Monday, April 30, 2012

from the pages: Creativity

IMG_2982{My favorite spot in our room.}

“Who are we then?  We are makers and fabricators, we are free, we are active, we are interesting, we are interested and curious, we are part of a vast creative universe, we are energetic and alive, we are creators and co-creators.”


“A second lesson I conclude is the realization of how basic our creativity is to our survival.  Creativity and imagination are not frosting on the cake.  They are integral to our sustainability.  They are survival mechanisms.  They are the essence of who we are.  They constitute our deepest empowerment.”

- Creativity, Matthew Fox


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

captive audience

From my bedroom, I admire a tree down the street, majestic and grand he watches guard over the residents, wearing a newly polished uniform of vibrant green.  Ever so constant as we come and go, hour after hour,  always watching. The cars pulling boats, the walkers with dogs, the running blurs that whiz past. I want to tell him all my secrets, but I think he knows.

In the backyard, like an ornery grandpa with a sparkle in his eye rests another giant, his strong branches are tired, but still fighting.  I’m sure he has the greatest stories.

From my kitchen window, I see two clusters, younger and smaller, but absolutely charming, donned in the brightest greens of spring.  The squirrels try to steal the fruits and nuts from the bird feeder.  In one month,  I’ve become the old lady who tries to shoo away the pesky things, but secretly I admire how their approaches get more creative each day. There’s Claude, short for Claudius, a vibrant red cardinal.  He’s extremely stylish, an impressionist artist and devout Catholic.  He has a lady friend who comes around, but she’s playing hard to get and  so his song is a bit melodramatic.  Jude, the large red-winged black bird comes by often, with a bold and passionate song. He perches on the thickest branch and tells his tales to all, demanding to be heard, he’s a poet and nobody understands him.  The distinct red and yellow stripes on his wing are on fire in contrast to his deep darkness. He’s proud, so his favorite song is by the Beatles. Blackbird singing the dead of night, take these broken wings and learn to fly.  A pair of American Goldfinches, yellow,  wild-eyed, and busy rush in for a quick bite, once they stayed long enough to introduce themselves as Goldie.  How original I thought.  But most often, dashing little fellows in black tie attire, bend and bow and eat.  Black capped chickadees or chickees, as dubbed by the three year old of the home.  There is another pair wearing red and brown, but I haven’t met them and I don’t know what they are. 

The robins are snobs and never stop by. They prefer the ground and rain and freshly cut grass.

From my new windows, I am a captive audience of this show. Day after day I never tired of the peace it brings or how it sends my imagination into a fantastic frenzy. 

Before we moved, from inside the apartment walls, I dreamed of six feet of green grass for my family to play and live and breathe.  And the other day, in the middle of the afternoon, on a blanket of plaid with journal and pen, I’m pretty sure I heard a voice from heaven, Hey, look how huge your yard is, pretty cool, huh?

With a steaming mug of black, strong coffee in my hand, at the windows or from a blanket, I drink and whisper,

thank you for this huge gift.

Just Write.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

art that comforts

I am your anchor in the wind & the rain.  I am your steadfast, don’t be afraid.

-Come to Me on  Loft Sessions

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

on creating a life to be lived, not merely survived

Feeling settled into our new surroundings and giving into the creative flow that will not be ignored.   For everything there is a season and happily ideas are spilling onto blank pages and unsuspecting pieces of furniture.

Yesterday I woke up in my favorite state of mind.  I began a new project, ordered some fabric, baked cookies, did yoga, and sketched.  When I gave in to the first, all the rest came freely.  My children were so pleasant and nice or maybe that was me and my rose colored classes of creativity.  Anyways, I’m convinced that when we do the things we love, it pours out into everything around us, our homes, families, attitudes, and energy. Try doing a bunch of wonderful things and then notice how washing the dishes doesn’t seem so unpleasant.

I’ve been reading Nurture by Nature, a parenting book that I finally can handle, because I’m a personality junkie and even though I hate the idea of being put in a box, I love understanding how we are all created so intentionally.  I especially love when the knowledge sinks in and you transform your life and all its systems to be in sync with who you are.  Living life so it makes sense, optimal living, not just living a life they say you should and as you struggle along wondering why it’s not working.

"Parents who understand this quality of INFJs can help protect them from a demanding and high-speed world. By creating private times and places, parents communicate a respect and understanding of their child and help foster a close relationship that lasts a lifetime."
"INFJs also need privacy to make the many intuitive connections they do and to develop their creative ideas and visions. For them, the creative process is essentially a solitary one."

-Nurture by Nature

This is what we have been doing, without even realizing it.  Because having a million things to do and dozens of places to be doesn’t work for me and it sucks the life out of me.  Interestingly enough, my son shares this personality with his parents and he thrives when he has time and space and quiet too.  Go ahead and fill his day with endless activities and you’ll see a frustrated, exhausted three-year old,  a less than dreamy version of himself.  The same sentence would describe me.

I’m on a mission to create a home full of cozy and comfort, a peaceful environment where we can thrive and learn and enjoy this beautiful, meaningful life.  That means continuously discovering how the four of us function best.  I know every family is different, but I’m convinced we don’t need to succumb to the struggle of just surviving, because there’s more, so much more.  And yes, even a beautiful, meaningful life is full of exhaustion, challenges, and trials, but they don’t get the final word.  And if our lives are indeed our most creative act (to quote Erwin McManus), then I believe we can take whatever we have and turn it into something remarkable.

Friday, April 6, 2012

The climber

She weaves in and out of the blue bike rack at the park, lifting her chubby leg over the low dip and slipping through the high loop.  Over and over until one time the metal caught her foot and she performed a bit of a slow-motion twist fall meets pavement.  I pick her and and dust her off, she welcomes my comfort. Yet, her cries protest until I place her two feet on the ground.  Instantly with  a smile and a squeal of delight, she sets back to her work of weaving.

She never wanted me to whisk her away to strapped in safety in some part of the playground better suited for babies.  My girl, Harper, the brave, the fierce, the wild hearted.  She wanted a chance to face her challenger again.

This girl, fourteen months old and only taking eight steps in a row, but she has mastered the routine of mounting the vintage suitcase to chair to end table to couch without help or permission. She didn’t even ask.  She never checked with the endless associations of doctors and professionals and know-it-all's to see if it was appropriate behavior for a baby. 

She’s a climber.

Sometimes this nagging choir enters my thoughts, instructing me on the dangers of such behavior and how I should immediately banish her to the ground in the name of safety. But, I can’t. 

Because, I just can’t imagine beginning my child’s life with a stifling vocabulary full of… it’s too high and it’s too hard and it’s not safe and you shouldn’t try and you need to stay on the floor with all the other people.

I can’t.

One day, she’ll face a mountain, made of earth or trouble and what happens then?  Enough voices of opposition will clamor for her attention, demanding surrender and retreat.  And when she feels so small before her challenger, I hope there is at least one voice woven throughout her entire life that will stand with her, whispering it’s not too high, it’s not too hard, you can do it, baby girl.

After the bike rack weaving, she crawls to the base of the largest slide on the empty playground.  She lifts her small, brave one-year-old body onto the edge and comes to stand.  She places her hands on each side and with the fire in her, she takes a step and another and another.  As if people have been using slides the wrong way for all of eternity. She stumbles a bit, but my arms are always present. Her wild eyes, forever in my heart, turn to meet my gaze and then back towards the prize. I let her try a few more steps, we’re still so close to the bottom, but she’s so alive and beaming.

She screams the whole three minute walk home, probably wanting me to know how she could have gone higher, if I would have let her.

I take deep breaths and sigh as my future plays out in my head, but mostly I’m thinking, I know and you will, baby girl, you sure will.