White Wedding Dresses

When I was a little girl of 8 years, I started to mend holes in clothes. Fast forward to a Bachelors Degree in Ethnic Clothing, Textiles and their Retailing from Michigan State University, College of Human Ecology. The program was taught from the perspective of ecosystems. That is inner-connectedness of materials and their uses to humans.

After graduation, I lived and learned all I could in California. I mentored to a brilliant dressmaker, Lina Morgan and thanks to my art teacher, Ray Jacobs at the Laguna Beach Academy of Art also gained a total change of perspective, seeing life in terms of color and design, multi-optional. With these tools, I enjoy 38 years of working full-time as a creative professional dressmaker.

With your permission, may we discuss the issue of white wedding dresses representing purity of a woman’s sexuality. Aside from the sociological the political and the chauvinistic issues, mine is from a dressmakers perspective.

I love satin and laces and good workmanship especially in wedding dresses. Not too long ago young women started to trash their dresses after the wedding trying to “make right” the fact that they were not virgins at the time of their wedding. I heard and saw videos of young women applying paint, scissors and sometimes even laying down in a river to destroy the dress and its whiteness.

Not all of them, but, many traditions have great cultural value. I believe this one is worth keeping. I suggest we keep the notion of purity and we keep the white dress by assigning a purity of INTENTION to our commitment to stay married. To stay true to our partner and the vows we speak out loud. Have the whiteness of the dress represent the clear lily whiteness of our intention of staying together though thick and thin.

To me, this tradition needs an update, similar to an upgrade. Let me know if you agree or disagree. This upgrade seems more in line with our world today as we women get more free from male dominancy by taking your “should” . . . off of our bodies.

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Cold

It’s record cold temperatures outside.

I’m stuck inside alone with only my thoughts, my possessions to stir my memories and trip my imaginary wanderings.

Spotify reminds me of life and love, hope and goodness. Fills the warm air from my furnace and humidifier with soothing Jazz from female voices, guitars and saxophones. I wish to be stuck inside more often.

Quiet nights of loving you, autumn leaves, the island, cruisin with my baby,

If you keep on believing, the dream that you wish will come true.

How true.

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Thanksgiving

Thank you for the sun and the moon and the stars

Thank you for the animals so kind and so grand

Thank you for the people who open their hearts

Thank you for my awareness

Thank you for the love

Thank you for your mirror of my mind

Thank you for your gratitude

Thank you for sharing, for giving

Thank you for freedom

You’re awesome!

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Life and Love

“Everything we do is art,” said  Seyyed Hossein Nasr to Parabola Magazine for their Spring 1988 issue. This issue was named The Creative Response, trying as it may, to describe the birth and life of creativity.

Does that seem a long time ago? I remember it well because a year later our son was born, a major creative event for any family.

“All are called to respond creatively to their lives. We are put under an obligation when we recognize, however dimly, that this is so. But we seldom understand how to meet this obligation, seldom see the demand in the moment it appears.” 

“. . . there is a difference between a reaction and a response.”

The reaction is easy and automatic, needing little effort. A response demands more; it demands a departure from the superficial and recognizable for the sake of what is central and may yet be unknown.

Entering the province of a “true-to-youself” response calls for true inner strength. In the face of people who can see through you, you’ll sense freedom from having to pretend to be strong.  Allowing yourself to feel humiliation, awkwardness, ignorance, embarrassment. By doing this, you go beyond being good,  . . . instead you grow. Zen sages call it the “beginner’s mind.”

This mind is in the life and legacy of everybody whose presence refreshes those around them.  Many are everyday people, in addition to those better known.

They remind us of our own need for discovery and offer a promise of what may be found through creativity.  Here’s a gem from John Denver.

Perhaps love is like a resting place

A shelter from the storm

It exists to give you comfort

It is there to keep you warm

And in the times of trouble

When you are most alone

The memory of love will bring you home

Perhaps love is like a window, perhaps an open door

It invites you to come closer

It wants to show you more

And even if you lose yourself

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And don’t know what to do

The memory of love will see you through

Perhaps love is like the ocean, full of conflict, full of change

Like a fire when it’s cold outside, thunder when it rains

If I should live forever and all my dreams come true

My memories of love will be of you

John Denver believed this song, “Perhaps Love,” to be the best song he ever wrote.

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Growing Up

I grew up with a Cosmic Mother. I began to think of her as a Cosmic Mother after I learned about Astrology and analyzed her chart according to the precepts of the Zodiac.

Mom had a connection to the Ultimate Power of the Universe, the same Universe that serves all of us. As children, she would continuously correct us when we innocently said, “I can’t do that.” She would repeatedly say, “You mean you won’t.”

Like any child we would reply, “No Mom, I can’t” To which she would say in the most calm, loving and sweet way, “You mean you won’t. You can do anything. All you need to do is research your idea. After you have learned all you can about it. Decide if you will do it or you won’t.” Then she would leave as if some ultimate truth about life had just been whispered like wind moves through trees.

 

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I began to believe this is the way of the world. No stress just my involvement or my non-involvement. Other people complained, got out-of-control. reached for a pacifier like dumping on their friends, radical behavior, drinking, drugs, isolation, anger, blame, or resentment. You can add to this list on your own.

I felt separate from others because I was happy. I didn’t need to explain myself, even though others would continuously share their problems with me and ask what they should do. All I could do is repeat back to them something they said that was a possible solution to their problem. I am the same as everyone else in that  I only know what I know from what I was taught as a child. Just like everyone else, good or bad. We believe what we have lived.

I am in the middle of reading Byron Katie’s book, Loving What Is.

The information in this book seems like common sense to me. Only because I have spent my life free-thinking my own ideas, researching them and deciding for myself if I want to do them or to pass them by.  My thinking seemed to be the pivotal point. By the time I complete the research process and decided to go ahead with my idea,  I was loving the idea, totally owning it.

Nothing has ever happened to me. Stuff, rough stuff has happened, just like it happens to everyone. I just decided what to do. As simple as that.

Thank you Katie for the validation.

And thank you Mom. I love you more than you can imagine.

It’s a wonderful world. Just like at any time in history and in any culture,

we live in great times.

 

 

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Gossip and the Mind/Heart Connection

You have love in your heart. Somewhere inside, when you are still without distractions of any kind. That calm enables a connection from your mind to your heart. Then a realization takes over, a feeling of overwhelming love like a slow motion wave welled up and curling over you head to toe.

This love is a reality that can keep you on-track with your life. Don’t be afraid of it feeling good. Let it be and it will grow. Meanwhile you will see folks react differently toward you. If they are positive . . .  soak it in. If they are negative realize they still need to connect to their heart. So be kind in the face of what is not kind. And remove yourself as soon as possible.

They will talk.  It’s a necessary human endeavour of society. According to the experts (ask me who if you’re interested) we as human beings need to communicate the state of other human beings in order to know what’s going on around us. This is valuable for our safety.  What is not valuable is negative gossip.

You all know people who do it, when you yourself have done it, and how it feels when you are the topic of it. It hurts. Let’s move away from this.

Another value of a mind-heart connection is the inability to hurt anyone. So make the connection. It is the single best thing you can do for yourself.

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The Freedom of a Child

I have looked but never found anything better than the wonder I felt as a child. Now, six decades later, I still see the world,  . . . my time and my stance are as open and full of wonder as when I was at 4 years old. Still, at any time I do feel stress and pain like everyone else.

Byron Katie’s book, Loving What Is, says on page 8, words resonating so high with me, I just had to write this to share with you. She says in her own words:

“Its easy to be swept away by some overwhelming feeling, so it is helpful to remember that any stressful feeling is like a compassionate alarm clock that says, ‘You’re caught in the dream.” Depression, pain and fear are gifts that say, ‘Sweetheart, take a look at what your thinking right now. You’re living in a story that is not true for you.”

“Caught in the dream, we try to manipulate the feeling by reaching outside ourselves. (change someone else, or reach for sex, food, alcohol, drugs or money in order to find temporary comfort or the illusion of control.”)  

“We are usually aware of the feeling before the thought. Thats’s why I say the feeling is an alarm clock that lets you know there is a thought you may want to do The Work on. Investigating an untrue thought will always bring you back to who you are.

“it hurts to believe you’re other than who you are, to live a story other than happiness.”

“If you put your hand in a fire, does anyone have to tell you to move it?”

I’m sure there are more gems further inside this book.

Personally, holding onto my sense of wonder and, my happiness has a way of making reality irrelevant to my happiness.  I focus on reality which turns into a delightful display of happenings, wonderful visual elements and delightful sequences. I am sad for the bad news that constantly presents itself at every turn. But it cannot possibly compare to how I feel about life.IMG_4480

It’s nice to find some camaraderie with Byron Katie and the brilliance from the window she calls, The Work. I suggest you look into it.

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