On Art And Friendship

Last Friday I was at the Winnsboro Center for The Arts for a special production following the Maryann Miller Beginner Drama Camp. It was great fun to be there, and the kids did a wonderful job putting on a performance that was an adaptation of the book, The Great Kapok Tree; A Tale of the Amazon Forest. The book was written and illustrated by Lynne Cherry, published in 1990.

The campers were ages 6-10 and they all did a terrific job learning lines, learning how to move on stage like the animal they were depicting, making costumes, and painting the set, all in one week.

I was particularly honored to have the camp named for me – thanks to the generosity of my kids who sponsored it. And I was so happy to see the show and meet some of the kids.

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Stop And Smell The Roses

We’ve all heard about the benefit’s of appreciating the moment – “stop and smell the roses” – and Dr. Jennifer Freed, a writer, speaker, psychologist and astrologist has a bit of a twist on that. In a recent newsletter she suggests:

Pick a random situation every couple of hours and decide, quite unreasonably, that you will be madly in love with that moment.

For example, let’s say I am sitting in my staff meeting with 25 people. I decide that this is the most compelling group of people I have ever been with and this conversation is utterly fascinating. I notice every gesture and word as if it was heaven-sent. My posture perks up, and I become more interesting and animated because I am so engaged.

I do know how important ‘deciding’ is. We can decide to be happy. We can decide to love, even when the person may not be particularly lovable at the moment. This is something my husband and I learned many years ago in a marriage enrichment program. “Love is a decision.” We can make the decision to love even when we are not feeling the rush of romantic love; and we can make the decision to love even when we don’t particularly like our partner at the moment.

We can also decide to be happy when we aren’t feeling happy. This is something I’m becoming more and more aware of as I adjust to my new home. And that is getting easier as I play positive tapes in my head instead of the negative ones I’d been playing.

What do you think of Dr. Freed’s suggestion? Do you play mind games with yourself?

Another newsletter I subscribe to comes from Maria Popova. In one of her recent Brain Pickings she talked about two things. First was the effort that some nature lovers and artists made to get words such as “fern” “willow” and “wren” back into the vocabulary of children and adults. Those words had been replaced in dictionaries by words related to technology, and this group decided that those words were important for children to know and see. They created a lovely book of poetry and prose, The Lost Words, that is filled with gorgeous words and illustrations. Check it out if for nothing else to see the beautiful paintings and drawings.

The other topic in the post was about friendship, with several quotes from The Prophet, by Kahlil Gibran. I’ve had a copy of that collection of prose and poetry for a long time, and I treasure the wisdom contained in the slim volume:

When you part from your friend, you grieve not;
For that which you love most in him may be clearer in his absence, as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain.

And let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit.
For love that seeks aught but the disclosure of its own mystery is not love but a net cast forth: and only the unprofitable is caught.

In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures.
For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.”

Those words are particularly meaningful to me at this time when I am facing the loss of a dear friend. We had laughter and good times, and he will be missed.

That’s all for me for today, folks. I hope your week starts off on a good note and that melody continues throughout the week. Be safe. Be happy.

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