The first growth of the new light.
The days are stretching out, slowly, chicken step by chicken step, as they say in Czech.

10 years ago I woke up every day before the sun rose between Feb 1 and 21, a 21-day durational performance to honor Imbolc. I took the bus to various sites in the city, as the first rush of the morning swelled out in London Town. I moved with slow circular gestures in my multi-layered garb, counter tempo to the linear speeding of so many people into the work day.

I believe in marking seasonal shifts, no matter how busy we are. There is merit in taking an occasional pause to re-align ourselves with where we are in our lives, and in relationship with the seasons.
And so here begins a new cycle, again.

I have been living with my father and Doris the cat, next to the lake and close to the sea in Nova Scotia. The sky is sometimes so clear and bright in February, and I feel so vitally – the opening of new space. And some days the winter feels like such a damp and ancient cloak, and the body needs so much sleep. Yes, we are still between the older darkness and the new light. And, I am in a transition space in more than one way because in a few days I fly to London, where the air and light will be so different. As will be the rhythms. And I am so curious about the unfolding into early spring.

There have been shock waves over the last year, with family, with friends, in the greater culture. Illness and death, old relationships and old structures breaking apart. Life can be painful when things rupture or end. But, there is a positive aspect to change too, as old habits and old templates are challenged and fall away, new space opens where new landscapes can form.

In the last few years, I have felt I am at a kind of fulcrum point at midlife. A central pivot where the first half of my life is tipping and turning into the next. It is a new era. It is time to choose – what to invite, what to work for, what to foster, and what needs to die. Certainly it is a challenge to let go of aspects of an earlier self. But energy is precious and so is time. Choices need to be made. Energy needs to be freed up for new growth! So there is desire to edit the codes by which I live, and ask myself which gods do I serve. Brave New World.

I have been reading the journals of Frida Kahlo –
I have been drawn to a specific drawing of her body. A body where the second leg should be there, but instead there is only a spiral, an absence.
Her head is also missing, and where her head should be – a dove.
Her back is winged.

The detail and intensity of the lines evoke pain, but also a great presence, a life force, a desire for transformation —

She writes:

 
In my entire figure
There is only one, and I want
two.
For me to have two
they must cut one off
It is the one I don’t have the
one I have to have
to be able to walk
the other will be dead!
I have many,
wings.
Cut them off
and to hell with it!!
— The Diary of Frida Kahlo: An Intimate Self Portrait
 

I am reminded, again, of how the creative life surges under pressure. It is what fuels us to change and fight for what we believe in the most. It forms us. So I have been thinking about pressure. Does the pressure lead to collapse, or does it lead to the slow growth of a diamond? It must be, at least in part, about choice – how we choose to live and flow with what comes into our lives. And, there are things we can control and things that we cannot. This is the hard bit for me to accept. But so! there is also some relief in recognizing this – I am not required to solve and do everything by myself. Let Life come in and let her guide you, too. And so I recognise how the dance with our lives is about awareness and choices, and it is also about learning to give some things over to the gods. And I do intend to welcome the possibility of gods and love and poetry and dreams (!) even as I work hard to stay awake and take responsibility for my part in the myth making. And yes the things that are important are changing. Indeed – as the seasons keep changing.

I end this entry with one of my favourite ladies, a woman who transformed the blood of her specific darkness and suffering into the material for expression. She worked with dogged determination to paint and sculpt the rich complex dimensions of life, in all its deepest hues. Thank you Louise, for inspiring us towards living and conquering, striving and becoming! 

Skepticism is the beginning of decadence. It’s a form of abdication and bankruptcy.
Keep your integrity. You will only count, for yourself and in your art, to the extent that you keep your integrity.
— Louise Bourgeois
Select Diary Notes 1939-1944
Destruction of the Father — Reconstruction of the Father
Writings and Interviews 1923–1997