To release, to surrender,
to swim in our tears like the floating boat --
without resistance, trusting fully that we'll be carried
to the other side.
Like a river cutting through eons of earth, so do our emotions cut through and form us. Rarely do we need to manage how "positive" emotions -- love, joy, happiness, excitement -- flow through us. It is the more destructive emotions -- hurt, anger, resentment, frustration -- that we need to watch. If we are not careful, our hearts begin to clamp around these emotions -- perhaps to prevent us from feeling their full impact -- and we walk around denying the truth of what is raging beneath our surface. Our resistance builds until we are ready to explode, and we finally unleash the emotions in an angry flood, damaging whatever is in our path-- usually the relationship with our closest loved ones.
But when we release the resistance and open ourselves to the truth of what is flowing in our deepest heart, we have the possibility of releasing in a gentler way. So the trick, perhaps, is in early recognition, and knowing how to work with ourselves and how to talk softly with those who have hurt us, so that our torrent of emotions becomes a gentle rain rather than a raging flood.
Inevitably, we will fail. Our loved ones will fail. Uproars will happen, feelings will get hurt, and we will shout to be heard. Despite this, we still have the possibility of growth and positive change. Gentleness is better than rage of course, but however our emotions and deepest needs are expressed, they hold the key to showing us what is unnecessary or no longer desired, the way a river may cut away those parts the land no longer needs. In the moment, it may seem destructive and brutal, but with enough time, we are able to see the perfection in this cutting away, in this release... like the beautiful meandering pattern cut by the river's path. For who looks at the Grand Canyon and mourns the land that would close it's gap? It is precisely what is "not there," the parts that have been stripped away, that makes it so powerful, so perfect, so awesome.
The gift is that what once looked like a devastating, destructive flood becomes, over time, the beautiful pattern of a river's meandering flow. Time, life, emotions, and journeys of the heart have a way of working on us that -- if we learn to allow it rather than fight it -- strips us of what we no longer need. Pride, ego, the desire to be "right." Hopefully we learn that it is more important to be understood than to be right, and equally important to understand as it is to be understood. Hopefully we can place more value on empathizing with others than upon defending our positions.... More focus upon gently exposing the truth of our vulnerability, rather than lashing out to prevent others from truly seeing us. Commonly our lashings take the place of insults and name calling, but they can also come in the form of lecture or preaching at others what we feel they should already know. I know I am particularly guilty of this one. Perhaps that's why i spend such time thinking about these things...
i pray that i can let go of my positions, that i can release destructive emotions in a more gentle way... that i can be the boat, trusting i will land where i am meant to land; that i will remember in the heat of the moment that no amount of anger or raging storms will help me get to where i need to be more whole, intact, or faster.
well thanks to paul from txtual healing, i was finally able to fulfill my wish of seeing my artwork, The Found Sounds Project, projected on the walls at the Wired NextFest. check out the pic below. "Scooping out the Flesh" projection-bombed onto the walls. love it! so much fun. Paul is doing amazing stuff with SMS enabled interactive visuals, as are the guys over at Nanikawa. they had a bee-uuu-tiful swimming-messages display. One day i hope to work with somebody like this with my text-based imagery.
projection-bombing on the walls at WiredNextFest
Paul Notzold (on the right), mastermind behind txtual healing
anyway, the NextFest show was great. here we are playing Brain Ball. (Notice the brain-wave-reading headband).
The object of the game is to relax more than your opponet. by doing so, you trigger your brain's alpha (beta? theta?) waves to drop, and you send this little magnetic ball into your opponets court. Kinda like fuse-ball for the zenned-out. I got clobbered, which is surprising considering my propensity for meditation... Hmm... i'm claiming sleep-deprivation that day.
Satine, playing in Sound Lights exhibit. The colored faucets each made a sound when the water from the faucet hit the pool, or when you ran your hand underneath. Even when you splashed your hand in the water, it was like playing notes on a piano. veerry cooool.
as i mentioned earlier, we have been trying to teach satine to sleep better. which, this week anyway, has meant waking up several times during the night -- sometimes for lengthy periods. So when we finally get some much needed zzzz's, the last thing you really want to hear is an alarm clock. even when it comes in the form of your baby's cry for attention.
it was maybe 6:30, and i was rattled out of my much needed slumber by satine's cry. i grumbled, nahchey moaned, and i rolled over to face her, grimacing from sleep deprivation. but when i opened my eyes, there was this bright, smiling face peering at me from behind the bars of her crib. she did not know i was tired. she did not know i was irritable. all she knew was it was a brand new day. the room is light (must be time to get up) and ooh! when i rattle this bar it makes a noise! and there's mommy and daddy across the room, laying in bed -- oh, and look, now mommy is looking at me. how fun!
in that moment of seeing her bright face, clarity broke through my sleep-deprivation like a splash of cold water. It didn't matter. My sleep deprivation didn't matter. My ability to "do" the things i needed to do that day with a clear head didn't matter. The only thing that mattered was that i drop into the moment.
and live there. fully... however briefly, and enjoy.
i reveled in her face, that small moment now burned into my memory-- her face, her movements, her laughter.
this is the way the gift of children works on me: that precious face an ease to my grumbling spirit; a reminder to stay present, open, aware, and appreciative. life is nothing but a series of small moments. if we don't stop to truly enjoy them -- notice them -- let ourselves be affected by them -- then what's the point?
i need constant reminders. the pressure to do, do, do, to go, go, go, is a constant. every time i slow down and clear my calendar or "To Do" list, i seem to have filled it up again, unwittingly, and before i know it i have missed hundreds of moments. thousands, maybe. (my poor husband- i'm sure i've missed countless of his moments since satine has been born.) time has taught me that, for me, it is only in being still, in dropping into the moment, that i am able to feel more vibrantly alive... to see that the life i am living is here. it is now. there is no moment beyond satine waking me up in my sleep deprived stupor, her eagerness rattling the crib with a 'get me out of here' cry. that's it. that's my life.
the choice is how to respond to it. do i grope and grumble as i force myself out of bed? or do i allow the perfection of that smiling (or crying) face to wash over me, unfold my heart, and know the blessing of being alive? this time at least, satine's smile had taught me all i need to know.
dear sleep-deprived in new york,
wow. well. where have i been?
i think i am in a sleep-deprived-cold-induced stupor. satine has been sleeping, oh, like CUH-RAP. which means that nahchey and i have been sleeping like crap. or not sleeping i should say. unless you count small 1 - 2 hours doses. last night i had finally gotten her to bed (her 3rd time waking up) after nursing/rocking/back-patting for about 25 mins.... i ever. so. carefully. slinked back to bed, pulled the blankets up, and snuggled ever so yummily into the covers. Ahhhhh... Finally. Sleep.
then nahchey coughed.
Sure enough, he did. and the little bug was awake. soooo... the cycle repeated itself. by the time i eventually settled back to bed, i logged the time on the clock: 1 hour, 52 minutes trying to get her back to sleep. she had gone to bed at 8:30 (though actually, i should be honest and say 9:15 by the time i creeped out of the room), up again at 11 something, for about 15 mins, again at 1ish (for about 25 mins), and then up again from 3:15 - 5:15. and then up again at 8.
Attempted sleep time:
Satine: 11.5 hours, Mom: 7 hours
Actual sleep time:
Satine: 8.75 hours Mom: 4.75 hours
(now keep in mind that this has been the average for several weeks now. hence, the never-ending cold.)
Now for those of you bored by the tedium of this sleep log, well, clearly you are not the parent of a baby. If you were, you would know that there is nothing more fascinating -- nothing more deserving of attention-- than the sleep habits of your baby! Or you are one of the lucky few whose child sleeps. Or you have successfully sleep trained your child. I, being unable to stomach the 'cry-it-out' sleep training method, am waking up every 1 - 3 hours to console a sleepy or teething or gassy or all-of-the-above baby.
for now, i am reading "the no-cry sleep solution" by elizabeth pantley. i am -- we are -- on a 10-day "training" session, and am supposed to reevaluate at the end of that period; evaluate our progress; tweak the program, and go for another 10 days...
so stay tuned for all the page-turning, dramatic details people. it doesn't get much more exciting than this.
sleep deprived and loving every minute of it in los angeles
Part II of my summer trip. this half, we traveled up to lake erie to visit with hubby's family... we had 5 kids in the house, sometimes more. so much fun...
it rained alot, which allowed for plenty of hide-and-seek time, and great photo ops with the kids. On this particular day, i had spent the morning playing hide-and-seek with hayley; then satine, hayley and noah all came into my room where i spent the next hour or two just snapping pictures and enjoying watching them play together.
Hayley was such a joy. a very sweet but precocious girl who luuuuuved having her photo taken. it would not surprise me at all if this girl grows up to be in the limelight!
The light through the window was beautiful. i snapped this one of noah. he looks perfect.
Later that night, the boys got ready for bed while their mom, nicky, and i were getting the babies (she also has a 10 month old daugher, Gracie) ready for bed. when i saw their pajamas, i had to take a portrait. i love this shot because it so perfectly captures the personality of the 2 brothers: noah, a live wire who talks non-stop; and Elijah, who more slowly invites you into his space, who is more of an observer. i loved the hot rod PJs. i really enjoyed hanging out with both of them so much. great kids.
the soft glow of summer...
Finally i'm getting around to viewing the 967 pictures i took during our recent summer vacation, so you'll all be seeing bits and pieces of it over the next few postings. these are from the first leg of our trip when we went to visit my family in holden beach, nc. its the PERFECT family beach. i've been going here since i was a little girl. it was the kind of beach where you could go for a walk and still find large, beautiful conch shells just lying on the beach. every day. the kind of beach where you could take nature walks though maritime flora. and at low tide, the most amazing baby pools form on the shore. i remember my sister and i as kids, brown as bears from being in the sun all day, lying on our backs at the edge of the shore just after the ocean's retreat. We'd close our eyes, and wait the minute or so it took before the surprise rush of waves tickled our bodies again...I remember my father flying kites with us, and after we didnt want to put the kite away, him tying it to a fishing pole all night-- only to find them both gone in the morning. I spent hours with grandparents, aunts, great aunts, uncles, and of course, my mom, dad, and sister at this beach. This is the beach where i got to know the game-playing, beach-loving clan i had been born into. I grew up here. And even though i've been going there for many of my adult years, my most cherished memories here are from when i was a kid: 5, 7, 8 years old.
and so... it's just so crazy to think that now ** i ** have a little girl to share this with. i have the chance to introduce her to the joys of summer. of long walks on the beach. of buildling witch castles in the sand. digging for sanddollars. learning what an undeveloped beach looks like. and really getting to know her grandmother + father, great-grandmother, aunts, uncles, cousins... even though she is a california girl, i want her to see her southern (beach) roots. i want to share with her all the best things of my childhood.
for more pictures from our summer vacation in Holden Beach, click flickr here.
watercolor, and pen & ink drawing.
prints available here.
well, believe it or not i have managed to finish a book. well, almost. its not that i am a slow reader. its that, i read about 8 books at a time.
this irks my husband.
my sister, however, gets it. "it's like watching tv and flipping channels. you read what you're in the mood for."
so for the past few months, i have been reading several books, but mostly i have been savoring the delicious writings of mark nepo in his book, The Exquisite Risk: Daring to Live an Authentic Life (thanks to libby for turning me on to him). i am down to the last chapter, but am savoring it ever so slowly, because i do not want to end my love affair with the book just yet.
"nothing matters now but the instant where all i am mounts like a wave for you. nothing but the instant my hand parts the air between us...nothing matters but emptying, until the softness we call spirit bubbles through the tongue and words fail in utter adoration"
This is the art of living.
thanks mark nepo.
a thousand years,
not in sucession,
but in every