Hello, I am returned – Ta-DA!

Last week was amazing. I spent five days in the Berkshires, taking a collage and yoga workshop with amazing women and an amazing teacher, learning and playing, cutting and piecing, and having a bit of a reunion.

It wasn’t just a reunion with other people, tho’ that part was pretty great, too – some of us have been taking the Vibrant Visionary Collage Workshop for years now, and it is a delight to reconnect and catch up. My mom & I attend together every year, and with her living in FL and me in MA, it’s a really good come-together for the two of us as well.

But the big reunion, really, was with myself.

There’s just so freaking much on my plate at home, it’s not even funny. There’s the film festival , there’s the household stuff,* there’s the art rep,** there’s the businesses,, there’s getting ready for the workshop I’m teaching at the end of the month, not to mention all the messy crap that goes along with the health insurance change that we just made.*** And did I mention that Our Man Cub broke his poor nose last week at the Memphis May Fire show?†

To say the gas was low in my tank is an understatement. And retreat couldn’t have come at a better time.

But I did it different this year. Usually I go out to Kripalu with this idea that I’m going away to yogini boot camp. I get up at quarter of six every morning to make sunrise yoga, I eat mostly brown rice and vegetables, I quit coffee for the week, and I smoke about two cigarettes a day. This year I just could not wrap my head around that (except the brown rice. I love brown rice and veggies), tho’. I was so stressed out by the time we left for retreat, that I had spent the last two days sorta shut down and wondering why I couldn’t get anything (not even scarves!) done, wandering around the apartment in a panicky daze and thinking about cutting my hair. So I decided that what I really needed was to loosen up and give myself some permissions.

I didn’t limit myself this week. In fact, I bought a sweet coffee mug for refills. I hiked up the hill to the tree of shame four or five times a day to smoke.†† I didn’t wake up at quarter of six even once (tho’ there was yoga in the first hour of our classes, so it’s not like I went to Kripalu and didn’t do any yoga – that would be silly). I allowed myself to do art without considereing even for a moment that I should be doing something else. I let go. And holy crap, did I need it.

And then there’s the bunny deva.

I had been sketching her in my journal for months, but hadn’t had a chance to sit down and work on her. And then, finally, I sat down.

All of a sudden, there she was. My many-armed rabbit woman with the moon and stars in one hand. It was like coming home – boom! she was there. And there I was, looking at her like someone else made her, or as if she sprung, fully-formed, onto the paper of her own volition. A rare, delicious calmness took me over, and I felt that moment, like I had come back to me.

Not that all the stuff on my plate isn’t me, too – it most certainly is me; it’s my eccentric orbit and all my satellites. But this was all that, and from the inside too, and it struck me speechless for a good moment. There was a hot wire feeling in my middle, and I took an amazing deep breath.

Awake.

And isn’t that what this is about? Coming home refreshed, awakened, and ready to reconnect? In closing circle on Friday, there was a card from Karen on the back of my seat that read simply, AWAKEN.

I’m here. I’m awake. I’m ready.

Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha

***

*I was informed by Our Man Cub that there is no food in our house. Yes, I need to go grocery shopping, but there is actual food in the house. What he really means by this, I think, is, “There is neither american cheese nor are there saltines in the house,” which, while clearly important, does not indicate that we as a family are about to starve.
**Because how am I supposed to be a working artists if my work isn’t out there, right? And I should have a statement. And a CV. And I should probably make up some business cards at some point…
***No, I still haven’t picked out providers for us. But on a lighter note, I start yoga classes on Thursday.
†Ouch! Someone launched herself off his face while crowd-surfing. Long story short: he can’t wait to go to another show and get back in the pit, and he now officially has the family (read: slightly bumpy) nose. Gogo Man Cub! I feel proud of him in a way that I think parents who weren’t into the punk scene will never know.
††Actually, now it’s a bench of shame. They moved the smoking place up even higher on the hill. Which has some lovely irony to it, doesn’t it? That hill is a beast! Also, for clarity: Kripalu doesn’t call it the tree of shame; that’s all me.

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