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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Vision Journaling Workshop-Week 1


This week I began a six-week vision journaling workshop with Kathryn Antyr at True North Arts. The class combines elements of many things that are important to me -- a focus on living life with purpose and intention, meditation and inward reflection, and expression through art -- so I'm delighted that Kathryn is offering weekly challenges and activities for us to follow. So fun!

As part of the creative visualization process of (a) setting goals and positive intentions; (b) creating a clear idea or picture; (c) focusing on it often; and (d) giving it positive energy - we each created a simple collage that represented what the concept of relaxation meant to us. From that collage, we also made a smaller-sized vision card with the same image as well as a couple of vision cards with affirmations to remind us to relax and go with the flow.

My collage is a few images - a pillow-stuffed hammock on a breezy porch looking out toward the water, fresh linens pinned on a clothesline, and a folding table on a casual outside deck with a candle in a beautiful ceramic holder and a full-to-the-brim mug of coffee. The only thing missing is me! I found the image of a woman looking outward in an Anthropologie catalog (my favorite place) and she was perfect for finishing my collage.



The affirmations - "Empty your mind; be formless, shapeless, like the water" is something the great Bruce Lee said. "Mind quiet, heart full" is my interpretation of a Taoist saying. For me, both express relaxation and spirituality - keeping our minds silent and open to allow peace and tranquility the space to enter.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Listen, do wa do

I had such a nice day yesterday. First, I had lunch with my friend Eileen at Asiate, the restaurant way up on the 35th floor of the Mandarin Oriental hotel. What an incredible view on a lovely, cloudless day. Eileen tells the absolute best stories, and we ran out of lunch long before we ran out of conversation. Since it's restaurant week here in Manhattan, we got something of a deal on lunch. ($57 for a one-drink, one-capp, 3-course lunch isn't all that much of a deal, but still good.)

On my way home I remembered that, since I'm in Week One of The Artist's Way in my On The Wing group, I needed to take myself for an "artist's date," so I went from Columbus Circle on 59th Street to Lee's Art Shop on 57th and bought a pack of Souffle 3-D pens that I have been wanting for my art journaling. "We" (my inner artist and I) browsed for a while and had fun looking at all the new things in the paint and paper sections.

Back outside and on my way home, from 57th and going downtown, I heard and then saw a crowd in front of the Letterman studio (which I think is around 53rd). Sensing tourists gone wild, I immediately tried to think of another way home, but unless I wanted to walk several blocks out of my way I was out of luck, since Dave's studio was directly between where I stood and my apartment. So I did the next best thing and made a beeline straight towards (and thus through) the crowd. I noticed cameras on cranes and people leaning out of windows, and as I got closer I saw a band out there, on top of the marquee actually (which seemed a little ridiculous) that sounded a lot like the Beatles. I thought maybe they were auditioning for a movie or something. Every now and then a big cheer went up and, I had to agree, the guy sounded pretty good (if it was just one guy). I'd hire him. I listened for a minute or two and then my phone started ringing and I had to go. I ducked through the crowd, down to 7th Avenue and over in order to make my way home. And didn't think about it again, until last night, when I was watching tv and I noticed Dave Letterman had dedicated last night's show to a single guest: Paul McCartney.

I was 7 years old when the Beatles came to New York. The first movie I saw in a theater was Help. I clearly remember sitting in a movie theater and jumping up and down in the seat because everyone else was. I would have given some part of my still-developing anatomy at that time to catch a glimpse of a Beatle and now, 46 years later, I worked my way around the crowd while he was performing so I could get home.

I've been trying to become a "real" New Yorker - no longer a Jersey Girl. I even bought Frommer's guide to New York so I could "immerse myself" in this town. (Yes Melissa, yes I did.) And so after this episode I had to ask -- am I a real New Yorker yet?

My dear friend Eileen, ever honest, says "Sorry, no. If you were a real New Yorker this would have bored you."

It was a fun day anyway, you know...not withstanding that boring traffic tie-up around the Letterman theater. Maybe a little more of an "artist's date" kind of day than I expected, but fun...

Hamptons Memories

Our art journaling for On The Wing this week was to make a list. Here's my "list" of things I'll remember most about our 2009 week in the Hamptons.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Have you stumbled upon?

StumbleUpon

My son told me about this site and I love it, so I'm sharing it with you in case you haven't seen it. It's free. You sign up, and you put in your interests, and then you go there and "stumble" whenever you're bored (which of course is never if you have the same amount of free time as I, but still, you should try it). And based upon choices you enter for your interests, the site will come up with websites for you that it thinks you will like.

So for me, for example, I chose things like art and music and reading and things like that. My son thought this was hilarious and said he could totally have chosen for me because I'm so predictable. Of course, HIS major excitement was stumbling upon a budgeting and banking site online (and if you must know, it's called mint.com and if you like it don't tell him or me).

Anyway, if you like the sites you give them thumbs up and if not, thumbs down, and that affects how often others will stumble upon them, too. It's an interesting concept -- as if you don't already have ENOUGH websites in your life -- and I think you might like to try it.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Michael Jackson - Now We Know


Beloveds, now we know that we know nothing.

Now that our bright and shining star can slip away from our fingertips like a puff of summer wind.

Without notice, our dear love can escape our doting embrace

Sing our songs among the stars and walk our dances across the face of the moon.

In the instant that Michael is gone, we know nothing.

No clocks can tell time. No oceans can rush our tides with the abrupt absence of our treasure.

Though we are many, each of us is achingly alone, piercingly alone.

Only when we confess our confusion

Can we remember that he was a gift to us

And we did have him.

He came to us from the Creator, trailing creativity in abundance.

Despite the anguish, his life was sheathed in mother love, family love,

And he survived and he did more than that.

He thrived with passion and compassion, humor and style.

We had him

Whether we know who he was or did not know,

He was ours and we were his.

We had him,

Beautiful,

Delighting our eyes.

His hat, aslant over his brow, and took a pose on his toes for all of us.

And we laughed and stomped our feet for him.

We were enchanted with his passion because he held back nothing.

He gave us all he had been given.

Today in Tokyo,

Beneath the Eiffel Tower, in Ghana's Black Star Square.

In Johannesburg and Pittsburgh,

in Birmingham, Alabama, and Birmingham, England

We are missing Michael.

But we do know we had him,

And we

Are the world.

recited by Queen Latifah-written by Maya Angelou

Memorial - July 7, 2009

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Kevin Skinner (Below)

I don't do too much reality tv and I'm certainly not a country music fan, but I did happen to catch the performance by the fellow in the video capture below and I have to admit I did find it very touching. Occasionally (and not often enough in my life) people are surprising in a good way. I hope you enjoy the video.

Sometimes late at night
I lie awake and watch her sleeping
She's lost in peaceful dreams
So I turn out the lights and lay there in the dark
And

the thought crosses my mind
If I never wake up in the morning
Would she ever doubt
the way I feel about her in my heart
If tomorrow never comes
Will she know how much I loved her
Did I try in every way to show her every day
That shes my only one
And if my time on earth were through
And she must face the world without me
Is the love I gave her in the past
Gonna be enough to last
If tomorrow never comes
cause Ive lost loved ones in my life
Who never knew how much I loved them
Now I live with the regret
That my true feelings for them never were revealed
So I made a promise to myself
To say each day how much she means to me
And avoid that circumstance
Where theres no second chance to tell her how I feel

Kevin Skinner's Performance

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Getting to Success


Brenda at My Spring Snow has been posing some questions of the day, and I thought her most recent one was interesting. "How do we define success or happiness in life? and "What defines achieving your potential?" This one is easy for me so I'll take a shot.

I can remember when I had no idea what I wanted in life. I didn't know if I even wanted success, much less trying to define it. I'm pretty lucky I guess, because what I got was direction, and it was handed to me the day my first child was born. My life changed so much that day that it was like stepping out of an airlock and onto a completely different planet. Suddenly I started caring about things like pesticides and seatbelts and obeying the speed limit and eliminating food dyes and being a good role model. And I also got a benchmark to measure other things against, because from that day on whenever I was presented with a questionable situation I would ask myself, "Is this thing good for my child?" And if the answer was a definite no, then that was the end of that. I didn't need to go any further.

So I think I had it easy, to some extent, after I finally did get pregnant (the actual getting pregnant was the hardest part.). And of course I made a bunch of mistakes as a mom. I gave Ben an experimental swat on his behind and then cried about it all night (it really did hurt me more than him). I lost my temper with Ally because she lost her temper too many times. I regret that I didn't walk in to school sooner to tell that 5th grade teacher he was a jackass. But on balance, I think I'm a success so far. I think I'm achieving my potential, because I'm trying to be the best parent I can be. Along the way that has meant striving to be a good role model -- and that has meant trying to be honest and fair and to be caring towards others, whether someone is watching or not and especially when it's hard to do. It has also meant being good to myself and showing my kids that self-love is important too.

So for me at least, I think the answer to the question of "How do we define success or happiness in life?" and "What defines achieving your potential?" is this. Find something or someone you care very deeply about and make a commitment to that. Devote yourself to it. Be grateful for it. Work hard to cherish it and take care of it and to make it your life's work. Don't let anyone tell you that what you are doing isn't valuable because you know in your heart that it is the most perfect and right thing for you to do with your life. No one can do that but you.