Thursday, June 12, 2008


I started off my day watching the Oprah Soul series interview that Oprah did with Dr. Wayne Dyer where he explains coincidence as a mathematical term used to describe two angles that fit together perfectly. Oprah countered with, "There are no coincidences." She used the word in the way we tend to use it today--as in surprise happenings.

I taught a workshop yesterday on Creative Journaling for artists. It was deeply satisfying. I got to explore the art making process and connect types of journaling to each part of the process. Then--to further instill it in my own mind, I got to teach it. I left my house with a smile, telling my son I was off to work. He said, "Yeah, but it's a job you love." That wasn't to discount my work, but to reinforce it.

I stopped in a cafe for coffee before my class and had some Ethiopian blend while journaling and finishing the final chapter in the Art and Fear book I am digesting. An interesting thing happened. I put off reading the last part of the book and instead wrote two poems. It has been a long time since I wrote poetry. I don't usually share my poems. Sometimes I take bits and pieces of them and use them in my novel writing. It was wonderfully freeing. Totally emboldening. Dare I say. . .decadent? I am being reunited with my words after a trial separation, and I am finding we are compatible. Why did we think we weren't?

I went to the workshop feeling light and happy. Eight people came, which is a great group size for me. Large enough to justify my time (and gas allowance) and small enough to interact. We brainstormed about what it is to be an artist. I read from Sue Bender's book Everyday Sacred. In the group itself, I reconnected with longtime participants and met some new faces. Though I travel 25 miles to teach this class, the newbies live three miles from my house. We discussed the local school system, where to buy raw milk, and cheesemaking. I found out that my new acquaintance is the baker who makes my favorite bread.

After the class, I again felt light. I bought some herbal bug repellent in Sarah's shop. My husband loves the scent; so if I can repel bugs and attract him, I am good for all the best possibilities of a summer evening. In addition, I had just finished reading Everyday Sacred which has as a running theme the symbolism of begging bowls. Tibetan monks go out and beg with their empty bowls and they learn to be grateful for whatever comes their way. I had been looking for a new summer purse. Radiance has lots of options made by Hemp Sisters. I picked up a particular bag that was woven with colorful fibers with black & white print accents. The print has a picture of a simple bowl. If that wasn't enough, when I found out that the colorful fibers were actually recycled Indian saris, I knew it was mine--in spite of the fact that my pay for giving the workshop was going to be seriously compromised by all my expenditures. And so, with my bug repellent/husband bait and my new purse, I left the shop and headed back to the cafe for my lunch date.

I was meeting a new friend Kathy who came to the labyrinth workshop at the end of May. She is a former fabric artist who is currently taking a course called Biography and Social Art at Sunbridge College in New York. We connected on about one hundred different levels. She was finishing a book by the author of Art and Fear so we discussed the things we both discovered from the books. We are both knitters, though Kathy is more actively so. She is doing an in-depth study of artist Judy Chicago for school. Judy Chicago had a great deal of influence over me and my art when I was in college and to this day. And Kathy's daughter lives in Northampton, MA, a town I love. So when Kathy asked if we could work together--she needs to practice coaching individuals as part of her program--I immediately agreed. With my scattered art and business practices I have been feeling the need for some unifying forces and direction. Coincidence? She asked that I come up with a central question around which to center our work. (Since the meeting, I've made a huge list of questions from which I hope to whittle down to one at our first session.)

If that wasn't enough, I came home to a surprise check in the mail. I sold another piece of art--one that, frankly, I forgot was hanging in a gallery. WOO HOO! I put the check in my begging bowl purse with much gratitude.

A cap on my day, I watched the movie Becoming Jane (about Jane Austen) with my daughter. (She is a big Anne Hathaway fan, and although she is more in the realm of The Princess Diaries--for literature as well as movies--she has watched Pride and Prejudice with me in the past.) We then proceeded to spend the rest of the day curtsying and perfecting our English accents.

A day of serendipity and light.

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