Thursday, April 15, 2010

Full Heart/heavy ♥

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.


  1. Yes Shiva's dance can be both beautiful and horrendous. But... on the beautiful side of things - your tote turned out spectacular! Good for you! :-)

  2. Your heading said it all - full heart/heavy.
    Our world is so small really - so much suffering around the world touches us all the time now. We nee to do what we can and like you do, hold tightly and treasure the ones we love.
    God bless.

  3. This is a beautiful post, all the way around. So many words I want to share, and yet you've said it all. It was delightful chatting with you this evening...I hope tomorrow brings more Yoga and creative fun.

  4. So beautiful. You, your life, your big open heart, your gorgeous Cowgirl, your gift to this world...and me.

    Big hugs!

  5. Love the bag! I only do emergency sewing, no amount of patience is in me for the steps to put something like this together so I bow to you. The Red Cross is usually one of the first organizations to set up shop when tragedies such as earthquakes strike. And I know I can trust them when I send them my money. Fully breathing in our kids is a gift. It is an honor to be trusted with their souls. I try to remember that daily as well.

  6. Yes, yet another tragedy for people in this world to cope with, each one bringing back memories of the other recent ones. On a brighter note your tote bag is gorgeous, and no-one would have known the flower in the corner is covering up an imperfection if you hadn't said - it looks so 'right' there! I also am a sewing machine novice and find straight lines tricky. I've had the machine 12 years but have never overcome my fear of it!

  7. My prayers are with the people of Quihai.

    I love your tote. It's lovely. It's good to challenge ourselves. It helps us to grow.

  8. Really enjoyed our girls get-together online last night! So fun to meet such enchanting new souls. Beautiful post. Your Cowgirl is absolutely precious!!!!! Your tote...... adorable. I just picked up 4 used quilting books for 75 cents a piece. Cant wait to settle in and look thru them. I sew, but have never quilted. I'm really feeling a connection with Reiki and Art, and I really want to let that energy reveal itself in a quilt. xo Sandy

  9. If I was living in tragedy, it would help just to know someone on the other side of the world cried for my pain.

  10. i have been put off sewing because i'm more of a big picture person than details. i notice details, just don't like working with them. but me recent creativity re-emergence of splashing paint around seems to have allowed me space for the balance of detail - hence manadalas i never would have done just months ago.

    your bag came out wonderfully, can't believe you're not a sewing person!

    the quake was horrendous, heartbreaking, and we've only recently had the devastation of the one in Hiati. a friend's husband has been there the whole time.