Friday, October 24, 2014

Monster Mirrors Part 1

For years now, I've been working on a graphic book about self-reconciliation called The Innocence Trip: How to Kiss and Make-Up When You've Been Fighting Inside. 

This summer, I ditched the self-helpish version I'd labored over, and tried a new approach. It starts with a little cartoon about how scary thoughts seem realer when we argue with them and then goes into an illustrated memoir about my own (in-progress) liberation from guilt-tripping and other made-up mind traps.

Working on this version, I've had the turvy feeling of walking out beyond the edge of my maps. A spot of ground the size of my foot appears as I'm stepping on it, bringing a dizzy thrill. Or, What Next? doesn't appear yet, so I wait in not-knowing, and tend to other things.

Here's the cartoon intro, in time for Halloween. 

To be continued....

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Dark Joke

One black hole says to another, "You are so self-absorbed!"

Thursday, June 12, 2014

A Theory

Road to the Pond (digitally edited oil sketch by Jude Spacks, 2014)

A friend felt she'd made a big mistake. Even though it had come out alright in the end, she obviously had to buckle down to some hard-labor inner work now. Where had she gone wrong? The story echoed resoundingly with unhappy themes from way back when. What ghastly hidden motives, tendencies and confusions needed to be untangled and cleared up? (In a most compassionate and forgiving way, of course). There must be something important to learn from all this. She'd called to ask for my help to go digging for it.

So many times I've diligently set about 'dealing' with an inner world snafu like this, believing I couldn't get over it until I'd bravely dived into the depths, mining for insights. But lately I've been semi-retired from busying my brain this way, even though I was pretty good at the job--a useful one at times, no doubt.

I saw a little cartoon in my imagination: I'm homeless, rattling a cup for spare change, with a cardboard sign saying, "Will delve for food."

A theory popped out of my mouth. "Fresh new neuropathways are being built, ones leading to creative, healthy ways to respond to experiences like this. So it's best not to send a whole lot of thought-traffic through right now. Let the mind slow down, give the new ways some space to develop. If you spin out a high volume of serious thoughts, they'll have to take that big old superhighway which you really don't like traveling on anymore."


"Did you just make that up?" she asked. 

"Yup," I said, "I guess so. What if there's really nothing to figure out? The voice of wisdom is notoriously still and small. Easier to hear when it's quieter inside. Amble on down a country road, without any hurry to get there. This whole experience has gone into the past now. Why not just let it be over? Play hookey from the school of Learning What's Wrong With You That Caused 'Mistakes'." 

"I can't tell you how relieved I feel hearing that," she sighed. 

My cat stretched in her sleep and tucked her nose under her paw.  Pretty soon, my friend got off the phone to go spend time with her son. 


"Don’t give rise to any thought, and discover who you are."



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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Drawing Papers

drawing of papers by a window; (c)JudeSpacks2014
Those Papers I've Been Meaning to Deal With For Over A Year

Before giving this prompt to my Awakening Vision Course, I tried it myself: Draw something you feel negativity or rejection towards--anything from boredom to aesthetic disgust. (I asked that they not choose anything oozy or smelly). 

An experiment: Could aversion survive the beam of unbiased attention that engages with the act of drawing? Nope, not this time for me, anyway. My area of paper chaos had been evoking a mild cringe of shame and obligation every time I walked by it. Now this has simply dissolved into light and dark contrasting.

In class, I read a snippet from The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon (A No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency Novel by Alexander McCall Smith): "If Mma Soleti thought that Daisy Manchwe nursed an undying hatred towards her for stealing her husband, then she was probably right. She would have seen the daggers in the other woman's eyes; daggers in the eyes were always visible, sometimes even through sunglasses."

I urged people to look at their object with daggers of rejection in the eyes to start with, and to let that energy transmit right onto the page--no holding back, no trying to accomplish results.

What we noticed: it's not easy to maintain daggers in the eyes. Starting that way can liberate some people from a notion of responsibility to
make things look good which stifles direct involvement with what they perceive. But eye daggers naturally and quickly transmute into pure, keen attention, and even these not-worth-looking-at items began to glow on everyone's pages.

My papers remain unsorted. I walk by with a friendly smile for them.


“ is the best thing that i ever do. First of all because it gets me to be so silent. To not be blurting out what i think about this or feel about that. Second, I become an open observer, jotting down visual notes about something i see. And third, it puts me in the world of praise. To be looking upon an object and taking the time to sketch it is an innocent, unaggressive, and grounding act. It is where bliss resides. It is pure BEING. “

--D. Price in Moonlight Chronicles