It’s been a hectic time of year, but I am approaching the end of my first semester at Pratt. I must admit that there have been some stressful times, and as I write this I cannot help but realize that I have one last paper to complete by Wednesday…
My husband Adam has been an amazing emotional support throughout this first semester…hopping on the roller coaster ride of emotions that has marked these last few months. However, I can safely say that there has never been a dull moment. And that’s the thing about going into the field of Art Therapy. It might be intense and overwhelming at times, but each day brings a completely new set of experiences, challenges, and realizations.
On another note, thank god that Adam is such a cook – he has been nourishing my stomach as well as my brain with his amazing feats in the kitchen! As I write, he is serving up a slow-cooked pot roast, complete with carrots, potatoes, onions, and an Israeli couscous mix to boot. The dinner bell is ringing in the background as I type, and off I go!
It really does…
I am already nearing the end of my first semester in graduate school and lately everything has been very surreal to say the least. My internship is becoming more intense by the day, and with the end of the semester we are all juggling multiple papers and projects in the midst of Thanksgiving and the other upcoming holidays.
Like the figure in my painting to the left, I do feel in limbo at the moment…floating between the conflicting feelings of wanting to hibernate (following the natural slower rhythms of Winter) and feeling the need to speed up and accomplish more each day.
Each day I am trying to remind myself to take a deep breath and break things down into simpler parts. Since time will pass no matter what, I want to try and enjoy each moment that arises and worry less about the moments to come.
“From around the age of six, I had the habit of sketching from life. I became an artist, and from fifty on began producing works that won some reputation, but nothing I did before the age of seventy was worthy of attention. At seventy-three, I began to grasp the structures of birds and beasts, insects and fish, and of the way plants grow. If I go on trying, I will surely understand them still better by the time I am eighty-six, so that by ninety I will have penetrated to their essential nature. At one hundred, I may well have a positively divine understanding of them, while at one hundred and thirty, forty, or more I will have reached the stage where every dot and every stroke I paint will be alive. May Heaven, that grants long life, give me a chance to prove that this is no lie.”
Quotation by Hokusai Katsushika (1780-1849)
Image above : The Great Wave Off Kanagawa, by Hokusai
That’s right…I have a slight driving phobia. (Alright, more than slight).There is no rhyme or reason to this. I’ve never been in a fender bender or experienced something traumatic while behind the wheel. I’m pretty comfortable driving as long as I’ve got a passenger to keep me company but when I’m alone in the car it becomes a completely different thing. My friends and family all know that my sense of direction never seems to have fully developed. Perhaps I’m always too distracted by the scenery when I’m driving to absorb fully where I’m going (that was my driving ed teacher’s opinion when I was younger) She said, “Sara. I’ve never been so aware of all the beautiful things outside- the cloud formations, the birds in the trees, or the interesting people on the sidewalks….but keep your eyes ON THE ROAD when you drive!” Hmmm…..she had a point.
Just now I had to move the car from (gasp) one side of the street to the other because tomorrow is street cleaning day. I’m sure it’s comical to everyone reading this – but it caused me serious anxiety getting into that car! I’m happy to report that I found a prime parking spot and my car is happily occupying it’s new space. Now I can breathe a sigh of relief and give myself a pat on the back! Perhaps some day I will learn that I’m really not such a bad driver – just lacking in the driving self-esteem department.
I cannot help but notice the irony: driving can cause me so much anxiety, and yet throwing myself out of a plane a few thousand feet above the earth, I did without a second thought.
I don’t pretend to understand certain parts of myself – but it keeps life entertaining for sure!
Adam is in San Franscico on business and I miss him. At the same time I am excited for some time to be by myself (and of course with some friends). The studio beckons (and the furballs compete for attention!) Today I took 2 long walks…and I focused on my breathing. Despite the crazy drivers in Queens (or anywhere really in NYC) I was able to take many deep breaths and look up. What is up in such an urban area? Up is where the tree branches rustle and sway in the mild Spring breeze…the rhythm of nature was soon interrupted by the harsh voice of a young mother with 3 children (and one on the way) arguing with a local min-mart owner. Hmmm…..breathe some more….Now it is nighttime and I float back and forth between the computer and the studio as I wait for paintings to dry. What a wonderful world!
by Jim Dine
“Putney Winter Heart #8”