Look To The Odds [on Two Artists Tuesday]

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With every bizarre image comes a good story and that is certainly true of this odd affair.

A few hours after I dropped Kerri at the airport for her flight to Colorado I was cutting paper for a project. My x-acto knife wasn’t paying attention and rode up the ruler and through my left index finger. I bled so much that I decided NOT to tell Kerri. I didn’t want to worry her on her trip.

An hour later, walking around the house with my finger above my head, trying to get the bleeding to stop, a text came in from Kerri. She was cutting stems from daisies and the knife slipped. She cut a nasty gash in her left index finger. She was bleeding so much that she wanted me to know.

What are the odds? We calculated that our accidents happened within the same hour.

Our story is one of strange connectivity. We started paying attention to it when, long before we laid eyes on each other, we discovered that we had the same middle name.

What are the odds?

When we met, that first day at O’Hare International Airport, I stepped off the plane to find a woman dressed just like me (black sweater, jeans, boots,… The Truth: our closets are mostly identical – filled with blue jeans and black things though she has more variety in tops and waaaaaay more shoe choices).

What are the odds.

I won’t bore you with the now long list of weird coincidences and connectivity. Nowadays, when Kerri breaks her baby toe, as she does once a quarter, I immediately put on my steel toed boots and move slowly around the house.

 

read Kerri’s blog post about LEFT INDEX FINGERS

 

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Get It Done [on Merely A Thought Monday]

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When Master Miller tossed this phrase my way I laughed out loud. Isn’t it often the case that the closer we come to an important moment the more we pour  our excess nervous energy into any and every distraction? And, isn’t it a bonus if our distraction of choice is actually productive? I’ve washed a lot of dishes in an effort to keep myself occupied! A younger version of me ran miles and miles in fits of productive avoidance.

In the years since Quinn helped me see that no one really knows what they are doing I’ve decided that almost everything is in productive and/or creative avoidance. No one wants to peer into the great not-knowing. Like everyone else, I want to believe that what I do matters, that I am imbued with purpose. I want to believe that I have chosen my destiny and am storming down my path. And, what might I see if I could step out of my all important story? What might I find beyond my grand narrative? It’s scary stuff! Productive avoidance makes for some great distraction!

Kerri and I have an ongoing conversation about things that matter. At the end of the day, there’s only a very few things on the list. The rest? Well…at least we are getting things done!

 

read Kerri’s blog post on PRODUCTIVE AVOIDANCE

 

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Recognize It [on Not-So-Flawed Wednesday]

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I love this text. It is from 93 year old Beaky to her daughter. The specific context is not important. What I love is the universality of this sentiment, a text  every mother across the ages might have written to their children. It is a text Kerri could write to Kirsten or Craig. What mother does not know more than they say, think more than they speak, notice much more than their underestimating children realize?

I’ve learned, as I watch Kerri not-say things to her children, letting them make their own mistakes and untangle their own webs, that the effort involved in not-speaking is herculean.

Sisu sometimes requires silence. When every impulse in a mother’s body is to reach, Sisu sometimes demands stillness.

As a child who routinely underestimates his mother, Beaky’s text gives sends chills up my spine. I’ve certainly made a mess of things and I can only imagine the fortitude (unrecognized by me) my mother displayed – and continues to display – by letting me fall down. Sisu. Sisu. Sisu.

Of course, the flip side of the coin is that the interruption-of-the-reach, the silence-in-the-midst-of-knowing, comes from a deeper mom-like-faith. Mothers know that the great trip-and-fall-down moments come with some necessary pain but will always end with a return to standing, a re-entry to the game.  It’s a cycle. It’s how moms everywhere awaken Sisu in their children. Like all good life cycles, it’s a paradox, to be sure.

The second thing I love about Beaky’s text? She signs her dope-slap to her daughter with ‘Mom.” This love-thing is tough!

 

read Kerri’s blog post about BEAKY’S TEXT

 

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Catch The Miracle [on Two Artists Tuesday]

 

Walking through Bristol Woods, Kerri stopped, pulled out her phone, stepped off the path and into the trees. I’ve learned that means she’s seeing a little miracle that I’ve missed and is on a mission to photograph it. She walks through life noticing the details while my view is generally at 30,000 feet. I often miss what is right in front of my nose.

marbled orb-weaver copyShe signaled me to join her and I saw it. The aerial acrobatics of a marbled orb-weaver. Bobbing on a single thread that stretched into the sky, climbing back to its egg cocoon. The breeze made the already difficult climb seem impossible.

I was transported back in time. Alaska. Watching salmon struggle up a waterfall. Jumping, exhausted, nearing the end of their quest to return to their source, their spawning ground.  They lay their eggs and then die. I followed them upstream, beyond the waterfall to yet another waterfall and beyond. I came to the place, the spot in the river where their lives began and would now end. I was moved to tears by their struggle.

The salmon. The marbled orb-weaver. This thing called life – nature – is gorgeous and profound.

Watching the spider I whispered to Kerri, “How does it do that?”

“Sisu.” she said.

 

read Kerri’s blog post about SPIDER SISU

 

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spider sisu ©️ 2018 kerri sherwood & david robinson

See Sisu [on Merely A Thought Monday]

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Sisu is a unique Finnish concept. … Sisu is a special strength and persistent determination and resolve to continue and overcome in the moment of adversity…an almost magical quality, a combination of stamina, perseverance, courage, and determination held in reserve for hard times. [definition from The Sisu Group, Inc.]

Until I met Kerri, I’d never heard of Sisu. Her company is named Sisu Music Productions so I asked a lot of questions. What’s Sisu? What does it mean? She has Finnish roots so Sisu runs in her veins. Her family invokes it during difficult times. “Sisu, yes?”

When obstacles arise, Kerri gets this look in her eyes. It’s the same look her momma, Beaky, would get in the face of a challenge. It’s Sisu. I’ve learned it’s best to step aside when the Sisu tide rises. Sometimes I AM the obstacle and, believe me, there is no place to run, there’s no place to hide. No amount of resistance or self-righteousness will win the day. I have the Sisu tracks on my back to prove it. Now days, when I see the look, I simply step aside. Occasionally, self preservation and wisdom look a lot alike!

It is Sisu week at Studio Melange. A celebration of grit and determination. As I started to write this morning I made a list of the people I know who are teeming with Sisu. Chris and Janelle, 20, Horatio, Judy, Skip, Master Miller, Wendy, P-Tom, Jen and Brad, Kirsten, Heather, JimmySue, Craig, Dan,…. the list goes on and on and fills me to the brim with gratitude and awe that I get to walk life with these people.

It’s a good exercise. Focus on the Sisu that surrounds you. And then, consider putting yourself on the list. When have you drawn on your Sisu? In the face of adversity, when have you been surprised by the perseverance-spirit that arose with in you. Courage rarely feels like Hollywood defines it. Can you see it? Sisu, yes?

 

read Kerri’s blog post about SISU

 

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Let It Catch You [on DR Thursday]

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a morsel of Earth Interrupted IV: shadow of division

Sometimes you have to stand still to let what you seek catch up to you. Kerri said that to me one day. Her words found their way into me and then became a poem and then the poem found its way into a painting, Earth Interrupted IV.

This week the painting found its way into a morsel for Studio Melange. A wisdom inspired a poem, became a painting, became a morsel called Shadow Of Division. Today, it becomes a post. Which, I am sure, will inspire another poem or a song (anything is possible in our house).

Art begets art. The well of possibilities is bottomless. And, rather than chase the possibilities as was once my strategy, I am learning to stand still. A wisdom, a poem, a painting, a morsel, a post about cycles and all things life giving.

 

read Kerri’s blog post about SHADOW OF DIVISION

 

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My favorite thing about shadows? They blend divisions. They make cool new and surprising shapes out of seemingly separate things. Transformation is so simple and just a small shadow away.

 

shadow of division/earth interrupted IV ©️ 2018 david robinson & kerri sherwood

Choose Your Meditation [on Not-So-Flawed Wednesday]

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We found Peace Marbles in a basket at the door of Leap Of Faith, a small shop in Cedarburg. It’s one of our favorite shops for obvious reasons. Many faiths are represented in the shop so translate the accompanying lyrics/prayer/meditation accordingly.

The idea is ancient. What fills your mind-space, your meditation, is what you will create. Meditate on hate and that is what you will see. Focus on lack and that is what you will experience. Although it might not seem like it, what you think, what flows through your noggin on a daily basis, is a choice.  It is a placement of focus. It is a prayer. A meditation.

Peace comes when people collectively focus on peace. A community chooses where to place its focus as readily as does an individual. It’s all in the narrative, the stuff flowing through our conversation, our storytelling, on a daily basis.  It is a creative act – not something that ‘happens to us.’

It seems we could use all the help we can get. And, you never know, a fleet of little blue marbles rolling around in pockets and purses as reminders might be just the thing to help us choose to place our focus on the better things. It certainly couldn’t hurt.

 

 

 

 

read Kerri’s blog post on BLUE MARBLES

 

 

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