Thursday, April 29, 2010

Embracing Change

"If we don't change, we don't grow. If we don't grow, we aren't really living." 
Gail Sheehy 

Sometimes change feels easier than others. I made this piece several months ago in an afternoon art therapy group I participated in, and I was feeling fresh, optimistic, inspired. But it is a bumpy road. Some days, I feel more sure of myself than others. Some days I feel scared for all kinds of reasons. Still, I am committed to the journey, and to staying the brave course of discovery and change in pursuit of growth.

And too, when was the last time I made such a leap? Not since I graduated college in 1976 and moved to Chicago to build my own adult life. I miss the aliveness of creating a life, of taking risks, of trying new things. I believe it is possible at any age, and I am going for it now while I still can.

To support me, we're currently discussing Middle Adulthood in my Lifespan Development psychology class, and I am a perfect bullseye for Erikson's seventh stage, Generativity vs. Stagnation. Right on schedule, I certainly feel this need to "commit to the continuation and improvement of society" and pass some contribution of value on to others.

What will my impact be? What will be my deepest challenge and deepest reward once I become an art therapist? It is too soon to know, but I look forward to finding out.

What changes do you long to make? What little steps are you taking to feed them, or what holds you back? Can we travel this road together? I'd like that.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Inspiration all around

This piece of paper is from 34 years ago. Why do I still have it? Perhaps to post it here, and remind myself that a) inspiration and amusement is all around us, at all times; and b) I must admit, I can now relate to this woman.

What are you noticing and amused by in your world today?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Zen Cracks

"Ring the bells that can still ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in." -Leonard Cohen

I've been taking a beginning ceramics class for the first time since mid-January. It is totally outside my zone of comfort and familiarity, and I've alternated between loving it and hating it. But it is full of lessons, joys, and much about myself as the material of clay itself.

This was one of the pieces I was most excited about. It was a platter, and I was excited because I was focusing more on the decorative rather than structural aspect; to "draw" on the clay with a fine, sharp needle tool felt easy, relaxing, enjoyable for me. I was confident that this one would be a success and be very "me."

And yet...there is always the glazing and the firing to contend with. Entirely different processes. So I was surprised when I found this finished piece to have a huge crack right down the center of it. I'm not sure exactly what happened, but my best guess is that I dug too hard into the clay with the needle tool on that line, and it weakened it to the point it could not withstand the heat.

So of course, I was disappointed. But then I remembered the words my instructor uttered on the first class, urging us not to get attached to any one piece, and not to get upset when things break or collapse (because they will)..."just make more." And so I am.

I'm also happy to see this as an opportunity to befriend my personal imperfections, of which there are many. And to embrace "Beginner's Mind" again and again as I try new things. Because that's where the light is.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Silliness is Healthy

Okay, just figured out how to upload a photo... progress every day! I'm taking a monthlong online class in the Art of Silliness with Carla Sonheim and this is my proof.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Here I am

OK, I can't wait another minute. I've decided to get my blogging feet out there before I really know what I'm doing. That's precisely what this whole chapter of my life seems to be about right now: starting over in brand new territory and embracing change in midlife. I guess in my case it could be called "advanced" midlife, though in so many ways, I feel so much younger.

"Hineni" is Hebrew for "Here I am." It was used in the Bible when God personally called on someone to do something difficult and important. There is a sense of readiness and willingness, of taking a stand.

For me, this time of ripeness, action, and urgent willingness to grow is happening now. I didn't plan it, but it happened this way.

The goal here is to shine a light in front of myself as I start all over again at 55. To face and embrace reinvention bravely, creatively, and with humor; to keep myself company with kindness and compassion; to guide where I can and ask for help where I need it; to defy the notion that we are too old to try anything. My hope is to share my journey, my successes and challenges, and have others share theirs as well.

Come join me as I explore all things menopossible.