Friday, September 30, 2011

Dwelling in Possibility

Emily Dickinson wrote, "I dwell in possibility." I have been reflecting upon this statement recently. For most of my life I've been fearful of dwelling in possibility because I wondered if it was "irresponsible" or "unrealistic." However, in the past few weeks I had a mini "a-ha" about this notion of possible and impossible. Here's what I realized: who gets the right to say what is possible and impossible? I've let others determine what is possible and impossible for me & why? Hmmm...? Upon reading & researching great inventors, thinkers, artists, sages and leaders I learned that they were all told what they were doing was "impossible". And you know what? At some point they just kept moving ahead & relied on an inner compass that guided them. That internal compass became louder & clearer & the external voices that kept telling them why what they're doing was "impossible" became softer and softer.

And I thought about all the things I deem "impossible" & what I've noticed is that what I consider impossible I make impossible. I want to dwell in possibility! Not everything I conceive will come to fruition and for that I am learning detachment in outcome. But, what I also know is that the only way I come closer to realizing many of my ideas is through focusing on how possible they are. 

So, I begin a new chapter in my life & choose to be like Emily Dickinson. I, too, dwell in possibility & I can't wait to see what happens as a result! 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Deepening my yoga practice

I recently embarked on my yoga teacher training certification (that's a mouthful). I've been trying to pretend that this training is no big deal and really haven't talked much about it. Today though I realized I haven't been practicing one of the basic philosophies of a yoga path, which is truthfulness. So, if I am being truthful I have to say I am both excited and uncertain as I continue on this path. Becoming a yoga teacher is such a natural and obvious progression for me, but one I still have managed to fight and resist. Why, because this is a path of transformation and I long for it and yet it scares me as well.

Yoga feels like a calling and this whole process I have embarked on feels like an initiation. I am walking into this not knowing where I will end up, but moving ahead step by step.

The physical part of yoga (practicing the asanas) is the least physical part of my routine. Yoga isn’t about a body doing moves, but rather something larger and infinite moving through your physical body. And truthfully yoga is about nothing less than surrender. : ) So here I go! Letting go & surrendering a little more as I write and share this.  

Friday, September 23, 2011

Necessity is indeed the mother of invention

How do you design & decorate on a budget these days? As a recent graduate & a single mom I knew I wanted our home to feel comfortable and cozy. This past year has really taught me a lot in terms of my honoring, valuing, & fostering my creativity. I call myself a creative practitioner and it's truly something I'm practicing throughout my day.

When it came to finding ways to decorate our space I had no budget for it. You know what happened as  a result? I was forced to look at what I already had & find ways to alter, embellish or totally re-create these items. I look around our home and nearly every wall has something that I created.

Having beautiful items in our home is a necessity for me and I was determined to really celebrate the restraints I had. Rather than bemoan the fact that I couldn't afford Pottery Barn I dug in deep & came up with my own design solutions that worked for our home & also didn't cost a cent!

Looking back on this past year I'm so grateful I had no budget for "home decor". I discovered how deep the well of creativity & that sometimes just when you think you have no options that something else opens up & you are still able to create.

We have more resources, ideas, and possibilities within us then we know. All we have to do is honor our creativity & practice it & it will grow & grow & grow. And what a wonderful process it is.

Paper wreaths made out of catalog paper, buttons, and ribbon.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

What poetry has taught me

I began writing poetry by jumping into it and writing & writing & writing. In those early days I was getting used to my writing voice, but had had practice from years of journal writing. Writing poems was the next natural step in that process. I am forever grateful to people who write poems and to people who read them. 

I was first introduced to poetry at UWM with Susan Firer. I knew nothing of poetry, but was told to take this intro to Creative Writing course because my advisor thought I might like it & it would fulfill one of my requirements. I didn't know that that class would provide me with a way to express what was within me. 

Poetry wasn't simply about writing and reading poems, but rather it fine tuned a way of living. I am so glad that I was introduced to poetry in my early twenties as it helped me pay attention to the world around me and world within me. I was able to listen to what my life was trying to tell me. 

In our busy lives I welcome taking some time to read a poem, to let the sheer beauty of language roll off my tongue and through my mouth. Read a poem out loud! Enjoy the taste of language for yourself, let yourself be a witness to the joy around you & within you. : ) 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Korean Wrapping Cloths

When I was visiting Korea years ago I was struck by Korean wrapping cloths. These cloths were typically made by hand and were created by women. When you were giving someone a gift you would place the gift in the wrapping cloth. Can you imagine making a small quilt every time you were giving a present? The wrapping cloths were really gifts in and of themselves and once I learned about them I loved them for their beauty and their function. 

Last year I took on the challenge of creating my own wrapping cloth and what a task that was! I had no idea how long the whole process would take, nor did I realize how complex it was. However, I took it step by step, stitch by stitch until the piece found its own rhythm. 

By making my own wrapping cloth I felt connected to those Korean women who created their own cloths, and I also felt connected to quilt makers. Someone told me a quote he read at an exhibition where quilts were on display. He said one of the women said that she made her quilts to keep her family warm, but beautiful enough to keep her heart from breaking. 

Why do I practice Art on a daily basis? I think it's because life is not easy and there are moments and situations where you can easily fall into despair. For me, art is a practice and one I am compelled and called to practice throughout the day. I often think of Rumi, "Let the beauty you love be what you do." And I do. There are so many beautiful things to see & create each day.

Constraints in Art

I've recently begun playing with paper. I was given four big bags of paper scraps, many of which were uniform in size. I was overwhelmed initially at the thought of trying to find ways to use the paper. I set up some restrictions for myself: that I would not cut or alter the paper. In a way, I suppose I was trying to honor some of the tenets of origami: no cutting. How could I transform small sheets of paper?

What I love about constraints in the art process is that it really forces me to dig deep and be creative. The solution is always so simple & obvious & yet it's the one I resist looking at initially. I took one form & simply repeated it to create a larger shape. 

The paper sculptures taught me to work in 3D and also to notice the shadows and lines that are created simply from repeating one shape.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Stitch by Stitch

I am avid knitter. I will take a skein of yarn and knit and knit and knit until I make something out of it. I enjoy the beginning of fall because I take out the skeins of yarn in their varying colors and textures and begin to create something. Knitting is not for the faint of heart, really. A lot of knitting is repetitive, but it also requires you to pay attention otherwise you will drop a stitch or lose track of your pattern. I'm a notoriously fast knitter and there's something about the rhythm and the click of the needles that I enjoy. Each and every time I knit I am in awe that out of one string of yarn I am able to create something that I can wear. Since having my daughter I have created numerous knit items for her and there's a great joy that I can make something that clothes her and warms her. What I value most from the process of knitting is that a simple repetitive act can accomplish something functional and beautiful. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

What I see.

I am probably like most people who wake up and start my day with coffee, getting ready and then am off in a series of different activities throughout the day until I get ready to go to sleep. What I love about taking photos is that I am forced to slow down, even with a digital camera. I have to stop and think about what intrigues me and what interests me. The camera is my way of articulating and literally focusing on what is calling my attention. Many people remark that my photographs and artwork is pretty and for a while I felt bad about that, but recently I understood that it’s the beauty in the world that calls me to take a photo. When I have a camera lens to look through I am reminded of all the beautiful and wondrous details in the world that I rush by every day. There is something lovely about the mundane, about objects and shapes and shades that I overlook. With the camera in hand I am able to frame what I love.

Each time I look at the photos I have taken I am reminded what a little love and attention will do to anything we set our gaze on. Even something as seemingly small and insignificant as grass or pieces of wood take on another quality and it’s as if it’s been there all the time waiting for us to pay attention. By paying attention I don’t just mean seeing the world around us with our eyes, but through our heart.