Nature is the Antithesis of Illness

monoprint,30×22

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I try to keep the energy of my home clean and clear as best I can; clutter, emotional drama, too many colors and textures, unfinished projects and piles of “stuff” all lend density and heaviness to the vibe.

Flowers are insta-clearing agents for me.

They are extremely vital to my well-being and I adore arranging carefully chosen blooms.

Candles and especially the scent and smoke of sweetgrass help hoover out the sneaky slimeyness (sp?) bound to find entry sooner or later.

Sometimes Emma stands rigid on my bed barking at the empty corner of the room protecting me from things only she can see.

My tolerance for staying put indoors is two days which really is pushing it.

I get weird.

My brain curls into armadillo-mode and starves.

Even with all the consciousness I put into “keeping house”

The moment I close the door behind me bound for the plaza or some other adventure

I become light;

Brain unfurls into an un-armored friend and I move from my heart into the world.

Thoughts of pain and weakness and struggle,

Boredom and isolation and severed threads to Spirit

Fly off me like flinty scales

As I lean in to the fresh innocence of a day.

I have a friend in Texas waiting anxiously for what may be the ravages of a full blown hurricane.

Nature has many costumes in her armoire from ferocious to tender.

She demands we must bow to her risking everything if we don’t.

The fact Mother Nature is so much larger than us seems to allow the petty contractions I experience in my physical self to shrink in the light of Her pure and untainted energy.

Suddenly, I don’t feel the identity of “sick or pained or weary woman.”

A slow tear slides down my cheek in undefended humility and gratitude.

I roll on.

Free.

Ghosting

“MOON” 5×3,painted wool flannel

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This past weekend was INDIAN MARKET in Santa Fe.

Our small town doubles in size as 100,000 Native Americans from hither and yon set up booths to sell their creations; textiles, basketry, jewelry, carving, beading, etc.

Most years I avoid downtown at all costs during the show as I get so discombobulated making my way through the throng of fast paced and unconscious visitors.

I feel disappointed about this because due to my big chair I must practice extreme hyper-vigilance to avoid hitting anyone and therefor miss out on seeing extraordinary art.

Actually, I am far more interested in seeing the earthen browns of native skin; hard working, mostly stoic and noble faces not terribly concerned with greeting each visitor to their booth with a chirpy “May I answer any questions?” Very contained they sit waiting with eyes averted often-times as they give the visitor a chance to be called to a work..or not.

The artists who exhibit keep 100% of sales. A LOT of money is exchanged these two days in August.

I took Emma for a walk in the evening one night to see what my beloved plaza looked and felt like after the big push during the day.

The sun was resting behind soft clouds and the streets were pretty much empty except for the rows of white tents.

Here and there families were cooking and eating simple dinners together under their tent.

Flute music was in the wind.

A stray coffee cup rolled down the street and a little brown two-legged dressed in her fancy dancing clothes ran to catch it.

A singer far off somewhere lent his song to the night and I loved that I didn’t know what was being expressed.

Emma and I sat there until after dark watching the smokers light up across the street murmuring Indian secrets white people want so much to have.

The emptiness peppered with soft living, eating, storytelling and connecting

Happening in the midst of white plastic tents

Made me think of the gathering of tee-pees I’ve seen in pictures.

Instead of beside a river these tee-pees skirted the street and water came from plastic bottles and not the spring.

Same stuff going on I imagine: prayer of thanks for a good day, rest in the company of family.

An anglo guy walked down the street and his phone rang with the shrill incongruity of a circus.

We rolled home listening for friendly ghosts.

Once Upon a Time…..

….in a dank and dingy Boston South End loft

I had a painted clothing business with my friend Richard.

He designed the shape of our offerings and I produced the fabrics.

I have always cared much more about beauty rather than being cool and edgy

But from our photo above you can likely see that Richard, being the young genius he was,

Ate, slept, thought about, costumed himself in and projected the image of:

Cool.

Arctic cool.

And I wasn’t and never will be. Glad of it, too.

In the end he chose a speedy little London cool girl who loved only black and they swept me out the door.

I never worked so hard in my life as I did in that business.

We made amazing things I think:

silk neckties, handpainted, 1980

All those years ago most of my insecure energy was tuned toward changing myself around to jive with circumstances that provided a sense, any smidgeon of a sense of belonging.

Over time, the fathoms-deep richness I have made my own has come from the practice of recognition where and with whom I belong.

I do this by tuning into my body; do I feel energized, safe, inspired, SEEN by this person?

Or- does my physical self feel nervous, bored, used, invisible, weak, foggy?

This is the simple litmus test I have used to make the long journey from the Cathy above who performed so often and well

To this more authentic version.

The road here has been my hero’s journey; long and sometimes very gritty. I am eternally grateful I have chosen to do the work.

“Can You Help Me?”

“WANTON” ceramic,steel, 7x4x4

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This evening in Santa Fe is perfection in the cloud department.

I was rollin’ feeling very fine and then-

Emma adventured into a tangle of chairs and such.

Her leash got stuck in a number of places.

I carry scissors in case this too familiar scene is un-get-out-able

But I didn’t want to spend heftily for a new retractable leash

So….

ME to a benign-seeming stranger: “Can you help me?”

Now- I should know better than this because it has happened so often.

The energetic reaction I got from this person went from: “Oh my god…this wheelchair person needs something from me” and “I am late for the theater and tired of shelling out cash to the needy” as well as “WAAAYYYY too much need in the world! I can’t help EVERYONE!”

She displayed frustration, fear, impatience and displeasure.

Of course these are the stories I told myself from reading the energy evident in those nano seconds before I remembered to

TELL HER WHY I NEEDED HER HELP!!!

At which she relaxed and became my evening hero.

I wanted a cocktail when I got home..

Exhausted from the chaotic mess of an evening.

I am in my chair so things are not physically demanding but the psychological navigating that needs to take place sometimes leaves me breathless. My job is really to educate people about how best to be with me; attempting to foster a positive and fairly natural connection with a marginalized part of the population.

I like doing this but today I needed a good kvetch. It is often challenging to take care of myself AND those around me too.