Peru Peru Peru

2007 11 28 057There is something about the way the clouds move through the sky and the light plays off the mountains that is unlike anything I have ever seen before. To be in such a remote place, on top of the world, surrounded by magnificence… this is my kind of paradise.

The hiking is great, but so is the sitting and watching. So once you’ve maxed out your knees there is still an experience to be had, and Machu Picchu – for all of its magnificence – is by no means the pinnacle.  Peru is a wondrous meditation, in every way.

You can visit this country in a sedate way, or in a more challenging hiking way., You can camp in little tents, or even hike all day yet still sleep in lovely lodges only accessible by foot. You can stay in luxury hotels or go seriously budget.

However, let me warn you – After a long hike there is nothing so delicious, nothing as satisfying, nothing so memorable as a plate of french fries dipped in mayonnaise, perhaps with a cold beer in the other hand. For this, I would do it all again.

The Power of Getting Away

cropped-elephant-mandala-prev1255185447ux166f.jpgHave you seen this Ted Talk about the Power of Taking Time Off? It led to this amazing family sabbatical, a year above the Arctic Circle. Fabulous photos, and an endearing story.

The concept is, Why don’t we take five years out of retirement and spread them throughout your working life? What might you gain by stopping and taking time to collect your thoughts?

Great idea, but not all of us are set to take a year off – never mind have jobs or prospects we can walk away from for such a period of time. But the good news is, even a week away with time to escape, to think, to create, to reinvent can have valuable results in your life.

Refresh, renew, rethink your direction! A vacation is really much more than just time out of the office.

NaBloPoMo is…What?

Little Jessie

Oh gosh, I got my notice that November is NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month). This is pressure, and I don’t always do well under pressure. It can make me feel crabby, probably because I am annoyed I allowed myself to not be more on top of things. But then I realized – WAIT! This is exactly what I am trying to help creative souls move beyond. Myself included!

I am overwhelmed and crabby and busy because I allow myself to be. I don’t put my foot down. I always let everything else (laundry, errands, housecleaning) become more important than the thing I really want to do. Why is it so hard to schedule in the very things that give us the kind of pleasure that renews us for more of every day life?

Maybe it’s reading a book, or sewing a new dress, or knitting a scarf. Maybe you want to learn how to weave or dye. Or paint. Maybe you just want to sketch your beloved dog snoozing so peacefully after an afternoon’s romp.

Really I just want to get back to Guatemala.

But we can’t always take a week and immerse ourselves into a more relaxed and creative view of the world. On the other hand we can press on, demanding we make time for our 30 minutes a day to do something that isn’t Required. Something that just makes us feel good.

Ideas for making this happen?

Why We Knit (or Crochet, or Sew, or…)

This weekend is the fifth anniversary of my favorite LYS, Stitch House. In reality my relationship with them began because of my sewing (and they have great fabric and patterns) and I have been known to teach a class or two there…. but as a secret, lurking knitter I can never resist the textures, the colors, the design of all the yarn and ideas that live there…. so I have been spending my Fridays of late with the Friday Night Knitters at Stitch House. So. Much. Fun.

Last night I asked – WHY do we knit? The answers varied but really were all the same. They said: It’s ZEN. It’s relaxing. It helps me focus, and release tension. It keeps my hands busy. It helps me think. It makes me feel good. It helps me socialize.

Many of the knitters don’t know what they will do with their project (or if it will even be finished!) but that seemed to not matter. Wow. So you mean I can keep starting projects, never really have anything to show for it, and that’s just fine? I like that.

Why? Because I believe the knitting (or the sewing, the crocheting, the embroidering…) is just a pathway to feeing us from the places we get stuck in every day life. The excessive Busy-ness. Jobs, chores, bills, kids, errands. Facebook! We need, we like to go to a quiet place. When we’re ‘quiet’ we have time to ‘listen’… to  our own new ideas, new thoughts, new creativity. And all of those things make us better people. Happier people. More energetic producers in the production line of life.

And now I have to get to Stitch House to pick up the free pattern they’re giving away today. I guess I need another unfinished project!

Crazy Busy

Jalapeños: Too much or too little?

This is what I am talking about!! How can we stop it?

Best article ever …..I am not living like this anymore.

How about you?

Escape! Create!

hands creating

I always wanted to be an artist. I am a champion of collecting fabrics, paints, yarn, and ephemera of all kinds. The problem is, I never allow myself the time to fully explore my potential. I steep myself in work, then in laundry, dishes, dust balls and ‘errands’. Really, do I think there is ever going to be a time it is finally all DONE?

Maybe you are like this too. So try this: Escape! Leave town, go to a beautiful place where you won’t have a care in the world. Be inspired by the art and culture of a new place. And with nothing more pressing on your day, you’ll have the time to create. Maybe you’ll weave, or knit. Maybe you’ll paint or crochet. Write. Think! Create a new attitude, a new outlook on your life. Create something to give away or keep forever. And then return home, with all this new excitement clinging to you.

Everything may suddenly hold a different light for you.

Even those dust balls.

The Bathroom Trick

Take the time to climb the stairs…what might you find at the top?

This is an odd sort of post that has been brewing in my brain, while waiting to finalize our creative journey to Guatemala…. Hopefully I offend no one.

I was at work the other day, and on a quick trip to the bathroom I had a moment of thinking I might just stay put for awhile. When you work in a ‘pod’ with lots of distractions, conversations, and interruptions – and virtually zero privacy – a trip to the bathroom brings a kind of peace and serenity you can’t otherwise find. You close and lock the door and no one else is there. It can be dark and oh so quiet – Right ?!? I remember this as a mom with demanding children – the bathroom (you hoped!) was sanctuary.

Don’t we all need some quiet to think our own thoughts, and time to pull together threads of creativity? Even in the middle of a work day, or a mom day. Get away from the work phone, the cell phone, the fax, the colleagues, the kids, the meetings, the internet, the wild chaos of life in the year 2012. IT IS SO EXHAUSTING.

I admit it, sometimes I do this.  Behind the locked bathroom door I wait, pausing for longer than I need to, relishing  in the impossibility that someone might crash into my thought process and destroy the thing I was on my way to discovering.

What if you could do this for a whole week? Wouldn’t that be amazing? You could use your vacation time to escape all of the pre-conceived notions, all of the interruptions, all of the vapid  nothingness of sitting on a beach. You could discover and grow into someone new, more meaningful, more powerful. Find the thing that has been niggling in your head. Escape. Create.

Come with me!

Why we Travel

Chairs on a Wall

Really, I get all stressed when I am about to leave town. I do this crazy thing where I feel like I have to clean out my closets, give away excess clothing, vacuum all the hidden corners, and reorganize the book shelves. So silly! But yet I keep traveling…..

Turns out I crave the time away from the things that clutter my mind. There is a freedom there that lets fresh hope and inspiration and new energy enter my soul. Like, who ever thought of collecting tiny chairs to hang on the wall? This is an idea that makes me see everything differently. A week out in the world is priceless!

So when I return home, with proof of Barbie in Panajachel (see previous post),  evidence of unthinkable talent in a weaving cooperative on Lake Atitlan, and the kindness, compassion and playfulness of strangers in the street markets of Guatemala – well, this just makes my life feel full of possibilities, ideas, and goals. And to have fun all along the way!

Such a gift from the world.

Universal Icons: Barbie and Pringles

Barbie at home Guatemala

I discovered early on in my travels that Pringles are EVERYWHERE. I’ve never figured out how or why they became such a universal necessity (believe me, after hiking in the High Atlas mountains Pringles are a requirement to recovery) but I have never been anywhere I couldn’t find a stack of Pringles.

But Barbie? I did not expect to find her draped in hand woven huipils in Guatemala.

However there was no sign of Ken.