The Gift of Giving

The beauty of kindness never ceases to steal my heart.  While in Santa Fe for one of our last trips as a group, our Program Director, Layne, had a lovely idea.  She asked three of us who had accompanied the kids if we wanted to go to Starbucks, purchase four large “Joe to Go” coffee jugs and head over to the Plaza.  You see, the Plaza is where all of the Native Americans line up, roll out their blankets and sell their beautiful work.  It was a cold and windy day and the gift of hot goodness in a cup just might hit the spot.

We brought all of the condiments with us and started asking each artist if they wanted some hot coffee.  We were met with so many smiles and gratitude – their bright faces will be emblazoned on my heart for the rest of my days.  Only one gentlemen asked what we wanted in return.  When I smiled and said it was simply a gift, he decided on two cups………:)

As we headed back down the row to top off everyone’s cup, one of the artists called us over.  She insisted that each of us choose a pair of earrings in exchange for our kindness.  My pottery instructor, Clarence, who is a full native from the San Juan Pueblo, had told us a few weeks ago that to refuse a gift from a Native American who offers it is a great insult.  I graciously accepted her gift, thanked her and moved on.  As I stopped  at a leather smiths blanket to purchase a belt for my husband, he also insisted we each choose a gift.  Honestly, you could have knocked me over with a feather. 

What started out as an act of kindness on our part turned into a receiving of a precious, priceless moment.  Each one of us were transformed by this simple and yet profound event.

In all of these disturbing times, there are people simply choosing to be kind.  This place, these people, have entered into my heart and taken up residence.  Layne, Lori, Terry, Clarence, Ricki, Pam………..I bow in gratitude for your friendship and your wisdom.  I am changed.

The Messiness of Beauty

Life can be very messy at times.  Drama happens, tempers flare, egos roar and imbalance can set in.  OH how easy that road is to walk down. I can tell you, I am not an innocent.  I have made many mistakes and taken the road well traveled.  I have been lured at how easy it can be –  it takes almost no strength at all to wind yourself into the pushing and shoving of words and energy.  Sides are taken, lines are drawn…………for what?  Control?  Power?  It’s an empty and lonely road in the end.  Nothing good comes of it – you are left feeling drained and empty – never really gaining anything other than a hollow victory.

We all have a choice.  We can choose to join the crowd and feel justified and comfortable within the numbers – losing ourselves to the power of the group.  Or we can choose to think for ourselves and what is appropriate for all sides of the situation.  In almost every instance there is room for kindness.

When in doubt……..create a little  beauty.  It could be a small thing – a smile, a kind word, a gesture of gratitude or a simple loving thought toward another.  It doesn’t require money,force or directions.  It simply requires you to step out of the what is “wrong” with another and, just for a moment, think about what is pure.

So from me to you – I send you Love ❤️……..and just a little beauty from the fire today :). These lovelies will be placed in an open fit fire on Thursday……..stay tuned!!!

A Helping of Humble Pie

I am the youngest of 5 children in my family. Growing up, I withstood a colossal crap load of being picked on and picked apart by my older siblings.  Some of it I whole heartedly deserved, some it was just for fun and  some of it was meant to push my buttons and leave me bleeding.  Now, I’m not throwing blame at any of my siblings; this kind of behavior goes on with kids growing up.  It just does. We invariably think we need to sharpen our teeth on our loved ones to get ready for the big, bad world…….or just have some fun at another’s expense to make ourselves feel better.  Both of these are bad for the Love and Creativity business.

Once a person finds what makes them sing from their true essence, the need to poke fun or otherwise harm another quickly evaporates.  Being in the flow of creating has always left me with wanting more of that.  You know, that touched by God and the universe sort of feeling that just keeps getting sweeter the more it shows up. 

Speaking from a recent experience where I was once again on the receiving end of a “good natured” poking, I have to say that I had forgotten just how much it hurts.  I was flying high after two big “art” events in my life.  One which took me months to complete.  That is when we are the most vulnerable, when we are wide open with emotion…..and ripe for the picking.  Whatever the intention was from the other person is their business but finding it necessary to humble someone at the height of their joy is pretty revealing.  There is a lesson here for me……..

1.  Realize that when someone is “putting me in my place”, it speaks more about their need to feel better about themselves then it does about me. I can look back in my own life and know that whenever I have been a part of poking fun at another there was a place in me that was feeling “not good enough”.

2.  If someone feels a need to put someone down or humble them, “for their own good”, I can assure you, it’s never good for the recipient.  There’s a road to hell paved with good intentions.

3.  Create distance from anyone who would want or need to inflict harm.  Whether they are aware of the harm they are inflicting does not give them permission to do it.  It’s ultimately my choice whether I continue to subject myself to their brand of humor.

4.  Forgive…….and move on.  If I choose to hold onto this, it just gets in the way of creating something new and beautiful and prevents me from that sweet spot of life that I so love to be a part of.

5.  Speak with kindness and treat everyone with the lightness that you would want to receive.

There is plenty of darkness and hurt in this world.  If you love someone, lift them up.  Celebrate them. Applaude the fact that they exist in this world.  You might be surprised that, in turn, you will receive the beauty of your efforts back into your own life.

Kindness and Compassion Prevail

I was presenting my art at an art show this weekend.  Though the first day was rainy and cold, I had 3 of my ceramic works find their way into their forever homes.  I went home feeling tired but satisfied.

Sunday started out as a lovely day – the weather cleared and it promised to be a busy day. Then, I realized that my most expensive piece called Floating Lotus had been stolen.  This had never happened to me before and I was in a state of shock.  I didn’t notice it while setting up.  I filed a police report and worked on going about the day the best I could.

The day was winding down and all of the artists were getting ready to pack up.  What happened next is on every artists “worst nightmare” list. One of the artists was backing up his truck and trailer when he hit my booth.  The frame of my tent was bent and 4 of my pieces were destroyed.  I found myself screaming and on my knees.  In that moment, I felt utterly frozen and helpless.  A set of emotions I very rarely experience.  All of a sudden, almost out of nowhere, the artists surrounding me yesterday came to my rescue.  While I was incapacitated, they, along with my husband, went about securing my tent and what was left of my work.  These people, who hardly knew me, stopped what they were doing to lend a hand.

Whenever I am at odds with the rawness and rudeness of humanity, I will remember this moment.  Not for the artist who hit my tent, felt no real remorse and will probably never reimburse me for my work, but for the beauty and the giving of these fellow artists that gave of their time to help and comfort me when I needed it the most.

While, I know, I was not physically hurt, I still feel a great sense of loss.  In time, this too shall pass.  I will set about creating again and let it be a positive motivating force to push my creations to the next level.

Kindness and compassion will always prevail.Image