Monday, April 15, 2013

Conversations With The World

11"x14"  acrylic on canvas - Geography of Moss

I woke this morning to a phrase whispering in my head "everything is sacred".  I have been holding up words to the light as potential talismen and good travelling companions, but perhaps I have a phrase, instead?  The impatient me is apparently on holiday and I am happy to roll things around a bit and swish them gently to get a feel for them.  Perhaps sometimes when you look for something, what you find is a little different than what you went in search of.  To find what you really need, you require the gift  of openness.

Often we're so busy looking for answers and solutions, that we can't see one that hovers slightly outside our line of vision.  I imagine this happens to me quite a bit because I often charge off with fixed ideas of what I'm looking for and I'm very often in a hurry to find my "answer" and get on with the next thing on my list.  Life is always holding out valuable little lessons on in it's gentle palm, along with our solutions if we can just scrunch up eyes the right way and pull the slightly ethereal into focus.

On this grey, rainy morning other seemingly wise words floated up, cloud like  "Everything is whispering to you".  This made me think of David Whyte's poem "Everything Is Waiting For You" and then I thought of how he speaks of conversations.  Yes, we are always having conversations with the things around us and with the thoughts that manifest. Often we do all the talking (we're a bossy lot, us 21st century, logic addled peeps).  What if we could get really quiet and listen a little more (says she to herself. Always what we write is what we most need to hear).

11"x14" oil and cold wax on paper "Travel Diary"

The veil of sleep was lifted off ever so gently this morning because I was treated to a little snippet of dream.   In my dream there were rows of u shaped hoops in a garden. Each with a small rose plant by it (bush would be too large a word here).  I was going along the rows with cuttings and tying them carefully with a twist tie to the hoops.  Trouble is I was tying them up in the air, not at ground level, so they had no access to the nourishment of the earth.  I took this as a conversation about projects I have been engaged in and ones I am eyeing on the horizon, the rows and rows of things. It seems I am being  reminded that  even if I work very hard at something, if it is not rooted in some ground that can nourish it, how can it grow.  I hear whisperings about wasted effort, about more care and attention to what is truly important.  I hear whispers about being "grounded".  Often I find my dreams are very literal with a slightly funny edge to them.

So this seems a little Monday reminder to us, as we walk into a new week, to see everything as sacred, and as a conversation.  Everything is whispering to you, even the parking ticket, the plugged sink, the steaming cup of strong coffee you are drinking.  What if we took time to really listen and see?  How would our week unfold? Come tell me the stories of you conversations and I will tell you mine. Happy Monday.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

What's In A Word?

road through the mountains 20"x20"  oil, earth pigments, cold wax on panel

Last week Robyn at Art Propelled wrote about her word for the year: "Stillness".  I was inspired by her post.  Janice Mason Steeves painted "Silence" for a period. I'm not sure if it was a whole year but she focused on that one word in her work for an extended time.  There is something in me that is drawn to this idea, the contemplation of one word. Perhaps it is the simplicity; the fact that my pea brain might be able to hold a single, solitary unattached word, a free floating group of letters revolving around a thought, a feeling, an essence.  The other thing that draws me, moth like to this idea, is the opportunity to dive deeply into a word, to watch it grow, expand and fill my world.  I could inhabit the word, no maybe if I was lucky I could become the word.  Say if the word was poodle, people might start looking at me and remarking, " don't you think she's starting to look a bit like a poodle, no, no maybe it's just the new haircut?"

Stillness, silence these are lovely words. I see the potential for exploration and growth with these words as companions.  I remember having a conversation years ago with a doctor, who had said some things I didn't care for. I reminded him that words are powerful and that they have the potential to either hurt or heal.  We use them so off handedly in our everyday world.  I can't count the times I have been wounded unintentionally by a dull thud of a word.  And I can only imagine the number of dangerously sharp words I have flung in haste and unawareness at others.  Perhaps we could heal ourselves with a single word? Or the other way around?

May Peace Increase On Earth 20"x 24" mixed media on canvas

So Robyn got me thinking about choosing a word for the year (even though we are well into the year). I liked her idea of having a friend to bounce your word back and forth with over the year; someone to exchange word musings with.  But then there's the important thing; the word.  What word would I choose?  I am a bit of a curmudgeon with a slight rebel streak, so I wouldn't want anything too "nice" or "sweet", and I wouldn't want anything sentimental or over wrought. And nothing too assertive or aggressive.  I don't want a word like "do" or "change" or "athlete" as suggested on one website I looked at.

I think first, my word needs to be personally meaningful.  It needs to be something like a koan, something that intersects or expresses something I want to be or have more of in my life (as in Janice an Robyn's words).  It needs to have these qualities to keep me engaged I think.  I don't want to leave it languishing in a book somewhere after a few days, crying sad little print tears that run like mascara because I have given up on it so soon.

With Our Thoughts 16"x16" mixed media on canvas

I am thinking about "ease" or "trust" as potential words.  Ease sounds a bit lazy and maybe a little "new agey" and "trust", well it sounds a little like motherhood and apple pie.  (This is me rolling the little word marbles around.) Lazy or apple pie?  hmmm.  These words call to me because I'm a "struggler".  I am inclined to see things as difficult or make things difficult, more difficult that they need to be.  And in the seeing of things as hard, well you know how that goes....  But I am working on letting that part of me dissolve like sponge toffee left out in the rain.  So I thought, what if I had a word I could hold like a little talisman, a little magical, glowing bit of the alphabet.  A word that might relax that inclination to wrestle, to stop me from writhing around like someone tangled up in a bedsheet, even when there is no bedsheet.  Now that would be a good word.

And how about you?  Do you have a word? For the year?  For the day? Do words call to you, sing like sirens, take you on little journeys?  A good word is a powerful thing. And a good companion.