Saturday, December 31, 2011

Being in the now....

Trevor Allen; tech-geek, troll, music writer, roller-skating awesome oldest son.

Twenty-two years ago this very evening, I was in labor with my first child. He is a 6'4" man now. Yet always my baby. I had no concept of where this mothering journey would take me, nor could I see the faces of my babies not born. Lessons are best learned in the looking back, in the reflection. New Year's asks us to look forward.

I say stay in the now.

The view from here....

Not all of us will get to enjoy the entirety of 2012. Many will make resolutions that will be broken and further the cycle of negative feelings about self. Some will accomplish great things. But right here, right now is where the magic is.

Looking back helps us connect meaning. Looking forward is complete mystery, only to be disseminated in the looking back that is to come. Right here, right now, we have people who love us, changes to make, ideas to dream up and moments to be present for.

When I used to attend Unity, the constant phrase was "today is a new day". Good reminder. Every day, every moment is a chance for new. For being fully present for ourselves and our experience, for making mistakes and taking chances. Right here, right now.

In 2011 my soul mate moved in to my house and we became a family. In 2011 I worked harder than I ever have as a makeup artist. I didn't do enough art and writing in my opinion. I got a speeding ticket for the first time in 20 years. I questioned myself a lot. I dreamed more about traveling but didn't do much of it. I was mindful and mindless. I was too loud and probably didn't sleep enough. I met some amazing new friends and kept on falling in love with my old friends. I opened a studio with some other fantastic humans. My divorce was finalized and I had to face up to 22 years of ignoring some pretty important things.

I recently decided to start writing and doing more art again. Without resolutions or fanfare, without labels on what constitutes "enough" I am back at it. Because every moment I'm alive, I can begin again. And again. No mistakes, just "learning-takes". The only failure is to quit caring, to quit doing, to let fear hold us back.

So in 2012? I vow to keep being loud, to dream big and feel like I'm overwhelmed with them. To keep falling in love with people and places and my work. To start anew when needed. To cry and laugh and fuck up and do it all over again. I will keep on being me. Isn't that what the world really needs after all? More people awake, living fully.... willing to dream and do and BE.

My hope for humanity? That they will continue to inspire me. That if there is fear holding them back from some amazing, crazy, off-the-chain dream they will go after it anyway. That people will start to realize how important community is. That caring for this planet will become the norm. That all of us will slow down a little bit and let the pleasures of food, drink and friends be present. That colors and words will wend their way into all that we do. That the off-beat, unusual people will not have to face scorn or bullying. That all of us find a way to be more fully human with compassion. That differences will be cause for celebration, cause for learning, not cause for derision. That every day will be a new day.

Oh, and that a lot more people will recognize this truth: "what people think of me is none of my business!"

Happy New Years tonight and every night!! May all of your being embrace YOU.

Happy New Year from the Allen-Dixon clan!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Hello 2012

I'm really good at finding interesting people. Sometimes I think that's my only true gift in life, is finding the amazing ones. They change the way I think, they inspire me, they make me look at myself differently and they help me grow into a better person.

Maybe that's why Danny Schmidt's "Company of Friends" speaks to me so thoroughly. I have good friends. I mean "good" as in amazing, talented, brilliant, vibrant....incredible. If I'm known by my company of friends, I leave behind a story worth telling.

That's what 2012 is about. It's about community and connections, it's about more deeply being with myself and taking my ideas and dreams seriously, without taking myself too seriously.

I started a group called Imagination Tribe in 2004 with a desire to connect with other artists, creative spirits and dreams. It served a purpose for me at that time, to open up to my artist side in a new way. As the group evolved it became more of an art trade group and I found myself needing something different, something more.

So in 2012 Imagination Tribe is going back to the original intent. The original intent of connecting with like-minded, free-thinking, creativity-seeking, learning, growing people. The original intent of nourishing a need within for not only forming with words and colors but forming community around it. The original intent and beyond.

Because the further I travel in this life, the more I meet people with some deep-seated need they are not expressing and I'm realizing how many of us need community at a time when the world is both losing and gaining access.

In the wee hours of the very first day of 1990, I became a mother. My sweet first born turns 22 next week and I can feel the waves of change in my life. The restlessness that has always existed for me, is still there. The struggle between growing deep into a community or flitting about like a gypsy is still there. Thankfully, my children have been patient with me....

Imagination Tribe is a way to honor all of it. To bring together, to unite, to grow a creative spark into a flame. I hope that a few of you will join me, I hope that a few of you will inspire me yet again to trust that struggle, to trust those urges. 2012 is about change for me. Not the kind of change that huge transitions bring into your life, but the kind of change that is about emergence.

Hello 2012, I'm going to enjoy getting to know you.

Imagination Tribe......
Community. Concepts. Paying forward. Creation. Melding words. Growing. Creating. Honoring diversity. Gathering. Talking. Laughing. Reaching out. Serving. Challenging. Discussing. Getting uncomfortable. Walking to the edge. Pushing. Birthing. Evolving. Inspire. Unite. Emerge.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Spinning inward....again.

This season has been difficult for me, many years now. The darkness seems to reflect the inner workings of my moods and transitions. This season highlights loss.

I don't know if it was the death of my mother, or the death of relationships and trust that started this turning inward, this movement with the winter rhythm. I seem to pull back as the trees lose summer vibrance, going dormant as cold folds itself into hills.

The feelings of loss, of sadness come and go. Mostly I'm too busy with life and children to pay it much heed. But it sits, waiting for a moment to surface.

It surfaced yesterday. It surfaced after two days of feeling on edge. It surfaced in tears and hopeless feelings and anger. Facing yourself in that state is difficult. Facing yourself with compassion is even harder....being given compassion during that darkness is a gift. Keith knows how to give that gift and for that I am deeply grateful. Ever have I walked this path alone, until now.

I've been dreaming about Mom and old houses. Old houses come and go from my nights since I can remember. There is something about the convergence of past and future in those dreams, though I can't quite grasp what they are telling me.

Christmas brings a lot of the dark to the surface. I'm sure it has to do with all those Norman Rockwell celebrations we had as children and the reminder that it will never exist again. Loss.

I turn inward, toward reflection and even in this dark, in this night, I sense another awakening. There are so many magnificent events unfolding in our lives, so much gratitude and beauty. And that's really what this post is about. How the dark must exist to make room for the light. How embracing loss, embracing the terribly difficult seasons of night are part of the beauty. How hurt and shadow and sad are not something to be avoided.

I'm not talking about wallowing or ignoring symptoms of depression. I'm talking about opening ourselves to all of the experiences we face, even when it's hard. I'm talking about facing them and learning from them. I'm talking about not glossing over the hurt or sad or night with fake joy, platitudes or new age hoo-ha.

There is a Zen peace I get from being with the grief rather than denying it. I am at one with my winter world, void of brilliant colors with growth silently, gently urging itself from the deep.

Found a journal entry from November of last year where I wrote: "Sunshine, wind and Appalachian hills bordering this day....children in transition, my spirit torn--never sure if there is a home for me here. I watch the trees dropping leaves, feel the freeze coming and I dread the season of dark, of turning inward. Spiraling inward seems like too much of a risk now. I want to run, to hide, to go where nobody knows me and there are no responsibilities. Children, money, the life I chose keep me here--but there are days I dream of my cabin in the woods....."

There was my "aha" moment, that clarity that only looking back can give. This is the season of dark, of dormant, of quiet growth and of facing loss. But it is only a season. It's importance to my artist spirit can not be denied. I welcome the dormant, the quiet, yes even the cold. For within it is the key to awakening for me. Awakening and awakening and awakening......again and yet again.

This time I am not alone. This time I have not only a mirror but someone to walk the dark with me, without getting sucked into it's insatiable hunger. This time I know it is only a season and we are not defined by the seasons of our lives as much as grown by them.

Seeds will be purchased soon, garden plans made. The house is facing some changes too.....for too long it has been dormant as well.

Awaken, awaken and awaken. Once again.

I am happy, I am grateful, I am not alone. But I never really was after all.