Challenged with Class and Style

There's a practice in Buddhism called "beginner's mind" that has had profound impact on my life and my creative approach over the years. It's basically an attitude of being open to ideas, thoughts, and experiences free from preconceived ideas of what you want, expect, or have experienced and/or seen others experience in the past.

To me, the approach of beginner's mind is really what creativity is all about. It allows for more possibilities and happy accidents to enter your life that some might call fate, listening to God or being open to the universe's call. I've even heard someone call it "living in the question."

Beginner's mind is not always knowing. Sometimes not knowing the outcome of an endeavor can feel like a bit of a roller coaster ride: the more we resist what "is," the harder it may be to accept the outcome and the more uneasy it can feel. Humans like to think they are in control but relinquishing some of that thought pattern can reap some seemingly magical rewards. The more open we are to the experience, the more likely we are able to enjoy the free fall into some uncharted territory.

It's been a gift to practice this openness and one of the reasons I've spent much of my life taking classes and trying on different styles in my work (and in my wardrobe, diet, fitness, relationships, etc. for that matter). Just a mere shift in perspective helps one to go into those unknown and sometimes scary places. It allows for greater possibilities and the occasional rocking of my world and often a joyful giggle.

A poem by Olav H. Hauge that I discovered a few years ago nicely expresses this idea much more succinctly that I have:

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It’s the Dream

It’s the dream we carry
that something wondrous will happen,
that it must happen—
time will open
hearts will open
doors will open
mountains will open
spring will gush forth from the ground—
that the dream itself will open
that one morning we’ll quietly drift
into a harbor we didn’t know was there.

 

Right now I'm rocking my world once again with a two-week stay at Arrowmont School of Arts & Crafts as I learn new techniques in design and art. I'm sure to be sharing some of the gifts I receive from this experience once I return. You can find more details on my social media channels so please check them out by clicking the icons below. And I always appreciate those who follow my work on these, connect over the phone or drop me a line. I especially welcome a visit over tea whenever possible. It's such a great way to stay in touch. I'd love to hear what's rocking your world and bringing you joy.

It's important to love what we do and I'm grateful that is the case for me. I hope the same is true for you. If not, you might consider a dose of beginner's mind.

Clichés, Truths, & Paving our paths

Looking back over the years, it's been an interesting process learning how to be a better business person while also remaining true to personal ideals. It's an ever-evolving process too. I've been fortunate enough to have developed many long-term professional relationships with clients throughout the history of Studio Haus that have transformed into friendships.

When my business was still new and I was green behind the ears professionally, I hesitated at the thought of becoming friends with clients. But over the years, I've come to realize it's impossible to stop those kinds of deepening connections. When you work side-by-side—sometimes all year long and sometimes for a few select days of the year—the personal side of life has a tendency to somehow seep into the picture whether we want it to or not.

My clients and I have seen each other through good times and bad while maintaining a work ethic that gets the job done. I no longer shy away from the closer connections as I once did. In fact, many of my clients are friends; and several of my friends have become clients; and in one particularly special case, a client has become a friend and then I have become her client.

 Staci (right) was a client of mine for several years when we worked on marketing conferences together, which could be a rather intense process leading up to the event. We quickly became friends. When Staci left that line of work, we regularly remained in touch. She has since started her own thriving business as a virtual assistant. Now I am  her  client. It's definitely not been the traditional professional relationship. In fact, if we ever need to meet face-to-face, her daughter (who is incredibly smart) attends. We are both glad to not only still be working together but also to be showing a new generation that women can carve their own path professionally in a caring way, hopefully building a more inclusive community.

Staci (right) was a client of mine for several years when we worked on marketing conferences together, which could be a rather intense process leading up to the event. We quickly became friends. When Staci left that line of work, we regularly remained in touch. She has since started her own thriving business as a virtual assistant. Now I am her client. It's definitely not been the traditional professional relationship. In fact, if we ever need to meet face-to-face, her daughter (who is incredibly smart) attends. We are both glad to not only still be working together but also to be showing a new generation that women can carve their own path professionally in a caring way, hopefully building a more inclusive community.

There's no doubt that working relationships can be a dance with our personal lives at times but I find that makes the depth of the work we do together—whether personal, professional, or both— richer and more successful. There's an honest and courageous undertone to the process that develops allowing for greater integrity.

While it may be a cliché, the saying really is true: it really is all about relationships. I'm grateful for all of them and I really do love what I do.

An Eventful Day

Today is another spectacularly beautiful spring day in Nashville. It also happens to be May Day, Election Day, and the day before the Big Payback, a statewide event in Tennessee that encourages philanthropy to your favorite causes and non-profits.

 Here's a cheerful offering of little bouquet from my spring garden.

Here's a cheerful offering of little bouquet from my spring garden.

May Day is a traditional spring holiday in many cultures. Dances, singing, and cake are usually part of the festivities. It's earliest celebrations (according to Wikipedia) appeared with the Floralia, festival of Flora, the Roman goddess of flowers. Here's to all that wonderfulness!

And we all know the power of the vote during Election Day. It's a privilege to do so!

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And then there's the Big Payback. It's a really big deal for TN non-profits. A community-wide, 24-hour online giving challenge hosted by The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, this charitable event will help area nonprofits raise much-needed dollars and bring awareness to pressing needs in our community. During 2017's 24-hour campaign, $2,598,701 was raised! Wow!

In light of The Big Payback's endeavors, I'm also celebrating one of my favorite local non-profits, Turnip Green Creative Reuse. Founded by my dear and humble friend Kelly Tipler, TGCR has diverted over 165 tons of reusable materials from the landfill! They have done this while providing 4 areas of service: a retail donate what you wish ($) store, education/outreach, artist support, and a green gallery. It provides a welcoming and neutral place for artists, educators, and any creative person to connect.

If you donate during the Big Payback to TGCR which begins at midnight tonight, you are helping to support all the good work that TGCR will continue to do. You will also be on the list of the first to see the brand spanking new logo we are creating for TGCR. Stay tuned for more details and other special events!

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In other news

In case you haven't caught it on my social media channels: I'm super honored, hopeful and excited to have work in the Pattern Observer's collection that's going to SURTEX this May 20-22! If you've been watching my journey the past three plus years, you've possibly noticed some of the pattern exploration among other things that have been developed. If you're a buyer or know someone who is going to SURTEX, send them to booth #2846 and tell them I sent you!

Lastly, you may notice that I've again changed my web site in an effort to find a cleaner way to present the multi-faceted offerings from Studio Haus. I hope you'll spend some time here and share any feedback you'd like to offer. I will also be working on mailing lists so please drop me a line and let me know if you'd like to hear more about projects and happenings. And please share what's going on with you as well! Thanks for staying in touch and letting me share what I love to do!

No Foolin'

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This month's blog is being posted on April Fool's Day and Easter Sunday. I unfortunately don't have any great practical jokes to play and my Easter has been spent enjoying the renewal of spring. With a light rain falling after a sunny spring day spent outdoors that ended with a gorgeous blue moon, I am once again reminded that these endless cycles of existence from both a micro-cosmic and macro-cosmic level are such a gift to behold. While it seems temporary, all of our actions live on in ways we can't always comprehend. As a meditation on this theme, I spent the day doing what I love to do by completing this little personal project. The thought behind it is quite something to ponder and I hope you enjoy. Happy Spring!