sorrow & joy

I’ve experienced deep sorrow this week with the loss of a friend due to a long, painful illness.  Through that process I’ve realized what a unique gift sorrow can be in understanding ourselves and our place in the world.  I know that my friend would’ve been very open to a discussion about this topic—she had an enormous capacity to explore the psychology of the soul.

definition of sorrow

noun sor·row \ˈsär-(ˌ)ō, ˈsȯr-\

  • a feeling of sadness or grief caused especially by the loss of someone or something

  • :  a cause of grief or sadness

definition of joy

noun \ˈjȯi\

  • : a feeling of great happiness

  • : a source or cause of great happiness : something or someone that gives joy to someone

quote lillibridge

Sorrow & Joy I believe exist in the same place in our hearts.  They just feel a helluva lot different.  I feel that both emotions need each other to be fully acknowledged, accepted and better understood.  Thank you for this, my friend.

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WHY: for what reason or purpose

the perfect question lillibridge

Today, I realized I’m not asking WHY? often enough.

When my children were little I answered to WHY all the time and considered it part of our daily/hourly experience.  Why is the sky blue?  Why do we brush our teeth?  Why does that man smell weird?  Why can’t I wear just a tutu?  Why can’t I watch that scary movie?  Why are you still sleeping?…

I’ve done things the same way for so long.

WHY?

I don’t know.  It requires further examination.

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Why is such a beautiful word in other languages.

I particularly like varfor.

WHY?

Perhaps because I’m part Swedish.

 

The complexity of memory.

Today I’m sketching ideas for a project with another artist who grew up on the prairie.  Elizabeth Bunsen grew up in an even smaller town than I did in Nebraska.  We met last fall and realized that we had a lot of interesting things in common.  I’ve been trying to get very focused on my prairie stories and I’ve realized how complex my memory is these days.  Things come and go from the forefront to the back burner in a flash.  It’s an interesting process and I’m curious to see where this creative endeavor takes us.  I guess closing in on 50 is the perfect time to take a look back.

lillibridge complexity of memory burke south dakota

I’m trying to slow down.

I’m increasingly finding myself annoyed with our “I’m so busy” culture.  It’s not the fact that people are busy, that I understand–it’s wearing “busy” like a badge of honor that I’m reacting to.  Why do we do this?

When I’m moving too fast I know I’m more reactive (ask my three teenagers). I don’t make great decisions (or I’m paralyzed to make them at all) and I don’t like the way I feel.  My skin just doesn’t fit.  I don’t like it. I don’t like it one bit.

Last week I was at the grocery store and I was moving so fast that the cashier said, “You must be on your lunch hour, are you in a really big hurry?”  It really struck me that I was behaving that way.  I wasn’t in a hurry at all.  I was actually moving so quickly that I was making someone else uncomfortable.  This encounter has really stayed with me.

When I slow myself down—I like myself better and I can see things more clearly. 

There is always time to take a single breath, or close our eyes even for a second.

When I took this picture today in my studio I was moving frantically.  I then shot the same image after I took a breath and steadied myself.  These images tell very different stories, don’t they?  I’m not saying I’ll never move too quickly, of course I will. However, when I have the awareness I’ll try to slow myself down and see what happens.

I’m hardly a ZEN MASTER.  I’m just trying.

desk out of focus

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I don’t make resolutions…

at the start of a New Year, but I do have a few rituals.  I eat less. I drink less. I throw junk away.  I try to do this in January and it makes me feel like I have a lot more options.  I don’t know why exactly.  Yesterday (with my son’s help) I got rid of a lot of crap. Ellis thankfully did all of the heavy lifting and errands, the part of cleaning that I really loathe.  He’s my butler this week for various reasons.  He’s a decent butler.  However, he’s on his phone a little too much and he showed up two hours late, but we still got the job done and had a leisurely lunch together.

Here are some BEFORE and AFTER shots of my studio and few nook and cranny images of new favorite spaces.  Good Luck with whatever you need to get rid of in your life. Life is short.

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