So, Tawni needed a little break after her beautiful vacation in Sedona, and as I took awhile to get started I volunteered to finish up my blog from a couple of days ago. My brother's comment re: my Tuesday posts provided a nice segue o today's post. Apparently, unbeknownst to us, we both were perusing our own and each other's birth year's licence plates on our Artist's dates!
Chapters: I'm on week 3 right now. This chapter is called Recovering a Sense of Power. The main topics explored in the chapter are anger, synchronicity, shame, and dealing with criticism.
JC talks about anger being a sign of health and that we need to listen to our anger. What is it trying to tell us? Sloth, apathy, and despair are the enemy. Anger is not!! Anger is our friend....not a nice or gentle friend, but our friend. Anger is not the action itself, but the action's invitation. I love this way of looking at anger and in fact, have had a similar outlook for 25 years or so. JC does a great job of reminding me of this theory, and I am reminded to listen to myself closer. I also feel validated in many ways. Love the quote in this section: I merely took the energy it takes to pout and wrote some blues. Duke Ellington
I heart the synchronicity section. How to summarize? How about two quotes? A discovery is said to be an accident meeting a prepared mind. Albert Szent-Gyorgi and Did you ever observe to whom the accidents happen? Chance favors only the prepared mind. Louis Pasteur. It reminded me of a couple great years I had professionally in Colorado. I was chosen for a highly sought after position, and when beaming to my boss at the time of how LUCKY I was, she oh, so calmly, said, Holly, you made your own luck. It really stopped me in my tracks. She was right. It didn't just fall in my lap. I had worked hard and put myself out there! I found it interesting that it was Carl Jung who coined the term synchronicity. He said that when we choose and commit to those dark and romantic notions that call to our deepest selves (travel writer, song writer, photographer, biographer, documentary film maker, etc.) synchronicity (or serendipity) will occur- a fortuitous intermeshing of events. Is it serendipitous that Joe and I both were shopping for Iowa license plates of our birth years? What does it mean? My problem is not whether or not I believe in serendipitous occurrences, but rather I'm not sure what project (s) to choose and to commit. I have a broad range of interests and there's not one thing really jumping out at me. I'm keeping my eyes open for some "signs!!" Could y'all help me see them if I miss them?
Shame is a controlling device trying to prevent someone from behaving in a way that embarrasses us. JC says, "The act of making art exposes a society to itself. Art brings things to light. It illuminates us. It sheds light on our lingering darkness. It casts a beam into the heart of our own darkness and says, See??.......Art opens the closets, airs out the cellars and attics. It brings healing." She talks about many artists working on their project diligently, and then stopping right before putting "out there". Kind of a detachment or numbing out coping mechanism to avoid shame or criticism. This has a lot to do with perfectionism as well. Nitpicking or random criticism can really ruin an artist who is just feeling comfortable with "letting it rip"!! I do have a problem with finishing projects at times. I have so many interests and hobbies and can throw myself into them wholeheartedly, but often don't see them to completion. Why? I don't slow down long enough to ask that question. I'm on to the next exciting project or hosta before you can say family tree maker. We will discover the nature of our particular genius when we stop trying to conform to our own or to other peoples' models, learn to be ourselves, and allow our natural channel to open. Shakti Gawain I'm sorry, but this really does bring me back to that curmudgeon from last week, in a way. What am I doing? Who do I think I am? Particular genius? Being ourselves and not conforming takes A LOT of energy! At the same time, this quote does a pretty good job of what I'm trying to do by doing the AW course. What exactly is it that is calling to my deepest self? Who will HoJo 3.0 be?
Finally, the chapter ends with a discussion in helpful and hurtful criticism. I have ALWAYS loved getting constructive feedback. It helps me understand myself and my strengths and weaknesses so much better. In fact, I get irritated when I don't get feedback. I always want to know how to improve. Having said that, I'm not going to take it from just anyone. JC articulates this by writing, "The criticism that damages is that which disparages, dismisses, ridicules, or condemns. It is frequently vicious but vague and difficult to refute." Later in this section she talks about the first draft is seldom ready to be shown to anybody except the most gentle, and discerning eye. It often take another artist to see the embryonic work that is trying to sprout. That sentence was an AHA! for me. The ladies at COFFEE (and a couple others) are my gentle and discerning peeps! Especially Patresa. The kindness she showed me when reading my two products of 2010 was gentle, encouraging, and genuine. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for treating me and my embryonic work with such compassion!
Life after death. Thoughts and musings re: surviving two near death experiences: So, for the record: Number 1 was in November of 2003 when bringing my oldest son into the world. Number 2 was just this summer, being diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma out of the blue.
I'm actually not quite sure what to say here without sounding completely cliche. Treasure life...its moments...live life with intention. All of that. Hell yeah. Word up. No doubt. I tried to do that the best I could after one of my best friends died suddenly in 1986. My dad died suddenly in 1992. These were life changing events that taught me a helluva lot about living in the moment, appreciating life, and how to move on after a loved one dies. During extreme stress, like for example, when you're knocking on Death's door (think Holly 2003) people respond with fight, flight, freeze, or a new one I heard, detachment. In 2003 I froze and maybe detached. I knew I HAD TO to survive and to do so I just had to stay calm. In 2010, I might have done all of the above. Again, I knew I HAD TO survive. Bizarrely, in 2003 I wasn't so sure I would survive, but in 2010, I was pretty damn sure that I would. So, this time around, I'm still trying to treasure life and it's moments and live life with intention. I guess I might be traveling down a different road to reach these goals. On this road, or journey, I hope to find out more about my authentic self. The more I am creative, the more I AM creative (thanks, Wendy!). What is that going to look like? What serendipitous events will occur to help me on my way? Will I be wise enough to open the door? Can I remember how important it is to not only open the door, but to explore the entire room until the project is finished and it's time to move on? Will I have the wisdom to not stay in the room for too long? Can I do all of this with all that crap in my basement? Should my next COFFEE project be "Cleansing my House for a blank palette for HoJo 3.0 to emerge" OR should it be, "Balance-Is it actually possible? One woman's search for the answer after getting out of the Cauldron."
MP= Morning Pages
AW= The Artist's Way
JC= Julia Cameron, author of AW