Saturday, February 13, 2010

*8 Things I've Learned in the Last Little Bit

You know me, I'm always a week behind. For last week's *8 Things post, we were asked to share *8 Things I've Learned in the Last Little Bit. I pondered this for quite some time, even started writing my list over a week ago. So here it is (a little bit wordier than usual).

1) Lattes provide a burst of energy that lasts only temporarily. I gave up my latte habit on November 18th of last year and since giving them up, I’ve found I have MORE energy than when I was supporting my two-latte-a-day habit.

2) We’re never too old to make new friends. I continue to be amazed by the friends I make this late in life! I’ve met them through classes I teach, classes I take, through my blog (see #3), and most recently through my association with the Portland Art Collective.

3) I am grateful for the many friends I have made through my art and through the Internet (often a mixture of the two!). I recently received a message from a Portland artist who bought a piece of my art from the 100th Monkey Studio in Portland. We’ve never met in person, but have begun an occasional correspondence via e-mail. Here is an excerpt from her message:

Thank you for the encouragement Dayna. I look forward to getting to know you better. I sense you are an art soul mate and as an old teacher once told me I will find my art family. You are so inspiring. I especially like the discipline you have of following daily art commitments for yourself and other artists you collaborate with. It takes a lot to follow such discipline and process without being attached to the outcome as a "piece of high art" whatever that means. The process is what is important and makes your work seem so authentic and true to yourself and your vision. . . . You also find the best shops!!! I went to All My Favorite Things because I saw it on your blog and met the wonderful owners when my daughter was visiting. We both came home with some treasures and I can't wait to visit it again. Like a candyland for the creative spirit! Thanks for sharing your inspirations. I hope we meet some day in the not so distant future. Happy creating.

4) Life involves making touch choices. As an example, I was recently invited to participate in founding or joining a new organization, Artisans for Haiti. It also offered the opportunity to make a trip to Haiti in the spring. I declined. I was flattered, conflicted, honored, and torn, but in the end, it just wasn’t calling my name.

5) I am at my most creative when I’m twirling in my studio. I like the energy and synergy when I am working on 3-4 projects simultaneously. I flip back and forth between the various projects, allowing time for paint or glue to dry, auditioning bits and images that might not work on one piece, but would be perfect for another.

6) Generosity of spirit. I receive meditations from the Daily OM and last June I received a message entitled Generosity of Spirit. It really stuck something inside of me, even made me evaluate some old relationships that weren’t working very well. Because the words of this meditation struck such a chord, I’m going to share the first paragraph of the message.

Generosity of Spirit
Being Happy for Others

We all want to be the kind of people who are happy for others when they experience success or a cause for celebration in their lives, but it isn’t always easy. Sometimes powerful, dark feelings come up at times when decorum dictates that we should be feeling the opposite. Instead of reaching out and celebrating for our loved one, we may feel the rising up of our own pain. This pain may arise because we feel jealous of our friend for having something we don’t have. It may arise because our friend’s success will lead to us losing them in some way. And it may arise for reasons we don’t yet understand. The important thing is not to brush it under the rug, but to take it seriously and look at it; suppressing it will only make it worse. At the same time, we need to be sure to find a way to congratulate our friends and celebrate their successes as if they were our own. . . .

I realized how many friends I have who practice Generosity of Spirit (and those that don’t) and it has helped me try and be the kind of friend who demonstrates and practices it (and it isn't always easy, but I know how good it makes me feel).

7) I never stop being a parent, no matter how old my kids are (mine are 26, 30, and 32!). When they’re in pain, physical or emotional, they often need to talk to their Mom. They even like hanging out with me! I’m grateful for the relationship I have with all three of my children.

8) When I’m doing yoga, my mind often wanders to my art. It seems like when I quiet my mind, I see visual images. I probably should be emptying my mind completely, but I kinda like the artistic ideas that gently float in and out. It is a reminder that I need to slow things down ever so slightly. Maybe next week.

PS This week's assignment is *8 Things to Minimize. Here's that list:

1) Blog posts (ha!)
2) Sugar
3) Violent TV shows
4) Socks I no longer wear
5) Time on Facebook
6) Organizing my studio
7) Reading the newspaper
8) Errands


Anonymous said...

Generosity of Spirit is something I have been thinking about and yes practicing it does make me feel better. My weekly yoga has been a saving grace....great post! But I will respectively disagree about minimizing blog posts, The fun upbeat sharing is a good thing. lol

Paula McNamee said...

Lots of wisdom here, Dayna. Thanks for sharing.