keep your peepers open!

keep your peepers open!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

don’t get demoralized, get energized!

Whenever my body shuts down and puts me out I know something is up. The year I was on disability the walls of my NYC apartment began to close in. I needed an outlet, an escape. I pulled out a dust covered bag of what I thought was papier-mâché mix with the intention of finally teaching myself how to sculpt a bowl with strips of paper dipped in the pasty mixture. As I read the directions, my heart sank…I had purchased paper pulp. For a few moments, I sat looking at the big powdery white flakes encased in plastic not knowing what to do. Certainly I could not “make lemonade” but maybe I could make something else. I poured a portion of the fluff into a red bucket, added warm water and stuck my hands in; I was in heaven squishing the “white mud” between my fingers. Eventually the goop stiffened and I decided to roll it like dough. Maybe I could throw it over a bowl or into a container and let it dry… Within a matter of months, I had sculpted and painted over 30 vessels. I didn’t know at the time that I was being prepared for my destiny.

Many times since then, I have been yanked out of commission because I refused to slow down to listen to the voice of my heart’s desire. It wanted to talk to me about that destiny I mentioned. Not later but right now! Staring at the ceiling or curled up in the fetal position, over and over again my forced “sick times of reflection” have provided me with the next steps to my destiny that I had been chasing right in front of me.

Recently, a situation not in anyone’s control caused a major shift in business as usual. Shock, disappointment and malaise moved into a creative space turning it into a tomb full of demoralized spirits myself included. We needed an energy infusion!!! I gathered the ghouls for an impromptu escape just before we all gasped our last breath. Over coffee, various themes on an egg, and purging souls I likened this time of change to my “sick time.” How about using this down period to regroup, reflect and develop a new approach to the usual business? Why not choose our own well sculpted colors for whatever our destiny was to be?

In our rapidly moving multi-tasked lives how often do we self select down time? How many minutes can you sit still and be? Try it, I dare you. Even when we go on vacation, we don’t turn off, tune out and immerse ourselves in the pleasure of being “off.” The next time you find yourself looking at the ceiling because your body snatched you into bed or shifting in an unexpected tide whether it business or otherwise, be grateful. Destiny wants to talk to you and it’s NOT on your cell phone. You may get frustrated not knowing what the heck it is saying but destiny takes time and is not the least bit concerned with our impatience. What you may not understand is down time just might help you give birth to your dreams without one minute of labor, unless of course you resist. So be still, keep moving and…

keep your peepers open! ®

Sunday, September 27, 2009

uncomfortable comfort

I had an outpatient procedure done the other day. Whenever I enter a medical environment I look around for artwork and to see if the place is embracing when I walk in. Art was nice enough and well placed which gave me a sense of comfort. But as I reclined on the gurney behind blue and purple curtains dressed in I can’t remember the print on my hospital gown, an overwhelming sense of discomfort covered me. Negative experiences from hospital visits past surfaced so quickly that before I knew it, a hushed sob had me wiping the tears as fast as they poured hoping that anyone who passed by would not see them.

The first time I ever had an intravenous tube inserted was back when I was a child. It was traumatic because the nurse had a difficult time getting it in. All I remember was the pain and bright red blood all over the bed. So imagine my disbelief when my technician failed at her first attempt to insert the needle. Was herstory repeating itself? I heard myself starting to hum some made up tune as I tapped rhythmically with my fingers on the guard rail. The more I hummed the calmer we both became and though painful and bloody, she had success on her second attempt. Several soft warm blankets were placed over me allowing me to curl up and snuggle in my heated tent as I waited and peered out. Though there was no artwork on the sterile walls, high above the bed was a window that let in some sunlight. I knew there were trees outside that window so my tent was actually in my hospital tree house (see September 13 treescape post). I watched staff dance in well choreographed steps that changed from moment to moment as they interacted with each other, tended to other patients, took care of business. It was amazingly quiet to be so lively back there. I sniffed for the smell of alcohol and antiseptics; nothing but clean air filled my nose. The last thing I had tasted well over 24 hours before wiggled and jiggled. My mouth began to anticipate something a little more substantial. So when they came to get me, I was bright and sassy, flirting with that handsome specimen who came to wheel me in.

In what seemed like a NY minute, I was in celebratory recovery. By keying in on the senses and using some creative thinking I had managed to avoid a dark corridor filled with scary moments from my past bringing comfort to the uncomfortable…a small yet important victory. And since when did four graham crackers taste like a smorgasbord?

keep your peepers open! ®

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

coifed & done

I used to be a serious clothes horse. When I got my first job, I amassed 30 outfits. Tailored jackets, jersey dresses, two-piece silk numbers, croc pumps, peep-toe sling back heels…never was it necessary to repeat a get up during any given month. I was very productive at the office. My second gig was more creative but WAY too corporate requiring that everyone dress in suits. Uniforms do not agree with me at all; I was not so productive or creative. What was a girl to do? I think it was then that I began to pay serious attention to accessories. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always had a penchant for accessories of all sorts and wore jewels with those 30 outfits. Most of it was what my grandmomma called real or good jewelry. Those monkey suits needed help so I swapped pearl studs for pearls that dangled from matte gold spheres, a few dainty silver bangles for a luscious hammered silver cuff. Each little hint of finery on my drab landscape boosted my spirits helping me to think outside the box. Though I was still miserable, I did find comfort in my peaceful rebellion.

When I moved from NYC, I was not sure what the next job would be but very sure that I would do less with dress and more with embellishment. I packed up a ridiculous indulgence of clothing; the shelters got some, an organization that provided suits to women entering the workforce got the rest. To this day, I only have the clothes I wear in my closet, no more, no less. But oh do I have JEWELS! I am only coifed & done if I have on earrings and lipstick. Even if I’m headed to a workout, I work it out so that earrings and headscarf or baseball cap are in simpatico! When I sit down to the table to create part of my ritual calls for me to be adorned with jewelry. Whatever I am done up in each day is determined by what combination of jewels I am feeling when I wake up. No longer side dishes to enhance the main course, my treasures are now la pièce de résistance!

One of my favorite haunts for exquisite tribal and ethnic jewelry and accessories for the home is owned by someone whose friendship I cherish (she also designs some of the pieces). The next time you are in Washington, DC on a Saturday, do yourself a favor. Stop by Boveda-Tribes, 3165 Mt. Pleasant St. NW and…

keep your peepers open! ®

Sunday, September 20, 2009

at the table

When I was offered an opportunity to premiere my collage Goddesses, I only had six completed. Elated, I agreed to finish a total of 24 by show time and immediately wondered if I had overcommitted. My dining room table was already covered with pictures from seek and snatch sessions (flipping through magazines, catalogues, etc. to find pictures that pique my interest) along with everything else needed to make collages; there was even a small altar with trinkets that inspire me. I checked off materials and work space. Certainly the desire was in me -- check. But would the girls continue to show up when I sat down at the table now that I had a deadline?

What I came to discover is your creativity needs to know you are going to show up. I made, kept and continue to keep a recurring weekend reservation for me and I’m not sure who to meet at the table. If someone is coming, I know it. If not, I simply honor the moment and go on about my business which has allowed me to become a more spontaneous being. To date, 56 collage Goddesses and several other visual and written creations have manifested themselves. Though my dining room table is starving for a meal, I am full. But gotta go now. Goddess 57 is meeting me at the table.

keep your peepers open! ®

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

soft ear, paused speak

Seems like this past week has been fraught with public displays of bad behavior and I’m sure thousands of private outbursts that we will never hear about. One of them was on course to be identified as the shrill sound of me blowing a gasket after I opened an email that summoned me to a 5:45am drama in four days. On said morning, I carefully dressed myself in anxiety with a sash of annoyance (well coordinated of course). Thankfully, the person who greeted me was not the one who had sent the message. I was in for soft ear and paused speak. The hair that was already standing at attention ready for battle retreated and sat unguarded on my head. My nostrils sighed with relief knowing there would be no need to flare like a bull. And my back never got up but slouched comfortably against the chair. This person listened, waited to speak…we had a healthy exchange. No outbursts, no bad behavior private or otherwise.

The tendency to allow our tempers and emotions to go from zero to the moon in less than a millisecond is far from pretty or productive. Before you take that ride, put it in park and bring into conscious a picture or feeling of something soothing, something that centers you, forces a surge of smile to course through your body. I know you’ve heard it before but just breathe…

keep your peepers open! ®

Sunday, September 13, 2009


outside the treehouse
the nightingales serenade
can you hear their song?

I don’t remember exactly when I got fixated on tree houses, not sure I’ve even been in one as I sit here typing. I did climb the huge magnolia tree just outside the screened in side porch at my grandparent’s house more times than I can count and still know the feel of the bark, the intoxicating fragrance of the creamy white blooms. It was peaceful among the branches, the closest thing to a tree house that I’ve experienced. If I recall correctly I was searching for a spa and stumbled upon information about tree houses built specifically for people to stay in as temporary lodging…hotel like rooms with a new kind of view. Intrigued, I guess I filed this image away in my head for probably ten years until it resurfaced a year or so ago.

My bedroom windows are almost floor to ceiling. Nothing but trees rest just outside the glass and one afternoon as I lounged lazily, I was mesmerized by the glints of sunlight dancing between the green leaves. One of my favorite things to do that stimulates my creativity is head for my bed for a late afternoon escape. I grab my journal, raise the soft white paper shades -- the room is now awash with the glow of the sun as it heads in for the day. I write poems, paint, collage, paste photos, capture my thoughts and giggle with delight in my own private tree house as the orchestra of buzzing, chirping and whatever is moving plays outside the window. If I’m lucky, a bird will perch on the ledge before it flits over to the magnolia tree...and I’m back at grandma’s. Look outside your window and as you create your own escape remember to…

keep your peepers open! ®

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

j. walkin'

In my quest for total health and wellness I try to find innovative ways to move and/or creative things to do while moving my body. My trainer recently seduced me into something I thought my body was incapable of doing based on old injuries. She lured me into j. walkin’! Now this concept is nothing new but I thought she had put a creative spin on my routine so I’d stick with it. I’m sure you’ve heard of or even experienced jogging sprints followed by walking intervals on the treadmill. (Ok, I said it was nothing new.) The first time I did it I loved it, couldn’t wait to do it again. During subsequent sessions...not so much. "Is she trying to kill me? Am I going to pass out? WILL I EVER WALK AGAIN?" I wanted to get off that machine and go out(the)doors. But each time I managed to make it through, much like I have when faced with other challenges.
I fell in love with walking outdoors during a very low period in my life. The only thing I felt in control of at that time was taking care of my body. Though it was freezing out, I bundled up and headed out for a walk along the river. With each step, a bit of anxiety seeped from my feet into the earth below and as I climbed the hill towards home, I was totally rejuvenated. One of the trainers thinks I should come into the studio to do cardio but as long as it is warm and the weather is cooperative I will be one with nature on the days when I’m not training. I feel embraced when a cool breeze suddenly brushes across my chest, smile joyously when the sun winks at me from behind the hill, giggle with such glee when a butterfly flutters around my head and am washed with a sense of calm at the sound of water. Each spring, I map out a new route, then go back to take pictures along the way. Anytime I wish, I can relive my walk through these vivid photos no matter the weather or time of day.

As mentioned in a previous post, this year my eyes seemed to be drawn to so many things around me. Up, down and around I captured plants, tree, flowers, sculpture, sidewalks, water and did you know there are hundreds of different manhole and other covers on the sidewalks and in the street? I was fascinated and have taken hundreds of pictures with my I Phone that I will share periodically in my blog. But back to j. walkin’...

Very much to my surprise, I have incorporated this into my AM walk some mornings. I feel my body getting stronger because of it and no longer fear that I will become incapacitated if I run. Thanks Kat for introducing me to another way to move my limbs. I’m not purring just yet. The sound I emit is more like the huff and puff of a she wolf. And heaven knows I don’t have the wind to even blow the little white puffs off a dandelion! But I’m getting there. So to all you treadmillers -- get off, go out and…

keep your peepers open!®

Sunday, September 6, 2009

cloak & sounder

I know that cotton is touted as the “fabric of our lives” but let me suggest that there is another “fabric” that clothes us and I don’t mean linen, wool or silk. I’m talking about music…it has certainly cloaked me for my entire life. Music has spun me right round, (w)rapped me up, needled me to distraction. Music is textured, multi-layered, has provided me with various experiences depending on the genre. My passion for music is deeply embedded in every fiber of my soul…I was told I could dance before I could walk, so something about the rhythms I heard as a wee one stirred me not to mention my booty! Both music and art surrounded me as a child and now I cannot sit down to create anything visual without some kind of music…it adds a layer to the finished piece somehow.

Female vocalists seem to keep me on point and every so often, male vocalists or rock will weave through my fingers as I cut, construct and glue. I try not to let anything that calls for an impromptu dance party find its way into the CD player while I’m working. I have stopped what I’m doing for an hour long session that leaves me sweatin’ but exhilarated; my flow has never suffered due to a temporary lapse in focus as music, movement and song spurs me on. Now this changes drastically when I need to write something. I turn on the laptop, tune into, click on one of the stations I created and get into trouble! I’ll be pecking away and suddenly a song will come on that I have not…have I heard this before? The thought clings to me. I stretch my brain to try and remember if I have this song. Before I know it, I’m looking through my CD's! This is indeed a distraction that I need to hem in.

On this eve of Labor Day when the only laborious tasks I will perform are lifting a glass and chopsticks, I climbed back into bed with Dell and pulled the cotton comforter over my mosquito bitten legs (my AM walk through the sculpture garden produced a kind of texture that I don’t love so much) and began to think about my subject du jour. Before I started, I quickly searched for a CD I had heard about and stumbled across “The Painter’s Music – The Musician's Art.” I listened to the classical tapestries for a few moments. Without much effort, the stitches began to embroider my writer’s canvas and here we are clearly starting a conversation that needs to be continued “darn” it.

keep your peepers open!®

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

it's eclectic!

I’ve been told on countless occasions that I have a “good eye.” This pertains to so many things like spotting a quirky piece of art or jewelry passed over by the faint at heart, zoning in on the most ornate and unusual African mask buried in the pile at the street festival booth, or framing the most artistic composition with just an I Phone, a new obsession that has produced some surprising outcomes (stay tuned to see some of them). But a good eye is not limited to things that can be seen. Sometimes it is savoring in my taste buds, tickling my ears, wafting through my nose or teasing my fingers.

A bonafide eclectic being, it was just not in me to narrow this blog down to one topic…spirit could NOT be contained! The eclectic eye is and will be a place to read about and view all things creative. However it would not be me if every so often I didn't post what is on my mind at the moment, creative or not so...

keep your peepers open!®