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Starting May words a week late. 200 words a day for 7 days now. My Monday night and Tuesday night classes have ended. I never minded driving 25 minutes each way, never resisted with imagining what relaxation I would get by staying home. It was enlightening, and exhilarating. The young man who put forth the "preparator's role" expanded it to let us see the backside of the artist's life; the streets of Detroit and the pop up studios where dedicated artists gave us their talks. He was unique in that he could fill a void with intellectual conversation, not ramblings.
My summary of the Entrepreneurial Art Business Class: Invaluable! I learned, positively, that my business model was not working. And, all the time I was spending, pretending and listening to people say, "it takes time" was a waste of time--sort of. It gave me time to get immersed to a point where I wouldn't easily give it up. Now, I can fine tune and construct a new plan that will be easier, give me more freedom, more group engagement and more fun plus make enough money to match the amount I would receive if I rented the space out.
We know death is necessary. Lifespan is an eloquent design that allows for new ideas and advancements (to what end? No one knows) here on the planet. The mind can only be so flexible. If the same people who envisioned the telephone still lived, it's doubtful they could have imagined or invented the wi-fi system. Could the makers of the model-T conceive of going to the moon? But in our personal lifespan, imbued with love of life and the urge of self preservation, death seems so unfair, tragic, sad. My friend Mary is 47 years old and dying.
The essence of us in one sentence: Dee: Her lipstick and her wrap have to match. Tom: happiest on the periphery of life. Jay: Finds comfort on the outside looking in and pretending he's superior. Nin: Busily caring for so many. Stacy: anxiously learning enough to feel comfortable. Dad: doing the right thing. Mom: Be different (than you are.) Donna: I should have been an actress. Wait, I am. Betty: I can't summarize her. Maybe she's hidden from me, or maybe she totally authentic. Burt: authentically good willed. Gerri: Wise, yet self sabotaging due to being comfortable as the victim.
The synopsis is telling, isn't it? I don't like to hear myself talk. I try to be succinct and then surprise myself at the creativity of the minimization of the account, like: 1. We fell out of love. 2. We grew apart. 3. I out grew the relationship. 4. We discovered, in the hurt of Dad's death, that we were't on the same team. 5. We discovered over the months that we didn't like the same things and didn't respect each other's choices. 6. We are estranged. 7. We were vacation buddies, for 40 years and couldn't weather the storm
5/7/15 continued. Each of us was given a piece of hemp string and a 1" wood block bead. The bead was decorated then it became the end bead/holder for all the decorations on the string that sat on top, including the message scroll. One of the young adults made a flower with petals from which we hung the decorated strings. The wood blocks, hitting together made an interesting wind chime. It was a satisfying project and gave the participants an opportunity to say, publicly, what M. has meant to the group. I think she was touched. Smile.
Today, I created an appropriate art exercise to honor the leader /supervisor of the young adult group that visits here each week. She lost her job! leaves the end of the month. So first we played tag scribble, with M. Leading the way. Then we selected an area of the large table size scribble paper, tracing and cutting a rectangle made by a frame. Then we embellished, or solidified the image in the rectangle, making it our own. On the other side, we wrote about beginnings and endings, or about a wish or message we wished to share with M.
Today was such a sweet morning. The house and yard seemed to be filled with good will, good energy. The inside air mixed with currents of fragrant outside breezes. There was quiet. No mowers or equipment. The absence of buzzing gave me a calm feeling, no hurry. I sat on the sofa of the garden room for awhile, listening to the active birds chirping. Even my cat earlier lounged on the bed, wanting to be petted instead of jumping off and wanting food. I slept all night without awakening. I wish every morning was this full of beauty and peace.
My sister developed a crutch instead of her character. Maybe her self centeredness began with her illness, Crohn's disease and psoriasis. It took a lot of doctor visits, feeling like crap, yet trying to live a full life. She had to wrap her legs in saran wrap every night to treat the scales. Her whole life, I remember her publicly smoothing lotion on her body. Then there was Fibromyalgia and then her life was centered on pain. And pain killers. and sleep meds and antidepressants. She never learned to cope. You could see her aversion to any sort of stress.
I wake up early these days. Must be the bright sunrise. I'm as happy to get up to feed Ronald the cat, as I used to be, years ago, to have a cigarette with my coffee. Now there's more time to sit and browse the paper. The morning slides by, but I'm occupied and content. Now it's 8:00pm and I wish for darkness so I could go to bed. I did gardening, the summer rug switch, a bike ride to the library, exchanged the front storm door panel for a screen, vacuumed, had a nice bath, and good dinner.
My day off. Precious. There's a small agony in choosing the best spent time. This is the first Monday for 11 weeks that I don't leave for Detroit at 5:30pm. Class is finished just in time for the woman's Monday biking group. Tonight:18-20 miles. (Geez, can't they ease into it a bit?) I thought I would go. I doubted I would go. I wanted to, and I didn't. At 4:30pm it thundered and I was relieved it would be cancelled. At the start time, 6:30, it was sunny. but I was dedicated to staying home.
Mary told me she was moved from the oncology unit to the integrative medicine unit, central tower, room 7734. She'd be happy to have her usual order of cappuccino and a butter croissant. As I landed on the 7th floor, the area looked familiar. I must have worked as a unit clerk on this unit, 35 years ago. As I followed the room numbers and saw the nurses station, then the social worker's office, I realized--this is the hospice unit in which my mother died. What? I wanted confirmation or correction prior to seeing Mary. No. Mary said hospice.
My attempt at an entrepreneurial endeavor has:
1. Given me license to let go of things that weren't working
2. Allowed me new life lessons and self lessons
3. Introduced me to these fine people-Sue, Kathy, Pam, Jen, Mir, Donna, Mark, Ken, Hillary, Beth, Rebecca, Jan, Shari
4. Allowed me to face reality about money and time. No more pretending
5. Brought back to me the joys of creating, self expression, courage of showing work
6. Brought back the exhilaration of the challenge; that fine line between "I can'y do this and wow, it's working."
7. Independent effort and rewards.
More war: When I watch my young kitten playing, hunting, pouncing, I see his natural instincts training him to survive. Watch any rough and tumble play among siblings of any species and we can see that mother nature provides this incentive; uses the youths' natural robust energy to develop muscles and cunning. Isn't it the same with young boys? Which is why society strains to keep them occupied with purposeful activities. Is there a natural violent instinct among them when confronting "the other"? Is there a craving for fighting? Is there a lust for violence that no one says outloud?
Today, I read something intriguing about the philosophy of Aristotle. He didn't label any emotions as good or bad but wanted to know about anger for example, anger at whom?, for how long?, how does it manifest? and to what end? Revelation--No part of his thinking was about the justification for the anger. I spend almost all my anger energy justifying how right I am to be angry by playing the scenario over and over again. Here, Aristotle values and milks the emotion to move forward and learn. He accepts what is-anger- as an absolute. To what end?
Big news day--I made money. I'm feeling optimistic about my business. I've evolved from my old attitude of "No one help me, I can do this all myself." Wrong. I need anyone and everyone's help. I need to make them happy to help me, so I have to pay them well and be flexible. My new motto is, "the more the merrier." Now I want to make a comfortable living while being at the store fewer hours. I like being there, but I have had enough of forced attendance. I do my best work when I let things happen.
Another view of war. This week on NPR, an extremely forthcoming journalist told his story of following some violent war group, then being sucked in by them because they helped him when he contracted a devastating illness. He became an aid to them, reporting their monstrous acts, giving them more media power. Anyway, he said when he went back home he missed it. He said, "Dangerous, horrific, but it was fun. And if you don't understand that these young men are having fun, you can't possibly understand why they go to war." Finally, I thought, there is the honest truth.
60 minutes is all about war tonight. It would be rude, no worse, negligent? to turn the channel. It's Memorial Day weekend. I hold views that are acrimonious. Governments use human capital to achieve their agendas. Governments prey on young men (in particular) and use propaganda against their well-being. Young men are evolving into manhood. And if they believe that warrior status equals manhood, they almost have no choice. Military training bonds them, taking advantage of their young vulnerabilities, one for all--the unity mantra. Might is Right, might be another. Government then puts them in harms way. Horrendous.
Smokers have an a unique advantage in life. Their particular obsession with substance at least allows for introspection, relaxed thinking, a beautiful short, enjoyable timeout. (Geez...this makes me wish for the habit) Unlike other obsessions, when imbibing, it fuels solutions. It doesn't capture the mind like a video game. It doesn't interfere with one's mental function. For 30 years, I met anxiety with treating myself to me time, reflective time. It was conducive to finding the next step, the thoughtful probing into the dilemma. Now, sans cigarette, I burst into scattered energy mode. I can't restfully think things through.
I'm inured to criticism; I can deflect it, I can receive it, I can internalize it and incorporate it. I now turn my attention outward because I'm finished with the introspection part. Why did she feel the need to call me "scattered"? The word in itself, not appalling, but speaking it out loud like a label is, I think. It speaks of a one upmanship. Her,establishing herself in the superior position. She is my consultant. It's already been established that in business, she knows more. Why did she reach for the personal? An overstep. I'll beware of her attitude.
Oh, wait. I'll be right back. It's past 11:00am and I promised myself, I'd be dressed by now...I'm paying attention to my habits. Lounging around has become a problem. I have two blocks of time I'm planning to alter. These morning hours, in which I could do house cleaning or gardening and the evening hours that seem such a long expanse of time to occupy-at least in the summer months. One major problem is that I now combine work time with hobby time, or pretend to do so. Morning, work time, evening. None of these are working.
Time management perfected: I arise at 7:30am. I allow leisurely coffee sipping, breakfast and newspaper reading for 45 minutes--oh what the heck-an hour. Then I do my yoga, shower get ready for another hour. It's 9:30 am. Now what? There are 3 hours until I'm due at work. Maybe this is the time to put together my book. It sure doesn't seem like the time to do housework. The problem, I'm just recognizing, is I don't have any deadlines, due dates. Come on, really? even in semi retirement I have to pressure myself? So it seems.
Sweet morning; the cat's back pressed against mine,
music of the birds' singing, awakening
sun glinting thru the blinds
It might not always be this way.
Robust walk to work, warming against the chill
mind listing the day's agenda
In purpose and plan, engaged
It won't always be this way.
Savoring, revering the day's smiles
trials and moments with sips of wine
the garden dances before my eyes
It can't always be this way.
Summer dusk comes late, the day turns aside,
the will to strive diminished then expelled
Relaxing and surrendering to the dark
This will be the way.
Today, I'm exploring co-ops. I'll meet with a man who has run one for 30 years. More than that, I'd like to acknowledge these angels that keep coming into my path as I need them. Teacher, Ken, new artist friend, Hillary, new co-worker, Carla, a new (sturdy) stepping stone Sumi Ink, new offer by Pam, new insights about life and death for perspective. I feel that there is a heavenly aura that is surrounding me now. That maybe this will work for everyone's advantage. Interesting, the stages I went through to prepare for the position I have now.
I've written a lot this month about war, soldiers, society's mores. There's more. Look at the messages trying to influence us: we need whiter teeth, we need an incredible amount of medicine to keep our bodies humming, we should be kinder to homeless dogs and cats (never mind children), we should eat more pizza and drink more soda. Here are the messages I intend to put out there, doing crafts with friends is a great way to have fun, art is a type of meditation and good for your health, art is good for kids. Anyone can enjoy doing art.
Yesterday, I visited Mary in the hospice unit. Mary has several tumors. One is the adrenal gland. Today, I'll meet with Terri, who has a cancerous tumor on her adrenal gland. They don't know of each other. But my days are filled with death staring me down. It's like my favorite sky: one half is darkly overshadowed with thick dark grey clouds, and the other half is drenched in sunlight, knowing, facing off but unable to stem the encroachment of the looming storm. Witnessing the drama, aghast yet a spectator, knowing there is nothing one can do but observe. Throbbing.
I'm here alone again, watching my watch. I can leave in 90 minutes. Done for the day after 5 hours of waiting. It's summer. i can't figure out why there are no people in my store. I need a new conceept...embrace the growth through art slant? May as well try it. Maybe during the summer months, I can sell art camp for grown-ups. Or, self nurturing day spas. Something you have to do. Get out of your shell and start experimenting. You can dream up the most imaginative stuff, like midnight moon enchantment. No one is coming anyway!.
It's Ink Club day. The first official. I bought a 1000 ft paper roll, extra ink, and numerous brushes. I made an "EVENT" and publicized it on two online sites. This event is free you understand. I was going to milk it for all it's worth, because it doesn't seems self serving, it feels like a gift to the community. Well, I can milk it all I want, but you can't get milk from a stone. This means that I not in synch with the people around me. My ideas are worthless to others. Out of step, the different drummer.
Happy morning! The air was soft and fragrant, just the right temperature for comfort. So I went for a walk. No phone, no money, just me and my happy energy. Well, it was garage sale early...our block does an annual Saturday sale. I finished my walk, grabbed a backpack, a $20 bill and my bike. Funtime. What good is my mad money if I never go mad? I bought a ridiculous 3 piece suede ensemble: jacket shell and full skirt. Lots of suede for $10. Bought 2 precious decorator shelves, cutting tool, cool casserole dish. Nothing that I needed.
Dear T, I have to separate "my" retirement funds from "your" retirement funds. I've been meaning to do this for two years. That's how long ago my lawyer told me to take ALL the money in our joint fund and decreed it in the divorce judgment. Money, wealth, power, relative importance in the world, obligation, entitlement, self worth it all comes to a head when you and I have to undergo this process. (Maybe it only comes up for me and you're oblivious?) So, for my own sake of smallness? or for fairness (really?) or to maintain, I'm taking half.
Now I have a kernel of understanding now about why itís taken so long for me to act on these divorce issues. (IE. hereís my justification for delay:) There was no battle. Itís the difference between an innocent person fighting to persuade a jury of innocence and being exonerated as opposed to being granted a pardon from the governor. The battle, the accumulated understanding, the win and the loss and the finality of it would have been at least a conclusive closure on the matter. Maybe this will finally do it. Thank you, THANK YOU, 100 words.
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