Archive for the ‘indescribable’ category

The Saturday Book Shop – The Snail with the Right Heart

February 13, 2021

Most book stores do not have a section labelled “Simply Enchanting”, but they ought to, and this book definitely falls into that category of undefinable magic (mixed with true science) that will no doubt make it a contemporary classic for young readers—and everyone young at heart too.

The Snail with the Right Heart: A True Story by Maria Popova with illustrations by Ping Zhu is a children’s book that holds a fascinating story with down-to-earth wisdom alongside soaring wonder of the ages within its covers. (And if you’re a book printing/design geek like me, you’ll notice that not only the stunning pages, but even the end papers of the covers are delicately and brilliantly illustrated. The tiny details of book production, along with the inner workings of tiny gliding snails zing me.) Three years in the making, the book is quite timely, especially in these times:

“A love story, a time story, an invitation not to mistake difference for defect and to welcome, across the accordion scales of time and space, diversity as nature’s wellspring of resilience and beauty.” – Maria Popova

Maria Popova’s name is familiar if you’re a reader of her fabulous BrainPickings site where she mesmerizes us all with her passionate and poetic writings about all things books, art, design, poetry, music, marvels, philosophy: LIFE.

Popova is after my own heart here when she describes so wonderfully what I have long felt about the best of children’s books:

“Great children’s books move young hearts, yes, but they also move the great common heart that beats in the chest of humanity by articulating in the language of children, which is the language of simplicity and absolute sincerity, the elemental truths of being: what it means to love, what it means to be mortal, what it means to live with our fragilities and our frissons. As such, children’s books are miniature works of philosophy, works of wonder and wonderment that bypass our ordinary resistances and our cerebral modes of understanding, entering the backdoor of consciousness with their soft, surefooted gait to remind us who and what we are.” – Maria Popova

There’s more to Popova’s behind-the-scenes about writing this gem, as well as more photos of the gorgeous inside pages of the book here.

And while we’re on the subject of snails, and because it’s the day before Valentine’s, I’ll leave you with a little poem I wrote back in 2014 about embracing the spirit of snails and all they can teach us about unexpected blessings of perspective, whether we’re in full tilt hummingbird-heartbeat doings mode or embracing the reminders of slow and steady rhythms of just being that come our way … Happy Heart Day All! ❤️❤️❤️

OF SNAILS AND TRAILS
by Paula Boyd Farrington

 

I read about Totem Animals
whose essence shows The Way
The article said if you don’t know yours,
Be aware: it will somehow speak to you; show up during your day
 
And there you were
when I went out to the car
In plain view—a darling little snail
On the rear view mirror: driver’s side
 
Oh no, I groan …
I don’t want my totem to be a SNAIL!
Sluggish. Slow. Escargot.
No, thank you. No. Just … no.
 
But there you are again
In the evening dusk
climbing outside the kitchen window,
seemingly everywhere I look.
 
Oh my. Not what I wanted to see.
Why couldn’t I have glimpsed a National Geographic Gazelle?
A Lion. A Jaguar. A Hawk. A Flamingo!
Something powerful or exotic. Oh hell.
 
But there you are.
Carrying your likeness of a gratitude symbol
upon your mandala of a spiral shell,
your home right with you, wherever you may dwell.
 
Let me look closer, your antennae sweeping out
Stretching forward, inquisitively sensing the air
I watch you quietly know where you’re going,
on your own glossy path, climbing here and there.
 
Let me rethink this tiny powerhouse of Now
to warm to What Is
seeing anew the natural grace
In everything that lives.
 
This little snail is more than cute,
It fulfills an important role
Recycles organic matter,
Strong and steady it goes and goes.
 
And your giant ocean cousin?
All pink lipped with curvy shell,
known as an aphrodisiac,
her majesty feeds the islands well.
 
Named the Queen Conch.
She sometimes sports a pearl.
A royal snail in aqua seas
Classic beauty, a crown of whorls.
 
So can I embrace this totem tale?
As a celebration of gentler slower trails?
Of gliding along smoothly through time & tide?
The heart’s humble wisdom says: oh, snail—be mine! ❤️
Paula Boyd Farrington ©2014Oh! And one last time-oriented p.s. … I had the pleasure of getting to create the art for the cover of this Exumas: The Kingdom of Blue coffee table book (and wrote a poem inside about my first flight to Exuma!). The book is filled with gorgeous photos by Alessandro Sarno, holding a reverent gaze on life in this beautiful chain of islands surrounded by some of the most stunning clear ocean waters anywhere. It’s perfect for anyone who loves The Bahamas or whose heart wants to visit. The publisher is offering a 20% discount through Valentine’s Weekend. Link to the site is here.

 

Enjoy & see you back next week at The Saturday Book Shop!

 

The Saturday Book Shop – The Lost Spells

January 30, 2021

Just one exquisite little book today: The Lost Spells by Robert Macfarlane and illustrated by Jackie Morris.

The simple majesty of this book gently opens your heart with quietly elegant poetry, rhyme, and riveting watercolors—an artful honoring of the natural world that is truly spellbinding in its sense of wonder.

I am admittedly writing this while still in the thrall of getting to stand in the glow of the recent Full Wolf Moon. Bathing in the moonbeams of the moment is akin to the celebration of language and devoted images attentively rendered here. I adore how the pages lift the spirit to the stars while keeping your feet firmly planted in the earth’s exceptional and softly soaring beauty and magic. An excerpt from the Introduction:

” … Loss is the tune of our age, hard to miss and hard to bear. Creatures, places and words disappear, day after day, year on year. But there has always been singing in dark times—and wonder is needed now more than ever. ‘To enchant’ means both to make magic and to sing out. So let these spells ring far and wide; speak their words and seek their art, let the wild world into your eyes, your voice, your heart.”

The Lost Spells is a “little sister” to 2017’s The Lost Words — another treasure by the same author and illustrator. There’s a delightful video interview with the author here (thanks to the fabulous Waterstones in London). In the video you can glimpse some of the amazing illustrations and hear select readings by Robert Macfarlane along with his thoughts and backstory in creating these inspiring works.

Thank you for visiting The Saturday Book Shop. So wonderful to get to share enthusiasms for books here (or in the comments if you wish).

AND A REMINDER OF OTHER WONDERFUL PLACES WHERE BOOKS ARE CELEBRATED

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!

Here’s to all the writers and artists and wonder-seekers who creatively lose themselves in the zone of conjuring natural-found joy and magic through their reverent gazes.

Get Started: Revving Up Your Creative Energy

July 30, 2013

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I like this quote. It’s a great reminder for me, and for anyone who wants to rev up their writing, art, business, or any creative endeavor—including life!  Lowered expectations at the beginning of a process helps obliterate the paralysis that comes from expecting yourself to be unrealistically amazing all the time. Is there somewhere you can lower your standards in order to get started? Can you trust (even just a little) that simply starting will lead you to take the next small step, and then the next … and that whatever you’re working on will develop (sort of like a Polaroid coming into focus), sharpening and getting clearer and more polished along the way?

I know that lowering expectations helps me get started. It will also help me get this quickly posted right now, in the midst of several other projects, rather than waiting for a more perfect moment to write a longer post about the many enthusiasms I have for the gentle and deceptively-powerful Kaizen Muse Creativity tools and philosophies—creative support and va-va-voom that I’ve already written about glowingly here! Enjoy …

The Muse Is IN: An Owner’s Manual For Your Creativity … A High Octane New Book by Jill Badonsky

January 17, 2013

The.Muse.Is.In.coverIf you’ve ever wondered how to get your creativity running like a well-oiled machine, Jill Badonsky’s just-released book is like having an ace mechanic by your side helping you power up your genius and re-engineer common creative malfunctions such as procrastination, perfectionism, self-sabotage, and overwhelmed thinking.

I was lucky enough to run across Jill Badonsky’s solidly lighthearted approach to the creative life a few years ago, and have been on the bandwagon of her powerfully playful philosophies ever since. She’s the reason I became a Kaizen Muse™ Creativity Coach. She’s also the reason I’m having even more fun with all my jazzbo projects, and helping others find more va-va-voom with theirs.

I’m delighted Jill has stopped by here to talk about her fabulous new book—The Muse Is In: An Owner’s Manual For Your Creativity.

Hi Jill … This new Owner’s Manual seems to provide the missing instructions we all needed growing up … is creativity something innate we’re all born with?

Yes, I believe we ALL have the ability to “create” according to the definition with which I operate and encourage others to go by. We create our work, our relationships, our experience of life using the modalities of attitude, perspective, and even grace. Many people associate being creative with being artistically talented. Anyone can forge into the world of writing, art, music, and dance.  
 
From my book:

“Some people think we are either born with creativity or we’re not.

Many people are indeed born with an innate talent.  When they cultivate that talent through many, many hours of practice, amazing works of art, literature, music, what-have-you are brought into existence.  But really, do you need to BE that person in order to discover the bliss, benefits, and rewards of creativity? No.

You can develop skill with practice, but the process is what makes life more wonderful.  Talented people are not necessarily happy;  the ones who are also happy, know how to create joy within themselves. 

Passion,  curiosity, healing, need, problem-solving, angst, joy, amusement, reckless abandon – these are ALSO drives that result in creativity.  Everyone has the ability to be creative in these ways. 

Everyone gets to be creative.”

That’s such a great fine-tuning way of looking at creativity … as something we all get to be in life. What about maintaining our creativity? I read recently that the word “maintenance” is from the French word maintenant, which means now. Can you talk a little about the best practices for maintaining a high creative output without giving sway to burnout or overwhelm?

  • Everyone is different in this regard. Asking yourself, “What works for me” is a good place to start. 
  • But what works for many prolific creative people is: making creative time a habit rather than forcing through resistance every time you want to show up, asking small questions, taking walks, exposure to works that inspire, making sure you take a break to let ideas incubate, fooling around,  meditation and just allowing the process to take you places.

First.Step.MuseIsIn

How did you keep things fun for yourself while doing all the wonderful writing and colorful art for this book?

  • Writing and art just are inherently fun for me. I stay in a mode of childlike curiosity about the flow of surprises that emerge when you make time to just explore ideas.
  • If my writing gets too dry I just remember that one of my favorite voices is the irreverent one and it’s a lot of fun for me to go back and tweak what I’ve written to make it more entertaining. 
  • One of the favorite parts of my thinking is how quirky I am so I’m always surprised with what I come up with. I think everyone can approach their work in this way.

 I love that — remembering to embrace the quirkiness and keep a childlike curiosity about what emerges. It seems to me this book is like the ultimate GPS … mapping out the best routes and scenic stops—and helping you find your way if you get lost.

Yes, as an Owner’s Manual it’s packed with tips, gizmos, conditions for best operation, care and maintenance and troubleshooting. There’s lots of little pieces of added humor in both the illustrations and the writing, making it playfully practical. Start your engines!

Jill, thanks for stopping by the lane-less-harried here at Paula’s Paradise, and for writing such a beautiful and incredibly helpful book that fuels you with creative inspiration on every page.

Jill.Badonsky.Muse

Jill Badonsky, M.Ed., is an illustrator, humorist, nationally-recognized seminar leader, and creativity consultant. As the founder and director of Kaizen-Muse™ Creativity Coaching, she consults with filmmakers, comedians, artists, writers, business leaders, and anyone who is experiencing procrastination and other blocks to positive change. She is the author of The Nine Modern Day Muses (and a Bodyguard), and The Awe-Manac: A Daily Dose of Wonder. She lives in San Diego, CA. Visit her at www.themuseisin.comwww.kaizenmuse.com, or on Facebook and Twitter.

AweManac.9ModernDayMusesWe love comments. Tell us about what keeps your creativity revved. Or stalled. If there’s more than 10 comments here, Jill will do a drawing and giveaway one of her new books to a lucky commenter. We’re all lucky to have Jill’s expertise and entertaining encouragement as we go along life’s highways and byways … thank you, Jill!!

Yellow Butterfly of JOY, I Salute You

December 31, 2012

Yellow Butterfly of JOY

 

Yellow Butterfly of JOY, I Salute You

You dance through the wild blue skies

where sunshine floats

asking nothing more than to be noticed

your vivid essence of daffodils, golden butter, and dappled dawns

flits across my radar screen

and the world stills

as I embrace the wonder of you

aflutter, holding you deeply in my heart

a sunlit reminder of the serendipity

and lightness of being that flows freely

as we gather the nectar of flowers

timeless and fleeting all at once

Wings of YES

Wings of Ooh

Wings of Love

Wings of Praise

Gratitude & Grace

Dazzling Days

– Paula Boyd Farrington · 12/31/2012

Happy New Year All!

Paula Ticks, Paula Talks: Tick Tock, Time for Politics—Time to VOTE

November 6, 2012

I support President Obama’s re-election because he did all this (and saved America’s iconic auto industry!) while cleaning up the worst financial mess in modern history—all amidst an unprecedented political obstructionism. I admire President Obama’s fortitude, his passion for a fair playing field in America, his dedication to laying the foundation for true stable growth, his cool head and solid strength in a crisis, and the inclusiveness that underpins not only his vision, but the ongoing American dream. 

I wear my political heart on my sleeve. You know who I’m cheering for tonight and why. Vote, America. It’s a right that men and women over countless generations have fought and died for—our democratic process is a beacon of light and liberty the world over.

In 2008, Barack Obama said, “I’m asking you to believe not just in my ability to bring about real change in Washington … I’m asking you to believe in yours.” Let’s finish what we started, America. Let’s stay the course of real progress. It isn’t instant. It’s step-by-step-by-step commitment and dedication. It’s stops and starts. And moves ahead anyway. And celebrates its successes along the way. This is a philosophy that works in any creative process. Including nation building. President Obama has laid a solid foundation in leading us forward. Let’s continue UP. Let’s vote, America.

Blessings on all who are reading this. On everyone who is voting. On every elected official who holds sacred the trust bestowed in representing the citizens. On everyone who volunteers to help the election process at the polls, or fights the good fight as a campaign volunteer. God Bless You, America—Let’s Keep Moving Forward. Together. (And please feel free to insert your own fife and drum music here!)

If you missed President Obama’s stirring campaign event last night in Iowa—which explains so well why I’m still Fired UP, here it is. Your voice matters.

 

What A Marvelous Mantra

October 1, 2012

Time and Tide

April 17, 2012

Walk, saunter, run, swim, wander, feel the sand and warm water between your toes. Or close your eyes and cyber-stroll. Enjoy every tiny treasure of your own personal paradise …

Grand Bahama’s Junior Junkanoo Parade

January 22, 2012

Playing the Cowbells. photo by Paula Boyd Farrington

I love a parade. Especially Junkanoo Parades—those uniquely Bahamian celebrations of sound and bold colors and creativity—pulsed to the steady heartbeat rhythms of goatskin drums, cowbells, whistles, horns, and dancing feet.  The Junior Junkanoo Parade is one of my all time favorites. Students, dedicated teachers, parents, and a host of volunteers from all over the island work countless hours creating meticulously-crafted, handmade costumes, and rehearsing lively music and dance routines to parade through the downtown streets of Grand Bahama. This year’s parade was held Saturday evening, January 14th, 2012, with a big crowd of friends and well wishers lining the streets to cheer the students of all ages on.

Junkanoo is loud. It’s proud. And totally adorable. Here’s a peek at some of the fun … congrats to all who participated and made it possible!

photo by Paula Boyd Farrington

photo by Paula Boyd Farrington

photo by Paula Boyd Farrington

photo by Paula Boyd Farrington

photo by Paula Boyd Farrington
photo by Paula Boyd Farrington

Goldilocks Season

November 4, 2011

We entering into Goldilocks Season on Grand Bahama. The weather is not too hot, not too cold … it’s juuuuust right. It’s the kind of weather that makes you say “aaaahh” and draws your eye extra-much to every bright yellow bit of tropical bliss … … from cerasee bush medicine growing along the garden wall … … to fresh guava in the kitchen … … to more yellow elder (the national flower of The Bahamas) …

… to the way the sun bathes the palm fronds in warmth while a woodpecker taps his tat-a-tat-tat tune …… a soft light glowing on everything … ripening the sea grapes

  

photo by Caitlin Farrington

… renewed gratitude alighting in our hearts, and reminding us of so many golden days … giving thanks for the not-too-hot, hot-too-cold glories of November in The Bahamas! (And to how marvelous it is when the weather matches your mood … here’s to the glow of your internal paradise keeping you warm if you’re bouncing back from that too-cold-too-soon snow storm up north, or still waiting for a touch of fall—like we’ve been doing during the high humidity the past couple of months! Here’s to paying attention to the subtle and not-so-subtle shifts of season and keeping a weathered eye on the blessings that abound everywhere.) Tra-la.


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