Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Goodies in the mail!

I love when fun things come in the mail -- this is a coloring book journal that I just received from Kiev, Ukraine!

(An aside: The envelope got my attention, because my Grandmother emigrated from this part of the world way back in 1911, when she was 13 years old. And she kept a diary. Which I still have. But I digress.)

I love the idea of some of the pages having ready-to-color pages, in a detailed zentangle format. About one third of the pages have coloring pages, and the rest are blank.  If you want some inspiration, as well as some mindless coloring material right there already in your journal, this is the book for you. The pages have a wonderful variety of topics: mandalas, feathers, birds, owls, fish, boats, water, so many cute things to color!

I see that it comes with blank pages, dot grid or ruled. So whatever you fancy for the journaling pages, you're covered.

Now I have to get coloring. . . .







Saturday, February 18, 2017

Is it mid-February already???

Hello!!!

My last post is from December 2016, the longest I think I've ever gone without posting here, in the eight years I've been blogging.

My reason: I started a new job, and I planned and executed my first ever trip to South East Asia. In short, I did a deep re-boot of my life, and I am here to say YES, yes to a reboot, to examining every aspect of life and changing what needs to be changed, deepening what needs to be deepened, and discarding what needs to be discarded.

My new job is teaching ESL on line to Chinese children, and I love it. Each morning I get up around 3 a.m. and prep, then go on line and open a screen which allows me to chat and teach one-on-one to Chinese children. We laugh and joke around, I review a power point of various words, pictures, and ideas, and they learn to speak English. My job requires lots of smiling and tons of encouragement, and I find that the very positive energy I need to exude for my teaching bleeds into my whole day, and I am happier. The truth is when you make yourself smile, the body learns from that particular muscle action, and then you smile more spontaneously, and become happier. Starting each day like this is almost a prayer and a spiritual practice now. I envision each of my students in a vibration of love, then I teach. It is a profoundly pleasing way to start the day.

My reboot voyage was to Bali. Bali is a deeply spiritual place, I stayed at 5 different locations: at an Ashram, at the rocky coast, at an ecovillage, at Ubud, a town where wood carving and silver making are the most important part of the tourist economy, and at a luxury beach resort. The ecovillage was the most inspiring, the luxury hotel, the least. The ecovillage (called Lumbung Cottages) was deep in the mountains, and walking around the grounds you felt you were living in a botanical garden. Altars and stone figures down hidden pathways, dancing waterfalls and streams, rice paddies and palm trees cultivated in rows to feed the visitors fresh, organic food, sleeping in Balinese intricate wood carved houses, the whole experience was so magical. Living amongst the food you will eat just feels like a very important way for your body to be connected to the land. I am inspired to make my garden create more of the food we eat.

"Let the beauty we love be what we do" as Rumi says, has a deeper meaning for me now. The order of my life has shifted, both with the need to be up so early each day to teach, as well as to focus on my garden and the food and herbs I am growing. I had struggled for years to make my art earn money, and now I feel relieved of that burden. I can now make art and grow food for joy alone. I don't have to struggle with the effort to force my creative work to earn money, and this feels like a huge gift and release for me. I teach, earn the money, then create in my garden and in my studio letting the work be whatever it wants to be, which is such a better balance for me than the stress of always worrying how my art or herbs could earn me a living.

I am happy to move into the future, and to share some of what happens here.

and here are a few images of Bali:

At Mundung Cottages ecovillage, surprise statues, beautiful plantings, and natural materials were down each mystical path.

At the Gandhi Ashram in Candidasa, these blue door greeted you into the compound. 

The view from our balcony at Mundung Cottages.

Balinese celebrate and honor Nature each day, this young woman was taking offerings to a small stone temple just below our house by the sea. 

An example of beautiful Balinese wood carving.

Our cottage at the Ashram in Candidasa.

Giving thanks for the beautiful experience of living in the ecovillage for a few days.