Category Archives: Making room

Pentimento

pentimento (pĕnˌtəmĕnˈtō) [key], painter’s term for the evidence in a work that the original composition has been changed. 

Despite my good intentions, there was no beauty in the outer lines. The peace I so longed to paint upon the canvas held the jarring discord of the reality. I did not know how to bring peace within the relationship this mandala represented. I did not feel direction in how to breech that barrier. Imposed hope, unwanted judgments clashed as colours and line created dissonance. Only the centre held promise.

How the urge to flight, to run away from what I couldn’t seem to fix held me! Throw the canvas away! Repaint the background to obscure the creative mess! What good are intentions if the product is flawed?

I was stopped by the centre, the seed and ground of my own heart. Green radiating from the spiral spoke to me. 

I raised my paint brush and began to recolour some lines. As I did, it struck me. This mandala was walking me through the inner labyrinth. This time on the journey was the walk toward the centre, that time of Release, the emptying to make room for the changed. The past could not be undone but colours and lines could be revisioned by letting go of what needed change.

I chose the colours that were darker for the heaviness of their pigments. Spiralling upward as layers obscured the colours and line below. I prepared for what will come by letting go.

It is not finished. Releasing is a spiralling process in time. It will come as I take the steps I can see. Each will draw me to that place of Revelation which will lead me to Return to the place of serving more deeply again. It will not be what was. It will have a new beauty.

I look at the mandala and see raised shadows as the only evidence of what had once been.

Only the centre remains.

 

**Credit to Heather Plett for teaching me the stages of a labyrinth

**Credit to Info Please for the wording in the definition of pentimento.

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Failure to measure up or a time to re-vision possibilities?

DSC00082rvOff in the north with no computer access, I saved this as an email to myself. Today, opening it, I found the very message I needed to hear. It is a time for revisioning  the circumstances of life. Written December 31, 2014

Failure. Not measuring up to expectations. How often labels create the stooped shoulders and flagging spirit as good intentions go wrong.  The spark inside seems doomed to flicker out. I am not what they need. I do not have what it takes.

But wait! You needn’t read many stories about inventions to realize that just such a state of disappointed lack of success is often the gateway to new breakthroughs. This morning I read of one such discovery in a collection of music trivia.

It was the 1970’s. Mono recordings in portable tape recorders didn’t meet the grade so a Sony team put time and effort into shrinking speaker parts to put in a pocket size case. They could fit in the playback and speakers but not the recording parts.  The time and money seemed wasted. The prototype was an expensive failure.

Except, the quality of sound was good. The Sony team kept the failed product around to listen to music as they worked.

It took a quirky, creative visionary to see the potential of what had been viewed a failure. By roaming the building Morita Ibuka knew what was occurring beyond the narrow scope of a single project. To Morita, a tiny player when paired with lightweight headphones had potential. But who wanted a tape recorder that couldn’t record?

Skepticism met the idea at every turn.  Limited thinking could have sunk the idea as labelling and target audiences all went through shifts of perspective.

You know the rest of the story. The idea of “slim, portable, personal music player” has gone through various configurations and has become a staple in our society.

Are there parts of your life that you have hidden away because structures around you have led you to believe your ideas or beliefs or philosophy or accomplishments don’t meet some pre established criteria?

Who knows? In the uniqueness of you there may be the invention that can impact the world in large or small ways. It may simply require some revisioning.

May God grant us the creative quirkiness to search for worth in what we have been led to believe are the failures in our lives.

Source material: “Now Hear This!”, Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Plunges into Music, 2007 (the irony of a source like this for the article is fully intended but information about inventions can be found in numerous publications)

Dear Once Upon a Time

finding homeDear Once Upon A Time,

You believed the fairytales of a woman’s ability to be like a god changing the attitudes of another, bringing to life your fairytale perfect home. You believed that you could change enough, be enough to satisfy the desires of those who were the forces of power in the world you had been taught to believe. For you, the Stepford Wife existence would have been a mercy. You would not have had to deal with me.

When among the hoped for fairytales, the nightmare took root you fought with virtual tooth and claw to keep me trapped within the prescriptions of your schedules and I tried to comply, tried to find the line between your ridged expectations and the fluidity of my visions of a world of creative possibility waiting to be explored. It was never enough. He had called me frivolous, an escape. And you did not have the talent set that would have made it all better, that would have finally brought the acceptance you so longed for. The anger and despair in you built, an anger you could not accept. You broke when finally you came to realize things would not change.

Someone saw me in you then. She called me an eagle locked in a cage. Her vision gave you hope that perhaps I was not a chain that held you down but wings waiting inside and tentatively you began to seek me again.

For many more years you would struggle to find a way for both of us to be accepted without breaking the code they  had set you in throughout your life. It was an uneasy alliance for your world had become one that had little room for me. As before, when despair robbed you of the energy to hold me down you let me emerge to write words of hope that you could read or to record a memory you would someday need. In those years, you let me create at times as well, practical crafts, nothing too frivolous.

You even tried to kill me when you realized my presence would never allow your world to have the stability of acceptance in a fairytale romance you had fought for so long. It was easier to blame and discard me then to face your humanness which kept you from being a god with power to effect the choices of another.

Ironically, when you finally accepted the reality of your life and began to heal in the aloneness of distance, you still could not accept my presence in your life. You still blamed me for being. They called it anxiety and depression. I knew that it was your raging grief at not being god enough to meet the expectations of the world of thought you had been raised in. The day you finally came face to face with your freedom not to be responsible for the choices of another, you began to heal.

I had learned to wait, that even within myself I could not impose a vision on the part of me still in the pain of disillusioned dreams. It would be years before I would meet the images of the hurt woman in a way that you could begin to see the painfulness of a life without me. Our uneasy alliance would find more compatibility in our house of disappointing or distant relationships.

You still held a separate face within the mirror. My face aged yet yours remained trapped in the age your dreams stood still. Mine was a face you did not recognize as the lines slowly changed from the rigid prison of your lost dreams. There was an uncomfortableness when you looked in the mirror. You could not accept seeing me so clearly etched into the surface of your life.

A few days ago I looked in the mirror and only saw this face. The specter of your trapped image was gone. It has not returned. I can not feel you anymore. I can feel the legacy you left of finding order to build my life within, but your anxiety and discomfort are gone. There is a quietness within of just being.

Like other trapped pieces met through the years of healing you have faded into memory. I only hope you found that  inner island of healing that was hidden from us years ago when time came to put so much of the past to rest. I hope you are finally happy there feeling the acceptance you IMG_3118longed for.

But I go on, inwardly whole and healthy, living fully in this life that was always mine to live. I can only hope I am wiser now and aware enough to see the changes in direction that are needed when anxiety sends signals of danger ahead.

I have learned from you. Thank you for all you added in my life in the years you did not recognize your worth.

Peace to you,

Myself

 

 

Eddying currents of snow

It has happened. The cold dry snow light enough to form eddying currents powered by the passing of cars has laid is thin sheer sheeting gently across the grass.

My thoughts float in eddies of their own settling lightly in future visions of the coming spring and quiet preparations I will be making throughout the winter to let them grow with the warming sun.

This is one of the years when our concert will be in spring. Our school stays busy with activities so has opted for one big concert each year. That is fine with me. It gives time to develop smaller informal celebrations as the children learn new musical skills that will culminate in that final celebration. Within the cozy comforter of my classroom much will happen to prepare for the budding in the spring.

Life will move on through this time of snow. The tracks of vehicles already wind their paths through the snowy whiteness. There are small birds that will insulate among snarled branches and inside trees. Small animals will take foraging trips for food stored in the warmer months. Home will have a greater welcoming warmth when soon the wind blasts frozen across our faces.

There are some who say they would not live in a climate so cold. Just as my French immersion classes give me the extra challenge as I find resources for teaching and presenting in French, the winter challenges me to stretch beyond easy recreations, delving deep to find those things that bring me joy. I cannot be limited in what I find beauty in. The changing season recolors the world reinventing the landscape of possibilities.

The songs of my childhood in more static season can only be a part of my life. Coming from a place where snow was so rare I didn’t know how to maneuver well on icy roads, I have had to become adept at feeling the stability beneath my car, of recognizing the conditions of the road, of turning to resources like snow tires to help me navigate. I have had to learn the musculature of snow shoveling and high stepping where snow is still deep.

It is the same when I teach in the immersion school. I cannot become complacently reliant on the songs I already know or even what I hear on the radio. I am always needing to keep my attentions to the currents of change in order to keep my music teaching contemporary at the same time that I keep much of its content in French. Coming into the world as an adult, I have to research and take courses to more fully access the language and resources. Moving into this much richer climate of seasons I am stretched by seeking new music and learning to adapt known pieces to bring joy and learning to the children whose musical learning has been entrusted to me.

Changing seasons bring challenge. The coming winter reminds me of that within me which has the power and flexibility to learn and adapt.

A place to begin

 

DSC04782Not every story

has a telling

Some lay fallow

on the heart room floor

Left to grow

in quiet contemplation

Seeking answers

yet unknown I

Gently loosen soil

Giving room

for roots and stems

DSC02292

Secrets. Those special memories that can’t be shared. We often seek to bind others to the secrets in our lives even those that are better told out loud. We need to let them loose and so they fly to other hearts to lodge there within the garden there. And yet, we don’t release the other to do the same. We bind them to the holding of the seed even if it might be an invasive plant in their garden.

We often choose to do this out of hope for some lessening of the pain and terror of our own vulnerability should the other share the tale where it shouldn’t be heard. We seek to trust the load that is too heavy for us to carry alone will be able to be shared. If there is a mutuality, and ability to transplant secrets to balance the listeners heart, then the new seed can be given the space needed.

DSC01533Too often I am remiss at listening to what is within the other to see if they can handle my seeds. Is it something that can find beauty within their garden, something they can clear out if necessary or is it a tenacious weed that can take over what is already growing there?

Unless I want to slam the door of this blog, there are stories that I cannot share without violating the sacred trust of others. They are stories that must be shared with care if shared at all. It is so easy to sensationalize the pain of another, or to project our own responses on them. If I can find my way into writing fiction, perhaps there will be a place for that. That place isn’t here and it isn’t now.

Yet I need to choose. There are too many secrets inside me. What ritual of letting go will allow me to release those that need to be cleaned out so that I can hold the ones I still need to hold for my own peace and empathetic relationship with significant others in my life. How do I write the things I have learned from the stories while living respectfully with others who are a part of the story? These are the questions I still need to answer before I am ready to move beyond this P1050380blog.

For now, I am thankful for this space to begin to share in and those who take the time to interact with me on my words. Perhaps my mindful gift is right here today – this place which gives me a place to share with others and those who have chosen to let me be a part of their journey by reading.