”I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking a moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.”
—-Gilda Radner, It’s Always Something
I am finding that after years, I have a ton of old ideas. Well, Elisa, I say to myself: of course it’s been 30 years, every new idea has become old. It’s an attempt to brush me away from noticing more closely the things bringing dis-ease and all that comes with it into my life. If I can see it, then I have a way of doing something about them. WE CAN’T HAVE THAT!!, chatters half of the itty bitty shitty committee in my head. The other half says OMG HOW HORRID, See we KNEW you weren’t doing it right (good enough) get to Work, obsess over it until enough is achieved. Sigh.
So, I was inspired to try sketching/drawing a pumpkin yesterday. Not just a pumpkin, I can do those. I mean a pumpkin, like from a sketch artist. You know a perfect one (rolling my eyes as itty bitty shitty committee agree including vigorous head nodding). So, I started to ruin the thought, and to sort of argue with the committee. This removed the joy of the thought.
It also became clear as the argument ensued, that old abusive voice from a parental unit: Drawings and Poetry are a waste of good wood. This is what these are good for…and crumpling them and tossing then into the wood stove in front of me. The person didn’t just do one or two. The person waited for a pile, so that the horror of who I believed I was and my child joy and wishing to be enough, for praise and love…was crushed.
The odd, or not so odd perhaps, thing about this is that I have been away from these people for More than 30 years. So, I noticed that while there is/was a real source of the idea that I cannot do art, or of it’s value, even to myself is just for burning. I put that onto myself now. I don’t believe a personal expression has no value. I do not believe what they said. I believe they were very sick people, who couldn’t have done it any other way and that I get to put that down.
How the hell do I put it down!?! It’s not a rock. The itty bitty chitty committee shouts we would have put it down if it were a thing to put down! We are NOT stupid! (Which I find funny since they do appear to love to cling to such things to use on me at all times, what would happen to them if I managed to put down the old idea?
So as I was muttering to myself and the committee, the idea came to mind that time I found YouTube videos about drawing flowers, which made things in such a perspective to get around what I thought drawing was and to remove a little crumb of the I cannot do this idea. Of course it felt nice, so I could not follow through. I learned to draw two flowers and suddenly I had no time or something. My committee is cunning, baffling, and powerful! Perhaps I could give them a kindergarten star chart for great cunning, baffling, and powerful ideas! (And then do what I really want or believe—while still practicing principles)
So I took a breath, got the paper and pencils, got super judgy about the stuff I noted in the paper tiny drawings FAILURES already present, and I said to them shhhh look at that effort.
So I found a video about a pumpkin, I did NOT have all the right pencils (a sin i know). And I set out to simple follow the directions of the dude in the video. This is also funny as sometimes I get guidance and good orderly direction from a dude I call Dude!
So I was so intent, in a good and free way following the video dude there was nearly no time for inner chatter. They did appear to be over my shoulder, this pumpkin doesn’t look like his, so I said that’s okay I’m just following directions, leaving it free to see what comes out at the end from being literal. I ENJOYED MYSELF! (I swear as I am writing the committee just said EEE GADS! The horror! We have too…).
The pumpkin will not win any art awards. The pumpkin will not be hung in The White House. What I got, in that moment from the pumpkin, nothing bad happened during or after. I shared it with a friend, and I thought at the time I wanted praise. This morning I know it is a badge of freedom. I did what I wanted to do and nothing bad happened to me. This stepping out of the normal to me misery, caused them for a bit to create jittery shaky tummy and body feelings. I said to them, it’s ok see, it only feels funny because for all these years we are waiting to be harmed. Doing things differently does feel uncomfortable. Uncomfortable and Danger fear, to my body and the committee have so far registered from the brain to the body a vast gun to the head fear response. This will fade as I practice. Uncomfortable is NOT Danger.
I guess I did way more than drawing a pumpkin. I looked inside my pumpkin.
“. . . I have many friends in New York who are not religious people. Most, I would say. Either they fell away from the spiritual teachings of their youth or they never grew up with any God to begin with . . . What I’m seeing in some of my friends, though, as they are aging, is a longing to have something to believe in. But this longing chafes against any number of obstacles, including their intellect and common sense. Despite all their intellect, though, these people live in a world that careens about in a series of wild and devastating and completely nonsensical lurches. Great and horrible experiences of either suffering or joy occur in the lives of all these people, just as with the rest of us, and these mega-experiences tend to make us long for a spiritual context in which to express either lament or gratitude, or to seek understanding. The problem is—what to worship, whom to pray to? . . . . “
—-Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat Pray Love
“Patience doesn’t mean making a pact with the devil of denial, ignoring our emotions and aspirations. It means being wholeheartedly engaged in the process that’s unfolding, rather than ripping open a budding flower or demanding a caterpillar hurry up and get that chrysalis stage over with.”
“How can the divine Oneness be seen?
In beautiful forms, breathtaking wonders, awe-inspiring miracles?
The Tao is not obliged to present itself in this way.
If you are willing to be lived by it, you will see it
everywhere, even in the most ordinary things.”
–Hua Hu Ching, taken from The Essence of TAO by Pamela Ball
“If you were to take negative emotions away from people, they would simply collapse and go up in smoke. What would happen to what we call art, theater, drama, to most novels? In the emotional center there is no natural negative part, the greater part of negative emotions are artificial, they are based on instinctive emotions which are transformed by petty imagination and identification (losing self in an object). Positive emotions are emotions which cannot become negative. But all our pleasant emotions such as joy, affection, can, at any moment, turn to boredom, irritation, envy at the slightest provocation, or even without provocation. So we can say that we can have no positive emotions. At the same time we can say that we have no negative emotions without identification and imagination.”
“The feeling of being hurried is not usually the result of living a full life and having no time. It is on the contrary born of a vague fear that we are wasting our life. When we do not do the one thing we ought to do, we have no time for anything else – we are the busiest people in the world.”