Friday, August 20, 2010

The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Wednesday, August 18, 2010.  Following Pat Allen’s “Open Studio” process, I made an intention today to stay on my journey toward connecting my work with my life. From my previous open studio work over the last 2 weeks, I am starting to see that an exciting part of my journey consists of reconnecting to my artistic side that has laid fallow since I quit my landscape design/stone masonry career.

This Open Studio process is pretty miraculous.  I’m excited now and starting to trust it. Following Pat Allen’s process, I am learning to bypass my conscious, thinking mind. Each time I’ve tried, I’ve been catapulted out of my mind into the present moment where objects jump out at me, speak to me as it were, connecting me to some higher self or, in Pat’s words, connecting me to the “Source.”

It happened again today after I made my intention. Soon thereafter, I had to go to the dump and while there I was strongly attracted to a piece of trash: it was at first glance, a monstrosity: a fake window frame with ornate ironwork attached.  I knew I had to have it!

I brought it home and after trial and error, found the sweet spot for my new possession: A blank spot on the outside wall of my office near the door.  Now it was no longer trash.  But what to do now?  It stood there incomplete, it’s three iron rings, open and grasping.

Casting about in my mind, I remembered a strange distorted branch that I had saved for years, fascinated by its shape.  In the past it had been too twisted to be of use yet it fit perfectly in the center ring of my creation. Then I remembered another beautifully shaped branch I had saved because, some day, it could be a perfect walking stick. I added that to the first ring. Finally, I rummaged around and found a wonderful, ornate walking staff, my brother had made for me years ago.  I placed that in the third ring.

I carefully worked at arranging the three wooden staffs. An artistic composition was coalescing in front of my eyes.  It was looking good but much too somber and bland for my taste.  What else to add before I photographed my creation? 

Ah, here it is! I’ll take a sprig from my crabapple tree: bright green leaves, about nine crabapples, red and yellow like perfect little peaches.

There now I’m done!  I like it a lot but what does it mean?

Perhaps I’m now on a path to bring art back into my life?  And if so, the walking sticks are to help me on my journey. Yes, I think this may be so.  And the brightly colored sprig of fruit is to remind me that the journey is not supposed to be staid, drab and ordinary but infused with light.

A phase suddenly hits me powerfully out of the blue: Yes, that’s what the luminous, sprig of fruit represents: Lightness of Being!

Now I'm ready to photograph my piece. I thought it was finished. But none of the straight photographs I took (see above) were able to convey my inner feelings and spirit. After working in Photo Shop I came up with an image I like much  better.
Here's my Photo Shop version. You can click on it to make it bigger.
The Photo Shop version resonates with the paradox I feel between the physical nature of my journey which feels somber, heavy, and confusing, containing as it does a maze of meandering paths, many barely visible. It takes work and dedication to stay on the path.  The luminous green sprig is the diametric opposite: playful, spontaneous and uplifting, representing the unbearable lightness of being, which keeps eluding me,  always beckoning to me from just out of sight around the next bend, telling me to wake up, be in the moment, just step into the light and I'll be free.

 If you have been able to hang in there and read this long epiphany, Thank you.             Jean

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