Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Do you smell a cake cooking around here somewhere?

This morning as I felt a deep sense of calm and peace. I am not even sure what I want to share with you today, but I feel the need to post. I am feeling more and more comfortable in my own skin (literally and spiritually). It may just be a wisdom that comes with aging, or a feeling that comes with acknowledging the need to search quietly within.
So here's the image that comes into my mind. We put all the ingredients into a bowl for making a cake - everything is there for the success of the cake, but without stirring it up, it is just a pile of raw ingredients (we are born with the right stuff). Then comes the mixing and stirring (life works on us and through us). Then things start to come together in a completely new way, smoother and more integrated - a form that can now be poured into a pan (we start to put our life experiences to work for us and others). If we pay attention and cook it for the specified amount of time, we have a delicious treat!
I know, I have a simplistic view of the world most of the time - and that's not something I think is always a drawback, by the way. In working with that spiritual principle of simplicity this week, I have been feeling those cake ingredients getting stirred into a smoother batter. And yum, I am anticipating the smell that cake cooking now . . .

Spiritual Practice . . .

First, I have to say I am ecstatic about the election of Barack Obama as our new president! I am so hopeful about the change in the future of our country, and the world. I know not all of you voted the same way, but I truly believe he is going to do great things for all of us.
I have been giving more thought to the idea of living my life from spiritual principles. My starting point is the art of living simply. It's about releasing things (literally) and ideas that are not supporting who I am today. Starting at the front door, I am working my way through the house "releasing" to the thrift store and the trash. I feel better already! I want to make my house cleaning chores go swiftly and easily. Really I don't want to do house cleaning chores at all! Less things to take care of, less things cluttering my environment and mind = more time for the things I want to do like make art, knit, read, lunch with friends. It is about being present in my life. My life today, not my life yesterday and not my life tomorrow, my life today. I suspect this may lead to things like eating less refined foods and adding more simple foods to my diet. Maybe even less clutter in my art and more refinement of what I want to express with it. Who knows where this will lead, but already on the path and I feel my breathing getting slower and deeper.

No complaining ?!!!!!

I have read a few articles lately that addressed the activity of complaining, or rather, the desire not to. Boy, that made me sit up and take notice. I don't think of myself as a whiner. I like to think I pretty wear my rose colored glasses with panache. But you know, I do have that part in me that is quick to leave a nasty comment out in the universe if something isn't going my way.
I read about a couple who made a commitment to not complain for a month! My gosh, I have to set the bar a lot lower than that! I am just going to try it for a day, and I think I have to start tomorrow, because I may have already complained about something today!!
Today I am going to watch for those situations in which I immediately want to be critical and/or judgmental. When they happen (and trust me, I know they will!) I will use the opportunity to replace those thoughts with being an observer and wishing peace into those situations. Even a day seems like a long time to practice this, but I am going to give it a try and I ask you, the reader, to let me know if you try it and how it works for you!

Gorgeous Day in Paradise . . .

Boy, today is one of those days we love in Southern California. The sun is shining, but is not too hot, the birds are singing, and the out of doors is just calling my name to come out and play! Okay, I really need to be out there mowing the lawn, but the fresh air and sunshine make it worth it!
I was gone last week visiting with my mom and little sister. I had a great time and it seemed especially sweet to get to spend time with my sister because she has not always lived close enough for me to get to visit with her. Turns out she surprised me by being a better Scrabble player than I thought she was . . .
The art room has been lonely for awhile, but I threw caution to the wind and played around in there all morning. No masterpieces to speak of, but I did practice with the collaging techniques I learned in Karen O'Brien's class the other weekend (a most excellent class by an excellent teacher, take a class from her if you ever get the opportunity!). I am working on an art journal and played with some of the pages in there. It felt good to get paint on my hands!
Yesterday I played hookie to go see the movie, The Secret Life of Bees. It was good, and followed the book very well. It was cast perfectly and definitely worth your time to go see it. The cinematography was a touch too Hallmark for me, I had imagined it being a just a bit more edgey when I was reading it. But hey, they didn't ask my opinion when they were filming. Still worth your time and money!
It's good to be home. I have missed my blog, but today I have this thought going around in my head that I want to share. Our thoughts and actions are like little pebbles getting dropped into the pond of life. We don't know how the ripples they create are going to impact the those they touch, so drop them with kindness, good will and the truth in your heart.

I am better!

I am feeling better!! Life is getting back into the place that I know it to come from! Man, nothing like having a few days of temporary poor health to make you appreciate what feeling good is! Unfortunately I have given this to J., so he is going to have to deal with this for a few days. I will pamper him and nurse him back to good health, though.
Today I meet with my friend for lunch at St. Germain's in Encinitas. I love getting to do that. The ride home up the coast is like icing on the cake. While in Encinitas I went to The Black Sheep and bought some new yarn for more chemo caps. I got a hand dyed cotton yarn from Chile, and a gorgeous deep purple Debbie Bliss bamboo/merino blend. While at lunch, one of my students from this past weekend came into St. Germain's to have lunch with her husband - how cool was that! This morning I came up with a great class idea. I am excited to get the details worked out and will post a picture of it when I get the sample finished.
Yes, life is still good! I feel blessed and hope that you are feeling likewise. Today I want to leave you with this thought: "Authentic empowerment is the knowing that you are on purpose, doing God's work, peacefully and harmoniously." Hoping you all have that sense of inner peace and harmony today.

Sniffle, sniffle . . .

Ah, I write today with a fistful of Kleenex in one hand and a glass of orange juice in the other. I have succumbed to a nasty cold and it is kicking my butt! Good thing for you guys germs cannot travel in blogland. Did I mention I sprained my ankle last week while I was taking my walk? Within the last 5 days we also have had two fires on Camp Pendleton and I could see the flames moving in the direction of our house from our front door. I have the box of important papers by the front door and the kitty carriers in the corner in case we have to make a fast get away. I think the good news is the ground has now all been burnt so there is nothing for a new fire to use for fuel. Sounds like my charmed life is falling apart!!
But there have been bright spots, too, as there always is in life. I had such a good class this past Sunday, three ladies who made teaching PMC so fun. I love how the universe puts such nice people in my path - I always get the best students! I also am scheduled to teach at Studio Maureen this coming Saturday and Sunday I am taking a collage class with artist Karen O'Brien. Today I received the funniest card from my BFF, I love unexpected mail sent with love and a laugh inside! So see, life is still good and I am going to be good as new in no time (cough, sniffle, cough)!!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Interesting times . . .

Wow, it is such an interesting time in our country's history right now. The election, the economy, the weather around the country, one's attention has a lot to focus on these days. In finding balance it helps me to get back to the basics, making good wholesome soups, reading great books, spending time journaling, meditating and communing with God, spending time with the people I love, and working on my art. I am fascinated to see what is happening at this time. I have a deep feeling that we are going be okay.
I am posting a picture of the chemo caps I have been working on. I have found a local oncology office I can donate them to and I feel honored to help comfort someone in such a small way. It's all about helping each other as best we can.
So today I hope you find some way to do something that makes you feel good about yourself, taking care of who you are, creating something artful, spending time with those you love. It's all about making meaningful connections.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Ahhh, the sweet smell of success . . .

I am happy to report that this weekend's art show was a huge success! The vendors all made sales, the weather was perfect, it felt like fall and this artist came home very happy! My beaded spirit dolls were a big hit, I only had two left! I can't wait to make more! I saw lots fellow artists I haven't seen for awhile, enjoyed meeting new people and just really had a good time.
I have some ATC cards I need to make, one group is doing a Halloween theme, and the other group is doing fabric with Shiva paint sticks - both should be fun to do. I am working on my knitting still, I have 3 and 1/2 chemo caps done and I finished one of two socks for my second pair I am knitting for myself. What is it about that ball of string and two sticks that is so darn alluring right now?!!
Well, just wanted to check in after the show to let you know how it went and to send a smile your way today!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

My little art room mascot . . .

This is my little girl kittie, Gwen, doing what she loves to do best in the art room - sitting in my chair! It is not uncommon for me to be working with my back to the door and I will hear and feel this big thump as she jumps up on to the back of the chair and sits behind my head and decides to keep me company and take a nap. It is one of those feelings that makes my heart feel complete and content. Note the in progress work on the art bench for the upcoming show!
I am still knitting like a fool. I am loving the projects in the Knitting for Peace book I got and another book I picked up this last weekend by Nicky Epstein called Knitted Flowers. I am doing a field trip tomorrow to the Yarn Lady in Laguna Nigel - an awesome yarn shop I can't wait to introduce my friends to! I can't wait to see what yarn calls out to me in light of the new projects I have been knitting. There's something about knitting that makes me think of old ladies (and I am getting up there, but don't consider myself old yet!!), and yet there is something very calming, and meditative and grounding in doing it. I don't want to be like the old auntie that crochets doilies for everyone and they smile as they take it and then put it in the Goodwill bag! Hence, I will not be making scarves or doilies!!!
Well, I'd best get back to my projects for Saturday, but just wanted to share a picture or two of Gwen with you.