Prayer

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May you take each day slowly and safely. 

A sip of mango sweetness, a rush of sunset tea. 

May you have no fear. The warmth of hot red and flaming orange fire. 

And may an answer to your every quest appear with the tingle of sweet aftertaste lingering. 

May you have happiness and abundance. A child hood Christmas stocking filled with tangerines and candy. 

Everything you ever need is there for you. Slippery and sweet. 

May your body heal itself.  May every  ache and pain be soothed and touched, every step you take be as effortless as the rush of sunset heat. 

Go as slow as you need, my dear. There is no need to hurry.

Nowhere to get to. Nowhere better than now. 

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Expressing My Womanness

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Yesterday we had a big discussion about the shed/studio at our new dollhouse. Larry wants to wait. I don't mind waiting, but not too long. He said what if I don't like the dollhouse? I have to like it. Of course there's always a chance there may be something but we cannot be cavalier. We need to approach this as the right decision with the right options given our parameters.

This is how it turned out. We have worked, lived, and raised children, near and from afar. This is who we have become. What we can afford. And the timing is right. That's the most difficult. Timing. There is an ease at the cabin, for me more so than Larry. In four months he will be 79. He comes in huffing. Tired after a few hours working outside. He hates that fact. There is more firewood to gather. We like to build a fire on cold mornings and see how seldom we need to turn the furnace on during the winter.

The shed is an issue because it is what I need to continue my art to wear operation. Even with a studio elsewhere there is much I need to do at home. (The wind has been blowing hard all night. There is a banging against the house. What is that? Who will do the repair?)

Today I am reading Austin Kleon's blog. https://austinkleon.com/ He's writing about Virginia Woolf and "A Room of One's Own." He’s emphasizing the money part. “A room of one’s own is nice, but if you can’t buy the time to sit in it, what good does it do you?” Virginia had an inheritance which I don't have. I'm working on a 20 year business plan instead. When I am 91, I want to make art to wear, wear art and express my womanness.

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What's Right

This is part of a two week online writing course with Jena Schwartz, January 9 to January 19, 2017.

“This is where we meet. We write alone, yes. But this is the space where we get to “see” each other and witness each other’s creative process as we move through the prompts and see what emerges.” Jena Schwartz

 

What feels right?

        My commitment, again, to write more regularly feels right. I cleaned my space for you, created your own little corner in the loft, where I sew, and sometimes sleep, when I fear my tossing and turning will keep Larry awake, which happens, actually, more often than not. In the early morning, I frequently crawl back under the flannel covers and nestle my naked body into the curve of his heat and softness. That feels right.

     The unclogged drain also feels right. It was a three day ordeal. The kitchen sink. Coconut oil, we are convinced, was the culprit. Google it.

     What feels most right was the lack of cussing. Larry is a gentle man, an awesome lover, a great cook, just to mention a few of his wonderful traits. But the cussing, has become more than I can handle.

     It was while Mary and I were hanging my show, "Ensemble, a Layering of Color," in her gallery that I recognized how much Larry's cussing has penetrated my body. Mary was on a ladder attempting to toss fishing line over a steel rod so I could drape fabric onto a pole. She missed. Instantly my body braced in anticipation for her cussing. She never cusses. There was no reason for me to react. It was a remnant reaction to Larry's reaction as he pulled the auger out of the pipe, filled the drain with water and nothing flowed. 

    When I got home and Larry showed me his new automated auger and plastic tubing for filling with hot water and detailed his next strategy for breaking through the coconut oil, I took a stand. No cussing I said. I told him about the incident in the gallery. I warned him. If he cussed, I would spray him with cold water. He was humble and nodded in agreement.

     He complied. When the auger got stuck, he paused, rested, tried again.

Memory of Color

Growing up, there were always flowers, as evidenced in photos or memories.

My mother, Grace, grew red roses in front of the two bedroom, added onto to make four, ranch, on Eveningside Drive in Topeka. Purple irises bloomed on the side and pale blue bachelor buttons gathered across the back along the fence.

In Tachikawa, Japan she learned Ikibana, the art of flower arrangement.  They graced the buffet and changed weekly.

A hedge of red roses framed the front yard of the old frame house in Roaring Springs, Texas where the man who invented the cotton gin once lived. As the years passed and the hedge thickened, cars passed slowly by just to see Grace's roses.

Suddenly, my cabin is filled with orchids. It just happened. All I do is place three ice cubes in each pot, weekly. It must be the light. Our cabin is filled with light.

Everything about me, all my memories show up in my shibori art to wear.  Today in velvet I see orchids and roses and green leaves.

Vision Quest

The iridescent leaves shimmer in morning light 

moisture clinging to each dried leaf 

drizzling rain a soft serenade. 

the making of space for winter has begun 

the forest opens up 

more tall willowy tree trunks appear 

we walk deeper the dogs and I 

they ever grateful for this privilege they demand 

wagging their tails waiting as I arise 

the brandy of browns and deep burgundy 

await my vision quest for meaning of each new day 

affirming the love I have for life 

balanced between growing awareness as each day passes 

that every life has a beginning and end

a transition so subtleyet instant 

as in one day as I walk the trees are green the next Golden

how did that happen so suddenly, I ask

I must pay better attention, I warn

my footsteps are no longer spring soft on the path of grass and dirt

they crinkle, crunch a deep serenade 

the brandy of browns and deep burgundy 

await my vision quest for meaning of each new day 

You Will Love This

It may sound trite when I say I make my art for you. I don't know you personally. I do know about you. I know about your desire for passion and wisdom. To express your long earned authority. And for intimacy, those close connections you find in family and friends where you can just be you and express yourself freely with no concern for being judged or criticized or need to defend your beliefs 

In these ways we are the same. We have lived long. We have courted danger. We have loved life.

What makes us unique is our failures have not brought us down. We stand tall and walk forward knowing we have something to pass on. We have a legacy

So it is not trite when I guide my vibrant shibori silk under the needle, watch it ripple and gather graciously, marvel at its beauty, ponder how ravishing it is and know that you are going to love wearing the art I create. 

I am not praising me. I am praising the inner workings of my soul that has brought all the pieces of creating together to make this masterpiece. Yes, in that moment, when exquisite colors have found their way into my silk. I am thrilled and can't wait to share it with you.

A form of my inner life is embodied in the fabrics I take into my hands and shapes each piece. and I say, “you will love this.”

It is not trite 

 You will love this!

You will love this!

How to Buy Art to Wear

What I know about you is that you are passionate, you have wisdom from a life well lived, you express what you know with authority and you desire intimacy.

"Our souls crave intimacy"—Erwin Raphael McManus

In order to know what to buy think about how you intend to wear your art;

casually

or for special occasions?

What fabrics are you drawn to; heavier silks like crepe and charmeuse, uber light paj or devore burn-out, medium nuno felted wool, rayon and linen or heavier hemp and wool?

Think about color. Not particular colors. Palettes. Are you the tones of fall, shades of winter, pale tints of spring of bright summer? Are you cool or warm?

My wearables are loose fitting, tribal in design. Their function is to accent the colors and layers you are already wearing. They are meant to be comfortable, first. They are designed to add texture and movement, to sculpt a particular silhouette.  They are meant to be worn.

When you clothe your body, you are sculpting a vision you have of yourselves. A vision that is beautiful and strong, luscious, sensuous and sensual, curvilinear, voluptuous and soft, assured and confident, fluid and flowing.

The textures, shapes and colors you place on your body tell a story and becomes your sculpture.  They are all in response to the  many messages you have received and written. 

When you choose to wear art, you step outside your traditional decision making process into a realm of unlimited possibilities. In order to do so you must ask yourself a few basic questions.

What is my bottom line? 

This is not directly about money but it can be if you don't want to waste money buying beautiful wearable art you never wear. You want to know what is most important to your self expression.  Mine is shape and function. Whatever I wear, the the shape must reflect a silhouette I desire, it must be comfortable and make me feel beautiful. 

I want what you place on your body to be in harmony with the world that surrounds you. The reason that is challenging is because there are so many man-made colors, it can get complicated and conflicting with the natural terrain and all her colors. All my shapes and colors are meant to compliment and contrast the world surrounding you, the colorful world of Mother Nature, her curvaceous lines and soft belly.

You Are The Designer

How to design your wearable art collection

 

1.  Embrace Your Body

Listen to friends and Mother Nature

 

2.  Take a stand

You know who you are.  

Experience has been your teacher.

Wear a statement piece of wearable art.

 

3.  Tell your own story

Walk your talk. 

You are no longer living what you know, 

you are authoring your life in advance of living it. 

 

4. Define your principles

Repeat what you like

Be inclusive

Maintain equilibrium

Hold to a constant standard

Live the rhythm of your own drum

 Keep it simple with basic essentials

Determine your bottom line.

 

5.  Know your elements

color, value, texture, line, shape

 

What colors do you like?

Define your palette 

 

What’s your season?  

Manifest contrast, strong values, 

soft and bold, light and dark

 

What do you feel? 

Experience texture

silky and coarse

 

Shape your message  

 

 What’s your line? 

What’s my story?

Walking in the woods yesterday, I saw the brown color I am shibori  dyeing for a mother of the bride statement kimono and dress.  It was in the leaves left over from last fall; deep, rich, rusty, copper, with a touch of dark, forest green.

Even though the leaves were from last fall, now aged into late spring, they held their vibrancy. Who would think that the colors of spring would include the age of fall?  Clearly, every color can be found any season. And you can wear any color, given all the shades, tones, lights and brights to choose. How did I get on my color path, my artful path, my path of self expression?  

I let go. 

One day when I was on my lunch hour from my first office job, I stepped inside a store that sold a more expensive line of clothing than I was inclined to buy.  I was 20. I was a Sears’ girl. I decided that I would try on pants and blouses that were bright and brilliant. The pants were orange and fuchsia.  They were each paired with a floral blouse. They were not the bright and brilliant colors of summer.  They were subtly toned, as the leaves are when they slowly change.  Not my usual choice. 

It was a risky step. 

I gazed in the mirror and said to myself, “I hate this. This is not me.” I have strong opinions. I bought it, anyway. I was tired of buying the same styles and colors. I wanted to feel what it was like to wear something different.  

A relatively safe risk. 

My dad loved it! I never thought of him as a stylish person in his USAF uniform or week-end overalls. In hindsight, as I peer into his old black and white photographs, I discover he had a very strong sense of composition. His was not the only compliment I received. This began my journey, not only of exploring colors, also in taking risks with self-expression.

All colors are part of nature.  

Find yourself in the rainbow. It is very large, full and forgiving, as you are. 

You can wear any color.  It’s not about what looks good on you, it’s about what makes you feel wonderful. You are part of nature. In order to determine your place in the rainbow, remember your favorite season.  Find it by listening to your body.  To what season are you most drawn? Listen to your friends and their compliments. Write it all down.  

Are you spring where the colors are soft, or summer, where the colors are bright, bold, and brilliant? Are you sometimes a little of both? Getting to know your self through color is the exciting journey you are now poised to embark upon.  

Are you most present in the toned leaves of fall and their bright counterpart, jewels against the sky?  Are you in your element in the deep rich and luscious shades of winter, the depth of spruce, and burgundy?  

All these seasons come and go, as you do. 

You know what you like, what feels good.  

Begin with your favorite season, where memories have lived the fullest. Coffee, chocolate, semi sweet, bitter or milky? It’s the season you are drawn to that will determine your palette. 

How do you choose your palette?  

Ask, “What do I like?”  

Today I start with brown. Deep dark, aged, fall leaf, brown.  Browns emerge from all colors. The brown I am seeking emerges from yellow and purple, her compliment. They create copper and rust. As the exploration continues, many colors appear. And as you explore, they become your colors, ready to mix and match and enjoy. They will tell your story.

You can wear any color. It’s easy.  Nature has already begun to cleanse your canvas when she added grey to your hair.  If you, too, choose to add color, are you more drawn to yellow or blue based colors? If you have highlights, are they gold or ash?

Let’s collaborate?  Tell me what you feel.  This is how you will tell me who you are.  What do you like?  How tall are you?  How full are your hips?  What are the colors of your skin, your eyes, your hair, (is it dyed or natural)? The answer to these questions are the beginning of our designing your personal statement piece of wearable art.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life Long Learning

I am by no means impeccable, nor is the art I create, perfect.  No matter how hard I try, there is always a flaw, somewhere.  I don’t let it stop me, however. I respond creatively, then move on to the next piece and try again.  I learned my pursuit of perfection from Mr. Blackburn, my instructor in barber college.    

In 1973 at Aurora Barber College I learned the fundamentals of barbering and anatomy in the back room and practiced on customers in the barber shop in the front of the building located on a side street of the low rent district of downtown Aurora. 

On the first day of school I was assigned chair 29, the last chair. I would eventually make my way to the first chair. Each week as students graduated, we packed up our things and moved up to the next chair. Customers knew that if they asked for the 25 cent hair cut they might get someone who had just begun school. You could start anytime. The winos and bums (we call them “homeless” now) made that choice. Fifty cents was a little better. The odds were your barber had some experience, and of course, a dollar got you first, second or third chair—someone who was about to graduate.

“Chair 29!” I heard my chair called over the intercom. Wearing my turquoise smock over my orange-and-brown tweed mini skirt, my shag haircut pulled back softly, I rose out of my chair. (It’s what we all did, sat in our chairs, read The Practice and Science of Standard Barbering and studied the muscles and bones of the face and head while we waited for our chair number to be called.) I unfolded my perfectly creased chair cloth, moved behind my chair and stared as a scruffy old man sauntered down the long narrow aisle. As I watched him coming toward me, I wondered if he knew I had never cut a head of hair in my life. He didn’t say anything at first, as he settled himself in the chair. I draped him with the black and white striped chair cloth, wrapped a neck strip around his neck according to sanitation regulations and tightened the cloth with a silver clip I kept in my smock’s breast pocket. As I pumped the chair higher, he said, “Give me a regular.” This was code: taper in the back, clean up the sides, a little off the top. Most regular customers of a barber school know enough not to ask the last chair for a shave. 

Mr. Blackburn, the owner and head teacher, ran his school strictly, demanding punctuality and cleanliness. Sanitation was maintained with a few drops of a blue solution called Barbercide poured in to a glass jar containing our combs. Little tablets of formaldehyde were stored inside our tool drawers where we kept our shears and clippers. Fragrant bottles of Pinaud Clubman shave cream and talcum powder glistened on our back bars. At the end of each day before anyone could leave, we each stood behind our chairs while Mr. Blackburn paced slowly down the aisle eyeing the chrome base of each chair for hair still remaining after we swept. He wore black pants and a crisp white shirt everyday. Each morning a different student styled his gray hair in a pompadour by using a brush and blow dryer. He, of course, only trusted students in chairs one, two, or three for a haircut. 

My grandfather, Julius Zabielski, was a Polish immigrant to Chicago in 1917. I married a barber, became a barber, a hair salon owner and eventually a wearable art designer.  There is a connection.  Notice the posture.

Bessie Zabielski had her own style.  She, too, immigrated from Poland to Chicago in 1917.  Coincidentally I wore the same style hat in my first poetry reading and I love flared skirts.   

When Racism Speaks

Be still and listen, my grandmother said.

This is my reawakened arena for healing and self-care, personally and for the planet.
Less pontificating.

I was in a meeting last week.  There was tension.  The ending was uncomfortable. I felt silenced. Many felt there was no resolution.

How could there be? The topic was epic. Racism.
The time small. Two hours.

What do I remember?

Only the stories. None of the opining, preaching and lecturing.

I remember the story a black woman told about her fear of driving alone late at night on dark county roads in South Carolina. A fear I, as a white woman, seldom experience.

I remember the story another woman of color told of mounting fear for her five sons after watching a documentary on lynchings.

And I remember the frustration a woman from Honduras shared at frequently being invited to be on boards of organizations but soon realizing she was a token, she had no real voice.

At first, after the residue from the meeting drifted away, I resolved never to speak again. My stories felt insignificant in light of all these women had experienced.

As the days passed, my courage began to rise.  I must speak, I affirmed. I must rise each day, dress for being seen, for being heard and be prepared to speak if necessary.

Every day demands the courage to speak and when I have drawn to me all my allies and power tools, my thoughts are clear.  Even my work jeans and bandanas become power tools for statement making when chosen consciously.

Each day that I step into is to be seized and made magnificent.  I will not hold back for fear of being insignificant. After being still and listening, I will speak boldly when necessary.

These are the things my grandmother taught when we went to visit in her tiny house on the edge of the cotton field in west Texas.  Always dress up when you go to town, she said.

This is what grandmothers teach, even if they birthed no children of their own. They have lived long. They have experience. They are wise.

Be still and listen.

Who do you think you are?

 photo by Anna Esposito

photo by Anna Esposito

Who do you think you are?

A friend and I were editing her short story. It was based on her rural childhood, filled with details and dialogue that was unique to her roots. 

“You should read this at your next county picnic,” I suggested. “It’s very good.”

She shook her head, slowly. “I could never do that,” she said. “They would all ask, ‘Who does she think she is?’”

I was stunned. All these years, I had thought I was the only one who carried that little question inside my head.

 Easter, 1957

Easter, 1957

Who does she think she is?

I don’t think my immigrant grandmother was a Polish princess, but she acted like royalty, with her plastic covered sofa and fur coat. And my mother’s parents weren't rich either, living on a small west Texas cotton farm.  When we went to visit, we always dressed up when we went to town. It was not only my grandmother’s way of keeping alive the heritage she was proud of, it was also her way of teaching us to always put our best foot forward, no matter the circumstances of our everyday life.  

“You know who you are, honey,” was implied, if not spoken.

The tone changes when you exchange 

think 

for 

know

 

Locks

First, Mother made sections

laid a rag across her finger

combed smooth

the silky strands

wrapped them down, under,

up and around

tying a knot

sliding her finger out.

 

Next morning

she untied each one

chocolate swirls

pulling them back

I sat, pretty

 Laverne Zabielski, 1951

Laverne Zabielski, 1951

Who do you want to be?

Words are powerful. And rewriting our stories takes time. 

The year I graduated from Rome Free Academy in Rome, New York, 1964, my Dad was stationed at Griffith Air Force Base. That summer between my sophomore and junior year I decided to change my whole style. First thing I did was remove my glasses. I couldn’t see without them but I felt I looked a whole lot better. They had just come out with them and I wanted them, too, but they cost eighty dollars and that was with our base discount. They’d be twice that off base so I had to get them before I graduated from high school or I wouldn’t qualify for the discount anymore. And it was me who would have to come up with the eighty dollars. That would require a lot of babysitting so I started figuring ways to talk myself out of wanting contacts. For one thing I’d heard about the getting used to them part and, I didn’t too much like the idea of going through all of that. 

The second thing I did moving to a new base was that I decided not to be shy anymore. I didn’t know if you could just up and do something like that, just decide not be shy. I always figured shy was something you were born with but I figured I’d give it a try. I borrowed a white, low cut, sleeveless, cinched waist, circular-skirt dress from Lorraine. I had a suntan from being a water safety assistant at the pool all summer and that white dress next to my dark tan and no glasses, well, when I looked in the mirror, I couldn’t believe it was me.

We were going to a CAP dance, Civil Air Patrol. It was an outside dance and since I had this new attitude about not being shy, it must have worked because these cadets and airmen were asking me to dance. It might have had something to do with the fact that guys outnumbered girls ten to one, but I didn’t think about that at the time. I just said yes and danced.

Many years later in 1977 when I opened my own hair design business, Om Hair Designs, “Who do you want to be?” became the question I asked my clients, either directly or indirectly, before I could create a haircut that embraced their lifestyle.  We were in a transition.  The weekly appointment of a wash and set was slowly being replaced with hair cuts that would last six weeks andwe could shampoo and blow dry ourselves.  Freedom for full self expression was desired and it had to be easy.

At Om, such designs was our forte: precision haircuts that could be easily shampooed, blown dried and would look good all day, even on a windy day or after making love! When I asked myself that question, I always added, comfortable. 

I began to design my looks from the shoes up. 

I want the comfortable flowing skirts and dresses, felted jackets, boleros and dusters.  I like tight jeans, even though my belly is fuller. And comfortable shoes.  Now when I hear that question, "Who do I think I am?" I answer,

"This is who I am and I am comfortable."

 Dyed silk and merino jacket, wet felted and prefelted on the FeltLOOM

Dyed silk and merino jacket, wet felted and prefelted on the FeltLOOM

On Capturing the Divine Feminine

Honoring what I hear

I listen to my body

those gut feelings that lead to decisions

based on intuition rather than articulated facts.

This is how I capture the divine feminine

Lately I’ve been paying attention to trust and faith.  It is clear to me more than ever that in the scheme of things we really have no other choice.  Faith; everything will work out.  Trust; everything happens for a reason.  Not a preconceived, predetermined reason, but simply for the fact that something can be learned from each experience.

My husband, Larry, and I love where we live; the quiet, the beauty, the green. Looking at Larry’s face yesterday during dinner he looked exceptionally handsome; his grey hair at that perfect length just before the need for a haircut sets in; his skin slightly tanned from working in the garden. His insights and wisdom were being shared.  We were talking about life after death and the pros and cons of suicide.  

Life after death, he said, had many possibilities and he was open to all.  Nonetheless, it remains a mystery.  Suicide? The question was whether or not it should be left up to each individual. Since a friend’s recent suicide, I have felt it was something of a betrayal. It, too, remains a mystery.

For dinner we had bean burritos with home grown onions we bought at the farmer’s market, organic tomatoes, avocados, cheese, brown rice and salsa.  Our friend, Mead, was visiting.  For dessert she brought frozen cashew cream. It had the texture of cheesecake and was delicious. 

The day was simple.  Lengthy conversations continued during our hike in the woods.  An episode of West Wing was watched, then to bed early. 

Our life is simple and there is value in that simplicity leading to a capacity to go inward more often.  When I go inward I’m not only looking for thoughts not fully expressed, I search for how my body feels.  Throughout the day, I feel younger than my years and at times I think that I may even look younger. 

 Conversations at the kitchen table

Conversations at the kitchen table

Honoring what I hear

I listen to my body

those gut feelings that lead to decisions

based on intuition rather than articulated facts.

This is how I capture the divine feminine

On our recent visit to the Art Institute in Chicago I was confronted by a homeless woman on Michigan Ave., a stately avenue on which to take up a homeless residence.  She had chosen a space outside a coffee shop protected by a fence that sectioned off the outdoor eating area.  She and her belongings were nestled on the outside of the fence, while inside there were cozy tables with umbrellas to shade the sun and heat.

Larry and I had just finished our coffee and sweet roll and as we leave I hear, “Hey, Grandma!”  

The homeless woman is walking towards me, dressed in layers, her black matted dreads, a statement of pride.  I, too, was dressed for the cool morning weather in a layering of sweaters, jacket and shibori scarves. 

“Hey, Grandma?” she calls again.  

I am startled. My grandchildren call me Grammy. No one has ever called me grandma. In fact, I don’t even think I look like a grandma,  at least not in my preconceived idea of what a grandma should look like. I thought I was different.  I did not, however, betray this woman’s observation.  “Will you go back in there and buy me a croissant?” She asked. 

I nodded, “Why did you call me grandma?” I asked.

“Because I am one, too.” She answered. Camaraderie had been established.    

I turned around, walked back inside the coffee shop.  She returned to her corner to wait.  Someone else had already bought her coffee. Larry meandered down the sidewalk while the transaction was completed.  

Honoring what I hear

I listen to my body

those gut feelings that lead to decisions

based on intuition rather than articulated facts.

This is how I capture the divine feminine

 Larry and Laverne at Van Gogh's "NIght Cafe"

Larry and Laverne at Van Gogh's "NIght Cafe"

 

 

 

 

 

Choose Freely

When you uncover

What you truly

Want in life

Passion rules your garden.

 

    “But you have had an empty nest for a long time,” my sister said when I told her I have found new empty nest insights.

    “Well, yes, that’s true, physically. But my children had not left my head, my mind, my thoughts.”

    Would they ever truly? Probably not, but for sure it was necessary that they move to other rooms in my brain so that my mind could access them at will, not on demand.  

    It began with rewriting my title as Grandmother, the name I wanted to be called. “Too formal,” my daughter said. She chose Grammy. I had had a vision. Unfortunately, it was not the same for the parents of my grandson. Not to discredit their plans, they, after all, are the parents. I stood aside. There is no point in arguing. Lesley Stahl writes in "Becoming Grandma" about a similar discussion with her daughter.   “Then there was the issue of what Jordan would call us.  I told Taylor I’d like to be Granny. 'No way' was her reaction.  'It sounds frumpy.'”

     This was the beginning of my awareness of the degree to which my children have become their own person with their own ideas and plans for their future and strategies for implementation.  

    Of course this had been my goal all along. I raised my children to be intelligent, kind, independent, free thinkers.  

    Kind is the pivotal word. Thank goodness I succeeded.  They now express, with kindness, that their free-thinking, independent plans aren’t in alignment with mine. 

     Rule # 1

    No dropping by

     And so began the task of making appointments to visit.

     The nest in my mind is emptying, making room for a new me.  In her book, "Goddesses Never Age," Dr. Christiane Northrup explains, “Agelessness is all about vitality, the creative force that gives birth to a new life.”  I achieved menopause. I was now giving birth to the wise woman I am. 

    The issue of how to remove my children’s problems from my mind continued. I realized I could not solve their problems.  Unsolicited advice was received with a smile, yet not heeded, nor welcome. I learned that worry would get me nowhere.  It is the worst kind of worry because I can do absolutely  nothing. At least when I worry about my own problems, I can take action, do something, change something. Not so with adult children.  As young children I could implement consequences or lecture or have long discussions in the car on the drive to school or soccer practice. None of these strategies are currently available.  Now, there is no point to worry. The ultimate letting go has to occur. Don’t worry, I tell myself. I raised them right, did the best I could.  They will figure it out and handle whatever comes along.

    I consult my Garden Girls. They represent the wisdom and power of flowering minds of all my girl friends brought together to create. I wrote about them in my memoir, "The Garden Girls’ Letters and Journal."  They live in my fantasy world.  I invented the Garden Girls to accompany me on my quest to live the layered life of an artist — What does it take to become a Garden Girl? A desire made manifest, to discuss intimacy, passion, wisdom, and authority.

 

The Garden Girls are at an early morning gathering in the woods. No one is clear as to the plan or the direction. Spider-woven fairy handkerchiefs sprinkled in grass lead the way as we follow the instructions on Honeyrose’s invitation: Listen to your intuition and breathe deeply. 

Each girl arrives in her own time.  Artemisia, old, wise and playful in a bark beret, brings violets and greens, the secret ingredient for achieving a powerful menopause. 

This gathering, my dear, is the beginning of unknown inquiries. We have no idea what we are going to inquire about. With blue beads in her hair, Honeyrose, the woman I am to become, says, “Our life is not our circumstances, our life is our story.” I gather the Garden Girls to discuss concerns significant not only to our selves but to every weed, tree and shrub that surrounds us. What I want to know is when does the voice of authority arrive, speculation end, and assertion begin?

Our altar in the woods is a large multi-level out-cropping of smooth rocks. We each find a place for the gifts we brought, then begin looking for our perfect spot to sit and speak and receive each other’s messages. As far as I can tell everyone is accounted for. Honeyrose reads from Sage, the thinker’s, latest letter. “Freedom is the ability to create passion,” Sage wrote. She had become a ritual queen in a colony of women up north. Rose has a picture of her back home on her own altar wearing a twisted green head band. “And our passion,” Honeyrose enunciates, “gets stirred every time we choose freely.”

 

    Today, I choose freely.  And create passion. I eat plenty of greens and focus on green as I shibori dye silk. I read Deepak Chopra’ new book, "Super Genes."  He emphasizes the importance of lifestyle choices. It’s where new growth takes place. Of course, green is what is needed. It is the color of growth and balance and self-reliance. Growing allows me to increase my value and confidence.  I remain sexy.  I have evolved into my own voluptuous self. I do what I want, whenever possible. Now that my children have grown, I am free to live from the wisdom of my soul.  This is where I truly flourish; this is my second spring. My flowers are in full bloom. Blossoming.

 Arashi shibori

Arashi shibori

 Silk crepe circle vest

Silk crepe circle vest

 Hand dyed shibori silk, green mixed with blue.  Purchased crushed rayon, my boat neck tunic design with painted signature

Hand dyed shibori silk, green mixed with blue.

Purchased crushed rayon, my boat neck tunic design with painted signature