Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Prospered in Love

I am grateful to all who came out for Open Studio at Chestnut Hill Mall last weekend. It was wonderful to see and talk and share with each of you. Quelle richesse! The show was rich in so many ways--and from the get-go, in fact. Saturday morning found me setting up beside a propping wall for displaying framed prints (I had a table and no wall, and wasn't sure how I was going to display these) which bordered an American Bullfrog habitat of all things!

I confess I spend very little time in malls. But this show placed me indoors for two days straight in the halls of commerce, with lots of metal and marble and glass around: not my usual habitat to say the least! And this on a glorious sunny spring weekend, no less. But the eleven or so American Bullfrogs saved me, along with their pond and fountain and lush birches and moss and such: they brought the outdoors in. What a treat. They croaked when I made my first sale!

I'm realizing more and more that such grace, in a word, is what happens when one's "business" is Love. Love attracts Love. Love breeds more Love. You just can't give it away. We see what we're looking through. We draw to us what we are, etcetera etcetera. So "happening upon" the bullfrog habitat should not have surprised me, and neither should what transpired at the end of the two-day show have surprised me. But it did.

I could say the little miracle started Sunday morning when, dressing, I realized I didn't own a single piece of jewelry to complement the tunic and neckline I was wearing. It occurred to me that one of the artists in my "pod" at the Mall--a metalsmith/jewelry maker--might permit me to wear something of hers for the day, and promote her work in the process. I had done this at a show a couple of years ago. I modeled my friend Helen's strand of freshwater pearls, silver beads, and kyanite for a day. By the end of that day, I was sad to have to surrender it. Word got back to my sister who had visited the show, and she arranged to buy it for me for my birthday, which fell a couple of days later.

I had no such plan for this necklace I might borrow. I would model it, enjoy wearing it--featuring it--and return it to its maker at the end of the day.

I approached
Kate Jones that morning, and sure enough, she was game. She invited me to select a piece from her array. I chose an oxidized (silver) pendant that was the perfect match to my black pearl earrings and the metal buttons of my blouse. I put it on, and prepared to enjoy gathering attention for her beautiful work.

At closing time, I started breaking down my exhibit before I remembered the necklace. I paused, and made way for Kate's table.

"Kate, before I forget..." I said reaching up to unclasp the necklace.

She turned to me. "I think you should keep it," she said. "It looks really nice on you."

"Noooo," I protested. Her gifting it was unthinkable; surely she was suggesting I purchase it.

"Yes. I do that sometimes. Keep it."

Incredulous, I hesitated still, but she insisted. "Just tell people where you got it," she smiled.

"Of course!" I said with a firm nod, and I humbly thanked her, blessed her, hugged her, all the while wondering how I could accept this extraordinary gift "for no reason."

I realized how as I drifted back to my table, touching the pendant at my neck: just accept it, that's how. I know that when Life (Love) gives gifts like this, ours is to receive them. As I began to absorb what had just happened, my mind flashed on a woman who had visited my table earlier that day. I had watched her sort through the bookmarks I had for sale, to choose the image of her liking. Then I watched her walk away, look again at the one she'd selected, and then tuck it in her purse. I felt myself reach after her for a moment. Then in heart and mind, I smiled and I let it go. The whole process took maybe 15 seconds. At the start of that time, I actually wondered if I should go after her, tell her--imagine! It's embarrassing to say I went through any process at all, but I did. And be that as it may, I did let it go. Not dismissively, not resigned, but with pure release: I gifted her the bookmark, happy she was interested in having it, happy for that opportunity to share the Love with her. It was a very small gift, granted, but a gift just the same.

Kate's was no small gift, and I knew when she offered it to me that I was not capable of a comparable gesture. I also knew that I wanted to be. And so I walked away from her table with more than a necklace. I walked away with an opening as well. A possibility. Her gesture showed me who and what I am, and who and what I am becoming.

I was struck by these words when I visited her website later:
My work is inspired from my love of the natural world. Seeds, flowers, bones, branches, and anything else that grows, provide me with endless inspiration.
So this was an exchange between kindreds. How not at all unlikely it was then for Kate Jones' jewelry to find its way to me, then show me how to live closer to Love? And ditto my winding up beside the bullfrog habitat!

Oh, Love: what a many-splendored thing you are indeed. What riches and grace, what beauty and order in Love's way, and what a joy to let It have it.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Being Peaceful

A divine display, a marriage of water and world greeted me when I stepped outside yesterday morning. I had turned to enter my "secret garden," and it stopped me in my tracks sending me back indoors to grab the camera.

"I have to try..." I told myself, not at all confident that this play of light on suede-soft leaf, these gleaming rain beads would translate to film. Well, as is so often true of macro shots, I later found that more than met the eye had been captured. Honestly, it's as if my eye says "Oh, something lovely..." while unbeknownst to me I have been seduced, sufficiently hypnotized by the presenting "Lovely" into getting my camera out so that She might succeed at having me see even beyond what I see. Yet again, another Lovely has dazzled me, and moved me to tell about it.

I love how photography offers the gift of keeping: keeping something which is transient, everchanging, according to the movements of wind, of earth, of time. I met this sparkling Lovely yesterday when I knew I would soon leave for the day. I knew that by the time I returned in the afternoon, every droplet of rainwater bejewelling my garden would be long gone. If I wanted it preserved, it had to be now.

I'm glad that I managed to "keep" the hosta. As for the peach-colored iris: I regret there wasn't time for her. By the time she caught my eye, on the way to the car, it was too late. Her glitter of raindrops, her glow and glisten in just-right light, would be lost. I noticed two tight buds on her stalk as I started the car, and hoped for another chance at another time. But if I've learned one thing in these last few years of taking pictures--of pictures "taking me"-- it's this: there are no second chances. If I don't have camera in hand when I happen upon a beauty, a marvel, a magnificence begging to be held in regard again and again over time, I can kiss it goodbye. There is the illusion of returning, of sameness. I see it in the behavior of the perennials in my garden, for example. Yes, they return each year. But their array, their display from one year to the next is never the same.

I pass through the Open Doors book and gift store to get to the Reiki room where I treat clients on Thursdays. Yesterday, a Buddha figurine caught my eye on the way through. I swore it had to be new to the store; either that, or it had escaped my notice every week since January. In either case, this day, not unlike the rain-quenched hosta, it beckoned me, and I bought it. I've long thought I might like to own one; I've admired such icons in other settings and appreciated their pacifying effect. But none before this one compelled me enough to buy it.

My little Buddha sits now in the most trafficked room in the house, and in a single day has bestilled me numerous times. A mere glimpse of him accomplishes this, returns me to the ground of clarity beneath my "ordinary," everyday awareness: I am struck peaceful. Just as the glimpse of a few square pristine inches of yesterday morning's Love in motion struck me peaceful, and so I've placed its image on my computer desktop where I am sure to see it often.

I behold this scattering and ordering of plump and perfect drops reflecting or glinting with sunlight, these precious gleaming pearls and wonder: why do I ever struggle with Life? Why would I ever pass even a moment in consternation or concern? I wonder why I ever do other than give Love Its way. It is so clear how struggle is all of my making and rises from my foolish interference with the fine order of things. That is to say that looking at this demonstration by Life (by Love) of its "All is well"-ness in an instant awakens, rouses me from my deluded slumber, opens me into the fullness of the freedom that is, always, underneath/within/as It All.

I saw this--was this--while giving Reiki yesterday. It came to me all at once--overtook me, really. "Be peaceful, dear," I heard, "it's all taken care of." That just-being was allowed to be because I drew no cloak or veil over it. And so I stood for a time as embodiment, possessed, of the words that arose to represent it. I stood being peaceful, knowing all is taken care of. Being, that is to say, no different from the leaf, the rain, the iris, the drifting cloud: One Life in many particles passing flawlessly, equanimously, from one moment to the next to the next. Just so.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

After the Rain

At the end of every leaf, the large leaves and the tiny leaves, there was a drop of water sparkling in the sun like an extraordinary jewel. And there was a slight breeze, but that breeze didn't in any way disturb or destroy that drop on those leaves that were washed clean by the late rain. It was a very quiet morning, full of delight, peaceful, and with a sense of benediction in the air.

~J. Krishnamurti

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Sharing the Love

I invite all Boston-area friends of the Freeway to come on down to Chestnut Hill Mall between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on May 22 & 23, and see what's hot to trot on Love's Freeway. I will be flanked by other of my fellow Jamaica Plain artists (about 30 of us in all) so there will be plenty of art to view--and to buy, if something strikes your fancy. I'll be displaying over 100 original images in varying formats (cards, books, bookmarks, framed and unframed prints) ranging in price from $1 to $100.

Is someone in your life graduating this month? Have an important birthday or anniversary coming up? Here's a great opportunity to find a unique gift for that special someone. And if you don't have an occasion coming up, come by anyway to browse. A few deep breaths, a little inspiration: who knows what you might take away.

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Writers Write, Right?

I'm pleased to share another former writer-client/student's publishing success--and in doing so, my own as well! This post will be of special interest to the writers out there who are wearing down pencils (or keys), filling up wastebaskets (virtual or otherwise), or pulling their hair trying to get something inside out. There is hope! Help has arrived! You just have get on down to your local bookseller and pick up Sherry Ellis' new NOW WRITE! Nonfiction. This treasure trove of motivating, inspiring, and illuminating writing exercises published by Tarcher/Penguin late last year is widely available and sitting out there ready and waiting to inspire YOU! From voice to craft to revision--and lots in between--this book's got something for every writer, for sure.

Yes, it's a fabulous resource, and for me a fabulous privilege to be one of its contributing writers, sharing such esteemed company as (my teachers) Carole Maso and Kathleen Spivack, as well as Eric Maisel and Gay Talese. Many thanks to Sherry for her time, effort and commitment to bringing forth this exceptional writing resource.

Just buy it. Use it! And if ever fails you, I know a writer- coach (wink) who might be able to help.

Sunday, May 02, 2010


Dying....never looked....so good.