Wednesday, April 18, 2012

cycles and trends

Confession: I envy Cowgirl's ability to launch herself full throttle into her obsessions. She is so unselfconscious and totally enthused about whatever is her current passion be it HotWheels cars, Beyblades, dragons, airplanes, whales or penguins. Whenever I pull out my sketch book or art journal I catch myself over thinking what it is I want to create. What I need a healthy dose of playfulness along with a heaping helping of undiluted mania .

Each day I go through her backpack pulling out the pieces of her latest craze: whales and sharks gave way to dragons which in turn morphed into snakes, then airplanes and now birds. Eagles to be precise (and she is nothing if not exacting in her choices). It is not just the variety that fascinates me but how day after day after day she works on these forms. In her spare moments - waiting for breakfast or dinner - she will go to her table and like a miniature Dr. Frankenstein work on her creatures.

At last count, she had over 50 dragons with multiple heads.

And she doesn't just draw and color these creatures, she cuts every one of them out!

So yesterday I pulled out evidence of a new trend: birds (along with some snakes).

I'd say (and this is an educated assessment given my -ahem - training as a professional art historian) she has moved out of her more leisurely rose and blue periods and is in the midst of a fertile and fevered explosion of creativity. Think Picasso and cubism - analytic, synthetic and hermetic. (I know, forgive my lapse into mumbo jumbo; my mind is like a mix master blender - hit puree and see what comes up!)

I am in awe of the continued variety of colors and forms and the details she includes - girl eyes (signified by eye lashes), fancy claws, lightening bolts, teeth and yes, blood!

It is fascinating to watch her process unfold and has me thinking about my cycles and trends in creating. As I flip through my Book of Days (what would the weekly equivalent be?) I am aware of my continued interest in making mandalas.

Awhile back I was in an online group exploring mandalas and it was there that I learned about the process called The Great Round. To me, it is like the Medicine Wheel with the 12 stages mapping out an archetypal process of development and growth. Creating the mandalas and then reflecting upon them through journal writing has been an insightful process in understanding my own cycles, trends and growth. My first circuit through the Great Round has inspired me to create a mandala each month of the year to provide insight into seasonal changes.

It all dovetails with the work in SouLodge as the group circles together each season for 6 weeks. I am gaining perspective as I allow myself to fall into rhythm with Nature, the Seasons and the cycles of the moon, replacing instant gratification with a more measured approach. Space and time opening up it seems as I slow down and allow insights to come rather than chasing madly after them.

As if to confirm all of this, I discovered on my front lawn what feels like an important teaching about cycles and process.

I was horrified to find this sweet baby bunny, reminding me that April is indeed the cruelest month as new life is so very vulnerable and Life really a miracle and not the norm. At the same time, I was drawn in by the incredible beauty of this creature and was aware of its presence as a gift reminding me that the cycles of life/death/life turn quickly and we are always experiencing some aspect of that process. Honoring this gift, I devised an impromptu burial ceremony in our backyard, offering lavender, yarrow, cornmeal and tobacco to Mother Earth along with her babe. I sang to it a sacred chant invoking healing for all, myself included. And at some level beyond my ability to explain or describe, I felt myself settle into a state of peace that had been eluding me all week.

Later that night as I was washing up dishes, I looked out the window and there was the confirmation I needed that indeed, all is as it should be and I am exactly where I need to be in this merry-go-round of life.

Meanwhile, my girl is moving into her eagle phase. I can't wait to see what comes next.


  1. I have been swirling around in the "circle of life" for the past several weeks. The spinning spirals of different emotions, not to mention the geographic and time changes as I move from one location to another has me worn to a frazzle. Watching the birth of a baby goat gave me my moment of calm a couple of days ago. One day at a time, I am living out my best, taking the good with the not-so-nice, looking for bunnies, kittens and new, fresh wonders. Cowgirl seems to be following in her mother's foot steps and that is a very good thing.

  2. Cowgirl's artwork totally blows me away!! As do your words and images - every time:)