Egads! My first post of the New Year and I wish I could say I had a little more oomph about me. Today was my first day back at work meaning I had to set the alarm and actually get moving to get myself and Cowgirl - who also started back to school today - out the door in a timely manner (or more precisely, our usual promptly late manner.). To make the day even better, I had my yearly appointment with "the lady doctor" as my mother says AND a visit to the boob smashing machine. Seriously ... having parts of your anatomy smooshed flatter than a pancake does not seem like modern medicine. I also had to have blood drawn and only after years of advanced yogic practices, invoking complicated methods of concentration generally reserved for 6 year olds playing Plants Versus Zombies on the computer, am I able to withstand the procedure without going completely white and needing to lie down. All of this before the gentle poking and prodding of said Lady Doctor (who is a nice lady and a great doctor.)
But I digress. I guess I am just feeling a tad bogged down energetically even though I am truly excited for this new year and the return to my usual pursuits. DEEP begins in one week and I am surveying my paint collection to see what I might want to have on hand. Over the break I painting pretty much every day in an effort to complete my entry for The Sketchbook Project. Four spreads and the cover to go. What I have learned from this project is I no longer fear the blank page. I've discovered instead of letting my mind churn over what it is I want to paint, I just start painting and let the work tell me what it wants to be. I am actually enjoying the process of painting my way out of dead ends: what seems like a mistake one moment, forces me to dig in deeper and try something new in a effort to transform messes into new ideas, new insights. It seems a bit like rock climbing: I cannot see the route I will take and have to rely upon moment-by-moment decisions to move me forward. And sometimes I have to backtrack to find a new course.
I've also learned to act when I have an idea or inspiration. I used to file the idea away, thinking a later time will be better to start or that I need to finish what I am doing presently before beginning a new piece. Now I have multiple projects in process and if something is speaking to me, I know it is best to give it all my attention while the inspiration is strong. Often those little bursts of creative juice carry over into the other on-going projects and infuse them with new life.
So I guess I am still reflecting upon where I have traveled in the past year in preparation for the journey ahead. I feel like I am on the threshold of a new adventure and am gathering all the things I will need to carry me forward. Now is the time to take stock of what it is I carry in my emotional/creative backpack and toss out what is unnecessary weight. As in any journey, the essential item is a positive attitude and an enthusiastic spirit.
What inspired me in the past few days:
this sea turtle had been sick and this was the first time we saw him actually swimming and not asleep at the bottom of the tank
A trip to the zoo to see the new Cheetah cubs who decided to take their naps when we arrived. It is exciting though as there are 4 new cubs and apparently it is unusual for cheetahs to reproduce in a zoo setting. Doubly exciting is the fact that for the past month Cowgirl has been referring to herself as a Cheetah baby, purring and snarling in a cub-like manner.
I received a number of inspiring photography books for Christmas which had me taking my camera out a bit more in recent days. I was pondering another 365 self portrait project and had almost decided it was just too much of "me" to handle for another year. Then I read this beautiful passage by Andrea Scher:
"... I believe wholeheartedly that seeing ourselves as we really are, through our own lens, is a rare gift we can give to ourselves. A gift of self-acknowledgement, of self-care, of truth and ultimately, of healing." (from Expressive Photography)
I'm in. Care to join me?
(I'm also taking the self paced the art of textures course offered by Kim Klassen. I learned so much from her Photoshop Skinny Mini course, it was a no-brainer to jump abroad and I believe a few spaces are still left.)
I also continue to photograph my muse - remembering to capture those moments that I know will all too quickly pass. And while at times I worry I am being labeled as one of those photographers (just like I am one of those mommy bloggers - a fact I am proud to claim) I also know deep, deep in my soul that celebrating her life is also a confirmation and celebration of my own. Being trusted by her to be her mother has healed me on levels I have yet to explore. And creating with her and for her has opened up spaces inside of me I never would have imagined possible.
Yes, I think it's going to be a pretty amazing year. Colorful anyway. And well-documented I'm sure.