There’s an odd magic happening with the Reverb prompts I’m using. Checking five different lists, one not even from this year, you’d think it would be a random collection of things, but it’s not. As I work my way through, they weave together, connect and support each other, giving a universal answer, telling a single story about the year I’m leaving behind and the one I’m entering into. They reveal things to me I hadn’t considered or seen, give me the space and opportunity to reflect and contemplate. Magic.
The full prompt is: “When were you most scared? Why? How did you respond? How do you wish you would have responded?” (Author: Mary Churchill).
Two things come immediately to mind: Dexter’s “bloody scare” and the World Domination Summit prefunction of sorts party at Kelly Rae Roberts’s Studio, (I talked about that second one just the other day).
Before Dexter was diagnosed with cancer, we took him in to have a nasal scope, to rule out something stuck in his nose that might be causing his symptoms, and for a biopsy if they didn’t find a foreign object. It’s always stressful having your dog put under anesthesia, and it’s even more nerve wracking to know that the procedure might find cancer. It ended up being even worse then that, because when they tried to wake Dexter up after, he started hemorrhaging profusely from the biopsy sites (multiple tiny tissue samples that shouldn’t have caused such a bad reaction, but did), and the only way they could stop the bleeding was to sedate him again.
When we went to pick him up later in the day, they wouldn’t let us take him home, and suggested it was probably best if we didn’t try to see him, (we agreed, getting him excited and then leaving him again wouldn’t have helped). We had to leave him with the emergency vet overnight, and when we left him, they weren’t sure what was going to happen, which meant I didn’t know if I’d ever see him again. It was one of the worst nights of my life, and I was so scared I could hardly sleep, couldn’t eat, had to force myself to drink anything, felt sick with worry and panic. Things worked out okay (other than the fatal cancer diagnosis), and we now refer to it as “The Bloody Scare.”
P.S. I forgot to answer the last part of the prompt! I reacted by loving Dexter something fierce when he came home, accepting his cancer diagnosis with grace, so happy to have him back, to see him again after not knowing if I would, that instead of resisting his loss, I opened myself completely to it, grateful for whatever time we would have left together.
The full prompt is: “What places anchored you this year? Or were you in search of new places and spaces to call your own and call home? Describe the place you love and why it means so much to you.”
Waldport, Oregon. Half my heart lives there. Every other year, we try to plan a month long vacation there, and the rest of the time, I dream about it, miss it. I’m not sure I could ever again live year round with the gray sky and rain of the Pacific Northwest, but it still is home to me. I love everything about it (in my dreams it is always summer)–walking and walking, hiking, looking for shells and agates, gazing at the sky and listening to the waves, eating good food, taking long naps, renting movies at Waldport Video, being at ease, laughing, spending lazy afternoons reading books or listening to the radio. My heart breaks a little when we have to leave it, but I also love my little house in Colorado, my bed, my studio space, my garden, my routine here and my friends.
The full prompt is: “Did you discover a favourite song or musical artist in 2012? What is it? Where did you discover it? Does it hold any special meaning for you? If you do not listen to music, how about your favourite book or author? Or artist across all mediums?”
My favorite new artist is Yuna. Her voice, style, lyrics, sound all are so spot on perfectly lovely. I wrote all about her when I first discovered her, and shared this video.
The full prompt is: “How have your standards of beauty shifted in the past year?”
The shift has been from perfection to wabi-sabi. In our culture, if you are a woman, perfection of body means straight and white teeth, skin that is slightly tan but has no wrinkles or blemishes or scars, all over tone, no cellulite, big boobs and small waist, young and fit, blah, blah, blah. Our homes are supposed to look a certain way, our families and children, our relationships and our work, our lives are suppose to look a certain way. We can never measure up to that standard, so in the last year, little by little, I’ve let it go.
I’ve surrendered to the brilliant mess. Things broken and dirty, old and dying, loved and worn, alive and full of joy, imperfect and impermanent. When I talk about beauty, I mean something more like the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi, which is all about accepting transience, and about knowing what is beautiful is imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. Something is wabi-sabi if “an object or expression can bring about, within us, a sense of serene melancholy and a spiritual longing” and this view “nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect,” (Wikipedia entry on wabi-sabi).
The full prompt is: “How are you going to celebrate your self this festive season?”
I’m going to honor myself. Ask myself what I want, what I need, what I’m craving, what I’m truly hungry for, what I want to stop doing, what I want to let go of. I am going to ask, really listen, respond. I am going to do what the brilliantly compassionate Sunni Chapman suggested on Facebook today, listen to my heart and be truly, madly, deeply alive:
In the quiet of your heart, lies every answer. Take it up with her first. Mind will always offer a second opinion. Thank it for it’s opinion, and go back to the truth that moves you. If it doesn’t move you, it’s not alive… and all you’ve ever wanted to be was truly, madly, deeply ALIVE.