Ellie is an attention hog. Okay, I mean pooch, but she is happiest when there are many people in the house, giving her pets and pats and loads of love. Oh, and if you happen to drop a cracker or a piece of cheese…. Bonus!
Last night Ellie got her fill. From my sister and her husband dropping by in the late afternoon, to the five ladies who gathered on the deck for an evening of conversation, Ellie was in the centre of it all. And while I may pretend that’s why I invite people over, the truth is, I love to entertain, to connect with people over a glass of wine, a shared meal and laughter.
It was a spontaneous decision — to invite women over for an evening on the patio. I’d spent the weekend painting an old wicker love seat and two bamboo chairs that had lost any appeal. They’d moved far beyond the ‘distressed look’ into ‘headed for the dump heap despair’ when I decided to give them one last kick at life. Six cans of black spray paint later, and they are good for another season in the garden.
It was a great lesson. In the act of refreshing furniture, I got to sink into the joy of the moment of creation. To simply be present in the act of washing and sanding and painting. No agenda. No need to be anywhere other than right there, in the backyard creating value in something that had appeared to have lost all its purpose.
And in that moment of being present, I discovered something true for me — I had intended to paint all weekend. But, it was so beautiful outside, I didn’t want to spend my time indoors. Hauling all my paints outside was an option — but I had plans for Saturday night and wasn’t inspired to set-up outside, tear down and start all over again on Sunday. Instead, I decided to paint the wicker love seat. It was still painting just not as free-form as on a canvas. That’s when I discovered the joy of simply being in the act of creation. It didn’t matter what I was painting. What mattered was that I was painting. I was putting my body into motion.
In the act of creating, my mind stilled into that quiet place where the world recedes and I am simply in the moment, right where I’m at. Consciously being present to the completeness of the experience, without seeking perfection anywhere other than what was happening all around and within me.
In a monthly newsletter I receive from Laura Day, author of The Circle, she wrote recently, “The idea is not to have a perfect experience when you embody and join energy, it is to have a complete one.”
I had a complete experience yesterday. Alone in the garden with Ellie lying on the grass, I painted and fussed over pillow placement and angles of furniture, seeking to ‘get it just right’. I love that feeling of a ‘job well done’ when completed, my heart sighs with contentment.
Later, when it was time to get ready for my friends, I spent time in the kitchen creating food to share with friends, making sure colours and textures and tastes complemented each other on plates and platters that enhanced the food through their beauty.
My heart was happy. As evening settled into dark, we sat in the glow of candles flickering all around, laughing and sharing stories, and being part of the wonder that happens when women connect in a circle of friendship.
In the completeness of that circle of friends, I experienced perfection. And in that perfection, the difference I felt was in the lightness of my heart imbued with the joy of knowing, I am connected to a world of beauty all around.