Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Celebrating the intangible

I just finished knitting a sweater for my boyfriend, and it gives me as much joy as it gives him. Each time he wears it I get to savor the feeling of achievement. It's the largest knitting project I've taken on so far: my first sweater, my first cable project, my first 2-way separating zipper. You can see more pictures of the sweater on my ravelry page.

And as I take time at the end of the year, looking back at the highlights, I notice that except for these end-of-year reviews I lose a lot of that delicious feeling of being done with something and gazing proudly at it. It's so different from my experience of knitting things and seeing them being worn. You see, as a performing artist, the work I do gets lost in time. There's all the work done in preparation, and I love that sense of anticipation and focused effort, but when the performance is over and the glow fades, so too does the memory of having done it. I'm off and rushing off to the next thing. Does this happen to you? Especially with creative endeavors where there is no physical "evidence"?

I don't often spend moments looking back at my achievements or celebrating them, and now I'm wondering if I can make the other creative processes more like knitting. In knitting, I get to see a piece gradually growing as I progress. So how could I apply this to learning a new piece of music, or trying to build a new technique on the violin? In knitting, I get to enjoy over and over again the feeling of "Yeah, I did that!" when I see a piece being worn. Could I maybe lengthen the afterglow by creating something tangible and visible to mark a performance or an achievement that would otherwise be lost to memory and time? Contemplation and journaling are great ways to put these on paper, but for me those pages also get lost in the shuffle. How can we enjoy more regularly what we "knit" into our creative lives?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Dream for the Full Cold Moon

It seems I haven't been very active on my blog lately, and maybe it's because I've been so active in my creative life. Of the treasured moments to myself, I have enjoyed making dreamboards monthly with each full moon of the year. I missed the previous one, and the energy was pent up I suppose, because this month's dreamboard is crammed with images and lots of surprises. I feel it will take some time to learn what I need to from this board, but I want to make it a practice this month to gaze at it and discover what the dreamboard is inviting me to do or be right now.

December is often a really difficult month for me, as it contains in it so many energies. Being born in December I'm trying to celebrate my birthday while people are busy with the holidays, preparing for the holidays while looking back at my year for highlights and for unfinished business, looking forward to the new year -- all this swirl make for an unsettled kettle of emotions, happy, wistful, anxious, proud, hungry, nervous. I try to take things down a notch, and as the years go by I think I get a little better at it, but there's still that bubbling stuff just under the surface. Perhaps I just need to make peace with this, just as it is.

As I gaze at my board, I think it reflects this jumble of energies I experience in December. I long for a simple message I can latch onto, but it seems this is just not in the cards. So I'll have to learn to love the smorgasbord of offerings, often contrasting or clashing:
  • A longing for peace and rest
  • Busy-ness and stimulation
  • Animal instincts and animal wisdom
  • Nutritious food and sweet treats
  • Flowering and growth (my windowsill orchid is sending up a flower stalk right now!)
  • Magic and surprise
I'm thankful for having this regular process for tuning in to my dreams and desires and intuition. It has been so useful and nourishing to my spirit to have a way of checking in with inner messengers on a regular basis. How wonderful that it is tied to the moon's cycles as well. If you're interested in making a dreamboard yourself and even sharing it with others, check out Jamie Ridler's Full Moon Dreamboards Online. Take a look at what others are dreaming for themselves for this full moon here. Here's to celebrating 2011 and looking forward to what 2012 will bring! All the best to you and yours.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Dreamboard for the Full Corn Moon

I had that familiar feeling while doing this dreamboard: "What are these images I'm cutting out? Nothing seems to be making any sense!" But because I've been through this experience a few times, I know that I can just move on and trust the process. And wow, what a process of discovery and self-reflection this practice continues to be. And now, I love my dreamboard for this Full Corn Moon. I'm continuing to explore and learn more about the images, and I love Jamie Ridler's suggestion to dialogue with the board, journaling to discover more meanings and symbols in the images on the board.

I'm intensely aware of making a leap, and that "works & process" and "ever after" remind me that the creative process constantly calls for us to make leaps. In certain ways, it can feel like being a beginner, a young one trusting to leap on rocky ground. Yet learning to be comfortable with this discomfort, this stretching for something not yet possible, is a vital part of being a creative soul. As creatives we are always looking to "expand our horizons."

I notice in this dreamboard a richness and depth in the colors, which I associate with royalty and maturity. "Dynamic works" and "You'll shimmer" say to me that being a confident artist also calls for an acknowledgement of what I already have in my bag of tricks. On my dreamboard there are some women who have achieved great things in their creative careers. Mature and in their prime they are doing great work, and have been for years. Meredith Monk and Vivienne Westwood have qualities I admire. They do not follow the crowd, they just do work that they believe in and their genius shines through. They are willing to push the edges, look at things in new ways. The torchbearer in my board powerfully raises her arm to throw light onto the stage, to help me see something.

My intention for this moon cycle: to approach my work as a confident and mature artist, a powerful woman.

I feel this dreamboard is really rich with messages for me as I move through the coming weeks and this new cultural season. I look forward to the discoveries and inspirations I'm sure this will spark.

If you're interested in making a dreamboard yourself and even sharing it with others, check out Jamie Ridler's Full Moon Dreamboards Online. Take a look at what others are dreaming for themselves for this full moon here.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Dreamboard for the Full Sturgeon Moon

I did this dreamboard at the full moon on August 13, but I haven't had a chance to post about it until now. Better late than never...

The first thing I noticed about this dreamboard is how colorful it is. There isn't a predominance of any color, and it's quite summery. There is a rainbow of possibilities here.
  • I'm looking forward to kicking back and enjoying the colors and tastes of the last days of summer. My dreamboard is saying I need to kick back and relax a bit.
  • Fitness is also a focus for the month. Getting lean and fit, especially for dance fitness, is important. I want to dance well again, and getting tough and fit will serve me well.
  • Plumbing the depths, of ancient ideas. Religions, pre-religions and history, will be a source of inspiration. They give me some food for thought.
  • I need to ask the stone faced, ancient messenger what message he has for me.
  • I want to spend some time in gardens. Nature offers her beauty and I want to stop to smell the roses.
  • I see both craft and un-craft. Assembling and disassembling.
Perhaps this board is expressing my desire to deconstruct what it means to perform. The guitar is smashed, the violin is whole, the artesan is focused on the task of aligning the coils, the woman is shining onstage. I want to conquer the world and take care of my body. I want to write. I want to be outdoors. I want to receive inspiration from nature.

There is coiling and uncoiling. There seems to be some sort of message about energy here. Strings make forms. Not just lines, but strong and useful forms.

My guide in this dreamboard could be the rock climber. She might offer wisdom about preparation and meeting challenges. She is looking upwards, always seeking to scale the next big challenge she has not met yet. I could ask my inner rock climber what she wants and needs today.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

July dreamboard - Full Buck Moon

Oh, things have been quite busy for me lately, so busy that I almost didn't do a dreamboard for this month. It just didn't feel right to do that, especially as I wanted to receive some messages from "the deep" in preparation for my trip to a collaborative music-making residency program. My compromise was to do a much smaller one, this one fitting across a couple of pages in my visual journal. I love having this visual journal which gives me the freedom to draw, paste pictures, scribble doodles, write any which way on the page. I'm enjoying not having lines to conform to.

What strikes me about this board is it has two prominent colors, oranges and blues. They have very contrasting energies: high and charged, cool and calm. The most mysterious images to me are the dress, the other-worldly Alexander McQueen outfit, and the whale shark. I have a feeling this is going to be quite a moon-th!

I'm planning to bring my visual journal with me, and its size and portability give me a way to spend time with my dreamboard even as I am away from home. As the weeks go by I'm hoping to learn from the messages in this board, and be inspired to step out and own that rock star energy. I admit I am a little afraid of that power, but perhaps the image of swimming with the huge shark is encouragement to face my fears, stay calm and enter the deep. I'll keep asking the shark what messages it has for me as the month unfolds.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

June 2011 Dreamboard - Full Strawberry Moon

Lots of delights are in my dreamboard for the Full Strawberry Moon: cool water, luscious fruit, bird messengers, the beach, travel, nature, air, lightness, lanterns and candles. I think my soul is asking for more space to enjoy the simple pleasures of life. I can be more like the dogs with their heads out of car windows, such simple joy! The words for this month: "Delightful ease."

While there are some elements that carry over from last month's dreamboard -- a showy bird and seashells, vases -- the energy is quite different. While last month's was crackling with energy, this dreamboard has a sunny easiness that is perfectly in tune with summer's vibe. I've been working a lot lately, and it seems like I need a vacation, or at least some replenishing downtime.

If you're interested in making a dreamboard yourself and sharing it with others, check out Jamie Ridler's Full Moon Dreamboards Online. Take a look at what others are dreaming for themselves for this full moon here.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

May Dreamboard - Full Flower Moon

The first thing that strikes me is the symbol for 'real' and the breaking of bricks, the martial arts, power. It is a very masculine image and full of strong energy. Right by it is the peacock, confidently strutting his stuff. All this "starts with a single step." Full of dynamism, this month's board has touches of red all over it, with "just done it," and all the corners have some red. The coral may represent treasures from the deep. The airborne dancers are saying something about my ability or desire to soar, and the woman with the megaphone is nearby, declaring "this is the music." But also, there are a few touches of more quiet and feminine energy. The flowers, the vase with marbles, the woman in a dress of the fifties, the bell jars protecting plants and specimens.

I am desperate to create this month. I can see it in the dynamic red-haired girls, in the multiplied violins, in the megaphone. Perhaps even loops and duplications are called for, at least that's what I initially thought when I saw the layered violins of different colors. "Just do it" and "just love it" are the two things that need to happen with my art right now. I know that I am capable, I just need to do it. Perhaps the martial arts master is saying, you must focus your power. He says that it takes discipline, and that you must believe you can do it. I am ready to create and to learn to trust myself and my own power.

What does it mean to be powerful? What does it mean to be full of vitality and inner confidence? Vitality: the moment is full of life. There is movement and not stuckness. There is boldness of action. There is presence in the moment. There is a certain fullness of being that celebrates the power of the moment. Confidence: I am full of trust in myself. I know that I can do what I set out to do.

I am really looking forward to discovering what else this board has to say to me this month.

If you're interested in making a dreamboard yourself and sharing it with others, check out Jamie Ridler's Full Moon Dreamboards Online. Take a look at what others are dreaming for themselves for this full moon here.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

A week of morning pages

What does a week's worth of morning pages look like as a word cloud? I had some fun with Wordle, which created this for me. It's fun to see what words are emphasized, and I might do this each week, as a fun way to glance at the themes emerging each week.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

April Dreamboard for the Full Pink Moon

The birds have been pecking at what's left of last summer's basil plant. Pulling at the dried leaves and stripping bits of stem to line or construct their nests. Their little bodies jump into the pot and beaks pull at the bits left. Maybe the chive plant did not lose its dried leaves to a strong wind after all. I imagine how the little birds just plucked them cleanly off, as if a pair of scissors had given the chive plant a haircut.

I love thinking about how our windowsill has become a bit of a natural world, in this clattering city. The birds are frightened when I come to the window, but if I stay back and move very slowly, they are so absorbed in their work.

The tree that was stripped of bark seems to be coming back somewhat. I don't know how strong it will be, or if the stripping has now hardened enough so that there won't be that much loss of moisture. It was hard to see that happen, and it made me so angry last summer.

I've been directing a lot of disappointment at myself lately. But I realize that so much of this is a kind of mental noise. Not helpful. How do I turn it off? I look at the dreamboard for the Full Pink Moon, and one of the most prominent images is that wooly brain. I've had knitting on my mind, as I've suffered a couple of weeks with no knitting project in progress. Perhaps that's part of the message. But also, I felt that this airy, wooly brain was a message that I need to see beyond it, I need to escape the tyranny. It's not so scary as it wants me to believe. I know that nature helps, I know that adventure helps, I know that going to quiet inspiration helps. Maybe even the two go together. I can find my peace by knitting. Perhaps even knitting to music can be helpful. I can study music and get the overall flow of the Brahms by listening to it over and over, and knitting knitting knitting.

I've been in a dark place about my own playing lately. I feel I suck. I feel that I am not playing what I want to be playing. But perhaps that is the message and the challenge. The next challenge could be to find a place, discomfort allowed, that I am pushing toward something I can't quite do yet, and I am also at peace with myself and where I am at the moment. It is kind of like the Kenny Werner book. I can't even remember the title, but I remember that idea of "fear-based" practicing, playing, composing. I have a need to move beyond that. If I don't loathe and fear myself, perhaps I can just accept and love what beauty issues from my mind and my instrument. I am a beautiful musician too. There is no need for me to be stuck in a place of hating my own sound. I know it's not helpful. I've been doing a lot of recording lately, and it feels really disappointing to feel that my best stuff is not getting down on tape. But what does this really mean? If I can get to my 80% place on tape consistently, that is pretty good. I know there's internal work to do.

I feel I am okay, but I want to be great. I want to be able to achieve these wonderful phrases and jazzy sounds, and classical-like sound and expression, and folky expression. It takes a lot of work and a lot of internal wisdom and patience. How do I get there? What can I do to help myself reach this place? Perhaps my dreamboard can show me the answers as I'm ready to see them.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Lace and space

I'm getting increasingly ambitious with my knitting projects. While I don't have pictures of them, I knit a handful of washcloths and a couple of scarves for others this winter. It was time to knit something for myself and I recently finished this pair of knit lace fingerless gloves. I'm in the midst of knitting withdrawal, as there are no projects in progress.

We'll have to fix that soon, but that means I have to decide what the next project will be and buy the yarn for it. I'm feeling the days and weeks creeping by, days with no knitting to turn to when I simply want to breathe and do something soothing, something easy on my otherwise too-busy brain. Deciding on the next creative project is a difficult thing for me, not only in knitting but anything else. I want to pick the "right" thing, and I start getting impatient with myself as I flutter from one idea to the next. It's frustrated that when I'm in the mood to knit, I've got nowhere to turn. I'm happiest when I'm in the middle of a project, or maybe even nearing the end. The completion of a project is bittersweet for me. Celebrating releasing something new out into the world is all too quickly followed by a sense of blankness.

Maybe space makes me a little uncomfortable. But maybe that's a good thing too? Or perhaps not good or bad, but useful. Maybe today it can remind me that I have this creative discomfort, and this impulse is only part of the process, the CYCLE.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Dreamboard for the Full Snow Moon

Although we've had plenty of snow this winter, this week is offering almost spring-like weather and my board seems to reflect this energy.

I'm looking forward to spending some time asking this board some questions. It's the second time this year that a question (mark) has been central to my dreamboard. I guess I'm in a period of transition and questions, but something is on the horizon (the "turning pointe"?). Yellow is also showing up, a color I associate with sunny optimism, lifting spirits, turning lemons into lemonade, and the woman in the yellow dress is drinking in that inspiration.

There is a lot of mystery in this board, things turned upside down, eyes in shadow, ancient structures. I think my dreamboard is asking me to be comfortable in not knowing -- that the mystery and paradoxes are not to be answered right away, and that the process of active searching and puzzling over the unknown can be creative inspiration too. As archetypes I can look to for guidance, there are many possibilities in this dreamboard. They all stir up ambivalent feelings in me, but perhaps this is the point: to lean into the appeal and discomfort that appear simultaneously in these images and personalities.

The big gooey question mark gives me plenty to ponder during this moon cycle...

If you're interested in making a dreamboard yourself and sharing it with others, check out Jamie Ridler's Full Moon Dreamboards Online or try A Year of Dreams. Take a look at what others are dreaming for themselves for this full moon here.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Dreamboard for the Full Wolf Moon

As I pulled images from magazines for this dreamboard, I felt uninspired and concerned at how I might not like this one. It's not the first time this has happened, so I was again relieved and delighted at how this board came together. There are a few more mysteries in here, waiting to be contemplated and discovered, but so far this is what I feel this board is expressing:
  • Paying attention to the flowering of beauty all around me
  • Joyful dancing and moving from the core of myself
  • Radiating outwards boldly and luminously
  • Receiving inspiration
  • Celebrating transformation
  • Embracing what is
  • Expressing artistically my own story, my own angle
  • Tuning in to what and who I love
  • Entering and being inspired by sacred places, in nature or made by humans
  • The beauty and energy of circles
  • Sparkly, joyful abundance
  • Resting in comfort and beautiful surroundings
  • Being able to wear lovely, impractical shoes
If you're interested in making a dreamboard yourself and sharing it with others, check out Jamie Ridler's Full Moon Dreamboards Online or try A Year of Dreams. Take a look at what others are dreaming for themselves for this full moon here.