The earth, the soil itself, has a dreaming quality about it.
It is warm now to the touch;
it has come alive;
is hides secrets that in a moment,
in a little while,
it will tell.
~Donald Culross Peattie
This beautiful, warm, sunny, spring day seemed like the perfect time to transplant this lovely dracaena that had outgrown its smaller pot. I think it will be very happy in its new spot.
I've also been thinking about how I've felt a bit transplanted into a new reality these past couple of weeks. It's likely you know what I mean. I'd gotten to the point of knowing how to function in my simplicity mindset. I have my zero-waste kit that I take to the grocery store. I make my weekly menu + shopping list...and I trust that I will have enough to get us through the week.
And then a few weeks ago...I decided to buy an extra container of bulk rice, an extra jar of bouillon, a few cans of soup + tuna, and a few extra rolls of toilet paper. And then...one day we were at the store + we noticed carts piled high + lines as long as we've ever seen them. And my heart started to race...and our legs started to race toward the toilet paper aisle (empty)...the bulk aisle (empty!)...etc...you know...
We know that the systems we depend on + trust in are precarious, but I'm wondering if those of us who've already embraced simplicity voluntarily might be finding it a teensy tiny, eensy weensy bit easier to adjust to some of our new limitations. I'm a little bit more accustomed to doing without salami, since becoming a vegetarian. I'm able to pass up super cheap jeans since taking the fairdare. I'm used to passing up the individually wrapped candy since choosing zero-waste. Maybe I'll be able to still feed my family with fewer choices at the grocery store.
We're used to eating vegetables + rice. We enjoy the flavors that salt, pepper + olive oil have to offer. We know how to entertain ourselves with pen + journal, deep stretching + walks outside. We enjoy simple conversations + sitting in the sun. We garden + mend already. We've learned that more stuff + higher status won't bring happiness. We understand that gratitude will.
Oh boy. I'm not talking about doing without income or health here. I'm devastated for all the people who find themselves without jobs or customers or full paychecks...or are themselves or have loved ones suffering with Covid-19. Simplicity + gratitude may have some comfort to offer even in those circumstances...but they are not even close to being enough.
I am in no way saying that I am enjoying any of this. I'm scared + I miss so many things. I'm just hoping that you are finding some solace in the simple things...some joy in the ones you love...and some rest in your soul.
Lots of love,
We are loving these coloring pages from Daren Thomas Magee at Real Fun, Wow! I love that this is a tiny way to support an independent artist (I own some of his other lovely artwork as well!). No thinking of what to draw or paint...the thick outlines are forgiving + the designs are fantastic. About half a page in, I was wondering what we'd do when our watercolors ran out (we have had them for about a decade). :) I love that it was something to do all together with music, tea + a little conversation. I also love having some artwork to put on the fridge again. :) Thank you, Daren!!
I haven't been maintaining many real exemplary habits these days, but one habit that has been helping is a daily yoga practice. Some days I put on some Trevor Hall + move through some of my favorite flows...pausing to deep stretch + remembering to deep breathe. I'm loving Modo Yoga Montreal's daily live classes offered throughout the day...and I'm looking forward to doing this one too.
I know that there are many classes to follow out there + I'm trying to keep the links here minimal...while also offering some good stuff. Anyway...for me...moving + stretching (even on cold, rainy days like we've been having here) is one of the vital habits worth working to maintain. Please let us know if you have a favorite too!
Honestly, I'm not sure what attracts me more to Ruth Asawa...the undulating shapes of her wire sculptures or the photos of her surrounded by her children as she works. Both Ruth's work + her life have an artistic quality about them that just seem to touch my soul.
I've been thoroughly enjoying this book about Ruth's work + life. She training at Black Mountain College under Josef Albers who encouraged his students, "Open your eyes and see." Albers prized work and repetitive process over self-expression, believing that self-expression would be the natural outcome of the creative, hands-on process. Words + concepts like these make me stop reading often to write in my journal...and will inform my view of making art going forward.
I appreciate the thoughtful writing regarding the way Ruth's work has been seen more as craft or feminine handiwork than art. Helen Molesworth writes in her essay entitled "San Fransisco Housewife and Mother", "My hope is that feminist art history can begin to work toward a more sensitive hermeneutic, one striated with degrees of complexity about these matters. I crave a discipline capable of negotiating the systems of value that are cognizant of their sexist formation but not beholden to reiterating that sexism at every turn." (!!)
Molesworth says of this photo by Imogen Cunningham, "In Cunningham's picture the central female figure is neither allegorical, nor is she a 'typical' mother. She is neither exclusively concerned with her children, nor is her identity as an artist in any way at risk. Rather, what the picture makes abundantly clear is that Asawa fully inhabits the role of artist and mother with seeming ease, without sacrificing one modality to the other. This interests me deeply, for it seems to offer a way out of the impasse of thinking that motherhood (and by extension other forms of labor historically gendered female) is either antithetical to being an artist, or is not a form of labor equal to the labor of being an artist."
We're all working from home these days...whether that involves childcare, telecommuting, learning, cooking, cleaning, homeschooling...we're doing it at home. Some of us might be dressing exactly like we did before + some of us might be finding it hard to get out of pajamas.
I know clothing isn't really important right now, but I do think that it can affect our feelings + mindset...and heck, I need something else to focus on for a minute...so... :)
I noticed that some of my clothing just isn't going to get worn for a while + instead of letting it jab at me every time I go to get dressed, I decided to go ahead + create a collection of go-to pieces to wear these days when leaving the house involves nothing more than a walk or bike ride around the neighborhood.
I like to start with silhouettes, so here are the ones I'm wearing these days:
:: Leggings make it easy to get onto my yoga mat + out the door to be active with minimum fuss. I like to pair leggings with a tank + sweatshirt...a button-up...a tee or tank...depending on the weather (it's spring!).
:: Linen overalls are a favorite as the days warm. I like to wear them with fitted tees + tanks.
:: My third comfortable silhouette involves soft pants + a tee, tank, sweatshirt or button-up.
Choosing three different silhouettes ensures that there is some variation built in. Having a little bit of variety in home wear is really nice, and surprisingly little is needed to provide quite a lot of it. I've found that focusing on bottoms first works well for me...as I did with my three silhouettes above (leggings, overalls, soft pants). One or two of each is plenty.
I like to keep my tops simple + solid. Again, an extensive collection is not necessary. A variety of outfits can be made from mixing those bottoms with a small number of button-ups, sweatshirts, tanks + tees. Spring weather offers a range of temperatures, so that helps vary my outfit choices from day to day as well.
A couple of other silhouettes that I can imagine being lovely for home wear are flowy dresses + soft, worn-in jeans. Some may find it helpful to their productivity mindset to just get dressed as usual during working hours. In any case, I think it might be helpful to sit down + think about a strategy for dressing in these new circumstances. Making a plan helps me to take a look in my closet rather than turning toward shopping in unbridled frustration (or boredom). The way I dress has a huge influence on my mindset, so I know that time spent shifting my wardrobe is not wasted. Moving my wardrobe around so that I'm not looking at all of the clothing that I won't be wearing for a bit enhances my ability to choose positivity each day, because I don't need any more points of frustration.
Loads of love to you my friends,
And the people stayed home.
And read books, + listened, + rested, + exercised,
+ made art, + played games, + learned new ways of being, + were still.
And listened more deeply.
Some meditated, some prayed, some danced.
Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.
And the people healed.
And in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless,
+ heartless ways, the earth began to heal.
And when the danger passed, + the people joined together again,
they grieved their losses, + made new choices, + dreamed new images,
+ created new ways to live + heal the earth fully,
as they had been healed.
Like a lot of people I enjoy listening. Walking out the door yesterday, one of the first things I noticed was that so many birds sounded happy with the day (thank you, spring!). I like to listen to NPR + my favorite podcast is probably The Daily. These days, however, I need purposeful breaks from the news.
This week I enjoyed listening to Chris Martin chatting + singing live on Instagram. I think I smiled through the whole thing...because...you gotta love Chris...which reminds me of this. Chris Martin had the idea of #togetherathome + hopes that these live chats/concerts will have a pass-it-on effect. Listening to (+ watching) Hillary was the perfect accompaniment to mending earlier this week (loved hearing about her earlier years). I'm also tuning in for Oh Wonder who are going to play a song live each day for 37 days.
What are you enjoying listening to? Please share! :)
Getting outside for a long, brisk walk with my girls led to feeling about as good as I've felt in the past few days. We dodged puddles + worms after the rain. We said hello to everyone we saw (from afar)...more people than I've ever seen on a walk in our neighborhood. There was a dad outside playing a lively game of basketball with two teenaged girls...three adults laughing + making videos of one friend in a full, furry, dog costume walking a dog + another dog driving a toy car...and two people running on opposite sides of the road that we thought might be doing a social-distancing run "together". :) We walked further than usual...noticing all the new little sprouts popping up + a few fully formed daffodils too. I ended up feeling a little bit stronger + more connected + more hopeful. Hope you are able to get outside a little bit too!
Over the past few days, I haven't felt like there's much I can do to make things better. So, today I mended. Halfway through this lovely article that classifies mending as "a quiet, global protest movement", I decided to gather a few mending projects + make something a little better.
Mending always has the effect of adding value to these utilitarian objects rather than downgrading their value in my mind. The pieces I'm mending are always the most loved pieces of clothing in our home. They are the hardest working...the most worn. They've taken on the shape of the wearer...someone I love.
Both of these pieces had holes at the elbows. One was repaired with a lightweight patch + the other received heavy-duty elbow patches made with fabric leftover from a pair of vintage army pants that were shortened into shorts.
I suppose mending reflects what we are trying to do together with all of our social distancing + staying at home...trying to add a little strength to the fabric of our collective health. Thank you for all the sacrifices you've made for our collective good...not that I'm any sort of authority or anything...I just feel like we could be showing our appreciation for each other right now. I appreciate you, friend.
on a journey toward zero-waste, simplicity, + compassion :: daring to choose fair one choice at a time