Some things change your life. They are usually big huge things, big deep experiences or are they ?
Sometimes the things that change your life are silly little things. Sometimes they are chance encounters, sometimes they are the little risks that you take, sometimes they just flow, one thing to another, and you flow with them.
For example the time I saw Harry Moore, before he was Harry the Printer, on the street outside my window and I ran out and said, “You don’t know me but…” , more or less I asked him if he’d be my friend and show me how to do some stuff. He said, ” Maybe sometime next week.” and next week actually did materialize. He came by and gave me some good ideas for the studio and has been coming by ever since. And then somewhere in there, he and his brother took over Acadian Printing, and we began making things together. That was just a little thing, but I made a nice friend, and he is full of good ideas.
Or the day I called Dan Casey, a local businessman, and said, “Maybe I’d like to rent that spot behind Mansour’s Men’s Wear.” , and kindly and sweetly, he rented it to me for next to nothing, and had keys in my hand with in an hour, just in case, I should decide that is what I wanted. I had just been pondering the thought of moving my business out of the house. Dan, believing in me made me believe in myself. Over the years I have learned lots from Dan, a few phone calls, a few sit downs, one conversation over a child size box of raisins in the basement of the studio few years later, changed how I saw my business. But mostly from Dan over the years, I learned about kindness, and I am still watching.
The winter before I moved into my Church Street Studio I took Yoga Classes in Sherry Smith’s new Hatha Yoga Room, on Victoria Street. She had just moved there, renovating it just the way she wanted after being in a smaller space. Watching her that winter, and seeing her make her idea into reality, and being in her yoga classes motivated me to create something similar for myself. One part of me kept saying, “just appreciate what you have..you have enough…work with what you got.” but this bigger voice kept interfering and “saying spread your wings and imagine.” I struggled that winter. Once one of the yoga teachers asked me, “Are you still doing some private counselling?”, I said, ” No, I can’t cause right now I need counselling.” I was so sad and I think now part of the reason was because I was holding myself back.
I just wanted my “enough to be enough” but it wasn’t enough, even though it was plenty. This made me sad, the fact that I wanted more. I was coming to the realization that in I was relentless. I was learning that I was never going to stop striving. Accepting that made me sad, because I wanted to a bowl and a cup kind of person, satisfied with the simple. I wasn’t and at 42 , I was coming to accept it. It was not more money, or more business, it was just coming to an acceptance that even though I had met many goals, I would always want more, more new ideas, more interesting people to work and collaborate with, more books, more thoughts, more space to create in. If ideas were endless, then so were my needs. So it was that chance encounter of watching Sherry that winter realize her dreams that inspired me to pursue my own.
I stopped stifling myself and let go. I opened up a big space on Church Street, expanded my website, started blogging everyday, and eventually opened up a workshop space in the back which was my old studio. I did not do it in a day, or a week, or even a year. It took a long time, but every time, I had an idea, I listened to it and considered it. I stopped saying, “You have enough.” and started saying, “You can do more.” There was a lot of learning here at this time. I stopped criticizing myself for wanting more, and started nurturing the fact that I was creative, and could no more stop myself from growing, than I could stop the dandelions on the side of the road. I was a weed. I just needed to cultivate myself a little.
Then, there was the time, once a long time ago, I went to this bar called the King Lamb, and saw a man across the room, and I have not stopped looking at him ever since. And every time I do I still see he is handsome, and good, and kind. When I walked into that bar I had no idea that I would walk out changed for ever. I did not even know it when I was walking out. But it changed me forever. And he , like his beautiful mother, has been telling me how to do things ever since, things like, ” turn down the heat on the pancakes”, that was this mornings order, or “you should stop dressing like one of Jonathan Ettinger’s painting crew and look like you own the place” when I started working down town. And I boss him around too, and he tells me to mind my own business. l He gives me lots of advice . I give him lots of advice. It gets on my nerves. It gets on his nerves. We pretend not to listen to the other’s advice but some times I take his because he has got my back, and he has my heart. He would say, I think that he does not take mine on principle, for fear it would encourage me to give him more.
Thing is though, he gave me one piece of vital advice, and he has also told me from the very beginning, even when I was walking away from a career and had no clear idea of what I was doing, “Do what ever you want to do.” He saw what I could not see and believed in what it was that I might be. He did not care what that turned out to be, a long as I remained myself.
Then one day , somewhere in all of this story, I went into the rink for my daughter’s hockey game and told my neighbour Lorna, I needed someone to do some simply accounting, and she said, “I can teach myself. My friend Denise will help me.” Lorna was always good to me with my kids as they were growing up, but when she came to work with me and started keeping so many things organized that were swimming around in my head, it was like time started to spread out before me. Instead of filing, looking after business stuff, and organizing stuff, I had time to create, generate new ideas. It was a bit of serendipity, and a leap of faith on both our parts.
I won’t even go into the chance encounters that led to the women who work with me in the studio because they deserve a post all their own. They are so lovely. I am so thankful.
Then there was the blog readers who kept saying,”what about an online course?” and I kept ignoring it, but storing it in the back of my mind. Then as time opened up and I felt more confident in front of the computer, I kept stretching myself. And of course Hollis Bartlett helped me so much with the blog and website over the years, and told me what direction I needed to go in. He pushed and tweaked the site so that I actually could imagine running a course online. He is just so smart with computers and knows things I’ll never figure out but that I need.
All those notes from blog readers to do an online course, led me to do it, and in doing it I taught myself so much, and learned so much from the process that now I feel like there is so much more I can do. I am excited about the possibilities online, and here in the studio in that back space. I am imagining more online courses but I think those courses will lead participants here to Church Street where they can retreat to the back space and create beauty , hands on with me, here in my place……
I see people coming and learning and making, and resting their bodies and souls. Next year I want to work with Damaris, the spa across the street that my friend Elizabeth owns, to create a beautiful retreat. I want to bring in some other artists to use the space to teach. I want it to be a space that inspires people. I want to live up to the name of that last book I wrote, but not just in rugs…cause there can be beauty in everything we can create.