Friday, September 15, 2017

My Quinceanera Life ... a few decades after the fact


For most of you, this will be TMI ... but thank you so much for being part of the journey ...
 
From a series of intentions I created.
Tuesday, September 15th, 2009. My life changed on this day as I opened up to the world with my first personal blog post. I will be eternally grateful to my blog sister and amazing artist, Diane Walker for leading me into blogging. (Diane’s blog:  http://www.contemplativephotography.com/)

In that first post, I wrote about starting the blog and remembering the powerful quote of Maya Angelou: "There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you."
For the past few years my life has been chaotic and filled with loss. Not wanting to dwell on my pain, I stopped writing and many untold stories gathered inside me, until Maya reminded me that not writing can also be an agony. Her words were the last prompt I needed to start this blog which, I hope, will tell the story of my journey back to joy.
I've decided to indulge myself in remembrance by looking at the posts closest to the anniversary date each year.
2010: The year I left Lafayette, Colorado to return to my beloved California and began a two-year roommate adventure with my best friend, Lynne Snead.

I celebrated my first anniversary of blogging with a quote from Bali which has become one of my favorites: Someone out there needs you, live your life so they can find you. And, I reveled in a poem by Herman Hesse: Sometimes.
Remembering the importance of time.
Sometimes when a bird cries out,

or the wind sweeps through a tree,

or a dog howls in a far-off farm,

I hold still and listen a long time.

My world turns and goes back to the place

where, a thousand forgotten years ago,

the bird and the blowing wind

were like me, and were my brothers.

My soul turns into a tree,

and an animal, and a cloud bank.

Then changed and odd it came home

and asks me questions. What should I reply?
2011: The first year I was accepted into an art gallery and truly began to think I might actually be an artist. The post that coincided with my anniversary described my first experience of taking photos of an environment and creating a piece of digital art from that. An artist friend began hosting meditation groups in her inspiring art studio and, on a whim one evening I took a mass of photos of her supplies and the objects around her studio. Those photos pulled me into a different type of art piece. It broke open a whole way of looking at the world.

2012: I finished a memoir about death and finding joy “after the fire,” and it began to set me free. The mid-September post talked about the found art of life:
This morning it occurred to me that life is found art.  Stuff comes to us … some rusty and bent … some shiny and bright … and it's our choice as to whether we weave it into the tapestry of our lives … or toss it away … or even walk past it not recognizing its potential.  A great deal of the found art of our lives comes from people: family, friends, the quick sales interaction in a department store,  a fragment of conversation heard while walking down the street.  

When we begin to notice these fleeting moments … not as something immediately practical designed to serve us … but rather, as bits of bright glass and rusty parts that help us create a new work of art … our lives … we start to accept our role as artist … creator … of this experience called life.
Beauty and Time
2013: An interesting year. I moved to the central coast of California, got accepted into a new art gallery, and almost stopped blogging. There were no posts from August through December of that year. Interestingly, the July 4th post celebrated our democratic DNA:
On this day 237 years ago, our ancestors here in the U.S., gave us the gift of great genes ...  a DNA of democracy, reverence for education, law and order, equality and justice. Like all peoples, we haven't always lived up to our potential but today is a day to remember what we were given and to renew our commitment to protecting this great gift for future generations.

Desert Wine
2014: A year of great change. I entered into a new relationship, which didn’t last but prompted me to sell my house and gave me the freedom to have a four-month-long adventure in Mexico. My near-anniversary post reflected on a celebration of the revolution in Mexico and a shout that I heard frequently: Arriba!

Reflecting on that shout, I wrote something that seems especially relevant for where we are in 2017:
… all of this has made me think about how many things begin with a shout, words said with emotion and power, to ourselves and to others. Perhaps we need a word like "Arriba!" to energize ourselves to take action, to do the things we know we want … and need … to do.  What is our shout?
There's Always One
2015: Another year of change. Returning home from Mexico, I was basically homeless. Finally, I bought a house in Grass Valley, where I thought I would stay “forever.” ­čśë  It was another low year for blogging and the only post in September reflected on the effects of climate change on political stability by comparing the collapse of Syria to what might happen if the same devastating drought happened in Florida, a political entity of about the same size and population.

Started making memes.
2016: Since I wasn’t associated with an art gallery, my creative energies were focused on writing. After self-publishing a novella, I began a novel inspired by one of the most inspiring videos I’ve ever watched … How Wolves Change Rivers that prompted a remarkable trip to Yellowstone for research.

My near-anniversary post begins: I want to read this book. The Secret Life of Trees.

I’m a bit chagrined that I still haven’t read it … however, I now have the audible book. So, I’m going to start listening to it … today!

2017: I’d say another year of change, but that’s becoming redundant. I was in the perfect house in the perfect community, when I decided it was time to move to Mexico. I had self-published a gratitude journal and was on the final edit of the Yellowstone book when arrived and realized that all I really wanted to do was make art.
 
So here I am in a place that has awakened all my senses. While I lost my darling companion Missy down here, I am on fire making digital art again, living a healthy, walking life-style, meeting people with the most incredible life experiences, and re-dedicating myself to this blog. 
 
I have found an online community of digital artists who inspire me every day, and I  just launched my new art website which you can see if you click here.

This is one of my favorite recent pieces of art. A young woman in her quinceanera (15th birthday) dress on the cusp of change. Who knows what new joys and sorrows will come her way? Who knows who she will become?

I don't have the dress but I still feel like I'm living on the cusp of change, not knowing what's coming my way or who I might become. There is no bigger change than the one I'm heading into. I deserve a dress!
 
Into the Unknown
Some tidbits I’ve discovered about the past nine years of this small-time, non-commercial blog: 

Page views: 193,795
Posts: 828
Most Popular posts: January, 2011, was dedicated to poems by Rumi as read by Coleman Barks. Those posts are by far the most popular ones I’ve posted. The most popular of them is “What was said to the rose …” and if you google those words, my post is #4 on the first page. Minor stardom.
The most popular of my own posts is simply a digital image: Art for Today: Intend Peace. I’m touched that the world seems to like that image and thought, so much that I reposted it yesterday and renewed my own commitments to the 11 intentions.
Audience: It surprised me to learn that other than the U.S., the largest number of page views comes from Russia, Ukraine and Israel. And PC-users outnumber Mac-users 4:1. 

3 comments:

  1. Yes, you deserve a dress. Mexico seems to be your coming out party.
    Coincidentally, I've got The Secret Life of Trees from the library right now. But I may have to return it unfinished, since I'm finding little time to read, sadly.

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  2. ramblinrobert ... you need to ramble more or write more! As fascinating as TSLoT is, even in listening mode, I find there are too many distractions and have only made it a few chapters in ... even the introduction, though, is worth the effort.

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  3. Will probably to forget to tell you on Monday, but I loved this post. Very inspiring, just because you know where and what you were doing over these past eight years ago still have the faculties to write about it. :-)

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