Not Dead Yet

There’s a scene in the 1975 movie “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” about being not dead yet. In the grim comedy, a dead man pretends to be alive in order to avoid “the cart.” I’m reminded of that today when I look at my Beach Rose in our side yard. What appears to be a dead section of the Rosa Rugosa is actually the top part of the plant that is protecting the process of re-birth and new growth, underneath.

The dead-looking upper part hides the new growth, hidden unless I bend down, and duck my head under the stems to look, near the brown soil, way down at the base of the scrubby shrub. The dead part actually keeps the new baby shoots safe.

Why can’t us human beings understand this process of death and re-birth better? In our culture of perfectionism, we can learn from the Beach Rose. I’m inspired by this natural process to let the world see my imperfections, in all their glory. I know some part(s) of me have to die in order for me to continue to grow and sprout new growth. I’m okay with that.

Not only are the reddish purple blossoms exceptionally fragrant, they are part of a pollinator pathway. Bees love the yellow stamens, buzzing deep inside and wiggling their bodies all around, before they fly on to the plant they will fertilize. The Beach Rose’s life cycle is part of Nature’s life cycle.

Creativity and wellness message for today: Let’s accept imperfections in ourselves and others. Let’s rejoice in new growth!

(All photographs (c) by Adair Heitmann)


Quiet Joy

(c) 2023 Adair Heitmann

Quiet joy fills me
Sustained creative writing
Bears fruit with awards

15 years ago, I taught an on-going writing workshop at a public library for six years. The group met twice a month, year-round. It consisted of steady, dedicated writers, all of us developing our craft. I also co-wrote a Fairfield Writers Blog. I used to sign off with my signature of “Keep on writing,” when I emailed my group or posted a motivational blog, filled with practical information.

That steadiness pays off. It sounds simple, “Keep on writing,” but for me, it really works. Writing helps me process my life. It helps me find grace where there was once turmoil, it provides an outlet for my active mind, and when needed, it soothes my aching heart.

I’m a nature enthusiast and writing provides an opportunity for exploring Mother Nature and Human Nature in deeply magical ways. In sharing my writing in essays, books, poems, storytelling, and speeches, I discover my work inspires others.

I’m happy to announce I won four awards from the 2022 Connecticut Press Club Professional Communications Contest!
First Place: Personal Essay – “Overcoming Fear With Help from the Whales” published in the book Animals: Personal Encounters With Spirit Animals by Sacred Stories Publishing

Second Place: Speeches – “A.R.T.: Action, Reflection, Transformation” original homily about recovery after loss, presented live at The Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Westport, CT

Third Place: Speeches – “Art Saved My Life: Journey of a Lifetime” PechaKucha-Bridgeport, original personal experience visual storytelling about transformation and reflection presented live the Bijou Theatre in Bridgeport, CT with 20 fast moving images.

Winner: Personal Website – Adair Wilson Heitmann My website introduces the public to my professional work. It promotes me as an artist, writer, teacher of programs and workshops, and as a storyteller. The hero images are my photographs as well as many of the others.

Creativity and wellness message for today: Stay active in your craft. Keep finding your joy and keep putting one foot in front of the other by doing the hard work.

Nature’s Flow

Crescent Moon at Sunrise by (c) Adair Heitmann

“Let me keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,
which is mostly standing still and learning to be
~ Mary Oliver

Creativity and wellness message for today: Allow for silence and wonder.

Setting Boundaries Gains Big Results

(c) Adair Heitmann 2023

My creative work involves having a calendar dating out three years. In addition to my on-going art, writing, and storytelling projects I’m applying to art and writing residencies. These residency applications require long lead times in the submission process. I also work as a Poet-in-Residence in schools so scheduling requires looking and planning ahead because there are lots of moving parts involving different organizations.

Last December, like a good fortune teller, I saw my upcoming year(s) in my mind’s eye. To meet the deadlines I already had in place, I knew I had to set boundaries for January and February so I would have enough time to concentrate on my projects under development. I am grateful to be in a position to set my own work schedule. While I did have to turn down some professional gigs in order to stay focused on my plans, the future rewards are worth it.

This morning, seeing this array of proposals, submissions, and projects, completed or in process, basking in the sunlight on my drawing table, brings me satisfaction. Proof of the seeds I’m planting in my visual and literary arts world. Plus, a new opportunity just came my way, and because I had blocked out this time, I’m able to jump on it! Stay tuned, lots of fun stuff happening here in Adair’s studio.

Creativity and wellness message for today. Plan ahead and allow time and space for opportunity to knock.

How Much Light Gets In

Photo credit: (c) Adair Heitmann 2023

“You are an aperture through which the universe is looking at and exploring itself.”
– Alan Watts

Creativity and wellness message for today: Harmonize with the beauty around you.

Reflections, Light, and Shadow

Photo credit: (c) Adair Heitmann 2023

Happy New Year to everyone. I’m working on a series of fine art photographs called, “Reflections, Light, and Shadow.” I only use available light, crop the image using the camera on my mobile phone, and shoot. Capturing natural glimpses, fleeting moments in time, brings out the poet in me, distilling things down to their essence.

Then finding this Rumi quote is the icing on the cake:
“Both light and shadow are the dance of love.”
– Rumi

Creativity and wellness message for today: Be delighted by nature’s design.

Community of Storytellers

Marvin Pittman, Sylvester Salcedo, Michelle Trieste, Adair Heitmann, Mitzy Sky. Photo credit: John Swing

I’m sharing a moment of gratitude for my storytelling community near and far. Storytellers have this way of getting to the heart of the matter and for being an inclusive band of renegades and angels. I am fortunate to have stumbled upon the art and act of visual storytelling — writing, creating visuals, and speaking the spoken word in front of live audiences.

As an artist and writer who specializes in personal narratives, visual storytelling is right up my alley. I appreciate my national storytelling exchange group via Zoom and the drafts they sat through, asked questions about, and provided constructive feedback on. The Bridgeport Art Trail Storytelling Exchange is phenomenal! Our local in-person We Rise Storytelling Collective is fun and risky and embracing. Thank you for encouraging me to tell my authentic stories in front of such an appreciative group! Then there is the national Artists Standing Strong Together that connects and weaves and advances the art of storytelling.

Recently, one of my stories “Art Saved My Life: Journey of a Lifetime” was selected for me to present in front of a live audience in a theatre alongside 12 other visual storytellers and the entire experience rocked my world. There is this vibe and connection between the PechaKucha Night Bridgeport storytellers that cut through any phoniness or pretense. The tellers shared their own true stories on the theme: Journeys: How Did We Get Here? Thank you City Lights Gallery and PechaKucha Night Bridgeport.

You can watch and listen to my 2022 PechaKucha presentation here. Please be advised it has adult content about healing and transformation.

Creativity and wellness message for today: Consider creating and sharing stories in the presence of others, it may just change your life!

Through the Lens . . .

Lantern Light & Shadow (c) Adair Heitmann 2022

On 9/23/22 I wrote in my journal . . . “I always see my life through the lens of an artist.” This image is one example of hundreds of what I see when enjoying a moment to myself. Here I am bowled over, in awe of the simple natural beauty around me.

Creativity and wellness message for today: Be in your life, experience it fully, open up with all your senses, and embrace every minute.

A.R.T.: Action, Reflection, Transformation

Here I am speaking at The Unitarian Church of Westport, CT

Watch out for who you run into at your local gardening center! There I was, minding my own business, choosing colorful potted flowers for my front porch, when I saw a friend browsing the outdoor aisles. We got to talking and catching up. She follows me on social media and asked about my recent art exhibitions and writing projects. Gab, gab, share, share, it was a lovely day to be outside and even lovelier to be chatting with her.

We say goodbye and a few weeks later, I’m asked if I would be interested in leading a lay-led summer service at The Unitarian Church in Westport, CT. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm. What might be of value to the folks in the pews? I asked my friend (who was the Worship Associate) and she answered, “Talk about your art.” Hmmmmmmmmmm. Yes, I could talk about that until the cows come home, but is that really of value to the people in the seats?

Then I said, “I could speak about losing fifty years of my original fine art in a silent basement flood right before I was planning a retrospective.” She leaned in. I immediately followed my intuition and promptly said, “I could title my homily, “A.R.T: Action, Reflection, Transformation.” Ding, ding, ding, she thought it a great idea.

While it was a challenge writing my personal narrative homily with a message, I got as much out of it as the congregants. Being asked to speak was validation of me and my worthiness. Having my idea liked made me feel recognized. Hearing, seeing, and feeling the responses from the people in the pews and from them afterwards opened my heart.

Watch a video of my homily below. It starts at 13:26.

ART- Action, Reflection, Transformation from The Unitarian Church in Westport on Vimeo.

Creativity and wellness message for today: Just say yes and let your inner knowing take you to the next step.