This Martha Graham quote has followed me for the past 10 years. I end up tacking it to whatever walls I inhabit as my temporary home.
“There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable it is, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate YOU. Keep the channel open… No artist is pleased… There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction; a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”
I relate to this divine dissatisfaction. But there are parts I don’t entirely agree with; that there is no satisfaction whatever at any time. I think there is satisfaction everywhere, around us all the time. But I do love reading this and I do agree that we cannot stay still in the satisfaction; there is a duty as artists to keep us marching. That part I dig.
I love being an artist but I have judged saying that I am one especially during the times I am not doing it for a living. I am doing everything else; off exploring, stretching, baking, searching, writing, healing, climbing, struggling & healing. But making art is what I want to be doing & what I want to be close to. These other things I do are my life lessons and they help me to be better in understanding myself and then I think I can understand all of us more.
I am turning in to surrender. This city is the sort of place I have dreamed of living- but I am not happy here. There have been some tears and a lot of rain and some serious life lessons through batter. I would not give back this past year for anything. I have had relationships with people I will never forget people who have been the catalyst for some much needed growing up. I’m making the choice to come back to the soil that is not so wet. Back to the bitter and the not- so friendly eastern drivers. Back to the place of beginning to begin yet again. Back to the lake I can swim across and the woods I know like the back of my hand. Back to drinking crappy coffee. Back to those people who I’ve come to learn are irreplaceable. Back to the known having seen the unknown. What a journey all this is, and the learning has just begun.
One of the greatest things about being human is the ability to re-learn.
Isn’t it funny how certain thoughts lead to thoughts that lead to other thoughts? How you can be doing something and it reminds you of something and from there you are time traveling and reminiscing into long forgotten lands. We spend all this time working on being present and in this moment. Yet there are the times when we need a good kick in memory lane. I had this happen the other day while I was filling out paperwork. I was brought back to being in elementary school and that thought led me to camping trips, which inspired me to bake with marshmallows. Ah, the mind!
So, I had to fill out all this paperwork-for work. This paperwork was obnoxious because there was way more than seemed necessary. Simply; the reality of paperwork. Plus there was a video and a quiz. So I show up for my appointment to meet the women who is taking me through the paperwork and because of limited space they plop me into a glorified closet to fill it out. 20 forms later, a video and a quiz I am finally finished. The lady comes back into the closet and tells me there is a form we have to re-do. She starts filling out her side of the form. I had been fine up until this moment, but all of a sudden I become wildly irritated and impatient. She is writing so slowly and in cursive- curving each letter and dotting each ‘i’. This complete annoyance goes into a sudden flashback. It was as if something took hold of my agitation and shoved a giant marshmallow in its mouth to quiet it. This flashback takes me to early grade school; a chunky, smiley curly blonde with pigtails sitting cross-legged on the floor (yes, I went to private hippie school where we sat on floors and wore slippers.) Here I sit practicing my cursive. I am reminded of the hours spent at those tables where I took colored pencils and crayons and ballpoint pens and I wrote my name over and over and over again. I would write slowly never wanting the school day to end striving for perfection with my letters which in my eyes I always mastered. I remember feeling like I was the greatest thing in the world because I could do this. I was engrossed in it. I was thrilled to be doing something so adult & so incredible with my hands.
So here I am with all this paperwork & watching this women across from me simply writing and I realized that is what I want. I want to be in love with everything the way I was when I was connecting those letters on paper at 8 years old. At some point I got methodical, fast & righteous in feeling I somehow deserve to take all this for granted. Here I am filling out my name as fast as I can to get to the next page so I can get to the next page so I can get to the next, so that I can be done. So that I can move onto plowing through whatever is next? The girl writing her name showed me how something so simple could make her so happy & how we have the ability to fall in love with any and every small action. It’s a matter of giving our heart to it. So thank you paperwork lady for reminding me of that.
Back to thoughts that lead to thoughts. This trip down memory lane around that age brought me to camping with the Wieners. As a kid I used to go camping with the Wieners (yes that was there last name.) They are a story for another day, they were beyond fun. I wanted to make a camping treat for you- a twist on smores. These are classy smores and they are made in the kitchen. Inspired by; http://joythebaker.com