Be Open

opportunity_plantGratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.
– William Arthur Ward

Creativity and wellness message for today: Be open to them all – gratitude, joy, opportunities, blessings.

Why Do You Read Books?

BooksSneaking in another chapter of the book I’m reading before going to work is one of my guilty pleasures. I’ll sacrifice non-essential personal or family obligations to get in one more page. Be it fiction or non-fiction, my current book shares an intimate relationship with me, I forego others for it. I read to escape and to learn. Why do you read?

“I read in hope of discovering the truth, or at least some truths. I look for truth in what some might deem strange places: novels and poems, histories and memoirs, biographies and autobiographies, letters and diaries. In reading for truth, you understand, I am not seeking a full game plan, some large system that will explain the world to me or a patent for bliss. Instead, I seek clues that might explain life’s oddities, that might light up the dark corners of existence a little, that might correct foolish ideas I have come to hold too dearly, that, finally might make my own stay here on earth more interesting, if not necessarily more pleasant.”
– Joseph Epstein

Creativity and wellness message for today: Read a book for stress reduction, knowledge, and free entertainment!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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Photograph credit: Laura Musikanski

“Leprechauns, castles, good luck, and laughter. Lullabies, dreams, and love ever after. Poems and songs with pipes and drums. A thousand welcomes when anyone comes . . . That’s the Irish for you!”
-Anonymous

Creativity and wellness message for today: On St. Patrick’s Day, everyone’s Irish, enjoy!

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

Caitlin_Geary

Photograph credit: Caitlin Geary

During what was called the “Blizzard of 2016” I texted my niece in NYC, checking in on her. She was safe, warm, and sent me a photograph she just took. The image blew my socks off! It was artistic and perfectly composed. The lighting was spectacular and the mood both mysterious and intriguing. It could have been taken in Paris or London, it had an international and cosmopolitan feel to it. As you can tell, I loved the image.

Fast forward to a few days later, while working with my physical therapist, we were gabbing about the recent storm. He was talking about how New York City got more snow than Connecticut. I pulled out my mobile phone, proudly showing him my niece’s creative photograph. Does he exclaim about the beauty of the lighting? Do I hear a gasp as he inhales in wonder and amazement at the textures and colors? No. He says, “Oh that’s a ____________ bicycle. Everyone knows their wheels are 26 inches.” Linear proof that, yes indeed, NYC had more snow than we did.

Beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder!

Creativity and wellness message for today: Enjoy your own perception of things.

Joyeux Noel

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Adair Heitmann 2015

When I was a kid, growing up in the Presbyterian Church, we’d sing Silent Night on Christmas Eve by candlelight. The overhead lights would dim in the huge, fish-shaped sanctuary, with cathedral-height ceilings. The congregation hushed, candles were lit one from another, then the magic began. We sang all three verses of the ancient carol, Silent Night, slowly raising our candles in unison, then reverently lowering them.

As a youngster the feeling of majesty and awe, and even a connection to a deeper and broader, unexplainable mystery filled me year after year. This connection to my own sense of spirituality stayed with me as I grew into an adult. I’ve explored Buddhism, Paganism, Wiccan and other earth-based religions, Shamanism, Native American teachings, and Transcendental Meditation. Now a Unitarian Universalist, I’ve found a home in which I can have all my personal, eclectic beliefs, and still be part of a community.

Christmas time comes and how the heck do I celebrate? I still believe in a presence of Love and Grace that is bigger than I am, because I’ve felt it’s comfort over the years. I still believe in Santa Claus, don’t you? Santa certainly brings joy to the season. I love the pagan-based live fir tree in our living room, adorned with colorful lights, and handmade ornaments, chronicling our interests, friends and blended family traditions.

Every year I wait to be presented with a Silent Night experience. I don’t go looking for it, it always come to me, when I least expect it. Last Saturday night it’s kind elegance entered our family room. Having a teenage son who loves history, he chose the movie, Joyeux Noel, to watch with us while we enjoyed carry-in sushi for dinner. The movie is set in December 1914. Based on true stories, it dramatically portrays an unofficial Christmas truce on the Western Front that allowed soldiers from opposing sides of the First World War to gain insight into each other’s way of life.

When our son was young, we read a book together about this amazing historical event. Tears dripped down my face as we read about the soldiers, French, German, and Scottish, all singing Silent Night together. Fast-forward to this past weekend, watching, Joyeux Noel. When the acclaimed tenor turned soldier starts to sing Silent Night, alone, unarmed on high ground between the trenches, the hair on my arms stood up. My heart opened, my soul smiled, and I wept tears of mercy and kindness and hope. Tears of charity and clarity. I was given a blessing in my own home.

This holiday season, no matter what you do or don’t believe in, I wish you moments of peace, decency, and dignity.

Creativity and wellness message for today: Be open to grace surrounding you when you least expect it.

What is the #1 Characteristic of Creative People?

flexibility2The hallmark of creative people is their mental flexibility . . . Sometimes they are open and probing, at others they’re playful and off-the-wall. At still other times, they’re critical and fault-finding. And finally they’re doggedly persistent in striving to reach their goals.
-Roger von Oech

 

Creativity and wellness message for today: Honor all of your eight parts.

From Wikipedia: Roger von Oech (born Feb. 16, 1948) is an American speaker, conference organizer, author, and toy-maker whose focus has been on the study of creativity. In 1975, von Oech earned his Ph.D. from Stanford University in the self-created interdisciplinary program “History of Ideas.” Shortly afterwards, he began providing services in creativity consulting, working with companies such as Apple, IBM, Disney, Sony, and Intel.

In the 1980s, he created and produced the “Innovation in Industry” conference series in Palo Alto, which included Silicon Valley entrepreneurs such as Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Bob Metcalfe, Charles Schwab, Alan Kay, and Nolan Bushnell of Atari.

Finally, Someone Who Understands! Thank you Misha

Mikhail-BaryshnikovNo longer will I feel guilty when I don’t want to talk with someone while I’m creating art in a community artists’ studio.

No longer will I feel ashamed that I don’t know Suzy Q, Barbi X., or John Z. when asked, “Why don’t you know them, they go there all the time?”

No longer will I apologize for getting snippy to my family when they interrupt me while I’m trying to choose which monoprint to submit to an exhibit, while reviewing art prints at our kitchen table.

Now I can proudly proclaim, “Don’t you know art is a very slow and fragile process? Dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov told me so!”

While exercising this morning I heard on NPR about Baryshnikov’s Art Center in NYC, marking its 10th anniversary. Hearing Baryshnikov simply state the obvious changed my day, my week, and my world. He says that art is a fragile process and artists need privacy and space to create. I know that! Thinking back to when I had a separate studio space I remember those as the glory artist days. But I wanted more in life and co-created a multi-faceted, multi-use home and life. Yes, I adore our teenage son, but can’t a girl dream about “space, and light, and privacy?” That is just what Baryshnikov created for artists in New York City, an environment in which artists of all kinds can go and create to their heart’s content. Well done Misha!

Creativity and wellness message for today: Even if your kitchen table is filled with college tour brochures, applications, and forms, keep your vision of space, light, and privacy on the horizon.