Monday, November 11, 2013

Beauty heals

It doesn't take anything large or costly to set my child/geek/fanatic/dreamer heart singing, my cloud-watching mind racing.  A strip of washi tape can do it.  Or a carved rubber stamp, a nicely-shaped mailing label, simple watercolor illustrations for a children's book, flowered china, Japanese paper crafts, and the people who write about all of them.
These are from the Bengt+Lotta Washi Tape Collection for Wishy Washi.  And that's just on the first page.

My mind has an ancient habit of dragging out the Scrapbooks of Shame and Disaster, pointing to this photo or that, then clucking and shaking its head in disappointment.  It paints primitive but recognizable murals of potential bad outcomes down the road or suggests various unpleasant scenarios.  I have caught on to its tricks and have begun to take evasive action.  This require vigilance, probably more energy than I would prefer to spend, but learning any new skill is a process.

What is most helpful in pulling me away from worry, unwelcome thoughts or fear is beauty.  Modern medical science can carry us just so far.  Then we need to call upon our own resources.  As mobility issues keep me from having the access to nature I once did, I've developed other avenues.   As I am falling asleep at night and old demons try to slip through the closing door in their stocking feet, I recall something uplifting I've seen during the day.  This may be a trick the rest of you have been practicing for years but it is new to me.  Or I think of what images I will develop in my next art project, of what medium I will use, of how I will begin.  So much more productive to think about not having sketch lines show through a watercolor than wondering about paying the bills in January.

Once I began writing episodic fiction, I could wait for the characters' voices to let me know what will happen next, a far more engaging prospect to muse than what a friend calls "awfulizing," at which my mind had become so adept.

Today I found through the joy-filled activity of hopping from art blog to art blog new-to-me artists such as Kim Parker and her lavish floral household goods and color-filled books.  I became reacquainted with illustrator Lisbeth Zwerger.  Her illustrations for THE WIZARD OF OZ reshape the classic.
Among the poppies by Lisbeth Zwerger.
We have, as I have been told by much wiser souls for decades, more of our experiences of the world in our hands (or head) than we allow ourselves to know.  There was a time, perhaps 20 years ago, when I described myself as Eeyore on Prozac.  I prefer to be the Woman Who Talks to Imaginary Friends or A Flower Fool Who Traded Angst for Beauty.  This is what I have for today, this is what I can invent for myself as an antidote for all that is too ghastly to contemplate and which, the great blessing, is not here.  The past is back there somewhere, the future is the same unknown quantity it has always been.  Beauty makes me less fearful, stills human churnings, gives me hope.  That and the simplicity of love, which we can talk about another day.


susan t. landry said...

i read this yesterday but then got distracted because i had to go look up lisbeth zwenger. in any case, what your lovely post made me realize was this:
that the maturation process might ultimately be all about Trading Angst for Beauty, so that by the time we reach our 80s and 90s, we are able to see the approach of the ending as a thing of beauty, too.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Susan - And what better purpose for maturing? I have believed for some time that we are softened over the years, intentionally, so that we learn to bend and not snap, unless snapping is too familiar and we are unwilling to give it up, no matter how insistent the lessons. Your wise expansion on Trading Angst for Beauty makes perfect sense. We are, in spite of ourselves, helped toward peace at every turn. Thank you. xo