Archive for the ‘making a difference’ 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 – January 2, 2021

January 2, 2021

“A hymn of love to the world.”

That’s what author Elizabeth Gilbert says about the book I want to share with you today—and what a true description it is.

I am totally enthralled by Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer.

What a treasure this book is. The stories captivate with a blend of gentle beauty, facts, history, reverence, humor, and gratitude that are expertly and unforgettably woven together to help: “…people remember that what’s good for the land is also good for the people.”

It seems a good place to be, here in this first Saturday of 2021. A place where we’ve had more time to reflect and pause to notice the generous gifts of the earth while contemplating how we reciprocate that grace and care. This is what Robin Wall Kimmerer writes about so well, so wholeheartedly.

My beloved Bahamas is right now facing a potential threat to the pristine, abundant, and incredibly gorgeous waters that surround their 700 cays and islands. Pleas, petitions, and every know legal action and prayer are engaged today in urging that no further licenses be issued to drill oil in these irreplaceable waters. To risk an oil spill is unthinkable. The current administration did not negotiate the current drilling permits and has stated their opposition to it. Public support in The Bahamas and abroad is strong to cease the oil drilling, and it needs to be stronger yet. If you want to sign this petition to help save The Bahamas from oil drilling, please sign here. More background information on the situation is here.


… AND A REMINDER ABOUT MORE PLACES TO FIND WONDERFUL BOOKS & TERRIFIC WRITINGS ABOUT BOOKS IN THE NEW YEAR …

In my original post about the start of The Saturday Book Shop, I noted that I’m especially fond of the marvelously thoughtful Brain Pickings by Maria Popova, as well as Austin Kleon’s brilliant and eclectic weekly newsletter and blog. Elizabeth Gilbert has a new Onward book club that’s worth checking out too. All of these sources offer a wide wealth of writings and inspirations about books. Well worth being on their mailing lists.

That’s it for now, other than an ongoing plea to support local independent booksellerswhenever 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 to begin this New Year? 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.”

 

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 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.” 

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.

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!

Get Started: Revving Up Your Creative Energy

July 30, 2013

kmcc+poster+bad+draft

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 …

Forward, Upward, Onward Together

May 24, 2013

This weekend, The Bahamas kicks off its celebration of 40 years as a sovereign, independent democratic nation—a stable country with a long history of 325 years of peaceful governance as a British colony prior to independence—and a country of 700 islands set in crystal clear waters that have carried peoples from many lands to its shores over the centuries. The Bahamas crest embraces the motto: Forward, Upward, Onward Together.

Bahamas.Crest

On July 10, 2013, The Bahamas will celebrate their 40th Anniversary as an independent nation

I love this animated video that celebrates “The Power of Outrospection” — an age of empathy and imagination: the twin pillars of lifting all of humanity forward, upward, onward together. It is produced by the RSA (a UK-based group that celebrates practical innovation and thought leadership in much the same way as TED—an organization of  “…fascinating thinkers and doers …” that I have followed and long admired for their conferences championing the human imagination). RSA stands for The Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce—and although it was founded in 1754 in a coffee shop in Covent Garden it has remained relevant through an ongoing focus on pioneering spirits and forward-thinking ideas that empower everyone. The RSA tag line … 21st century enlightenment … is beautifully illustrated in this short video that supports both that lofty goal while also raising awareness about the everyday moments of great empathy that have come together historically to uplift us all.

The modern day Bahamas was founded in just such moments of great empathy, and I hereby salute all the thought leaders and peaceful movements forward that are part of our world and part of  The Bahamas today—as well as the keys to the country’s ongoing success and sustainability as part of a true paradise on earth. Happy Birthday, Bahamas!

Young-ha Kim: Be an Artist, Right Now!

February 17, 2013

Why do we ever stop playing and creating? With charm and humor, celebrated Korean author Young-ha Kim invokes the world’s greatest artists to urge you to unleash your inner child—the artist who wanted to play forever.

A TED (Technology. Entertainment. Design.) favorite from TEDxSeoul 2010.

TED: Ideas Worth Spreading. An annual celebration of the human imagination that raises the vibration of the planet … check it out here. You can watch this year’s conference, February 25 – March 1, from wherever you are, with a TED Live membership.

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!!


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