Recently, I was offered a real, bonafide, 100% full time art therapy job at the hospital where I work. I would be doing essentially the same job I'm doing now but because of the extra time, I would be able to extend my services to the PICU and NICU, which so far, I serve infrequently.
Knowing that this offer would not likely occur again in my life time, I jumped.
I'd heard it was a possibility, but knowing that the coffers of the University of California aren't exactly flush, it just seemed like a wonderful dream. I also knew that if indeed it happened, it would herald a radical change to my art making practices.
At present, I've been able to spend several morning hours working in my studio, before I hit the road to work. I'm used to considering, imagining, formulating and then sewing, making collage...creating. With the new job hours starting in September, my morning art routine will be reduced to an hour. I'll have weekends to work out too.
So back to this idea. Many years ago, when my children were young, I worked on several series which were an outgrowth of my meditation practice. I loved the idea that I'd gotten from Japanese American artist, Mayumi Oda, of beginning each day with a mandala.
One of the series was just that, a daily mandala. Another consisted of 5x7 inch wooden panels which depicted the phase of the moon as it intersected my menstrual cycle. Yet another became a series of alchemical flasks, each one holding the ingredients of life that were moving and transforming inside of me.
While I've been skeptical of the concept of self care in the therapeutic profession, as I look forward to a longer work day, I'm seeing it in a new light.
I want to return to the idea of practicing art as a form of meditation, using my hour as a time to make small repairs, adjustments to the soul, so to speak, that will keep me on my way. As the days grow subtly shorter, even here in the midst of summer, I'm looking forward to my own not-so-subtle changes, eager to see what the fall colors will bring.