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  • Writer's pictureSandra Lee


how little we really need to be completely happy and content.

my continuing current lesson to which i resist ~ is still grasping my belongings and items, from which i have to pry my child's wiry small sticky fingers from, one by one. and all the while her face screwing up in stubbornness and confusion as to why these things are no longer needed. but i WANT them she says. and want even more stuff that i see in the 'mazagines'.....

so with great relief and unwinding i started my drive down south to M's retreat house, altho obsessing over the details of my left-behind life, where my dog was staying, are my grown children ALL right, have i hurt a friend's feelings, DID I LEAVE THE STOVE BURNER ON.... (as i had done a few days earlier, blue flame burning all day in my 1908 all wood little cottage) was i missing out on other social events that i had given up to be alone for 3.5 shoulders were up around my ears as i drove. stopped off at my fav breakfast place and the friendly waiter who sees me often, asks how i am with a questioning look, as i am teary eyed and somewhere between ecstatic and bursting hysterically into tears. i say, i'm going to a retreat!!!

cry practically all the way to Atascadero. wonder if i will be crying the whole 3.5 days, and pretty much give up trying to stop. reminisce that i used to cry every time before i even hit the door of my shrink's office, many years before, in anticipation of letting go of my shit. ha! same thing here.

however, by the time i arrive at the SkyHouse, i am completely calm and done with the weeping. i had turned off my phone about an hour back.

oh my god. little nirvana. phone off and no connections except with the tiny retreat house and the surrounding peace of the hillside. M is my mentor and spirtual guide, one who i've had a friendship with longer than anyone in my life, 34 years. already i was in the zone as i explored my longtime friend's artist abode. you'll have to experience it yourself to know, and frankly, i want to keep some of the details of the place and my visit inside, as a precious and grateful gift. suffice it to say i am already realizing how little we need surrounding our selves to be complete and supremely happy.

i had brought my paint, a canvas, writing materials, books, stretchy clothing, ipod/music and lotsa lotions and soaps as per instruction for my creature comfort. i was in heaven already and it was only the first hour.

i paint the next day, saturday. i had been practical, which is not my wont, and had picked out a rather small canvas, 36"x36" - mostly because i wanted to be able to transport it back home in the trunk of my car, and i wanted it to fit without getting oil paint everywhere. the smaller size of the canvas was a curious detail, discussed briefly with M. of course the practical size of the canvas ultimately revealed it's more complicated truth, in the end.

i am outside, under the massive oak tree, with it's beehive and the heat and the scent of the rolling hills that is like no other in California, but seems to be only in the town in which i once lived. i paint my emotions on the square, small canvas.

as always, it morphs into what 'it' wants to be. i see in my head greens and blue greens, and oranges, neon and intense red orange. i am listening to super intense electronic dubstep music, powerful, and picking this music is also done without plan, without thought or reason, as my choices of what i listen to has been everything from Tibetan chanting monks to Death in Vegas. as usual, the details, the size and shape of the canvas, the colors, what 'appears' in the painting, and the process the process, becomes clear and complex as the painting emerges. what starts out random and with no meaning, becomes incredibly meaningful and is shown to me instead of 'me' painting. it is not 'talent' that comes from my head and moves my arm. i am just the vehicle of which my spirit shows itself.

by the end, i gaze upon it, and find it 'less than' my experience. what was an incredibly intense powerful showing felt small and not as expressive as i had felt. which often happens after i finish... however, continues to change by the next morning, and 24 hours later, and on, and on.... and so on. and as usual, i wait, and wait, and the meaning of the process and the painting becomes more clear as the process, well... processes. the painting now, to me, is incredible in it's story and it's details of it's storytelling of that day, in the SkyHouse of M, my friend of longest standing, during my retreat from the material things of this material world.

i burst into tears, and weep, now, in gratitude.

the painting is called '9~ the whole egg'

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