Spring #3 of our “flower store” tradition, although I didnt notice it was our own little-made-up-holiday…until I was standing here on this delightful first-sunday of May; celebrating life, blooming all around us. Seeing the past three years spent together unravel in the petals of these roses. Once again mesmerized by the sacred geometry hidden in the Dahlias…and of course, every year; running my fingers through the lavender sprigs. Keeping the scent with me throughout the day.
It’s been Three years of wondering which flower is going to catch Gaia’s eye this time. Ask her where she’s going to plant it. Last year we were on a mission to find a “blueish-purple” flower, and to my demise…this is not a color-combo nature uses in her pallet very often. Atleast not in her garden. Because I remember leaving disappointed.
This year Gaia was on the hunt for yellow. Which in every way is so fitting, despite my intial judgement; “yellow??? Of all the beautiful colors…why yellow?” I asked….
“Because it’s the color of the sun…duh Shan”
I think above all else…that’s why this season brings me back to life…as a family, gardening (amongst many other hobbies we all mutually enjoy) is when I can really see the lesson in the simple things. As Ryan and I try to teach her about the earth; our home. Loving and caring for all it’s little critters, and helping the beauty grow…
She is really teaching us.
Or teaching me. Atleast, because let’s be honest…to see life through her eyes is like seeing for the first time. Everything is splendid to her. Even the yellow flowers, I’ve looked past for years, maybe even my entire life.
And I do that more often than not. Look past most of it. I’m finding more and more, as I continue on this new found path of writing, and recording, that I am finally becoming present. Whereas, before I was roaming my life blinded, always Elsewhere.
So naturally – the spring has always allowed me to reconnect. Ironically rooting me further into the ground. The beauty of it is not only do I get to connect again with nature itself…now that we’ve all crawled out of our winter caves….but with my family, with Ryan and Gaia. And with myself, my journey. Spring makes it loud and clear….with literal “life” blooming in your face, she’s delicately screaming….find out what inspires you…
Aside from spending all my childhood drawing, and getting lost (or finding myself) in the Lion King. And doing everything else in the wonderful-sometimes not so-wonderful life of a kid, I remember gardening. With my Aunt Donna especially, picking berries, planting tomatoes….we were always outside. Chasing bumble-bees, only to learn…..don’t chase bumble-bees 🙈 you will get stung. Making wishes on dandelions. Fireflies in mason jars. Counting spots on lady bugs. Helping flowers grow… hands and feet covered in dirt.
Something about it always felt magical. And today, 20-plus years later I realize why…
I am inspired by nature. By the growth in all living things. By re-birth. By change. I am inspired by the colors. The warmer sun. And soft breeze, dancing with the budding trees. The purpose of rain. Birds singing you awake. And everything in between.
I can see it in my art, clearly. Nature is what has moved me, always. Its been the muse to my every step, and the catalyst to my every fear. Planting new hopes inside me every year…
When the dandelions asked me this time around; what inspires you now?
The thing is, it’s still the same. Because the closer you look into nature, and all her glory. The more you look into something out of focus pulling the strings. A force behind each reaching root, each rolled up fern. A power source…Abundantly scarce. Eternally, withering. When you look close enough, you can witness the master behind the canvas. Pure life – unfolding before your eyes. Beginning to end. Seed to tall tree. Nature is the novel written by Love. With hidden messages between all the weeds. Letters from God.
What inspires me now? With little thought I smiled, took a closer look at that dandelion; then back at Ryan and Gaia; I answered…
Song : The Garden by Kari Jobe
Location: Atlantic Nursery
The first time I was ever brought to Disney, I was four years old. I remember glimpses of it; mostly only the moments caught on camera…as if they were still shots of shooting stars. Too fond, they flash before your eyes and then they’re gone.
I played this game with myself when I was younger where whenever I felt truly happy, I would repeat over and over inside my head…Remember this. Remember this. Remember this…
With a small knowing that someday I would indeed forget. I still play that game to this day. With my camera in hand, I subconsciously repeat as I press record, remember this…
24 years later, here I am admiring Gaia glimmering with the magic of it all. I don’t suppose she’s playing the game inside her head too…but as I adore her, my eyes drown with tears,
I hear it again from inside. A glimpse of distant memory retraces my face. I look at her and I see me. Four years old…making wishes on the stars. Without ever knowing that they’d come true.
This trip to Disney, although not my first time brought me back to those moments, those dreams I had as a child. And my greatest wish today is that Gaia can look back and see it just as it was. With this relentless need to remember, I plan to show her the magic she leaves behind. I hope to capture her glistening with my every step. Drawing me into the Moments. That I dare never to forget. Freeze me in time. Because this little girl, without even trying lightens my soul. And without even knowing, is the star I was wishing upon. All those years ago.
And although she’s not mine, she makes me whole. And of all the wishes forgotten, whole is what I’ve always wanted.
And this time I promise I will…
Song: Lullaby by Sia.
I have never been to Montauk. Atleast I don’t think I have…I vaguely remember visiting when I was a girl with my father. We picked pumpkins in the fall, I remember the stone covered beaches. The cattail blanketed bluffs. But I don’t know for sure. It would make sense if I had, because I’ve been longing for it, perhaps ever since.
And today I needed some kind of medicine. And I think the faint memory of cliffs meeting sea was the remedy to cure this insatiable urge for elsewhere.
Aside from my camera, I didn’t bring much of anything. And no matter how much I wanted to…I couldnt leave the knot in my throat behind, so she came with me. Choking my every thought into tears.
It’ll all be better once we reach the coast..
This longing, I have become familiar with, isn’t so much for a place, or a time in my life. It’s not for another person, although I get confused by that quite often…it’s a longing for self. With the shyest voice she calls to me. Many times I can’t hear it over the noise I have built up around her. Drowning her out. But she and I are the same, so the days like today where I feel the weight of it, choking me, I listen for what it is she’s trying to say.
So I drove. A make believe escape…singing along to my favorite songs. I started to breathe a little easier. The hold on my throat began to loosen…the bare naked trees became pines and I knew I was getting close. I rolled the windows down and took in the aroma. Salt and seaweed and burnt cedar filled my car.
Another dune, another bend…
And there she was, the sea. For a moment I couldn’t tell the difference. Because looking out at her, rhythmically chaotic ballet, I felt I was looking at myself. Pulling back, pushing forward. Shy and confident all at once. Eternally stuck in a dance between perfection and mess…there I was. In awe of her. Vast emptiness. Worlds living underneath. Holding on and letting go. Never straying from her fate to kiss the sand. The sea became more than the medicine I was seeking, rather a mirror shining back at me. Glistening smiles into the air. Telling me everything I’ve been dying to hear.
What you seek is not out there. What you seek is not elsewhere. Because wherever you go, there you are. You cannot escape it, and nor should you want to. Because the mess you create striving for perfection is the dance you were meant to enjoy. Only pull back from that which hurts. Yet don’t be surprised to find, pain is what pushes you. Your empty spaces are already full. Hold tight to the light that’s inside you. Let the current carry you along..glisten back for others to see. The love they seek is inside…
On December 4th, 2016 we opened Nova. A 5,000 sq. foot warehouse meant for all things creative, and all things well; that Ryan and I dream-pt about creating five years from now. Our five year plan, become a reality over the course of 13 months.
No one could have prepared us for it’s magnificence. For it’s depth. And weight.
For it’s unruly – divine magistrate in our lives.
She came to us like most “big” events in my life do. Very suddenly. Like I said, this was a five year plan. But not even a week later we were signing a lease on a hopeless abandoned second story. The drive in, I wanted to pull away countless times, because my surroundings began to scare me. But something nudged. Something called.
The Nova Sanctuary. All we had was the name. A very faint, distant concept. But we had it. And now the space, presented to us bare bones and all. No fancy wrapping or bow attached…We began to build. Well, they began to build. Ryan and Jon…I hibernated for most of the year. Because like most “big” events in my life, I am terrified in the midst of them. Drowning in the sea of change until I have reached land. Two feet on the ground, looking back…only to become nostalgic over the sunsets I stressed through, the water carrying me- effortlessly along. It all seems so pleasant once you’re on the other side.
So I confess, I hid my head under the covers for her 13 month long – inconceivable transformation from cold concrete walls to the delicately painted molding, hugging every inch of her. All the while I was a closet full of emotions, all zeroed in on what our future was going to look like.
An impossible feat in any case…
On December 4th, the covers came off. The future was now. A part of me would refer to it as a smack in the face, but equally a kiss. Because even with the heavy weight of fear, crushing me…it was and is the greatest gift in my life. A safe haven, not just for me, but better yet for everyone else who walks in the door. A Sanctuary.
Despite the grooling fact that I have little experience in running a business. Becoming a “boss”overnight, at least that’s how it has felt…has been quite the oppurtunity for growth. As the days go on, I am becoming more and more aware of the fact that every experience; work related, socially, artistically…has led me to this point. Molding and shaping me, to be the very person I am today for Nova.
Over a year ago I would have been perfectly content with my little life, tattooing consistently, possibly growing and developing my skill there, becoming a better “homemaker”, finding more time for my social life. For my program. But that wasn’t the path for me. Something, out there…wanted more for me. Wanted more for us. So I am here to honor that, and hopefully greet Fear in the face, invite him for coffee at the cafe, maybe even lay a mat next to him for yoga. Get to know Fear, and hopefully find that like all my other seemingly possessive emotions…it won’t kill me, but will absolutely make me stronger.
And I think, that is and will always be the purpose of creating this space. And above all other trials this endeavor has awakened, I think learning to trust will be the greatest of them all…