more than one voice

Thursday, June 21, 2012

creativity as humor

no need to take life so seriously - no one gets out alive

I like to sneak in bits of humor throughout my day.  I battle to stay serious for too long, I like being silly.  I have been known to dance in the office much to the surprise and delight of my colleagues – who after awhile join in.  I tired teaching once but was hopeless as I just joked with the kids all the time and discipline went right out the window.

Humor is simply wonderful, it can help in awkward situations and lightens up a gloomy mood.  I don’t tell jokes – my delivery sucks but I like the pace of quick wit and reciprocal banter.  I’m lucky that my partner has a good sense of humor and the kids are pretty quick witted as well.  Katie has the most wonderful dry sense of humor, she delivers with a dead pan face and says some side splitting things with a dose of unbelievable wisdom – she is an old soul for sure.  Jess is a dramatic clown, vociferous and animated, a complete nut in more ways then one.

katie having a one man rugby supporters party

colin - is a magpie he is always finding strange things and bringing them home - the glasses were his find on this particular day.

Life can be serious and hard, and pretty crappy at times but thank goodness for the craziness that the universe has bestowed upon me and my family.  I wonder if humor could be considered a creative process.  I think so – what do you think?
and marley, muddy dog on clean washing
 the kids thought this was very funny

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

feet on the floor and breath

this I know for sure

There are many different techniques of meditation that are taught both in secular situations, for example in a psychologist’s office to help someone who is very stressed, to the Buddhist meditations or contemplative prayer, that are taught as part of a religious practice.  Basically, it all boils down to being able to get the mind to a place of space in which the thoughts are observed and an awareness of the present moment becomes the focus.  Practicing meditation can led to a deeper spiritually awareness and a sense of higher consciousness.  Just as there are many different techniques, there are many different reasons why someone might decide to practice meditation.

One thing I know for sure is that when I practice meditation, I can feel the difference in my life.  I am more focused, more relaxed, at peace with what is. At the moment I feel quite frustrated, I enjoy some aspects of my job but I'm also bored very often and don't have enough challenges.  I have the beginnings of a great art/home based business but  don't have the time to pursue it because I have to work. I have found that instead of doing what I know works, focusing, being quiet, I try every trick in the book to distract my poor mind, so that I don't have a free minute to sit quietly.  Then I get more frustrated - can I scream now?

I know that I have to put things into perspective, allow more time to just be with what is for now.  The time will come when things will be less hectic and there will be time to focus on what I really love to do - create and make art. Feet on the floor and breath, Clare - breath.

Friday, June 8, 2012

dreaming in words

poetry dress I made a few years ago - 'I will fly to the sun'

Some months ago Jess and I spent a weekend at a dream retreat, where we were encouraged to use our dreams to write poetry.  We had a chance to talk about many different things, she shared how her spirituality has changed and how she sees things differently now that she is getting older. It was good to have the time away, time to reflect on where we were and to talk without the interruptions that always seem to be there at home. Jess has had a hard time over the last few years, battling with depression and a mood disorder but things are getting better for her and it was good to be able to put things into perspective.

It was also good to put pen to paper and write poetry again - something I have not done for a very long time.  It felt good to create with words, to use them like paint to create images and emotions, to play with dancing script on a page.

Just as I was getting all poetic about life, I discovered to my horror that my daughter doesn't like poetry. She was kind enough to tell me on the last day of the retreat. Oh well, at least she liked the food and the DMCs that we had. LOL

I have always loved poetry. I find it fascinating how people can take simple words and weave them into magic, creating alchemical with language.

Some of my favorite poets are Mary Oliver, Raine Marie Rilke and Antjie Krog - a South African poet.  I would love to know what poets you like as I’m always looking to ‘discover’ more hidden treasures.

I love the blog 'Willow Manor' – where the poet Tess Kincaid shares her poetry – it’s a blog filled with all sorts of treats not just poetry.

first sign of life - Antje Krog
you moved in me today
perhaps you turned
or adjusted a limb in the dark
you were not urgent
nor rowdy
just inescapably here
with my hand across my abdomen
I wanted to hold you in words
how you look
how you sound
how I am going to utter you
but you drifted wordlessly in placenta

like a poem you began without my knowing
a couplng of image and sound
with an umbilical cord to life veined through my blood
after weeks swollen into a gesture of word an vertebrae
a verse trembling this morning into wanting to be written

caught in a tender vortex of sun
my hairbrush forgotten in my hand
I was suddendly utterly lonely in astonishment
about this omen
of a yet unwritten, but most awe-inspiring poem

Bone - Mary Oliver - 
Understand, I am always trying to figure out
what the soul is,
and where hidden,
and what shape
and so, last week,
when I found on the beach
the ear bone
of a pilot whale that may have died
hundreds of years ago, I thought
maybe I was close
to discovering something
for the ear bone

is the portion that lasts longest
in any of us, man or whale; shaped
like a squat spoon
with a pink scoop where
once, in the lively swimmer's head,
it joined its two sisters
in the house of hearing,
it was only
two inches long
and thought: the soul
might be like this
so hard, so necessary

yet almost nothing.
Beside me
the gray sea
was opening and shutting its wave-doors,
unfolding over and over
its time-ridiculing roar;
I looked but I couldn't see anything
through its dark-knit glare;
yet don't we all know, the golden sand
is there at the bottom,
though our eyes have never seen it,
nor can our hands ever catch it

lest we would sift it down
into fractions, and facts
and what the soul is, also
I believe I will never quite know.
Though I play at the edges of knowing,
truly I know
our part is not knowing,
but looking, and touching, and loving,
which is the way I walked on,
through the pale-pink morning light.

from Why I Wake Early (2004)

Saturday, June 2, 2012

paradox of aging

Jess, my eldest daughter asked me the other day if it seemed like time had flown from 20 (her age) to 45 (my age). This got me thinking about how to reply to this question. 

Jess (20) and Clare (45) - what is a number?

When I work at the shop I look around at all the young moms with there little children, and realize just how fast time has gone.  It seems like only yesterday that I was that young mom with my two small girls, now they are all grown. 

I look at those young moms and see something on their faces - an assurance, a confidence, I don’t want to call it arrogance, it’s hard to explain exactly what I mean. But I know that I felt that way too a few years ago, before the last sparks of youth left me forever.  I was confident then that I had enough time to achieve all the things I thought I was capable of achieving – even though I didn’t really have a plan. Life seemed easier, infinite, like it would go on forever, but now when I look in the mirror I see that youth has left my face and I am well and truly into middle age.

From that perspective – my answer to Jess’s question would be yes, life has gone very fast.

But then when I sit and contemplate life and think about the many experiences I have had, then I think my answer would be – no. It would seem that life is a bit of a paradox – what a surprise!

I must admit that I have a nostalgic pang for my youth.  I sometimes wish I could go back and redo, take more time to appreciate being young, to be more present in my life instead of always wishing for tomorrow to arrive.

I think my final answer to Jess would be:  be present in your life, be mindful and appreciate each day.  I know that when I look back those are the days that I remember the most, the days that I was fully present are my happy days, and that is really what counts.

hallo - Kate (15)