Together or Apart?

"LINGAM",  1992,  6' x 5',  m/m

"LINGAM", 1992, 6' x 5', m/m

 

 

I remember creating this piece so long ago.   I still love it,  somehow.

Probably because it is so very different than ANYTHING else I ever did.

Where did it come from?  What is it about?

I do know it was a homage to the male and female energies we each carry within us.

It was created during a period when I was interested in the idea of making an image that seemed as if it was either falling apart or coming together but you couldn’t decide which.

The color makes me think of that ‘God-light’ that happens here in New Mexico for just seven minutes at sunset.

The mystery that keeps my attention in this painting is the same one that keeps me from going into despair regarding the challenges I face in my body.

Am I falling apart or coming together?

It might LOOK to others like a progressively poor state of affairs over here in ‘Cathy-land’ but if they could get the full picture of the precious and unexpected changes happening,  not a tear would be shed, believe me!

But I can’t really explain that so I think the only thing to do is to BE it…  whatever IT is…

Clearly this territory defies articulation sometimes.

I am FALLING APART and COMING TOGETHER.

How weird.

And surprising.

And weird.

The Collective

 

detail of sculpture,  2002,  ceramic

detail of sculpture, 2002, ceramic

 

I had an astrological reading the other day.

He is very astute and has the ability to get out of his own way and not make predictions but just relate what he sees as the symbology presenting itself in a persons’ chart.

What interested me was the metaphor he used for the effects we are seeing represented world-wide
as well as how those same energies affect us personally.

He spoke of a hurricane and how it hits solid ground with a force.

We deal with that onslaught until finally a strange stillness occurs.

We think it is over and relax a bit.

But no…

This is the eye of the storm.

His sense is that we are inside that eye now.  We saw the economy collapse.   Greed unmasked.  Our values shift.   We pull our attention closer to center and release future-thinking a bit.   We tighten our belts and prick up our ears in a slight readiness for what?

We’re not sure…

But we sense SOMETHING coming.   I do,  at least.

My astrologer friend likens this hyper-alertness to his sense that the second wave of the storm will be here at years’ end.   He didn’t have an idea of what it might look like but felt it’s power and effect to be greater than the first wave.

What does this information have to do with anything?

I have had the sense that all this catastrophic fear-inducing talk on everyones’ tongue only makes sense if we return to our own inner landscape and tend to the upheavals there.

Do I have dread?   Is there fear? Has chaos taken hold and dragged me down its’ gritty road so I am scraped and scarred?   And what do I do with these pesky obstacles? Shall I eat?  Buy something?  Hide the pile of bills behind a stack of books?  Make someone wrong for something?  Move?  Complain?  Get sick?  Take a vacation?  

There are always ‘SLIMY GOODIES’ we get from indulgences such as these. (Speaking personally, here..)

 It is SO MUCH EASIER to sit in the middle of the drama of what is happening in the world.  Television makes it colorful,  loud,  entertaining in it’s apocalyptic theater.

For me, it seems the only thing to do that makes any sense at all is to release myself from the addiction of looking OUT THERE for solutions and turn inward to manage my own demons.

Get Dressed

monoprint,  30" x 22",  1992

monoprint, 30" x 22", 1992

 

 

GET DRESSED

 

Slide out of bed now.

Give all your coveted stuff away.

Nothing becomes you.

 

 

 

                                                                 -C.A. July 2009

Faith and Hope

detail, untitled, 12" x 12", 2003

detail, untitled, 12" x 12", 2003, m/m

 

A good friend opened up the conversation on the difference between faith and hope.

Never really thought about it before.

Very separate things in my mind, tho..

Hope feels more like a wish.  Kindof magical thinking.   A desire for……………

It feels airy and diffuse.  Not too much substance behind it but a good beginning.

I’m gonna go out on a limb here but my sense is that hope can NOT take form or substance unless a part of us surrenders into FAITH.

Faith,  for me,  is the KNOWLEDGE that a prayer  (different than hope)  has been heard and is somehow in process but the clincher is that we have no idea what the result will be.   It will most likely NOT be what we HOPED for but we have FAITH that what comes forward toward us is CORRECT for US.

Hindsight has shown me the gameplan..

If I don’t give the universe any direction at all around my desires,  intentions,  goals,  prayers…
What tends to be left on my doorstep is undefined and confusing and not very useable.

But IF I put energy forward in a GENEROUS way without my egotistical foot on the gas and recognize that my desire may actually be met but come in a different flavored life-saver.. well,  then I’ve got a heart with a little more space in it to accept a different result than I thought I wanted.    WHEW!!

Take my MS diagnosis for instance..

I have always been a person who loves solitude AND connections with people.  I have kept a relationship with Spirit at the forefront of my life since I can remember.

Because of the changes in my physical self  (can’t do what I used to),  my emotional self  (need lots of silence and stress-free time),  psychic self  (toleration levels for other people’s drama is zero)…. BECAUSE of these changes I am brought to my knees and have a much more intimate relationship with Spirit.

Now,  would I wish this path of mine on anyone?   No.

Are many of my prayers being answered through this challenge?  Yes.

Do I have FAITH that I am not in this alone?  (God, are you listening?)   Yes.

Do I have HOPE for the miracle of remission?  Yes.

HOPE seems like a horizontal line.

And FAITH a vertical one.

And where they meet is a sweet,  sweet spot,  indeed.

Humans

untitled,  2001,  ceramic,  1" to 5" varies

untitled, 2001, ceramic, 1" to 5" varies

 

There is a man who sells newspapers on a corner near me.

His name is Terry and I find myself curious about him.

He is so reliable;  stands in the middle of a not-too-busy intersection doing his thing.

When it is searing cold, he is there..  all bundled up in his puffy overall suit.

If it’s hot,  he chooses interesting hats to wear.

Sometimes his chihuahua sits there with him.

His mustache is stained yellow from cigarettes.

I always give him more money than expected and ask how he is.  He says:  “I’m here.”

I drive by him a couple times a day and he sits quietly looking down at the pavement.   Never waving false hellos to prospective customers or even attempting to catch our eye as we drive by.

I know he is a vet and clearly depressed.   Seems like that should be the end of it…  but no… he’s got my attention.

And why is that?

My guess is that I somehow admire the way he holds his frailty.

No grasping,  no moving outside himself to make a sale,  get attention,  get done quicker with the task at hand of selling the papers.

He just IS.

He sits there in the middle of the road on a crate and waits for the next thing to happen.

Maybe it is that quality I notice.  The lack of AFFECT to make life go a certain way.

Of course,   I am surely lending my own story line to a questionable scenario here but this is how I watch people and end up loving humanity as a whole.

We think we are so all powerful and somehow the chosen species but we are all at the effect of life when it happens inconveniently,  horribly  with no warning and no recipe for a return to what was.

We are all Terry,  sitting on our box in the middle of the street at one point or another.

We might have the where-with-all to cover the scars better but our frailties make us human.

This is the party we’re all attending.

In my own health challenge,  I see what it takes to create a beautiful theater out of the mess.

And,  I guess that is the point of interest for me of late:   how to make a thing of beauty out of something that looks less-than-perfect?

The act of just NOTICING human frailty feels beautiful,  somehow,  because we,  as a culture ABHOR IMPERFECTION.  It frightens us and so we lend a blind eye.   We don’t want to catch it.

My frailty has made me softer somehow.

I like that part.

Treasure Map

"PORTRAIT OF PLACE",  22" x 22",  2006, m/m

"PORTRAIT OF PLACE", 22" x 22", 2006, m/m

 

I AM FEELING SO MUCH BETTER!

I suppose there was little chance I could go through a week at the MAYO Clinic unscathed.

By that I mean that even though the environment was perfection and the experience as a whole more than positive, there was still the pall of the ‘death sentence’ at the end from both doctors.

My heart was moved when I saw their sad and disappointed eyes as they said:  “You have Primary Progressive MS and we don’t have anything in our doctor bag to help you.”

It’s darn nigh impossible not to take that on,  I tell you……

But here I am,  a couple weeks home and watching myself come back to life,  I’d say.

After negotiating this path for years now,  I do have some things in my kit-bag that have proven to have results in heightening my health and quality of life.

No stress.   REALLY clean diet.   Stay out of the heat.  Conserve energy and leave my ‘type-A-ness’ behind.  Tried and true supplements.  Say NO when I have to . Drink water.   Get help when I need it.

These are things that shift the tide for me.

I know this because I’ve tried NOT doing them.  Often.

It’s just the way I seem to learn.

Stubborn girl.

The point here is that the foundation of my landscape is possibility.  I lose the thread to that and I am done.

Yes,  this is a different life than I had imagined but richly textured with questions,  creativity,  gratitude and promise…

As long as I lift my head high enough to see…

Either/Or

untitled,  2000,  5" x 1/2",  ceramic

untitled, 2000, 5" x 1/2", ceramic

 

 

 

EITHER/OR

 

Either weakness thrives

Or I woo something larger.

More interesting.

 

 

                                               – Cathy Aten July 2009

Order/Chaos

"GRID",  4' x 4',  2003,  m/m

"GRID", 4' x 4', 2003, m/m

 

Finally feeling back to myself.

I feel GOOD.

I feel life in me and around me and not so self absorbed in my body’s world.

It’s a relief to everyone…  mostly me.

I have always gravitated to a grid pattern in my art when I am in a transition of some sort or emotionally shaky or just plain OFF in any way, shape or form.

I do this intuitively and see it as a sort of pattern in the body of work I’ve created over a lifetime.

Of course,  it makes sense, really…

A grid lends a stable foundation to move from.

It’s elements are perfectly placed so they use the support of their neighbor to remain solid and intact.  They do not insist on existing alone for their own sake as you would find in abstract art.

And so. .right now I watch myself be drawn again to create and also to live inside a sense of order-  clean house,  clear mind,  lots of open space for healing on every level.

It is sooooooooo easy for chaos to get me by the throat.

One catch of my foot on a tree root and I’m down where I can’t get up.

So I put my humility on like a pretty dress, grab my walker and be grateful for the support.

The Holy Grail

"FOG",  30" x 30",  2005, m/m

"FOG", 30" x 30", 2005, m/m

 

Joseph Campbell talks about the knights of the round table being given the task of finding the HOLY GRAIL.

In the story it becomes apparent that the grail cannot be found if one approaches the forest and chooses a path set by someone else.

The quest must begin by entering the deepest darkness of the forest where no man has gone before.   One must make their own trail,  face all shadows and fear and only then does the knight have a chance of taking home the treasure.

The treasure for me is a richly connected life.

I see that following worn and well travelled roads will not get me there.

And so I wake up and begin again.  I pick my spot to enter the forest.

Some days I just move guardedly through the shadows and grow weary of clearing the path.   I turn around and go home.

Other days the shadows open into meadows flecked with wildflowers and a sweetwater creek.

This gives me strength and I press on…

Building, Rebuilding a Life

"RISE",  30" x 30",  2006,  earth, pearls, wire, ceramic, mica

"RISE", 30" x 30", 2006, earth, pearls, wire, ceramic, mica

 

I remember a favorite yoga teacher from years ago.   She was 70 at the time and had alot of gravity to her.

She would walk around us as we did the poses and critique.

Very occasionally she would just stop in her tracks and become silent.  Then she would say:  “God is near.  Can you feel it?”

And sometimes I could.

These days,  as I reshape my life to fit my physical changes I have the opportunity to decide what elements,  beliefs,  habits,  people,  furniture,  food,  prayers,  clothes,  dreams and desires will stay or go.

And how to decide these things in order to create a thriving live for myself?

I go back to that question;  Is God near?

For me,  that means that I get a solid feeling of OPENNESS and LIGHTNESS when I think of a choice between two or more things.

I even do it at the grocery store…  a red apple or a green one?

This is the only way I know to choose well and rightly.   When I do it from my mind,  I can ALWAYS make up a story about why this man is good for me or that medication will heal or this course of action seems right.

I don’t trust my mind.

I am actually bored by it.

It’s a remarkably good tool and I have a good one but it has proven to take me only so far.   And not far enough.

And so,   in humility,  I listen for the whisper or roar of God  (or Spirit)  and stay in the place of not knowing.  And listen.

I’m going to let myself be shown.

Because if I,  in all my ego,  decided to do this road alone I would surely,  surely have a wreck.

New Growth

"LIFT",  2005,  13" x 13" x 4", ceramic, earth

"LIFT", 2005, 13" x 13" x 4", ceramic, earth

 

You know,  It never ceases to amaze me that my state of being is so malleable and seldom fixed.

I love that about myself.

I can be cloaked in despair one moment only to cross the threshold into hope and anticipation the next.

For a long time I thought this was sort of borderline behavior.   Now I consider it one of my finer assets.

I chose the image above as I created it while I was thinking about how the forest floor is teeming with life in the Spring.  Everything looks dead and brown and used up.  BUT UNDERNEATH!  There are small pulses of the tenderest green being herculean in their lifting of the decaying life above them and,  against all odds PUSHING up toward a new beginning.

They couldn’t have the strength to do what they do if they had not fed on the old and transformed it into new life.

That is how I look at the challenge in my body.

I have the curiosity,  strength and desire to go forward only because I sense myself transforming into a very different and substantial woman by integrating change and watching as I do that,  becoming stronger and less defended all around.

A big core lesson in my life has been to not return to an experience over and over again expecting a different result.

I learn this in little increments and try not to chide myself for the fact it seems to be taking me SSSSSSOOOOOO long to get this.

This theme has shown up in my relationships of ALL sorts;  mother,  father,  family,  men,  friends,  teachers,  and NOW the playing field is my own body and it’s seeming frailty!

There is a fine line that I call the razors edge which actually seems to have that same innate power that the tiny new growing thing in the forest has…

Negotiating life on the razors edge demands beginners mind,  an undefended heart,  an openness to what I don’t know and tenacity drawn from  ‘other-than-human-sources’.

In essence,  it’s the simplest thing but if ANY part of me is fighting change instead of NOTICING and humbly integrating that knowledge, I fall…

This doesn’t mean a passive existence!   NO!

It feels full of life in it’s newness and what it demands of me and those around me.

I suppose I am so in love with THE JOURNEY because when I make art,  the creation PROCESS is what enlivens me.

It seems my life has become a creation in the same sense… The end result is only marginally interesting to me. My prayer is to recognize the power and promise in a moment.

Energy

"THE FIELD",  1985,  5' x 4',  pigment on wool flannel

"THE FIELD", 1985, 5' x 4', pigment on wool flannel

 

 

I had this great conversation with a good friend today.

We talked about the inundation we both are feeling of energies pressing in on us that affect us in adverse ways.

Cell phones,  TV,  email,  to-do lists,  presents to buy,  emails and phone calls to make and return,  papers to write and file,  closets to clean, conversations to have, work to do,  relationships to foster and repair and some to leave..

It feels as if there is a constant pull which includes a numbness because it’s so familiar.  There is also static because none of it is generated by NATURE and therefore is not natural to us.   So there is a constant effort on our part to protect ourselves from being overtaken by it all but we’re so used to this underlying unnatural thing that we don’t even register how much it costs us.

When I took my trip recently to the MAYO Clinic,  an interesting thing happened…   The moment my friend dropped me off at the US Airways curbside and I slid into the wheelchair waiting there for me,  a cleaner and clearer energy started to happen in me.

I really didn’t realize this until I returned home but all the while I was away,  I was right inside the NATURAL AND VITAL CATHY and I had almost forgotten her!  I haven’t travelled for a number of years out of fear and fatigue.  As I negotiated the wheelchair rides,  the cabs, the hotel,  the doctors and other patients I watched myself making intuitive choices whether I wanted to connect or not.  Would I engage in conversation for 1 minute,  or 5 or 1/2 hour?   I effortlessly chose in the moment and moved on.

I think the energetic relief and clean slate I felt had alot to do with the fact that kindness was afoot everywhere I went.  Human frailty was the order of the day,  not the ego enhancement of our culture as a whole.

I felt safe.

I recognized myself as a woman with an interest in connection but a desire for the kind of meeting of two souls which feeds me rather than empties any small reserve I might have of late.

Very occasionally I have just a tid-bit of CHI left over to give as a gift to another but these days my emphasis has to be on what allows ME to thrive.

On my return home I am ruminating on the qualities of my trip that fostered this reintroduction to my essential self.  The freedom,  safety, ease and energy for adventure.

I heave a sigh of relief that SHE is still around and got some life in her yet….

Begin Again

"HIDDEN",  monoprint,  30" x 22",  2000

"HIDDEN", monoprint, 30" x 22", 2000

 

Sometimes something happens that just sort of levels me.

Whether it is a physical challenge,  an emotional one or it could be the daily challenge of negotiating the world and all it’s psychic overload of fear and chaos that I,  as a sensitive person,  pick up.

As an artist,  my most cherished tool of the trade is that very sensitivity.  It allows me to find most everything I need in the present moment.

The past holds little interest nor does the future.

In my art this is a rare and cherished quality because I use the present moment to inform the work so the piece has little chance to have any kind of  ‘I’ve seen that before’  feel because I really just sort of open to what’s available in THAT moment.

This works GREAT in my art.

Not so great when one is trying to live as a fully capable and functioning member of the human race.

I’ve always been challenged by the segue from the circular way of being which makes it possible to register life in a multi-layered and textured way,  and the linear way which helps bill collectors stay away and keeps the water on.

I envy those few I’ve met who seem to negotiate both ways tolerably well.

Anyway,  in my case with MS,  my hand is being forced and I must scratch my way toward unfamiliar territory.

This whole life feels somewhat like a graduate course in something…   wonder what?

All I know to do is get up when I fall and begin again… and do it again tomorrow.

It always helps me when I am in places scented by despair to give something…  a smile,  extra money to the paper guy,  long walk for my dog, prayer for our president,  a soft heart and forgiveness to myself.

The Wash

 

"AND IT ALL POURS DOWN",  45" x 5',  2002, oil, plaster on panel

"AND IT ALL POURS DOWN", 45" x 5', 2002, oil, plaster on panel

 

 

I’m so glad I can cry.

Don’t do it very often but sometimes the gates just open.

I wake up the next morning with puffy eyes but feeling clean and ready for whatever comes next.

Yesterday,  I behaved badly.

I got to a place in negotiating this whole MS thing and was feeling alone in it as far as my blood family is concerned.

I wanted to connect and called my sister.

I practiced transparency with her;  being honest about my state of being,  concerns and told her she didn’t have to FIX anything,  just hear me.

The tears I cried had that tinge of ‘over-the-edge’  madness to them.

Too many.  Too fast.

The reason I say I behaved badly is that it was unfair of me to go from NOTHING to SOMETHING with her.

We are as different as two people could be.

I think we both honestly yearn for our sisterly bond to be easier and less frustrating.  We want that THING that we think is possible IF ONLY SSSSSHHHHHHHHEEEEEEEE could be different..  or IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII could be different..

The thing is that we’ve got what we’ve got and that is good.

It is rich and human and multi-textured.

There is certainly deep disappointment sometimes that we don’t jive or experience one another in a way that might get us to that fantasy place of whatever it is we think we want from one another.

This ride we’re on is essentially solo.

I am responsible for the quality of life gifted to me.

Something I really want to address in myself is to pay attention to people when they show you who they are.  Believe them the first time. Appreciate that and love THAT instead of the chronic efforts we do because we think we need or want a different outcome.

When I wrote that,  a peace washed over me.

I’ll take that as validation for this post.

New Territory

 

detail of installation,  1991, ceramic, coal, earth, 10' x 10'

detail of installation, 1991, ceramic, coal, earth, 10' x 10'

 

A friend said yesterday that my posts sounded different since my return from the MAYO Clinic.

I hadn’t noticed but she is right.   I have new and soberingly solid information about the state of my physical self.

I am sick.

Funny..  don’t think I’ve ever used that phrase to describe myself till now.

I just can NOT tolerate people who wear an illness like a new jacket for all to comment on.   It is just TOO MUCH THEATER that surrounds this kind of human frailty.  People make entire constructed personalities out of body functions gone awry.

Boring,  boring,  boring.

And yet..  here am I.

Enough energy to go out and water the trees but then I am spent.

Where is my thread to life-force?

And what does this mean for the capable me;   the me who works,  adventures,  has friends,  gives dinner parties,  wears shoes with laces?

I am unveiled and at the altar of a damned adventure I didn’t ask for.

Today I want to run.

And leave the groom bereft of whatever it is he wanted..

I ain’t got no JUICE for anyone but myself and this destination that doesn’t show up on my GPS.

Very surely new territory……

An Odd Time

"CATERPILLAR",  2004, 13" x 4" x 2", ceramic

"CATERPILLAR", 2004, 13" x 4" x 2", ceramic

 

 

Such a time we are in..

Chaotic…madness everywhere,  short fuses and long opinions.

I really have this odd sense it is all supposed to be happening exactly as it unfolds.

My body is leaving behind a whole identity it has known and trusted and loved.

We,  as humans on the planet today are being asked to leave behind closely held beliefs and ideas about much of what we have POSITIVELY known to be true:

Shaky ground, this…

But REALLY GOOD.

My body is disintegrating which allows me to check out  ‘the void’.

That place we would rather NOT turn toward but when we do  (read: are forced to..)  as individuals or culture,  nation,  planet;   we get a glimpse of POSSIBILITIES we’ve never dreamed of.

All this chaos seems to open us into less  “I AM SURE I KNOW….”
And then that  ‘roller coaster stomach’  place of;  “I DON’T KNOW” shows up and away we go on the ride of our lives.

Pity we don’t evolve until we get uncomfortable enough.  Comfort is so seductive.

The air we all breathe these days is laced with the acrid scent of change.

But at some point in the near future,  it seems,  our car will change lanes and pull ahead of the clunker ahead spewing all it’s exhaust in a choking fog.  We’ll pull off to the side,  press the accelerator and slide the machine into new air,  dazzling in it’s newness and heady pull.

Perhaps my body will remain challenged but the rest of me is opening and reaching and curious about this new landscape.

Who’s to decide what perfection is,  anyway?

I have absolutely no interest in that concept anymore.

All these years of KNOWING are boring to me now.

I really don’t know much.

And that leaves PLENTY of room for …………………………

She

 

"GIRL",  2005,  30" x 4", ceramic

"GIRL", 2005, 30" x 4", ceramic

 

SHE

 

She lived without much thought for the future.

She made do with what she had,

Enjoyed her friends,

And always lived a notch or two this side of too much hope.

Those who knew her would describe her as happy more than not,

But because her interests were moderate in a world gone mad with desire,

They,  for the most part,

Considered her strangely out of step with reality.

 

– Stine

Touch

"CONNECT", 2003, 40" x 40",  oil, plaster, panel

"CONNECT", 2003, 40" x 40", oil, plaster, panel

 

Many years ago I attended a yoga convention in California which hosted Mr. Iyengar,  the father of yoga in this country as far as I can tell.

His yogic system is rigorous,  precise,  all about alignment and the peace and perfection that come with an experience of all your insides stacked where they should be.   What happens when everything is right feels like a waterfall of nectar seeping through each cell and feeding it till you think you can’t bear the goodness of it all..

That said..  I practiced Iyengar yoga as an ardent student for 10 years or so.  Because of my study I know what EASE in effort feels like as well as the WORK of compensating when we are out of alignment.

I still use what I know these days but have seriously backed off moving my body because it either hurts or is exhausted or I can’t bear the knowledge of the current state of weakness I now live with.   Pesky ego…

I went to that convention for one main purpose;  to find out why this genius of a man is known for hitting his students when they are not doing a pose correctly and really looking and behaving kindof abusive all the while carrying an immense archive of 70 years of practicing looking inside his body and making minute adjustments toward perfection.  He is a true anchor of light on the planet and I wanted to know how these seemingly disparate parts of him could exist in one human.

While at the convention we students separated into small classes taught by senior teachers.  Mr. Iyengar visited each class and meandered around silently looking and assessing and occasionally making small corrections to a fortunate student.   We all wanted his focus to be on us.

We were doing a pose where you sit crosslegged on the floor and clasp your hands turning them inside out and reach your palms as far toward the sky as you can.   At the exact moment when I was about to collapse out of the pose,  he came forward and touched me.   He touched me very,  very softly at the exact apex of the pose closest to the ceiling as my palms reached above my head.

In that touch all effort dissolved and a silken rain of peace washed over me.  He had transferred some of his archive to me..

After that experience I didn’t forgive him for how he treated some students but I think I understand.

He knows things.

He is getting older.

He NEEDS his students to know before he dies and he is afraid they don’t and won’t.

That’s my take on it,  anyway.

I have never again experienced that level of love and compassion he built into that touch.

I did learn that such a touch IS possible and that effort is NOT always the way toward peace though our culture values it so highly.

It seems that ALLOWING  or YIELDING is more the thing.

Once and Only Once

"ORANGE" ,  12" x !2",  2002,  m/m

"ORANGE" , 12" x !2", 2002, m/m

 

HAIKU FOR TODAY:

 

THE CHOICE

 

Once and only once

Just right now we get the chance

To love life fiercely.

 

– Cathy Aten  2009

Precious Body

 

untitled,  1997-98, 5"h - 13"h

untitled, 1997-98, 5"h - 13"h

 

 In so many spiritual texts it is said:  ‘We are not the body”,  meaning we are essentially Spirit first and having an experience in the body but the issue being that we let our body DEFINE us.   We can’t seem to separate from our MS or a toothache or our cancer or our beauty or ordinaryness..

I hate it that my body feels like it is disintegrating.

I’ve noticed this gaining nervousness which seems to be about questioning what,  exactly might my purpose be now that my body no longer functions as I have always depended on it to?   When the DOING changes or stops,  WHAT IS MY WORTH?

I hate change.

I love change.

I am a highly creative person which,  as an aside,  I believe we all are..

Here I have an opportunity to recreate myself.   I’ve done it many times before.

When I create a piece of art or just have a conversation for that matter,  I start from the same place;  I LISTEN.

I listen for a thread that wants to take me.

It’s like beginning in the void or a dark room and looking for the crack of light and naturally going there..

There,  where it’s still unknown but somehow intriguing.

A PULL happens and there’s always the choice to stay or go but I am curious and bored by familiarity at times.  And so I GO..

These days that thread tugs at me to look at how my precious body is NOT ME.

I have it.   I love it.   I am so appreciative for the functioning it DOES do but I AM NOT IT.

How do I know this?

When I soften out of the density of pain or terror or frustration or anger at the changes taking place,  there seems to be this wideness on the other side of all that.

It feels peaceful and really isn’t attached to anything.  It just seems to be THERE and waiting and feeling weirdly like it is FULL of everything.

These realizations are so much different that the contracting that goes along with wondering about my self-worth as my body changes.

My worth seems to be simply that I exist.  Simple as that.

The cultural overlays are so peskily POTENT!

We should be this,  have that kind of relationship,  wear this shirt,  drive that car,  behave this way,  know that fact,  travel here,  eat that.. YUK!!!!!

I am enchanted by the space between.  There is where the thread seems to be leading me.

I listen and follow.

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