Today is my day for reflection that I take every year. To honor the woman who raised me in all her flaws, she loved me, gave me the courage to be myself, odd and arty. She was a powerhouse of 4'11, wore what ever the hell she wanted and loved her high heel shoes all in size 4!!! Styling and silly...old and child-like.
Then I read this article today...just confirmed all the reasons why I take the time every year to reflect and ask myself that question..."Am I connecting with people?" "Do people KNOW that I love them?" Because conventional success has never been in the cards for me...but loving people has!
It is a lesson in gratitude. When my life is getting me really down, and I am weighted with the problems of the world and life is getting tough, I look forward to every six months, MARS. Mountain Artists Retreat Sleepover. The first time I went, I felt a bit like a stranger that didn't belong...but that quickly faded with kindred spirits.
It is an experience of 20-25 women who are artists. We come together and take the pressure of the world off of our shoulders for a weekend. And the weekend blurs by! This Spring MARS I drove up by myself to Grass Valley area, with my iPod with all my favorite music playing, and enjoying some time by myself to think. My body has been randomly swelling again, and I am just not feeling good, but I did not let that stop me from BEING in the moment - enjoying these women!
I realize we won't always be all together, that in an instant life can change, so this weekend is one of renewal and gratitude to be able to enjoy and love eachother and laugh until we need depends! Share our dreams.
You are just required to send something to your PenPal, and only once...most do more. Some over acheivers try to do everyone in the group. I won't be one of those since I work full time. I just can't. But I am having fun and feeling good every time I go to the mailbox! Great mail vs bills!
The power of GOOD bombing, Lindsay came up with the idea of bombing someone with a health issue, personal reason, or because they have had a shitty week...I nominated my daughter Desi and she got bombed with what she called "Pretty Mail"
We have decided to dedicate a Facebook group to this and we will do it all year long! It just makes you feel good to focus on someone else and making them feel good and smile for a moment instead of thinking of yourself!
I haven't had a family photo with my kids since they were little! I was so excited that we were able to get them and have them taken at Shoreline Park, and the Rengstorff House. I used to party in that house when I was a kid, and before it was fixed back up to its beauty...this place has powerful meaning to me.
I have been wanting to do this so here some are! Desi and G-boy are out for a visit so I pounced!
Man...what an emotional day! I got an email from my 3rd cousin from Ancestry.com! Come to find out I knew her as a kid! She sent me a photo of my grandmother who raised me...and I broke out in tears! I had never seen a photo of her when she was young. In this photo it is 1940 on the Russian River, with her family, goofing on each other. She is the one in the middle.
It freaked me out because I can REALLY see myself in her. Its hard to believe she was 35 in this photo! It TOTALLY is eerie to me...because while I knew her she was always wrinkly and old looking...I have never seen her this young...and wow! Just Wow! And the fact that I do look like her...crazy good realizations.
This just made me so emotional all day. SO many questions came up. Again, I miss her so much, she passed when I was 19 and I sure wish I could have asked MORE things about life... For instance WHY was this the first photo I have ever seen that shows her young? For what I know about her life, only a couple of years later, 1942, she lost he 18 month old son AND the love of her life, her 2nd husband (my grandfather) from TB, WHILE she was pregnant with my mother. I think this was pivotal and I think that she never fully recovered from this.
My cousin Dee wrote me this:
In your grandmothers earlier years she and her two brother along with my Mom and dad did a lot of things together they loved each other dearly, your grandmother was a lot of fun.
One thing I have figured out this time, is that the twice a year art retreat I go on with my art sisters, has the power to transform my crankiness from life kicking my butt into joy and happiness again. MARS Mountain Artist Retreat Sleepover...occurs in Spring and Fall...6 months apart. There is usually 20 of us and ALL personalities!
The most important part of being a part of this extradinary group of women artists is that our unique voices in our art, are shared, appreciated, and taught. We are handing eachother our talents, our love, our acceptance, our willingness to be vulnerable and real. To talk about our lives with eyes that are not judgemental or seeringly uncomfortable. Even if all of us don't always get along and there are bumps and mini bruises of ego...it is a true experience of love and acceptance.
This time many of us had heavy things happening in our lives...but the time together was that of laughter and love. A coming together over meals...laughs...stories...sharing...and being ourselves.
We ARE a tribe. We are all different but ALL alike. We are strong women, with voices in our art. Various political views. Various life experiences. Various places in life. ALL healing time for wounded souls beat up out there in the real world where some times we are all misunderstood.
I have the best friends! Big Big SMOOCHES! ♥ It arrived and it is LOVELY I adore it! And I adore you Mizz Corinne Stubson!!! I so needed your love and kindness!
You always know how to make me feel special...and I LOVE this hat!!! Its a great beach hat! Corinne was nice enough to crochet this for me since I still don't know what I am doing when it comes to crochet!