Monday, April 18, 2011

Monday Inspiration Celebration: Gratitude

Acknowledging abundance (Aparigraha), we recognized the blessings in everything and gain insights into the purpose for our worldly existence. (Nischala Joy Devi, interpretation of Sutra II:39 from Patanjali's Yoga Sutras)

I am sitting here sipping a well deserved hot chocolate: it has a long day ... it is 46 degrees outside, the weather forecast for the week ahead is rainy and cold and I just spent 20 minutes listening to Chinese zither music with Cowgirl as a wind down from a marathon evening (the girl loves her zither music ... it is bizarre ... but she also loves greasy chicken skin - not the chicken mind you, but oh my, that crispy skin! So there you have it.) I ran around after work trying to find items for the bag lunch Cowgirl required for a school field trip to a farm tomorrow (everything had to be disposable) only to discover the trip has been canceled because of the rainy forecast. I tried a new recipe for dinner - a spin on shepherd's pie only all vegetarian. Meaning: lots and lots and lots of chopping, steaming, boiling, baking for a ten minute meal choked - oh yeah, choked - down and then an equally arduous time cleaning up. Then on to bath time, bed time and the zither music.

And that was the good part of my day!

Actually, my day took a turn when I was walking the dog and noticed a small package was on the front porch. Did I order something from Etsy while under the influence of Wal-itin (my Walgreen's knock off of Claritin)? Immediately glancing at the return address my heart skipped a beat - " A Secret Admirer"?

Imagine my surprise when I discovered this inside:

Ah ... I know that lotus flower ... I know that handwriting ... I know I am in for a very, very special treat and dear Kristen, you did not disappoint!

Family Tree by Kristen Walker

I am not exaggerating ... this unexpected gift revived my flagging spirits, it reminded me that goodness and abundance and love are the foundation of this Universe, and that giving and sharing and receiving are our natural tendencies. And now I marvel at what was my reading for this day "The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up." (Mark Twain)

This one act of generosity set my mind turning towards all the other gifts of inspiration that have been washing my way. Sarah Ahearn Bellemare's new book Painted Pages arrived over the weekend and I am in heaven! I love how she explains her process; the influence of poetry and photography in her mixed media pieces; and how she uses her sketchbook as a both a record of her creative process and as a tool to collect and hold ideas, thoughts, and insights. It is both a visual diary and a creative laboratory and I am excited to dig into the process.

I immediately pulled out my book of Pablo Neruda's "Odes to Common Things" and spent a lovely few hours yesterday making this piece as a thank you to an unsuspecting new friend:

I am also grateful for the steady arrival of art postcards spicing up my trips to the mailbox. So far I have received 8 out of 10 cards from ihanna's international swap.

It has been lovely connecting with new artists through their cards, via email thank-yous and checking out their blogs. So far I have receive cards from Finland, Sweden, Norway, England, Argentina and the U.S. I love the pull out message in this card:

art postcard by SNARLing

And of course, this one really spoke to me

art card by Laura Varela

I am a lover of noses :)

All of this reminds me that whenever I am feeling a bit weary, the best medicine is to stop whining, stop wringing my hands, just stop and look around. Abundance quietly awaits my attention and it is pretty awesome and often colorful, creative stuff.

And the insight into my purpose? I'm not certain, but I am pretty sure Joy is heavily involved. I mean, if happiness is a warm puppy, joy is a wet nose.

And now my cocoa is cold ... but warm is my heart with all these lovely wishes surrounding me.


  1. So much wisdom and beauty here! Oh, and I'm so glad I'm not the only person who work and works on choke-down-able dinners:)

  2. That polaroid is amazing!Which film are you using? And oh how difficult it is to honor the mundane,the everyday. . .Good thing we have Pablo Neruda to remind us! :)

  3. i am using The Impossible Project's Push film ... I think it will be fantastic when sunlight finally returns to my part of the world! It is a bit unstable ... but there are tricks ...

  4. It is such an amazing world we live in filled with wonderful and creative people. I am so glad that through blogging we can find a way to help each other even though most of the time we have never met.

    Although the hot chocolate sounds great, I hope spring comes to your part of the country soon. There is nothing that lifts the spirits like sunshine and flowers. Have a wonderful week.

  5. Lovely post Lis, I love seeing all your cards. The one with the pullout is great and the nose one too! This swap is probably one of the favorite of all I have done. It so fun getting all the mail, when it stops I really miss it.

  6. You see Lis you are so filled with so much matter how you share it it's there always. It doesn't surprise me the amount of goodness and abundance and love that is all around many beautiful things...I feel full and LOVE that quote about people will remember how you make them true. To me happiness is surely a warm puppy and joy it that wagging wags in time with my heartbeat

  7. I am always delighted, amazed, inspired and a little bit overwhelmed by all the many wonderful thoughtful celebratory and insightful things you say and do.
    I am always stunned a little bit by how wisely and deeply you speak and how gently and respectfully you share your insights, your thoughts your feelings and your experience. I love coming to visit and always leave with something new to think about and smile about .

  8. This is my first time visiting with you. I love everything about your blog. I’m so looking forward to coming back soon.

  9. Lovely lovely lovely Lis, thank you lots and lots for your latest comment on my blog, as always it made my day. I'm glad that I reminded you of Frida and yes, cat paws are something very special indeed. I am crossing my fingers for you that spring happens soon, you deserve so much sunlight and new growth to recharge your batteries xxx

  10. Abundance! Abun-dance! Thank you for reminding me to stop and take a look around - to see all the goodness that surrounds me daily. That turns my hear to joy. Abundance was my theme in DEEP and I deeply needed this reminder. Thank you!

  11. i love dog noses!!!

    what a great surprise- the only thing that might have been better is if it was from a secret admirer. i've never had a secret admirer in my life, but it always sounded so romantic!

  12. wow. beautiful. bringing me to tears. so glad to connect. thank you for your positivity and beautiful poignant writing

  13. this is such a beautiful and reminding post. Thanks for sharing. It all sounds exciting in amongst the tougher times . . . .

    Just wanted to say also, that I saw this quote on the london underground the other day and I couldn't remember it and then I discovered it here, thanks to you. Hope you don't mind but as a result I linked to you today on my latest blog post, just to let you know :)