Me, You, Us.
As I was ogling through Cartier on Thursday’s lunch break, I picked up a copy of their magazine on my way out assuming it was simply advertisements, but I am heading into collage-making land, personally and for the workshop I’m running in the Spring and need magazine fodder. Turns out that aside from being a long advertisement, there were also several almost academic articles on marriage customs, the heart, as organ, as art, as personified valve, capable of being heavy, light, hard, open.
One of the pieces of ‘heart art’ had the scribbles of “Moi, Toi, Nous” painted on a large heart, with a caption saying this is one of the old ways of inscribing love. Me. You. Us.
In Calling in The One, we are challenged to begin to walk in our lives as part of a “we.” Not just romantically, but as a member of the world. Not “me first”, but us first. How to engage with the world with mutual interest – to perhaps begin to model what it might or could look like in a romantic partnership that could last a lifetime. It’s likely impossible to maintain a “me first” attitude and a successful relationship. Of course there’s a balance with maintaining personal integrity as well, but I feel like I’ve tended to the opposite extremes of self-preservation or people-pleasing, so walking in the world in an “us” manner is different and good practice for me.
Another exercise, which then feeds into yesterday, was to begin to acquire collage pictures that speak to our vision of love in our lives. So, about a month or more ago, I began with a photo of a man and a woman from a Tiffany’s ad, holding hands in marriage garb, walking away from the camera down what looks to me like a Central Park footpath. Calm, beautiful, mutual. But, I also began peppering my collage with photos that I thought I “should” put on. Ones that weren’t as feminine, ones that were more gender-neutral or masculine in nature or in mood. Because isn’t that part of this, to open space for “masculine” energy? So, I put on some stripes of more masculine neutral colors, and … What I’ve come to realize are more drab, dull, and boring.
I wear glasses, and so when I wake up in the morning and look at the wall opposite me, I really only see colors, not images. Over the time that I’ve lived in this apartment and put various collages on that wall, I’ve been able to wake up to vibrant, moving color. But, over the last month or so that I’ve had this collage in progress, it’s been like looking at a bowl of oatmeal! I’ve realized this only recently, how unmotivated I was to finish the collage, and how little I’d been looking at it.
Usually, my collages continue to capture my attention. The phrases I cut out, the images that still move me with their beauty or humor or joy. Every collage I’ve made over the last few years has had teal in it. I didn’t notice this until earlier this year, when I’d made a new one, and waking up, TEAL, there it is. The color of Mediterranean oceans, and somehow, to me, joy. A beauty, an inspiration. I followed this nudge finally, and bought a perfect teal scarf. I’d apparently wanted this incorporated into my waking life as well as my art life. And I love the scarf. It still brings me joy.
So, knowing the power that my collages have to inspire me, and to continue to nudge me, yesterday during my day of cleaning, I began taking down the CITO oatmeal collage. This is not the collage of love, inspiration, joy, fulfillment, creation, happiness. There are a few images I’ll keep, like the Tiffany ad, and a crayon-colored drawing I did earlier this year that sort of envisions … my vision! But, I sat down yesterday and began to cut out new images. Images that made me smile, who cares about masculine or feminine. What I recognize is that if I am happy, I attract happiness. I don’t need to try to manipulate what I think I should be looking for or how I think it “should” look – even on something as “inconsequential” as a collage.
And so, there is now a ton of red – the color of love, passion, emotion – and, of course, there’s now teal. I look forward to putting it all together, and waking up to what feels like a shift in my approach.
Finally, about “Moi, Toi, Nous.”, it reminds me: In Hebrew “Mah Tovu” is a common and gorgeous song and prayer recited upon entering a place of worship. It means “How Good” – How good it is, here, this place, now.
Coincidence? I think not. 🙂