Archive for the ‘Magic’ Category

happiness  | ˈhapēnis | noun – good fortune; pleasure; contentment; joy.

attitude-gratitude-8054

On December 21st, my friend Dawn had a party in celebration of the Mayan calendar. There were lots of “end of the world” parties around town, but Dawn wanted to create a different sort of party. She wanted to celebrate the possibilities of new beginnings in each of our lives. I’m glad she did.

Dawn gave us all a plastic container she had decorated and asked each of us to write something we were grateful for or felt joy about each night before going to bed, then put it in the plastic tub. Well, I wasn’t groovin’ to the tub but, I had a beautiful tin box my friend Nancy had given me one year for my birthday that was made by a local tinsmith. This seemed to be the perfect receptacle for gratitude and joy.

Each night since, with the exception of a couple here and there, I have written my daily gratitude or joy, folded the paper and dropped it in my box. I am noticing that I feel happier, more joyful and laughing a lot more. I see more of the beauty that surrounds me and I feel more positive and content about life. Little things that would bother me or drive me crazy now seem less important. Life has become a joyful flow of creativity and wonder. For this, I am eternally grateful.

So, here’s my question to you. What makes you happy? What small thing do you do each day to bring more joy, gratitude and purpose into your life? And please, feel free to share. You never know when something you are currently doing might help someone you have never met.

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creativity |ˌkrē-āˈtivitē| noun –  1) the state or quality of being creative.  2) the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc; originality, progressiveness, or imagination.  3) the process by which one utilizes creative ability.

My joy-filled Nicho

My joy-filled Nicho

My husband often to tells me the way to see your soul is to stand on the threshold of the precipice and stick your neck out. Yesterday, I decided to do just that. I went to a class with Anado McLauchlin to learn how to make nichos. What a wonderful day it was!

First, let me say that I have never seen myself as particularly creative, even though I have a creative job. I thought everyone else was more creative than I. That anything I created could be done by anyone, I and my creativity were nothing special. This year, I am changing that. My resolution for this new year is to do something creative everyday, no matter what it is or looks like. It could be something as simple as making an amazing meal, making new business cards for my clients or shooting a cool picture, any and all things are up for grabs. I am changing the way I view creativity. And so far I’ve been doing pretty good.

When I read about Anado’s class, I instinctively knew I had to do it. I knew that being in his class, in his studio with all the amazingly creative people he attracts was the perfect thing I needed to kick-start this new year. I needed a creative injection so too speak and I was not disappointed. The joyful and fun energy of his class was incredibly contagious. I was energized, my creativity was flowing and I was happy. That’s the bottom line, I was happy. I experienced a completely different form of happiness in my creativity. I learned that creativity is fun and that’s a wonderful thing!

In my own studio, I’m always second guessing myself…thinking that my work looks like a “hot mess”. Even when people say they like what I am working on, I can’t see what they see. And it depresses me. Yesterday, I didn’t feel that way at all and when I was stuck, I didn’t go into that depressive way of being, I asked for help. I never thought to say to myself that everyone else is more creative than I. And that was amazing. I was able to step out of my box and see how joyful and wonderful my creativity can be when I let go of those crazy thoughts of second guessing myself or wishing I were more… well more everything positive that I think I’m not.

The reality is that we are all creative in one way or another even though we don’t think so. We all have different ways of being with our creativity that let our imaginations flow and that is key. A great way of doing that is taking a day to step out of our boxes we have put ourselves in and letting our creativity have a field day. Now THAT is way cool!

To see how Anado manifests his own wonderfully unique and joyful creativity, please visit his website at www.madebyanado.com or friend him on facebook.

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The day started out sunny, very exciting, then turned cloudy and rainy. We weren’t quite sure what to do but, Den suggested we take a trip to Giverny to see Monet’s garden. Especially since it was one of my top 3 things I wanted to do while in Paris and our days here are dwindling down. We checked the train schedule, bought our tickets and headed out the door. We were getting out of town. Didn’t matter if it rained, we are empowered with umbrellas and raincoats. Besides, a day in the country would do us some good!

We made our way to Gare St. Lazare and boarded our train. We noticed right away how silent the train is, it was unbelievable. The cars were clean and beautiful, seats were comfortable and I even had a little foot rest. Cool! The trip itself was quick and easy, we spent most of the time looking at one of my ipad apps about Paris, trying to decide what to do with the precious few days we have left. Before we knew it, we were in Vernon. And so far, the weather was holding up. Cloudy but no rain, a good omen.

We grabbed a cab and set off for Giverny, it was only a few kilometers away and we wanted to get there as quickly as possible. You can, however, take a bus, a tour or walk. I’ve done the walk both ways before, and after a long day of shooting, you’re bone tired. There were vast fields of amazing yellow flowers, as far as the eye could see. Den asked the driver to stop and he got out to take pictures. I stayed in the car, I was a little worried about the memory cards I had. They have rapidly gotten full and I wanted to save the space for Monet. After Den’s picture excursion, we continued on.

All I can say is wow, Monet created a beautiful vision of loveliness. It’s one thing to see the house and gardens on the internet, it’s another thing entirely to see them in person. We toured his home first. He had such an amazing eye for color. Each room painted differently either in a single hue or combination, including the furniture The dining room was lemon yellow, the sitting room robins egg blue with darker blue details (even the grandfather clock!), Japanese wood blocks covered the walls. His studio was large, airy and divided into two parts with reproductions of his paintings covering the walls.  I thought it was interesting that Monet’s bedroom was large and airy, with 3 big windows to view the gardens while his wife’s room was smaller with a little window looking over the street side of the house.

Now the gardens! Even on a cloudy day with a little sun and drizzle, they were spectacular. Tulips, so many different varieties, so many colors, they leave me speechless! At this point, I think it’s best if I let the pictures speak for themselves. Please remember, none of these are color-corrected. That will happen when I get home. For now, just enjoy the slideshow.

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I never made it to Versailles. It was one of those days that unfolded itself and led me through the labyrinth of  surprises. First off, I just couldn’t get moving to save my life. So instead of pushing, I let go. Versailles is one of those places that requires a full day, not a half day. It’s huge, beautiful and grand, you don’t want to rush it. I decided to walk until I found a metro station.

cheesy deliciousnessOn my way, I passed the cheese shop, then the charcuterie…by this time my mouth was watering. All those beautiful meats, pâtés and cheeses. And weren’t we talking the other night about how we hadn’t had any of those yet? Well, that was going to change tonight! I mean come on, you can’t come to France without eating cheese and pâté, why it’s….uncivilized! I made a mental note of the locations so I could stop on the way home. Finally I came upon a metro station, checked the maps and decided today was going to be another cemetery day. We hadn’t really explored the whole of our neighborhood so, being the cemetery freak I am, I thought Montparnasse Cemetery it is.

Pere Lechaise and Montparnasse are very different. Pere Lechaise is a riot of chaos, wild roots and decaying stones. It oozes and drips with history as it rushes up the hill, while leaving parts of itself down below. Montparnasse on the other hand is more along the lines of orderly modernity with a bit history mixed in. It’s flat with everything more or less in it’s place, a smattering of old and new neatly placed together. Now this doesn’t mean it’s easier to find who you’re looking for in Montparnasse, I spent the better part of 2 hours looking for Man Ray’s grave, I must have walked around or near it 20 times! Not until they began to ring the bell for people to leave did I find it. And to tell you the truth, I expected it to be more…”artsy” than it was, I was a little disappointed. There were other artists and non-artists, there that I found a lot more interesting, even vivacious and carefree, if you will.

My mom loves gizzards and through her, I learned to love them too. Imagine my surprise when I discovered a restaurant today that served an incredible green salad with gizzards and smoked duck, it was fabulous, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I’ve never had gizzards like that, they were tender and succulent, melt in your mouth and with the added delight of duck, oh my! If only I can figure out how they cooked them. That was only the beginning of my food day! On the way home, I picked up a duck pâté, 4 different cheeses (a cow, a sheep, a goat and a blue), pots de crème (a coffee and a chocolate) and french bread. For dessert, we have lemon meringue tart and some bit of chocolate deliciousness. Yes, I’m going to need to diet when I get home. And I have to say right here and now, when I walked into the cheese shop, the aroma was overwhelmingly delicious, I hadn’t smelled those smells since I lived in New York. Wow, the choices were almost too much to bear!

So, I want to leave you with a little nugget. There were little signs in Montparnasse people left on some of the graves, they said regret. It kind of nailed home to me, we sometimes have regrets when loved ones die. And I realized, I want to die with as few of these as possible.

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Yesterday morning we awoke to beautiful, glorious sun. The park across the street was filled with sun hungry Parisians most of the morning, even a guy laying in the grass, soaking up the rays. Seemed like people were relieved to be done with the rain for a bit. I strolled down d’Alesia to run errands and people watched the whole way. I enjoyed myself immensely.

Later in the day, we took the subway to Pere Lechaise, one of the coolest cemeteries I have ever been to. The reality is that Pere Lechaise is the reason I like to visit them in the first place. I am fascinated with the way in which people wish to be remembered. And in Pere Lechaise, remembrance truly comes to life. Buried there is Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde, Maria Callas, Chopin just to name a few and many others I don’t know. The graves here are full of creativity and meaning. I urge you to check their website for a wonderful little tour, click on the little crosses and see who you can find, double click and see their graves.

We caught a little rain as we were touring the cemetery but, it wasn’t a big deal, it only lasted 20 minutes and we had our trusty umbrellas. Somehow, I thought it was fitting the rain began as we were looking for Jim Morrison’s grave. I came here 20 years ago and at the time, you could sit around and pay your respects. However, the bust that used to sit on his grave has been stolen twice and people have been writing on the graves nearby. As a result, a barrier has been erected to keep everyone at a respectful distance. And at this point, even the nearby tree is being decorated with chewing gum! Personally, I think the tree is pretty cool, sort of a mass art project befitting a troubled artist.

After walking through, what I know was an extremely small part of the cemetery, it was time to go. The tenders were ringing the bell, letting everyone know it was time to leave. The cemetery, by the way, closes at 6pm.

On our way to the subway, we saw a really cool metal sculpture…four women painted green holding a cover over their heads. Coming from the cover was pure, stream fed water. We were encouraged to fill our empty water bottles. The water itself was smooth and delicious, quite tasty! We were later told these fountains are in various locations around the city and if we see one, fill up.

Today being May day or labor day in France, many places will be closed. As my friend Carol said, “any place that can be closed, will be closed.” So we plan on visiting places that we think will most likely be open and visit the oldest part of the city. We’re thinking maybe Place Vosges, Sacre Cour or Notre Dame. Not quite sure yet as the day is still young.

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I feel a creative surge coming on. One that feels a lot like waking up.

I was thinking about it today, I’m about to take a trip that fills me with such joy, wonder and the possibility of magic… yes, magic. And I know it’s going to be an amazing adventure.

I get to delve into a world of just observing… choosing… allowing myself to feel a place that has always filled me with delight. They call it the city of lights, I call the city of magic. You never know what you’re going to see around the corner, down the hall or in the garden.

It’s a lot like life.

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