Monday, September 07, 2009

Elusive Balance

Restless mind. I keep remembering the woman at Squam last year who spent 2 years setting up a photography business only to find that when she had at last achieved success her fickle wants had changed direction. She asked for guidance. I told her that this is the way it goes. We build our dreams on a solid foundation and then we have new dreams. New dreams that require new time, commitment and service. Or we quit the 40 hour a week job to become freelance and then discover that it is lonely, the hours are impossible, that even in wild success there is still something else we want to do. Maybe that's just how the creative mind works.

This is the result of yesterday's windstorm. Our exquisite 3 year old persimmon tree broken at the trunk, splayed in two directions. It echoes every loss of the last 10 years for me. I am in a tender mood.

This promise is not to be. And sometimes that's how things go.

A friend and reader this week reminded me that life is not all margaritas and trips to Santa Fe. I want to assure others that I agree. I see the same things you do. My mother was depressed most of the time I was growing up and I saw first hand what a life of constant sorrow and looking back came to. She was being honest; she felt everything too deeply and was in emotional pain. I chose not to live her life, though I have the same tendencies. I chose to see life from a different vantage point and to my surprise I discovered that vigilant cultivation of a hopeful spirit can lift the sadness.

This is another reason I have been in my cave all week. I am preparing packets and hand-outs for 6 classes; 2 at Squam (classes filled) and 4 at Art & Soul in Portland (spaces left in 2 classes). These are just the hand-outs. The packets themselves will fill several postal cartons. It is a time consuming labor of love. And yet as I go about these tasks my paints and brushes are calling to me as never before.

I declined one teaching invitation this week and as soon as I screw up my courage I will decline a second. I am making time to paint. I am excited. Maybe I'll take a class. Take my turn to be pampered, inspired and thrilled with new possibilities.

I'm excited.

More time to cook for my honey, my beloved daughters and their families, our friends right here in River City.

So that's what's been roiling through my brain as I sit in my cave watching the rain drip and daydreaming.

We artists are the luckiest people on the planet; know why? Because we know that as creators of things we are also the creators of our own lives. We are given bodies and situations and then we get to decide how to tell the story. And knowing we have this choice makes all the difference.


susan greene said...

I am so happy you have not said no to teaching at SAW. As I am one of the lucky ones to be in your class.

Kelly Kilmer said...

I know how much hard work, time and effort goes into prepping for a class. Try to steal away some time for you...
One of these days I will get to ravel in the joys of a Judy Wise workshop!

mary ann said...

"More time to cook for my honey, my beloved daughters and their families, our friends right here in River City."

...and maybe more time to plant another persimmon tree.
if that happened to one of my baby trees i would sit right down next to the tree and cry. i know you probably did. my condolences sweet tree, you will be reborn.
keep declining invitations and PLAY on dear Judy, play on!
blowing you some california kisses

Lynn said...

Sad little tree...well, the bright side is only three years into can plant another! In the meantime buy prisimmons at the farmers market! ;-)

I like your positive attitude Judy. And nice that you are looking out for your own needs. So important. I too love my creative life and ability to choose. Wonderful to have this opportunity.
Even around holding down a "real job" too. (that last said with tongue in cheek, as your classes are VERY REAL JOBS INDEED!)

Keep up the bright talk, it rubs off on those who read you. Thanks.

My word verification is diablog...funny that!

Sarah said...

I read your post today and the word 'wise' kept popping into my head-forgetting for a second that it is your name. Obviously a very suitable name. Glad you are taking some time for yourself. Better plant another tree though-poor thing!

Kim Mailhot said...

Judy, I think it is wonderful that you have listened to that voice that says the only way to keep your spirit hopeful is to take some time to nurture in at home. I am also glad that your break will come after Squam as I am lucky enough to be taking one of your workshops too. Maybe that place and the people there give you some juice to start off your hiatus with !
I am so excited to meet you in person - in 10 days ! Wow ! Thanks in advance for all the are putting in.
Take care of your tender you.

Janine said...

Wow to everything you wonder you are JUDY WISE!

Sorry to hear about your lovely persimmon tree. I live in the Seattle area and last night experienced rain in the likes of which I have never experienced in all my years. I swear if it had come down any harder last night it would have split the earth! I was expecting to see the huge pines down by daybreak! We were fortunate!

You are right about creativity and time! Thank you for sharing it all with us Judy!

anna maria said...

That was beautiful. Thank you for posting it.
Is summer truly over in the Pacific Northwest? Are you already moving into Fall? Here in San Francisco we don't really get that end of summer feeling, because summer never comes, but for a day or two here and there.
Did you get a lot corn for the giant cornstalks?

katie said... do speak my language and often reflect my very own thoughts in the most soulful and wise way.

my heart goes out to you and john for the loss of one beautiful and young persimmon tree. the unexplainable continues to arise and disappear in oh so many ways.

connecting to you today by way of light shining from a small candle i've lit. xoxo

Sherry Goodloe said...

As I read your post I was thinking how glad I was that I told my teenage manchild on Saturday that it was MY day and that I wasn't going to leave the apartment. I was going to do what I wanted to do and was not going to do anything else.

I stuck to it, and it felt GOOD! *smiles*. So good as a matter of fact, that I decided to do it again TODAY! LOL

PS Sorry about your tree :( eeeeee

Irene said...

As always, dear Judy, you inspire me and make me feel better about the world. :-)

Anonymous said...

Wonderful and inspiring! The restlessness is something that attacks me too often as I want to start or try something new. Who says you have to stay with one thing the rest of your life?

Clare W said...

What a fantastic post. I have been back to it 5 times today - the forst few I looked at on my phone from work so it was good to get home and look at the wonderful artwork on the big screen. Thank you.

Ro Bruhn said...

The elusive balance, life is like being on a see-saw, up and down and when it is balanced in the middle, which way will it go, up or down. I've been trying to find balance for years, I'm still looking.

Amy said...

"life is not all margaritas and trips to Santa Fe" or red wine and traipsing through Florence... I have been mourning the end of summer and struggling to return to reality after a trip to Italy. I too have the same tendencies as you and your mother. Thank you for the reminder to gently cultivate that inner spirit of hope for future days.
And thanks for not saying no to Squam! See you in a week!

Candace said...

Thank you, dearest Judy, for this post. It is so appreciated.

Yes, make art. Or let Art make YOU.
And I am so sorry about Little Persimmon.
Just you cook for that honey and make art and Always Play!

Anonymous said...

I've spent so much time mourning the old dreams, I forgot to look up to see the new ones. I have been changing my vantage point, another sweet reminder from Ms. wise
Nature humbles us with forces beyond our control, so sorry, I've been having a love affair with my meyer lemon tree this summer, the friut still beckons
steph b

And so it goes... said...

Ahhh...the ole balancing act. I continually wonder why my life resembles a wild carnival ride rather than a relaxing boat trip down a calmly flowing river. Bored with something seemingly the second I've tried it...a "been there done that now what can I try" sort of existance. Like a raven with too many shiny objects displayed before him, I want it all! It's the thrill of learning, of trying new things... constantly leaping out of my comfort zone that keeps my blood pumping. Yet I long for balance. Forever elusive balance... deb/debbie/debra

Tara Ross Studios said...

so beautifully stated and insightful. A beautiful reminder to all of us.

Jack Ekstrom said...

Of course life isn't all margaritas and trips to Santa Fe, good thing we don't do that all the time. It's called Vacation. I can tell by your blog that you go to Santa Fe hardly ever, and that going there helped you get your mojo back. Again, thank you for a wonderful vacation! It did us all a world of good!

mistymawn said...

but i want life to be all about margaritas and trips to Santa Fe and i want it to be that way for everyone! alas...i know we all have our ugly days filled with stink eyes & stale moldy bread, and hopefully we all have days of toasting in the sun, laughing & being filled to the brim with happiness.... and then all too soon we knock over our margaritas, break that glass and ruin a brand new table cloth (or laptop...yes, i have done that).. sigh,
what can you do? i know... surround yourself with positive light and friends that make you feel at home... thank you for doing just that.

peggy said...

Sounds like your outlook on life is positve and now your learning to say no, good for you, keep it up. I too decide to take a positive outlook on things instead of the alternative and I am learning to say no and take some time for myself (its hard to do but worth it). so Judy, go girl, your on the right track. We all deserve to have a bit of time to ourselves and have some fun. Love your artwork, soul and blog. Peggy

Jacky said...

Enjoy some quiet, reflective with your family and friends.
Thanks for sharing your wonderful journal pages and I feel your loss of the beautiful persimmon tree, all laden with fruit and the promise of things to come.
Sending a warm, sunshiny hug from Australia.

Jacky xox

Zom said...

Gee I love your blog. I love what you write.

Just because I am curious... in your art journal, is that gesso you are writing on or have you pasted squares of paper over the top?

brittany said...

amen to that, sister. amen to it all.

sewnearth said...

Unripe persimmons make a very nice dye, perhaps ink. Shame to waste them.

amyrehnae said...

vigilant cultivation of a hopeful spirit can lift the that! and oh so true! been doing lots of digging, watering, weeding and feeding of my hopeful, joyful spirit-self lately...and can actually feel the sadness lifting! thank you for writing from the heart!

amy rehnae