Tag: progress

shifting heartbeat

A quick moment of joyous celebration!

My taxes are all but done, all the background work done, ready to be filed tonight.  Slowly, i must be becoming an adult, because i actually did it this year without tears or weeping or too much of a desire to drink.

Responses are coming in to the 30 resumes/job applications that i sent out over the past week.  Now, obviously, none of this guarantees me a job, but still it is delightful to experience forward movement. Plus, after this long year of debilitating ill health, to feel strong and able enough to have a regular job feels like a treat in itself.

It’s odd how things turn, how heartbeats shift.  For so long, i had looked at a ‘job’ that wasn’t making art as a defeat, suddenly it is a blessing of the highest order.  i know i will continue to make art, and to write, but being able to pay my bills would be a major boon.

Best of all, for this is where my soul resides, i have been drawing and writing again.  The current story enchants me, the ones that have been stalled for the past year have begun to invade my dreams and thoughts again.

Several times, I have gushed my gratitude at friends saying, “i feel like i’m becoming myself again.”  However, the miracle goes even deeper.  The whole character of the world changed while i was down – it became a place of tremendous kindness and love – and now, i am able to put my weight on those blessings.  i am walking on different ground.  Oh, how that makes me sing, and laugh, and dance as much as these hips allow.

After the taxes are totally finished tonight, i will paint.  i already have the canvas on the easel, waiting for all my stuff done.

 

 

The first good day in so long…

studio1_8162014I woke up today at 7:30 am and emerged from bed without massive pain or weakness.  Darwin was willing to go for a walk with me – his normal reticence to have me go long distances had subsided. (The dog has watched me fall one too many times.)

I was able to move through some other issues – advertised the rooms I have for DSCN5425rent, got flyers printed for Lessons for Luddites, and generally started creeping forward a bit.  Movement was such a blessing after this time of suffering.

By 9:30, I opened up the studio.  Instead of launching into throwing immediately, I started a project that was suggested to me in the spring: I moved some shelves around in the studio to create more room. 10559691_285107358340983_3120328998300752607_n Thankfully, they were all on wheels, so the job wasn’t too onerous.  Still, dusty job and a lot of effort for me right now.

The whole time I worked, I felt like life was more possible, as though this might work out.  There is something very satisfying about getting space in order.  I started daydreaming:  maybe I will be able to pay my bills, perhaps I will be able to heat my house this winter after all.

Before I left for the day, I threw six lovely bowls – at least four of which are for the Blue Heron in Bangor, Maine.  And I kept feeling happy and joyous, right up until I stopped creating.  Suddenly the pain caught up with me, like I was tackled down to the ground.  As I brought in the signs, I realized some checks I was expecting haven’t yet arrived – and won’t be for nearly what I had hoped – and suddenly, anxiety and loneliness began to howl through me again.

Something happens to me when the art ends – I more vulnerable to any form of distress.  Left to myself, I have a huge amount of free floating anxiety and depression rattling around in my brain.  Loneliness – as a friend told me the other day – can become quite an existential problem.  I have to agree.

Still, I am trying to hold the demons at bay by remembering: this was such a good day.  The first good day in so long.

two mornings

reactionsi woke up twice this morning to radically different days.  The first awakening came at 6:58, on the heels of a terrible dream in which i confronted people who had wounded me, all the way back to the earliest days of childhood.  Don’t we all want answers when confronted with incomprehensible behavior?  The writer in me gets preoccupied with motivation.  Some forms of abuse and cruelty appear meaningless to me. My brain stops in its tracks when confronted by such actions. i cannot comprehend them.

At first, i thought my subconscious was engaging in wish fulfillment.  Like a reporter asking questions, much more calm and dispassionate than i expected, i begged them to let me know why they perceived me as someone they could hurt, why they had stopped caring about me, how i became someone who could be written off so easily.  Only, as it unfolded i could see i had become a ghost in my own dream. None of them answered me, which is what made it a nightmare.  More than ignoring me, they each in turn acted as though i had never existed.  i finally struggled into wakefulness, overcome with powerlessness and solitude and irrelevancy.  Tight muscles barely allowed me to struggle out of bed.

i had hoped to see the eclipse, but clouds covered the sky.  Given my mood, it struck me like a slap.  i fell as low as i have been in months. It took everything i had to crawl back into bed and pull the covers over my misery.  For once, i lacked the energy to fight the misery or the doom-drenched thoughts that my subconscious had brought up.  i allowed them to wash over me without struggle and start filling up the room around me.  After probably an hour of agonizing, thoughtless sorrow, i fell asleep.

darwin the dogThe next time i woke up, spontaneously and effortlessly, it was a few minutes before nine.  Instantly, i could tell the day had transformed into something radically different – so much so i wondered if i had somehow slept through Sunday.  i cannot remember what dreams i had, if any. As far as i can tell, no great and abiding answers to the griefs of life seeped into my awareness during that hour or so of unconsciousness.  However, i vividly recall the sunlight pouring through the window and washing over my face, the way the dog’s nose felt as he nudged exposed fingertips, the wild purr of delight as my youngest cat figured out how to burrow under the covers, and the warm comfort of being tucked inside comforter and quilt.  Possibility occupied the emptiness left by mourning’s departure.

glazesToday has been hard physically.  i mixed seven batches of glaze – that’s roughly 10 pounds of dry ingredients per bucket i had to gather from the raw ingredients. This involves numbers which always cause some anxiety.  After i finish this blog, i will begin adding the water and mixing these contained heaps of powder into true glazes. Happily, my job has been made easier by help: another gathered water, cleaned the mixing buckets and sieves and picked up the last few ingredients i needed for the last two colors of glaze.  i am grateful for the help, but the task still daunts me.

Unfortunately for everyone within a three mile radius, this is also the second day during which i have completely avoided any kind of simple carbohydrates, and believe you me, my body is angry about the lack of sugar.  Even more annoying, my ego keeps kvetching about the need to revert to the strict food laws that i lived with for years.

That said, after the second morning, all the burdens, chores and complaints felt smaller. Manageable.  Irritating to the point of chafing, but not debilitating.

As i finish up writing, the sun is still shining. The spark of optimism that the sun worked into my psyche has been encouraged by my determination and taken root.

Now i get to watch Netflix and Hulu while i add water to powder, mix well, sieve until smooth and thus create glaze.

 

painting

studio_starti am filled with gratitude.  Some friends have been helping me with my studio – doing a job i can’t: paint the outside of it.  For four years, it has looked more like a scary garage than a Studio and Showroom because i cannot manage to paint it myself.  A latex allergy keeps me away from most forms of house paint, which frustrates me because before the allergy became crippling, i enjoyed painting quite a lot.  While life as an artist has kept me in food, clothes, clay and art supplies, it has not left me with thousands of extra dollars to pay professional painters.

Now the edifice has transformed!  The front side of the studio has now been painted!  The side facing the road is scheduled to be be done the first week of November (weather permitting)!  i sing and dance with joy!

As they worked, part of me felt a wave of sorrow that i couldn’t be out there helping them help me, but then i realized – this was a fantastic moment for me to allow two lessons to settle into my awareness.

First, no matter how much i attempt to coax myself into believing that i’m totally independent and fierce, i actually depend upon the kindness of others quite a lot.  When i fall into the most lonely places, all i can see is solitude enveloping me and remain blind to the great oceans of friendship in which i swim.  The fact that the kindness of other finds its way to me absolutely thrills me and leaves me ridiculously grateful.studio1

Second, this proved to me that i am still committed to my work no matter how many spasms of anxiety and fear i have been enduring the past two weeks.  Thankfully, the thought “Oh, my God! No one is ever going to buy my art again!  This life of joy and bliss is over!” doesn’t charge through my mind as often as it did in the beginning, but when it does it leaves me limping for a few moments.  The realization that i am just a beginner as far as running a small business goes can also leave me shaken.  Leaps like this prove to my doubts that i am continuing to learn and move forward despite them.

Seeing (from a safe distance) the studio transform into this beautiful bright yellow and blue, looking more like a business than it ever has before, leaves me grinning ear to ear.  One side down, two more to go.