Viral gratitude ~ 4.24.20

It has been bothering me that this disruption/virus, is a direct result of our disregard and abuse of nature as suggested by Jane Goodall, and unlike Jane, I feel that it’s too late for us to correct our thinking and therefore actions. It depressed me quite a bit, because as contrasted with Ms. Goodall, a true hero and prophet, I am giving up hope on our species ever co-creating with Nature rather than trying to dominate and bully our natural order into submission. Instead of using our native abilities for intelligent and sensitive stewardship, we have abandoned this goal and work for the most part. Thus, we are now dealing with the virus, severe weather and other global dissonance. Quite heartbreaking.

And then I get a message, as I usually do (when paying attention from the Universe), in some form or another. Words resonate with me and often fly in middle of the night these days. On Facebook, a post comes through my feed from Empath Connection which I usually gloss over. This message came in the form of questions and answers from a Native American Elder and is restoring my faith and hope:

“Grandma, how can I live this quarantine?”

“My daughter, quarantine is a special mysterious and sacred period. In my days, newborn children could only leave the house for the first time after their 40th day of life. It is a period of waiting and preparing for a new life. It is the period that produces a great change.”

“And how do you prepare for this change?”

“With simple, genuine and loving actions. Every morning comb your long hair with dedication and untie all the knots, even the most hidden ones that you have always neglected…” [I am shortening/skipping more here to get to the point that really speaks to me]. 

“Grandmother, I’m afraid that after this isolation nothing will change. Man quickly forgets…” [sic].

How others react to this quarantine is none of your business. Make a commitment to change and not forget. Make sure this storm shakes you up so much that it completely revolutionizes your life.”

—Elena Bernabe, Indigenous Peoples cultures, April 2020

~ ~ ~

Thank you Elena Bernabe and Jane Goodall for another description of
The Hero’s Journey

 

For a Brief and Exciting Moment

like a rock in a river splitting its stream water interrupted returns to its flow

I had two pieces selected for a juried mixed media show, and I’m delighted and proud to announce that one of them received “The Bethlehem House Contemporary Art Gallery’s Directors’ Choice Award.” I was amazed, humbled, and honored trying to process it all. I am a self-taught artist coming from a loving but hard-working, practical and uninterested-in-art family. I had to slowly and with great pain and loneliness at times find my own way and voice. The real artistry/creativity and reward, is about finding one’s whole self and transformation truly from a larva-grub to a moth through to a butterfly-metamorphosis. Lots of angst and breaking through that “I’m not good enough” and perfectionism mentality/training. It’s all part of the process, but for me—as a late bloomer–all the more satisfying and all the more grateful!

One month ago, I wrote about depression. Now, I am writing about success–the pendulum forever swings. The real breakthrough here is not the award itself, however sweet, but the interruption–like the rock in the river, that changes our flow forever however momentarily and seemingly insignificant, in the big watercourse of life. I can now fully appreciate and gratefully wear the mantle of heroine in my own story and forgive and tender the goat when she stumbles.

~

heroine or goat always rocks in the river’s flow

Unity In Diversity

Yesterday I happily attended a celebration of programs that brought together diversity,  a collaborative intergenerational participation and youth mural projects. These workshop/programs inspired youth and seniors to connect through artful play, get engaged in the community library and foster a positive environment for collaboration amongst a diverse group of local residents. I was one of the teaching artists in the Intergenerational Art Program. It was a heartwarming and delightful experience and as in all “teaching” opportunities–the teacher gets to learn from the students. From the eldest senior at a spirited 92 years to the youngest at a mature 11 years, the international as well as intergenerational group came together to connect, discuss diversity and create art together. Through round-table stories and imaginative artwork, the different generations and nationalities learned about one another’s cultures and traditions and formed meaningful relationships. They also bonded on their many commonalities to form lifetime friendships and inspire one another. It truly was an antidote to all the fear of people “who don’t look or act like us.”

At the same time, all the participants took risks with their artwork and vanquished the fear of “not good enough” or “I can’t draw'” demons. It took a little coaxing, especially with the senior generation, but once they let go of what art is supposed to look like–they had the most fun and appreciation of their creations. A new art gallery was set up in the local library which will be an ongoing showcase for the residents’ artwork and stories.

Sponsors of the program include: LIFE Center Stage, Friends of the Butler Library, and Morris Arts–all of New Jersey. Special thanks to Vicky Mulligan of LIFE Center Stage, visionary, friend and wise woman of the tribe for inviting me to participate, take risks and stretch beyond my own limits.

 

Am I Good Enough?

Lunch discussions at the studio have been lively lately amongst my group of women-artist-friends. We come together regularly and irregularly, each with her own brand of self-expression as well as an enormous overlapping of support, encouragement and enthusiasm for each other’s visions.

The opportunity has come up recently for us to enter our work (individually) into a local show that is to represent a cross section or survey of women artists in our area. It is to be displayed at a respected gallery in town. Along with the opportunity comes the angst of “Is my work good enough?” Taken one step further it morphs into “Am I good enough/Am I worthy?” Rest assured at this point, the artists involved are all dedicated, passionate and hard-working. Several have won prestigious national awards and accolades. And yet the angst, or internal emotional strife, is a rampant virus that can cripple even the best and strongest of us. Eva Hesse, a ground-breaking sculptor and pioneering artist in the 1960s questioned her work, her vision and her right to create. Her close friend wrote her in a now-famous (with spicy trenchant language not included here): “Stop (thinking) and Just Do”—Sol LeWitt. Today we admire and celebrate her courage, leadership and movement of art onto a different and higher plane.

The most difficult part of artistry/self-expression is dealing with a brutal self-critic. The rest is simply about observation, patience and practice. What is so wonderful about working in a community, classroom, workshop or with a group of artists-peers is that when you have discussions like this—the realization sets in that we are not alone with Self-Doubt and Fear of Failure. And when we see that our peers are surely worthy of brilliance and respect, we therefore begin to understand and feel that we too are worthy. Self-Doubt and Fear of Failure are merely tools for objective observation, learning, growth and elevating our craft. It may just well be that angst is as important and misunderstood a process as creation itself.

said the rose to the thorn, thank you

© ag ~ 2018

And We’re Off…

Once again, as has been my practice for about five years now, I make the choice to take the time to reflect, write and focus my attention on one thing during each day in January that I might normally whizz by and lose sight of. In this spectacularly busy world, we regularly make and ignore small choices that do impact all the rest. This practice is called mindful writing and asks that we pay attention and bring presence (by writing here) to all these seemingly insignificant decisions that in realty shape who we are. This is not just about being serious in a somber way (I couldn’t do that if I tried). It is about staying present enough to look beyond our own foibles in order to appreciate the humor and grace that we can normally and easily ignore.

My official practice begins on January 1st every year, however as I age, I need to do more stretching and warming up physically and mentally. Hence this long introduction and a reblog of my last post from January 2016 to start things off:

 

Writing My Way Home  – A Kyirelle

As a mindful writing practice,
I blog daily on that and this.
It is called sharing a small stone,
A spoonful of prose and a poem.

January lobs with a cold moon,
And winter scenes of snow monsoons.
My muse inspires an artful tone,
A spoonful of prose and a poem.

Tales of grit, grace and gratitude,
Shape its forum and latitude.
With tears of laughter, grief and groans,
A spoonful of prose and a poem.

Presence is my daily prayer.
Growth is awareness being here.
To this end I write my way home,
A spoonful of prose and a poem.

c   Andrea Grillo ~ 2016

Fireflies and Fiddleheads

Rain and Rust

 

Between all the self-talk —
fiddleheads
and yearning for a potato chip.

If only I could paint this time
between rain and rust
how would that look?

Once I was a river wild,
whiskey notes, and
summer squalls bending light.

The day you asked
I could not explain
in search of some moment.

Despite all the doubts
it was worth the while
it takes to see fireflies

In the words you whispered,
wearing my wounds,
and the distance of blue.

AG ~ May 2016

A Sunday Stoll In The Rain

 

that That

IMG_4107

 

 

 

 

 

that That

 

that song that keeps playing in my head

that retort I wish I never said

that money I wasted on a dress

that time you asked but I did not say yes

that photo I never got to take

that mistep I refused to make

that jealousy I fought so hard to erase

that that creeps into a deeper place

that longing I cannot control

that rant when I am on a roll

that day I gave up to work instead of play

that day I gave into shadow’s way

that I know I’ll do it all again

that unruly energy I now call friend

that chaos is another path taken

that that leads to gifts starting to awaken

that I can now face the pain

that unruly energy called passion stands to gain

that we so often mislabel what is truly in our hearts

that is that sum of all its wondrous parts

 

ag ~ 2012

with gratitude…

inspired by ~

Vicky…on November’s full moon

What Was Told, That by Rumi
translated by Coleman Barks

So too, all the stops  by R. Corman