Saturday, July 30, 2016

the zen of things

I’m not a practicing Buddhist but I’ve always believed in their teachings that suffering and disappointment are caused by our expectations and attachment to things and ideas. Over the years I’ve tried to incorporate this philosophy into my life, sometimes successfully and sometimes not. But something interesting is happening to me lately, I’m feeling very content. I’m usually wary of saying such things so knock wood. They say there are seasons to life and maybe this is the season of my content because lord knows there have been many of discontent.

Perhaps this blog which is more like a journal for me is helping sort out my thoughts because I look back at things I’ve written and think that’s not quite what I meant. It’s hard for me to put my feelings into words.

My new state of mind may also have something to do with aging. For a while we fight the notion of getting old and then realize that it’s inevitable so we might as well get on with life and do what we can. Or maybe it’s a combination of things.

I’ve been spending more and more time in my studio, designing and fabricating my jewelry, and I’ve become aware of this new lightness of being. It happens while I’m doing the most simple of things like shaping or filing a piece of silver. And without realizing it I become part of what I’m doing. My mind aligns to the movement. I give no meaning or label to these sensations. I accept my thoughts and release them. No judgment. I’m in the moment.

It’s not the only time this happens. This may sound crazy but there are some days when I choose to do the dishes by hand instead of placing them in the dishwasher. Filling the basin with water and watching the suds rise from the squirt of dish soap and then dipping my hands into the warmth and cleaning each glass, each plate and each cup, I become one with it.

And so I’ve realized that if you don’t attach an outcome and an expectation that an activity or event must make you feel a certain way and you do away with your definition of things; making art, washing the dishes, going for a walk or pulling weeds; they all become the same. I’m someplace out there but still here. Each activity just is and I just am. Mindful. Aware. And maybe that’s the reason for my contentment…I’m letting go. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

the story of things

My favorite part about a small business website I visit is the “about” page. I love to know who’s behind the item/object I’m considering buying. I call it the story behind the story. Who is the person? What are they about? It’s also the reason I like to read their blog. It allows me to know them on a personal level not just a commercial one.

I don’t know about you but I’ve become more particular about the things I buy. There’s a real movement right now about tiny houses, minimalism and over consumerism. I personally don’t think there’s anything wrong with owning stuff, I’ve just become more mindful of my purchases and like to think there’s meaning in what I own. I would rather own a couple of really nice handbags than dozens of cheaply made ones, same with shoes (although this is a personal weakness…I love shoes). I also prefer to buy handmade. There is something wonderful about owning things that enrich our lives and make us feel connected to our environment and to each other.  A beautiful painting that you purchase from a local craft show that greets you every night when you get home from work can lift your spirits. A hand made quilt at the foot of your bed in your favorite colors does more than keep you warm. I’ve tried to surround myself with these kinds of things, things that express my aesthetic and keep me grounded, and I believe that is what drives me to be a designer and artist. If I can make someone feel special when they wear one of my necklaces, well then what more can a person ask for?