Tag: grace

New Year’s Poem

One year ago,
at nearly this very minute,
i was being rushed
to the hospital.

The bits of me
that were still working
knew i was dying,
and felt grateful
that my suffering
would finally end.

Only, it didn’t.

i survived.

For months,
i was an egg
without a shell,
needing comfort and protection,
crushed by the smallest things,
barely making it through
my obligations.

But my spirit healed.

i have felt more sublime peace
in these past few months
than in the decade before.

It has become the rule,
rather than the exception –
which is why this feels so miraculous.

Today, i have been
unable to focus
on fiction or poem,
on chores or art.
Instead, i have been full
of quiet, thankful prayer.

My bones,
my soul,
have rested
in these thanksgivings.

If i could move
with greater fluidity,
i would be dancing –
but slowly,
gently,
to the rhythm
of my heartbeat,
so this spell
of contentment
would not be shattered
by endless nattering thought.

This moment
is a blessing
i almost didn’t experience.

Tomorrow does not come
with any guarantees.

My entire life
gave me the gifts
that led me to this altar
with three candles lit:
one for Love,
one in gratitude,
and one looking forward,
with eager anticipation,
to the miracle
of another year.

 

 

***

 

Happy New Year,

asha fenn, 1 January 2018

on the market

IMG_0175  The house is on the market – at least, i have signed papers with the realtor and we have started the process of taking pictures. IMG_0174 It will probably take at least a week to get the sign in the ground and all the photos up on the internet.  These are some shots I took after she left, mainly to prove to myself what 24 hours of concentrated cleaning can accomplish.  Sadly, i still have a ton of work to do – particularly cleaning the studio and moving the bits of glaze and boxes of clay still in the house over. i have not even begun what will be an impressive saga of purging: selling older art, furniture, books and other things.  i see many yard-sales in my future, as well as sales both on my online store and in my studio/gallery.  Lists of the things i can cast off and those i cannot live without fill my journal.

This was a intensely melancholy thing yesterday; i felt like i was hemorrhaging pain again afterward.  Indeed, my main goal after Kathy left was to be kind to myself  – and i was deeply grateful for both her compassion and efficiency during what is a difficult time for me.

During a class earlier this year, we were given a list of stressors.  Buying and selling homes, as well as changing living arrangements, moving homes and transplanting businesses all sat among the most highly rated causes for stress. IMG_0178

IMG_0176Obviously, i can’t be alone in being upset by such things – and, that said, i still feel like i am taking this particularly badly.  My woe refuses to be dignified.  This is a massive transition for a misfit like me: i root to spaces, i suffer tremendous anxiety that is barely kept in check by meditation, and i worry unreasonably about my beloved animals’ responses to this time of trial.  Like me, they seem to be suffering.  Both Roxi and Martin are hiding more than usual, chased under the bed by the sounds of transformation.  Roxi, in particular, has been so upset (she is so much like me) that even cuddling takes an openness and comfort that is in short supply right now.  Instead of sleeping beside me like she usually does, her paw in my hand all night long, she curls up on the couch, forsaking dreams to keep one eye open.  Unless he is the sleeping old man of the house, Darwin follows me everywhere. He is determined to keep me grounded and cheer me up simultaneously, hence all the photo-bombs of dog in these pictures.

IMG_3441So, i worry, and i stress, and i can feel it effecting my body. My blood sugar skyrockets irrelevant of food, my vision gets blurry, my heart slams around in my chest.IMG_3440 In response, i meditate more – for at least two hours last night, phone and computer off to avoid all distraction – and if i keep that up, it helps tremendously.  Still, no amount of quiet stillness has as yet turned me into a flawless person.  My memory and my work are suffering from the overload.  Even when i regain my inner peace for a time, i am still not supernaturally endowed with awe-inspiring strength or confidence. With my whole heart, i redirect myself whenever i start blaming another for my problems.  Instead, i take deep breaths, hope everything happens for a reason, and knead acceptance into my tight muscles.  Every time people ask me about my long term plans, i wince slightly – unable to articulate what i need to do. IMG_0179 Indeed, i truly don’t know what the absolutely ‘right’ course is at this stage. IMG_0177 To know that, i would have to be a precog and that – along with teleportation, telekinesis, telepathy and transmuting base metals to gold – is not a skill i have developed. Most of the time, i have no idea what to do, and no other viable options, than to keep putting one foot in front of another with as open a heart as possible.

Thankfully, i feel secure that the decisions i am making take me down the wisest path given who i am, what i have and what i know right now.  Of course, there is an element of choosing the lesser of evils, but that is what this moment entails.  So, i must move forward and accept the consequences. i have been actively holding my hands open to accept what the universe gives right now with as little resentment and fear as possible (and eventually, i feel confident, the cosmic diarrhea running through my fingers has to stop.)

However, i keep remembering something that occurred to me years ago: there is a certain nobility to endings.  They demand a sense of presence and honor that can disappear when things are stable and appear unchanging.  How we leave situations, whether it is a relationship, a home, a job, a life – that speaks at least as much about who we are as how we enter them.  As much as it hurts, i have been greatly blessed and honored to have lived here for ten years, to have created this marvelous network of friends, to have worked as an artist so wholeheartedly.  Now, to remember that gift, and maintain this sense of gratitude and grace, when the cosmos starts to have gastric distress in my general direction again.

twenty minutes

raining i just used up all the hot water in the tank doing the dishes and it will take twenty minutes to get some warmth back.  The limitations of my hot-water heater has given me a chance to blog.

Part of the reason that the dishes had stacked up for so long was that my injured hand could not hold the dishes well or without significant pain.  The other reason is that when confronted by the desire to make art and the need to do dishes, the former almost always wins.  At any rate, while i cleaned plate after plate, rejoicing over my left hand’s healing, i started mulling over the other things i have not been doing as i should: blogging, posting on social media, just generally reaching out even to my customers.

Part of it has been a conscious choice as to what kind of art i should make. i am aware that what is welling up inside me contains sorrow and fear.  The decision is whether or not to give those emotions a stronger voice.

Years and years ago, a friend typed in a lot of poetry for me when i was having health issues that made the job impossible.  Those poems contained vast despair, interspersed with moments of bliss.  Watching how she reacted to that collection silenced my pen for a bit, even though she kept thanking me for the rare poems of joy.  Then, a couple of years ago, someone blue hairwas looking at thespirit_goddess paintings to the left and shook his head, saying no one wants to see pain.  By that time, my art had already shifted toward things like the holy spirit to the right.  Despite whatever internal grief i suffered, my art channeled happiness.  So i smiled at my friend’s advice,  because, somehow, i had already taken it.

That is, until this winter.  i cannot count the times i stopped my hands from drawing or painting or sculpting because i sorrowknew the things rumbling about in my mind would produce art like that to the left which flooded out of me six years ago.   Art can be a purging – an exorcism of grief and sorrow.  This helped heal my soul all those years ago.

If i want to be honest about my experience of life, there will always be a bit of art that will evokes the darkness.  Sometimes, even when i give myself leave to create something just for the sake of my sanity, the joy still peaks out.  A drawing of howling despair turns into song. There will also always be joy – peeking through even during the hardest times.

This is not one of the hardest time.  i know that, deep in my soul.  i can go back to poems written years ago and realize how much sunlight has conquered the sorrow.  An indefinable, unconquerable strength has kept me going this winter and for that spark of grace i am wildly grateful.  May it continue to keep me slogging through.

However, i have made a choice, for myself alone.  i don’t think i am going to quiet the art that would come forth, even when i know it might be soaked in blues.  The cost of keeping it bottled up is too high – for it stifles what other art that would come.

 

dancers

i amdancer drawing dancers, more and more dancers.  It seems like every time i sit down with pen and paper, another dancer comes out.

There is something about that fluidity of movement  – an ease that i only get through the lines of my pen, or the velvet of paint going across the canvas, or the arching beauty of a pot taking form under my fingertips.dancer4

We find grace in our own peculiar ways.  Some people can hear the gentle refrain of music and move their bodies in ways that make the rest of us feel awe.  Some can navigate a kitchen, making a meal that is as complicated as conducting an orchestra, with everything done on time. Some can take strange knobby bits of metal and make an engine that works seamlessly.  dancer3Others are able to weave words into tapestries that can evoke the strongest emotions in the readers.

Perhaps i feel this fascination because i cannot quite manage to dance well, but i follow the movements of dancers with the eyes of the artist and poetry in my soul.  From the dervishes swirling to ballet to free form movement that seems impossible to my dancer7confused legs, this act of art is like a treasure.  The immediacy of it feels like a gift – that movement as it is in precisely that moment – can never happen again.  The river can keep flowing but it is never exactly the same.

At night, alone in my house, with the music turned up so loud that i am glad none of my neighbors are close enough to be bothered, i dance.  i know it is graceless and lurching, and sometimes involvesdancer2 falling or unexpectedly slamming into walls, but i don’t care.  i am seduced by the beat. As i dance, i sing loudly and often out of key. Indeed, this evokes marvelous wholeness of being.  It brings me into joy, no matter how i felt when the music started.

i might not be good at dancing, but i fall into it, drunk on music.

The dancers i draw, they are better at it than i am.  Perhaps, they are not actually more graceful or more talented dancer6– but in my perception, they have the audacious confidence to be open-hearted, open armed and move no matter who sees them or what happens.  They are fearless in every way that i can put into ink.  They celebrate their union with creation – the wholeness of being that is expressed through limb and gesture.

Secretly, or perhaps not so secretly now, i draw these dancers to create the same confidence in myself.

Often, i find myself thinking that if i can dream it, i can manifest it.  To a degree it works – i have been able to change much about myself, become a stronger woman over time.

Perhaps, someday, i will be able to dance, if not with more grace, but with more unashamed zeal.dancinggoddess2

dancewithwildjoy