Saturday, February 6, 2016

Migrations, Dreams & Habits

new work 16"x20"
I am part of a migration, not one guided by the moon or involving birds or butterflies. No one has fixed a metal band round my leg or tagged my ear as part of a study, but still it's happening out there. I suspect you are aware of it too.  It's a technological migration of sorts, one where I sense small currents quietly causing people to drift from the blog world over to facebook or follow the shifting breezes to instagram. Robyn Gordon's lovely curated collections have migrated from her Art Propelled blog to facebook. Jeane Myer's moved house from her blog, Art It to Instagram and I have joined her there for no other reason than to see her amazing work as she creates and shares it.

There are many other bloggers, that were part of community when I ventured here with my first post in December 2008, that like me, simply post less often. I am not leaving quite yet, but it's more of a second home than a primary residence these days. I sense this is true for blogger friends like Lynette Monteiro of 108Zenbooks and Lynne Hoppe (who is also sharing her work on instagram).  Do I have less to say? Do I think about painting and practice less? Not really. It's just that those thoughts don't make it to these pages so often anymore. The excitement of sharing on a blog has met time and they have wandered off together. The Buddha talked about this (not blogs, facebook and instagram) but change. It's the one thing we can always count on. Change is a constant.

Noticing the virtual migratory patterns did give me cause to think about why and what I post. There are artists that share what materials they're using or simply post the work they've been doing. There are those that write about where their practice is at the moment. It's about connecting, sharing what they know in the spirit of offering help and inspiration to others. When I thought about what I want to share these days, it's the things that excite me most, things that I think others might be interested in discovering too.
Trails 12"x12"

So here's a little goody bag of what I've been exploring lately. There's lucid dreaming with Charlie Morley. Lucid dreaming just seems like such a good thing to me and Morley talks about it with passion and clarity. We sleep 1/3 of our lives so being lucid in our dreams expands the time available to us and offers a connection to our inner life that the conscious mind doesn't. Probably most importantly, if you believe in any intermediate state between this life and the next, it prepares you to navigate that.

We listened to this great series of talks , called Awake in our Bones by Martin Aylward on a short home retreat. They were inspiring and expanding, a great companion to a few days of sitting. He has a fresh and clear way of speaking about life and the dharma.

I am curious about all the new brainwave technology and ended up on a site called iAwake that has lots of little samples to listen to and a freebie if you care to share your email address.
Canyon Rain 6"x6"
I've also been re-reading "Breaking The Habit of Being Yourself" by Joe Dispenza and doing some of his meditations. His work is part of the quantum consciousness movement that focuses on how our thoughts create our world. That belief is part of basic Buddhist thought but Dispenza and others focus on using this to create conditions we might want to find in our lives. I'm not talking about "let's get a new car" but working with more stubborn mind states that might affect our health, how we use our time, our worldview and our happiness. I am finding it particularly helpful in my attitude to my painting. In Buddhist thought we might call it trust or faith. For athletes an aspect of performance is wrapped up in mental attitude. Is it any different for artists?

On January 1st I kidnapped a vintage mason jar from the cupboard and made it in to my gratitude jar. I cut up cute little pieces of paper and find things to be grateful for each evening and pop them in the jar. I find the physical act of having a jar a much more powerful reminder than a journal for recording these tidbits. I am finding that simply turning the mind from grumbling over little things to appreciation is a powerful reorientation for a somewhat aversive mind. Here's a lovely little website on gratitude.

And back in the world of things the wood stove in my studio finally got hooked up so other than some storage and a comfy chair my studio can take a bow and pronounce itself finished. It is amazing to have this space to work in. I can while away the hours, listening to the rain on the metal roof or keep company with the big trees out my windows and the ducks on the pond. I look forward to warmer days when I can throw open the door and windows.

And you, what have you been up to that fills your days with joy and passion?