My daughter and her 8 year old cohorts are very interested in defining mother nature, gods, the universe and things like that. What does mother nature do? What does she look like? Where does the universe end? What if I am dreaming my life? I can't help but wonder if February's imposing nature is helping to cultivate these thoughts. oh and yeah, these kids are thinking my 15-year-old self's thoughts: evolution? I believe so.
My friends and I have also been musing on February --I mean, what else can you do? We are stuck inside 99% of the time right now:
How do we release ourselves from February's clutches? Can we really outsmart it? February is the month when things that need to die, die. It takes no prisoners. It also holds Valentine's day in its very middle. It's loaded and it's short. But, thankfully, it's predictable.
Lets look at its tactics: Boredom- the kind that makes your fingernails itch. Dryness- there's a humidifier in every corner, wet towels draped on the radiators, hand lotion and chapstick stashed in every drawer and pocket. Coldness- the type that produces the feeling of trapped because you can't stay outside for any length of time, and if you do venture out, you are so... bundled. Scheduled Snow- who knew Mother Nature had a snow schedule? I always took her for more of a "go with the flow" sorta gal. I am sure February probably imposed this weekly snow schedule on her.
I have had my rows with February. Full, drag-out brawls. In the past, it has brought out the VERY worst in me and my loved ones. I am realizing I have lived most of my Februaries as a 28 day-long Groundhog Day. It's been my broken record month- me on autopilot repeating the same unfulfilling patterns. You see, no matter how hard I've tried to outwit it, my destiny seemed to be ending up under its thumb.
It's not like I have blindly gone along with it. I have made plans for myself and even carried them out.
These have been some of my go to's: • clean the house • make cookies • organize the underwear drawer • read a book • start a project • get a pedicure • have a potluck • sleep even though I am not tired
Problem is it feels like something I'd read in REAL SIMPLE, do it, and still feel empty. My actions had no heart. These are all superficial cures in relationship to a month like February. A bandaid just isn't going to sooth it. What to do?
This February I am starting to feel different. Don't get me wrong, I have been pissy, itchy, caged animal-y like the lot, but I decided to rise above and take a bird's eye view for a moment. Instead of expecting February to change I have made a change. I have changed my reaction to a response. (Why didn't I think of this sooner? This is like basic psych 101)
February is begging for conscious action done with heart. Could it be this simple? REAL SIMPLE? ahem.
This change in my attitude has allowed me to dig deep and look at the things that are essential to me. What a gift!
Thank you, February? (it feels like thanking an abuser)
This weekend I went to The New Britain Museum of American Art with a dear friend. She and I have made art together, free-ranged our kids together and all the while we exchange lots of ideas. I just love her. Because of this, I knew we could go to a museum to experience art together.
We got to the museum and as luck would have it there wasn't a soul in the place. Thank you, February.
Only in this type of quiet and well-curated museum could vulnerabilities fly around like fireflies- completely undisturbed. An invisible display. I felt it. Could it be the art is so much more alive than any other time of the year, completely unencumbered and free inside this perfect climate- controlled capsule? I hope so. It's like the art doesn't even know February is happening! It is so good in this place. It causes me to pause. I feel so welcome. I feel like I can breathe. There is a path. Negative space. This is a luxury.
This experience was my wish for the Matisse exhibit- one week later I've manifested it. I am amazed. Thank you, February.
So there is all of that. Then there is being with my friend in this special place. My cup runneth over. It was our gallery. Our private gallery. We didn't even have to pay because the front desk gave us a visitor's pass. Sharing impressions, excitement, distaste, etc-- all of the human responses are available to express and then you can just walk away. No attachment. It was a perfect day for any month of the year. Not for measuring against. Not to try and recreate. It was for taking in. It was our medicine, with the longest lasting effects and complete with with drowsiness upon returning home.
And now I know in my bones experiencing art with dear friends essential for me. Thank you, February.
all images are from Nobu Fukui's Incredulity, 2012 at the New Britain Museum of Art