Thursday, 18 March 2010

Giving and receiving....

June 22, 2009

Dear Yoko,

You are 16 and are so young to have decided to be an artist at this time in your life.  First, let me congratulate you on your choice.  From here on, you enter the endless magic life of being an artist.

The world is your oyster: it will provide you with unlimited material for your art.  Look at it again from that point of view.  Suddenly the world is a different place, so interesting, so beautiful and so mysterious. Have fun with it and share your fun with everyone around you.

You, as an artist, will unfold the infinite mystery of life, and share it with the world.  It may just be two people your work will communicate to.  Don't be upset.  Be upset if you are not happy with your work.  Never be upset about how many people have seen it, or how many reviews it has received.  Your work will exist and keep influencing the world.  Moreover, your work will keep changing the very configuration of our world, no matter what kind of attention it gets or it doesn't get.  So even when you are an unknown artist, be caring of what you make and what you give out.  Your work, no matter what, effects the world, and in return it brings back 10x what you've given out.  If you give out junk, you get back junk.  If you give out confusion, you will give yourself confusion.  If you give out something beautiful, you will get back 10x more beauty in your life.  That's how it works.

You are now like a tree in the park.  Your existence is making the city breathe well.  So relax and be yourself.  Don't try to be anything but yourself.  Rely on your instinct and inspiration.
Go with it!
Believe in yourself.  You will have a radiant life.  I love you!

Yoko Ono.


I just had to put that quote up from an older Yoko Ono talking to her 16 year old self by way of a letter written for the book, Dear Me: a letter to my sixteen year old self.  I bought that book for my library a few months ago because I've often caught myself having a wee chat to my 16 year old self, trying to get her to remind me what it was like to be 16 again.  Not all of us want to go back there, of course, but  I work with 16 year olds and it's a good way to touch base with all those hopes and aspirations that we set at that age.  I've often wondered what advice I'd give myself as I launched myself into the grown up world.  So if you could give yourself some advice, what would it be?  That's what this book is all about.  What would your older self say to your younger self?  Sometimes I get so busy, I can't remember what those goals were...and then things slow down and I find I can remember them and know that I'm still fulfilling them...just a bit differently from how I would have envisioned doing it back then. This blog, in part, reminds me of's where I touch base with myself - a bit of me time - where I can reflect and affirm.

"Time for New Life"
by D.Price-Ewen

Well, in real time, I've been fulfilling a lot of swap promises and giveaways...I just have my friend Lyle's mail art to send off and I'm nearly done - well, no actually, there's still Simon - the artist behind a fabulous series of photographs who was kind enough to give me this divine print from his website, Shadow Show, and of course, my giveaway winner....but I'm getting there - I promise!  Anyway, speaking of giveaways... I've also done a couple of giveaways and I'm about to announce the winner of another too...namely, last week's (or was it the week before?) 100th blog post giveaway!

Whoo's the winner then?
A gorgeous little patchwork owl from Jacky over at Art4moi!  Thanks Jacky!

So, without further ado....

CONGRATULATIONS must go to....

Bluebeard and Elizabeth!  Hooray!  Both cat and human will be getting an envelope of surprises just as soon as I've posted of Lyle's envelope. Lol!

Anyway, well done you two!  I'm contacting you via your blog now...


Samantha Marshall said...

Great letter- I really enjoyed reading that.It's interesting to have a daughter who is 15 and to hear her dreams and aspirations- she is so wise and mature. I laugh when I think about myself at that age and how unlike her I was. There is so much advice I would give to my younger self, I wouldn't know where to start!

La Dolce Vita said...

oh congratulations to Elizabeth! well done!
I have not seen the yoko ono book, but I would love to have my 16 year old self talk to me and remind me what we want to accomplish, how fun would that be?

Seth said...

What a great letter and a great concept. And congratulations to both Elizabeth and Bleubeard on their win!

Leslie Avon Miller said...

I adore Yoko Ono - her tenacity, her willingness to create at the edge, her values - such as Peace. I hadn't read this book either. Sounds like another one for my list! I wish you were MY librarian! I would be able to find books beyond the established artists of yesteryear, beyond water color techniques...something really interesting!

Lucky Dip Lisa said...

That letter is great and so right! Hmmm... I would tell my 16 year old self that my education would be the key to my future, that rules matter and arn't neccesarily for breakin..come to think of it I am pretty sure lots of people did try to tell me that! Maybe I'd have listened to me...

Oh all that and I'd tell myself I wanted to be a forensics photographer!!

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...


Thank you so much for such an inspiring post and for my win. I'm tickled and delighted. Just getting mail from "down under" will be such a special treat.

When I was 16, with my life ahead of me and so full of promise, I would love to have known then what I know now. Would I have made the same choices? Would I have taken my dreams into a different direction? I love the concept. Thanks for bringing the Yoko Ono book to us in such a colorful way.

Debrina said...

Thanks everyone! It's really nice to read what you have to say here. I think it is a wonderful exercise in compassion to advise our younger soul.

The Josie Baggley Company said...

yes it's a good exercise for mind & soul to keep a connection with who you are in full ie not just who you are NOW for that is who you have BECOME due to who you were! Ok I've confused you -I know this as I am conflustered too :)
Congrats to Elizabeth

ArtPropelled said...

Congrats to Elizabeth!

Thanks for sharing Yoko's letter, Debrina. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Mary Helen-Art Saves Lives said...

At sixteen in 1966 I was a very protected naive young woman. I have not seen this book by Yoko Ono but what a fascinating question. I close my eyes and I am sitting on the patio in my backyard...with one foot in my late childhood and one foot moving toward emancipation. I had my first love and my first job as a life guard in a small country club...and it was the summer of Love in our culture.

Congrats to Elizabeth and Bluebeard!
I am home from the hospital and ever so grateful to the medical team who worked with a heavenly father...all of them were holding me in the palm of their hand. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Anonymous said...

what a fantastic post and wonderful letter. she and i share the same birthday, if you didn't know that (and why would you know?). i LOVE your newest collage and i send congratulations to bleubeard and elizabeth.

when i was sixteen i wanted to be an artist and designer. i just didn't know what i wanted to design. interior design didn't seem a great fit, fashion design by me would never sell (not that i cared, but in turn wouldn't pay the mortgage) so i decided to become a web designer when that was a far fetched and passing fantasy thing. no one would have or want websites i would be told. hmmph. they were dumb. i always wanted to make pretty patterns for fabric and wrapping paper. i should get on that. ;) you have just reminded me -- thank you!

Patti said...

congratulations Elizabeth - I'm a bit envious:)
love the idea of talking to my younger self with the wisdom I have now, being able to tell 'her' that she will evolve and grow into dreams she'd never imagined.
I love the collage you did, one day I hope we're in a swap, girl, your art rocks - amazing!

Anonymous said...

Debs, wonderful letter! I think I have a vivid memory what I was when I was 16 - I can eveb go back to 9... it fuzzes out before that :-) .. and I think this memory helped me with understanding my own kids and I was much more appreciative of their efforts and thoughts at various stages. I think what I would tell my 16year old self is to be a little more patient and a little more accepting of myself.
I love love your work.

Debrina said...

Dear friends - hasn't this been a wonderful reminder (thanks Yoko!)to keep our dreams alive? I live by Yoko's sentiments. It is so neat to read all of your own kind words of advice to yourselves. In fact, I'm going to publish some of these with your permission in my next posting!

Godinla said...

I have a 16 year old son at the moment and I see him as me in another dimension. How I wish that he could listen to this other dimension. He hears me but he's not really listening.

I think that I have the knowledge to save us both but who knows? I'm sure my 70 year old self is out there trying to tell me the secret to life too.

Life is wonderful, beautiful, scary, and a hell of a ride.

Elizabeth said...

That is a fascinating exerpt form Yoko Ono's book!! As my daughter is quickly approaching 16, i think that i must add it to my reading list!! as For my slef, m y 50 year old self would tell my 16 year old self to not be in sucha hurry to attaint he goals pushed on women ! At that time in history (what a god awful phrase- ia m NOT that old-) women were supposed to be able to do it all and to want to do it all. I would say don't be in such a hurry to accept these rules and to find the stregth to live as you feel it is right for YOU to live. Not sure that I really could ahve done that but If I had a mentor telling me thatt it might have been a whole lot easier to anvigate that period of my life!
thanks fo much for sharing this with us!!

jill Zaheer said...

I always love the idea of thinking about our young self within our older self. I'm reminded of a sculpture I once saw in a gallery in Wellfleet Cape Cod of a very old person opening up his/her coat/shirt to reveal a young child. I think for me, my child is still within and continues to come out more and more as I feel freer through my art! I think we should try to always keep our "playfulness". To be 16 need not always be the "fancy free" time that everyone expects. It truly is a state of mind. Love to reflect on this idea and read everyone's thoughts! Congrats to Elizabeth as well. She's very lucky!

JafaBrit's Art said...

Lovely post.
I would say to my 16 year old self, "hang in there kiddo, this will pass, you are going to LOVE life".