Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Zen Oxymoron of Perfection

I remember while reading about Japanese art a long time ago, that it is the imperfections which make an artwork perfect, desirable. What a life changing idea. If there is no flaw, there is no uniqueness. If an item is unique, it is perfect. I love Zen circles.

I think that having that thought in the back of my mind all these years has kept me from completely losing it at more than a few points in my life. Somehow that tucked away concept kept me going when I was at my most ‘unworthy’.

There have been an awful lot of close calls with losing it…

I could list all the bad choices, rough roads, etc ad nauseum, but I won’t. I have discovered that far from being utterly alone in my imperfect state, it’s crowded in here. We all have this kind of stuff we carry around, doing our damndest to ensure that no one else knows how unlovable we are.

The last few years, in trying to shed this need to be perfect, I have had some setbacks, with me clinging to the idea of attaining that perfection like it was the air I needed to breathe. It matters less to me now. I like me most of the time. I like me a lot actually, and if there are people out there who don’t, well-their loss. Seems to me those folks are the ones dancing the perfection polka the hardest. It used to cut me to the core when I would get blown off/ignored/overlooked because of some perceived imperfection (insert “not whatever enough” of your choice here) I possessed, now the cuts are shallower and I am beginning to feel sorry for them, that they will not know me.
It hits me the hardest when I see my 7 year old son struggle with what other people think of him. All my past pains become sharper, and I see what I have lost by allowing the pursuit of perfection to rule me. Watching him, that’s pain, a boo boo I can’t kiss and make go away, I have to offer him skills instead, skills to recognize and dismiss the utter soul suicide of assuming personal responsibility for everyone else’s happiness. And it’s really hard, since I am relatively new to those lessons myself. What bullshit. And no I don’t use those phrases with him.

My art, my jewelry is part of this epiphany. It isn’t perfect, but it is, in an oxymoronish Zen sort of way, and I like it that way, its individual, part of a journey, creative, part of me, birthed from a particular moment in my life, (hmmm, my son is all those things too, and more) it’s the kind of work that speaks to a person’s inner self. Not about karats, carats or anything else, except the connection. Maybe that’s why I give it away sometimes.

So two things born of me, my son and my jewelry, are giving me a new perspective, a rebirth of sorts My life is awesome.
I apologize to my husband for the insane amount of commas in this post, but I write the way I think....

I am simply letting go of the idea of impossible and doing my best to embrace my Zen-like uniqueness. And it feels good, and I am grateful for that.   oooohhhhmmmm

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Empathy and me-e-e-e-e, are pretty good company, well ummm….


em•pa•thy [ émpəthee ]

1. understanding of another's feelings: the ability to identify with and understand somebody else's feelings or difficulties
Synonyms: understanding, sympathy, compassion, responsiveness, identification, fellow feeling
Antonyms: indifference

I had planned on posting some new work, but this is more important today.

Yesterday when I took my son to his taekwondo class, as we were driving in, we saw a friend of ours heading for her car with her two boys. One of the boys is autistic. She was crying, disconsolate really. So Evan and I pulled in next to her and asked what happened. Apparently the son who is autistic (awesome kid by the way) was playing hide and seek in the dojo with a few other kids; and quite innocently- he went into the women’s changing area to hide. There was a woman in there breast feeding her baby, who demanded that he leave. WTF? She was breastfeeding, not having killer sex. Oh yuck, thats a visual I didnt need.

Any reasonably intelligent mom should know that when you shout or speak sharply to a child –especially one who doesn’t know you, they react out of fear, from the brain stem. She decided he was (in her words) a mouthy brat. Well she came out of there looking for the mother of said ‘brat’ and proceeded to give my friend hell. My friend apologized and explained her son was autistic, and the response was along the lines of “I guess you need to do a better job of watching him then”. My girl being the woman she is, apologized profusely and repeatedly, but the woman kept at her, made her feel awful, just awful. I don’t care who you are, or who the kid is, there’s no need for that. See definition above- it applies to most every situation.

Girlfriend kept it together until she hit the front door, then dissolved. Tougher than I could have been. Sensei would’ve had to mop me up off the dojo floor

I need to digress a moment to tell you what an amazing woman and mom my friend is. She takes on the battle when no one else will. She advocates tirelessly and thanklessly for autism affected kids and their families. She shines. She loves. She yells. She makes mistakes. She succeeds. She keeps going.

So once girlfriend felt OK enough to drive, Evan and I parked our car. Mind you now, Evan witnessed the pain in our friend. I asked Evan if he would mind changing inside, instead of in the car like he usually does.

Because I want to talk to the lady who hurt our friend.
“You gonna tell her all about it?”
Damn right I am.
“Yaaay Mom power!!!” (did I mention how cool my son is?)

Everyone has issues of some kind or another. Everyone has skeletons of some sort. They are with us always, they affect everything we do, every single action and reaction is governed by the rats nest of stuff we all deal with in our secret selves every single day.

And no one is perfect, no one. No matter how hard or seemingly successfully they try to keep up that pretty picket fence façade.

Next time someone -or more especially, some child happens to perpetrate some unmindful act of discourtesy or rudeness, try to keep that definition in the front of your mind and realize there just might be more to it. Breathe and connect with your own heart first.

I apologize to Elton John for mangling his lyric to “Harmony”

Do I need to tell you that as I was “telling her all about it”, I forgot all about empathy?
And you know what? I am sorta grateful that I did….awful aren’t I?

Monday, September 27, 2010

I'm still here

yes I am.

Phew, it’s been awhile. It has been one heck of a summer. There was a tooth abscess for Evan (on his only filling, go figure that), serious back surgery for Mom, arthritis induced broken neck for my aunt, hysterectomy for me, shingles for me, seriously ill sister in law, juggling Evans camp and activity schedule, trying to keep DH happy (LOL not easy with a hysterectomy recovery) , it never stopped, the entire summer. Oh, and the vacations I seriously needed: cancelled. Sigh, it’s all good though.

And it’s left me feeling woefully inadequate. I can hear all of you now, telling me that’s silly, I know, just doesn’t feel that way. While it was all happening, I felt I was doing the best I could, just can’t help feeling I could have done better -with Mom especially. I totally sucked at that. She’s had a really tough time recovering from the surgery, the surgeon had to do a lot more than he expected once he got in, and it’s made recovery really hard. I realize I can’t take care of everyone, even though I feel compelled to

I have lots of new work sitting unfinished on my bench, getting to it a little at a time. Oh yeah and a beautiful fine silver and 24k gold heart pendant made for my aunt mysteriously disappeared in the mail, the ONE time I don’t insure something. Bleech. So that’s getting remade as well.

Happier things!  Evan has his first taekwondo competition the other night. He was competing against mostly older kids with higher belts and came out of it with a good sportsmanship medal, and a 2nd place trophy for one step sparring. Pretty AWESOME! The really cool part was when he would go to the kids who didn’t do so well and high five them, or go to the kids who beat him, and tell them ‘good job!’ A low point was a friend of his who is his age but in a class with younger kids- predictably came out with 4 trophies, and taunted Evan about it. Once I explained that it was because his friend was competing against kindergartners, and that Evan was against his age and older with higher belts, Evan was OK. Great pic isnt it?

Grateful? Oh yes, that my family got through this summer, also that I realized I am inadequate to take care of everyone and am becoming ok with it, and mostly that my son is so amazing.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Yes, he’s OK. Completely 100%

There was a Cub Scout camping trip in Sebring last weekend. A place I would have loved to go. Fossil & shark teeth hunting, old Florida environment, the works. I bowed out for a number of reasons, chief being to give Daddy & Evan a chance to be together, just the two of them. Friday afternoon I received an email from the pack leader, saying the River was high from the recent rain and fossil/shark teeth hunting might be impacted. OK. I forwarded the email to hubby. I asked Hubby to please keep a close eye on Evan, as he is one of the younger boys and likes to play with the bigger kids.

Saturday morning on the way to take the 2 cats to the vet, I get a phone call (this is paraphrased, could NOT tell you what the actual conversation was):

Me- Hello?

Hubby- “ he’s fine”

(first of all “he’s fine” is man-speak for-“CATASTROPHE averted, collateral damage report pending”)


Hubby- “he fell out of a tree and we are on the way to the hospital in an ambulance”

Me-WHAT!!!! AMBULANCE?!!! A TREE? What happened? (pulled over now, crying, and heart thumping, cats meowing)

Hubby- “Honey, I am trying to tell you, he fell out of a tree onto his head…”


Hubby- “Honey he’s fine, it was 8 or 9 feet, let me tell you…….”

Me- “8 or 9 feet???? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Do I need to come up there?” (looking aound to turn around on the highway and start driving north)

Hubby- “No Honey, he’s fine…here talk to him…”

Ambulance noises in the background, sans siren

Evan- “Mommy?”

Me- "yes my love it’s mommy, are you OK?”

Evan-“ I fell out of a tree Mommy, it hurt a lot, I am in the boo boo truck, and Mommy?”

Me- (choking back sobs) “yes baby?”

Evan- “It’s not as scary as you thought it would be…..
Oh my god, yes child of mine, it is, it is so much worse.

So I talked to him a few more minutes. They got him to the hospital, x-rays, CT scan, all was well. And thanks to the EMT’s who are scout dads, and mostly my hubby, my precious boy is safe.
And I am so very grateful for that.

He did manage to wheedle the Xray tech into giving him copies of the pictures of his ‘brain’. Which were pinned up on the window of his classroom all day Monday. Thanks Miss Susan ;-) And I didn't see this picture until they were home that afternoon, safe,in our kitchen- or I would have sprouted wings and flown to Sebring.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Some Eye Candy

So... as promised, here is some new work, there is actually a lot (!) more, but it'll have to wait til I post it on Etsy this week.  Let me know what you think, both of the pieces, and the photo set up's.  I'm a big girl, so candid opinions are welcome!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I’m back. (no not like Jack Nicholson LOL)

 Sorry to be so long away. Had lots going on, but now I have a break ;-)

Braces are OFF! I am smiling like a fool, looking for reasons to blind folks with my gorgeous smile! Its really pretty funny….

By this weekend I should have posts of new work going up in the (sadly neglected) Etsy shop. I have had so many commissions the last month or so, haven’t been able to take care of Etsy like I should. And NO I am not complaining, I am continually grateful that so many like my work enough to ask for special pieces. I especially like that they frequently push the boundaries of what I have done before.

It’s amazing how many friends I have made and how many doors have opened to me in the last several months. And all, mostly all- are from the jewelry work. Karma…. I suppose, I put enough love and care into the work, it’s coming back to me in spades.

Evan has been busy too! The picture of him here is when he got his first set of belt loops from cub scouts. We started Tiger scouts later in the year than the other kids, but Evan worked really hard, earned his Bobcat badge, 8 belt loops, 16 or so beads for his badge by the second scout meeting. He also got his Tiger badge a few days ago at the Blue and Gold Dinner. He’s so amazing, I am so very proud to be his mama. ;-)

OH- I am on the Craft Map now!! The link is on the top left of this page, check it out, has all kinds of lovelies to peruse…….(shopaholics beware!)

I am so very grateful for my very special life, and for my sons beautiful smile (and MINE TOO!!)