Arms Outstretched in the Darkness

October 1, 2017

I love the new blinds in my home, but especially the ones in my bedroom that make it pitch black at night and very, very dark in the daytime. In Forward Day by Day this morning, I read the passage from Matthew 6:24: “If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” The “holy darkness,” as a number of writers and lyricists describe it, is something I truly treasure.

But I have to admit that with these new blinds in place, the darkness in my room in the middle of the night does cause me to stumble sometimes, as I walk from by bed to my en suite loo, with arms held out like Universal’s Frankenstein monster!

I realize that I look out for the tiny lights that give me a better navigation of my surroundings – from the crack in the door, the phone cradle, sometimes the light emitted by the iPhone charger… Every little light helps.


Vibrancy & Grace

July 9, 2016

Saturday, 9 July 2016

It’s that long-awaited Saturday morning.  Sitting here at my local Starbucks, which has a relatively moderate (not cramped) footprint in the Whole Foods shopping centre, and following yesterday’s oral surgery to drill into my bone and insert a dental implant, through my aching and slightly swollen lower jaw, I notice the vibrancy of life in all the young and old here.

This is our definition of “a local,” like a pub in a busy market village in England, perhaps.  Some of the baristas (usually those who work weekday mornings, though) actually know my usual order – a venti soy green tea latte, no foam, with nutmeg sprinkled on top.  (In the summer, when I’ve drunk about half of it due to concentration on catching up with the day’s fire drill at work, I add a scoop of ice to it and create another drink altogether.)

The vibrant ones today walk, drive over here to meet friends, talk to new acquaintances (usually a business meeting, like the ones my financial advisor friend schedules here from time to time), grab an expensive coffee drink and pastry and crack open a book.

This defies what’s happened across our country this past week and a frustratingly large number of incidents in the past several years (not just in the US, but across the globe, really), with shootings, angry outbursts erupting in violence and looting, like-for-like revenge-taking, and acting out of cultural and race biases.  Goes and goes.  How to stem that tide?  But this one-in-several-thousand Starbucks – our “local” – provides a haven for those who “get it” – the grace of human gathering and reaching across the counter, the table, the comfy couch.

Although I have the knowledge of awful things that have happened and probably still will come to pass, I know that, chances are, no one is going to get hot under the collar and start an unthinkable incident here.  It’s summer hot outside.  But in here, the physical temperature is not just neutral or fine – it’s perfect:  air conditioning tempered by the heat of the espresso and coffee machines, and by human speech, breathing, shuffling, leg bobbing to the beat of the pop music over the speakers.

And there’s good unseen energy, too.  The activity slows now and again, intensifies when it seems everyone wants to come in and mingle at once.  But something like grace and intention keeps anger from growing.  Oh, and the promise of a delicious libation that we’re blessed to be able to afford in the normal course of a day, or as a special treat saved only for a Saturday morning.  On the way to somewhere.  Or not, with hours ahead filled with nothing to do but take a gentle breather and watch the vibrant presence calmly swirling around.


The Reset Button

May 20, 2016

“All God’s children have their troubles,” or words to that effect, spoken by Anna Bates on “Downton Abbey” one episode or another.  That little sentence struck a chord with me when she first uttered it.  And I go back to it every now and then.

Wondering when the “other shoe would drop,” there it went, blop!, out of the blue yesterday.  But things seem more hopeful this morning, somehow, following some short meditation and a heart-to-heart with G-d at various points throughout the night and the wee hours of this morning.  With so many interruptions to my sleep, I should feel really energy-less today, but I’m rather the opposite.

I think it was the reset button:  the realization that even this unforeseen, troubling broad-side smack to my expectations is temporary, not an indication of future success, not life-threatening, and thus a reminder that yes, we are all in relatively good health and have much to look forward to.  The icky issue itself has the potential to resolve itself through some further effort on our part.

And as I’m fond of saying in circumstances such as this, “In five years, are we going to care or ever remember this supposed setback?……….  Probably not.”


Thought on the Eve

January 1, 2011

One whole year’s gone by, around the sun, one trip.

Lives won and lost, begun and ended.  Once vibrant, now fragile.  Once weak, now strong.

Still…  things to do, places to cherish, both inside and out.

Bitter cold and snow.  Grounded, but for a song heard from a distance, made conveniently available in my family room, along with the fireplace, clean studio and wheels in the garage.  A trip to a favourite coffee shop to mingle with humanity – who ever’s out in this chill – and to switch the mind over.  Then back to the studio for a few hours of creative bliss, for which I lit one of my many candles and made a wish last night.

Cheers to far and near upon the new year 2011!


Moving Right Along…

December 31, 2010

Having made my sketchbook just the other day (with a print of one of my brilliant artist brother’s drawings pasted onto the cover for inspiration), I’m gearing myself up mentally and emotionally for The Sketchbook Challenge.

My dear friend, Jill, talked me into it…  She’s a gem, and I thank her for encouraging me to give it a go.  We’ll see what manifests from certain of my chakras and true self to unfold on the page.

I just read on The Sketchbook Challenge website that it’s time now to take out all those art materials that have languished in forgotten corners of forgotten drawers of the studio, some never opened, or only just that, since I bought them.  I think that tomorrow, among other pleasant pursuits, I shall explore my studio with my daughter in tow and see what we can disinter.

Happy New Year to the universe!



Week Unexpected

April 23, 2010

This week…  Geez.  It started out fairly normal.  But then…

Tuesday, I drove into work, attached my laptop to the docking station, switched it on, and just as I rose from my chair to put my jacket on to run across the street to buy a premium coffee drink, the phone rang.  (My office phone hardly ever rings – I’m a loner.)  It was the child care provider saying my daughter had just tossed her cookies.  (Another event that rarely happens.)  So…  I kept my jacket on, switched off my laptop, unlatched it from the docking station, plopped everything into my rolling computer bag and rolled back to my parking spot, many blocks from the office building.  Drove home.  (My daughter gradually got her pink back, and was fine by that evening, thankfully.)

Later that same morning, a team member announced she got a position in another business unit, the traitor.  (Just kidding.)  And eventually the decision came down for me to take on a good portion of what she was doing, which I willingly and enthusiastically (yes, really) accept.  Believe me, there’s a LOT to learn!  She had a cup that ranneth over.

Wednesday dawned, and I saw an email string from colleagues telling me that a former colleague of ours, who’d since moved to a different company, had died suddenly of a heart attack (this man was younger than I, I’m pretty sure).  Complete, utter shock.  I’m still in shock over this one.  His funeral is tomorrow morning…

That afternoon, I got a booster shot…  More on this the next day…

Thursday, I awoke at o’dark-thirty to news that my company had entered into a merger agreement with another company.  It’s like hearing your mother has suddenly met someone and is planning the wedding for early next year already!  Still too early to know how it’ll affect my job, my situation.  I view it as an opportunity for renewal and transition and positive things, even though, at this stage, the view down the road is pretty foggy with uncertainty.

I kept a relatively upbeat attitude all the drive into work that morning, with my arm (the one that received the booster shot) hurting like the dickens.  I could hardly lift it.  The pain had awakened me quite often the night before.  Turns out, it was most likely related to the shot, rather than my weight-lifting efforts.  Eventually, by evening, it was just achy, and I could lift my arm up to change from work clothes into my jammies.

And today…  Drove into the office amidst rain and snow, mixed.  Goofy Rocky Mountain Spring weather!  By noon, the school had sent an email saying it was closing early due to the snow conditions and all parents needed to rush to pick up their children.  Another instance in the same darn week of getting into the office and having to turn around to return home.

It’s been a week of unexpected things.  And I won’t be daunted.  Some of it (with the exception of my child being ill) made me chuckle, to be honest.

I’m not a stoic, however.  Initially, I broke out in a little sweat when reading the news about my company’s merger plans on Thursday morning, but I settled myself down quickly and pulled myself out of the danger of falling into a worrisome miasma.  That’s a big step for me – something I’ve consciously been trying to master over the past few years…

I truly love life, expecting more uncertainties, changes, unusual occurrences, chuckles, pure joys and infinite moments of mindfulness.


LetterZest Beginnings – incipit vita nova

April 18, 2010

The title “LetterZest” grew out of a request by a friend of mine to teach her calligraphy.  She says she hasn’t a creative bone in her body…  I think that’ll prove to be false.  But her desire to learn sparked a desire to share.

So LetterZest became an event on Facebook, the first gathering of four of us yesterday afternoon at my home, in my studio.  None of them actually got to do any calligraphy, as it turned out.  But I did do some demos, spoke at length about tips and techniques, how to properly hold the pen, ink, paper, and the like.  We took a look at their own personal writing instruments, and I provided some very rudimentary guidelines on how to use those properly.  I made each of them a folded portfolio from assorted color MiTiente paper with writing paper samples for them to use between now and when we reconvene.  And I treated them to a viewing of the BBC documentary about the St. John’s Bible, featuring Donald Jackson, author of The Story of Writing and master calligrapher. Check out http://www.saintjohnsbible.org/.

By then, the end of our allotted time came round, and they had to leave, sadly.  But we vowed to get back together in a couple of weeks to resume our little beginners study group, which I’m delighted to host.

And then I thought about how much I’d learned just this past week when I was invited to teach calligraphy (in a rather quick, shot-gun manner – 90 minutes per class is just too little time) to some middle and high school creative writing students at the Denver School of the Arts.  There were the few students who looked at me with lightning in their eyes as I spoke of the most practical things related to the art, and then dove into some of my passion about it.  That must be, from a teacher’s perspective, what makes it ALL worth it…

And overall, what an amazing group of young folks they are.  In sharing some of their poetry with me, they taught me again and again the mastery and catharsis and joy in chewy-word expression.  I hope I taught them the delight in presenting words beyond the typeface…

Since Holy Week, my emotions have been rough on me.  Reconnecting with a long-lost friend/love a few months ago, coupled with my periodic listening to certain evocative music, brought me to tears often.  And I don’t cry that much, maybe because I’m relatively happy, content, serene in my life right now.  But these were melancholy memories and thoughts of what-if-I’d-had-more-backbone-back-then’s.  Not ruminating or bemoaning the past.  Just yearning, I suppose.

Well, time to go make some books.  I’m low on blank journals.

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