Magic Morphing

I have been working on a project for the last month or so: evolving a rough piece of soapstone into a clock for a silent auction that will benefit CASA Partners (see website below for more info). This is my first real attempt at soapstone carving. The results are yet to be determined. But I’m not too worried. Even though I am NOT an artist, I love the cathartic peace that always comes when I am in the process of “coloring”, my term for any act that involves total focus on helping bring something into the world that wasn’t there before. The results don’t matter so much as the experience during the act. There is no risk that it will go wrong. It can’t because there are no expectations except to make with all my heart and soul.

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Do you remember when you were five and colored just for the sake of coloring? Total absorption in the act of making a picture.

Meditative.

Who knew we were so good at meditating when we were five? But see, we knew better then how to be completely in the moment.

I wish I could go back and hear what was in my brain when I was five and coloring. Did the Holy Spirit, the universe, angels and ghosts whisper in my ear then like they do now when I am in the act of making? I think so. I just didn’t question as much then. Funny how I can hear the whispers so clearly when I am using power tools!

Soapstone is fascinating to work with. It has been used for thousands of years for carving because it is very soft, containing a large quantity of talc.  Remember the Mohs scale from school? It is a method of comparing hardness of minerals by seeing how easily they can scratch each other. Talc is a 1 the softest. The type of soapstone used for carving contains about 80% talc and has a Mohs rating of about a 2.5.

AND soapstone is a metamorphic rock!

That being said here is a vocabulary lesson (because I am going to get to something with this, from the whisperers today, in the dust, who helped sort out a few things).

All of this is either from Wikipedia or my old Webster’s dictionary from 1988 depending on which definition I liked better.

metamorphic: of or relating to metamorphism

metamorphism: a change in the constitution of a rock, specifically a pronounced change effected by pressure, heat and water that results in a more compact and more highly crystalline condition

metamorphosis: a change of physical form, structure or substance especially by supernatural means

meta: Greek word meaning “after” or “beyond”

morph: to gradually change into another thing usually in a way that is surprising or seems magical

Working on my project today, I had this sense that I wasn’t so much forcing this piece of rock into a shape I wanted it to be but more discovering what shape IT wanted or needed to be and helping it along, uncovering and gently discovering its shades of rust, green, gold, and delicious variations of brown. You can’t force soapstone too hard or it will break and then you are faced with accepting a result that might not have been your original vision because you didn’t see where the rock’s weakness was until it was too late. But a break can often create a result that is stronger and more stable than before. So there is that.

My delight from taking part in the metamorphosis of this bumpy, rough rock,  watching it magically turn into something completely different, has not thus far diminished despite getting covered in dust, accidently sanding a hole in my wrist with the dremel tool (because I sure as hell would not do that ON purpose) (I could have almost DIED!) and hammering my knuckles countless times.

In fact, all of the whispers I heard today through the dust and pain gifted me a slight glimpse of how God must feel watching us all, His lovely creations evolving and changing, each going through our own metamorphosis during our time on earth. Does He smile with delight when our colors are gently uncovered by His angels, ghosts, and dear friends who are able to see below our rough surfaces to our rich, colorful veins? Does He weep with us when chunks of ourselves are painfully broken off, an unintended and often brutal result of our and others’ free will? Does He sigh in relief and pleasure when our jagged edges are smoothed, loved and soothed when our hearts are opened up (often with the gentle prodding of those He sends) to the idea that the break may be just what we needed to take on our next delightful shape.

There is such magic in the making and morphing that happens in our world, yes?

Written today with S.H.O.T.T.R. in my heart. You know who you are my dearests!

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Find out about “Make Time for Kids” and other events that support Casa Partners: http://www.casapartners.org/

Comfortable Skin

Have you ever been drawn to someone because they just seem comfortable in their own skin? They seem to resonate calm, contented, happiness. People like this: don’t you just want to be near them, to hug and touch them, to be in their light?

I’m not talking about people who LOOK good in their skin. I know plenty of people who look really nice in their skin but who seem to be itching to get out, desperate for different skin.

This phrase “comfortable in your own skin” has been noodling around in my mind for quite a long time.  Why is it that some days I am so completely comfortable in my own skin and other days it feels like it may be trying to choke me to death?

Well, I have a scientific theory as to why it’s so hard for some of us to be comfortable in our own skin.

This theory goes beyond the obvious reasons for discomfort: not drinking enough water; denying your skin plenty of moisturizer; wearing uncomfortable clothing; or forgetting to breathe so that all the yummy oxygen gets into your cells and makes you feel good.

My theory has more to do with what someone said to me a few years ago when I was ranting about my inconsistent personality. I was longing for level, calm consistency.

“Celebrate your inconsistencies H. Use them to your advantage.”

It’s interesting when you mull something over how you will be presented with similar ideas from different sources. I was re-reading my favorite book “If You Want to Write” by Brenda Ueland and came across this phrase:

“And do not try to be consistent, for what is true to you today my not be true at all tomorrow, because you see a better truth.”

What does any of this have to do with skin? Or being comfortable in it?

Well. I have done some research.

About skin.

We all know that the skin is the largest organ in the human body. It’s role: to protect the rest of your parts from pathogens, to keep your body temperature where it needs to be and to be a receptor for pain and pressure which are warning signs that something is wrong.

Well I know this NOW…you probably knew this before…I wish I would have taken more science classes in college, I’d be so much smarter. At least I have the internet. IT knows everything. Come to find out the average person sheds 50,000 cells of skin every single minute which computes to 72 MILLION cells a day.

Now, because I am me, I am going to turn this information into gross thinking:

According to the internet, dead skin cells account for a billion tons of dust in the atmosphere. Right now, you could be inhaling the dead skin of a stranger living in Peru or Timbucktoo! That dirty rain everyone is talking about? Yeah. Dead skin cell rain is more like it. The average person sheds 1.5 pounds of skin cells every year. I have lived with a total of eight people in my house for almost 10 years. (My children “all got here” when Mitchel was born ten years ago.) This means that during this time I have (mostly) cleaned up 120 pounds of dead skin. That doesn’t even count the dogs’ and cat’s dead skin. I understand now why it’s always so f’ing dusty in my house! In ten years I have dusted and vacuumed up the equivalent of whole person. That’s just so creepy. Plus fifteen pounds of that was from ME. I have cleaned fifteen pounds of DEAD ME up. Uck. I think I feel sick.

ALSO,  WHY THE HELL AM I NOT FIFTEEN POUNDS LIGHTER?

Here’s why: skin regenerates. Every twenty seven days you get new outer skin. In an average lifetime, a person will get 1000 new skins!  NO WONDER so many of us have such a hard time being comfortable in our skin. Just when we start thinking: “Okay, I’m soooo good with this skin. It’s nice. It feels good on me” it sheds and changes.

And as we get older and our epidermis begins to thin a bit, I think we must FEEL the shedding more profoundly, experience the constant change more deeply, in the dermis and the subcutaneous layers where our blood flows in our veins and our nerves are grounded more solidly than in the outer layer.

The people who seem comfortable in their own skin? They are the ones who shed their skin with grace and acceptance. They don’t fight the inevitable: that we are NOT consistent. We can’t be (on account of all that dust making) and the more we fight it the more uncomfortable we will be.

Celebrating inconsistencies, being in awe of the mysteries of constant change, taking delight in the absolute truth that we become different people every minute: 50,000 cells at a time, knowing that there is opportunity for renewal each and every minute of our ever changing lives, this is what people with comfortable skin see, accept and relish in.

That’s my scientific theory. Though it’s more like an epiphany based on very scientific internet facts.

Celebrate your always new skin that contains your spectacular beauty my friends!

P.S. I need to show off a little bit of my new found knowledge about the skin. Did you KNOW that the only four places on your skin that don’t sweat are your nail beds, the margins of your lips, your eardrums and if you are a male, the tip of your boy part. WHO KNEW?!?! Ha!!