The Gift of Being Present

Mom and Baby Polar Bear Playing at the Columbus Zoo

Hi Readers,

These days I don’t have as much time to blog, as I’m a full-time mama plus writer/illustrator.  But I haven’t forgotten you or your loyalty to this blog. So today I have a special treat. A special gift for you. It’s the gift of being present.

And it’s really all I have to give right now, even to myself. And especially to my daughter. Every day is different, with unexpected challenges and rewards. I’m constantly on my toes. Every moment has become precious. I’ve learned to do things in bite-size increments. In some ways, I feel like I’m living fast and furious. As in, how much can I get done while she’s napping? Do I clean bottles or fit in 30 minutes of writing or go take a nap? I’m sure many of you out there can relate, whether you have kids or not, but especially if you do. And certainly if you’re a first-timer, like me.

But how do we get through it?  And do we even want to? Or should we slow down and savor each moment? After all, everything changes so fast, especially when it comes to small children. So you learn to live by moments. The first time they sit up by themselves. Their joy at eating blueberries for the first time. When they finally call you “mama,” even if they don’t quite understand what it means yet, especially to you.

Schedules go out the window and plans change, sometimes by the hour. Just as you were about to go out for a walk, a dirty diaper sidetracks you. And then laundry. And then bottle washing. And then a nap. Maybe for the both of you 😉 But what a welcome thing a nap can be. And maybe just the thing you really needed. You both wake up refreshed and happy to see each other again.

This is what being present is all about. Open to whatever comes your way. Noticing the small things, that seem so insignificant. The tiny miracles that sometimes go unseen in day-to-day life.

Another upside is you don’t have as much time to focus on the past or future, which alleviates some anxiety. Past mistakes become learning opportunities and you move on. Fewer plans are made, but they’re quickly replaced by the joy of spontaneity. Small adventures. The first flower of spring. A vegan blueberry scone. Your daughter delighting in a bluejay soaring through the air. And maybe the mountain of dishes will get done. Maybe they won’t. And that’s okay. Cuddling trumps all!

I’ve definitely learned to be more efficient, but is that always better? Sometimes you have to embrace being before doing. And because some things just can’t wait, you prioritize what really matters. Like playing pat-a-cake just to see that smile that lights up the whole world.

And at night, rocking my baby to sleep becomes just as relaxing for me as I watch her eyes flutter shut and send her to dreamland. Watching her sleep is what being present in the moment is all about. After all, she won’t stay this tiny forever. I carry her everywhere now, but soon she’ll carry herself through the world. I’m not ready to think about that 😉

Baby Giraffe Standing On Its Own at the Columbus Zoo

I’d like to leave you all with a mantra I learned in my baby yoga class.

“Be present, not perfect.”

Enjoy the gift of moments! And if you have any special ones, please share 🙂

 

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Interactive Art

I just returned from a trip to Columbus, OH.  One of my favorite towns!  Yesterday I was fortunate enough to attend a contemporary art exhibit at Hopkins Hall Gallery of Urban Arts Space called Open This End featuring artwork by Andy Warhol among others.  I found it serendipitously and went on a whim.  I’m so glad I did!

The art itself was interactive, often in 3-D or containing some audiovisual component.  But this exhibit went a step further and constructed a framed background where viewers can create their own selfie and thus become a piece of art, even if for only one moment in time.  Making a personal statement is encouraged.  As an artist, I love this concept!  And I just had to participate in the fun.  The results are posted here.  Enjoy the mini art show by yours truly 🙂

If you have a chance, I highly recommend stopping by the exhibit.  But hurry!  It’s only on display until tomorrow.  Check here for details.

Portrait of an Artist

Artist discovers she’s in a painting but is unsure how she feels about it…

Artist rejects the notion of being viewed as artwork.

 

 

Visualizing Your Dreams

“Visualize this thing that you want, see it, feel it, believe in it. Make your mental blue print, and begin to build.” –Robert Collier

Here I am pinpointing two of my dreams: to publish a book and visit Italy.

While in Columbus, I visited the warehouse located at 400 West Rich Street, which houses several art/design studios.  It’s a unique concept in which art is helping to revive an area of the city.  I would love to be part of the same effort in Detroit.

I also visited The Book Loft, a local bookstore in German Village.  There are a total of 32 rooms to wind your way through, but somehow I found the children’s section.  I would love to see my own books here, too 🙂

As you know, I’ve been reading SARK’s book “Making Your Creative Dreams Real.” One of my favorite chapters is “The World of Yes.” Why? Because it’s so positive! She gives new meaning to the word love.

Letting

Our

Visions

Emerge

How can we do that? By visualizing!  When we visualize each step of our dream, we’re more likely to make it a reality.  SARK says, “We visualize our creative dreams and some part of us says YES.  I can do that…  It can happen…  We can build it…”  So start visualizing and say YES! to your dream.

My husband and I spotted another bucket list in Montreal!  It turns out people are dreaming all over the world.  Check it out

MicroMOVEments

Does this scene look familiar?  It should 😉  This landscape art is based on the famous painting by Georges Seurat entitled A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.  James T. Mason is the sculptor and creator of this garden.  I recently visited The Topiary Park in Columbus, OH.  Talk about walking into a painting!

While here, I could have just enjoyed the scenery and posed for photos.  But I also decided to begin my practice of microMOVEments.  What exactly are those?  Think of them as baby steps towards your ultimate goal.  A way of building your dream brick by brick.  The concept was coined by SARK, author of Make Your Creative Dreams Real, which I mentioned in a previous post.  She describes such movements as small bursts of energy or tiny actions that can be completed in as little as 5 minutes.  If you’re one of the millions of busy people in the world or if you have problems with procrastination, you should try this out.

Here I am completing a microMOVEment by sketching at the park while on vacation.

And here is the result of my efforts 🙂

pen and ink

pen and ink

pen and ink

Just remember, Seurat’s painting wasn’t created in a day.  But step by step, your dream will manifest.  Starting now!  What microMOVEment will you complete today?