Saturday, April 7, 2007

Week 8 - Uncovering a Sense of Truth

What are heavy?
sea-sand and sorrow:
What are brief?
to-day and to-morrow:
What are frail?
Spring blossoms and youth:
What are deep?
the ocean and truth.
- Christina Rossetti, Sing-Song

This week we focus on tuning up our inner compass with more gentle grounding exercises to keep us on the steady path through all those things that threaten to knock us off the balance beam. Life seems to be constantly shifting between moments of my feet steady on the bar, to nearly losing my balance and catching myself with one leg and both arms flailing in the air, to gaining my balance again, to falling off all together, to getting back up again, to walking with ease and flow, to following one shaky step with another, all in constant flux. I like grounding exercises, I need them. I need to remember to do those bits of self-care, to fall back on the sensual delights of a hot bath, a foot rub with peppermint lotion, Aveda shampoo, fresh flowers in the windowsill.

I was grateful this week to read that Cameron's mental state was a bit brighter. I found myself getting frustrated with her darker chapters as I find myself susceptible to the energies of others. I'm usually able to take in what's helpful and leave the rest, but last week, I found myself annoyed. After venting about it a bit on my own blog, I realized that my annoyance might have less to do with Cameron and more to do with myself. When I get annoyed with someone, I've found that it usually relates to something going on within me. And a little reflection on this made me realize that, at least in part, my frustrations are centered around the annoyance I feel towards myself when I get depressed. There's that harsh voice in me that says to "just snap out of it!" That part of me just wants to shake myself and believes that if only I were smarter, better, something else, I would not feel so low, so sad, so useless. I think it's a combination of things, so I continue to be aware of that harsh voice and return to those self-nurturing activities and return to my art. Art is very grounding for me.

How do you ground yourself? What do you do to take care of yourself when that harsh voice makes an appearance?

"Art is a lie which makes us realize the truth."
- Pable Picasso

This week I painted a figure. It was somewhat planned in that it was inspired by a doodle in my sketchbook, but I always allow room for change in the final product. It never comes out exactly as I expect, and I like surprises. I hadn't pictured the figure as being blue when I started, I was going to make something more monochromatic in bright sunshiney colors. I painted in some blue shadows on her and added some highlights, but she remained very blue. Every time I adjusted the colors a bit, I came back to her being blue. I had imagined her being lit up by the spring's sunshine, so I was a bit confused about why she was so icey. But then I realized that she was still blue because she hadn't thawed yet. And it helped me realize that I was in a similar state, still slightly in winter-mode, still kinda blue, trying my best to soak in the sun and thaw myself out. This is one of the things I love about art, my subconscious comes to light there, it brings out of the shadows what I might have been hiding from my conscious mind (which doesn't like to admit depression factors into things). And I felt a sense of recognition and peace there, a feeling of acceptance for where I'm at in this moment. It's ok.

I keep thinking of that movie line, "You can't handle the truth!" when I read the title of this chapter. But I believe we all can handle the truth. Sometimes, it needs to come out in a more gentle format, such as in your writing, your poems, your morning pages, your collages, your paintings, your dreams and it's ok to open up and let it in.

Wishing you a week of feeling grounded and connected! I'd love to hear the ways in which you ground yourself.

-Leah, Creative Everyday


Jessie said...

ok...i really like this question. and, actually, i'm going to assign myself the task of doing more to keep myself grounded on a more regular basis.

i ground myself by:
*lighting candles.
*writing--these days that means blogging and journaling.
*making art...even if it's for work. it always has a soothing effect on me.
*nice looooong baths with ginger/mint bath salts and a good book.
*burying my face in my dog's fur and soaking in the love.
*hanging out in bookstores.
*taking time to eat good food and savor it.
*resting in puddles of sunshine. this is especially nice when the sunshine happens to land on the couch! :)
*paying attention to the sky colors at sunset (and other natural phenomenons. being reminded of such stunning beauty (large or small) always gets me grounded.

thanks, leah. this was a really great post. love ya!

Laura said...

I have to say reading your words are grounding to me as reading Julia's words too. I know when ever I do a 12 week course in the any artist way book that grounds me. And then it's the walks in the woods, the reconnection to nature, to my own father and his connection with the earth. He was brought up on a farm and hard work he had to share with his father and brothers. All that he taught me and I carry that with me when I walk in the woods. When I'm away from all the city/suburban drama and it just me out there with the elements, be it rain, sun or clouds. Grounding is a good thing to do it helps me know thyself and reconnect.

I'm working on Week 6 now and reading Julia very truthful sharings on her way out of the dark.

Sorry for the rambling it was one of the wonderful cycle moments.
Does anyone else have them where you in to your monthly cycle and its like a relief or sheading of the thoughts along with the flow? Just wondering, Maybe wondering to candidly.

Peace all

tammy vitale said...

I guess I can pick up the book again and start with week 6. I love Leah's take on this - in fact had wondered why I was so in reaction to JC's writing - but my answer hasn't come quite so clearly. In the meantime, I AM doing morning pages 5 or 6 days a week, and I AM doing my artist dates weekly - which is the gift from this go round....I find myself heading off for "just a few minutes here" where before I would have been too in a hurry to get somewhere else. The walks haven't yet become anything close to a habit, but they stay in the front of my mind. I'll get there.

The Dream said...

Great post, Leah.

As someone with the artistc temperment and a diagnosis, I was less than thrilled about Cameron bringing up her big breakdown and dips into depression. But you're absolutely right ... as a dear friend likes to remind me ... "when I point the finger at someone else, I have three pointing back at me." Bottom line for me is that I have a tremendous amount of FEAR about losing it and never coming back. I have been to the dark places and I am diligent about not returning there, no matter what the ol' brain chemistry is whipping up.

prayer, meditation, baths, talking to true blue friends, creating, playing the piano, making a Gratitude List, being by or in the water, painting my toenails, singing, working in the garden ...


Jane said...


Thank you for these words today. I really needed them. Indeed, life is a balancing beam. There are times when I feel brilliant and vibrant and able to move mountains and then a shift comes and I feel like that child struggling to find her balance on that wooden beam. Yes, we do need to remember the things that will pamper our spirits. Thank you for these beautiful reminders.

Bohemian Mom said...

This is a great post and I'm in the right "headspace" right now to work on grounding myself more.
I have trouble differentiating being gentle with me and being lazy.
When I make time to journal or collage while there's dishes in the sink or laundry to be put away, I always feel guilty and can't enjoy the moment.
Grounding.....gonna work on that!

mich said...

What a wonderful post - I love the way you have in reminding us what is important. I ground myself by:

*daily meditation
*working with the goddesses and chakras
*walking in nature

Love & light!

eb said...

I so enjoyed reading these entries and comments - another day of snow in April is weighing on me and yet I wonder if that is really the issue -I have all of the other Cameron books and am considering picking this one up - I love the blogging around these questions

grounding: yoga for sure, writing, walking, puppy tummy rubs, journal collaging - and reading your thoughts

xox - eb.