“Bilberries Blue #1 & #2”
Hand-painted Ceramics mounted on a wooden board
by Peng-Ean Khoo
I suddenly grew some further courage as the preparation for Ni Art Week progresses. I grew further courage to integrate, to talk about my work. And so, I shall. I love and believe in Good Work. I think if we really put our hearts, minds and whole presence and living to it, we can find new innovations and old innovations, out of our numerous boxedness, and figure a way forward that is compassionate peaceful, harmonious, safe, meaningful and purposeful, for ourselves and the world, in all areas of our lives and work.
BB Studio was birthed as a living vision of integrated sustainable development work, education and living, an initiative of The Happy Heart School with Bilberries Blue. Bilberries Blue is my professional work space which took me 22 years to integrate as my interests and passions were so diverse, and my concerns so deep and wide. As a mother, I have long chosen to be a working mom as well as home mom as well as be fully engaged with my children’s learning, development and education. Especially, my children’s values, manners and attitudes about themselves, each other and life itself. I always imagined me the mom who is able to fully support my children get through life and be present when they face difficulties and challenges. And be the one they run to when they scrape their knees, encounter a broken heart, needing a friend. So, in a way, I tried every possible permutation to find a way to juggle it all. And of course, in the process, I realise, I cannot and am not and don’t need to be a super woman. I just need to take it one day at a time, living every day healthily and joyously with my whole heart and that is wholly good for me, my husband and our children.
I hadn’t realised that the physical integration is as vital as the heart integration. But it is so. With the space emergence, I can truly put the visions into practice and keep iterating the errors and blindspots.
What am I seeking? A truly, integrated society that really stops being hesitant and really just jumps in and start innovating for full inclusion to be a daily reality for everyone. The issues are complex, so the solutions will necessarily be emergent. It is not possible to brain or templatise, nor necessarily measure in quantitatives nor even qualitatives alone something that requires complex and organic applications and iterations. It requires ground intuition and truly collaborative insights, and the daring to try. And the courage to fail. And the tenacity to get up and do it all over again. Over and over and over again. Until, it is experientially understood, and both the space and everyone in the space and community is truly living, vibrant, open, spacious. And truly without superiority nor inferiority complexes, and is truly able to nurture and dance in mutual tenderness, care, compassion, joy and openness.
With deepest gratitude to the Huang family for their magnanimous and kind hearts in gifting the BB Studio space, which turned out to be a vital space for my inner silence, refuge, contemplation, explorations, questionings, healing, and robust, authentic renewal, and the re-finding of my own courage and confidence again.
So, “Bilberries Blue”, is that place of re-beginning:
“Start with something comfortable.
-I have nothing to offer.
That is not true.
-I feel nothing.
You are trying too hard to please.
-That is all I have known.
Try something new.
-I can’t. I don’t know how.
Try you. Yes, try being you. Just be you.
-me? What good does that do?
That’s the beginning of everything you.”
September 12, 2016