Thursday, December 16, 2010

Do Who You Are, Love What You Do

Lately, I've been thinking about whether or not we are what we do.

It seems that some would rather believe we are not what we do, because they want to see themselves as separate from the actions they have taken which they are ashamed of or otherwise regret.

I've been thinking though, there's two problems I have with this line of reasoning. The first is that I promote unconditional love and acceptance of ourselves no matter what we do. The other is that I think we are what we do, not what we have done. We are what we are doing in this moment. Write now (freudian slip), I am writing.

Get it? I'm writing. I am writing.

I am Meagan.

I am Writing.

Earlier, I was dancing.

Thus, I think that the fact that we are ashamed of some of the things we do is not cause to separate from these actions and disown them, but to love them compassionately, and all the feelings that go with them. Because no matter what we are doing or have done, we are alive, and that is reason enough to celebrate.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


I was going to write about art.

I was going to write about my process of doing art in college. I declared myself as an art major this semester, something neither I nor anyone I knew saw coming. As one of my best friends said when I told her when I said she did something random, "Its not as random as you changing your major to art after showing no artistic interest whatsoever." Or something like that.

But shortly after I changed my major, I remembered something I said a few years ago to a fellow student: 'If the world didn't need saving, I'd be an art major.' I always thought that art was a luxury. I thought I could go to school for something that would help make the world a better place.

As it turns out though, school doesn't teach you much of anything useful for saving the planet. Thus my degree change. And now I have to face what I have rarely dealt with before: being challenged in school. Because school has always been a breeze for me. I picked up math, language, even science and history, easily and naturally. I skated through school, a straight A student the whole way. But art? Art is completely different territory. This is right brain stuff. This is why I changed my major.

Since changing my major, I have discovered a place in school where I question my own sense of self worth. Although I enjoy being challenged and trying new things, I'm not used to not being able to do things. Such as draw Kendall Hall. (I was nearly in tears that day, as I worked my way around my paper, only to discover that I was going to have to erase everything and start over to make it come close to looking right.)

The hardest part about making art is feeling excited about my work, and wanting to show it off to my friends, and then feeling embarrassed when I imagine how I look. Like a little kid coming home from school showing their parents their scribbled monster drawing, to which the parents can only respond, "That's wonderful darling!"

I panic when I think I am acting like a little kid. I fear being seen. I feel immature. Part of me hasn't grown up. I noticed the other night that while watching a movie about high schoolers that I felt younger than the kids in the movie. They seemed older than me. Why is that? Didn't I ever grow up? Shouldn't the high school kids seem younger than me? What's wrong with me?

When I see high schoolers in person they seem younger though. So maybe it was just the movie.

Part of the problem is that our society's idea of maturing entails becoming part of the capitalist economy, something I rebel against. Does this condemn me to being a kid forever? Can I psychologically mature in this context? What does that even mean?

This idea that I am more immature than people around me, more clumsy and irresponsible, is part of a general problem with devaluing myself. But I ask myself, do I really want to grow up? The answer is yes and no.

Yes I want to take responsibility for my part in the scheme of life. Yes I want to create, to influence and help shape this world in harmony with my values. Yes I want to feel that I am growing, emotionally and spiritually.

No I don't want to get a boring, soul-killing job. No I don't want to let go of my idealism. No I don't want to settle for being a cog in the machine.

All this leaves one question unanswered though. Am I a little kid if I want to show off my art? Can I let go of this shame of being proud of something I made? Pride and shame...they're dating these days. But for how long?

Monday, December 6, 2010

By Now, Intuition is Old Hat

When I ride my bike around town, which I do every day, I constantly get urges to go a certain way, take a certain route, turn here, cut through there, go down this sidewalk or that path. I might look spastic, by how erratically I bike. I follow my impulses and take the path that my gut is telling me to follow. I live on a grid so there are a lot of ways to get from one place to another.

Often there isn't an obvious reason why I am being guided in a particular direction. Sometimes I run into someone I know, and stop to say hello for a moment. Maybe its not about what I find, but what I miss. Maybe if I had gone a different way I would have passed a cop, or a car accident. The other day, though, I saw an incredible example of why its worth it to follow our intuition.

Ever since it got cold I've had cold ears. I've often had this problem in the winter. If I pull my hat down over my ears it just slips back up. If I pull it down far enough to really cover my ears, its in my eyes-- very uncomfortable. Finally, I found the solution: this year, I'll get a hat with ear flaps! However, I'm an ex-Gandhi wannabe, so buying new things is still kinda hard for me. Especially because I knew I needed a fair trade organic cotton or wool hat. So I put off looking for one.

Then, as I was biking down my street a few days ago, I got this urge to turn a block earlier than I usually do to leave my neighborhood. I ignored it at first and kept going-- lately these urges have been bothering me, seeming more like OCD than intuition. The feeling was so strong though, that I actually turned around and went the way I had felt pushed towards. Within ten seconds I probably forgot about it, and about a minute or less later, I saw a dirty hat laying in the street. Although it was covered in leaves, it had ear flaps and smelled like nothing but wet fabric and dirt (it had just rained). I threw it in my bag to wash, super stoked at finding something I'd been wanting. As I went to get back on my bike, I realized that if I hadn't turned around and came this way, I never would have seen this hat.

Maybe I'm not OCD after all.