(This is the second installment of the Gratitude Game 8/14. To see the origin and 1st part, click here.)
Sisters. Namely, my amazing sister, Ashley. She really deserves her own entry. (Noted.)
Ashley is a woman that faces many challenges yet is always up for fun whether it's adventure or simply relaxin'. She was born with cerebral palsy, including intellectual and developmental disabilities. The photo above was from our day at Disney a couple of weeks ago. ( I'm also extremely grateful to Shawn Sullivan of the New York Film Academy. His generosity is the reason Ashley and I got to have a truly magical day at Disney.)
My sister is one of my best friends, and I'm such a lucky girl to have her in my life.
Mothers. Specifically, mine. She's one of the most caring people I've ever met, she's virtually a saint. She's incredibly intelligent, gorgeous, and loads of fun. She's bent over backwards for me and continues to do so, even when I totally don't deserve it. She's also a voice of reason when I need it most. Best. Mom. Ever.
Beasties. I love animals of all kinds, especially the rescue pups. (We all know who really rescues who.) My best beastie, Muffie, taught me more about life in the past 4 years than I could have ever learned from a human. She lived to be 14, and she passed last year. Because of her, I have a heart for the old, toothless, insecure and prickly mongrels no one else seems to want. My life is now filled with compassion and joy daily because of the extremely weird, insanely territorial, special needs Maltese, Sugar Cube Wilson-Hamel.
Music- I simply could not function without music. It has always been a part of me and how I process life and its trials. One very influential and highly therapeutic artist for me has been Tori Amos. (A friend calls that Toripy.) A fan over 20 years, now, Tori's music has been an important part of my journey as a girl and woman. Growing up and older with an artist is amazing.
Painting- Obviously, art is an integral part of me. I enjoy theatre, film, and literature immensely. However, no other medium nourishes me like painting. Whether I'm creating a representational portrait as a commission, or simply playfully pushing paint in experimental pools, painting provides both a release and an energizing element that no other discipline can.
I am very grateful that I am primarily an artist and am able to live as such.
Social Media- I know all of us have our grievances concerning social media sites like Facebook, but I am actually very thankful for them. They provide a way for me to stay in touch with friends and family far away. I live in a semi-rural setting now, and I often don't physically speak to anyone other than my husband on some days. These sites not only allow me to share my art and find new collectors I wouldn't meet otherwise. They also allow me to find like-minded people; my tribe.
The "fans" on my Facebook art page and Instagram are supportive and encouraging friends even if I never see them IRL. This leads me to my next day of gratitude.
Kindness & generosity. As I stated above, my social media friends are a source of support and networking. I posted my "Maybe I'm a Mermaid" painting (title inspired by Silent All These Years)
on my Facebook page wishing Tori Amos a happy 51st birthday. I mentioned that I also wished I could be at her show and asked (jokingly) if anyone had an extra ticket.
One of the "Likers" on my page commented that she did have two extra tickets to the concert. She gave them to me. If that doesn't make me a lucky girl, I don't know what does.
My husband is awesome for many reasons. His love for Tori would not be one of those reasons as it, sadly, does not exist. He did want me to go and to go with someone that would enjoy the concert as much, or closer to as much, as I would.
This is where friends come in. I took my friend Nicole as my Tori date. I met Nicole at an art festival last year. She came into my booth and we just kind of hit it off. We don't get to hang out as often as we'd like, but since most of my friends live in other states, it's really nice to have a local friend that likes the unconventional things I do. Because, ya know, it's just really nice to be able to sit next to someone as I cry during Hey Jupiter and know she's not judging me, she might be crying, too.
Transformation through gratitude.
Nicole was actually the friend that invited me to play the gratitude game last week. I'm very grateful for that. Even though I was keeping a gratitude journal before, I really think that putting a fresh spin on it by playing a game, along with others, helped me to raise my awareness and frequency to a new level. My painting, Butterfly Fuchsia, was inspired by all of the beauty I see everyday. The act of creating from that place of gratitude is powerful. That painting got more likes and engagement in a short period than is typical on my page. It might just be "pretty", but I think people can sense the energy of a piece of art's origin.
It's also kind of amazing that on my final day of the exercise, I got to take my friend Nicole to a free, spectacular, poignant performance of one of our favorite artists.
Guess we really are lucky. What do you think?