Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Soul-Filling Work

Doesn't everyone wish for a job that fills their soul? I mean, really, if you HAVE TO work, don't you want it to be something that not only makes you happy, but makes you feel dedicated to it, and to life?

I know I do.

I always wanted to be the person who loved their work so much, they couldn't wait to get there in the morning, and didn't want to leave in the evening. Maybe the fact that that never happened to me, even when I was working in a clinic or school, should have been an indication all those years ago, but I missed the signals. Even after undergrad, and looking through a university catalog (no internet back then), perusing the course offerings in such programs as Interior Design and History, I didn't take my side interests as being representative of something I should *actually* pursue.

But now I'm older and much wiser (one would hope). I have grown into a woman of many talents (ha!), and people ask me all the time how I have the time to do everything. Little do they know, (until I say it) that I don't have time for everything. I don't DO all the things I am good at, or love to do, all in one day or one week, or even one month. It's been a couple weeks since I lit my glass torch, and I haven't done as much sewing as I like to, but I managed a little bit of painting, and some needlefelting. It's been too damn cold to work metal in the freezing garage, or do any enameling.

But that's okay, because I have been riding weekly, and working at my day job a lot (to pay for the riding, natch!). I've also been seriously in love with my work at the museum, and THAT is where my soul is filled. Providing tours and information and stories about the wonderful art and artists who are part of the permanent collection at the VMFA. It's a job I never thought I'd do, and one that surprises me with just how much I love it. I love to teach, and while I know I would make a terrible high school teacher, I'm a really good storyteller and tour guide. Last night, we had a training session on making the  artworks accessible to those with low vision and blindness. It was incredibly fascinating, and the fact that the presenter talked about some linguistic theory in discussing congenitally blind people and their cognitive-linguistic concepts for things they have never seen, was amazing. Really wonderful stuff, and now I am all excited about doing tours for "special populations", including those folks with Alzheimer's and other dementia-related conditions.

I've got several really fun and interesting tours coming up, too -- a tour focusing on writing skills this Thursday (fourth graders), and one next week focusing on Greek art and The Odyssey (I need to re-read that), and then one in April on symbolism in Medieval/Renaissance/Baroque art (graduate students in art therapy). I know my creative urges are being really satisfied with the museum work, and that is making me more productive in other ways and places.

Riding has also been a kind of work, too, in that I am learning this horse, and how to make him go the way he needs to for the job he has. Right now, that's 'school horse and lower-level event horse'. Every time I go out to the barn to ride, something else happens that makes the path I am on with this guy unfold a little bit more in front of me. Today we had some small breakthroughs in dressage, and I could feel myself getting more secure in the saddle. The canter transitions weren't fabulous, but the canter, once we got it, was smooth and beautiful and we made perfect 20-meter circles in the ring. The connection from my hands to his mouth and back, and my seat and legs to his legs and back was solid. There's nothing like riding like that.

 He halted perfectly square at least twice, and at least once, I was able to correct a not-square halt TO square with tiny rein movements. I gave him lots of grooming time before our ride, brushing his thick mane out all shiny and smooth, talking to him, brushing him with the least-annoying body brush I could find. And he loves it when I talk to him. He's such a sensitive guy, but I swear, I *swear* he put his head down for me to put on his bridle. Awesome.

I wish I could have stayed longer at the barn. It was chilly, but I loved listening to the sound of the rain on the metal roof, and the horses in their stalls, munching hay. I need to clean tack and get things organized, and honestly, I miss the daily barn chores.

I guess I'd better get working on the tour I am doing on Thursday, and start making my packing and equipment lists for the horse trials. I think it's going to be great.

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