Today I created a big effing mess.
We’re in Indiana on the last leg of our monthlong workcation. After dropping off my wife and son at the senior care home for her parents, I drove over to a gas station for some diesel fuel for the van and ice for the cooler.
While angling the cooler to drain the water in it, everything shifted. The veggie tray with dip burst out of its container spewing itself all over the contents in the cooler.
I reacted with the usual epithets.
Colorful as they were, they didn’t get me anywhere.
Then I picked out a gobbed-up bottle of something. Then another. The dip and cut-up veggies slimed every single thing. Drink bottles, lunch meat, cheese, peanut butter, grapes, blueberries . . . surprisingly the only unscathed item was a small bottle of mayo.
Surprising because everything looked like slathered mayo except the mayo.
Fifteen minutes into the cleanup I realized: This is an opportunity to purge.
Here we were, 3.5 weeks into our monthlong jaunt and the cooler contents hadn’t been thoroughly cleaned.
So item by item I wiped each one clean, set it aside and dove back in for another. Till the only thing remaining was gooey, sloshy, viscous ooze clinging to the insides of the cooler.
Dozens of paper towels later, it was all cleaned up. Purged of the unnecessary, organized better than since we’d set off. Lickety spickety clean too.
Every crisis is an invitation to purge. It’s an opportunity to reorient. To pare back. To simplify. And finally, to reinvent.
When cancer struck my wife, it was an invitation to healthier living.
When the crash nearly took our business asunder, it was an opportunity to rethink our business model.
Yes, these situations were under extreme duress, but the purge and reorganization that followed set us onto better paths. With better outcomes.
This observatory tower overlooking the Bonneville Salt Flats could have been a yawn. It could have been the standard rectangle with a viewing platform, with a perfectly perfunctory stairs attached. Maybe an elevator.
Instead, the state of Utah opted for something curvy, something lyrical.
The ramp curves lightly upward like a treble cleft untangling in three-dimensional space. The awning over the viewing area evokes a sail . . . or the helm of a modern-day yacht.
The structure is surprisingly fluid for one anchored in a hard and dry Western desert.
The difference between the mundane and the imaginative is profound. It’s the difference between humdrum and hell yes.
I’ve been a fan of Christo and Jeanne Claude ever since their Central Park project. I lived in New York City at the time . . . To gaze at these saffron-colored sheets billowing in the wind as they were being installed was to gaze at transcendence made manifest. In the heart of the heart of the Western world . . .
Here’s a link to their current project, floating piers connecting two islands on an Italian lake.
They are not the only ones . . .
Many are wonder bringers. You, me, others, when we’re at our best. When we’re infusing our work with greatness. When we’re channeling the superlative into our interactions. When we air kiss the celestial spirit in the sky with our shimmering minds . . .
Lake Tahoe, California
(with appreciation for Gil Vega, who alerted me to the latest from Chisto and Jeanne Claude)
Looking like beached Botero nudes, these elephant seals sun themselves on central California shores.
Occasionally one lifts its head and barks. Others nearby jiggle as though sharing a joke.
They have something in common with you and me. They need each other.
We creatives can be solitary sorts. Our best work comes steeped in solitude.
But for our work to get out there, we need community.
In fact, long before we have work worthy of public scrutiny, we need community.
Just north of Hearst Castle, California
Last summer Travis Thomas and I scooted away for a short creative retreat. It turned out to be such a pivotal moment for me creatively that I now actively seek to turn a portion of every vacation into creative focus time.
Here’s a suggestion for writers, thinkers and spiritual seekers: Riverbend Hot Springs in Truth Or Consequences, New Mexico.
There are few more out of the way places. A couple hours south of Albuquerque and a couple hours north and west of El Paso, Texas, this little desert town sports a humble, zenalicious getaway.
You can come in an RV or you can rent a room. Quiet is not only encouraged, it’s insisted upon. There are only two modes at Riverbend: Quiet and Whisper.
Signs let you know which zone you’re in.
This is sure to delight anyone focused on drawing out deeper resources. Or anyone looking to go full sloth on vacation.
The hot pools are spring-fed, mineral-rich delights of varying temperatures. From warm to warmer to Oh Yeah We’re Going To Sleep Like Bambinos Tonight.
The five public pools overlook the swirling Rio Grande.
For you writers, spiritual seekers, and digital creatives, it’s a perfect locale for a creative or spiritual retreat.
(For artists, alas, unless you’re coming with a sketchpad only, it’s difficult to see how this might work for you.)
A retreat does more than rejuvenate. It can be a pivot point to the person you really want to be.
Several years ago when I was forced to travel extensively without my family, I decided to look for signs of love every day.
As a reminder that it indeed is everywhere. I need only look for it.
Here’s your reminder today. . .
Somewhere in Arizona
For our business we’re fortunate. We get to visit artist’s studios.
If you’re a creative you’re thrilled to peek into work spaces of others doing creative work.
It doesn’t matter if high art or commercial fare is being created there.
It doesn’t matter if the space belongs to a craftworker, architect, designer, entrepreneur or artist, there’s something inspiring checking out the spaces where creativity meets work ethic.
Art studio du Jill Holland