Archive for July, 2012

Home In Yourself

Kristi led me to the Artist’s Way about 12 years ago. She had found it very useful for her path. It was a great book for me at the time too. One thing I took away from it and still use are “Morning Pages.” Not a journal really, more of a brain dump. Mostly, there’s not a lot there. But every once in a while something emerges from all the chatter going on in my brain.

Morning Pages in Italy

This morning was one of those days of emergence. Last night I started reading a book by brother of one of our great, and very talented college friends. It is about him and his wife’s building a log cabin in remote Montana. (It’s called One Log at a Time and you can find it on Amazon.) It got me thinking about my wilderness roots, my international roots, and the path we – Kristi and I – have ended up taking.

Kristi, you could argue, has been helping women find themselves. She nurtures, supports, encourages and enables the expression of the creative spark in every one of us. Often she helps her students get there through reflection and the recounting of each student’s unique journey. It is all there, it just needs to be brought forward, which is what she helps them do.

For my part, I’ve worked in historic preservation, downtown revitalization and

Building on what is unique

community planning. This morning, in writing, I characterized that work as helping people build a home of their community. Whether through historic buildings, the character of downtown, or building on what was unique and special about a community, it gave those I worked with a sense of ownership, and pride, a feeling of home about the community in which they lived.

So then I wondered, what the heck are we doing now in Italy? Italy sprang from a great passion we both have for travel and for exploring other worlds and cultures. We love it because of the richness and variety of this planet, but also because the contrasts we face when we travel are a form of reflection and help you discover yourself.

And I recognized that, though we didn’t plan it this way, nor do we try to make it happen, our trips are, not surprisingly, an extension of what we both had been doing. For on our trips where people are immersed in another culture, they, through the contrasts, through observation, through artistic expression, are finding themselves. What I realized in my writing this morning is that our trips are very much about our travelers finding a home in themselves

Home in yourself. It is a great feeling.


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I’m reading Dawna Markova‘s “I will not die an unlived life” again. Such a great book. Sometimes things she says just jump out at me, leave an impression. And here was one: As a teacher she was “taught to track mistakes as if they were failures.”

Isn’t that the way it is? Isn’t that our culture? Maybe its human, though I don’t think so. She goes on to say:

If you watch a baby learn to grab a cup, there is a natural path they follow. They reach out and search. First, they get oatmeal. They reach out again, and get Mommy’s hair. They reach out one more time and get cup. After one more handful of oatmeal, it’s cup, cup, cup. The natural human learning process is to track success and discard mistakes.

Yet we label mistakes as failure. And we are burdened with it. We work in jobs where mistakes aren’t tolerated leading many to live in fear. There is no grace, no letting the natural learning process unfold.

There are a couple of things I love about our trips to Italy, relating to this. First,

Misty Mawn demonstrating in Orvieto

we hire teachers who see everyone as successful. They are enablers, encouragers, nurturers. Uniformly, the art every single person who travels with us produces is amazing as a result. Second, people who travel with us don’t see mistakes as failure. They have learned that life is rich, and you can’t experience it fully, truly, if you aren’t making mistakes. They arrive in Italy and savor it. They are themselves teachers of life. And they teach us on each and every trip. We are quite lucky to do what we do!

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Catherine Anderson is a wonderful photographer. She has written an absolutely inspirational book called The Creative Photographer. I have been interested in photography since I was a kid in high school when I got my first camera – a Fuji SLR. But of late I had stopped taking an interest though I shoot lots of pictures.

Catherine sent me a copy of The Creative Photographer9 months or so ago.

Catherine’s Book Cover

It has got me so excited to not only be taking pictures, but doing something with them. Her book has so many fabulous ways to use your pictures. In this age of digital photography the possibilities are endless.

And now you can get the book for half price!! But you have to act fast for the deal lasts only until July 17. It is available at Barnes and Noble.com. For anyone who loves to photograph and wants either ideas for their use or simply to get re-energized this is a great deal!

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