Monday, June 20, 2011
No, It's Not Valentine's Day...
Yes, this does appear very February 14th-ish; however, when making a card for my husband Jim, it's difficult not to go with the heart theme. I wrote a haiku on the inside:
notes play in my heart
a melody of love bound
to you forever.
Then our 21st wedding anniversary ten days days after his birthday. We've never been big on celebrating calendar holidays though our June 15th wedding was truly memorable. But more pressed into my heart is mid-October, which will mark 25 years on our amazing journey.
I look back at our wedding photos with a misty recollection. We'd already experienced and shared a great deal, but it was a mere foundation for all that has come to pass. Joy, grief, growth, art, building a business together, parenthood, illness... I'd like to say it has been clear sailing but any couple living an intentional, meaningful life together knows otherwise. We rarely argue, never have. We know the others' buttons but they don't get pressed deliberately.
It's no secret that parenting, even under the best of circumstances - two healthy, creative, intelligent and amazing teenagers - is beyond the realm of simple understanding. Every day I hope that, for every wrong move I make, there are a few good ones, teaching moments about being true to their real selves, stopping to think (at least once every few days) before speaking, the need for respect and nurturing their passion for dance and music. How it's vital to stay open to the infinite opportunities that create depth and wisdom. And kindness, compassion for self and others.
I also know for sure that chronic illness sucks. I speak from a place of frustration rather than self-pity. Losing twenty - or more - hours every week to the sleep and rest that ensure forward motion, is both a penalty and great motivation for sorting priorities. So many of my blog and art pals understand this altered life, an annoying (yet very thankfully not terminal!) path that differs with season, activity, stress... always unpredictable, a constant need to re-pace based on flares and inflammation. The analogy of having been 'thrown off the merry-go-round' is still descriptive, but it really is a shifty orbit. Its shape and distance vary so widely that, for example, by the time I get back to my blog more than a month has passed since my last post. I've made gifts for loved ones and managed to complete a commission, but my goal of creating daily, blogging at least weekly, just can't happen. It has deepened my character and, on the whole made me a stronger, wiser person, but I constantly struggle with guilt. All-too frequently the answer is no and I'm the one who loses out for not being able to take my daughter shopping, for declining, planning then not arriving, participating, enjoying. So, as always, I consider this positively, as my life's journey including all the detours.
Making my sister's birthday tag book was a sentimental and gratifying process. Like the birthday card for Jim and other small projects of late, I worked from a place of intuitive continuity... no stopping to think, critique, evaluate, just doing. I suppose creating, for me, requires turning off my brain (monkey mind) and being a bit braver than is comfortable. Nearly every piece I've begun with grand notions ends up on the 'other' table, in the stack or pile of experiments that may or may not be revisited in the future.
I'm trying to learn trust. To get it - understand that making art is relative to the degree of openness I allow amid an internal monologue all too susceptible to negativity. It really is about process, surrendering to flow. After making art for five years I'm only beginning to find my creative voice; the freedom to art, which can be very elusive, means letting go of all expectations.
My sister and I (for that matter!), were really cute kids, dontcha think?