what i love…

love

Last winter, I was leading writing workshops in a women’s homeless shelter.   I was going through some papers recently and found this free write I did with the women using the prompt, “What I love about myself”.  I wrote this on 1/9/15 and decided to post it because it feels good to read it.  I like feeling good.

What I love about myself is my smile, so frequent and genuine.

I love the thunderous laughter that comes in waves and echoes in my children’s hearts.

I love the way I can get through life with panache and tenacity. Continue reading “what i love…”

bricolage project day 20 [Artemisia]

Today’s randomly-chosen word is Artemisia as in the Warrior Queen and comes from The Daring Book for Girls by Andrea J. Buchanan and Miriam Peskowitz.  I really love that my finger landed on this name rather than a more mundane word because I love her story!  In fact, I might weave her story into the play I’m writing with my daughter.   This has been the biggest gift of the Bricolage Project thus far:  Not only allowing me to stretch creatively but also helping me see how my gifts, interests, and the mysterious synchronicities in life are woven together, how they inform one another.

Today’s post is informed by writing this at 1:30 this morning:

I awakened from a dream.  No, I was the dream.  I awakened with blood between my legs but didn’t want to get up.  I wanted to feel it there.  This could be my last blood.  It has been three months since my last.  I want to cherish it.  Put it in a cup.  Paint with it.  Feel its stickiness on my fingers.  Smell it.

So I drifted back to sleep and began to hear their voices.  The voice of my friend Courtnee talking about women who are losing their lives and having their fertility taken from them shortly after their first blood.  She was like a wraith in my dream.  Haunting but not unwelcome.

In my dream I go upstairs and encounter a woman who was coming out of our bathroom.  I know her from work and she talks about how important it is that we talk about all of it as women—all of our bodily functions including our bleeding time.  That we need to be acknowledged for our earthiness.

I know this is in response to him saying he thinks women should hide things like farts and burps, that’s it’s not “feminine”.  Fuck that noise.  I’m not interesting in hiding parts of myself.

I woke up again a few hours later with more blood pooled underneath me.  Yes, I’m writing about this because it’s a beautiful part of my life and my heritage and I truly will miss it when it’s gone.  Maybe it’s shameless.  Maybe I don’t care.

Shame is pretty overrated.

When I ended up choosing the word Artemisia this morning and reading about her I thought about how it must have been for her, a warrior queen, to be commanding a ship.  Her fierce heart but soft body with a moon cycle to deal with.  Did she also wake up in a pool of blood?  How did she handle it?  I feel so connected to women and to the earth when I’m bleeding and, as my therapist pointed out this afternoon, it’s also a beautiful reminder of the gift of giving birth to two beautiful girls.

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This piece is an assemblage that uses a page from a sketchbook that I created in Larry Calkins’ class at Pratt several years ago and some more recent items including a perfect crow feather I found while walking to therapy today and this morning’s fresh blood.

Today’s quote comes from Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés from her audiobook Seeing in the Dark.  I was listening to it in the quiet of the morning today and realized it contains the intention of this piece and the entire Bricolage Project quite well:

“For most artists, they do create out of angst but they don’t sit in the complaint and the condemnation.  They create their way of out if they draw it, they paint it, they write it about it, they dance it, they sculpt it, they do any number of things to express what has happened…so that others will be protected and healed also.  That is one of the greatest ideas that I know behind the creative force is that you use every disappointment…everything is used to create from.  Taking all that is in shadow or the feelings that we don’t belong.

Of course we belong.  Of course we can create out of darkness.”

Yes we do and yes we can.

bricolage project day 18 [breaking]

Today’s random word comes from my friend, Aaron Dietz‘s book Super.  I wrote about his book a few years ago when it was published.  Today’s word is breaking.

breaking with tradition.  breaking up.  breaking hearts.  breaking old habits.  break dancing.  breakfast.  breaking a pattern.  give me a break.  breaking.

Breaking is a delightful word for the creative process and for life in general.  Whether it’s a relationship, a day, an outworn routine or something else, it’s good to impose a break from time to time and rethink what we’re doing.   Giving space can make a huge difference in outcome.  Even just the space of a breath can help us get centered and help us respond instead of react to life.

I’ve done a bit of breaking of late.  I deleted my personal Facebook account a couple of days ago which is helping me really see how much my brain had become trained to think about life in relation to social media.  In a few, short days, the context has changed and I’m already thinking differently.  I can’t recommend this enough.  It’s much more peaceful here.

Breaking away from him.  Lovely gent but not the right fit.  (Wow, is that getting easier!)

I’m also breaking away from what I’ve been doing for today’s bricolage.  It’s a photo collage that I took during breakfast at Cafe Racer today.  There was live music–at breakfast.  People drinking at the bar,  an old dog was lazing around and begging for food, and the walls were lined with bad art and  sad clowns.  Perfect for a rainy Sunday.

orange.

Today’s quote is from Marilyn Monroe.  It’s a bit non-sequiter but I adore it so it stays:

Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.

Just ran across that quote but I feel like I could have written it.   I’ll take ridiculous over boring any day.

"well behaved women rarely make history"
favorite tank. “well behaved women rarely make history”.  photo taken today.

What are you breaking away from or ready to break away from in your life?

bricolage project day 15 [result]

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Today’s random word, result, comes from Archetypes & Strange Attractors:  The Chaotic World of Symbols by John R. Van Eenwyk who I had the pleasure of hearing speak at Antioch University Seattle many years ago.  Because I love the text so much, it serves nicely as today’s quote:

“As we now turn to the diachronic process of individuation, bear in mind that psychological growth occurs as a result of tensions, especially those between opposites, in the psyche.  Among these are conflict and resolution” (p. 31).

Isn’t that reassuring?  All of that delicious tension is helping us grow!  Reminds me of the Degenerate Art Ensemble exhibit I saw at the Frye Art Museum in 2011.   There was a video of dancers embodying creation.  I think it was a bird coming out of an egg or perhaps a seed bursting through the earth to kiss the light.  I just remember it felt inherently violent.   Like the dance , our ego’s relationship to to our complexes creates this tension that help us grow into a bigger version of ourselves.  Without integration we continue to repeat patterns that keep us stuck.  Without shadow, we don’t learn.

I’ve often described my own process as “dancing with my shadow” because that’s how it feels. I don’t let it rule my life but I am aware of it.  I certainly see it mirrored back to me and have learned to tend and befriend these various aspects of myself.  When I was creating today’s bricolage, I did the painting that you see (the black ink in the left margin was done by dipping a dried rose in ink, btw.  I love how it turned out!) then made a cut out of a little angle/devil creature.  I thought it would be fun to have her dance around as a shadow instead of placing a static piece inside the frame.  I ended up painting with shadow.  I did all of that before choosing the word and subsequent quote.  I love synchronicity!

I made a little video of it just for fun.  Painting with shadow.

Working on this project has drawn me deeper inside myself into the deep quiet.  I’m feeling and seeing life more geometrically and have been finding my way to far more authenticity.  It’s as though life is saying, “It’s okay.  Just be you,” so I am.  Messy.  Experimental.  Playful.  Intense.  Present.  Growing.