Think about the symbolic doors we can be right now. Fresh stARTs and second chances happen when we open a door to something new. Doors provide comfort, security and protection when needed. Yet they can also promote hospitality when thrown wide open. Are there any new doors we might open in 2022?
As this year comes to a close, we need to celebrate. We can never forget the persistence, resilience and tenacity that got us to where we are today. We can never ever give up on ourselves or our dreams and nor should we ever ignore our inner voices. Make a resolution to be more present each day and to always delight in the daily gifts at hand. With a hopeful eye towards the future, find the balance not to rush through the gift of today.
Balance is essential to everything and everyone. Nature provides many beautiful example of balance; sunrises and sunsets, the ebbs and flows of tides, the waxing and waning moon. Consider how balance plays a role in your life. Are there parts of your life that are out of alignment? Often, when we desire a fresh start, it is because something doesn't feel right or might be off. The awareness that an adjustment is needed can be a catalyst for new beginnings. There may be a transition period where tiny changes lead to big shifts. However, you can't move forward without taking stock of where you are right now.
As Covid continues to spread throughout our communities, some days it is hard to feel hopeful and energized. The past 20 months have left us exhausted and the pandemic has impacted everyone and everything. Healing is necessary and a fresh start is needed.
In response to this somber period, I am organizing a new collaborative group project called the fresh stART project. Creativity will play an important role; however you do not need to be an artist to participate. You just need to be willing to try it all. There will be opportunities to write poetry, make music, arrange flowers, bake, write letters, journal, paint, draw and find inspiration in nature. These activities will happen on your own timeframe and will be a part of your own fresh start as well as be material for our group project. I hope you will join us.
On a whim, I imagined a large art project to foster community and encourage hope and healing and I made it happen! I was able to recruit 18 diverse artists from 8 different states thanks to social media. These men and women represented both coasts and were extremely excited to use their creative gifts to help. My hope was that through working on the project, each artist would find joy and our collective joys would provide comfort to a broader audience.
To me, Spring is the season of Hope. As the days grow longer, I find myself relishing the daylight. Hope feels warm and bright like sunshine and reminds me to stand taller, climb higher, reach wider and always be kinder. Hope tiptoes in every morning, gently whispering that it will be ok. Hope never whines or sulks like anxiety. Hope turns me in the direction of love, courage, and optimism. Hope is a hallelujah as well as an amen! Hope, as well as Love are essential and are the simplest and most true gifts of all. Even in times of doubt, fear and uncertainty, they are present.
I hold all of these definitions of love dear, yet I believe the most important form of love is self-love. From self-love sprouts all of the beautiful gifts of life. Love is the answer, but it holds all the questions. It is a dream, a goal, and a concept all in one.
Love is vulnerable and allows your vulnerabilities to show. It is looking inward to recognize your purpose and ignite your own passion. Love affirms, saying you are enough, just as you are – yet nudging you towards all you can be.
Love is evolving, growing, welcoming, accepting and most of all keeping your heart open.
While most people think that Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate romantic love, for me, it’s a day of reflection. I take the time to witness the gifts in life. I honor the peace, hope, joy and contentment that love brings into my life. I am grateful for the people I love and for those same people who love me right back.
Romantic love is just one slice of the true love that abounds in the world. Even when evil and darkness exist, love wins.
So, this Valentine's Day as well as each and every day, it is my wish for you to experience love with fresh eyes. Celebrate its beautiful forms you have swirling around you today and feel yourself wrapped in immeasurable love from those around you. And spread love, whenever and wherever you can. ❤️
Home for the holidays has an entirely new meaning this year. As we are forced to cut back on our Thanksgiving celebrations, this doesn't mean we should cut back on being kind, compassionate and patient. The need to feel loved and appreciated is something we all desire especially right now. Let’s go big with our goodwill and order up a large portion of hope and love to go along with our other dishes. And if you need a second helping of something, may it be joy and thankfulness.
The Summer of 2020 taught me to reach deeper and also stretch wider and further to be a better person. I learned to smile with my actions and my words since my actual smile was covered by a mask. I learned than an ordinary day is a gift and that there are always additional ways to give more than I receive. Success used to be measured by how many pieces of art I sold and how much money I made at art shows. It now means making the best out of every situation and every day, no matter how bad it is. My role models have become those who continue to give of themselves; specifically offering their compassion and their kindness to others. When I was tempted to shut down and withdraw, seeing the selflessness of others raised me up. Covid is still very contagious but so is generosity and goodness.
My wish is that my art will be a small part of the solution. I used to focus on caring for the earth with each piece created. I now find it more important to expand this mission and focus more directly on spreading care, kindness, and compassion to others through my art. With so much loss, uncertainty, political and social unrest on top of pandemic fueled isolation, it is no wonder there is such a sense of unhappiness all around. It is an honor if I can use this platform and my art to encourage and promote more cheer and more joy. I hope this quote resonates with you as much as it does with me. "We are not on this world to see through one another, but to see one another through." (Gloria Vanderbilt)