It seems I have a volcano within my being or maybe just in my crazy mixed up head? Is a volcano a mountain I need to climb and explore? Is it the inner workings, the heat, the fire, the massive pushing and pulling that creates the mountain that needs attention?
I’m talking about this writing course. I took this on because I thought it would be a good way to enhance what I was already blogging/writing about. Maybe it will but right now, it is painful. No not really painful, frustrating and confusing.
Writing has always been more of a stream of consciousness process. Usually prompted by something I read, a meditative reading from a book or poem not these crazy seemingly off the wall assignments. If I wanted fucking assignments I would go back to school. Okay, okay, I am not being graded. Yes I know I took this on myself. So there is no one to point fingers at except yourself, your desire to learn, to improve.
So Volcano if you are pushing the plates together, heating up the lava, spewing smoke and ash up to the surface please feel free to do so. I am so behind in these assignments that I almost quit. Quitting means the frustration would only boil over sometime later in another fashion or other.
The idea of prompts with a twist was fun at first. I found creative ways to still write non-fiction blogs based on what is or has happened in my life. Than the subjects became more difficult in the fact that I had to use voices that were not mine. I was asked to make up a story. Use my imagination, what are you kidding. Oy!
So Volcano you roared some more but did not produce. Oh maybe a little? There are a couple of drafts in your files to re-read, edit, and finish up, that may work. There are rumblings in my head, stories I keep going over, yet ego says, “you’re not ready for that type of writing. This is not what your blog is about.” So you calm down for a while. Later in the day the emails come with new ideas, new assignments, new tips on how to go about this or that. I love those links that offer more advice from established writers. They offer ideas and reassurance that all is good in the world. The rumbling and smoke is all part of the building of the process.
The writer within
Well there that wasn’t so bad was it? Ha ha. I want to thank Kaye for her blog this morning writing on the positive side, the gratefulness of the process, even when she can’t find the time, etc. Here is the link to her story.
Pick up the nearest book and flip to page 29. What’s the first word that jumps off the page? Use this word as your springboard for inspiration. Today’s twist: write the post in the form of a letter.
Assignment: Give and take: Write a post based on the contrast between two things — whether people, objects, emotions, places, or something else. Today’s twist: write your post in the form of a dialogue. You can create a strong opposition between the two speakers — a lovers’ quarrel or a fierce political debate, for example. Or you could aim to highlight the difference in tone and style between the two different speakers — your call!
There was a time I lived in a very rural area of upstate NY. Living away from the everyday world was a choice yet still on some occasions one has to come off the Mountain to purchase supplies or just to visit other areas. One fine spring day, I borrowed a fellows car to go to town, I don’t remember the reason but I do recall an experience.
I had accomplished my errands, and was headed back home. The day was beautiful, with nice fresh spring breeze, the road before me was long and wide open. Music blaring from radio or could have been a CD? I was enjoying the moment, windows open, singing out loud, the trees whipping by. Then, I spotted him. That dark car parked at the edge of the line of trees, slowing down after I passed, too late. I looked behind to see the police car coming behind me, now the lights. I slowed more and pulled over to stop. Letting down the window while searching for my licence and other important documents I may need.
Turning to the window which was now block by the middle section of the police offices dark uniform, tightly fitted to his form. “Good afternoon Officer!”
Bending over to look into the car, strong hard voice says, “Afternoon! License and insurance please.”
“Yes sir.” I replied, handing over them over.
“Do you know how fast you were going? In a rush somewhere?” He ask.
“Not at all. I was kind of spaced, enjoying the day. The car is a friends and I am not aware of its power.” Lame statement, made before my mind could catch up to my mouth. The officer walked back to his car.
Sitting there for what seems to be eternity, wondering about a ticket, how much, what my friends going to say, how will I pay this, and on and on. You know how it goes.
Catching movement from the patrol car, the office emerges, placing his cap back on his head. Again his midsection darkens my window, bends over face inches from mine, handing me back the licence and insurance card. “Everything seems in order here. Next time pay attention to the speed limit and your driving. This is only a warning notice. Enjoy your day”
I sigh in relief watching him walk back to his car again. I take a few moments to be thankful. Start the car, driving off to enjoy my day!
There are values in pain that are difficult
to see without the presence of a guest.
Don’t complain about autumn.
Walk with grief like a good friend.
Listen to what he says.
Sometimes the cold and dark of a cave
give the opening we most want.
A little over two years ago I noticed my Mom’s mind wasn’t functioning properly and when we had an appointment at the her Dr’s I ask about it. I wasn’t really used to being around mom that much at the time. She had a man friend and they would travel back and forth from Vermont to Myrtle Beach, stopping here on occasion for Holidays and Dr appointments. At that time I ask to see the Dr as well, to check her responses to normal questions. In his office she seemed to have answered correctly, even with being a bit distracted. Mom was not a very good listener, usually ready with a question about something else, maybe it was a way to deflect until she remembered.
Sometime later at her Heart Dr’s appointment, the Dr even came out to me to explain what she was to do for her self-care. He was concerned because she would not focus, and didn’t understand what he was trying to tell her, mentioning he would talk with her regular Dr. when I mentioned that we had discussed her memory issues and he was not concerned at this time.
At that point she went off with Lee, her man friend, I am sure which direction at the time. Her greatest joy was being with Lee and his Shih tzu Billy. She had a whole other family and friends there that she no longer had at home in NJ. Sometime later 3 months maybe she came home basicly for good. Lee was concerned for her and he was having his own health problems.
Taking this walk with her was not my planned version of end life process, yet I was giving the task of being her caregiver, unprepared in every conceivable way. I began walking the autumn path of grief, anger and frustration with her it was not a happy time.
Om Shanti… I am the light, I am the peace of the world. I am the light, I am the peace of the world. I am the light, I am the peace of the world… Om Shanti. Bliss
I am the process of soothing the fire-breathing dragon! The fire burns of reaction, of unconscious loss, dragon has been wakened to protect its possessions, its family, it’s lair. A stranger has stepped in disturbing the peaceful slumber.
Dragon awakened last evening after coming back from my nieces Christmas gathering. I ignore as many family gatherings that I can. For I am the stranger among them. I don’t know how to be. There is no drama, just family members who spend time together or at least communicate on a regular basis. Of course I am always invited and now it is to bring mom even though I have asked them to pick her up several times during the past year. Christmas is the one occasion I felt that I would/should show up.
I suppose resentment is the response that reacted as anger once getting home. With a confused mother, wandering around the house looking for something she could not name. I wanted to just set with the dogs, I just wanted to be. Riley’s inability to walk has become a sadness almost too unbearable to contemplate. My patience with both of Mom and Riley blooms into confused anger. Poor Muffin sits there looking at me or wants to go outside.
Sleep was interrupted several times with Riley crying which I think I was sensing in my sleep, the night was not restful. 5:30 am was wake up time. Still hearing cries from down stairs, I prepared to settle at the table with laptop, fresh coffee, dogs at my feet. Once I got everything situated, moved Riley in the room with me, coffee hot, computer warmed up, ready to engage. Mom arrives, wandering about, looking for the comb she using for the dogs. I already explained to her it was on 6 am. The dogs are still sleeping, I am feeling anxious, hyperventilating, trying to keep calm, almost in tears. Trying to explain to mom the hour and my time, etc. She disappears, Muffin ask to go out, a walk will do us good. It is dark and raining, I am in near tears, walking being present, being the moment, trying to recognise and honor what I have been experiencing. I say prayers as I walk, I have for years, 3rd and 7th step prayer, St Francis Prayer, another I took in from Joel S. Goldsmith readings.
Upon coming in the house and once again getting settle, Mom is dressed, getting her coffee. I can’t be in this energy now. I so wanted to sit with the dogs, to blog etc. Yet the TV comes on and mom wanders from room to room. I packed up and returned to my room, my over stuff sanctuary. Let candles, downloaded photos I took two days ago, viewed them while listening to Bliss: Hundred Thousand Angels.
I love when I am moved by my own photographs, even stunned by them at times! Having a moment. Those moments seem rarer that once before, yet the magic still can happen. I research Dragon myth and archetype for dragon was the creature that came to mind. The protector, the fire-breathing beast roaring. Of course poor dragon should not have to be blamed, as well as anyone else. It is I feeling unsafe, unprotected, maybe even up loved, a stranger to myself and to others.
Om Shanti, the vibration of OM was and always is soothing, moving, comforting. The affirmation: I am light, I am the Peace of the world repeated for 5 minutes gives me hope and a bit of peace. I don’t feel that I am either the Light or the Peace of the world but I can find serenity among those sounds.
Om Shanti Om Shanti Om Shanti : I am the Light, and the Peace of the World
“And what’s funny is that if we take small steps each day, each moment, when we look back, we can be amazed at how far we’ve come. The key is to not let the chaos and the pain stop you, but to realize that they are also an important and vital part of life.” Mastin Kipp: The Daily Love Blog
The whole purpose to write, to journal is to take those small steps each day. After I wrote yesterday the censor came to visit, saying ” Yo! People don’t want to read this stuff everyday.” I know that and these pages are not for people, they are for me, my personal journey through everyday stuff. If others receive insight, wisdom, clarity, or guidance good for them!
Through the fog of one of my recurring headaches I stumble on to these pages. The day always begins with attention to the dogs. Riley now infirm, doesn’t move around much, so cleanup is a necessary step. Make the coffee, walk Muffin in the freezing weather. She is such a joy, she reminds me to laugh. If I let her out before I get all my warm clothes on she will just basically stand there waiting. As soon as I walk outside, she falls to the ground and rolls over, rolling about. Seemingly saying “here I am dad play with me. Rub my belly. ” Because we are not going anywhere very fast until I do just that.
The shadows of the Moon greeted us this morning at 5:45 am. Grateful for no wind, the trees created beautiful shadows, and picture perfect moments of clouds, moon lit paths… I thought I should have my camera, than about photos already taken I could use here. Breathing the fresh frozen air seem to cool the headache a bit as we walked in the almost silent silvery moment.
Digging out “the Artist’s Way” from under pile other books which cover many spaces of shelves, desks, and surface, because I had the sense that I may need to explain what morning pages are, or maybe just remind myself of their purpose! Distracted by trying to discover the proper use of they’re, there, and their. Oy!
Finding and opening “the Artist’s Way” is like reconnecting to an old friend. There is warm and encouragement in the words, in the process of taking action to unravel or understand the chaos of daily life. The daily life of just doing. Going about from one thing to another without much thought just to get a chore done or a meal made, or a medication given. The sameness of it all is dull, boring, and blocking of much of my creative juice. Oh god this is difficult, the headache just wants to push everything else out-of-the-way.
Morning pages are to be “three pages” stream of consciousness writing, everyday, for no one else but ourselves. They are to shine light in the dull boring places of blockage, to awaken us to our creativity. There are no right or wrong ways to write your pages. They are not a story or essay, there are more or less ramblelings of a mad man… it is about recovery of creativity, getting out of our own way. From there everything else may flow. Or not?
The censor/ego even began to assert itself when there was only one comment to the blog, and then two more when I re-posted on my FB “Nature Spirit Photography page. Which is underused ! As stated above censor almost caused me not to write this morning, suggesting that no one wants to read this stuff every day. I don’t care. do I ?
A thought came to me on the walk back to the house, something about is not bravery facing the fear, is not bravery being present amongst the chaos of everyday challenges. The dragon I have to tame is myself, the dragon is part of me but is not me in completion. Dragon is the roaring defense of loss, confusion. The protector as. Are loss/pain and chaos not the keys to letting go, to moving on, to getting over or through the block?
“When you welcome your emotions as teachers, every emotion brings good news, even the ones that are painful.” – Gary Zukav
Is lack of sanity an emotion? Have I gone insane? Have I created a Groundhog day event of the life? If so why? What has become so frightening about my life that I refuse to live it. Live it fully once again… These and many other questions may or may not be answered in the what follows today or any-day soon.
I have heard the voice to write like a woodpecker hitting a tree trunk, knock, knock, knock, knock, hammering away the stubborn layers of bark, and hard word to get to the meat of thing. I mentioned to a few friends that I have been hearing that voice to write, to begin to blog, do morning pages again. Morning pages were responsible for the beginning of this blog. After writing the morning pages for the length of time required/suggested in the book The Artist Way, 12 weeks, Julia Cameron suggest to continue writing morning pages to keep the flow going.
So are these blogs going to be morning pages? It is a place to start, a beginning. And we can only begin where we are. So here I am ready to stand before myself and everyone naked through my words. Even trying write this, flinging off the darkness, the cover of silence, feels vulnerable. So be it.
It is the Holiday Season, and… in the past few weeks I have been journeying down memory lane. First it was joining the Magnolia NJ Facebook page which I thought may be a good way to connect with local goings on. I didn’t and still don’t have a lot of connection with the community I live in. Even as a child, I seem to have lived or created a different reality to the one outside. Did I have imaginary friends, no not really. I had religion, I was on the search even than. Well being in this local group opened up closets that have long been closed. Do I even want to go there now?
The first snow of the season opened the doors. Someone was recalling sledding down hills, streets, etc. The one hill I recall was behind my girlfriend’s house, we were teenagers, which went down into the major road. The girlfriend would become my wife in a few years and then my x-wife a few years after that. Well x-wife messages me that her Mother has passed, and she and Mike her husband, and my best friend from our Air Force days, along with daughter are here to attend the viewing, did I wish to join them for lunch? I did. I attended the viewing as well.
Earlier in the week a member of the Magnolia group posted our grade school graduation photo, we were the first graduating class from St Gregory’s, 1967! Oy! Even had to locate myself, people I have had no contact with in years. Some I even went to high school, some my first crushes… Just to meet a two of them a few days later at the Senior Christmas Lunch.
These are all unfolding stories, unraveling memories, there was a mention of a young man who had died in a car accident who lived across the street from us, how I remember that young man, the pain of that loss…
What is the purpose of all of these dusty memories? And none of these “stories” have anything to do with my sanity or insanity, or do they?
Each of those memories have expanded stories of course, those stories may get to see the light of day for the may shine on some of the shadows of my earlier life.
For now Mom’s Alzheimer’s is holding steady, I see some patterns which make dealing situations a little more responsive rather than reactive. I don’t think I am very good company for her, and in some way, I think it is becoming abusive. Abusive emotionally and spiritually for both of us. The day to day routine of going about our day is rather unproductive, meals, chores, a few walks for her if the weather is cooperating. She cleans those house, more or less. Fusses with the dogs. Makes strange combinations of food items, if I am not there to pay attention. Always asking if there is something she can do, when I am doing my own chores, or making meals or baking. I would be nice to have help but help is more like supervising, so it is easier most times to do it myself. We found some old coloring books, she has begun doing some those pages. Her attention span is not long, even shorter if I am doing something within seeing or hearing distance, she wants to “help”.
As for art/photography: I realized I have not been taking as many photos in the past few weeks, could be the weather, could be not motivated which scares me. I view photographs everyday, belonging to several photography groups keeps them passing across my screen. Events have been difficult to attend, I do have one small photo in The Plastic Club’s Exhibition of “Weather”. Gearing up to curate a Photographic Society Exhibition in Feb. which could be the project that gets me through the winter.
Welcoming the teachings of emotions has got me to these pages. Is there good new here? Yes the writing, and the exposing. The painful emotions of confusion, anger, loss that come from memories of the past, or even desire for the future while I seek to live in the moment are the lessons of evolving, even though it feels like going backward. It is in the “welcoming” hello emotions set down and chat or come along while I take some photographs or make meals or do everyday chores. What do you have to say to me?
It seems life if full of questions, even questions for the questions. They seem to be strange traveling companions these “questions”. These too will reveal themselves…
Opening the Artist Way this morning for the first time in a while, the opening lines of the introduction to the 10th Anniversary Edition spoke volumes to me;
“ART IS A SPIRITUAL transaction.
Artist are visionaries. We routinely practice a from of faith, seeing clearly and moving toward a creative goal that shimmers in the distance——often visible to us, but invisible to those around us. Difficult as it is to remember, it is our work that creates the market, not the market that creates our work. Art is an act of faith, and we practice practicing it. Sometimes we are called on pilgrimages on its behalf and, like many pilgrims, we doubt the call even as we answer it. But answer we do.”
Answering the call is returning to write this blog through the dark tunnels of caregiving as well as the shimmering light that attracts my eye to create along with natures grace the sharing of beauty. It is the beauty that allows sanity to be maintained.
” Art is born in attention. It is midwife to detail. Art may seem to spring from pain, but perhaps that is because pain serves to focus our attention onto details…” When the gift of photography was shared with me from the perspective of a gathering of Shamans, in the message that stated, “the property wishes to be recognized” the property being the 175 acre retreat I live at. The land was calling out, I soon discovered so was my soul, so was my voice, asking to be seen and heard. Photography/art allowed me to be seen and heard, and to participate in events, situations, what seems like the side lines, yet in truth, placing a camera in front of my face gave me the gift of “seeing” for the first time, really seeing what I was looking at. Offered me detail, lights and shadows.
Now a few years later, pursuing photography has opened doors and a few windows that have led to a world so unknown to be before. Art! Art can soothe which it usually does for me, taking the dogs and camera for a walk, moves me into another world, a world of amazing sites even when I have seen them a thousand times, when I don’t see them, it means I am not present, and I a looking for something instead of just being still, allow presence to stream over or into me…
The practice is not only to make photographs but to self educate about art. The art of photography is huge and getting bigger, and I am only a small drop of colored light that gleams to paint the world with light. I am challenged by my concepts of photography, ever evolving, as well as what art is… and what it is not.
I was extremely challenged a few days ago by photography work I was viewing in this ever evolving world when I came across what is call “art” photography, in the sense of creating something and photographing that to make a statement. (it has been suggested that I attempt to record the process of caregiving and depression, which I have considered) yet these photographers have taken something that was ordinary and maybe kinky, one knits shrouds, which where to represent her feelings of invisibility about her relations and her art. Playful and colorful as they were I began to see them to create more invisibility. Than there is a guy who has made beautiful sculpture like images of bound people in stark architectural sittings… These images awakened something dark, and frightening in me… the darkness and captivity of illness and caregiving. To move beyond that I knew I had to continue with the blog, I had to repurpose my photography into a source of Love and light. It had to become my voice, it had to be the visible me, even through I am not “present” my presence is in the work, in the detail, in the faith, beauty wins.
“… through exercising your power of choice judiciously, you can learn to see how you and your actions can work in harmony with the world around you. You may experience the grace of living in harmony with the universe only a handful of times, but the experience is characterized by a feeling of trust and a rapport with your surroundings.” Carolyn Myss
I read the above quote after having read the Fourth Step process in Alcoholics Anonymous: The process of taking an inventory of our lives, seeking the places we find resentment, anger, selfish behavior… and fear. These choices of fear selfish behavior, anger and resentments do not allow us/me to experience the grace of being in harmony with the universe, those choices do not create trust and or rapport with my surroundings, they do just the opposite.
I say this because I find myself more and more in just those moments of choice, to control a situation, to be get angry because someone needs some or is hovering, in an unconscious caring way. I hear myself in those moments, when I am making a sarcastic comment, getting angry of a diver on the road that is going the speed limit, or even the dogs, when it seems to me an inappropriate time to want to take a walk, in those moments I have to breathe, I have to say how important is this to my sanity and my relationship to this situation. Constantly readjusting my attitude, realigning my self with the Higher Power. For each moment is a moment to learn who I am, or who I am not or even no longer wish to be.
There is some really wise words which when used as action to move beyond ourselves, from Alcoholics Anonymous page 420 which states, “Perhaps the best thing of all for me is to remember that my serenity is inversely proportional to my expectations.” For I have unconscious expectation of how things are suppose to be, I have egoic reason why, a situation, person, place or thing should act accordingly, the wisdom goes on to say, ” The higher my expectations of other people are (and myself), the lower my serenity. I can watch my serenity level rise when I discard my expectations. But when my ‘rights’ (ego) try to move in, and they too can force my serenity down. I have to discard my ‘rights’ (ego) as well as expectations, by asking myself, How important is it, really? How important is it compared to my serenity, my emotional sobriety? And when I place more value on my serenity and sobriety than on anything else, I can maintain them at a higher level – at least for the time being.”
For at least the time being, for the moment is just that only a moment, yet when anger and resentment have become present the moment lives on in my energy much longer. Yeah but ego says what about my ‘rights’ what about me, in a flash, you are not important, the state of being is, presence of mind, the action of Love is the state of being. Love of self, to be Love of others, Love to others.
I still have to ask, do I think that little of myself to continue to react in such a manner? The reason for this writing is to awaken that place of serenity, to create emotional sobriety on a regular basis, not a sometime, someplace experience, an experience that is a state of being, Being Love, I am Love. I use to sign off with I am Love, all the time, than something shifted, because what I was experiencing was everything put love from myself. So it was time to “trudge the road of happy destiny” once again.
Once again the practice of choosing consciously or judiciously choosing actions that are in harmony with the world around will offer the grace of serenity, will allow me to be present and leave the present to the past when the next moment comes, and I have acted Lovely from self into the world Lovely .
Question: What are your choices saying about you?
All Photographs are register @ Jeff Stroud. and can be purchased through me or http://www.redbubble.com/people/jeffstroud
“Do not call the inability to start laziness. Call it fear. Do not call procrastination laziness. Call it fear.” The Artist’s Way
Fear of what? Fear of failure or fear of success? It will be a failure if I do not get this exhibit together, what had stopped me mostly, was the cost, and the inability to see around that. The cost factor of putting this much work together had always been a major reason for my hesitation to agreeing to this Solo exhibit in the first place. Getting my work out there is what had motivated me to say yes, to see it printed and framed, to have work in this area of Philadelphia even if it is only a coffee/waffle shop. The Rittenhouse area of Philadelphia is a major shopping, and business section of the city. The possibilities are endless.
Well I broke my block, I walked through some of my fear. I went to the city with my chosen shots to be printed, while there I visited Bonte’s on 17th St. I introduced myself, check out the space, asked about having a reception on First Friday in May, no problem with that, other than the fact that they are only open until 6:30 pm. So I will have to work on that. I also finally found and visited Balance Studio where my July exhibit is to be. It is a peaceful serene space, that is a massage, yoga studio, quiet with the sense of essential oils.
I was informed that there is space for six pieces not just three which I was told by my contact person. Makes the venture a little more worth the effort to exhibit pieces. Opps ego showing. That is ok because I need a little attention, I needed to give myself attention. I usually do not doubt my work, my art, and creating a themed exhibit with a purpose stopped me in my tracks. It caused me concern, because it meant having new prints made, and not using prints I already had. That being said, I chosen the theme of “the life of leaves” or the evolution of a leaves, with a selection of photos that are from buds, to green, to shades of fall, creating I hope a cycle. These are common everyday events, of course through the seasons but everyday evolutions of life around us. My work has been about “seeing” that, offering the beauty that is right in front of us all the time. I had to call on, or listen to the call of my muse, nature herself. I would not be a photographer today without heeding the message, “that nature desired to be recognized.”
Yes the world get grand views of national parks, vistas beyond belief, and beautiful and as awesome as those are, the world of your back yard, the world of the city park, the path along a river, or a little piece of land with nature is calling for attention. See me, see the beauty, see the evolution that surrounds you.
I have had the honor and the privilege to do just that, to “see” to discover, to uncover nature and hopefully present it to the world.
The Artist’s Way also offers this about being blocked, “Fear is what blocks an artist. The Fear of not being good enough. The fear of not finishing. The fear of failure and of success. The fear of beginning at all. The only one cure for fear. That cure is Love. ”
“Use love for your artist to cure its fear.”
That love is taking care of myself, finding the joy that photography offers me, not finding but allowing it to be that part of me that is joyful. Because when photographing I am lost in the moment, being in that moment allows moments to past unnoticed but at the same time I have been immersed in something deeper and more passionate, the witnessing of Life, ‘seeing’ life from a whole other level. Once again the Artist’s Way states this “Over any extended period of time, being an artist requires enthusiasm more then discipline. Enthusiasm is not an emotional state. It is a spiritual commitment, a loving surround to our creative process, a loving recognition of all the creativity around us.” Being blocked, depressed, hiding in fear does not allow that to happen. Asking for help, from a higher source, from supportive friends, and even the muse itself will allow the commitment to enthusiasm and our creative work to continue to be a way of being.
A path is a way of solidarity , of sharing the beauty with all the others on the way; it is also a sharing of the pain and the struggle with all the others on the way. Matthew Fox, Creation Spirituality
In writing this blog I have share my journey along path and will continue to do so. I don’t do it just for those who read this blog, I do it to illuminate the past and future so I can see where I am now. All to often I get lost in the doing and forget about the being, the being present, the being compassionate, the being loving, the being understanding… Sharing this journey is also helpful in a way that is allowing me to know that I am not alone, it also leaves a foot print or a map so that others can follow, if they choose, or at least have guide, even if they choose to ignore it.
Last night I finally was called to find material to read that was not so dark or challenging as “The Living” Anne Dillard’s novel about 19 century pacific north-west. It is a fascinating read but at times dark, and sad. Here is a paragraph about the book:
“Annie Dillard evokes the frontier generation of the 19th century in Washington state’s Puget Sound. Focusing primarily on three men and the settlement of Whatcom, Dillard presents us with a brilliant array of characters, their optimism and charity in the face of hardship, as well as racism, brutality and greed. We watch as the inexorable rise of civilization rushes in upon the settlement, changing the region, the lives and fortunes of those who live there.”
I realized I was falling asleep at night after reading pages from this book, the stayed with me, haunting me, saddening me, as well as causing fitful sleep patterns. So I chose to find something a bit more uplifting, at first I grab Return to Love by Marianne Williamson because it seem to be beckoning from the books case, in doing that I disturbed other books, one of which was Creation Spirituality by Matthew Fox. I have read both of these books before, so what was I seeking. Higher vibrational words, directions on the path, reminders of where I have been and where I may like to go.
Not having written my pages/blog for the past week I was feeling blocked, dark, empty, even though I have been active, to a play, to street fairs, yet something felt like it was missing. So I have to be honest, I have truly been off my track, I began drinking coffee, earnestly for the past week or so, and I can’t seem to stop. I began eating too much dairy, too much sugar, my food intake has been not fully nutritious.
There I told on myself! There is a part of my that needed to play in the shadows, it was in many ways an unconscious slipping, yet I remember telling myself one cup of coffee won’t hurt, than off to the races… I thank the powers that be it is not a “drink” but it is a comfort thing, as the sugar, or any other non conscious action that I was taking. I know how good I was feeling, I was getting active, social, creative, and along with that came to need to comfort myself, for some odd reason. Not writing was part of that place, maybe I was unconsciously aware of shame, that I let myself down, that I have fallen off track.
Now that I have been there again, playing in my shadows, it is time to move out again. Writing and creating, being honest. Matthew Fox writes, “A return to the dark is also a return to origins… part of the darkness is the absence of words and images and the presence of silence.” He does not mean depression per se he means a sense of being in meditation, taking the time alone, addressing the fears, dancing in the shadows for coming out for them the world is that much more brighter, that much more awesome!
Last Friday I submitted a photograph for exhibit for the Philadelphia Photographic Society at Bonte coffee shop at 922 Walnut St. I also was asked to take some head shots for a friends website, and then later in the week she and her partner mentioned that they were thinking of asking me to photograph their three children. Now there is a challenge I have not had yet! And am excited to do accomplish.
The Salem County Art League is returning to our space at Beans Coffee Shop in Woodstown NJ this weekend to exhibit there. Morris from the Philly Photo society keeps suggesting I have solo show at the other space that they use for those events. This morning I had wondrous surprise of a message from Terrill that she would like use my photograph “Waiting II” on her blog Unusual Light which she did! I am thrilled and honored for her blog is read by many artist and friends. I had just posted “Waiting II” last evening and was concerned of how it would present it self on http://www.redbubble.com , so my surprise to have Terrill’s message a few hours later was very special treat.
So to leave with another quote from Creation Spirituality, … “creation tradition is decidedly not asceticism, but the development of the aesthetic. Beauty, and our role in co-creating it, lie at the heart of the spiritual journey.”
Growth Question: Along our path how do we dance with the light and shadow to create?