Sunday, September 16, 2012

It's Part of The Process

Back in Fourth Grade or so, I read the story of Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes.   It was one of the first times I was confronted with the weight of war, the width of the world, and the bittersweetness of hope and wishing.

Shortly after September Eleventh, I traveled to New York City and painted a tile at this little place in the village called My Name Is Mud.  After it was fired, the paint-your-own-pottery studio added it to the chain length fence adjacent to the shop, which was already filled with hundreds and hundreds of similar tiles: wishes, prayers, and memories.

That same year, I traveled to DC and saw one of the sand mandalas a group of Tibetian Monks were creating.  They tapped little containers of colored sand into intricate patterns.  The tapping was the only sound, but the air was vibrating with the meditation.

I've become more and more clear lately that there is an aspect of my artistic process that is simultaneously a prayer, an act of dedication, a hope, and a way for me to comprehend the mistakes, surprises, joys, and absurdity of my own story.  I keep thinking about what my materials are, and why I use them specifically.  I use discarded fashion and decor magazines; vehicles that ultimately, even in their beauty, serve the consumer culture.  I take these ads and destroy them.  I cut them up into pieces, and then put them back together.  It is time consuming, and obsessive, but at the same time it is like folding a paper crane.  It is Bhakti Yoga, an act of devotion.  It is the lighting of candles.  It is my dedication, and my prayer.  Sometimes it's a prayer of absolute heartache, an act that I have to have faith in, believing the process is not futile.  Sometimes it's a prayer of jubilation and revelry.  Sometime's it's a prayer for the whole wide world, and sometimes it's a selfish kind of prayer for a moment of mindlessness and escape.

All this does not mean that I don't question what the heck am I doing as an artist.  I do. All the Time.
I get sidetracked and overwhelmed, and bored, and lost.  And sometimes it feels pointless.  Sometimes, everything does.  It's human.  And I get really, really scared.  Scared that It Doesn't Matter.  Especially when there is Afghanistan, and Syria, and Hunger, and Cancer.

When I get scared about "what if I didn't create anything else that matters, ever,"  It's because I've forgotten about the Monks.  I've forgotten about Sadako.  About Bhakti.

In October of 2010, I did Living Yoga Teacher Training with Kat Seltzer, and became refocused on the idea of Bakhti.  Remembering that every little thing that I do, each step, can be infused with this idea of devotion took So Much Pressure off of both the creative process and also the burden of getting say, my dishes done.

Talking to my dear friend and yogini Shanan about "things," she asked me to look at the facts.  "So what if you took a twenty year art break?  So what if you reach one person, or ten persons, or a million?  What are we really talking about here?"  Shanan is always asking about what we are Really Talking About, and I love her for it.

If whatever I am doing- be it doing my dishes, or serving coffee at Lone Pine, or cutting and pasting- if I decide that whatever action I am participating is really just folding Another Paper Crane, then I can be full of hope.  I can be unafraid, and I can not really care who is or is not paying attention.  Cause the Grand Scheme is paying attention.  That Which Is knows and appreciates.  I'm certain.

in process Right... Now...


Kimberly Snyder said...

Love this and Love your free spirit!You are a amazing artist. And I have enjoyed getting to know what my artsy camp friend has done through the years. And to me art is all about the artist and how it makes them feel. A work of their emotions where ever they come from or how they come. A freedom of release. Love you!

kaycee said...

Oh Miss Kim. Do you know how much I love you back? How inspiring it is to see your family (granted, it's digitally and from afar...but still). So much creation, and so much joy. Thanks for sayin' hi.