As I sit here staring at the screen, I think what is most true is that I am still processing this spread, along with many other things in my personal life right now.
These pages were a test run, created with the invitation I’m giving in my offering for Spectrum this year. In a nutshell, it’s an exercise about connecting with the medicine of our lineage.
Once I was done, my mind was immediately in a fit of judgment about the page (or mostly about the energy that had risen in me in relation to what it brought up). Yet, over the course of several weeks – and even while recording the workshop demo that will be in Spectrum, I kept coming back to look at this spread and reflect on my reaction/response to it.
What I mean by that is not that I am looking for a specific meaning necessarily – but just that I am noticing the feelings that arise in me when I’m present with it. Mysterious feelings. Deeper than consciousness. Beyond known story. Threads of connection through time and space and breath.
forgotten and remembered
known and unknown
real and imagined
(Those are the words written in white in the ‘gateway’ area – more on that in the workshop.)
The pages are now a touchstone to the experience I had in the making, to the relationship and response that resulted from my hands-on, heart-in exploration. To what has been released, invoked and primed for activation… even if the next move or mark (in life or in paint) seems ambiguous.
Seeing the pages, touching them, brings up the memory (conscious or not) of everything that moved through me in the making of them… which is no less than an impression of my essence through time. They imply, by mere transference of presence and energy, everything I’ve known, experienced, chosen, etc… and foretell that which guides the decisions I am making, will make, and what is to come. Your pages hold this *knowing*, as well. I’m chuckling a bit because that sounds so serious or imperative or magical or something. And while it might be, I don’t take the art itself that seriously at all.
There’s nothing magical about this, at its core, though – or if there is, it’s practical magic, as I’ve heard Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes say. It’s just the way things are, the way we are.
Synchronicities are nothing more than impressions of what already is – inherent connection. We simple choose where to see them and whether or not to see them at all. Of course they will land on the pages of an art journal. You don’t even have to try for this. In doing it, we simply see new arrangements of connections that already exist. In practicing the seeing on the page, our expanded seeing in life becomes stronger, more colorful, more alive.
It brings up the question of meaning again, though. It can be so comforting and undeniably valuable at times to find meaning – in our art or our stories and circumstances. Other times, though – it can be a limitation that is too stifling to bear. It all depends on the vantage point from which we contemplate.
It seems to me that we make most of the meanings we seek and find (individually and collectively)… and sometimes, at least for me, the greatest meaning of all is in not knowing. It tastes like freedom when you savor it. In the rivers of uncertainty, we find the promise of possibility and greatest growth.
That’s what fascinates me, I guess. About art and my greater life. How they mirror one another, reflecting, illuminating, bringing attention to subtle patterns and nuances, and to the seeds of possibility.
When I show up to making my art, my life shows up with me. In the practice, I not only remember, but become a more grounded emanation of who I’m here to be(come) – and the energy of possibility within her. I like her a lot better than who I am when I forget or neglect my practice. And when I return again, to my day-to-day life, from self-tending in my art, she is navigating the adventure again. (My muse and higher self is a kinder, more present, and definitely more interesting tour guide than my ego and fears, for sure)
I may still be processing some things from a very busy and intense time, in life and on my pages, but one thing has become very clear to me over the past few months of life and practice: I need to make more art. It is in the best interest of my personal well-being care-plan. It’s how I thrive. It’s the well from which I best serve AND enjoy.
Maybe you can relate.
So for some of us, that old zen proverb should read like this…
You should make art for twenty minutes every day — unless you’re too busy. Then you should make art for an hour.
Twenty minutes is nice – it’s even enough. But that hour to make my art (in a multitude of ways) is stellar for my sense of calm, clarity and visioning – and for how I show up to my life.
And if I take all the time I can spend thinking about making art (or how I’m not making art, or worrying about anything else at all) and actually use it to make art, I get a lot more than an hour out of many days.
Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.”