Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New You!

In with the new – out with the old!

What is the significance of a new year?  I guess that question is pretty pointless…it’s like asking, *What is the meaning of time?*  It’s all relevant really and means what it means personally to each of us.   We’ve come to learn the significance of the changing of a year from some long ago archaic calendar that told us this is such-n-such date and with the ticking of this clock, the dropping of a glittery ball, a kiss, a joyous celebration that people from every corner of the world will welcome in a New Year!  It is the chance to start again.  To leave behind what wasn’t pleasant and try again with the next 365 days awaiting us all in an effort to “make it better”? 

But why do we wait for that date?  For that time to make a change?  What is the poignancy of it?  Is it just because that’s what we’ve always done?  Or maybe we need the push of all those other minds to help us along our newly chosen path?  Are we just so programmed to a time schedule that we need the significance of that clock ticking over to 12:01 – 2014, 2015, 20…. To force us into being better people?  Thinner, healthier, more mindful, more career driven, stop smoking, more giving, less angry, less snarky, more open minded, more productive, a cleaner house, more books read, another pet, more schooling, finish those UFO’s , this is the year that I’ll apologize to and move on with my life, I resolve to be…..perfect in every way! 

Wow….we certainly put a lot of pressure on ourselves to perform.  All with the ticking of a clock. 
I’ve had a few moments in my life over the past 4 or 5 years that have pointed me in a direction where I feel I need to be more compassionate.  I want to be that person.  I think by nature I already have most of what it takes to be a compassionate person.  With age and maturity I am learning to recognize when I am not and to be mindful of it so I can stop myself (most times) from being non-compassionate.  It is a goal for sure.  And maybe in this lifetime I’ll learn to be that person I  
strive to be.

I didn’t wait for 12:01 on the clock to start being more aware of my compassion.  I just started right that moment when I felt I needed to do it.  I don’t even really know when that was.  I guess it was at the right time, though. 

I’m hoping I can just learn to do other things in my life when the time is right.  So, this year I am going to resolve to not resolve to put any pressure on myself to perform.  I’m not going to berate myself for being overweight, or not as active as I should be, or my studio messier than I’d like it to be.  I’m not going to assume that I’ll do things better, or try to be more of this and less of that.  I’m not going to stress myself out with a set number of beaded items to design within a set number of days. 

I’m just going to live my life.  If on January 1st at 12:01 am, 2014 I decide to join a gym, so be it.  But I’m not going to force myself into it.  I’m going to practice my need to be a more compassionate person on myself and I’m going to give me a break, give me time, give me no pressure to perform.  Maybe if I don’t feel pressured I’ll actually get those dreams and wishes accomplished or at least start them on their way to becoming reality.

Wanna join me in resolving to not resolve?  To not pressure yourself into being thinner, cleaner, nicer, healthier, whatever it is you’re setting a stop watch for?  How about we just start treating ourselves with the respect we deserve the moment we think about it, rather than at 12:01am! 


 Every single day of our lives is an opportunity to make a change in ourselves.  We should learn to do it right at that very moment and not put it off waiting for some glittery ball to drop!  

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Reflecting on retail

My mind, in it’s sometimes (okay, most of the time) racing fashion, woke me up very early this morning.  Usually when that happens it is because I have a lot to do (true), or because I have a flood of beady ideas that won’t let me rest (true), or sometimes it is just hormones wreaking havoc on my mind (sigh…true).  But this morning when I woke up my mind was reflecting back on yesterday.  Spinning through the myriad of encounters I had with people.  Being in retail increases my odds of that, but yesterday was particularly interesting.

We had a very busy Cyber Monday sale, which translates to a very busy week trying to catch up, which in turn translates to a TON of human interaction.  For the most part everyone was happy, excited, thankful, and anticipatory.  Feelings that translate back to me as joy.  Then a few were frustrated, angry, unnerved.  Feelings that I absorb and cause anxiety for me.  I want them all to be in that first group….I want every single one of my customers to be happy.  (Impossibility, I know…but a girl can dream!).  And then there were a handful who are just unhappy souls.  They have some need to take out their aggression, their angst, their all-encompassing anger on whomever they come into contact with.  At first I absorb this and become overwhelmed by it, I feel the anger and I relate to it.  It exhausts me.  But then within a short amount of time I begin to feel empathy.  What a horrible place in your mind to be living in.  Why are you there?  Can you help it?  Have you tried?  Has it become so commonplace for you that you aren’t even aware of how it spills out onto others? 

I have no answers.  I don’t imagine even the most experienced psychologist has the answers.  And I am not sure even the person experiencing this type of behavior has the answers for themselves either.  And that brings me right back around to feeling sad for those folks who take their anger out on whomever they happen to encounter as their day progresses. 

Don’t get me wrong…I am most certainly not forgiving their behavior or giving them license to behave however or in whatever way they feel.  They still should be held accountable for their actions.  But instead of being angry right back at them, my anger dissolves fairly quickly and I just feel sorry for them.

At work yesterday we had people hang up on us, be extremely passive-aggressive, be blatantly rude, demanding, snarky.  Basically they spewed whatever angst they carry in their lives onto us….all over some beads.  That, my friends, is just sad.

But for every hang up, or rude comment, or demeaning comment there were ten or more that were beautiful, kind, encouraging, happy.  And while it is, for some strange reason, harder to focus on those positive feelings - they are what I need to hang on to.  They are what see me through a tough retail day.  A smile, a thank you, an excited customer is the proverbial wind beneath my wings. 

What heals me after a rough day of retail - brings it all back into focus - are two things I remind myself of. 
One is a quote I have above my computer on my shelf of “Things I love” 

It is a quote of compassion from the Dalai Lama and says:

"I have found that the greatest degree of inner tranquility comes from the development of love and compassion.  The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater is our own sense of well-being. Cultivating a close, warmhearted feeling for others automatically puts the mind at ease. It is the ultimate source of success in life.” 
~ Dalai Lama

It is not easy to remember, but it feels good when I try.
The other thing I remind myself of is a video I saw of Carl Sagan and that we are nothing more than a Pale Blue Dot. (Take 3 minutes out of your day and go watch it...seriously...I'll wait here...GO!)  When I get lost in my thoughts, I’ll watch this video and it slams home just how minuscule we actually are in the scheme of things.  Something about that reminds me to work hard every single day to treat others with kindness and respect, regardless of how they may be treating me.  

I am sure this is a lesson I will need to practice all my life.  I still don’t fully understand it and I most certainly veer off track frequently.  But it is who I want to be.  I want to always be compassionate.

And now…I must get ready to take on another day of retail. 

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Ohhh! Ahhhh! O-Beads!

We live in some pretty exciting and inspiring times for new bead shapes, my friends!
They're coming at a rapid pace these past few years.  Part of me is begging new production to sloooow down because I can barely keep up, not to mention the expense and no place to display them in the shop and part of me is like a little kid on my birthday and I just can't wait for my presents to arrive!

The latest new bead is called an O-Bead™ and is yet another awesome idea by the incomparable Sabine Lippert (she also designed the Rizo™ bead!).  For Sabine, it is important that she not only has consistency in beading supplies for her own piece of mind, but also so that when she creates a project for a class or a tutorial beaders across the globe will have easy access, always, to an exact bead.  This is the reason for naming this specific bead an O-Bead™.  It is a glass ring, which have been around for years, but the specs for the size and the diameter of the hole and the thickness will always be specific for the O-Bead™ (unless maybe we start begging for additional sizes because we love the shape so much...but then we could just call them 6mm or 24mm O-Beads™)!  This way if you are trying to recreate a project you'll have consistent results!  Yay!

An O-Bead™ is 4mm in diameter and 1.5mm in thickness with a 1.5mm hole.  Precious!
Below are some images of some of the colors as well as some amazing beadwork designed by Sabine herself as well as a few of her colleagues who she asked to also create some inspiring beady designs using these new beads.

Most of them will have tutorials available on their websites soon, so check back for them!

And we'll (hopefully if all goes well) have them up on our website, Whimbeads.com early in the first week of December!

In the meantime, and withOut further delay....may I intrOduce yOu tO the gOrgeOus O-Bead™!

And here are some amazing designs from Sabine and a few of her new bead testers....

Five Up! 
by Sabine Lippert

by Sabine Lippert

O Ball
by Cindy Holsclaw

Annular O Necklace
by Cindy Holsclaw

Cocktail O Ring
by Heather Kingsley-Heath

And more designs on the way!  Remember to check these
beaders website or Etsy shops for the tutorials!

OOOOOO What fun new beads can be!


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

I’ve been dealing with a major funk the past few weeks.  Not a normal depression type funk where I don’t feel like doing anything at all – but more of a muse on vacation type of funk.  No beading, no knittting, no coloring, no Zentangles, and only cooking what is necessary to feed us.  I couldn’t figure out why I was just feeling so void of any inspiration.  I mean, I’d just done a bead show and that usually fires up the muse into overdrive.  I’d taught two full classes, which is also a major muse fuel stream.  What could possibly be wrong with me?

I took my complaint to a group of my fellow beady teachers and the wise, and still very young, but amazingly astute Melissa Shippee solved my issue by saying, “
sometimes when it's the time of year something big and bad has happened to you in the past, it's like a grief anniversary”.  She could not have been any more correct!
17 years ago today my Mom passed away.  It was also the day before Thanksgiving that year.  I was only 35 with 4 small kids and Shawn had already lost both of his parents and my Daddy had been gone for over 6 years.  I felt so lost.

But there really wasn’t a lot of time to grieve.  With 4 young kids I needed to get my act together.  My Mom told me a few days before she passed to not let this event ruin the holidays for my kids.  She made me promise to always make it a special time for them so they had the same joyous holiday season as she always tried to give to me.  I’ve worked really hard at that, but I’m wondering – now that they’re all grown am I finally beginning to grieve the holiday instead of celebrate it?  I sure hope not!  Maybe I just need to learn to recognize when that funk is coming on, face it head on and accept it. 

Shawn reminded me to just slow down and enjoy the process of getting ready for Thanksgiving by sharing what I see, smell, taste, and experience with my Mom. Let her enjoy it again through my eyes.  So I’ve been trying to do that these past few days and I’m thinking it has worked a bit to help me enjoy everything I need to do to prepare a great meal and make a nice home for my family to spend together tomorrow.  Which is exactly what my Mom used to do.  It made her feel good to do all these things and I want it to make me feel good again, too.

I’ll close by sharing a special story about my Mom’s passing.  I am the youngest of 5 and was always introduced as “the baby”.  Even after having 4 kids of my own!  LOL
My Mom was diagnosed with cancer (breast) the first time when I was 12.  She said she would just pray to live long enough to see me raised. She also told everyone “I don’t want the baby to see me die”.  Amazing how a Mother’s first concern is how her child will be affected. 
The following year they found the cancer in her other breast and removed that one as well.
 5-6 years later she was diagnosed with lung cancer.  She prayed again to live long enough to see me get on my own feet. 
5-6 years later she was diagnosed with another type of cancer, a tumor in her jaw area that had two types of cancer.  One that could go to her brain and one that could affect her internal organs.  She prayed to live long enough to see me settled down with a family. 
After 23 years of surviving all these hits from the insidious cancer she was diagnosed with liver cancer.  Sadly, she had no more prayers for survival.  She was just ready to go. 
Hospice came and helped us get her comfortable at home.  She quickly went into a coma.  All of her kids would take turns sitting with her and caring for her.  On the night of her death I had spent a couple of hours telling her some stories about my kids, than it was Sharon’s turn to sit with her.  I sat down across from her on the couch and listened to Sharon praying with her.  I watched the curtains gently blowing in the window.  Moments later one of my other sisters was waking me up letting me know that Mom had passed.  How could that be?  I was just looking at her seconds ago?
She had gotten her wish!  Don’t let the baby see me die.  And so I had not. 

Even in her passing she looked out for me.  And even now, 17 years later I can feel her sitting here with me reminding me how much I have left to do before tomorrow.  So I better get in the kitchen and get busy….I’ve got a huge family coming to enjoy Thanksgiving Day!

Thanks Mom!