Tag Archives: grand isle art works

2 Flags, 3 Shrines, 4 Mice and a Word About Sin

The last two weeks have been extremely busy. I even skipped my morning workout several days in a row in order to give my inventory a much-needed boost. I have also forced myself to learn to respectfully decline every new demand that would lead me to sin.

This tiny, yet hugely powerful world takes on precise significance the older I get. Since I love etymology, I will pause here briefly to observe how incredibly suitable it is that spiritual masters would invite us to avoid sin at all cost. Indeed, our general understanding of the word “sin” does not begin to scratch the surface. It means far more than the images that first come to mind. To sin means, “To stray from the target.” It is an archery term.

Perhaps it would be easier for us to learn to focus on the target, rather than to aspire to avoid sin. With only one target in sight, the rest takes care of itself. With only one target in sight, there is no doubt about the course to take and whether the course is good or bad, or sinful. If we choose to do good, then good it is in a layers of life, and most of all in becoming the very best expression of what it is to be human. The cost of not doing this is high indeed.

The masters might as well have said, “Do your best,” but such common sense words clearly do not have the same striking impact as “Do not sin.” The masters knew they needed to use wording that would somehow endure through the ages. It was meant as a loving warning; we sometimes take it as a dare, and resist. Our loss.

As you can see, I’ve had plenty of time to ponder these things lately while I spend hour upon hour doing my best to give shape to my creative ideas. Doing this is inevitable, after all. There is one powerful lesson I am learning over and over as I continue on this course. That lesson blows my mind every time I put it into practice. In fact, I believe it is the key to peace of mind: Live without unfinished business. 

This means: No procrastination. But more than this, it must shape every moment. I have come to understand that every single time I feel impatient or uncertain or unable to focus, I must ask this question: What is unfinished? What was left undone? Then, the only logical response is to always act in a manner that resolves the question, one little mundane or creative task at a time. The progress I have made by applying this simple personal rule is astonishing. Target in sight. Target in sight. Target in sight.

I love that the fruit of my labor and efforts took me on the road for a second trip to Grand Isle Art Works, yesterday, to deliver new creations. Driving is one of my guilty pleasures, and a perfect reward to conclude new steps forward and pause before continuing the journey.

The shrine is a prototype; a starting point. I had postponed making this because I worried it would not be perfect, yet it is in making these first three that I was able to see what else it could become. So these are perfect after all.

The flags were a wonderful nudge to explore new ideas. They were provided by Grand Isle Art Works with an invitation to design according to whim. They will be displayed through the summer as part of their Sweet Harmony by the Lake Art Show, beginning July 10th. The guidelines were simple and fun. Each color has a theme. Mine were red for fire and green for water. The mice are a recent creation and a must-have addition to the Grand Isle collection. I think there are more critters about to come out of my mind in the days to come.

Gotta get back to work.

Lunch at The Shrine with a Raven

The last few months have been hectic, in some way or another. I am sometimes amazed that I can feel this way since my lifestyle is rather stripped down and simple. I even feel guilty at times, when I contemplate a day off, as if I had not earned it. Then again, a part of me knows it has nothing to do with earning anything; it’s about stepping away at the right time in order to return refreshed and more productive.

After several weeks of juggling my time between building up an inventory of dolls, pouches and various paper mache animals to bring to new locations and replenish existing ones, keeping a client’s website up to date and managing a couple of Facebook pages, I finally had to set time aside for a delivery. It is with little hesitation that I planned to make a day of it.

I dropped MacGregor off at the dog sitter early in the morning and ventured off sans tablet or any connection to work. Destination: Grand Isle Art Works. Shining sun, not too hot, oddly no one on the road. Bliss.

I spent over an hour there, visiting with Jim, the owner. He shared the history of the gallery and the house and I toured every wonderfully colorful room. If you read up on them on their website, you’ll find the words,  “…a quirky old farmhouse built in 1797, with lots of character.” The atmosphere is indeed rich with character, and light and creative energy. I invite you to take a road trip some day.

Following our visit, I drove away in the opposite direction from home, not knowing where I might land. A turn here and there led me straight to Saint Anne’s Shrine, on Isle Lamotte. It’s still off season for them, so besides a couple of staff members and ground workers, the place was free of commotion under the great blue sky. A quick trip a bit further down the road for a bagged lunch and I was back at a picnic table by the lake.

saint anne's shrine

I don’t think my mind had had this much rest from creating articles and product descriptions and from conjuring up new art creations in a long time. I welcomed the silence; the stillness. Soon though, I had a visitor.

A huge raven perched above me in a tree and chanted its presence, or rather its interest in my sandwich. If there had been other people around, I would not have satisfied its craving, but I confess that since we were alone I left a morsel on the table for my black-feathered friend. It watched me the whole time and I hope it feasted once I left. Perhaps the squirrels beat him to it. In any case, someone received a gift.

In the Christian faith, among others, the raven is perceived as a bad omen. I understand, but am unable to feel this  way. To me, it is a beautiful and mysterious creature of great intelligence. Ravens are feared, also, when they appear in dreams. Here again, an encounter with this black beauty in my dreams makes me wake up feeling like I have received a gift. I think and feel that my love for my lunch time visitor,  yesterday, overrides any specter of darkness our human culture has imprinted upon its kind.

I drove home with a sense of clarity.