I’ve got a lot to think about these days. (Not really any different from other days, I guess, but seriously, there is some amazing stuff brewing).
To stay on track with massive projects, to dos and ideas racing around in the head, I have found great solace in pulling out embroidered drawings.
As I stitch, my mind relaxes and somehow- magically, solutions arise, anxiety dissipates, energy refreshes, ideas come to light. Fascinating.
It’s all about following the lines of my drawings, just wandering along the pathways, new ways of looking at things, no attachment to the thread or how things unfold. Just let it unfold. And I think that is my greatest lesson in all this- let it unfold.
“When you can step back at moments like these and see what is happening, when you watch people you love under fire or evaporating, you realize that the secret of life is patch patch patch. Thread your needle, make a knot, find one place on the other piece of torn cloth where you can make one stitch that will hold. And do it again. And again. And again.”
― Anne Lamott, Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope, and Repair
Today I am giving myself the permission to be just in the moment.
When fear and worry arise, I will try to let it dissipate without trying to figure out solutions. I give myself permission to just do what I have committed to today. TODAY.
I give myself permission to not worry about what is next, what needs to happen, what I need to hustle, what I need to survive.
Today, I have enough bus fare to get to the session, enough supplies for the students, enough coffee in the cupboard.
Today is a gift.
Much love to you all.
You think this is just another day in your life. It’s not just another day. It’s the one day that is given to you today…. It’s the only gift that you have right now. And the only appropriate response is gratefulness. – Brother David Steindl-Rast
(This book a gift from my sweet friend, Pamela Post)
To feel the anguish of waiting for the next moment and of taking part in the complex current (of affairs) not knowing that we are headed toward ourselves, through millions of stone beings – of bird beings – of star beings – of microbe beings – of fountain beings toward ourselves.
– Frida Kahlo
I had a real awakening in 1986 when I took the CREATIVE PROCESS class at (what was then called) Emily Carr College of Art and Design with Kitty Mykka. It was a LIFE CHANGING CLASS that introduced me to the theory, practicality and universality of the creative process.
Beware! I now know a language so beautiful and lethal My mouth bleeds when I speak it.
– Gwendolyn MacEwen
Kitty also took my journaling work deeper than I had ever gone before, opening for me a safe personal space in which to process my work and my life.
And as three decades have gone by since that Fall of 1986, I continue to embody the creative process. I often tell my students that process for me is much more important than the end product. That is why I love street art- I put it out there- it will (de)volve as it will. The ongoing process is what intrigues me.
As I approach age 55 in a few weeks, I feel a renewed sense of peace at my core. Not only is my creative process not attached to the outcome- my life is not attached to the outcome. These days, if I feel a sense of angst rise up as I try to juggle all my projects, or look at my bank account, or worry about family and the future, or fall into saudade, or feel guilt for deciding not to pursue certain projects so that I can commit fully to certain partnerships, as I worry I am not prepared for a session, or as I plan the road ahead and feel overwhelmed looking at the to-do list, or as I think think and over-think, or as I work on my graphic novel worrying if I am on the right track, or if I feel helpless to help someone in need- my heart releases and my mind is reMINDed to not be attached to the outcome.
And it is a lesson I try to instill in my art students. It is a way to quiet the inner critic without stifling it. To not be attached to the outcome sets us free to create.
I don’t mean to sound dismissive, but START WRITING. There is NO SUCH THING as “too late” in the arts. Trust me. START. – Patton Oswalt
Is that Self Compassion? Is it maturity? It is PROCESS. TO STAY and LIVE IN THE MOMENT- to (try to) ride it, no matter how difficult that moment might be.
Let your indulgence set me free. – Shakespeare, The Tempest
There is no doubt that art has saved my life. And I am not attached to its outcome.
My dad, Roar Thorsen, (a true Viking) just dictated a list of advice for me! Thought I’d share it with the world!
Advice from a Viking Patriarch
Do not do too much yourself. You will burn out.
Give proper instruction about what you need yourself.
Always remember you are best.
Always raise your voice in meetings. Being quiet shows that you are weak.
Always be open to suggestions.
Never take no for an answer.
Always remember your own background- from birth through all your work and experience of life up until today.
Always be a good listener to others, if it feels useful for yourself.
Always look forward for new positions.
Never look backwards, thinking that life was better before.
Never forget the expression “I don’t have time for this shit.”
You will always have Pappa for love, work, advice and encouragement etc.
Always have an updated list of merits and accomplishments, containing everything from education to present.
Include name and personal data: Address phone email. Preferably a photo of yourself with a good background.
“My future plans are…”
5 year plan- where do you see yourself 5 years from now, 1 year from now, month from now…?
If you do not understand this, please go f*** yourself.
Never forget you are Daddy’s girl.
Today we celebrate his 4th year living at Evergreen House (after his stroke Sept 21, 2005). Art has saved his life as he works on his amazing book of illustrations and quotes.
Dad says today:
I was very skeptical in the beginning, since I had never experienced such a type of life. I learned quickly that the only way to live here was to adjust myself and be part of the group. One of the best things from my experience here is that all the nurses and staff are incredible and keep me from going insane! I have a wonderful life with all my caretakers and I consider them my daughters (and sons). In addition to all this, I have found a perfect place to do my art. My previous work consisted mainly of oil paintings and black ink. After I moved into Evergreen House, because of space issues, I concentrated on smaller work such as cartoons. Based upon this work with cartoons, I am illustrating a new book, which my daughter, Katarina, and I are currently working on. Our hope is that it will result in a bestseller! This book will consist of cartoon drawings and a collection of words and wisdoms from books, newspapers and everything else. We were discussing what to call this book, and suddenly Katarina came up with the idea (as we collected so many sources) to call it the Old Apple Tree. The apples symbolize different wisdoms and stories. This work is encouraging to both of us! It is a very creative experience and we are already planning on multiple volumes! Stay tuned!