Friday, July 24, 2020

What We Have Learned So Far...

Yesterday, while checking on the gardens that surround my small place, we learned that bees were finally using our bee hotel!

They are shy, but I promise, they are there! 
In hindsight, I probably got way too excited about this. But you see, I bought this last Spring, of 2019, I think, to help attract pollinators to my gardens. I had seen some evidence it was being used, but never before seen multiple bees going in and out. So yes, it was an exciting moment to witness.

Prior to the pandemic, I probably would not have been home to see this. It was evening, so I would have been at the gym most likely, but that doesn't happen anymore, hasn't happened for months now.

And honestly? I don't miss it.

I don't miss rushing home, changing clothes, driving out again across town, parking, looking for my lock, going inside, putting away my purse, hanging up my keys, waiting on machines, the inability to avoid the myriad of television screens subjecting me to the news on at least 4 different channels for 45 minutes or however long my workout would be.

No, I don't miss it.

The gym was great, and it got us on track to better health and fitness, yes, but I have learned I enjoy our daily walks so much more, even though we return sloppy sweaty messes. In our addicted-to-comfort-at-all-times, A/C blasting society, we have forgotten that sweating serves a purpose.
A very good one, actually. It increases circulation throughout our organs, muscles and tissues, and helps us release noxious toxins through our skin, which helps our bodies naturally detoxify. I'm sure there's more benefits I'm leaving out, but I can promise I sweat way more on our morning and evening walks than I ever did at the gym. (I'm not sure why, but I think it might have had to do with the fact that the gym was always so cold.)

And I enjoy the fresh air, the sights of nature, waving and speaking to people who live along our route, the many times we stopped and picked wild blackberries and carried them home in our hands, washing and freezing them daily until we finally had enough for a cobbler.

And to compensate for days it rains, or something comes up and we can't walk...we just eat less.

Yup. It's that simple.

We have learned restraint.
We have learned to adapt.
We have learned that there can be a bold beauty to having, doing, and consuming less. To stepping away - not just now, but permanently - from society-driven paradigms centered around having, doing and consuming more. And there's an even bolder beauty to not caring if other people approve of the lives we choose. It takes courage to live outside the norm. That's never been news to anyone.

But back to the immediate moment - we have learned that yes, bees will actually use a bee hotel it you put it up, and wait (be prepared to wait a long time!) and that even if you haven't left the house for more than an hour in weeks or months, there's still something pretty special about the weekend. Here's Stargazer for your Friday! I hope you have a wonderful one!

Stargazer, oil on canvas, 11x14

Monday, July 6, 2020

Whoo Hoo! The Website is Live!

Whoo hoo! The website is live!

 Come visit! Hang out. Explore. Don't forget to scroll down and also check out the sub-pages! And sign up to get updates and other information!

See you there!

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Freedom and Mindsets During Pandemics and Global Upheaval

Well, first, let me say, yes, it's been a while!

But the blog is back, and I want to thank you for remaining a loyal reader!

On this 4th of July, I gotta tell ya, I really wasn't feeling very celebratory in the traditional sense - meaning cookouts, time on the water, the typical holiday fare for many Americans on this day.

Many. But not all.

We are learning, during these challenging times, that our society is far from all-inclusive. We are learning a lot. And while I agree that we aren't obligated to process our feelings and thoughts or even share our actions publicly, I do believe we are obligated to do something.

What that something is, that's up to us, as individuals. But this is definitely a time to be bold, even if our boldness is the quieter type. The behind the scenes type. The 'I want to speak out but still remain safe during a world-wide pandemic' type. The making phone calls, sending emails, showing up at the polls, working-on-ourselves-and-our-perceptions type of action. You, too, are bold. And appreciated. And so, so necessary.

This is also a time to reflect, to take stock of our lives, to really think about where we are, and what we are doing, not only as a society, but as individuals. For me personally, it's been a time to embark on a new style of art, new series of works, to redesign my home into a studio, and to finally create a professional website, which if all goes to plan will launch Monday, July 6th. (Just two days away, yikes! Can you feel my excitement?!?! More on this later!) Nothing is the same as it was before, and that includes me. Which makes sense, really. In a time of so much change, why would I stay the same? I can't. I, too, have been forever altered by 2020.

But this is also a time when it's necessary to stay focused and positive, even on the days when it's so, so difficult.

On this day, when America celebrates freedom, many Americans are recognizing that freedom is a relative concept with many, many interpretations. I've chosen today, instead of focusing on freedom, to focus on gratitude. And I am so grateful that I am free to do this! To make the choice daily of where to focus my energy and my intentions. This is one of the most powerful attributes that we possess as human beings - the ability to shift our focus, to change our mindset, to say "I am..." and choose for ourselves what follows those two words.

Photo courtesy of Instagram. Source unknown.
To be able to change my mindset, and in so many ways, my life - this is a freedom that I am so, so grateful for, today and every day!

Thank you for being here! See you again soon!

~ Amy