W is for Wild

Solar Wind copyright Debra Myers Woodward
Solar Wind
copyright Debra Myers Woodward

There has always been a place in my heart for this word, Wild. I don’t really understand its full meaning or resonance, but it definitely evokes something in me that is primal and vital.

Its not about acting wild. It doesn’t have to do with physicality either.  It’s more of an honoring of the Source of my existence and living out from that with freedom.

If instead we choose to follow a broad path of acquiescence to societal norms and expectations, we may find that our spirit gets tamped down, caged and eventually withers us from the inside out.

We have all seen these withered people. Some are angry all the time (and rightly so). Others are despondent and depressed. And still others drink or drug their anxiety into numbness and oblivion (even prescribed medication can be a form of numbing because we refuse to acknowledge the real source of our ailment.) And we may recognize the withered one in ourselves.

I remember when the Dallas Zoo had all their big cats in small cages (some still are, I think.)  Their life span at that time was 3 years!  Ours might last a little longer because we let our anxiety seep out or drug it.  But its worth noting that we can’t keep our true wildness caged for too long, or we will wither and die as well.

As for how to go about truly honoring what is inside, I can only suggest that we each find stillness and listen to the voice within.  That voice is God, the Wild Original, and is calling to us always.  The path to our expression of it is our own and will be like no one else’s, although we will find encouragement and camaraderie by others who have the courage to venture toward their wildness as well.

Today is a good day to begin or renew the journey.

U is for Unknown

Garden Nebula copyright Debra Myers Woodward
Garden Nebula
copyright Debra Myers Woodward

I like the writings of Pema Chodron.  She taught me how to stop judging others, to just allow people to make mistakes and be human. And she taught me how to be with myself without judging too. This has been particularly helpful.

One of the concepts she teaches about is groundlessness–another word for the unknown.  Many spiritual teachers encourage their students to relax with what is unknown, to stop trying to outline or control the future, to stop pushing away what we are uncomfortable with, and to stay.  After years of practice, I can say that this has been one of the best lessons for me to learn–stillness.

When we are faced with things we can’t control, when faced with the unknown, we often grope for something familiar, something to hold onto to steady us.  And usually, we end up doing the same things over and over and over again. We react in predictable ways. We run away,  we numb ourselves with addictive substances (alcohol, drugs, sex, food, tv, Facebook), we shut down, or we act out (anger, temper tantrums, depression, tears, sarcasm).  No matter how you slice it, it ain’t pretty.

But learning to sit with the discomfort and just to stay, even to move in closer to learn what it is really about, is to learn to be still.  And when we are still, we can see things more clearly than ever before. What seemed so terrifyingly unknown is actually very simple. We may not know what the next moment will bring, but it doesn’t matter, because we aren’t afraid to sit with it. Whether it is light or dark, we know we won’t run. Because we have learned to be still, we aren’t afraid of our reactions.  Even if we choose to react, we soon see it in the reflection of stillness.

Then the unknown becomes a friend and an adventure. Everything is an opportunity to learn more about this amazing Life and our place in it.

T is for Tests

Energy River copyright Debra Myers Woodward
Energy River
copyright Debra Myers Woodward

I have often lamented the battery of standardized tests that my kids have to take every Spring. It isn’t given just to score how well the school is teaching children in my state, it determines whether they can move up to the next grade level. I find it tantamount to treason (and 2 more T words!)

In life though, as we learn new concepts, we are often put to the test. The situation comes up once again, suspiciously similar to the last one that “taught us a lesson.”  And we have the opportunity to put our new-found knowledge to use. Or not.

If not, we can be assured that it will come up again…and again….and again.  Life is very thorough in that way. We will get to keep repeating this grade level until we pass the test. Then we are given more to handle.

I have thought about this in terms of career and relationships and other life responsibilities.  Like many people, I would love a successful career. But have I demonstrated that I can handle the one I have yet?  And I realize I have no idea how I would handle a lot of clients or customers or commissions. I don’t know how to do large-scale business deals. These things I am not even prepared to approach!

Its been a great thing to notice this so that I can watch for what lessons I am learning and what tests I am being given. And great incentive not to fall back on the old ways of doing things but to take what I learn and use it.

O is for Octopus

"Moon-age Dreaming" copyright Debra Myers Woodward
“Moon-age Dreaming”
copyright Debra Myers Woodward

I recently had a dream about going on a train or subway with my son. We had an octopus that we had to put in a plastic box.  It filled the box as we put the lid on.

I have a book on Native American animal imagery and meanings they have for different animals.  Unfortunately, octopus wasn’t included, so I did what any modern-day inquisitor does, I googled it.

It isn’t so hard to discover what associations octopi are likely to yield: creativity, ingenuity, intelligence.  Have you watched videos of their amazing escapes? I read just the other day of an octopus named Inky escaping from the National Aquarium of New Zealand. Now that  requires ingenuity! Swim free Inky!

But this got me to thinking about my dream. Have I boxed in my creativity, my ingenuity and intelligence. I could answer yes, definitely so. I am just beginning to write again, thanks to this April A-to-Z challenge. But I go long stretches without painting. And not because I don’t have ideas!

So one of my intentions this week is to make room for painting.  Are there things you haven’t made time for that you know would be good for you?  Its never too late to create a space of even 10 minutes a day to cherish your well-being by doing what you love. Maybe this small opening will lead to the freedom of the ocean like it did for Inky.

C is for Capture

"Bowie's Labyrinth"So when I sat down yesterday to think about what I would write about, I wondered what word that begins with C would come up.  Immediately, “capture” came to thought.  I started to dismiss it and then couldn’t help but wonder, what would I write about capture?

Two things came to thought right away.  The first, a common use of the word capture, was that of capturing an animal.  It implied traps and cages.  Similarly, capturing a criminal might bring up the idea of jail. But the idea that really resonates with me is capturing an image, as in photographing something.

In all the first two examples of capturing, you are confining something to a certain space.  In the latter example, you are confining the image to a moment in time.  Usually we try to capture moments that are meaningful or beautiful or happy.  And often we look back on those photographs with melancholy or sadness because those moments have passed. Things are not as they once were.

And here is where I want to explore a different response.  Instead of longing for an imagined past, or hoping for a better future (or afraid of a bad future), I am trying to live in the moment I am in.  To take in the beauty, the sadness, the joy, the boredom of THIS moment. It won’t come again. It can’t really be captured and held at all.  It must be lived and let go. The more I am able to do that, the more peace I experience. Centered in Now, I am fully present to you, to me, and to this moment. And this moment is something I don’t want to miss.

 

 

Newest Paintings

"Yin, Yang, and the Pollinators" 8x8Acrylic ink on canvas$140

I have added more paintings to my “Paintings for Sale” page. Click on the link in the upper right hand corner.  This latest painting is sparking some discussion that sounds like an example of a Rorschach test. The latest idea is two bears. I like the idea that they are hugging!  More examples of our Oneness with all Life.  I had the amazing opportunity to hear Dr. Laurance Doyle speak this past weekend, and learned about how many species (all?) communicate and have intelligence.  In particular he talked about bees, dolphins, whales, and trees.  He shared his knowledge of leaves and that they are quantum computers that actually capture light without collapsing it.  I think he said that it is the most gentle process on earth.  If the talk is posted online, I will see if I can get permission to post a link to it here.  Peace out!

Newest series – Cosmos

"Passage of Time"Welcome to my newly updated website.  Thank you for visiting.  I am working on a new series I call “Cosmos”. My inspiration for this series is found in images from space looking back at earth and out to what lies beyond our galaxy.  My Google search revealed that cosmos means “the universe seen as a well-ordered whole,” and “a system of thought.”  I am taken with how Grace, Spirit, has ordered our universe in ways that have nothing to do with our desire for control. This idea inspires my every day life, and I find the wisest and most satisfying path is letting go and allowing God, Love, to do the ordering. While I do exert some measure of controlling the processes at work in my art, in the end I rely heavily on letting go to allow the medium to follow its natural course.  I hope you enjoy the images.  To view works for sale, please click the Paintings for Sale or Prints links in the upper right of this page. For more information about purchasing art, see my Contact page.