Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Weekly Reflection (Week 17): Forgetting and Remembering

What details am I overlooking in my life? How do I commit to paying attention?

"Attention is the most concrete expression of love. What will you pay attention to today?"
Karen Maezen Miller, Hand Wash Cold

We are big story tellers in our family. The husband excels in oral stories created on the fly while driving in the car, during bedtime or bath time and whenever there is a gap that needs embellishment. I am less spontaneous than he is and my stories are steeped in the history of our family: tales about my parents, myself as a child and the early days of our new family with Cowgirl. Cowgirl has become an excellent story teller and she blends our two styles: wildly fantastic stories of us as super heroes or dinosaurs transplanted into our daily lives. She has a regular cast of characters which includes an imaginary friend, Binker, and his nemesis, Not-Listening Binker. (Actually, Binker has morphed into Listening-Binker just to keep things straight.) Not-Listening Binker's antics are akin to Aesop's fables with clear cut messages about acceptable and naughty behavior that always result in appropriate consequences.

We have a half hour drive to school every morning and often Cowgirl will tell me a series of stories for the entire drive (they seem like one long story, but she'll argue that point.) I have to be careful to listen closely because a "oh no" spoken at the wrong time (when a criminal - that's another word for bad guy she explained to me - gets punished) gets her all riled up and annoyed by my Not-Listening.

And I want to be listening for embedded in these stories are the details of who she is becoming. Today she was a rainbow colored dinosaur and I was all the colors except for purple but then I too became rainbow colored. I realized rainbow is now her favorite color. She has asked for a rainbow knit hat, rainbow poncho and a pair of jeans with - yes, a rainbow on the back pocket. She will consistently say blue is her favorite color, but I believe she has come to know that blue is her professed favorite color even though her taste is obviously changing. Or expanding. I found out from one of her friends that she also likes pink, although she would never tell me that. So I've become a super sleuth if you will in regards to knowing my daughter.

Where am I going with all of this? Nowhere and everywhere. The one constant in life is change and as a parent I am slapped in the face on a daily basis with this fact. My daughter is changing before my eyes and I do not want to miss a single moment of it. And while her changes are more dramatic, I too am changing whether I want to or not. So wouldn't it be wise to be more present for this journey?

Yesterday I mentioned Karen Maezen Miller's line about savoring the life I have and that quote rings out sharp and clear above the din of my life. I want to savor the details. I want to store up the details like shards of sea glass in a jar for a future day when the events of Cowgirl's childhood are as distant as the churning of the ocean surf. Yet I am aware that to cling too tightly to these memories leaves little room for new ones to arise. And so I want to see each moment like a drop of dew: appreciating the world held within each radiant globe while knowing in an instant that world will be gone.

I ask myself, how do I commit to paying attention? I find my art making keeps me alert and present to my life as it unfolds. Picking up my camera to capture a prosaic moment - Cowgirl waking up - I am celebrating and recording that detail. Elements from her stories - Moose as a flying fairy - make their way into my art journals and I process my emotions and experiences through writing.

But I am pausing to consider: what arises in my day that I may overlook, forget to savor until it has already passed by me? What are the details that enrich my life? What do I want to celebrate now?

So here is my list of the things that make me happy. For today anyway:

-Lazy days when the bed can stay unmade for a return nap and there is no "must do" on the agenda other than following our bliss and being spontaneous.

-Having my mother a non-toll phone call away. My entire adult life I have lived far from my family; now my mother is just minutes away.

-The routine of daily walks with Moose. Walking him has integrated our family with the neighborhood and has made me more aware of the changing seasons and cycles of life outside our door.

-Creative play. But you already knew that one!

-Girls' spa night. Every Thursday we celebrate in style.

-Color. Spring has me intoxicated by her rich display and I am inspired to be colorful in my art.

-Dandelions. Common, tenacious, joyful in spite of their weed status. Reminding me wishing is something I can do on a regular basis. And that I can grow where ever I choose to put down my roots.

-The sky. I live in a part of the country where the sky is wide and the view ever changing as clouds and storms can roll in quickly and the power and force of nature is always present.

- A pile of books waiting for me to read them (no picture - just words) ...

...and my art journals waiting for me to splash some life and love onto their pages.

-My Yoga practice. It is what I return to again and again for inspiration, support, clarity and guidance.

In composing my list, I also am acknowledging this beautiful award passed on to me by Janice back in April.

As Janice noted in her blog, this is a wonderful reminder for me to take time to count my blessings (10 things that bring me happiness) and then to pass this award on to other 10 bloggers who inspire me to live a mindful, creative and enthusiastic life.

I could say more but haven't I gone on long enough?

Juliette Crane
Dirty Footprints Studio

If you haven't visited these blogs, then you are in for a real treat! And the connection and community I feel here through blogging, online groups and ecourses is another gift I do not want to overlook. I have been inspired and empowered by what everyone is doing here and I want to share the magic!

So, do tell, what are you choosing to pay attention to today?


  1. you come across as very mindful, i can't imagine that you miss much. but part of being mindful is doing a little shake up and asking what we might be missing... but i think, only because we're so mindful of the other stuff. we can't take it all in, but connecting most moment by most moments does the trick.

    i also find that creating keeps me mindful and taking note of the world aroundme and the internal world too.

  2. Paying attention right here.

  3. how beautiful is this?
    especially ***** OMG GIRL'S SPA NIGHT *****
    every thursday?
    what an incredible gift for cowgirl.
    the little girl inside me is moved to tears over that one.

  4. Thanks so much for thinking of me. I feel inspired and happy to read your blog too. I love the photo of Cowgirl with your Mom. My son and I used
    to have out most important conversations in the car, so I so get that, and even though he is 24 now, we still talk every day, so keep it up!

  5. Thank you so much, Lis. Your comments mean so much to me and really keep me creating :)

    Best wishes to you! And see you in class!


  6. Lis - I love your life. I love the way you live your life. I love the photos of your life. Absolutely BEAUTIFUL.

    THANK YOU oh so much for the award - out of all of the blogs out there, I am truly honored!

    Please keep all of this loveliness coming...your photos inspire me to take better ones myself and your mindfulness with cowgirl? My children will only benefit from such living. MERCI!

  7. Oh yes, dandelions, I love them too for exactly those reason :)

  8. "I want to see each moment like a drop of dew: appreciating the world held within each radiant globe while knowing in an instant that world will be gone."

    this i am saving and pinning up as a reminder always...

    these are gorgeous words you have written that fill my soul with such emotion...i cam share so many of your feelings...savor is my word for the year and having this word to use and reflect upon my day to day has helped me to be more present and embrace the hours and minutes of my day to day...they grow so fast and it is so hard sometimes watching that time speed before you...i honor you as a mother and think your heart is ever true with your daughter, husband and your life...you are apart of their everyday recording and creating such beauty...wonderful you are...congrats on your award and to all those you have passed it along too...warm wishes and brightest blessings~

  9. Beautiful post. :)

    And here is Moose of barking pumpkin fame!

  10. What a beautiful, full life - it's always a delight and inspiration to visit your blog. Thank you! :)

  11. what a lovely post, so much goodness, you have a picture of a life lived well. what an honor to be a part of that group of 10 blogs! thank you Lis

    shona Cole