Those of you following this blog will be relieved to hear that I got some respite this past Saturday, and I’m pretty sure it prevented a complete breakdown. Also, all sorts of weird, awesome, synchronistic things happened, I believe because I made space for them to come forward. I started off the day baking strawberry muffins for the Writers’ Group I formed, which had its first meeting that day. It was lovely — to be at my friend Christine’s house without my child, to be sitting with other writers reading our work and cheering one another on — now I know how the Fempire feels.
Afterwards my dear friend Amanda drove she and I out to Berkeley to participate in the first meeting of an arts-based process group that our friend and colleague Jason formed, with several of our other grad school alumni. On the way there, we discussed the perils and joys of collaborating with our romantic partners on artistic projects. I found myself saying, “I want to collaborate artistically with everyone I’m in love with. I want to write music with my husband, dance with Olive, write books with my sister (Molly, you don’t know this yet but it is a dream of mine!), and so on…” Then I got really excited thinking about what artistic shenanigans I’ll get into with my daughter once she’s older. Amanda also told me that this was the day of Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of creativity, music, arts and knowledge. She was planning on attending a party for the goddess that night, celebrating her as only the Bay Area would. I found it incredibly fitting that this was the day that I was setting aside to go to arts groups, and it was a special day blessed for their cultivation. At the group, Amanda led us through an arts process in which I drew 4 reaching hands, and was imagining a goddess with many arms, overloaded with tasks, as that is how I am feeling these days. Later, I researched Saraswati, and, wouldn’t you know it? Homegirl’s got 4 arms!
Another thing that came to me in the arts process was the symbol of infinity as a solution to all my practical problems, which are myriad and seem totally insurmountable to me these days. The message that came to me was, “Invest in the infinite”, and then you’ll have the ability to do all the detailed shit that is clogging you up so much. I had SO much to do this weekend, but I took the time to leave it all behind and go to two arts groups. Wouldn’t you know it, I accomplished 3 errands this morning that have been hanging over my head? I think it’s working!
Also at the group, I had the other participants help me start working on the dance piece I’m doing this coming Saturday as a part of The Love of All Above, an incredible art exhibition and performance art experience by John Felix Arnold III (to us he’s just Big Sheiky but in the art world he’s a pretty big deal). Felix commissioned Joel and I (our band is called Him Downstairs) to write 5 original songs based on his post-apocalyptic art, and we have been practicing every night, fully enjoying entering Felix’s wild world of Unstoppable Tomorrow. Anyway, we are starting the performances with a processional, and my friends at the group helped me come up with some movements to stride in with. I am so excited about this ritual/performance/dance piece. Joel and I can’t stop laughing, however, as we are finding that working together on music and art totally opens us up to each other, and we keep having to take breaks because making art is a powerful aphrodisiac! Now I know why so many spouses become artistic partners, and vice versa.
I am learning so many powerful lessons from this absurd, frustrating, totally flat-out broke period of my life. I’m not sure if I’m at the point where I’m completely grateful to have to go through it in order to obtain these gems, but I’m paying attention and retaining them along the way. Last night I had a dream that I had another baby, but it was a totally different experience than birthing Olive. This baby came right out in one push, while I was having a check-up from the midwife! No agonizing contractions, no hours of opening, just one push, and there she was, brown and beautiful, with long dark hair. I am taking it to mean that maybe this period of birthing my new self does not have to be so difficult. You hear that, God?! I’m paying attention! Maybe it could all just be a little easier? Please?