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.

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.

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.

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 ❤️