Sunday, March 20, 2011

Flow



I am creating a new piece of art. The piece has been coming for a while now; it is ready to manifest. If you have been following my story, you may recall the big dream I had about a tree I perceived as a piece of art that came flowing down the brook behind my home. It was rushing at me very quickly and I wanted to retrieve it, but the wise woman who stood by my side seemed to encourage me to let it float, and so I did.

The dream was a year ago, it was a hint that the artwork, Flow, as I named it for the dream, was getting ready to be fashioned. But even before that, I had another dream six months prior; it may have been my first indication that the artwork was imminent:

I am being shown around a school where I once was a teacher, for a potential job. The first thing I notice is the entire school has been redesigned into long corridors of cubicles. The cubicles run along the left and right with the narrow corridors between them. The small compartments are now the classrooms and consist only of wooden booths, nothing more. The spaces are dark and uninviting. I am concerned that the school has been rebuilt this way.

I am shown my potential teaching space; it is a room behind the cubicles, minus the walls. It abuts a common area where professionals will meet for lunch, where they are encouraged to exchange ideas.

 I wonder if this space will be too noisy for the students but feel fortunate at least we won't be stuck in a cubicle.

The teachers file in for lunch and my positive feelings are confirmed, they are to the point in their actions, not noisy, so there is no problem. I am still very concerned about the overall school set up, but no one else seems to care.

Then the floor opens up as a huge crack forms, it reveals a river of flowing, sliced, fermenting apples. The cubicles are blown right over, destroyed.

photo credit, deliciouslyorganizedblogspot.com


This dream speaks to me about what is happening in education right now, the education system is, once again, being "rebuilt". Learning is being cordoned off into an extreme structure that I consider to be “box-like” in thinking. A great deal of energy is being spent on learning how to take “the test,” the one that all children and educators will be measured by.

The fact that I have concerns about the small, dark and uninviting learning spaces in my dream, and that I am being presented with a potential learning space that is open--without walls, a place where nourishment and idea exchanges will occur, thankfully outside of the "boxes"--reflects to me my own way of thinking and learning. As a student, I was not very moved by rote, or uninventive education, but give me something to touch, provide for me tangible evidence, and a lasting impression was made.
That’s why I became a teacher, I knew I needed to return to what I saw as a lackluster system and make it palpable for students. I was passionate about meaningful education.
This passion still bubbles over into everything I do, raising my son, my artwork and teaching art classes, my writing, and my walks.


My favorite part of the dream is the upset and the breakthrough with the flowing symbol of teacher-- the apple--sliced into neat little pieces maybe, but burbling effervescently nonetheless. It is this dream slice I want to recreate in my art. Gone are the uninviting dark boxes cast aside for what lies beneath the surface, an unstoppable force, a flowing alchemic river of revolution. This is where Flow, the artwork, comes from, it's about revolution. It's about following one's dreams and believing in the process.


As I walked today, this was the very ground I trod upon.

The floor is opening up; Flow is present. The dream is alive bidding me to bring it forth in a tangible form for others to see, to experience. And so I shall.



Monday, March 14, 2011

You Can Learn A Lot From a Tree

I spend quite a bit of my walking time observing trees as I navigate the forest, and I have come to realize I am learning a great deal from them. I feel fortunate trees are my teachers. Trees have personalities.

Trees make the most of things. They react to their environment accordingly; they deal with their plight with ease. They lead a relatively balanced life based on the elements they receive from nature: sun, water, soil, wind, surrounding flora and fauna. If a tree receives more or less of something, it makes do.
Trees are supportive of one another.



Trees have developed a symbiotic relationship with each other; if one gets blown over, another will hold it between its heavy branches. If one gets lopped off at the top, another seems content to spread out its canopy and protect it. A sick tree will readily succumb to its providence thus producing food and shelter for the creatures of the forest; a weak tree will tip over creating humus for the forest floor, preparing fertile ground for another tree to plant itself.


Different types of trees cohabitate side by side without any issue at all.  Some trees in the forest are thin, others thick, there are spritely young trees and stout old trees, some show weakness, others remain strong. Trees have a variety of textures, some are smooth, others coarse. Trees appear in a range of color: brown, red, gray, evergreen, white. Trees do not discriminate against one another. Trees exist quite peacefully within a multi-species community.

A tree can be: graceful, flexible, soft, yielding, asymmetric, curved, and bent. I imagine myself to be a tree, I am all of these things; the beauty of the tree is reflected back to me.
A tree is a mirror image of itself really: its roots plant, sprawl, connect and tap into Mother Earth, receiving Her primordial intelligence.
Its branches sprout, grow, intertwine and reach toward Father Sky, possessing His spiritual aptitude. A tree’s trunk is a conduit; it is the transducer of earthly knowledge and heavenly essence which is contained deep in its core.


A tree can be: giant, knotty, hard, bumpy, twisted and gnarly. Who hasn’t come across an ancient, massive tree with several branches missing from unavoidable circumstances, a hole in its center containing something mysterious, and felt its wisdom go straight to your heart? Trees have hearts. Sometimes they provide for us portals to their hearts that when we look into them, mirror back our own hearts.





Trees reach new heights, dance in the wind, lean on one another, crack open, break apart; sometimes trees fall. They can live with these conditions; they accept their destiny nobly.


You can learn a lot from a tree.



Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Unplugging


vator.tv

I awoke this morning and precisely as my eyes popped open I thought, “computer.”  And then I thought, “addicted.” I've considered weaning myself from my computer, but having just started my blog, I am torn. The truth is, I love my laptop; I love reading on it, I love writing on it, and I love using it as a tool of communication. But, there is some truth to me being just a little too plugged in right now.

I wrote about this to one of my closest friends, whom I email regularly, on a busy day dozens of times. We like to share everything that’s going on, and then reassure each other. We figure it is like writing in a diary, only with support.  She wrote back to me of her own experience, “Well, I do feel like I'm mothering a child sometimes, 'You can't check the email till you finish x,y, and z.'"

Then, I got two nice emails this morning. One, from a soon-to-be art student who will be coming to my spring DreamArt class. She bought my Dream Stories book and wanted to share she is enjoying it, particularly the chapter on meditative walking. The other, from a dear friend who sent me this quote from Marianne Williamson, to remind me to forge ahead with my art and dreams. I have met up with some self-doubt and fear recently:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us, it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

One of the things I realized is my "e-life" has been a life of connection. My computer has brought me a plethora of information, I reason. It has introduced me to some superb storytelling in the form of personal blogs, I've been reading. It presents gorgeous visuals, such as photographs, and art. I play my favorite music on it. It provides me outstanding teachers in a variety of areas, my favorite being human consciousness. It has been an invaluable place to record my dreams, and now, to share them in this blog.

Then a synchronicity occurred, my laptop shut off on me and I had trouble getting it to reboot. And another, I got a call from a woman interested in coming to my art class, she gave me her phone number for updates, but she does not use a computer.

Sometimes, I think we get just what we need.




Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Beginning

 Winter 2010
 

One day, I brought a little offering on my daily walk, a tiny bundle of dried flowers that held significant meaning for me. I wanted to leave it in a place of nature with the intention to bury the flowers in the snow as a sign of letting go of a particular issue I was having. I knew the right spot would present itself along the way.

Soon, I came to a clearing with a path made of animal tracks. I followed the path across a narrow creek, and stood in little forest of hemlock spruces, delicate and lacy. I noticed a particular hemlock, not very big, its trunk about 8 inches in circumference. Juxtaposed to the hemlock was a slender dead tree, lopped off at the top by some unforeseen circumstance.

I wasn't certain if the young hemlock was the right place for my offering as I had expected to find a large, old tree, but I decided to trust my initial instinct and not let the mind overrule. So, I buried the small pile under the snow, thanked the tiny tree, and left.

On my walk the next day, I figured if I could locate the spot, I would stop and offer more gratitude. I felt the act of letting go had impacted me in a positive way.

Surprisingly, I easily found the path, crossed the creek, and saw the tree. I walked up to it, placed my palm on its trunk, thanked it, and paused. I stood with my eyes closed and absorbed the sounds of nature.

In my mind's eye, a circle appeared, light blue and fuzzy. I kept my eyes closed for a while and noticed, a tiny, brighter circle within the sphere that appeared to be an opening. I focused on it with some effort as it would come and go. From the tiny hole, emerged a light pink heart. Its edges were not perfect, but it most certainly was a heart. I stayed with the heart as long as I could. I began to see what looked like the sky on the other side, through the heart.

Shortly after, the heart disappeared, no trace, just gray in the mind's eye. Elated, I thanked the magical hemlock. I had received its healing message. As I left to walk the narrow path back to the larger path, I was greeted by a large golden retriever. :)

When I returned to the larger walking path, I sent the heart, and its healing message, in a prayer to my friend who was ill. That evening I sent this very story to her hoping she would get a chance to read it. I was surprised to get an email from her moments later:

Dearest K,

Thank you so much for keeping me in your powerful healing thoughts.
I am honored by you & mother nature!

I'm not sure if you have spoken with Colleen, but I have a new update ....
I had a CT scan of my lungs and chest last night at BMC.

The news is not positive, the cancer has spread into both my right & left lungs, I am off my tarceva medication and a couple other ones too.
Women coming from Hospice tomorrow morning.

So I am at a powerful & vulnerable place of knowing my time here is shorter then I expected.....so much to think about, how do I get ready to leave this planet, How do I say so many goodbyes, so many I love you's.....trust, surrender, stay in a love space......

This may sound crazy to you but I know I can share it with you....

Your key you gave me has become a symbol of my next journey, my next life time.
At first I thought it might be my next step here during this life time but as time moves on and this cancer seems to be the vehicle in which I may be leaving this planet, that key is magical and I think it's bringing me to my next journey beyond this one.....and it doesn't scare me.

So thank you!!!
You are a true angel,
Please feel free to share any thoughts you have, visions etc....regarding my cancer journey.

The message of the hemlock now came even more into focus: the pink heart with its window to the sky was showing me an open heart.  My amazing friend, in opening her heart to me, is an embodiment of the healing message of the hemlock. The simple act of placing an intention and being open to messages of healing brings gifts far greater than one can ever imagine... <3

Note: My friend passed three months later on March 5, 2010. I placed a tiny key at the base of the hemlock in honor of her, where it still remains.