Monthly Archives: October 2008

Starburst necklace*

Starburst necklace, modelled by the gorgeous Michelle, Christina, and Karina, Canon Rebel Xti

Happy news over at Superhero Designs!

I designed a new necklace that I am very excited about! I wanted to create a star shape that wasn’t your typical star, but was more organic and sea creature like; something that evoked a burst of energy or joy.

I love how it turned out… As you can see, it is in sterling silver with a matte finish. What you can’t see is that the word “joy” is engraved on the back, a perfect little note to remind you or loved one to choose joy every day. Just like the superhero bullseye pendant, you can wear the message as a whisper close to your chest or for the world to see. I hope you love it as much as I do!

Winners of the SARK books*

Ben, bathtime, Canon SD1000

And the winners are…

– Kim who said, “Feels like a love sandwich!”
– Jummy who said, “What a beautiful interview! I loved reading her colourful and bright responses to your insightful questions!”
– Amy who said, “I am feeling lucky! I would love SARK’s new book!”

If you are one of these fine folks, please email me with your mailing address! [email protected]

Looking for a studio mate*

My wonderful studio mate Kelly Rae will be moving soon (sad!) so I am on the hunt for another fantastic artist/designer/creative person to share my Berkeley studio with. The studio is at Activ Space which is a building full of artists, hobbyists and the like. It is inspiring to be around all of that activity!

If you are looking for a space to do your work or you know someone in the Bay area that might be interested, please email me and let me know! [email protected]

into the labyrinth

Sunrise, Sibley, Oakland, CA, Canon SD1000

I read a great story in Oprah magazine this month called “Charmed Circles” about Sally Quinn and the impact the labyrinth has had on her life. She writes a really moving piece about the amazing insights she has had by walking labyrinths. (November issue of O) As I contemplated her story in bed that night, I wondered if a labyrinth might bring me some clarity too, if the things that weighed heavy on my heart could find any relief. I remembered the labyrinth at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco and wondered if I should make a trip there soon.

The next morning I checked my email and got an intriguing invitation. For my friend’s birthday, her greatest wish was to have all of her friends join her in a sunrise hike to a labyrinth at Sibley Volcanic Reserve in Oakland. A sunrise hike to a labyrinth in a volcano? How could I pass this up? especially with the magical timing of it all.

Clearly the universe wanted me there.

We set out in the dark that morning and marvelled at how warm the air was. We were soon peeling off the hats coats we had worn. The hike was supposed to be easy, so I was surprised when we began going down very steep, slippery inclines. We walked for quite a long time until we realized that we had taken a wrong turn. It was time to retrace our steps and hike back up.

I noticed my relationship to being lost. I noticed that I didn’t mind so much if I wasn’t the person leading, if it wasn’t my fault we were lost, I was really okay with it. I was even the voice of, “The labyrinth has already begun! This is part of our journey!” I noticed that if a loved one had been leading the hike and took the wrong turn, I might have felt angry or annoyed, huffy about taking the long and unnecessary hike back up the hill. Curious that if it wasn’t my wrong turn or someone close to me, I was incredibly forgiving. Noticing noticing…

We held hands in a small circle before we set out to walk the labyrinth. I offered up the ritual of meditating on something that you wanted clarity on in your life, and to walk the labyrinth with that in mind. When you arrive at the center, I promised, there will be a message to you from the universe. Just listen for it.

We walked slowly and quietly, a sweet procession of friends, parents, and even three dogs that had come on our little pilgrimage. When we got to the center we had to squeeze in close, gathered in a tiny circle around a little pit encircled with rocks. There were candles in there, cards, charms and bells, and a pile of cigarettes broken in half. (Someone had clearly come to quit smoking) And then my message came to me. It wasn’t what I expected, but my mind was clear save for this one thought: We are all struggling with something.

As I let that soak in, I stared at the broken cigarettes, at the candles burned, at the circle of folks around me. We are all struggling with something.We all came with a question, with something weighing heavy on our hearts; we all came with all of our lostness and not knowing. This is what it means to be human, I thought. To struggle.

I was overcome with compassion in that moment, for everyone really, but more uniquely for myself. There was something so ordinary about my suffering, so human, so unremarkable, that I felt lighter. I felt an okayness that I hadn’t known before. It really is okay to be right where I am. It really is okay to struggle, to not know and to be lost.

Perhaps we are all wandering today, in this labyrinth of the internet, heavy with questions and hopes and hurts. I hope this community is a kind of standing in the center for you, of seeing how connected we all are in our questions and our struggles, how there are broken cigarettes here and candles burning and prayers and questions. I hope you find compassion here, and comfort in how wonderfully ordinary we are, and how unremarkable our suffering. Not to dilute our experiences, but to feel lighter knowing that to be alive is to be exactly in this place.

force of nature

Ben and a little mushroom, Canon Rebel Xti

This quote kicked my ass in the best way today:

“This is the true joy in life, to be used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one, to be thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap. To be a force of nature instead of a feverish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I am a member of a community and as a member it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can before I die. Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch that I want to make burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.”
– George Bernard Shaw

An interview with SARK! + a giveaway

I am so excited to share this interview I did with SARK. As most of you know, she is my mentor and friend and I continue to learn from her and be inspired by her every day. She has a new book out called Juicy Pens, Thirsty Paper: Gifting the World with Your Words and Stories, and Creating the Time and Energy to Actually Do It. Our stories our so important, whether they are on blogs, in scrapbooks or hit the bestseller list. This book is a perfect companion for all of us who have stories to share but feel afraid or blocked or are looking for inspiration. Julia Cameron said it like this: “SARK is a sparkler who jump-starts the creative process. Her ideas are user-friendly, innovative and pragmatic.”

More good news:
We will be giving away 3 copies of Juicy Pens, Thirsty Paper!

Giveaway Guidelines:
– You have until 9pm PST on Friday, October 24th to enter this giveaway.
– Just make a comment ON THIS POST to enter.
– One entry per person, please. (Just push “post” ONCE and wait a few seconds. The comment should appear)

And now for the interview:
You’ve written 14 books so far, nearly a book a year. What do you love about writing and making books?

What do you do when you hit creative blocks? (either in writing or art making) How do you move through those inner critics that try to sabotage your work? For me, they say things like, “You’re not a real writer! Who do you think you are?” How have you quieted those voices over the years?

One way that you inspire me is that you are always curious and questioning and in a state of wonder about the world. You are always growing and expanding how you create and love. I admire this about you.
If there were a recipe for how you would feel totally fulfilled and joyous in the world, what would the ingredients be?

Who do you admire? What do you admire about them?

Do the topics of your books match where you are in your life and the things you are thinking about? If so, I am curious what’s cooking in your pot these days? Where are you exploring and growing in your life right now?

Magic. Miracle walks. Dangerous tea parties.

These are things that are forever SARK to me and delight me so much.

How do you create/stumble upon/serendipitously manifest all that magic in your life? Do you have magic glasses you wear? Do you just see magic where others see regular old life? Do you consciously choose to have adventure show up or does it sneak up on you?

I think people believe that you have something special in this area that they don’t have. Care to demystify the whole magic thing?