Sunday, September 28, 2014

Growing pains...

This evening I had a heart to heart with my 12 year old boy/girl twins about the mind, heart, body and spirit/soul. 
What prompted the conversation was an interaction they were having where they were being slightly disrespectful towards one another. They were in their rooms and I in mine. I'm overhearing the back and forth power play for about 45 minutes.

Then their father called on the phone from work to check on the progress of the evening. Neither one would answer the phone. Instead they argued and demanded the other to get it, to the point where they missed the call altogether.

This scene is not earth shattering. It may even qualify as a "typical" preteen interaction. One that could easily be dismissed as harmless. 
However, something stirred in my spirit where I quickly got up to address them. I started off with an irritated demeanor. I identified the disrespect they displayed for one another and for their father. What started as a simple reprimand turned into a full on discussion about the ingredients that make up the strength of ones character.

I was so struck by the conversation I had to write about it.  My crazed OCD kicked into high gear. I notice within myself, my own folly and passion. On one hand I came at them with irritation and slight anger. I saw  my own fault in how I was talking to them and feared the message would be lost, so I quickly turned to speaking in love and pleading passion. 

We calmly talked about their developing minds, with the ability to assess and form lasting opinions. Reminders came out about the painful growth spurts as toddlers. Growing is painful. Whether physical, mental or spiritual growth, you will feel discomfort. And now in their adolescent bodies a different kind of growing pain exist. The internal struggle with who they are emerging into. The spiritual self is awakening.

As a spiritual being myself, I felt the awesome responsibility of eradicating any HINT of evil in its most subtle form. I tend to go after the slightest sign of pride. It's my arch nemesis!
Pride blinds you. You're no longer able to see clearly when pride is in the way. It prevents goodness from flourishing. Pride is a liar and comes in many deceptive forms. It rears its ugly head as selfishness, stubbornness, indignation, disrespect, anger, entitlement, rudeness, a negative attitude and the like. Pride is a barrier between you and truth, love, honor, respect, kindness, grace, giving, selflessness, joy and peace. In its lowest form it destroys. This is where my passion overtakes me.  At the slightest sign of pride I rush in to nip it in the bud, way before the seed of pride is able to germinate and take root growing into a ginormous flesh eating carnivorous plant! 

I know I can be pretty intense. But even as my words are strong and my gestures pronounced, my spirit is moved to take action and teach my children humility. I want to protect them. By protection I mean, equipping them with tools of evaluation, correction, decision making and the ability to manifest goodness into the world. I want them to be self-sufficient and active participants in their mental, physical and spiritual growth. 

I gently reminded them that home is where it all starts. A safe environment to work out the kinks. A safe haven if you will. A place where the pains of growing can be soothed but a place where mistakes are allowed. This is the testing ground. Who you are to each other in the home, is who you will be to others. I encouraged them to love, respect and honor each other. Having their minds, heart, body and spirit/soul working together as one is the ultimate goal. My desire for them is to become loving, caring, giving, respectful, creative, productive and spiritually minded adults.

They were very receptive. Now I can go back to sleep.

Delicate balance...

The sting of a bee can be excruciating to some and even cause a deathly allergic reaction in others. However, it is a miniscule price to pay when you change your perspective and look at the big picture. This pesky summertime nuisance, known as the honey bee, transfer pollen from plant to plant enabling fertilization so the plants may produce fruit. Food to sustain life.  Let's not forget they produce that yummy sweet substance called honey!

We may have people in our lives whose truth may sting us from time to time.  If the ones doing the stinging are of the honey bee type, then they are far more important to us than the brief discomfort from the pain they cause.  They may have a harmonious symbiotic relationship with us. The fruit that is produced from this relationship may sustain both your lives. So, the next time you are stung, try not to think about the temporary discomfort and instead remember the honey they produce. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Determined Resolve

It's 2:00 am. This is the creative hour for me. Something in my spirit wouldn't let me sleep.
The stillness combined with the Nag Champa incense lingering in the air creates a quiet peace inside me.  The studio is one of my favorite places to exist.  Here I can enjoy just being.  There's no judgement here.  I am free to create, sit, write, listen, play, dance and sing (yes sing!) all without the criticisms of the world. There is a reason I feel safe here. One, I am surrounded by my favorite creature comforts. My favorite music always permeates the air along with the background trickling of a small water fountain.  Then, there is the peaceful time spent in deep thought and meditation. Its the only place I can manage my over active brain. Some say I am too analytically. No one says that in here.

There is also a deep loyalty here I can't seem to find anywhere else. The world can be a wondrous and awesome place, and yet its hard to find people willing to surrender to one another. We tend to clothe ourselves with our so called "best" self, but in reality it is just a shell, a covering of the true self.

Does giving ourselves to one another mean we give up control of who we are? If we are just being who we are what are we really need to protect? Does deceit or deception protect anything?
Exposing all our innards is true outward protection.
I think there is a paradox in being completely vulnerable.  You somehow become instantly protected from all enemies, foreign and domestic. I don't know why I believe it to be so.  The only thought that comes close to explaining it, is from a well used biblical quote.
John 8:32 "Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

For some reason when you clothe yourself with truth, like being purely vulnerable, you somehow are protected from being hurt.  Its as if you can surrender to truth in the face of trial and you somehow are free from harm. I guess it is sort of like someone saying, "It is what it is."  You simply can't change or alter truth so surrendering to it just makes sense. However, most say I'm crazy for such thoughts.  Most like the idea of protection coming from our own minds; Our own inventive deceptive ways of false shelter.
I tend to lean towards the impossible.  I like the odds they pose.  I know I'm a dreamer at heart and an idealist. That is probably why I am never satisfied with my human interactions.  I seem to always seek that pure connection. One without the pseudo-protective semipermeable shell.

I'd imagine that is why I am an artist. I can create that truth in visual form. The process of creation itself is the ultimate vulnerability. I can't hide.  Who I am is exposed thoroughly on canvas, paper or clay. I'm exposed to all sorts of criticism. Art is subjective, so what one person loves another despises for no reason other than the right to dislike. I am able to put it out there simply from my mind to hand to canvas and maintain a determined resolve.  At this level, the truth of every mark I make, every visual expression, every soul exposed concept, every idea transmitted and every piece of artwork shared, I am free.  It is what it is.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Finding Balance

Typically the fall is my favorite season where everything comes together. My mind is strong. My daily workouts are well underway. I'm focused on the direction I wish to take my art.  I'm even more in tuned with my spiritual being. 

2014 seems to hold a different fate for me. I'm finding my mind scattered as if I'm waiting for permission for something unknown. As if I need permission to continue my life. Why? I'm not entirely sure.  I surmise that coming into the fall I have a few areas of life in the air. I wasn't sure how the school year schedule would play out. My kids are transitioning into a new school environment. I'm not able to find an MFA program for this semester which pushes things back about 2 years. 

My personal art is always in a state of limbo, where I honestly have to find the time to create and not feel I'm neglecting my family responsibilities. Yet I'm pulled to the studio because I need to create new work to show in juried shows nationally to prepare my for my eventual journey to Graduate school.

My thoughts are jumbled. I'm in the fight and will continue to pull from the energy of the universe to find balance.