I spotted the girl from across the room. She was the one, looking unabashedly into the camera, with eyes that are serious, like they’re gazing into your soul. I was at the Art Cats Gallery in Petoskey, Michigan during my solo journey several summers ago. The photograph had been applied to a fiber art collage piece created by Michigan artist, Karen Godfrey.
I knew that I liked mixed media art, but wasn’t sure why that piece drew me. Later, I realized that the girl reminded me of myself when I was a child. The pieces of fabric were like those in Mama’s sewing trunk that I used to make doll clothes. I could see Mama, with a pattern pinned to fabric and the sound of her pinking shears cutting through the layers of cloth and tissue paper. I’d watch as she skillfully worked to make those pieces into a beautiful whole.
The hand-stitching around the girl’s picture reminded me of how my Aunt Polly taught me to embroider. Once I got the hang of it, I worked late into the night, watching the Irish blessing kit that I’d bought at the 5 & Dime become my first piece of fiber art. Unlike the dresses Mama made that were both artistic and functional, my creation was just decorative and brought me delight.
The words in the prayer, “May all beings awaken to their true nature,” reminded me of my love for words in their meaning as well as their form. I thought of my diary and the plays I penned in sixth grade.
But altogether, the girl’s look and prayer make me ask myself, “Am I living my True Nature now?”
Years ago when visiting Savannah, Georgia, I stopped in the studio of artist Brian MacGregor. We had an enjoyable conversation about how he used dream journals in his collage art. I loved his evocative piece, “Lady of the River.” Now I see that it reminded me of how I wished I’d been in my early twenties –more relaxed, less driven toward my goals and more able to float in a river of possibility.
I ask myself, “What is my true nature?” and at this latter phase of my life, am I living into that nature. I think of how who we are emerges over our lifetime. It shows up in our daydreams and in our night dreams. Looking back over my sixty-two years, I see themes in the hopes and dreams I’ve recorded in my journals. All of them are pieces of the collage that is me.
This past New Year’s Eve, my blog post, “Things You Leave Behind” (Dec. 31,’17) focused on letting go of what keeps us from being all we were created to be. The burden I threw into the Iona Sound was my fear of not being good enough. My desire was to be less self-conscious and to step out as I felt led– without worrying about making mistakes.
Now, I think that in order to continue on the path of living into my True Nature, that letting go of fear is a necessary step. To continue to allow my unfolding, even at this point in my life, I need to be able to relax in that freedom that I can have in my sixties that I couldn’t access in my earlier years.
It’s as if that girl is looking into herself as an older woman and saying, “I’m glad you’re finally awakening to the person you’re supposed to be.”
How about you?
What art form has special relevance for you?
How are you progressing toward realizing more of your True Nature?