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We've all heard the following statements over and over and over again. . .
That's nice and all, but what no one talks about or teaches you is HOW to love yourself. What does that mean?? I use to think it was spa days, pedicures, and saying "no" -- ya know, putting yourself first. It always sounded over indulgent and selfish. Over the last few years I have been trying (sometimes desperately) to define and then live from a space of loving myself. It has not been easy. There is a reason the word "practice" often follows the word spiritual.
What I think* I have learned:
1. Loving Yourself is more about what you feed your head than anything else. If you really listen to yourself talk is it kind? To you? To others?
*Truth is I am not 100% sure of anything. I tend to try things on and then test them. They either fit or they don't. If they don't I discard. If they ring true after testing I usually enlist a few friends to test them too and report back. Feel free to report back by commenting in this blog post.
My brother, Christian, and his wife Wendy, have two children - Emma and Matthew (affectionately called Mattman). My husband and I moved to our current location in Gualala, CA in 2001. Shortly thereafter, Emma and Mattman would come up for visits and spend weeks with us in the summer hiking, going to the beach, exploring and enjoying the remote, rugged beauty of northern California and also attending Summer Art Camp. I love them both SO very much. Some of you may have read about Christian's passing in my recent blog post. Losing my oldest brother has been difficult . . . to put it mildly. What must it be like to lose your dad when you are still a teenager?
I am doing my best to support them but I honestly don't really know how. They are both coping in their own way. Mattman is back in college in Illinois. Emma, well... let me let her tell you:
My name is Emma Herman. I’m currently a senior at Northgate high school in Walnut Creek, CA. I lost my dad about two months ago. I’m on my own road to recovery and I find that the best coping methods for me are talking to other teens that are in my same situation. I regularly attend a teen support group and I’ve recently become very passionate about adolescents getting the support and help they need. That’s when I found Comfort Zone Camp. It’s a non-profit organization that provides a free camp to children, ages 7-17, who have experienced the loss of a parent, sibling, or primary caregiver. The camp includes programs and support groups that help children cope with their grief and heal. They hold camps year-round across the US. They continue to provide free camps because of all the generous donations and support from donors.
I asked Emma when she was going to Comfort Zone Camp. She told me, "No I can't make it to the camp because it's in the LA area and not at a good time which is why I've chosen to do what I can to support them even though I can't participate."
WOW. She is that kind of kid. I am so proud and honored to be her aunt. She (and Mattman) have both taught me so much. . .
So needless to say, I am reaching out to some of my customers/friends and asking for contributions for this healing project. So far the following companies have not only stepped up and offered donations but have sent their kind wishes and comfort as well:
If you would like to donate, let me know and I can put you in touch with Emma. And yes, we will be selling raffle tickets at a later date. So, if you feel inspired to help this ambitious, thoughtful, caring, determined 17 year old that would be lovely and we'd really appreciate it! Stay tuned for more details and THANK YOU. You have once again proven to me that indeed I HAVE THE BEST CUSTOMERS IN THE WORLD!
Did you catch Emma is wearing a purple shirt and jeans in both pictures?!
Did you know that Redwood trees drop 1/3 of their foliage every year? At my home/studio it is raining redwood leaves. I love this time of year. What is no longer useful has been identified and now when the wind blows just strong enough the leaves will be released and fall to the ground.
I feel totally in sync with the rhythm of the trees this year. I recently moved my office and found myself letting go of many things. Shedding the need to hold on and instead rejoicing in the release. I feel lighter. Clearing the way for the winter and turning my focus inward, preparing for the next growth spurt I know will happen come springtime.
Is letting go easy for you? For me it depends on many things but at the moment I am taking a lesson from my wise friends (the Redwood trees) around me and celebrating the Autumn Equinox. What are you ready to let go of?
This month Harmony Art is celebrating it's 8th birthday! It's hard to believe it has been 8 years already. WOW! All I can say is THANK YOU to everyone - friends, family, customers, neighbors, retailers, sewers, lecture attendants, quilters, guilds, certifiers, warehouse staff, printers, colleagues, dyers, farmers, etc.! I couldn't have done it without each and every one of you. What a joy it is to be involved with something I believe in and care about.
I probably say it at least once a week but it's true, I HAVE THE BEST CUSTOMERS in the world! Thanks for your commitment, dedication, feedback and orders. YOU make Harmony Art what it is. Cheers to the year ahead!
Big LOVE and GRATITUDE - harmony
Tomorrow my husband leaves for Russia. He will be gone for 2 weeks. In the 20+ years we have been together this will be the longest and furthest we have been apart.
He is going to Russia as part of the Fort Ross/Kashaya Expedition marking the 200th anniversary of the 1st Russian settlement in the continental USA - which just happens to be in our neck of the woods. Sus (hubby) will be traveling with 24 other people to St. Petersburg, Moscow and Tot'ma (the home town of the founder of Fort Ross). As the executive director of the Gualala Art Center, Sus is representing our local art community and traveling with some descents of the "first artists" of the area. Part of the reason for this trip is for the Kashaya (native American Pomo tribe) to see and identify artifacts and artwork that was taken back to Russia when the fort was disbanded - over 150 years ago. They will be touring museums, meeting with dignitaries, participating in a parade, and doing home stays while in Tot'ma.
He was trying to figure out what gifts he should bring with him. The idea of tote bags came up and immediate we thought of the Green Bag Lady. We called Teresa and she sent us some Silent Stumps Sateen bags as well as some other solid bags that we could screen print the Gualala Arts logo on. Teresa ROCKS! In less than a week we had the screen printed bags. Tomorrow they make they voyage overseas.
I can't tell you how happy these bags make me! The trilogy of Green Bag Lady + Gualala Arts + Harmony Art = BIG LOVE.
I hope the Russians like (and use) them and I hope Sus gets home safely with lots of good stories to share.
Why is 1998 a good number you ask? Well California Assembly Bill 1998 is the bill to ban single-use plastic shopping bags. It has made it through the California Assembly last week and its next stop is the state Senate! If all goes as we hope, this could mean the end of plastic bags in California! If passed, the bill goes into effect January 2012. I am very hopeful and proud of all the people who have gotten it this far.
The other reason why 1998 is a good number is that it was the year Sus and I got married. Tomorrow marks our 12th anniversary. As we do every year, we will be making a pilgrimage to Bowling Ball Beach to renew our vows. This year, after the vow exchange, we are heading off on a weasure (work+pleasure) road trip down the Pacific Coast Highway to southern California. We plan to meet with customers, friends, family and on the 12th I will be giving a lecture to the Surface Art Association and then we will be heading home. We believe this is the closest thing to a vacation we have taken with just the 2 of us in 12 years! Should be fun! Back to packing.... and prepping. Have a great week!!!
Ok, my husband is from detroit - affectionately referred to around our house as "D-Town". Therefore it follows that he is a hockey fan (Wing Nut). Yes, I have watched my fair share of Red Wings games over the last 18 years! This year wasn't their best . . . but regardless there was some GREAT news from the National Hockey League last week.
Stanley Cup Finals Ices Plastic Bags "The NHL is expecting to replace some 30,000 plastic bags normally used during the Stanley Cup Finals with reusable bags. The reusable bags will be a commemorative bag featuring the 2010 Stanley Cup Final logo."
Recent studies and reports are showing that the chemicals in our food are making us fat! It isn't what you eat as much as what is in and has been sprayed on what you eat that may be leading to the obesity epidemic. There's a link to a recent article if you want to learn more.
The best way to avoid these endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), or as researchers have begun to call them, obesogens is to eat organic foods. My husband recently lost about 50+ pounds and I have to think that some of it has to do with our embracing stricter organic food purchasing, our reduction in processed food eating, and our vegetarian diet. Reading this recent article only reinforced our food choices. I don't mind paying more for real, pesticide free, healthy food. It's good for me and the planet. The alternative just doesn't make sense.
Photo is of hubby and me with our hula instructor. Note the skirt made by Hamakua Homegrown out of our Fields of Honey organic sateen fabric.
Elephant Power! My dear friend Mary (also mother of little Harmony) is an elephant lover/collector so when I came across Maiden Love, I knew I had to have a Harmony Art organic elephant made for her/little Harmony. Check out this adorable set using Vein and Fields of Honey. I am loving them so much I am having a hard time parting with them... maybe I will wait until Harmony's birthday in November....
On the subject of Elephants, I have recently become enamored with Ganesh, the destroyer of all obstacles. My current go-to CD is titled Elephant Power by MC Yogi.
UPDATE: I began writing this entry on March 12th and discovered MC Yogi was playing in Pt. Reyes Station the very next day! We drove the 2 hours to the show and had a BLAST! I will definitely be making it a point to catch more MC Yogi shows. If he is in your area, I highly recommend checking him out!
Founder of Harmony Art organic design.