Monday, January 26, 2015

Nekhbet's Perfect Storm

Nekhbet's Perfect Storm.  January 2015.  24" x approx 15".  950.
black walnut ink, archival pen, white and black india ink on cold press watercolor paper.

Spent all of dawn frozen-
waiting for the answer-
fearing movement before knowing

and again, I see that Knowing,
like birth and like decay,
comes after courage

trust your toes
to take
a step

out of a step came a few feathers
falling away from the storm
and a few more

it was an entire wing

Spider webs
stretching long, curious roots
toward Earth.

catching the sticky parts of Dream.
empty Vessels overturned,
a moon silhouetting it all.

plans made
seeking to be tethered
to a Hand or Voice or Glance.

The Willingness to wake
and see
What comes.


Nightlight.  Winter Solstice 2014.  18" x 24."
Black walnut ink, archival pen, acrylic and watercolor paint on cold press paper.  975.

It's a clear cold dream
in the in-between
I'm a springtime babe
belly down
on winter's floor
And I can see the fire
glowing still
beneath the door

Awaking warm
to the sun's return
The water-
it took everything
I do not need.
Now my voice
forms from what's left
a single seed.

When we decide to love
Leave behind what never was
Breathe our relief
through mirrored smiles
to each other's hearts
And behind our eyes
we see our souls
have never been apart.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Mechanism of the Phoenix

We humans dance with a constant ebb and flow of darkness and light, surface and depth, elation and grief, contentedness and dissatisfaction.  Often it's the time of year, that guides us through the larger tide of these polarities.  I have found it grounding to plug my psyche and emotional state into the changing seasons, and to take comfort in that relationship as it allows me to step out of my head and see the relevant lesson.  The fire of last summer had me moving quickly, making big changes at no more than a moment's notice, and burned up so many habits that no longer served me.  When the leaves began to fall, I learned how to healthily grieve those habits, relationships, old masks that fell as I had been dancing the sun's furious dance.

Grieving healthily was a beautiful process of embracing the mortality, the brevity of it all--of everything I love and everything I fear.  I  saw how death and letting go clears space for something to germinate and grow.  And I saw how when we do not fear the dying or leaving, but look at that thing with all the more love and curiosity, it (or she, or he) offers to us wisdom, perspective, its story of having lived.   And so, when we embrace the dying and its death, whatever we cultivate in its place can become its natural evolution.

Which brings me to the mechanism of the phoenix.  The moment just before the darkest nights of the year.  When I found love and forgiveness for all that Summer burned up and Autumn taught me to grieve, I found myself in the most deeply introspective space I have ever willingly occupied.  A little frightening (one begins to wonder when one has been painting in silence for enough hours, days on end, if one's frame of reference is to be trusted) but, mostly, a comforting lesson in the possibility of self-validation, self-love, and inner balance.

 Without the constant mirrors of others' faces and actions,  without the option to validate my choices or happiness by watching similarities or differences in that of someone else, I had to trust a voice I am accustomed to pushing aside.  The one that says what I need and when, and if I'm really listening, why.  And I had to trust this voice as the sole dictator of my schedule, day after day after day, finding enough purpose and enough comfort there to stay engaged and happy and healthful.

Do it long enough, and I begin to see what makes me tick.  What my body needs, what my heart needs, what my mind needs, and how I can provide these things for myself (sometimes by asking the right person for help.)  I see how the weather affects me and learn to operate in harmony with that.  To willingly let go the things that make me dim, and to embrace what often I fear but very much need to rise to my purpose and potential.  Guides show up everywhere, lessons in everything.  I suspect this is because when I remember that no one else has ever had my answers for me, I open my mind to really learn from my experiences.  I can pull up a memory and really see it changed me and has continued to change me.  It's not exactly light or warm in this place, but it's often crystal clear and I find strength in its honesty.

Of course, all this is a glimpse.  You can access it when you need to.   It's not the whole year, or your whole journey.  It's the depths of your being, which serve you should you choose to spelunk down to see what's new there once in a while.  It's the dead of winter, when it's cold out and you give yourself permission to rest, hibernate.  It's after a particularly difficult experience, when you just need to slow down and assimilate all that has happened to change you.  It's a brief moment when you get to see what is decaying, what has been hiding in the dark, what you are allowing to pass, see it clearly and without more fear, so that it does not haunt you or tug at you as you quicken again your dance, moving back toward the light.  The phoenix embraces her own death because she knows she will be born of it, stronger each time.