My Credo – a reshare

On June 11th, last year, I posted My Credo – It was created in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, of the thousands upon thousands who were marching and calling for change.

I am sharing it and what I wrote about it again as when I re-read it this morning, I had this deep sense of knowing — yes… this is true for me. This is what I want to create in this world.

For me, My Credo speaks to what I stand for, and against. It acts a guidepost against which I can measure every action, word and thought. And, it provides me with a safe and courageous container within which to grow and evolve so that I can give my all to creating better in this world.

Years ago, when I began my healing journey after being freed from an abusive relationship, I created a credo for how I wanted to live my life. It included statements like, “I shall turn up for me in all my wounded brokenness and love myself completely”.

It also included a statement on how I wanted to treat the past — as a bludgeon to beat myself up with or as the vehicle that brought me to this moment right now where I was free to heal and fall in love with myself and all my world and celebrate life for all I’m worth.

I chose to treat it as the vehicle that brought me to this moment right now. The past had served its purpose. It was time for me to let go of its pain and find a more loving, caring and roadworthy vehicle within which to continue my journey.

We cannot change the past. We can learn from it and grow deeper in our understanding of its impact on our lives today. And, we can use it as corroboration for what we need to do today to ensure tomorrow is not a repeat of a past we do not want to live again and again.

There is so much good in this world. So much beauty, possibility, hope, joy… And there is grief and sorrow, pain and suffering, violence and abuse.

It is all present. And always, no matter what is present, Love is always there.

To live by this credo, fearlessly letting all of my human condition be present, I must accept all is present. Light and dark. Fear and hope. Anger and sorrow. Suffering and joy. And I must love it all, fearlessly. Joyfully. Completely.

I am not powerful enough to change all the darkness in the world. I am powerful enough to determine how bright I want my light to shine. And I am powerful enough to shine as brightly as I can so that others can see in the dark and stand with me in the light.

Today, I am choosing to shine full on. Bright beams blasting.

I am stepping onto this road armed with My Credo. Yesterday, the decision to step onto the road to ask a man with a brick if he was ok, was what I had to do. The tenets of my credo were guiding me.

To be of service in creating change so that Indigenous people, all people, who live on this land now called Canada, are treated with dignity and respect, I must live by my credo. It is my map to creating a future where my grandchildren will know, the world into which they are born is not a place in which only they and others like them enjoy its’ privileges. It is a place where all the world enjoys the same privileges. Where all people have equal rights and are inspired to live freely and shine bright.

Namaste

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Do you have a personal Credo?

If you’d like to write one, here are some questions you can ask yourself to get started.

How to Beat Back Fear

Grow Wild – mixed media on canvas, 12 x 12″

Every time I sit at my studio table, stare at a blank canvas or page in an art journal, I feel the dark, dank tendrils of fear slithering up my spine. They scurry throughout the dendrites of my brain, plump with their insidiously sour whisperings about why I must stop. Now. Before I prove my worst fear true: I am inadequate to the task.

And every time I put paint brush to canvas or word to print or complete any task I set out to do fearing I can’t, I beat back fear.

Painting has taught me, I must feel the fear. See. it. Acknowledge it even. And then, I must transform it through taking action.

It doesn’t matter if the action leads to a ‘masterpiece’. What matters is, I stepped into the fray, faced my fears and forged on.

Creativity is the art of facing fear down with action. Action that takes you into the very territory fear is trying to keep you out of. Your fear of facing your magnificence, your beautiful self expression of your soul’s calling to be witness to all of life. Your fear of moving beyond your comfort zone. Of facing your fears, and the world. Your way. Wild and Free.

Perhaps, that’s what makes one person dive into their creativity while another will insist they don’t have any – the willingness to face fear again and again and again and still keep going.

Perhaps, it is our definition of ‘creativity’ that needs to expand so that we can all see how inherently creative it is to be human.

I have a friend who constantly says she is not creative, even though she is a marvelous cook, seamstress, friend. One of the things she does that always strikes me as an expression of her creative nature is to make beautiful meals for friends in moments of distress. She artfully packages each meal up with flowers and a beautifully penned note of support and delivers them to her friends in need. Yet, when I point out this is another viewpoint of creative expression, she brushes off my assertions with a, “That’s not very creative. It’s just what friends do.”

“Don’t you worry about intruding on their grief or pain?” I ask. (I have a fear of intruding when people are in moments of distress.)

“Sometimes,” she replies. “But I also know how much comfort someone feels when a friend turns up at their door with a gift of food and flowers when the last thing they can think about is what to make for dinner. So I do it anyway.”

See. Facing fear with action to create beauty, comfort, and ease in the world around you.

Yesterday, a friend picked up one of my paintings he’d purchased. One of his comments touched me deeply. “I love your art,” he said. “It’s so peaceful.” (Thank you BC)

I have never thought of my work as ‘peaceful’. Yet, when he said it, I felt the peace that consumes me when I face my fear of the blank canvas and lay down swathes of color and texture. Perhaps, that is what my friend sees and feels – the peace and joy within me, expressing itself outward onto the canvas.

The great Russian abstract painter, Vassily Kandinsky said, “Color is a power which directly influences the soul.”

I paint with color. It is an expression of my soul. It soothes my mind, my body, my being present.

It calms my fears and, even though I hadn’t realized it before, it stirs my courage awake. Awakened, I beat back fear. Not with angry words and protestations against its presence. But with the most loving, kind thing I can do for myself. Get creating.

And while I often don’t know where I’m going with a painting until I get there, the fastest route to get beyond my fear to find out where I’m going, is to let the colors lead my body into self-expression.

So thank you BC. Not just for your friendship and support of my work, but for your words. They touched me deeply and bring me great joy. And have given me a window into my own self-expression I hadn’t opened before. Much gratitude.

Namaste

Falling in love all over again.

One of my first loves was film.

As a child, my sister Anne and I would re-enact scenes from our favourite movie — especially The Parent Trap where we would each take on the role of one of the twins and spend hours recreating various scenes.

In my 40s, I studied screen-writing and had a script optioned. I also worked on various films, writing and producing documentary along with other pieces.

But it was hard. A single mother with two daughters, I had to make a living so I got a job and life kept moving on.

Over the past year, I’ve been coming back to my love of film-making. It has been a lovely gift to myself to edit videos both for my Dare Boldly Art and, as I most recently did, for my sister’s 70th birthday.

It gives me such joy!

Yesterday, I decided I needed to finish off my Learning to Fly art journal with a video of all the pages. Called a, ‘Flip Through’, the purpose is to show the body of work in its entirety.

And again, I had great fun.

I also created a page of all the quotes I’ve affixed to the pages and it was in that process I felt the shimmer of divine grace descending and wrapping me up in its mystery.

I honestly don’t remember where all the words came from. They just appeared as I immersed myself in the creative process.

Which brings me back to the joy of film-making.

Last night I attended my first board meeting for THIRD ACTion Film Fest which I recently joined. (Do check out the upcoming festival list! The films are amazing and you can watch them from the comfort of your living room or deck — it’s all online this year again!)

As we talked and went through the processes necessary to govern a film organization such as this, I was in awe of the talent around the ‘Zoom table’ as well as the passion and commitment of everyone there.

I also felt my creative juices spark and fire up and get all excited about an idea…

I’m not sharing it yet… ideas need time to germinate. But, I will say this… it’s the first screenplay I’ve tackled writing in 25 years.

I’m hoping it’s like riding a bike. The skills I learned in the two year screenwriting course I took way back when will reawaken and my natural gifts for story-telling will get all charged up and I’ll be on fire!

I am excited.

Which is why it felt so serendipity this morning when I gathered up all the quotes from my Learning to Fly art journal into one document and I discovered the path unfolding with my writing wings unfurling.

As they say in the screen-writing biz… CUT TO:

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This is the Flip Through video I worked on yesterday for my Learning to Fly art journal.

Did I mention how much I’m enjoying creating videos? No? Oh well… A LOT!!!!

Waiting out the storm

The morning started out cool, damp and gloomy yesterday. As the morning progressed, it didn’t get much better.

By the time Beaumont the Sheepadoodle and I went for our long walk, the temperature was still hovering close to freezing.

“I should dress warmly,” I told my rational self.

My irrational self had other ideas. “It’s late May,” that voice inside my head that loves to be contradictory insisted. “You shouldn’t have to bundle up.”

This is Calgary. Snow in May is not uncommon.

In 1986, when I was in the final weeks of my first pregnancy, (my due date was May 28) we were also in the final stages of finishing a renovation on our house. The back end was still covered in a big tarp as our contractor raced to complete construction before I gave birth.

Fortunately, my daughter decided to wait three weeks before putting in her appearance June 19th, but that’s a whole other story.

At the time, we were racing to finish the renovation when the weather decided we needed one last big dollop of winter. And I mean BIG TIME dollop. A HUGE dump of snow.

So yeah. Snow is not uncommon in Calgary in May.

Alas, it’s also not uncommon for my mind to decide it knows better, or to forget being obstinate is not necessarily a good thing.

Which is why, when Beau and I were walking on the path that wends its way through the woods along the river, I had to stop under a tree, pull the linen scarf I wore around my neck primarily for decoration, up over my head, and wait out the sleet that was almost snow. Note to self: linen scarves do not offer much protection from the elements.

Beau had no need to wait. Oblivious to the white stuff falling from the sky, he sniffed and snuffled through the grasses, bound over fallen logs and headed into the river for a drink.

By the time the sleet/snow stopped I was feeling mighty damp. Because I had told myself I didn’t need to wear my fleece lined rain jackiet, my sweater coat offered about as much protection as my linen scarf.

And none of that mattered.

As I stood under the canopy of the forest, I listened to the birds twittering and tweeting in the trees. A pair of Canada Geese honked as they flew overhead. Two ducks floated on the river just out of Beau’s reach. A squirrel complained vociferously about Beau’s presence on his turf. A woodpecker pecked on a tree trunk somewhere close by and the leaves whispered stories of their unfurling as the wind rustled through the branches.

It was magical. Mystical. Beautiful. And, I might have missed feeling, hearing, seeing, experiencing the sounds and sights of the forest so deeply had I not stopped under a tree to wait out the squall.

Which makes me wonder… how much beauty do I miss when I’m busy living my life as if getting to the next moment in time is all that matters? How much of the mystery and wonder do I not experience because I’m busy marching through inclement times determined to better life and get ‘this stuff’ over with so I can get to the ‘good stuff’?

Living on the river reminds me, every day, that it’s not about bracing myself to face every storm as if I can get the better of nature. Nor is it about trying to protect myself from life, or arm myself to avoid falling or getting wet.

It’s about listening to the calling of the trees, the birds and all of nature and allowing all of nature to unfold naturally, effortlessly, calmly, without my trying to control it.

And yes, it’s a good idea to put on a rain jacket when the skies are cloudy and grey. But it’s not the rain jacket that makes life beautiful and magical and full of awe. It’s your attitude.

Whether you storm head first into inclement weather, or wait it out under a tree, being present to all that is around you, savouring the moment full of the sights and sounds of nature, makes all the difference in the world, no matter the weather, or even how well you’re dressed for it.

Namaste.

Always Leave Heartprints

Before my mother met my father, she had every intention of becoming a nun. And then, this dark-haired fly-boy rode in on a southbound train and swept her off her feet.

Years later, when she was a couple of years older than I am now, I asked her if she had any regrets. “I regret leaving my mother and father in India,” she said. “I promised to always take care of them and I didn’t.”

She didn’t regret not taking her vows. Her life, while often difficult after leaving India, was full of her family. Though, after returning to Canada in the late 70s, she wished she still lived closer to her brothers and sisters, most of whom were in France.

But she was deeply devoted to her son and granddaughters and never wanted to be far from them. When my brother left this world in 1997, a year and a half after my father, she was shattered.

It is the one thing she struggled with for the rest of her life; to understand the tragedy of his death and the loss of all contact with her two eldest granddaughters which followed.

Yet, no matter how devastated she was by her losses, her faith never faltered and she never questioned God’s will.

I often admired my mother’s deep faith. It gave her such certitude and grace. There was no doubt in her mind that God would take care of her and in that certainty, she sometimes wondered about ‘the why’, she never questioned God’s Grand Design. She never felt alone because God was always with her.

On Friday, I attended the funeral of my friend Bev, Tamara’s mother.

It is in such heart-breaking moments that I wonder if I had faith such as my mother’s would my heart ache so much. Yet, I know it would because loss is not about faith. It’s about sorrow. And the only thing to ease sorrow, is Love.

Because of Covid, there were only 10 of us at the service. Tamara, her aunt, cousin and seven friends. We were seated far apart from each other, masks on, no opportunity to hug, to support one another, to share our love, stories and strength with her beautiful daughter.

I am so deeply grateful for the gift of being able to be there for Tamara and to wish Bev a safe passage in this, her final adventure. But, the restrictions of Covid felt so heavy and binding and so very uncomfortable.

What struck me most was the realization of how important ‘gathering’ is when someone’s physical body leaves this world. How being there to say one last good-bye is vital. As is being able to walk alongside their loved ones in close community, to support them and to love on them.

With Covid there, it made the loving on them more distant and remote.

When my cousin Linda succumbed to Covid April 30th of 2020, my cousins in France could not gather. I was saddened by how difficult those days were for them, but didn’t fully comprehend just how tragic it would have felt until Friday, when I left the gathering, got in my car and drove towards home.

It was a beautiful, warm spring day. The leaves were budding. People were out and about. The sky was crystal blue clear.

My eyes were cloudy. My heart heavy.

Not just for Tamara’s loss and pain. But also because, as we sat in the sanctuary and bid Bev good-bye, Covid was present in our midst simply because of its restrictions and we were unable to give the one thing I know we all seven friends wanted to give Tamara and her family. A hug.

And so, this morning, I know in my heart, I must chose to seek the value in all things. To find the beauty amidst the aches that cloud my heartfelt view of the world on this beautiful spring morning.

This ache is a reminder to savour the moment and to treasure those I love and let them know how very, very deeply I love them and their beautiful gift in my life.

To live life with passion, purpose and presence.

To give. Love. Laughter. Compassion. Hope. Kindness.

Freely. Completely. Always.

And… to have faith… In Love. Always.

I do not share my mother’s deep faith in a God I never came to love as she did. It is not my way.

My way is to Love. Always. Completely. Freely.

And so I shall.

Love all things. Including this ache that reminds me that life is a precious gift to be savoured, tended to and cherished in every moment. Just the way it is. Just the way I am. And to be shared, freely and completely, with those I love.

I love you all and am grateful for your presence here, and in my life.

Namaste

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The Choice.

The Choice — mixed media page — Learning to Fly art journal

Yesterday, I took a risk.

I’m glad I did.

The affirmation, confirmation and support I received filled my heart with gratitude and joy. I felt alive.

Which got me wondering… Do I take enough risks?

Oh, not the jump out of an airplane or ski down virgin terrain on a steep backcountry mountain kind of risk but the emotional, spiritual, deeply personal risk of vulnerability.

Sadly, I think the answer may be… not often enough.

Which is why I write here.

To teach myself to live life wide open. My heart unlocked. My psyche unsheathed. My entire being unarmoured-up.

To stretch my vulnerability muscles, to expand my willingness to be real, authentic, known. To increase my capacity to live outside my comfort zone – I must choose vulnerability.

‘Cause in many instances, that’s what living ‘sheltered’ behind our protective walls and habitual nature of hiding our ‘true nature’ is – A fear response to dangers unknown about which we are constantly negative fortune-telling in order to protect ourselves from hurts we experienced in the past and fear will happen again.

It is such a convoluted story we tell ourselves about what could happen. And because we don’t want it to happen, we tell ourselves we have to armour-up when in reality, disposing of our armour and allowing ourselves to be wholly present and vulnerable is what keeps us safe.

I remember when, after being released from a relationship that was killing me, I received a call one morning telling me that the man who wanted me gone had escaped from jail. “We don’t know where he is,” the detective told me on the phone, “but we figure he’s probably going to try to find you.”

In one instant all my hard won peace of mind evaporated and I was catapulted into a raging storm of fear engulfing every cell of my being. I remember taking Ellie, my Golden Retriever who had gone through much of that journey with me and been my ballast and comfort for so much of it, for a walk in the forest where we had walked every day since his arrest.

Suddenly, every rustle of leaf, every crack of twig, every shadow was ‘him’ waiting to leap out of the bushes and drag me back into the past.

I remember standing amidst the towering pines and crying, trying to force myself to keep walking further along the path. I couldn’t do it. I turned and ran back to my apartment, slamming the door shut and lying on my bed sobbing.

And then… it struck me.

He had absolutely no idea where I was and had no way of finding out. We had had zero contact since his arrest months before.

While he was a danger, he was not a real and present danger. It was my thoughts playing havoc with reality.

I had a choice. Live behind locked doors or go out into the sunshine. I unlocked the door and Ellie and I went for our walk.

Sure, there were niggles of fear wafting around me but I chose to risk facing them rather than armour-up against them.

It has been a constant learning in my life. To un-armour myself when my mind is screaming at me to raise the drawbridge, man the ramparts and take cover.

And the only way I know to do that is to face what I fear and risk — being vulnerable, real, authentic — and… to love myself, all of me, warts and wisdom, darkness and light, beauty and the beast.

And so… I write it out.

What about you? Are you willing to take a risk today?

Art Journal Entry, August 26, 2014

In a burst of exuberance, the wind swept down from the mountains 
whispering stories of faraway places.

“Runaway with me and I will show you the world!” the wind called out.

And Coyote laughed. “Here is where I run free,” he told the wind.

And the wind blew on and Coyote ran free.

https://dareboldly.com/2014/08/27/a-gift-from-the-quiet-hours-before-the-dawn

There was a time when she believed if she could just be somewhere else other than where she was, everything would be okay.

There was a time when she wished for nothing more than to be someone else other than who she was.

What she couldn’t see in looking for another way of being is that no matter what she wished for, she could never be anyone else other than who she was.

What she couldn’t see was that the parts of her that didn’t fit her well in this place, would not fit her any better in another.

Fearful that she would never find her way, she attempted to jettison her past, extricate herself from being herself to become someone she thought others wanted her to be. “Perhaps if you change directions, or even just your clothes, you’ll find yourself another way,” her nimble mind whispered like the wind blowing down from the mountains, calling her to run away.

And she ran, and ran and still she found herself where ever she was at, trying to run away from the one she could never leave behind, herself.

“Perhaps if you simply stand true to who you are, stay present to what is here in this moment, you’ll find yourself right where you’re at,” her loving heart whispered into the howling of the wind.

Frightened by her heart’s calling and tired of constantly running away, she fell to the ground and rested right where she was at. And in her sleep, her heart beat strong, and her mind grew restful as the truth of who she is set her free to run wild like the wind through her dreams.

“There is nothing to fear in being you,” her heart whispered. “Who you are is who you’ve always been. Perfectly human in all your human imperfections. Beauty and the beast. Loving and loved. A child of the universe, seeking her way into the light of her own brilliance shining brightly on the path of her creation.”

Like coyote and the wind, there is always a calling to venture into another space, some distant place where what is here will not be there. It isn’t until we quit searching for somewhere else to be that we discover, everything we need to be free is here right now, because, no matter where we go, we are where ever we go.

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This piece originally appeared on my blog August 27, 2014. There is more to it if you want to read the rest — CLICK HERE

My original plan was not to write about body image this morning. But, a facetime call with my eldest daughter this morning where I shared part of a conversation I had yesterday with a beautiful friend who dropped to pick something up redirected my thinking.

My friend and I were talking about body image (why do I feel compelled to ensure you know we did it ‘safely’?) I was telling my friend how I had found some photos of me with my eldest daughter when she was born and I mentioned how I was surprised to see I wasn’t ‘fat’!

“Why did I always think I was fat?” I asked my friend. Now let me caveat that statement — I am not fond of that word ‘fat’. It is not a loving way to describe or to view myself but, honesty and speaking truth is vital to change. I can’t think of a time in my life when I didn’t think I was fat.

Now, I should also mention that much of my life I always thought of myself as very fit — which I was — but it didn’t matter how much I ran or swam or skied or climbed or worked out — I always thought I was fat!

My social and psychological conditioning as well as media representations of ‘beauty’ have instilled some really dysfunctional ideas around body image that I continue to work on unravelling — it is a huge challenge. These ideas and attitudes are deeply embedded in my psyche.

My friend replied that she too shares the same issues. She is a good 8 inches taller than me and has always been beautiful in my eyes. In her own, not so much.

It is said that “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”.

When we look in the mirror, we are beholding ourselves.

How beautiful do you see yourself?

Do you see your natural beauty or do you compare yourself to some media instilled measurement of beauty and find yourself less than, other than, an artificial construct of beauty?

Twiggy was the standard-bearer of my age, I told my daughter this morning. She defined beauty when I was in my teens.

Kate Moss was mine, she replied.

We are both under 5’3″ tall. Supermodel status was never in our genes. Yet, through the power of media and peer pressure and social conditioning, (and air-brushing) we, like millions of our peers, wanted desperately to emulate a way of ‘looking’ that was/is unachievable.

And there’s the catch. ‘Looking’ like someone else’s definition of beauty is not sustainable nor loving.

Being who I am, being myself as I am and loving myself from the inside out without judging how I ‘look’ and finding myself wanting – that’s the measurement of success and beauty I want to live by.

What about you?

Who/what defines beauty for you?

Do you love yourself completely, just the way you are?

It’s a tall order. To love yourself completely, just the way you are. I’m still working on it.

Namaste

What’s in it for you to play small?

A friend and I were talking about what it means to be vain. how as children of the 50’s/60’s there was this belief that to talk about yourself in a positive way was somehow wrong.

Phrases like “don’t toot your own horn” and “don’t grandstand” proliferated the emotional landscape casting a shadow on one’s ability to shine. To grow in confidence and strength and determination to use your talents to the best of your ability and the betterment of the world around you.

“What’s in it for you to keep playing small?” I asked my friend when she mentioned how she still struggles to believe in herself. After a childhood full of admonitions to hide her light, she wants to let it all out, but fear keeps getting in her way.

She laughed and said, “Lots of aches and pains.”

And that’s the thing, the person we hurt most when we hide our light and shelter ourselves from shining bright and fierce is ourselves.

We are born to shine.

We are born to play big. To step outside our comfort zones and grab center stage of our own lives.

We must if we are to create better.

Because, when we shine bright, we light up the world around us so others can see their way through the dark. The more of us shining bright and fierce, the greater the light in the world and the greater the possibility of real and meaningful change in how we move through the darkness.

So… ask yourself today, “Who benefits most when I stop playing small and shine my light as bright as can be?”

I hope your answer is bright enough for all the world to see there’s nothing to fear in lighting up the darkness and a world of better to be gained!

Namaste

What if Life is a Run-On Sentence?

Learning to Fly Art Journal page – Creativity is the art of letting courage draw you out of fear.

What if life is a run-on sentence? What if to mark the moments you must insert commas and periods and exclamation marks and question marks that give you pause to breathe, to gather your thoughts, to treasure the moment and dance and run about and fall into life’s drift like a river flowing into the sea?

What will your life be made of? A series of words strung together with an occasional comma haphazardly inserted without thought to its significance? Will you throw in a period here and there simply because you’re out of breath and need to catch up to yourself without letting yourself go full tilt into experience every precious moment, wild and free of limiting punctuation?

Or will you festoon your journey with question marks expanding into exclamations dancing upon the lines of every story you live to tell along the way towards that point where the final mark is a joyful celebration of all the highs and lows you’ve captured upon your journey? Will your life end on a period? A sigh of dismay the end has come? Or, an exclamation of bliss you’ve sucked the meaning out of every sentence ever lived?

What if life is a run-on sentence and the only way to mark the passing moments is to insert punctuation where ever you can to give yourself time to breathe, to savour, to capture the scent of every moment, the ebb and flow of every tide, the feel of every drop of rain, the whisper of every breath of wind and leaf falling?

What if life is a run-on sentence telling the story of your life dancing towards the final period that falls into place with grace and ease as you take one last inhale and let it all go.

Would you? Could you? Live it. Over. Out. Full stop. Period.

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This piece is pure ‘fun’. As I walked this morning the thought… “What if life were a run-on sentence?” kept flowing through my mind.

I decided to let it all run out and this is what appeared.

Joy. Gratitude. Life.

After driving through the snow-covered Rockies under a perfectly clear blue sky I arrived home Tuesday night, happy, tired, my heart full of joy and memories of time spent with my daughter and her family.

Yesterday, the ‘perfect’ spring weather continued to flow all around me. Warm temps. Blue sky. Fresh gentle breeze. The last vestiges of ice melting into the river.

This morning, it’s snowing, which, given that this is spring in Calgary, is not uncommon nor unexpected. Just not all that welcome!

And then I smile. Changing the weather, or even being upset about it, is futile. Acceptance is necessary. As is a good sense of humour. It helps lessen the burn of snow on Earth Day and white flakes masquerading as cherry blossoms falling. There are few cherry trees in Calgary – they can’t withstand our winters and the crabapples haven’t begun to blossom… so…no matter how I’d like it to be something else more ‘springlike’ this is snow. Period.

When I travel, especially by car, I take a basket of art supplies with me for those moments when I am inspired, (or as in the case of being with my grandchildren – not too tired) to create.

I pulled out my basket once while with my daughter and her family when my grandson and I spent an afternoon painting rocks we’d collected on the beach.

Painting with a 3-year-old is pure delight. There’s no right or wrong. There’s no worrying about whether or not this colour goes here or what should I do next. There is only the joy of the experience… for as long as it lasts.

And then… it’s done and you move on to the next adventure.

When my grandson went off to play with his dump trucks, I opened my Learning to Fly art journal and began to create — I only had watercolour paints, matte medium and gesso to work with which made it even more exciting. Limiting my supplies is always good for my creative practice. It invites me, as does painting with my grandson, to focus on the experience without getting lost in the options or plans of what to do.

Yesterday with the patio door of my studio open to sounds of the river flowing and birds at the feeder and sun streaming in, I pulled out my unfinished pages and began to create.

One of the things I love about the creative process is how, even when I don’t think I know what’s happening, magic happens anyway.

For me, that magic came with the words that wrote themselves for this spread.

“Tend to your dreams like a precious garden, feed them flights of fancy and your wings will grow stronger.”.

Like the weather, when I accept what is, joy, gratitude, love grow stronger in my life. And, when I tend to my dreams with tender loving care, my life is full of possibility.

Learning to clap is soooo much fun!