I’ve been thinking about how we will collectively remember this time in history. I decided to look back—photos, emails, texts, notes and more. Here’s a snapshot of my discoveries.
Now, these images show the mostly good memories of sheltering in place. I unfortunately, didn’t document my hissy fits, pity party days on the couch watching TV, dumping the remainder of the potato chip bag in my mouth over the sink, or the times I just drove away because my family was bugging the crap out of me.
I suspect many of you can both imagine and empathize.
A snow day.
My rehearsal dinner dress—circa spring of 1992.
Jen Wool appropriately social distancing.
A multi-day March headache.
Beer and trivial pursuit with the girls and Jeff.
Willa visiting Joanne and Bob.
Ellis stopping by for a front stoop chat.
Coffee time with Karen and Jeff.
Making coffee time a little fancier with my Grandmother’s china and a vintage wrap.
Lucy, Willa, and Jacob at Lake Winnipesaukee.
A Govoni family cookout circa summer 1998.
Things I wanted to do circa 1989…I either got distracted or thought leaving 20 blank was clever.
A note from my Dad sometime in the mid-90s after I had moved to Vermont.
Photos of a gorgeous house Jeff and I used to house sit when we were dating.
The wallet of my great uncle, that I was able to return to his family.
Below, notes on my phone I found funny and insightful.
and a little quiet, introspection and organization did wonders for my mind, body and spirit. Last night I ran out to Barnes and Noble for a book and grabbed a magazine next to the checkout called FLOW. It spoke to me. I woke early this morning and decided a habit I want to create is reading something inspiring in the morning instead of news—aaarrgggh NEWS. I fed my cat, Karen, blended lemon, parsley and ice (after a summer of beer, potato chips and ice cream a correction is necessary), made coffee and sat down to dive into FLOW.
“Celebrating creativity, imperfection and life’s little pleasures.” REALLY?
WOW. I was right. FLOW was utterly inspiring and if I was disciplined and organized enough to publish a magazine this is what it would be. Astrid and Irene are clearly my long lost sisters (and new heros) from the Netherlands. I’m reading the English edition, unfortunately I don’t speak Dutch. I bet I missed out on some amazing Dutch words that were lost in the translation. This is the quote below the title. I need every back issue now.
“No need to hurry. No need to sparkle.
No need to be anybody but oneself.” —Virginia Woolfe (1882-1941)
The first article was about positive psychology(which I’m studying) and how small changes in our lives (kaizen, I’ve written about this before) can net big shifts in our lives. The article talked about thinking in terms of solutions, not problems and looking for small ways to bring forth more joy in our lives. LITTLE STEPS, BIG CHANGES.
“It is easier to see things in black and white than to pay attention to all the grey tint in between.” —Dutch philosopher and psychologist, Gijs Deckers
“Big, bigger and biggest often doesn’t lead to happiness. It’s the small things that make people happy.” page 17.
Next was this picture of my hero, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera in Kahlo’s studio at Casa Azul. Now, I can’t stop smiling by this point and I’m only on page 18…
then this quote. Oh, my sister. I will write about my sister. We have a story to tell.
Then there were interviews with a jewelry artist from Poland, a family living off the grid in British Columbia and an illustrator living in London. That’s as far as time allowed this morning. If I had the whole day, I would throw a blanket in my yard and devour every word. I can’t wait until I get back into FLOW.
On page 33 is an article by journalist Catelijne Elzes in celebration of rainy days…my favorite and most inspiring kind of days, throw in fog and I’ll swoon all day. I can’t wait to read that article. Really, Irene and Astrid, lets do lunch…
I have to get to get to work on my designs for STRUT…I have only 11 days. Picking something up that spoke to me randomly got me thinking about connections. I believe when we’re looking for meaning and connections (threads) in our lives they keep revealing themselves. We just have to be on our toes or we can miss them. I often miss them.
I know a lot of people don’t believe in coincidences, magic or spirits…however, I choose to. I will be searching for little signs of magic all day and I have hunch that I just might be able to find some more.
I hope you have a great day and experience a little magic today too. We all are deserving of some.
I’ve experienced deep sorrow this week with the loss of a friend due to a long, painful illness. Through that process I’ve realized what a unique gift sorrow can be in understanding ourselves and our place in the world. I know that my friend would’ve been very open to a discussion about this topic—she had an enormous capacity to explore the psychology of the soul.
definition of sorrow
noun sor·row \ˈsär-(ˌ)ō, ˈsȯr-\
a feeling of sadness or grief caused especially by the loss of someone or something
: a cause of grief or sadness
definition of joy
: a feeling of great happiness
: a source or cause of great happiness : something or someone that gives joy to someone
Sorrow & Joy I believe exist in the same place in our hearts. They just feel a helluva lot different. I feel that both emotions need each other to be fully acknowledged, accepted and better understood. Thank you for this, my friend.
Today I don’t feel at the top of my game, so, thought I would visualize myself BIGGER THAN LIFE. I don’t have any idea what kind of affect it will have on my mental state throughout the day, however, so far it’s proven to be highly amusing.
I will forever be seeking to understand the creative brain better. I have to, it’s a matter of survival. With creativity often comes a fair amount of SADNESS. It’s taken me many moons (I’m almost 49) to come to a truce with my own brain, creative process and THE BLUES.
Sadness in creatives is well documented and studied, however, I’ve decided instead of completely accepting this as an undisputed fact that I will seek a REFRAME.
THE BLUES are a part of me that greatly affects how I see the world and make connections in all facets of my life. THEBLUES are not a human flaw or always a part of a bigger mental health problem. They can truly be a gift.
Of course, when these feelings are systemic and debilitating—they need more attention.
Too often in American culture everything is about HAPPINESS, MINDFULNESS and INSTAGRAMMING a life of JOY. Really, all the time? That’s a lot of pressure.
I thought this quote was quite insightful.
“For creatives, this depression is what amplifies motivation to do their work better. It’s not enough to keep doing what you’ve been doing as a creative, you have to do more, and do it well. That’s empowering, if you can make it through the initial dip in energy.” —Tanner Christensen (The link between depression and creativity, and how it can be good for you.) The link is below.
The key is in understanding that energy dip when you are feeling THE BLUES and ruminating—trying to make sense of something. Today is a good example after another, all too common, senseless shooting in America. How can we not ruminate?
My REFRAME about my own version of THE BLUES is two fold:
—I’m not going to knock THE BLUES back when it comes to my creative work.
I’m going to welcome them with open arms, a cup of tea and a nap if needed.
I’m going to thank THE BLUES for helping me make sense of this complex world
and for giving my work and thoughts more depth.
—I’m CHOOSING to celebrate the fact that I have a lot of creative ideas for projects and try to not get THE BLUES that I can’t possibly manifest them all. After all there’s only 24 hours in the day…damn it!
That is my reframe of THE BLUES and it’s working for me right now. Perhaps next time you’re feeling THE BLUES creeping in you can give them a hug and ask them what you’re suppose to be paying attention to right now. The answer might surprise you.