This morning I was unloading the dishwasher when it struck me how as I do, I think about how each of the items came into my life. Each mug, dish, utensil has a memory attached to it of some kind. It actually becomes a meditative process for me than makes an insignificant task more meaningful.
There is the coffee mug someone brought to me years ago from Starbuck's in Detroit because we were both from Detroit and they knew I would like it. There's the commemorative mug from the 1994 Barbra Streisand concert in Anaheim with the weird profile with just her eyes and nose. I love the green cat mug even though I really don't have any recollection of how it came to me. For this alone, I love it. There are is the stainless steel flatware from my grandmother, the mixing bowls from my aunt, the everyday cooking utensils I don't even recall buying.
I pull out the three remaining drinking glasses with peach etching that belonged to my aunt and mourn the loss of their three companions. that I broke one by one over the last twenty years. I should replace them. Complete sets are more useful, but these will do. Plus they are augmented by the sturdy bar glasses I have gathered, two as gifts, the others at estate sales or from Cost Plus.
Mixing bowls from my mom or aunt or a gift from a dear friend now gone. Knives of every variety. Bakeware in various shapes that are only occasionally used. Storage dishes with easily secured lids. These are from Costco I believe. Nothing with great memories, but always appreciated from their service in storing leftovers and such.
Yes, for me, unloading the dishwasher is a meditative process. Wistful thoughts about times gone by people either in my life or long gone. Call me sentimental, but that's probably why a lot of this stuff hasn't ended up at an estate sale or Goodwill. I just look at them and feel a spark of joy or comfort.
Ever come upon someone talking to themself? Perhaps its on the street and then you realize they are on an unseen smart phone. Or perhaps they are really talking to themself in a fit of pique over getting a ticket or tripping over a box someone left in their path. Then there are those times when you encounter someone who is having a full blown conversation with either themself or some invisible person. Finally, sometimes you'll find someone talking to themself AND answering themself. That's when you discretely cross the street or go down another aisle.
Scary as it may seem, talking to oneself is not always bad, or crazy, or all that undesirable. This morning I was writing in my morning pages. I tried something new. I asked myself questions and then proceeded to answer them. Some questions began with why, as in "why do you think it is that you procrastinate so much?" Others began with how, as in "how does that make you feel?" Still others started with when, where and who. Yep, I used the five journalistic imperatives to get to the bottom of the story. Amazingly, it worked.
I won't go into details here about what realizations I came to. That's not the point. The point is by asking myself these questions I was able to reach a point of some clarity about the current state of my life. It was interesting to come to terms (again) with how I mess myself up and tend to keep myself from pursuing my creative ambitions. Truth is, I wasn't asking the right questions.
Who, what, where, when and why are the questions we need to ask ourselves every so often just to see where we are at. The five w's of answered by good journalism and by anyone wanting to get to the nitty gritty of the story...in this case, the story we tell ourselves. And there you have it.
Insight comes from looking inward. Asking the right questions help. Answering them honestly and uncensored is the key. Its amazing what we can see when we lift the veil we put over that which we are not ready or able to see.
Resistance is a constant for me. It impedes my progress toward being and doing those things I tell myself (and anyone who asks) that I want to do before launching into a litany of reasons and excuses why I cannot do them...just not now.
In an attempt to move through this persistent resistant state, I'm participating in a five day challenge online workshop about doing Morning Pages. Morning Pages are "three pages of long-hand stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning," as described by Julia Cameron in her book, The Artist's Way .
Class two is about, you guessed it, resistance. At resistance, I am a pro. As the title infers, I even have a way of resisting resistance that resists all logic or reason. What it is, though, is illogical. If you really want to do something, well, you will find a way to do it. That is why I write this today. I need to stop resisting the "call of the muse" and just do it. For that I need your help. At least it would be nice to have some support.
Many folks are very supportive. They are kind and encouraging and for that, I am appreciative. But I need just a bit more. I need to be called out now and then. You know, call me on BS as they say these days. Don't let me BS you or myself. Scary. My stomach queases up just saying that because you might just do it!
Resistance is a tough nut to crack. But that does not give license to not break through it. If I don't at the end of the day, all I will have is my reasons and excuses and those won't keep the cockles of my heart warm in the rest home.
So there, I've said it. And, yes, I have said it before. But this time...this time I mean it. To resist is futile. Onward and upward. Here goes....
Being the final few weeks of winter as it is now, and with the entire spring in the offing, it is not too early to implement some summer rules. Costco and Walmart do it, why not me? It's about the picture below that popped up on my Facebook feed listing Summer Rules.
The post reminded me of how when I was a pre-teen and my mother was seriously ill, my grandmother posted our duties on the kitchen wall. Everyday we had to review them and check them off as we completed them. Those were chores like cleaning our room washing dishes, taking a bath and so on. So I thought, wow, I should post these rules...these "to-do's" and review them each day to make sure I had down as suggested on them.
The list complete with checkboxes is called "Summer Rules", but it could just as well be called "Retirement Rules" or "Better Living Rules" or whatever. The point is, they address areas of our lives that we sometime neglect. And 20 minutes for each is not too lofty a goal. Of course, the sublist entitled "Have You:" is supposed to be common practice, but I imagine we all have at least skipped breakfast now and then. LOL
Anyway, I printed this out and am posting it on my fridge this morning. Nice reminders if nothing else. I can't wait to do each...and the challenge will be to do them every day. I may not always be successful, but I think it will be beneficial to my mental and spiritual health to try.
As seen at Children's Ministry Deals on Facebook
.Glorious, vivid, exuberant color!! It gets me every time. When I painted the interior of my home a few years ago, i used hot reds and deep golds and luxurious greens and even azure blues. And to date, I have not regretted it.
I love color. That is why when I visited Orange Alley in Redlands today, I thrilled to the sight of the new art in the sky featuring radiant, glowing, giddy umbrellas in the sky. It was a delight to see on this a particularly grey March afternoon.
This is part of a project by the City of Redlands Quality of Life Department observing National Umbrella Month!
Sometimes I find myself just on the verge of an epiphany that just won't come. I see something that makes me think and ponder and meditate, but the clear moment, the "aha" moment, just doesn't come. That's the case right now.
Yesterday my friend, Evelyn, who is visiting from Detroit, (my homeland), and I took the metrolink train into LA to see the Jasper Johns exhibit at the Broad Museum. The museum itself is worth visiting, but this particular exhibit piqued my interest. I had no idea why. I really knew nothing about Jasper Johns other than he is an artist currently in his late 80s on the cutting edge of the concrete movement in art.
The work of Johns spans 60 years. His favorite subjects early on were flags and targets. They are described as concrete images that the mind is familiar with, but the viewer sees something beyond. The art, it seems, is in the process rather than the result. One of the works I was intrigued with is called Water Freezes - 1961, which crystalizes to some extent the moment when water turns to ice. Interesting, but still no "aha" for me.
As we continued viewing the exhibit, the meditation on when objects become art was apparent. It is a question Johns' work asks over and over. And that did make me wonder. Such as, when does a painter's brush preserved in an old coffee can that the artist actually used, become a work of art? To that end, I realize now, anything can be "repurposed" into art!
Eureka! I just not realized, this is my "aha" moment.
What I took away from this image is that there is a point, just as when water becomes ice, objects become art.
My "aha" moment!
At lunch after our visit to the Broad, I noticed the napkin on our table was an object that, to some, could become a work of art, so I captured this image. Yes, here the object becomes art...at least in this artist's mind. Aha!
I may need a bit more meditating on all this.