222!

tree-of-life-2
Tree of Life II
2.22.17

14″ goat hide hand drum on wood frame
w/ mallet
$250

Just a few tiny differences really transformed it, I think. I did forget that I meant to make a shape out of the middle branches – oops! – but I love it.

222This is my FIVE YEAR Blogiversary, and I have to say it’s pretty revealing to record one’s thoughts on the same day each year. February must be shitty for me, because I’ve been down more often than not on this day. I’m currently in a big Fibro flare, which doesn’t help.

Nothing suits me better than a trip to Texas to see my best friend! (I am anxious about the flight. Travel isn’t the same since Fibro. Those seats can trigger or worsen a flare, to plague me for months. Luckily, I plan to do little more than sit and laugh. And stretch a little, I suppose.) I leave in the morning for a week, to do nothing at all but be with the family that’s more family than my own.

222 is still my favorite number; truly a magical triple digit for me. So 2.22 remains a beloved day, and I love February because something about leaving January makes me feel like it’s Spring already. I’ll snap out of winter blues soon, I’m sure, so today I recommit to getting up. I trust enthusiasm to infect me again. I am who I am.
blogiversary

Tree of Life

For my 10th drum, I decided to move on to an idea that’s been brewing for awhile. I’m so pleased with how it turned out! I can’t wait to explore this series.tree-of-life
14″ goat hide drum on wood frame, with mallet
$275
(The tone is INCREDIBLE!)
1.30.17

My final mandala left me uninspired. I like it fine, but the outside ring looks muddy from a distance. Still learning about color, I suppose. And it’s lovely. It just doesn’t have the vibrancy, somehow, that I enjoy in the others from across the room. I do love the impact of the blue triangle, but wish for brightness and purity of color elsewhere.

[UPDATE: Apr. 10, 2017 After seeing this drum from a distance outside at a drum circle, I love that outer ring precisely for its ability to blend with the rest of the mandala. 🙂 ]
9
10″ drum on wood frame with rawhide lacing, plus mallet
$180
1.25.17

SOLD! (in half an hour!)

Since I started making drums, my cousin has been talking about buying one. Yesterday, I posted my most recent and she messaged on the spot, “That’s my drum!”

It was really interesting, because I had only that moment got a sense of the drum’s energy, and added that thought to the description of my experience with it. The moment I saved the edit, she messaged. I think it was her energy I felt! I really do. It was thrilling.
moon-drum
13″ on wood frame, w/ mallet
$200 (family discount price $100)
(You could talk me down, too. Order yours today!)
1.11.17

This is my first departure from the original sun/ sunflower center (sort of), and I’m really happy with it. I struggled deciding what colors to tenatively map out. Usually, I can picture how each color option will look on each round, how it will “speak” to what came before it, and how it dictates what remains. I could not get a picture in my head! This is no small thing. I was in fits and couldn’t proceed for over a week. Ultimately, this one ended up completely surprising me, and it was so exciting!

I also didn’t “trance out” as much with this drum. What’s happened with others is a mindless escape that I don’t notice until … well, until I notice it, I guess, and then that drum has its signature somehow. Their personalities really come out of absent imagination. This drum was exciting in a very cerebral way. I concentrated and stressed quite a bit, but I feel more proud, almost. I have that satisfied sense of hard work paying off.

There is a feeling to it. Except for that spectacular lavender burst, it has a softness. Mostly, I just think it’s beautiful.

SOLD!!! To my cousin JoAnna!
I KNEW this drum felt gentle! It suits her.

drum corner.jpg

I love this little corner!

I was going to clean the house yesterday and run some errands. Instead, I decided to eat marijuana and have a day of ceremony and dancing with my cousin’s drum. Oh man, I had some visions! Or I was stoned. Whatever. Powerful, wonderful, hilarious, joyful day.

(P.S I didn’t “trance out” with this drum because I didn’t eat funny brownies making her, haha! I haven’t quite recovered from that deathly flu – A MONTH AGO, grrr – and felt lousy. Didn’t want to waste good communion on a body with no strength or energy. I didn’t mention that on that description above, because I post those on Facebook and my sweet Mormon mother sees me there. She knows, but, you know. )

(Btw, the flu triggered a son-of-a-bitch of a Fibro flare. Like, one of the worst that just will not relent. I have no time for it, because I’m rehearsing a show and I don’t pace myself there. OWWWW! Marijuana helps, a lot, but I can’t walk around talking about Spirit all the time. People think I’m crazy enough with a filter!)

Two More Drums

Marko has encouraged me to tell the story of each drum. I try to stuff them full of prayerful intent, and keep my thoughts focused on joy and harmony. What I’ve found, however, is that the mind wanders, and all of my buried bits come out to play. Since November, I’ve struggled with anger, hopelessness, and hostility. Injuries from child- to adulthood come to the fore and haunt me. I catch myself hashing out all my hurts. (I also got a hideous flu. My boyfriend and I fought over who took worse care of whom. Everything hurt, even my feelings.)

At first, I avoided painting, not wanting to taint the drum’s energy with mine, but I decided it could be a safe place to confront my shadow self and talk honestly with it. I felt raw and authentic and brave. I ended up forgiving quite a bit of myself, accepting my weak parts, and feeling a tremendous amount of peace and accomplishment. When that happened, I was flooded with warm, gooey thoughts and emotions, and LOVE for [almost] everyone!  It worked!

In the end, I grew to love this drum for the confrontation and healing it brought. I think it’s courageous and strong, and beautiful! And it seems poetic that I finished it on the last day of the year. 2016 has been a punch in the face. I feel challenged to look directly at my flaws and fears, then move forward with enthusiasm and optimism (and an eagle eye!). drum-7
12″ hand drum on wood frame
(with rawhide lacing) plus mallet
$200
Dec. 31, 2016

(Before it was painted, this drum sang through 4 powerful sessions of a women’s sweat lodge on Nov. 26. Our focus was on blessing the water and the warriors at Standing Rock, but we cried and prayed for world leaders to care for the planet, in general, and counter the damage our President-elect might do.)

(This particular wood frame was thin and flexible, and the drum dried into a wonky, oblong shape, which seems very fitting for 2016. )

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drum-6
12″ hand drum on wood frame
(with rawhide lacing) plus mallet
$200
Dec. 21, 2016

After a couple of minutes painting, I pictured myself drumming with a friend who runs a “sound bath,” when this drum introduced itself. I started giggling. This drum makes my belly tickle! I think it shows, with her bright flower center and vibrant colors. She looks like Happy. In my mind, I watched the person receiving the sound bath start to smile, then blush, and try to stifle a laugh. With energy work, we often take ourselves very seriously, but the man got the giggles! And so did I. I laughed out loud painting this drum. I love its playful energy. This drum is for dancing!

[SOLD! In February or March 2017, to an artist friend of Marko’s. In fact, I was going to ask him to give it back, to keep as one of my own. I’m thrilled that she sings to someone else who loves her. I can make another. 😉 ]

SOLD!

I had hoped to take a better picture of my latest drum but, alas, it SOLD!!!drum-5
Marko sold it wholesale to a shop-owner who just had to have it for his wife. $120! We split it down the middle. I think that comes out to about $10 an hour, haha!

BEST JOB EVER!

Sweat Lodge

I was so gratified to meet the woman I wrote about last week. I had failed at Thanksgiving not to respond to the hate-mongering chatter that accompanies every family gathering, and I felt it: Failure.

Meeting hostility with anger is useless and stupid, but what the hell am I supposed to do? I asked politely. I teased. I asked again. I got mad.

This woman explained the difference between suffering in complicit silence, and going within to meet hatred with love. I’ve been trying for 15 minutes to capture the epiphany I had in a 2-minute conversation, but it was almost funny how simple it seemed.

Of course, the practice of it will be a different story, marked by many failings, to be sure, but it moved from theoretical and seemingly-impossible to entirely practical and doable. There’s a huge difference between angrily holding one’s tongue, and actively holding a space of “non-duality,” she called it. The silence of love is not the silence of restraint. That’s a game-changer for me!

I talk about energy all the time. Everyone knows what it is to walk in a room and feel it. The silence she described isn’t passive at all. It’s energized! It’s silly now that it seemed such a unattainable concept, when, really, it’s a straight-forward product of choice and action. It can’t be mistaken for tacit approval.

Suddenly, my need to act as standard bearer seemed silly, too. It’s not as if my family doesn’t know me. If any of my nieces or nephews is different, in any way, they know there’s a safe place for them. I don’t need to do that anymore.

I’m ready to graduate!

It does hurt that I don’t matter in my family. At best, I’m a joke. My point of view is the minority, so it’s dismissed. No one cares that that hurts me. They know. They continue.

And I’m strong enough.

“I will love, even here. How can I love, even here?” I trust Spirit to answer, if I truly commit to trying a new way, and I’m ready.

(Whoa! I just got really scared again!)

I AM READY.
non-duality

****

I brought a new, blank drum inside the lodge, which was borrowed by a leader and praised by her for its tone. That felt great! It was plenty soggy and bleak-sounding by the end of 4 long rounds, but bounced right back in the cold night air.

[I also made a killer leftover-turkey casserole for the pot luck following the lodge. It went like gangbusters! Jax is teaching me how to cook. We take Mormon comfort food – primarily based on Cream of Chicken Soup – and turn it out! This dish contained organic, home-grown tomato puree and chili powder. And cheese. Lots of cheese.]

My personal drum stayed out on the altar by the fire, to soak up and sing with our prayers and come home to bless me when I dance and meditate. So far, it’s attended a Love Rally and this prayer for Standing Rock, for water, the earth, and all of us. I love my drum!

Here’s my most recent. (So much detail is missing in this grainy shot!)drum-5
13″ on wood frame with mallet
$200
Nov. 23, 2016

I have a few more color incarnations to realize before I’m finished with this design, and more drums than I can paint right now (including 2 with rawhide lacing).

****

This was the first lodge that I didn’t really go into a trance-like state. Usually, when the heat starts to rise, I’m transported to the plains in a covered wagon. I don’t know that any of my ancestors came across in a covered wagon, but that imagery is powerful for Mormons, and it would be a no-brainer for my ancestors to get my attention in that way, to signal very clearly who it was I was feeling. The first time it happened was one of the most alarming and powerful visions I’ve ever experienced. I saw the faces of the Native people my ancestors would have encountered, and recognized that they were the brown-skinned ancestors of the the people I was praying with! Then, “Oh my god, they call the stones ‘The Ancestors.’ Our ancestors are here!” It was overwhelming.

I try not to expect repeat performances of my experiences. I try to be in the now, and learn what new thing is available from each event. But it was hard not to hope for that impression again when I went to my second lodge. And they came. Again and again and again. It was the same wagon journey into Spirit at every lodge, except this one.

Abigail, my favorite pioneer ancestor, did pop to mind in the 3rd round. I smiled. I love her. I thanked her for being with me since we “met” when I was ten, and then I had a thought of Sarah, who doesn’t come to me often. I don’t feel her strongly, but I have had a sense of her quiet, and it would make sense for me not to get it. What’s quiet? I truly don’t understand quiet. In fact, quiet people scare me. I think they hate me.

But Sarah did come to mind, and I had the thought to pray around her voice. “Please come as a signal for when it’s appropriate to act differently. Help me discern between the time to speak and the time to turn inward and LOVE, even here. Come in when it’s time for me to honor the place of neither right nor wrong, and just love, fiercely, quietly.”

I’m excited to see if I recognize her as I begin to practice non-duality. I think I might. I have recognized her energy. It’s harder, but she has a distinct feeling, and I’m excited to imagine I might a foster a relationship with her. Especially if it leads to healing. Especially for my mother’s family. Sarah is my mother’s family.

not-the-end

Not The End, by Julie Rogers, depicts my ancestor, Sarah Ann, on one of her 32 crossings of the icy North Platte River to carry Saints to safety.

Tell My Story gives a detailed account of this episode of the Martin Handcart Company’s ill-fated journey to Salt Lake City. I’m really proud of Sarah. Scroll down and enjoy!

I’m Glad I Watched, After All

And I’m glad I took a news-feed break the weekend before election night. I needed it.

If I had woken up to discover a Trump presidency, I would have been more confused than I am having watched it happen. I was resigned, if not resolved, by the time I went to bed.

There is no humor in me. Jax is trying to make jokes this morning. I want to kill him.

Instead, I’m going to marathon “Keeping Up With The Kardashians,” and disengage for as long as I can. It will settle in. The pain will subside. Only 4 years.

There will be no revolution. This was the revolution.

Only 4 years. Only 4 years.

The nice thing about middle-age is how quickly time passes.

Only 4 years.

I must be careful what thoughts and energy I put into the new drum I’m working. We need prayer and peaceful intention now more than ever. I’m hoping it will help to heal my broken heart, to focus on art and what these drums have come to represent for me. Drawing the mandala, especially, is meditation. Painting it feels like celebration.

Hopefully, by the time it’s ready to be painted I can feel joy again.

I’m so ashamed. I’m in shock. I hate my country.

I’VE NEVER FELT THAT IN MY LIFE.

trump

It breaks my heart. Absolutely rips my heart out and breaks it.