P.T. as Meditation

Today, it’s almost been two weeks since my knee surgery. Note to self, “Don’t stress the meniscus of right knee doing a StairMaster exercise routine, then carry laundry up the basement stairs.” Oh well, one complexly torn meniscus and arthroscopic surgery later, I’m onto the next hurdle which is Physical Therapy.

P.T. as I call it, has become a meditation on life. I have to slow down in order to do my knee bending exercises. I can’t rush the heel digs into the bed. I have to keep every repetition pure and simple, in order to strengthen the muscles, and increase flexibility. Like a meditation I have to be fully present with every flex, stretch, and bend.

Pain does occur during P.T. It’s a good pain though. I know it is necessary and actually part of the healing process. It’s like in life, I know that at some point I will hurt, but I can’t constrict my movements in order to coddle it. If I do, I won’t get the full benefit of P.T. or life. Discomfort comes, I just can’t predict when or why, yet sometimes I can control how long it stays. When a burning ache occurs or a wincing, piercing sting jolts me, I say, “Ouch” or I stop or pull back, and I lessen the stretch, bend, or push.

Creativity and wellness message for today: Sometimes lessening is part of life’s lesson.

Art Show Gifts

Recently I entered two paintings in a local art show. Mind you, I hadn’t submitted work to an exhibit in two years. Life just got in the way. Concentrating on choosing the right framed watercolors from my studio (a clean corner of the basement), I felt my excitement mounting at the thought of showing my work again. I used to eat, sleep, and breathe art before I got a real life. Yet, every time I step back in the stream of art my pulse quickens. I’m in my element again.

The art opening was glorious, and I was thrilled when one of my watercolors sold. Validation! Joy! Connection! All those feelings mixed together into a cocktail of delight. I was still on a creative high, when one month after the show ended a second watercolor sold. Sometimes it’s the smallest thing that turns into the greatest gift. The first gift of connection between artist and collector was wonderful then to have a second one follow was the tastiest icing on the cake.

Creativity and wellness message for today: Accept the gifts of recognition in honor of your creative expression, let them fill your heart.

Poetry in Motion

It doesn’t have to be

the blue iris, it could be

weeds in a vacant lot, or a few

small stones; just

pay attention, then patch

a few words together and don’t try

to make them elaborate, this isn’t

a contest but the doorway

into thanks, and a silence in which

another voice may speak.

~ Mary Oliver

Creativity and wellness message for today: Be open to silence.

Opposing Forces

“The self — that artificial construct that separates us from others — cannot sustain itself in the prolonged absence of conflict or strife. It needs other people and situations with which it can be in opposition, because to be in opposition to something strengthens our sense of self.” Eckhart Tolle

Creativity and wellness message for today: Use adversarial energies to exercise the muscles of balance.

Dance as if No One is Watching

Many Easters ago, my Springtime ritual was to arrive at a secluded beach alone, before sunrise, and dance my heart out. The corners of my lips still curl up as I remember those times of freedom and abandon. Now, being older, sometimes wiser, and definitely with less available time to myself, I gain inspiration from the anonymous quote, “Dance as if No One is Watching.”

Even if I am in a crowd of people, or busy with a very public job, I can imagine my bare toes in the wet sand, my fluid body twisting and swaying as the scents of sea and salt fill my pores.

Creativity and wellness message for today: Dance on, no matter what.

The Between Place

It’s that time of year, when I see winter’s harsh reality on bare branches one day and dogwood blossoms plumping out the next. Lime green leaves poke at odd angles from dry, yellow spindly stalks of hydrangea.

I’m reminded of human nature too. Until today I forgot the beauty of the between place, that point when the old still exits, the new not yet formed. So often we focus on completion, now nature reminds me to be steady with the process.

Creativity and wellness message for today: Claim patience, let yourself grow and evolve at a natural rate.

Winter Solstice

Today is the Winter Solstice, the first day of winter, a day of the shortest day and longest night. Then, like a miracle the sun brings back the light. This is a season of stories, rituals and celebrations, with many cultures showing a recognition of rebirth.

On my early morning beach walk I accidentally twisted my ankle, seriously enough to make me stop and slightly enough to be able to walk home on it. It will be fine, just tender but the experience reminds me to slow down. It’s hard for creative types like us to do that. Our minds run a mile a minute, it’s in our blood. I’m reminded of a line I recently read:

It is a fire that consumes me, but I am the fire. -Jorge Luis Borges

Tolerance and temperance come to mind, I have to be who I am with my sparks of inspiration flying, but I have to also carry them within my very human body.

Creativity and wellness message for today: Embody your own flame, but don’t let it burn you out.

I think I just wrote my New Year’s resolution . . . until then, be well.