| 13 February, 2013 11:09
Sometimes in Life, we may feel lost or disconnected. The truth is, we may FEEL lost, but we are not lost. We are exactly in the place that our destiny has lead us. We are in the place that will allow us to experience ourselves in a way that will either open our heArts more, or close us down. And the choice is up to us. We are the Ones that decide how to respond to the things that happen to us. We are the Ones that are opening, like a flower, into fullness. And like that flower, we will also die.
They say that humans can't imagine their own death. It is something that the EGO simply cannnot allow. But, we all live with bodies and we all leave those bodies behind. In the past few years, I have had so many wild things happen within my body, that I have had to realize that I am MORE than my body. I am a Being of Love that was created to experience the wonders of life, and make peace with everything that happens.
Now, having said, that, let me explain that I was diagnosed with breast cancer a little over a year ago. It was the day after Steve Jobs died! That is how I remember it. In that time, I have danced with death. I have made friends with it, in fact. Well, not "best friends" but certainly, we are more intimate than we were! I have read so many books on healing breast cancer naturally. I know my body very well, and knew that it was not wise or advisable for ME to poison it with chemotherapy or to burn it with radiation. I am NOT judging people that choose that path, but it was NOT for me.
The medical establishment does not understand my choice. My doctors think that I am in "denial" and "fear" about my situation. They seem to believe that I have not given their options enough consideration. Yet, when I talk with them openly about the many LIFESTYLE changes that I have embraced, they seem to tune me out. I don't get that. I believe that most doctors don't really LISTEN anymore. Perhaps, in the days when they made home visits they could still SEE their patients,but now, they are busy, busy, busy, with a broken health care system. Lost, in fact.
I don't give the power of my health or my healing to an outside source. Period. I have never felt that healing comes from outside, but from within. Therefore, I have made many changes which include, a steady diet of forgiveness. If I feel angry or hurt, I work to find a way to release that very quickly. Most of the time, things are not about me. People see things based on their own experiences and perceptions. And guess what? I can't control other people!
Next, I also feed my temple body good healthy food. That includes raw, green, organic smoothies every morning. Most people turn their heads to the side and look at me like I am strange when I tell them that. So, please note, is your head turned to the side now? If so, it's ok. I really do know that it is very hard for folks to imagine that something GREEN tastes so good, but it does. We are what we eat.
I drink alkaline water now. It is from a fancy, expensive machine, but it is very wonderful. I love it. Now, when I smell tap water, I cringe from the smell of chlorine. I believe that the body is primarily water, so it stands to reason that we are what we drink, too. Most folks are chronically dehydrated and when they do ingest liquid, it is often in the form of something sugary and carbonated. Or, worse yet, sweetened with artificial stuff that tricks the brain into thinking that it had something sweet. The brain may be fooled, but the body is not. Over time, poison destroys. I do believe that Stevia, which is from plants is safe.
And I swim now. I have always loved water. That is why we live on the gulf coast in Mississippi. Making a commitment to go to a local natatorium a few days a week has been life changing for me. It may have chlorine, but I bless the water, and hope that all of the other modifications are more than enough. When summer rolls around, we go to Flint Creek and immerse our bodies in Nature.
Flowers make me happy, so I grow them. I share them too. If I go various places, I often bring the folks a small bouquet. It is a sweet surprise. It is important to take time for nature and for beauty. Life IS beautiful, but people are often too busy to slow down and connect with it. That is sad to me. I am so grateful that I make the time to listen to the birds, watch the insects, and smell the flowers nearly every day.
I am pretty certain that I am here for a reason. I like to think that I have cultivated a beautiful life. There has been some ugliness, but, all in all, absolutely wonderful! I can't complain. At this point in time, I can honestly say that I am grateful for it ALL! Even cancer. For, as Susun Weed says, "Breast cancer is a paradox, GrandDaughter, for cancer is life itself: soaring, unstoppable life. Yet cancer seems to threaten life. Just so, your wild, untamed, unpredictable parts are the living core of your life, but seem to threaten the stability of your life. Cancer is an INVITATION to dance with them in wild abandon. A chance to reclaim and nourish passion and a greedy zest for life. An opportunity to nurture and tend to the dark, the hidden, the inner child, the shadow. A reason to bare your breasts, literally and figuratively."
Ironically, I create breast pieces in clay and have made them for many years. It started when a local Woman called me and asked me to create a breast plate for her. Sometimes, life moves us in a direction that may be uncomfortable, but I trust life. I guess that I also trust death. Now when I create these pieces in clay, they have a completely different meaning. I imagine my own breasts being healthy and whole as I sculpt. I did have a biopsy done, and most of the cancer was removed. It is that little bit left behind that freaks out the doctors. In truth, I sometimes get a bit freaked out too. Especially if I listen to them!
Perhaps we are creating our life with our awareness and thoughts?
At first, I did not know if I could handle all of it. And it has truly been quite a healing journey. It has taken me to the center of my BEing. To my heArt. To my soul. And I can honestly say that I could not have gotten this far without Intuition and Inner Guidance. That has also come through people that appeared in my life at just the right moment. I am immensely grateful for my FAMILY and Friends. They rock!
I hope that this blog helps someone. IF it reaches even one person's heart, then, I am grateful.
| 05 May, 2011 15:17
In my life, I have had some pretty painful things happen to me. Normally, I do not talk about them because I feel that most of the wounds have been healed. Perhaps it is our sufferings that often weave our lives together. Pain can motivate us to seek relief and healing. In that way, I took nearly every workshop and class that I possibly could. It was an attempt to gain Spiritual insight and awareness. Constantly seeking for enlightenment was exhausting, and it was not until I was about 44 that I decided to stop trying so hard, and to just relax a bit. In fact, I met a woman who told me to quit working so hard and to play more. We forget the immense value of play when we grow up and become adults. Children and Cats know how to play with wild abandon, but we sometimes forget when we move into the world of “work” and adulthood. Since immersing myself in the creative process of clay, I have reconnected with the creative child in my heart that knows that there are no limitations in imagination. Embracing the bliss of creativity has opened my heart and mind once more. We are the ones that create the walls and barriers to our joy, but it does not have to be that way. When we allow ourselves to remember the things that delighted us as children, we can often begin to walk the path of bliss once more.
Allow me to begin by thanking you for taking the time to read this piece. May it uplift the hearts and minds of all beings that find it. Now, let me explain that during the art festivals, many children come into our booth space. It is as though the creative expressions are a magnet or beacon of love that they respond favorably to. It may also be because children can see with their hearts. Since I heard so many parents tell their children not to touch my work, I created a wall-hanging that is made out of clay that hangs in the space and says: “Please touch.” It often evokes quite a response from parents and children. The parents think that it says DON’T TOUCH, but the Kids know the message is welcoming. Surrounding the central message are words such as Love, Joy, Peace, Connections, Bliss, and Healing. My work is not just about the clay, but about the messages that are not only on the back or front of the pieces, but also the messages that come thru me to share. It is inspired by my belief in the inter-connectedness of all things. When we allow ourselves to be guided by something grander than ourselves, we are able to FLOW much more with life. I always ask for Guidance and Clarity in life. You may ask, “Where does that come from Becky?” And I would have to say, I am really not certain, but I do believe it is because my intention is love, and light, and healing, and peace, that the Guidance shows up.
One young girl that saw this clay sign came up to me, raised her hand up as she said “High five for the cool PLEASE TOUCH sign!” A few other young people also stopped to comment on it. Clay lends itself to touch. It demands that we reach out and FEEL it. Unlike paintings that can be damaged by touch, the fired clay pieces are durable, strong and resilient because of the FIRES that transform them. Through a magical process, they move from a soft earth substance, to a sort of strong, STONE. After all these years, the entire process still continues to amaze and delight me. Other potters joke around that we are most certainly alchemists. If only I could manifest a bit of gold from the clay, huh? Then again, it is a sort of symbolic gold or treasure since it can live on long after we are gone. Because I am orchestrating the entire process from beginning to end, I witness and experience the transformation first hand. Many times in life, things are made by many unseen hands. That may be why people really seem to appreciate meeting the artists in “real” life. Often at the shows, the entire thing feels very surreal to me. In the past 12 years of creating in clay, I have been transformed internally and externally by the creative process. As Carolyn Myss says, “Our biography becomes our biology.” Even when there are small flaws or cracks in the piece, I am reminded that we each carry our wounds and our scars. It is possible that they make us more fascinating and interesting human BE-ings. We may want to learn to embrace them with greater tenderness. It is my absolute belief that healing and integration is possible with love and attention.
During Festival International 2011, there were some magnificent happenings that I felt I must share. First of all, we can all create these types of things as we dance with life. We are all special and we each have our gifts to cultivate. For some it may be singing, for others, quantum physics. It does not matter what it is, only that we find a way to discover our own unique abilities and then cultivate them, as we would a garden. When I create in clay, I make things that I feel a connection with. For that reason, I think that they are “alive” with vibrancy and energy. In my heart, I honestly believe that the person that is meant to be the caretaker of a particular piece will ultimately show up to claim it. That sometimes takes a bit longer than I like, but it is not up to me to determine the timing. In fact, all I have to do is show up, wait patiently, trust completely, and surrender to the process. There is also a good bit of FUN involved. It could be my belief in the miraculous that attracts these synchronistic happenings. Who knows? Who cares? I just find it wonderfully entertaining and powerful beyond description. This year, it was much bigger than usual.
The first experience involved a lovely young woman who loved everything associated with the moon. The young woman’s name was Rebekah. I wanted to mention that since my birth name is actually Rebecca. Most folks call me Becky. Anyway, the customer, Rebekah, walked directly up to a small crescent moon wall-hanging and decided quickly that she was meant to have that one. Ironically, I tried to tempt her with a piece that had a small flaw in it that I was offering for much less money. Since she had a young baby, I felt that money may be a concern for her. She would not be swayed from the connection with the first moon piece that caught her attention. Her husband paid for the piece, and when we took it off the wall, she noticed that I had signed it Rebecca. Normally, I do not do that, but since my neighbor had a baby recently that she named Rebecca, I made a few Moon Pieces and signed two of them Rebecca. One is a gift for the new baby and the other went up for sale. The one with the flaw was about a year old and had not yet found it’s home. Usually, I make two pieces, rather than just one, since it is possible one could crack or break. We do have many CATS that live with us and sometimes stuff happens.
Then, later that Friday night, I had a father bring his two adopted Russian daughters into our space. One was about 5 and the other was probably 8. The younger one seemed to take the time to really look around at the various pieces and the dad said that she is normally very easily distracted. He gives her medication since she has severe attention deficit disorder. She seemed pretty focused looking at my work. The older girl was telling me a very sad story about their dog that was poisoned and died. As she told the story, she kept taking one of her hands and circling her heart, as if to draw attention to this deep wound within her. It was much more than the dog, but something that I felt she had been carrying for a very long time. As she talked, I did not listen so much to the exact words that came forth, but the message of pain that was behind the words. In the meantime, another woman walked into the space and was looking at all of the Cats in clay, particularly the Angels.
Within a few minutes, the father announced that they had to move on. I asked if I might give the children a hug. He said that it was ok and the girls were also in agreement. As I kneeled down on the ground and got down to their level, the youngest one gave me a very big hug. Afterwards, I asked her what her name was. She told me and I announced rather loudly that my name is BECK. Let me say that the child’s name had four syllables in it. The woman that was looking at the cat angel let out a startled sound and said “Really? BECK is the name that I go by.” There are always people that want to call me BECK, so I allow it because it just does not matter that much to me. I know who I am, no matter what people may call me.Trust me, I have been called much worse names! After this, I hugged the older child and she told me her Russian name, and that it was changed after she was adopted. It became her middle name. A great deal of loving and healing energy poured forth from me when I hugged these children. I felt a bit dizzy and nauseated afterwards, but I stood up and spoke with BECK and gave her my full attention. She proceeded to tell me that her beloved Cat had died the week before. She said that she wanted me to create a cat angel piece for her of her furry child.
Life is funny. Another odd happening involved one of my clay face masks. It is a mask of MY face that I made on June third of 2000. It had been hanging outside our home for a long time, and eventually worked its way back inside. Finally, I decided to release it with love. One of my facebook friends, Reggie, came into the space and commented how much he loved it. He said that he would be happy to help promote my work and especially that piece. When I took it off the wall and he saw the date, he was shocked because that date was his day of birth. Obviously, he was born a different year, but the day and the month, were accurate. Later, a good friend and customer named Nancy decided to purchase that piece on a payment plan. She had overheard Reggie and decided that she had to have that one in her home.
Then, another couple came in and fell in love with the cat angels. They said that they had two that were very similar to the ones on my wall, but they wanted me to make a pair that resembled their cats even more closely. I told them that I would be delighted to create that for them, but I would need to see some pictures to get a FEEL for their Cats. I also requested that they send me a deposit to secure the pieces. In my experience, I have found that people tend to be more sincere if they put down a bit of earnest money. It is only in recent years that I have started to do this since some folks later change their minds. It was funny to me when the sister-in-law came back in the booth a few minutes after they left and paid me for one of the cats. She said that she wanted to give them this gift since they had been so kind to take care of her mother. It was a secret gift and I did not tell the couple until a few days after the festival. They were very happy and stirred by this act of love, generosity and kindness. It is my honor to give them clay cat angels that will live on for many years to come.
Also, there was a Man that fell in love with my raku Moon sculpture. In truth, I had loved it too. It had been hanging on our wall at home, but I knew I had to part with it. Sometimes these pieces feel like my children in clay. The man wanted to pay with a credit card, but I was so tired that I felt I may mess up the transaction. I simply did not have the ability to focus at that time and to call it in. He took out a five dollar bill, gave it to me as a deposit, wrote down his phone number, and said that he would be back to pick it up on Sunday around noon. That way, many other festival goers would be able to experience the Moon’s beauty and I might be able to take an order for another one. When he was not back on Sunday, I gave him a quick call and he said that he was on his way. He rode his Harley Davidson to the event and was carrying the moon home with him on the motorcycle. Can you imagine? Sure, it was bubble wrapped, but it was still the MOON!
Another very soul stirring thing that happened was when a sacred customer from last year came to visit me and showed me some pictures of the two turtles that they had purchased. I remember people because I see their hearts and look into their eyes. At times, I must admit that their names elude me, but I remember who they are and the pieces that they are attracted to. When this young woman told me that her husband had died two weeks earlier, I nearly fell out of the chair that I was sitting in. Instead, I stood up, told her how sad I felt to hear such news and I hugged her. She took the time, in the midst of her painful loss to come and share that with me. I am so honored to make these deep connections with people. They are the ones who motivate me to continue when I sometimes want to give up. Being an artist at this time on the earth is not really an easy task. But, as you can see, the clay is just one part of my work.
The reason that I am sharing some of these stories with you, is to let you know that there is a mystical flow to life and probably a higher purpose. We simply have to find a way to be present, and to pay attention to the little things that can lead us forward. I hope that You will one day consider honoring me by purchasing one of my Art in Clay pieces. I assure you that I have work that will bring great JOY and pleasure and beauty into your life. I am simply asking that you trust me. These stories are factual, but I have not used the names of the people involved to protect their privacy. It is possible that they may read the stories and feel a desire to comment. In this world, there is a great deal of pain and ugliness. I choose not to focus on that though. It is my belief that what we put our attention on has a way of growing larger and expanding. It is my goal to give life to beauty and to offer it with LOVE and affection to those that have the heart to see.
| 21 April, 2011 12:24
Yesterday was the one year anniversary of the BP oil tragedy. As I moved about the studio in preparation for Festival International next week, I pondered the impact it has had on our lives. A few awarenesses came to me that I thought I might share. Since we live on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, we saw and experienced the effects firsthand. For months, everyone's lives felt like they were in limbo. We were inundated with ugliness that just kept washing over us like waves of pain and suffering. We saw People's lives destroyed, we watched as the sea life and birds suffered and died. Certainly, there were many volunteers who did so much to make a difference by working to clean off the oiled Creatures. When we see this on a daily basis, it can influence us on many levels and truly shake our world. I always feel like we need to learn from the "mistakes" and find a way to live better and to cultivate greater reverance for ALL Life.
Since CLAY is my thing, I often have DUST and clean up "messes" in my life. Katrina was the first really BIG Mess and there are always little ones that need attention. That is true in all our lives, well, unless we have someone to clean them up for us I guess. Not me, I prefer to do my own cleaning. Washing, dusting, and mopping is simply a necessary aspect of being a Potter/Sculptor. On a regular basis, I clean, but I also stop and ponder IF there is metaphorical dust building up in the chambers of my heart. It can appear at first as a resentment or a little unforgiveness that I have not addressed. It can build into something monsterous if I do not pay close attention and find a way to release it.
For this reason, I always take the time, every single day, to find a quiet place in our garden to sit or even to stand. Often, I do both.While in the lovely garden that we have created, I take the time to ponder and reflect. We can often become so busy in our hustle and bustle world that we forget the immense value of just sitting quietly. We do not always have to be DOING something. Perhaps, the constant doing feels like a necessity. Perhaps it is also a way that we allow ourselves to be distracted from our true feelings. At times, Life can feel a bit overwhelming.
In our little garden, there are many preciousTeachers. Sometimes they appear in the form of Lizards, or Spiders, or Praying Mantis, or Butterflies that flutter by. I stumbled upon an empty COCOON recently, and was bewildered when I to sat down and examined it closely. As I did this, I remembered how I had first seen it during the winter when it was blowing in the wind. Remember that song that says: "the answer my Friend is blowing in the wind, the answer is blowing in the wind" ? During the winter months when I first saw the cocoon, there was something magical going on inside, but I could not SEE it. Still, I trusted that a metamorphorosis was happening. In spite of EVERYTHING that I have ever been thru on this journey, I am learning to Trust Life more and more. Is this easy? Not really. Is it essential to keeping my heart free of DUST and heavy burdens? Absolutely.
Just as this Butterfly or Moth emerged from the cocoon to fly out into the world, we can also fly. IF we dust ourselves off, are willing to release our burdens, keep our hearts light, create empty space so that our wings can grow, then, eventually our hearts take flight. Truthfully,it is an ongoing process. We are the Ones that create the limitations in our lives. Unforgiveness is a limitation. Anger is a limitation. There are many ways to accumulate limitations. Hatred and blame are also limitations.There are also tangible ways to be light and FREE. When I sit still, breathe, stare into space, I find my Mind getting quieter and more peaceful. At first it is like an unruly child, but eventually it quiets down. It is a practice that I do often. During those times, the dust is shaken off. I would encourage You to go out and find a quiet space to just sit. Perhaps look at a LEAF and observe the veins in it. Or, find a flower and really SEE it. Look at it as though You might not live to see tomorrow. Truth is, we are not promised tomorrow, but we do have this moment NOW. May we make the most of it.
If there is something weighing on your heart or your mind, find a way to release it. Playing and creating in clay has helped me. Tending to the many plants, flowers and trees in our garden has helped me as well. We only make ourselves sick when we continually carry the weight of the world on our shoulders. I have found that I can work to control my own responses to various things that happen. I work to create a more beautiful world in my own simple way. When I create a Piece in clay, write a message or story on the back of the piece, I do that because it is my offering of LOVE to the world. When I create, I feel FREE. You can be Free too. We can all be FREE by releasing the things that do not serve us anymore. I am FREE in my body, in my heart, in my mind. Perhaps we can explore ways to create a more beautiful world, and in the process, learn to FLY beyond limited thinking or limited feelings.