Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Hello out there! Above is one of my small watercolors. That is, it is 2.5 inches wide by 3.75 inches high. It is of the top of the Empire State Building, looking north from 14th Street in Union Square. I moved downtown from in front of the Met and have been selling my artwork at Union Square. It is fun, interesting and lots of hard work! Just wanted to check in. Pretty tired right now and have to get up early tomorrow Wednesday. It gets really crowded because Wednesday is a day when the food vendors are there, so more artists show up to sell, expecting a bigger crowd.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

I Draw In The Sunshine

We had gorgeous weather this past weekend in New York City and on Sunday I did something that I have wanted to try for a very long time......I set up an easel in front of the Metropolitan Museum and sold some little tiny watercolors. If you want to know how tiny, look at the photo above. You will see a hand holding the watercolor. That is how tiny. It's about 2.5 by 3.5 inches. This one is of a building I could see from where I stood on Fifth Avenue in front of the Museum. It was fun and I met a lot of really great people. I met artists, non-artists, art-lovers, art collectors and various permutations of these. I displayed watercolors that I had already and also managed to do about 4 or 5 new watercolors while I stood there which sold as well.

Had three pieces up at the Dumbo Arts Center Pop Up Fundraiser Show last weekend. They were fairly large for me - all approximately 21 by 24 inches. (Will be posting images soon!)

Also, finished the No Impact Week with Colin Beavan. Well, didn't actually finish it. It was a group of great people and apparently there are plans to meet for a dinner in a few weeks. I can say that my awareness has been raised by leaps and bounds, and in a future post I will talk about some of the changes that have come from that new awareness.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Food Choices, Fossil Fuel And Gratitude

Yesterday I was so proud of myself for not taking a plastic bag from the cashier to carry my avocadoes and onion home with me from the supermarket. However, later I realized that those avocadoes and some oranges that I bought were from Mexico and California respectively. Meaning they had been transported over large distances, which involves trucks, fossil fuel, possibly some electricity. And that reminded me that I had also committed to at least trying to eat only locally grown foods. I was struck with the enormity of the task at hand....how does one NOT take part in anything that creates a carbon trail? What CAN one eat if one wants to pledge to eat only locally grown foods, and it's the dead of winter in your town? These are questions that beg to be answered. And I will get back to you with that information. In the meantime, I realize that it is ok if I eat avocadoes. If I think about the truck and the driver and the fossil fuels involved, I could even be grateful for all of it. Those marvels of science and technology make it all possible for me to eat such a delicious food in February in New York. That kind of awareness makes a huge difference. Gratitude for the things that make your food choices possible is powerful energy. Working out the issues around eating local food will happen in its time. Check back tomorrow for more of my adventures participating in No Impact Week.

Monday, February 22, 2010

No Plastic Bag For Me, Today, Thank You

Yesterday at the first meeting of No Impact Week with Colin Beavan and Leah Mayor, one of the things that I agreed to be concious about this week was not buying anything with packaging. That is a the usual for me, being that I am a mostly raw vegan. In fact one of the most amazing things about living the raw vegan life is that you realize that you are definitely NOT contributing to landfills...... with your food at any rate. Jumping off from that point, I wanted to push the no impact envelope a bit. I went to the supermarket for some avocadoes and an onion. And I forgot to bring a cloth shopping bag with me. Yet I also refused a plastic "t-shirt" bag that the cashier packs your groceries into. With that change of habit, I had a new experience of avocadoes and onions. I saw that they each already come in their own bag, right off the vine/tree/earth clod. "How clever" I thought of that lovely old Mother Nature! I carried three avocadoes and one onion in my hands and there was one more avocado in my coat pocket. And I went home and had a nice salad.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

No Impact Week

Today was the first of the 6 meetings that make up Colin (No Impact Man) Beavan's first live, in person No Impact Week Workshop. It is a beta version of a program he conducts online and is based on his one year experiment of reducing his family's carbon footprint down to ZERO! I was amazed when I came across Colin's experiment. I found the goal to be so admirable and his and his family having achieved it to be extraordinary. I was eager to join this group because I wanted to meet Colin, meet other like-minded individuals and see what new, interesting things I could learn and/or be inspired by. Anyone is welcome to join in for the balance of the week, so if you think you would like to see what we are doing and you are in the New York area, please contact me at drawingonthemoon@gmail.com. Below is a brief description of what the first meeting was like.

This first meeting of a handful of serious and thoughtful individuals was well planned and Colin, along with his co-facilitator Leah Mayor, of the Cloud Institute, kept the material moving along at a good pace. It was a small group, but each attendee took part in the discussions and overall it was a very exciting and energizing two hours. Both Leah and Colin asked thought-provoking questions which gave each of us the opportunity to decide what low- or no-imprint actions to take. There was no guilt-tripping or pressure in any form. And it was exciting to be part of a new program that can help other people and help the earth.

We each made commitments in each of the following three categories: consumption, trash and travel, which are assigned respectively to today, Monday and Tuesday. There are four other categories which we will discuss and prepare for at our next meeting on Tuesday.

There was so much much material, that I will go into more detail about what changes I agreed to commit to on in a future post.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Divesting Stuff and Discovering Magic

Well ok haven't written for a while, but I've been so busy....as you will see below.

I moved twice since December. (The why's and wherefores of that are a story for another day) In preparing for both moves, I did a lot of purging, what I like to call "divesting" stuff.

Two blogs that have interesting takes on the subject of reducing one's possessions and from whom I've gotten a bit of inspiration (even though they are both more advanced compared to myself)

There are many, many more people out there in cyberland who are teaching and practicing this new way of living the good life, but these two are the ones I first came across on the contemporary blog scene and have learned a lot from.

For me, it is still the beginning of a journey to "stufflessness." In the meantime, what I continue to discover is that by divesting myself of stuff, I truly do experience:
A) a sense of liberation
B) a clearer mind
C) a feeling of being energized

It does require some courage, though, because the mind is tricky and will make you think that you need the thing you are about to purge. If you can just be strong and either throw it out or give it away, you may have some wonderful experiences such as I have had on this adventure. Well, they are wonderful after a brief period of them being perturbing. But the wonderful part that comes after the perturbing part is really, truly wonderful. Here is one example:

Let's say that you have something you've been saving because you tell yourself you might need it someday. You've had it for years and haven't ever found a need for it, yet you struggle with some anxiety in getting rid of it. You finally find the courage to throw it out. Ironically, a day or two later there actually arises a circumstance where that thing finally would have come in handy. This is the part where you find yourself feeling somewhat perturbed, anxious or something equally uncomfortable. You thought that throwing the thing out would have settled the initial anxiety, but here it is again.

Try this: Sit still with the feelings that arise with this experience. Feel them. Feel how they are making their presence known through the sensations in various parts of your body. Give this a few minutes. You will be surprised how quickly they pass if you give them some breathing room. Then, tell yourself that you will come up with a more creative way to solve whatever problem that thing was going to remedy. And then try to keep track of the next few days, because what will probably happen is that the need you thought you had will actually dissipate without you even noticing. You might not even be able to remember what the thing was that you threw out!

It's like magic. And in a way it is...it's the magic of your mind. You thought you would need it so you did. When you thought you might be ok without it, you were.

This is just one of the wonderful things I have learned on my "Divestment Journey." There's lots more. It has helped me enormously as an artist, and I will be writing that in my next post. Which will be soon!

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Evolution of An Ancient Practice Helps Keep The Apartment Clean

Back in the 90's I began reading books on a variety of unusual and exotic subjects that are categorized in bookstores as Western Mysticism or Metaphysics. I had always had an interest in these sorts of subjects, even as a child. Weird perhaps, but true. And my interest was reviving itself around this time. One of the many authors I came across was named Sondra Ray and I remember in one of her books she had touched on what seemed a wonderful concept to me, that of clearing your physical space as a spiritual practice. In one chapter she encouraged the practice of picking up your belongings one at a time and asking yourself "Do I love this?" If the answer wasn't "yes," that was the cause to remove it from your world.

I really loved this idea. I discovered quickly, however, that it took more than one question to determine whether or not I wanted to keep something, so I can't say that I cleared a lot initially. A few years later, I came across another expression of this teaching in Karen Kingston's book "Clear Your Clutter With Feng Shui." I had heard of Feng Shui, but didn't know anything about it and this book made the practice very accessible to a beginner. Turns out that clearing one's physical clutter in order to clear one's mind and energy is an ancient idea!

After reading Kingston's book, I did indeed start clearing the clutter physically from my life. I went at my own pace; there were some things I was able to clear right away. Some other things took more time for me to be willing (or able) to throw out or give away. And I have managed to continue periodic reviews, years after reading the book.

My newest exposure to, and latest incarnation of, this idea comes through Everett Bogue, a blogger who writes on the idea of living a minimalist existence. His writing is clear and compelling in his quest to entice all of us to scale down what we have, what we own and what we really need. He makes a strong case for keeping it light as a way to be able to do the things we really want to do. I highly recommend checking out his blog. I have been moved by his reasoning and presentation to approach this subject with new fervor again. And I think I will be writing some more posts going into more detail about it as I go along.

I really love looking at these three writers and how they have influenced me at the stages in my life when they appeared. I really like looking at how they each helped, and continue to help, me to become better at, dare I say "stronger" at, letting go of a lot of the physical clutter in my life. I also really like the way these three authors demonstrate how a wonderful concept for living has evolved out there in the world, for us Westerners especially, to ingest and integrate into our lives.

So this week, this is what I have been doing. I am decluttering. I am minimalizing. I am indeed learning to discern much more clearly what it is that I love or that serves a meaningful purpose and what it is that can go. Partly because it is the end of the year. Partly because I am moving soon. Partly because it's just time to do this. I have very much reached a new stage in my life and development and feel at ease letting my belongings reflect this.

But this can be a hard thing to do. It can be very stressful, emotionally, to go through your belongings and evaluate each one. There are things in the "to go" pile that I have clung to for a very long time. Sometimes that is because of strong emotional associations to an item. Sometimes the reasons are no weightier than that it is something that I have had for so long that it seems odd to live without it. It challenges so deeply that some objects have me wondering who will I be without that thing.

You see how it is then. These memories and associations make their presence known with a great deep bass tone that I feel in my lower back as I handle each object. There are many things about which I will have conversations with myself and through which I will feel the deep bass of memory as I declutter this week. And I look forward to the freshness and clarity that comes from this act.