It has been Decided (it’s art!)
Do you know the Art Decider twitter account? I am taking an extended holiday from social media which has honestly been luscious and restorative, who knew, other than literally everyone?
However, if one must be on Twitter (or if one is wisely not at all on Twitter and wondering what I’m talking about), the Art Decider account generously and hilariously confirms that many things are indeed art.
For example, if someone shares a ludicrous anecdote, someone might comment: @ArtDecider? And then Art Decider will comment: ART.
Anyway, sometimes this runs in my head all by itself, and as I took a bite of the first of my gorgeous, difficult-to-acquire, magnificent vegan bonbons from Monsoon Chocolate, I gasped and instinctively whispered ART.
So this has been my proxy or a sort of lens over this past week, and it has been amusing me in this time when small amusements help a lot. Is it art? ART!!!!
Here we are, a weekend Check-in (Chicken), checking in with ourselves and our week, naming what was hard and/or good, often there is cross-over, to practice presence and other good things in community. High fives all around and admiration (a parade if we want one) for making it here, and some breaths for all that was and is.
Breathing for what was hard, challenging, uncomfortable, not fun…
THING ZERO before all else is still the same Thing Zero: existing in terrifying political upheaval here in the United States (with the extra fun backdrop of Thing One aka the pandemic and the specter of death, the grief-loss-panic-fear of it all). I wonder if the person driving next to me or walking on the street thinks armed white supremacists storming the Capitol is awesome, for example. I know we always are among people whose inner thoughts we find abhorrent, and the dissonance is not in any way new, it is just very loud. Hand on heart breaths for being in this tumult, and separating from the anxiety soup of the collective.
Thing Two: moving again, it is not my favorite. Taking care of everything myself, also not my favorite.
Thing Three is the unwelcome return of the 2am Witching Hour after a blissful five night reprieve.
Thing Four, unexpectedly heard from my long-lost lover. Just the most bland, unseasoned, uninspired attempt at reconnection. No spark. I miss spark life. I miss being a bonfire of love. This casual politeness borders on insulting; an unworthy offering to the goddess. Not Art!
My wish is to achieve a state of Devastating Serenity, from which to calmly notice when I am not being lovingly held in high regard, and casually ignore what doesn’t envelop me in warmth, without becoming a rage hurricane.
Thing Five is how I exist outside of time (ADHD plus dreamy piscean leanings), but live in a world that is time-bound, which means I continue to wildly overestimate not only how many things can fit into a day, but also my capacity and interest to give any of them any anything at all.
Thing Six the Blandemic — seemingly everything is uninspired, the internet is boring, fashion is dull, things I usually like feel lackluster. Not me, of course, I am at long last, having finally crawled from the pits of despair, back to being shining and sparkly, attuned to the Muse of playfulness and regeneration.
But everything else is unimpressive and NOT ART, sorry, this just is, I don’t know why, but my friend’s theory is that everyone took the break between xmas and new year’s to collapse aka encounter just how much trauma this year was, and the blandness is like a protective response. Maybe! Sounds reasonable!
Thing Seven: Boundary issues abounding.
And Thing Eight: My pause from social media and other distractions has mostly been a joy, but there is a post-sunset moment when I suddenly feel overwhelmed by the vast expanse of the hours before bed, crave distraction, but have no ability to focus on a book or a movie.
Then I realize I’m just gonna have to SIT WITH THE VOID and MY BIG TUMULTUOUS FEELINGS like a barbarian, haha, or really, probably more like: a person who is braver than I am.
Fortunately, I discovered that the You Must Contemplate The Abyss Otherwise You Are Indulging In Escapism is actually a clever internal self-criticism monster! So I’ve been watching food videos, learning how to pronounce words in other languages, reminding myself that seeking pleasure is a worthy pursuit for a Havi.
Breaths of Acknowledgment & Legitimacy for the hard things being hard, recognition that they really are a lot.
Breathing for what was good, reassuring, joyful, sweet
- Thank you, Sonoran desert, thank you sunshine, thank you, lovely patio furniture, I curled up on a couch in the sun like a happy lizard and listened to the birds.
- Each day in my tête-à-tête (meditation) with my Incoming self, I put in a request for supportive solutions, for support in getting better at welcoming and recognizing supportive solutions. And this week something that has been one of my BIGGEST scary stressful worries since October just resolved itself beautifully, a perfect right answer showed up. Is this Art? It is Art!
- Expanding on that, this superpower of I didn’t even have to do anything, it’s all working out, incredible, more of this please (I definitely have other situations that could use some surprise good fortune), thank you, miracles.
- Not to brag (totally to brag, joyfully, because this is exciting), for the first time ever I have been able to consistently close tabs and empty the Box of In every day, instead of letting both these situations get so overwhelming that I just have to go hide. A trillion points to me.
- A related thing I love: in gmail, when you have dispatched all your mail, it displays an illustration of a woman in a yellow coat happily reading in the grass in the sunshine. A rewarding image indeed. And I think the legs behind her are supposed to be hers, but it looks like she just casually tossed some guy off a cliff and went right back to her book while he sails over the edge; this resting assassin goddess is my actual hero. Goals! And also: ART.
- My mental health preservation move du jour (all week long actually) was spending five hours a day in yoga/meditation/dance/movement/legs up the wall, and you’ll be as astonished as I was to learn that yes, I feel amazing, and somehow everything else got done too, so what is this Sorcery???
- I enjoyed my solitude again this week, a delight after the agonizing loneliness of 2020.
- My chiropractor wanted to know WHERE all my shoulder tension disappeared to, and I told him it was all the neck stretches I’ve been doing, which is not not-true, but it’s probably two weeks of avoiding Twitter and news sites, maybe it’s taking care of my mental health, maybe it’s Maybelline, WHO CAN SAY.
- Fuck yeah, impeachment in the House. Was that this week? What is time? And yes, everyone texted me about it.
- My week was filled with delicious food, all things luscious and enticing, I fixed myself beautiful plates and even did some cooking (who am I), and took pleasure in taking pleasure, for no occasion other than being alive, which itself (pleasure-taking as its own occasion!) is maybe one of my biggest wishes.
- My thank-you heart is full: texting with friends, the absolute miracles of technology, Zoom yoga with my favorite New Mexico teachers, a bundle of creosote from the herb shop hanging in my shower and filling my space with the scent of the desert at its most magical. Is this art? It is art indeed.
Play with me in the comments! You know the drill…
I love company! You can always use a made-up name in the comments whether in service of safety or playfulness.
We are all going through what we are going through. So we make this a sanctuary by not care-taking or problem—solving for other people, we can leave each other warmth or hearts of love or pebbles of witnessing. I still have not figured out how to get emoji to work in the comments, sorry!
How are we holding up? Anything hard and/or good in your week that you want to name here? Sometimes naming helps. I have found for me that taking breaths while I name things helps a lot. Also if you wish to declare that things are ART (or Not Art), you are welcome, it is even more fun than it sounds!
And if that’s not your thing, you can say hi or name something you’d like more of for the coming week.
Nominations for Fake Band of the Week? I’m thinking it’s Dreamy Piscean Leanings (just one band member!), but Devastatingly Serene would also make an excellent fake band…
Not a band name but a cover song, my brain immediately set “You Must Contemplate The Abyss” to the tune of “You Must Remember This” so that’s just playing in my head now.
“You must remember this
It’s only…an abyss”
I have not typically been someone who is into snakes, but in the past week it’s become clear that right now that’s the animal I need to learn from, so I spent the morning watching videos about them. I’m most mesmerized by snakeskin: it is flexible enough to stretch around meals that are wider than the snake is, but strong and cohesive enough that the bottom doesn’t exfoliate off disproportionately and it can all come off together. I watched a python shed and it looks like a ghost snake eating the living snake, slowly and steadily progressing until there are two full snakes conjoined at the tail, a circle but not quite an ourobouros. After a shed, a snake is at their most beautiful and vibrant. As I was out walking, I felt a shed come on. What is in store for a bigger, more vibrant me?
Feelin’ a shed coming on… (kind of like the song I Feel A Sin Comin’ On)
It’s only an abyss!
I’m so happy to see the return of the Chicken. This ritual rounds off the week and prepares for the week ahead, and is more effective done in company, so Hi everybody.
Havi, your “taking pleasure in taking pleasure” echoes my “take pleasure in all the pleasure there is to be taken.” I want that as a new Guide to Life.
The week just past was full of mixed Yay and Ouch. Some had more Ouch and some had more Yay, and everything is like that.
I went to the chiropractor, yay. I fell off his table! Ouch! Nothing broken or fractured, yay. Sore muscles for days and days, ouch. Pain meds messed with my tummy, ouch, and, unusually for me, when I didn’t take them, the pain messed with my tummy.
My insomnia pattern shifted, yay. I slept more hours, yay, though not many hours at a time, ouch.
I bought a digital product and they insist that they sent it to me but I cannot find it in my email. Ouch. I’m going to call my little computer guy for help. Yay.
Little computer guy (who is not little at all) asked me to translate a website last month, and then the owner of the site asked me to translate something else, and the check came in the mail. Yay!
Sisters are coming this week to pack up some stuff in the basement, yay. I got some nice sturdy boxes, yay, but I can’t get them out of the car because the lock on the hatch is frozen shut. Ouch.
I got a start on sorting 30 years worth of papers. Yay! But I have to handle each one, so I am seeing painful reminders of past pain. Ouch.
This week I want to invoke the superpower of “what is mine returns to me.”
Hi Vicki! Yay sleeping more hours! That is an ouch collection with some excellent reassuring yays, I like that frame a lot. <3
Oh Vicki, Yay and Ouch ARE such perfect frames! I so identify with things being a paradoxical mix that I perpetually struggle to answer the supposedly innocuous question of ‘How are you?’
I got to see tiny humans who adore me AS MUCH as I adore them *boggle*), yay! But had to deal with frictiony, mixed messagey others to get there, which is exhausting and draining, oof.
I finally bought a new [piece of technology] (yay!) after months of inaccessibility due to lockdown (oof) and the delivery guy [fought dragons] to bring it into my house (yay), and my dear sweet neighbour came over to help, double yay of appreciation), but despite being an IT manager, was unable to get it up and running. OOF! Hellooo, Overwhelm Paralysis.
[Work stuff] yayoofyayoofyayoofyayoofyayoofyayoofyayoof *exhaustion* (and laughing at yoof yoof!)
I also resonated strongly with Havi’s “Just the most bland, unseasoned, uninspired attempt at reconnection. No spark. I miss spark life. I miss being a bonfire of love. This casual politeness borders on insulting; an unworthy offering to the goddess. Not Art!” I so identify with the feeling of disappointment (but much more heart impacting than that word), yet the words just totally name it! Not Art, indeed! And this Goddess shalt not be responding to such unworthy offerings hereon! *breathes fire*
So as ever, some things Up, some things Down, but mostly just ever so perplexing. Does anyone have a copy of the Life Manual we were each supposed to be given? (I know, I know, I’m writing it *sigh*)
fire-breathing powers! <3
Oooh, I resonate with learning from snakes (even if we’re not naturally snake-oriented)! A girlfriend and I were discussing snakes and noticed this:
Prior to shedding, her skin dulls, her eyes become milky, she becomes sluggish. We’re really not at our best at this point. She then has to rub against rough, abrasive surfaces like rocks etc (Life’s Bumps?) which loosen the skin, and she can begin to shed. She then emerges shiny and vibrant, her Best Self.
So I try to think of this when I’m uncomfortably rubbing against rough, abrasive surfaces, reminding myself I’m loosening so I can All This *broad sweeping hand gesture* and be my Best Elf.
Thankyou for reminding me, Laura.
Devastatingly Serene has my vote for Fake Band of the Week. May their power be amplified! (Even if it is just one guy.)
I am standing up to my No Time For Anything monsters by taking a few minutes to Chicken here. Throwing some paint at the canvas! IT’S ART!
Hard: tangles of tasks, fear, collective stress, more fear.
Good: warm drinks, silk pillowcases, liking my own smile, writing daily, singing daily, reading aloud to people who listen and love me.
Oh, and I’m still here, and that is a very good thing, and it might even be Art. This week, I am claiming the superpower of Remembering Who I Am.
Sparklepoints for everyone!!!
Still Here is definitely Art! Though I am also nominating It Might Even Be Art as a possible band or album name as well! <3
Everything Sucks and Everything Is So Freaking Hard But There’s Also So Much Beauty And Love.
Leaving pebbles for everyone. -o-
YES I feel all this so hard, yes <3
Cluck cluck cluck
– so many so many so many meetings
– the weather has been grey and boring; it tried to snow but didn’t do that very well
– not having things-with-dates to look forward to
– my chocolates arrived today and I am eating a hazelnut and ginger dark chocolate square
– progress towards acquisition of cat
– the hotbin is steaming hot! There’s something very satisfying about the production of compost
– tiny green shoots coming up in the pots where I planted bulbs a month or so ago
– having things to do at work, the sort of things where I can see what I’ve done and that it’s been useful
– the Sunday afternoon retreat to read and think
– travel writing (reading it, though maybe I’ll write it too)
– reading old journal entries: some of it is frustratingly familiar and some of it demonstrates how I’ve integrated things that seemed like an impossible dream Back Then
– being on Twitter less (I still have to use it for work, and I have been dropping in on the profiles of some of my friends, but it’s much less than it was, and I am noticing a corresponding drop in despair-fury)
<3 <3 <3
hazelnut & ginger dark chocolate <3 <3 <3 also pls update on acquisition of cat situation!
Popping out of lurker mode to say hi and offer lots of sparklepoints to everyone for getting through another week.
Ha, I didn’t know the ArtDecider always said ART, I thought it was not a given, but that makes it even better 🙂
– Smartest Kitteh’s health took a sharp turn and this time he had to be put to sleep. He pulled through a few times before, but even a cat only gets so many chances. I’m glad I was able to see and pet him last weekend. He will be missed by many humans.
– All the global stuff and local stuff, all the time.
– Work is not really happening at the moment, and I feel apathetic about any actions that would bring more clients in.
– Not writing or painting anything for the book.
– Distracted by irrelevant things.
– “Where is all this water in the kitchen coming from?” mystery continues, ugh.
– Missing friends and I’m not great about making the first step.
– Appreciating the fact I have a stable home when so many people were displaced by earthquakes.
– Folks responded well to my little graphic essay experiments.
– Weather was fine so I was able to take a walk in the sunshine by the sea.
– New art supplies on the way!
– Is that it? Hm. I suppose so.
Superpower I want this week: Full Of Energy In The Morning, Sleepy In The Evening, not the other way around.
Ah that superpower, yes please, I am bored with this Second Wind At Bedtime situation! I’m so sorry about your kitty, that is a big loss. <3
Thank you <3
– work is HARD and the surrealness of business-as-usual in the midst of [All The Dumpster Fires] is also hard
– [situation of Repeating Patterns, and attendant Have We Not Learned This Already monsters]
– stability of basic needs met
– rediscovering something I love and had inexplicably forgotten about
– texting with friends and family
– access to tools and support
– this post, and Chickens <3
Hearts and pebbles for everyone here.
OMG, I have only now discovered THE GLORIOUS RETURN OF THE CHICKEN.
A universe of sparkle points for this. So overwhelmed that I will wait for the next one to chicken in.
Hugs to Havi and all chickeneers!
I am breathing for you today, Havi. And for all of us. Just exhaling the last four years and letting an incoming breath of strength, whispering past my teeth, then exhaling again into the power of Be The Light You Want To See In The World.
It was a long four years huh, what a thing to exhale again and have the tiniest bit of hope