Sit In Silence

I was going to post a blog about the coming of autumn but I’m delaying that for a few days.  This message seems much more important.

Why is it that when we get stressed, we go into over-drive & race through life at a wreckless speed?  The higher our level of anxiety, the faster we go to compensate for the lack of control we are feeling.  In this state, we make more mistakes & experience careless accidents that might be avoided if we were in a calmer state of mind.

Last night, I watched Short Cut to Nirvana, a 2004 documentary about the Kumbh Mela festival in India.  This celebration attracts 70 million people, the largest gathering of people in the history of humankind.  How is it that I’ve never heard of it?!  Unbelievable.  Spiritual men & women attend this festival, held once every 12 years, to share their wisdom with anyone willing to listen with an open mind & an open heart.  One guru pointed out that Westerners cannot sit in a meditative posture for 3 hours because we are in too much of a rush.  He believes that if we tried, we would find that to be the most valuable 3 hours of our day.

I’m realistic.  Most Westerners won’t do it.  We’re “too busy”.  How about this… take fiveJust take five minutes today to sit in silence.  Focus on your breath & listen to your authentic Self.  Be still.  And tomorrow, take five more minutes & sit for a total of ten.  Like exercise, the more you practice, the greater your rewards.  I predict that if you are saying, “I don’t have time for this”, you are one of the people who needs it the most.  Give yourself the gift of time.  You deserve it.  Take five.

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Creativity: More Than Art

Last Sunday, I met with some of my artsy friends & proclaimed, “I haven’t been creative in a long time.”  At least that’s how it seemed to me.  As soon as those words left my mouth, I knew they were false.  “Wait a minute.” I thought, creativity isn’t just about the paintings & collages that I make in my studio; creativity infuses every aspect of my life from my gardening to the way I decorate my home.

Since early summer, we’ve been renovating my kitchen.  It’s been a slow but beautiful process, watching the kitchen go from a worn-out, tired 1980s decor to a charming room that is both modern & old-fashioned at the same time.

Before

After

I wanted a kitchen with lots of natural elements such as stone & wood.  I also wanted a kitchen with a nostalgic feel because warmth & comfort  is a priority.  Guests should feel welcome when they enter my home.

I’ve lived in this house for 7 years, the longest I’ve ever lived anywhere.  As I’ve written before, the desire to move sweeps over me every once in a while but since that’s not possible, or even necessary, I redecorate.  I clean closets, paint walls, or rearrange furniture to suit my current lifestyle.  Things that no longer hold meaning are given to an organization like Salvation Army or Good Will so someone else can appreciate them.

So, while I haven’t opened a sketchbook in a couple of weeks, I’m still being creative by turning my home into a cozy, inviting retreat  that reflects who I am & what matters most to me.

Grandparents’ Day

The one day a year that recognizes how I feel all 365 days of the year…

proud, eternally grateful, & full of never-ending love. 

Dear Grampy & Nanny,

Thank you for giving me an appreciation for the beauty of nature & joy for the simple things in life.  Most of all, thank you for loving me unconditionally.

XOXO
Susan

The Message I Need

When we need to hear a message in order to transform into our best selves, that message will come from anywhere & everywhere.  For example, if you need to learn about patience, “patience” will be the topic of your minister’s sermon, the subject of your favorite tv morning show, the title of a book you “just happen” to see at the bookstore, & the focus of an article in a magazine you pick up at the dentist’s office.

Synchronicity, in this case, means everything is aligning to make sure you learn what you need to learn.  And here’s the bad news… if you don’t learn it, you’re destined to repeat similar experiences with increasing intensity until you do.  You say things like, “Why does this always happen to me?”, “Why do I keep dating the same kind of guy?”,  or “Why do I keep finding myself in this situation?”  There’s a reason.  It’s up to you to figure out what that reason is, take advantage of your raised awareness, & make a different choice that can change the course of your life.

“Control what you can; let go of the rest” is my lesson to learn apparently.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that message lately.  Now that I’m conscious of it, I have to honor whatever mysterious force is at work in my life & strive every day to learn from it & grow.

If you are noticing the same message being communicated to you through song lyrics, bumper stickers, or other unusual sources, pay attention.  Ask yourself, “Is someone trying to tell me something?”, the answer is “YES!”  Are you listening?  I am 🙂

More Haiku-Inspired Work

These are three more images from the little golden sketchbook I wrote about in my last post.  Taking a subject & simplifying it with a few lines & adding a haiku-inspired poem keeps me focused on what I see as the subject’s pure essence.  The first drawing is a tree planted in the middle of a path.  While people ignore it as they walk around it, I imagine the tree eagerly waiting for someone to say, “Hi.”  The second drawing is one of my favorite nearby spots with an amazing view.  The third is my blind dog, Paco, who can safely explore the fenced-in area of the doggie park, while I watch him lovingly from my blanket stretched under a shady tree.

With arms outstretched,

Lonely tree

beckons this tree hugger.

As far as I see,

green on green.

No boundaries, no fences.

Finding his way back,

Paco’s nose & ears

replace dark eyes.