This morning I woke up enthused, excited and eager to open the windows of my heart to all the colors, scents and sounds of Spring. In reviewing photographs from my past week, I was taken by how vibrant my world is these days. Looking at the images that capture the content of my days, it was surprising to see how a commitment to Creating Every Day has manifested into - to borrow a name from an inspiring blog - an artful life.
Last week was Cowgirl's Spring break and we took full advantage of the extra time to create. We made flower jewelry and had a girls' luncheon out with Grandmother:
We spent a morning at the children's museum and Cowgirl took full advantage of a face painting station to give us both colorful makeovers:
Oh yes, I had two smiley people/faces on each cheek and could only clean off one before we left the museum to have lunch at a suitably busy restaurant.
I also gathered my courage and began to sew my poetry tote bag for The Artistic Mother group. It took all of my discipline and control to sit and carefully cut out the various fabric pieces I would need and to read through the instructions multiple times before starting. Not that it is a complicated project ... but I realized the reason I am not good at sewing (or baking) is that I lack the patience to methodically and precisely move forward. Cutting out 9 four in by four inch squares, I was like a kid at Disney land at the beginning of a sugar bender. I just want to dive right into things and see how it would all come together. I want to move and act and get into the process. The careful prep work is not my strength. That said, I think I can learn a lot about patience and focus from sewing ...just with small projects that come together sooner, rather than later.
Okay, so I sat down at the sewing machine and lined everything up and attempted to slowly begin the machine. The needle went up and down, the machine purred and ... nothing happened. Tried again and nothing. Then I realized I had not threaded the needle! Off to a good start, right? The patchwork pieces for the front of the bag came together fairly easily. Sewing the rows together, well, a little "off" in one row but hey, I am embracing imperfection, right? Onward I went. I got sassy, I got confident, I was envisioning many more such bags in my future.
Well ... I can say I am inspired to make more bags although I think going a tad larger might be easier when it comes to sewing in the lining (this is info only those making the bag might understand: if your sewing machine does not detach from its base, then sewing "in the round" for the lining is tricky with that tiny opening.) And thankfully, I have my fabric flower from the previous week to pin over the more obvious glitch in my sewing (a corner is a little misshapen.) I discovered I sew like I bowl - despite attempts to be straight, I veer to the left. I also caught myself holding my breath, so maybe some yogic breathing practices will help me sew straighter. But I love the bag and do plan to make more - it is just so darn cute and the possibilities are endless. Even better there are two no-sew option tutorials on Shona's website.
So my heart is full from all these adventures; pushing myself to try new things, opening up space in the day for more play and silliness and celebration.
And then I went into work and checked out the news online and saw these pictures from Qinghai province in China where a 7.1 magnitude earthquake hit the region of Yushu county.
I have no words right now, I just know my heart is with all those whose lives have been turned upside down, who are living in pain, fear, uncertainty about their future and uncertainty as to the fate of their loved ones. Apparently many families in this region send their children away to be school and no one knows just yet the fate of those children. As a mother this is my biggest nightmare: to be separated from my child when something horrific happens. It is unbearable to consider - every instinct in me is programmed to protect and comfort and care for her and to not be there for her ... again, words fail me.
So my heart is heavy right now. If anyone knows how to donate directly to relief efforts in Qinghai province, please leave me a comment or a link. In the meanwhile, I will take my daughter out to play because that is a blessing I will not squander. And I will turn to my art journals because there I am finding a way to explore my feelings and to reconnect to meaning and hope and faith.
Today my heart weeps. I am aware more than ever of the continual dance of Shiva that describes individual and cosmic experience: creation, maintenance and destruction. To hold on, to live and love knowing this life is so very fragile and precious, that is the gift of heartache.