Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The Winter Ivy on the Red Barn- Altered Photography by Tracey Grumbach

About this image:  A different view of one of my favorite barns, Duncan Road Barn. I took this image the same day as I took this one, intrigued by the barren ivy that climbs the beautiful red barn wood.

Last year I set a goal for myself to read 20 books. For some reason I had a horrible time achieving that...it seemed like as soon as I got half way through a book I lost interest and started something else.  It's not that the books were bad. If that were the case I would have just stopped reading it and moved on.  But instead, I just lost my focus and interest with no fault to the book. This year I have decided to pick up the books I left abandoned and try and finish them. I hate unfinished things. I am not a fan of loose ends, so wrapping up these books and adding them to my finished pile will feel good.

One of the books I left behind last year was my signed copy of Never Broken-Songs Are Only Half the Story by Jewel. I really admire Jewel as a person and an artist, so I really wanted to finish her memoir. I also watch Alaska, the Last Frontier on television. It is a reality show about her family, the Kilchers,  that still live and homestead in Alaska. This season Jewel came back to the homestead with her son, Kase, so it encouraged me even more to pick up the book again. A few pages into reading the book this year, I came across this quote and it struck me, so I thought I would share it with you...

From Never Broken-Songs Are Only Half the Story- by Jewel

I wrote feverishly, spending two weeks in silence.  I cannot overstate the importance of silence to young artists, or to anyone seeking a creative voice.  It takes great influences to find your way to unique self-expression.  You must stand on the shoulders of artists who have gone before you.  Read great works.  See great arts.  Listen to great voices.  This sets a bar for your spirit and psyche to work toward.  Then you must dive inward into silence.  Stand on the rippling edges of the expansive universe within your own being and create from there.  Don't compare yourself with what's popular.  Doing so is like one child comparing himself with another.  Greatness is never achieved by trying to imitate the greatness of another.  Greatness is chipping away at all that does not belong to you and then expressing yourself so truly that others can't help but recognize it. It is in silence that we discover ourselves.  The silence and the unknown can be frightening, but with time it stops feeling like there is nothing there.  The darkness and silence will begin to feel like a void in a positive sense--the womb of creation.  It is the magical nothing that something is birthed from.  Feed yourself a diet of great work, and then go away by yourself and listen alone to your soul speak to you. Silence will be your greatest teacher.

As an artist and person I can really connect to her words. Silence and quiet time is a must for me now. It didn't used to be before I was sick, but it is now. Habit, my word for 2017, is helping me carve that quiet time that I crave and need. Yoga each morning before the kids awake, guided meditation in my sauna, reading time and journaling have all been priceless to me in the first 10 days of this year. I'm so thrilled with my choices this year and excited at the prospect of the inner peace it is bringing me.

I hope you all have a very zen sort of day.


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