Sunday, September 14, 2008

what are your "nevers"?

“My hands hold safely to my dreams
Clutching tightly not one has fallen

So many years I've shaped each one

Reflecting my heart showing who I am”

--Barlow Girl “Surrender”

Yesterday I wrote about being alive and inside that post were many questions about what holds me back. This morning as I awakened really early I could feel the promptings of the still small voice. I lay in bed with images of art and activities pouring through my mind. Finally I surrendered to the morning and got out of my cozy bed even though it was still pitch dark outside. I gathered my journal and tiptoed downstairs so as not to wake my sleeping husband and then I began to write. The lists of the day tumbled onto the paper mixed in with all of those questions of why I hold back when it comes to art—to MY art.

I have great plans. I have books to help me, supplies to use, ideas in abundance, but still I wait. “It will be a waste of time.. money…effort.” And then there is the flip side of the story. I am impatient. I want to hurry the process…to get to the end result and not let the art create me. Yikes! Sometimes I feel like such a mess!!

And so, I wrote and wrestled and this little voice kept saying, “Go paste the page onto the board.” (Several weeks ago I bought new supplies for creating and have tentatively been considering working with them. The board has been painted in a couple of colors and a few days ago I started considering adding text.) In the midst of all of my wrestling was another train of thought to “practice saying yes”--a theme I have been enjoying in Patti Digh’s new book. So, even while I am writing about “saying yes” I am ignoring the prompts to “paste the text on the board”. I am saying “no” to my art—again! And then God in all of her creative graciousness prompted me a little more directly—my pen ran out of ink—my last words being, “Go paste the page…” ☺

Now God gets even pushier here. I went to the book that I have designated as my “practice” pages (i.e. I can tear it up with great abandon.) It is a really heady book (not), called “The Devil in the Junior League.” ☺ I recalled it contained a few lists and since lists seem to be a theme for me these days I hopped right on it. Not paying much regard to the list content, I tore out a page and then pared it down to a manageable size and began to apply acrylic medium. When I flipped it over to paste the back, this is what I found:

“Unwilling to share any of that, I launched into the points that my mother and the charming women at Little Miss Debutante had drummed into my head, otherwise known as the Four Nevers:

1. Never dominate a conversation.
2. Never speak in a voice that can be heard more than three feet away.
3. Never do anything that anyone would notice if they were more than three feet away.
4. Never boast of your accomplishments.”

It might as well have included one more that said, “NEVER MAKE ART!” It was like all of the voices of my past (and evidently present) were rolled into one and printed on that page that I had chosen “by accident.” And so, after a few deep breaths, a couple of tears and a good laugh with God, I tiptoed back upstairs to get my computer so I could record this little encounter (and capture the words of “the page”, because you never know what may happen next with that little piece of art.)

And, the promptings did not end there, of course!! My computer screensaver is a nifty little thing that randomly displays album covers from my i-tunes list. I noticed a cover by Barlow Girl and wondered what music she sings. (I have lots of music given to me and rarely do I remember artists or song titles unlike my dear husband who can recall every song he has heard since 1960 ☺.) So, I found Barlow Girl’s one song I own and it, of course, is titled “Surrender.” Need I say more?

I would love to hear your response to my morning’s events or even better your own encounters and wrestlings with the inner critic, God, art, whatever! Or maybe you would like to share your personal “Four Nevers?” I hope you will say, "Yes!"

photos from pere lachaise cemetary--paris, 2.08

17 comments:

differenceayearmakes said...

You've no idea how timely your post is (laughing, or is it crying). You'll just have to read my post I wrote late last night(my dates are never correct I just can't seem to set the time properly).

I am struggling with getting back into art - BIGTIME! If you were to read my blog you would see where this window opened up, briefly, and then Bam! it seems as if I turned my back for just a moment and it slammed shut..... or is it just that its gotten dark and I can't find it?

I am struggling with finding my dreams, with determining just where my life will go from here (another post on Point Zero). And Bang! into the middle of this, just as I thought perhaps things might begin to become clearer, we find out this past week that my husband will need a heart transplant in the not distant enough future.

Suddenly I'm beginning to see myself slip away....caught in the current of other things.

I'm not sure this comment makes any sense, I'm still struggling to figure it all out - maybe its just the shock and things will right themselves.

But I totally understand your struggle.

Anonymous said...

first off ... differenceayearmakes ... if i may i shall bring you and your husband before God in prayer. my heart goes out to you both with this stunning news.

lucy ... four nevers ...

1. never regret pain
2. never go around when you can go through.
3. never forget to look past outward appearances.
4. never forget that i'm just passing through.

laure

Patty said...

The only one that I can think of that I say on a regular basis is "never say never", because ya just never know! I think we all struggle with being perfect and often times, that is what holds me back, in art, school, life, etc. I am working on just letting go, being me, and letting that be good enough. And no matter what, if I try and do my best, I know that God is pleased with me, and that is all I need.

lucy said...

rebecca--your comment makes perfect sense to me. i was very struck by your words "beginning to see myself slip away....caught in the current of other things." i have no doubt that you are a very strong swimmer, AND sometimes the best thing we can do when caught in a strong current is float for awhile until we find shore once again. may you have the wisdom to know whether it is time to paddle harder or drift with the current.

wishing you peace and health during this frightening time with your husband.

lucy said...

laure--thank you for those AMAZING "nevers"!!! i may need to feature them in a post.

are you familiar with the dolly parton song, "travelin' through?" #4 reminded me of it.

peace!

lucy said...

great words, patty! "never say never" is really one of my favorites. it seems i have been bitten in the you know where too many times when i've said "i never..." :-)

thanks for the reminder that i am perfect just the way i am!! perfectly imperfect or is it imperfectly perfect???

Endlessly restless said...

Lucy

My 4 nevers:

Never say never (like Patty)
Never say 'I can't...'
Never interrupt anyone
Never shout to be heard (if they aren't listening, they don't want to hear)

I'm sure there are many more, but four seemed like a good number!

SUNRISE SISTER said...

My 4 nevers -

1. Never kiss a man with a cold, even if he IS your husband
2. Never forget to say I love you to the most important people in your life
3. Never put exercise/yoga on the back burner
4. Never stop saying I am so much smarter, so much prettier, so much more talented, so much better organized than I used to be!!!

and just for kicks a special....

5. Never forget that yesterday is gone, you'll never be that age again, and never waste another day by thinking you can't do what you want to do just because you never have before!!

xoxoxoxo

Kate I said...

Oh, where I do I even begin to speak on this topic! Saying "yes" to my art and my creative spirit has been a life long struggle...made worse by the fact that I worked for many years in the admin end of an art and design university. Here, rather than feeling supported I squelched my art, feeling that it wasn't professional...I didn't have the 4 year degree that must be necessry to be an artist!

In the end it was the students themselves that inspired me to embrace my creative spirit and I've slowly, slowly allowed it to unfold.

Doing "The Artists Way" with an online group was the final push I needed to banish that gremlin critic from her perch on my shoulder where she sat and whispered all those "no's" for so long.

Congratulations on saying "YES"!

storyteller said...

This feels uncanny ... I may return to respond at greater length (and more specifically) another time …(or not) as time permits, but after ‘wrestling with my own issues’ at Small Reflections (and with Dell Tech support for a couple of hours w/o getting much help) I’m afraid I won’t be too coherent. I can say your ‘journaling’ is precisely what I’ve decided I need to do more regularly myself.
Hugs and blessings,

lucy said...

ER--could you have made those "nevers" just a little bit easier. i think i've blown all of them very recently (& loudly). oops!

SS--oh, your quick wit makes me smile although you threw me for a loop on #4 when you didn't finish with "than everyone else" :-) and i love #5. thanks for adding it!!! xoxoxoox

Country Parson (Steven Woolley) said...

1. Never do again some of the things i have already done.
2. Never look over someone's shoulder hoping there is a more important or interesting person to talk to somewhere near by.
3. Never take a thoughtless insult or hurt seriously. Remember, it was thought-less.
4. Never fail to see each day as a new adventure in life full of unexplored possibility.
CP

Abbey of the Arts said...

Such a great post lucy, and what wonderful comments--so much wisdom here. I am too tired right now to consider my "nevers" but I bask in your beautiful YES!

Barbara said...

The four nevers given to me by my inner critic (Parent) are pretty awful. I share them with the hope that giving them the light of air will exorcise that harping voice forever.
1. Never think yourself better than you really are.
2. Never put yourself above others.
3. Never lie and always accept the consequences of your wrongdoing.
4. Never forget to show respect to those in authority.
They put a chill into me because they held me down for so long and still do, to an extent (especially #1 and 2).
That inner "lucy" in all of us, the Child, is crushed by all these Nevers. The most important Never is to never fail to protect and nurture that Child within.

lucy said...

Barbara--so glad you brought these powerful nevers to "the light of air". i pray that their power continues to be diminished in your life. you are an amazing woman...no better NOR less than anyone else!

i love that last never: 'never fail to protect and nurture that Child within.'


And for those of you who did not receive a personal comment, please know that i would NEVER intentionally forget you :-) I value your comments and plan to return to this post again and again when I return from my two weeks of facilitating workshops at Soltura!

peace and blessings to all!!!

Sue said...

"—my pen ran out of ink—my last words being, “Go paste the page…"

+++++++++

Haha :) That's funny :)

Well, Lucy, I have no doubt that there is stuff to be gleaned even in this part of your journey. Your inner intution seems so strong from where I sit, that you know where you need to head, deep down.

It's always hard to trust that we are where we are if it's lagging for us. I know I never do, haha :)

I liked what my guru JC said ... no, not him, Julia Cameron (although he's pretty alright) that art is not linear and neither is our transformation. But sheesh, it could be a bit less messy, couldn't it?? :)

No 'nevers' for me - I break out in hives :)

Sue said...

PS: I hope my comment above didn't sound preachy at all? I had this niggle after I posted it that maybe it sounded that way, I'm not sure. Or maybe I'm being paranoid :) But anyway, it would be rather hypocritical of me to tell you what to do when I'm stumbling forward myself only seeing a step or two in front of me :)