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I feel squeezed, maybe wrung out of my former self. The advent of my loss of biological family has loosened my bind with familiarity and with tradition. Striped of the comfort of conformity I'm rudderless yet adventurous. Like the only thing I have control of is breathing. It's exhilarating. It's my psychological China (based on article about how the freshness of travel can happen in your own backyard.) Like the soul gets to escape from the body at death, I feel my love spread out to everyone and not attach to special people. Losing gender identity too. Becoming a person.
I could describe myself as in-between religions, perpetually. I grab on to an exciting element of judaism, hold on to that thought for awhile, but never take it any further. Religion doesn't have a spark for me that could ignite research or dedication or tenacity. I admire those who are able to find strength and guidance in the words of an ancient book. The age of the traditions give the religious belief system value. As if it must be right, it's been going on so many centuries. On the other hand, it's just a belief. Like time. Like love.
I have new inspiration: That of egalitarian religious societies. I happened onto an author who doesn't propose turning the clock backwards to regain what was lost, but studying how these societies worked and infusing the everyday with more of their influences. I have an idea of painting a huge labyrinth in my store. It incorporates the circle and balance and is inviting and engaging. I ordered a few books, will study Bowen's circles along with Palmers Circle of Trust. I love it when the same idea is reinforced by multiple authors and coincidences. Exciting how thoughts can change your world.
I heard Father Boyle of Home Boy Industries. I heard his stories about working towards the good of all. Inspiring. I'm jealous, truth be told. I believe in those things, too. I have a vision-have always had a vision of how I could help; as a social worker, a mediator and now a host of art. Why- I have to ask- am I not effective? Why do people not recognize my offerings? Why am I still invisible, even though I'm out there? If there's a God, then why doesn't she use me? It makes me doubt God and myself.
Do I still believe in God? I do believe in every person's desire to have a guardian, friend that protects, consoles, presents opportunities. But could it be- that's why we invented God? We see how powerful humans are by witnessing the creation of structures, mighty weapons, courageous acts and yet each of us feels insignificant on our own. So maybe if we channel our mutual beliefs, we are not separate entities. The connections make us one drop in a powerful wave. Religion has harnessed group power and legitimized it in numbers and in a historical perspective. It's hard to refute.
Ahhh, spring is here. This weekend, the temperature will get up to almost 70 degrees. I've already raked most of the flower beds and cleared the patio. Summer life is so much different than wintering. Lately, I've thought about how winter is just plain bad for my health. Too many hours are spent sitting, semi hibernated, inside. It's not really living, more like waiting to live again in the summer. Muscles deteriorate, neighbors disappear into their own funk and we all probably suffer from isolation. I joined a gym to mitigate the doldrums, but it seemed too cold to go!
I awoke at 6:00am today and adventurously got out of bed. What's it like to see the sunrise? I don't remember. Now, here it is 3 hours later, I'm still in PJ's, only thing accomplished is 100 words and breakfast. I keep thinking, "Am I feeling tired?" I guess sleep trumps sunrise. I'm so lazy. Really, I could have vacuumed the house, dusted, cleaned the bathrooms, read a book, written some cards to friends, gone to the 24 hour grocery store, practiced yoga instead of reading about the sun salutation on the computer, meditated. I must like putzing more.
Me: the art shepherd. "guide or direct in a particular direction." Does it fit? I have an affinity to sheep and goats. I love the complacency of sheep. It seems they graze and grow their coats. In my family, I identify with the "black sheep" because I stand outside their narrow minded, judgmental, evaluative attitudes. I'm also the scapegoat, because I took the brunt of their anxiety about dad's impending death and was so easily discarded. I was expendable when their viciousness needed a target. So, now I embrace the role of the shepherd in gathering my flock of artisans.
My entrepreneur teacher graced me with a visit to my store today. I'm so fortunate to have found his course. He gave me the low down; says I'm losing money. Says I'd enjoy this much more if it was making money. His job is to teach me how make it grow. HIs advice smacked of honesty and goodwill with a punch of "get going!" What was I expecting? Maybe a little more praise? But that wouldn't have helped. Brass tacks: must become a shepherd and collect a flock of artists; have them settle into my comfortable space. Hard work ahead.
Oh come all ye faithful, join the celebration, oh come ye the citizens of southeastern Michigan. Come and behold it, spirit of creation, oh come let us enjoy art, oh come, let us create art, oh come let us engage art for all our well being. More later. It seems like creating a tune, a chant, a reminder of what my role is, then everyday, I could refocus on the nitty gritty side of my job that I don't really want to do. New discipline: make art first, while enjoying radio program, then turn it off and tackle the beast.
I'm in business to make money. I have to make money or face the fact that I'm renting studio space for myself at the rate of $1000 a month. And, I'm not selling any art, not even showing any art. Can I afford to spend 1K on pretending? Can I spend 1K on monthly car payments, or travel expenses, or clothes? Every month? NO! Use the potential you have slowly, frivolously generated to now aggressively working to gather people with money willing to pay for the privilege of visiting your space. It's time to launch because the dream will die.
Why does looking through photo albums (yes, the old kind that one turns pages) make you sad? Its a compilation of all life's great memories. Relationships that we enjoyed and places we went. For me, it evokes melancholy. An accumulation of endings, perhaps? I hope to develop a new open, neutral, attitude about it. I'll train my mind to appreciate the many experiences I have had and gratefulness might overcome sorrow. For soon most of my life will be based on looking backward instead of forward.I've come far enough to be on the downward side of the great arc.
Lesson learned AGAIN. Bad things happen because I assume things or get too clever or believe what I want to. More talking, more questions, more and better communication is the order of the day. Maybe a standard procedure would be to contact the customer three days ahead of the event to make sure everyone is on the same page. Here's what you did good: You stated that customer's happiness is the first priority because you want repeat customers and her good recommendation to others. You let go of your attachment to the original idea and coped well with the changes.
I watch my teacher; the business consultant. He says he's enjoying this class. He looks forward to it. He wasn't sure he would, because you never know the response or who would attend. So I look around the room at our small group. The eyes of middle age women, mixed race, a bit of desperation showing. And He is the king or god that can show the way. It's really the Kent Show. He tells us all about his life, his past, his animals, his other areas of expertise. He is charming, wise and a good teacher. Also a narcissist.
Dream: We were in the back hills. We came upon T's house. T'was a shack, a door and a dilapidated snow fence. T and I entered and I was thrilled that the AC was working, barely...you had to stand by the outlet, but you could feel it. It meant that the place was habitable. I, also lived in a similar condition, elsewhere. I said to T, "remember when we lived in splendor?" Duncan came by and presented us with photos he carefully protected in a plastic roll. There was a life size photo of T laying on the couch.
I can't do two dimensional art work anymore. It doesn't represent life. Life has corners and shape and more sides than two. I like to tell a story in my work that can't be seen from one vantage point. There needs to be a surprise element. Life became rounder once I could see the Great Arc Of Life. GAOL. Hmmm. That acronym is startling. It's the old spelling of Jail! Confined. But, painfully, maybe it fits. We have one life that is not infinite. We are confined by our limitation. It is the awareness of the arc that grants dimension.
I went through phases with this business. Right now I'm in phase slump and trying to arrive at phase productivity, or rather phase try anything just do something. No, I passed that phase. That was phase putzing. Ok. I'm envisioning my deep and strong roots below me. All the experiences I can draw strength from. I have a stable, thick core trunk to support any consequence of movement I might engage in. I have to send out my leaves now. I need to share my timid little ideas. Get them out there; know that I tried it all, at least.
I have girlfriends in my neighborhood! How fun to sit and drink and laugh the night away. Ages-35, 55 and 63. An interesting combo, giving the elders a chance to relive their younger days and the younger a chance to absorb their strengths. Pregnancy, divorce, independence and on and on. I thought they would be joining me for a before dinner wine, but they didn't leave until 10:30pm! It was well worth the effort and time. We bonded our souls into a nice little circle of trust (?) or at least compadres on the street of Combs in Berkley.
Today I went on a local art gallery tour. It was an eye opener. There are lots of studios, real working studios tucked behind buildings, off an alley, everywhere. people can make money with art; or people are trying to make money with art. Who knows !? My space looked comparatively quaint, sort of cutesy, not sophisticated, yuck. I'm collecting negative believes about my future. I found an old article I saved:" When to call it quits". It's tonight's reading, after I write this: Are you willing to get out there and schmooze? Or just sit back and dream and pretend?
Oh dear what can the matter be? oh dear what can the matter be? oh dear what can the matter be? I've been too long at the fair. The fair where all I had to do was show up and think I was doing my job. No. It's not as simple as that. No. If I were the boss I'd fire my sorry ass! Oh, I am the boss. Get to work! Do what it takes. Stop being a wuss. Go at it hard and strong. Wear yourself out. Do the things you hate to do. Stop your putzing around!
I have a new routine everyday, morning and evening: A modified sun salutation. It works my arms, shoulders, legs, back and hips. I focus on breathing with the movements. Let's see how long I can keep this up. It takes just minutes, it's indoors, really, it's excuse proof. Also, I started taking a Tai Chi class with Terri. I'm challenged when it comes to remembering the movements. It's like my body lacks muscle memory. We learn a complex series of movements beginning with the right side, then the mirroring with the left side seems to erase, not strengthen the series.
Today, there was a call from an old creaky female voice, "Devon?" Is this Helen?, I said. It was my ex-mother-in-law. She's 89 years old; still sharp. She caught me up on the goings on of all her 10 children. There will be a big reunion this summer in June for her 90th birthday. I hope I didn't spoil the surprise that my son will also be there. It made her day. I divorced her son 30 years ago, but we're still connected. She counted so many blessings. She's grateful and happy. Life's been merciful and good.
I have to admit to myself that I do miss shopping. Since I've become old and unattractive, I've dropped the pretense of exterior embellishment. Even this: I rarely wear eye makeup or lipstick! What you see is what you get. I bespeak authenticity. But there's a hole in my repertoire of fun activities. I only allow myself to shop when I'm almost out of coffee or rice. Or I'm craving chocolate or grapefruit. I fastidiously equate shopping with need. It's no longer entertainment because I can't justify it. My biggest non-essential expense is a haircut. Man, times have changed.
Dreaming about new shapes for my art. I love the idea of using paper. I like that it's not permanent and therefore is more casual. I've discovered a way to use paint on paper that makes it decorative and sturdier. Today, I think I can use paint to actually shape the paper so that it holds bends. I can't wait to try it. My mother's expression of her dismay, that the young people have the power to dismiss her work as "has been" shouts in my ear. Ageism works against me, but I must continue on. What else is there?
I'm excited. I made the second step of my patent worthy prototype. First was the drawing. Now the 3D model. Today, I decided that I could make any shape or form I want by using paper mache or celluclay. Prior to today, I thought I had to find someone who knew engineering and plastic to make the item I drew. But no, art is the ultimate problem solver. Another reason I'm rolling forward is I discovered WSU has a patent law department which will help individuals bring their ideas to market. I'm on it. It's fun to dream and hope.
My friend Nancy is bewildered and judges harshly, her own depression. Rarely does she let on that anything is amiss. I've counseled depressed people and have lived with them and only once experienced a deep depression. At this point in time, all that can be said is it's a mysterious malady. An atmospheric illusive dark cloud that seeps over one and stays until it lifts, with no causality or explanation. It's a gnawing, illogical, indescribable ache. One day, I'm sure that a virus or a mineral shortage will allow a dx and a quick, simple treatment. Until then, we wait.
Thinking about sister and her Fibromyalgia. I read about it online through Mayo Clinic, etc. Seems there isn't an explanation, or a way to diagnose it or a way to treat it. The articles danced around these things wanting to verify, but unable to verify that it's a thing. I think it's a faulty mental thought pattern that interferes with well being. Compared it to emotional eating disorder or a smoking addiction: Life gets smaller when all you can think about is subject X. And, I think this is a subconscious control issue when life is too complicated and big.
Just random thoughts about a fellow SW in my Tuesday class: We'll call her Betty. Betty seems to be the self designated comforter, carer, consoler, social manipulator, validator. She seems to think the rest of us need her to interact. A fitting cartoon is someone with ear antennas that sift through stories as if feeding on them, then spitting them out for social recognition. She is so over involved and barrier intruding. She rubs my back at any mention of my shop. What does that mean. "I'm here for you, kid?" She is pretending her importance. I don't like it.
I've gotten over my crossroads shock. I've mitigated the impact Ken's words had on me about my "expensive hobby." I put them into a closet and I'm back running my store with some calm. I have an ear for a little knock on the door once in a while. It keeps me reminded that I have to work harder and step it up, otherwise, I might as well just have a private studio on the street--which is my right after all. I can do what I want. But growth is important in all things. I want to challenge myself.
My dining table is adjacent to the picture window facing my backyard patio. Daily, I'm watching the slow bloom of the purple pink Azaleas. Presently, 1/8 of the bushes are in full bloom. It's probably one week until full bloom. The landscapers hired by the previous owner, did a great job of color coordinating and timing (or perhaps that was serendipitous) the various blooms that occur in the yard. Next is the hawthorn tree, with larger petaled, more brilliance pink. And in addition to this slow unveiling of spring, I get to watch fast moving robins building their nests.
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