|work in progress - not sure what it needs|
I have been thinking about "settling" lately. I have been noticing this phenomena I think of as "settling" when I paint, when I garden and in relation to my life on this island. I noticed it as I painted the other day. It wasn't a well formed idea, but I became aware of the busy thoughts and the stories of how I needed to add something to one painting and fix another. I felt the edgy energy as I picked up one canvas and looked at another and wondered what I should do next. And then finally after a bit of sparrow mind, of wanting mind, I settled and worked without need. A small blustery "head" wind had simply blown itself out.
The strength of this idea really took hold later when I went out to garden. There was an almost manic sense of getting this weed and picking up that stray branch and oh my god, this needs to be done and that needs to be cleared away. And there is so much work to do. But then Self said to self, "this is silly" and I realized the complete lack of urgency of the whole situation and I settled into the lovely chore of weeding and planting and watering.
|Mapping The Heart 6"x6"|
And as I wandered, I saw a thread trailing from studio to garden. And as the thread sewed intself into a thought, I realized it takes time to settle. I know this is not revolutionary or rocket science (kids, don't try this at home!, no go ahead, really), but it seemed important, the simple fact that the mind needs time to make the transition from one activity to the next. Busy, wanting mind needs time to settle. It's like the old "dirt shaken in a jar of water" story. When we move from one activity to the next, especially a busy task oriented one, to a slower, perhaps creative endeavor, the swirling continues for a while. And the thing I realized is we can't "make" our minds settle. We can offer the conditions for settling. We can put the jar down but the settling happens on it's own. Trying to make the mind settle is just another form of swooshing the jar.
And as I picked weeds and marveled at the beauty of the treed hillside and the rolling meadow below I realized that I had finally "settled" in a very tangible way, here on this island. I'm not quite sure exactly when it happened but after 2 years here there is a deep sense of home. After many forms of wanting and swirling, I can see the small ways that tell me I've settled. When I walked past the barn last night on the way from picking kale in the garden, I thought that my former home no longer was my idea of "home", that this place was much more "me". I have started buying things that indicate to me I'm staying here, farm things. The push lawn mower from city life has finally been replaced. I have given up telling people I have a back up plan. There are so many small signs of settling.
|small work on canvas paper|
In small ways we are like the earth. When the earth settles in a spot sometimes it cracks or heaves to accommodates the terrain in quirky ways. And so it is with us. We have no idea exactly what will happen when we settle, momentarily or otherwise. But to be sure it is like our whole being breathes some sigh when we settle. Something in us relaxes. Our mind quiets, we stop asking for more, we stop wanting to know and we just are. Settled.
Sometimes we are explorers filled with the energy of excitement and sometimes we are settlers, setting our heart roots deep into the landscape, into our selves, into life and relaxing into what is. I wish you good settling.