Archive for the ‘cool stuff’ category

The Saturday Book Shop – How the Whole World Is Conspiring to Shower You with Blessings

January 9, 2021

Pronoia is the Antidote for Paranoia: How the Whole World is Conspiring to Shower You with Blessings by Rob Brezsny is a book that I gladly turn to in both joyous moments as well as crazy, horrible times like what transpired in Washington D.C. last week. This book is a gem whenever we need to catch our collective breath and pause to gather strength in fighting the good fight and renewing our focus on becoming a maestro of “rowdy bliss”, as Brezsny likes to say.

Brezsny’s writing helps re-gather a focus on beauty and truth, even in the midst of being witness to a Wannabe Tinpot Dictator extolling the virtues of America’s “freedom” while abdicating responsibility for preserving the hard-fought democracy foundations needed to keep “equal justice under law” moving forward and shining Liberty’s light, albeit imperfectly. Brezsny’s optimism doesn’t shy away from acknowledging the horrible and tragic in the world. His work is more thoughtful and intelligent and eye-twinkling-good-mischief-kinda-gonzo than that. I adore his unique way of reminding us how much more we have going for us even during challenging times, and it helps me re-ground. I needed it today. Here’s a quick excerpt from the book:

“Thousands of things go right for you every day, beginning the moment you wake up. Through some magic you don’t fully understand, you’re still breathing and your heart is beating, even though you’ve been unconscious for many hours. The air is a mix of gases that’s just right for your body’s needs, as it was before you fell asleep.

You can see! Light of many colors floods into your eyes, registered by nerves that took God or evolution or some process millions of years to perfect. The interesting gift of these vivid hues is made possible by an unimaginably immense globe of fire, the sun, which continually detonates nuclear reactions in order to convert its own body into light and heat and energy for your personal use.

You can’t live without the sun’s inexhaustible flood of unconditional love. Every move you make depends on it. Luckily, it never fails you. Did you know that your personal star is located at the precise distance from you to be of consummate service? If it were any closer, you’d fry, and if it were any farther away, you’d freeze. Is that just a happy accident? Or is it a sign of favor—a big, broad hint, from a cosmic intelligence that adores you?” — Rob Brezsny

Here’s to January 20, 2021, and to all the long-neglected work we will get to begin as the country turns a new page. God Bless Us All (and especially the amazing Stacey Abrams and all those dedicated volunteers who work to champion voting rights!) … and God Bless The United States of America (which has a beautiful little booklet called “The Constitution” which could probably use an amended edition).

“The American Dream & Experiment: Held Together with Safety Pins (There is a crack in everything, that is how the light gets in – Leonard Cohen)” ©2016

All for now. See you next week here at The Saturday Book Shop …

The Saturday Book Shop – December 26, 2020

December 26, 2020

It’s a glorious blue-sky, warm-sun and briskly BEAUTIFUL day-after-Christmas here in the warm-winter tropics of South Florida. Far too fine to be doing anything but masking up and being out enjoying all this not-too-hot, not-too-cold kinda bliss. Whether you’re reading this in the midst of a magical snowy wonderland up north or grabbing a sweater for a walk along breezy island shores, this is the sort of moment to really celebrate the complex blessings of our environment. And this book, The Nature of Nature: Why We Need the Wild, does that so well …

In an excerpt from the flyleaf:

“In this impassioned and inspiring book, world-renowned marine ecologist Enric Sala illuminates the many reasons why preserving Earth’s biodiversity makes logical, emotional, and economic sense.

Using key moments from his own scientific awakening (and introducing us to a colorful cast of teachers and colleagues along the way), Sala reveals that out survival depends on all species. From microbes to mammals, from seaweed to sharks, every living thing plays a crucial role in our interwoven biosphere. The natural world, he explains, is a perfect circular economy, where every species, in life and in death, sustains everything else.

Sala also builds a cogent argument for the practical value of preserving our planet’s wild places, demonstrating the long-lasting economic benefits of establishing wilderness preserves on land and no-catch zones in the ocean. And, in a timely epilogue, Sala shows how saving nature can save us all, by reversingcondiqtions that led to the coronavirus pandemic and preventing other global catastrophes.”

I am enjoying his mantra for re-wilding our planet and the myriad bio habitat examples Sala provides underscoring how we truly are—all of us—in this together. It will be more important than ever in the new year to move forward with innovative ways of preserving our precious planet. Read the first chapter of the Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson if you have any doubt about that. Or watch the newly released George Clooney-directed The Midnight Sky Netflix movie for a touching and beautifully poignant tale that opens our hearts more fully to the urgency of saving the earth.

Wishing you a blessed New Year. And if you feel like chiming in here in the comments with where and what you’re reading (or looking forward to reading!), I’d love to hear it. Now back out to enjoy this gorgeous day …

 

The Saturday Book Shop: December 19, 2020

December 19, 2020

Welcome back to The Saturday Book Shop.

I’m sharing three books today that sort of sum up the moment here in the midst of the holidays, the pandemic, and looking forward with hope and faith toward 2021, even though we still have quite a ways to go.

Almost Everything: Notes on Hope by Anne Lamotte is just the right blend of funny-meets-unflinching faith that I’ve seen described as capturing “life’s imperfect moments perfectly”. She is also the author of so many favorite titles, including the classic Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, which is all the title implies and more. Love it, and have happily followed her writings long time.

Keep Going by Austin Kleon is a gem of a book by a “writer who draws”. It’s full of creative inspiration and reminder-smiles that do literally help keep you going, come what may. He has an excellent newsletter and eclectic fun blog you can sign up for too.  All of his books rock with  wisdom and wit and big riffs of delight.

And finally, Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver. I am grateful to have many many poetry books. Love them all. Especially this one. Mary Oliver and all of her quietly elegant words—which uplift the everyday well spring of nature and life with such a notice-everything-and-tell-about-it open heart—are all time favorites, to be sure. When I was pulling this book off the shelf to snap this photo, a little postcard I had painted for myself and stuck in the book fluttered out. I’d popped it in opposite this poem … seems especially apropos at the moment:

WHAT GORGEOUS THING

I do not know what gorgeous thing

the bluebird keeps saying,

his voice easing out of his throat,

beak, body into the pink air

of the early morning. I like it

whatever it is. Sometimes

it seems the only thing

in the world that is without

questions that can’t and probably 

never will be answered, the

only thing that is entirely content

with the pink, then clear white

morning, and gratefully, says so.

— by Mary Oliver

Wishing you and yours a Very Happy, Peaceful, Healthy, & Heart-full-of-Love-and-quiet-Joys kinda Holiday season❣️

“A book is a present you can open again and again.”

The Saturday Book Shop

December 12, 2020

Welcome back to The Saturday Bookshop!

This first book I want to show you today is near and dear to my heart because it is by my dear friend and internationally-acclaimed artist, Chantal Bethel. I had the honor of getting to design and handle the graphic layout for Beyond the Surface: Art, Discovery, Healing and Transformation—a coffee table treasure filled with 112 full color pages of her beautiful and powerful paintings, mixed media installations, and sculptures, along with a selection of essays, quotes, and poems by various writers, art historians, curators, artists, and art critics. Born in Haiti, schooled in Belgium, and ultimately finding her home in The Bahamas, Chantal Bethel’s work reflects her complex and multi-layered story. Chantal Bethel’s art continually delves “beyond the surface” connecting pieces of her own life with the fullness of humanity’s tragedies and triumphs. To see a flip-through of the hardcover book, click here. The book is available in Nassau at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (NAGB) Mixed Media Gift Shop, or in the U.S. and Canada by writing to me here.

NEXT UP IS A GREAT READ & NEW CHRISTMAS CLASSIC

Smelling Roses: A Tale of Connection and Transformation is a debut novel by another dear friend and celebrated multi-talented painter and mixed media artist, Claudette Dean, who also writes poetry and now: brilliant books as well! I was honored and delighted to get to put together the cover design for this new Christmas classic—a tale of different dimensions of tide and time coming together to channel light during the tumultuous era of the 1960s. Sparkling with wit and mystical wonder, the story is amazingly in synch with today’s changing world and the challenges of trusting the growing waves of love rising against huge opposition. This novel is available via Amazon, or check with Claudette Dean via her website. It’s a Christmas page-turner and heart warmer all at once.

AND SPEAKING OF CHANGING TIMES …

With the votes finally counted and President-elect Joe Biden and VP-Elect Kamala Harris bringing new leadership to the United States, it’s important to remember the work that yet needs to be done and to say: Black Lives STILL Matter. Works by gifted new talent, like the marvelous writer/artist Morgan Harper Nichols, and a dynamic collection of black voices curated by conceptual artist Natasha Marin, share life experience alongside longtime greats, such as the legendary writers Maya Angelou and Toni Morrison. And I’m enjoying President Barack Obama‘s memoir so much. Those of you reading this who’ve known me for any length of time know how enthusiastically I campaigned for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. Reading A Promised Land reminds me of his intelligence, cool head, solid strength, and passion for a fair playing field that he brought to bear—all while rebuilding a crashed economy into a thriving one while battling unprecedented political obstruction. I’m cheering now for the election of Senate candidates Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock in Georgia. Even a very small donation to their campaigns at this moment would be a huge gift to a smoother path toward helping us all build back better. Here are links to the titles pictured above:

All Along You Were Blooming by Morgan Harper Nichols

Black Imagination curated by Natasha Marin

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

Maya Angelou: The Complete Poetry

A Promised Land by Barack Obama

..AND A BIG GRATEFUL SHOUT OUT to my longtime dear friend and bookshop connoisseur and mentor, Vanessa Hammill, who specializes in designing books about the history of her family’s native North Carolina, while also handling special orders and classroom recommendations for teachers and professional groups. She has a wide depth of book knowledge about all sorts of books, and first introduced me to classic children’s books, way before my now-just-graduated-from-college-daughter was born. These classics were well-worn with happy repeated readings. I dusted them off here from the storage box of childhood keepsakes. Well worn and well loved. Such wisdom in children’s books. And I am especially enchanted with the vibrant and joyful art and illustrations of Eric Carle, Lois Ehlert, and Ashley Bryan.

… well, I see the clock has just ticked past midnight as I type this, so here’s hoping you’ll enjoy this chapter of The Saturday Bookshop even if you’re not seeing it until Sunday morning! I forgot how long it sometimes takes to link things up on blogs! (smiles) The wonderfully self-fluent writer Havi Brooks says “All timing is right timing.”  I love that. And I’m very much enjoying sharing about my love of books here, and it would be wonderful to hear what you’re reading, or looking forward to reading, or any longtime book favorites. See you next week & happy reading!

“Books are a present you can open again and again.” 

The Saturday Book Shop

December 5, 2020

Many years ago (pre-Amazon days!) and for a very short time, I had a little bookshop that popped up on Saturdays in a picturesque Italian gelato cafe on Grand Bahama Island. My love of books was on full display within the shelves I would set up every week amidst the scent of cappuccino and waffle cones awaiting scoops of fresh-made gelato. The wide range of titles—everything from children’s book classics to National Geographic coffee table books—were very well received. I adored getting to introduce cafe visitors to new stories—and getting to learn about their favorites. It was a joy, pure and simple.

I still love all sorts of books and I thought it would be fun to host a sort of online essence of the shop here … sharing a few books each week as if we were sipping an espresso or indulging in a tropical treat together. There are so many great reading resources online these days, it’s hard to know where to start, and yet the thing about any creative process is it’s often best to do just that — start — and enjoy the process of figuring it out!

So, here we go … and I’ll begin by noting books that are top of mind for me right now. I love these new coffee table books about the Exumas because of the gorgeous photography and vignette stories inside, and also because I was delighted to get to create the cover art for them! 

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A glimpse inside and more details about these new coffee table books by photographer Alessandro Sarno is here. The images, gathered over eleven years of visits to the Exumas, showcase some of the incredibly beautiful places and faces within the rare natural beauty of these islands of The Bahamas.

FROM THE STACK OF BOOKS NEAR THE BEDSIDE TABLE

How To Fly in 10,000 Easy Lessons by Barbara Kingsolver

The Life of Plants—A Metaphysics of Mixture by Emanuele Coccia

TRUST by Pete Buttigieg

Pieces of A Song by Diane di Prima

Threads of Life: A History of The World through the Eye of A Needle by Clare Hunter

Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz

AND A COUPLE OF CREATIVE TOUCHSTONES

I love to reread parts of these often … full of inspiration and timeless wise and witty reminders … especially important anchors in this unusual-to-say-the-least time … 

click books for link

AND MORE PLACES TO FIND WONDERFUL BOOKS & TERRIFIC WRITINGS ABOUT BOOKS …

I am especially fond of the marvelously thoughtful Brain Pickings by Maria Popova, Austin Kleon’s brilliant and eclectic weekly newsletter and blog, and Elizabeth Gilbert’s new Onward book club as sources of sharing a wide wealth of writings and books. Well worth being on their mailing lists.

That’s it for now, other than a plea to support local independent booksellers whenever you can—these intrepid entrepreneurs have made the publishing world go round for a long long time and are essential nooks of civilization and creative caffeine everywhere! 

What are you reading now? Would love to hear what’s on your nightstand table or in your book bag or e-reader if you want to share in the comments. See you next Saturday … 📚 

“A book is a present you can open again and again.”

 

 

 

YIN Art Exhibit at Hillside House Gallery in Nassau, Bahamas

November 8, 2018

Delighted to be part of this group exhibit with five Grand Bahama artists—Chantal Bethel, Claudette Dean, Laurie Tuchel, Del Foxton, and me, Paula Boyd Farrington—celebrating feminine energy and spirit, opening November 9, 2018, from 6 to 9 pm, at Hillside House Gallery, #25 Cumberland Street, Nassau, Bahamas. Bring a friend and enjoy our new art, live music from Shelley Carey-Moxey, and handcrafted Bootleg Chocolates flown in from Grand Bahama’s chocolatier. An Artist Walkabout with the artists on hand for an open house to talk about their work as you browse through the gallery, will be on Saturday, November 10th, 2018 from 10 am to 2 pm.

Our thanks to artist Ilene Sova, Hon BFA, MFA, Ada Slaight Chair of Contemporary Drawing and Painting, Ontario College of Art and Design University, for her writing about the work.

Yin Calls Forth a New World of Feminine Transformation

I’ve always said the fact that all women aren’t stark raving mad is a complete miracle because to live in a world where basically every bad thing that happens to you, you’ve somehow brought on yourself by being female … it’s just like, come on, man! It’s like … to the least of us, whatever is going on, it’s happening to all of us.”

Callie Khouri, screenwriter of “Thelma & Louise”

The past two years have been extraordinarily difficult on the psyches of women around the globe. Newsfeeds are full of disturbing stories of sexual assault, the falls from grace of several male celebrities and cultural icons, and the pulling back of dark curtains revealing immense pain and abuses of power in all sectors of our society. Social commentary abounds on how the enormity of this abuse was allowed to go on for such long periods of time. Women from all levels of society began to speak out in large numbers, bringing what was hidden behind closed doors, out into public view. Secrets of violence whispered to each other in back channels were suddenly being blasted loudly on cable news; relentlessly dissected, cast with doubt, and denied by powerful men. How does this onslaught affect our consciousness? How does bearing witness to these damaging stories change the way we view ourselves and the women around us? How will these revelations and their ubiquity change how we interact with one another? What does the future hold for the human relationships we hold the dearest? These questions and versions of them are swimming about in the public consciousness.  Although it is much too soon to know the answers, what seems clear is that if we are to have a way forward; we need a hand in the design of what we want our future to look like. We will need to be creative, manifest new ways of being with one another, and imagine possibilities that bring us back into a healthy balance. 

In this exhibition Yin, Chantal Bethel, Claudette Dean, Laurie Tuchel, Del Foxton, and Paula Boyd Farrington work towards this seemingly impossible intention. Through a visual journey into a return to balance, these women begin to show us, through art, a time of harmony, a return to respecting the sacred feminine and the healing it has to offer the world. Upon examining these works, one can imagine these women in their studios working past the misogynist upheaval through the vehicle of their artistic practices. Around them, as they move in and out of creation, the mass media amplifies stories of environmental disaster, men overpowering women, reactionary politics, and sanctioned state violence. However, in this sacred space, they create as artists, a new visual language that calls forth a beautiful world where humanity can return to harmony. A world that manifests celebrating women echoed in organic shapes, sacred patterns and communal collectivity. As one moves through the space of this exhibition, forgotten is the angled hard world that values the impersonal, and the individual. The world that protects the abuser and defames the storyteller is banished. The hard angles and the rough edges of a society that value power, and worships what is keeping us off balance, fades into the distance. It is instead replaced by a new warm, beautiful future where the Goddess reigns supreme. 

Is it possible to manifest a new world through the creation of art? In her book Outlaw Culture: Resisting Representations, bell hooks states that  “The function of art is to do more than tell it like it is—it’s to imagine what is possible” (hooks 281).  These women compose this declaration clearly, stating that their work is a celebration of “each a half of the harmony of the Universe, balancing sun and moon, light and dark… homages to the empowerment of women as vessels of love, healing, and transformation” (Yin Artist Statement).

In Tuchel’s naturalistic portraits of senior women, we see a homage to the faces that are relegated to the sidelines in our patriarchal worship of the young and nubile. Her larger group painting brings women back together in a dancing collective that become one with each other through colour, gesture and texture. In Del Foxton’s sculpture of women from across the globe, they stand in a group sharing their compelling stories on a path to healing. Their shoulders hunched in a communal discussion. As viewers, we can imagine these women walking away upright with the strength of their stories straightening their backs and empowering their way forward.  A coming together of collectivity is echoed in the figures of her doll-like cutouts that hold hands, dancing across the recycled paper that, in its very existence, shows us a new way into a future of environmental sustainability. Small cut out daughters held in their bodies travel with the figures along with a new path in the community. As we move onto Chantal Bethel’s work, this concept is reflected in her sculptural and painted vessels that call forth rebirth, reincarnation and the new life that we yearn for. The lotus flowers, water symbolism, birth and rebirth that exude from each piece immerses us in a return to nature which provides us with the answers of how to begin again. Bethel calls forth in three dimensions women’s power and a human kinship with the natural world that once lost can be found again. Claudette Dean carries this narrative through her work as we see the divine feminine, head down and meditating. We can feel her protagonist magically imagining and drawing forth a new world. The vaginal openings in her tree focused paintings centre the viewer on the cycles of the earth and the blossoms that represent the rebirth that spring will bring through a universal womb. As we work through her paintings, this rebirth she tells us will have women as the metaphorical gatekeepers; enormous and powerful in stature, branches reaching up to the heavens. In Paula Farrington’s work, we see the manifestation of a new world in the visual form. She illustrates through vibrant colours, glittering shapes and reflective surfaces, the universe bringing forth a new way of being. A new world in which the Earth Goddess is returned to her rightful place of the sacred. We feel the movement of our positive thoughts through splashes of colour that move in and out of one another. The beauty of her saturated colours stand in direct resistance to the oppression and darkness of what is being revealed in the movements of Me Too and Times Up. Organic shapes, complex colour symbology, groupings of symbols and subjects, intricate patterns that live alongside free intuitive ones, metaphoric vessels and literal vessels, water, land, earth and sky all communicate with one another between these artworks. Yin takes us on a journey to the answers to our burning questions. It asks us to remember the power and value of women; to bring our lives back into balance by protecting and respecting the land and water. It tells us that the answers are all around us and inside our humanity.

In the book, When God Was a Woman, Merlin Stone writes that ancient goddess worshipers believed their deity was “creator and law-maker of the universe, prophetess, provider of human destinies, inventor, healer, hunter and valiant leader in battle” (Stone 11). Out of the studio and into the gallery, the artists of Yin bring forth a deity that battles oppression with visual expression. A prophetess that tells us a story of a new way of living and being that is coming in our future. A healer that literally and figuratively births a new harmonious way of being that is balanced and respects the environment that we inhabit. She is a hunter that goes out on a journey and brings back the qualities of love for oneself and love for others through intention and imagination, collectivity and collaboration. Magical in its optimism, the Goddess that Yin manifests will provide the viewer with a new space of transformation. She provides us with a space that shows us what is possible when we come together in community to honour women and the communities that they bring forth. 

Ilene Sova, Hon BFA, MFA

Ada Slaight Chair of Contemporary Drawing and Painting

Ontario College of Art and Design University 

Work cited:        . hooks, bell. Outlaw Culture: Resisting Representations. Routledge, 2008.
                           . Stone, Merlin. When God Was a Woman. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1978.

 

The exhibit continues through early December. Our thanks to Antonius Roberts and Paula Roberts of Hillside House Gallery, The Charitable Arts Foundation of The Bahamas, and our husbands, families, friends, and YIN sisters everywhere for their support.

Pineapple Perspectives: Welcoming Voice & Vision

January 5, 2017

pineappleperspective-displayed

The humble pineapple—a staple of feasts among Taino and Carib tribes—was prized for its exotic rarity in colonial times when a pineapple dressing your table or entry was a luxurious sign of ultimate Welcome and Hospitality that grew to be recognized the world over. The word “pineapple” is a composite of “pine” (taken from the spiked shape of a pinecone, once revered in many ancient cultures as symbolic of the intuition, or third eye—the “pineal” gland in the center of the forehead is named with the same root word) and “apple”, to epitomize fruit.

Pineapple Perspectives: Welcoming Voice & Vision re-imagines the ubiquitous tropical pineapples as an icon of Welcome to our innate Creativity, Imagination, and Intuition—sacred gifts available to all as Artists of Everyday Life, regardless of our field of endeavor. Intuitive creativity helps us to find ways to embrace different perspectives, to walk in each other’s flip flops, to make music of the mundane, to take good notes when the heart speaks, to shine light on our best and worst impulses, and to surrender to a deeper dance of natural grace in every aspect of daily life. To glimpse a pineapple anywhere and be reminded to simply pause and quietly ask ourselves about one creative dream—and any small small step we can start taking toward realizing it—begins a valuable dialogue.

More awareness of our intuitive powers in these challenging and oh-so-spiky times re-opens the doors of hospitality to the sweet satisfactions of creative process in the many ways we grow and celebrate our shared humanity within this multi-layered and ever changing collage of life.  — Paula Boyd Farrington

creative-nourishment

Creative Nourishment: Curiousity, Gratitude, Awareness, Childlike Wonder

there-is-a-crack-ineverything

The American Dream & Experiment: Held Together With Safety Pins (There is a crack in everything, that is how the light gets in. – Leonard Cohen)

sea-fan-prayer4protection

Sea Fan: Respect & Honor for the Ocean–A Prayer for Protection from Overfishing

Sea Fan closeup detail

creativecurrency-time

Creative Currency: Time … A Nickel’s Worth To Start Then Time Flies

sacred-geometry

Sacred Geometry | Creativity: The Basic Shape of Things

Flowering Empathy: Walking In Each Other's Flip Flops (close up detail)

Flowering Empathy: Walking In Each Other’s Flip Flops (close up detail)

I am humbled and thrilled to have this mixed media work on view as part of the NE8 (National Exhibit 8) at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas in Nassau through April 2017.  The exhibit is beautifully curated by NAGB Chief Curator, Holly Bynoe, and the amazing array of 50 featured contemporary works has been presented with incredible polish, panache, and heart by her super-talented staff (rock on, Team Ninja!!).

It’s a show worth seeing. Very grateful to be part of this conversation on art and culture that happens every two years in The Bahamas. Was fortunate to get to hear some terrific Artist Talks from Bahamian artists all over the world following the Opening Night event. Loved getting to be there opening night to see the message of making our own intuition, imagination, and creativity more welcome in our everyday lives so warmly received. Small gold pineapple icons were handed out on opening night in bestowing greater awareness and reminders to pause and ponder the power of our combined sacred intuitive gifts.

108 Double Stitches

November 3, 2016
Dear Fellow Kaizen Muse Creativity Coaches +  Creativity-Loving Friends,
baseball-a

I am still in the thrall of that AMAZING 2016 World Series Game 7 that I got to watch last night between two of the best-matched and incredibly talented give-it-all-you-got baseball teams: the Chicago Cubs & the Cleveland Indians. WHAT A GAME!!! I’ve never seen anything like it.  It had all the elements of an epic movie:  action, mega-suspense, dramatic pauses, laughter, tears, heroic perseverance in the face of fatigue, big league Pressure with a capital P—plus—an unforgettable ending … it was all that and more. Beyond WOW.

Both teams had a lot on the line.  Both teams have been a long time between bringing home the pennant.  Both teams played their hearts out.  I wanted to give each of them a trophy, but having lived in Milwaukee many years ago (and been a frequent visitor to Chicago), I was also cheering for The Cubs to break their 108-year ‘losing’ streak … I wanted them and their fans to be like Bill Murray in that wonderful Groundhog Day movie and wake up to a new day.  To see either of these teams win felt like it was somehow an homage to the sheer joy of playing the game, of going about the day-to-day business of throwing and catching and hitting the ball and running the bases … and having a damn fine time doing it.  That’s what any game is about.  Including the game of Life.

Jill Badonsky knows this. And she brings this same wholehearted “joy of the game” to life in everything she does—including her new Finding Über Bliss program coming up in Delray, Florida, January 19-22, 2017   I am so looking forward to this. It will be a terrific chance to be with Jill in person and experience this work for yourself as a participant. You can deepen your game and adapt it to your own individual playbook—or—put yourself in Spring Training to get to be one of the first coaches to share this lighthearted, centering, and inspiring work with your very own creativity group!

It’s also one of the most reasonable investments you can make in learning new techniques and creative exercises that will serve you in any group you’re putting together, or in your one-on-one coaching.  Or just in letting you feel firsthand, in a memorable and deeper way, a fuller engagement of the creative principles that can lead to having more fun along the way, more home runs or base hits, less crankiness in general. (to borrow one of my favorite Jill-phrases! 🙂 )

Talking all these baseball metaphors also has me thinking about another favorite movie, A League of Their Own.  It’s about another set of teams that played their hearts out. I love movies. And sitting in the stands. And being out there on the field, athletic or not. This one makes you want to get out on the field more. Or take a road trip. And so does Jill.

If you’ve been thinking about getting out there more for yourself or for your coaching, I hope you’ll look at the information here and join this new team of Finding Uber Bliss guides that’s coming together. There’s a few spaces left and a whole lotta fun to be had. And some warm-winter days to enjoy in Florida!

Delray Beach is close to either the West Palm Beach International Airport or Fort Lauderdale International Airport. The retreat will be held at Duncan Center, which is tucked into a quiet corner with a pool, labyrinths, zen space to breathe and meet and be, lodging and meals included (except for an outing to one of the many lovely restaurants in a jazzy little shopping area that’s just a 10 minute drive away). A beach jaunt, smart phone camera techniques, no-pressure drawing, creative writing, creative rejuvenation among kindred spirits, and the whimsy and mojo experience that are part of Jill’s stadium of wisdom and wonder, are also doing a little crowd wave to you in hopes you’ll join us!

It took The Cubs 108 years to win a World Series pennant. I read this morning that there are 108 double stitches on a baseball.  There’s a certain magic in baseball.  There’s a certain magic in all the ups and downs of playing the game and finding more joy and Uber Bliss along the way. Mox nix if you’re a baseball fan, just wanted to say I hope to see you in Florida with Jill, Team KMCC!!!

with ramped up survived-hurricane-mathew-and-just-got-internet-and-power-again renewed gratitude for the basics, and a little happy dance,

Paula
uber-castle-and-title

Finding Über Bliss: A Wildly Creative Journey to the Present Moment

June 21, 2016

Jill.UberBliss.Graphic

Excited to announce that this January 19-22, 2017, I’ll be collaborating with one of my most favorite, brilliant, and fun-loving mentors, the inspirational humorist/author/illustrator/yoga teacher and Founder of the Kaizen Muse Creativity Coaching Training program— Jill Badonsky—to offer a warm-winter retreat and joy-centered learning experience in beautiful Delray Beach, Florida: Finding Uber Bliss … A Wildly Creative Journey to the Present Moment.  It’s an amazing opportunity to hang out with Jill in person and discover more ways to deepen your own imaginatively-inspired life as an Artist of Being Alive. You’ll be guided through stories of wisdom, creative adventures & writing, smart camera art, drawing, painting, brushes with the absurd & sublime, and enlightened contemplation … all in a gentle, non-pressurized, rooted-in-playfulness environment.

Imagination.Freedom.GRace

For KMCC coaches, it’s an ideal chance to ground yourself and learn in-person as you become certified to lead your own Finding Uber Bliss groups or classes. And for any creativity-loving attendees (artists, writers, gardeners, non-coaches, musicians, spiritual-seekers, everyone welcome!), it’s a wonderful way to amp up your awareness, more fully embrace your own distinctive creative thinking, deepen peace-of-mind practices, meet more mirth, and enhance the ongoing layers & blending of your own daily collage-of-life.

Jill.Badonsky.Inner.Sanc

Inspiration is an awakening, a quickening of all man’s faculties, and it is manifested in all high artistic achievements.” ~Giacomo Puccini

Anyone at all who is known for having found a path to consistent, recurring joy — cites staying present as the essential teaching.” ~David Cain, Author of You Are Here

Living creatively, you don’t constantly manufacture a future, you grow the life that is present.” ~Thomas Moore

If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.” ― Amit Ray

“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each MOMENT. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.”  ― Henry David Thoreau

“The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.” ~Henry Miller
 
“And I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.” ~Kurt Vonnegut

Jill.Badonsky.Creative.Voices

Why the name “Uber Bliss”?

(A note from Jill Badonsky about Finding Uber Bliss beginnings)

“Über” is a German word meaning “over”, “above” or “across”. 
 
“Uber” crossed over from German into English in 1883 when German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche coined the term “Ubermensch” to describe the higher state to which he felt men might aspire. Mensch means “man” in German.
 
The name of this program, “Uber Bliss”, was a spinoff of an explanation Dr. Seuss gave when people asked the question, “Where do you get your ideas?” He invented a fictitious account involving a hamlet in Switzerland called Über Gletch where he claimed he went every August to get his cuckoo clock fixed and while waiting, strange people would give him his ideas. It turned out to be an explanation that was as absurd as the question, “Where do you get your ideas?”
 
“Where do you get your ideas?” is a confounding question to most artists and writers because the genesis of ideas is elusive; there often is no explanation that the conscious mind can grasp. Because he was so imaginative, Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss), was frequently asked this question and rather than get annoyed, he invented a description, which showed us his tongue-in-cheek resourcefulness, his ability to rise above predictability, and his comfort with being imaginatively absurd. (All handy elements in the creative process as well as in life.)
 
The Greeks, who were known for inventing myths to explain the unexplainable, invented Muses to justify where ideas come from. So you see, Muses and Uber Gletch have a common theme—not to mention, the reference to “uber” as aspiring to a higher state.
 
When the transportation network, Uber, created a new association to the word, I was concerned people would be think Uber Bliss was related to a taxi service and considered changing the name. Instead, my inner Dr. Seuss helped me get resourceful, which was easy since both the Uber transportation network and Finding Uber Bliss, “transport” people to places that will make them happy.
 
Consider that you are about to get a lift to a new way of existing in your world. – Jill Badonsky

 

Jill.Badonsky.Deeper

Uber-Bliss will be held in a five-acre wooded retreat center (Duncan Conference Center) in warm-winter Delray Beach, Florida, where peace and serenity abound alongside delicious and nutritious food, two labyrinths, a heated swimming pool, and state of the art meeting space.
 
KMCC grad, artist Victoria Bronfman, who lives close by to the conference, will be guiding us to some extras at the Jaffe Center for Book Arts, and a nearby Greek restaurant where we can allegedly dine AND dance on the tables if so inclined. (Opa!) www.victoriabronfman.com
 
Fort Lauderdale International Airport is the closest major airport to the conference retreat center.
Register with the links below for an Uber-Wonderful experience that includes Duncan Center lodging, and most meals. Choose Option A to be Certified, or Option B to simply come and go through the Journey to unleash your creativity for more joy and peace of mind.
A. Certification Cost with the Journey
Early Registration $1285
After November 19, 2016 $1385
Option One
Deposit: $400 (receive early registration cost when balance is paid off by November 19, 2016 ) (ask for a payment subscription)
Option Two
Paid Full Balance Early $1285
After November 19, 2016 $1385
Rate includes a private room with private bath and free wifi.  All meals are included except Saturday night’s Greek Taverna outing.  Sunday breakfast and lunch included. Also includes license to use the Finding Uber Bliss name and materials, promotions and goodies related to Finding Uber Bliss, and a hard-copy manual with step-by-step instructions on running classes, workshops, logistics and marketing. Also, inclusion in the Finding Uber Bliss network.  
B. Florida Journey Experience of Uber Bliss Without Certification:
Option One
Deposit: $400 (receive early registration cost when balance is paid off by November 19, 2016 ) (ask for a payment subscription)
Option Two
Early Registration $985
After November 19, 2016 $1085

Includes all the above except no license, Hard-Copy, or network.

Sign up for Uber Bliss with a friend and share a room together to each save $100 off your registration! Email Jill at the address below for that arrangement.

Duncan.Center.Lodging.Photo

Duncan Conference Center Room

 Duncan.Retreat.Center.Pool
Limited Enrollment for this in-person training! If it fills, we’ll put you on the waiting list for the next training. This Finding Uber Bliss training will be offered through Zoom Teleconference in 2017. However, I highly recommend the in person experience—the off-time socializing and bonding is rich and a lot of fun.
Any questions, please contact Jill Badonsky at info(at)themuseisin.com
Jill and I hope to see you there; oh-what-fun!!
Jill.Paula.Bliss.Circle.web.A
Uber-jazzed,
Paula

 

The Greening of Grand Bahama

December 28, 2013

It’s the last Saturday of the month—and that means it’s time for Grand Bahama’s Farmer’s Market, known as “Da Market” at the Bahamas National Trust Rand Nature Centre from 9 am to 1 pm each month (and possibly more often during the warm winter season!). You’ll find a small assortment of organically grown produce, fresh herbs, seedlings, fresh-from-the-henhouse-eggs, plus homemade jams, jellies and sweets.

Herbs.Seeds.Closeup.4.27.2013

Organic.Goodies.A.4.28.13Even exotic fruits can be found, such as these locally-grown Dragon Fruit, which have a marvelous fuchsia color and taste mildly sweet, like a kiwi fruit:

Dragon.Fruit.in.Crate

Dragon.FRt.cut.open

The market also has a small selection of ever-changing locally made arts and crafts …

handpainted stones by artist Shanin Hughes

handpainted stones by artist Shanin Hughes

The Farmer’s Market is just one of the signs that Grand Bahama is becoming greener. I’ll tell you more about local entrepreneurs who are providing fresh green menus, vegan foods, and even a local organic farm in another post …. right now I’m ten minutes late for the opening of “Da Market” … see you there!

DA.Market.4.27.2013P.S. SCHEDULING NOTE OOPS:  If you’re reading this on December 28th before 1 pm and thinking of heading out in your car, hold off until next month! Da Farmer’s Market was moved up a week because of the holidays … still happy to spread the word and hope you’ll check Facebook under “Da Farmer’s Market” for updates and reminders of upcoming markets–and hooray for all the luscious green goodness that swirls through Grand Bahama all through our warm winter!


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