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Relax? Me? Never.

To my Dear Overly Stressed-Out Ball of Perfectionistic Imperfections, 

The beach in front of the cabin I have lived in for 4 years, and which I completely missed "seeing" yesterday as I walked the dog right by it on my way to doing MORE IMPORTANT THINGS. 

The beach in front of the cabin I have lived in for 4 years, and which I completely missed "seeing" yesterday as I walked the dog right by it on my way to doing MORE IMPORTANT THINGS. 

I had one of those days yesterday when everything seemed off-kilter. Just could not seem to do the right thing at the right time, no decision seemed the right one, I was impatient with myself and the dog, was racing around Gabriola again trying to "get things done" on a beautiful Sunday morning that was meant to be savoured, not stressed over. Just one of those days.

What do you do? I can't seem to breathe deep enough - the next breath is always shallow again. I can't turn my brain off - it just chatters away endlessly about all the things we need to do and that I need to stress about. I can't seem to enjoy this beautiful paradise that I live in - because my internal structure is screaming for release and I can't let myself just relax into the environment. 

Wait, can't? Or won't? What's the lie here? What will happen if I just relax? 

I don't know. I've rarely attempted it.

These are the moments that I wish I were just a dumb beast. A horse or a dog that has me as their exemplary, perfectly attentive owner and caretaker, of course. OK so neither of those are dumb, but they are not equipped for fussing about the details they can't control. Neither do they get to make decisions about where they go, and what they do, and how long they do it for. The dog in my care basically just decides when she wants to go outside, and come back in, and eat. The rest is up to me. My horses decide how fast they eat, how much space they give up or take from the other horse, how they relate to me and how impatiently they wait at the gate to be let out. That's about it. I choose the rest for them. 

Here are Honour and Kiana, impatiently waiting at the gate for something to happen, hoping I will take them out to pasture. They only wish they could choose to do this for themselves!

Here are Honour and Kiana, impatiently waiting at the gate for something to happen, hoping I will take them out to pasture. They only wish they could choose to do this for themselves!

This week is one of those weeks when I wish someone would choose all the details of my life. The choices are so great and so many that I get befuddled and worried that I'm doing the wrong thing. I have too many damn options! Isn't that what people want? I have created a life of only options, and very much complexity results. I thought that was what I wanted.

But apparently, I cannot seem to relax because there is too much work to be done, and too many good things to savour, and too much pressure to "get it right" and not waste time. What is that pressure? Where does it come from and why does it rule my life? 

I can't seem figure it out for now, and so yesterday I did the only thing I could think to do when I'm spinning out like that. I had a beer or three, sat in the hot tub, read a book, and just ignored the list. "I will be productive tomorrow."

"List, you're just going to have to wait, because this anxious, uptight little mare needs a break from herself."

And you know what? Other than feeling physically a bit crappy because I've been on a cleanse and my body doesn't like beer much anymore, that was a good decision. 

Unhook. Unwind. Unspool. Release. 

Sometimes that's all I can achieve in a day. 

Bisous, ma chere amie! You're gonna make it. Today is a new day.

Tobi

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Welcome

Journal: Letters to the Artist is a collection of personal writings from my journey to becoming an artist and independent female filmmaker. It's a raw, honest account of the internal and external resistance and obstacles I encounter, the heartaches and setbacks, the lessons I'm learning and the anticipated, dreamed of achievement of actually, this year, maybe getting some work done. That's my only goal. Just get the work done and let the cards fall where they may. 

So this blog is not a promotional vehicle. I'm not going to sell you my stories or ideas. Just sharing as I work to become a healthy artist with a vibrant, balanced life, one who is not martyred or obsessed with the work, but who produces art in harmony with my life.

The threads of my art and life are inextricably entwined. I've found as a documentary filmmaker that I become so caught up in my subject and what I'm learning, I become either part of the story, or the story becomes part of my life, or both. In "Between Wood and Water", I document the restoration of the oldest functioning wooden sailboat in Canada, Dorothy. I also fell in love with her shipwright, had a tumultuous relationship with him over 3 years, and am emerging on the other side with some more wisdom, a 15-foot wooden sailboat of my own called Golden Eye, and some emotional bruises I'm still healing from. In "Wild Horses" I document the journey of one of Europe's premiere natural horsewomen as she leaves her professional career to teach a bunch of orphaned and neglected boys in Brazil the secrets of the horse. Over the 7 years I've been documenting the story, I've become wedded to the family and stayed on the fazenda not just as a filmmaker, but as house momma and friend. And I've acquired two horses of my own by rescuing them from neglect and potentially death in winter 2016. 

So this Journal is not just the story of my Stories, but the Story of us as we all weave a tapestry of beauty from the many colourful threads of our lives. 

It's going to be personal, raw, unfiltered and unprofessional. You will not find tips and tricks for shooting in certain kinds of light, because honestly I have no idea how to get the sometimes magical images I come away with. Almost nothing in my shooting career is pre-planned and thought out, I just launch the boat from whatever shore I'm standing on, and we go from there. Sometimes I have partners, mostly I work alone. Most of the people I've partnered with along the way have gone their own ways for various reasons - the one main reason being is that I can be demanding, exhausting and challenging to deal with. I keep my own pace, and race against my own clock. It's part of the magic parcel. But I'm hoping one day I'll find a tribe I can work with so I don't die alone. Ha! The existential fear that I'll no doubt keep coming back to explore. 

So I don't know what this will be like. Sometimes I will write to myself, letters to my own artist. Sometimes I'll write to someone else, as if I know you and what you're going through. Sometimes I'll have advice, mostly I'll have questions. I make no promises. I simply want to make art with integrity, and to live life in a way that supports my body, mind and heart. And maybe you want to do that too so perhaps this series of letters will be a medium of communication. Feel free to comment, post your own stories and share your journey. 

My one rule is that I be real, not fake/professional/cutesy or overly smartass. Though I will allow myself to cop an attitude on occasion. I will endeavour not to use exclamation points as I feel I used up my quota in my twenties. 

This is just me. Period.

Welcome. 

 

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