The Gift of Self

hush
ceramic
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How strange that it is holiday time and I am thinking about the gift of Self.

Aren’t we supposed to be gifting all those we love dearly during this season?

What I learned this year is that I can have little effect in the world if I have not handled my own inner violence

Which in my case can look like shame, judgement and holding fast to what I think I know.

Go gently, all of us…

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“What you do for yourself – any gesture of kindness, any gesture of gentleness, any gesture of honesty and clear seeing toward yourself – will affect how you experience the world. In fact, it will transform how you experience the world. What you do for yourself, you’re doing for others, and what you do for others, you’re doing for yourself.” – Pema Chodron
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A Fine, Fine Ride

vulnerability 1

I have my ear tuned for honest and authentic words.

An unguarded, non-presumptuous demeanor feels like treasure to me when I meet it.

I can tell I am in the midst of ‘REAL’ as the VELVETEEN RABBIT would say

When I don’t want to take my attention away and feel perfectly sane, seen and satisfied.

Patti Smith has an honest voice.

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Courage

black hole
ceramic vessel, 14x 12″
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What is the most courageous action you have taken to date in your precious life?

For me, my most courageous act has been to forgive my mother which I did this week.

Forgiveness has always been an idea shrouded in mystery for me.

Sounds good. I know I should. Pivotal to my own well being. Basic compassion, I thought.

This seemingly do-able action had eluded me where my mother (deceased) is concerned.

What would it take for me to go beyond the ‘idea’ of forgiveness into the actuality?

The specifics of our relationship are unimportant here.

Nelson Mandela spent many years in prison and was released with the true freedom forgiveness allowed him.

I have been in my own prison and finally released.

The ‘get-out-of-jail-free’ card comes only through empathy.

To be able to live inside our own humanness long enough to recognize the ‘why’ of another’s actions/beliefs

Takes all the charge out of a previously cancerous situation.

It can’t just be a nice idea.

We must stop being right.

It has to be known utterly in your heart that you understand how this situation could have occurred because we are each and every one of us born with an innocent heart.

And we get very far from God as well.

The action of forgiveness, if embodied fully, allows a great space of possibility to enter where a defended heart once reigned.

Peace is the result.

Peace and gratitude.

I lay my heavy sword down with a deep sigh of relief and walk on….

Season Entering

felingbetter
“TREE OF LIFE” ceramic 20x14x3″
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I am decorating an outdoor and very bare tree

With cut out ornaments

From disposable (read: recycle-able) aluminum cookie tins.

Circles, moons, stars in honor of solstice.

This crafty activity reminds me of my thrift store-haunting mother.

There is an undercurrent of mixed feelings about it.

But it had to be done, it seems…

It will be great.

I will post a photo when it is complete.

For now: THIS makes me happy.

I want to be able to make the sounds the black guy makes.. I really want this, Santa.

Behold

howtobe1
ceramic, 5×2″
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“TRUE VULNERABILITY IS AN ART. IT IS THE ART OF ALLOWING ONES’ SELF TO BE SEEN.”
– Dani Shapiro

The only way I know to get to the place of an undefended heart is through letting myself be seen, witnessed in a full circle way; meaning the mess, the majesty, the primal and evolved.

In this very short video my take away was compassion;

An empathetic response to the courage these disabled/disfigured people exhibited

In letting themselves be seen in forms our culture deems “imperfect.”

I watch my own musculature

Increasingly diminished through disuse.

My beautiful muscles melting,

Leaving skin which seems lonely for the old job

Of being a lovely envelope; taut and electric.

I have compassion, also for the public reaction

To seeing disfigurement in a store window

Where they expected nothing less than the opportunity for style or beauty

Which met their habitual criteria.

Not getting it- they turn away with the relief that they can..

There are a few smiles of recognition in the video

Of folks with a clear eye for beauty.

The Moves

6wheel

I love my wheelchair.

It goes so fast.

This doesn’t mean I wouldn’t trade it in for great legs!

But it comes close to helping me feel like I do.

Click here:

Overview

detail of "BARK", m/m

detail of “BARK”, m/m


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I buffer the tendency to become myopic with winter’s descent

By keeping some attention on the big picture.

It helps me immensely.

Each of these photos carries the essence of the place.

Even if I have not been there in person

I can feel some of it.

Hidden

15_Rain_2
detail of installation, ceramic, nails
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I have been training myself to live in what I call ‘the in-between.’

As physical faculties diminish and cherished identities fade

My attention goes just to the side of what I used to focus on..

It is happening naturally and without effort

As what was interesting no longer holds a sheen.

The tone of your voice or exactly when someone’s eyes glaze over

Are my lighthouses now.

Why have the birds stilled just now?

Who is the ‘I’ when I moan: “I can’t stand myself today”?

We see only what we choose to see, are familiar with or that which is most obvious often because we haven’t had the inclination, need or time to go further.

Now I do and I am.

I found these photographs of snowflakes that help me know I am on the right track.