Sore Joys

Day two has slipped by like sand under my feet washing away in the surf. If only I was standing on a beach somewhere!

Our day went flying by with sweat and sore backs, but even if we are tired we have full hearts.

We spent the day helping some good friends pack the collection of their life into a 28 foot semi trailer. They are about to start a new adventure in their life and we are so happy and excited for them. We are going to miss them very badly, but we also know that this is a good thing for them. They are going to be so happy living much closer to family and in a climate that they both enjoy.

I will now have five close friends living in the Pacific Northwest and that means I have to plan a trip. That is not a bad thing!

Yesterday we ran some errands. Last night we had dinner with an old friend who is briefly in town and wanted to say hello and visit.

So we have spent two days celebrating friendship, but not breaking free and finding our adventure, … Yet!

I still have adventure on my mind. I can feel my heart tremble with anticipation that I will get to wander and explore.

Maybe tomorrow!

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Kismet Adventures, Part I

Four day weekend and I want to jump in the car and drive far away!

(ADVENTURE AWAITS!)

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I am trying to whittle away one day from our four day weekend to make an escape. I want to escape from the real world of obligations and laundry and leap into Kismet.

What is Kismet, you ask? Well, I am glad to tell you, because the world needs more people seeking Kismet in their lives.

According to Wikipedia “Kismet” is:  A Finnish chocolate bar, a number of movies, a song by Elvis Presley, and three small towns in the US (Including one in Kansas that I have been to).

According to my experience, Kismet is the unusual occurrence when you find yourself on an adventure that makes you feel as if you are exactly where you are supposed to be, even though it is total chance that you could possibly be where you are. It is that feeling when you take a left instead of a right and find the perfect bookstore you never knew existed. Then, following on that feeling of discovery and chance, you decide to take some time and browse the shelves, only to find a rare copy of a book by your favorite author, and even better, it is on sale!

Kismet is a feeling of destiny as the definition implies, but it ONLY happens when you deviate from your expected and normal life. It is the feeling of discovering, or rather, uncovering a path in your life where your heart and soul truly belong. It happens in brief flashes, but if you know how to feel for it you can spur on the possibility of having a moment of Kismet come upon you.

If you have an impulse of childish whimsy and suddenly want to stop the car and walk around the hills in the country, or wander through a rural downtown area with lots of little shops, or are pulled to grab a water bottle and take a hiking trail that looks like it leads to a beautiful overlook, these are triggers for Kismet. The key is recognizing the feeling when it comes over you. Every time I let Kismet lead the way it led me to moments I cherish, treasures I love, and casual meetings that turned into lasting friendships.

Fate? No, actually, it was Kismet.DSCN2408 (2)

What Thorns May Be, Earthing in a Rose Garden

We insulate ourselves from our planet. We disinfect and scrub away any trace of soil or dirt that we might happen to touch. While this has helped to extend our lives as the human race, perhaps even more than vaccines and antibiotics, we have lost something vitally human by doing this. There is a way to regain some of what we have lost without giving up soap. It may seem silly, but when you do it you will feel it and know what I mean. This activity is called Earthing.

What Earthing is, is simply taking off your shoes and walking barefoot on the ground. It is good to do at first in a park where there is soft grass because with our comfortably padded shoes we have become tender paws to the wild. Walking on the grass in a lovely park may not seem as though you are doing something special, but you are allowing yourself to become connected to the earth with no barrier between you and the ground. Yes, sticks and twigs will feel pokey and perhaps you may step on a pine cone or a rock. You do have to be careful to make sure you watch where you step because mankind has messed up a lot of things and broken glass may be hiding in the grass.

I went Earthing today at my favorite park in my home town, Santa Fe, NM. This lovely space has lots of trees, grass, and dozens of rose bushes. Lucky for me the rose bushes are manicured in such a way they aren’t dropping their thorns everywhere. I stepped on some pokey pine cones and several rocks. I may have even accidentally squished a bug or two, but I also felt the cool ground in the shade. I felt a surge of energy and a deep connectedness as I walked. I felt the clover and soft green leaves of various short weeds. I felt the cold wet mud from where the sprinklers had sprayed early in the day. I felt the warm dry clay under my toes in the sunny spots where the ground was exposed and the little patches where the grass didn’t take root.

I wandered through the paved path around the water fountain and even strolled through the water since I was already barefoot.

The cold water splashed up my calves and felt glorious as it quickly dried. I stepped into the bark shred mulch to lean closer to the roses of many colors so I could smell the different perfumes.

Ouch! But so worth it! The smell of the deep red roses and the bright pale pink ones, with little orange and yellow sprinkled in between was simply intoxicating. As I sauntered back to the other end of the park my husband and I enjoyed a picnic with blackberries, smoked salmon, cheddar, and wine. We laid in the shade next to a big pine tree and watched yellow swallowtail butterflies chase each other in the tree tops. Not once did I worry about the mud on my feet.

Being close to the ground and touching the soil heals the soul. It reminds you that summer is life and living. The fecund growth in every inch of the earth is meant to be there just the same as you are. Fertile energy soaks into you through the soles of your feet, the back of your legs, and every inch you connect to the ground. This is a balm to weary spirits that are technologically muted from real life.

I share this experience and the pictures I took so hopefully you will go outside, take off your shoes, and carefully open your soul to be human again.

Shiny on the Darkside

It is a common modern complaint that people polish their social media pages to look impossibly beautiful and perfect. There are many people who suffer severe depression from comparing their imperfect reality with the glossy life pictures online posted by celebraties as well as friends and family. When you are cruising through social media it can seem as if everyone has their life together and the only one who doesn’t is you, but in reality everyone is merely showing what they want to emphasize about their life.

Everyone has problems. Everyone has a darkside. This is a fact and all people have lives that include highs as well as some deep, dark stuff they don’t advertise. Whether it is addiction, illness, relationship issues or other problems, we as individuals face these lows on a daily basis.

I don’t try to make my life into a pretty picture, but I attempt to not dwell on the negative. I remember a time when it was impolite and unseemly to complain about our difficulties publically. I believe perhaps that the overly positive spin we put on our internet presence echos a societal undercurrent illustrating the taboo to complain too much. It isn’t that we are trying to fake a good life, but rather we don’t want to air our dirty laundry over mass airwaves that call for random judgement from people who are inconsequential to our truth. Our real problems may be hinted at indirectly through memes, inpirational posts, or ‘vague-booking’, but directly calling out our tradgedies is not done for good reason.

I don’t like the idea of putting my darkside face up for inspection. I am not wanting or needing likes for the troubles I am experiencing. I believe we must feel the full weight of our own problems if we are to navigate through them to the other side. Sharing the darker side of my life in a mass public forum can make these things seem trivial and as if I am asking for pity instead of coping with them as I am able. As long as I am sharing my problems with those close to me or involved, it is a healthy way of dealing with personal issues, but I certainly do that one to one and not in a public post. We can’t dwell in the dark all the time and advertising our woes leads us to focus on the negative.

What gets shared on our social media pages tends to be what we actually want to focus on and that is a good thing. That could be our loves, our children, our gardens, our paintings, our sunsets, and even our meals. These are bright spots and they are good things to share because it gives us a positive focus and keeps us moving forward in our lives. It is still authentic and genuine to share the positive things in our lives. We are calling forth the celebration of that positive aspect. It is the viewer who must reconcile this view with the balance of reality and the existance of depth. The public is only entitled to what a person shares and must accept that limit, knowing instinctively that more exists beyond the keyboard.

We must remember that we are merely voyeurs into other peoples lives through the narrow keyhole of social media. We must keep aware that what we see isn’t a full panorama of the person, but only what they find worthy of highlighting. When we see the glossy side of what people share in social media posts it will serve us well to remember we don’t shine a spotlight on the darkside of our life and neither does anyone else. The dark exists, but let it be to them to share in private if that is what they need. Celebrate the good that people share and don’t compare your life with others.

Dog Day, Dog Play

We weigh Toby down to wear him out a bit faster. He is a one year old Dobberman and has more energy than a nuclear power reactor can produce. He wears us and his brother out and still keeps going. A backpack and two water bottles evens the score a little bit.

Chewie and Toby had tons of pupper fun today and made lots of new friends.

When my hubby and I take the boys to the dog park now we have begun to recognize people, and more than the people we have come to know the other dogs.

It is like when my kids were little. I didn’t have a name so much as I was Elle’s mom, or Kaidin’s mom. Now I am attached the same way to my boys. At least for these play dates I don’t have to bring snacks and juice boxes!

It amazes me how 30 dogs can get along better than 30 people. There may be less butt sniffing with people, but more dominance issues by far.

Dog Walk

Tomorrow morning I am going to take my boys for a long walk. This is my favorite exercise and if I go to the dog park the views are amazing.

I would love to take the truck back into the hills, but I am not sure how much adventure my husband is going to be up for. He has been sluggish the past couple of days.

I may drag him out anyway. The last time I did we saw the most amazing rainbow.

The sunlight was like honey coating everything against the backdrop of a dramatic blue gray sky.

I will find some adventure this weekend. I need it. I believe I may even need some raw earthing to connect again. Wherever I wind up, I will make it magic and give myself the space to create. This is a new type of promise I am making to myself now; know what I need and go do it.

What is art?

MyRaven

Art is created in that space between observer and doer that lays within the self. It is a space that can only be held open for brief moments at first. Like stretching barbed-wire open so you can slip through and frolic for a while in a secret field. If you go there, to that space within, often enough you might find a gate and with some practice you may be able to return to that space of creation for more than just bursts of mental health, but for something more sustained and practiced.

This is the difference between the art I do and the art I wish I could do.

Kerouac, Nin, Warhol, Kahlo, Steinbeck, and O’Keeffe made art in different mediums, but it came from the same place.  They knew how to stretch space and time to make room for their angels and demons. When they touched their art it spread open and then in turn their art touched the world.

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My little decorations are poor tributes in comparison if we compare by art for art’s sake, but my art is mine.  It comes from that same space inside the human soul. My art is a place where I can breathe and see myself again. It is where I can reflect and inspect all the inner workings of my heart. I can worry the knots out with drawing and paint or weave a story. I can draw some sunlight or take water to my brush and rain some color on the paper. What I make is a dream with shape and form, whether with color or with word.

Do I wish my art was better? Of course, but I perfect each piece as I go and I perfect the peace in me along the way.

Unfurled

I like long drives.

After dropping my daughter off at college for her second year I cherished the thought of a long four hour drive home by myself. I will miss my daughter immensely and like Demeter I will mourn her absence, but even Demeter must have taken a deep breath each Autumn when Persephone descended to the underworld, and she had a moment to herself.

There are few places in the world to enjoy a moment to yourself like the long highway between Fort Sumner and Vaughn, New Mexico. The empty prairie is a place you can unfold your soul and air it like a winter blanket on a summer clothesline. In fact the surroundings demand you expand your attention to the vastness around you.

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Perspective is there, such as the art class definition of the word in the way the two lines lay before you across the land, leaning into each other until they come to a point on the horizon. They do the same thing in the rear view mirror, with little telephone poles ticking off smaller and smaller away into the distance. Perspective is also there in the way the open prairie gives breath and space for reflection you can only find in real solitude.

Warm sky and green undulating hills dotted with cows, sheep, and occasionally antelope. It was about a third of the way across the 54 mile stretch that nature called. If I was a man the choice wouldn’t even be a blink. Out in the open on a lonesome road, every bush is an invitation for a man, but as a woman, delicacy and decorum must be the master and put me in pain for almost another hour. I am 45 years old and I know well enough, decorum be damned. The peace of a non-achy bladder is worth more than dignity when you are alone. The moment I found peace however, was after the relief of my immediate pressing matter.

I took a moment as I came back to the truck and sat there in the warm breeze on the side of the road, I leaned against a post and just listened. I listened to the breeze, and the sky, and the land. Mostly I listened to the quiet. It is a real quiet. Imagine the way the night sky opens up in a place without city lights; it is that in the empty prairie, but for the ears. And the sound of it was beautiful. I closed my eyes and just felt the quiet. The warm breeze rippled through my body. I opened my eyes and saw the sun shimmer the hills miles away from me on the horizon. This is a moment that I will return to many more times in this life.

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I got back in the truck and watched as the bugs dodged my bumper as I pulled away from the little pull off on the side of the road. The hills rose and fell with the road and as I was able, I would stretch my view over the horizon to both sides and even behind me. A full 360 of space and only a hand full of humans that I was sharing it with at best. In this day and age that is about as empty a place as you can find.

After I turned at Vaughn it was only a few miles before I saw the wind turbines in the distance. They look so odd out there in the flat open space. They are like pinwheels in grannies garden, and if they were pink and purple I would swear that was what they were. It is as if a giant granny had plopped them down to keep the birds out of her petunias.

This made me think of my grandmother and the farm I grew up on. I thought of the blue latch cabinet in the kitchen filled with canned goods and the view over the field beside the house ringed with flowers and occasional pinwheels. In my mind’s eye I saw her standing there in her nylons, black shoes, colorful dress, hairnet, and apron.

How odd a thing is as an apron these days. My grandma always wore an apron. It was a fixture of her identity. The young women of today have no use for aprons. Occasionally my mother will wear one now, but I find it kind of funny that she does. It is as if she is wearing it as a token of age or to express solidarity with the mothers of our past. She never wore an apron when I was young.

My mom has a few of my grandmothers old aprons still. Who knows, I may wear one someday. I like the idea of them, but they have lost the practicality they once held. In my imagination the canning jars next to my grandmother’s apron have been replaced with Chinese take out boxes and the apron doesn’t fit the picture, except for decoration. It is sad because I think something is lost in that image. Something I would like to give to my daughters, but no matter how I try it isn’t mine to give. It is like telling a story of a story.

By this time in the drive I am heading up familiar hills and can see the houses of Eldorado, NM as I crest and come around a corner. I think of another life where a small house there was a welcome home with hugs and love. Those days are gone, but every experience we have is like a different life we lived. In that way I have lived many lives, because I have many many memories.

I know my reverie is at an end and with each passing mile I come closer to pressing play on life again. My solitude, my thoughts, my moment of peace on the prairie, my memories of my grandmother all of this gets folded back and placed gently in my heart. I look forward to the next time I can take a long drive, unpack my soul and gain perspective again.

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