I found this quote by Herman Hesse this morning, tucked into an essay by the wonderful Maria Popova of Brain Pickings. I read it aloud and thought ... yes, that's its then. That's it.
These words of Herman Hesse so accurately describe the heart-felt sentiment, the inspirational objective, underlying the Superhero Unfolding project. It is amazing that I had not found this quote, these words, before in all my research for the project. Perhaps, I just needed to discover their power, truth and beauty today. When my heart was ready to receive their message.
I believe in the inevitability of enlightenment for all beings over time. And, that finding the superhero unfolding inside of us, the god within, IS the adventure of our lives. So, godspeed to you, Superhero Unfolding, may your path be filled with peace, love and courage.
I wish you a day of spectacular encounters with greatness.
Fly on, Superhero.
This past weekend, I was contacted by a high school teacher in Kyoto, Japan. His student were interested in submitting drawings of their own superheroes to the online gallery. How AWESOME is that? I have received several submission since then, and am expecting many more.
The drawings are creative, colorful, original and fun. I am SO excited that these students have chosen to share them on the Superhero Unfolding site. Below are a few thumbnails. Please visit the Superhero Unfolding Gallery to see them in their original glory.
Draw on, Superheroes!
Happy Burger by Aoi Tatsumi. Lily Oil Man by Agata Nakasho. Onigiri Man by Mei Higashide. Pipe by Miri Mori. Family & Friends by Reina Tagami. Smile Man by Seina Hashimoto. Tooth Hero by Toki Yoshimori
Today is about connection...
"When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world."
- John Muir
We are part of life's enormous web. Connected to each other, and the world which surrounds us, in myriad ways. Plants have developed symbiotic relationships with insects that ensure their pollination. Insects have developed symbiotic relationships with plants that sustain their lives.
This is no coincidence. This is cooperative collaboration. This is the true nature of life.
Superhero Unfolding received it's first Superhero Gallery submission from an artist, Senia Hashimoto, in Kyoto, Japan! Our newest hero is aptly named "Smile Man." I dare you to try not to smile when you see him! Go Smile Man! Check him out in the gallery!
Wishing you a heart full of smiles!
Fly on, Superhero.
I have worked many hours the past few weeks developing content and activities for this website and building my own personal site www.SweetFrau.online. The SweetFrau site was a smaller project. It was fast and easy to construct. The Superhero Unfolding site is a much larger undertaking, and remains a work in progress. The site's main purpose is to describe SU projects. However, it also aspires to be a resource for budding superheroes. In order to achieve this, content and contacts must be located, researched, developed and added on a daily basis. This involves a great deal of time and attention. I can't say that this is really "work." It is a labor of love.
I have also created a facebook page for both the SU and SF websites. In the process, I have learned a great deal about the time it takes to maintain a dynamic online presence. And, my desire to exist in the realms of social media. Initially, I had planned an Instagram presence, but after sitting in on a "How to Sell through Instagram" webinar, I thought... yeah, that's not for me, that is just not what I want to do.
As it stands right now, SU is a one person project. With limited time and resources, I have opted to focus on developing/providing quality content and reaching out to people through the project website and the facebook page. So, I'll give it a go and see what happens.
Today's confession: I am afraid that opportunities to connect with people will be lost because I cannot maintain a presence on every social media platform out there. I am also well aware of the fact that to do so is impossible and choices needed to be made.
Today's insight: I can't be all things to all people. When presented with multiple options and limited time, I need to make sure that I make the best choice for myself. My choice must be based on what feels right, what feels doable, enjoyable and exciting. It must not be based on FOMO. (fear of missing out). Decisions based in fear are rarely constructive.
This morning, I mailed a package to my sister in New York. It contained inspirational materials, including Superhero Unfolding pins and stickers. My sister works as a physical therapist in a private in a hospital in NY. Two days ago, she called asked me to send some items to boost morale for her unit. I was SOOOOOO happy to be able to contribute something to SUPERHEROES working on the front lines.
Obstacles abound. The arrival of COVID-19 and Shelter In Place initiatives have resulted in consequences and changes for every human being on the planet, including Superheroes! Booth construction has come to a grinding halt. All public events have been postponed until the fall at the soonest.
I have been fitting together the walls of the booth on the floor of my kitchen. the space is a little awkward but surprisingly efficient, as everything is within an arms reach. I manged to fit and align the components for the walls, including the acrylic windows over the weekend. The doors, held together with tape and string, lean against a shelving unit in my kitchen. I am now waiting for hinges and mending plates to arrive so that I can glue up the doors.
Today's confession: I am surprisingly nervous about gluing up the walls. Especially, since I lack a number of more sophisticated tools which would help insure that the walls are square. This is a serious point of no return for the project. So, I am kind of glad that I have a few days to wait for parts. Measure twice, glue once!
Today's insight: I think my superpower is making due with whatever is at hand. I have discovered that I can usually figure out a way to get something done by using whatever is available. For example, I have no large clamps to hold things together. So, I used twine, pencils, cardboard and tape to make a simple version of a band clamp.
It was a night of failures, lessons and insights. I worked at the shop again, tonight. The frame for the booth is coming along. All the pieces are cut to size and the dados are done. It was time to focus on cutting the tenons. Initially, I thought that I might cut these by hand. But, since there are 40+ tenons needed, not including the door side, I decided to take Scott's advice and do them using the old table saw. This, turned out to be a lesson in the benefits of patience, precision and overcoming unmet expectations.
After learning how to change and align the blades on the saw, and best process for making the tenons, I cut a few small test pieces. I was happy with the results. However, the first few "live" pieces which I cut, were not square. The tenons were uneven front to back. Perplexed and a bit frustrated, I sought expert advice from Scott and Rollin. After a thorough investigation, they determined that the miter gauge and the fence were misaligned. and made the necessary repairs and adjustments to calibrate the saw. Once that was done, I made the cuts.
It took me three times as long as I thought it would to finish my work tonight. But, it did get done. And, I learned a few things about old table saws and unmet expectations.
Today's confession: The kind and caring people working next to me at the shop are a source of encouragement and a great example for me. They are patient, understanding and resourceful. I was perilously close to giving up and going home early tonight. I could feel the frustration boiling up inside me, my patience evaporating rapidly. The arising awkwardness and mind chatter, palpable. I wanted to leave and be free of these feelings. But, what good would come of avoiding or postponing such things for another day. So, I leaned into the frustration, the agitation, the anger, the impatience, the self doubt, the insecurity about my project and my abilities rather than running away or giving up. Which, have been habitual strategies. Tonight, I stayed and saw it through, feeling awkward, insecure and squirmy. And, it was ok.
Today's insight: Things take time. Machines need maintenance. Precision is equal parts skill, care, effort and patience. Clinging to results and expectations leads to frustration, impatience and disappointment. Disappointment arises from unmet expectations. It is the direct result of not getting what I want when I want it. Disappointment perceives unmet expectations as inconceivable and goes looking for someone to blame. More often than not, that someone is me. And, I allow myself to be pulled into its spiral of criticism and despair.
Today's insight 2: I think I may be a bit of a diva and a drama queen!
When things go awry ...
Construction has begun on the booth! I bought the wood on Tuesday and started cutting things to size tonight. I am working at the woodshop at the Petaluma High School. I LOVE being back working in a community shop! Tonight, I prepared pieces for the frame, and three of the four sides of the booth. I caught myself singing while using the compound miter saw to cut the boards to length. I learned how to make dados using the table saw (thanks Scott!). And, used my new skill over and over and over again to cut 54 dados. I still have to cut several pieces for the doors and put dados into the long parts of the frame. Then, onto the tenons!
Many thanks tonight to Scott and Rollin, and my classmates for their help and patience!
Tonight's confession: This project has been in development for a long long time. And, while I am so excited about finally bringing it out of my head and into the world, I admit to feeling a low level of anxiety around it this afternoon before heading to the shop. I see the anxiety as a combination of fear and self-doubt. The fear of failing to meet my own expectations. The fear that this project will somehow fall short of its dream/image in my head. And, I will have to let go of it. Or, that somehow I may not be good enough, or have the skills and courage to bring this dream/vision to life.
At times like this I find it helpful to seek the advice of others. So, I thought of the most inspiring and motivating quote I have ever found. It was sent to me by a friend, when I confessed that I was paralyzed by insecurity about showing my work. It is from the fantastic Martha Graham... “There is a vitality, a life force, an energy. A quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly... to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work... you have to keep open and aware.”
And, I remembered the impossible things that I have done, the mountains that I climbed cycle-touring in NZ by living the motto of "just try," and hearing the words of the great Nelson Mandela echoing in my head... "It always seems impossible until it is done."
Tonight's personal insight: I can be freakishly focused and quite intense when I am working. I hope I didn't scare anyone. ha ha ha. But, seriously, I am not taking to anyone when I am using a table saw.
So far, most of December and early January has be spent doing research, reviewing plans and obtaining materials. Which, is not exactly the most fun part of a creative endeavor, but is super helpful in keeping things on track and moving forward. It also helped to inspire me while I waited for the grant check to arrive from Creative Sonoma.
I have purchased the capes. So, now in the process of deciding how I to construct the chest plate for the front and transfer the logo onto the back begins. I have also purchased an inexpensive pay phone replica which I plan to modify for the listen and record activities. I have several ideas about this which need more exploration. I have also started on the yellow pages. But, I admit my heart has not really been in it. So, I have focused my energy on getting the cape production sorted out. I borrowed a sewing machine from a friend to help me tailor the capes (thanks, Pam).
Today's confession: While my mind works very quickly and I am an excellent problem solver, I am often paralyzed in making final decisions. Consequently, I procrastinate or put off projects or purchases for another future time. Tonight, I broke that habit.
Following my intuition, I registered for the community class for experienced woodworkers moments after noticing the dog-eared community education pamphlet sitting on top of the book pile by the heater. It had been there since I brought it up from the mailbox two days ago. I am not sure why I did not register immediately. I was so excited when I received it that I read the pamphlet going up the stairs to my apartment. I knew immediately that this was the best solution for a production facility close to home. And yet, I procrastinated thinking... "tomorrow, I will do it tomorrow." Thankfully, tonight I heeded the voice in my head that said "you should do this now." There were only 2 spots left open when I logged in to sign up.
Today's personal insight: Procrastination is sometimes very helpful as a motivating force for me. But, this episode felt dismissive and willful. Feeling into the situation, I found hints of resistance, insecurity, laziness, self-sabotage and fear underlying the procrastination. A reflection that was both awkward and authentic to my experience, yet revelatory and true.