Writing makes me feel most connected with my soul.
But I was not able to write for over one year.
When I was going through challenging times, I usually write my journals.
After I was diagnosed with only weeks live with Stage IV Lymphoma Non-Hodgkin of the liver in the spring of 2017.
(I wrote about it on http://www.sanaesuzuki.com/2017/06/08/only-weeks-to-live/)
Holistic medicine and macrobiotic healing foods were not helping to shrink cancer as before because the cancer was spreading too fast. Hence, I decided to take chemotherapy to save my life. The pain of the liver got worst, and I was not able to bear. All I could do was closing my eyes, breathing, and lying down every day. The nights I could not sleep, I just laid and wrote often and posted my blogs and sent newsletters to link in with my friends and people who were supporting me. The writing was also a way to protect me from my loneliness and fear.
After completed six cycles of chemotherapy, I was getting better physically slowly, and I started to do a few things that I could not do while I was in chemo. Then, I did more and more physical work, and I lost the time to write.
I have been posting Instagram and Facebook with short descriptions, but I love writing with detail.
I realized that taking the time to write how I feel and what I do and share my photos carefully is my style, so writing a blog and send newsletter was something I enjoy.
There are many reasons I lost touch with writing my blog and sending newsletters.
Whatever the reason I have had, I just wanted to get it back on again and looking for my new path. I wish I could pick up where I left without any reservation, but in my case, I needed motivation.
I have been taking art classes from Santa Monica College Emeritus off and on for a while. It took time after all the chemotherapy treatments, but when I got the strength back, I went back to retake Calligraphy class. I just did what I could, so mostly nothing serious, and just for fun.
At the end of the last year, I found out that I may be able to enter my artwork for the Student Art Exhibition. The exhibition was for spring 2020, and the due date was February 2020, so I wanted to try it even my artwork was chosen or not.
But I was going through another challenging time of PTSD (PTSD from my childhood and also near-death car crash, etc. ) at the beginning of the year, so I did not think I could put together my artwork. I am a turtle, so I am not a fast pace person to do anything. I need a decent time and focus for me to finish my artwork.
When I get PTSD, I have nightmares, and I am not able to do much nor go out nor talk to people. I also cry and get moody a lot and not able to focus.
Photo: with my dog son, Leo
I was feeling disappointed at myself, and I was just about giving up on my artwork; I got lots of love support from my animal family, especially from Leo, who was one of my dog sons.
He had health conditions of nasal cancer for more than one year and also vestibular disease condition, which caused him not able to get up his own. Still, when I worked on my artwork, he wanted to be with me in my art room and stayed until I was satisfied to finish my artwork each time. That is how I was able to complete my artwork and submit it on time. I was not sure it was good enough for the Student Art Exhibition, but it did not matter because, in the end, I had fun creating and spend time with Leo. When I sent my artwork with an original frame I have asked to make. Leo smiled at me and he said, “Mommy, good job!”.
Three weeks later, I found out that they chose my artwork. I was very thrilled and told Leo that because of him, my artwork would be at the Exhibition.
He said that he already knew it and he was delighted.
I got a big idea of making a plan to invite everyone who supported me for my recovery if they could come to the Student Art Exhibition opening reception in April.
I was so excited, but the pandemic happened, and the exhibition got cancel.
My big idea of seeing some of you in person and able to say “Thank you!” directly did not work.
I understand that so many people died and got sick. Coronavirus pandemic has not solved yet, and still many people are going through so many challenges, and many other issues are coming to must change the last few months.
Many people are standing up valuable to move the country and the world toward a new normal a future better than the old dysfunctional “normal.”
I wish I could do more to help others, but my focus is to do my best to take care of myself to stay healthy and safe right now, and this is my contribution to others, and this is my new normal.
Leo departed on May 24th peacefully in his sleep.
I miss him a lot.
He taught me so much how to fulfill life, and he told me that “Mammy, just be,” which sometimes means being irritable, exciting, tired, sad, and worry.
It is all good because they are all of you, and deep down inside, you are happy and content no matter what.
He is continuously teaching me.
Soon after his departure, I received a letter about Santa Monica College Emeritus Student Art Exhibition will be Online.
Online means not only people who can come to the exhibition but anybody from all over the world can see my artwork and see my new path.
I think Leo did it.
Emeritus art exhibition online. 150+ artworks on view by Emeritus students.
A live Zoom Launch Event — hosted by Emeritus Associate Dean Dr. Scott Silverman and Emeritus Gallery Curator Jesse Benson — was recorded when it was held on June 25.
Here are a link and info on how to see my artwork.
View the recorded Zoom event: Launch Event for Emeritus Student Art Exhibition 2020 Online
View Artwork and Artists: Emeritus Student Art Exhibition 2020 Online
In case you are not able to see this Online Exhibition, here is a photo of my artwork close up and detail.
Photo: Watercolor Hanga with lotus root
Title: My New Path
Medium: Watercolor and Sumi Ink
Size: 14″h x 11″w x 3/4″d
The frame is white birch and linen material (you see the bottom photo).
It is a simple watercolor of Hanga print with lotus root and Sumi ink calligraphy with my haiku poem. My aiming was “Zen modest state to find a new path to move forward”
Photo: my haiku poem with Skim letters
The letter of calligraphy style is Akim.
(Akim is created by German calligrapher, sculptor, and musician, Hans-Joachim Burgert. This lovely, gentle hand that is said to replicate the rhythm of the human heart) I did not know how Akim was created at first when I started to use it for my calligraphy, but I felt so familiar and it is my favorite calligraphy letter. So I have been using it for my website cover and business card, etc.
I wrote this Haiku Poem for me and everyone to thrive and live a new path (new normal).
I hope you enjoy it and find your new path.
I am grateful to Leo, who gave me the motivation to start writing again.
as I was just finishing writing this blog, I received an email from Santa Monica College Emeritus Student Art Exhibition organizer, Jesse Benson.
I can’t believe it.
I had to read a few times to understand the detail: he was asking me to speak at the Online Art Exhibition Opening Reception about my artwork on Thursday, June 25th.
There are over 90 artists and 161 artworks (students can submit up to 2 artworks) in the show.
I heard they only asked a few people to speak.
Is it true they choose me to speak about my artwork?
Amazingly, they want to hear what I did.
Leo must help me again.
Photo: Complete my artwork of “My New Path” with the frame
Now I honestly want everyone to see my artwork; art is one of healing therapy that has been helping me to recover.
Please watch the Online Art Exhibition reception.
I want to finish writing my blog that I was able to finally write after over one year with gratitude for “My New Path!”
I am grateful, thank you from my heart!