Thursday, December 10, 2020

Remembering December 8, 2006 / Mandala #55: Bird and Moon Meditation


This blog's first post was on December 8, 2006, when I was 56 years old, unemployed and, to be honest, unemployable, living simply on what should have been my retirement resources, with all the free time in the world and able to do little or no art work.  I was not without friends or moments of peace, but each day was long and bleak due to what was then diagnosed as PTSD but has been diagnosed in recent years as a trauma-related disorder and complicated grief.  For years I had been receiving various types of counseling and, in between appointments, I made intermittent calls to a crisis line.  Although I was not suicidal, I was often in emotional distress.  It was on one of those calls to the crisis line in December 2006 that it was suggested to me that I do something entirely new and positive on December 8 (the day R returned from Vietnam in 1970) instead of re-living the trauma of that day yet another time.  

Inspired by a first cousin once-removed who at that time had a political blog, I had begun reading blogs and commenting on blogs for about a year using my first laptop, an iBook G4, purchased in 2005.  The first blogs I read and commented at had their roots in her extensive blog list.  

Taking the suggestion of the crisis line volunteer to heart, I made a decision to go to the Blogger website and set up a blog for the purpose of doing a retrospective of my art work up to 2006.  My intent was to revisit my lifetime of art work, one piece at a time, which meant revisiting my life while trying to keep my focus on living in the present in a healthier way.   

After a few days of posts,  I was delighted to receive my first comment. The blogs I read at that time all focused on a combination of nature photography, poetry, literature, and music.   

After more than 20 years of living alone because that was the only way I felt safe, I had a few months earlier brought home from a local shelter a cat that I named Oboe.  She was a year old and found it fascinating to watch me at my laptop from the kitchen counter.  Her fleece bed was on the desk off to the side of my laptop.

It has occurred to me while writing today that the series of events that led to my healing were buying that iBook G4, learning to use the iPhoto tools, reading and commenting on blogs,  adopting Oboe, and starting my own blog.   

By the time I finished my retrospective posts, I had begun doing a little bit of art work, had begun to share music from YouTube, and had began to share photos of the view from my porch and views from my long walks in Whatcom Falls Park, Lake Padden, and along Bellingham Bay.

From the day I started my blog, my life changed for the better, not without ups and downs but without that which had haunted me for so many years -- unattended sorrow.  Stephen Levine's book, published in 2005, may well have led the way to the day that I decided to begin blogging.

Up until December 7, Mandala #55 had been going extremely well and then suddenly it wasn't.  I had hoped to finish it on December 7 and stayed up late working on it but went to bed tired and discouraged because something about it just wasn't right.  I didn't sleep well and dreaded waking up to see it still unresolved.  It is a terribly unsettling feeling when I something I am working on is not going well.  Fortunately, in the morning it didn't look as bad as it had looked the night before and I was able to finish it and feel peace.  Although I'm not completely satisfied with the way it photographed, it looked beautiful on my wall where I photographed it in the December morning light.

And it looks good next to the last two mandalas.  I've drawn the circle for the 11th mandala.

December sunrise:

Thank you, blog friends, near and far.


Anonymous said...

I'm glad you bought that Mac. I don't comment often because I no longer have a Blogger account. No account, no commenting allowed more often than not, but I'm willing to see if Blogger will let me post anonymously, just long enough to say hey. So, hey! Waving at you from my neck of the world in Texas.

Please know that we enjoy your posts. And be well.

Carruthers said...

Evaluating what you make is so difficult. I go though phases of recording improvised music. Sometimes I listen to it straight after and feel pleased with the result only to feel negative when I hear it the next day and vice versa. I recently listened to something I recorded last year. Felt lukewarm about it at the time but felt overjoyed with it on rehearing it.

I think one becomes absorbed in the process of making something while making it. Afterwards, it's easy to assume one can find one's way back into it quite easily - but in fact it can be as hard to do this as it is to recall a half-forgotten dream. That's my experience, anyway, for what it's worth.

Colette said...

Your mandalas are outstanding! It is interesting (and moving) to learn what has motivated others to be creative. I'm so happy you found your way to art and blogging. You have often made an impact me, and on my own work.

Anonymous said...

I don't know how we found each other, but I am so glad we did. I love that your started your blog so long ago. Love your mandalas.

ellen abbott said...

I do love your mandalas. they are so complex. I wouldn't even know where/how to start. I know another person who used to blog. he makes really beautiful and complex mandalas too. I'll have to see if I can somehow direct you to his work.

Sabine said...

Every time I read your blog I am touched by your openness and honesty and obviously, your art work. I am glad I found you!

ellen abbott said...

this is a link to an album on Stephen's FB page. it shows some of his work and in progress. hope you can see it.

am said...

Ellen Abbott -- I wish I could see those mandalas, but it looks like I can't. Thanks for trying to make it possible.