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Loving Advent

Christmas is coming
but Advent is here.
A time of waiting –

Not for gifts to open
but for our very selves.
Our hearts open slowly.

We must wait and wonder.
Something new will come
out of the darkness.

Let yourself sink
into the unknowing.
Bring a pillow, get comfortable.

Waiting in Advent
is like planting
bulbs for the spring.

-Pamela McCauley

Pam was one of the participants at our Awakening the Creative Spirit program last month and a longtime reader of this blog and poetry contributor.  I love her poem about the waiting of Advent — “Not for gifts to open /but for our very selves.”  What is the gift you are waiting for this season?  I don’t mean the new gadget or book, but the revelation about who you are at your very core.  What are the practices in your life that help you with that waiting, making it an attentive and expectant time? Knowing there is something brilliant and luminous deep within you already, if you only thought to begin looking. Knowing it will take time to blossom the way a flower begins as a tiny seed long before the grand unfolding of her petals.

Yesterday’s art-making exercise didn’t include any of my own photos.  It was a very full day, so I wanted to see what would happen if I gave myself only a half hour at most to create something, working very intuitively.  I don’t like it as much as Sunday’s art, but there is a freedom in being able to create small pieces in short periods of time just to keep the creative juices flowing.  Also, someone gave me one of these Elephant wood panels to use for collage and I like it much better than the canvas, because the canvas stretches in the middle.  So now I have to swing by the art store to pick up a few more to work with.

Art-making is a great practice to become intimate with the landscape of waiting. It gives me a way to tend to the images that are flowering in me. It becomes a container to hold my deepest longings.  It is a path to discovering the things I did not even know I loved or dreamed of.

Speaking of things I love, go visit Bette’s blog to see her latest woodblock carving — doesn’t it make you just want to grab a drum and head out under the night sky?

-Christine Valters Paintner @ Abbey of the Arts

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9 Responses

  1. Christine – great layers of images to sink my thoughts into. the black shapes remind me of loving arms reaching out around these images, or being the leaves embracing a new, emerging bud. thank you for linking your readers to my carved “Inspirit” image.

    Suz – thank you for your compliment on my carved drumming image! glad you can hear the heart beat and that it brought images of the Lakota to you. that’s neat.

  2. lucy, my invitation to come over and play is still open, whenever you find a couple of hours to breathe. Your soup sounds wonderful and it is DEFINITELY art-making! :-)

  3. oh, christine–i am spending a few moments catching up with you here. there is so much beauty and inspiration. it has been holy this morning to peruse your words and images. i am always amazed at how differently things look than we might ever have planned ourselves. in this case, i am speaking of art & how i hope to join you in creating during this time of advent.

    due to the flooding, life has looked quite different this week! yesterday, however, i took some time in my kitchen and created a lovely soup. i often use recipes at least as a base, but this time i just opened my fridge and cupboards and followed my instincts. what emerged was one of the most delicious & comforting vegetable soups i have ever tasted. it is definitely a unique creation, because i won’t ever have that combination of remnant veggies ever again. it was a bounty last night as i fed my family of four plus two more friends. i hesitate to call it art-making, but think i will anyway :-)

    thank you for your inspiration! xxoxoxox

  4. Cheryl, so good to see you here! And thanks for sharing what you see, I love hearing others impressions and your vision of a woman’s complexity.

    Suz, I like how you see “enough” in the hands. I did out this morning and buy several more wood boards!

  5. What a treat you have given us…

    Bette, this is my first time to your site and I love your woodblock. It calls forth images of living near the Lakota in South Dakota and well as making my own drum and attening drumming session. I really can hear the heartbeat (which is what is feels like to me). Thanks for such a beautiful image.

    Christine, I am very fond of the new “elephant wood” collage. What calls to me are the hands, saying, “It’s all ok…” Us, our lives and your half-hour art!

    Pam, you get me where it matters. I love the image of getting the pillow and getting comfortable…and planting our bulbs. In fact, I did both, not knowing what I was doing!
    Best of all, you are helped me realize that the whole point of the season was to open my heart. I read somewhere that you should choose something as a personal gift for the Holy One, such as trying to forgive someone who was hard to forgive. I liked that idea, as it also spoke to opening my heart.

    Thanks…what precious gifts from all of you!

  6. This image strikes a chord in me, Christine. What I see are two eyebrows and one eye (the swirl image) of a woman, as indicated by other images present. I think what emerges is wisdom, creativity, and beauty – all present in our womanhood. Beautiful!

  7. To me there is irony in making art. On the one hand you are unlocking a part of yourself you didn’t know existed. On the other, it takes you totally outside of yourself; you forget about the bills, the fights, the craving, whatever it may be. What a lovely paradox.