Hope and Create

Recently, I received an SOS — an invitation to be part of a group of bloggers making and experiencing magic by sharing our stories. I love their idea that “the magic of story happens when a story is released into the world and it wraps around someone’s heart.” Fantabulous, isn’t it? I hope this bit of my story wraps around someone’s heart bringing a sweet song of hope and peace.

Sometimes, being is difficult, because life is difficult. That is not to suggest in any way that being and life are not glorious, mysterious, and wonderful. They are! But, sometimes, there is uncertainty, fear, anxiety, and pain, amidst the glory, wonder, and mystery, and that can be burdensome.

This year has had some wearying moments.

I have an incurable — but totally manageable — form of cancer. I am well, I really am. I am strong, brave, beautiful, fantabulous, and very loved. And yet, sometimes, it gets the best of me. It has been becoming more active over the last few years. And that, as well as how it makes me feel – fatigued, sometimes ill and unsafe — has been hard to manage.

Did I mention wearying? Yes, I did. Part of me whispers “It bears repeating — weary.”

But even for the weary there is hope. I love Pope Francis! Listen to a few things he has said recently about hope.

“Hope does not disappoint!”

“Do not be afraid, do not yield to fear: This is the message of hope. It is addressed to us, today. These are the words that God repeats to us this very night.”

And not only hope, but creativity as well.

“I’m living this as a time of great uncertainty. It’s a time for inventing, for creativity.”

I am doing my best to breathe, and to live the words Pope Francis speaks to me, and to us. Let us live in the moment, even in uncertainty — with hope and creativity.

Create Space

A while back I was experimenting with ideas from Joanne Fink’s book about zenspiration dangle design.

I’m not quite sure if Joanne suggested dangling a circle or if I came up with the idea. But it enjoyed playing with it. After finishing the exterior side of the circle, I decided to dangle the interior portion as well. Even now I’m intrigued by the different sense of the design on either side of the circle.

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For some reason the outer design maintains its outward flow. When I look at it, it doesn’t change. It is strong, steady, open, and ever reaching. I am attracted to the balance between white space and color, between lines, shapes, and openness, between straight lines and curved.

My relationship to the inner circle work feels much different. I am at one and the same time attracted and somewhat disturbed by it. The structures do not maintain a particular direction, but seem to move depending on where my gaze lands. I notice the same elements of line, color, and open space. But, I feel a sense of conflict as the various elements converge on the center.

As I wondered what to do, I remembered a henna design the awesome Catherine Lent did for me. In the midst of her beautifully intricate design, she had an empty circle. We chuckled about it as she worked around it. After checking with me to be sure I was ok with it, she left it empty. She said something like, “Sometimes it’s good to leave a bit of space.”

Hmmmm. Space. Yes, leave a bit of space, or create a bit of space.

I went back to my drawing and covered the tightness of the center with a small circular piece of white paper.

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I love it! I am intrigued by the space I created in the center. It is at one and the same time empty and yet full of stillness, openness, wonder, and possibility.

This speaks to me for my life as much as it does for my art.

In art, and in life it’s good to have space. Space for possibility. Space for stillness. Space for breath and being.

Space.

Sometimes it’s hard to find.

But, just like with this piece of art, I can step back, make a choice, and create space in my life, my heart, my mind.

Breath, prayer, times of sitting, a walk, are some of the small white circles that I place upon my life to create calm, still, open moments.

Sometimes it’s nice to leave a little space … or to create it.

#Show your Work!

I’m doing final preparations for my National Coalition of Girls Schools 2016 Global Forum presentation, and I picked up Austin Kleon’s books – just to immerse myself in some good creative energy and thought. On page 44 I found this:

“3. SHARE SOMETHING SMALL EVERY DAY!”

Every day. EVERY day! Eee gads. Yup, that’s what I thought, Eee gads! Lol, how in God’s name can I do that, and not lose my mind? or my health? or both?

Then I read it again. Share something SMALL every day. Something SMALL!!!! 😀 Ah, I can do that. Well, lol, honestly, I don’t know if I can, but I can try. Maybe I will share something small some days …. or most days … or every  week. Who knows? But, I am embracing sharing something small today.

So, (along with my presentation) this is what I’ve been working on the past few days. (My plans are to do a smaller version of this journal with my Kindergarteners!)

Front outside cover…

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Front inside cover …

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Acrylic paint applied with an old credit card and my fingers, collaged with hand written papers and papers torn from magazines, embellished with paint marker writing.

I’m embracing the process, and the work — in its mess, and uncertainty, and “unfinishedness” — as an artistic representation for my life, my health, my journaling … sometimes messy, sometimes fantastic, sometimes beautiful, always in process! And, much like my life, I’m liking it!

(Btw, the back inside and outside cover remain blank canvases … white gesso … awaiting further time, inspiration, desire.)

Resources:

Show your Work! 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered (Austin Kleon, 2014 Workman Publishing Co).