Spring has sprung at Chez Bogard. This time of year, thanks to the family who built this place and lived here for over 50 years before us, our little chunk of land is like a parkland with all sorts of spring time bulbs that come up and trees that flower in really majestic ways. It’s breathtaking to behold really. I sometimes just like to sit and watch it all when time allows.
There is a sweet duck couple, mallards, whom I believe are the same couple that come back every year, who are nesting somewhere near the back creek in the woods. They can often be seen trodding across our lawn on route from front creek to back creek. I never seem to have my camera handy when they do this…. at some point I’d love to catch them on video. Absolutely adorable!
With my new job at the concertina shop and my teaching schedule about to ramp up again, I am a busy gal. In recent weeks I have not had near enough time alone to do the type of thinking and dreaming that seems to take longer and quieter than normal brain activity. I’m feeling a bit anxious and fragmented. Maybe it’s wisdom that comes with aging, but I am not panicking at the arrival of this inner turmoil like I might normally. I know that I have a lot on my plate. And a lot going for me. Starting with Taos, (um, we leave in 5 weeks!!!!!!!!) this summer’s travel season is shaping up to be the stuff of big art dreams (at least my type of gypsy girl dreaming). We are currently crunching numbers to figure out if I can accompany Jack over to Ireland for the All-Ireland Fleadh. For one thing, as a parent, I am not sure I want to send my 16 year old on a solo trip overseas, though we know people in our Irish music community who would keep half an eye on him…. The other side of this coin is that I really want to go. Ireland is next on my list of places I would like to take students to capture their experiences within the confines of a sketchbook. I’ve been saying this for a couple of years now and here we are with the opportunity for a structured reason to go. The only hesitation really is money.
I am perpetually breaking even in my personal, art-related finances. Going on this trip would put my little art account into the red for sure and affect the family finances to a certain extent. The guilt over this notion sits heavy in my gut and I am wrestling with some big questions in my head and heart that go beyond just this trip to Ireland.
What dreams are we to go for in this life? When do we say yes to something that might be slightly above and beyond our boundaries? Whether the boundaries we are pushing are those of fear or finances, it’s a tricky balance to know when to go for it and when to lay low and wait for another opportunity. I find myself grappling with the “who are you to…” questions. You know the ones: “Who are you to travel for what amounts to ALL summer long?” “Who are you to think you can put together a travel sketch trip to Ireland?” (this is a biggie, as I would go this one alone, outside of the institutional assistance of the Art Academy, with full responsibility for planning, marketing, liability, etc. – this terrifies me.) “Who are you to think that anyone would even sign up?!”
I know all of these questions are based in deep seeded fears that are my life’s work to grapple with. One of my favorite quotes is from Marianne Williamson:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
For some reason, this trip to Ireland, mostly to chaperone my talented fiddle player but also to re-con my own potential future sketch venture, is dredging up all kinds of big life questions. Travel, even the mere mention of it, does this for me. And it’s good exercise I think. I need to swing my inner pendulum toward more magical thinking. It’s so interesting to me that I can imagine the biggest and the best dream-life situations, only to a moment later, self-sabbotage into reasons why I don’t deserve my imagined goals. In dreaming big, I can see my work life consisting of continued sketch-book work with students, maybe publishing a book of some kind (a how-to book? a memoir? a kid’s book?), all the while maintaining control over my time and making a decent living. I am not sure how this is to play out. I just show up every day and write a bit. Draw a bit. Dream a bit.
I’ll know in the next week or so what the plans are for Ireland. It really does come down to the numbers and how we want to arrange them. In the meantime, I will continue to nurture the magical thinking that seems to plop these decisions in my lap to even consider in the first place. Ideally, like the pink spectacle on our little acre, my dreams will bloom in ways I couldn’t have imagined.
What does your magical thinking look like? What dreams do you have that seem, for now, unattainable? How can we make them bloom?