Essential To My Joy

Cat's Magic - finishJune 22nd. I’m sitting in the dining room of my new home. Windows on three sides open to the ocean of trees around us. I can see the hills and mountains across the Salish Sea, shades of blue and purple, snow on the tops of some. Clear sky and late June sun. Perfectly perfect.

I have the fan running. Noon and the air is hot already. It was officially summer this week.

Again I am writing at the camp table I mentioned in my last post. This is the last days of using camping equipment in the house. The movers are coming Saturday with the furniture, boxes and bags that were packed away in storage for the past four weeks.

Here is what I have relearned since the previous post, exactly because I was not doing it.

There are things essential to my joy.

A table and chair and quiet space with a view. Paper. Pens preferably in colours more interesting than black or navy blue. Music, soft smooth jazz, sax or piano. Coffee (iced and cream) or tea (iced please, and a lemon slice) or cold clear water in a mug.

Add to these a good book to read, a crossword puzzle book, a soft blanket for nesting and resting, and time for myself alone.

Here is my creation space. It doesn’t take much.  It’s easy to build.

This is the heart of me.

Here is a truth. Not building this space and using it daily causes me pain. I cannot ignore my need to create, my need to play in the heart of me every day. Here in this space I can breathe. I can rest. Imagine. Daydream. Write. Draw. Create. I am myself here.

I go ragged and angry when I ignore my creative self. I pay the cost, and so do those around me. I become impatient, blind, deaf. Everything is in my way, including me.

Of course everything is in my way. Of course I am blind and deaf. I’ve not opened the path to my creative heart. I am not open to life.

Drawing or writing every day, I am open. Thirty minutes given to myself. That’s all it takes. I do this, and I become patient with my life.

I do this essential thing, and I become kind to the rest of my day and the people in it (including me). The ragged anger is gone. My breath is easy in my body. I am easy in my body.

I learned this in art school, and I relearn it constantly. If I give to myself what is essential to my joy, I have space for everything else.

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On a similar note:

One of my graduating-year professors, Lisa Baldiserra, gave our class a piece of perfect advice. Make art every day, even if it’s only for five minutes. I have both used and ignored her words. This post is about using them.  Lisa is writer and artist and Senior Curator at the Contemporary Calgary gallery in Calgary, BC. Thank you, Lisa, for sharing your wisdom and experience! http://www.gallerieswest.ca/blogs-and-buzz/contemporary-calgary-announces-lisa-baldissera-senior-curato/  http://www.contemporarycalgary.com/

I finished this post today, June 27th, the result of taking my own advice and building a creation space. I am sitting at my dining room table in a dining room chair. Yes, I have furniture again! My new studio is half full of boxes and bags. My writing desk, artwork table, and easel sit in pieces against the wall. It will come together, now that I am making space for myself again.

 

Come And Play

 

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The Joy Diary Sept. 26 2015

It’s grey cloud outside.  We’ve had rain for two days.  A good thing.  We need it.  The land is too dry for mid-May and we have a summer yet to move through, and wells we rely on.

I’ve been busy all week, creating, writing, making plans.  Playing with possibilities.  Daydreaming.  Enjoying all of this.  Everything in full colour.

And now this morning, here I sit noticing how I feel like the colour of the grey clouds outside.  I can blame it on the weather.  I know that sunny days boost my energy and my mood.  Sunny day equals sunny Cat.  This is not a sunny day.

I know what is going on.

It’s not the rainy weather.

The full-on creating has drained my well.  I’m running into a drought.

I have a well of creativity within me that I use.  All week I have been creating, playing with my possibilities, pulling water from my well.  Good.  It is meant to be used.  All good.

What I forgot to do was refill my well after pulling from it.  Yes, too busy being busy.

My creativity is a balance.  I imagine and write and draw, using the ideas, inspiration, words, and images that flow from my well.  Then I need to replace what has been used.

How do I do this?

I play, with no agenda and no goals.  No expectations or rules.  I become the child I was—really, the child I still am.

I bring out my felt pens and colouring books, my Spirograph set, my crossword puzzles.  I wander my way through the million images in one of my art books.  I plug in my iPod, choose my soundtrack of the day, and dance around the living room.

I pull out the deck of cards and crib board, and lose (a regular occurrence) to my husband.  Then I challenge him to Scrabble, and win (also a regular occurrence).

I phone one of my friends and we talk forever.

I drive to town, and wander through the library, the bookstore, and the toy store.  I get a mocha (grande, decaf, to go) from my favourite café, then park by the lake.  Car windows open.  Sip mocha.  Savour that marriage of chocolate and coffee in my mouth, feel the heat as it moves down my throat.  Watch the water and the sky.  Hear the red-wing blackbirds, the ducks, geese, gulls.  See the goslings, fuzzy balls in their baby feathers, following their parents around the edge of the water to where the new grass tastes best.

This.  All of this fills my well again.  Play and pleasure running through my senses, through my body and heart and mind.  Choosing to reach into the things that I love.  Leaving the watch and the clocks behind.  Moving back into balance.

Hearing my own voice calling me.  Come and play.

Lullaby

Practice (detail)
Practice (detail)

The Universe, Source, was nudging me all last week, singing to me.  Ideas, suggestions.  Then it pointed me to Julia Cameron’s book The Vein of Gold, and the task ‘Lullaby’.  ‘For five minutes each day (five private minutes), hum or sing a lullaby to yourself.’  The task is on pages 164 to 166, if you are looking for it.

It is true, you know.  The world is music.  The world is sound.  We are sound.  Vibration.  Nada Brahma.

My Mom sang to me, to herself, and with the radio.  My Dad sang with me, my sister and brother, in his ‘own personal key of music’ as he would say, perfectly off tune.  In the late afternoon heat of July, Dad driving us home after swimming in the lake, singing Jingle Bells all the way.

My chosen lullabies, the songs I sing to myself, might not be what you would expect:

Continue reading “Lullaby”