Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Step Eight: Just breathe...

Dear Fi,

What a day!!!
I don’t want to complain and I don’t want to describe in detail how I was “fighting” with my project today. So, shortly... (hopefully)

I couldn’t decide what to do, I wanted something easy and fast today because I have so many things to do and I didn’t want this project to take all of my time. I also wanted something green because I dream about spring, which comes to Calgary around June and stays for about a week and then disappears...

I decided to make a small cute stamp and then make “something” with it... a postcard maybe? I wasn’t sure. So it was supposed to be quick and easy and probably it would have been if not for the fact that I encountered technical problems with printing. Instead of making one stamp I made three using the different materials and the same idea. And instead of being done within an hour I spent half a day on unsuccessfully figuring out how to print!!! At the end I just decided to use colored pencils to colour my vague print... end of story ;)

So today, my Dear Fi, I learned that I’m able to carve three stamps in three different mediums (the exploring part!!!) in less than 10 minutes. However, what I'm unable to do is to use my stamps and to print them properly (that part totally sucks!!!).

I find it totally ironical and at the same time completely accurate that I chose to work with this powerful Japanese proverb today: Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are. Breathe.

I think that sums up all of my efforts to be and do things perfectly. For the most part while working on this project I was tense and stressed out not only because it was taking too much time (how much is too much?) but also because it didn’t work (as I wanted it to work). However, I think that the hardest part to accept was the fact that I didn’t have any ideas as to why it was not working!!! I was absolutely clueless.

It seams that learning about printing is unquestionably a “must” in my case.

On a positive note I realized that the most pleasurable task today wasn’t the project itself but taking the pictures. Dear Fi, I won’t tell you how many of them I took today and how long it took me to choose a few for this post. However, I can tell you that I’m enjoying setting up “the scene” more and more and taking pictures for the purpose of this blog. And this is something I did not expect at all. I discovered that the display was the only way to “enhance” my simple work today. So I played with the settings and this is when I started to feel more at ease, this is when I stopped thinking about painting, carving, or doing something else, something better, something bigger and more complicated for today (he, he). This is when I started to BREATHE...

So to end on a wise and beautiful note I will use a few quotes I was reminded of while working on this project. These come from Tao Te Ching in Stephen Mitchell’s remarkable translation:

The Tao is always at ease.
It overcomes without competing,
answers without speaking a word,
arrives without being summoned,
accomplishes without a plan.


He who stands on tiptoe
doesn’t stand firm.
He who rushes ahead
doesn’t go far.
He who tries to shine
dims his own light.
He who defines himself
can’t know who he really is.
He who has power over others
can’t empower himself.
He who clings to his work
will create noting that endures.

If you want to accord with the Tao,
just do your job, then let go.

{ha, ha, ha - perfect!}


{I couldn’t resist to include this one too, but I promise I won’t type the whole book}

Some say my teaching is nonsense.
Others call it lofty but impractical.
But to those who have looked inside themselves,
this nonsense makes perfect sense.
And to those who put it into practice,
this loftiness has roots that go deep.

I have just three things to teach:
simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and in thoughts,
you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile all beings in the world.

{ah! nothing more to add...}




  1. Gorgeous, gorgeous colours and such a great quote. I think it turned out brilliantly! I love how you chose to use a frame of the same paper, with spotty stamps instead. I really do love it.

    I'm intrigued to know what the different mediums for stamping you used were... and what specifically was the problem with stamping? It seemed to work really well before with the hearts. What was going wrong this time?

    As always, your pics of the work are fab. It's so funny you told that story today about how you enjoyed taking the pics. I was thinking as I cut my butterfly how wonderful your pics always are and how I should try harder with mine! Each week though, I find that I'm exhausted by the time I come to write my post. It's like all of my creativity went on what I was discovering and exploring and I have nothing left for creating a nice backdrop, or finding some nice light (which is a bit difficult at the moment - it's quite dark here!) :-))) So, I was giggling away when I read that you actually enjoy that bit! You certainly have a knack for it. I always love the props you use.

    Hope you managed to catch up with everything you needed to do and regained the half day you lost trying to figure out the stamps! ;-) Although, I can't think of a nicer way to spend half a day, surrounded by all of that gorgeous colour!

    Speak soon. Lots of love

  2. I love the quote and the beautiful print Sylvie! Just what I needed to read today as I haven't had any conscious breathing in some time. I can feel myself relaxing a little already.