See for Yourself

Last week we combined family with travel in the most delightful way. For me that meant traveling across country to California and sightseeing some unexplored territory. I love noticing the variety in nature wherever I go. The mental shake up in the backdrop to my interactions turns the unnoticed to wow! in hurry.

Shifting yourself out of the reassuring monotone of daily routine into a level of complex uncertainty is healthy even if occasionally uncomfortable. In fact, it’s the discomfort that is so stimulating. In the past year I’ve struggled to change my relationship to pain by strength-building in the literal physical sense, and it’s working. Coming back from injury, whether its physical, emotional or spiritual deserves your mindful attention.

Whether it’s a new destination or a staycation, you can shift your perspective and up your game. Introduce a new backdrop to your day by seeing with new eyes.

On Looking by Alexandra Horowitz

#alwayslearning

 

 

 

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Creative Strength

I have a long and storied history of orthopedic injury and pain. It’s part of me by now, like the color of my eyes and the freckles on my skin. Guided by pain I discovered healing movement alternatives and wholeness through the meditation of making art. I’m drawn to performance too, mostly as an appreciative observer; “mostly” snags a bit at the back of my mind. Meanwhile, on a recent weekend in Providence, RI a discipline previously unknown to me came into view. PVDFest provides a weekend art potpourri to the downtown scene and I was lucky to enjoy a sway poles performance for the first time. All the elements of strength, grace, coordination and drama are present in the visual storytelling. Opening my eyes to new avenues of creative work inspires me in my daily life.

 

 

http://first-works.org/pvdfest-2018/australias-sway-poles/

https://www.facebook.com/thispageisaboutwords/?hc_ref=ARQpI9cn3RTvhXOGbID-EZeCv765AvLxwWeoLn9B0IslXjtxSlx4k8mTz8AUGkd880s&fref=nf

#alwayslearning

Creative Life Matters

 

Get set for the creative challenge of your life!

What’s onboard your lifetrain this season? Is a major move imminent? Are you downsizing? Maybe this is the year of a grand bucketlist vacation? Or maybe instead the staycation to remember??

Whether you’re basking in the familiar setting of an annual coastal break, heading inland to a treasured family outpost in the hills or enjoying the festival season in your favorite city…. now is the time to see it all through fresh eyes.

Reboot your senses, shake off the grey skies, block off the media and look around you. Take a walk and keep alert for 5 random bits of color.  — pick it up, snap a photo, put a frame around them — Enjoy an impromptu still life that reflects You.

 

Cultural Education Outreach

#Always Learning

 

 

Welcome Yule

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It’s no secret, the change of seasons influences us all profoundly. No matter how hard we work to maintain a constant environment with regulated temperatures, a ready light source and an abundant variety of food to suit every taste, stepping outside our chosen hives of activity we confront the day before us.

The Winter Solstice  arrives December 21 at 11:28 am. EST. Take a breath. Here in New England the air is crisp and dry. The sun has a different slant. The colors have begun leeching from the landscape, leaving only the evergreens. A flurry has left behind a tidal wash of snowy icing here and there.

There it is. Winter is here. This is the Shortest Day. The time for Revelling is at its peak!

Change, I’ve often written, is our only constant. Take comfort in this one sure thing. Some may despair while others celebrate. We cope and hope and look to the new day. May you praise the moments of light, embrace the warmth in the presence of caring individuals, feel all the way to your bones the music of the season and cherish the moments of stillness in the aftermath.

When the festivities fade let the curtain close, take the time to replenish your energies and gather the fuel to grow and renew your forward motion.

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Do No Harm  

“Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world.”  Voltaire

Compassion and kindness are not soft, they are strengths. We need them in our personal lives and in community. We need to show ourselves that same compassion. The internal critic can be a harsh taskmaster and deflecting it onto others to avoid its judgement does not relieve the pressure, it only tarnishes us further.

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Be Here Now

“I am a beginner on the path”  Ram Dass

After the big moments are ended, avoid the letdown by looking for the small moments. Cherish with gratitude the ordinary. We’re granted the reliability of a perpetually turning Planet Earth. There is a reason to celebrate this quiet victory: find it and savor it.

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Give the Gift of Time

“Hope springs eternal”  Alexander Pope

According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac our winter will be very very cold but without much snow. We shall find out in due course. I may have to declare a few personal “snow days”  because I cherish the enforced time of stopping in winter. To be fallow is not idleness. We all need time to let the noise pass through us and allow deep knowledge to settle. Experience the simple beauty of nature to emerge refreshed and inspired.

I’m full of quotes today!`From the recesses of my brain I pull this out. It’s The Sound of Music.  “Nothing comes from, Nothing ever could”  Richard Rodgers

Do something good for someone. Make it a practice for the New Year.

Happy Solstice, Happy Holidays to all.

Welcome Yule!!

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With Love and Hope,

Claire

All Photos by Claire Mauro

P.S. May you experience a true Jolabokaflod –  a Book Flood of reading to light the winter darkness.

 

Maker Mind

Harvest Chicken SOup

Harvest Chicken Soup

Gathering the Harvest in the Autumn is a ritual joy, a riot of color with red apples, deep orange pumpkins, yellow gourds and green cold weather vegetables. They also are most commonly local, fresh picked and very tasty. Take advantage of that anyway you can.

There’s a contentment that comes with being in tune with the cycle of the seasons. At the harvest we can focus on collecting the abundance to enjoy while the gardens and farms recover their energies for the next round.

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Late Harvest Assortment

Collecting our thoughts and reflections on the season of action just passed is another aspect of this process. For me initial reflections have led to drawing upon my root values and passions. In my outreach work I strive to provide a viewpoint and some action steps for those who are seeking them. I’ve come to see it’s a starting point for change. Community is not one voice but many voices and there has to be variety to hear what’s true for you.

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Applesauce

Creative thinking is one aspect of the need for connection, one that opens up conversation. Another is moving the body. Movement for physical health and when done ina group as an act of social harmony is essential. In addition, I believe making work by hand is an important means for the mind and body to work together on a manageable scale. Cooking is the most elemental of the maker activities I thrive on. During the harvest there’s a lot of that. What I miss I’m discovering is my art studio. It’s been left fallow for some time now and rather than disband it, I feel the need to take it up again in new ways.

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Bee and Flower

I see how collaboration is bound up in all my work. For example, I enjoy writing for The Parsley Way, but miss the collaborative aspects of it, the give and take, the inspiration of conversation and good company. I’d love to find some writers to share the positive message of the Parsley Way –  and encourage you to write something that reflects the spirit of this work. I’d love to share Your Voice with any readers here.

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Earthly Beets

The studio is another important place of collaboration. I’m revisiting a lot of past work and exploring new paths because this too is integral to my practice. I may be posting less often as I get deeper into some new directions. If you want to get more in touch with your creative handwork I welcome you to contact me for guidance and shared encouragement.

With our natural segue from the growing season we can plant some bulbs as a down payment on the distant spring. Right now it’s time to gather in the abundance of the garden and store it away to drawn upon over the winter.

Many hands make light work.

Ms Lizzie Cat

know what to do with your time

“Know what to do with your time”  

 

READ

Never Coming Back by Alison McGhee for a searing look into the mother-daughter relationship. See my review on Goodreads for more.

Happy October to All!

 

All photos Claire Mauro

N.B. Use the comment section to let me know your interest and ideas; list your contact info- I will keep it private.

 

 

 

How to Fill Your Bucket

MatunuckRI

Labor Day Weekend is almost here. Looking ahead to the turn of the season means most of us shake off the sand and fold up the beach towels. I’m not much of beach lounger myself but I do love walking along the surf’s edge. Fortunate am I to combine beach walking this summer with multiple reunions with dear friends and family. We visited 5 different beaches in 5 east coast states this summer! It is rare occurrence for us to have so much activity and one that coincided with the cosmic event of the solar eclipse. Believe me I cherish each and every memory, stored up to examine again and again in winter.

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One thing I observed about kids and the beach, the play is pretty similar today to when we were kids. Remember that sand pail and shovel you used on the beach as a child? How many different ways did you use that? Not just for sand that’s for sure. It can hold lots of beach flotsam and seawater, the precious bits and pieces to later spark shards of memory. In my mind’s eye I see the roll of the waves, hear the sounds of the surf and cries of gulls, and feel the sand between my toes, smell the briny shoreline. Remember when the shells and stones, mermaids purses, dried seaweed, and driftwood festooned your bedroom and littered the back porch?

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Maybe today you don’t use the bucket, maybe you should. We’re all familiar with the Bucket List, a popular term, made more ubiquitous by the 2007 film, for that list of things to do before you die. It’s no small thing to be made aware of your mortality in such a way. To “kick the bucket” is a bravado term for dying, one that invokes the image of cowboys expressing gallows humor, i.e., that detached coolness in the face of dire odds.

A bucket list is so much better if it motivates individuals beyond their fears and daily to-do lists, spurring them to positive action for their own well-being.

 

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Whether you see your glass half full or half empty right now, I recommend a different kind of bucket. Not the end-times container but one we can carry every day. It’s the container of our core beliefs, a reminder of what we value, and how to put those beliefs into action. Have you thought about yours lately? Why not cultivate a commitment to altruism, the selfless concern for the well-being of others?

Prosocial action is good for you, and good for all. This is how we grow resilience in the face of stress, by reaching out in our own small ways as best we can. We are all neighbors after all and recent events in Charlottesville and across Texas illustrate that in the most graphic and dire ways.

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Robert F. Kennedy  said, “Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest  walls of oppression and resistance.”
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In the waning days of summer, ask yourself: What are my core beliefs? How can I bring actions for our common good into greater alignment with my daily life?

Close your eyes and listen to the waves, see if you can hear your answer.

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Be Well — Safe Holiday Weekend to ALL

Claire

 

 

All Photos Claire Mauro