Saturday, July 30, 2011

The art of being an Artist...

Well here we go, the subject of being an artist, touched on, (yet again)... in a my Previous post: "Polly and Peter brought me out on the lake in the boat and helped me in my "fight" to acknowledge, and embrace, the fact that my life is a life of creativity"

So what is an artist anyway?
  • An artist is a person engaged in one or more of any of a broad spectrum of activities related to creating art practicing the arts and/or demonstrating an art. (according wikipedia)
That does not get us far does it?
  • Art is the product or process of deliberately arranging items (often with symbolic significance) in a way that influences and affects one or more of the senses, emotions, and intellect. It encompasses a diverse range of human activities, creations, and modes of expression, including music, literature, film, photography, sculpture and paintings. (again according wikipedia)
  • Art: "the use of skill and imagination in the creation of aesthetic objects, environments, or experiences that can be shared with others (according brittanica online)
I like the bit "can be shared with others".

A while back I looked up Poet, and am reasonably comfortable with that description. Not so much in terms of my skills of writing poetry, but more in the way of the broader thought:
a person who has the gift of poetic thought, imagination,and creation, together with eloquence of expression.

From all of that, yes I am an artist.
I've said it.

Yet... I seem to have a problem.

Thirteen years ago, I was working hard on my Fantasy Folk Business. Becoming ill, I felt I was given a chance to change directions. No more art. 

As a friend pointed out, I was creating drawings about not wanting to be creative...

Point taken.

Creativity was and is a lifeline that has helped me to stay sane in the challenging years of illness.

Having finally accepted that fact, I put it into my head that "I only create and write because I am ill and when I am better, I can do something else.

Warped mind or what?

I must say though that:
  • I am for ever grateful that I have found my writing voice and the chance to publish books.
  • I am for ever grateful to have (and hope to continue to) made wonderful contacts with people all over the world, because of my creative explorations... my ART.
  • I am touched by the messages I receive and how my work has been used in studies and thesis, again by people all over the world.
  • I love what I do.
Writing this I wonder what my problem with the label Artist is...

I think the "problem" lies in the fact that I got so "used" to being ill that I am having a hard time to see beyond it.
A scary thought.

This brings the thought to: "What would I like to do when I grow up (improve health wise)"?
I have no idea.
Well actually I do. I want to share my experiences with others.... through creativity.
one last look at the shed/studio as it was.

Problem solved.

All these unsettling thoughts have been spurred on by the recent changes in my mindset.
As you might know from the last few blogs, I have been concentrating on the breath as healing tool. A tool available to all of us. A tool I keep reading about (in the most unlikely places, like as profile image of my facebook friend Kirsten), and hear about on tapes, on the radio, and from other people.

Breath is where it is at.

Breathing is bringing me to a different place. So is the healing I received from Dolores.
I am at a cross roads to well being.

"shed feeling sorry for itself...
After one of the sessions with Dolores, she asked me where my thoughts were. 
"That I have to start working with clay again." I said. These words had seemingly nothing to do with the session I just had.
Later that evening (see this post here if you like) I read a sentence "dare to be who you are".
A few days later I woke up with the thought that maybe I can explore the idea again of having a studio in my garden.
I left my last studio 13 years ago.
Moving into my current abode, I had plans for a studio, but ran out of money. In the meantime I had made the garden shed into a studio. But it was too small, the rain came through the roof and it was cold and damp.
Making do, wasn't working.

The new studio idea was obviously the right plan for now, as within a few days I had my brother and nephew on board to build it, and got approval from the council. Also I was given the news that I had won the case against Aer Arann (more about that in a week or so) and all going well, I have some finances to build the studio.

I must say I AM excited about the prospect of the studio. Mostly so I can share my work with others again. I already have a few people interested to do a doll making/puppet making workshop.

Case closed.
my gateway was a bit like this one..

Actually, one last thought.
During a meditation with the help of some amazing healing sounds, I suddenly found myself passing through a beautiful gateway.
The grounds beyond it were like a walled garden, yet there was no wall to restrict space or movement.
The garden  on the right was full of my favorite French Marigold flowers. A sea of orange. There was a lake, with birds. There was so much beauty in this space, I felt overjoyed and in awe that I was allowed to be here. There were people in the distance all edging me on to come into the garden. Sculptures of dancers. Also a pair of huge hands.
I feel that I had walked over the threshold into healing.

The garden's image is still in my head.
I closed the gates behind me.

ps... an afterthought... hours later...
Isn't the whole idea about being in the moment- the now- not to worry about what you'll do next... 
I am happy what I do and who I am. That's all that matters! 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Be ... at Ashley Park

I agree, it's been a while since I showed up in "blogger-world' or anywhere in cyberspace for that matter.
Then again, maybe you didn't wonder where I've been hanging out.. :-) No offence!

A few blog posts back, see "The Shell must break" I wrote about the challenges faced by living with an illness and the need to be still. Be still and in the moment. Which of course is not the easiest thing to do when faced with pain and discomfort.
I have embraced this renewed knowledge with much more thought and acceptance than ever before.
The words I have read, the wisdom I have heard, the changes in my body brought on by the healing therapies from Dolores are rooting in my being.

I have taken a lot of time to be still and to really experience how I am feeling. Not all are happy thoughts. Some are 'scary'. Some are a powerful revelation of well being. Even with a body that doesn't do what I had hoped it would.

Dreams are providing some clarity as well and as a funny coincidence I had a dream about booking a holiday. Later that day I had an appointment for reflexology and polarity treatment with Dolores, and from the minute I walked in she wanted to suggest to me that maybe I should go on a little holiday...

And so I did.

Writing my wish list, I came up with water, lake, small hotel, time to reflect, nature...and with the help of google I came up with Ashley Park
All I can say is that it was love at first sight.

After emailing them to request a room which would be accessible for me with my mobility scooter, I decided to ring in stead.
Ninety year old owner Sean answered the phone. None of my requests were deemed unusual. He had the apartment for me, and yes it was free for the days I had hoped to get away.
"You made my day," I said to Sean.
"We like to make people happy," was the answer.

Two days later I arrived at Ashley Park.
All my wishes and dreams came true in the days of my visit there. Any many more besides.
Staff member Mags showed me around the apartment and made me a cup of tea.
Sinead looked after me, and other guests, during the week and made sure we were never hungry. She lovingly shared her passion for this unique place and told me about the lake, the swans, the woodlands, the walled garden, ancient trees and the fairy fort. On passing a blossoming lavender she would stop and mention it.

I spend days lying by the lake, resting in the walled garden, wrote, reflected, and sat by the fire at night time.
I had found a piece of heaven in Ireland.
I had found a wonderful place to settle into the transition I am making from illness into well being. If this well being will eventually translate into a well body, I would be delighted. My biggest goal however is to find that sense of peace (again) in my mind. Be.
Just be.

This transition brought tears too. I let an overwhelming sadness flow out of my body. I noted what was happening and didn't try to stop it.

What made the stay in Ashley Park powerful was also that I had no means to 'escape'. I had no transport, no computer, my phone was only there if I needed it.
Ashley Park proved to be a safe place to be.
To really be.

During breakfast I met some wonderful guests, who were all equally excited to have found this amazing house. All seated around the one big dining room table, packed with delicious food, breakfast lasted for hours.
Chats about the house, the lake, a boat trip and trips around the area. Chats about writing, art, gardening, music, (see red shed sessions on facebook) life, and yes illness and the need to be still and live the best life you can.

During the last few days I had the pleasure of meeting guests from Norfolk, who had been to Ashley Park about 6 or 7 times.
Polly and Peter brought me out on the lake in the boat and helped me in my "fight" to acknowledge, and embrace, the fact that my life is a life of creativity.
(More about this in a follow up post...)

The last night in my bit of heaven I scooted to the ancient trees Sinead had mentioned. I now understood her urge to go tree-climbing.

As you might gather, I am excited to have found this wonderful little place, in the middle of Ireland, near the lovely town of Nenagh. An unassuming place, which I like people to know exist and yet feel a sense of protection towards it... I don't want it to get "mobbed."

I would like to thank Sean for rescuing this place from it's near death in the '70. For the wonderful staff and for the fact that this place is private. Where else would you find a lake all to yourself, among the hundreds of ducks, and a few horses.

I'll be back.
To write.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Creative for a Second or Two (Journal 4)

So much to write and yet can't get my head around it...

But have something really wonderful to share with you.
A few years ago Kirrily Anderson started a project to share/and showcase the creative talents of people living with M.E. which at the same time showed little snippets on how their lives are affected by the illness. "Creative for a Second" it was called and the book can be viewed by clicking on the link.

I am the proud owner of a printed copy of this book.

Last year I took part in the follow up project: Creative for a Second or Two. 
Nine journals made it around the world. Two of them are now available to view on Issuu.
I'd like to share with you Journal number 4, where my work is among some other amazingly interesting art.

Enjoy! And I'll assure you, you'll be inspired for more than a second or two!