Saturday, December 31, 2016

Imperfection Rules

'The saxophone is an imperfect instrument, especially the tenor and soprano, as far as intonation goes. The challenge is to sing on an imperfect instrument that is outside of your body." - Stan Getz

As human beings, we often feel the goal of life involves the race for "perfection."  It sounds like such a great achievement when charging toward quality and excellence serves us better.  

Nature provides beauty as designs with angles, colors, and fragrances. Birds reveal their differences in feathers.

All sport their imperfections.

“I hog the covers, and my second toe is longer than my big one. My hair has its own zip code...You don't love someone because they're perfect. You love them in spite of the fact that they're not.” - Jodi Picoult

Accept your perfect imperfections. 

It takes a good heart to discover the wonder that's hidden within them.

"Life is not always perfect. Like a road, it has many bends, ups and down, but that’s its beauty.” - Amit Ray

Friday, December 30, 2016

Fun for the Weary Mind

Remember the Night Rainbow

If tomorrow morning the sky falls
have clouds for breakfast
If night falls 
Use stars for streetlights
If the moon gets stuck in a tree
Cover the hole in the sky with a strawberry
If you have butterflies in your stomach
Ask them into your heart
If your heart catches in your throat
Ask a bird how she sings
If the birds forget their songs
Listen to a pebble instead
If you lose a memory
Embroider a new one to take its place
If you lose the key
Throw away the house
If the clock stops
Use your own hands to tell time
If the light goes out
Wear it around your neck and go dancing
If the bus doesn't come
Catch a fast cloud
If it's the last dance
dance backwards
If you find your socks don't match 
Stand in a flowerbed
If your shoes don't fit 
Give them to the fish in the pond
If your horse needs shoes
Let him use his wings
If the sun never shines again
Hold fireflies in your hands to keep warm
If you are afraid of the dark
Remember the night rainbow
If there is no happy ending 
make one out of cookie dough 
- Cooper Edens

Cooper Edens provides advice for those weary from holiday activity.

Consider his fanciful solutions and play with your own.

During the day when troubles arrive, surprise them by a turn downside up.  

If your mind misbehaves, invite it to dance.

When worries tangle in your brain, write them in your mental sand and let the next wave delete all.

If you feel sad, follow a bee's attention span.

When anger nags, tickle its tummy.

Make fears into chocolate cupcakes and celebrate. Don't forget the topping.

If you feel a regret or resentment challenge them to a foot race. You will win every time.

When you play and create, the intensity of energy and positivity increases.

Plan now for a Run of Fun in 2017.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Windows and Light Trails

Consider a window: it is just
a hole in the wall, but because of it
the whole room is filled with light.
Thus when the mind is open
and free of its own thoughts,
life unfolds effortlessly,
and the whole world is filled with light.  
    The Second Book of the Tao by Stephen Mitchell

The Great White Egret with its posture in the water provides a window of openness. Illusions surround the bird. Its reflection provides a quality beyond grasp. A mystery of light trails appear in its presence as water ripples away and back again.

Another fellow stands on the bank feathered in gray with a silly expression. Called a shoe bill, he wriggles and makes unbirdlike sounds bouncing on one leg, then the other.

Light penetrates and leads if we permit it.  Even those without wings will fly.

What light travels for you today?  

Discover stories or poems that lurk in unlikely connections.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Get Ready for 2017

Place your fussy mind in a top drawer. Hear the closing click.
Hang a favorite and weighty item. You don't need a key.
Listen for the jostling and grumbling inside. Say, "STAY!"

Put on your happy shoes and saunter out the door.
Let nature intrigue with its winter delights.
Trees will have shed their leaves but evergreens prevail.

Feel grateful release from tendrils of mind.
Go into your heart to flee into sensory experiences.

Discover your neighborhood: fireplace smoke,
a lingering rose, fresh earth, a gush of wind.
Breathe a drift of lavender. Hear a phoebe or crow's call.

Wander until you have forgotten your mind.
Just take your time. No need to rush.
Energize the spirit and play.

When you return, open the drawer
to a renewal of friendship.

"The greatest meditation is a mind that lets go." - Atisa Dipa

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Flow of Words

"A good penman can make rivers that race to the sea, rivers as wild and dizzy as a flume in the Alps, as choppy as the Isarco, as wide and smooth as the Tiber at Ostia, or as deep as the Po where it rolls into the Adriatic."  - from A Soldier of the Great War by Mark Helprin

Imagine giving a greeting card to a young person. You've written a message with love and wonder.  The cursive lettering flies like birds across the play floating their wings and tails in space.

Opening the card, a surprised look crinkles her face.  Silence.  Then, "What is that below the Happy Birthday?" she asks, unable to read cursive writing.

One day the above will happen and I will feel sad about it.  Many individuals' writing today focuses on lettering rather than cursive writing. Writing in cursive is not taught in many elementary schools these days.

During my life, this functional art form has assisted me in creative thinking. I have discovered ways to doodle letters and felt the fun of the ink flow across a page.

My father's perfectionist eye pushed me to make leads and tails on vowels. Loops needed to soar high and low in consonants.  A classmate in fourth grade, also named Penny, showed me how to add flair to the P.

Raised on a ranch in Wyoming, my father likened the small r to a brand - the lazy e. 

He would not put up with a rounded top on an r.  I had to repeat it until it looked like his ideal.

Over the years, I observed the writing of teachers and friends to adapt my style. It continues to blossom.

For writers, cursive writing inspires both a meditative state and a way to access both sides of the brain for productive results.  The hand moves to stimulate the brain's logical side. Letters form words in artful flow from the right side's intuitive cells. Integration of both sides occurs as a result.

Writers need to feel the elegance of writing with a fountain pen and see its splash of color.

Since childhood, I've considered fountain pens my ponies. My mind has ridden bareback. Without use of a bridle or saddle, a variety of pens behave with finger pressure. Turquoise, emerald, magenta and sunshine flow from my thoroughbreds, Morgans, quarters and an Arabian or trail pony. The mustangs and stallions often buck the surface for new ideas. Lippizan stallions dance their air ballet.

These fountain pony pens combine with textured paper to push a progression of ideas. Ink on both rough and slick surfaces increases in speed for creativity capture. It slows to corral emotions and thoughts to ponder. Movement to cross a T or dot an i stays fluid without breaking the spell of rhythm and progress.

Cursive writing adds a magical quality to the writing process. Imagine a flight of colored birds or create your own metaphor.

Do you recall how you first learned cursive writing?  If you write in a journal or prepare initial drafts by handwriting first, consider in what ways it differs from composing on a keyboard. 

Have you transitioned from creating in handwriting to keyboard creating?  Do you go back and forth?

Handwrite a favorite passage or poem with a roller ball or fountain pen. Take time to form the letters, with leads and tails.  Then find a rhythm and feel the flow.