Just 17 days ago I last wrote here, and it feels like a lifetime. I have found time slows WAY down when you are waiting. They say patience is a virtue, and mine has been duly tested these past two weeks.
I would like to be writing about my yuletide plans and the decorative magic I’ve created in my home, but I don’t have much of either to report. I have been otherwise occupied, and I want to share, as it is more relevant to my art and work than I could have imagined.
When I last wrote I reported being taken out by some way serious back pain. I pondered how I might continue to function as an artist if I became permanently disabled in any way. I attested I would find a way. I did not know that I would be challenged with a real life experience.
The Wednesday after that post I went for an MRI of my lumbar spine to see what was up. We expected a herniation of at least one disc. Bad news, but not uncommon or life threatening. Not more than an hour after I returned home I got a call from my doctor’s office. “Can you be here in an hour to discuss your test results, and can you bring someone with you?”
I think everyone knows this is not a good sign, right? As I drove over I considered worst case possibilities. You can imagine a few, I’m sure. What I got I could not have imagined.
“You have a broken back,” she said.
“A broken back? Nothing happened. How did I get a broken back???” said I.
“Well you also have tumors on two other vertebra. These may have weakened your spine, especially as they look consistent with… (here it comes) metastatic cancer,” said the doctor.
Next up: blood work, a neurosurgeon, a cat scan, the Firebird Festival, a general surgeon, a needle biopsy, a breast care coordinator, and a whole lot of confusing non information. I still don’t know anything definite beyond a broken back. There are more appointments and tests lined up for next week, and this could go on for a while. Thus, my patience testing me.
I tell you all this for a good reason. Not to gain your well wishes, although I welcome them, but to share my unexpected response. The waiting game has me feeling in limbo, which is normal, I suppose. I created the image above to represent that feeling.
I also feel like my immediate purpose is dimmed because I don’t know what is wrong with me. Thus the sunglasses.
I feel silenced as I don’t know what to tell people, and scared to say too much, thus the mask.
I feel naked in my inability to do anything about it. Thus being naked, and I feel defensive about my life, thus my posture.
I also feel strangely optimistic, thus the calla lily – which, by the way, has remained blooming for over a month.
The surprise is that the potential diagnosis of cancer made me feel like a door was opened, and permission granted to do what I truly want.
I feel like the struggle I have had to feel worthy of my dreams can be over. I feel like being sick is permission to live and be me.
Wow, is that really what it will take for me to blossom? I have decided that regardless of what the diagnosis ends up being I will ride the feeling of permission and do my greatest work after all. As is often the case, the universe (or the netosphere) is providing me with positive signs!
Ten years ago in September my mother died from colon cancer. During her illness I spent a fair amount of time at the cancer center waiting. In the lending library I found this book by the artist Hollis Sigler. I remembered she had come to speak to one of my classes when I was in art school, about her art in dealing with cancer. I was quite taken with her at the time, and again when I found the book. I started investigating healing through art, and found there was beginning a new form of arts therapy that used art-making as a healing tool, as opposed to traditional art therapy where a patient’s art is analyzed in psychological terms.
Alas, training was random and not something I was able to do so I shelved the idea, but the desire never left me. The past few months I have found I need more than creating art to feel useful in this world. I have been feeling, to use Laura Simms’ Cupcake Approach, like I have some pretty awesome icing on a lackluster cupcake. I want more! I need to work with others and I need to help people seek and heal.
I have privately been researching the possibilities again, and I made a discovery.
The Art4Healing® Certificate Program is an affordable program that would allow me to feel qualified in teaching what I know about art and healing as well as what I learn. This, by chance, is happening in July of 2012 when I will be on the West Coast for the World Domination Summit! Guess what??? Yup, I’mma goin’!
So, that is only a small piece of my new-found inspiration, but we have time. Scoutie Girl is taking a break next week and posting some best-of stuff, but I’ll catch you in 2012 with more. My last piece of inspiration comes from ArtBiz lady Alyson Stanfield.
Let’s make things happen despite obstacles, like Santa and Rudolph.
It would have been easy for Santa to stay home at the North Pole when the big blizzard hit on Christmas Eve. Picture him: feet up, boots off, sitting by the fireplace sipping eggnog.
But he had an appointment to keep. People were depending on him.
Santa recognized the solution to his dilemma when Rudolph’s nose lit up. Rudolph could help guide his sleigh through the blizzard.
Santa made Christmas happen despite the bad weather.
Instead of making excuses, ask yourself: “How can I make this happen?”
What obstacles can you overcome this holiday season?
Happy Yule and New Year to all!
From the Heart,