Sunday, June 29, 2008

Terminal and Eternal

"Eternity," mixed media collage, 5" x 9"

Terminal: (adj.) of, at, relating to, or forming a limit, boundary, extremity, or end.

Eternal: (adj.) being without beginning or end; existing outside of time.

I am trying to decide what to do here. Do I write honestly, exposing my sadness in all its complex and messy incarnations? Or do I try to stay "professional" and not expose too much of my personal life for this blog? Do any of you deal with this? How do I balance being a healing guide and presence for others and also tell my real life story as part of my own creative expression? That is, after all, what I encourage my clients to do: express their feelings through writing or art or talking or singing or dancing or standing on their heads. It's important to express it, release it, and feel the healing that comes with identifying the pain and letting (at least part of) it go.

I feel that perhaps I've been hiding behind my art since February (when my father's cancer was revealed) because writing hurts too much. In an attempt to remain "professional" I haven't used this blog to deeply express myself. I have been so scared of exposing my own personal pain (I often wondered, will blog visitors feel repelled and run for the hills?). I've hinted at my pain, I've inserted it in images or a few words or a paragraph, but I haven't written, "My father is severely ill and I feel like my world is falling apart." I haven't written,"I had to go to the ER for a severe panic attack in March and I've been struggling with anxiety ever since." I haven't written, "Sometimes it hurts to be happy." There. I've written it. I feel like I've just punched myself in the gut. Now I have to remember to breathe as I write the rest of this post. Yikes. Please breathe along with me, will you?

My dad has advanced kidney cancer and it seems to be advancing in many ways. Last week my father told me that his doctor used the word "terminal" to describe his cancer. My dad said this to me out of breath as he was taking off his shoes and socks on a hot afternoon. He said it in the same manner as "pass the ketchup" and that's just what I had to do: catch up. Rewind. Rewind again. Terminal. Terminal. Terminal. I felt like I was on a train, trying to reach the terminal where my dad was waiting for me. Timing is all guess work with cancer. But my dad demanded that his doctor give him some cold, hard facts. I feel like stomping on these facts and making wine out of them. I feel like taking the statistics on the Scrambler ride and making them dizzy. I want the numbers to jumble and re-arrange.

I have been leaky for days now. Tears come sometimes on cue and sometimes unexpectedly, but most of all I feel like I am in a dream. My life feels a bit mushy and blurry, like at any point I could disappear into the landscape -- and sometimes I want to. At times I want to fade into the purple walls of my bedroom and take a break from all of this. And I feel caught in a place of wanting to hold hope (for my dad is making some progress and there other treatments he could try) and wanting to stay grounded in reality. I don't want to be naive, but I also feel that positive intentions and hope can be powerful forces in healing.

"Hope" collage, 4" x 5"

My mom told me that when my dad heard that "T" word the other week, he started telling people at work, "I am terminal." My mom got angry with him. She said, "You are not terminal. Your illness may be categorized that way, but we're all going to die. You are forever. You are eternal. You will be with me always." Since hearing about their conversation, I've been contemplating this duality of terminal and eternal. I don't feel I have enough in me to start a philosophical discussion of these two adjectives. I am just holding them both in my hands and in my heart, hoping that they don't fight too much--hoping that they'll lead me to some slice of peace, some comfort or understanding.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Taking Another Try

mixed media collage, 5" x 10"

"I almost soared" says the falling bird, " but now look how I fall."

"I will always catch you," says the catching bird. "Keep taking flight, and one day you won't need me. You will soar up and up and up."

"Good bugs," says the Robin.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Today, for my Father

mixed media collage, 9" x 12"

“The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green earth, dwelling deeply in the present moment and feeling truly alive.” -- Thich Nhat Hanh

Friday, June 13, 2008

Fishing for Opportunity

mixed media collage with wax, 6" x 12"

What are you fishing for?

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Wake Up!

mixed media collage with wax, 7" x 11"

Oh my, has it been difficult to stay alert, awake, and bright-eyed these past few weeks here in Seattle. I've been feeling a bit zombie-esque. One day last week I woke up at 8am, had breakfast, went back to sleep until about 11:30, had lunch, took a nap, and then worked into the evening after such a restful day. This is the stuff of winter, not spring!

When the sun emerged for a bit this afternoon, I couldn't help but take part in it. Walaka and I took a walk to Greenlake. I felt my body wake up as we walked in the sunshine. As my eyes soaked in the blue spots of sky, I took some deep breaths. I filled my body with light and fresh air for the first time in days. Perhaps this dose of weather medicine will allow me to endure a few more days of gray.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008