Art and the Pattern of Life



I am reading a book: Marimekko: In Patterns about a Finnish design brand. Their textiles and patterns are AMAZING.

I purchased this book at an art museum recently. (I can’t remember which- currently when we travel I have us all go to an art museum- much to everyone’s delight :) )

I am not a designer but I like to push my self in art and see what is present in different forms.

There is something about being a creative type that an internal voice travels with you always, saying, “Yes, you can do that, but how about this?”

There is novelty in art that the artistic self feeds on- it needs to be challenged.

Anyway, I cam across this quote in the book:
“If a pattern is well-structured, it works with any color combination. Yet color is the spirit of any fabric.”

Amen to that. I think that is a recipe for life. If our pattern is well-structured, we can make anything work. However, it is the colors in our lives – the different people and experiences- that give our life spirit.

The Forest For the Trees

Into the Woods

Into the Woods

the tree
you were meant to be

and to the rest of the
forest that surrounds
give God that sacred ground

I thought of forest and trees when I created this image.
I saw a figure off to the left contemplating whether or not to enter the forest.
It made me think of “forest for the trees” and what we see.

And, I thought, perhaps we are symbolically all trees- strong, unique, quiet, always growing, facing life with fortitude, all-seeing, bendable but not breakable, roots in the Earth and Spirit to the sky.

We may do well to follow the analogy and remember no matter how strong, beautiful, giving and forgiving a single tree may be- it is not responsible for the entire forest.

Be the tree you were meant to be and let God manage the surrounding forest.
I have so much going on in my life right now- I needed this image and words to remember I am the tree of my life, not the entire forest.

Memory Tangles

Memory Tangles

Memory Tangles

This image reminded me, for some reason, of a person looking ahead trying to see the light, but behind them are those cloths that swish back and forth in a car wash- trying to wipe the memories clean.

When I created this, I thought of my stepson and others who have suffered at the hands of family and parents. One of his greatest overarching fears at this time is that no one will believe him.

He is wise to understand what is at risk here. His Mom will call and tell us that Henry will lie, before he has even said a word. His sister calls us and tells us that Henry is manipulating us. Let’s remember, Henry is all of 11 years old, but the effort to build the case against him and wipe out his own sense of experience is huge and complete.

As I was reading Lucille Clifton the other day (OUTSTANDING POET!(, I came across her profound poem – “why some people be mad at me sometimes”

they ask me to remember
but they want me to remember
their memories
and I keep on remembering

Well said, Ms. Clifton, well said.

How many of those who suffer abuse can relate to these words? The desire of the abuser to wipe your own memories away, while they replace them with their own.

How Brave Do You Become?

Love Myself

Love Myself

How brave do you become when the heart of another beats only so it may find You?
How brave do you become when the tears of another land on your Soul?
How brave do you become when the mind of another clings to the hope inside You?
How brave do you become when the Soul of another wants to dismantle and instead holds on to your hand?
How brave do you become?

My stepson, Henry, having been with his Mom since Friday showed up on our doorstep bawling again last evening. We talked to him, we called her. And Henry returned to this Mom’s. And then we was back, bawling again. It was now after 10 p.m.

We called her again about Henry spending the night with us. She said, “No” she would rather he come back to her house. She asked my husband, “So are you going to walk Henry back over?” My husband said, “I can’t. We are waiting for someone to pick up the bed we sold at the garage sale. I need to stay if they need help.”

And she said, “Well, just have Henry walk over then.”

And in not one moment did it occur to her, “mother” that she is, that perhaps SHE could walk over and escort Henry home to make sure he was safe. No, she asked others and then could not be bothered herself.

And she wonders why Henry shows up in tears, at our door.

(My husband ended up walking him home, of course. )

I say “Boundary!”, the Narcissist says “Violate!”

Tree of Awareness

Tree of Awareness

Narcissist’s do not simply crawl under, climb over, and run through your boundaries. To a narcissist, such boundaries simply do not exist.

Simply because, a narcissist sees any potential boundary you attempt to establish as a personal affront to the narcissist and as a red flag to VIOLATE the boundary in order to regain control.

The narcissist does not understand “what is yours is yours and what is mine is mine”.

Narcissists only sees things in relation to self. So, anything of “yours” is, in the narcissist’s mind, also property of the narcissist’s. Thus, to the narcissist no personal boundary of yours if EVER violated. HOw could it be? You and everything about you is part of the narcissist in his or her mind.

I have experienced this quiet a bit lately.

As you may know, we are moving- Yeah!! We are leaving my husband’s ex-wife behind (at least that is our plan- I felt when we signed the contract on our new home there should have been a clause that if she moves in again across the street from us, we could exit the contract with no penalty.)

She really thought, being a narcissist with a low skill set, that when she originally moved in across the street from us 7 years ago that she would basically be the Queen of two households. And, then, she met me.

So, yesterday we had a yard sale to prepare for our move. As my husband and I are putting things out, I catch a glimpse of his ex-wife peering across her fence at us from across the park with a camera or something.

I don’t think too much about it.

Next thing I know, once our sale begins at 8, my husband’s phone is ringing. It’s his ex-wife. (by the way, she is NEVER up and dressed on weekends this early.). She noted my art easel appeared to be for sale and she wanted to know the price.

She then we requested we save the item for her. Okay…whatever!!

Next thing I know, she is pulling up in her mini-van – shopping our sale! Seriously! She is trying out our furniture, asking my husband what he thinks. She was here for over 10 minutes, like she thought this was NORMAL!!! ( I know, as I was hiding out in the garage with our dog).

this is NOT normal. This is not a “happily-ever-after” divorce situation.

This whole “I have no idea of a proper boundary” approach to life that she lives was only confirmed with her idea recently that when we move, she wanted to know if she and her boyfriend could use the pool in our new community and be our guests.

Hello! We are moving to get away from her- not share bonding time around the pool together.

She simply has no, no awareness of how awkward and personally violating she is. She, like many narcissists, demonstrates the grace of Frankenstein when interacting with others.

As she pulled away from our sale, she told my husband, “Make sure to thank Kim for the easel.”

Wow, that’s great. That easel was put out there JUST FOR YOU.

The refrain every narcissist loves to hear.

Never doubt your abilities to set boundaries when you see them trampled by a narcissist. You and your boundaries are NOT the problem.

When you AMPLIFY, you can not RECTIFY

Flying Forward or Backward?

Flying Forward or Backward?

I was reading an interesting book the other day on feelings and it got me thinking about core feelings and how we can cover up and deny our core feelings.

What prompted this thought was a conversation with my husband. I was going on and on with quite a bit of intensity. I could feel myself trying to make the situation “BIGGER” to get his engagement.

Now, I understand this act differently.

I was taking an issue and ignoring my core feeling about it.

Basically, I was feeling lonely and “ignored” which I was using to cover up my feelings that I was not worth someone’s time and attention.

Rather than addressing what was really driving my behaviors and thoughts (“I am not worthy of attention”) and working with these thoughts lovingly. Instead, I spun a bigger and bigger story about being ignored.

I realize we tend to AMPLIFY because we are unwilling to RECTIFY what is really going on.

For myself, I will continue to enlarge situation in the vain attempt that if I just make it BIG enough my core issue will finally be addressed.

The core issue can not be addressed when I have made a smoke screen of “Go Big or Go Home” type of thinking of some side topic.

When you AMPLIFY, you can not RECTIFY.

The image is of a bird flying forward or backward – it can’t tell which. That is what happens when you AMPLIFY- you lose your direction.

Centipede-ing along



This little guy appeared to me in a dream. It’s supposed to be a centipede, or my artistic version of one.
I did not know that centipedes have a poisonous bite, are the totem of Chiefs, and in China are viewed as the archenemy of the snakes and have served to warn and protect others from snakes.
In this way, the centipede is viewed as a protector of psychic deception.

Centipedes also demonstrate a profound ability to survive stress.

Cinnamon Moon states of centipedes- “Theirs is the energy of quiet protection in psychic exploration.”

How beautiful is that? “Quiet protection in psychic exploration”.

We all need this.

For so many of you, I read your words and I see you as the centipede- multi-legged (multi-faceted) with antennae (psychic connections) crawling along daring to challenge the symbolic “snakes” in your lives.

Who would think that the lowly centipede could be the archenemy of a snake and who would think you, with your kind, innocent ways, would dare to challenge the demons in your life? :)

The Training of the Fearless Artist



Transforming the Storm

All art at its core is about transformation-
the taking of very, very raw materials and creating
something tangible with construct and context.

And this, too, is the call of life- taking the raw into
new form. Art then becomes the training for this life, reducing
the fear into tangible creations.

I like this art piece and the power it displays (to me). Again, it was done left-handed (applause, please, my left- hand is not shy about seeking acknowledgment :)- it is fearless by the way :) ).

Last evening my stepkids really broke down. Although I am not the parent, they seek me out in these times- totally. I ended up sitting between the two of them (they would have it no other way) while they shopped for items for our new home. When my stepson got up to get something, he was quickly replaced by our dog, who was also apparently needing attention :)

Anyway, the encounter earlier in the night was exhausting for me. It can be difficult to find that “higher energy”, the energy of awareness.

You have to have done A LOT of your own work in order to find that space. In such times, you are trying to balance and open up the space for very, very low energy to rise and transform. You can’t force it. You can witness it. But, you have to be there holding the higher space so the lower energy has somewhere to evolve.

My husband never understands what this takes out of me- the fine, gentle line I walk with these children and their issues. And in so many ways, the problems are not really theirs anyway. They are manipulated and used by their mother. Two steps forward by them results in her grasping at them to pull them back (unless their steps forward are used to help and support her, of course).

I was thinking last evening this is what it is to be an artist – in art and in life. Taking raw, chaotic materials and creating the space for these materials to transform.

There is something fearless in that act.

Pre-Traumatic Stress Disorder

What's next?

What’s next?

We have all heard of PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder). I am so thankful our awareness of this, although not perfect, continues to grow with better research, more willingness to accept how real this condition is, and so on.

I think something that is overlooked though is PTSD’s cousin, i.e. Pre-, as in Pre-TSD. (In some ways, I realize PTSD is the forefather of all Pre-TSD, but I think it is important to be aware of this specific aspect.)

Pre-TSD happens, as the name would imply, BEFORE the next event. It is the anticipatory rise in stress hormones and stress responses as you wait for the other shoe to drop.

This anticipatory rise is similar to the anticipatory rise in ventilation during initial movement of exercise. Breath rate and depth increase out of proportion to workload early on, as the body anticipates the exercise. (This rise can even happen while you are just sitting and thinking about exercise.)

Pre-TSD happens when you have can not completely disengage (because of circumstances) from a narcissist or sociopath. Of course, no contact is the best contact, however many can not be in a no contact situation.

Thus, the narcissist or sociopath remains in one’s life- wreaking havoc – or not.

See, that this the thing. For a bit, things may be calm, quiet, but you can’t relax. Why?

You are in Pre-TSD. You know the calm will not last for long, and you want to anticipate and “be ready”.

You are already vulnerable, so your defense, you reason, is to at least be prepared.

I live that in my life right now. You may remember my blog about my stepson’s bio Mom engaging with him in a traumatic way, only to call us up and say “Henry” was uncontrollable. She said she could not possibly take him to the vacation cabin and Henry did not want to go. So, she and her boyfriend went.

My stepdaughter told me recently that her grandmother will be visiting her Mom’s house and they are planning on going to the cabin.

Great, because it worked so well the last time.

Honestly, the specific situation is neither here nor there. The anticipatory energy, the Pre-TSD is always present, simply because we KNOW what may happen.

Is it is good to live in such an anticipatory, stress state? Probably not.

Changing such things, though, begins with awareness, acknowledging what is going on, and being able to articulate the experience.

If we can come to understand we live with Pre-TSD, perhaps we can then acknowledge how draining and exhausting this may be and perhaps create authentic ways to support and honor ourselves during these times.

Change does not happen overnight, but it never happens, if we are unwilling to acknowledge what is happening.