Yes to 2014…

Following Yes!
Following Yes!

Well, the children have returned to school, finally, after their Christmas/New Year break. The first thing I did, and I felt slightly guilty and extremely decadent, I got a cup of coffee, snuggled down into my bed and read a whole book, cover to cover. I didn’t have one interruption and the silence was heavenly. It was a great start to 2014.

I had an amazingly creative and inspiring year and I needed a few days alone to process all the amazing things that happened to me in 2013. I should begin by saying that my motto for 2013, was to say Yes, to new experiences and opportunities where and when they appeared. If a door opened, even if I wasn’t exactly sure where it would lead, I said, Yes. I began to have faith in my intuition and artistic instincts and each step of the way, someone offered me advice and support to help me grow further.

Creatively, in 2013, I started selling my photo cards, after some prodding, at my friend Beth’s Store, (simplysoapsmv.com). Beth has been a huge source of support for me as she endlessly encourages me to believe in myself as an artist, so I said Yes. She is also an amazing Artist, business woman, and best friend, saying Yes to her was easy.

A few months later, at my local gym, the owner Holly, asked I could help her fill up a blank wall in the gym with my photographs? Um, Yes! Then, Holly suggested that I put prices on them and see if people would buy them, so I said, yup you got it, Yes. I arrived the next day to hang six framed photographs and before my class was over, I had sold them all. I couldn’t believe it. I would repeat this process three more times and each time the photographs sold out. I was delighted, terrified, and a totally flabbergasted, but so thankful that I said Yes. I am so grateful  that Holly gave me this wonderful chance to display and sell my work.

A few months ago, Beth began offering different Artists the chance to have an art show at her store during the Holiday season. I was hesitant, probably fearful is a better word but I said Yes. I was able to sell my photographs and cards and my confidence continued to blossom. I have attended many art shows but have never been the subject of one and I learned more than I can say from that one experience. Yes! Thanks Beth.

As if my cup hadn’t already runneth over, I received the opportunity of a lifetime, going to Italy with Beth. She called last February and asked me if I wanted to go with her to Venice, Florence, and Rome for 10 days? I didn’t just say Yes, I shouted, YES, YES!! The trip changed me as a person and raised my artistic perceptions to levels I haven’t even  processed completely. I was awestruck, inspired, and  astounded by the beauty and the culture of Italy,. The country, the people, the food, the wine, and the art work, sublime, a totally out-of-body experience. Everywhere I went I snapped pictures on the move, clicking away on my camera like a maniac. I was spinning and whirling, pausing and shooting at a breakneck pace. I stopped so many times to take  pictures, Beth was afraid she would lose me somewhere in Rome just turning in circles cackling with delight. I just couldn’t stop taking pictures of buildings, canals, churches, bridges, mountains, cathedrals, museums, art, architecture, Pope Francis, and food, lots and lots of pictures of food.

What I learned from 2013 is that my dreams can be bigger and more limitless than I could imagine. If I can let go of my need to orchestrate my life and follow the breadcrumbs to where I supposed to go, my destiny unfolds in technicolor and with great clarity. Besides battling upstream is so much harder than traveling with the current. I found that I could put my energies to better use and push myself to grow, develop and to create in ways I have not yet explored or as yet discovered. 

The people I have met on WordPress were among the first people who gave me the confidence to believe in myself when I finally summoned the courage to post my art. Each blogger has opened themselves up and shared their talents with me and others, and for that I am eternally grateful. Just seeing all the amazing work that creative people are contributing all over the world, humbles me. With just a click of a button, the blogging community embraces other Artists who have the courage and can bear the vulnerability and fear necessary, to reach out and claim their dreams.  To say that I have been influenced, inspired and amazed by these fellow Artists, is an understatement. Thank you hardly seems enough but I am grateful for your contributions and for your kind support.

For 2014, my aim is to continue to grow as an Artist and as a person. I will move with purpose and faith to further propel myself beyond my own perceived boundaries,expectations, and self imposed limits . I will continue saying Yes to new opportunities as they appear in my life. I will continue to value the experiences and the people who have helped shape the Artist that I am today and the Artist I hope to be one day. Once I stepped away from fear and the negative nay-sayers, I found a community of fellow Artists who have encouraged, supported and inspired me every step of my journey. Here’s hoping 2014 exceeds all of our wildest expectations.

Thank You All.

Court of Dreams….

 Vineyard Streetball Classic       

Well the 10th Anniversary of Vineyard Streetball Classic went off without a hitch, thanks to the hard work, commitment, and dedication of Mike Daniel, Omar Daniel, Marc Rivers and a host of other volunteers, sponsors, supporters, and spectators. The basketball courts were swept of debris, the drills completed, teams were posted, and finally the students lined up to compete in the Vineyard Streetball Classic on a hot July day. As the sun beat down on the competitors and with a burst of the whistle, the teams squared up, and the ball was tossed high in the air and the basketball challenge had begun, to the delight of spectators, and organizers, alike.

                                                 

It was a chance for the youngsters to define and refine their skills, perfect the fundamentals of the game, and finally, to display their basketball prowess on the court. For the spectators, it was a chance to watch creativity and artistry in motion as each student played with originality, reverence and zest. Mike never missed an opportunity to inspire the students visually, audibly, demonstratively and with gusto. With barely concealed delight, Mike relished sharing his passion for basketball and competition all the while earnestly passing the torch from one generation to the next, as Mike was the beneficiary of that same torch many years ago, on the exact same basketball court.

This is what Vineyard Streetball Classic is all about; passion, creativity, dedication, hard work, diligence, practice, discipline, endurance, effort and joy. The athletes played with intensity, originality and tenacity delighting everyone who participated, competed and watched the 10th Anniversary of the Vineyard Streetball Classic. Everyone competed valiantly and contestants played with respect, and jubilation and all emerged triumphant and victorious.

 

             Victory….

 Marc refs the game…

For Mike, conceiving and creating the Vineyard Streetball Classic transcends the game of basketball; it is a metaphor for what he believes and how he has lived his life, yesterday and today. There is nothing phony or inauthentic about Mike, what you see is what you get, and for him, it’s all about basketball, it’s in his DNA.

Mike’s ingenutity, and his life choices, reflect his core values and beliefs. It is his innovation, imagination and passion that motivate and inspire him and in doing so, he has inspired a new generation of future basketball stars to reach for their own dreams while making an impact in their own communities and beyond, just like Mike.

Mike brings the ball down..

So while this year, the Vineyard Streetball Classic is over, the lessons on and off the court will reverberate for years to come for the athletes, the spectators, the organizers, and me. It is easy to measure success by material things and so much harder to recognize and measure success by the intangible things that make each and every one of us gifted, creative and unique. Like everyone else, I may forget that from time to time, but I think I’ve finally gotten it, this time, thanks Mike.

This year I looked around for creativity and proof of divinity and serendipity in my life and I am so lucky that I found a living example of it in the soul of my long time friend, Mike D. (no S).

 Mike and Marc consult, just like back in the day…..

PS. sometimes you’re living the dream and sometimes the dream shows up in your real life.  Build your dream and your dream will build you a life…

Welcome Dr. Julius Irving to Vineyard Streetball Classic.

Dr. J, welcome…

pss. all photos of Vineyard Streetball Classic have been taken by the fabulous Tim Johnson, hop on over to his website to view fantastic photographs.

Getting Fit

Earlier I spoke about being “jarred back to life” and how I had become overweight and unhealthy and that was just what was visible from the outside. I fear it was a bit darker on the inside so I started to run, physically and metaphorically to get in shape. I hadn’t really done any really taxing workouts in many years, though I did do Jazzercise in Acton for a few years, I wasn’t pushing myself hard enough.

When winter came last year I needed to start running inside so I joined a gym and got on the treadmill and began to run two or so miles a day and that was really good. I was impressed  and kept my promise to myself  to workout for a whole year, no excuses and to focus on getting healthy first and not a particular size or number.

I knew I needed to expand my repertoire as I turned my focus to toning and shaping, Mark, the personal trainer at the gym, offered to help me reshape my body in  three months, with his fitness philosophy as he tried to build his own Physical Sculpting personal fitness business. I know very little about personal trainers, still I agreed and it was the best decision I’ve made in a while.

If left to my own devices when working out, I would have stopped pushing myself each day. Mark focused first on what I could do but soon he was encouraging me to dig deep down and challenge myself just a tiny bit more each workout. He devised an ever-changing routine that includes cardio, weights, and abdomen work and I never have to do anything other than show up and put in the time. He creates, and adapts the workouts to my specific needs and abilities, always adding more weights or more reps, but pushing me farther than I would have gone on my own. I saw changes in my body right away and in half the time I was spending working out solo.

Mark’s passion about personal fitness changed how I approached working out and helped me discard bad habits that I had picked up about fitness and especially about weight training. He has indeed helped me reshape my body and I swear by his workouts, passion and creativity.

His approach is about a life style change of drinking lots of water, organic eating to nurture and sustain your body since the workouts he devises require that eating properly and having small protein based meals will infuse the body with the necessary strength and calories to workout hard. It’s boot camp for the mind and the body.

I’ve learned a lot about health, fitness, and weight training from Mark, and the many misconceptions that I had about personal trainers, weight lifting bulking you up, and his  intense thirty minute workouts and nutrition. It is his passion, his challenges, his ability to know what I can do before I do, and his commitment to good health that has literally changed my life for the better.

I invite you to tune in as I showcase a few of Mark’s signature moves and the dos and don’t of weight lifting and working out, in the coming weeks.