Thursday, September 1, 2011

You are a masterpiece unfolding

Unfolding, originally uploaded by scrollwork.
Happy birthday, Scrollwork's blog. To commemorate your birth I am presently engaged in meaningful activity: swatting at house flies. Although I suspect these are actually field flies, as they are much more savvy about evasion.

We will put them to the test this evening when the hubby comes home. If he is able to flick them with his index finger, they're house flies. If not, they have come in from the fields of cow dung that dot the landscape around our lovely pastoral setting. In which case I must've missed the memo: The annual plague of flies is in town. Keep your jaws clamped and cover all the food.

So you turned a year old last August 18. Sorry I forgot. I'd been thinking you were born around the end of August. Some time today. Lucky I dismissed the advice from Judy at Cat's Eye Writer blog to take the archive off my home page. How else would I have checked?

But hey, I forgot the 26th anniversary of my immigration back in June, too. At least I'm consistent. Maybe a sign I'm less self-involved? I can only wish.

This is the part where I'm supposed to come up with a list of things I learned during my first year of blogging. That sounds like a lot of work, frankly.

How 'bout just one thing, and not necessarily about blogging, but about life? Blogging, life, who can tell the difference sometimes, you know? Absent from one, present in the other, to paraphrase Paul the apostle.

My friend, Randi, posted this quote on Facebook the other day:

"What would it be like if you lived each day, each breath, as a work in progress? Imagine that you are a masterpiece unfolding every second of every day, a work of art taking form with every breath." ~ Thomas Crum

To this, Randi added, "What a beautiful, open, and expressive way to live. This would surely take years of practice, but what an extraordinary accomplishment in the long run. This is the quality I see and feel from truly gifted people."

One of Randi's friends, with whom I am not acquainted, responded, "Beautiful but exhausting. I think sometimes we need to just 'be'." Does that sound like someone you know? Your own thoughts? Are you just barely getting to work on time after getting the kids out the door?

Randi then noted, "Ability to just be is sometimes a very hard place for those very driven gifted people to reach. So it all takes practice practice practice no matter what!"

Ever the contrarian, I weighed in.

"I am a masterpiece unfolding" sounds tranquil, not exhausting. It means to me that I feel no pressure to hasten God's work in me. Just being, I already please God because He gets all the praise for the hard work He is doing in me and through me. I am not driven to practice, only to manifest what my spirit urges.

This non-denominational opinion brought to you by Jiffy Peanut Butter."

I won't lie (I can't! I suck at it!) I'm not as Zen as that makes me sound. This unfolding thing, it looks less like the leisurely blooming of that agapanthus I documented in my front yard and more like the brittle, measured opening up of scales of my etsy-purchased cuff, above.

Sometimes it's scary. What if I unfold like an artichoke and get scraped across someone's teeth?

In the ideal unfolding scenario, we could all sit prettily on the window sill of life, strong as bronze (brass? I don't know the difference), glowing in the reflected wisdom of quotable quotes.

This is the tableau in my entryway, the face I aspire to always present to the world as it enters my domain. Now THAT's exhausting! It is the opposite of unfolding. It's staging. It's giving in and curling my hair, darkening my lashes and creaming up my face when I just want to show up happy, dammit.

In real life, this is my compromise: I unfold to my full length and breadth when the heat is on, when the sun is beating down on me and I need to muster all my strength. (Those of you in Canada and other cold climes can substitute "pouring rain" for sun; I'm in California's Central Valley, where we dry to a crisp in August.) Plus, look, this is a picture of a parasol, not an umbrella, for crying out loud.

When the test is over I tuck back into myself. Even a peacock knows how to do this.

Then it's time to go into seclusion.  Stop seeking approval, counsel, likes, attention, thumbs up. Check in with myself.

And dial up to my source.

I don't mean organized religion. I mean that direct line to the Almighty that every human being has, whether utilized or not.

And that's how the unfolding can continue. Some days I just manage to get by, tainted and imperfect.

But the potential is always there, always a possibility in waiting.

Are you getting by today, or unfolding toward the masterpiece you were meant to be?


  1. I wonder, would this process still be relevant to those like me whose petals have dried up? I find myself in a holding pattern - comfortable, why not - but no longer impatient to actively take the next step, just passively waiting for what will inevitably come to pass. Just blessedly being.

  2. Loved this! Unfolding...Yes. When I first read the quote, it made me feel peaceful. I like the idea of unfolding because it seems slow and relaxed and something you aren't in too much control of. Like that. I'm with you, to exhausting to give it all that attention. I would like to be more Zen too, but I'm finally facing the fact that I am NOT and never will be. I'm a fire sign and true to form!

    Hey, do you live in Davis? Sure sounds like it....we are having a fly fest in our house too!!

  3. Locke, it's all relative, all in how it's perceived. Have your petals really dried up? Your brain cells haven't. Are the steps only external? The steepest steps are usually internal. Is it passive waiting, or blessedly being?

    Michael Ann, you too? I live about an hour south of you. There is no escape from the flies! I might have to resurrect that supposedly romantic canopy netting just to get some peace tonight. Zen: a lovely concept. But it remains just that, most days. Sigh.

  4. I feel that I've already unfolded but there are still itty bitty pieces left crinkled.Passive but not Zeny!

  5. Jennie Lynn, it's the little crinkled pieces that make each of us interesting to ourselves and to others. A perfectly starched persona makes the rest of us despair ; )

  6. Thomas Crum . . . what a magnificent way to put it:

    "What would it be like if you lived each day, each breath, as a work in progress? Imagine that you are a masterpiece unfolding every second of every day, a work of art taking form with every breath."

    It's been 4 years this month since I learned about living in the now and I'm blessed to say I'm been moving closer each day. I trust in the Spirit that lives within me instead of myself. This peace lets me unfold slowly with grace and love. Sometimes there's an anxious moment, but I recognize it now and gradually defuse any negative notion. Wish I'd known this decades ago.

  7. Nancy, we would love to know how you came to learn how to live in the now.

    When I was raising my children, a friend soothed my frustration with one of them by saying, "She is being the best she knows how to be. We can only be the best we know how to be." So I learned to be more tolerant as a parent. Then I learned to be more tolerant as a person. Now I am more tolerant of myself, even.

    Wisdom comes to us when it is time, I have come to believe. Maybe we acted unwisely back when we were unwise—but we could only be the best we knew how to be, at that time.

  8. Happy bloganniversary! As for living in the present, I am trying but I am a serial worrier...

  9. Hiya, Muriel! Thanks for the greeting!

    A serial worrier, are ya? Hope over at Unmapped Country wrote a post about how worry fuels success. You might enjoy it!

  10. Really like this, Scrollwork. The sentiment and the photos, too.