The Buddha, The Dharma, The Sangha

"Spiritual powers and their wondrous functioning--hauling water and carrying firewood." --Layman Pang, upon his realization

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Artist's Cat, Neko-Chan, in her favorite pose

Mandalas are calling.

And I'm such a fortunate being!  
Two of my dearest buddies, both artists, have, over this Summer of Enormous Change, been unstintingly supportive and kind, gently suggesting a return to the Studio.
In the past, the "Studio" has been the ceramics studio and work with clay.  But as time has shown, a back injury means rest, rest and more rest, and not bent over a potter's wheel wrestling 20 pounds of clay into submission....I'm wincing just thinking of subjecting my body to that stress right now.
My back says no thanks.

In the past I suppose I haven't listened very well when the body has suggested some other form of creative work, and I've heedlessly powered through the nagging pain like one of my Puritan ancestors.  But finally the body refused to be relegated to a place of ignorance, took the upper hand and created a new reality.

This time I've listened, but it's not been easy.  Despite the difficulty, this reality has been a valued teaching.
A new mandala.

No more clay work?  It seems unfathomable, since it's been the primary creative outlet for 22+ years and has provided great joy in so many ways!
But as my buddies point out, it's not the only way to be an artist.
In fact, the statement I come back to is, "Your back is injured, your brain is not."
I think I may need to put that one on the frig door, along with what's already there: "One should always be a little improbable."   (Oscar Wilde)

But this little human being often has a tough time being improbable, especially when things get "serious", and one must appear probable.
Is there space for improbability? 
Is this the same as the Pillar of Zen that encourages abiding in Not Knowing?

Healing the body also encourages healing the sense of humor, where being improbable might just be the best response to "Oh shit, now what?".
I believe the choice is mine--how do I choose to perceive the inevitable changes in this life?

Mandalas call.  
My buddies urge a return to the studio, (with brows often wrinkled in concern and the words beneath the words, "get your butt in the studio!")

What does the new studio look like?  
It looks like a mandala!  
Yesterday's mandala had a fierce little rabbit in the center, surrounded by giant flower petals.
It's a bit cartoon-ish, drawn with a child's hand, but it's the first mandala in the new Studio, a 2-D Studio, and less I forget, a sense of humor never hurt anyone.

So I'll roll up the rug, install the simple easel, collect some paints and brushes and see what comes up.  
I found paper in my daughter's closet, she won't mind if I use it.
I've removed all art from the walls, except a drawing my brother did in 1976.  I've removed distractions and asides, and spent energy objects that felt like unnecessary weight, even books from the bookcase that someone else can read.
As I blow the dust from the top of the pages, I blow away fear of release, and that other, mighty, mighty weight, the ego self.

I'm moving on.

Thank You K  & J!!

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