Especially this holiday season--twenty-sixteen, we said goodbye to so many nineteen-eighties icons. My wish for you all is to just breathe, and just be. Hold those close, close by and just be. A long life is grant to those brave daring souls who just keep breathing. Life isn't about doing, being, or owning the most--life is about breathing the most.
Asthma, allergies and respiratory health has always been in or around my life. It's embarrassing to have an asthma attack when someone who smokes or has cute furry kitty cats sits near me. That's the extreme case, typically, I have about 15 minutes in a home with a feline, before I'm feeling the tickle in my throat and know that the coughing is right around the corner, and I will have to go-go.
Maybe faith is a bit like breathing, sometimes it's hard, sometimes it's a deep pain, some people are more sensitive to slight changes, and it's something that we each must do for ourselves. Yet, like secondhand smoke, smog, pollution affects others--we can't just say, oh, I'm only hurting myself, we all live on this blue planet together. By the way, before this seems too preachy, I have loved people who smoke. Like my grandma, who mentored my love of fabric and fashion--she smoked her whole life and died at 88 years of age. The first quilt I ever made was for her, and bears a small burn mark. In her last years, she visited Maryland in November--yes, it was chilly and I can see her bundled up for a quick smoke out on deck in my condo.
I've always been a fan of Justice. Or as my parents would say I had an early mantra of "it's NOT fair." I don't say that any longer, but I do say--what I can I do to make life more fair for others.
I know, I think a lot. I think about the effect I have on the world, the future etc. I know, I blame my parents for that, I blame Girl Scouts and I blame Loyola University--I can't just think of myself or of just today. Take a deep breath--not just of air--take a breath of hope.
Cause, I gotta have faith.
Rest In Peace, George Michael (25 June 1963 – 25 December 2016)
thanks for your words and rhymes
Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go
You take the grey skies out of my way
You make the sun shine brighter than Doris Day
Turned a bright spark into a flame
My beats per minute never been the same
Before this river
Becomes an ocean
Before you throw my heart back on the floor
Oh oh baby I reconsider
My foolish notion
My dream is to tell stories, to connect. I do this in fibers, in fables and words, with grace, hope and joy.
Weaving my stories, connecting unexpected. The fringe, the fray--these seemingly useless disconnected bits. From the chaotic corner of my memory, hard edges of science, math melt into art that is engineering and problem solving--soon these fables and fabric find a secure doorframe and take hold.
Silently spinning, the spider spins a web--her hard work unseen, always moving--building, mending, tending to her web. Attaching the web to seemingly strong supports and weaving away. The web is beautiful, but it's true beauty is in it's power to feed and sustain us. When the web serves it purpose, or is pulled down by a careless gesture. She doesn't have the luxury of throwing a pity party. She uses what she has got, attempts to mend the current web and if not goes about her speedy way to recreate another. The second isn't a copy, it's just an iteration, an evolution. It's spiderweb 2.0.
Create something that will be of use today, be beautiful in the right light, encourage and strengthen humanity.
That's my plan to mend our broken world. The thing I create is not what is the art, the art is the effect that it has, inspiring, nourishing, tending, mending, simply spinning, warp and weft.
If you want to get smart fast, these few secrets will have you humming along.
Is it learning? Yes, indeed! Even the sharpening of a skill is learning. Be gentle with yourself. Be gentle with your results. Items created in the learning process may seem like the end result, but do not let them trick you. The true prizes, that you are creating, are knowledge and skill.
People take classes for one of several reasons: to learn something, to make something, or to experience something. All are valid reasons.
At times the make aspect of the project overshadows learn and experience. Seriously, how would you visualize and photograph that moment of learning? A brain scan? This essay is entering the zone of overthinking, so I will leave that to the neuropsychologists!
"User-FastFission-brain". Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.Want to look inside my brain, as I design a class? First, I decide what awesome stuff will we experience. Next I consider what are the invisible take aways (awareness, interest , basically knowledge.)The last step is to pick a project to make, that connects with the knowledge and experience. I design patterns, some specifically intended to teach a skill, try out a new tool, or simply explore possibilities.
Well, back to learning, we embark. As we push away from familiar land into the ocean of the unknown we are in the learning boat. Let us consider that action of creating a project (the making part of a class) as a physical action such as rowing. Remember that children's song? Repeatedly drumming in our minds row, row, row your boat?
I have to laugh as I see the frustration of our world, with our the focus on perfection. Maybe there was a different song that encouraged us to... go, row, oh no! as we try something once, give up, cuss, spit, throw the oars away, spew terrible venomous words at ourselves and the boat, blame the boat, decide that rowing needs to be left to the boat rowing professionals who have permission to row boats... Leaving us sitting alone in a row boat with no oar. No way! Push rewind, let's have do over and run the scene again...
Anticipation grows as you take your very first step, a little scared but excited as you row. "Hmm, this is interesting" as you put our oars into the water again. Wowsa, this rowing thing actually might work, the boat is starting to move. Yes, lessons are best learned with repeatability. Tips on practice and improvement will have to wait for other day, for now just Row, Row, Row!
It's all about YOU! Yep, life is DIY, so do it yourself, be empowered! This is yourboat! Life is not merely watching from the shore, jump in! Grab a life jacket, a paddle (or oar, or both if you aren't sure which is which!) and jump right in your boat. Make sure your boat is in the water. Practice is good, but real life doing, that is the best.
Gently, this is the hardest part to embrace. So, turn the dial to the gentle cycle, click, click, click, gentle! You've gotta be kind to be kind... cause "in the right measure" never justifies cruelness. Be aware of cruelness's prettier but still dangerous sister, coddling. If you are paddling by in your boat and see me with the skinny part of my oar in the water, while I hold the fat part, please be kind and bring that to my attention. A gentle suggestion to reverse the paddle, that is kindness, my friends! Keep suggestions honest and gentle, that is the sweet spot of suggestion! So can you imagine being kind to me even when I was wrong? Look again, that other boat was a reflection, now you see yourself making a mistake, find that sweet spot again, be honest and gentle. As we learn, we make mistakes, and adjust course as needed.
Use the force! Be aware of what is happening around you. There are powerful forces at play, use them to your advantage. Let the water take you there. Seriously, the current in the river will help as you go down the stream. Don't try to go up the creek, especially without a paddle!
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily... Just like in rowing, one rowing action isn't enough to get you very far. Make finding joy and being positive a daily act. Be You and Be Awesome! Chin up! Keep up the good fight toward kindness and gentleness. This song sung in a round is quite lovely. So look around, do you see others who are rowing their own boats? Don't go it alone!
Life is not a dream, life is better, it's real!
Intrigued with my thoughts? Check out this poem by a mathematician named Charles Dodgson... http://shenandoahliterary.org/blog/2012/01/a-boat-beneath-a-sunny-sky-by-lewis-carroll/
I want to add a special thank you to my friends who offer suggestions in that sweet spot of honest and gentle. To you, I start off again with Row, row, row your boat, Gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, Life is but a dream.