Saturday, June 25, 2011

Mastering The Art Of Sauntering

"It is a great art to saunter."~  Henry David Thoreau

This week it became summer in my part of the world.  The nice kind of summer with sun, mild breezes, temperatures in the 70's and the long long days of light.  This sort of summer is my favorite time of year.   I have to confess, I don't do well when summer turns angry, the sun lights up a cigar, bears down on the earth and laughs at us. It is a good thing the days are long, because after 7pm in the evening is the only hope of getting something done for the day, other than staring at the walls and wishing it would cool down.
For now, it is happy summer time in my world.  The days are perfect for perfecting what I'm calling "The Art Of The Saunter."   I usually spend my days at the speed of light.  Running and doing and packing a ton of things into my day.  I flop down in my bed at night and don't even remember hitting the pillow only to start the race all over again the next morning.   Ugh.   Yes, I am a person with a lot of energy.  I am a person who loves to experience all the world has to offer- everyday.   So, I find it challenging to saunter through the day.  Yet Mr. Thoreau has a point here.   I can drive through my life at 100 miles an hour and maybe get to where I'm going or I can slow down a bit and see where I am going and enjoy life a bit more.  Instead of flopping down into bed each night to shut out the "to do list"; drift off to sleep with the enjoyment of my day and the knowing that there are more wonderful things to do and experience when I wake up.
Just writing that seems calming.  This week, I also found myself in conversations that involved the "to do list."
How it was never ending.  How it controled lives.  How un-fun, un-fullfilling the "to do list" really is.
I came to the conclusion we can use this tool to have a sense of control in our lives, but to not let it control us and our life.   Looking at a to do list- ask how much of it is a "should do" list.  I'm going to ask how much fun are "shoulds"? So are the items on our lists shoulds or things we just need to do in order to relax more be in the moment and have some life enjoyment.   Next I'm going ask to look at the list and which items are "A"s- meaning if I don't get these off my list world is going to crumble, at very least  cause more stress and make me crumble.  Then look for "B"s and "C"s.   If you have more than four "A"s on the list on any given day, might I suggest you have a strong look at your life and how it is being conducted.  Are those really and truely "A"s?   What can you do to move them down to a "B" or "C" or off the list completely?
And lastly, the biggest question of you really need that "to do" list?  (It is just a question, keep breathing here.)
For now it is summer, I'm going to master my art of a saunter.  It will be a challenge as I stated I love to run at a 100 miles a minute.  Learning to saunter sounds good.  I'll let you know how it goes.

Does your "to do" list control you or do you control your "to do" list?

Until next week...create to feel greate. 
35 projects complete.  17 to go.

So, one of the things that is summer are blockbuster movies.  I've been creating costume pieces for friends who are all excited about the last Harry Potter movie.   I created a rainbow colored bracelet and my version of Luna Lovegood's beetle ring.  I do bead, but I'm not very traditional in my approach.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Unexpected Zen Master

In a previous blog post, I mentioned Wooti.  He is the 3 legged dog from Africa, that my good friend Chelsea was brave enough to rescue and bring him to America.  The week I wrote a bit about Wooti, was the week I met him in person.  Since our meeting, I've been a little obsessed with him.  This week I decided that it was love.  The more and more of his story that gets revealed to me, the more I love that dog.  It is not the fact that he is one of the most handsome dogs I've ever seen.  The really cool mix of what they think is Collie and Shepard. Or it is the fact that I should feel sorry for him because of his 3 legs.  That fact doesn't even enter my mind, except when making him sweaters and boots (one less, please).  I don't feel sorry for Wooti for a minute.  I love and admire him.  I'll tell you why.   He's one of the wisest beings I've ever met.(He is as wise and smart as Mickeygirl )  He's a Zen Master in a dog's body.  He's Yoda with beautiful fur and sweet almond brown eyes.  Wooti has a knowing in him that calms everyone who meets him.  Yes, he's a survivor.  Coming through an ordeal that would test any human, more than likely bring them to their knees and most would have quit half way through it. It is part of his story, but it's not all who he is in the here and now.
When I look at Wooti, I see a lesson in trust and knowing.  Trust in something bigger than what ever we are currently dealing with and knowing that all things fall into place at the right time.  I also see in Wooti the reminder that every being on this earth can create a good life for themselves with that trust and knowing.  This dog, now, lives a life that no other dog will ever live, some people wish they could live, and he knows it and relishes in it everyday.  Is he the original lucky dog?  I guess.  I think Wooti got him in a bad place and figured out how to turn it around.  He was challenged and in his challenge, he challenged the people that helped him. He challenges people to this day to look inside themselves and do and be something greater than they ever thought they could be.  At least for a moment.  At least being open to catching that glimpse of their best selves, while they pet him. (did I mention he's an extremely loving dog? Again...considering his background...amazing!)
Some of you reading might be thinking..."It's a dog.  They don't have that thought process and they certainly can't be a Zen Master."  I feel if you ever get a chance to meet will change you mind.
Lastly, Wooti is my personal reminder that we do learn for all beings.  We all have gifts to share in the world and it is simple as showing up. A thought I keep talking about and find more and more the truth in that simple act. Showing up, fully. Embracing life and a the moment and contributing to life and this moment with all of our being.  It doesn't matter what has happened to you in the past.  All we have is now.  Now can be amazing.
So, I love Wooti.  Wootman.  Woot Diggity Dog.  Woot Dawg.  Woot Dawgy Dawg.
And yes this week's project is something for Wooti.   Since he is a Tripawd (that is the official term for 3 legs), he sometimes has trouble walking on slick floors.  I decided to create him some boots with dance rubber for traction, thinking it might help with this issue.  They are silly looking and I'm currently in the process of designing a better fitting set of boots.   Again, Wooti is challenging me to express my best self.
Wooti in his boots.  Resting after a very long road trip

What have you learned from contact with animals?  Past or present?  Are you open to learning more from them each day?

Until next week...create to feel great!
34 projects complete.   18 to go!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Sing It Out!

"We all know success, when we all find our own dreams.  And our love is enough to knock down any wall.  The future's been seen by men who realize, the simple secret of the note in us all." - Pete Townshed

I have always loved this quote.  As a teenager, I spent hours listening to The Who, and the song this quote is from.  In the music Pete Townshed wrote, it made me less afraid to look inside myself and then to show myself to the world.  Townshed's approach to music was inspiring to me.   I thought (and in some ways still do) he was the most creative person I ever encountered.   He took risks with his creativity.  Creating things and pouring energy into creations that most people didn't get most of the time. Yet it was honest and true for him.
The "note" he is talking about in this quote, is about our own vibration.  Our unique set of notes that make up who we are.   Our life's song, as it were. It is our life force.  What drives us to create, to love, to make this world better, to live. It is our own unique set of talents.   We all have a wonderful song inside us that deserves to be heard.  Sing it loudly for all the world.  It all starts with one note.   That note is the essence of who we are and why we are in this world.   I feel that sometimes, for whatever reasons, we are way more comfortable singing other people's notes or songs.  We even deny we have a song in us that is worth singing or that anyone would want to hear.  The note that comes from us is also very pure and easy to allow it to be sung.   So, why not allow your note to be heard in the world?  It mixes well with all the other notes being played by others who are unafraid to let their notes be heard.  Together it  is a sweet piece of music that our souls need.  It's positive.  It's healing.  It's forward movement.
I do seem to write a lot about using the talents and gifts we are born with and showing up in life with those talents and gifts.   I've found it is key to a rich full life.  I understand it takes courage to look inside ourselves in order to discover what we have been given.  It takes a bit more of that courage show it to the world. All that "showing the world" and courage, in the long run is the road to a positive mind-set and dare I say it happiness.
Also in this wonderful song are lyrics that remind me-

"There once was a note pure and easy. Playing so free like a breath rippling by."
What does your "note" sound like?  What stops you from allowing it to play in you life and help you create the song that is your life?

This week's project is in praise of shiney objects.  It's a new clutch I've been designing and working on for a bit.  I'm very pleased with the results.          

Until next week...create to feel great!
33 projects complete!  19 to go!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Helping Out

I think sometimes I'm an easy mark.  I love helping people.  I really do.  I feel was given a ton of talent and skill and this is my way of "paying back" for these blessings.   I don't mind when people ask me for support or help, and yet I don't like being taken advantage of (I think no one does).   I often ask myself, "where is the line here?"  I find it challenging to say no when asked.  Feelings of I'm not a good person are the first to arrive. Followed by I'm selfish. Topped off by tons of guilt, because I feel I'm the only person who can help them.   Recently, I've discovered that all these feeling have nothing to do with helping the person who asked me.  It's all about me and my ego, what I'm feeling and elevating me.  Sometimes I have to say no.  If I'm giving and helping out of this general sense of obligation and elevated ego, that isn't very giving or real.  It helps for the moment, but not the long run.  There is no substainal grow on anyone's part.  It's a quick fix- that's all.
When I'm asked to help out, I really consider, if I can.  It's not a snap deicision.  It is very careful consideration.  Very careful consideration.   Can I help this person, without expectation of return?  Am I really okay with that?
Do all the negative feelings well up when I want to say no?  Yes they do.  Then I have to check in with myself and ask why would I want to help?   Will my help really do them good in the long run?  Is helping this person going to drain me and my energy, thus creating anger and frustration in me.  So, the help I provide is full of anger, frustration and "here's my help. Now go away!" energy.   Not a clean or giving place to come from.
So, bottom line, it really is okay to say no.  And really that's all I ever feel I need to say is just a simple no.  The words that follow the simple no, muddy the waters and allows the negative feelings to come into play.
Simply no.  It's okay.
All this said- I still love to help folks.   This week's project is a helping project...
One of my fellow swap-botters put out a wish for special baby bibs for her daycare.  It was a sewing project that I had time to do, I had the supplies, and I got to research and create a new pattern.  I saw it as a win/win.  I said yes.   I completed and sent the project off with joy and accomplishment.  A few days later, I got a lovely lovely thank you. It truely was a win/win.  In my mind the best sort of helping.

How do you respond to offers of help?  Do you help to the point where you have nothing left to give and start to feel resentful?  Or do you carefully consider offers of help and are okay saying no?

Until next week...create to feel great!
31 projects complete 21 to go!