Blessed Non-Attachment

untitled, 2006, ceramic, 30″h x 18″d (varies)

There are a very few pieces of art I have kept for my personal collection.

The ceramic sculptures pictured above are one example.

I have loved living with them.

The other day I was preparing to take my dog for a foray in the neighborhood.

I bundled up and sat in my wheelchair.

I powered her up and we took off slowly for the front door.

BIG, GIANT CRASH heard behind me.

Dog freaks out and thinks I am VERY angry with her.

I am weirdly calm.

VERY weirdly at peace..

Like I took valium or something.

I know exactly what happened..

The power cord was not fully disengaged from the chair and as I took off it caught the bottom of the urn on the left.

I swivel around and the prized sculpture is in bits all over the floor.

Here are the things that went through my head:

1. Oh, God.. I don’t have the energy to clean that up.

2. I really loved that piece. Why don’t I care if it’s broken?

3. Am I totally in denial, here?

4. No, this is really real..

5. I don’t especially care that it is gone.

6. This is like REALLY weird, Cathy. WHO HAVE YOU BECOME???????

I opened the door and Olivia and I went for our walk.

I came home and got the broom and did all the bending and scraping necessary to sweep away the remains.

And I carried on with my day.

When one is challenged by chronic illness

Value systems shift around in profound ways we aren’t even quite aware of

Until we are.

For me, yeah.. I loved that sculpture very much.

But it was only a ‘life-enhancer’ to a certain extent.

And I saw in my reaction to it’s demise that it’s value had fallen considerably

On my list of my true needs for a thriving life.

Used to be that inanimate beauty was key to my survival.

And being surrounded by things that reminded me of who I was: Cathy the artist, etc..

But I am much more these days.

And who I am seems not defined by stuff.

I am certainly not immune to someone coming over to my home for the first time and seeing how small it is; simple and great for me but not one of the aesthetically fabulous places I’ve called home before,

And maybe judging me or having some opinion or concern for me in some way because they are unfamiliar with ‘this Cathy.’

No, I see and feel people’s reactions.

But I also see their confusion and wonder at my level of ‘ok-ness’ with my life and Self.

I recognize my level of peace is palpable (when it actually IS a part of my life…caveat: NOT really here during the holidays).

What gets me there has absolutely nothing to do with the urn I loved.

No one can take away the feeling I had while creating that piece of art.

And the process of making this life, day to day, is no different.

The medium has shifted.

But my life is my art these days.


6 Responses to “Blessed Non-Attachment”

  1. Carol S. on December 23rd, 2010

    what a perspective. so glad you have the awesome pictures of those gorgeous sculptures.

  2. Elisa on December 23rd, 2010

    i get it Cath and you described that feeling in such a beautiful way!

  3. Bibliotekaren on December 23rd, 2010

    …But my life is my art these days.

    I journaled my new year intentions the other night on Solstice. As life has changed a lot in the last year (employed to not and less functional), I was writing goals about shifting from medical crisis-mode to reclaiming and imbuing life with more purpose and meaning.

    However, I noted that I kept starting to write “find” purpose and had to consciously shift to “create” purpose. I never was an artist and my resume is sprinkled with the word “analyst.” Your post helped give me form to the concept brewing in my head — me as artist and creator of my meaningful life with purpose.

    Be well Cathy.

  4. Joseph on December 23rd, 2010

    “But I am much more these days, And who I am is not defined by stuff”.

    Dear Cathy, I have known of your spiritual immensity for many years now, and in this holy-day time of peace (Not really here during the holidays) I offer you a glimmer of peace from my own heart, peace shared in those brief moments long past, yet present when re-called, re-collected. Such moments, too, are fragments, shards. The heart is indeed a mosaic of all the shattered pieces of the past….my mosaic bids you grace. You are ever grace-full.

    Much peace and love to you,


  5. Laura Hegfield on December 24th, 2010

    “But I am much more these days….the medium has shifted, but my life is art these days.”

    Oh Cathy, I hear you…you are indeed so much more…it fills me with awa when I recognize the exponential growth that occurs living with less to cling to.

    sending you love and light my dear

  6. CWA on December 24th, 2010

    and for a shallow moment, I’m just going to say that “Rain” was always my favorite and it ain’t broke…

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