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To Tending the Gardens We Already Have…

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This past month has been peony season. That wonderful time of year when you walk in to the grocer and buckets on floral balls waiting to explode in to a multitude of beauty and color await you. By far one of my all time favorite blooms!

Each time I go in to the store and pass these buckets I tell myself I shouldn’t indulge. My practical side shouts I shouldn’t buy myself another bouquet when I just bought some last week yet my heart whispers please so I do.

Yesterday while driving home after purchasing a cluster of pale pink peonies I remembered, I actually have peonies in my garden. Three little bushes we planted upon our arrival here in Connecticut 8 years ago. A gift to my future self so each Spring when these beautiful blooms fill the buckets at the grocer I would have the luxury of walking outside and clipping a few from my own front yard. Some years I remember, some years I can’t forget as the big bold blooms spill over on to the grass that surrounds them. This year, until yesterday, it hadn’t even occurred to me that they existed.

As I type this my breath is still a bit heavy and my muscles fatigued. As soon as the kids climbed on the bus this morning I walked to the little strip of land where my peonies root to admire them. Upon first glance they could not be found. A heavy stand of weeds had grown up around them, a thick patch of ivy over them. Then and there I started to clear the area. Frantically pulling from the roots the nearly 3 foot tall weeds surrendered easily. The roots of the vines put up a stronger fight. Very quickly I began to uncover that which I went in search of. Very quickly I began to see the foliage of the peonies and the wilted petals of three beautiful blooms. I continued clearing until the 3 little bushes we planted 8 years ago were visible. Not quite so little now. No buds or tightly bound blooms in anticipation of blossoming but the promise of their return.

I am often in pursuit of building the next best thing, striving for a newer different (supposedly better) version of things. I often grab the big beautiful blooms made easily available to me in buckets at the front door of merchants instead of looking in my own back yard. This morning was reminder of all of the beauty I already possess. All of the goodness that already exists. This morning was a reminder of the gifts already available to us if only we remember to tend that gardens that we already have.

What I Really Want to Tell You- 11/2/17

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What I really want to tell you is how easy it is to sometimes feel “off track”. To get lost in time while everything bustles about even when physically going through the motions of moving right along.

 

What I really want to tell you is how I worry I’ll never live up to my full or even partial potential while simultaneously wondering if I have any potential at all.

 

What I really want to tell you is how sometimes I stare at the laundry and the lunches, the mayhem and the messes and think to myself I want none of it while in the same moment feeling immense love and gratitude for it all.

 

What I really want to tell you is for me life is a series of me too, and me too and me too moments. That I can often feel very alone and crave the moments of simple connection.

 

What I really want to tell you is I don’t know why I need to write these things down or why I really want to tell you them. I also want to tell you that above all else I value authenticity and there is a part of me that knows sharing what I really want to tell you helps me better communicate in all ways written and more.

 

What I really want to tell you is that for me art is the antidote to what sometimes feels like the chaos of the world around us. That the marks are my meditation and the paintings are often my prayers to try and make sense of it all.

What I Really Want To Tell You 10/12/17

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Today what I really want to tell you is how there was a bee in my hood this morning that stung me repeatedly right before my run. I really want to tell you how I just knew I would be allergic and wanted to use it as an excuse to skip the exercise. That for the first mile of trotting with my dog I could barely breath and I kept telling myself it must be the stings and that I should just quit, go home, try another day.

I really want to tell you that in some ways this has become a habit. Over the past few years if the conditions aren’t perfect or I’m feeling slightly off I don’t do the work I need to do. I distract myself with other busy work. I give myself the safety of not failing by sometimes simply not trying.

I really want to tell you that it hasn’t always been this way and I’m not even sure when or how it began. It might have been as a result of losses or other failures and honestly at the end of the day I’m not even sure the why is relevant. The fact that this has become an option for me however is.

I really want to tell you how I kept running this morning. The breath came and I found my stride. The conditions shifted to meet me or I them and it was a beautiful run. I went for 4 miles, further than intended, and could have continued.

I really want to tell you that I’m re-creating this habit of continuing to go in other areas too. Of forcing myself to move forward and risk failure in order to achieve success.

Finally I want to tell you about my new studio and the white walls and the blank slate and all of the possibilities I see for it. But instead I’m not going to talk the talk here, I’m going to walk the walk there. I’m off to create and promise to be back in touch soon.

Last week I asked what you really wanted to tell me and I heard so many amazing things from people. I heard about the importance of financial planning, people’s passion projects, just words of love so I’m asking again. Is there anything you really want to tell me?

What I Really Want To Tell You...

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What I really want to tell you is how grateful I am that you are here. That you take the time to read my words as I share my thoughts. To view my art. To see me.

I want to tell you that but I also want to tell you so much more. 

What I really want to tell you is I don’t have it all together all or even some of the time. Yesterday as I grabbed a cup of soup with a girlfriend she asked me how I did it. How I “had it all together”? I laughed as I looked at her and her beautifully groomed hair and lovely clothing and answered that I was wearing a hoodie because I had yet to put a bra on for the day, that truth be told I had been wearing the same leggings morning, noon and night for three days straight and my hat was hiding some braids from the day before because I hadn’t brushed it yet even though it was 1:30 in the afternoon. That my priorities just vary from others and I have come to accept that. I pick and choose and more often than not I choose immediate interaction with my husband and children over blow drying my hair and a few marks in my sketchbook over sweeping the floor. 

What I really want to tell you is that motion without progress is exhausting. To move for the sake of moving, to do something without intention or direction, wears a girl out. What’s the gazinta my bestie always asks me and more and more if I don’t have an answer that satisfies me I’m letting it go. We all have a finite amount of energy and we must spend it wisely.

What I really want to tell you is sometimes it’s ok to be quiet as you sit back and take a moment. Maybe to figure things out, maybe to savor that which you have already resolved. Not only is it ok, it is necessary. This is what I have been doing as I work to reconnect to my voice as an artist and as a human. As I struggle to clarify exactly who I am and what I want to do with my precious time here.

What I really want to tell you is that art heals. Viewing art and making art. When you allow it, when you give yourself over to the process, it can shift so much. Viewing a painting or sculpture can bring you in to your environment allowing you to connect more deeply to that which surrounds you. Making an artwork, the tactile experiences of sight and sound and touch and smell activate the body and allow you to really marvel at your experience as an energy in this human shell.

What I really want to tell you is that if you have a yearning, an urge, a question that repeats itself again and again act on it. Try the new activity, walk in to the unknown, get curious about the question and work on answering it.

What I really want to tell you is I love this Hawaiian prayer Ho’Oponopono. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you. It’s applicable in so many moments each and every day.

What I really want to tell you is that after you’ve taken a moment to be quiet it’s ok to find you words again and share them. Let them flow. Don’t edit yourself as you begin, just say what needs to be said and if something comes out wrong refer to the above ( I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.) and try again.

What I really want to tell you is that as I type this I’m questioning if I should be. Who am I to “tell” you anything? Wondering if these words even make sense. This is what has happened again and again over the months as I have attempted to return to a regular weekly sharing process. Until today, the doubt has won and I have fallen silent until I sit down a few weeks later and try again and the cycle repeats.

What I really want to tell you is everything really is a cycle. I want to end by saying I’m so grateful you are here. That you take the time to read my words as I share my thoughts. To view my art. To see me.

p.s. What I really want to tell you was inspired by an exercise with Angie Wiseman and her Wild Writing class (her business name is Soulshine Studio) and the picture of me above was taken by my amazing new studio mate Katie Russo and the gallery she shared it with me in was called Soulshine. There are messages all around us if we only pay attention. I’m doing whatever I can to let my soul shine. I’m inviting you to do the same.

On Not Making the Strawberry Jam

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The temperatures are hot and the humidity snuck up out of nowhere. We are T-4 days until summer vacation. Where I live this means one thing and one thing alone, it is strawberry season.(ok that might be dramatic, there are other things too but strawberry season is a big damn deal as it should be.) Families arrived to the fields by the car load last weekend and filled flat after flat.

My online feeds are clogged with pics of bright red succulent berries, talk of cleaning and freezing the berries, then more pics with stacks and stacks of little jars of jam. Everyone it seems is trying to “capture” this fleeting period in a jar.  

It had me questioning if I should be making jam too. Mind you I never have, we don’t eat jelly in our house, and I have only ever canned once in my life. Still as I see the pictures and I hear the talk I can’t help but feel a slight panic rise in me as I wonder if I or worse yet my kids are missing out. If I should be donning my apron and firing up the big pot and getting to work on something that would surely be a tasty treat.

It had me questioning and then I stopped. If I decided to make the jam I would have to give up making something else; Paintings in my studio, embroidery on the couch, tree climbing memories with my children. It would prevent me from doing the work I am really here to do. The work that lights me up. The work that when I am lucky lights you up too.

So I’m not going to make the strawberry jam. I’ll drive down the hill and buy some from a farm stand that can make it far better than I ever could and spend that time making art instead.

How about you?