Monday, September 30, 2013

The Pear Tree Speaks Of Abundance





Happy Autumn!  I hope Fall has begun to unfold in many splendid ways for each of you.  This season is a potpourri for the senses… gorgeous colors, inviting flavors and scents, cozy warmth.  I always welcome this time of year to reflect on transition, abundance and gratitude.







 

Ahhh, abundance!  The more I focus on living a more mindful, simple life - streamlining my schedule (an ongoing challenge!), calming and centering my thoughts, learning to live more fully with less expectations and material needs, connecting with the flow of nature and creativity – the more I am pleasantly surprised and rewarded with glorious abundance!

 

Yesterday, my husband helped to harvest pears I couldn’t easily reach on our tree, and he filled a large basket with what I would estimate to be 100 pears or more!  We had already picked two thirds as many in recent weeks, and there are even more to harvest. Only in recent years has our pear tree been so prolific.  A couple of years ago I had nicknamed both our apple and pear trees “The Little Trees That Could” because in the 13 years we’ve lived here, they have struggled, gradually strengthened and finally blossomed into fruitful trees despite their small (at times, spindly) statures.

 

Our humble little pear tree, laden with its deliciously plump fruit, has been speaking to me of determination and abundance.  In celebrating abundance, we find happiness, contentment and the confidence and determination that we can tend to other areas of our lives in need of nurturing.  Gratitude for the abundance in our lives stirs up positive energy to fuel the soul. 
 
 
 
 
Not only has this tree gifted us with its shapely, tasty fruit (and its metaphors!), it’s inspired me in my creative work as well.  Abundance, indeed! 
 

Our pear tree inspired one of my favorite Plumeria Papercraft designs
 

Although our weather has been a blend of warm summery sunshine in the afternoon and fall crispness in the mornings and evenings, Autumn's and her lovely riches have definitely arrived!  How are you delighting in Autumn's abundance?      

 

 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Color Of Courage


 

Another prompt on our list at this month’s healing art retreat was to illustrate a time when I felt brave.  I chose to cover an entire sheet of watercolor paper with a soft pastel in sunshine yellow (the surprise of gravitating toward a soft pastel again!), then assembled a simple collage of tiny pots filled with bright colors, a butterfly (transformation), leaves, a blossom and a petal (the same as petals in my previous piece.)  This collage, “The Color of Courage,” represents the elusive courage I finally found to pursue my creative passion as my profession.  The pots of colors remind me of an artist’s palette, while the leaves and petal symbolize personal growth.
 



A common thread connecting all of the pieces I created at this month’s retreat is the word “shine” which was the first word to pop into my head during our morning visualization/meditation.  The significance of this word was very evident in the collage shared in my last post.  As for this piece with its yellow background, yellow butterfly and sunny blossom, I've been thinking about how summoning up the courage to prioritize our dreams and our hearts' desires enables our spirits to shine with positive energy!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Shining Brighter


"Shining Brighter" 
Mixed media collage, September 2013

 
As much progress as I believe I am making in healing emotional wounds from my cancer experience, there are still spots within me where rawness lingers, moments when tears suddenly well up, sometimes for reasons I can’t quite grasp.  When I sense the need for self-compassion and care, I’m thankful for opportunities to access the restorative qualities of healing art and for the “rock” that grounds me, CHOMP’s monthly healing art retreats.  Our most recent retreat was last Friday, and as is characteristic of every retreat day, I felt comforted, calmed and centered in being there and connecting with our group.  “Broken record” that I may be about healing art, I continue to share my personal work, hopeful that it may resonate and inspire others to tap into the helpful, healing qualities of artistic expression for support on their own journeys through life.

Our main directive last Friday was to create several pieces illustrating a list of different prompts.  The first prompt I was motivated to illustrate was a change in my life. The ideas spilled out from my mind and on to my collage and as they did, the following thoughts and words began to take shape…

 

Leaps of faith are leading to wonderful transformation.

 
By following my heart and nurturing my passion,

 
I can heal, grow and “bloom.”

 
Glimmers of positivity and possibility are appearing and life is shining brighter.

 

 
 
 
This collage is reminding me to stay the course, keep centered and focus on all the positive change and opportunity in my life, all that is now shining more brightly. 

May your life shine brightly!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Finding Treasures And Bliss On The Beach


 

As I visit the beach more frequently, I notice not only the ebb and flow of the tide, but also, the ebb and flow of what washes ashore from the ocean.  One day, dainty purple dwarf olive shells are plentiful, then a couple days later, mussels with their iridescent interiors or Bodega tellins with their pretty splashes of apricot (reminding me of angels’ wings) make their appearance in multiple numbers.  Some days, an abundance of frosty sea glass and porcelain shards, their edges softened by the surf, are scattered across the sand.  Other days, sand dollars, some so tiny you barely notice them, dot the shoreline. 
 
 

 
 
On Monday, our daughter and I enjoyed a brief walk along the beach between the bus stop and home, a little respite before homework, dinner and our typical weekday evening routine.  There wasn’t a single trinket to be found.  Instead, the beach was festooned with assorted seaweeds.  It looked as though a giant sea salad had been tossed ashore along with twiggy clusters, looking like the ocean's version of tumbleweeds.  My "treasure" of the day that afternoon?  Spotting a couple dolphins in the bay!
 
 


On Thursday, I met a best friend to walk along this same stretch of beach...the landscape had changed.  Seaweeds were still abundant along the shoreline and in the surf as well, creating deep spinach green waves, but sprinkled into the mix was an interesting assortment of shells, sea glass and sand dollars along with an occasional curio including a shark egg case (what we believe to be so) and an unusual skull (bird or mammal, we weren’t sure?)
 
 

This ebb and flow, an appreciation for a fascinating, ever changing landscape, the anticipation and surprise of discoveries awaiting…being in tune with the fluctuating rhythms of the shore surfaces from visiting the beach often enough to become aware of them.  I'm committed to enjoying a beach walk on a regular weekly basis, placing this as a top self-care priority equal in importance to responsibilities on my to do list.  I no longer consider this a frivolous activity, but rather a necessary activity for my well-being.  I may not always find the typical treasures of shells, sea glass or driftwood, but what I find every time my feet touch the sand are bliss, peace and centeredness.  What better "treasures?!"  The beach is where my soul is happiest and my heart is most content, and a happy soul and content heart are healthy contributions to mind and body.
 
 
Where do you find your bliss?  May you spend time in places that bring happiness to your soul and contentment to your heart!   


 
 
 


 

 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Finding Daily Beauty



Our family enjoyed a beautiful evening sky earlier this week

It’s easy to become so immersed in daily activities, responsibilities and stress that we allow simple, sometimes fleeting, moments of beauty to pass by unnoticed.  Although I’ve long been appreciative of the beauty found in nature, the arts and random moments and objects, my old work habits were so intense that I surely missed countless opportunities to pause and enjoy the abundance of beauty our world offers us.  As I now focus on living life with greater awareness and purpose, I remind myself to slow down, to observe, to see, to feel, to experience what is beautiful in each day.  Some days I’m admittedly better at this than others, but every time I pay attention to beauty, whether in its subtle or grander forms, the resulting enjoyment is accompanied by gratitude, positive energy and centeredness, all contributing to more fulfilling, happier days.  Sharing in beautiful experiences with others becomes even more joyful and rewarding!

A beautifully "painted" evening sky
 
The following morning, the sky captured my attention again
 

Misty, our blue-eyed beauty!

 
May we all embrace more beauty throughout each day!