A Theme for 2024: Exploration

person walking across fallen tree in the woods - tall trees with sunlight dappling through

The theme I dreamed, and woke to is exploration. So what, then, will I explore? What is worth exploring?

Geography: in 2023, I made it to 3 states aside from my own. I stayed overnight in 5. Not bad. I can do better. This year, I’d like to go back to Oregon, Florida (to visit my folks, no other reason), Colorado. I’d like to add Illinois (Chicago!) Tennessee (again, a familial visit), and ??? Will this be the year of Belize? Stay tuned to find out. I want to explore my own state as well, supposing I don’t escape it this year.

But really, the year isn’t about travel. It’s about exploration. So what, then, besides location will I explore?

Books: I plan to explore books, and book shops, and libraries. I’ve done a decent job with reading this year, though it has been a lot of re-reading and pondering essays – notably Deep Hope and Everyday Magic. But I have fit in some fiction as well. I am currently reading both Neverwhere and Continental Drift.

Creativity: I don’t think I have to dive too deep into plans for creativity – I just need to get off the couch, into the “studio” (whether that is the office or the garage, or the yard, or elsewhere), and PLAY.

Connection: Thankfully, I have family and a few friends who are decent about not letting connection drop. I am so lucky that others think of me, include me and ask me along.  I want to own that and I want to take some charge and return their kindness and thoughtfulness. I need to reach out, make plans, invite people to do with, and do.

Resistance:  I need to explore my tendency toward restlessness, anxiety, loneliness, and self-doubt, my terrible ability to let time pass without doing what I want, seeing who I want, and keeping the everyday in order. I am good at setting intention, but not good at paying attention. Time to learn more about that, and make some change.

I’ll spend the coming days, as I often do between “the” new year and “My” new year, digging deeper. I want to find some novel (to me) tools to keep me on track.

into the weeds

Laughing to myself a bit about everyone’s outrage about everyone’s outrage about every… What’s underneath, in the soil, the roots? What are you growing, veg or weeds? Is your definition of a weeds my definition of a weeds? I hear you can eat a dandelion.

New and Good (and Tired)

Izzi B in professional attire
Business Time

Wow. Work. It’s been eating time and thought and attention in a big way. I am tired, but grateful. This gig has potential: it’s really pushing me in ways that fuel my growth. I am building patience, calm, attention, humility. I am learning new-to-me culture, language, traditions. I am again supporting what feels like good in the world by supporting those doing the feet-on-the-ground work of building community, of supporting the less-fortunate, of finding their greater callings. I still feel new and outsider-y, but less so each and every day. The intensity of activity at work makes it easy for me to sustain activity or collapse well when I am not at work, which is serving me as I start into web design tools and basic programming classes (as well as intro to computing *gigglesnort*). Anyhow, I do want to see you all, and will whenever time, energy, and in-the-moment inclination allow it, but I may also have my head in a book, or a project, or (who knows…) for a while. 

A Box of Moths

Our natural minds are brilliant sorting boxes, making connections between things and labeling them accordingly as a way to understand our world. We do this as a way of gaining knowledge, but default to the practice as a shortcut, a way to assume we know more than we do about a thing, about a person, about a neighborhood, about ourselves than we do.

If we are, as Buddhist monk, philosopher, teacher (oh! there are some labels for you!), Thich Nhat Hanh  “…here to awaken from the illusion of our separateness,” then our labels become an impediment, become disabling. Our work, then, is to see beyond labels, and beyond the walls we build around categories, and to see even beyond our self-labels.

Pondering my long-held identity as an artist, it occurred to me that it is a way to view myself as “special” – or at least more special than “not-artists.”  It is like we are all moths in a box, each certain we are the rarest butterfly. And in this certainty, we overlook the subtle beauty of moths, intricate in pattern and color and shape. 

Given this context, I explored rejecting the label, and found myself comfortable in doing so.  I do not intend giving up living creatively, imagining things, bringing them into existence. However, I may lose the label itself as non-useful, or use it as a way to explore whether I have let the label “artist”and its opposite get in the way of true connection and understanding of myself and of others. 

Inspirations and Other Half Considered Ideas

(aka: fodder for future posts)

Backdate post of Inktober gallery

Connection to the world through drawing it (or writing detailed descriptions or…)

Art as the activity rather than artist as the identity, Art-making, not Artist

The beauty of the lamps hanging in the coffee shop across the street as viewed from my kitchen window

The concept of creative inspiration as a stranger we meet on the road, with whom we choose to engage or not

“Artist” as a way of seeing and being as much as actively creating

Mailboxes for the port0lets

Copper “eggs”

The idea that the desire for validation, for me, as a poor substitute for what I really want: collaborative, creative communication.