I have to confess. I rarely follow a recipe exactly. (like that lentil soup above - it was amazing)
Or an assignment. (like my vision cards, in process)
Or a method or technique or routine. (like my wonky mandala at the top - so sweet and true to the moment, without following the rules of mandala-making)
Or a style or accepted norm. (notice: the sock, legwarmer, slipper combo)
Or the crowd.
I truly do start out intending to do so, much of the time - and sometimes, I like to try someone else's way on like a pair of shoes I might borrow for a night. Beginning with guidance often leads me beautifully into my own process of growth and learning...
but my muse inevitably entices me down other roads of exploration and play. Because she knows me well. She knows how I find myself, again and again, in the patterns and layers, in exploding color combinations, in the marrying of spice to sweet, in the dance of tree-shadows and sun-rays, in solitude or circle.
Those borrowed shoes come off quick when I hear the beat of my own rhythm rising.
It may look like a fickle, scattered, uncertain focus to some, but I'll bet we just don't roll the same way. Because in my day to day collage of a life, there is a constant nectar of my soul that adheres it all together into that magical something that makes me ME. And that floating collage is the infinite work-in- progress of my life.
I have a clipped out headline from a magazine sitting on my desk that reads, "What is the one thing in life you know you can count on?"
It's this, this stuff that I'm talking about. It's that nectar, that juice, that substrate in which all the parts of my story float around in. I am not those parts, or even the combination of them that makes up the story, necessarily - just like I am not my painting, my degrees, or my work, or these words, or how clean my house is or isn't, or even my whole life-story somehow depicted with every little detail and thought.
There is no summation that becomes a portrait of physical proof for others to truly see me with. We cannot be captured in the mediums we mingle with and the evidence we leave. Certainly, they can be like slivers of a mirror, showing glimpses, but...
We are all WAY more dynamic than that... and much more animated than any tool of measurement can ascertain - whether that tool is figurative or literal, brought by others or projected onto us by our own doing and judgments.
And the truth is - what is a reflection in the sliver of the mirror without the person perceiving it to begin with? Our senses are amazing gifts of observation and experience, and can often be a gateway to a deeper understanding - but they are limited to just that.
You have to walk through the gate and see what lies beyond to get at the heart of your soul's truth.
It is in the nudges, the intuition, those silent inner workings of a deeper witnessing of the self, that we begin to realize the continuum of our selves with every moment, every person, every stone weed and critter, every breadcrumb and sunray, every potential ever imagined. And that river of continuum is in motion, always.
We are that juice, that nectar, that stuff straight from the spring of the energy drink of life.
And despite how we often think about how or why we ought to do things, there is great focus in listening to the nudge to test boundaries or change your mind, in forgetting the measurements and choosing the unknown, in trying a little of this and a little of that, in sitting under a tree half in the shadow, half in the light - if it tempts your senses to open the gate, your heart to sing and quicken, and your mind to take a seat in the back to just watch the show of curiosity in liberated action, free to express and discover.
I sometimes wonder if there is a greater way to honor the divine power of Creative Source than to engage in it with your whole being in this way, in every act of the day in which you can remember to notice that juicy continuum singing the gospel of love, through the voice of your muse, like a breeze in your heart. It shows up on your stove, in the eyes of your neighbor, on the page, in the urges of your body, in the changing weather, in tears and tension even, in little notes and long hugs and glorious hours of making art.
These moments of noticing and integrating are living prayers. Prayers without perfection, but perfect prayers nonetheless.