It has been a busy month here in Sausalito, California. Nevertheless, I did find time for the Georgia’s O’Keeffe exhibit at the de Young Museum. It is not to be missed—both for the explosion of color and to witness the beauty captured in silence and contemplation. It’s exquisite to see so much earthy beauty in one small space. As O’Keeffe put it: “ I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way—things I had no words for.” What O’Keeffe describes is called inspiration and comes from the part of the brain that doesn’t deal with cognitive abilities. It is also from that part of the brain (the right side or even deeper inside) that we always find love for ourselves and give birth to truly innovative ideas.
We long quietly for inspiration, for love, for beauty to counter our stressful lives and the assault by media, social media, cell phones, cars, pollution… The challenge we face is to bridge these two worlds, to find time to take care of our precious selves when the world around tells us otherwise.
1) Finding time to see the work of a painter I admire is an act of love and respect for myself. I had such a great time meeting my friend Elsa, a Spanish translator, and having lunch at the de Young cafe. We examined every painting, every stroke of color, and we dreamt about a life of inspiration. “If people were trees, I might like them better,” read one of O’Keeffe’s quotations on a big wall. I know what she meant. If only we could learn to imitate the silent vibrancy of trees, their solidity, our lives would be inspirational.
2) That means… do not put off that meditation practice of yours. The more we find time to silence the left side of our brain, the better off we will be. No chatter means more inspiration. No Facebook time means more time to witness the simple beauty around us. In meditation, we surrender to life as it happens in the present moment. In the present moment, we can become the tree and exude vitality, health, and strength of character. And we retrain the brain to relax and to be happy, thus, giving the chance for the genius inside us to emerge.
3) Tell your body every morning—“I love you dearly, you are my most precious gift. I am not judging you anymore. I love you unconditionally. Every part of you is awesome and unique.” Don’t you wish that you did that since you were little? Wouldn’t that be an incredible message to send to every cell of your body? I watched the movie “What the Bleep Do We Know,” and in that movie the main character lives with past pains and disappointments and hates her body. But one day, after seeing images of blessed water, a stranger tells her: “If thoughts can do this to water, imagine what thoughts can do to us.” And everything changes for her, from that point on.
4) And yes, do not postpone the massage or facial or acupuncture treatment you love. The body needs proof of love, pampering, care, love, love, and love. The body is your temple, treat it as such.
5) Nature, such an important part of life. Hike as much as you can. We are supposed to be closer to nature, in nature, in harmony with nature. We feel so good after a hike. “Why?” you ask. Because nature recharges our batteries. The invisible forces in the living trees and mother earth give us energy, life, inspiration. O’Keeffe said that she painted her flowers big, so people can see them. You’ve walked in nature countless times without noticing anything around you—your mind recounting stories you’ve already heard. But imagine walking and noticing… the trees, the small flowers, the tiny bugs, the different birds, the wind singing, the creek churning. Nature is the most alive place on earth. Be like it. Imitate it! Admire it! Be one with it.
6) Do something creative! Anything but social media, TV or phone. Being creative means finding that place inside yourself that has a new language, sees the world with new colors, envisions new possibilities. Whatever that may be for you! Sewing a dress, painting, creating a collage, writing, making a movie, taking pictures. Be outside the box and love that new box that you’ve created. Admire every effort you put into it, love every step you take. Don’t look for an outcome, enjoy the creative moment.
7) Book a safari and go to Namibia. Yes, that’s outrageously expensive, I know. But wow, I went to a talk by the WWF and I can tell you that country is leading the conservation efforts in Africa. They are doing such a great job managing wildlife that wildlife is now worth more alive for them than dead. Why not celebrate that! Celebrate the fact that humans can live in peace with wildlife. That is love and that is inspiration!
8) Finally, dance. Find time to dance and express yourself. Find time to be exuberant, to feel your emotions, to discover the movement and rhythm that exist in your body. Dance the poetry of life and become a new loving and inspired human being.