Renewal, Perspective, Forgiveness, and Purpose

Today marks Yom Kippur, the Jewish new year, and I FEEL so many things...

While I did grow up with Judaism as a big part of my life, we always tended toward the celebration of traditions rather than the worship of God.  Our community was not large, I really only had two other Jewish friends growing up and these two special boys remain close to my heart after all these years.  Today I received a phone call from one of them, our conversation epitomizes what the meaning of Yom Kippur is to me.  In the Jewish tradition, this day is traditionally marked with fasting, as a symbolic sacrifice to our sins of the past year.  One thing I have always loved about this day is that when we talk about atoning for the sins of our past, we aren't so much referring to sins committed against a God.  Even more importantly we are talking about the sins against others in our lives, and especially ourselves...This day marks a time when we should look inward, ask ourselves questions about how we lived our lives in the past year, and look forward to doing things differently the next time around.  When J called me, he simply wanted to tell me he loved me, that over the past year he remembered me sending texts and leaving short voice mails that I was thinking of him, sending love, and hoping all was well in his corner of the universe.  His point was that he realized that it made him feel so great to receive these messages from me, and that he was sorry he didn't always respond, that he wanted to be better about letting the people he cares about know that he cares...And that he's going to be working toward that in the next year.  He said he appreciated the time I took to let him know he was in my mind and in my heart, and that if he could do the same for me and for other people in his life, that he would feel awesome about it!

Since moving to Hawaii I feel so disconnected from my "tribe", I love the sense of community that comes with practicing the same traditions year after year with the same people.  I suppose it's time to start my own traditions with Jo, to teach her the little bit that I know, and to make the time to do the little things that add up to marking these special days...but I feel like I don't know where to begin.  Every year for my whole life I participated in the various traditions of Jewish holidays, and since I've been here, I have done barely anything...It would be like if you moved away from home, settled somewhere else, and never put up your Christmas tree!!!! Wouldn't you feel like something was missing?  I guess that's it, I feel like I'm missing out on something...

Today "my people" all over the world are gathering for dinner to break the fast, to talk about how they want to improve themselves for the coming year, mending relationships with loved ones, and reflecting on experiences and interactions.  I think writing this post is the beginning of my thinking about bringing some Jewness back in to my life.  I want to light candles, make dinner for the people I love, and say a few words in Hebrew to mark the special days on the calendar.  There is almost zero Jewish community here in Hawaii, and what is here seems very organized and traditional.  In Seattle and other places I have lived/visited there were all kinds of groovy Jews getting together outside the "normal" synagogue setting.  In New Mexico when I was in massage school I used to go to gatherings with a group of hippy, natural healing type Jews.  In Berkley I met an amazing group of people who were liberal in their social politics, knowledgeable in their Jewish history and religion, yet extremely reform in their practice.  In Seattle there were awesome groups of Jewish gays that got together for huge communal meals to celebrate the special days, as well as to form their own reform communities beyond the traditional place of worship.  Up until now I seemed to be dwelling on the fact that that kind of thing doesn't exist here...enough of that!  Moving forward I need to make my own community, even if it is only a community of 2 people (me and Jo, she's so open to learning about all of it, I just haven't done anything about it).

This post ended up being much longer and more detailed than I thought,  but I guess that's just part of the process of looking back.  Along with making a commitment to bringing Jewish back, I've got a list of things to work on, mostly relating to the way I think about myself. Coincidentally this comes at the same time a lovely lady whom I hope I can call a friend, blogged about a topic that covers some of the thoughts in my head.  Among the discussion is the theme of authenticity, self-love, and the desire to be the truest ME i can be.  So, here's my brain dump on the topic of looking back and looking forward...

1. Cease and desist with comparing myself to others and their perceived life situation
2. Be more kind to myself, in thoughts and actions
3. KNOW that I am RAD
4. Do not fear...the trying, the doing, the wearing, the being, the asking, just do not FEAR
5. Speak my mind, and do not regret it later
6. Stop with the "I wish I could/would/did/have"
7. When I dream of something big, know that I CAN make it happen
8. Leave doubt out
9. Try things that scare me
10. Do not fear the future, do not compare to the past

There are many many more things swirling around in my brain, and I have no doubt I will fail at some of them, but my message to myself is that in simply putting it down in words, or recognizing the thoughts, I have already succeeded.  All I have to do is remain aware, and remember to remain aware...I know this will not be easy.

Thanks for lending an ear, or an eye to these words...Here's to moving forward, recognizing the change we want, and working toward it every day.


Weekend Fruits From the Studio

I had a LONG, rewarding, fun, marathon, sweaty, adventure in the studio on Saturday.  It was a hot weekend, but the breezes are feeling cooler, and that is the first sign of the small seasonal change we get here...Finishing up bits and pieces of a few projects, working out the design, and final steps of a couple of custom works, as well as playing with a beautiful piece of turquoise I picked up at an antique store while in Seattle this summer.  I've been staring at if for about two months now.  It had a place of honor along the ledge of the molding in my studio, along with a few other treasured rocks, stones, shells, and other found bits...It's color is pure love in my eyes, and its "imperfections" are what make it so perfectly wonderful.  Sometimes I have a plan, in this case, the plan was for it to be a ring, I had already decided I wanted it to go horizontally across my finger rather than north to south.  I had dreamed up a heavily textured band, and a simple setting.  I kind of knew all along that's what I wanted to do with it, but as sometimes happens, it came out as a completely different creature.

Sometimes working on a piece is total meditative bliss...I'm probably rocking out to some random tunes, singing to myself, or perhaps nerding out on a podcast of Fresh Air with Terry Gross, or maybe laughing along with Car Talk...or sitting in total silence listing to the birds, and Max's jingly collar as he plays in the yard.  Whatever I'm doing, moments like these are a case of my hands working faster than the plans in my head.  It' so FUN...which is the best part!  It's the same pure happiness of playtime with my leggos when I was a kid.  Building neighborhoods, layering shapes and sizes of the blocks until whatever I was making was "just right"...really there is usually no right and wrong, it's more a feeling of knowing when it's working.

I took a hand full of shots of a few other pieces, and they were all really, really bad...One survived, I'll have to give it a go later in the week.  Try and try again, seems to be the theme with pictures lately.

This baby is LONG!!!!  She doubles around your neck and hangs in different ways throughout the day as you go about your business...The links have some heft to them so they tend to hand down lower, and  that little leaf dangle just does as she pleases, hanging out on the side.  I mixed a bunch of different favorites together in this piece.  There are round turquoise beads in two different sizes and ranging in color from true turquoise, to light green, grassy green, and mottled with earthy dark veins of texture...I love the way all the colors of green and blue look with the royal blue thread, and the opaque gray beads.  I threw in a few of my favorite chartreuse matte glass beads, just because I can't seem not to, the color is just so GOOD!  Once I get a handful more pictures, I'll be putting it in the shop...please, please let the camera and sunlight gods smile down on me, I've been struggling with the camera since last week.


I finished up this custom beauty for a lovely lady far, far away...

I've got a zillion ideas ready to be sawed, hammered, and forged into existence, however I came home sick from work this morning and am thinking that a good session of couch time is in order.  I've got my little table of beads and colorful thread by my side, and I think I'll be spending the better part of the day knotting, beading, and resting...Turning off my brain, and let my hands do the work, while I sip some chamomile to keep my stomach settled.  Days like this, at home, not feeling too well, really make me miss the cooler weather, the changing of the seasons...I want my sick day with blankets, hoodies, and socks by the fire, not tank tops and ceiling fans, (don't get me wrong, I love the tropical weather, but I'm still a Seattleite at heart).


Western Exposure

I know, I take a lot of picture on the back porch.  You're probably over seeing them by now, but really, the western exposure is perfection at about 5:45 pm and I just can't resist.

I picked up this snazzy Mexican planter a few weeks ago, it's been making me smile ever since...The pops of color, in my favorite hues, really make the greenery look all the more lovely.  She had some sisters in other shapes and sizes and I'm kicking myself now for just getting this one!

Notice the lovely felted rock that my roommate Chris made! He's quite crafty.

We've got Aloe busting out everywhere on the property right now...Last year our friend was clearing out an overgrown patch of it in his front yard, and Chris brought home a truck be full of it!  We planted them everywhere...at the entrance to the front porch, under planted in pots with some of the smaller papaya trees, mixed in with the other native plants in the side yard, and in pots big and small for random placement inside and out.  They have been going strong for months now, and just recently had a major growth spurt of happiness!  So, if you happen to come over and find yourself with bumps and scrapes, we can tear hunk of this healing beauty off the plant, and hook you up with some earth medicine!!!

After a long and slow, yet productive day in the studio yesterday, I've got some outdoor appreciation to get to...My skin needs the warmth of the sun, my legs need to get moving, so I'm headed out for a beach adventure before I come back and finish up yesterdays work.  I've got some oxidizing, polishing and stone setting to get to, then hopefully the light will cooperate and I can snap some pictures of a few custom orders, and a little something for the etsy shop.

Thanks for stopping by...



At Home

This morning the sun was shaded a bit by a nice thin blanket of clouds.  It was a bit cooler than usual, which is always nice...My Pacific Northwest soul misses the early morning chill these days, as I know the seasons are changing on the mainland.  I had client over to the house for a massage, I closed the drapes, lit a few candles, put on some soft music, and just as I was getting him settled on the table, it started raining...AMEN!

I can't possibly share how much I love having clients over to the house, it's a lovely space to work in, and I love not driving across town to work for someone else for a fraction of what I feel my work is really worth...Massage is an "all in" kind of a job.  To not give my 150% best would seem, and does seem just plain wrong...There are no moments of, "I'll just take it easy today, not try too hard, and just get through".  I really have to be present, aware, and giving in every session, and to do less would mean, perhaps I better start looking for a new career.  I am consciously putting energy toward building my own massage business, working toward a schedule more filled with house calls and private clients.  It's going to take time to spread the word, and the love, enough to be able to do this on my own, but I'm patient on this topic.  I've spent far too long sweating it out with sore thumbs for someone else, and I long to share the talents of my hands, forearms and elbows in my own space, on my own time.

All of this to describe the fact that it was a wonderful way to start my "day off"...After my client left, I made a pot of coffee, turned on the crock pot of pickle in the studio, and went to work!!!  I don't often spend all day in the studio, what with the "real job", and good old life getting in the way, (along with a healthy dose of indecision, and pinch of procrastination) I tend to work a little at a time throughout the week.  So it's been a real treat to hunker down, knowing I have all day and most unusual of all A PLAN!!!!!!

So, now I'm taking a lunch break, and after writing this will be popping over to another open tab on my computer to list a couple of necklace creations that were recently finished.

Reminiscent of images I conjure up when fantasizing of some very ancient or possibly futuristic flora, with raised nodes, like those of the back side of ferns on the forest floor...
She's kind of:
"out of the box"
and best of all, one of a kind

Meant for the lady who sees a bit of these qualities in herself, and wears them PROUDLY!!

I'm smitten with the color combos on the knotted cord and beaded "chains", and I love how the soft smoothness of the silver looks with them.  My brain is bursting with ideas in this department...

I'm off to list these babies in the ETSY shop, drink some more coffee, and get back to work on some custom orders for a very special lady, who has been ever so patient.

I productive day in the studio feels so damn good!  I really need to make them happen more often, I'll be riding high all night on this mojo!