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My Art Therapy Journey

Posts from the Art Therapy Category

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Well, it happened.  Today I dropped my first class of the season.  And what do you think it was?  None other than Photoshop.  My first and last class for Photoshop was last Thursday morning.  Sad.  Very sad.  But more than sad, I’m happy because it means that I’m not going down a short and fast path of ruin.  I stepped on it, felt the ground shake and quickly, but not too quickly, but fast enough to not get a permanent “W” (for Withdraw…(or how I fear it’s looked at by administration in big colleges, “Took the W because the F was coming?”).  So…still breathing, I got out of there.  I only went to the first class and the instructor is the same teacher who taught my Adobe Illustrator class and I actually signed up for his classes on purpose because I’d heard such good things about him.

It turns out he is very good, but good is so vague and relative.  I don’t have a high aptitude toward graphic design and am only really taking Illustrator and Photoshop because they are prerequisites for a couple of other design classes I am required to take for my art degree.  This teacher is first-rate if you’re into Graphic Design and that’s your major…but for the girl (woman, uhem) who likes to get her hands-up-to-her-armpits-dirty in clay, taking his class was about enough to make my head spin off my neck.  It’s purely miracle and kind-heartedness on my teachers part that I was blessed out of Adobe Illustrator alive and with an “A” for effort.

So anyway, his class wasn’t the “Photoshop for Artists” I was looking for. Today I saved myself by  clicking on a sweet, sweet drop button that, praise the Lord, still read “0% with no W on transcript.” when pressed.  My husband asked if we’ll get a refund.  I said “No, I only get to not self-destruct.  Want me to reinstate my class?”  Smiley face.  (He asked me through a text message.)

I’m still living.

In fact, I’m so alive after I officially dropped Photoshop I stepped outside and realized an abundance of wildly growing flowers in a little corral next to our garage (which unfortunately has no animals in it because we actually live in the suburbs and only can pretend we are farmers.)

But still, when we bought this house I wouldn’t let the guys tear it down.  I love my corral, and talking about it reminds me I need to get my bull’s head tied up out there again for lasso practice!  It had to be taken down when the enclosure was painted.   I’m digressing.   (At least I’m not regressing.  Digressing doesn’t seem so bad next to that possibility!)

All of this is to say…I was inspired to take some photos! 🙂

I’m pretty sure my neighbors were curious what I was doing bouncing around the corral for no clearly apparent reason today, but you know what they say about keeping  good neighbors.  Well, some say the best neighbors are fences, but we don’t really have fencing, so the next best thing is to feign insanity within their line-of-sight.    (No doubt, you’re convinced, right!? )

So here are my photos of the day.  Enjoy…I did!

 

Me today

 

hanging out together

Budding Heart

Out on a…vine

Protection (love, connection, hope, support, friendship, relationship, life)

This is your family tree…Oh, so THIS is who I am!

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Tonight I made it through my first Art History test of my entire life…ever.  I’m not counting past lives since those details are still emerging.  I sure hope I get far enough in this life to take my last Art History test ever…at the end of all the Art History classes I can possibly take.

Art History : Love as Test Taking : Not Love.  I’m trying to get in my rational mind now. (So I hope I got  that right.  Equations and logic aren’t always my thing.)

I learned tonight I’m a crier.  I used to be so stoic about crisis.  But after I got through a half-day of intense preliminary irritability, crying is all I have wanted to do.  I wanted to cry before, during, and after my test tonight.

 

And I’m glad I doubled up a few days ago on my exercise routine because I celebrated with a trip to Burger King.

That’s right.

 

Maybe I knew this was coming?

 

I have craved a thin (Thin, I like the thin ones) juicy fast-food hamburger all week.  It’s a far cry from my regimented allotment I give myself of rice cakes and protein bars everyday.  Sometimes I do splurge and have almond milk.

So when I drove into the lane-of-no-return and ordered that Whopper I knew I had pulled off something big tonight.  Maybe even life-changing.  Something is growing inside me.

I craved fast food burgers the entire time I was pregnant with my oldest daughter.

Correlation?

**

Deeper into the story you would know the last time I signed up for an Art History I ended up with an extended hospital stay before I made it to my first test.

That was in 2006.

It’s like returning to the scene…

Art History didn’t put me in the hospital, but it was the hardest thing to give up.   Having to let it go killed me.

I’ve come to reclaim my soul.

 

Everything is still there where I left it except I have moved from the third row back and to the right of the room to the front row and to the left.

 

I don’t want to be distracted.  I intend to live.

This time it’s just me and art alone in a dark room.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The trail I’m on is dodgy right now.  I can’t keep up with myself, I’m thirsty and with every step the path tries to disappear beneath my feet.  Paranoia creeps in.  I can’t trust anything or anyone, especially me.  I question myself repeatedly and I never answer back.  There is a call with no return.  I want to hide.  I’m not sure who I am talking to.  The main part of life is a strange veneer lifting off from the surface of a screen…no front or back.

Are parts like this where it’s just important to go through the motions?  There are parts where there doesn’t need to be any real meaning beyond staying alive, I suppose.  Even when life floats like a ghost?

 

The last time I had a massage I was told I needed “a lot of work.”

I am repelling touch.

 

A couple of days ago I had a freak-out session and had to double-up on my daily dance in front of the television.  My toddler knows what it means when I say in a sing-songy voice “Mommy’s gotta ex-ser-size!”  I was so tired, but I had to go until I couldn’t feel anymore.  She crawls on me, bounces in motion with me, and tries to eat my exercise mat.

 

While I’m occupied with that there’s a thick Art History book sitting in the corner on the desk.  I do a few more squat-thrusts to try to calm my anxiety.  About what…I don’t know.

 

My teenager calls and comes over to the house bearing gifts for me from her recent trip to the Gulf Coast with her dad.  My God, how I love her.  How it frightens me to know she was once a toddler too.  And I, her mom.  She’s too beautiful to have come from me.  “And too normal,” I think to myself.  Normal in that extraordinary teenager way.  Growing up.

 

I want to talk to somebody, but there’s no one around.

I don’t know why there’s nobody around other than I’ve always been too scared to have anybody around.

I’m scared to go grocery shopping.

Too many people.

 

There’s been a lot of fighting lately.  Maybe I’ll get a divorce.   Maybe I’ll go nowhere.

 

I take vacations.  I fantasize compulsively and obsessively through websites advertising retreats,  engaging me in the promise of wisdom and adventure, release and grounding.  I over-analyze dates and costs and reality.  It takes me away for a while.

Away for a while.

 

Away for a while.

 

Away.

I need to not wait so long between posts.  I need continuity.  I sway in and out between darkness and light and I need to record the wave somewhere.

Today I’m feeling a bit defeated because I came home from school to hear my toddler’s babysitter tell me  “I just keep hearing the universe telling me to change and I  think one of those changes is that I’m going to bail on you and your daughter.”   She didn’t use the word “bail,” of course.  But that’s what it is.  I can’t blame her for being a 23-year-old clown, really.

I’m not being derogatory.  She is a clown and actually quite proud of it. She’s recently back from clown school. It was one of the things about her that caused me to want to hire her in the first place.  But it turns out I don’t think she actually likes being with kids all day.

I don’t feel defeated because the universe is apparently against me. (ha!) I’m feeling more defeated because during the course of our conversation she made sure to get into all of my tender spots about STILL not being graduated from college.  I felt like telling her she was awfully young to go for the part of playing Cruella Deville.   But I can’t blame her for being ignorant either.  If I acknowledge her perspective on my life as ignorance and not arrogant cruelty then I might have a little more patience for her to pack it up.

Well, maybe I’m still jaded after-all.

I thought I was going to be able to come here and announce that had passed.

Maybe not.

I’ve discovered feelings.

Rather, I’ve discovered rawness.

I feel stripped and searched.  Lately it feels like the world (the universe?) is pinching and grabbing at me, probing me.  Gross.

It seems like there’s not many places in the world for rawness.  Am I hurting anyone by being raw?

I think it bothers people a lot.

Ok, it bothers me.

I know who I want to be, but I’m not there yet.  And Lord help me the day I ever say I’ve arrived.  This life, for me, is not supposed to be about arriving.

Most certainly it’s about the journey.  That’s why I’m here.

School is in full-swing now.  The Line-Up: Ceramics, Art History-Renaissance to Modern,  Adobe Illustrator,  Photoshop.

I’m only in a little over my head.  I might have several weeks before I’m completely under.

I’m enjoying it, but probably only in the way rawness and joy really go together.

It’s a challenge.  It’s hard.  My brain and heart both feel like they are at capacity, but that might only mean they will soon grow bigger with space to be even more full?

Growing isn’t easy.   Anyone who has really ever grown or is growing would probably get that.

Breaking open is not all-the-way comfortable. But staying stalled, while it has its advantages, doesn’t really get you too far.

The thing about life being a journey  is that the end is never really reached, but it requires constant movement toward that place to be the journey it’s meant to be.

Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign (Found at the local zoo)

Somewhere along the way I became jaded, even though it’s just a dark synonym for hurt.

I have images to share, but…I’m jaded.  (So my world is blank.)

What is up with that?  I used to not even know what jaded meant.  I remember asking and having to look it up in the dictionary…back before Google.

I looked it up again, though, since it seems so definitive of where I am right now.  I wanted to be sure about it.

It turns out that “hurt” is not actually mentioned within the definition I found.

So maybe I shouldn’t  mention about the hurt aspect of my jadedness.

 

I know this is a phase.

Phases pass.

 

Things will change.  I’m looking forward to when I’m back to being some other color.  Pink maybe.  Not Pepto-pink.  Instead, more like something most people like.  Ice cream or cotton candy…baby blankets.  Strawberry milk?  (Maybe most people don’t like strawberry milk…)

 

I am so tempted to gloss over the green.

It would be so easy to just not put it here.  Nobody really needs to know about it.  I wouldn’t even have to acknowledge it.  It could be like it never happened.

 

Sometimes the light kills gross green stuff…like mold.

 

I will move through this.  I will.

Or I will be moved through it.

 

 

 

 

 

This morning I looked in the mirror while blow-drying my hair.

I thought about some of the things I would have to say if I told my story and choked back tears and feeling.

Then I realized it is so close to being time.

***

I’ve hired a nanny to babysit my daughter one day a week, which will turn into two half-days a week when school starts the next week.  We talk a bit when she arrives.  Just chit-chat and catching up for communication’s sake.  She asked me about my oldest daughter starting 8th grade and how she’s liking it.  In reality, I didn’t see my daughter off this year on her first day back.  I only saw her two cumulative weeks out of the whole summer.  But we texted on her first day back about how her first day went…the weigh in on teachers and the year ahead.  The usual first-day-back stuff, as if she were living every day with me.

Of course, all the Facebook pictures popped up all day of excited and anticipatory kids…the younger ones. Or the reluctant, begrudgingly photographed, but inwardly still happy their parents cared to mark the day in history, older ones.

I “liked” several of them and tried to not notice my empty spot.

And I hoped everyone else was too caught up in their own day to see that I had nothing of my own to share.

Here I sit, sharing my picture now.

 

There are a lot of questions and probably assumptions that can probably be brought on by this picture.

Just recognize it’s not fully developed yet.

 

So I told my toddler’s nanny about everything I’d gleaned from texts with my teenage daughter about the start of 8th grade without telling her I haven’t actually seen her for over a month.  Mostly, the teachers she doesn’t like (the ones who remind her of strict relative, lol) and the required “elective” class she wishes she had waited to sign up for (Robotics, by the way…I’m still not sure about the new need for this in our school system, but maybe that’s because I’m out of the loop.) She’s only 1 of 3 girls out of a class of 27 and not too thrilled about all the boys…which I found relieving, but kept to myself! 🙂

 

Then our nanny, who is only 23, talked a bit about high school…we talked.  When the topic of high school comes up I always try to play along.  But I actually only completed 9th grade and 2 months of that school year was completed in a psych hospital, as it was.  So I’m learning through anecdotes from other people about high school in America as I go along in life.  In the next 4 to 5 years I’m sure I will learn more and if I’m most lucky I will get a good, rounded-out first-hand fill from my daughter.

All of this brings up memories, of course, of who I really am and where I have really been in my life.  My lifeline.  It gets sort of shitty in spots and so I gloss over those parts, which actually means sometimes I gloss over a lot and people sometimes feel like they know me, but something is missing they can’t quite put their finger on.  It’s that slick, maybe.

 

So today I just said it, without the gloss.  Plain.  No sheen.

“I only went to 9th grade, so I don’t really know about all that.”

“Oh, really?”

“Yeah, I have a kind of interesting timeline with things.  I had a kind of crazy life.  Well, I wasn’t crazy, but my life was a bit crazy.”

 

I still left out the psych hospital part.

I was crazy…I guess.  Right?  I mean, look at where I’ve been.

 

But I’m getting close to the truth.

Closer.

 

Everything is so close.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A couple of days ago I made a connection with someone who left me asking, “What if…?” The “…” are representative because there are so many endings to that question.  I guess the “What if’s” are different for everyone.

I feel full of possibilities.  “What if…everything?”

In my life I haven’t always been sure that staying alive was the right thing to do.  And I mean “staying alive” in a more of a way than just the mechanics of breathing. Even breathing in a way that keeps the body going can be a challenge sometimes, but  I’m really talking about keeping my heart alive.  Passion, hope, love.  There is risk in living with light.  The body can die, but the heart can be devastated when something important goes wrong.

Things have gone wrong before.  I’ve had opportunities to give up at times when people might not have even judged it as a weakness, and I would have liked to have taken my break.

Somehow there’s always been something keeping me going.  A resuscitation, I guess.   Maybe that’s when the light has taken the driver’s seat. Admittedly, on the really hard days I haven’t always been grateful for that force so dedicated to my continuation.

But then there are days with connection, mystery and magic…that grow my spirit enough to help me feel I can support the energy of life again on my own.  But never, of course, completely on my own since those are the days I am most lifted up.

Those days are the ones with rainbows.  That unexpected gift of communication when I’m looking for convincing evidence that it’s safe to come out and interact again even though the clouds are still foreboding.

So…what if I am safe?

What if…my life matters?

What if…I have something worth sharing?

What if…I’m not alone?

What if…everything has a reason?

What if…I can’t find a reason, but it all matters anyway?

What if my story was meant to be heard?

What if the beginning really is a very good place to start?

What if?

What if?

What if?

 

If you’re wondering who this someone is who inspired these questions this time, it is a film maker named Mary Trunk who is now editing her most recent documentary titled Lost In Living…Here is a brief description of this film I’m so grateful for and link to a generous 10 minute Trailer which I found on Kickstarter.  This is a film filled with passion and honesty which I feel privileged to be a backer for (and is still open for funding, so check it out.)

“Behind the domestic curtain of motherhood, where the creative impulse can flourish or languish, are four women determined to make a go of it. Filmed over seven years, Lost In Living, confronts the contradictions inherent in personal ambition and self-sacrifice, female friendship and mental isolation, big projects and dirty dishes. The complex realities of family life unfold in this documentary film about the messy intersection of motherhood and artistic expression.”

 

 

 

***

 

A couple of weeks ago we had a brief storm in my city during the middle of our midwest drought. I was lucky enough to be out in it.  If I hadn’t had to run to the store with my daughter for essentials while my husband was out-of-town I would have only heard the rain.  When we arrived at the store the clouds were beginning to break and the sun was coming through.  I saw a man across the parking lot taking an iPhone pic of the sky.  And, of course, I had my phone too.  I took a picture of the sky and clouds facing the opposite direction.  It was magnificent.

Storm Clouds Breaking

 

When I left the store the sky was still filled with brilliant form and light.  I took out my phone again for more pics, shooting away, when a guy with his daughter walking in motioned to my left and said, “There’s a rainbow over there.”

Light Entering

 

 

A cloud among many

 

Soft Blank Slate

Alive

 

There I was, looking right at the sky and missed the rainbow entirely!  I was a little embarrassed, but grateful for the direction!  It actually turned out to be a double rainbow, so quite a treat!  It was large so I couldn’t get both sides in with one shot, and naturally, the photos don’t  nearly do the experience justice.  It was warm and cool, wet and sunny with the most amazing light.  A wordless beauty, for sure.

Rainbow

 

Don’t forget to look for the rainbows…

 

 

 

I’ve recently had the recurring urge to shave my head, even though I know it’s probably not the greatest idea.  I was close enough to shaving my head when I when I got my Pixie Cut two summers ago.  I’m capitalizing Pixie Cut because it was that big of a deal.  I paid enough for a semesters worth of community college to repair the damage from that particular urge after several toupees and all the therapy it inspired.   Actually, my husband paid for it, but he had it coming because I had given him say on whether I should actually do it or not.  And he gave me the emphatic “Do it! It’s hot!” go ahead.  : \  .  That was just weeks into our marriage and we’ve learned a lot since then.  Slowly.  Very slowly…at about the rate hair grows.   And of course, two years later I still have my driver’s license picture to remind me of how much I shouldn’t act on all my urges or all of my husband’s ideas about “hotness.”

But at any rate, the urge has managed to return.  I don’t know what it’s about.  I’m thinking maybe I get this urge to chop off all my hair when life transitions are upon me.   That makes sense, right?

Well, that’s the thing about urges.  They don’t always make sense.

I’m sure there’s a psychological underpinning to it that does follow some line of logic…even if it’s ill-logic.

I don’t think it really matters.  I just feel things strongly and that’s enough to make me reach for the scissors.  Or, in this case, razors.

Wow, writing it like this makes me think this might be enough motivation for my husband to wear protection to bed.

 

Anyway, I went to the bookstore today.   (You can start breathing again, the focus on my urges is passing for now.)

I was looking for a Pottery Illustrated Magazine or Ceramics Monthly or something to do with clay.  They didn’t have any, unfortunately, but there were several other magazines that caught my eye.

Like this one:

The Secret Files of My Personality

 

I didn’t want anyone else to see me pick it up, but if you can tell by the computer in the background, I did actually buy this.  It’s funny that I was a little embarrassed for some reason to be flipping through this in the store (not sure why, maybe because of some stupid idea that I should stick  to picking up “chick flicks” or a fitness magazine on how to acquire tight glutes or something) but now I’m broadcasting it here for everyone to see.   It probably says something about my personality!  But I’m not sure what it’s saying about me yet because I haven’t taken any of the quizzes yet.  Maybe these quizzes will lead me to a cure and I won’t need therapy anymore.

I will always need to participate in some form of art for my sanity, though.

I actually went on a magazine spree today…but with good cause!

I’m (re)starting school again next week.  “Real-Deal” school.  Actually,  it is mini real-deal (junior college,) but hey, it’s still school.  I still will get a grade, and it could, eventually, ever so slowly, lead me to a career in which people come to me for help!

So now you know, you’re reading the “Before She Was Famous”  Blog.

All I want to do in life is live.  And living, what I want for my life, means the ability to reliably connect and share.  And feel.  (Thinking straight would also be a perk.)  And sometimes…just Be.   Me.  And I want to Be Whole.  In an ideal world, I’d be able to play some role in  passing life (with light) on.

I was going to major in Art Therapy, but apparently only people on the coasts can work toward becoming art therapists so simply.  There is only one school in the Midwest that even has a Master’s program specifically for art therapy, and, even though I am in the midwest I am not within driving distance to it.  So I’m holding tight that I can get a Bachelor of Fine Arts and someone crazy enough will admit me into a Masters counseling program after that.

I’m scared.  I’m scared about being accepted, which I’ve spoken about on my blog.

I have failed many times in my life…

Anyway, there’s so much story behind and ahead of this…and I have to admit I don’t yet know how to exactly face or share either side of that storyline besides being here where I am on a day-to-day basis.  It’s really not too bad of a way to live, really.  To live in Not Knowing.

As long as I’m focussed on the important things…and people.  That is where the real-deal learning really is.  And, I suppose, where I have the most to learn.

I might be able to take this step-by-step and save my hair-do.

I do sometimes get ahead of myself.

**

Are we there yet? …And, I think 1,000 Places to See Before You Die is so aptly placed. along with the calendar that advertises “Do It All”

While I was at the bookstore I also ran into big display of calendars.   My gaze was more down because I’m wearing a hat today so I didn’t immediately see the display sign on top of the rack.  I was kind of surprised they still had 2012 calendars to sell…until I looked up and saw they were for 2013.  I always get freaked out when I see calendar displays in “off” times because I think I’ve missed more in my life than I was prepared for.    But then I did a quick run-through and realized it wasn’t me.  It was the rest of the world with the problem!  It is the beginning of August 2012, and our culture is living nearly half a year in advance.  What gives?

What is the deal with not being present in this world?  I feel so rushed. And it happens everywhere.  It happens as people run over me in the grocery store, fight me in the check-out line, and tail me all the way home.  Can we please slow down?

I need to get this out and ask, am I the only one feeling this way?

Another interesting find at the bookstore today, but didn’t buy this time. Notice the word “Quickly” is also in this title! 🙂 I also thought the “How to Be Happy” book sitting next to it was interesting, but that is way more of a rant than I have energy for today.

I am in the process of looking for a “Slower People Unite” support group.  Let me know if you’re interested, quickly! 🙂

I am so stressed by being out-and-about sometimes my muscles are clenched to my bones and I can’t move at all!  We’re all going to die in one form or fashion and is all this rushing really necessary or worth it!?

We all will get where we’re going.

Which, come to think of it, just about perfectly completes my interesting finds at the bookstore today…a National Bestseller, which I also did not buy today, but I did flip through and it looked maybe it could be.  But I wasn’t going to take the $7 risk.

 

Things you need to know NOW!!!

Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart ~ Thirty True Things You Need to Know Now  by Gordon Livingston M.D.

 

I hope there’s enough time for me to get this later…it will have to wait in the queue with the rest of them!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sliver of Light (found coming through the middle of a grouping of conjoined Sequoia trees in Sequoia National Park, CA)

I’ve been in a place with no words lately.

When will I learn that not having words, or really, not being able to express them, does not help one (me) to escape?

I hadn’t planned on writing this.

But then something brushed past me and I felt like maybe I could get something out.

Now I’m not so sure again.

This is a frustrating battle.

I want a poem.

I want significance if I’m going to have to stutter through these mutilating stops and starts.

I want something to show for the scar tissue from all the rips in my chest.

I haven’t had much time to paint.

Or maybe it is energy I have struggled with.

With vacation and all…

I did take some iPhone photos while I was gone…and my phone never got close to dying.

I did though.  We were nearly involved in a potentially fatal crash on the highway on the way to the airport, coming home.

The tire on a pickup in front of us blew and sent the pickup bouncing and swerving into a concrete partition barrier under an overpass and then tossed it back across to the other side of the highway for another concrete kiss before it finally came to a stop.  The highway was filled with traffic, including a speeding semi directly behind us (and we were the first car behind the pickup that lost control).   Miraculously, there was nobody in the lane beside the out-of-control pickup and so it kept the snowball effect from happening, and we were miraculously far enough behind the pickup  that when the tire blew and the actual crash(es)/impacts  happened we were able to avoid contact.

I know at least 10 drivers had to have seen the accident happen, and sadly, us and one other single male driver were the only ones to pull over to make sure the driver of the pickup was ok.  It’s pretty horrible to watch a vehicle crash right in front of you (or behind you, I’ve experienced that before on the highway too…and I wasn’t involved or hurt,) but what made me sick to my stomach and clench up my throat was that amount of people who sped right on past without even attempting to stop and help.

The driver of the pickup was an older gentleman and was pretty shook up and, I’m sure, in shock, but thankfully not critically injured himself.  We were in a dangerous spot ourselves when we stopped, and on the opposite side of the highway from the pickup, so we continued to the airport after making sure the driver was safe and able to wait for police and ambulance and that the other citizen who stopped was able (and willing!)  to take care of the rest from that point.  It didn’t appear the driver of the pickup even had a cell phone…I felt so bad for him. : (

Can you imagine if nobody had stopped??!

That’s the question I thought about the rest of the way to the airport.

Which quickly led me to thinking about how many times I’ve been the one involved in a  life wreck.

It put me into a place of deep thought (but with a well-activated nervous system) …about how we could have seen someone killed in front of us, one or more of us in our car could have gotten seriously injured or killed that morning, or we could have seen and been involved in a compounded highway mass tragedy if the speeding cars had been spaced within even a car length’s difference at that particular time and place.

But life went on.

We got into a plane that morning to sit by an old man holding an iPad and stock report papers who was quite consumed with things that obviously mattered, who didn’t want to sit by or have anything to do with us (and he really didn’t know how close his luck was to not having us there) especially our baby.

But there we were.  All of us in a row.

And here we are today, still living this life.

My Daughter, Playing In the Light

My Daughter, Playing in the Light (in the middle of a large, conjoined grouping of Sequoia Trees in Sequoia National Park in CA)

I get a little scared by acceptance.  It is, of course, something I always want.  I want it like the challenge that it is.  I love challenge.  But…a challenge is still a challenge! : )   At least I have been feeling ready for it!

So, where does this leave me now that I am beginning to accept myself as I am?  Me… this person who sometimes (even still!)  is too scared to let out a whole sentence without dodging my eyes  when face-to-face.  (Coincidentally, I think the “eye-dodge” happens a lot less when I’m talking with anyone about anything related to art?  Art creates an open door where inhibitions and shame can find a way out of the room…like a nasty fly maybe that has found there is no longer anything good to feed on?  But who knows, I came to this during proof-reading so I’ll have to think on this some more.)

I guess it leaves me working (and a person with a job these days is considered pretty well off)  and aware of some of the most minute aspects of interaction and living.  Maybe this sensitivity is part of what draws me to nature and the “little things” that fill up  so much of the working world.

So why am I writing about this here?

Because it’s part of my journey (a pretty big part, I guess,) and because sharing with, in and through this blog has become a big-enough part of my life that I think of it often…daily.  Many times a day.   I’m a person that hasn’t had access to my true voice for the majority of my life.    I cry at every choir performance my teenage daughter participates in because I cannot imagine a more beautiful thing than to create through the exchange of real breath.  And to hear and see my daughter’s voice leaves me with nothing but hopeful, happy tears for her and the next generation.

This reminds me of how, from the time my daughter was a preschooler, we would bolt out songs together when we were driving together in the car.  It was our happy place.

Ah, happy places.

How do our happy places slip away?

There are new “happy places.” Life changes, people transition and/or transform.  Things happen.  But sometimes, and I’ll only say this quietly, a sad place fills the void where once a happy place lived….and sang.

***

I started out writing this today not having any idea what I was talking about here…or why.  But I’ve been away from my blog for a while.  Not in my heart or life, of course,  but in showing  my words.

I usually like to be inspired by an image before I sit down to write a post…but today things (so far) have been different.  I have so many images that I have made and collected over the last couple of weeks.  So many things could have started me off.  But today I decided to just accept that I needed and wanted to write.  And I didn’t have to have a plan or a goal.  I came just wanting to say what was going to be said.  Do you ever feel like something is just -there- and you’re not in control of it?  Like, truly, all that it needs is acceptance for it to show itself to the rest of the world (or you)?

I guess I maybe feel this is the heart of art.   Acceptance.  (But also trust and faith with a fair dose of willingness. )

I realized as I was writing about my daughter and our happy place that I do actually have an image to share and put with this post.

It’s my latest painting…the one I alluded to the last time I wrote.  It’s still not finished….but I’m not finished either and I’m still here!  So I figure it’s ok to share…this is about the journey.

And a bit about the intuitive painting process: In the last month I finished up my first ever painting e-course with Flora Bowley (called “Bloom True,” no less ) who is not only an amazing artist but a very real, beautiful and inspiring woman.  I consider myself very fortunate to have been able to take her course as she shines an extremely bright light.  It was so effortless (but still personally emotionally challenging at times…re: self-acceptance) to learn about her process and begin to carry with me some of the priceless tools she shared.  (And she’s offering her e-course again, so if you’re interested in growing yourself (blooming?) I cannot recommend her class enough.)

Base layers, playing with color and mark making

Building up more layers...I was having a blast doing "graffiti" without the pressure of breaking any enforceable laws

Having a blast doing “graffiti” without the pressure of breaking any enforceable laws

up close "graffiti"

Graffiti face

Inspired by my deer encounter a couple of posts ago!

close-up

very contorted hind legs

staying with it

hm, is that a flower? lol

A gentle and rather kind art critic in the studio

adding and subtracting, the only math I can do!

Another shot for Sammy…he always accepts me and my paintings 😉

change

new addition

darkness comes

more darkness

This is the last photo I have of this particular painting in process…I have worked some more on it and it is still transforming.  I am not sure where it will end up, but I am working on accepting it regardless of whatever happens.  I feel like I have learned so much through this one painting and have experienced several ups and downs with it.  But it has been a different process from the process with my “flower painting” I shared a few weeks ago!

I’m hesitant to say too much about the content and emotional aspects of this painting since it’s not completed yet.  Maybe when it is done.  For now I’m on this journey facing the challenges as they come!  And really, quite loving it when I stand back and look around me!

….And speaking of looking around me (which always leads me to looking within) is what I will be doing over the next week while I am on a long over-due (and somewhat impromptu)  nature vacation!  I anticipate a lot of iPhoneography going on, which reminds me!  I need to run and find a car charger for my phone and it’s nearly 5pm!  I’ll be watching the sun rise as I near the sky tomorrow morning bright and early so I better get a jump on it if I don’t want my anticipation to fall fast and hard!

I have to scoot, but I will return…so much more to share!

Thanks for listening (and watching!)  (and accepting! yikes!) 🙂

Edit:

I know it’s late, and I know it’s silly of me to think I will actually be in bed sleeping before it’s time to wake up again for a day of travel with my husband and 13 month old daughter….

BUT…

I did go get that car charger for my iPhone and the funniest thing happened when I returned.  There in my yard laid (and she really was laying down!) a doe…along with at least two of her babies.  She got up quickly, but I’m a pretty quick draw when it comes to snapping a photo so I grabbed my phone and went for it…I couldn’t wait to share this.

Even with Instagram crashing on me (twice!) I got these shots to share….

Funny how life is…how acceptance is…and how things (and in this case, some deer) sometimes appear at just the right time.

For what it’s worth this is the first time I’ve seen this doe with her babies here.  And these are the first fawns I have seen for myself all year…

 

doe and her fawns in our yard tonight 🙂

 

mom and babies in our yard tonight after coming home from errands (after writing this post)

 

 

So, I’m off for now! Vacation will be here before I know it!  (As relaxing as travelling with a 13-month old can be anyway!)

I’d like to bring you along.   I’m going to be on the lookout for a lot of light…and I’m open to what the “open road” will have to share with me.  I’m hoping for sunshine, but I never know what this journey has in store for me.  At the very least it’s always an adventure.

So maybe I’ll make this like a mini documentary within the living documentary of this blog as it is.  Maybe I’ll be a photo journalist on the sly…or maybe not so sly!  Who knows, maybe I’ll meet a new friend…or a wild bear…I’ll ask to pose with for a photo.  I’m deathly terrified of bears and the place where I’ll be is known for having them!  I’m going to let it be a surprise for now where I report from next….

But until then…sweet dreams!

 

Off for the Main Trail…