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Keep Peace in Your Soul

Updated: Mar 23, 2022

Whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

- Max Ehrmann, 'Desiderata'.

It is a strange thing to be human. To be conscious of the potential of one's own nature as witnessed through the observation of others, can be quite astounding and incredibly unsettling. In the words of the late Jim Morrison - "this is the strangest life I've ever known." I concur! It is absolutely whack no matter which way I look at it! It seems the older I get the less of a clue I've got but fortuitously it also seems that I am becoming eminently more comfortable with this fact. One must learn to accept the trip for what it is and I'm finding that the more I let go, the easier it is. A long lost friend once told me that I held too many expectations and that they were causing me great pain. It's taken me a long time to see how this was an astute and accurate observation. The more I let go of all the past expectations, dreams and desires, the lighter I feel. Oh, I have plans, don't get me wrong - I guess I'm just not as attached to a single outcome as I once was. I feel more open to the possibilities, more curious about the process and infinitely calmer as a result.

These thoughts did not take me where I had intended to go, but we roll on....where was I heading? Oh, yes...

The past few years have brought me to a wonderful place in my art practice. It's a space devoid of judgement, criticism, frustration, anger or pain. It is a peaceful place in which I feel free to be the simple creature that I am. I never used to like my own art, thinking that it was not clever or sophisticated enough. But now I revel in the joy of my own creations and I love the world of my own making. I plaster my walls with my own paintings and surround myself with my creations. They act like some kind of psychological fortress against all of the bad vibes and awfulness in the world.

Goddess knows, there is much awfulness right now. And my way of coping is to retreat even more into my own magical world of watercolours, paper and clay. Truly, the last few years of intense global happenings have seen me embrace a kind of solitary, dedicated, routined studio practice I had no idea I was capable of sustaining. Spending time in my studio now feels as natural as breathing and I doubt I could bear to be away from my tools for too long, lest the 'sham, drudgery and broken dreams' envelope me in cynicism and despair.

So, you see, when I pulled these nudibranchs out of the kiln yesterday I was overjoyed with their fun, kaleidoscopic colours and curly forms. I just kept thinking how marvellous nudibranchs are and how miraculous it is that I share the planet with them! I mean, really, have you seen the variety of shapes, sizes and colour combos these squishy little sea slugs come in? It's really quite astounding! Obviously, I'm inspired by them and I gotta say that I don't see that waning anytime soon. I have plans to make hundreds of these rainbow warriors just to see what they look like all together in one room - FUUUUNNNN!!! 😃

I am grateful for these days of tinkering and immersive making. It's like this cool, calm current of creativity is providing a gentle slipstream through murky, tumultuous waters. I'm aware of not leaning too heavily upon it, lest I lose touch with the outside world, or break it under that weight of expectation I spoke of before. It's just a thing that I do. It's a place, a space from which I am able to see the beauty of the world in the midst of all its horrors. 💕

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