Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Life is Beautiful, Life is Hard - The Movie

 Following up from last months' Life is Beautiful, Life is Hard post....

So many friends have been expressing the struggle and sadness they feel at this time of year.  Memories of Christmases past can remind us of our losses - people, places, traditions, togetherness. At the same time, we are being prodded to be "merry and bright." It's hard.

But we also know that life is still beautiful. We all have something for which to be grateful - people to love, ways to make a difference in the world, sunlight on water, the full moon rising over snow, food and shelter, the grace we are shown daily.

Can we find a way to cherish and honor our losses, while also appreciating what is good in our lives now? Can we accept that every life holds both deep suffering and great joy? If we truly embraced that understanding, would we treat ourselves - and each other - with more kindness?

I created this short meditation practice video to help us find our way. Sit comfortably, breath naturally, and listen. I hope you may find it helpful.

Wishing a peaceful Christmas and holiday season to all, and may the new year bring you many blessings.

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Life is Beautiful, Life is Hard

Life is beautiful. Life is hard.

A friend said those words to me recently, after reading a Facebook post in which I described two consecutive days in October. On the first day, my husband, who is 81 and has Parkinson's, fell, almost first thing in the day. Now mind you, the Parkinson's makes him very unsteady when initiating movement or turning, so he falls several times a month. For a slim guy, he bounces pretty well, and hasn't really hurt himself. But when it happens, it's always a shock. Sometimes, we just laugh and say, "Phew! Close call!" Other times, like that day, it upsets us and hovers over the day like a dark cloud, portending an imagined future doom. 

The next day, I received word that one of my poems had done well - for the second time - in an international poetry competition. For me, this was a sign that I am not wasting my time when I sit down to put words on paper. That among my gifts is the ability to put words together in a way that moves people. A sign that I should keep going, keep working, keep playing, with words. 

Life is beautiful. Life is hard. One day you fall, the next day you get good news.

Life is beautiful. Life is hard. I practice living with this daily now. Not just in my meditation practice, but in my thought process throughout the day: 

Can I hold in one hand the knowledge that things change, that everything is temporary, including our loved ones and ourselves, that bad news can come at any moment, that we can be laughing one minute and crying out in pain the next because we've taken a fall, the mind fearful of what might come next,

and in the other, hold

the joy of watching ducks float by on the pond, simple daily rituals, a chat with a friend, a laugh with my brother or sister, an appreciative word from a student, a handwritten note in the mail, a 50% off sale, sun sparkling on water, having a home and all I need to live, getting up again after a fall with only a bruised knee and ego, a bit of good news about my writing?

Life is beautiful. Life is hard. This is my practice now. Allowing for both, without clinging to one  or denying the other. Holding one in my left hand, and the other in my right. Bringing my hands together in front of my heart. Allowing them to mingle and co-exist.

Life is beautiful. Life is hard. 

Sunday, August 22, 2021

It's ALL Art

Dick came across this quote and said he wanted to use it in his end-of-August blog post over at his painting blog, Painter of Southwest Visions (click on the link to see some of his work - painting is his art form). When he read the quote to me, I cried, "That's PERFECT for my next blog post too!"

From the beginning of our journey in the Live Your Creative Life class series, we've reinforced this idea that "art" and "creativity" can relate to any aspect of life. And that expressing ourselves creatively takes courage. It's risky to show our real selves, especially in this time of social media, where cruelty can hide in anonymity. Even the judgement of friends who just don't have the same taste as we do, or don't "get" what we are going for (or who are jealous because we are honoring our creativity and they aren't - YES, this is a real, and very human thing!), can dampen our joy and make us not want to share ourselves so openly. 

But we must have courage, because it's's absolutely necessary. As Godin says, art is in our souls. We must not let other voices get in the way. We must speak clearly and confidently with our own voices. When someone doesn't appreciate what we've done, we don't have to feel bad! We can just say, "It's okay, you do you, and I'll do me!" 

As we end the class series, we look ahead to maintaining our stamina, courage, and commitment to living our creative lives, in every way that speaks to us. How we dress, wear our hair, decorate our homes, plan our gardens, care for our loved ones; how we paint, write, sculpt, sew, arrange the pillows, sing, play. 

Here's a photo of me as I continue playing with the illustrations for my children's poems. This has been more FUN than I ever imagined - I find myself smiling at the idea of it, while doing it, and at the perfectly imperfect results. 


After this, I plan on posting monthly rather than weekly, though I will post in between if there is something I really need to share! Thank you for joining me on this journey, and I look forward to seeing your souls shine through whatever art you create!

Much love,