Cafe Aroma Exhibit

Into Forever- Rock Climbing Tahquitz, Idyllwild

Here’s ‘Into Forever’- a piece I just finished up for a joint show I’ll be having at Cafe Aroma in Idyllwild with the amazing Dave and Trish Charity of fromedge2edge.com , Quilts on the Wall, and Textures Fiber Arts fame. The Show will be hung this Wednesday evening and viewable thereafter.

We’ll delay an official opening night for about 2 weeks until I’m back from Ranger Academy, but we’d love to see you there anytime you can make it out! I’ll make an announcement when we have the official opening night info.

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The Yin and Yang of things.

The Yin and Yang of ThingsIt’s all about balance really.

I don’t just mean the everyday concept of balance- of ‘everything in its time, of learning to not overdo things’, but the dynamic set of balances between pairs inherent in any living system.

Consider the amazing pairing of balances in our own biology. The sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems are engaged in a breathtakingly beautiful dance, deftly maneuvering to ensure our survival. If we must fight, the sympathetic shifts its weight forward and readies us for an energetic burst. If we need to rest and digest, the parasympathetic calms us and sets the right mechanisms to into smooth motion.

At every level, sets of intertwining pairs work in a dynamic balance to regulate our every breath, every sigh and every blink of our eyes.

Each firing of even a single neuron is regulated by slight shifts in homestatic mechanisms in our cells.  Sodium and potassium ebb and flow in opposition in and out of the cells, allowing for transport, volume control and the action potentials that enable our neurons to transfer the very energy of our thoughts and sensations.

As we examine the moving parts, we suddenly realize that these individual pairs are tied together with other partners in the ever-growing dancing web that somehow smoothly regulates our life.

Calcium is not only paired with Phosphorus in a dance that keeps our blood pH in a precious life preserving range, but also partners with Magnesium in myriad ways. Calcium makes muscles contract. Magnesium is necessary for muscles to relax. Calcium is lauded for its bone building abilities, but without Magnesium to partner with far less bone will be built.

It makes you think- where else can we see these relationships in our lives? Where else do we see the eternal dance of balanced pairs?

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On Drive(ing).

The other day I was driving along, maximizing my learning time by listening to a iTunesU podcast on Pathophysiology when I realized that my brain was just stuffed. Full-up. Literally jam-packed. It wasn’t going to take in even one more tiny scrap of information no matter how I tried to push and shove it down that convoluted funnel into my brain.

Don’t get me wrong- I’m studying for a second degree in health and nutrition and I absolutely love it. But, I’ve been focusing so hard for so long on learning, I’d forgotten that every system in our body needs time for rest and regeneration. Non-negotiable rest.

My drive to move forward had become blinding to all else and I was chugging interminably forward- consuming every spare moment with purposeless productivity at the expense of everything else. I couldn’t even carry on a conversation that didn’t have something to do with nutrition. I was driving my boyfriend crazy and some people had started crossing the street to avoid me (maybe a slight exaggeration, but only slight!)

With my blind drive, I had shoved aside the concept of balance, of regenerative relaxation and instead enshrined “being productive” as the all encompassing goal. I listened to podcasts on my latest obsession as I drove, trying to fit in as much time as possible in a panicky ‘sponge’ mode: ‘I must soak it all in- hurry! There’s not enough time to get it all! You must move on or you’ll never keep up! HurryHurryHurry!

Thinking about this while driving I came upon a sudden realization:

“Girl, that’s NOT healthy”

Yes, in order to get things done you do need to prioritize, but first you need to understand why and if these things are truly important to you. I’ve gotten so caught up in the motions of being the “best” and most productive that I forgot why I wanted to do these things in the first place:

“I want to be healthy and help those around me achieve a healthy ….balance…. in their lives”… hmmmm… maybe I should re-evaluate.

So I pulled over, parked the car and went for a walk- a loooong walk. Without my iPod, without my books, without all of my tools and all those busy thoughts. And you know, the world didn’t end. In fact, just that little break helped me clear my mind and reset my priorities and get back to actually enjoying what I was doing without that ever present element of panic.

I think that we all get caught up some times in trying to be productive- especially in an area we love. We feel a duty to ‘make the most of it’- and that can often get in the way of our best work.

Breathe. Step back and relax.

Put down your fabric, your shears, your paints, the tools of your trade, push away from your computers, stop listening to that podcast. Go, walk outside, take a deep breath, take one step and then another and let your mind just flow along without an agenda. Trust me, you need it- and you’ll enjoy your work again and be a whole lot more productive later.

Best,
Helene

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