Wednesday, January 30, 2013

While I Was Working-can you make spreadsheets beautiful?

Can you make spreadsheets beautiful?

The word in which I am living into this year is 
The goal is to create something beautiful every day.
I did not realize-when taking on this word-that there would be many days when I went to bed at night never having created something beautiful.  
The recognition of this often hit me as I was laying my head on the pillow after having spent the entire day working.  
Now…instead of taking the road of complaining-where I mention that the type of work in which I earn a paycheck is not the type of work I want to spend most of the hours of my life doing (sounds like I may have taken that complaining road a little bit ;-) but instead taking the road of how I am going to create the type of work that I want to spend most of the hours of my life doing and that provides an amazing paycheck!  

How amazing would it be if all of us could live off of our passions literally :-)

As part of this endeavor I have done some research on how to recognize what stops me-whether it be fear (mostly of losing something I already have or not succeeding at something that is really important to me), time, money, family responsibilities, self-doubt (this is a big one), being wrong (this is a big one too), not having control, having to start again at the beginning, not being good enough or important enough-as a way of avoiding hearing the word "no".  
Recognition seems to be the access into turning it around.

Now that I know what it is that stops me-I can apply a simple statement to each reason and watch them disappear
The statement that I am drawn to is 
"What will you do with this one wild and precious life" ~Mary Oliver
It reminds me  that life is temporary -one go round- and because life is temporary why not live it wildly?  Perhaps not reckless abandon wildly…although that might be fun every once in a while  ;-)  but without so much constraint, contemplation and conformity.  I am also reminded of how precious life is and how important to enjoy it while it lasts.

Mary Oliver also said 
"Instructions for living a life.
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.
Pay attention-be present -this is a mantra that I repeat daily in my quest to live a year of beauty.  Simply to show up and be present-that isn't hard and yet it is astonishingly transformative.  In fact in typing that last sentence I realized that perhaps the days in which I thought that I had not created anything beautiful wasn't true at all.  Perhaps it was those days that I experienced beauty the most-in being present with one of my co-workers or my children or my husband or a stranger and really listening to them -connecting
 or being present with nature-noticing a flower that I hadn't seen before or feeling the cool February wind on my face as I walked down to the local food store for lunch..or holding my face up toward the sun (Colorado has actually been very warm for this time of year) and really allowing myself to be enveloped by the warmth and the light (sounds corny but it does take something to be present in today's world-I find it especially so when I am at work).  After all-this is beautiful too isn't it?  

It occurs to me that once I have consciously made the things that stop me disappear-all there is left is action-because there is nothing in my way.
A friend of mine recently suggested that I read the book The Happiness Project.  I trust her and her insight so I downloaded the kindle sample and after reading it -went ahead and purchased the book.  Mind you-I am not even five chapters into it yet but one of the things from the book that struck me was the author saying "when the student is ready the teacher will come".   I took this to mean that once I have allowed myself to be free of my constraints and to truly see what it is I want to do with my one wild and precious life (btw: really delving into and getting at what it is you really want is another step in embarking on the life of your dreams-The Happiness Project and a lot of  the research I did on finding out what stops me addresses this as well) then the universe will open up and opportunity will find me-opportunity being the teacher.  This also took away one of my most daunting questions- "but how do I do it?"  
The how will be obvious... all I need to do is step into action.  

One final thought keeps creeping into my conscious as I write this -that is not to undermine the life that I have or to suggest that it isn't enough or isn't what dreams are made of…after all I am a very fortunate person with much to be grateful for and much to live for and much that is already a life of dreams.
Rather….to say that living the life of my dreams is finding the balance-between time and love of family and friends; between service to others and time to myself; between travel and home melding my work life and earning life into what really lights me up and doing it all in beautifully decorated spaces ;-)  

Sorry for the long winded post.

If you are so inclined I would love to hear how you will spend your one wild and 
precious life….
(G-rated only please ;-) 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Queen to Play

Have you seen the movie Queen to Play?

It is in French with English subtitles. I didn't mind the subtitles because the scenery is beautiful - truly breathtaking (I also enjoy the sound of people speaking French).

It is about a house cleaner who wants to learn to play chess. She asks a widowed professor (Kevin Kline) to teach her.

He reluctantly agrees (and spends the entire movie with exactly this expression).

Much of the movie takes place in his home (I could spend a lifetime there).

It is on an island off of the coast of France (I will need to get my atlas out to determine exactly where this spectacular place exists).

The professor and the house cleaner end up creating a connection while playing chess. She comes to see herself as a person beyond her profession and level of education and he begins to open himself up after losing his wife and living in years of isolation.

I adore this floor (aside from it being a giant chess board) it is marble and reminiscent of many old stately manors.

It is also the office building of a man who heads the local chess tournament championships.


Here is another view with a stone lion security guard (how wonderful is that?)

I won't spoil the end for you by telling you the outcome of the tournament-mostly because you really should see and feel this exquisite movie.

I will tell you that it is a glorious journey into what's possible for all human beings once we let go of the restrictions we place on ourselves.

This is a glimpse of the kitchen (very small by American standards but so rich in ambience and extraordinarily efficient).

So when you have a moment to spare click on Netflix choose Queen to Play. Sit back in your favorite comfy chair with a warm steamy beverage and escape to the coast of France.

While you are there take note that anything is possible and everything you need to live your dreams already exists in you.


Tuesday, January 1, 2013


A woman whose blog I often look to for wonder and warmth (kimberlytaylorimages)
has taken on an annual ritual of choosing one word that will define what she hopes to accomplish, to create and to encompass her life during the upcoming new year.  I thought "how interesting" and seeing as how I firmly believe in the power of language and its ability to shape our lives - I too decided to take on a word for 2013.  

The word I have chosen is BEAUTY

The word beauty not only conjures up images of beautiful places, things, people, photographs, houses, and so much more - but also of living in a way that is kind and supportive of others-a way that inspires others to live the life of their dreams.  When I imagine being in a way that is beautiful I imagine being really present with others in a space that allows me to hear them and to experience the connection that we all have as human beings.  When I imagine living into the word beauty-I think of being aware of the food and drink and medications that I put into my body and my family's stomachs.  This means that I am going to do a lot more cooking with natural foods (perhaps even plant a garden with my children in the spring).  When I think of living into the word beauty I think of the word create - I am going to create something beautiful each and every day (the first being this post).  I have always been passionate in the act of creating and get giddy with the excitement of conjuring up new things.  When I think of living into the word beauty I think of a lot of closets that are going to be organized this year ;-)  and of a lot more time spent reading books instead of watching television, of playing board games with my sons and laughing at eleven year old potty jokes.  I think of listening to George Winston, James Taylor and my children practicing the violin and cello.  I think of picking flowers, making homework break snacks, walking the dog, and a lot.... a lot more traveling.  I think of learning how to use my camera and taking lots and lots of photographs...of building a garage... of painting my red brick fireplace and constructing a pergola.  There are so many things.  

There you have it (thank you miss mimi charmante for the inspiration).  
My year of beauty begins today.  

Wishing you a beautiful 2013!