Friday, January 30, 2015

When Did You First Become Aware?

ink sketch

Did you ever think all the people you know are diverse manifestations of your own personality?

Exhilarating and frightening, isn't it.

 Friends, family, lovers, enemies, acquaintances, all puzzle pieces of your whole. 

When I was eleven, I had a friend named Leslie. Leslie and I were like the cartoon characters, Mutt and Jeff. I was tall, lanky and awkward; Leslie was short, chubby and shy.

We would be the last ones picked for anything, so we naturally bonded together, and became close friends. 

The year was 1962; the place, Joliet, IL. I lived in a house divided into four apartments. Ours was on the ground floor. My grade school was within walking distance and both my parents worked.  

I had a key. 

After school Leslie and I would walk home and hang out. Very liberating for eleven year olds with no adult supervision. I don't recall the mischief we made, but I'm sure there was some. 

Of all those many walks home, there is one that remains poetically clear, these 53 years later.

 It was warm and the sun was bright. Leslie and I walked to the door of  my apartment, I placed the key into the lock. Leslie was saying something, I turned to listen and the sun took up all the space in the hallway, creating a shimmering halo around her curly red hair. 

It became very quiet. Everything slowed down and in that moment of stillness, I saw the essence of Leslie, and it was luminous, 

Leslie was the gateway to transcendence which allowed me to see the possibility of living a life beyond one of quiet desperation*.  

Thinking back I realize this was my heart opening up and allowing the manifestation of unconditional love to become aware. 

*(Thoreau; The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them). 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Dismal corridor of despair

18 x 14 inches
Oil and cold wax

Thinking about my life without art is like looking down a dismal corridor of despair.

I travel impossible miles when I paint, trying to get back to those few precious moments before I was molded in the clay of language; before my ego became conscious, making judgments and corrections in my thoughts and behaviour.

So, who am I? Not what my parent and teachers told me. No, I am not that. I am more than that. And it is that which I try to put on the canvas. Traveling back to the nuclear core of my soul, spirit, intuition. 

The cacophony of visible reality plays like an obstacle field filled with mental grenades designed to fragment my core. Dancing between these and staying true to "me" is the challenge.

Being born is an act of creative abstract expression - coming out of the womb, there is no language, there is barely sight, only I imagine, fear, confusion and perhaps some anger. And yet the urge to leave the santuary of warmth and plummet ourselves here is not a choice, but a demand of life. 

We forget and lose that newborn innocence. As we begin to understand and make sense of the world around us, through the eyes and words of others, we give up that beautiful nothingness we brought with us. 

Getting back to that is primal expressionism. 

Friday, January 9, 2015

The man I married, and the man I almost married

To See Within
16 x 20
Oil, cold wax on paper

A wild time in the late 1980's and I was fiercely in love with two men - the man I would marry and the man I almost married.

I learned many things during that gloriously, exhilarating time. Perhaps, the two most important were; love opens you in deliciously unimaginable ways, searing between the extremes. You feel as if you carry the entire Universe within yourself and all you want to do is give, give and give. 

And, that we are capable of deep, multiple loves. One not taking away from the other. Canadian author, Merle Shain, likened it to knowledge; when a teacher shares her knowledge with a student, she doesn't have less knowledge to give to the next.

Love and knowledge are not finite, they are endless, and like a spring, continue to flow, when fed. These gifts are not borne to us as  limited vessels, full upon birth, and as we share them, slowly trickle out of us until we have no more to give.

Perhaps that is the lesson of the biblical story, where Jesus feeds 5,000 people with seven loaves of bread and two fish; love is infinite abundance, if we open ourselves and share.

I do know, if I would have chosen the man I almost married, I would have wondered what life would have been with the man I did marry. I would have escaped into a fantasy of lost love and regret.

Instead, I crossed over the threshold into the unknown; for the man I almost married was a safer, known choice and the man I did marry was a mystery; one I wanted to be caught up in, embraced by, loved by, be with.

All these cascading years later, my spirit heart chose the right threshold to cross over.