old patterns

sunny day with image of sketchbook showing a drawing of a cat

I’ve been a bit sick the last few days. Actually, I’ve felt really, really crappy, and unable to work until today. I felt both emotionally and physically ill. The anniversary of the election of the pussy-grabber, the unfolding exposure of so many #metoo stories, and the fact that there are still so many supporters & deniers of the pervasive poison of misogyny and abuse all collided with a nasty virus and exploded in bad dreams where I woke feeling in danger, panicked (and also, sick!).

The bad dreams are an old pattern, one I am learning to heal with writing and movement, study and support. I really thought I was past all that. But when it came roaring back I felt like I was a failure, like my efforts were futile in this world. I felt defeated there for a little bit. Old pattern, that.

But not all old patterns are damaging. I find drawing what is in front of me so very soothing. I draw, and then color or paint it in. This never fails to make me feel joyful in the moment. I drew obsessively during my whole childhood, then put it away, for the most part. Until recently. Now when I feel unable to drop down past fear, and relax into what I feel—I draw. Being sick, my usual go-to plan of walking and yoga and meditation just seemed too hard.

And drawing? It seemed too fun. (When untangling old patterns, maybe look for the fun, too? I feel better already.)

oldpatterns2

PS The poem in the picture is a line of a fragment, by the poet Praxilla of Sícyon, 450 BC. She composed many, many poems and was known for her scolia (short lyric poems for after-dinner entertainment). One of the lyric muses, only eight of her fragments survive.
Here is the fragment in its entirety:

Fragment 1 | Praxilla of Sícyon, 450 BC

Loveliest of what I leave behind is the sunlight,
and loveliest after that the shining stars, and the moon’s face,
but also the cucumbers that are ripe, and pears, and apples.

This fragment makes a wonderful writing prompt. Think about what is the loveliest in your life, in this moment. What would you miss, if you had to leave this moment?

The other thing I loved as a child was writing poetry and stories. Old patterns, re-emerging, to help me make new ones.

Feeling grateful.

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  1. #1 by Ellen Austin-Li on November 18, 2017 - 11:28 pm

    I love this verse from Praxilla of Sicyon. Thanks for sharing it. I love your drawings and am so glad it brings you solace these days. I’m still looking for that “thing,” but it seems within reach some days.

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