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

 

 

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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.

 

Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow*

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Shadows of white loom outside my window, wispy specters in the dawn light filtering through the trees. Closer inspection reveals them to be not early Halloween ghosts but a protection of sheets over the vegetable garden. A frost warning last night prompted us to abruptly change gears and burst into a flurry of activity to save the last gasps of our produce: the goodness of warm sunshine wrapped in tiny cherry tomatoes, slender string beans and the most prolific pepper harvest of recent memory. We want to enjoy it all before we let it go.

Like most people I always have a to-do list or, more truthfully, multiple lists. Making the list is never a problem, it’s the crossing items off where I get bogged down. Take for example my office reorganization. I have a plan, a checklist of actions, and then there is reality. Inside my office are files and piles, the recordings of complete project work from start to finish, the inklings and images of work yet to do and the supplies and research materials needed for that work. They lay there mute a lot of the time and I can just close the door on them and turn my attention to the more vocal of life’s pressing responsibilities, at least until a deadline calls. Living matter over inert! Often this is the broadest brush spurring me to action, a nurturer’s triage of choices.
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Cleaning the closet is another of the to-do items that frosty mornings force into awareness. The prospect of changing over the closet contents from warm weather to cold can prompt the filtering of good intentions through the dictates of those who vigilantly guard against clutter turning into hoarding.

We can choose to “Discard it, donate it or take a picture of it if you can’t completely let go.” Maybe these exhortations are an act of contrition for excess, and of course that’s ok. How do you feel about ownership of things? Are you more of a sentimentalist? Do you like symbolism and feel comforted by things that hold memories? Can a fraying sweater be something that keeps you warm and represents your honeymoon destination, a symbol of love and commitment? Pragmatism is ok, too. It’s a luxury anyone can indulge in. Working to put food on the table and provide necessities doesn’t rule it out. By all means go minimal if that’s your desire. Or maybe a windblown bird’s nest brought indoors by a child can sit on the porch until it crumbles, representing the joy of discovery and the impulse to lovingly share. Conversely the item that reminds you of a friendship gone down in flames should not torment you any further!!
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Inundated as we all are with advice and marketing strategies for everything from dish soap to political positions, often the wisdom of keeping one’s own counsel goes by the wayside. Step away from the newsletters and broadcasts and even your list-making and instead take a moment or two to listen to the sound of your own breathing. Pause to feel the ground under your feet. Visualize the sights and sounds of a favorite destination, recall a particularly stirring piece of music or the soaring feeling of mastering a jump shot or a tennis serve. Take comfort in the intangible, it will lead you to your roots.

*Shakespeare2016

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All photos Claire Mauro

Sympathy vs Empathy

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Oh the lazy days of summer are here! When work is done there’s so much daylight you can close your eyes in the bright sun and feel the warmth reaching down into your bones bathing away the rancor and rhetoric of the day. You can relax into memory….. Continue reading

Dive Right In

Window on My World
Window on My World

That was fast! In the last 2 weeks we’ve seen the leaves on the trees pop open like umbrellas in a downpour and our weather is veering back and forth from rain to sunny heat. Our zucchini and cucumber plants appear to be growing so fast there are noticeable changes in leaf size and number from morning to evening. Nature, always in transition, is flexing its “becoming” muscle again! Continue reading

Habits Worth Cultivating

Mount Vernon kitchen garden
Mount Vernon kitchen garden

Every three months is a great time to assess our goals, take note of what we’ve achieved and reset our intentions for the next quarter and the year overall. How are you doing?

Take a look at your regular habits. Do they need an update? Here at The Parsley Way we have clearly defined regular practices that we advocate for wellness. The question is, do these practices help you maintain a sense of wellbeing that contributes to your overall productivity and meeting your goals? Continue reading