Nature is blasting – What’s your blast, do you use it?

Fuddles in the snow
Fuddles amongst the snow flakesI found this TEDTalk wonderful. Caroline McHugh is indeed talking about your personal blast.

The weather forecast for this weekend along the Eastern Seaboard is a bit dismal (unless you are a fan of big  nor’easter storms.) It’s true, perception, needs, attitudes, and consequences all come into play here. For me travel is in my plans, a big storm is not good news. However, nature does her blasting with no apologies; she does what she needs to and she lets it roar!

That brings me to letting your self “be” and do as you need to. Blasting your unique talents and views. Taking up your space in this big wide world. In my rambles around the internet and  TED Talks I stumbled upon the talk embedded below. She talks about seeing yourself in a true mirror – “where you look AT yourself,  you look for revelations not reassurance.”

She goes on to talk about folks who are “larger than life” and what makes them so? They take ALL the space the universe intended them to and so they “shine, glimmer, and glow, …it’s as if they swallowed the moon.” I love that statement! It’s all about INDIVIDUALITY! Your job is to be you. To be the best you can be, to do the best job you can at being you.  Caroline MCHugh is “dedicated to helping individuals and organisations be fully deployed, original versions of themselves.” (more)

BLAST out your individuality, your talents, your glimmer and let it shine!
(Even if its under a snow blanket this weekend!)

http://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/The-Art-of-Being-Yourself-Carol

Ask the hard questions

IGordyQuestion read this article which I thought was pretty interesting….

You probably know to ask yourself, “What do I want?” Here’s a way better question….A more interesting question, a question that perhaps you’ve never considered before, is what pain do you want in your life? What are you willing to struggle for? Because that seems to be a greater determinant of how our lives turn out.

I found it on http://qz.com/584874/you-probably-know-to-ask-yourself-what-do-i-want-heres-a-way-better-question/
They found it on: http://markmanson.net/question

It’s an unusual way for me to post but I think this is a very interesting concept and thought pattern. So, not my words…the words of: MarkManson.net.

 

Those pesky doors…..

“When one door closes, another door opens; but we so often look so long and regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.” – Alexander Graham Bell

Here’s to keeping your eyes open for the cracks and cranny’s of new doors. That we all see the new with joy and excitement.  May 2016 bring new adventures, new friends, new smiles, good health and many magical  doors. 

Goodby 2015 Hello 2016
Milly waves 2015 Good Bye…and a golden 2016 arrives. (BTW- Boots Designed by Birdelli)

Happy New Years!

End of Year, an opening and a closing.

One door opens as another closes
One door opens as another closes

As so it fades… 2015 closes and 2016 opens up with new possibilities. Attitude must rule, for the magic of change and possibilities are only available when you first dream, then think, and follow with doing everything you can to start the engine and keep it running. Yes, I know, at times it is very hard to keep going, to keep the steam puffing, and even not to stand in front of it and block its way, but…we all know that does no good. I have to keep reminding myself,  I’ve got to at the very least keep chipping away at the big dreams, now and then take a big bold whack at it, close my eyes and JUMP. I suggest that to everyone, the choice to stay static or chisel and jump so… why not!?

As 2016 is peaking its head around the corner I am hopeful that this will be the year that my giant revisions of my book may be in the background and that finally I am on the right track. This book looks nothing like where I started and I’m ok with that, it’s a prosess I keep telling myself-Hope so! It is now a book for the “wee ones” of 2-6 years and it is called  Awesome (at least right now that is the title!) It still features Fuddles, the feather that spreads awe and wonder on planet Earth. That is who you see above but that is not an illustration from this upcoming book. The plan is that Fuddles will be on a farm in a sequence book. In the meantime, Fuddles is peaking out the doors into 2016. He does indeed look a bit shocked, maybe a wee bit scared, but time will tell the whole story.  Temporarily that’s all I will reveal. Partly, because it is very much still a working copy, and partly for I am just not ready to “put it out there” yet.

I am not one for resolutions, especially public ones, but I will proclaim my intent for this to be the year of my first book to finally come to be!

Meanwhile….Merry, Bright, Treats, and Joy …Happy New Years

 

Courage. Have you got it?

In The Wizard Of Oz one of the iconic characters is the Cowardly Lion who is looking for his courage. Frank Baum (author of the series)  describes the Cowardly Lion as ‘being grandiose, handsome, and nearly as big as a full grown horse in size. He is a rather cuddly animal despite being so large, and also is a gentle giant at heart. He is said to have golden colored eyes that sparkle like fool’s gold and are full of wit and loyalty. He is warm, plush and soft, having a fluffy, bushy and curly mane that is often adorned with a brightly colored bow of red or green silk.” An image proably easy for most of us to conjure up.

In the film adaptation the Cowardly Lion says…

Courage! What makes a King out of a slave?
Courage! What makes the flag on the mast to wave?
Courage! What makes the elephant charge his tusk, in the misty mist or the dusky dusk?
What makes the muskrat guard his musk?
Courage! What makes the sphinx the seventh wonder?
Courage! What makes the dawn come up like thunder?
Courage! What makes the Hottentot so hot? What puts the “ape” in apricot?
What have they got that I ain’t got?
All Four-(i.e Dorthy, The Cowardly Lion, The Scarecrow and the Tin Man) Courage!
Lion-Then you can say that again!

I’ve been thinking about vulnerability, exposure, the courage to follow ones convictions, and how to balance it all in ones day/life. A year or so ago, I was once powerfully drawn  to The Wizard of Oz, the story, the movie, the original illustrations, and the message. Today, I found a very interesting article from Smithsonian.com called Frank Baum, the Man Behind the Curtain: The author of The Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum, traveled many paths before he found his Yellow Brick Road.

It seems that Frank was a man who had many trails and it was not all smooth sailing. He wrote The Wizard of Oz “in the spring of 1898, on scraps of ragged paper…” He was 40. The book was published in 1900 and “Baum became not only the best-selling children’s book author in the country, but also the founder of a genre…”  For me there is something very encouraging and heartfelt in those facts. Clearly he followed his own creativity and imagination. He had the perseverance to follow his conviction to write it all down and it obviously turned out wonderfully.  He was a man of courage as best I can tell. The article states “With The Wizard of Oz, the power of self-reliance was colorfully illustrated.” … Self-reliance, heart, brains and courage is still a good mix for modern life. I will now go gather my courage and step forward. And you?

Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/frank-baum-the-man-behind-the-curtain-32476330/#3r7pxi3SpjxpY5jA.99

 

Cowardly Lion
The Chapter drawing for The Cowardly Lion.
Inside Cover Wizzard
Book Cover Wizard of OZ Middle: the Inside title page  of the original Book                 Bottom: The Cover of the original book

 

What do Civil Rights, the Blues Music and Poverty all have in common?

The answer is all in the new book featured below.

I am very pleased, and proud, to announce that my friend, Ray Uzanas, book Faces and Places of the Deep South is now out, published and fantastic!

Why is this on the Botanical Beauties and Beasties blog you may ask? Well, it’s for two reasons. The first is that it is truly a lovely book, quality in all ways. The second is that I was personally involved by doing all the book design, layout and cover work. We are both very pleased to be able to present it and share it!

The words from the author are as follows…

In “Faces and Places of the Deep South,” Raymond Uzanas takes the reader on his 2015 journey through America’s rural south where he visits towns mired in poverty and those infamous for their role in the civil rights movement of mid-20th century America. Uzanas explores the vast Mississippi Delta that gave birth to the Delta Blues sounds; traveling to its smallest desolate towns as well as to Clarksdale and its annual Juke Joint Blues Festival.

Interviews and shared stories with people he meets resonates across racial and economic lines as he profiles the lives and times of today’s Deep South. It is a book mostly about the people–what Ray calls the human wealth of the region. His photographs capture and convey the mood and character of the land and its people. Come along for a ride through a half century of southern history.

You can purchase the book at Amazon or Blurb, or if you are very lucky you can see it/read it at a few select local Libraries.  FYI, the book is costly as it is a high quality, 120 page, full color “picture book” filled with beautiful images as well as amazing stories of civil rights, the extreme poverty and life in the generally unknown Deep South, and the great Delta Blues Music originating from the Deep South. Incidentally, Ray does not mark the books up, the cost you see is truly the raw cost of printing each book and of no profit to the author. If you are interested in purchasing one, the Blurb site is a little less money than Amazon  (since Amazon adds some for themselves.)

The link for Blurb: http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/invited/

The link for Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Faces-Places-South-Raymond-Uzanas/

We both hope you get a chance to enjoy the many Faces and Places of the Deep South.

Magical Places – Take One. The Center Pompidou

First, you all need to meet my traveling companion. Her name is Elsa, and she will be joining us for the next few postings.

Meet Elsa!

Elsa, a world traveler.

I wrote early in the summer that this season is often a time of journeys. Nobody offered where they were going this summer, or of any other journeys that you all may be on. (I was a little disappointed by that.) Regardless, I got to take an amazing and wonderful journey. I got to go to PARIS FRANCE!  Ooh la la doesn’t even come close to saying how extraordinary it was. I spent my time with an amazing woman I am very proud to call my friend.

Elsa, my traveling sidekick for The Botanicals, will be joining me in showing you bits and bytes of the trip. This series will all be under the umbrella title of ‘Magical Places.’

Elsa took out her magical wand, danced around the floor with it, and POOF, we ended up at The Center Pompidou. Lucky us! First, the building itself is loads of fun. The design came from an international competition, which for some reason absolutely delights me. Of course  it is reminiscent of the world fair and Eiffel Tower competition so many years before.

We met and followed a fun family though a bit of the museum. Their daughter was often in her stroller, rolled in front of a piece of art, given a piece of paper and a drawing tool. She picked one out one element and drew it. Everyone was enjoying. It was absolutely fascinating to see what she choose and how she represented it. What a joy to see parents exposing, challenging, and engaging a child in art this way. We last saw her in this large room where one could take a piece of chalk and add your own part/art to the greater collection of the wall. Elsa joined in on that one!

Chalk wall
Interactive wall art

Below is a small assortment of images from our visit to The Centre Pompidou. Click the arrows to click through  if yours are not cycling through automatically.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Karma. A force to be reckoned with?

Karma :
The force created by a person’s actions that some people believe causes good or bad things to happen to that person. – http://www.learnersdictionary.com/definition/karma

The topic keeps popping up and so its time to be attentive (again).

Recently, I was having a great conversation with a friend about the concept of how the world/people/organizations can be callous and how we let them (enable them?) to siphon our spirit out.  This friend is involved with an ugly business situation that is crushing him. We started chatting about the reflections of ourselves in others. Within friendships, personal and business encounters we act (and react) to these reflections. It is said that emotions don’t belong in business, and although I think business too needs people with hearts, I do understand that raw emotions cannot rule business. However, these ‘reflections’ I am speaking of are far less conscious than unprocessed emotions and are much more subtle. Perspectives verses realities-perhaps. The boundaries of what is acceptable can be fuzzy and clearly differ from the mind and heart of each sender and receiver. Do we stop and think about those reflections? Seldom. However, they no doubt play a large role in our daily stumbles. I am sure these reflections are part of whom we enjoy and disdain, and probably part of why we just don’t like some people we meet. We all know-What we send is usually a reflection what we receive back. I do think reflections can be related to Karma.

The above conversation eventually lead to Karma and who sleeps the best at night? Obviously, most of us think the people who “care more” about the world, humanity, and each other, sleep better. Clearly they are destined to have better Karma.  I acknowledge that the world probably needs a little of the bad, it’s a balance and contrast thing. When folks are down right mean, or “bad” what’s that all about?  What reflections do they see and feel-if any? Do nasty people even stop to think, much less think about what they are “putting out” in the world?  What is their Karma?  If we change our reflections do we change our Karma? What do you think?

Later that day I was poking around on the web and an image popped up that said, “There are two kinds of people in the world: givers and takers. The takers may eat better, but the givers sleep better.”  It turns out the quote is from a motivational speaker/corporation called Ziglar. I thought it was an interesting full circle spin back to my afternoon conversation, one that started with yoga, twirled to reflections and ended with Karma.

It happens continually…
Coincidence-sure you can call it that….
But….
I think Karma also plays into the big picture.
Whether its food, attitude, or actions…
Garbage in=Garbage out.

Ollie - Minister of Truth

Summer travels, journeys, discoveries and destinations……

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes. – Marcel Proust

It’s official – it’s summertime. The temps are swinging, and so are the flip flops. Many indications are all pointing to it…

Memorial Day is behind us
July 4th is around the corner
Baseball season is full swing
Flowers are blooming
Landscapes are lush and green
Schools are wrapping up for another year
Vacations are happening
Gardens are being planted
Gardens are being enjoyed
Farmers Markets are popping up
There is color everywhere
Biking, Hiking, Sailing, and all kinds of games abound
…Yep, it’s summertime!

off we go!

Do you have discovery plans? Do they included long distance travel? Maybe local adventures? Dreams-count too!

I think  Proust had it right. The joy, the reason, the adventure, the growth of travel, and in every day, is in how we see it.

What do you want your eyes to be seeing these days?
What are your hopes for your eyes this season?

Jot down your secret dreams for the summer, check back in September and see how you did.

 

Does clutter become The Fabric of My Life?

Clutter, “Stuff”-The fabric of my life? I hope NOT!  I refuse to believe that my stuff makes up WHO I am. It is true that, partly, it makes up what my home looks like, how crowded my mind, and possibly my life, may be at any given moment. All this “stuff” didn’t just appear one day in my house, my mind, or my life, it’s an insidious, slow moving, existential like growth. Maybe it is like fabric? I suppose it did start as a small swatch and has evolved into yards and yards over the years. If I continue with this analogy… fabrics can get messy and be washed, they can get cut up and reused or re-purposed, they can be loved as well as tossed out or given away. Sometimes they fade, and sometimes we have to give them up for they are no longer possible in the space. My “fabric” (like yours probably) has pretty much been through most/all of those scenarios.

This topic has come up for I am reorganizing my office/studio. It is the result of winter damage, which meant a wall and ceiling needed to be repaired, which meant EVERYTHING had to come out of a VERY crowded, over stuffed, “creative chaos” room. Not a bad thing in the long run, however in the short run it has been exhausting. Taxing my left side brain into hyper organization and lots of practice in the art of “letting go”-into the recycle, trash, or donate pile. This brings up another favorite topic, the one of Intention. I am practicing that skill as well. I read an article that stated- “Most traditional approaches do not consider the energetic impact of clearing, no matter how miniscule the task or effort. The fact is, clearing anything consciously and gently … creates an energetic opening—a spaciousness—that works on us slowly and surely to soften our grip of attachments.” (article)  I have been very intently/consciously clearing things out for approximately three years now. It started with the closets full of clothes, and slowly I have been working on the “stuff.”  The office/studio has accelerated the cause along. In theory (and mind) I don’t want the all this stuff, I want my space (in all ways) to be clearer. Much easily said than done for me. However, it is better than before and I am slowly learning the process and power of Intention in so many aspects of life. Intention of letting go. Intention of holding on when appropriate. Intention of a never ending process of moving on to whatever is next with an open mind and heart. Intention of clearing (in mind as well as physical space.)  An intention of realizing it is not about throwing away something but is often about letting go of a far bigger commodity than the goods in my hand. I am far from done. I will probably always be working on this “intention and clearing process.” It will probably never be easy, or fun. I do know it does feel good to let some of these things go. There is some truth to the saying of- Clear the clutter, Clear the mind. 

For all those that are spring cleaning, or life clearing- May the journey be partly to embrace the change, and enjoy the clean air in that new cleared space. (At least, that’s what I am trying to do.)

It always comes back to KINDNESS. This time it’s kindness to yourself, give yourself a break, a pat on the back, and awareness that the journey is what often matters and that simple is often an easier way to go. As Robert Browning so famously said, and the architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe beautifully adapted-Less is More.

Birdelini takes on the motto of Less is More in her Simple Spring Hat 2015 collection.
Birdelini takes on the motto of Less is More in her Simple Spring Hat 2015 collection.

Changes: “Life is a series of surprises.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

First I was going to write about a topic that has been fascinating me since I heard a TED Talk  called How to spot a liar” by Pamela Meyer. It’s about trust, deception, and our society’s propensity for lies. It’s compelling, and I recommend using 18 mins of your life to listen to it. However, I moved on to topic #2. That was to be Clutter – Clear the clutter, clear the mind. Goes with new beginnings and one of my favorite topics-Letting go! Although those words and thoughts take up a LARGE portion of my mind these days, it was too much, too complex, and more than I wanted to share in words. Therefore, it was shelved for “later.”  Topic #3 was intriguing when I wandered over to  the word of Friendship. However, as I sat down to write I changed my mind again and indeed the topic I have settled on is CHANGE. Particularly , change with Botanical Beauties and Beasties.

The Quote below is from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Essays and Lectures. “From a layered and immeasurably insightful 1841 essay titled “Circles,” exploring the pillars of personal growth and how we can learn to stop resisting the very things that help us transcend our self-imposed limitations.” I found it on a site I read regularly called Brain Pickings. Click for the full story.

Every ultimate fact is only the first of a new series… The new statement is always hated by the old, and, to those dwelling in the old, comes like an abyss of skepticism.

[…]

In nature every moment is new; the past is always swallowed and forgotten… Nothing is secure but life, transition, the energizing spirit. No love can be bound by oath or covenant to secure it against a higher love. No truth so sublime but it may be trivial to-morrow in the light of new thoughts. People wish to be settled; only as far as they are unsettled is there any hope for them.

Life is a series of surprises.”

Surprise # 1:  I might have mentioned to you I am changing the tag line of the business. I am thinking about simplifying things across the board. In life, and so in my business as well. That means change. The tag line has been “Live Kind. Live Green. Live Creatively .” When I do shows those words will continue to serve my story verbally and I still believe in them wholeheartedly. However, I have been thinking for a couple of years now, If the world were to be a bit more “evolved” then Live Kind, Live Green would be one and the same. If we are to truly live within Kindness, that translates  into kindness for self, others, and the world around us, including the planet we all share. So, in the hopes of evolution of us all, and in the process of simplification…. the new line is …. are you ready?…. drum beat please…. Kindess. it's always the bottom line.

As for the third part,  i.e. Live Creatively …Well that most surely continues. Creativity comes in many forms and sizes mostly as words, images, motions and thoughts. We (society) need much help if creativity disappears. For me it is important that I utilize my creativity often, when I don’t my mind gets (even more?) muddled. My thoughts are far enough off the beaten road at times without adding any extra curves! But, I’m also glad about that-without those thoughts, ideas, and imagination the Botanical Beauties would never have been created, launched or shared in any manner. I hope we all agree that would be a shame.

The next step is to figure out to keep moving forward and what’s up next. New paths are ahead, changes are ahead, but I am not clear yet on what, when, where, or how. I continue to work on learning the how, and simultaneously, trying to do (!) the writing and illustrating of  my children’s book. The book has totally changed recently. I will share the New Book when I get a better grip on it.

If anyone has any solid ideas about good marketing, or paths to follow for the Botanical Beauties and Beasties, by all means, please speak up! New crossroads, new thoughts, new directions are indeed what I am looking for!

Surprise #2 – Well, time will tell.

 

Zoie and Kindness