Thursday, July 31, 2008

Oh So Many Buddhas

Collage painting, "Sprouting Buddha," 5" x 8"

My dear friend Angela was in town these past two weeks and I got several lovely doses of her while she was here. During one of our visits while my nephew was sleeping away listening to electronic crickets (I was babysitting), we talked a bit about Buddhism. I told her that I don't know much about Buddhism, but I am drawn to it, and I am drawn, in particular, to Buddha figures. "They give me comfort," I told her. After creating this piece above, I realize that I am responding, in part, to the calm expression of many Buddhas. There is no strain in the face, no false expression, no pretending, no mask. There is peace in the creases of the eyes, softness in the jaw.

Over these past tumultuous months, I have been bending toward things of comfort. If there were a cloak of inner peace, I'd wear it. For now, I covet soft blankets and naps. Oh my -- many naps. And I am trying to achieve a "Buddha face." On Monday when I went with my dad to his first naturopath appointment, I found myself feeling a bit more Buddha-esque. For once, my jaw was not tight during this appointment. I felt my shoulders relax. I listened to an ND give my dad some comfort (a metaphorical "cloak of peace" for him) and little bits of hope like bird seed. Man, those kernels of hope can grow beautiful sprouting things if we nurture them.

Wish me luck tomorrow as I venture into the world of oncology and CT scans with my dad. May I have a soft Buddha face and a strong daughter heart.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Nighttime Sun, Daylight Moon

I've been contemplating opposites lately -- and realizing that they're not exactly opposites, but more like two parts of the same circle. Birth and death. Health and illness. Day and Night. Sun and Moon. My brain and a cheese grater. Well, the last one I made up, but you get the point.

I'm finding some minor crumb of peace in seeing the cyclical aspects of life and visualizing endings bringing about new beginnings. Thinking about endings (particularly related to my dad's life) most often makes me weepy and shaky and unsettled. But, I'm trying on this harmony of opposites idea. I'm trying on being a little more Zen, a little more Deepak Chopra, a little more earth mother goddess. I'm holding on to the rhythms of the sun and moon as if together they create my life preserver ring. I've even been contemplating getting sun and moon tattoos. Not sure I'm ready for that endeavor yet, so in lieu of body scarification, I present these two art pieces I created tonight:

Collage painting on canvas, "Nighttime Sun," 6" x 6"

Collage painting on canvas, "Daylight Moon," 6" x6"

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Write from Your Body!

I have a few spaces left in my "Writing from Your Body" Workshop and I'd love to fill them!

Here's the scoop:

Writing from Your Body Workshop
Sunday, July 27, 1:00-5:00pm

Do you feel and hear all that your body has to tell you? Imagine feeling more connected to your body's messages. Imagine tapping into your inner wisdom and creativity, letting go of doubt and fear. By engaging in body-centered writing exercises, we will explore how our bodies can help us to understand in a deep and meaningful way how we relate to ourselves and how we engage with the big, wide world around us.

In Writing from Your Body, we will explore the ways in which paying attention to our bodies can enhance our writing and our writing process. We will write from our guts, our hands, our spleens, and our blood vessels. We will explore how telling the story of our bodies can help us to reclaim our creative, knowledgeable, and truth-telling physical selves.

This workshop series is facilitated by Courtney Putnam, MFA, LMP and will be held at Rising Bird Healing Arts in the lovely Roosevelt District of Seattle.

To Register: Email Courtney Putnam at ★
Cost: $100 (cash, check, and credit card accepted)
Delectable refreshments provided.

Courtney E. Putnam
is a Licensed Massage Practitioner and Certified Reiki Practitioner, who offers a holistic approach to wellness. With a strong belief in the mind-body connection, Courtney holds a safe space for her clients to experience emotional as well as physical healing. By integrating massage, energy work, and holistic and creative wellness approaches, she invites you to experience a unique blend of healing modalities to support your body, mind, and spirit. In addition to her bodywork endeavors, Courtney is a working writer and visual artist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing.

For a complete description of all the workshops in the “A Year of Living in Your Body” Workshop Series, visit

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

A Different Body

"A Different Body," mixed media collage, 2.5" x 3"

Aloha from Maui. Today is my last day here and I managed to create a little collage last night using images from some tourist magazines and watercolor crayons I brought with me.

The title of this piece represents one of the main themes of this trip: my dad's different body. Last night my family had a little meltdown, resulting in my dad expressing that he no longer wanted to live like this. I asked him what "this" meant, and he said, "I can't breathe, I can't walk without resting, I can't do anything I used to do. I just have to sit here. The only joy I have in my life is watching you guys." My dad released many tears, as did the rest of us. I suppose my family was due for a group catharsis. We've all had cathartic moments at various times regarding my dad's cancer, but not all together like this. I felt like I was going to crack in half, turn to sand.

Not only did my dad express sadness, but a great deal of anger. He's been very short, curt, and grumpy with all of us, but particularly with my mom. It's as if his frustration about his own body is leaking out through his pores. I absolutely understand this. When you feel miserable on the inside, it can leak to the outside. It feels to me that my dad is toggling between grief and anger. It's a see-saw that is wearing him out.

So amidst this beautiful landscape and lovely moments with my family, there lingers some deep pain that is hard to wash off in the surf. Last night I sat and cried as the sun dunked itself into the ocean; I sat on big lava rocks and noticed sea turtles lifting their heads to the surface. It felt like they were checking in on me, making sure I was okay. I thanked them for their caring presence before I returned to the condo where I gave my dad's "different body" some attention with a little foot rub. He felt more grounded, and not surprisingly, so did I.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Some Art Before I Depart

"Super Girl Goes to Hawaii," mixed media collage on board, 9" x 12"

This little girl keeps calling to me. She sneaked into one piece already and now here she is again. I feel like perhaps she represents a part of me--a girl I once was who still remains close to my heart. She's a bit of a mystery (hence the superhero mask). Perhaps one day I will unmask her!

I'm off to Hawaii for a week with my family. I've been to Hawaii many times and used to go with my family almost every summer as a kid. It will be quite amazing to walk the sandy beaches with dad; I haven't done that with him since I was about eight years old!

I've packed a few art supplies and I hope to do a little creating while I'm there. The best source of collage materials on the islands are all the tourist magazines and brochures. I flock to those kiosks and stockpile images. Perhaps I'll even be able to blog a few pieces, so stay tuned (I'm still not sure about the internet situation at the condo, but I will find a way!).

Again, thank you all for your continuing love and support. My little Quiet Girl community has turned into quite the little love fest lately--and boy have I needed it.

Sending you all some love back!