Harebrained Schemes and Useless Information

My grandmother used to love to to read what she deemed “the useless information column” in the paper. She was the Cliff Claven of her generation.

Blog Moving! and Free Kokeshi Doll Tutorial

HeaderI hope you will follow me over to my new virtual space. I’ll post to this blog but only to redirect to new posts on my home blog that I am self-hosting on my newly revamped website!


I have some fun new things popping up over there! A FREE polymer clay kokeshi doll tutorial went up today!

Here is the tutorial

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Ice Crystals and the Oran Mor

Like a Celtic knot, writing this book on the Oran Mor and Tree of Life generates long and winding paths from the center, through strange lands, and back to center.  The Oran Mor in ancient Gaelic translates roughly into “great song”.  It has been said that the Celts were a people who did not compose a creation story like that of Genesis in the Bible.  While it is true no Celtic myth on the origins of the world has been discovered, the Oran Mor is definitely a Celtic creation story.  The Great Song is so central that it is as the air we breathe, vital to us, all around us, but rarely thought of.

We won’t find it written because we are the story.  We write it with every breath.  The Oran Mor is creation itself, life and the Universe developing and becoming ever more complex.  Like the Celtic knot, it has no beginning and no end.  We are simultaneously created from it and creating it.  Like one of my favorite spirit songs says: “We are the weavers, we are the woven ones.”

So how did I get from esoteric Celtic myth to reading Caltech papers on the morphogenesis of ice crystals?  Well it all started with the Big Bang (as everything does).  I have been captivated for the last month with the origins of the universe and how it can help us to understand the concept of the Oran Mor.  At a very early stage of the Big Bang the universe was quite uniform.  It was hot, symmetrical and crowded.  As it expanded at an incomprehensible rate, it cooled and the symmetry was broken.  Some parts became more dense than others and forces like gravity and electromagnetism (e.g., light, X-rays) began to sculpt the early Universe.  Over time it became more and more complex until we have stars, and slugs, and coffee, and all manner of curious thing.  This trajectory of change both created us and is us.  Each of us can trace our origins directly back to the birth of the Universe.  As so many mystical traditions of the world have said, long before the science caught up, we are the Universe made conscious.  There is and ever has been one thing.

But Ice crystals?  It turns out considering the formation of ice crystals from a dense, hyper-saturated cloud of water vapor is literally a more down to earth way to grasp how this beautiful, complex life can form from a symmetrical, undifferentiated primordial soup.  The key to the intricate patterns of a snow crystal lies in the molecular structure of water.  Water is made up of two elements:  two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom.  Before the oxygen bonds with his two hydrogen buddies he has rotational symmetry.  That is a fancy way of saying no matter how you rotate and view the atom it looks exactly the same. Like a sphere, no matter how you look at it, it looks precisely the same. Boring!  Not much filigreed complexity comes out of a sphere.

The possibility of a beautiful snow crystal comes when those two hydrogen join in.  They bond to the oxygen in a way that makes 105 degree angles with the oxygen.  These angles are what determine the 6-pointed pattern of the snowflake.  There is still symmetry, but a more dynamic one allowing mind-boggling complexity to grow.  All those ornate crystals form because the original symmetry was broken.  Yet the crystals have a family resemblance because their growth is also constrained by the 105 degree angles of the atoms in the water molecule.  Just like the broken symmetries of the Big Bang over vast stretches of time can create stars, slugs, coffee, and a gaggle of unique humans.

And so it is with the Oran Mor, the melody of the Great Song adding new instruments, varying the theme, and singing through all of creation.  Both the creator and the created, weaver and woven.

If you want to get crazy technical and read a fascinating paper on snow crystal morphogenesis: http://www.its.caltech.edu/~atomic/publist/engsci2.pdf

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The Immense Importance of Little Things

A beautiful lesson has come to me this week.  Two events but a few days apart fitting like pieces of a soul puzzle.  I want to start off by saying that each of us is bigger and more important than we think we are.  Not in some grandiose ego-driven way, but that our intentions, thoughts, and actions toward the world can have a deep presence.  We rarely get a glimpse of the impact we have on others and seldom do we think about the growth in our lives cultivated by others.  The smallest of seeds can sprout into the grandest of trees.

So a few days ago I stumbled upon an old client of mine in a store.  For much of my career I was an addictions therapist and this young man had been a client.  Certainly not an easy one!  More than once my job had been to arrange a detoxification placement for him.  I worked with him on and off for approximately 4 years.  It has been over 3 years since I last saw him, and I actually failed to recognize him.  He was healthy, in school, and bought a home.  He took the time to thank me for the role I had played in his recovery and he felt he would not be where he was had he not been in treatment.  I am always curious to know what it was about therapy that brought about changes in the lives of clients, so I asked him what he thought had been the key for him in the time we had worked together.  What he said completely surprised me!  It wasn’t his inpatient tours.  It wasn’t medication.  It wasn’t any “brilliant” therapeutic intervention on my part.  It was something I considered unimportant.

The last time the young man had needed detoxification placement he was in a bad way.  Nauseous, tearful, had not eaten in days.  He told me the story of how I had taken him out of the rather uncomfortable waiting room and put him in an unused office where he did not feel like he was on display.  He had chills.  I had brought him the sweatshirt and blanket I kept in my office.  I placed a radio in the office too.  At lunchtime I brought him food and water.  I had forgotten all of this, recalling the fight with his insurance company instead.  He felt in that moment like he mattered and he said this had been his turning point because it had been a long time since anyone had treated him his way.

Just today I learned that a dear friend and fellow artist had passed away.  Kim Collins Fillio was one of those rare people who always uplifted.  She was one of those gifted artists who seemed to have an endless well of creativity.  When I first began to sculpt in 2005, I clearly was not very good.  I had the fortune of meeting Kim on line and being invited to join a closed Ebay chat group called Through the Looking Glass.  Those ladies (and gent) really shaped me as an artist.  Kim especially would always find the aspect of my  work that was good and right and she would say such powerfully encouraging things.  Without her I would likely have quit long ago and how different my life would be.  I would not be making my living with my art.  It was my art that led me into my spiritual work and firewalking, so I would not be a firewalk instructor.

So I heard the lesson from both sides this week.  My former client is leading a happy, productive life because of a moment of simple compassion.  I am living my own heartsong in large part because of Kim’s ability to see potential in my work and her joyful gentleness.  Such small moments amplified into such profound change. I believe we are always in this weave of giving and receiving small gifts.  My gift this week was to become more mindful of them so that I can more deliberately sow seeds of compassion and encouragement.

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Twisty old wood

I have always been fascinated by the swirling detail of fallen wood.  The way the light sculpts detail, my mind wanders down the paths winding through the woodgrain….

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Sculpting the Tale of the Land

I have of late had an awakening. It took me traveling halfway around the world, walking through fire, and sleeping in the earth to find it, but all the fugitive pieces of my life are beginning coalesce into a more clear picture. The story of that trip will be for another time, but for now it has led to a project of sorts: the Sculpting the Tale of the Land class. I am at present preparing to lead what I hope to be a wonderful adventure with 8 art students. This class is meant to connect the artists more fearlessly to their own creativity and connect to the world around them both physically by sculpting with a piece of nature, a rock, a branch; and in doing so, spiritually by letting the creative flow inherent in each of us join the creative flow of nature.

The idea to blend teaching art with a reconnect to the land has been growing in my heart for a long time. I look around and see the devastation we bring to out landscapes; all in the illusion of infinite economic growth. I wondered since I was very young why we as a people could so easily destroy all the beautiful places to put up identical looking strip malls. As a therapist, I have watched as mental illness, substance abuse, and isolation grow year after year even despite the treatment system’s best efforts. As a worker I watch work become often more and more meaningless, treating us all truly as “human resources” and not as humans (note the parallel, we treat the land as merely a “resource”, how big of a stretch really to begin to treat each other this way).

I had a dream recently. It was one of those dreams that you recall vividly upon waking; that you can’t quite shake the idea that it is somehow important. In the dream I was a big black spider sitting in the center of my web. The web glowed bright blue and was floating out there among the stars. I began to look about me and saw the spires of my web radiate from the center and eventually connected to another web and another and another. All the webs were like this, beautiful spiraling orbs interconnected as far as the eight eyes could see. I saw then that all the spiders sitting in their webs were sleeping. They needed to wake up! Keep weaving! Since I was a spider I had no voice to yell at them all to wake up, so I began with my legs to pluck at the radiating spires of my web. All the webs around me began to bob up and down and the spiders in them woke up, and they began to do the same. On and on the wave went waking all the spiders who all went back to work weaving beautiful glowing spirals.

At first I thought it was just a vivid and interesting vision. But it became something my mind would drift back to continually. As I think on it the meanings become more clear. All things are interconnected just like all the webs are, and all people can weave beautiful things. Unless we are all asleep!

We hear a great deal from many faiths that we are created in God’s image, or that the universe is one thing. With a little work we can grasp that intellectually, but to feel its true meaning in the heart is more difficult. This means two things. First, it means is that every single one of us is wonderfully creative (just like my dream spiders). We just can’t help it. A creator or generative force created us. We are like and a part of that force, we are indeed creative. Each of us has different physical characteristics, different experiences, personalities. The alchemy of those combinations creates a unique lens to see the world from. If you are true to that lens you will create unique things.

It also means that all of creation is sacred. I am reminded of how the 738 day tree sit of Julia Butterfly Hill helped to reclaim the sacredness of ancient trees. After her sit, the tree, Luna, became more than just a commodity, as people, inspired by the story, began to join the fight to protect the land from overdevelopment. Each landscape is home to countless species and holds its own beauty. When we can feel ourselves as a part of it we are less estranged, less isolated, less likely to treat it as merely a commodity. It is after all a part of us.

So by interweaving our own creativity with the creative pulse of the land; we connect. We join. We exchange. The experience of being focused on an art piece, what Mihály Csíkszentmihályi calls “flow” is in and of itself healing. In that moment there is no room for anxiety, sadness, anger for you have expanded. The generative pulse of the world flows through you. Just like a creek flowing through an area can cleanse, so can artistic flow.

By reclaiming our connection to the creative spark of nature, we make it sacred once more and everyone benefits. We become stewards of the land instead of consumers, we become less isolated feeling ourselves in community with nature and each other. And we have a heck of a lot of fun!

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Slow Dance

The poem below is another one of those pieces of writing that changed my life. As I began to rediscover my creativity and step into the world of attempting a living at my art work I changed. Wonderful new seeds were planted that grew and grew against the other corners of my life until now I am potbound. When you begin to trust your unique voice a little more it takes you to some strange and wonderful places.

If you had asked me 5 years ago what I would be doing with my life, creating art, teaching art, and going to Sundoor (in CA) to become a firewalk instructor would not have appeared on the list. And more and more twisty mysterious paths are springing up like delightful magical weeds! All of it running smack into the edges of my pot: The 40 hours a week I spend in a job that has become a poor fit. Your branches can climb only so high as your roots go deep.

I retrospect I now know why so many of my sculptures have wings. Wings are symbols of transcendence and freedom and I am not yet free to fly wherever my wings carry me. 5 years ago I dusted off my dreams of being an artist and rediscovered my wings. I had buried them to lead a sensible life because that is what seemed to be expected. Big girls pack away their toys to go off and be grown ups. Go to school. Get a job. Stop playing around and daydreaming, unlikely you will make a living selling art. Besides you can get back to that in retirement. I am glad I rediscovered my love of creating I have come to believe every single person is creative and that it is your soul.

The poem is a challenge to us. If you suddenly had a month to live what would you be doing? Going to your job? Maybe. I certainly wouldn’t. Or would you finally take that trip you dreamed about or that music class you have always wanted? Spend more time with family?

One of the gifts of the recession for me was watching my retirement savings evaporate overnight. You see my disillusionment with modern work started early…at about age 6. I can remember coming home after school on the day people from the community came in to talk about their jobs and then asking us “what do you want to be when you grow up, little girl”?. Of course most of us were saying we wanted to be horses or astronauts (and why not?!), but I saw these adults. None of them were horses or astronauts. They, like my dad, had a JOB. I’d have to abandon my dream of cat farming and get one too some day, and I cried and cried for about 2 days. So as a young adult, I decided that I would live beneath my means, save a lot and retire way early so THEN I could follow my dreams of artistically cat farming. So I thank the recession. I love it. It has a great lesson for many about priorities. Painful, certainly but all the great lessons really are.

I have now done the math, I will not be able to retire as planned unless a financial miracle happens. I have lost too much. Deferring life will simply not work out. Spending the better part of my waking hours doing something that does not feed my very soul in order to accrue enough capital to stop having to do it someday seems now highly improbable and bass ackwards.

And the challenge of the poem. Can I rise to meet it? Can I break out of my 40 hour pot, root deeply, grow my wings so that my life becomes truly authentic? Yes. Yes, I can and so can anyone.

I want to be all roots and fire and wings.

Slow Dance by David L. Weatherford

Have you ever watched kids on a merry-go-round,
or listened to rain slapping the ground?

Ever followed a butterfly’s erratic flight,
or gazed at the sun fading into the night?

You better slow down, don’t dance so fast,
time is short, the music won’t last.

Do you run through each day on the fly,
when you ask “How are you?”, do you hear the reply?

When the day is done, do you lie in your bed,
with the next hundred chores running through your head?

You better slow down, don’t dance so fast,
time is short, the music won’t last.

Ever told your child, we’ll do it tomorrow,
and in your haste, not see his sorrow?

Ever lost touch, let a friendship die,
’cause you never had time to call and say hi?

You better slow down, don’t dance so fast,
time is short, the music won’t last.

When you run so fast to get somewhere,
you miss half the fun of getting there.

When you worry and hurry through your day,
it’s like an unopened gift thrown away.

Life isn’t a race, so take it slower,
hear the music before your song is over.

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Here There Be Monsters (Part 1)

“There are men too feeble for contemplation. Being unable to raise themselves to contemplation form the weakness of their Soul, unable to behold spiritual reality and fill themselves with it, but desiring to see it, they are driven to action that they may see that which they could not see with the spiritual eye.” – Plotinus

Art is the language of the soul. To create a piece of art is to reach into the infinite universe that exists inside you (and only you) and bring a bit of it back across. You become midwife to that ethereal bit of your unique spirit made physical in the outside world. If it is good art, that sliver of the divine from your soul will call to the divine in me and we are both transformed. In this way art is also a profound connection.

Connection is something we are lacking in modern Western culture. We often think of connection as in relation to others, and it certainly is. But before we can have a meaningful and deep connection to others we must have an intense connection to ourselves. Without it our relationships become clinging and desperate or myriad and shallow.

Only in solitude can we begin to know the depths and character of our own soul. When all the distractions fall away and we can quiet the constant inner chatter about what we are having for dinner or what people thought of us at the office party. We can come face to face with the enormity of our spirit and find a place of self-acceptance and inner belonging. This is what Plotinus means in the quote above as he draws a distinction between those who reap the rewards of walking in spirit contrasted to those who hide (knowingly or unknowingly) in distraction.

We avoid ourselves by becoming busy. We dutifully shuffle from task to task, distraction to distraction, and there are plenty of distractions offered up my mass media to keep us trapped in surface and never meeting ourselves. They cheapen and deaden and disconnect. American Idol is a good example. Brave people get up in front of millions and conquer their fears to lay bare a piece of themselves. Most of them seem to commit fully and really put their hearts into it. Instead of applauding this remarkable act of courage, instead of looking at each individual performance and seeing the person behind it, we revel someone being torn down and shamed by a panel of self appointed experts. We don’t really realize the spiritual damage this causes each of us as we shrink from our own dreams lest we meet the same fate as one whom the experts deem unworthy. Fear of shaming is one shackle that prevents so many people from living their dreams.

Our times are marked by many restlessly seeking. Often just seeking, what they do not know. I was privileged to see Susan Faucon’s marvelous one woman show “The Hole in My Soul is Filled With Ice Cream”. It is the story about the struggle between ego and spirit. All of us are are seeking something, some form of belonging, of peace. We try to fill the hole in our soul with stuff, with recognition, with another person. But in the end none of it fits. The hole is a spirit shaped hole and is only filled by knowing your own soul. The repeated attempts to fill it with surface things brings only acute despair and eventual breakdown.

So why do we fear so much to sit in solitude and learn the contours of our own soul? Why attempt to spackle it with distraction? Well I think firstly, the soul is vast and vast is daunting. You are really only consciously aware of a tiny portion of your spirit. Freud functionally divided up the consciousness into Id, Ego, and Superego. The ego and superego that we have conscious access to are like the visible part of the iceberg. The rest of the iceberg floats silently in its immensity below the surface of conscious awareness. This is the realm of the Id, and I would argue spirit. Regarding the Id, Freud said:

It is the dark, inaccessible part of our personality, what little we know of it we have learnt from our study of the dream-work and of the construction of neurotic symptoms, and most of this is of a negative character and can be described only as a contrast to the ego. We all approach the id with analogies: we call it a chaos, a cauldron full of seething excitations… It is filled with energy reaching it from the instincts, but it has no organisation, produces no collective will, but only a striving to bring about the satisfaction of the instinctual needs subject to the observance of the pleasure principle.”

In order to create the art that is an expression of our singular inner universe, we must know the landscape of our own souls, but is it any wonder we would rather cling to empty distraction rather than peer down in that?! Here there be monsters! Easier to hammer away at the surface of the soul to create a persona fathered by expectation, hardened by fear into a mask that so often we believe is the whole of ourselves. But the soul still strains underneath it.

If we shine our light into the dark corners of our infinite spirits, what else might we find?

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Gifts (Part 2)

Part 1 is here

I have just completed another piece that began with a gift. There is a place along the Perkiomen Creek I go almost daily to to hear the sermon of water over stone. I have posted previously of the gateway into Faerie that rests on the edge of this spot. No one notices me here as I journey and sculpt and listen to the stillness in my heart that the voices of the water bring to me. So really the entire spot is an unsurpassable gift to me which I return with offerings made there daily.

A few weeks ago as I sat long by the creek this interesting stick floated right up to where I was sitting. Another present from the creek! It had a fascinating shape so I drug it back to my lair. For many days the bit of wood was silent. And then my friends Crystal and Mary asked if I come to Bethlehem to sculpt on the sidewalk as part of the Artswalk. Having no idea what I would decide to create there, the piece of wood was in the assortment of “art mess” I scraped from the studio storage area. I decided to use the piece and took a bit of time to walk along the very small tree line behind the store.

I turned the stick this way and that and felt immediately muscle memory of twisting and stretching as if simultaneously waking up and emerging from something. I could feel in my body how it would feel to twist and pull along the twists and turns in the wood. Then an image of leaves bursting from fingers and feet. It was an interesting sensation and a lovely vision I at once felt the need to express. And so I began the piece on the sidewalk in the middle of town.

I am rarely sure what a piece is saying to me or anyone else as I am working and sometimes even long after. But I think for me there are two major themes in the work. The first is gifting. The stick was given to me by the place I spend so much time because I return giving to the place. This creates a debt, an energy in me to do something with what I have so generously received and pass that gift along via expressing in clay and bits of moss the feeling and vision it brought. Hence the gift is increased it once more. So now the stick is a duet, it’s form and story and my sensation and vision. It has become more than it was and it can connect to others differently than it could before. In this way tree and creek, artist and audience are connected by the act of giving. Had I hoarded the stick and done nothing with it, there would be no connection, no increase.

The stick was badly decayed and spongy in spots. I almost think of the spirit sculpted into it as a sort of fungus. Taking decay and transforming it into strange and wonderful things. So my stick spirit tells me a tale about decay being fertile soil for greening. Others will have their own reactions and feelings when they look at her or read my own thoughts on the piece. This is the task of creativity. Not to suffer for your art, sell tons and tons of work and get a book deal, be technically perfect. To focus on that creates fear.

Rather your creativity is a gift akin to my lovely chunk of driftwood. I think Van Gogh in a letter expressed exactly what creativity and art in their best form really are:
“When I see young painters compose and draw from memory, and then haphazardly smear on whatever they like also from memory, -then keep it at a distance and put on a very mysterious, gloomy face to find out what in Heaven’s name it may look like, and at last finally make something from it, always from memory, – it sometimes disgusts me, and makes me think it all very tedious and dull.

“They cannot understand that the figure of a laborer, -some furrows in a plowed field, a bit of sand, sea and sky, -are serious objects, so difficult but a the same time so beautiful, that it is indeed worth while to devote one’s life to the task of expressing the poetry hidden in them.” -Vincent Van Gogh

Driftwood Dryad

Categories: Completed Dolls, Harebrained Schemes and Useless Information, Myths for Everyday Life | Leave a comment

The Self We Share

I had to go to that clamoring black hole of chatter and muzak and mostly useless junk that is the shopping mall yesterday. Only the Macy’s seemed to have the shoes I sought so off I went. It was an exercise in contrast since just prior I had been walking the trail behind my place seeking bits of wood for my sculpture. And since I have not visited such bastions of consumerism in a very long time, I was ill prepared for (and surprised about) it’s effect. In fact it put me quite out of sorts I think it always really has, but I just never noticed before since I usually have the distraction of another person to disguise these sensations.

I certainly won’t turn into a curmudgeon and share with you all the cranky details. But I think it no accident that when I awoke this morning a sliver of this poem was caught in my mind. Took me a while to flip through my books to find the entire piece, but here it is.

The Self We Share
by Rumi

Thirst is angry at water. Hunger, bitter
with bread. The cave wants nothing to do

with the sun. This is dumb, the self-
defeating way we’ve been. A gold mine is

calling us into its temple. Instead, we
bend and keep picking up rocks from the

ground. Every thing has a shine like gold,
but we should turn to the source! The

origin is what we truly are. I add a little
vinegar to the honey I give. The bite of

scolding makes ecstasy more familiar. But
look, fish, you’re already in the ocean:

just swimming there makes you friends with
glory. What are these grudges about? You

are Benjamin. Joseph has put a gold cup
in your grain sack and accused you of being

a thief. Now he draws you aside and says,
“You are my brother. I am a prayer. You’re

the amen.” We move in eternal regions, yet
worry about property here. This is the

prayer of each: You are the source of my
life. You separate essence from mud. You

honor my soul. You bring rivers from the
mountain springs. You brighten my eyes. The

wine you offer takes me out of myself into
the self we share. Doing that is religion.

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On Fear

Change, good or bad,  always creates anxiety and fear.  I began to think about my relationship to my anxieties and fears when I was discussing my recent firewalk with a couple coworkers.  They felt fear would prevent them from ever doing such a thing and that it must be ever so nice for me to be brave and not experience fear.  But I do!  Though I rarely experience the bone-shaking, bowel-evacuating fear that is the most obvious sort, the more subtle constant companion fear walks beside me every day.  Never in front and never behind, always beside.  Though she is excitable and twitchy like a chihuahua, I thank her every day.

That sounds a tad crazy, I know.  Why on earth would we thank our fear?  I think the simple reason is because it keeps us safe, but there are deeper reasons to be grateful for fear.  Through contemplating my anxieties, I finally understand a poem I read often to make it a part of myself.  I could never fully integrate it into my internal world until now.  One interpretation of it shows us the dual nature of fear and in this duality lies the key.

Evening by Rainer Maria Rilke

The sky puts on the darkening blue coat

held for it by a row of ancient trees;

you watch:  and the lands grow distant in your sight,

one journeying to heaven, one that falls;

and leave you, not at home in either one,

not quite so still and dark as the darkened houses,

not calling to eternity with the passion

of what becomes a star each night, and rises;

and leave you (inexpressibly to unravel)

your life, with its immensity and fear,

so that, now bounded, now immeasurable,

it is alternately stone in you and star.

I have been reading “Escape from Cubicle Nation” by Pamela Slim, and finally have a name for my  most fundamental fear as an artist.  The “Living in a Van Down By the River” fear.  That’s the one that gets me every time.  “If you quit your job, you’ll not make any money selling and teaching art and you’ll end up like Chris Farley’s classic motivational speaker, living in a van down by the river!”  And sadly for many artists we then retreat from our passions and quietly accept just an “OK” life.  We dam up that expansive creative energy that flows through us.

The key to mastering fear is in the poem.  “It is alternately stone in you and star”.  This is the dual nature of fear.  Fear has its roots in the “fight-or-flight” response.  When faced with a danger our bodies go through massive biological changes that energize us, allowing us to kick some butt or beat feet out of there.  We get a rush of energy that we don’t usually feel and that energy can propel us to do extraordinary things.  It burns bright like a star, and it can increase the flow of creative energy.

It is comparatively rare in our culture that we are faced with such mortal dangers.  But we face other, more subtle fears every day.  Stress from traffic, worry about paying bills, anxiety over losing our job, stress from a horrible boss, and living in a van down by the river.  These things can make us feel shaky and sweaty and our hearts pound.  But most of us contract at that point.  We stuff that gift of energy deep down where it becomes stone.  A big calcified rock of fears we drag around with us.  This anxiety stone causes us health problems, mental health problems, and keeps us stuck.  We say things to ourselves “I could never be a successful writer, too much competition”  or more simply “what if I fail?”  And if we act on that we stay bound.  If we have enough of these stones we effectively make a dam blocking entirely the flow of creative energy.

I think what the firewalk has done for me is teach me more effectively how to use my fear. Contrary to my coworkers assessment, I was terrified to step onto those coals.  My hands were sweaty not just from the heat of the fire, my knees shook, and time passed very slowly.  In that moment, I choose to make my fear a bright shining star.  I took that gift of knee-shaking energy my friend fear gave me and put my feet on those coals.  It was indeed transformative and I brought home that same transformation to my fears about Living in a Van Down By the River (I must note that I recently moved 30 feet or so from the river, but I still need a van).

I could just as easily turn that gift of energy to stone and be dragged down by it, build myself a heck of a dam.  Not follow my passion.  Stay in a career that no longer fits.  Watch TV shows about other people’s lives instead of making my own.  And feel that cold whispering rock in my heart every day.

So what is your fear whispering to you?  Does it tell you your art isn’t as good as someone else’s?  How about you take a formal class in whatever you feel you need improvement in.  Do you, too have my Van/River fear?  Can you cut expenses even further and save 6 months worth of income over time?  Use the expansive energy of fear to flow through it and the current will carry you to extraordinary things!

Categories: Harebrained Schemes and Useless Information | Leave a comment

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