looked all around and I damn well could not see the “right” path to take.

And then……..it gently slapped me in my minds eye. This was the message that I was supposed to hear. Confusion can happen at any point in our lives. Even when we are the most certain of what is behind us and lies ahead, confusion can just show up and make us question ourselves, our path in life, our hearts. As I moved on, I started to chuckle. Confusion isn’t a bad thing, it’s just a thing. It’s an opportunity to pause, breath in and then out. Make a wish, sit on a rock and release the need to know the next……..whatever.

If patience and kindness can be given to ourselves in that moment of confusion, the tightness and tension go away. It simply can’t exist in the same breath. What happens next can be a peeling away of the confusion and uncertainty opening up to a new possibility that we may have never thought of. For me, I did my best to honor the space of the Labyrinth, making it to the middle and sat on that big “ol boulder and got grounded. I didn’t even wish for clarity. I just acknowledged the confusion, chuckled, walked back out with the same lopsided grin that was plastered on my face and thanked the space for the lesson in self kindness. Funny, how once I released myself from the certainty of knowing, I actually became aware of what I needed to know.

Snow walking is funny like that 🙂

As to, “what if”

Have you ever asked yourself the question that started with, “What if…….”. Now, I’m not talking about the 2 am call out to your friends to hold your beer and “watch this.” Nope. That has a different sort of ending. What I’m talking about are the questions that start with a whim, a whimsy, a slip of the imaginative tongue.

To answer those questions, would you have to put your fears to the side, for just a moment? Would you need to allow yourself to expand and explore in spite of the dark doubt that looms in the wings? Or could you, for just a sparkling, precious moment, take the possibilities and let them fill your entire universe with all thoughts and the grandness of your vision?

There are no right or wrong answers to any of those questions, only what is appropriate for you and the life you choose to lead. Rosa Parks is quoted as saying, “I have learned that over the years when ones mind is made up, fear diminishes. Knowing what must be done does away with the fear.” And so, after all the mind monkeys playing in the jungle gym of your brain, after all the perilous trips to the edge of a two foot ledge, you may come to realize that the only person that has the rope burns from holding you back from your wishes and delightful longings is you.

And, even if you never take another step from taking your whims and wishes off of the merry go round and into the physical space of reality, you still, my darling, have stretched your imagination. A line of a song, the first stroke of a paint brush, the muddy hands of my personal Mecca, it really doesn’t matter. What does matter, is that for a moment, your thoughts traveled outside of the “box” you have placed them in. And it’s ok. I promise.

No one needs to know what wild possibilities have come out to play within your heart. You don’t have to share them with anyone. But, perhaps it’s time to share them with yourself. And know, that no matter the outcome, you chose to breathe beauty into your soul without guarding it from failure or heartbreak. You simply just allowed yourself the freedom that can only come from you – as a gift to you. And sometimes, that’s enough.

Breaking through the Clouds

Can I tell you something? I’ve been in a bit of a fog for the past few weeks. I can tell you it’s because of the rainy, snowy weather. Or, I could tell you it’s because of the second virus that I have endured in as many months. All of those things are true. But they are also just a place in which to lay blame without taking responsibility for my inner fogginess.

I create. That’s what I do. I love it – I breathe it – I take it deep within me and ingest my gratitude pill everyday because of it. But sometimes, that isn’t enough. I can get so interiorized into the next creation that I forget to look up, check out and expand. When I don’t take the opportunity to look around and gather up space it can make my sphere of creativity smaller. I start choosing from a shortened view – not taking chances and risks; only a higher level of reproducing and regurgitating the last blast from my Muse.

Heading back to Ghost Ranch to help with Jan term again is just the medicine I need. The soul enveloping, fog releasing, expansive salve that I find within these 22,000 acres time and time again.

I’m hoping you will once again, take the steps with me. I promise to try and not bore you, make you roll your eyes or generally dismiss my musings, but I can’t guarantee it 🙂

Ready, set……….expand.

A Thankful Heart

I know a wise woman, living out her life in a quiet home, on a quiet street with a beautiful view. I visit her whenever I can, which for the past four years is rare due to the physical distance between us. And even though are time together is short, it has an air of the sweetly familiar. No time passes – only a page turned in each of our books.

She has been a woman of social standing, with the stool taken away. She has been a working woman who found reverie in her accomplices of beauty. She has been a caregiver of children, a seeker of truth and Mother to many wayward children including me.

Through all of these tunnels of darkness, her folly in the light and her undying curiosity of what lies beyond, she has been Thankful. She has told me on more than one occasion, that with a Thankful Heart, only Love can abide. That through the questioning of her creator, or the absence thereof, she knew beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Love held her close to the precious sweetness of Life.

Though she has expressed timidity regarding her own decisions and a lack of loving others enough, I have never known another person quite like her. She has shown me that the larger questions are worth pondering. That loyalty of friendship is undying and that a simple kindness can change the world. She has taught me to stand up straight, care deeply for grace in this world and Love in the face of doubt.

Rose of my Rose, you have shown me what it is to be of the light. Your stubbornness for independence, even in the midst of gravity taking over, is cause for giggly delight. The love and understanding you show for your fellow passenger in this ride knows no bounds and yet you have shown an incredible knack for personal boundaries. Even your “No’s” are beauties to behold.

With all of life and it’s potential heaviness, you have created light. A light that will shine long after all of us have been blessed with rest. That, my lovely, lovely, Rose, is True Art.

The Change of Season

As with the weather, our lives have seasons of change. Seasons of transformation. Seasons of stillness and breath.

We all seem to love the other side – you know the other side. The other side of pain and doubt; of longing and uncertainty; of fear and loneliness. But moving through these seasons can be, to put it simply, fucking hard.

I have spent an entire career, 28 years and counting, being of service to others. Now, I in no way call this Martyrdom or anything akin to that pestilent evil form of doing. There has been too much giving with resentment and bitterness in this world for me to ever dirty my profession with this type of “ungiving.” I have found joy, knowledge, compassion and empathy many times over – not just in the giving of those beautiful points of light but in receiving them as well.

Today, I am on the cusp of a transformative period in my life. One that is scary, uncertain and quite possibly, wrong. However, it is an absolute necessity for me. Strange how that is – that the present act of “doingness” or “beingness” becomes so uncomfortable that a change, no matter how terrifying, is the only option. But here I stand. At a precipice of my own choosing; at a place where the only light I see is coming from my next step and of those closest to me.

Georgia O’Keefe is quoted as saying “I have been terrified every single day of my life, but it has never stopped me from doing anything I wanted to do.” Well, Georgia, I get it. We all have to be pioneers in our own evolution. Not an evolution that someone else sets up for us or that we blindly follow, but something we can look back upon, right or wrong, good or bad with success or failure and call it our own. It’s up to each one of us to make those small and sometimes monumental steps in our lives that will determine the next chapter and quite possibly the next volume of memories. To give the credit to another for those things just makes it…….well it makes it shitty badness. Period.

I believe in my work. I believe in my path. I look at what I’m creating and know that I HAVE to continue. It’s not for recognition, although that’s nice; and it’s not for money, although that’s nice, too. My true intention is to be of service in another way. To not only create something to give the world that is beautiful, but to also create the beauty within me.

Heart of the Universe

Oh Heart,

Can you take me there?

To the still; to the quiet.

To the place that speaks the silence.

To the soul that reaches for strength.

Through the wisps and whispers of the leaves.

Oh Heart,

Can you take me there?

To the edge of the forest.

With the valley languidly in view.

Through the tall stalks of bamboo.

To the center of my heart.

Oh Heart,

Return me to you.

Through the softening and the ease

Through the rocks and hills and soil.

To the place that knows me best.

To the Heart of the Universe.