Tag Archives: meditation

The Lord as my Scout

IMG_2975.JPG unfinished; painted in NC

Sometimes our best experiences are loosely planned but dependent on deep, inner faith! My best outcomes are rarely planned (God’s plans, I bet).

I pulled this painting out of one of my sketch/painting journals this afternoon. I had trouble pinning it down long enough on the driveway to take the photo, with the blustery 80 degree breeze giving it flight several times.

IMG_3157.JPGMy days have been busy but I’m being lured into the garage to paint, the empty canvases calling to me and a wildness in my mood — willing to paint uncharted territory. I’ll be out there tomorrow, if anyone wants to venture by.

As you may know, I’ve closed my studio to prepare for a trip south to NC, where I plan to throw myself into the Asheville job market — and will find a job of my dreams! I pray for God’s help daily. My son wants me to paint on the sidewalk, and I probably will to make some cash, in between interviewing. There are lots of street venues for artists there — and I’m reeeeaaaalllly considering the cheap art idea — a movement in Canada right now — (not new) a good idea, considering the numbers of paintings I amass at times.

I had an opportunity this weekend to work (a little) at the Holy Spirit seminar, where the homeless came for inspiration and self-care provisions for everyday life. I also talked to a Sister of the Faithful Companions of the Visitor. What a beautiful conversation we had, touching on the possibilities of Religious vocation, and the more likely gift of a husband (someday, perhaps, if god is willing to give me an pother try), oh well. Why I even hope for a nice husband, I can’t say, considering my dating record, but nest building isn’t complete without a man in the picture but we’ll see. god’s will, Jane, Gods will; more will be revealed.<!–more–

Spreading the word through visual faith expression is my vocation for now anyway — and where better to do this — the roads and byways, where a chat and a sale will make life more memorable and evangelistic (in a way). body and blood on the page and doing gods work. Sacrifice by brush, one stroke ata time.

Part of making this all out effort to find and make a new successful life nearer my children and granddaughter is that I am getting organized here. That, in itself, is worth making a trip. As of tonight, my essential wardrobe fits in three drawers, on 25 hangars and that all of my shoes/sandals/boots fit into a laundry basket. Pared down from old days when wastefulness was a disgusting problem for me, this portable life of mine is quite spare — but richer for it. The rest of clothing is ready for the needy.

The other aspect that has caught me off guard is the way I’m seeing RI and my friends and family this week. My town is beautiful — breathtaking, waterfront, historic, charming. It glistens in June (all the more than usual, since I am making my goodbyes). I cry thinking about it, then snap out of it, knowing that I will somehow visit for one month every summer.

I’ve been reading the reflections of Mother Theresa and comparing our prayer styles (I’d love to as good). Startlingly similar, hers often began with scripture. I suppose that I do pray with scripture opening the process,especially after the readings at Mass, then later in the week as I either go over them or randomly find passages at random. I’ve never realized it though, as I like to think of the prayer process as my talking to God and then listening in contemplation and oneness – closed eyes — just “being” in his presence. Praying in tongues, the purest communication in the language of the angels is something I practice, only when it feels natural.

Reading I ponder this week is Deuteronomy 1:30 (amazing, in that it seems appropriate for my upcoming trip to NC to stay in the mountains while finding a job. God will lead the way):
30 The Lord your God Who goes before you will Himself fight for you. He did this for you in Egypt in front of your eyes, 31 and in the desert. There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a man carries his son, in all the way you have walked until you came to this place.’ 32 But even so, you did not trust the Lord your God, 33 Who goes before you on your way. He finds a place for you to set up your tents. He uses fire to show you the way to go during the night. During the day He uses a cloud to lead you.

It gives me hope. Even when I think I’m not going places, I am, and he carries me. While I thought I was stagnating, I was really laying the groundwork (in the arms of God) spiritually for a bursting out, a thrust forward into uncharted territory in peace to love, trust in, and to carry the word of God with me… NC is my destination for the time being… To find work and to be near Anahata (granddaughter). Addy and Pete are there too, of course, as are a “gazillion” friends.

I feel joyous, ready to face the future — a bright future. Meeting with friends daily, as everyone wants to say goodbye — even though this isn’t a final trip down there. The permanent move will only happen with good solid employment there. When I get a job, I’ll fly back for the UHàul. I do love a lot of people here, so this is not easy in many ways — but I won’t just go to NC when it works out — I’ll GO to NC to grab this new adventure. If I come back, I’ll come back. I’m not going to worry anymore.

Below: this For Ronny piece is finally at rest in the Mercy Cafe at St. Patrick’s Church, my beloved parish where I share my faith with the sweetest people. Love my time there and will miss it… But will find a new parish in NC when/if the time comes,

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Reflections on Saint Patrick’s Day

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Acceptance is part of spiritual growth, right? I am sharing an older painting today, called “Acceptance” (above) because it seems appropriate for today in a variety of ways. About a year after I painted this painting back in 2005, I accepted that I needed help, that I wasn’t perfect, that I could be better with hard work, faith in God and love of self. I am still that person, just a bit farther down the path. I am lovable (as I am at any point) and I want to love others where they are on the path. This is easier said than done, of course; but nobody ever promised that it would be easy! I want to be a better mother (always), want to be a better child (always) and a better friend to Jesus (always).

I haven’t painted in four days, to my surprise. Other tasks have occupied me this week… cooking for and attending (fabulous) social events, attending a memorial service, increased scripture reading, more meditation and prayer. I raced to mass at noontime today and (as always) sighed a sigh of relief, as I settled into my pew, feeling like I’d just returned home again. The Gospel and homily that followed hit the nail on the head… and hit a nerve in me like a bolt of lightening! It was all about forgiveness and retracing steps to make things right (St. Patrick spent his lifetime trying to regroup and go on). Forgiveness has consistently been a problem for me, both asking forgiveness of and forgiving others; and I have a tendency after living with my mom, two adult women under one roof, to be highly judgmental of her.

My sister’s children lost their grandfather today and my friend Lynda lost her father earlier this month — and it made me so sad for them. I know what it felt like to lose my father and if anything happens to my mother, I’ll be really really upset. I know that life is never the same for family after these losses. Faith carries us forward, but we miss them! I miss my Dad.

Reality-check of today: while I wasn’t a difficult child, my mother has been there for me through many trials and tribulations in my more difficult adulthood, mothering me the best she could. Surely, my over-analysis of our past relationship lately is hurtful to her. I’m lucky to still have a mother — my “as is” terrific mother. I’ve disappointed so many people in my life and they have forgiven me (most of them), so my concentrating on peoples’ flaws is ridiculous. Maybe I have too much time on my hands (a job miracle is needed) but more likely, I’ve forgotten the best advice I ever got on this issue from a hysterically funny guy I once knew. When he overheard me saying that I felt fat in an outfit, he said “No, you’re just fat“; and when I had a complaint about a sister, he said “No, just be a better sister”; and when I said “but — but — but—“, he said “NO buts; the only thing you can change is your attitude.” I thought he was a bit of an idiot (briefly) but he was right. Likewise, I just have to be a better daughter! I’ll pray for the right words, apologize and start again.

Lent is such a great time of year and has me “contemplating” more. I’m loving the “Life in the Spirit” Seminar at St. Patrick’s Church on Smith Hill in Providence — a positive and moving experience. This charismatic, Roman Catholic church emphasizes witness and renewal — a gift of the holy spirit! It isn’t a place where anyone is forgotten — and that is what I believe church should be with the only parish K through high school in the state, and even houses Mary House in the basement! My first goal is to be an active part of a church on which I for a decade turned my back (unlikely to happen ever again). Like my friend said: instead of complaining about the Church and the past, I can be a better member!

Hopelessness is the worst problem we have as a society — and I believe that “Acceptance” is a start in every upward assent. Enjoy the painting above and “For Ronnie” below. I painted it in memory of a friend who led people to church by example and died doing what he loved most, riding his motorcycle home to his nice wife. I wanted it to depict the rising up, after the peaceful sunset.

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Thank you God, for this day of days! I’m so glad to learn your lessons.

Day 15 – “Unfinished Business”

DAY 15 - "Unfinished Business" Acrylic on Masonite Board, $325(Actually looks as good hung upside down)
DAY 15 – “Unfinished Business” Acrylic on Masonite Board, $325(Actually looks as good hung upside down)

A landscape by Jane Dever, acrylic on Masonite board, unframed $200

Funny how my day went — full and productive — but Madonna-less. The dog got me up very early, followed by crossword/coffee/rye toast with Mom, a mammogram (better than the torturous boob-pressing torture of the past), a meeting at the East Bay Chamber of Commerce (I sell memberships, in case you want to join – call me), and writing at the Coffee Depot with lots of friendly interruptions (mostly on my part, saying hello to people I rarely see).

The calendar included Dinner and a lecture at 5 pm in Newport (on my friend; a nice thank you dinner) so — SO once again, I left too little time to add Mary to this painting. I love it, really, and it is (maybe) a God thing that I kept it Madonna-less (either I would have made a mess of it or I’m letting myself off easy).

She really is in all of my paintings — anyway; and now I’m going to share why I say that… On the night of my very first opening of the “Madonna Nights” Exhibit, it became clear to me that she was always part of them. That exhibit included over 30 paintings of which SO MANY sold the first night that it felt like a miracle — a total affirmation of my dedication to my dreams and dedication to painting. I had quit my day job to reduce stress and to get back to basics (art/prayer/meditation). Getting to the point (bear with my meandering): I had included one or two Madonna-less paintings in that show, landscapes; and one of them sold to a lady who told me that she had (finally, after scrutinizing it) found the Madonna in it. She showed me where she saw her (in the clouds I think); and sure enough, I saw it, too (though not intentional). See, my Sacred Mother really is in all of my paintings — and that makes me happy. It also a miracle, as I am not perfect in any manner.

Thoughts about this “Back to Business” painting: I have always associated ice with harshness, lifelessness, frigidity — universal stuff. Warming up is a positive for me, and I think I’m warm, mostly (sometimes too warm, occasionally hot tempered, in hot water with the ease of a sharp tongue, and a propensity for lustiness — at least prior to my “crone” status (not a kind word). There is definitely a negative end there, too. Gotta watch that!

The colors and temperatures of life are so often captured in art. I like the contrast of the ice and the warmth in the tree line, with that one white speck in the sky, enticing us to seek it out. The perspective of the scene leaves us with so much cold to pass over before getting to that tree-line and a warmer place, darkness and uncertainty. That star seems so distant, almost impossible to get to… It is a simple yet striking scene.

The lecture (back to my day) covered near-death experiences and meditation, given by a Dr. Allen from Saunderstown. We were late getting there, after (aptly named) Wednesday Menu Madness at the Atlantic Beach Club (everything but lobster is $15 per plate); but it was still worth the mad dash across Newport to the Middletown Library.

Dr. Allen cited patient accounts of light,immeasurable love, warmth, (I love the word rapture, so I’ll use it) rapture, and messages to the living from passed loved ones. Some of the patients were children who “came to” with spot-on messages from relatives who had passed over before their births. He ended the lecture with a 5 minute meditation.

My two cents about Meditation: in a perfect world, with 36 hour days — or 40 with my time-management issues — I’d write/record a meditation about each I painting, in addition to my blog. I sort of have a good audio voice when I don’t have my sleepy lisp.]

Visualization is a form of meditation that really helps folks with post-traumatic stress disorder and i have experience with bot. When I first moved back to New England from NC, I worked at a detox in Fall River, as a Milieu Therapist. They hired me because I could help them paint through their traumas; but meditation was something I did daily, so the task of leading them in meditation was a perfect fit, too. The Visualization and Painting hours with them was interesting; and, hopefully, it helped.

Last year, I planned a meditation at the old Alta Luna Gallery (now closed) to visualize ourselves traveling through a painting each month, but it never took off; maybe seen as hippy dippy, not sure. [i must add a recording system to my wish list, along with a video/still camera and art sales to fuel the completion of 365 Madonna Nights of painting.]

Worried about me, my sister said once that I set up unrealistic expectations, and maybe she is right. I like life that way, though. I think it is my way of forcing myself to do more stuff. I am not sure that I like it being so public; but I feel compelled to share everything. (TMI is my specialty).

Adding art to a daily calendar allows me to paint more. Adding prayer/worship/meditation to my calendar, allows me to give my spirit time and energy. Being unemployed — while ridiculously embarrassing and unexpected at this juncture — is something that has me assessing my life (never a bad thing, when coupled with action). If I start to sell these paintings, this CAN be a living, so perhaps that will be the silver lining in this meager financial picture. A big dream? Yes. Will the world embrace it? Maybe; maybe not.

Plans go awry and maybe they should. I had a great day that included quality time with mom and my dog, a doctor visit (hallelujah), dinner with an old friend (a friendship that survives starts and stops; and her new friend/now my friend). And my very last stop, after a text from my guy buds, even allowed me to fit in a fun game of darts and sharing the paintings with youngins — evangelism of sorts at the Wing Wednesday minus the wings (I’d eaten).

Last but not least, a Consecration Prayer to Mary:

Hail, White Lily of the ever peaceful and glorious Trinity! Hail Vermilion Rose, the Delight of Heaven, of whom, the King of Heaven was born, and by whose milk He was nourished! Do thou forever feed our souls by the effusions of your divine influences.
Amen.

Off to paint and to buy fish for dinner.