"When it is dark enough, you can see the stars." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
I awoke early this morning, while it was still dark, to see a star so bright that I wondered if it was an airplane approaching. Observing it for a few moments, I saw that it wasn't moving toward the airport - it appeared to stationary, twinkling and shining right at me. I thought: Katie.
As I watched it shine, other stars appeared nearby - bright, but not as large and brilliant as the first. They brought to mind our beloved friend Diane, who passed away ten years ago this month. For many days after her passing, I noted a similar star in the Eastern sky, which reminded me of her beautiful soul.
"Catastrophe is the essence of the spiritual path, a series of breakdowns allowing us to discover the threads that weave all of life into a whole cloth." - Roshi Joan Halifax
This has been a difficult summer. We have had glorious, sunny weather as well as joys and blessings in the mix, but it has been very, very hard at the same time. I'm thankful that things are beginning to lighten and improve; it has been dark, things have broken down, but I am beginning to see the stars and the threads mentioned in the two quotes above.
"What we need to learn comes when we need it, no matter how old or young, no matter how many times we have to start over...We fall down as many times as we need to, to learn how to fall and get up...No one really likes this, of course, but we deal with our dislike in the same way, again and again, until we learn what we need to know about the humility of acceptance." - Mark Nepo
I'm about to embark on a great adventure. It's one I have dreamed about for several years, awaiting the right time. Because of this courageous, talented and adventurous heart, a blogger who wrote about taking a life-changing course, a dream was sparked in me. Today, I am going on a journey to take a four-day course in painting called "Bloom True" with Flora Bowley.
I majored in Fine Art (with an emphasis upon watercolor painting). I had the privilege of traveling to England to study, and took courses at colleges in the U.S. designed to refine my skills. I love all things creative, artistic and crafty, but I have been "blocked" as a painter for over 30 years.
I do not paint. I stand before a canvas, and my hands are "mute."
The critique process during my years of college could be called "interesting" and "educational," but for me, it was a savage experience of public humiliation, and it shattered my confidence, as well as any desire to try again. There was some praise thrown in, but I only heard - and took in - the criticism.*
We were taught a structured approach, but I could never seem to rein in my passion while I painted. I always tended to overdo something, and couldn't master the controlled, cerebral way that painting was taught in that school. The urge to let go, and let it all out on the heavy-duty watercolor paper was powerful - I was 20 years old, and overflowing with emotions - but this didn't fit the mold, or the medium. The result was weekly, public criticism for the way I expressed myself artistically. I believe this is a very unwise way to treat artists (and so does Julia Cameron, author of The Artist's Way), but that was the process of teaching where I studied.
|Photo credit: Anya Hankin, Bloom True|
*I'm deeply thankful for my liberal arts education as a whole, and do not consider it wasted in any way. Perhaps I would have been happier in interior or graphic design, but these were not offered where I studied, and they were considered lesser art forms (art for commerce), so (being a young and impressionable) I didn't pursue them.