Art as Life: Tear a Page. Turn a Corner.

Inspiritus at Lourdes Mixed Media Art by Bernadette Rose Smith

Ever find yourself heading in a particular direction only to hit so many speed bumps, detours, or cul-de-sacs along the way that you start to question whether you should proceed? Maybe you can recall more than one “where is that road again” trip. Perhaps you are in the middle of one right now. Or, maybe there is one right around the corner waiting for you. (You do know you are not reading this by chance, right?)

Well, get comfy. While you ponder that, I will tell you a short story about Inspiritus. Why? Because, whatever your journey, it is a story that points to a moment we share – that moment when we hear the whispers and feel the breath of the Divine moving through us.

Inspiritus Mixed Media Art by Bernadette Rose Smith

Inspiritus Breath Mixed Media Art by Bernadette Rose Smith

I was not in the neighborhood for inspiritus. I was aiming for a project that I hoped would address a livelihood concern. Inspiritus – the altered book pictured throughout this post – was a spirited calling on the carpet. It started with a phrase that kept popping up in my journal and my thoughts. Like a song verse you can’t shake. “The words are the leaves. The deeds are the fruits.” A polite way for the Divine to say, “Talk is cheap. Show me.”

Inspiritus Altered Book Cover by Bernadette Rose Smith

It was generously reinforced with one dead end after another in my livelihood venture. I have acquired enough wisdom to know when to stop and listen. (You know, that point where you start seeing stars from hitting that brick wall one too many times?) That’s when this poetic collaboration hopped onto a page in my journal one morning, starting with the verse:

So much happens before a leaf is born and from your pages a word is torn…

Inspiritus Altered Book Love by Bernadette Rose Smith

“What a delightful thump on the head,” I thought. And with that invitation came the rest.

root upon root.
ring upon ring.
matters hidden until,
in spring,
from root to trunk to limb to branch
a leaf is born,
adorned to dance
in sun and breeze and cloud and storm
until its partner bud is born.
coaxed to blossom.
blossom to fruit.
how will you harvest
what came to root?

Inspiritus Altered Book by Bernadette Rose Smith

My life flashed before my eyes. Okay, maybe not that dramatic but pretty dang close. Lets just say, in the following weeks, the writer-me burned through a lot of pages on the topic of compromises, adaptations, justifications, rescues, distractions, and all manner of negotiation devices used to make peace with myself when confronted with the needs and concerns of others always coming first. Whether for lack of courage or just plain fatigue, my frail manipulative attempts to wrestle a corner of time to follow my passions and use the divine seeds given me met with delay upon delay, year after year. From brunette to my now “platinum blond.”

Inspiritus Altered Book Contemplation by Bernadette Rose Smith

Somewhere in all that writing reverie, the artist-me stepped up. She’d had it. “Enough already! I got this. Let me show you without all the words. The big annual art show is coming up in 7 weeks. You love altered books so make one. Give this poem a home and then send it on its journey. All of your adult life you have set me aside for more concerns than I can count. I am tired of living in the shadows cast by others and your livelihood-concerned, placating-all-others self. There is no one looking over your shoulder but you now. So what’s your excuse? When will there ever be the perfect time? How will I ever trust you? Talk is cheap. Show me you love me. Lets plant some seeds.”

Inspiritus Altered Book Seeds by Bernadette Rose Smith

Inspiritus Altered Book Mixed Media Seed Spread by Bernadette Rose Smith

Well just ouch me!

Enough of my story. Now I am going to ask you to think about yours and invite you to answer some questions.

Inspiritus Altered Book Mixed Media Matchbook Drawers by Bernadette Rose Smith

Leaves eventually give way to harvest a new experience. What seeds are you planting in their compost? Are they ones you came in with? Or ones others have handed to you along the way?

The thing about the seeds accepted from others is that, at first, they seem easy because they come with instructions. But look carefully. Those seeds are often attached to strings and expectations that lead to resentments and guilt if not planted to the satisfaction of the original seed bearer. They can land you in tending a field that will not sustain you or the seed bearer. (Funny about that, eh?)

Inspiritus Altered Book Mixed Media Ladder Spread by Bernadette Rose Smith

The thing about the seeds we come in with is that they don’t often come with instructions. We have to do a little investigating to find the proper climate, soil, nutrients, as well as healthy partner crops with which to plant them. We have to be aware. Watch the weather patterns. Be attentive to pests and weeds. But the seeds we came in with will sustain us and place us in fields that will also sustain others.

Inspiritus Altered Book Mixed Media Harvest Spread by Bernadette Rose Smith

What’s in your seed pouch? Do you know? Have you checked lately? Now is the time to dig deep. When your seed-planting time on this earth is done and you are standing in front of the Master Farmer, will your pouch be empty? Or still full?

Inspiritus Mixed Media Altered Book Hidden Matters by Bernadette Rose Smith

The blogger-me says, “Thanks for the visit and share any seed thoughts you wish to cast for others to harvest!”

The writer-me says, “Let my words be the leaves that your deeds may bear fruit.”

The artist-me says, “Look at the pictures. They will nourish your soul.”

Musings from the Messy Room Subscribe Photo

If you like this post, then please LIKE and SHARE because together we PLANT a better world! And be sure to SUBSCRIBE to my Messy Room for more musings and inspirations to come!


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14 thoughts on “Art as Life: Tear a Page. Turn a Corner.

  • September 6, 2016 at 5:34 pm

    Wow, this is beautiful in all the ways ??

    • September 6, 2016 at 5:41 pm

      Oh my gosh, Hon! I just posted this! You are a fast one. And thank you. This was a big leap for me “in all ways.” Love seeing you here and knowing that we share this journey. XO

      • September 10, 2016 at 7:00 am

        I just love how you seem to hit the nail on the head. BAM!! There it is, a truth I can relate to. A sound word that resonates within as I grapple with the same issues. I could almost hear the voice of the “me” inside screaming to come out into the open and stop cowering in the shadows. (LOVE the metaphor). Thank you Bernadette. For sharing your gifts with us.

        • September 11, 2016 at 5:03 pm

          Thank YOU, Shanda for taking the time to visit and share your seed-thoughts here. I am so glad this spoke to you and that we can share our “escape” from the shadows!

  • September 6, 2016 at 5:56 pm

    Amazing work! The beautiful book you’ve created, the inspiring quotes, and your thoughts on inspiritus…a good word I’d not heard before, but such a good word! The Spirit is in us! 🙂

    • September 6, 2016 at 6:06 pm

      Thank you so much, Barbara! Yes, “inSPIRITus” is an especially cool word. (Latin, meaning “breathe” and containing the word for “spirit.” Also the root word for inspiration from what I understand.) The spirit IS in us and I am so glad it led you here. Love that you let your seed-planting presence be known and said “hi.” 🙂

  • September 6, 2016 at 7:36 pm

    Ministered to me right where I needed it most. A true confirmation. Thank you for sharing your wisdom via the arts…

    • September 7, 2016 at 7:10 am

      I am tapping-happy to hear that you received confirmation through this piece, Sherry. And the arts are a lovely way for “inspiritus” to reach us. It has happened for me many a time. Thank you for taking the time to let me know we share a seed. 😉

  • September 7, 2016 at 9:59 am

    Congratulations Bernadette! You can truly see how closely you listened to and followed your muse! This is beautiful work… no, not work… play! You’ve inspired me during a time when I too hear the faint whispers around. I wish you joy and success with this new “birth” and trust it’ll be a stepping stone to a huge opening for you!

    • September 8, 2016 at 6:42 pm

      Thank you my dear Aquarius soul sister. 😉 Keep listening to your whispers because every time you respond to one we all get to smile! XO

  • September 7, 2016 at 3:04 pm

    “Cry. Forgive. Learn. Move on. Let your tears water the seeds of your future happiness.” Steve Maraboli. I believe your “seeds” grew more “fruits” then you might realize…every obstacle grew this beautiful work of art…and so it is…. and we are all better for the journey…glad to see those “trees” we can all enjoy…inspiring words and beautiful art…what life is all about. Thanks.

  • September 8, 2016 at 6:47 pm

    Beautiful quote and beautiful “word-seeds” of your own, Joseph. Keep sharing them. We need your “inSPIRITus,” too! Thank you.

  • October 4, 2016 at 7:04 pm

    My Dearest Bernadette,
    Having found you in your ” messy room “~
    you have taken me to your ” blessy room ”
    in the musey room of your thoughts ~

    you are the deserving heart…

    • October 5, 2016 at 5:55 am

      What a special treat to find you here, dear Leora. I thought I heard the flutter of a poet’s wings. Now you know my “other” place. 😉

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