Wednesday, July 21, 2010
The Cambria trip was perfect. I've been back for so long that it seems futile to try to recap it now, but there was wine and moonstones, lots of food and good times. Exactly what we needed. We also explored Carmel and Monterey, met quite a few sea lions and elephant seals and a very cool bartender at Duffy's Tavern. Lots of good stuff.
We're about to leave again, actually. This time we'll be heading up to the Sierras for our annual camping trip. This year we will not be bringing the camper or the dogs, in the hopes of avoiding last year's string of near-disasters. Back to tent camping. There are pros and cons to that. All in all, it should be more relaxing if slightly less comfortable. I'll actually be closing the shop for this trip. That's a first for me. There is NO cell service up there, no wireless, no way for me to check the computer, so I have to close it down. I'm a little worried about it, but there's nothing I can do. I'm catching up on as much carving as possible before I leave, in the hopes of not falling TOO far behind. We'll see how that goes.
Yesterday I did something new, with a new friend...two phenomenons that are rare in my life these days. I went to a meetup for women artists in Pasadena. The new friend is a woman I met at a party a couple weeks ago. It was one of those serendipitous moments where the more you talk, the more obvious it becomes that you were meant to meet for some reason. She's an artist, among many other things, her beliefs (spiritual and otherwise) are strikingly similar to mine and I just felt instantly comfortable talking to her. So..she told me about this group, Artistic Women Inspiring Artistic Women, and invited me to the meetup. So I drove to her house yesterday and then we carpooled to Pasadena.
The meeting itself was nice - the group was pretty diverse - writers, musicians, photographers, visual artists, and it was interesting to share my own artwork with a group of people. LIVE people. I'm used to sharing it on the Internet, but it's a whole different thing to have a group of people who are not your friends (and thus not obligated to praise it) view it, and to see their reactions. The stamped images (I made a little portfolio) seemed to be well received, so that was nice. The rest of the day was spent at Chantel's (the aforementioned new friend) house, talking, talking, talking, drinking tea, talking, eating cookies, and talking. It was great!
One thing we talked a lot about was labyrinths and labyrinth walks. I had no idea that labyrinths had a purpose (in fact I mistakenly believed they were just hedge mazes) or how far back their use goes. She's actually a facilitator of labyrinth walks. She got out a whole bunch of books and showed me many of the classic labyrinth designs and explained their meditative and spiritual purposes. Ironically, the park that's practically right next to my house just "built" a labyrinth recently. I'd seen it when they first began work on it, and since I was expecting some sort of topiary maze, was puzzled to find just a spiral-ey design painted on an expanse of concrete. I kept wondering when it would be finished.
Anyway, I won't go into loooong detail about all the various meanings and uses of labyrinths, but if you google the word you'll find a lot of information out there.
Which leads me to today. First of all, despite having had a wonderful afternoon yesterday, I was in a really bitter, pissed-off mood for some reason by the time I got home. I occasionaly get really frustrated with my life - with the way we can't seem to move forward on this loan modification, how Jim can't finish any project he ever starts...ugh, just lots of things that are building up again right now. Things I can't change, that make me very unhappy.
I was fixated on all those things today, yet I couldn't stop thinking about the labyrinth in the park. I decided that after a few hours of carving and filling orders I'd go take a look at it, maybe walk it. So I did, not expecting much. In fact, I was annoyed to see bike tire marks all over it, indicating that mostly it's used as a place for kids to play. There were some annoyingly loud teenagers nearby and I felt self-conscious when I first started to walk. Little by little, though, my surroundings sort of melted away. I could hear the teenagers still, but they seemed further way. I could hear wind blowing through the trees, and the slow, gentle turns of the labyrinth were soothing, almost hypnotic. I wended my way to the center and then just sat there for a while. It was nice. I retraced my steps back out and walked home a little while later. And now? Right now I feel better. Not like anything is solved or fixed, but better.
I guess one function of the labyrinth is as a metaphor for life. There's one path, and it leads to the center, but it winds its way there - so sometimes it looks like you're headed straight for it, then a turn leads you far away from it, then you start heading toward it again, but another turn leads you away. Or what seems like away. But the path inevitably leads to the center. It's not a maze, so there are no tricks or dead ends....but some of the time, you are walking in what seems like the opposite direction of where you're trying to go. But you wind up there. You just stay on the path, follow all the twists and turns, and you wind up there.
So maybe all of these frustrating moments that seem to be taking me further away from where I want to be are just twists in the pathway. Maybe I'll wind up where I want to be.
It's just not a straight path.