Saturday, February 23, 2013

Day 17,307 Gratitude: These Two and What Reiki Can Do

Over the last several weeks, I've joined a couple of former students/dedicated volunteers in giving Reiki treatments to a few of the dogs with special needs at the shelter where my Reiki classes are held.  I've been so excited to see them actively putting what they learned last November into practice.  And I'm so honored that they've invited me to join them in this effort.  Since treatment time is limited on these Saturday mornings, they have been counting on their fellow volunteers to help them identify specific dogs that urgently need the extra TLC.  Rio and Sheeba (smiling at you from the top of this post) have been regulars on this list.

On my first visit, Sheeba was preparing for surgery to remove several large growths, including the massive one near her shoulder that can be seen in the photo.  The three of us made a point of spreading out in the small room that these two doggy pals share.  We always leave it up to the animals to decide if they want hands-on treatment or not.  (Treating from a distance is equally effective.)  Well, Sheeba wasted no time coming over and laying down right in front of me, completely relaxed and receptive.  Her buddy, Rio, was restless and vocal, like he was trying to tell us their story, but eventually he settled down and into his treatment as well.  Each dog would rotate between the three of us, yawning periodically as they filled up with Reiki. 

My next visit was after Sheeba's surgery and the three of us were a bit shocked at the extent of her incisions and the number of stitches that she had received.  Again, she was open to treatment from us despite her tender condition.  Rio also welcomed us and the Reiki we offered as he recovered from missing Sheeba and wondering why he'd been alone.

When I was back at the shelter yesterday, I was hoping for good news about Sheeba's recovery.  Instead I received even better news ... both Sheeba and Rio were adopted.  Together.  Two best friends in the same forever home. 

None of us can say for certain what role, if any, Reiki played in supporting all that unfolded for them over these last few weeks.  But as long as there is a chance (and I personally believe it is far more than just that), then I will more than gladly continue teaching and treating whomever and whatever is willing to learn and receive.  For all of this, I am so grateful.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Day 17,305 Gratitude: Gentle with Gentle

I remind myself often of my word for this year.  Gentle.  With myself.  Gentle.  With others.  Gentle.  With situations.  Gentle.  With uncertainty.  Gentle.

Why I didn't choose Frivolity, Mirth or Whimsy instead, I do not know.  I guess I was anticipating that Gentle would bring with it softness, comfort, and ease.  Well, not so much.  At least not initially. See, friends, when you pick a word like Gentle to be a guiding intention, you're also saying yes to being fully awake and aware through those circumstances wherein it can be applied ... circumstances in which your knees may have always jerked in a not-so-gentle direction.  Old and unkind habits die hard.  It can take a whole lot of being gentle to actually achieve being Gentle.

For being gentle in my progress (and also the lack thereof) with understanding and applying Gentle right now, the rest of this year and the rest of my life, I am so deeply grateful.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Day 17,303 Gratitude: Of Needlework and Life

Today I am grateful ...

For hot mugs of comfort like peppermint tea on a blustery day.

To have a crocheted Reiki shawl in progress for a friend's friend who is arming herself to beat breast cancer.

For knowing when to insist upon following the pattern or plan and when to simply wing it, embracing any unraveling that may occur.  In both needlework and life.

For what do you find yourself feeling grateful as February wanes?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Day 17,302 Gratitude: The Joy of Creative Quickies

Today I am so grateful for creative quickies that support my intention to be artful (in some way) every day.  Not the easiest thing with a full-time job ... and yet not impossible.  There are always a few free minutes, even on the busiest days.  I've been collecting ideas for wee projects and always on the lookout for books and web resources that teach them. 

Mandala: Luminous Symbols for Healing has been in my collection for many years. I love to make small, shining mandalas on black paper when I am feeling stuck. It's like the light breaking through.  Good medicine.

A favorite book over the last year has been Drawing Lab for Mixed Media Artists:  52 Creative Exercises to Make Drawing Fun.  It has the motherload of sketchy ideas ... many of which only take a few minutes.  I have the hard copy of the book, but also splurged on the iBook version so that I will have its inspiration handy when I'm out and about. 

The newest addition to my creative quickie collection is Zentangles, thanks to the book, One Zentangle a Day:  A 6-Week Course in Creative Drawing for Relaxations, Inspiration and Fun.  They suggest allowing 30 minutes to complete one tile, but I can see them taking less time with practice.  The photo above is of my second one.  Embracing my beginnerness.

Please share your creative quickies ... books, links, little gems you've created yourself!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Day 17,301 Gratitude: Making Peace and the Best

We just got home from taking her to catch the bus back to school ... seemingly three breaths after we picked her up.  She had given us fair warning.  This visit was intended for Valentining with her boyfriend.  Having been 19 ourselves at one point, we wisely kept our parental needs and expectations low.  We made ourselves content to bask in glimpses of her face as she passed through and reminded one another (and ourselves) that she'll be home for spring break in another two.  What they don't tell parents during college orientation is that you have to become an expert at a combination of two things.  Making peace with what is and making the best of it too.  Unconditional love is the foundation of our family, no matter how much the logistics change.  For that I am so grateful.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Day 17,300 Gratitude: 10 Years

In line with yesterday's "groovin'" theme, I've devoted some time today to puttering in my workshop.  I didn't wrap anything (yet), but I did find three pendants that were never listed in my Etsy shop.  I've just listed the Rainbow Moonstone pendant above.  I will list the other two within the next couple of days.  It feels good to get things in order.  It feels even better to bask in that familiar tug back to my workbench. 

This year marks the TENTH  that I've been wire-wrapping gemstones.  I wish I had kept better track of exactly how many I've wrapped during that time, but what even means more to me than the number are the incredible stories of how some of the pendants and their people were brought together.  These gems have been so much more than just jewelry to so many ... talismans for strength, amulets for comfort.  For the privilege of having a hand in their creation and supporting powerful intentions, I continue to be immensely grateful. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Day 17,299 Gratitude: Groovin'

I'm hesitant to say it too loud because of the potential jinx but ... shhhhh ... I've been groovin' this week.  Here's the cover of my newest sketchbook journal.  It's intensionally wonky.  Kind of like me.  I loved layering the tissue paper.  I loved the happy accident of smearing gesso on top when I thought it was matte medium.  I love that the corners were cut from an empty box of Tazo tea.  And I wholeheartedly relate to this horse.

There are things that I really want to do each day, if possible, like show up here on this blog and in my journal.  Some things are self-care related.  A few things exercise my creativity.  A couple of others support my business.  Altogether there are ten intentions.  Ambitious, yes, but all take no more than one hour and many take just a few minutes.  Each one makes my day better for having done it and inspires me to keep making nourishing decisions. 

One of the rather playful things on my list is to post a haiku on Twitter, usually first thing each morning.  You can follow me @jakksmagicbeans and play along with #myku.  These little ditties keep my brain limber. 

I am trying to post once a day to the sorely neglected Jakk's Magic Beans Facebook page.  I am also listing or relisting one item each day in my Etsy shop to get some energy flowing there again.  I am eating in a way that helps perimenopausal me to feel my best and I'm getting outside for a walk -- rain, snow or shine.  All of these things (and a couple of others) used to cross my mind as shoulds, but now I have a square I can fill, which may seem strange, but for me is more gratifying than I can possibly explain.  I love me some evidence of momentum.

For creating tools and tricks that support me in showing up AND for the actual showing up itself, I am so very grateful.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Day 17,298 Gratitude: Good Mail

I believe that one of the greatest blessings in this life is having good friends who believe in good mail.  Strange as it may seem, these have turned out to be many of my local friends ... several of whom I see on a fairly regular basis.  Doesn't matter.  Surprise snail mail rules.  For this I am so grateful.

This year I have found myself smitten with Postagram for the iPhone.  It is an extremely user-friendly app that takes you step-by-step through creating and sending a postcard for only 99 cents.  I've bought credits which is the best deal going.  It uses the photos on your phone, Facebook or Instagram accounts.  It will even pull mailing addresses from your contact list.  For awhile, I was sending one per day.  The frenzy has passed and now I'm focused primarily on a special project or three and, in the process, building subject-specific portfolios.  Nice.  But Postagrams are outstanding for thank you notes or quick hellos.  Oh and I forgot to mention that the photos can be popped out!

You know about the Letter Writers Alliance, right?  No?  Go explore, especially to learn more about the Pigeon Post.  Who wouldn't love getting THAT in the mail?

Want to help save a little post office?  Check this out.

If you have any snail mail lovin' links to share, please send them my way!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Day 17,297 Gratitude: That Which I Love

My sketchbook journal holds so much more than just sketches.  It's where I land most mornings after getting out of bed.  For me, the most effective means of clearing overnight cobwebs is with the written word, so it is with pen to paper that I begin.

I tried something new in the journal that I just finished ... or think I've finished .. maybe not.  Before I delve into my "morning page," which is simply a what's-what of where I am and where I'll go from there, I write a full "I love ..." page.  This isn't so much a list of things that I love, although that would surely be swell too.  It is more an act of affirming and conjuring.  For example:

I love that I know what to do and when to do it.
I love that it's really easy for me to relax and trust.
I love that I am welcome wherever I go.

Cheesy?  Perhaps.  But I can assure you that if you were to take the time to fill one page with these proclamations, without forethought, just completely stream-of-consciousness, and do it everyday, well, your world will be rocked.  Because even though these things I love may not necessarily or completely be true right now, what soon presents itself is evidence that what I lovingly affirm is coming, taking root, and growing.

My journals are available for public consumption.  I don't exactly hand them out to everyone for browsing, but I do try to carry the one in progress with me everywhere and I will share it if asked.  But I found myself feeling very vulnerable about these pages.  Things get pretty personal as these lists are like a magnifying glass on what is important to me.  So I started covering them up with collages or card stock glued over them with other art or writing, until I fell behind and started scribbling over them, best as I could, just to catch up.  Looking back now, I wish I hadn't reacted so impulsively and protectively.  The act of covering up is obvious and it looks a lot like shame.  It feels like it voids the very magic that these pages were designed to muster.

In my new journal, I intend to leave them uncovered.  They are raw, real and passionate, like me, and like everything else in my journals, merely a snapshot of me in time.  But what we say to ourselves and each other, everyday ... the wishes that we make ... the prayers that we extend ... the thanks that we give ... the desires that we affirm ... they matter.  Those that we are bold and brave enough to commit to paper can have the greatest power of all.  For recognizing and embracing this truth and all that I love, I am so grateful.   

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Day 17,296 Gratitude: Looking Forward

Like the sun breaking through the winter clouds to shine into my workshop, I am feeling grateful for the order and unfolding of things ... supremely supported and eager for what's to come.

I will be back at Save the Animals Foundation in Cincinnati to teach Level 1 Reiki/Animal Reiki Basics on Saturday, March 23 and Sunday, March 24 from 1:00-5:00 p.m. each day.  Please check my website for details and contact me if you would like to register. 

It may be February, but my heart has leaped forward to May and a freshly made family vacation to Florida.  Let me count the days.

Last but certainly not least is the Sketchbook Journaling Workshop in Taos coming up in June.  I do not want to wish away a third of the year so that it's finally here, because this is a journey well worth the wait.  But I must confess that part of me is already making lists and packing a suitcase in my mind's eye.  You don't have to live in Cincinnati to attend ... nor do you have to know how to draw.  Nope.  Just be willing to join us in the high desert, behold some breathtaking sunsets, eat some outstanding food, and bask in the history of the Mabel Dodge Luhan House.  This is SO MUCH more than art retreat.

So much to look forward too.  So much for which to be grateful.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Day 17,286 Gratitude: Shells and Such

February feels to me like the last leg of a very long race.  A marathoner, I am not.  The only antidote to winter weariness is delight.  I consider myself fortunate to have dear friends who are irresistible magnets for such and generous in sharing their discoveries.

One amiga recently sent the sweet and hilarious Marcel the Shell with Shoes On and then Marcel the Shell with Shoes On ... Two.  Next thing you know, I'm all "Guess what I really want, but I'm not gonna beg for it.  My own Marcel to sit on my computer.  You know, to keep me company as I toil ... to remind that it's worth it to smile."

Lo and behold, a wee box appeared in my mail today.  With the help of some sculpy, a dollop of whimsy, and her ninja skills in magical manifestation, my BFF created and surprised me with that for which I'd been wishing.  Since my Marcel's arrival, I've been pretty much smiling all over the place.  You know, in between snackin' and snoozin'.

Happy surprises, given and received, are worth their weight in gold.  These February days will be a bit brighter thanks to my new work buddy.  For that I am so grateful.