Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Buddhists believe emotions are like clouds

And so do I....

If you've been reading this blog for more than a year or so, you may have followed the process as I put together my first artists book, Like Weather (above). It is a flag book, and explored the idea of "change" by tracking my emotions for a 24 hour period and suggesting that emotions are as changeable as the weather. (If you weren't around the first time through, you can find the first post in the archives for March 2007 and they run through to October 2007. If you'd just like to see some pics. follow this.)

Of course, we can't help what we feel, only what we choose to do with those feelings. In the past week I've seen my emotions fly high, and plummet to great depths in a very short space of time, and it's certainly confirmed for me the fragility of any situation. Our unrealistic desire for things to remain the same is constantly overturned, but it takes a long time for most of us to come to a genuine acceptance of this.

In my case, in the past week I've received the devastating news that my mother is gravely ill. Shortly after hearing this, I heard from the talented Joanna Kambourian who was "on location" at the opening of the SCU Acquisitive Artists Books Award. She had amazing news for me - the judge has selected Like Weather as one of this year's acquisitions! This is the first work I've had acquired by an institution, and as this is a career goal for me, the news is particularly significant and exciting. Later in the evening, a similar email from Sara Bowen gave me confidence that there was no mistake!

At the time, the situation felt quite unreal. I found I was able to "flip" from a sense of incredible joy and satisfaction to deep desolation, almost at will. It even seemed possible to hold these two wavering extremes within my chest at the same time. Looking back, it reminds me of the hope we feel when the clouds part briefly during cyclonic weather and we glimpse the blue sky. It reminds us that after the winds and rain subside, finer days will be waiting for us. This is exactly what I hoped Like Weather might say.


  1. I am so saddened to read about your mother, that is never news that you want to receive. Is she near to you so that you are able to visit her?

    Through the cloud laden sky and on the other side of the storm your news about your book is indeed truly amazing and such an accomplishment, congratulations.
    Life really is 'Just Like Weather' and has the ability to change in an instant.

    I do hope that you are okay, just know that I am thinking of you and your family at this time.

  2. Sad news Amanda, and I feel for you. I'm glad the SCU acquisition is a counterpoint - congratulations. Sara

  3. Dear Amanda, I'm very sorry to hear your mother is so ill. This will be such a hard time and I'll be thinking of you. As usual your ability to put your thoughts and feelings into words has made a moving and inspiring post.

    I'm thrilled for you on your success with the SCU acquisition - "Just Like Weather" is a really beautiful book and you deserve this. Carol

  4. So sorry to hear about your Mum, Amanda.

    Thank God we have our art.
    I just love your's simply beautiful, congratulations on the news too.

    Stay well, Jo

  5. Thank-you all for your kind messages and support. It means a lot to me to know that you are thinking of me and my mother, and it does seem I am less alone with my feelings.
    azirca: yes, my mother lives here in Brisbane, although it is a half hour drive away. At the moment I am visiting 3x a week and talk to her several times a day on the phone. Frankly I am very grateful that I have the freedom in my life to spend this much time with her.
    Sara: counterpoint - the perfect word, and not one I would have come up with - thank-you.
    Carol & Jo: yes, thank God for art and writing. If I lost those things, I don't think I could make much sense of anything!

  6. Yes, like clouds...maybe even more like weather, but "like clouds" sounds better. Your book is beautiful. I'm glad to have this chance to see it. And I'm very sorry to read of your mother. We are vulnerable creatures. It's good you are able to be with her.

  7. Amanda, this is wonderful news re the book acquisition and in equal measure I am so sorry to hear about your mother.

  8. So sorry to hear about your mother. In a strange way your situation --- of having time to visit and talk is a silver lining in a dark time. I found the same when my mother was so ill.

    Congratulations on the acquisition ---- I do hope your mother is at least well enough to share this with you. I'm sure it will bring some comfort to both of you for her to know how well her daughter is doing.

    You are in my thoughts and prayers having been in a very similar situation. Sometimes it's hard to know whether to laugh or cry...sun or showers.

  9. I know I'm terribly late sending both my congrats on the wonderful news of the SCU acquisition - and hugs for the very sad news of your mother - even though my sentiments might be a little late in reaching you - they are no less heartfelt