LESSONS OF THE LILACS

Let’s look at nature to see if we can find the lessons of the lilacs. In our area, a lilac bush typically blooms around the first of May. Their blossoms are a welcome, heady fragrance which herald the transition from spring to summer. The arrival of lilacs invites deep inhalations to revel in the once-a-year sweetness. This time of year, the air is thick with the echoes of bird song and the buzz of bees. It brings to mind carefree days and sunny skies with perfect shirt sleeve temperatures.

One year ago in May, our lilacs had the heaviest crop of blooms they’d ever produced in the nearly forty years since my husband transplanted the suckers from other bushes. We had so many bouquets, we had to share our bounty to spread the joy!

Over the past two summers, however, some of our lilacs didn’t fare so well. In fact, I thought they were nearing the end. Many to most of the leaves dropped. Strangely, once October arrived, this year and last, a few fresh leaves sprouted, plus we had a small number of fall lilac blossoms!

I researched autumn lilac blooms and found when the plant has been stressed, it can revive with fall flowers!

The lessons of the lilacs

This gives me such hope! I just think of the tremendous challenges our entire world has encountered this year on many fronts. The lessons the lilac offers are that when our world is stressed, it can still bloom again. Yes, things will look different. Some of our people will be on the other side of the veil. Some institutions will be changed. However, just as Mother Nature so aptly illustrates, the sweetness and joy can and will return. Just close your eyes, pray, imagine and smile. We can take a deep inhale. Take yet another. Do you smell it yet?

P.S. Here is my Lilacs Update!

EMPOWERED LIVING

How Visual Arts Skills Apply to Daily Life

Would you like to live a life of empowered living? Read on to see what my elementary art students gleaned from visual arts classes!

During the last few weeks of my thirty year elementary art teaching career, I decided to take an impromptu survey of some of my classes. While students were deeply engaged in their projects, I quietly approached each one individually to ask a question. It was, “If you named the most important thing I’ve ever taught you, what would it be?” I was amazed that even though no other students were privy to the answers others gave, that nearly all responses fell into one of three areas.

The first was “I am creative”. “There is no such thing as a mistake” was the second. “Famous artists” were mentioned as the third. Upon further inquiry regarding famous artists, it seemed that many of the artists of renown experienced difficulty in their lives, and yet they made something of themselves. The assumption, of course, was that my students felt they could overcome adversity as well.

What if we adapted these attitudes for our lives?

Empowered Living with Creativity

Let’s begin with the first one. I am creative. You may exclaim, “Oh, but I’m not an artist,” or “I don’t have a creative bone in my body.” Instead, think of your life as a work of art. If that is too much of a stretch, you could start smaller, maybe a week, a day or even just a moment of your life. You get to fill that time with whatever you desire to create. It could be as simple as making a connection with another person, or planting a tree, cooking a meal or cleaning and waxing your car. A painting is made with one brushstroke at a time, eventually filling an entire canvas. What are you creating with your life from one moment to another?

Living with No Mistakes

The second one is, there is no such thing as a mistake. It was always concerning to me when a student would constantly erase their efforts. I had a drawing I made with some chickens in which I included a wire cage. Chicken wire, as you may know, is made with a hexagonal pattern. I truly had made an unintentional “mistake”. Inadvertently, I had drawn a line straight through the middle of a hexagon. I was too far into the project to start over and I happened to be drawing in ink! With some thought, I turned the center of that hexagon into a cobweb.

Later, I would show this to my students and ask where my disguised error was. Some classes would guess correctly, but to others it was invisible. There is freedom in using critical thinking skills to transform so called mistakes to our advantage. How could you apply this to your life?

Learn from Famous Artists

Well, as to the famous artists, I was pleasantly surprised on that one. But, upon thinking through the years, the troubles of various artists had tumbled from my tongue. There was Van Gogh who had a difficult time settling on an occupation. Michelangelo’s mother died when he was a baby. Later, as an artist, he was forced by the Pope to pause his passion of sculpting to do a monumental four year painting. At the end of Matisse’s life, he made accommodations to being wheelchair bound. He switched from painting to large scale collages, and had an assistant attach each piece. Renoir was able to continue painting by tying his paint brush to his arthritic hand.

There were artists whose work was judged as unacceptable by an art critic who called them fauves or wild beasts. This inspired an entire art movement. Additionally, quite a number of artists’ parents frowned upon the arts as a livelihood as it wasn’t perceived as a lucrative option. Yet, though all these difficulties, they persevered. These artists survived and even thrived by becoming their true selves. How could you rise above challenging issues in your life?

Empowered Living for You!

No one has a perfect life with no difficulties. From the outside looking in, I suppose some lives may appear ideal, like Barbie and Ken dolls. But when you truly know life, one may realize that perhaps challenges exist for a reason. If you ponder on your troubles of the past, what did you learn? How did you overcome? Was there a bigger, hidden message to you regarding what transpired and how you progressed through this time?

Perhaps you could live with the mindset of an artist! Create each moment. Work with any “mistakes”, turning them into opportunities. By striving through difficulties, learn the lessons of your life. Art is much more than creating a pretty picture. It is about living a beautiful life!

THE GIFT

Allow me to tell you about the gift. Yesterday I treated myself to a long overdue visit to the spa, mask and all. It had been nearly a year since I’d had an hour massage. I thought it wise to use my gift certificate before it expired.

For some strange reason, I wondered if the house cell phone would ring before I left for my appointment. It did, twice. The first was an unknown number, so I didn’t pick it up. It rang a second time as I headed out the door. My personal cell phone wasn’t showing any calls, so whatever it was didn’t appear to be urgent.

When I arrived at the spa, I was greeted by a young friend. (Okay, we were neighborhood girls who rode the school bus together days, years, decades ago!) Looking forward to a massage, I told her I was pretty good, but I’d be a lot better in a few minutes. Then we laughed. She exclaimed, “Oh, you make me think so much of your mother!”

Gift of My Parents

Later, this caused me to do some soul searching. In my entire life, I don’t know if anyone has ever told me I resembled Mom. I frequently have heard people say, they saw Dad in me. Of course, as a little girl, this was concerning to me because I wasn’t a boy! However, I did have his facial structure, eyes and hair color. Recently in pondering over some old photographs, I noticed something. In photos from my wedding day, I did see my mother’s smile and expression which is echoed within my own.

While Mom and I have been enticed to occasional spurts of giggles in recent times, I’ve not seen Mom in a carefree, laughing state for fifteen and a half years. Due to her having had a series of strokes and Dad not being here to help her, she’s in assisted living, wheelchair bound with right side paralysis.

Understanding Discontent

A while back, a relative told me of a friend whose mother had also had a number of strokes. It was very challenging for this friend because her mother was constantly wanting things. The difficulty was not in the wanting, but in the inevitability that her mother would never like those things once she possessed them. Apparently some stroke patients suffer with the inability to be satisfied. It was news to me that this could actually be a side effect of my mom’s condition as well. While this information didn’t make it easier for any of us, it put a whole new light on my situation with Mom. Maybe it helped me to delve a little deeper into my pool of patience.

It is uncomfortable to be on either side of this discontent. For the person who’s had this type of stroke, it must feel like being locked in a cage of much dissatisfaction. Being locked from the outside as a helper is frustrating as well. There can be a wide range of emotions from sorrow and anger to elation and pleasure from both the person locked in as well as out depending upon the occasional breakthroughs of satisfaction. It is tough to observe the role reversal of a parent who once nurtured my siblings and me. She has become the one who needs nurturing now, but is not always able to accept it.

Gift of Satisfaction

To be fair, yes, there have been things with which Mom was satisfied. She does wear her new glasses. There have been various clothing items which she has been pleased to wear. My sister devised a brilliant way to placate Mom into accepting the socks we would buy her, but that is our little secret!

However, there are times we deal with her frustration of non-acceptance. She wanted new shoes. I cannot tell you how many pairs of shoes I’ve ordered for her. Plus, we went to shoe stores and even orthopedic medical professionals to have her fitted. Inevitably, she always goes back to her old. stretched out, worn down leather shoes.

Then there were the lift chairs. She had her mind set on a certain kind of chair, different from the one she already had. We had a number of chairs brought in to her from a store. The sales lady went above and beyond to find options which included Mom’s desires. You guessed it, she’s back in her old chair. These are only some of the examples.

Currently, she’s been requesting a couple of new, let’s say undergarments. I purchased her some looser fitting, modern options to try. She did not care for them. She wanted a certain size and style of her tried and true brand. It hasn’t been long ago that I got her some new ones with that description. I had to alter them because they were too small. When I reminded her of this, she still insisted she had to have that particular size. As she was adamant, I had to make a trip out of town and found the only two in the store of that size in the only acceptable color of white. I suspected it could be a futile effort.

Gift of Insight

Well, I had my lovely massage and as expected, I felt a lot better. In fact, my body was as loose as a limp noodle. On my drive home, I pondered my friend’s observation, like my mom, huh?

Remember on my way out the door, our home cell rang? It was Mom. We talked after my appointment. As her speech is extremely limited it generally involves twenty questions on my part to determine what she wants. I suspected what she wanted. It was about the new undergarments. They were too small. I took a deep breath and asked her what she wanted to do. She innocently responded in a commonly used answer with about as many words as she can string together since the strokes, “I don’t know.” I felt a calling to enter more fully into the halls of understanding and empathy. I desired to empower her, to offer choices. Perhaps I was softer and kinder. It was as if I was having a conversation with myself. Maybe I even inspired the smile we share. We are one, you know.

I contacted my friend later to thank her for her tremendous gift. No, it wasn’t the gift certificate, but it was far more valuable. It was her gift of timeless insight into the inheritance of the intangibles, one of which was my sense of humor and the sharing of laughter.

FEAR IS THE LOCK

Ten Keys to Unlock Fear

Sometimes a mere wisp of a sentence will wiggle and dance itself directly in front of me singing, “Write about me!” Well, it happened while reminiscing over Woodstock footage featuring Crosby, Stills and Nash. My nostalgic, poetic heart thrilled to hearing “Fear is the lock.”

Fear can lock our body from fully living. Given our current world, fear has been nagging from center stage in many lives. At the root of fear is the negative expectation of loss. Many fear the loss of health or life of themselves or loved ones due to Covid-19. Hungry folks fear another day without a meal. The unemployed fear not finding a job and losing their home. Those in the workforce fear losing their job. People plagued with flames, floods or wind fear the loss of their home or life. The wealthy fear losing their resources. What is a person to do?

I am no stranger to fear. Eleven years ago, I passed through the dark night of my soul. Our son was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Knowing this was one of the most horrific diagnoses to hear, my body began shutting down. As I was so afraid of losing our son, I felt tense, withdrawn and tearful. I could not force my body to eat or sleep normally. I began losing weight and shedding hair. This is my healing journey. These are the keys which released me out of my hellish fear.

ONE: EMPOWER OTHERS

Whenever possible empower others. Lift up another with whatever they are lacking.

The world has enough for everyone’s needs, but not everyone’s greed. Mahatma Gandhi

Our son endured the Whipple Procedure, losing parts of his pancreas, stomach, bile duct and small intestine. This surgical recovery caused him excruciating pain. Thanks to an open magazine I miraculously encountered prior to his surgery, I found an energy healing ad. I eventually explored four different methods with amazing results. I did earn certification in one. Not only did energy healing greatly ease his pain, but our son also believed it extended his life. He lived nearly seven years post diagnosis. This practice also served me in tremendously reducing my fear.

TWO: DWELL IN THE DIVINE

Dwelling in the divine strengthens the soul. Spending time in prayer and studying holy readings has provided me with great comfort in my journey through religion and spirituality.

THREE: CREATE WITH THE ARTS

Creating with the arts such as in making art, playing piano, singing, journaling, sewing, dancing, and writing poetry have all helped me in playing my way from fear to wellness. Your creative efforts do not even need an audience beyond yourself for it to work its magic.

FOUR: NURTURE WITH NATURE

Nurturing with nature by spending time out-of-doors is quite a healthful way to release tensions. The sunshine vitamin and fresh air are priceless. Walking among the majesty of trees and the wonder of wildlife does my body good. While we have no lions, tigers or bears, we do have plenty of squirrels, rabbits and raccoons. (I know you are waiting for me to say, “Oh my!”) I love to watch the gold finches, humming birds, mourning doves and cardinals, the turkeys, pheasants and eagles as well as many other makes and models of birds in our vicinity. Growing plants, both indoors and out, is grounding and counts as connecting with nature, too.

FIVE: FOCUS ON POSITIVITY

Focusing on positivity makes a person feel better. According to Eckhart Tolle, …what we resist persists. I found in focusing on my fearful what ifs, that the what ifs were more likely to happen. Concentrating on a positive thought or goal eases my mind and body. Ponder best case scenarios. This optimistic viewpoint includes practicing a news fast. I no longer expose myself to listening to the news. I do however, find headlines in print format preferable. Reading rather than listening allows me to bypass much of the drama. I can pick and choose what to investigate according to what I feel I can handle at the moment. Remember to throw your shoulders back, relax and smile!

SIX: INDULGE IN HEALTHY FOODS

Indulging in healthy foods makes our bodies happier! The foundation of my diet consists of fresh (or frozen when out of season) fruits and vegetables, preferably organic and locally grown. For over four decades, nearly all the grains I’ve consumed have been 100% whole. Meat is more of a condiment than a main dish. In lieu of red meat, I prefer poultry or fish. I do love beans, eggs, nuts, cheeses and whole milk plain Greek yogurt as protein sources. Unsweetened dried fruits rather than sugar satisfy my sweet tooth. (Shockingly, I sometimes treat myself to ice cream!) Butter as well as olive and coconut oils add the fats to my diet. For a very long time, I’ve noticed how much better my body feels if I eat foods that are closer to their natural state rather than processed. Portion control keeps me from feeling sluggish.

SEVEN: ENGAGE IN MEDITATION

Engaging in meditation gives a sense of peace. I practice a couple kinds of meditation. It allows my thoughts to clear and permits a foundation of calm to permeate my being. Research has shown the brains of meditators grow additional grey matter in comparison to non-meditators. https://ncbi.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4777419

EIGHT: DELIGHT IN LAUGHTER

Delighting in laughter can be a life saver. I am so fortunate I come from a funny family – we all enjoy a good belly laugh! Each of us did and do relish the comradery around our table and home, centered around this good-naturedness. Laughter can shake out fear. As Norman Cousins evidenced, our health can be immeasurably improved with humor. He, with the cooperation of his doctor, prescribed regular doses of humor from Marx Brother’s films, the television series, Candid Camera, as well as the book, Subtreasury of American Humor by E.B. White. By his efforts, he mentally cured his terminal, painful and immobilizing illness. https;//sites.google.com/site/laughofflife/page-1

NINE: SOAR INTO EXERCISE

Soaring into exercise is a moving experience! Movement of the body is critical to preventing an emotion such as fear from lodging in our bodies. My favorite exercise is qigong, along with a few yoga stretches. Practicing this for a mere ten minutes a day for over ten years has given me more stamina than I had three decades ago. If I skip a day, I feel achy. That alone is encouragement enough to continue my practice. When I desire more aerobic movement, I love to take a walk down to our pond.

TEN: INVITE TALK THERAPY

Inviting talk therapy is a great stress reliever. If you feel you need further help, consider discussing your fear issues with a health professional. Alternatively, a trusted friend or family member could make a great sounding board. Even our fur-babies are good listeners and more than likely will not divulge your deepest secrets. An added bonus with a pet session is that stroking their fur is mutually beneficial.

Perhaps adopting one or more of these keys could unlock any fears you may be harboring within your body. If you are fortunate enough to carry a natural immunity to fear, all these keys are extremely conducive to achieving general good health as well.

Oh, you may be wondering, which Crosby, Stills and Nash song contained the lyrics, “fear is the lock”? All of you smart, hippy dudes and dudettes know it as “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes”!

Intriguingly, following the group singing their set, one of them announced to the 1969 Woodstock crowd of over four hundred thousand that this was only their second time of performing in front of a live audience. They exclaimed they were “scared sh–less”!

I have my doubts if any of them still suffer from stage fright, but if they did, maybe these keys could unlock their fear!

THE 2020 TREE

Not Screaming but Singing

My friend, this is the famous 2020 tree in case you’ve not met her. It is understandable if you may think she would be screaming her leaves off with the events of this year. It may appear that she is throwing her branches up in sheer disgust. If she were, which she is not, I sincerely would not blame her. I mean, just think of the world stage with the pandemic, the politics and the division. Then there is the unemployment, the racism and the criminal justice system, not to mention the dilemmas of masks, the CDC and schooling.

What is a 2020 tree to do? Sing! She is lifting up her limbs in joyous song. When things seem so low that they can’t get any worse, they’ve nowhere to go but up. There are two choices. We can live in fear, feebly covering it by screaming and shouting. The other choice is to live in love by singing and imagining.

What Does Your 2020 Tree Imagine?

As an art teacher, as well as an artist of many arts, I know that everything starts with imagination. Imagine our world as exceeding your greatest concept of beauty. This is what we will create together! Start with a generous measure of joy and add a cup of peace. Stir liberally with love. I promise you this will be the lightest delicacy you’ve ever tried!

After devouring our previous delicacy, let’s join together in singing in a new future. Imagine this world in a better place than she’s ever been. This seed must be planted before it can grow. The soil is fertile and ready. What will you plant? Remember what is within leaks out. What thoughts will you nurture within the garden of your mind? I think mine shall be filled with love, light, peace and joy. These lovelies join me daily!

P.S. I give my thanks to poet, Stevie Smith, 1902-1971. Her 1957 poem, Not Waving but Drowning inspired my title with an optimistic twist.

WATCHING THE RIVER RUN

A Tale of Two Dads

When I think of life, many times I contemplate the flow of moving water as being an apt metaphor. Watching the river run can indicate the progression of life, of families, of farming. Rivers are constantly in transition. Sometimes there is flooding and at times it runs dry. Water descriptors such as turbulent or calm, warm or icy, deep or shallow could just as easily describe many aspects of life as much as it could a river.

This is a tale of two dads, my own father as well as my father-in-law. Each of them were born in the same county. Both became farmers. They were tillers of the soil, milkers of cows, feeders of swine. While the rivers of their lives paralleled one another, to a large extent, they did not intermingle until my husband and I brought our families together through our marriage.

River Runs Through Seasons

These two dads each knew the ebb and flow of the seasons. Spring brought the gathering of seed and preparation of ground. They scanned the pastures for new born calves. They planted, they cultivated, they watched for the rains. There was always excitement in being able to row, or view, the first green sprouts of corn!

Mid-summer meant loading sweet smelling hay bales onto a lowboy while sweeping the sweat off their brows. Corn was always well over the old standard of knee high by the fourth of July unless it was a rare year of drought. Walking beans to hand-cut tall weeds provided the visual beauty of contour planted bean rows. When combining golden fields of oats, the year was half spent.

Hearing the rustle of the dry, pale tan corn leaves in the breeze told them the crop was restless for harvest. Cool autumn weather was for reaping the rewards of hard work by filling the bins with corn and soybeans. Fall meant many long days of work, provided the grain tested dry enough to glean. The hum of grain driers would sound through the valleys. These two farmers were always grateful for the completion of harvest, especially prior to Thanksgiving.

When the weather permitted bringing in the crops before the early snows, there was time for field work and turning the soil. Once winter rolled around there was meticulous record keeping as well as testing seed germination and ordering new seed for the next season. The cold weather months were spent hauling hay to the cattle pastures. Checking that the tank heaters were operational for the thirsty cattle was a must. Yes, these farmers knew the nuances of the seasons well.

Watching the River Run Through Family

Our family tree grew within that river of life, surrounded by the rolling fields and pastures. Branches were eventually added to this tree with three generations of children beyond our dads. Life was and is good. Then, there were family members whose branches broke from the tree, seemingly before they touched the winter or even the fall of their lives. My mother-in-law was one. Our son was another, as was my brother. Yet, the river of life flows on.

This week marks the thirty-six year anniversary of my father-in-law’s passing. The very same day he passed was the birthday of one of his granddaughters. My dad’s departure two years ago was the very same date. It was also my dad’s mother’s birthday. Out of 365 days in a year, how could all four of these events be on the very same day? These types of synchronicities seem to be one of the mind boggling mysteries of this great river of life. It is as a bend in the river where it was least expected.

I’ve no doubt that our dads are still with us. You see, there are people who are gifted to view our loved ones beyond the veil. They do watch over us, help us, interact with us. In fact, when I spoke of our family tree, perhaps a more accurate comparison would be a family river. Generations upon generations before us as well as after are intimately connected, flowing from one to another, just as the seasons flow on the farm. I am ever grateful for watching the river run.

Relationships Illustrated

Energetic Flow and Strength

Relationships can be aptly illustrated through nature. Contrary to how this photo may appear, it is not the creepy, boney hand of a ferocious monster. It is the remains of the most unusual tree stump I’ve ever observed. Interestingly, the only unrotten portions are the inner core of the branches that were within the trunk. The parts that resemble heads of nails are where the branches were cut long ago, flush with the trunk.

Of course, this piqued my curiosity. I wondered why these specific parts within the trunk lasted longer. Then, I pondered about the flow of nutrients within a live tree. This concolor fir would have been drawing water and minerals from deep within the soil through its roots. The needles on the branches would have been photosynthesizing the solar energy as well as utilizing the carbon dioxide from the air. These inner branches were energetic pathways between the roots and needles, distributing benefits to all parts of the tree. As this symbiotic relationship helped all parts of the tree, perhaps that is why these particular parts were stronger and more enduring. The unbranched sections of the trunk itself probably didn’t feed the rest of the tree. Perhaps that portion not being as critical was weaker, so it rotted earlier. The parts where the energy flowed were most vital, lasting and protected. Those boney looking appendages were actually the highways of giving, taking and sharing.

Relationships Illustrated in Society

The workings of symbiotic relationships intrigue me. Where might these sorts of connections occur in society? One such example came to me regarding late night talk shows. Prior to the pandemic squelching large crowds, audiences were able to provide immediate feedback to the host’s stories and one liners. The speaker would then catch that spark of laughter, applause and enjoyment. The audience appreciation would in turn give the entertainer more encouragement which enhanced the presentation, contributing to a cycle of sharing energies. When the hosts first began performing to a mere camera, they felt severed from their audience, from the source of their joie de vie or joy of life. Finally, some of the hosts are regaining the vigor they once enjoyed in the symbiotic relationship.

Another example might be in the education field. I feel I became a far better teacher once I realized it was perfectly possible for me to learn from my students. Of course, we think of students learning from the teacher, but the converse can also be true. Experiencing this can be quite humbling as well as fulfilling for the teacher and extremely validating and encouraging for the students. This also would be symbiotic.

Both my entertainment and education examples illustrate a two way flow of energy, mutually benefiting various parties. This flow strengthens the bonds and leads to long lasting value.

Our world is in the flux of change. Where might symbiotic relationships take us further, not only within the education and entertainment fields, but also other areas such as economics, leadership, health or religion? Where might a symbiotic model be of benefit? Dare I ask, would it look like love?

All You Need Is Love

BROKEN

Broken? What are some possible scenarios which may make a person feel broken? Do you think it could be a frightening health diagnosis? That could be. Could it be losing one’s job or home? What about coping with the loss of a loved one? Could it be the loss of a relationship or a business? Yes, yes, yes, and yes.

How many people do you know who seem to lead a perfect life? I’m certain there are quite few, if any, who have never had a factor which could potentially cause one to feel broken. It is part of being human.

The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places. Ernest Hemingway from A Farewell to Arms

The tipping point which shattered my life was losing our son. It can be devastating to lose a family member, particularly from the younger generation.

Imagine our lives as fragile clay pots. What are we to do to pick up the pieces of our lives to enable us to continue? Some pieces are never able to be replaced. Those will leave holes. There are also tiny fragments which splinter away and are perhaps not as necessary or important. Regrouping and gluing oneself back together reveals the cracks and holes. What if those cracks were highlighted with gold? Our learning journey through the rough lessons could be seen as celebration.

Broken Kintsugi

The clay pot technique of Kintsugi means golden joinery. My previous description of our lives as clay pots describes how the Japanese culture repairs their pottery. In fact, a pot which has been broken and gone through this Kintsugi process is considered more valued than an unbroken pot. This art parallels our broken human lives.

In our lives, we generally have a choice. We may choose to give up and allow our brokenness to go the way of Humpty Dumpty. Or, we may choose to investigate any and all possibilities to permit a continuation of life with a different format.

My Golden Joinery

Had we not lost our son, my life may have simply carried on with the status quo. However, when he received the cancer diagnosis, which could have been my undoing, I was faced with a choice. I could have chosen a fixed mindset, meaning I had no power to change anything, so why try. However, I loved him far too much to do nothing. I chose, instead, to adopt a growth mindset to stack the odds in our favor. As a result, I had experiences which helped to piece together my fragments.

Our son did stay with us roughly seven years post diagnosis, but then he had to leave. I would have never thought to become an energy healing practitioner if he hadn’t become ill. Experiences of oneness with everything would never have entered my mind. I would not have been as aware of messages from beyond the veil if our beloved son was not on the other side. This blog would not exist. These have become some of the golden highlights in my life journey thus far.

The gold filled breaks emphasize the unique story lines of our lives. Our cracks and broken natures can become things of beauty when valued as part of our path, just as a treasured Kintsugi vessel.

Michelangelo Inspiration

Many times famous artists influence the creativity of others. Michelangelo inspiration in others is no exception!

Michelangelo Inspired Classroom

One of my favorite elementary school art lessons was influenced by Michelangelo. My students each taped a sheet of paper beneath their tables. They had a direct experience in feeling what it was like to paint above their heads. One of the most memorable student questions still makes me chuckle. Since Michelangelo took four years to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel a student wondered, do we have to spend four years making our paintings? I bet you have the very same question. Being tender-hearted, I only required one class period, measured in minutes rather than years. Needless to say, my students found Michelangelo inspiration!

My Sonnet Inspiration

MICHELANGELO
A sculptor first and foremost in his heart
was Michelangelo, Italian born.
When asked to paint the ceiling with his art
responded to the Pope with mighty scorn.
Well, "painting is my shame" as you can see.
The metamorphosis of marble block,
he carved until he set the angel free.
His masterpieces - cloth and skin from rock!
Consenting to the Sistine ceiling scenes,
built scaffolding so he could make his mark.
His skyward gaze provided him the means
to paint four years until the disembark.
        Through cramping neck and paint dripped face he brought
        to life the God whom mankind long had sought!

Copyright, Wolfe, Linda M., Lyrical Iowa, 2008
     

Michelangelo Inspiration for Restaurant/Gallery

Last but not least, the Bosnian immigrant and artist, Paco Rosic, was motivated by Michelangelo. Using the unconventional medium of spray paint, Paco recreated his rendition of Michelangelo’s ceiling in a Waterloo, Iowa building. It became Galleria de Paco. Until Covid-19 hit, this establishment was a restaurant offering fine European fare in a breathtaking atmosphere. This attraction drew visitors from around the world! When my husband and I dined there, despite the fact that the delicious food was beautifully arrayed on the plate, I just wanted to take in all the paintings. It was not a trip to Europe, but it was certainly the next best thing.

Paco is currently feeding his creativity. He hopes to eventually reopen as a coffee shop, utilizing the space for its original purpose of showcasing his new art.

I feel that I would be remiss if I didn’t answer a question that must be hovering in the back of your mind. Did my students also use spray paint for their paintings? While that is a logical inquiry, I feel it is time to reassure you. No, my students used watercolor paints because we weren’t allowed to apply the fresco technique on the underside of our school tables. Oh, and spray paint wasn’t lingering in my supply closet.

Contemplate who or what inspires your muse in absolutely any field or area. Imagine your possibilities!

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