Friday, March 27, 2009

Penguin Crossings

Now this is something we never see in San Diego. This photo was sent to me from my daughter and her husband who are living in New Zealand and working at the Delegat Winery in Marlborough. They are fulfilling a life of "following their dream" for the past few years. They are the kind of people who seem to know where they are going way ahead of when they get there. Many of us wish we could plan our lives and have them turn out like we want, but often get side-tracked along the way and have to make a few detours before reaching our goals.

Kathe and Mark were married in 2005. Less than two years after they married they both decided to quit their jobs, sell their home, cars, and much of their belongings; Kathe a high-school math teacher since college and Mark an accountant; and go back to school to study Viticulture and Eunology, for those who are not sure what that is, The Art and Science of Winemaking. To be precise, they are going to go back to the land to become farmers of grapes and makers of fine wine, eventually that is.

But after graduating from Fresno State they both won a grant to study and travel for a month in Switzerland, France and Italy. They documented their trip in their lovely blog last summer "Travels with Mark and Kathe".

Upon returning last August they both secured jobs working at wineries in Napa Valley and then got hired to work Harvest Season in New Zealand this year. Spring for us but Fall in New Zealand. I am enjoying their experiences and look forward to hearing from them as they progress through the season.
As a Mom, I am sad to see them so far away and they eventually will be settling some distance from where I am now, but its what they have to do and as much as I miss them I am proud that they are both focused on a dream together and are making it possible by being a team rather than pulling against each other as is often the case when two people are as strong minded as they are. Making a decision to change the patterns in your life, your jobs, your home, where you live and how you will ultimately make your living is hard when you are alone, but it can be impossible when you are married unless both people are willing to make the dream a reality. The likelihood of being self employed and being successful at it, are doubled many times over when both partners are willing to do what is necessary to make that dream real. Believe me when I say, as a self-employed person since 1993, it takes dedication, determination and a lot of sacrifice to make your life on your own skills, and not depend on outside employment.

Many times I wished I had a partner but was too busy working to build my business to take time to find one. I look at my kids and wonder if any of them learned anything from the examples I set for them by my own life - both good and bad -- and I am certain that something sank in.

One thing for sure, the love of travel is predominant in both of them, a good work ethic, ideals toward perfectionism and strong moral values. All the basis of a good start in life.

Though they won't admit it I think they also learned from me what NOT to do in life. They are both having the time of their lives and seeing many beautiful sunsets around the world. Those are the memories that will last - many years to come. Bless you and your "journey"...

Photos compliments of Kathe and Mark from New Zealand.

Creative Genius

A New Way of Looking at Creativity and Genius
I have always dreamed about going to Italy to study sculpting while taking in the experience of the land, the people and the food and wine, and just maybe never coming home. So it was fun to read about the experiences of someone who had done just that. Elizabeth Gilbert wrote the book "Eat, Pray, Love" while living in Italy, India and Indonesia on a work/live sabbatical. The book became a best seller. She talks in an 18 minute segment on TED, about the fears that artists have of becoming "extinct" after creating their best work. Or worse, the fears that all creative geniuses have that once you create a great work of art, or in her case writing a book that became a best seller, you can't repeat it? Your pool of ideas has dried up? What about those artist blocks that seem to last forever while we are living our lives? And where does the creative genius come from? Are we even responsible for it? What about our creative ideas and dreams that never manifest? Maybe some dreams are just never meant to manifest? What do you think?

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Power of Stones

Sacred Stones?

For most of my life I have had a strong attraction to things made of stone, and of course-to stones themselves. I believe in the power of stones to affect us energetically, although some people find this is hard to believe. "Stones are just inanimate objects, globs of dead weight!" I've often heard. Not true. Not only did ancient people believe that stones hold the secrets of the universe within them and the wisdom of the earth, they believed stones had power to heal illness and impart magic and protection for our bodies and spirits as well.

Now I do not have first hand knowledge or proof that any of

this is true, I do know that stone is definitely more than just globs of dead weight because I have learned how to shape stone with my sculpting tools and know that it can come "alive" in my hands. In addition while practicing therapeutic massage for 12 years, I experienced the healing ability of stone, when heated and placed on the body, in a practice I engaged in for almost ten years....heated stone massage or better known as "LaStone Therapy". The stones bring great healing not only to the client on the table but to the practitioner as well. After 12 years of doing deep tissue work for many hours a day, I never incurred injuries to my hands or arms and feel that the stones actually prevented me from any invasion of negative energy while working on my clients. Usually I would go home after a long day of work more energized than when I started but for sure, more at peace.

So I was not surprised when, a few months ago, I was thinking about Carnelian and how much I needed to find a carnelian stone for myself. I do not usually purchase jewelry, but I have learned to heed my mental obsessions when it comes to stones. I have a large collection of stones and crystals that I have collected from places near and far, and they are as precious to me as anything I have, even though most of them are not valuable gemstones, to me they are more precious than gems. I actually have a Carnelian ring that I purchased over 20 years ago but it no longer fit my finger so I decided to start a search and see what I could find. I did not really have any justification for needing to have Carnelian but when I looked up the healing aspects of Carnelian, I decided it might be important for me to add one more to my collection.

I came across a wonderful website for a man in Vancouver who makes the most unique and interesting jewelry; his name is Bill Fedoriuk and he is a custom Jeweler and Designer from Salt Springs Island, in British Columbia on Canada's West Coast. I was intrigued with one in particular so I emailed him to see if the ring was still available. He sent me a photo of another ring that he had instead, and I decided at that moment for whatever reason that this was the stone I was looking for, or, it was looking for me.

Hindsight is wonderful when it comes to analytic topics such as this, because I can look back now and know that it was right to follow my intuition about getting the Carnelian; at the time it did not make sense at all. Now, I can say that I know why I needed or wanted that Carnelian, or was I just following the guidance of my body's wisdom? Knowing now, that I was ill, or was about to become ill, it's easy to say that by following my body's wisdom to get the stone, I was actually aiding my healing process-in advance.

Our bodies have a knowing about everything - of course or they would not be able to function automatically as they do. We, as consciousness "all knowing" thinking human beings are so busy "thinking" usually, that we do not listen to our bodies. This is a training that we must engage in daily...learning to pay attention to what is going on "inside" of our bodies, by stepping outside of our busy minds for just a few moments to pay attention to what is needed. The answers are always there if we listen and pay attention to where the answers are coming from.

If we have a pain somewhere, that pain is telling us something. It is up to us to pay attention. By taking care of our bodies as we would a small child tugging on our shirt sleeve to get our attention, we tell our body that we care, we are attentive to its needs. Maybe it is a virus that needs attention, or hunger or just being tired. Maybe you feel a strained muscle, or a more serious illness that is about to spring into action to a full blown near-catastrophe. In my case that is about what happened but to my good fortune, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. What could have been a much more serious problem was nipped in the bud so to speak. I like to think that it was because of the energy of the Carnelian which I wore constantly after I received the ring in the mail, that I also followed all of my other intuitions until the day I had surgery and was asked to take the ring off, that I was able to heal in a week after my surgery. Others might just say it was the skill of the surgeon, or the medicines I was taking...perhaps it is all that and who is to say the stone did not help to arrange all of this in place for me? There is no proof but its one of the sweet mysteries of life to ponder.

I like to think that all of these stones in our life have a sacred nature and power to them, not unlike the stones of ancient Stonehenge which no one has yet been able to determine the real reason for their existence. But, to the ancient people from before 2500 bc, who took the time and trouble to drag them over 250 miles from their original place in Wales, to where they now stand, they must have been very sacred. Modern man cannot even conceive of the immense amount of manpower and ingenuity it must have taken to move stones that are estimated to weigh over 50 tons without the help of equipment such as what we have today. So in spite of technology, through the sheer power of belief in the sacredness and power of the stones, they were moved.

Happy First Day of Spring!

Photo of Stonehenge by Lucille Pine

Friday, March 6, 2009

Changing the Way I Think

I'm back to my office now, and feel better than ever. After a month of serious illness, lots of discomfort, then a surgery I hadn't planned on and now into recovery, I feel like a new person. I have left all that behind me and am ready to tackle the rest of this year with a renewed spirit of enthusiasm and energy devoted to first, being grateful for the blessings I have in my life, and to being alive. There is nothing like being disabled for a few weeks to make you realize how little control we really have over our lives. I am practicing letting go and surrendering to that which is, and trying each day to find something to be grateful for. I can usually find more than one thing, but at least one. For example, we have had two weeks of somewhat sunny and warm (for March) weather here in San Diego and I noticed in my back yard the first wild flowers to pop up from under the weeds. I could not resist taking a photo of them. In addition, my lemon tree has been unusually prolific this year sprouting lemons like crazy. Maybe its trying to tell me something...."when life gives you lemons, make lemonade!". I heard that quote before but never realized how true it is.

In my last post I was still healing from Shingles, but that, in fact it got a lot worse and landed me in the hospital one day, and in an attempt to discover what was really going on in my body the doctors ordered a CAT scan and discovered a large tumor growing inside that was not supposed to be there. They did not think it was malignant but highly recommended removing it. Luckily I went for the surgery, in and out in one day which also amazes me, and I am fine now only one week later. It always amazes me how the body can recover from something and bounce back when we stop fighting and surrender to what is. I cannot say that no negative thoughts ever entered my mind, going into surgery, but I worked hard at focusing on my healing instead of "what if's". I am grateful that I had a son and daughter-in-law living close by who were able to drive me to the hospital and pick me up and take care of me for a night or two and that I had an entire week to be alone and heal in quiet. There is nothing like being at one with yourself when you need time to process what is going on in your life.

My best friend Terry who is a fantastic Pet Portrait Artist offered to pet-sit for my two big dogs, Oscar and Heaven, and I am so grateful to her for that. One of the things Terry is famous for is offering creative advice when I need it most, and she sent me a little reminder for my refrigerator today which I will share with you. It made me realize again how important it is to have friends to help you re-evaluate your thoughts at times, especially when we are feeling a little vulnerable. Everyone feels that way at times,
and I am no different. As an artist, Terry can appreciate how difficult it is to survive and stay positive, as Artists, but stay true to yourself even though you do other things to pay the bills. I have had to re-invent myself several times in my life, but to me that is just part of being a creative person. The fact that we CAN re-invent ourselves is the beauty of life. We should never get too attached to what we do or how we make our living--that does not change who we are inside or that we still think of ourselves as Artists. In fact it made me realize that changing our thoughts about what we do and who we are is part of that attitude of gratitude I was talking about earlier. Being grateful for our creative spirit, our creative talents and our creative ability to turn lemons into lemonade, means just that...we ALL have the ability to be creative in times of economic stress and it does not mean that we are any less than, if we are not creating the "kind" of art WE think we should. It only matters how we think about what we do, and ourselves. I made a promise to post this on my refrigerator and remind myself every day that I can change my thoughts in an instant from negative to positive and it does indeed change how I feel and how well I function in all ways -- physically, mentally and spiritually. Thanks Terry....