"the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness."
This is how we define gratitude, it is the box we create around it to give it its place in our vocabulary. But I have been thinking about this word a lot lately and I have my own take.
that heartfelt moment of connection with another human being by sharing your stories, you realize you are not walking through life alone. you find that common footing, even if it is a fleeting moment, even though your experiences and circumstances may be vastly different.
the moment you know you are leaving and that student that gave you a hard time everyday for the couple years your were there, realizes it too, and climbs over the seat to hang out the window to find you and wave to you from the bus as it pulls away with tears in his eyes
standing witness to a spectacular sunset over a vast sea and being completely present in the colors, the pulse of the tides, the moment, and the experience of simply witnessing
the little voice of your smallest pirate who softly says to you, "mama, you look like a pretty princess" when you feel the most dishelved, raw, and vulnerable and are just trying to keep it all together
that incredible friend who sees you for who you truly are - even the parts of yourself you keep hidden from most of the world - and who 'gets it', understands you, loves you, and anchors you time and time again
being able to find peace in your breath, in the pause between them, the stillness - when the wisest part of yourself finds voice
the connections made from this small space on the web that have evolved into meaningful friendships over the years
the way your pirate boys snuggle themselves around you, wanting nothing in return but merely your presence as their mama to lean into
deeply feeling and responding to beauty in this world. i had a little student artist once tell me she was most grateful for beauty...and i found this to hold such wisdom
that amidst the fear, the violence, the hurt, the anger, the broken feelings of the world - you continue to find ways to love, to value differences, to care for humanity and our resources here with reverence and respect, and to lift with love
On this Thanksgiving day, may gratitude speak her own definition to your heart and may your wisest self be open to hear her. Blessings. Love, S
she has been beckoning me for weeks, reminding me that she is not quite finished. so finally, i flipped her over and read the words that i had written before i began. the words that are buried into the first layers of gesso and layered on top of. and with that, and a couple final touches, i call her finished.
"sunlight carried her wishes, while the stars held her dreams. only the moon knew her whispers and kept them safe." ssperl 2014
i am loving the warmth of candlelight this time of year and as the sun goes down, i find one to light
i am inhaling the sweet scent of neroli as she perfumes the room
i am remembering today to breath in love and gratitude for those who buoy my life, for those who have walked with me or passed through my world and left their mark on my heart, for those who inspire me, and for my tribe of beautiful friends who anchor my heart
how my afternoon unfolded...this cranked in my ears as my brush danced across repurposed chocolate wrappers, adding to my collection for the 100faces challenge. it's grey, wet, rainy, and all around blah feeling outside, but it's ok. this morning there was the most beautiful rainbow and that's what i have tucked into my pocket today.
and it is not lost on me why i have this day off, so to all those who serve, have served, and the families who support them - my heartfelt gratitude.
ok, so calling it a "studio" is a bit of a stretch since it's really only the hall space between most of our rooms. (i.e. lots of foot traffic always passing through) but it's what i got! and seems most of my glimpses of my artwork lately has been happening on instagram. so i thought i'd share a few pieces here. lots and lots of practicing whenever i can find spare moments. i dream of the time, but for now, this will do.
i just finished a yin yoga class and went head to head with my biggest challenge...getting still. at the moment, my plates are all spinning at wild rates and while i resist that speed, it was clear tonight i resist stillness more. funny how that works, isn't it?
and while my plates are full, i only seem to toss on a bit more. why? because the busyness stills the rampant chatter in my head, calms the anxiety, and silences the worries. it is a walking contradiction and impossible to maintain that pace. but for now, this is my truth. raw, vulnerable, madly-spinning, wickedly chaotic truth.
and i just try and harmonize it all with what i know works - a practice of diligent self-care. meditation, yoga, finding breath, seeking stillness, and recording gratitude. little switches like changing out a coffee for chamomile tea (not every coffee mind you, good lord, that may just put me over the edge), or walking where i easily could drive just to get outside and look, winding down the week at the shore, closing the door to my room and unrolling the yoga mat - if only for a few moments and remaining calm when pirates come in yelling with swords drawn in dramatic stance (because that's what pirates do!). it's about not finding a moment for peace but finding peace within that moment. and when all else fails...just breathe
it is feeling difficult to find fall around here. we have fleeting glimpses but she has yet to open the door trailing her beautiful colors inside. it feels more like an extended summer...but not quite. in spite of it all, this weekend, we traveled. got in the car and drove - and minus a few messy realities of life managing winding roads with pirates in tow, it turned out to be the loveliest of trips. italian hilltowns in fall are something you really cannot beat, no matter how mild the season.
this afternoon, i flowed through a beautiful asana practice which filled me with gratitude. as i moved into pose after pose, i reminded myself to simply remain present so that i may fully take in the golden sunlight cascading through my window and feel her warmth upon my skin, inhale deeply the blend of clary sage, bergamot and sweet orange that perfumed my room, feel my feet ground fully into the floor and focus on the expansion of my lungs as i breathed through each movement. i set a deep intention, gave thanks, whispered blessings, and held dear all the possibility and positive energy flowing from this beautiful full moon.
may she shine brightly over you and speak softly to your heart tonight, friends...