Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Sun Stop and Eat an Apple

Eating an apple slowly is simple joy. Taste the sweetness, hear the crunching, and be grateful for fresh,  organic fruit from your local fruit farm, (instead of being shipped in on a truck.) 

There is information EVERYWHERE...on the packaging of stuff we buy, inside the packaging of stuff we buy, on bulletin boards that we stroll by, on the doors of places we enter, in the newspaper, magazines and books. There are stacks of fliers on the store counter, the store clerk babbling extra information about rewards and discounts at us,  the junk mail in our boxes every day...and the constant shouts from the computer or other tech toys we may have.

I work at a convenience store 40 hours a week! Talk about information and noise. I receive lots of information and noise (in addition to bad smells) in that environment...40 hours of it every week! So to add a bit of recovery on my day off Gary (my hubby) and I decide to go to a movie. It has been almost a year since our last visit to the local theater. We arrived at 4:00 with the movie starting at 4:10.

Gary pays $5.75 for a small bag of popcorn and I have a bottle of spring water and a tangelo hidden in my purse. The clerk is wearing patchouli oil which over powers the smell of popcorn. She has no idea her scent is interfering with sales at the candy counter, nor does she care the restroom is out of paper towels. (I know because I told her and she rolled her eyes.)

We find a seat in the back row all giddy with excitement about seeing a movie. And we wait. The information starts blabbing at us on the large screen and through the eight speakers lining the theater walls. We should use this insurance or see this doctor if we have these particular symptoms. And this funeral home will be pleased to serve your family when you die because you didn't use this insurance or see that doctor for those particular symptoms. I say to Gary, "I come to the movies to escape noise and information. What happened to just seeing movie trailers before the movie starts?"

And we wait through more noise and information we don't want.

It is 4:37 so I go out front to see why the movie hasn't started. It seems they have changed the time to start the movie from 4:10 to 4:45 which really means 5:00. I'm not giddy with excitement anymore. An hour of commercials flashing across a big screen is too much for me. Right then I realize we didn't need to go out for recovery and entertainment. Our front porch or time in our back yard together would've been simpler and more rewarding. I find great joy in puttering around the quiet, quiet house.


The sun shines...
so the busy people will stop what they are doing and sit quietly for awhile, feeling the warmth on their hurried bodies. It's a nice time for busy people because they completely stop thinking and doing, as if it's not important anymore. That is why in the midst of two or three cloudy days when people start to shout and their shoulders start to slump and their faces look strained...

The sun shines...
pay attention, watch and see, in the country you'll notice busy people sitting comfortably in a back yard swing. It seems to feel just right to take time to sit and listen to the wonders of nature. It seems okay to leave the laundry and dishes for awhile to watch the squirrels and birds because busy people as they are may not notice the squirrels and birds tomorrow.

Pay attention, watch and see, in the city you'll notice busy people sitting on a sidewalk bench or slowing their pace to take time to look at morning dew glistening on the cherry blossom trees because busy people as they are will be rushing tomorrow...

The sun shines...
it helps busy people remember a slower time when the sun rising and the moon setting was the wonder of the day and rarely went unnoticed or uncelebrated. Remembering how people didn't fuss about so much to do and sitting on the front porch swing, on Sunday afternoons, after a big dinner was the thing to do. Or how watching the clothes flapping in the breeze simply made us feel happy inside. How simple it was to smile and feel the heart of mindfulness in our ordinary daily routines of home and family.

Too many days can go by without feeling happy inside and busy people can't feel the sunshine anymore. Busy people start to shout and their shoulders start to slump and their faces look strained...

The sun shines...
day after day the sun shines, sometimes brighter one day than another, and perhaps on that brightest of days the busy people will stop what they're doing and sit quietly for awhile, feeling the warmth on their hurried bodies, to welcome simplicity...materially, socially, and spiritually.


Thursday, November 12, 2015

Tap, Tap Goes the Paint Brush

Some sensory tools.

I used to watch Bob Ross paint on TV like most people choose to watch their favorite sitcom. I wasn't exactly watching to learn how to paint (I didn't think I could do it); but do you know what I did learn from watching Bob Ross?

                                                       THE PASSION OF PAINTING.
                                                       THE PASSION OF CREATING.

The simple sound of his brush tapping on the canvas while he painted those "happy little trees" turned me upside down and had me running to the easel to paint.

I haven't watched Bob Ross for years but the love of the sounds and smells of creating has stayed with me. In fact, I believe it is a valid piece of my creative adventures. As a young child the smell of finger paint, paste and crayons excited me. The sound of scissors cutting circles out of a stiff piece of red construction paper thrilled me. Although now I use artist grade art supplies I will always have crayons and construction paper in my studio, too.

Do you HAVE to smell crayons? I do. When I am in a store and happen to approach a display of crayons I must stop to smell them. The smell of crayons immediately transports me back to my childhood where I spent hours at the card table coloring in coloring books and making paper dolls and greeting cards...and then sprinkling glitter on everything.

I enjoy the slow process of painting with oils. Working with oils can't be rushed and the studio smells wonderful.

Tearing paper for a mixed media collage is quite satisfying, especially if you tear the paper very slowly...and listen while you tear.

Watercolors mingle and dance across the paper. Spreading color on an ink drawing is quite a happy time for me. I also get great satisfaction and pleasure working in my sketchbook with a dip pen. I love the sensory know the scratchy sound of the nib moving across the paper. I like to watch the marks appear like magic, from the flow of india ink, at the tip of the nib.

Daily practice of drawing with simple tools is what keeps my imagination alive. Each time I put pen or brush to work I am releasing the mystery and passion for creating.

This week slow down and focus into the sensory components of your creative activities. And if you're a real crayon smelling addict like I am you may want to make chunky crayons for Christmas stocking stuffers.

Chunky Crayons

1. Peel the paper off crayons while oven is preheating to 150 degrees.
2. Break crayons into pieces and arrange colors in interesting designs.
4. Place in oven.
5. Bake just until waxes have melted, 15 to 20 minutes.
6. Let cool completely. If they stick, place tray in freezer for an hour and the crayons will pop right out.
7. It is also fun to use pans with heart shapes or tree shapes, etc.