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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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.

Stones in the Road

As I was wandering around in the ethers between the dream world and reality this morning, I caught a glimpse of a photo I had taken while I was in New Mexico staying at Ghost Ranch this past January. The image was of a beautifully calm, snow covered space with boulders haphazardly laid out, not by man, but by the hand that created them.

Over the course of a few hours, I realized that the symbolism of that photo was very much speaking to what I am working through at this very moment. I have wide open vistas behind and before me. Without complete trust of my intuition, skills and wisdom, I tend to plant obstacles in my way. Sometimes these obstacles are due to not trusting my own voice, sometimes a longing to have someone along for the ride even if they make it way more bumpy than it needs to be and sometimes, just sometimes, it’s a fear of prosperity.

The fear of prosperity – although crazy as it sounds – can be a limiting factor when it comes to an abundant life filled with grace. We can hold off prosperity for a number of different reasons. I am going to list mine so that it not only becomes clear to me but may touch on something you have inside as well.

1. I don’t deserve prosperity. For me, I don’t go to the place that I’m not good enough as a person. I go to the place where I haven’t worked hard enough, long enough. My work isn’t evolved enough……..enough, enough, enough. All of those beliefs, once taken in and set to root can be MORE than enough to stall the engine of a tank!! When we, as creative, aware individuals are placing our best foot forward everyday, we are worthy of the grace that comes from our process.

2. I can’t be trusted with my own prosperity. I was raised by parents who had the ability to spend their way through next months mortgage payment. They bought big, shiny Cadillacs and yet had very little money in which to do it. I realized through my childhood and into my 20’s that I, too, could not be trusted with money. I had no plan, no budget and very little reality for what the consequences were to my actions. At 29, I divorced my comfortable yet agonizing life and set foot into the real world. Since that time, I have proven to myself that not only can I be trusted with prosperity, I can celebrate those around who are creating abundance and prosperity as well.

3. Some company is better than no company. Oh, how we all want to belong, be loved and generally be included. A wonderful gift of this life is to be part of other peoples lives and truly be able to create rich, intimate friendships. However, some folks just aren’t meant to have a hand in your prosperity. Sometimes, it’s best to do it alone or limit the hands that have the power to form and control your path. One trusted friend is worth 1,000 intentions.

4. What if I can’t create anything beautiful anymore? This is just fear based, monkey mind bull shit. If I am creating from an authentic space within myself, for myself, whatever I create will be a representation of my essence. Agreeing to this fixed consideration is probably the biggest obstacle to creativity that I am aware of. A place of scarcity that few artists can ever come back from once they decide their best work is behind them.

5. My intuition, wisdom and experience isn’t deep enough. Holy Hell!! Just writing this makes me want to bust out laughing! I’m not always right, or perfect or the most experienced person in the world – but nobody, and I mean nobody, knows me better than I know myself. Anyone who makes you question your own deep knowledge of yourself deserves the swift kick out the door that you are just dying to give them. Emotional terrorists and bullies will prey on those who constantly question or doubt themselves. When you’re dealing with one of those, if you are awake and aware, you just feel it in your gut. When you do – Stop, Drop everything and RUN like the wind away from them.

This whole, painfully beautiful, poignant life is just waiting for us to discover it. There will be always be obstacles that can get in our way, some meant to slow us down, some transplanted from others and some that we dug with our very own shovel. The magic trick is to simply recognize who, what, where, when and how they got there; acknowledge their existence and then to take time to decide whether they are worthy of our time and consideration or if it’s just simply time to release them as yesterdays foibles.

Be gentle with yourself and you will attract others that will be gentle with you as well ❤️

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.