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Monthly Archives: July 2012

Drawing Conclusions About Art.

I have always been an artist (a dancer and a writer in a formal sense.) Creativity has always come second nature to me. I’ve explored (and in many cases was fairly good at) fiber arts, sewing, crafting, cooking, and other forms or artistic expression…. My idea of fun as a kid was to tat (make lace from scratch), do embroidery, calligraphy, crochet, or make handmade placemats or picture frames. I’ve made jewelry, wine, and taken all sorts of pottery, folk craft or handcraft classes just to toy with different mediums. I dress with a touch of creativity too (much to my conservative mother’s dread.)  I’ve also been uniquely creative in regards to thinking outside of the box when building a business. My marketing, program design and the way I live life in general often veers off the traditional path. Yep, I’ve always been a creative sort of person. 

I think becoming an artist is a little like exercising any muscle. The more you use your creativity, the more fine-tuned it gets and the easier it is to tap into your personal voice and trust your instincts for original choices and actions.

But I have always shied away from the visual arts (painting or drawing) because I felt I didn’t have “the knack”. My mother was the painter. Others I know just seemed more able than I when it came to anything that involved a paintbrush or pencil.  I could barely draw a stick figure.  Until David pointed out to me that the reason I couldn’t draw was simply because no one ever taught me the basics of perspective or how to handle a pencil or paint, I thwarted myself by a limiting self-definition – I was not THAT kind of artist – the kind who could make a recognizable rendition of a tangible thing on paper. 

The truth is, art is a universal calling, and most artistic venues are not that difficult to master – all you need is a bit of training. Creativity is what makes a person “an artist” once basic techniques have given you tools to express yourself with. I’ve have enough life experience to recognize that I have creativity by the bucketful. So, deductive reasoning tells me that my relationship with art can and should include visual arts if I feel so inclined. Everyone can draw. It is a matter of learning how, and then practice, practice, practice. In that way, visual art is the same as dance or writing. For some, true skill comes easier than it does for others, but in the end, the unfolding of talent takes time, patience, faith, commitment and putting in practice time.

I’ve thought a lot about art lately – how and why I’ve avoided stepping beyond my chosen fields of expertise to explore other art forms sans embarrassment or feeling I need to make excuses for my lack of talent. I’ve done some reflection on what’s transpired throughout my life to convince me I wasn’t a true “artist” in any area other than writing or dance and why I felt too ashamed or inadequate to ever try my hand at visual arts.

I recently asked Neva if she wanted to take an art course with me. She balked and said, “No way. I suck at drawing. I could never be good even if I try, so I’ll pass.” I recognized her attitude and immediately set to change her limiting belief. Curbing potential is not an uncommon occurrence, because people tend to assume a “real” artist can just pick up a pen one day and sketch out amazing images. Dancers can’t do that. Writers can’t either. Why should we believe talent will flow out of untrained fingers in the case of drawing? Silly assumption, really. But I couldn’t convince her to push ego aside and just explore her limitless possibilities. Not yet, at least.

Meeting David has helped me reframe my attitude about art. He is a pragmatic, brilliant engineer, and yet he is an artist too. He writes, creates with wood, welding and other materials. He invents. He also plays guitar. Draws. Cooks.…. His diversity and competence in so many areas has made me redefine what being “an artist” is.  Honestly, I don’t think an artist is someone who makes a living at art so much as someone who makes all of life a work of art. At least, that is the kind of artist I long to be.

Reading the book “The Artist’s Way” opened my eyes to why my confidence has been curtailed in regards to visual art endeavors and why I’ve chosen to bury my inclinations to explore art on the page. The book had been on our family shelves for years, a favorite of my ex, and yet he never suggested I read it or apply the wisdom therein to ME. I had to discover this book on my own, and in reading it, recognize that the artist’s path isn’t just for those self-proclaimed artists who are in love with the romance of the title and feel it is  their calling to create while the rest of us are merely on earth to be the audience or to support them while they do the important job of expressing themselves – No, the artist’s path is for everyone who lives and breathes and has ideas or emotions to express.

 Anyway, back to why I want to learn to draw….. I’ve been exploring poetry and journaling in a serious way ever since graduating from Lesley with my MFA in fiction. Exploring one thing often leads to another, and fiction soon gave way to creative non-fiction projects (most especially, my 92k memoir), then journaling, then playing around with an art journal with rudimentary efforts to create with paper, pen and collage. (I was so fascinated with this path to self understanding that I sent books and supplies for art journaling to my daughters, though I don’t think they were much inspired to use them.) I started adding the overall concept of art journaling to my traditional journaling seminars, leaving a mild suggestion for students to play with the form – I even put together a personal journal that is part writing, part scrapbook, and part doodling to express what the essay form of journaling could not. I started collecting things, like fortune cookie fortunes or ticket stubs, to work into art pages in my journal. I now have a huge collection of pastels, watercolor pencils and traditional watercolor paints, pens, markers, glues and other materials to work with. I even have a Spirograph and calligraphy pens and I’ve been toying with zentangle techniques, making mandalas and exploring meditation forms of design art. This month, I’m wandering into mapping – exploring map of consciousness- a techique that is part writing and part art. A map can be representative of a person’s personal journey in a single endeavor or life in general… I’ve got some fascinating books on the subject.

Since I am deeply in love with nature, art journaling soon led to an interest in nature journaling. I began studying this form of capturing ideas and feelings too, at least from an academic standpoint, and I now have an entire library of art and nature journaling books that I continue to browse  –I add them to my retreat offerings to encourage others to take a pencil and a journal out when hiking, encouraging students to pause. See. Record.  I harbor this crazy dream of teaching nature journaling along with my other yoga oriented courses someday. If only I could draw……

The problem is, I’m still frustrated by my amateur attempts to draw – and that makes me embarrassed to share my art journal with others. I’m still a closet artist.

Anyway, I have been burning the candle at both ends for the last two years, driving my business in a concentrated effort to get my life stable and on track again, and this summer, thanks to a fantastic enrollment in my intensive yoga teacher’s training course, I’m able to step back and take some time for me-  at least a few days a week– As such, I am spending this summer teaching a demanding immersion yoga course on Friday through Sunday, but during the week, I’ve kept my schedule light so I can take the time to reboot the engine and restore my creative juices, so to speak.  

So, knowing I’d have a little bit of much needed free time, I enrolled in a basic drawing course at the nearby technical college. I was intimidated at the thought of drawing in public (God forbid an entire class of people would witness my amateur attempt to draw a stick figure), but I decided to face my fear and just go for it.

On the first day, the students introduced themselves and explained why they enrolled. Two girls are young students hoping to prepare a portfolio to get into fashion school. Two women are watercolor artists wanting to enhance their drawing skills. One fella is retired and simply wants to try something new. I explained that I wanted to be skilled enough to draw nature (plants, birds, etc) for the purpose of journaling. The teacher, a highly skilled artist with a masters from Ringling (he is primarily a sculptor with pieces in several galleries and museums and he is filming a 6 episode art class for PBS next month) explained that this course would not teach me how to draw realistic images from nature because that involves a different way of “seeing”. But it would teach me the basics of how to handle led and charcoal and I’d learn perspective and shading and all the basic elements of drawing as a foundation for future courses. I wasn’t disappointed.  I am enough of a visual art newbie to know this is exactly where I should start. I need to learn how to hold a pencil and draw a circle. Walk before you can run, ya know….

So this summer, every Monday, I take a 3 ½ hour drawing class. The rest of the week, (when I’m not working I practice and read about drawing techniques.) So far, I have learned about the tools of drawing and how to handle different erasers, tape, and sandpaper. I’ve been taught how to shave my pencil with a knife because sharpeners don’t do the job to the precise detail required. I’ve learned to draw a cube and a sphere (a near perfect free-hand circle!) and discovered how to look at an object objectively to shade appropriately to create depth.  

 I’ve learned the properties of different kinds of pencils – I’ve done charts to explore the possibilities of dark and light with H and B pencils in every number, and studied how this affects the tone and color of what I draw. I’ve learned cross hatching verses other styles of shading and how the surface of paper reacts to led, hand pressure, etc….

I’ve learned all this from only two classes and I have 6 more to go (and then I’ll sign up for a more advanced or different sort of drawing class to progress towards nature drawing, I’m thinking.) David and I are also planning on enrolling in the next watercolor class together. I took a watercolor class in Georgia once. Looking at the picture I created now, I realize it has merit… at the time, all I saw was everything the picture wasn’t. It wasn’t advanced or amazing, so I naturally assumed I wasn’t going to be good at watercolors and I moved on to other interests. I should have seen my initial effort as just what it was – the peliminary stage of a new skill that would unfold if I encouraged it to do so… I should have kept at it just for fun.
Anyway, I am now studying drawing. I may never be a Rembrandt, but I am on a new adventure, expanding my horizons and tackling my fear of formal art. If nothing else, I should be able to pick up a pencil and do rudimentary drawings in journals when I’m done– and that will be give me the confidence to keep at this new approach to putting thoughts on paper. And knowing me, it will only be a matter of time until I’ll be teaching this subject as an add on to my writing classes or retreats.

All I know is I love exploring not just how to do something new, but also recognizing how doing so affects me on personal levels. In observing my emotions and reactions to this process. I recognize and acknowledge the doubts that twinge my ego, learn my triggers and struggle with old memories that have left a resonance of sadness, frustration or lingering hope inside. I better understand how I handle challenges and breakthroughs (in art and life). This sheds light on my personality, an awareness that crosses over and helps me approach the other areas of life more insightfully. 

I am learning the basics of drawing. In doing so, I am exploring what makes me tick and why.  As a person, I am so much more than a simple stick figure. Perhaps soon, the images I transfer to the page will be more too.

(First class – my globe. Not exactly as inspirational as a male nude model, but it’s a start…..)


Number three is here – wahoo!

In case you didn’t catch just how small these babies are (about the size of my thumb nail) here is the mother in comparrison. She is only about half the size of a biscuit. This is so cool! 



We are having fun now. 
On mother’s day, David bought me a couple of lovebirds sitting on eggs (I saw them on Craigslist while looking for a bigger “outdoor” cage for my parrot).  My heart felt drawn to a little animal adventure, missing the exploratory nature of my life on 50 acres in Georgia, and the moment I shared my longing, David said, “Get in the car…. Let’s just go get them.” So we did.
I was excited those first few weeks the lovebirds were on the porch, but after 5 weeks it was clear the eggs were not going to hatch, so I removed them. I assumed when I purchased and moved the mother and her clutch from one house to another, the anxiety and the jostling of a new environment and being shaken while carried in and out of a car was responsible.  I figured, since lovebirds only lay in the spring, I’d just have to wait another year, but only days after I took the eggs away, the mother began laying again. I harbored hope this batch would hatch, at the same time, not putting too much stake in it (so as not to be disappointed.)

But this week, I started checking periodically, hoping I might find something in the nest. And yesterday, before going to the movies – nothing… but we we came home, low an behold, a little bird had just hatched. I was thrilled. I eagerly watched the other 6 eggs, hoping to see little birds spring into the world, but 24 hours went by and nothing. I wondered if perhaps that one little baby was going to be the bulk of my lovebird windfall. I worried that the baby would be lonely – that makes it hard to separate the chick from the mother later.    
Then, suddenly bird number two was there. Yippee…. 

I know enough about birds and how they lay, sit and brood from my Georgia days to understand that the mother had laid an egg a day, and because she was already broody, she began sitting immediately rather than waiting for the clutch to gather (which would assure the eggs all incubated on a similar schedule). So I suspect now an egg a day will hatch. Kinda like the 12 days of Christmas – a gift each day. This means my anticipation of how many eggs survive and thrive will be a long drawn out experience. A very good test of my patience (which I have far less of than I should.)

The pictures make these birds look not unlike a baby chicken or something, but the nesting box is only 8 inches square, and these babies are only the size of a lima bean. They are remarkably small, naked and looking surprisingly “unfinished” when you consider what a self sustaining bird looks like. I am awed by their delicate venerability and how weak and helpless they are (unlike a baby chick that is running around all fluffy 6 hours after hatching.) But today I see these baby lovebirds are starting to fluff a bit already, so I’m guessing that it won’t take long for them to become more independent and strong enough to move around more than what they are doing now, which is simply to shift slowly when I disturb them and mother moves from keeping the warm. (I really have to have some self control and not disturb them very hour…..shame on me for wanting to look ever chance I get.)  
I will let the mother feed them for a month or two, and when they are strongenough, I’ll remove them from the nest and hand feed them so they grow up extremely tame. You can teach lovebirds tricks like any parrot. Of course, I gotta try that! I’ve spent more than a few nights looking at Youtube lovebird videos, marveling at how trainable and entertaining these smallest parrots can be.
Neva and I were talking names last night…. if all seven eggs hatch and survive I could name them after the Chakra’s – only the babies will all be similarly rainbow colored, so that doesn’t really fit or make it possible to tell them apart (the way it would if they each were a different color) and most people would have trouble remembering or even pronouncing the Chakras…… (Muladhara, Svadhisthana, Manipura, Anahata, Visuddha, Ajna, Sahasrara… kinda like talking with marbles in your mouth….) I also don’t intend to keep all these birds, and no one wants to break up a chakra set… might cause bad karma. 
I could name them after the seven dwarfs, and considering how tiny they are, that makes sense. But who wants a lovebird named Grumpy or Sneezy? 
I think I’ll just name them after famous authors…. Neva will enjoy helping with that…. or pick names that represent positive affirmations or something. Maybe I’ll name them Thing 1 & Thing 2. And Thing 3 – 7 as the case may be.

Anyway, I’ll post more pictures as they hatch and grow to share the miracle. All I can say is watching the process of life unfold and witnessing new creatures find their place in the world is the most inspirational and thought provoking thing ever, at least to me – be it a baby horse or llama, little chicks or peacocks, or  (most especially) having gone through the experience of being pregnant and bringing beautiful, unique people into the world 3 times – life is fascinating. I am deeply grateful I’ve had the opportunity to be witness to the process again and again – that Iwas blessed to feel life inside me, and I’ve been an appreciative observer of other births. Life feels more poignant when you pause and honor the beauty in life’s cycle and recognize you are a part of it.


Floating forward

The day after my recital, David and I took off to North Carolina to work on his boat – a 42 foot Whitby ’85 sailboat he bought 4 years ago with plans to retire and sail around the world. As is the case for many of us who have had dreams of life going one direction – then being sideswiped by an economic crisis and an unexpected divorce, his world took a sad turn. When the economy fell, so did the value of cruising boats. The boat cost almost as much as our house, so as you can imagine, it has been a burden to sustain, not to mention a painful reminder of a dream gone bust. He has wanted to unload this beast, but he just hasn’t had the time or resources to finish the projects he began when he started to upgrade the boat to ready it for a worldwide cruise, and until the boat was put it back together, he couldn’t list it with a broker. David has the skills to remodel, revamp, rewire, and re-plum the boat, but a much needed job opportunity abruptly moved him to Florida, so he left the project unfinished. With David in Florida and the boat in North Carolina, the boat became a stalemate situation.  Saddest part of this story is, David never got a chance to put the boat on the water. Just as he was ready to launch her, his marriage fell apart and his plan to spend a few years exploring the world and writing about it went by the wayside. Now, he has had to pay for the boat for years, but sans the benefit of enjoying his investment. He has not once experienced the joy of spending a day on the water with wind in the sails. Sad.

The boat was financed under his wife’s name, so technically, David could have dumped this problem on her long ago, or let the bank foreclose (dumping his responsibility as so many people do when the numbers don’t add up to their advantage). He could have revisited his initial agreement to his ex and asked her to take on half of the responsibility since unloading the boat has dragged on years longer than they expected when they parted ways. But David has never reneged on a promise, and he is responsible to his debts and contracts, so he diligently chose to live with the stress and responsibility of this sunken dream despite how it has hindered his efforts to get his own life back on tract. Trust me, it hasn’t been easy for him. Harder still after he met me because once he had a new, future spouse, new dreams immerged, making the weight of old baggage feel much heavier.
I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I too have been frustrated by my boyfriend being saddled with a boat we can’t use slowing up our opportunity to build a life as a couple. There’ve been plenty of days when I secretly wished he was a bit less honorable and not so willing to carry everyone else’s load  … but the truth is, witnessing his integrity and how he treats others, (especially his ex) as well as seeing how he handles his responsibilities has been a huge factor in why I love him. Plenty of men talk with sudo-sensitivity of the things they intend to do someday, or would do if only they didn’t have to deal with “fill in the blank”. Plenty of men make excuses to validate their self-serving choices, casting blame on others, acting the victim, or using the economy or a divorce as an excuse to bail on responsibilities. But David has handled all of his problems with grace, tackling his problems head on – no excuses, no justifications, just patience, acceptance and a down to earth ego that allows him to admit he has made some mistakes and as result, it is his task to pay for them without resentment. Watching him handle his problems has given me the opportunity to see just what he is made of, so I guess it is fair to say this boat, while a burden on one level, has been a gift too. It has shown me I can trust this man to do the right thing – to me, to others, to creditors and to the world at large. David has incredibly good karma, if you believe in that sort of thing. (He says living right and true is why he’s been rewarded with me… awwww….) 

Anyway, while it is all well and good that the boat has taught us both important lessons about loyalty, responsibility, and good intentions, the damn thing still has to be sold. So, months ago I encouraged him to sacrifice a week of his vacation time to attend to the business of finishing this boat and getting it up for sale. At first, David was resistant- he didn’t want me to feel put out having to give up our scant, valuable free time to tackle more work. He felt we need and deserve a vacation (which we do).  But I assure him the most likely path to having a great deal more free time, as well as the money and time to take a real vacation later I (to Ireland) would be by biting the bullet now and do what has to be done now to clean up the residue of our former lives. He agreed, so I took the week off from my business as well, scheduling my teaching and child care around this high priority project, we put money aside for the trip, and the day after recital, despite our exhaustion from months of working 7 day weeks, we drove 13 hours to Oriental, NC to take on yet one more problem that needed to be solved.
I was deeply curious about what this infamous boat would look like…. unsure just how much would be involved with getting it ready to list on yacht world. It was bigger than I expected. Dirtier (because of a recent storm that left every outside nook and cranny filled with black leaves and dirt) and filed with so many tools and parts you couldn’t walk inside. But looking at that huge floating money pit and knowing its history, I was also floored by the reality that not long ago, David bought this big, substantial boat with brave intentions to sail around the world. That speaks volumes about his wanderlust and sense of romantic adventure – about the way he craves any opportunity to live large and design a creative life based on heart-driven goals.

He showed me around and I was impressed with his upgrades. He had already replaced the small stainless sink in the kitchen with a full size ceramic sink, and installed bigger sinks in the two bathrooms. He installed a microwave and repaired interior shelves. He had removed old Formica counters in the kitchen area and now the surfaces were beautifully tiled and butcher blocked. He had replaced cushions and designed creative methods to store things or make areas feel roomier. As David began opening hatches, assessing mechanical issues and organizing tools (grumbling when he found things missing that he had counted on using for the week’s work), I sat on the deck, imagining the sea splashing up against the sides of the boat, imagining the sails flapping in powerful winds, and the roll and sway of a boat on deep ocean water. I imagined David at the helm, employing the skills of navigation, sail craft, and the research involved in planning routes, handling customs, docking, keeping safe on the high sea from pirates or storms, language barriers, and all else that would be involved in a life aboard a sailboat full time. David is a smart guy with diverse skills. But still……as I considered the bravery and competence required to pull off this dream, I was deeply impressed.
To put this boat on the market, David had to rewire some of the electrical connections. He had to finish upgrading the plumbing in one of the two heads. He needed to work on the engine, install hardware, refit safety rails, and finish some woodworking, replacing old peg board with beautiful teak wood in cabinets. In other words, David had a great deal of skilled labor chores to attend to. So, my role was to be the grunt worker. I immediately set to my job of cleaning – scraping leaves out of the upper areas of the deck and scrubbing decks and floors inside and out. I cleaned some pretty gross stuff out of storage hatches, attacking mildew and alga.  At one point, David handed me a sander and showed me how to revive the teak and oil the raw surfaces. I was intimidated at first, but quickly took to the task. My feet burned from the hot deck surfaces, I got sunburnt all over, and it got old climbing up and down the ladder to get onto the boat or into the galley to retrieve something he needed from the truck. But every once in a while a cool breeze wafted by. I could see beautiful sailboats docked nearby. All of this inspired me to keep at it.

It was unusually hot in North Carolina that week. With the outside temperature hovering around 96, the boat inside climbed to 112. But we kept at our chores, sweating, dirty, tired, but in a positive mood as we watched the former mess take shape and begin to look like the beautiful yacht it could be. I marveled that David never got short tempered and never complained, even when he was hot, frustrated, and his hands became raw from working with the tools in tight places. We guzzled cold waters from our cooler, and laughed at how our hair stuck to our scalp and our clothing became black with grease or mold or whatever we were exposed to in a given hour. I suppose a full week of hard work in the heat might seem a drag to some people, but I took it as yet another opportunity to see my boyfriend under pressure. As a matter of fact, we worked together so well, that I ended each day feeling excited, thinking that if we can accomplish this much with a boat that in the end, is not for us or about us- just imagine how much we will accomplish when we turn our skills and attention to a project we both love and want!

I felt badly witnessing David’s dream, knowing he came so close to his heart’s desire and had to let it go – more so when the boat started to gleam and take shape. We discussed keeping the boat – moving it to Sarasota so we could take a few trips to the keys or something before he sells it – or perhaps he should never sell it. But the fact is, he doesn’t want this boat anymore. It has bad memories for him. And when we first started dating, I made it clear that I might not be the perfect match for him because I get motion sick easily and while I would love a grand life adventure, I do not believe I could handle long sails, and while I long to travel, I’d never be happy living on a small boat for a year or more. Life has taught me that I am the sort of woman who puts her partner’s dream before her own happiness – to the extent that I will live miserably if I think it is the way to make my lover happy – so early in our relationship I wanted to opening talk about our different ideas of the perfect life- before we ever got to a place where our deepest desires conflicted, perhaps we should discover if we have a different idea of nirvana…. But from the start, David insisted that sailing the world on a sailboat has been a dream, but not the only dream he’s had, and not his highest priority dream in any way. His highest dream priority is building a relationship with a smart, compassionate, talented, fun woman, and to have an authentic and loving marriage that will lasts the rest of his life. In other words, he rather have a woman like me and no sailboat than compromise on a “good but not deeply passionate life love” and a have life of sailing…
So, from day one, how we both feel about this sailboat has been on the table….. 

I should mention here that I do love boating. I’ve always wanted a boat. I love the romance and organic nature of a sailboat too if only I had the stomach for it. I love the water and travel. Actually I made a deal with my former husband that I would only sell our business if he agreed we could invest some of our money in a recreational “toy” – and at the time, I was talking about our getting a boat. He agreed, so I began looking at ads for boats – even dragged him to see a few. I desperately wanted a life that wasn’t all about putting every cent we had into a house and never having adventure or travel or fun. But for reasons I won’t go into here, I couldn’t make that kind of life manifest with him, despite 20 years of trying. Even when we had total freedom and a wealth of resources to design a life that included leisure, play and adventure and despite promises and sincere expressions that he wanted a boat too– I could never get him to say yes to even a used, old pontoon. He just wouldn’t devote any energy, time or resources to anything beyond his obsession to have a picture perfect home that absorbed every resource (and more than we had) leaving us stressed and homebound over and over again.

Because of my marriage history, a part of me wants David to keep his boat desperately. I don’t just crave a diverse life that has some fun built in, but I now HAVE to experience a more balanced, adventurous lifestyle to ever trust my life with a new partner will be all it can be – I don’t trust the endless talk about what we will do later when things are less stressed or money is less tight, no matter how sincere or exciting it sounds. I need to see things happen – not theoretically, but in actuality. David knows, I won’t get married until the things we have discussed and dreamed and aspired to as a couple manifest – or at least part of the way. I’ve lived a lifetime of broken promises and plans that are destroyed unnecessarily. No more, please. I’m a bit gun shy on life commitment as result…

Anyway, David and I both agree that while we definitely both want to get a boat someday, it shouldn’t be this one and our time for investing in a boat isn’t now. Not to mention, David still has a 27 foot sailboat in Sarasota in storage that we are also refurbishing to sell or keep – whatever we choose when the project is finished. (Another story.)
Anyway, we spent a week working for as long and as hard as we could and in the end the boat looks fantastic. It is now listed and getting showings. Hopefully, it will go fast.

David did all he could to make our work trip fun.  We stayed in a charming Victorian Bed and Breakfast (more on that later – because that sparked a very cool idea…).

We took walks on the peer and looked at boats as dusk fell. We ate dinner on a rooftop restaurant, sipping margaritas under the stars. We even took an afternoon break one day to escape the heat and restore our energy and drove to a nearby family restaurant to down a pitcher of Sangria, sharing stories of our past with boats and the peculiar challenges of life in a small town, and how frustrating it is to get so close to your ultimate dream and have it disintegrate unnecessarily….. While our life experiences have been very different, the themes have been very much the same.
We talked about bed and breakfasts we’ve stayed in before – David has been in many more than I – and what we love about a novel travel experience.

And as we talked, we hatched an idea for a dream of our own … opening a bed and breakfast called the Zen House – on 5 to 10 acres – a yoga-esque place that would be a companion business to ReFlex offering retreats and a novel lodging experience (while also allowing us to live a higher lifestyle and build capitol for our future retirement…) It would include freestanding outbuildings for lodging, Zen gardens, and a star observation tower and other things we are qualified to build and organize. As this new idea formulated–  we started doing research on the internet, taking notes and discussing practical aspects and financing and how to make a dream a reality….. We researched code restrictions, Sarasota County incentive plans, bed and breakfast organizations. WE listed our skills and what makes us uniquely qualified to run such a business successfully. We bought books on Amazon to read about opening a bed and breakfast – all of this right from the car while we took turns driving. Ever since we’ve been home, we’ve continued the research, viewing property – seeing a few places with a realtor (one we were crazy for – it was perfect but a bit pricey) and we’ve considering what we can do in my current business and at his work to prepare for the possibilities of future financing, managing the work, scheduling our days to fit more in… etc…….. I’ve started writing a comprehensive business plan….
Who knows how far we will take it. Perhaps we will really follow through and open a new business together, creating a life filled with the things we love (Zen gardening, cooking, yoga retreats, writing, nature and organic gardening, living on a big piece of land where David can have a workshop and I can raise some veggies and chickens too) Perhaps this is the path to supporting a richer, more diverse lifestyle that combines business and pleasure, country and city. We can build a home based business while I keep Reflex and David keeps his job, and in future years we will have it up and going to transition to semi-retirement when we will garden, cook and write. Or, our research and crunching numbers will reveal that a bed and breakfast, while romantic in theory, is not the best direction for us to go. But it has been fun allowing our imagination to soar and exploring all the possibilities and potential. It has been fun seeing how efficiently we work as a couple – how our shared practical nature and combined artistic sense make us idea driven, yet we have the wherewithal and work ethic to make ideas a reality too.
All I know is, as one door closes another opens…..
I love that about life.