The Artist’s Rule: Nurturing Your Creative Soul with Monastic Wisdom by Christian Valters Paintner has served as my spine text this school year, the first year of my sons attending high school full-time. Divided into twelve chapters, each chapter takes the reader through a process of discerning how to bring artistic and monastic practices into our daily lives. The last chapter helped me build a rule to practice, based on where I currently sense to create. It’s something I’m piecing together over time.
In my ideal world I would awake each day to greet the sunrise and calibrate my heart with the Spirit in the early morning hours. I don’t know what props I would use beyond the pinks of early morning and the songbirds.
Terce represents the third hour after dawn. It also represents my favorite time of day. At my dream graduate school, the bells chime at 9, noon, and 3 and the entire building, including the professors, take a moment of silence to pray. I find myself at my creative best between 9 and noon (maybe that’s why SillyDoodah and I are such good friends), a time I find it the most natural to believe there is enough resource for life. I find life in the water and chose my favorite blue-greens to represent this part of my day.
And then there’s Sext. The noon through three. I call this the White-Hot time of my day. Because that’s how I roll, swing. From the Blue/Green of Terce to the WHITE/HOT of Sext. I love white. On my home’s trim. Through my windows. While melting mid-day and even in the dead of winter. Bring the white-hot. In my clothing. My personality. Any art I might try to create. I want light. Hot. Heat. For me it means housekeeping that polishes, cleans, keeps the windows bright. Today it meant I worked with the grandparents, shopped on budget, dealt with the homework. I was on.
But there’s also None. And by None, the hours of 3pm-6pm, I am swimming in an attempt to keep it together. That’s where I am as I write. I’m sucking down cold caffeine-filled tea. Chomping on chips. Coordinating driving the kids tonight and discussing life with the man who has no commute and shows up this time of day in “my” office with what’s on his mind. This is not the time of day for “None”…no emotions…HA! So it’s silver. Silver is when I rely on my (thanks be to God) husband’s steady income. Run to the store? Yes. Drink a little wine? Maybe. Say yes to the kids? Ask me now.
But by 6:30, dinner is decided. The evening has shaped up. It might be a night they all leave (Wednesday, glorious Wednesday) or the night we light the fire and live it up (Saturday). It might be a night we argue together over dinner that’s taken twice as long to make as eat. (Fwiw, my teens like to banter with each other for fun. GAH!). Regardless, I start to cut myself slack in the purple. For purple is the true riches, the deep color. The music plays, the meat is served, the wine (maybe) pours. Sometimes we watch those who create better stories than we can (Downton Abbey, LOST, Game of Thrones, Friday Night Lights). We put our feet up, give the dogs our scraps, clean the kitchen leisurely, and maybe, maybe let others into our lives. That is a rarity these days. But someday, I hope that will change. Because during this time of day, we transition from the American life we live of silver, to the Child of God life we live of purple…of believing we are royalty no matter what struggles we face. We attend events, walk downtown to our gourmet ice cream shop, play music and dance in our kitchen. Life is good. I rarely write about this time of day because I can embrace it. This life. The gifts of God. Whatever happens, happens.
But then there’s Vespers. Compline. The end of the work day. And I admit. If you text or call after 9:30…even if you are my offspring or mate…I will CHOOSE to give you time. It is time to rest. To rest in the navy blue. Maybe with sex. DEFINITELY with reading. The stars cycle. The moon cycle. The navy blue of life. I anticipate greeting the sunrise. And even if I love you, I also love the sunrise. Curfews, night owls, details..maybe, MAYBE I will give you attention. But I take meds. At 9:30. Oh, offspring. You of my womb who broke curfew last night. I long to greet the sunrise. With the Spirit.
You are my sunshine.