Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Poco a Poco

These are John's peppers, sprouting lustily in the garage under the grow lights. He plants 5 seeds in each little grow cup; after the seeds have germinated he carefully scissors out 4 of the lesser sprouts leaving one to go on to maturity.

This has always seemed a cruel waste to my way of seeing the world. In my garden all the seedlings grow skitter-skatter, choking each other in their exuberance and allowing none to reach optimum strength.

This is what I've been thinking today as I look at my schedule, my interests, my studio, my life. There is a dense jungle as I've let everything in at once. My little garden overfloweth.

I am not to the solution stage yet. I am not a good pruner, I simply want all the cookies. I wish I could sit down with you, one by one, and talk this over. How do you keep your life manageable? How do you have enough studio time? How do you choose when you love it all, every art medium, every opportunity; when you are a big glutton of life? I have no sense of moderation.

Today I tore apart the sick bed, put all the medicines away and declared myself over the illness. I walked in the sun, shot photos in the garden and smelled the glorious Daphne. I returned to the studio and painted the girl with the life that needs pruning.

No more sickness, please, no more of that. My ribs and diaphragm hurt from coughing so much.

I have plans; making beautiful packets for Artfest, getting out into my garden and weeding, welcoming my roses and tulips and irises. I want spring and the warm sun and the smell of the earth.

I want to write some of the lousy poetry I love writing so much; to celebrate my days in paint and words, to re-connect with my friends and exercise my body and see a movie and not cough.

I've had reports of illness from friends that shake me and make me sad. And also make me want to breathe my life deeply while I can and to have the deepest experience of all that I love that is possible. I want to inspire others and in doing that, inspire myself.

I think it comes down to the fact that we never get it "right" but that we're always trying. Veering from too much to too little and then back again as we seek that elusive balance. It's a daily practice - a course marked by corrections and reassessment.

Anyway, I'm mostly back now and hope you are making progress in your personal queen-doms. And kingdoms. If you were here I'd take you out and buy you an ice cream cone and we'd sit in the sun by a tub of daffodils and just smile at each other without saying a word. Just because life can be a sweet thing. Ciao.


mystele said...

so glad you're back, judy. can't wait to see what life comes from you in the days to come.

honeybee said...

I'm glad you are feeling better. This was a timely post as I'm trying to find that elusive balance myself! I am in training to become a Master Gardener volunteer for our county. I am loving it and it inspires me to get out in my own garden. But that takes me away from my two children. I thanked my husband tonight for letting me play outside while he helped with homework and made dinner. I also have my interest in art that seems to get neglected. I'm like you, I want to be able to experience it all. But I know that I have to make some very conscious choices about how I spend my time.

Tita Moma said...

I can certainly identify with your girl that needs to be pruned. I am constantly waffling between all or nothing. Utopia for me would be finding a happy medium!

Kim Mailhot said...

I have heard that spring time sun, ice cream and daffodils will cure any ills that may try to linger.

Thank you for sharing your sweet bits today.

Sharon said...

Balance. I constantly edit what I want to do with what I have time to do. I combine several want-to-dos into one I have time to do. I never have time to dust and don't want to so that's easy. I wash the sheets every 2 weeks. Nobody cares. See you in July!

Reenie said...

You rock Judy. I love how you always seem to be on the same wavelength as I and seem to use just the words I need to hear.
It's all about the balance and the journey. I too hate to 'prune'.

I appreciate you.

Maija said...

I love ice cream!

patti said...


Kim Rae Nugent said...

I am glad to hear that you are feeling better. I would have a hard time pulling out the weaker plants...I would want them to all make it...and probably not until it was too late decide I should have pulled them in the first place :)

~Barb~ said...

I wish you knew what poetry this entire post is to my often weary soul...your words and wisdom and even your wondering gives me such a feeling of goodness and calm as I read, as though we are sitting and chatting like old friends would do. I guess that's why the ice cream and daffodils sounds so good to me.

So glad you're better. You've been missed.

Peace & Love,
♥ Barb ♥

Anonymous said...

Is there a "right" way? I don't think so. It is all in the trying and going easy on ourselves in the process!

Maggie R said...

This is my first visit here and I am having such a good time.. Love your blog..
I was smiling to myself when you were discussing how to divide your time.I am retired.... thank goodness!! I become obsessed with whatever art I am doing.... I like to do soooooo many things, and right now I am learning traditional rug hooking.I finished one small piece and am now just finishing a large piece...It is soooooo addictive.... As I sit enjoying my new-found love, I am thinking... I should be cleaning the bathrooms.... I should be doing some laundry.. I should..I should ..I should.. Oh .. Hi Ho Fiddle Dee Dee..I will do it to-morrow!!!!
I know.. I should have more control but heck.....Life's Short...Wear

femminismo said...

Life can be a sweet thing. How dear the hours, how sweet the minutes. I'm there with you admiring that tub of daffodils and sipping a cup of chocolate hazelnut tea with cream and sugar - my latest indulgence. Glad your coughing is better; soon to be gone entirely. Jeanne

Toni said...

Lousy poetry my arse!

Meanwhile, thanks for the journal page posts, and the garden pictures, and the very important question: how do we manage ...

funny how hard that is to assess. I manage in part by purging STUFF -- I keep an empty box in corners here and there, and when I realize something in ANY room isn't getting used, or isn't loved anymore, it goes in the handiest box.

I manage in part with the help of my guys, having family tradition evenings that force me OUT of the studio, otherwise I'd grow moldy in there, [or become like that woman whose skin attached her to the toilet seat she never left] I think ... movie nights, cook-dinner-together-nights, soap date nights, spontaneous weekend day trips.

I manage by keeping a visible, ongoing, updated list WRITTEN IN HUGE BOLD LETTERS of every iron in my fire -- and a smaller version in my purse and up at work, so when I'm tempted to jump into something, I can do the math on time/commitment.

I manage by remembering that I don't have as much to bring/give to any of it if I do too much of it -- that's usually what works in tempering my enthusiasm!!!

Most of all, GLAD to hear you're declaring yourself on the mend ... Zoe says BRRRREOOOWWWWW!!! (translation: groovy)

jaybean said...

OMG! Inspire most certaintly do that! I look for your blog everyday and not to put pressure on you, I really miss it when there is no new posting. But you do have a life and I respect that!

I wish you so much good health and abundance for all that you give us/me in inspiration!

I can't thank you enough!

And what does one do when they are drawn to try everything artistic? I would love to know the answer to that. The desire alone can stagnate one! So right now I am going into my little workshop and try to create something!

Ricë said...

what a timely post for me to read as i take a break from editing the First Author Review of Creative Time and Space, in which you have such encouraging things to say about making time and space for creating your art. remember how you told me that you are gentler with yourself these days, giving yourself time to enjoy all the things you love? remember that. in six months (!), everyone else will get to read what wonderful things you have to say on the subject--yay!

michelle renee bernard said...

Wow, what a great way to describe that conundrum! I can't choose either! And my pruners are a little rusty.

Anonymous said...

skitter-skatter,were bees buzing in a garden. you peeked @ my studio and day planner? I become so overwhelmed, so many projects, workshops,ideas,magazines..I'm realizing there is no way to keep up ,a little goes a long way :)
Then you can make more salsa from the peppers!
steph b

Ro Bruhn said...

I have the bug too, not the germy one, the arty one having to have a go at everything, it makes life interesting and we never have time to get bored. Glad you have recovered and told the bugs to go away.

Jan Heigh said...

Dear Judy;
So glad you're feeling better and this is indeed a timely post since today is the first day of spring and a time for fresh starts. I'm ready for spring too and even though it's cloudy I'm going into my yard with my camera today.

Balance--not an easy thing. The last two days I've set the timer and said to myself just paint for one hour. I managed 45 minutes today!

So thanks for putting it into words for me. All except the poetry which I'll rely on others to do.

Jan Heigh

And so it goes... said...

Life (& art) is a balancing act. It seems to keep all the plates spinning, you can't have too many going at once or you risk them all crashing to the ground. Crashing, however, makes for lovely spontaneous pieces for a mosaic, so my motto is, spin your plates! All of them! I'm definately a "Sybil" when it comes to life, & like you, seldom prune or weed! I enjoy many different mediums, prefering my life resemble a crazy quilt, this & that stitched seemingly haphaszardly together creating an original, colorful life... (looking forward to meeting you at Valley Ridge!)

ABG said...

I read your comment with sympathy and empathy and the stubborn remains of my own lingering cough. i don't think there's any one way to organize it all but there must be balance eventually. years ago, someone balanced a pencil on the pad of his finger and extended it to me. "See how the pencil is never still? that's balance." He also said it was like baseball...a series of constant adjustments.
We got that!

Sarah said...

Hi Judy,
Glad you are better and out in the garden. I love the way you describe how you are feeling and it strikes a chord with me at the moment. Someone said to me recently that she feels it is definitely to do with the change of the seasons and the way we need to adjust our rhythms to this. I have so much to do for work, which I want to do well but not to the detriment of art and my own life. I just wish someone would invent a way of having extra hours put into the day. I think you have the key to it all in the appreciating of the moment you are in. I would love to sit with an icecream gazing at the daffodils.

anna maria said...

Judging by the comments, it looks like you've hit a nerve here!
The words moderation and balance do not play a big part in my life, unfortunately.
I want to try everything, get discouraged because if you don't stick with something for a while at least, you don't get good at it. Always doing several things at once, and never getting it all done.
But it is fun, isn't it?

Glad you are feeling better.

peggy said...

Glad your a bit better, this stuff takes a long time to go away. I wish I could sit in the sun and have a ice cream cone with you but I would probably have to "slurp" it down quick because I am overbooked. I'm retired, grandmother, artist, work part time, volunteer and don't do a good job with my personal bounderies. But I love life so guess I will be like this until I drop. enjoy, love your blog Peggy

Shawn Borror said...

happy you are feeling better....declaring yourself unsick can be just the ticket to get over an illness. i lose myself in your posts at times and am happy you are back posting your garden endeavors, your journal entries and your dolls..the words you write and the images you use are just lovely...your blog is like a welcoming hammock, where you can feel the sun beaming on your face, the buzz of bees, the swirl of the wind's all that to me. i am so glad to have found your blog.

Melanie said...

Judy, this post spoke to me- I just planted my first little garden last year, tossing seeds here and there, amazed that things actually grew, but could not pull up the little sprouts that grew on top of each other- it seemed much too sad and unfair to kill any of them, just for being weak. And now I am prepping my bed but have found my strawberries have spread wildly and taken root, and I can't stand the thought of discarding the wild ones... I have let some be, and have carefully replanted others in to the crowded strawberry bed... what will be will be...

my life is like that too, it all comes as me, and I try to nurture every last piece, but I don't have one strong thing I am well-rooted too, just tons of sprouts that I give as much attention as I am able. Sometimes I wish this was different, that I could pinch off the things that will never get enough time and support- but I am blessed by all these tiny sprouts.

Be well,

Becky Vigor said...

I got out of hospital the day you wrote this. Your words so aptly describe my life's struggle for balance, and the over-balancing that landed me in hospital recently.

I am the same, too much or too little, always, all or nothing. And, like you, on Monday I took the decision to be well now, and 4 days later I have felt well for 4 days. What we tell ourselves really can work like that.

So how to choose, prioritise, when you want every colour in the box and all the other boxes too? If you want sanity you have to be ruthless, it just depends how much sanity you can make do with. For me it varies, again it's all or nothing, ruthless or reckless, take your pick :)