Monthly Archives: February 2006

Receiving

“When Walt Whitman said, “To have great poets, there must be great audiences.” he was recognizing the creative power of receptivity. Receptivity, far from doing nothing, is activity. Yet it is an activity that we in the West don’t appreciate enough. We want to know who gave it, did it, or created it, not who received it, much less how deeply it was received. When you open to receive the love of a friend, you are giving them the greatest gift you can give. When you are open to receiving without hindrance the energy of the universe, you are giving the world a gift. When you open to receive an inspiration or a creative idea, you are giving. In truth, receiving is giving.” — Laurence G. Boldt, The Tao of Abundance

The World is Always Ready to Receive Talent With Open Arms — Elena Ray

The valley spirit never dies;
It is the woman, primal mother.
Her gateway is the root of heaven and earth.
It is like a veil barely seen,
Use it; it will never fail.

— Tao Te Ching, 6

CBS Poll: Bush Ratings At All-Time Low

AMERICA : NOW ONLY 34% STUPID!

CBS News | Poll: Bush Ratings At All-Time Low | February 27, 2006 19:57:50
The latest CBS News poll finds President Bush’s approval rating has fallen to an all-time low of 34 percent, while pessimism about the Iraq war has risen to a new high.

Americans are also overwhelmingly opposed to the Bush-backed deal giving a Dubai-owned company operational control over six major U.S. ports. Seven in 10 Americans, including 58 percent of Republicans, say they’re opposed to the agreement.

CBS News senior White House correspondent Jim Axelrod reports that now it turns out the Coast Guard had concerns about the ports deal, a disclosure that is no doubt troubling to a president who assured Americans there was no security risk from the deal.

The troubling results for the Bush administration come amid reminders about the devastating impact of Hurricane Katrina and negative assessments of how the government and the president have handled it for six months.

In a separate poll, two out of three Americans said they do not think President Bush has responded adequately to the needs of Katrina victims. Only 32 percent approve of the way President Bush is responding to those needs, a drop of 12 points from last September’s poll, taken just two weeks after the storm made landfall.

Damn straight, Mac!

pesky’apostrophe: always better than an unexpected period.

I’m glad to see that my vagina, uterus, and fallopian tubes are the focus of everyone’s attention in the country. Well, not my vagina, uterus, and fallopian tubes, in particular – the vagina, uterus, and fallopian tubes of every woman in the country. You know, because that’s all we are: incubators for the next generation. Well, and the only correct place for a man to stuff his dick.

Here’s a tip, douchebags: I’m smart enough to make my own medical decisions and I have enough rational thought going on to determine whether or not I want to have children…all by my little itty bitty self. I’m responsible enough to take precautions not to get pregnant [if those big, strong pharmacists will allow little ol’ me access to my birth control pills], but mistakes happen and rapes happen…and I’m smart [despite the efforts of politicians in this country to dumb down sex ed to the point of idiocy] enough to take precautions in emergency situations to prevent pregnancy [if those big, strong politicians will allow little ol’ me to have access to the morning after pill]. In the event that I do get pregnant [possibly because I don’t have access to birth control], I don’t want to bring a child into this world that I’m not equipped to care for and that is unwanted and, thanks to adoption in the U.S. being really difficult, would likely end up in the flawed foster care system should I give it up for adoption, I’m lucky enough that abortion is legal in the U.S. [unless those big, strapping politicians and holier-than-thou types decide it would be better for little ol’ me to have an illegal abortion performed in unsterile conditions by some guy with a dirty knife].

What Mac says!

Well, look what I found!

I’ve had this fixation with keys lately after a recent dream. And so today, I was cleaning up my hallway mirror, scraping off some old dragonfly stickers I had put on when my kids were smaller and we did such things, and cleaning out the little bins on the mirror:

And I found this old pin. I think I’ve had it since I was a kid – I remember wearing it on one of those old plaid skirts that were popular in the 60s. So, I’ve added it to the little amulet purse I made in my ATC class. Funny.

Criticism

“The criticism that damages an artist is the criticism — well intentioned or ill — that contains no saving kernel of truth yet has a certain damning plausibility or an unassailable blanket judgment that cannot be rationally refuted.” — Julia Cameron, Artist’s Way

I grew up with criticism – well intentioned – from my mother. Nothing was ever good enough, no matter how much I did. My brother was the star, the funny one, the favorite child; my sister, the mess, the one with all the problems. Me? I got ignored, most of the time, or criticized for not being better at being the “good” child. The four As and a B tape, the expectations of perfection, being 12 years old and taking care of the house and doing the cooking while my mom was in the hospital, while my older brother and sister did nothing, and then having my dad re-iron his shirts because they weren’t perfect enough (I still to this day refuse to iron anything).

My dad was really pretty good though about praising me and encouraging me, which is probably why I took after him and became an engineer. But I actually started college as a music theatre major. And quickly learned that, no matter what I did, I wasn’t going to get the big roles, since it was all political, and I wasn’t good enough to be a “star”, which was probably true of most everyone in the program, and they were all getting teaching degrees as backup. I knew I didn’t want to teach, and I knew I wasn’t going to be a star, even if my voice coach did keep telling me I was good enough to try out for the San Francisco Opera.

The reality was I simply didn’t want to play that game. Little did I know. I thought engineering would be all rational, without the politics. Hah. As anyone who has been around long enough can tell you, where there are people, there are politics. I was laid off from jobs so the “guys who had families to support” wouldn’t be. I was propositioned, sexually harassed, saw choice assignments go to those who sucked up, and learned that there was no place in this working world for a working mother with two young kids. The day I got screamed at for coming in late, by my boss who came in after I did, was the day I quit. I had spent most of the morning to that point trying to arrange daycare for two sick kids and get myself to work, only to be confronted with that nonsense. I went straight to HR and turned in my resignation letter. I went back to school, got my MBA and became a consultant, where I could work on my terms.

I’ve lost three good friends for making “unforgivable” mistakes in dealing with them, friends I loved and cared for deeply and knew for over a dozen years each, who never spoke to me again. I’ve been told by an art therapist that I was “too disruptive” for her groups so she didn’t want me to participate anymore. No matter that I was dealing with undiagnosed bipolar disorder during that period of my life, and have gotten the proper medication so it is under control since then. No matter that I was dealing with the death of my father, and the stress of the lost friendships. That wasn’t her territory, after all, she was all about dealing with body image.

I was even told in a bipolar group therapy session that I was too “normal” to be in the group! Guess my problems weren’t severe enough to be interesting to the other group members, who were having too much fun bemoaning how terrible things were instead of trying to get better.

So anyway, I’ve had my share of criticism. And it bit, deep, hard, all the way to my core, and finally, eventually, rearranged who I was as a person. And, just like the proverbial hero’s journey, who I became was — myself. The same person I had been all along, only now I knew what the problems were, where the mistakes were, and how badly I had dealt with things.

And I really liked that person. A lot. I still do. The veneer has all peeled off, the hard edges are gone, my “real” self is no longer buried or hidden. I am a child playing in the world, and having a grand time. Do I display this face all the time? No, of course not. But now, I know when I’m wearing the mask, and I know what I really think underneath. Usually my hardest job is hiding the hysterical laughter I want to express when other people get angry at me or upset – as if they could hurt me anymore! I just smile and quietly go on my way. Am I still open to criticism? Sure – but now, I can take it or leave it, and know when it is valid and when it is for spite, or for show, or hypocritical, or just plain mean. And it isn’t personal anymore. Partly because there is no personal for me anymore – I am as much about the other person as they are about me, as I am about my garden, the sky, the earth. We’re all the same, and people who don’t get that, who are caught up in their own little egos, are trapped in a small, small world.

Actually, I tend to feel sorry for them. And I get annoyed with myself when I feel ego creep up, when I feel myself getting annoyed with things I know don’t have to bother me. And annoyed when I am critical to others, since I know it hurts, and that old pattern of sarcasm can flair up at some really bad times. I know it’s a defense, a front for my own insecurities. And yes, those insecurities do linger, out of habit as much as anything else. I’m uncomfortable still in groups, especially groups of women.

Which is what brings me to Artist’s Way, to continuing my searching, to art journaling. Trying to rid myself of my remaining insecurities. Most of those deal with friendships, with trusting other people enough to let them get close. I’m afraid of being hurt again, of course. Afraid of loving and losing again. And I know I have to get beyond that.

I know most people probably get the idea I don’t care much about them. But the truth is, I care too much, too deeply about them. I see more than people want me to see, and if I’m not careful, I tell them more about themselves than they want to know. I can see all the beauty of the oceans, the lakes, the rivers, the streams, the ponds and mud puddles of people’s souls and spirits. But I want to explore the depths, and to most people, that is very scary indeed.

But, in art, I could express those things. And even in those mud puddles, there are beautiful sapphires hidden.

UPDATE:

Well, the Internet is a strange and wondrous thing. I started looking around for a yoga and pilates retreat, thinking it might be fun, and ended up signing up for – a VOICE LESSON!!! How weird is that? Well, Julia did say to do what we can to take some small step towards our dreams, huh?

I’m still freaked out.

Inspire Me Thursday

The theme for Inspire Me Thursday this week is self-portrait – without a camera. This is an old body print of mine with lots of additional work on the face – it’s actually a pretty accurate self portrait. but, I’ll do a new one for this week – not sure what media yet.

Come join the fun!

Inspire Me Thursday

This week we’ll explore Self Portraits…. without a camera. Any medium, any size, but no photographs, please. If your first instinct is to turn and run in the other direction, please reconsider! You can have a lot of fun with a theme like this: two-dimensional or three-dimensional, abstract or realistic, sketch, paint, collage or sew… explore the possibilities!