Saturday, September 22, 2012

Meditation on Mushrooms

Yesterday our monthly journaling group started up again after a Summer break. I brought along some photos of some glorious mushrooms that I bought at the Boulder Farmer's Market last weekend. I bought them to cook up in an omelet, but before they were subject to the fire, I just had to spread them out on the counter to photograph them, they were that beautiful.
To take the time to honor wonderful beauty and wonderful food is something I want to remember to do.
And the time spent in the presence of others, all working silently in our journals together is another way to honor beauty. To say it's worth our time to just collage a bunch of photos of mushrooms, to add some color and doodling and words, not expecting anyone to buy anything, to give me fame or fortune for becoming good at this work, not expecting a book deal, a lecture invitation, or a paycheck.
Yet I still do this work.

Someone at our group who is new to journaling mentioned that she was disappointed in her page in the journal, that it felt contrived.
My answer to that is so did the first 20 journals I did that fill up my shelves. That expecting to find truth in one two hour effort perhaps is expecting too much. So often, we want our effort to be rewarded instantly. Malcolm Gladwell tells us that it takes 10,000 hours to be an expert at anything. I don't think anyone sits down at a piano, and expects to play Paganini after a few hours of learning about playing.

I am always surprised that most people seem to think art is something people just know how to do, and not something that is learned with years and years of practice. I do love this mushroom journal page I did yesterday in our group. but I have also done hundreds, maybe thousands, of pages that did not please me as much. It's a journey. It takes a long time, and lots of dedication.
Over the last ten years, I worked in my journal so many times instead of cleaning the house, or watching TV, or earning money at a job, or socializing. I took a large chunk of my working life and spent it doing art journaling.

Sometimes I think that was crazy, but then one person will tell me learning to do this work helped them. That learning to take images and colors and doodling and words suddenly revealed something they needed to learn, something they needed to manifest, something they wanted to understand. So this is all for those few people who discover something amazing and deep.
So back to the mushrooms, to honor my love for these fungi by creating a beautiful page reminds me there is joy in these small things in life. and that it is worth our lives to celebrate this.

 "A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world." --Oscar Wilde


  1. I was really interested in your thoughts about time spent journalling or any art project for that matter. Art needs time spent on it and it shouldn't happen overnight. I have heard many people being frustrated because they haven't produced a perfect item, but why should they be when they are learning and should be just experimenting. I agree with you that art needs time to develop, be worked through and practiced. I also believe working on any creative project is of great value and forget the washing up for a while. Love your posts.

  2. thank you, Anonymous - I'd love to know your name!