Sunday, May 27, 2012


Memorial Day always seems like the beginning of summer so this is the image that showed up today.

May your holiday be safe and joyful.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Joy Moments

The bowl I keep my "Joy Moments" in
Three years ago. when it felt like my life was falling apart ... again, I started a process of finding a "joy moment" every day and taking the time to celebrate it on a little card with a sketch.  It was a centering process that helped me find gratitude every day.  As my life started to get better, the process fell away, forgotten.

Today I found that stash of joy moments and as I read through them, I felt that deep peace that they helped me find during that stress-filled time.  

So I have now resolved to make it a daily practice.  ... To take the time to identify and honor those small moments that add up to harmony and joy.  To know that I have time for joy ... time for beauty ... time to reflect ... time.

In whatever way that makes sense for you, I encourage you to celebrate your own joy moments.  Here's one of my cards ... obviously not a work of art ... just a captured memory.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Dandelion Addiction

This post is dedicated to Suzanne, my partner in addiction.  

Over the past 15 years of our friendship, we have recognized our common addiction with its adrenalin highs and burn out lows. Fortunately, we live on different sides of the country, for when we get together, even by phone, the embers burst into flames, fed by the oxygen of our mutual addiction.  While our connections always inspire and energize us, sometimes they also leave us in a drug-induced state of depletion and exhaustion trying to sort out the plethora of possibilities.

The drug of choice for both of us is ideas ... bright, shiny, fragile, squirrely, slippery, incredibly beautiful new ways of looking at the world.  In that moment of birth of a new idea, some chemical is released that makes us feel powerful, brilliant and connected to the grand scheme of the Universe.  The infant idea is flawless with nothing but pure potential radiating out from its innocent self.  It is a perfect, uncut gem pulsing with possibility ... until, of course, it hits the chill wind of reality.

Like any high, the euphoria of a new idea cannot last.  Suzanne and I are like dandelions whose fragile puffs produce hundreds of seeds that blow into the wind in an ecstatic dance of creativity.  The dance ends the dandelion's job; it has done its work well once it stands naked with its seeds all drifting on the wind.  

But our job doesn't end with the dance.  We have to pick a seed, plant it, tend it, watch it grow ... and realize that in spite of the fact that we thought the idea might be a giant oak or a prolific protea, it really has a nature all its own and all we can do is help it be the best dandelion it can be.  Our job is to bring forth the reality that exists in each idea.  It may not be the adrenalin rush of creation, but it is the day-by-day, satisfaction of parenting an idea to its best self.

Both of us have parented ideas to adulthood but both of us still crave the roller-coaster ride of birthing new ideas.  Thank god they aren't fattening!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Lesson from Bodie

Bodie, the Master
Yesterday was Missy's first visit to her new groomer.  That's where we met Bodie, a blue-eyed, giggling toddler.  Bodie and I had an instant connection ... for him it was probably just a bright diversion in a new day ... for me it was smile enchantment.  Whatever it was, he made a beeline for me with that "hug me" look on his face and I just melted around his warm, little body.  It was a complete, total, love at first hug moment.

I glowed all the way home and then wondered what life would be like if we all had that infectious laugh and the impulse to joyously embrace everyone we meet.  Bodie is 19 months old ... I wonder how long he will be able to hold onto that open, unconditional love for everything and everyone who comes his way.  Even more, I wonder how I can be more like Bodie.

Bodie is already a Master.  He knows what most of us spend a life-time learning ... or relearning -- he knows how to be present in the moment, how to genuinely accept and embrace a stranger without reservations or judgment, how to laugh at the smallest things and how to radiate joy.  Did we all know this when we were 19 months old and just forget?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Crime Blotter Tales

Breakfast time!
The police blotter is always a fun part of small town papers but the writer here in Arroyo Grande has a flair I've not seen before.  Here are some actual happenings here on the central coast ... as reported by an unknown comic:
A man, with obviously high-falutin' taste, stole a ring from WalMart and got caught.  The poor sap returned the ring.
A man was arrested for being pickled in public by Mission Community Bank.
A caller reported a transient man with a bike was screaming.  Police caught up with the squealer and he told them he had yelled when his bike fell over and hurt his finger.
Police were unable to locate two surfers who got into an argument.  One said he was going to go back to the car, get his gun and kill the other one.  Way to harsh his mellow, dude.
A man was arrested for being Schiltz faced at Soto Sports Complex.
I guess crime is rampant everywhere.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Art Is Within Everyone

In the current western culture, we tend to think of art and beauty as decoration, a nice to have luxury.  Our schools, when faced with a choice between math and art (or music or dance or theater), drop art and focus on tangible, measurable skills.  Since only a few students will become "artists," why waste precious resources that do not produce doctors, lawyers, scientists, engineers, the backbone of growth and productivity?  

It's the cement-mixer school of thought:  pour a bunch of math, science, language and computer skills into an empty drum, revolve it for 12 years and pour out the building mix of progress.

What's missing from this logical looking formula?  The soul, the creativity that exists within each of us, the new ideas that will pull energy out of tides, teach the body to harness its own healing power, enable us to find ways to live with creeping climate change.

Art, creativity, beauty ... this is the light contained in each of us ... but it needs to flow out into the world, to be seen, touched, tasted, smelled, heard.  Bottled up, it creates despair, anger, cancer, (figuratively and sometimes literally); encouraged, supported and set free, it creates joy, ideas, solutions to old problems and inspiration for new worlds.

The video that launched this train of thought on this glorious morning on the central coast features Ricky Lee Gordon, award-winning South African street artist and art activist. He states: 
Color creates energy, energy creates inspiration and inspiration creates change. It is our responsibility to inspire ourselves to inspire others to inspire the change. Art is the remedy for this.  ... Removing the grayness from the soul of the city is the job of artists, poets, and musicians.
His motto is:  Inspiration and love through art to make a difference in South Africa.  Use art to change perceptions.

I highly recommend this video and hope you'll take time to sit down, watch the video, and then actively let your own creative light flow free.  Perhaps you can find a way to use your art (whether it's cooking, painting, gardening, dancing, sewing, writing, teaching, sculpting ... however you express your self) to change the perceptions of the people who make decisions about our schools, our communities and our country.