Saturday, June 20, 2009

Finding Your Way Home

Finding Your Way Home
 Original Collage on Vintage Book Page          Matted Size 8"x8" - Image Size 4.5"x 3.75"
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Do you think I'll be able to touch my toes with a pencil in 3o days?  Is my 3o days of art like joining curves or weight watchers for the right side of my brain?  Maybe that part of my brain will be lean and muscular or maybe it will be sneaking out for french fries when no one's looking.  Wouldn't it be great to discover you are creatively double jointed, that your mind can bend backwards in strange contortions creating amazing and wonderful things.

Just like in other parts of our life we have habitual tendencies.  I think it's the same in our creative lives.  We have places we know, grooves that are burned into our brains, little neural cow paths.  Sometimes we  call it our "style" and it's not a bad thing.  But sometimes you need to stretch, you need to move off that familiar little cow path and sometimes you need a little kick to get you going.  Is that a goat on my cow path?

Knowing I am going to create a small piece everyday, somehow lets me wander off the path.  It feels more like play and exploration.  And this is where happy accidents happen.  I didn't know I was going to create a little village when I started out this morning but here it is... something totally different than I usually do. 

As I cut and pasted and painted I looked at the little houses with their pleasingly simple forms and thought: " What is home?  Where is home?"   It's not just a bricks and mortar kind of thing or a straw thing with 3 little pigs and a big bad wolf.  It reminded me that we have a deep call, a pull toward home like Odysseus in the Greek myth.   This is the Dharma of home.  Home at it's deepest level is our authentic self.  We are searching to discover who we are, to understand what is really important in our lives, to be comfortable in our own skin, to know we are perfect in our imperfection, that everything is fine just the way it is; all our bumbling and stumbling.  That is the feeling of our true home.  It is a place of calm and comfort and generosity. But home always has its dark corners and a cellar that can be dank and earthy, where bottles of old wine and ignored heirlooms hide.  Perhaps a dusty attic that holds a cobweb and a treasure or two.

That's my home over there, the one that's green and orange, with the crooked stair case, two chimneys and a big porch.  Where's yours?


  1. Ah, home. home-coming. home-leaving.

    Zen teacher Norman Fischer writes that "Almost all great religious traditions work with the theme of 'leaving home.' To join the Buddhist order is to become a 'home leaver,' renouncing your worldy home and family for a life without posessions, home, or fixed identity--a life of wandering ... In the Bible, Abraham is rousted out of his home by God, who commands him to 'leave your father's house and all that you know and hold dear ....' ... Mohammed flees Medina. ... Native peoples go off alone into the mountains to fast and seek visions."

    source: Fischer, N. (2008) "Sailing home: using the wisdom of Homer's 'Odyssey' to navigate life's perils and pitfalls. New York: Free Press, p. 53

  2. This is an excellent practice you're undertaking - 30 days of art. I can imagine it will bring you a bit of insight - or maybe a bit of income - or maybe a bit of both. Seems I'm fixated on words with "in" in them today - anyway, enjoy the ride.

  3. "Home at it's deepest level is our authentic self. We are searching to discover who we are, to understand what is really important in our lives..." I love this.

    Made me think. Is everybody searching? I mean, is it possible to simply be, live and be happy without conciously searching and trying to understand?

  4. Well thanks for the lively commentary. It feels like we're sitting around some lovely coffee shop talking Dharma.

    I have heard of Norman Fischer's book and it sounds interesting. It is interesting to think that setting of on the spiritual journey is "leaving home", yes leaving our comfort zone, the known and willing to go on the adventure. I like that metaphor a lot. I will have to check out Fischer's book. I have thought of writing the "Dharma of Pippi Longstockings" because of course there is Dharma everywhere and Pippi exemplifies aspects of it.

    And thanks Nathan. Those discoveries are starting to happen. And "in" is a great prefix if not a good word in it's own right!

    Hello Patricia. I do think we are all searching at some level, some more consciously than others. Even just a feeling of unrest or agitation or wanting I think, is a sense of searching. And I think that when we are searching we are not trying to understand with our head we are looking to understand and connect at a heart level... and maybe there are folks that can do this without consciously searching. I don't know. Eckhardt Tolle's story reminds of someone who "fell" upon the truth. Yet in his own way he was brought there by his deep suffering.

    so thanks for all the wonderful Dharma nourishment! what a feast!