Resisting Resistance

Cat Fink--'Old Coyote Trick (sticks and stones)'
Old Coyote Trick (sticks and stones) — Cat Fink

I wake up in an I-don’t-want-to-do-anything mood this morning.

I push through my morning routine.  I do my set of shoulder and neck stretches.  There is a flash of “that feels good” when I finish my last stretch, but it’s not enough to crack my mood.

I feel, as I eat breakfast, the desire to remain here at the table, reading.  The book is good, Closer To The Heart by my favourite fantasy writer Mercedes Lackey.  I do not want to put the book down, but this is more than desire to read a good book.  I am resisting moving into my studio and beginning my creative day.

I love drawing and writing.  Yesterday I played in the small sketchbook I received from the Brooklyn Art Library’s Sketchbook Project 2018.  No resistance showed up.

Today, though, there is a brick wall, ten feet high with “I don’t want to” stamped all over it.  I’m on this side.  My drawing and writing are on the other.

I know the trick.  Find the door in the wall.  If no door, then a ladder.  Maybe a bulldozer (I like that).  Or maybe I need help.

Asking for help is never my first choice.  Sometimes it should be.  Okay, help it is.

I reluctantly drop my book mark at page 148 of Mercedes’ book, leave the kitchen table, and move to my studio. I take my morning pages book from the pile of papers just to the right of me.  I pull a Mickey Mouse pencil from the collection sitting in the Starbucks grande frappaccino cup.  Morning pages are my first and biggest help.  I’m ready.

I start where I am.  Kicking my toes against this brick wall of resistance.  Leaning my back against it and muttering, “This feels crappy.”  And then adding, “You’re in my way.”

I built this wall.  I’m in my own way.

I begin wondering what it is I don’t want to do, that has put me in this mood. Continue reading “Resisting Resistance”

Creation Space: An Ode To Library Magic

1.'Containers for the Soul'--Cat Fink
‘Containers For The Soul’

Today the sun is out.  Fresh air and a change of view feel terribly appealing.  I have a book on hold at the public library.  I’ll go pick it up.

I walk into the library and head for the circulation desk.  As I walk, I hear in my mind the words ‘creation space’.

Oho.  I get it.  There is library magic arising.  Picking up the book on hold was only an excuse to get me here.  The real reason I am here—to write a blog post about libraries and creation space.  I borrow my book, join the librarian in praising the sunny day, then look for one of my favourite reading-writing-imagining spots.

And now here I am, writing.  I have a round table all to myself.  Books, Ipod, my canvas pencil case with the words ‘I like big books’ stencilled on it, pencils, and paper are scattered around me.  Total happiness.

I love libraries.  Libraries are home to me.  My favourite place in school and university was always the library.  The public library saw me, my sister, and my brother every Saturday, trading our piles of borrowed books for new piles of borrowed books.  Even through summer holidays, I never missed my weekly exchange of old words for new.

I love reading and writing and daydreaming in the library, but a library is more than a physical creation space.  A library gives me heart and mind space.  For me, a library is an entire universe of thought and imagination.  Every book on the shelves is a star, a planet, a solar system all its own where I can live if I choose.  I and my imagination have joyous permission and example from every writer whose books live on these shelves.  Their ideas and words whisper to me, “Come and play.”

I never say no to this invitation.  I know magic arises every time I say yes.

Sometimes I need a creation space wider than my studio and my single imagination.  Sometimes I need to connect with other imaginations.  A library is a space of all possibility.  Wandering along the shelves in the public library, I introduce myself to new-to-me writers and new-to-me ideas.  We connect, and my world expands.  What I thought was possible becomes infinite.

Yes, libraries, I love you.  Thank you for your gifts of infinite creation space and magic.

 

 

Threads of Joy (Upsy-Daisy Part Two)

letmemendheart
Let Me Mend Your Broken Heart

I learned to sew in High School, Grade Eight.

The first thing I learned was the basting stitch, an easy up and down of needle and thread through two layers of sky blue gingham cloth that would eventually become an apron.

The basting stitch was simple.  All it required was attention to keeping the stitches balanced in length so the layers of cloth held firmly to each other.  The thread I used was a vivid red, deliberate contrast to the colour of the gingham.  It was easy to see what had already been stitched, and what now needed my needle, thread, and attentive eyes.

I am thinking of my Dad, and how he taught me to find threads of joy and use them to stitch my days together.

It was my heart and all my senses he taught me to use, rather than needle and thread.

Every day, as I grew up, I stitched firm the colours of morning clouds and wild sunsets.

Every summer I stitched the feel of my bare feet on wet sand as the tide went out.  I stitched the smell of thick earth under the trees when August afternoons were hottest and I found the deepest shade.

I stitched into my life the smooth, cold taste of chocolate ice cream for dessert after supper.  Two round scoops each for me and my sister, one scoop for our brother who was much younger than us and still sat in the high chair next to Mom.

Every night I stitched the quiet sounds of my Mom and Dad talking in the kitchen after we three were in bed, stories read, blankets and teddy bears tucked around us, kisses on our cheeks.

Here in my life now, I stitch each day together against the grey grief that threatens to pull me apart.  I stitch, with careful attention, the threads of joy my Dad taught me to find and choose.  Vivid colours, lengths of joy and love sewn to balance sadness, to hold me firm.

Upsy-Daisy

laid to rest 80,000 obstructing spirits (north)600ppi
Laid To Rest 80,000 Obstructing Spirits (North)

There’s something my Dad would say to me when I was very young and I had fallen.

“Upsy-daisy.”  And then he’d pick me up.  Set me on my small feet, brush off my knees, make sure I was okay.

Dad, I’m not okay right now.  I need to hear you say to me, “Upsy-daisy.”  And pick me up and set me on my feet again.

My Dad died exactly two weeks ago.

I miss the sound of his voice the most.

I miss talking with him.  I miss sitting together, saying nothing at all, watching the cedars move in the summer wind and the clouds chase each other across the sky.  I miss finding the perfect, smooth, grey stone, and passing it to him as we walk.

There are no words for these feelings, though I make the attempt.  Trying to capture and still the king tide as it pulls and pushes.

Impossible.

I hear my Dad saying impossible has never stopped me yet.  So true.

Upsy-daisy.

My New Year’s Un-Resolution

Cat Fink 'What Gives Me Joy Nov 24 2016 (learning to be me)'
‘What Gives Me Joy Nov 24 2016 (learning to be me)’

There is a scene in ‘Aladdin’, one of my favourite Disney movies, that frequently rises in my mind.

Genie, in the shape of a large bee, is buzzing in Aladdin’s ear, “Be-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e yourself!”  Aladdin is preparing to definitely not be himself as he talks with Princess Jasmine.  In his mind, being himself is not good enough.

I understand this.

Much of my life I have been sure I am not good enough.  I no longer believe this.  Thus, my New Year’s Un-Resolution.

Be Myself.

That’s it.  Two words.

This is not the usual New Year’s resolution.  I am not looking to improve myself.  What I am doing is uncovering my authentic self.

Be Myself.  All day long I ask, is this my choice or someone else’s?  Is this my belief, expectation, value, judgment, idea, or someone else’s?  What is true for me?

I use words to ask myself the question.  I look for the answer in how I feel.

My heart tells me yes, this is me, this is mine.  This feels right and true to me.  Or no, not mine.  This feels wrong and false to me.

I learn from everything and everyone around me.

Sometimes in the learning, I take on things that are not true for me.

Sometimes, it takes time for me to understand that a belief, expectation, value, judgment, or idea does not fit me.  That is okay.  Trying things out and experiencing what happens may be what I need.  Sometimes I must know what I don’t want in order to know what I do want.

So here I am, eleven days into 2018, paying attention to who I really am and discovering what feels true to me.  So far, mostly what I have discovered is that I have un-learning and un-choosing to do.

The ‘un’ in front of ‘resolution’ was a clue.  Yeah, missed that.

No worries.  Being Myself is a work in progress.  I have all year long.

____________________________

In this post:

Animated movie Aladdin, 1992, Disney.    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aladdin_(1992_Disney_film)

 

Prayer For The New Year

Cat Fink 'What Gives Me Joy Nov 16 2016 (celebration)'

Wide and still I hold my heart.

Let spirit write her path in me.

Let love breathe her breath in me.

Let need call forth to serve in me.

Let grace be every step for me.

Let joy become the song in me.

Let connection open space for me.

Let creation be all play in me.

Let action be the choice for me.

Still and wide

I hold my heart.

Let all life find its home in me.

Heaven And Earth

img_0055
Winter Solstice

Raven flies overhead

Her wings cut the sky

the sky

into a thousand skies

 

I stand here

bare feet

on red earth

 

Just once to fly

like Raven

Wings cutting

one day

into a thousand days

 

I am earth’s child

Dust clay ashes stone

Blue river pebbles

fill my pockets

Roll round my heart

like joy

 

No place for me

in Raven’s thousand skies

 

I am earth.  I live in this physical body.  I walk a physical place.  The water, fruit, bread, and meat I swallow each day grounds me here, now.

And yet, perhaps not.

Years on from writing the opening words of being only earth’s child, I understand I am also the connection between earth and heaven.  I am spirit created in material form, and I am the spark that gives light to both earth and sky.

This is true for every one of us.

We are the spark and connection between heaven and earth.  We are the lightning bolt that flashes and flies, creating light and heat for all to see and be warmed by.

I am sure I knew this when I was born, having just come from the light and onto the earth.  I am equally sure as I grew up this understanding faded.  The heaviness of the earth shadowed the light in me.  Living here does that sometimes too soon, too often, too harshly.

Living here has me turning the truth on its head.  As a child, I am taught I am two things, a body with a spirit inhabiting it.  I am taught this is the truth, and the world always tells me the truth.

Sometimes I should not believe what the world tells me.

I am one thing, not two things or four things.  I have a body and spirit and heart and mind.  I not only have these things, I am these things, but they are not separate.  I am not meant to be divided into parts.  I am meant to be one whole being, light aligned and in harmony.

I am spirit in material form.  My body is created from spirit, and my spirit is my body.  That includes my heart and mind as well.  All one.

I not only think the truth of this.  I feel the truth of this.  The words come like music to my body’s senses, and they feel balanced, smooth.  They move through my heart and don’t stutter or jar me.  They move through my mind, blend into my thoughts, feel recognized and comfortable.

Spirit in material form.  These words fit like a jigsaw puzzle piece finding its home, nestling into the pieces all around it, making the image whole.

This is how I know truth.  By the feel of it in my body, how it fits into me and makes me whole.  Spirit in material form.  This means as I am now, I am created from both earth and heaven.

Something in me never lost this knowing, even when my light was shadowed.

In my studio I have a collection of stones and feathers.  I have been gathering them for their beauty in my eyes and their feel in my hand since I was two years old.  I construct still life arrangements from them, and draw their magic and beauty onto the paper on my easel.  They are placed around my home, in every room, on shelves, table tops, windowsills, for the eye and hand to enjoy.

Stone and feather.  Earth and heaven.  I have never forgotten.  All my life I have been collecting reminders of who I am.  The light remains within me, no matter how I divide and separate and shadow who I am.

My feet rest on the earth.  My fingertips brush heaven.  All my life Source has been quietly placing stone and feather in my path to remind me, and I have seen and accepted them, picked them up and taken them home, these pieces of myself.

I choose this.  This is my truth.  I am spirit in material form.  Body, mind, heart, spirit.  One whole being of light connecting heaven and earth.

 

Imagining My Power

'7 Crows, A Secret Never To Be Told'detailsmall - Cat FinkTwo nights ago, I dream.

I stand with my son and husband in the centre of an empty street.  No other people.  No cars.  No sound.  All is still.

I look down.  A raven stands beside me.

I look up.  I see ravens sitting on the top edges of the one-storey buildings and on the fences.  They walk on the sidewalks and in the street where I stand.

I lift my arms.  I see feathers, black, sleek, shining.  I see wings.

I am me and I am Raven.

Here in my waking life, I hear raven voices every day.  Ravens live in the tallest firs and cedars near both my studios.  I see them fly overhead, hear the edges of their wings cut the air.  Nothing else sounds like a raven’s wing.

This past summer I watched them teach their young what wings can do.  Watched the young discover joy in their power.  Watched them fall in love with their wings.

When I falter in my drawing or writing, I imagine myself as Raven.  Creator and Healer.  Trickster.  Teacher.  Messenger.  Raven is all magic.  Raven is pure power.

Imagining Raven, I open creation, call word and image, and invite them to play.  My wings cut through fear and hesitation, shatter them like the ice they are.

My Raven eyes see forever.  See what has not been seen.

Imagining Raven, I reach into magic.  I take nothing and create something.  I breathe it real.

Imagining Raven’s power, I move back into my own power to create.  I stand steady in the joy of who I am.  I fall in love all over again with what I can do.

Artists, writers, all creators are Raven.  We have the power to create, to heal and make whole, to trick and tease, to communicate and teach.  We see what has not been seen, and make it visible.  We create something where there was nothing.

We are joy’s magic, and we are the power of love.

________________________

In this post:

If I pay attention, my dreams teach me.  When animal guides show up, I go to the book Medicine Cards, written by Jamie Sams and David Carson, published by St. Martin’s Press, NY, 1999.  The book is accompanied by a deck of animal medicine cards illustrated with the drawings of Angela Werneke.  Book and cards were a Christmas gift from my husband, ten years ago, after I told him animals were appearing in my dreams.  http://jamiesamsbooks.com/medicinecards.cfm