Thursday, September 30, 2010

More repetition

Letter from the End of the 20th Century is another album I just cannot get enough of. I've listened to it pretty much non-stop since seeing Joy Harjo's performance this spring. And you can listen to it, too. Just visit this page and choose Letter from the End of the 20th Century from the list. I'd suggest listening to the whole darn thing. And enjoy! My favorite song is track 4, by the same name as the album. What a story! The whole thing is an amazing blend of powerful poetry and gorgeous music. See what you think...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Refusing to Choose

It came up in my workshop with Helene Finizio that I've had what I consider trouble in the past sticking with one form of expression in art, as you can see from the range of projects above (just a sampling of paper sculpture, lightcatchers, the infamous Finnegans Wake pop-up project, and baby quilts - there's been more!). In this supportive environment I was able to see that maybe this wasn't really a problem. One of my amazing classmates recommended a book, Refuse to Choose! and suggested that perhaps I was a Scanner. Since I've been home, I've explored a little about this and was really struck by these questions from an article titled "Are You a Scanner?" by the author of Refuse to Choose, Barbara Sher:

"I can never stick to anything."

"I lose interest in things I thought would interest me forever."

"I keep going off on another tangent."

"I get bored as soon as I know how to do something."

"I can't stand to do anything twice."

As Vivian Pickles said in Harold and Maude, "That's you Harold!" Yep, that's me to a "T". I've got this book on hold at the library and am hoping once I learn more, I can embrace my Scanner personality the same way I'm learning to embrace my sensitivity and see it as a strength without apology.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Embracing imperfection

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I love Brene Brown! Her new book, The Gifts of Imperfection, is out and we're celebrating with a Perfect Protest. Cannot wait to read it! This recovering perfectionist can use all the help she can get:)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Let yourself have the repetition you need

In her amazing self-care manual that we received as part of our class at Squam, Jen Lee advised us to "let yourself have the repetition you need." If there's anything I can listen to over and over, it's Astral Weeks. I could listen to Van forever.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

five more (really) good things

Here are a few things that I've really enjoyed this weekend:

1. Catching up on my sleep

2. Catching up on paperwork

3. Catching up with wonderful family and friends

4. Watching Semi-Pro with my sweetie

5. Continuing to savor my amazing Squam experience

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Happy Birthday Yuma!!

Thank you for brightening up my life, you dear little boy! Congratulations on being One Year Old! Much, much love from your crazy Aunt Lizzy:)

Beauty in the World

Liz Lamoreux got it right on this one. This song just sums it up!

Friday, September 24, 2010

What I learned from Squam

Too many stories, too much processing still to do, but for now here's a list of some of the things I learned at Squam:

How to be brave
How to hold the space
How to live in community
How to catch a story
How to be seen
How to care for my soul
How to breathe deeply and let sweet rest and tender play sink into my bones
How to change my relationship to stress
How to say no
How to start to clean up the "bad neighborhoods" in my mind
How to listen to my scared inner child
How to surrender to the beauty of it all
How to delight in food that feels nourishing
How to open and relax
How to befriend
How to support and be supported
How to be exposed
How to listen
How to slow down
How to feel my life transforming

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Thank goodness for articulate friends...

As I continue to search for the words, my dear cabinmates have found theirs: here, here, here, here, and here. Oh, such lovely, lovely people!

Here's what I have to give, the view from the end of the Eldorado dock. Still, not shabby, eh?

More amazing posts here and here.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Photo by Thea Coughlin

Yes, there were people there! Wonderful, inspiring, creative people. And if you click on this picture, you'll see me and almost all of my lovely and amazing cabinmates spread all over the place. One of us is second from the far left between the marvelous creator of Squam Art Workshops, Elizabeth MacCrellish, and my incredible yoga instructor, Michelle Smith. I'm pretty easy to find and then two more are next to each other in the second row from the top in the middle in a fuschia scarf and a pink sweater. Six more are on the stairs and first row on the landing on the right, so three going up the stairs, then a fellow Unraveller who wasn't in our cabin, and the three women next to her in darker colors. My cabinmate who reminded me a lot of Kath is below them sitting on her friend's lap in green with a green scarf. And the last one who was able to make the photo is on the far left corner in the very front. So many beautiful and talented women! I miss them all!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Still settling and processing

I promise I'll do more than just post pictures of Squam:) But it was a profound experience and I'm still unfolding in it and finding the words. So far you haven't seen any people, but they were truly the heart and soul of the weekend. I loved walking along this main road through the Deephaven side of camp with my friends and also sometimes just with the chipmunks. It truly was a deep haven for my soul.

Monday, September 20, 2010

I had the time of my life!

Squam totally exceeded all expectations! Cannot wait to share more with you once I'm settled in...

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Heading out

Photo by Tanya Composto Dvorak

Fare thee well, Squam! Just a last breakfast and on the road for a flight out from Newark later today. But I know I'll be savoring lots of amazing memories! And it sure will feel good to snuggle tonight in my own bed with my sweetie!!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Squam, Day Four

Anyone who knew me as a young person will probably be surprised by this last workshop. Yep, instead of trying to sneak in at least one visual arts class, I went for "Savoring Gratitude," a restorative yoga class with Michelle Smith. I know! It's like I figured out I have a body or something:)

A gentle restorative yoga class, this is the ultimate in relaxation. Challenging only in its quietness, it is a spiritual experience of turning inward and acknowledging the layers of self.

You will be guided into poses that are held for a time and allow you to open deeply, but you are comfortably propped with blankets, bolsters and pillows.

Enjoy some aromatherapy, thoughtful meditation, gentle touch and readings from inspiring writers. It is a time of peace, reflection and gratitude. Accessible to all with open mind and heart.

This class is held in the spectacular setting of the Dragonfly Barn that looks out directly at Whiteface mountain-- a genuine Shangri-la.

Doesn't that just sound like paradise?

Then there's a nice long lunch to linger over and a reception for "Vision of Squam" at the Sandwich Artisans Gallery that we'll likely be carpooling to. And then I'll grab a quick dinner and set up my table for the Squam Art Fair, where I'll be selling these:

And these:

Looking forward to it!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Squam, Day Three

I'm really excited about today's workshop, although I'm not exactly sure where in my life I'll be applying it. I don't have a specific instance in my life where I want a big change. Maybe just in my attitude about the beautiful, abundant life I have. Abundant being a nice way of saying Just Too Much:) So, today's all-day workshop is "Graceful Transitions" with Helene Finizio:

Learn how to move through the challenges of our lives with grace and comfort.

This full-day workshop is designed to explore the areas of your life where you would like to see positive transformation. Together we will explore the power of awareness and intention; we will learn how to release limiting perceptions that may be holding you back from enjoying your best life.

We will learn simple and effective tools that will not only help to connect you with your natural strengths and vitality, but that will continue to serve you long after you have returned home from Squam.

When I wrote this post several days ago, the weather for today was the most likely to be cloudy and a little rainy. Seems perfect for some introspection. And of course, there will be lots of delicious food and time for good conversation. Ah!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Squam, Day Two

Photo by Jen Lemen

So today the actual workshops begin and I have the loveliest day of two workshops with Jen Lee. Yes! Jen Lee! I mean, that alone is worth the price of admission, right?:)

In the morning I'm coming the closest to a class you'd expect to take at an art workshop. I mean, at least it's a writing class, sort of: "Storycatching".

There is a way in which stories bring us together. A way in which we sometimes find our own voice in a chorus. If you are on a journey of finding your voice or telling your story, in this class you will find out why you don't have to go it alone. You will learn how to have story catchers and how to be a story catcher.

This class alternates inspiring storytelling and instruction with journal exercises (a chance to slip outside by the water) and engaging group discussion in a comfortable living room setting.

You will learn about access points to courage and cycles of belief. You will find that your stories are a gift and a generous offering. You will discover how to walk the journey hand-in-hand.

Pretty great! And then in the afternoon I'm back for more with "The Care and Keeping of Creative Souls":

Doing creative work is a distinctive kind of journey. Creativity has its own cycles and seasons, its own storms to weather and sunny days to celebrate. This class introduces you to ways of caring for yourself (and your friends) along the journey that are both practical and profound. It will give you tools for navigating the terrain of a creative life.

Well-cared-for artists are prolific artists.

Come join us and learn how to get unblocked and untangled, how to keep yourself healthy and balanced all along the way.

Then a lovely dinner and there's a coffee house in the evening. What more can a girl ask for?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Squam, Day One

So today Karen and I will be driving up to the fall Squam Art Workshop, which is held at the Rockywold-Deephaven Camp on beautiful Squam Lake, where they filmed On Golden Pond.

After registering and settling in to our cabin, we'll have dinner and then there's an opening ceremony, which I believe includes a talk by James D. Griffieon, gentleman of elegant leisure, who shares his world over at Sweet Juniper. And then I think we'll have a bonfire and a performance by Jonatha Brooke (who is also teaching workshops).

I've fallen in love with this Jonatha Brooke song:

Doesn't she seem like fun?:)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I'm headed to Squam!

I can't believe I'm headed to Squam today! I've been looking forward to this all year. In fact, if I'm honest, Squam really is my word for 2010:) If you want to know more about it, there's a description of the Squam Art Workshops here and a fun video to watch:

Today I fly to Newark, to meet up with a new friend early tomorrow morning and drive up to New Hampshire. I'm writing a bunch of advance posts, just to give you a general idea of what I'll be doing each day, but I'll be sure to share my own real experiences of Squam when I'm back next week. Hope you have a great week!

Monday, September 13, 2010

More good stuff

I always enjoy receiving Ocean of Dharma Quotes of the Week emails. This past week's was:


"The journey of working with fear takes place slowly and repeatedly as you go along the path. You may have many reruns: big reruns and then smaller reruns. Each time you experience fear, you reexperience and reconnect with the whole idea of genuineness, further and more completely. Fear will definitely arise in your life. Therefore it's crucial to understand how to combat that fear by going further into it and then coming out."

~From "The Other Side of Fear" in Smile at Fear: Awakening the True Heart of Bravery, page 108.

If you enjoyed this quotion, you might be interested to know that the October 15-17 Smile at Fear retreat with Pema Chodron can be attended via live webcast. Learn more here. Needless to say, I'm so virtually there!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

five (really) good things

Here are five (really) good things I enjoyed yesterday:

1. Sleeping until I woke up on my own, fully rested

2. Buying this totally delicious soap that I wanted to strap to my face and smell all day long

3. Watching Big Night (streaming on Netflix)

4. Watching Bright Star (streaming on Netflix)

5. Saying this is enough

Last week was pretty exhausting, but these five things really helped fill the well, and I'm feeling more myself than I have in a while. A big thanks to the lovely Liz Lamoreux for her inspiring list!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Six word story 14

He lets his love shine on.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Love the mystery

Bless my invisible friends who guided me to this lovely and fun video! (Yes, it is all about poetry for me these days. And it looks like this is my 300th post if Blogger is to be believed. Thank you for joining me on this journey!)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A beautiful mess

You wouldn't think a librarian would like it so much, but I watched the video on this page with a huge smile on my face. Keri Smith's work tends to set my spirit free. (Sorry I wasn't able to imbed the video, it just wasn't going for it and I'm not smart enough to make it.)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A smile

If you've ever wondered about the power of smiling at strangers, Thirteen Conversations About One Thing is the movie for you. Again, not streaming on Netflix and my copy froze in the middle of probably the most pivotal scene, but I can't get it out of my mind. The writer/director Jill Sprecher said this about her inspiration for part of the storyline: "I moved to New York from Wisconsin and really loved the city and something happened that sort of dampened my enthusiasm for New York and I kind of had to find my way back. So the very end scene in the film is also based on the experience that happened to me on the subway and I was crying and I noticed a guy look at me and smile right at a time when I thought people were callus." Yes, a smile can inspire a movie! (Sorry about another film post - if you're getting the picture that I'm currently Netflix's biggest customer you're not far from the truth...)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Calling you to the Bagdad Cafe

You may have recognized one of my favorite films in my pile of lounging materials last month. It had been years since I'd last watched it and as soon as this song started I remembered how much I'd always loved it. Hope you do, too.

You can read more about the movie here. Unfortunately, Bagdad Cafe is only available on DVD from Netflix at this time, but I think it's worth the wait.

And while you're waiting, you might enjoy this lovely movie from Scotland (I love the accents!) that I fell in love with over the weekend, On a Clear Day, which is currently streaming:

Monday, September 6, 2010

What do I most want?

You don't have to be a writer to get something out of this inspiring talk. Wowza!

A big Thank You to Laura Munson for posting this talk on her wonderful blog, These Here Hills.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Elephants and friends

You may never have suspected that 70 miles from where we live is the largest elephant refuge in the United States. Tennessee is a constant surprise. They don't allow visitors and they have a very sweet and respectful attitude toward the rescued and retired elephants that they serve. Apparently elephants form tight friendships, usually with other elephants, but you may have heard about Tarra, whose best friend is Bella, a dog. Fun footage here:

You can see more about their story by clicking here. And you can learn more about the Elephant Sanctuary here. They even have an EleCam!

Saturday, September 4, 2010


I was so inspired by this great list on Marianne Elliott's blog. Thought you might enjoy it, too. She calls it "Not a manifesto, just a list of 10 things I've learned lately."

Friday, September 3, 2010

You Kill Me

Another Netflix streaming hit! And maybe Justin would even like this one?:) I loved it.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Gentle Forbearance

August 27, 2010
Tricycle Daily Dharma
Gentle Forbearance

The first aspect of patience is gentle forbearance. We may be the exhausted parent of a child who is having a fit over some baffling homework; perhaps patience in this case means taking a few deep breaths instead of yelling in frustration. Or we may be on the verge of making a brilliant retort to a coworker, but we hold our tongue rather than say something hurtful. Even though our impatience is triggered, we can tap into the deeper reservoir of our motivation not to do harm. Gentle forbearance may feel difficult—even contrived—because it doesn’t constitute true acceptance of how things are. But it is nonetheless a critical aspect of patience because it helps us restrain ourselves long enough to determine the most skillful action for the moment.

- Michele McDonald, "Finding Patience"

This daily dharma landed in my mailbox last week at just the right time. I'm putting it here for safekeeping - to keep me, and everyone around me, safe:) Italics mine.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Lush Life

Such a beautiful, evocative song.