Friday, December 31, 2010

Contemplating My Clay Stuffed Navel

Every year at the end, comes a new year. It happens every time until our end of time.  So here we go again. It is a time to re-evalutate. Did you know what you wanted this year and did you work to get it? Did it happen or are you just passing time and taking that heaven forbid attitude of "Well. It is just meant to be."  Or, all things happen for a reason. Sorry, I just can't buy that way of thinking.

I woke up too early again. Thinking. It is the last day of the year and do I regret this year?  Or was it fantastic? Time to reevaluate. And of course, there will be no New Year's resolutions.  That was a resolution I made years ago.  One day at a time is plenty for me.

A few years ago I went to a new age kind of winter solstice party. It was lovely. We followed an ancient type ritual and filled golden glass Christmas ornaments with herbs and wishes or goals if I remember correctly.  We were supposed to break it at a significant time which I don't remember either.  I got too busy as usual and could not make the next 5 meetings.
    Well, that is only a couple years of missed meetings so I am thinking of popping it open now and see if I came anywhere near those goals.  I have been afraid to open it, I suppose, in case I did not succeed in reaching my goal.  It can be such a reality check when you set a goal and don't reach it in ample time.  I highly suspect that means it wasn't really a goal worth pursuing in the first place.  Maybe a goal you think you should have instead of a goal you should have set from your own heart.

    That horrible idea, "Mission Statement or Artists Statement" comes to mind at this point.  Or heaven forbid the word that makes me run from any meeting "BYLAWS." I know I am not in a trusted and self------room if the word bylaws comes up.  Trust=no bylaws.  And, mission statement=trying to figure out what you want.

So what is in that little gold ball that has been sitting on my bookshelf for 2 1/2 years? Maybe I can pull the note out and keep the ball intact so I can stick it back in and wish harder if I did not make it. So,  I get the ball, I pull the lid off, I tap it.  I tap it harder I thunk it! A little spice comes out. I run and get a flashlight and tweezers. Where have my goals gone?  After all this time watching that Christmas ball every season, sitting on my shelf, glaring at me and singing, "Are you there yet?" I dig in the ball with tweezers. Nothing. Damn. I have to set me goals again or break the ball.
So I grab a brown paper bag and head to the front porch and squeeze the ball down into the bag. Closest object to crush it? Pumpkin, still in tack from Halloween. Whack! Missed Whack. Score. I carry the broken pieces into the house and pour them carefully onto a paper plate. shake shake shake. NOTHING. What no goals? Gone? Was this a trick? Did I wait too long? Where did my goals from 3 years ago go? Or was it 4? Damn it.  Was it the journey? Is it finally the nerve to break the ball even though I was told this is "done in the spring?" I did not like those goals anyway, maybe.

Now I am goal less. Not.

Just as a good olive may depend on the stuffing inside from intense garlic to feta cheese my naval stays stuffed with clay.  Sometimes I wish it was stuffed with paint or writings but for now it is still clay. The olive itself must be fine and oily and well taken care of but it is what is inside that often counts.  Bernard Leach said,"When the inside of a pot is right the outside naturally follows."
Oh damn my goals are gone.

The year? How do we judge our own lives?
Mind body spirit? naa, just a step away from bylaws.

Maybe personal life goals? professional life goals and paths we follow? Well.maybe.

John had a sabbatical this year and I had high hopes. Hooray we could travel and do something cool together. I had had several years of great January months.  Starting with something way out of my world, a cruise.  John calls them cattle calls and would never go with me, let alone pay for one for us to spend some time together.  Whatever. My fun loving Mother and friend treated me to a cruise 3 years ago.  We had a blast. After all, we grew up together because she was a young mom and now we had some quality time together aka no cooking no cleaning just travel.  The next year I was invited to Hawaii for a 6 week event for a young lady I had mentored.  Mixed bag but great opportunity.  My time alone there was well spent working on my book and I enjoyed a lot of the time with my young friend and her boyfriend.  The next year was fabulous! A friend who started a b&b in Costa Rica invited me to come stay, play in clay, and enjoy.  It was a fabulous month.  The sabbatical? Oh dear.  Well, I remember a short trip to Austin TX where we did a little research, John on his book and me on my book and a visit with old friends and his sister.  "Not that there is anything wrong with that" but I had high expectations. History now.

Then doors began to open.  The same day the rich Jewish camp made me the pitiful offer, Rogers State called and wanted me to teach in Upward Bound, a great opportunity.  An hour away but the delight of working with students in clay, at the University, who were first generation college or minorities. Fabulous. I always prefer working with the underdog. I loved it and they loved me.  A room full of self achievers and a bag of clay.
Next, the opportunity to teach at Rogers State appeared.  A clay studio needing TLC and a lot of ambitious students. Perfect. Loved it.  And an opportunity to teach art appreciation in small town,  Oklahoma.  Just Georgia O'Keeffe enough to make me love the idea. Done and successful and a good inspiration as I relearned art history and goosed the class with alternative ideas every now and then.

With the encouragement of a dear friend I also attempted to get in a first class show Vision Makers and hot damn! Accepted.  And they only chose 3 clay artists out of 185 or something like that.  Re established that I can make show pots. Thank you dear friend for making me step up to the plate and try.  Score.

And then the Governor visits festival of trees and I am told goes directly to my pots and stares and soaks them in and then buys 2.  Score. 15 more minutes of fame and recognition feed the ego.

So what was in that gold ball?  I don't think it was this specific.

Next, personal goals.  Life was getting a little dull. An element of surprise hit and now I feel alive again.  We must be careful not to bore ourselves to death.  I fill invigorated with a new sense of who I can be and what I am.  I will spare the gory details which are much too common.  Just let me say, I feel fine. I feel alive and sensuous and ready for this last trimester or whatever of my life.  I don't feel old and I am full of energy and ideas. I look to Beatrice Woods again. Give me some jewelry and a lot of inspiration and I will show you a good time.

Yes, this is the clay in my naval for the time being.  I'm watching it on fire.  I connect with the universe one day at time. Screw goals just do a good thing everyday and have a bit of a plan.

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