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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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.

Being of Service

The world is full of possibilities to be “of service”.  Just open up the newspaper or your newsfeed and one story after another will make you want to open up your heart…….and your checkbook.  During this very difficult period that we, as a collective society are traversing, I have spent a lot of time wandering around the creases and folds of my being, searching for answers.  More succinctly, searching for “my” answers.  In attempting to answer those questions, I have come up with the following conclusion…….it’s different for everyone. So, with that in mind, I am listing a few thoughts that might help someone else find out best where there answer might reside.

Flattery could get you nowhere. Being approached for a “service” opportunity does not necessarily mean it will be appreciated.  Check in with your “heart of hearts” and see if the opportunity speaks directly to you.  If it does, go for it!  Don’t let anything get in your way of helping, assisting and generally getting your hands dirty.  It’s good for the soul, your own sense of self respect and someone else’s mission.  However, if the opportunity doesn’t resonate deep within you, gently decline and walk away.  I can assure you there will be more requests where that came from.

Hitching a ride on the “Guilt Train.”  If you have a sneaky feeling that someone is attempting to guilt you into doing something for the “greater good”, they probably are.  Don’t make any sudden movements.  Breathe deep, realize what is happening and find an opportunity to give that doesn’t involve making yourself feel bad to make someone else feel better.

Servitude is NOT being of Service.  Getting a little distance from a situation, even if it’s been a mess and blown up in your face as well as all over your clothes, will give you the insight that you just may have been used.  And it’s ok.  Any loving, giving, kind hearted person has been there.  Some situations hurt more than others – usually because we were unable or unwilling to see the wolf in sheeps clothing.  The take away from these types of situations is this – at least you did something.  Yes, it didn’t turn out the way you wanted but it turned out the way YOU needed it to.  We are given the lesson until we learn the lesson.

If you have to make yourself smaller in order to give – it ain’t giving. The feeling that the situation or person that you’re giving to is just so much more important than you are is mostly a smoke screen.  There ARE important venues and values that are very worthy of your efforts – but they shouldn’t be making you to feel small.  Healthy giving opportunities raise everyone up, not just the recipient.  If you are feeling like a “minion”, yeah you guessed it, you’re probably being perceived as one.

“Give, but give until it hurts.”  Mother Teresa.  Giving, even in the most purely authentic ways, can damage the giver.  It is wise for each one of us to check-in with ourselves, getting very quiet, and realize what are limits are.  You may need to take a break from being a “giver.” And it’s ok.  That break may last years.  And it’s ok.  I can assure you, there will be many opportunities to give of yourself. Time and time again.  The act of giving is best served in Joy – not in obligation.

Include yourself.  There may be long stretches of time that giving to others is just not an option.  We all have a right and a responsibility to handle our own lives.  Sometimes, that means a period of self reflection is warranted before any additional “outflow” can occur.  If the well dries up, the possibility of water doesn’t exist.  Fill-up your own soul, whatever non-malicious way that means for you, before you go trying to fill someone else’s heart. Giving while in a state of resentment, lack or anything less than whole heartedness isn’t just unwise, it’s a crime against oneself. Perhaps you may want to look at it this way; if you take the time to truly give to yourself, you are not the only recipient of your graciousness.  Everyone you touch, talk with, work for or love will be the beneficiary of that grace.  You will not be able to contain it.  It will seep out of your pores and encompass those that you hold most dear.

And then, you will be ready to give again.

 

 

Prelude Venetia

The mystery of the Masquerade.  Just as music fills the airwaves, mystery surrounds us and holds us in her delicate grasp.  Prelude Venetia is a a celebration of that mystique.  The solidity of the clay, combined with the fluidity of the carving and the ethereal quality brought about with the mesh and wire culminate in the feeling of being hidden and protected and yet gracefully dancing through space and time.  The lure of dancing with a stranger, only to realize once the mask is taken off, you have known them all along.  That is the mystery of life – revealed to us time and time again.  Look into her gold dusted eyes and know that all is Beauty; all is Love; all is Life.