Rarely do I compose a “Part 2” of any Wholly Holistics column. And for repetition’s sake, I did my best to avoid it this time. But a quote above my desk kept calling to me. I have a thing about noticing signs. Not necessarily the piece of cardboard with someone’s name written in crayon for an airport pickup kind of sign. But the sort of sign that Merriam-Webster defines as “something material or external that stands for or signifies something spiritual.” I believe this particular quote is one of those. We’ll see.
About 10 years ago, I “discovered” work by the artist, writer, publisher, speaker and philosopher formerly known as Brian Andreas at the fascinating New Morning Gallery, during a girls’ getaway with four high school friends in Asheville. To say I was spellbound when I began paging through one of his books and reading his sage pronouncements, taking a gander at his greeting cards and ogling his prints would be putting the experience mildly. Their artsy browsing done, my friends were ready to leave long before I’d delved nearly long enough into Andreas’ items for sale. So I returned and spent an hour or more the next day making purchasing decisions regarding his intriguing offerings.
The appeal of his creations to me has to do with their nature of relating pure life experience. All I can think is that this man has a direct link to the Universe, which feeds him truths that he transcribes into understandable chunks of wisdom illustrated by simple watercolor drawings on paper and oil or acrylic paintings on recycled wood.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not talking religious writings here, but purely spiritual.
At any rate within the past few years, an email dropped into my inbox informing me that Brian Andreas is still sharing his innate wisdom on a website called Flying Edna (www.flyingedna.com). He’s legally changed his name to Kai Andreas Skye, and his significant other is Fia Skye, a multi-talented teacher of the Alexander Technique. (In case you’re curious about what that is, see LC Weekly column of September 18, 2018, by guest Wholly Holistics columnist Ann Seeley, who teaches that method locally). And since I signed up to receive regular notifications from him, I continue to be privy to his enlightened acumen, which occasionally speaks to me with such strength that that I copy it (please don’t tell him) to be posted above my desk.
The particular quote of Kai Skye’s that captured my attention follows:
“* Important Action Item* There’s a part of you that feels the joy that’s right here all around you all the time & just so you know, you don’t really have to get all that other stuff done first before you pay attention to it.”
If that message seems obvious to you, you get the point. And I’m going to assume you do your best to live in the moment and experience the delight and perhaps wonder of what’s in front of you. Perhaps you have a to-do list – or a Honey-do list – with some heft to it, but when an opportunity arises to spend time with your kids, let’s say, you choose to revel in that moment and make a memory instead of checking off “emptying trash” from your to-do list at that particular time.
One example from my own treasure trove of Best Times in My Life occurred during my early 30s. I never knew my father well, and when he passed away, I was curious to know why Vermont had been his heart place. So I spent a year living in that gorgeous state in an uninsulated former chicken coop on a farm near the lovely Weston Priory, whose bells awakened me every morning. Needless to say, I about froze my tooties off, but discovered the area’s appeal to my dad, while making friends with some pretty darn remarkable people. Including cousins I hadn’t known well.
At the time I tended to isolate and, other than years spent as a lifeguard and swim instructor, had little experience with children, when my cousin Bill and his wife Pam invited me to their house high on a mountain near Manchester Center to watch the annual August Perseid Meteor Shower. The evening began with we three adults and their two kiddos – probably aged around eight and 10 – perched in Adirondack chairs with necks craned, combing the heavens to claim the first shooting star of the night. I believe Theodore (the younger) spied it and lorded it over his older sister Charlotte and me until those stars began streaking all over the clear, velvet-black sky. Not for about an hour did I notice that Pam and Bill had gone inside, and that the kids and I were having an absolute ball watching the Perseid do its thing and keeping score of our “own” stars. I reveled in kid-chat for several hours.
That magical evening was truly a keeper of a memory which I’d never have experienced had I holed up in my little chicken coop. Looking at the bigger picture, I’m grateful I took that year to find out more about my dad and in the process, more about myself and my own capacities to embrace life experiences and thus, to expand my world view.
A few clichés come to mind here: Grab the gusto. Just do it. Be here now. Set your priorities. Live while you can.
Albert Einstein summed it all up beautifully. “Live life to the fullest. You have to color outside the lines once in a while if you want to make your life a masterpiece. Laugh some every day. Keep growing, keep dreaming, keep following your heart.”
Whatever you do, don’t miss that joy!