The thirty spokes unite in the one nave; but it is on the empty
space (for the axle), that the use of the wheel depends. Clay is
fashioned into vessels; but it is on their empty hollowness, that
their use depends. The door and windows are cut out (from the walls)
to form an apartment; but it is on the empty space (within), that its
use depends. Therefore, what has a (positive) existence serves for
profitable adaptation, and what has not that for (actual) usefulness.
(quoted from the Internet Sacred Text Archive 17-Feb-2013)
There are days when it becomes obvious how much give and take one can manage. How much space one can allow for others before the self is subsumed. It is quite a lot. There is a lot to be done for others, but without the strength of the structural members around the windows, the walls collapse. Without the curves of the vase, it would need to be smaller.
Most of the time I wish that there was more that I could do for others, that there was more time in the day to give. This week, being a bit under the weather, has made me take more time to think and rest than I’ve taken in a long time. Enough time that it makes me realize that it took too much time, which in turn made me realize that I’ve been running on deficit for awhile.
That doesn’t mean that I want to share less, but it leaves me determined to mold the self-discipline in my life into stronger arches that may bridge the dynamic moments with moments of inner peace. I need to build more gracefully curved walls, or replace my wooden windowsills with steel. By giving more structure and discipline to my mind and schedule, I will empower myself.
This drawing is inspired by the Yin Yang, a symbol of balance between activity and passivity. In my experience, action and non-action are not as evenly distributed as in the Yin Yang. There are times when the Yin has not filled you with enough inner strength to weather storms, or when the Yang hasn’t enough energy to move you fast enough to the goal, and often you need a little of both. This drawing is a symbol of how my present situation feels. A little too dynamic and slowly replenishing the quietude.
A drawing of a place some of you will recognize, and some won’t. From memory. Cleaner than in reality, but also fuzzier. Memory can play tricks.
I used to try to draw the cars on the CTA from memory. Then I’d go back the next morning and notice I forgot a nut here, or a bolt there, but the proportions were right. After awhile, we visual artists have a sense of space, though we may be lazy about using it; defining it.
We aren’t unique though. People take all sorts of things that they know for granted. That the roads won’t move between tonight and tomorrow, and going to work will be the same. That their shoes will be where they left them.
Then there are more nebulous things that we can’t put down on paper in the form of drawings, maps, or things. Things like how we feel about ourselves and one another. Those change all the time, and though sometimes we remember what it was like to be 3 years old, or 8, or 20, we are not that person anymore, and we feel create in our heads a fuzzy, cleaned up image of how it was. Or perhaps a stylized dark image. Or whatever image we have of ourselves in the past and the future.
Making clear nebulous emotional and spiritual markers for ourselves is as important as knowing how to get to work, or where we left our shoes, or what our child hood home looks like. But setting boundaries is risky. What if someone else defines the boundary of a relationship differently? How do we negotiate the price of it? What if that negotiation leads to loss?
So it goes. Every shoe wears out, every road needs repair, every house needs maintenance. Life, love, and being are work. So be it.
Inspired by various things I’ve seen and heard today.
Things build; form patterns. Things solidify, making a life, and limiting it.
But nebulous tangled lines give no structure to thought. Ideas unformed, remain unrealized.
Another Gracie Comic. Don’t you just love when the cat says, “Let me out NOW!” then makes you stand in the door for awhile before turning and fleeing the snowflakes! He looks disappointed when he finally comes and settles on the chair, but I suspect it is because he wants attention.
For some reason today, my head is full of ideas and images and I’m having trouble writing any of them in words. Maybe I’ll do another drawing, or just work on my rag-rug (and the second one I’ve started).
I’m going to go to an art-opening this evening at a local gallery that I hadn’t heard of until this week. No idea what kind of art, or anything, but going places to meet other artists is probably something I should be doing. Welcome to Ypsilanti!
Since my first Gracie narrative was so popular, I decided to do another one. Here’s our gender-identity confused cat, Gracie, asleep on my bed dreaming of his afternoon while I take a picture of him with the iPad and then set up an iterative one-liner.
In every cat’s dream, there is a cat dreaming, of a cat dreaming, of a cat dreaming…!