Elevation


detail of hand-panted textile
_____________________________

” It is important to have a sufficiently elevated life condition so that you will be able to calmly accept whatever happens in life, striving to put problems into proper perspective and solving them with a positive attitude. Happiness blossoms forth from such a strong and all-encompassing life condition.” — Daisaku Ikeda
_____________

I installed a new support in my bathroom..

Keep in mind that I am an artist

And care deeply about aesthetics.

So- WHAT is a girl to do with the VISUAL ASSAULT

Of this elevated commode seat, I ask you?

Yuk.

BIG, bulky and entirely ‘hospital-fare’ looking.

The thing is: the assist it gives me helps a lot.

How does one buffer these marks in time which could so easily be turned into tics on the wall

Measuring decline?

Each time I have invited assistance of this sort into my life;

1. AFO leg brace
2. knee brace
3. Walker
4. Power wheelchair, ramps

I find the need to do an ‘ego-overhaul.’

The initial sting of present reality asks to be dealt with.

Am I less? Sicker? Farther down the rabbit hole of a carved-in-stone diagnosis?

Is this new thing EVIDENCE for that story-line?

“Cathy.. Do you deserve support?”

“Indeed, I do.”

“So get over yourself and receive it gracefully.”

And so… I do.

In this case, I knew I needed a visual and energetic buffer of some sort to assuage the assault..

I took an exquisite piece of silk, handmade lace I inherited from my grandmother and draped it over the elephant in the bathroom.

The incongruity of it has me laughing when I see it.

And so… I have slipped the clutch of ego once again

And crafted a better story.

I am so entertaining to myself!

And onward I go

In the quest for crafting a life of beauty.

The Fall


detail of ceramic sculpture
___________________________

As a gymnast in my youth my events were the balance beam, floor exercise and uneven parallel bars.

These are not team sports. Success in each depends on a laser-beam confidence and will.

I think back on what it took to walk, spin, leap and roll on 4 inches of wood standing 5 feet off the ground.

The action and spiritual quest of harnessing interior worlds to behave and serve me in a desired outcome is territory I have never tired of. Back then, a fall was humbling. These days it is life threatening.

It’s all the same, though.. same quest for balance.

The language of the act has had to shift from willing a personal result to the symphony of inter-dependance.

I am beginning to find this territory far more intriguing than my private worlds in the gymnastic realm.

My ‘win’ was dependent on my personal map-making. I went where I wanted, how I wanted and designed a routine I lived inside and performed that in front of the audience.

The response I received was either apathetic or loud and electric depending on whether the witnessing of my tricks left my world and infected the audience.

Below me and my balance beam there was the floor… the enemy, really.

‘Do whatEVER you must to stay off the floor’ was my credo.

These days, my entire life is lived on that floor which is the great equalizer in life, I think..
I took a fall, metaphorically speaking.

The choice of the image above from a sculpture of mine came from the response it gets from people: “It is scary!” or this: “It looks like a sea anemone in the ocean.”

All boils down to point of view…

I see myself using the acuity of a gymnasts’ world to inform my current life as I negotiate getting from a chair down to the floor in yoga class or even just getting out of bed.

I am blessed with muscle memory from my competition days but the skill I lean on the most is my inherent knowing of what an elegant, self-posessed TRANSITION looks and feels like; the shift from a willful woman to one who embodies more patience, mercy and kindness for herself and others.

These gifts from ‘the floor’ I value highly. They are my trophy.

Pretense


textile design, silk jersey, 1985
________________________________
I lived in the seedy part of Boston’s South End in the 80’s creating hand-painted textiles for men’s and women’s wear.

I was surrounded by people eager to shock, startle and roar their way through life by separating themselves out from the masses in some way and finding a smidgeon of identity in this way.

Oh my goodness… I felt so lost and uncool.

I came to work each day and built an energetic bubble around myself and communed with color and brushes, dyes and fabric.

I have spent my life trying to find an identity that felt like natural me. It has been years and years of trying. I had no idea how to approach the quest for authenticity other than ‘trying’ to get there.

No longer do I have the energy for TRYING which is a true gift in illness. I have had the good fortune to segue into pockets of BEING and care less and less about coolness.

Because horizons and shadows are really pretty uninteresting to me, being more intrigued by the present as I am- (periodically, mind you….)

There is space enough to register authenticity when I meet it.

These photographs came to me yesterday:

To me, these images represent the treasure we all are beneath any posturing or pretense.

I look and experience only beauty.

Yes, his body probably doesn’t look like yours.

Can you feel him there?

See his light and reverence for the gift of life?

THERE IS THE SENSE OF NOTHING EXTRA ABOUT THIS MAN.

I can safely say you will likely not forget what/who you saw; GUIDO GABRIELLI is the publisher of Italian YOGA JOURNAL.

I can say that because when truth is put on the table, everyone knows.

And a mysterious silence rolls in… authenticity is here..

At last.

Authenticity is here.

RE-FINE


monoprint, 30″ x 40″, 1990
__________________________

I see that when I intake the correct (for me) ‘food’

I have more than enough energy to live well.

My goal is to nurture this precious gift of Life

With attitudes, activities and awareness;

Each acting as clean fuel

For my Self

As QUEEN!

Of my personal landscape.

I could easily regard the outward impression I may leave people with: that a severe narrowing is taking place as my body shifts into ‘needs-support-to-function’ mode, as a truth. The thing is- I am unsure of much of anything that fits into the ‘truth’ category anymore.

And I like it that way.

A lot.

Because the way is clear to discover treasures left in low places

The fully upright

Strutting and careening masses

Would all miss completely.

I fill my basket.