Sunday, January 31, 2016

Blessed are the Difficult

Blessed are the Difficult Ones,
for they shall teach us Patience, Courage,
Acceptance, and Humility...

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Set the cup aside

More often than I realize, I have become 
this beggar, holding out my cup in hope
of love, acceptance, friendship, praise.
Help me to set the cup aside and give,
only -- and freely -- give.

Friday, January 29, 2016

A vision of unity

However complex and/or confusing the world appears,
there's both an underlying unity and an over-arching vision.
Somehow, together, they merge all that complexity
into a sum more coherent and more magical than its parts.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

A new place to rest

Things don't always go quite as we'd planned:
unexpected obstacles may crop up to impede our progress.
When will we learn to trust 
that every shift is an opportunity
to find a new place to rest
or to grow in some new direction?

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Family ties

True, our family ties can sometimes get a little twisted.
And then the choice becomes: what's more important?
Staying connected? Or untangling the knots?

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

What you wish for

Be careful what you wish for:
what, from a distance, may look like a crown,
in close encounter may prove to be an anchor...

Monday, January 25, 2016

Hope and fear

Despite our surface differences,
we are all made of the same clay,
and driven by the same hopes and fears:
hope of pleasure,
fear of pain;
fear of loss
and hope of gain;
fear of disgrace
and hope of fame;
hope of praise and
fear of blame.

Be gentle, be aware,
and help each other:
if one falls,
so do we all.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

A window or a mirror

Is your life's work a window or a mirror?
And do your interactions --
both their tensions and their pleasures -- arise
from how you see yourself, or from how you see the world?

Saturday, January 23, 2016

What lies beneath?

We've all known those dry periods,
when our personal tides -- the ones that feed our souls --
are running low. Don't be afraid 
to take advantage of the drought: 
step down into your ground and poke around --
who knows what new exciting treasures you'll unearth!

Friday, January 22, 2016

When the balance shifts

Part of maturation is discovering 
your ideal balance between chaos and order: 
it seems to differ markedly from one individual to the next.
But when, despite our efforts to control,
that balance shifts, don't be afraid:
it's possible that change might bring new joy.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Waiting for the light

You've been waiting so long for the light.
But -- did you know -- the light waits for you as well?

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Feeling stuck?

Feeling a little stuck?
Don't think of it as permanently grounded:
you're just waiting for the tide to rise again...

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The courage to live

Sometimes it takes extraordinary courage
just to live an ordinary life.
Respect that, both in others and yourself...

Monday, January 18, 2016

Balancing past and present

In art, as in life, the choices we make
are based on what we know from experience
and what we feel and observe in the present --
observations and feelings colored by mood,
by current events; by history and preconceptions...
In the end it becomes a wheel, all cycling back upon itself:
No wonder it's hard to strike a balance!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Peace in the balance

Finding peace in the balance 
between the darkness and the light...

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Beings of light

We are beings of light,
living in a world of color
baptized by the sky.
Drink in the glory of all those blessings
and lift your heart in gratitude.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Trying to fit in

Yesterday I was reminded that I needed to come up with an artist statement for a one-woman show I'll be doing next month at our local library.

I've known about this exhibit for months, but some part of me never quite felt sure it would happen --one of those too-good-to-be true things that occasionally attack us vulnerable artist-types.  Plus I'd been so caught up producing work for my November show, which was a much larger space, that I'd sort of lost track of this one.

Suffice it to say that when the email arrived, even though I'd been attempting to paint new work for it for the last month or so I was caught off-guard: oh no, this is really happening, and I don't even know what paintings I'll be showing!

So where am I going with this, you ask.  Well, as so often happens, under stress new revelations can emerge.  But first let me give you an important piece of background information: About 8 months ago we moved from our colorful, light-filled home on the beach to a log cabin in the woods.  The cabin comes with a large and lovely studio, but as you can imagine, it's a bit dark, and the predominant colors tend to be in the brown/tan range, whereas the predominant colors of our beach house were more blue/green.

I had decided that if I were going to be a successful artist, given that more people furnish their houses in browns and grays than in purples and teals, that I should change my preferred color palette, and that living in this new environment would be a great way to encourage that.  So I have been endeavoring, over recent months, to introduce more browns and grays into my work.

But as I went wandering through the stacks of artwork now cluttering every corner of my studio, trying to decide what I should show that would be pleasant to look at in the gray month of February, and what sort of title I could give the exhibit to tie all the work together, I realized that despite my efforts to the contrary, the works that make me happiest were the ones with lots of blue and teal in them.  There are one or two exceptions to that rule, but for the most part those were the winners.

So I decided to just go with that, and entitle the exhibit "Brightening the Winter Blues."  So much of my work was done, but I still had to write an artist statement.  And as I began to write about the role of color in my life I decided to confess that I'm a synaesthete: one of those rare individuals for whom words, numbers and sounds have colors.

I duly wrote up my artist statement and submitted it, and then realized I really needed one more painting to round out the exhibit.  I wanted it to reflect the values expressed in the artist statement, and I wanted to pattern it after another painting of mine that I really love: of all the work I've done it's the one most likely to make me smile.

So I painted this one.  It's actually not quite in the color range shown here, because I photographed it this morning under artificial light in a tan room and the photoshop color filters don't quite successfully compensate for that.  In reality the yellows are less green, and the greens are more teal... but I digress.  My point is, I painted this yesterday.  And I like it, though not quite as much as its predecessor.  And thinking about it in meditation this morning I had one of those massive insights that both thrill you and make you feel like a total idiot for not realizing it sooner.

Of course!  I'm a synaesthete.  ALL MY LIFE I have made decisions based on color.  Any time I've ever had to make a choice, I've ALWAYS gone with the one that has more color around it.  What colors, you might ask? Or -- and here's the more important question -- what colors inspire rejection? Answer: browns and grays.  Well, duh!  If I don't make life choices that are brown and gray, why would I find any joy in painting browns and grays?  Which explains why I've had so little success in that arena, and why I've been wanting to paint over much of what I've created in the last 2 or 3 months.

Hey: so what if the stuff doesn't sell?  The whole reason I started painting in the first place was because I got so much joy out of smearing colors on a canvas.  Why would I try to regulate myself into colors I don't love just to find a way to finance the habit?

I know.  It seems really obvious laid out like this.  But I had to take my own time getting there, because it was a lesson I needed to learn at a deeper level; not just something I could realize in my head. What makes perfect sense to the brain often takes a while to sink down into the heart — or maybe, what makes perfect sense to the heart may take a while to filter up to the brain.

... which of course doesn’t mean everything I paint from here on out will be blue, or fabulous, or even necessarily abstract; it just means I maybe trust my instincts a wee bit more than I did. I can’t really let go of my longing for approval — I’m human, after all — but I can allow my own approval to matter more. It all has to do with appreciating and loving my own particular way of being in the world, something I often struggle with.

So now I will finally listen to my husband and daughter, who have both been telling me we need to paint the interior of our new home.  The walls are currently a sort of dull tan -- which looks good with all the wood.  But the fact is, it won't really feel like our house until we paint it the colors that work with our stuff, that resonate with our hearts. We're blue-green people, not brown people, and it's time to stop trying to fit into the wrong color box. We can do this!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Get your feet wet

When I came home and saw the light streaming through the trees,
I knew that if I went out into the yard and just kept walking
eventually I would see the beams filtered through the fog.
Sometimes, if you want to see the light,
you need to step beyond your comfort zone,
shift your perspective a little,
get your feet wet...

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

From here to there

It seems like such a long way, from here to there.
But you can make it -- both the crossing and the climb --
and think of the glorious views you'll have,
as you begin, along the way, and looking back
whenever you arrive!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Listen for the light


Sit. Be still.
Listen for the light
that laps at the shores of consciousness.
Let it echo in the depths of your being.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Old grudges

What do you stand to gain from these old grudges?
They loom and block your path and view:
could it be time to reconsider;
to open up your heart and let them go?
Look at the sun: does it not shine
on those whom you avoid,
as well as you?

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Forward into hope

Transitions can seem scary:
the darkness that we leave behind, the unknown up ahead,
the narrow path, the dangers looming deep on either side.
Learn to trust the bridge of love that holds us as we travel
forward into hope.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Steady, like the sea

They're woven into our lives, our children and our friends,
leaving and returning, always off on new adventures...
Like emotions, or like waves, 
they waft through and then move on;
and still life pulses quietly beneath, 
steady, like the sea, and the shore.


Friday, January 8, 2016

When choosing fight or flight

Before you let your mind -- and mouth -- take off;
before you let those old assumptions 
push you into flight, or fighting,
take a moment: Get your bearings, test your weight,
check to be sure the branch you stand on
is solid, sure, and true.
Now breathe, and breathe, and breathe again,
and see if it might be possible to just -- let go.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Illumination comes

Illumination comes, unpredictable as the dawn --
always there, just... some days brighter than others.
Wake up! Wake up again, and watch for it:
with patience and attention, you'll be there for the surprise.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Imagining Spring

As the days grow longer,
and light returns to fill our longing hearts,
the hopeful artist begins to imagine --
or at least, to remember -- Spring...

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Hanging it all out there...

Feeling a bit exposed?
Are all those dark thoughts, once tucked away,
suddenly out there, for all the world to see?
Before you reel them back inside, take a moment
to appreciate the beauty of what's been hidden:
Think of it as a chance to start off fresh...

Monday, January 4, 2016

A pool of love

Even on the gray and rainy days
when everything seems dark and drear,
there is a pool of love
gathering at the center of being...

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Surrendered to the flow

Connected to my deepest self, my Source,
surrendered to the flow of Love,
I stay afloat more easily,
and won't be set adrift or drowned
by the coming or the going of the tides.
Help me to find and feel again
this sense of being anchored into You.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Such bright potential

In you I see such bright potential;
such readiness for the journey ahead!
Don't be afraid: when the time comes to set out
you'll know, and be prepared:
you have everything you need for what's to come.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year!

May your New Year be rich with light and color,
And may darkness never overwhelm your glorious inner light.