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Who designed this?

The Harness is off.  It’s over there on the floor.

Curious, to see this thing I’ve worn for 30+ years…  Who made it?  Why so tight?  Why the rough rope?  It’s ingenious, actually.  There’s a pull cord I see that will jab thumbtacks into my backside when I’m slowing down, and simultaneously tighten the collar around my neck…  added incentive to get through the last 10% of every project?

I recognize that this harness was designed by me, however unconsciously, from the inherited protestant ethic of Work as Suffering.  Life is work, therefore (inevitably) Life is Suffering.  Extrapolated:  If you don’t suffer, you’re not working hard enough.  This idea can take the joy right out of any task – even if it’s your highest calling.  It can in the extreme lead to the wearing of hair shirts, to self-flagellation, martyrdom/victimhood,  the false rationalization of the need to live like a starving artist …

up next.  Two paintings about how we choose to use our energy - to engage, or not.
up next. Two paintings about how we choose to use our energy – to engage, or not.

To be clear – I’ve had a super-productive, satisfying time since April, when I began work on the #Selfie project.  It’s been an experience full of engagement, surprise, transformation – rich with reward on every level.   I also met my harnessed self full-on several times, too, and recognized someone driven in a way that is not healthy.

With several new projects on the table now – each one full of promise, potential and fascination, I find myself wondering about this.  As I take the breath one takes before diving in, I wonder

Do I really need the thumbtacks?

Does it need to come to suffering and self-denial, this finishing?

Must it be a battle, every time?

 

resist underpainting
resist underpainting

At the very least I need to radically alter the design.  To find and use material that I like – softer, padded. No thumbtacks, no injectors full of anxiety, no neck collar.   Maybe it should be more like a well-crafted tool that will help me to pull a heavier load.

Or maybe the work isn’t heavy, and I don’t need a harness at all.

This is quite a thought.

dance step 2 resist underpainting.  The power is in the space between
dance step 2 resist underpainting. The power is in the space between

Maybe I just need to change my mind.

This is exciting.  So is 2014-2015.  So many neato, challenging collaborative and solo projects ahead.  So many Incredibles to work and play with.  Without suffering for any of it.

So, Honoured Protestant Ancestors.  What you lived and suffered in protest to is no longer life-threatening; the ethic no longer applies in any way that’s healthy and life-affirming.  Sleep in peace, with big smiles.  Grins, even.

 

“If you bring forth the genius within you it will free you. If you do not bring forth the genius within you, it will destroy you.”

– Jesus, gnostic Gospel of Thomas (which didn’t make it into the bible.  Too bad.)

 

 

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Wings

twenty extra minutes uphill, but it didn’t feel like it because of Dire Straits and Jake Coco.  In fact, my wings carried me up that hill in time with the music, and then I was soaring high high above everything where the horizon is curved, warm sun on my back.

base drawing for "selfie answer 1", which will graduate to its' next stage today.  Can't wait to dig in...
base drawing for “selfie answer 1”, which will graduate to its’ next stage today. Can’t wait to dig in…

My theory is this:  I’m invisible if I close my eyes when I’m working out.  In this way I have discreetly walked ten miles every week for the past month, flown up countless hills, memorized lyrics to twenty excellent songs, and arranged ten more for cello and voice.  I truly never thought I’d say this, but I do love my little green iPod with all my heart, just for making this such a rich journey.  And for being tiny.

love these guys so much, missed the boys this week past
Some of our Youth Orchestra kids on the week before March break. Great tribe to be part of.

I have no profound thoughts to offer, since I’m in transition from task to task today, but I’m aiming for objectivity this weekend after tomorrow’s supremely enriching Sistema Teacher workshop in Toronto.  When I’m done there my iPod and I shall drive and drive, and the parts of my brain that have become strapped in too tightly by all of this striving and slogging will loosen their ties, let down their hair and begin to dance again in the big expanse of Road Trip, where the horizon is curved.  Somewhere in the middle of this walkabout I will find Profound, and Articulate, and craft something here…

But for now I will leave you with a beautiful thing crafted by Annie Dillard.  I’ve been chewing on this ever since I read it two weeks ago.  She writes things that just keep coming back to you…..

A schedule defends from chaos and whim.  It is a net for catching days.  It is scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time…. It is a lifeboat on which you find yourself, decades later, still living

Happy first week of March 2014, everyone.