When my life is going well, it feels like this — expanding, growing, stretching, reaching.
A fiesta is just a party, but it sounds so much more festive, doesn’t it? I think piñatas, margaritas, tortilla chips, balloons, and music that you just can’t help but dance to.
Recently I took a 5-day e-course called Tiny Habits (highly recommended, by the way). The goal is just as the title says: to develop tiny habits.
I’m talking tiny. One of my habits, acquired in the class, is this: after my feet touch the floor in the morning, I say (out loud or in my head), “It’s gonna be a great day!”
Then (again, learned in the class), I reward myself for doing my habit by saying (out loud or in my head), “I’m awesome!”
The feeling I get after I do this is the same feeling I get when I look at this painting. Spacious. Hopeful. Present.
Did you ever read The Story of Ferdinand, when you were a kid?
Written by Munro Leaf and illustrated by Robert Lawson, this delightful book tells the story of a bull who would rather smell flowers than fight in bullfights. No matter how he’s provoked by the matador and everyone else in the ring, Ferdinand just sits, smelling the flowers.
This rhino reminds me of Ferdinand, content to gaze in wonder at the beautiful chandelier, rather than doing whatever “rhino-like” things people would expect. It just makes me happy to see.
When I sit down to meditate, if you could take a snapshot of my mind, this isn’t far from what it might look like.
There’s an intention to focus on my breath, and even some success in doing so. Then there are flitting thoughts, dangling thoughts, and thoughts that quite simply run away with me.
When I notice them, I let them go and return to my breath. Over and over and over.
When I was 7 or 8, and my brother was about 9, we got a dog. Scott had been lobbying hard for one, and our new furry family member was definitely his dog, but Hausen loved indiscriminately.
He was one of those sweetheart dogs who was kind to everyone… unless you were threatening one of his pack. Mom said he would never hurt a fly, and that’s probably true.
He had a lot of nicknames: Bear, Roo, Rooer Bear. And if enough time had passed since he’d last done something destructive (there were a number of those), Saint Hausen.
If there is an afterlife, meeting up with Hausen is one of the things I’m looking forward to most.
The alligator was not planned — she just appeared. So did the balloons. Put them together, and naturally, it’s a party.
NOTE: My daily paintings, and ArtSpark Newsletter, are taking a week’s vacation while I’m away at Jazz Camp West. Have a great week and I’ll see you again on June 29th! 🙂
PS – If you’re an ArtSpark subscriber and you already got this in your inbox, my apologies. There were some monkey wrenches in my system and this post accidentally got published early…
After I graduated from college, I was at a loss for what to do with myself. I missed the regular philosophical discussions (still do), and dove into some fairly academic tomes, namely When God Was a Woman, by Merlin Stone, and The Chalice and the Blade, by Riane Eisler.
Having recently gone through what I now refer to as my Radical Feminist Awakening, I loved the idea that there was once a time when women were respected and the deity was female. I even made a pilgrimage of sorts, visiting sites that some researchers belief were while in England to look at graduate schools.
Not surprisingly, Stone and Eisler’s work is the subject of much controversy. Some people are quite threatened by the notion that patriarchy didn’t always rule.
Not me. It gives me hope.
NOTE: My daily paintings, and ArtSpark Newsletter, are taking a vacation next week while I’m away at Jazz Camp West. Have a great week and I’ll see you again on June 29th! 🙂
Growing up with an older brother, I always wondered what it would have been like to have sisters. I secretly fantasized about being Cindy from the Brady Bunch (it was probably her ringlets that made me want to be her, instead of Marsha or Jan).
In 1996 I went to my first calligraphy conference, outside of Seattle, Washington. It’s impossible to put into words the thrill I felt to be surrounded by 500 fellow letter-lovers, in a temporary village devoted to all things calligraphy.
There was something magical about that week (the first time of anything is always memorable, isn’t it?), and not all of it had to to expressly with calligraphy.
One such magical element was Ima Gnome.
I heard people asking whether Ima had arrived, and where she might be found. Who, I wondered, was Ima?
Eventually I found her. Or, well, not Ima herself, but her place of residence.
At the base of one of the trees on campus was a tiny door, with a tiny mailbox planted just outside, labeled “Ima Gnome.” A few inches away was a clothes line. And peeking out of the mailbox was a tiny note from a gentleman caller.
Ima, it turns out, moves a lot. She makes residence wherever calligraphers converge for an international conference. Nobody has spotted her yet, to the best of my knowledge, but she brings new accouterments to her accommodations each year.
Perhaps it was Ima who inspired me to turn a bumpy cone into a house. Whatever the inspiration, I imagine a cozy fire inside, a wooden sidebar with port and sherry, and many tiny books lining the walls.
When I was a kid, one of my favorite songs was Puff The Magic Dragon. Except that it always made me cry.
Still, I sang it over and over and over. I guess I was drawn to it the way humans have been drawn to sad stories over the eons. A way to process sadnesses in our own lives that are too tender to touch, perhaps.
Today is my mom’s birthday — Happy Birthday, Mom!
We didn’t realize it at the time, but when I was 6 years old, my mom was prophetic.
The year I was in Second Grade, for some reason I got stuck in the middle reading group, and I was bored. I finished the entire semester’s worth of reading in a few days, so my teacher gave me the workbook for the second semester, which I finished that afternoon.
Eventually, the school got wise and put me in a more challenging level, but in the meantime, I started adding curlicues to all of my letters. (Clearly, I was a child who [thankfully] found quietly creative, rather than disruptive, ways to act out!)
Mom and Pop liked to say I was the reincarnation of a Medieval monk, and were convinced I was going to grow up to be an artist.
I, on the other hand, found that notion ridiculous. I was going to be a vet!
Just goes to show you, Mom is always right!