Category: Writing

Finding Ease

Ease is radical counter-culture that requires personal trickery and magic because our popular culture pushes us towards the opposite; dis-ease and not good enough.  With the popular mindset we cover up our true natures with workaholism, entertainment, politics, crisis and constant striving for more and more and more.  But wait, just breath a moment, because right now is fantastically perfect. All those worries just don’t exist except in your mind. We are on an incredible journey through space and time and with each clock-hand shift unfolds another incredible new mystery with beautiful worry-less ease.  The universe aids us, yet we resist.

In the keynote address Elizabeth Gilbert shared at Wanderlust Oahu, she talked about this conundrum from a woman’s vantage point. A “Relaxed Woman” is a cultural oddity. She wondered what it takes for a woman to relax and find ease and shared her noodling about what she reckoned was required for a woman to simply let go, relax and accept the universe’s wisdom.  There were three ingredients to her magic potion that I love so much.

  • Priorities. Know what you value and what is important to you.  Keep your focus there.
  • Boundaries. Know what is sacred in your life and relationships, draw a circle around these sacred principles and stand firm. Spend time understanding your needs.  Spend time gently standing firm and comfortable in your sacred.  People won’t always respect your boundaries, but ease isn’t found with people who trample on boundaries either.  Find people in your life that respect and love you for your boundaries.
  • The Divine. Develop an intentional relationship with Divinity or Mysticism. There is more than the physical on this planet and you don’t need religion to explore it. Convene with your soul, celebrate your spirit and hunt out connections in nature and the universe. Meditate. Reflect. Get curious about the unknown.

Real wisdom and food for the soul, so simple and yet always a practice.


C) Marika Reinke – Adventures in Art with Heart, Humor and Spirit.

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25. power

There are two types of power; traditional and authentic.

Accumulating traditional power demands sacrifice for a well-understood balance; power must be earned by privilege and accumulated.  Traditionally, status, money, fame, and politics demand specific expenses. Time for money. Privacy for fame. Quietude for politics. Authenticity for status. Responsibility for influence. These are economic exchanges that offer calculable and physical profits; requirements are met, titles are gained, tribes grow, conquests are made.  It is power created and maintain by externalities.

Authentic power exists in love, truth, creativity, spirit, integrity, hope, joy, spirituality and even childbirth. With authentic power we are reminded we are co-creators of this astonishing life, not the gatekeepers to the traditional and mundane. Power is seeded internally and then nurtured.  Authentic power exists without rules of economics or privilege to validate it.  More threatening, this is proof that a creative force is alive and powerful in anybody. Authentic power is not an exchange, it is a fact of living. A woman, an artist, a human being on the verge of creation, art-making, expressing authentic truth and human right is about to inaugurate a miracle and confirm, once again, that there is a universal alternative power. Authentic power is free. It’s inside us, expressed in creative endeavors and among those we connect and love. It is the ultimate empowering life-source; free, abundant, and available.

For self-conscious and insecure humans, any power is a tempting target. Economics of power are always at play. It is not unlikely that someone or some institution will test the title to his/her influence. The traditionally power-starved or hungry will think, perhaps unconsciously, “I can take a little bit of this power and I will feel so much better, so much more in control.” A sweet piece of someone else’s authentic power is a battle trophy that feeds a human desire to feel powerful. Perhaps that is why authentic power is diminished into the frivolous; even as battles continue over reproductive rights.

Imagine a world where we chose authentic power. Sure a little traditional power might keep us in line. But if we all claimed and honored that authentic power in all of us, it would change the world.


C) Marika Reinke – Adventures in Art with Heart, Humor and Spirit.

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24. resolve

I find daily practice tedious.  Really, I do.  Even with a morning ritual, I would rather have daily variety than a predictable plan.

An unpredictable day lifts me from monotonous self-talk. Instead of the self-same stories, I can create detached fables in my head. This protagonist is confident, capable, able to adjust and flex my muscles into any new challenge.  I can surprise myself. With new context, I am awed like a newborn.  It’s a joy to be different, just different.

In contrast, day by day progress is a slow measure; an increment here, a millimeter there and then a few subtractions just to rub it in.

It’s the reason I need my daily practice.



C) Marika Reinke – Adventures in Art with Heart, Humor and Spirit.

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23 Morning Ritual

Coffee. Journal. Meditation. Movement. My morning ritual.

Some people swear a ritual makes the day better.  Some days, I swear if a day could be worse, what would it be without it?

It is better than rushing out the door as I gulp down my coffee and stuff my face. It’s better than a never-ending ache for time alone to think. It’s better than insisting I don’t have time to pay myself some time. My time is the morning and my quiet, rhythmic ritual.

It’s like a warm up for a workout; a necessary prelude to the day. The older I get, the more I need it too. My body-mind won’t operate without a little shaking out each morning.

I return from the ritual a little cleaner. The world a little neater. My mind a slight more organized. Nothing perfect, but I’ve swiped more ready-energy and dusted my nerves with calm.

The day’s remainder is hardly habit and anti-ritual. I can invite its un-structure now.


C) Marika Reinke – Adventures in Art with Heart, Humor and Spirit.

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22. better than

A wise person claims that asking yourself, “Am I better than yesterday?” is a powerful daily life practice.  Whether the answer is “Yes” or “No” during the pursuit of mastery, the practitioner’s reply must be a life-affirming, “Yes, I’m getting better at this because I practice.” Wisdom claims that answer drives doggedness through the stagnant times and frustration.

Easier said than done.

I reflect on my own pursuits which spread across parenting, painting, writing, climbing, fitness, mindfulness and admit there is no clear and simple answer.  I have given up in the past.  I’ve conceded defeat.  I’ve believed I can’t do better. I have many excuses too, and I hate excuses. I’ve discovered that what you might call my doggedness is not certitude, but an overall concession and helpless defeat that I can’t do anything else than this.

So, without anything better to do, I continue to practice. Sometimes I remember to ask myself.  “Am I better than yesterday?”  But mostly I don’t.

Then, sometimes I come across a project or circumstance that reveals my progress and I get a second wind. This painting is it.  It is my answer to the question.  Yes, today I am better than yesterday.


C) Marika Reinke – Adventures in Art with Heart, Humor and Spirit.

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21. The Bucket

Friendship is a like a bucket two people work to fill with Good. The fuller it is, the more stable and long lasting a friendship, the emptier and the more precarious.  Good times, trust, presence, laughter, listening, giving, integrity, and love all fill the bucket. 

Investing in a loaded bucket creates a lasting friendship because sometimes we mess up. Dishonesty, disappearing, not showing up, silence, smothering, missing being there and other dissatisfying behaviors take from the bucket.  If the bucket is full enough, the friendship can last a transgression with tons leftover to cushion a mistake. A good friend will start to fill it up again. If the bucket isn’t nurtured, a transgression or two can grind down a fledgling friendship before it can bloom.

The bucket is sacred. A friend that doesn’t understand or abuses the bucket wears a friendship down. A friend that that respects the bucket will last forever.      

 


C) Marika Reinke – Adventures in Art with Heart, Humor and Spirit.

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20. what do you want?

“Mom! I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.” An eye roll emphasized her tweeny exasperation.

“I don’t care about what you are going to be.” I said. “You will be a lot of different things. I want an idea of what you want.”

She shrugged, but her eyes stayed on me.

“I always wanted time to paint and write.” I illustrated. “Now, here I am with the time to do it”

She nodded, so I kept talking.

“Your dad always wanted to be successful. It matters less what he is, it’s the success he wants and motivates him.”

“Some people want an ambulance.” She elaborated. Our friends recently bought an out-of-commission ambulance, it’s true. “But others want to go to Mexico.”

“And others want to take a year and half off and live in Costa Rica.” I winked. That was a couple of years ago.

“So, what do you want?” I asked again.

I can’t wait to find out.


C) Marika Reinke – Adventures in Art with Heart, Humor and Spirit.

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19. memories

My dad’s main parenting objective was to make memories.  He created them with variety, skill, and simplicity.

He walked with me. In hindsight, our most precious amblings were the modest ones; the everyday stroll to the bus stop.  We conversed like peers and discussed the color of the dawn, friendships and school work. I felt equal as he lectured and philosophized.

He was funny too, sometime ridiculous. Our barking spiders could be fierce. My parents’ coconut cream pie wars. He crashed, splashed and then sailed into the bay not to return for hours when he taught himself to windsurf. His untethered laugh conquered our house.

He repeated himself.  “Life isn’t fair,” was constant. “Your friends are not your friends.” He commanded me.  “Do what you say,” and “Honor your word,” were built into his heart. He transferred them to me neatly.

Now, I deliberately make memories with all his tricks and more. They are all that are left of love.

 


C) Marika Reinke – Adventures in Art with Heart, Humor and Spirit.

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18. Mean Continued

After her threat, I retreated to my room. My heart heated up my boiling chest. My thinking spun. I served up my home, vacations, friends and family for her feasting.  Gratitude came wrapped in acidic betrayal. Up until then, I didn’t believe people could be like her. The reality wedged into my ribs; a twisting hot iron.  It wasn’t fair. I had only tried to help.

That night, with resolve, I told my parents her promise. They balked, in hindsight knowing she had no-such power.

I refused to wait and see where her new resolve would take us. I countered with my own threat: I would not live in the house if she was there.  I left.

I believed I could cobble together the last months of my Senior year bunking at my boyfriend’s and others’ houses. I reasoned if my parents wanted to keep her, I’d be okay. She needed a home and a lot more of everything than me.

A few days later, my parents reached out to let me know she was gone. They shuffled her into the Foster care system. They wanted me back.

I returned but more alone.  

She swept the house of herself and bundled up a group of my friends with her. I was too cold-hearted for friendship.  Later, she unraveled and let loose on them too.   

Then, I wasn’t so mean.

 


C) Marika Reinke – Adventures in Art with Heart, Humor and Spirit.

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17. Mean

I briefly had a foster sister as a Senior in high school.

Before our sisterhood, she was a half-acquaintance I momentarily connected with and liked. Her dimpled charisma drew me. 

One day, she called me with a faded plead and dreadful story.

She ran away. Her home and family were violent. She sheltered with an older man who let her stay for sex. She dropped out of school, she was fifteen and couldn’t get to school without a driver’s license. 

She cried.  

Long story short, I invited her to my house and asked my parents for help. The foster system registered her paperwork and we applied to be her family with counseling.   

Now, you are thinking I’m nice, even compassionate and giving. Don’t jump to any conclusion.

Turns out, in daily interactions she couldn’t keep a fact straight. Almost everyday, she made sure I heard a fabrication to smear the truth. She was at school but she was playing hooky for a joy ride. She wasn’t dating but was intimately involved with a good friend. She quit smoking. She didn’t drink. She had good grades. She was a virgin, even.  She didn’t have a STD. She could tell me everything. She manufactured stories for drama and allure.

The culmination of our story ended in the emergency room with her histrionic pregnancy. There never was a 12 week old baby, the doctor confirmed.

Then I exhaled my disbelief and accepted a new understanding. Her interior was furnished with wanderings from reality and creations desperate for a different life. I’m certain she wanted to be a better person but had no vocabulary for truth-telling. I’m certain the trauma in her life ran deep and ragged.  I’m sorry that I can’t confidently articulate its nature.

Our relationship deteriorated; I had befriended an expert liar. I searched for the exit door from her drama but sympathy and a desire to prove I’m a good person paralyzed me. She needed a home and I had one. Desperate, I made her invisible. The silence must have tortured her. In hindsight, it makes sense that she morphed into attack.  

She cornered me from a basement shadow with a bold-faced threat: she would ruin my family if I tried to oust her.

That moment pivoted everything. All my emotion for her vanished.

I became mean.     


C) Marika Reinke – Adventures in Art with Heart, Humor and Spirit.

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Make jewelry from watercolor paintings with me! Book a workshop or party thru Airbnb.com here: https://www.airbnb.com/experiences/140929