Continuity is a…Circle

Throughout August, the title line haunted me. Too many people around me (not everyone, a generalization best left outside this writing), were talking about continuity. How to start it, how to keep it, what made it possible.

Throughout their conversations, I started to see this written line: “Continuity is…” I had assumed, when I first started hearing these conversations, that continuity would be linear. A continuous line moving everything (people, situations, society, companies, etc.) forward. And I realized, as I listened more and more, that all these conversations brought me back to each other, and eventually brought themselves back to a similar starting point. As much as everyone wished continuity would move forward, in a sharp and straight line, continuity is a…circle.

Whether it is about the repetition of continuity or the tweaking of a behavior to strengthen a continuous process, the circle is what makes continuity, well, continuity. It can be a small circle, involving just one person or one situation. It can be a much bigger and broader circle, involving communities, heritages, the world. It can be an intermingling of circles, each adding context to the overall scenario (whether to create tension and conflict, or add insight and clarity).

Continuity is the circle of our own lives. And just as circles don’t have true beginnings and ends, so do our lives. Our experiences and conversations and memories ensure that the circles of others, their lives, are also part of our continuous circle. And after generations of history, whether personal or societal, these circles are now huge.

What is the point of all this? Well, first I had to get that sentence out of my head. It begged to be shared…not as an explanation, but as a statement. It also started me – no, correction: brought me back – into my own circle.

The point is that as much as we try to change, to become something else or someone else, we always snap back into our own circle – who we truly are. There is nothing wrong with change – yet the word itself signifies and implies that something was thoroughly wrong to begin with.

Look at yourself in the mirror today and ask: “Am I really, really, all that bad that I must change everything about me?”

I hope that what you come away with is something like this (replace with your own words where you see fit):

“I am a stubborn, short woman, who insists on sprinting out of the gate without hesitation, knowing full well that I will die out within 1 minute. I am stern and unapproachable 95% of the time, with the frowns and grunts to prove it. But show me that you love life, that you love learning, that you are willing to try anything, and that 5% of me that is giddy, jolly, and happy, will sprinkle you with a love so strong that it will literally topple you over – mainly out of shock, but also because there is so much power in my actions. I am a creative, in any shape or form – put me in a situation where I am merely doing the status quo and I will go stir crazy. Yet enable me to be creative with people, or a business situation, or a societal problem, and I go full steam ahead.”

I can’t change being short (unless I wear heels all the time, and while pretty, it gets painful after a while). I know the drawbacks of sprinting, especially when life takes an average of 70 years to play out. But I love it. My body doesn’t know any other speed. And even when I’ve trained myself to run 6 miles, I had to do it fast. I’ve tried to be a happy and smiling person for that 95% of the time and just found it exhausting. I’ve tried to be in jobs that were mainly about repetition and no thinking – and I have sprinted out of there (and told my husband that I had quit, after the fact – you did read that I sprint, right?)

The circle of our own lives is beautiful. The point of this long statement is this:

“When we acknowledge our inner circle, our continuous patterns and realities, we finally enable our circle to get bigger.”

My body and mind will always sprint (isn’t being stubborn sprinting into a position?) – yet I now know what to sprint towards: CREATIVITY – not just as an art but as a lifestyle, helping shape it, learn about it, and enact it.

The question is: If continuity is a circle, how big do you want to make yours?


Facing fear…

Falling, tripping, however she gets there, she's walking!

I’m not quite sure how to start this one. (Hint – I’ve wavered between calling this post “It’s all about the hair.” That should demonstrate how broad or scary this topic is to me.)

After a quiet spell, a spell away from my art, away from parts of myself that make me me, I am making time during the weekends to reconnect. I am taking some art classes, setting time aside for drawing and painting, creating a big space for big projects. And all of it is scary.

On Sundays, when I officially become a golf widow, I find myself doing a trapeze act: attempting to find myself in the solace of my home, frozen between wanting to soar with high expectations and looking downwards towards a gloomy day. This past Sunday, alongside the gray rainy day, the frozen winds, the lack of warmth and sun, I found myself falling. I didn’t want to; I repeatedly heard my brain yelling at me to get up, to get out, to do. And yet getting out, for shopping or whatever, just felt more like a soundless reaction – how could the spending of money or the waste of gas actually accomplish a desire for life and passion.

I found myself sharing the bed with my cat, cuddling up to the only spot in the house that held a sun ray. We napped together, as I saw the inconsistent rays of sun penetrate my closed eye lids and I allowed myself to dream of summer and warm waters. I napped for a bit…and then I woke. The sun had passed, the cold wind began to holler, and I raised from the bed.

And then…I felt my hair. It had been damp when I had laid down.  In the warmth of the sun, during those sparse minutes, my hair had dried. It had dried beautifully. It was full, curly, light, alive, daring me to be.

I found myself smiling, loving this one physical aspect of me, an aspect that I have known to always be a true part of me, and a part of the physical body that I love to draw. I felt lighter, bouncier, curlier, daring, alive. And it was all because of a nap and a fortunate timing of heat and sun and humidity.

Whatever the reason, I walked to the desk, pulled out a worked on canvas, and began.

Before my nap, I had timidly looked at this canvas, and what I had drawn. I had been afraid. Afraid because I was  going in a new direction. Afraid because I lacked skill, technique, passion, artistic thoughts. Afraid because I had no idea where to go from here. Afraid because even without knowing where I was going, I knew that I had to go, and that in itself was scary enough. I was afraid because I was afraid.

But after seeing my beautiful hair, those daring light curls, all out of order and yet so young and light, I put all that fear aside and began a new canvas. This would be all new to me. I would sketch on the canvas itself, I would paint around whatever I sketched. I had no concept of what to draw or what color scheme to use. But I drew.

The first sketch sucked. Big time. So I had to face that fear. I pulled back, regrouped, looked through magazines, erased the first sketch and tried again. Happy this time. I began to get a vague idea of where to go with this canvas. And I went. And it sucked too. So I let paint dry, thinking, not letting fear dare me to go back to sleep. I thought and experimented. It still sucked. But I kept trying.

Even in the cold and humid day, the paint dried rather quickly. Yet I still had  time to try, to push around colors, to fix my messes. At the end of the day, I found myself in a new artistic location. Still don’t know where I’m going to end up, still afraid of lacking skills, still afraid of lacking passion. But I’m still trying.