Artistic Empowerment

  Carding and spinning wildly designed art yarns suits my edge-y mood these days; the more repetitive process of felting needs to wait a bit til some of this energy has been transformed into yarns.

I have invited my friends to join me for a swim later this afternoon… in the clear, sparkling  water of our old lap pool.  This morning, a fairly large bat has been flying around in the back yard, sipping from the pool water and disappearing into the shadowy hemlocks, then darting back into the open space.  I am not afraid of spiders, snakes or mice, but bats make me lose my wits.

When a creature appears in a way that really gets my attention, I love to research its totem: find out about the various ways that different cultures have considered this animal as a symbol.  A favorite site, Lin’s Domain, has offered this about Bat:  “A bat totem appearing in your life is a call for the end of a way of life, and the beginning of another.  You must face your greatest fears and get rid of the part of your life that no longer is needed.  This transition is frightening for many: “better the devil you know…”  But you will not grow spiritually until the old parts are gone.  Face the darkness before you and you will find the light in rebirth.”

I have been thinking a lot about change lately, as it relates to my studio work as a felter: about possibility and options.  I’ve been thinking about habit, as it relates to EVERYTHING!  And it seems to me that repeating unsuccessful behavior is a lot like banging one’s head against a wall.  Deciding how to change — once the head pain is convincing enough — one might use magical thinking, and wish that the wall would disappear or become softly cushioning.

But even if the wall did disappear, after a while all of that head thrashing would surely result in some repetitive injury, and the relationship between the wall and the pain would need to be re-evaluated.  And so we each learn in time to connect the dots of our disappointments and accept that the common denominator is our own self.

A friend sent me a list of the positive attributes of Pisces, my astrological sign; and a list of the negative attributes.  Those pluses were sweet: humility and spirituality, empathy and other cozy qualities.  On the negative side, qualities like timidity, lack of will, idleness.  Not so good news, but welcome information.

What would be the qualities I’d need to find, and develop to mitigate those negatives?  The words brave/bold/busy came to mind — as a kind of mantra.  And it’s been interesting because those three words do seem to address and bring balance to the difficult moments of my days.  In encountering the bat, I try to be braver; in considering my studio and art work options, I aim to be bolder and to believe in options and possibility — to embrace art that takes abundant time and effort as being worth doing; and when my mind sinks into the ruts of cranky negativity or other places I would really rather not go, the truth is that there is so much good work to be done that “busy” — just the word! — is the antidote that helps remind me that I have great options.

The freedom to opt for an attitude of one’s own mindful choosing is something to celebrate; to journey from anxiety toward well-being and find the balance that comes from knowing one is  empowered to create a beautiful life regardless of every day challenges is to journey from the desert to an oasis.

When I feel this blessing of peace and possibility, and I carry it through my day, the hum of life feels like prayer: sometimes a prayer for guidance and grace, sometimes a prayer of thanksgiving for the miracle of a peaceful heart that can receive so much abundant beauty.   For me, this freedom and metaphysical journey is the essence of my art.

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Published in: on August 23, 2012 at 4:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

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