Today was an interesting day for me. I kept feeling drawn to do art. (pun intended (!)) It was another day when we were on board the ship all day, the second in a row, so there were again many classes and lectures to attend. My day wasn’t as jam-packed as yesterday was, but I did enough to earn a gold star. I also took a nap – my first of the voyage, and a very welcome addition to my daily schedule.
After teaching, which again brought me a great deal of pleasure, I went on deck and drew some pictures of the ocean. I felt such a strong urge to integrate what I’ve been seeing without really noticing. Then again around sundown, I went out on deck and drew more. There’s something about drawing and doing art which brings me to my center again. Writing is also helpful – it helps me put into words what I’m thinking and feeling, whether I realize it or not. But there’s something about drawing which works differently. This is what makes me know I’m an artist. I simply can’t go very long without creating something visual. After writing class, I went into the art classroom and pulled out some paper and invited other folks in to draw with me. I did some Zendoodles. No one came, but that didn’t matter. It was lovely to take the time to play with patterns and to relax and to let my brain go into design mode. It’s a very different way of being. I was open to whatever happened, but I wasn’t working or trying or putting myself out there. Somehow I was just letting things happen as they happened. It felt wonderful after all the rushing I’ve been doing on this voyage to go from one wonderful thing to another. This evening Gerlinde and I sat around and talked for a couple of hours then went outside to see the Southern Hemisphere sky – indeed, Orion has disappeared. I don’t know what is in his place, but he is no longer there. After gazing for a few moments at the brightly lit sky, we went inside to sit and listen to the beautiful guitar music in the bar area. I had my Zendoodles pens and paper with me so I couldn’t stop myself – I started drawing the guitar player, first a gesture drawing which didn’t look as good as I wanted it to, then a modified blind contour drawing. That was fun! I did several then turned to other people in the bar to draw them. I didn’t want to offend anyone by staring at them as I drew them, but it felt so good to be drawing, like the blood was flowing back into my veins. I don’t know how else to describe it. Sometimes I don’t know if I really am an artist or if it’s important to me to continue to do art – especially since I’ve gotten so busy as an activist – but days like today when I find/make so much time to do art let me know that, yes, it is part of my life to be an artist. Yes, it is critical that I express myself visually. Yes, it is how I integrate the world into my being. I can’t not do it. It’s a good awareness to have so that I make sure to always have the opportunity to do it.
Now our cabin is filling up with art – some molas which I bought and 7 (so far) drawings I’ve done of the ocean, and – I love this! – 3 of Gerlinde’s drawings which she’s done since taking my drawing class. By the end of the journey, our walls will be full of art, just like my walls at home in Richmond!
Tomorrow is Guayacil, Ecuador. There’s supposedly a wonderful artisan community there with one of the largest artisan markets in the world in the city. I’m very curious to see what that’s like. There’s supposedly also a neighborhood where many artists live and galleries are.
Each evening before we’re going to go out on land, Semester at Sea offers us a Pre-Port lecture so we can find out a bit about the country we’re going to. I’m finding them to be a bit tiresome by the by. Each time the doctor gives us a heads up about how to avoid the typical tourist issues of diarrhea, constipation and nausea. We learn which diseases are rampant – like malaria – and how to avoid them. Then we have a safety briefing where we’re told which neighborhoods are dangerous and what sort of issues have occurred there in the past and what to look out for. I absolutely hate getting such information. Not that I don’t want to be safe. Of course I do. But I hate setting myself up to worry about a city and to feel like harm might be done to me there. In some ways it feels like an affirmation of harm coming my way. I try to tune out the negativity similarly to how I tune out the news unless it’s something I really need to hear. I just don’t think it’s helpful to my well being to focus on all the bad in the world. I do my best to travel safely. I don’t do anything particularly stupid. Gerlinde and I are both seasoned travelers. I just hate these dumb warnings about muggings and sexual molestations and pick pockets, and diseases, etc. Who would ever want to travel with these warnings going through their heads?? Blargh!
I prefer to assume all is well and that the people of the city are well-intentioned towards us just as we are towards them and to treat them accordingly, as opposed to treating them with fear and worry. It’s karma, man, karma!