Sunday, June 27, 2010

Dreamboard for the Full Strawberry Moon

"To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of the arts."
(from a painting in a window in Soho)

"What happened? Did you feel that? The room changed -- I felt something on my skin."
(from an article a friend shared with me)

This dreamboard has to win my own award for "wordiest board!" I'm not used to having so many words on my board, but I'm curious to see how it goes. The dream I have most strongly in my mind for this moon is the creation of a new body of work. What I see here are inspirations to recognize and honor the power of art. I've often vacillated in my life between seeing my art-making as an unimportant, inconsequential act, or seeing it as a potential healer of ills and feeder of souls. Synchronistically, a community orchestra colleague told me yesterday about a New York Times article featuring an artistic hero of mine, Laurie Anderson. The descriptions of the impact of her work are similar to what I would like to hear said about my work. After seeing that my dreams of playing at Carnegie Hall were fulfilled, I'm excited to see where this chapter of the journey will take me.

I see that this moon I am being asked to look at and appreciate the significance of what I want to do, perhaps what I am called to do. At the same time, there are reminders to play, to "leave the edges wild," to have courage, to kick ass, to align with the deepest levels of my being, to not be afraid of big ideas, to tune in to myself and the inner dance. I am really intrigued with this board, and I can't wait to see what work will emerge.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Happy for a taste of nature

A couple of simple, small things made me smile this week. When I squeezed honey into a bowl of homemade yogurt and store-bought cereal it made this pattern. Looks like a heart, doesn't it? I had to snap a photo of it.

The homemade yogurt is something I've just started doing. We're probably at about our sixth batch of the stuff, and it is miraculous, fresh, delicious. I'm always a little nervous before I lift the cover on the pot, after it has incubated for a number of hours. It has not failed yet. The wonderful organisms seem to go right on living and doing their thing. I save the last bit of yogurt of each batch to use as culture for the next, and so far it's been working like a yummy dream.

I am also looking forward to adding some fresh herbs to my cooking this summer. The pot of chives came from a friend, and the basil from the farmer's market. Happy, herby deliciousness is ours! I might be inspired to add to the collection on my future trips to the market.

Check out others' happy posts here.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Happy ingredients

I made my first trip to a local farmer's market at the northern end of Manhattan. I can't believe I've lived in this neighborhood for ten years without being aware of it. It's a welcome discovery that, on this trip, yielded fresh strawberries, eggs, delicious mushrooms, and garlic scapes. The vendor heard my plan to use the mushrooms and eggs for omelets and threw in a few squiggly garlic scapes for free. Thank you, thank you!

But what about all of this makes me happy? I want to notice more deeply what the ingredients of happy are. Exploration and discovery. Being outdoors on a beautiful day. My curiosity to look online for how to use garlic scapes. The simple enjoyment of delicious food. The visual beauty of fresh produce. The good clean feeling I get from knowing that my money is helping support local growers and a healthy environment. The sharing of a new experience with my honey. When I look underneath the surface of such a simple thing, and see that it yields so much happiness, it helps me know that there is plenty to go around if we just pay attention to it.

Let's try this exercise with the knitting. What makes me happy about knitting? The aesthetic joy of walking into a yarn shop filled with colorful and luscious yarns of different materials, and choosing from such a bounty. The soft, creature comfort of touching my chosen organic cotton yarn. The sense of adventure and discovery of looking online for some fun patterns. The self knowledge of recognizing my joy in challenging and stretching myself, learning new things, pushing myself to grow. The satisfaction of having tried something new and having it turn out lovely. The satisfaction of knowing that something I had wanted to experience but had previously assumed was too complicated (and therefore, scary) is now part of my life. I like making these little washcloths because each one gives me a chance, in quick succession, to enjoy these steps over and over again.

Maybe when we peek underneath the hood of these wonderful vehicles for happiness, we can discover its inner workings. What's inside your happiness?

Check out others' happy posts here.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Passing, a reminder to be happy

This week brought the horrible news of a childhood friend’s passing after a battle with cancer. While we were no longer close and I knew little about his private life, we stayed in touch twice a year when I visited his office for exams and cleanings.

In the call from his office a few nights ago, his assistant’s wind-up delivered a blow I wasn’t prepared for. For a moment before the conclusion of her fateful sentence, I imagined the call was about a postponed appointment because of his parent’s passing. But no, it was about my friend himself. He'd never told me he was fighting cancer.

He died too young. He was my age. It is a powerful reminder that our time on this planet, in this lifetime, is limited and therefore precious. I feel very sad for his family’s loss, disappointed that his children will no longer have their dad.

The news shook me, telling me again that life is not to be wasted. But what does that mean? Partly it shows me I must cherish all the moments of life – that I can truly soak in my journey and really pay attention to my fellow travelers and the beauty of the world around me, wherever I am. It reminds me I must pursue what is in my heart, and that I cannot put things off for some future day that may never come. It’s a message to live fully. To make courageous choices. To be in the present.

We shouldn’t need brutal reminders of mortality to make us pay attention to the sweetness of life. So, perhaps, that's the gift this weekly practice of observing and acknowledging happiness brings.

Let’s pay attention. What brought happiness to you this week?

Saturday, June 5, 2010

My Happy: Dreamboard, Flowers, Friends

My happy this week was making a dreamboard again, after missing the last moon because of a full, full, full calendar. It was wonderful to get back to this practice of tuning in and letting my intuition guide my choice of images for this Full Flower Moon. This cycle, I didn't have time to post my own or respond to others' dreamboards, but you can check out dreamboards here.

I love flowers (who doesn't?) and this makes me happy too. Success! The orchid bloomed this year!

And simply spending time with friends, new and old. We enjoyed a cookout on a friend's deck during Memorial Day weekend. Great creative company, delicious food, fresh air. What a wonderful way to begin the days of summer.

Have a wonderful week!