Wednesday, April 25, 2012

An Authentic Life ~ A Choice

I have always been intrigued by the unique ways people find to create their lives. I grew up during a time when most fathers had 9-5 jobs and most moms stayed home and raised children and kept house. It didn't even occur to me that my life would or could be different. Then I met Jennifer. I thought she was quirky at first; free-spirited and independent she seemed to have no roots, or worldly cares for that matter. I envied that and wanted it for myself. I didn't realize it then, but I longed to live a more authentic life. Jen and I became fast friends and she showed me by example that I could create my own life and, out of that joy, my livelihood. I will be forever grateful. Of course I now know that Jennifer cares A LOT about the world AND lives a life that is authentic and true. Here is my dear friend after a recent trip to Haiti, where she worked with yogaHOPE, an organization that provides yoga/meditation to women in shelters, prisons, and recovery, teaching a program called TIMBo (Trauma Informed Mind Body) to women affected by the 2010 earthquake.
Jennifer Harvey and a TIMBo participant in Haiti.

Creating my life has been a process of clarifying what is important to me and leaving the rest behind. Years ago I remember complaining about money problems to a successful girlfriend. Her answer? "What's the problem? When I need money I just go out and make more." Another "Ah ha" with gratitude to my lovely friend Laurie. I realized in that moment that it has been and will always be, up to me.
I am feeling the blessings today as Michael and I wrap up preparations for our sixth watercolor painting retreat to the beautiful Locanda del Gallo in Umbria Italy. We began taking art students to Europe in 1994 and we loved it so much we set out to create a way to continue to travel and share our years of experience with others. In 2004 we launched Sketchbook Tours Painting Retreats, and we experience our Italian retreat as the perfect balance of travel, art, relaxation and Italian culture.
 Our little slice of heaven in Umbria

Student Heather painting the vista from the Locanda

Student Kendra sketching in the Locanda garden
The beautiful Umbrian town of Spello
This year our retreat pairs watercolor sketching with yoga (thanks to our talented friend, yoga instructor Gloria Drayer!). We love the sharing we experience with our students and our Italian hosts, and the new adventures inherent in traveling. Traveling, living, loving, creating our lives as we go. No need to pinch me, I know I am not dreaming, I am creating. Thank you Jen, a million times my friend, thank you.
Saluté to living an authentic life!

1 comment:

Susan Struck said...

And thank YOU and your husband for passing that on to students. I know that their trip with you was a magnificent experience for Maria and Eric.

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